As you start to position yourself for success heading into a new job, remember that leadership is personal. Your message is the key that unlocks personal connections. The greater the congruence between your own preferences across behaviors, relationships, attitudes, values, environment and the new culture you enter or create, the stronger those connections will be. This is why the best messages aren’t crafted—they emerge. This is why great leaders live their messages not because they can, but because they must. “Here I stand, I can do no other.”
Knowing your strengths and motivations will help you better create career options that are a true fit for your skills, will allow you to better position yourself in interviews (sell before you buy), and will help you thoroughly assess and effectively mitigate risks.
In many respects, leadership is an exercise in building culture. However you define it, culture is the glue that holds organizations together. It may be the only truly sustainable competitive advantage for any organization. Culture is impacted by pivotal events like a new leader joining an organization or an acquisition being integrated, presenting opportunities to transform the business, enhance competitiveness and deliver better results. Culture change is about bridging the gap between the current state and the desired state – that which is needed to achieve the organization’s mission and goals.
The greater the cultural differences, the more difficult the adaption or change will be. Take control by understanding the most important cultural differences and then building a plan to bridge those gaps over time.
Some define culture simply as “The way we do things around here.” Others conduct complex analyses to define it more scientifically. Instead, blend both schools of thought into an implementable approach that defines culture as an organization’s behaviors, relationships, attitudes, values and environment (BRAVE). The BRAVE framework is relatively easy to apply, yet offers a robust way to identify, engage and change a culture. It makes culture real, tangible, identifiable, easy to talk about, and provides a starting point for change. It’s helpful to tackle the BRAVE components from the outside in as shown below:
For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.
Using his own pioneering research as Wharton’s top-rated professor, Adam Grant shows that these styles have a surprising impact on success. Although some givers get exploited and burn out, the rest achieve extraordinary results across a wide range of industries. Combining cutting-edge evidence with captivating stories, Grant shows how one of America’s best networkers developed his connections, why the creative genius behind one of the most popular shows in television history toiled for years in anonymity, how a basketball executive responsible for multiple draft busts transformed his franchise into a winner, and how we could have anticipated Enron’s demise four years before the company collapsed-without ever looking at a single number.
Give and Take highlights what effective networking, collaboration, influence, negotiation, and leadership skills have in common. This landmark book opens up an approach to success that has the power to transform not just individuals and groups, but entire organizations and communities.
As we finalize our preparations to receive His Holiness the Dalai Lama for a dialogue on Global Health and Well-being, an event co-sponsored by the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the Global Health Institute, both at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, it is appropriate to reflect on what science is teaching us about well-being. There are four things we can now say that science has taught us about well-being.
Well-being is a skill. By conceptualizing well-being as a skill, we appeal to modern insights from neuroscience where the study of neuroplasticity has informed us that the mind and brain are highly changeable and that the brain is constantly being shaped by experience and training. Viewed from this perspective, well-being is the product of skills that can be enhanced through training and is also subject to environmental influences that impact our brain, especially over the course of development.
Well-being is associated with specific patterns of brain activity that influence and are influenced by the body. Recent findings establish that specific patterns of brain activity involving the prefrontal cortex and limbic (below the cortex) regions are associated with reports of well-being. The circuits in the brain that we know to be correlated with well-being play a role in regulating bodily functions—immune, endocrine and autonomic nervous system activity—and through these influences can impact physical health and illness. In turn, activity in these bodily systems can feed back upon the brain and modulate its activity. Through this bidirectional communication between the brain and body, pathways have been identified that provide the beginnings of an understanding of why our emotional and physical healthcare intimately intertwined. It is not a random accident that happier people are healthier. Modern neuroscientific studies are shedding light on the mechanisms through which these associations arise.
Equanimity and generosity both contribute to well-being and are associated with distinct patterns of brain and bodily activity. The Dalai Lama has frequently urged us to be kind toward others and has suggested that kindness is a direct route to happiness. Modern research has borne this out and indicates that kindness and compassion toward others is associated with peripheral biological (i.e., biology below the neck) changes that are salubrious. Equanimity can be cultivated through simple contemplative practices and is associated with being attentive to the present moment and not getting lost in worrying about the future and ruminating about the past. Modern research indicates that the average adult American spends nearly 50% of his waking life mind wandering—not paying attention to what he is actually doing. By learning to remain aware of the present moment, we can free ourselves from being slaves to the past and future. This in and of itself can powerfully facilitate well-being and reduce suffering.
