Persuasion x 3

I liked this categorization of three types of tools of persuasion developed by Aristotle: 


– Ethos: Appeals to a sense of ethics, morals, and character. 


– Logos: Appeals to a sense of logic, reason, and rationality.


– Pathos: Appeals to a sense of emotion, empathy, and passion. 


I don’t know about most people, but I don’t get convinced easily. 


You need to show me, prove it to me, or convince me it’s right. 


Some others, and I don’t know why–it’s like you can sell them the Brooklyn Bridge, as they say.  


I think that’s dangerous!


Without critical thinking and evaluation, people can get led astray to do the wrong things…a perfect example is Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler (may his memory be forever cursed).  


Hitler appealed to the Germans people at the time:

– Emotionally to bring them back from the loss, destruction, and destitution that World War I inflicted and of course, to scapegoat the Jews, Gypsies, and political opponents and send them to the death camps. 

– Logically, that they were a strong and powerful people, the “Aryan nation,” and they therefore, deserved to conquer and rule Europe and the World.

– Ethically–let’s just say, this one didn’t really apply to Hitler, probably the most evil and destructive man this world has ever known, except that even Hitler tried to fool his people falsely proclaiming, “G-d is with us!”


It’s a war of good over evil out there, and we need to make our arguments to influence and persuade for the good, but we also have to be careful not to let others, who are not so good, manipulate us for their own selfish and depraved ends. 


Ethos, Logos, and Pathos–potent tools or weapons in the direction of mankind and civilization. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Take Off The Halo and Horn

Thought this was a learning moment. 


The halo and horn effects. 


This has to do with generalizing about people, things, places, or events. 


With the halo effect, if we like (are positive) about one or a few things about it, we may put a proverbial halo on it and and treat or rate everything about it as great.


Similarly, with the horn effect, if we dislike (are negative) about one or a few things about it, we may put a proverbial horn on it and treat or rate everything about it as horrible. 


This means were not really being objective or balanced in our assessment. 


Usually, it’s not all just good or bad, black or white–but good AND bad, black AND white.  


And obviously, this can cause us to make bad decisions based on poor analysis and judgement. 


Therefore, the importance of taking a step back, looking holistically at all the facts, and evaluating things for what they really are, rather than making snap calls to judgement–and poor ones at that! 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to darksouls1)

Arguing The Negative

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I thought this was an interesting sign this gentlemen had.


It says:

“Those who reject Jesus do so because of sin, not science or evidence.”


Overall, religion is a matter of personal faith not to be argued, but rather when based to good, to be wholly respected. 


This argument though was basically saying, not to reject this particular tenet of faith of a major religion because there is “not science or evidence” from which to reject.


But usually, don’t we look for science or evidence to accept or do something. 


In other words, the default usually is that if you want me to believe in something or somebody, prove to me why I should


It’s a bad argument when you ask me to prove to you why you shouldn’t believe in something. 


Very often this is the same argument people use in relationships and in organizations.


We do the same thing everyday or over and over again, and we often don’t ask ourselves why we do it this way or believe this is a good way of doing something…we just do it. 


And in fact, when someone new comes in with “fresh eyes” and questions why we do it a certain way or have we considered another approach, we ask them to prove to us with “science or evidence” why their way is better, rather than reexamine our own ways and means.


I’m not in any way questioning here G-d or religion, but rather simply our approach to self-examination, introspection, and betterment.


Don’t ask me to prove to you why you should reject something, but rather be prepared to defend your hypothesis. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Settle Down or Trade Up

Trade Up.jpeg

So I always hear this question from people…

 

Should I be happy with what I have or should I seek out something better?

It’s the age old question of whether to settle down or trade up.


When it comes to any decision in life…choosing a school, degree, career, place to live, an investment decision, or even your spouse and life partner–how do you know when you are making the right decision?


Maybe you like or love what’s in front of your eyes, but you still don’t know 100% if there’s something better out there for you.


Every choice means you are settling in some way, because let’s face it, nothing is perfect in life!

When is good, good enough for you?


There are trade-offs with every decision.


And it’s a matter of what YOU can live with!


A guy may say, “I like this girl, but I’m not sure whether she’s the one for me or that I really want to settle down with long-term.”


Someone else says, “I’m studying to be an accountant, but you know I really always liked psychology.”


And yet a third person says, “I like working at company ABC, but maybe I can learn something new or do better financially for myself and family if I go somewhere else.”


So when do you settle down and when do you try to trade-up?


The dilemma is fateful because you don’t want to lose what you have, but you also don’t want to potentially miss out on something even better for you.


Listen, we’re not prophets!


No one knows whether your investment in something is going to pay off in spades or land you flat on your butt. 


All you can do is try to weight the pros and cons of every decision. 


If you treat life like a roulette game in Las  Vegas, the one thing that is pretty sure is that at some point, you will lose it all to the house. 


So choose wisely and make sure you are passionate about your choice and that can live with it over time. 


Know that you made the best decision you could by looking at it from all angles. 