Experiments have been conducted in which participants are randomly assigned to one of two groups—in the first group, they are provided with money and told to go out and spend the money on themselves and to purchase things for themselves only; in the second group, they are provided the same amount of money as the first group but they are told to spend the money only on others. Participants in this latter group were explicitly prohibited from spending any of the money on themselves. They were simply told to buy gifts for others. Before participants were randomly assigned to either condition, they were provided with simple questionnaires asking them to rate their overall levels of happiness and well-being. After spending money on themselves or on others for one day, they returned to the laboratory and were given the questionnaires again, asking them to rate their overall level of well-being. We are sure you can guess which group showed much greater increases in happiness over the course of the day—of course, it was the group instructed to spend the money only on others.
Another amazing thing about generosity and kindness is that a growing body of evidence suggests that such behavior is good for our biology. It helps to reduce inflammation and the molecules responsible for increasing inflammation.
There is an innate disposition toward well-being and prosocial behavior. Organisms orient toward stimuli and situations that promote well-being. We prefer things that promote well-being and we seek contexts in which well-being can flourish. We will often expend resources to improve well-being. We do not seek to become more sad or more angry and or more disgusted. This is something quite universal and appears to be present in all living creatures. Moreover, recent research indicates that human infants in the first six months of life show a preference for prosocial and cooperative situations compared with aggressive and antagonistic ones. If this indeed continues to be replicated across a wide range of cultures, it would invite the view that we come into the world with an innate preference for good and we obscure that innate propensity over the course of development as we become socialized within our modern culture. When we engage in practices to nurture compassion, we are not really learning a new skill so much as unlearning the noise which is interfering with our ability to connect with a fundamental innate core of goodness.
As these ideas become more widely known and appreciated, it our fervent aspiration that our culture will pay more attention to well-being, will include strategies to promote well-being with our educational curricula and within the healthcare arena, and will include well-being within our definitions of health. These changes would help to promote greater harmony and well-being of the planet.
Stop. Breathe. Pay attention. “Our mental health and well-being are profoundly affected by where and how we place our attention”. In this enlightening talk, Richard guides through a short mindfulness meditation, and shares his experience of teaching mindfulness in schools. He reveals some of the amazing benefits being mindful can bring to the classroom and inspires the audience with simple ways to bring more awareness to how we respond to our everyday experiences.
Richard Burnett is a teacher and Housemaster at Tonbridge School, the first school in the UK to put mindfulness on the curriculum, an event covered by press, TV and radio in early 2010. Since then, thousands of young people have been taught in a wide range of educational contexts, from independent girls’ schools like St. Pauls to Young People’s Support Services for those excluded from school.
The whole world is now privy to how the education sector in the United Arab Emirates is going from strength to strength.
A delegation of more than 25 teachers and principals from Dubai’s private schools has shared Dubai’s vision of positive education and wellbeing at the first Festival of Positive Education in Dallas, USA.
Key players from Dubai’s education field, including principals, presented a workshop to an audience of policy-makers and educators from around the world.
The workshop was based on “What Works”, a collaborative series of events that have transformed Dubai’s education culture and brought educators together to share positive practice.
Participants of the festival learned about the importance of wellbeing, the continuing improvement of education in Dubai, and how to run “What Works” in their own communities.
Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Director-General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said positive education in Dubai focuses on bringing the best out of students, teachers, school leaders and parents.
“This festival gives us the opportunity to share Dubai’s happiness with the world, and to learn more about the positive education trends that will enable us to be even happier in future.”
Dr. Ashok Kumar, CEO of Indian High School, and “What Works” content advisor attended this year’s event.
“We’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that “What Works” has had on our schools sector. It’s wonderful to work together with colleagues at other Dubai schools to present “What Works” and Dubai to an international audience.”
During the Festival, a panel of Dubai educators joined Dr Al Karam and Stephen Ritz of Green Bronx Machine to share how Dubai’s education community – including government, principals, teachers and parents – come together to bring out the best out of each child and give students the ‘survival skills’ they need to lead happy and productive lives.
“What Works” is a series of collaborative events that bring together Dubai’s teachers, students, community partners and international speakers to share the best of what they do and to bring about positive change in education. Since “What Works” began in 2012, more than 12,000 teachers and principals across Dubai have attended 600 sessions at 24 “What Works” events, joined by more than 800 students and 400 community partners.