And most important of all, be grateful for everything you have–these are blessings from the Almighty Above and you need to have faith that He/She is guiding and helping you all along the way. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Getting Valuable Performance Feedback

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So here are three simple questions to ask your boss that can help you get valuable performance feedback and advance yourself and your career:


1) What am I doing that you want me to keep doing?


2) What am I doing that you want to me quit doing?


3) What am I not doing that you’d like me to start doing? 


There you have it in a nutshell–you can partner with your boss to improve yourself and get ahead. 


Just three easy questions gets you a lot of good information. 

 

The hardest part is getting up the nerve to ask and then being willing to really listen to what’s said.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

How To Give Employee Feedback

Poop Free Zone
Finally some realism about how to conduct employee evaluations…



The Wall Street Journal reports that in the past employees could expect that “we would bring them in and beat them down a bit.”



But now, managers are expected to “scrap the negative feedback” and “extol staffers strengths” (accentuate the positives).



Companies are realizing that negative feedback does “more harm than good.”



– You tick off the employee and ruin any positive relationship and trust. 

– The employee feels unappreciated, hurt, and in jeopardy. 

– Employees project their hurt feelings and accuse you of being the problem. 

– The deteriorating state makes them fear that you are working against them and they become unmotivated to try to do better.

– Instead, they spend their time working against you (and the company), and looking for another job. 



There is an old saying that you don’t sh*t where you eat, and so it is with employee performance evaluations.



In over 25 years, I have never seen negative employees reviews produce positive results!



However, I have seen that sincerely praising everyones’ best efforts, leveraging their strengths, and being thankful for what each person contributes makes a high performing team where people are loyal, want to work, and contribute their best. 



Everyone has weaknesses and problems, and frankly most people when they are being honest with themselves, know what their issues are. Pointing their face in it, doesn’t help. (Have you ever told a fat person that they need to lose a few pounds?)



One idea that I did like from the Journal is called “feedforward,” where you ask “employees to suggest ideas for their own improvement for the future.”



This way each person can be introspective and growth as they mature and are ready, but not under threat, rather with support and encouragement. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Backlash Against Performance Reviews

The Backlash Against Performance Reviews

So there is big backlash against employee performance reviews.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek declares the annual performance review to be “worthless.”

The performance review ritual is traced back to the 1930’s with Harvard Business School Professor, Elton Mayo, who found that productivity and satisfaction of workers improved when they were measured and paid attention to. This was referred to as the Hawthorne Effect because the study was conducted at the Hawthorne Works of Western Electric outside Chicago.

Later in the 1950’s, the Performance Rating Act institutionalized mandated performance reviews for federal workers,

But studies in the last 2 decades have found employees (42%) dissatisfied with the process and even HR managers (58%) disliking the system.

Clinical Psychologist, Aubrey Daniels, call the process “sadistic!”

The annual reviews are disliked for many reasons including the process being:

1) Arbitrary, subjective, and personality-driven rather than objective, meaningful, and performance-based.

2) Feedback that is too little and too late, instead of real-time when good or bad performance behavior occurs.

3) A power tool that managers use in a “culture of domination” as opposed to something that really helps employees improve.

4) Something used to punish people and build a case against employees to “get rid of you” rather than to reward and recognize them.

At the same time, this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft and other companies are getting rid of forced employee rankings.

The ranking system was developed by General Electric in the 1980’s under Jack Welch and has been referred to as “”Stack Rankings,” “Forced Rankings” and “Rank and Yank.”

Under this system, employees are ranked on a scale–with a certain percentage of employees (at GE 10% and Microsoft 5%, for example) ranked in the lowest level.

The lowest ranked employees then are either let go or marginalized as underperformers getting no bonuses, equity awards, or promotions.

“At least 30% of Fortune 500 companies continue to rank employees along a curve.”

Microsoft is dumping the annual quantitative ranking and replacing it with more frequent qualitative evaluations.

UCLA Professor, Samuel Colbert, says this is long overdue for a yanking at companies and managers’ jobs is “not to evaluate,” but rather “to make everyone a five.”

While this certainly sounds very nice and kumbaya-ish, it also seems to reflect the poor job that managers have done in appraising employees fairly and working with them to give them a genuine chance to learn and improve, before pulling the rating/ranking trigger that can kill employees career prospects.

A bad evaluation not only marginalizes an employee at their current position, but it limits their ability to find something else.

Perhaps, this is where the qualitative aspect really comes into play in terms of having frank, but honest discussions with employees on what they are doing well and where they can do better, and how they can get the training and experience they need.

It’s really when an employee just doesn’t want to improve, pull their weight, and is undermining the mission and the team that performance action needs to be taken.

I don’t think we can ever do without performance reviews, but we can certainly do them better in terms of providing constructive feedback rather than destructive criticism and using this to drive bona-fide continuous improvement as opposed to employee derision.

This is possible where there are participants willing to listen to a fair critique and work together on getting to the next level professionally and for the good of the organization. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Mediocre2010)