G-d’s Creation and Man’s Adaptation

Technology_everywhere

I took this photo today at the East View of Sugarloaf Mountain.

This guy is sitting on the rocks towards the summit of the mountain and doing of all things…technology–it’s REALLY everywhere!

He is nestled away in the brush and trees on this rock–off the mountain edge–and is typing away on a laptop computer.

Not what I was expecting in the middle of all this nature, but then again I was guilty of bringing along some of my tech toys too.

And at one point–on this–what felt to me–like a near vertical climb (but it wasn’t)–and standing lopsided on these protruding rocks, all of a sudden my smartphone rings.

“Hello,” I say grabbing onto a branch of a nearby tree.

On the other end, “Yes, the is so and so from Dr. whatever’s office, and your test results came back as this and that…”

No, it wasn’t bad news, thank G-d, but it was just so awkward getting this call up on the this lush mountain and in this way.

I thought for a moment–maybe, I shouldn’t have brought my phone and other technology stuff on the hike–then it would be just me and the beautiful nature–man and mother Earth–alone and as one.

That thought lasted about a full split second–yeah, that’s truly nice–but like Adam in the Garden of Eden without his fig leaf, I feel truly naked–without my technology.

The garden is a lot more inviting when I know the rest of the world is just some personal technology away.

Like the guy reading and working on his laptop nestled on the mountain–maybe what we have is the best of G-d’s creation and man’s adaptation–a beautiful marriage–good for the body and the soul.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Helping Employees Find The Right Job Fit

I have a new article in Public CIO Magazine (August 2011) on the topic of how to handle poorly performing employees.

Finding the right candidate for a job is much like finding a spouse — it requires the right chemistry. There’s a critical difference between having great qualifications and being the right person for a particular job, which is a concept that organizational behavior specialist refer to as ‘person-job fit.'”

When you see employees struggling, try to bring them up to speed in every possible way. If that doesn’t work, help them find a better position to continue their path of professional and personal development.”

Read the rest of the article at Government Technology.
(Source Photo: here)

>Getting To Happy

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Castle

In spite of all the wealth creation and technological progress we have experienced in recent times, the real stickler is that most people seem unhappier than ever.


This is not just an observation: According to the results of the World Values Survey and the General Social Survey of the National Opinion Research Center, “people have grown continuously more depressed over the last half-century.” (Psychology Today, April 2011).


And the depression and unhappiness that we are suffering as a society has been linked to overinflated and unrealistic expectations.


I guess the average home size of approximately 2,400 square feet, more than DOUBLE that of fifty years ago, hasn’t made that much difference in people’s level of happiness.


Why? Because we focus on what we don’t have, instead of what do have. Marketers take advantage of this by selling, for example, the iPad 2 three months after everyone just got the iPad for the holiday. (Thanks SNL!)


Reminds me of a timeless Jewish saying: “Who is rich? He who is happy with his portion.” (Talmud: Avot 4:1) — Then again, the Cossacks taking all of our stuff didn’t help the situation any 🙂


Psychologist Tim Kasser states: “The more people focus on the materialist pathway to happiness, the less happy they tend to be.”


And more forebodingly, “The less happy they make others.”–Can anyone say “50% divorce rate and rising?”


Writing about America in the early 19th century, the French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville already observed: “I know of no other country where love of money has such a grip on men’s hearts.


I remember growing up in a modest way, but walking past all the mansions in the community regularly. In my mind I lived “on the other side of town.” On the one hand, this was motivating to me in the sense that I felt like I could “make it” too. On the other hand, thinking about it left me feeling empty, because materialism was not what I believed to be REALLY important. I still don’t.


Over time, I came to see money practically, for what it was: a way of paying the bills. But my true passion lay elsewhere. Commitment to G-d, family and nation, and productive hard work in its own right–is more meaningful and joyful to me.


Today, I still enjoy looking at the mansions on Bravo’s Millionaire Listing or HGTV. But I only let myself do that when I’m working out on the treadmill!

>Raising the Bar By Aligning Expectations and Personality

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I always love on the court television show Judge Hatchett, when she tells people: “I expect great things from you!”

The Pygmalion Effect says that when we have high expectations of performance for people, they perform better.

In other words, how you see others is how they perform.

While behavior is driven by a host of motivational factors (recognition, rewards, and so on), behavior and ultimately performance is impacted by genetic and environmental factors—“nature and nurture”—and the nurture aspect includes people’s expectations of us.

Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, people live up or down to expectations.

For example, studies by Rosenthal and Jacobson showed that if teachers expected enhanced performance from selected children, those children performed better.

When people have high or low expectations for others, they treat them differently—consciously or unconsciously—they tip off what they believe the others are capable of and will ultimately deliver. In the video, The Pygmalion Effect: Managing the power of Expectation, these show up in the following ways:

  • Climate: The social and emotional mood we create, such as tone, eye contact, facial expression, body language, etc.
  • Inputs: The amount and quality of instruction, assistance, or input we provide.
  • Outputs: The opportunities to do the type of work that best aligns with the employee and produce that we provide.
  • Feedback: The strength and duration of the feedback we provide.

In business, expect great things from people and set them to succeed by providing the following to meet those expectations:

  • Inspiration
  • Teaching
  • Opportunity
  • Encouragement

Additionally, treat others in the style that is consistent with the way that they see themselves, so that there is underlying alignment between the workplace (i.e. how we treat the employee) and who the employee fundamentally is.

Normally people think that setting high expectations means creating a situation where the individual’s high performance will take extra effort – both on their part and on the part of the manager.

However, this is not necessarily the case at all. All we have to do is align organizational expectations with the inherent knowledge, skills, and abilities of the employee, and their individual aspirations for development.

The point is we need to play to people’s strengths and help them work on their weaknesses. This, along with ongoing encouragement, can make our goals a reality, and enable the organization to set the bar meaningfully high for each and every one of us.

>Life Isn’t Always What You Expect

>A big part of leadership and of life is understanding that things are not always what we expect. We have to be prepared to deal with strange and unusual circumstances. This is where emotional intelligence and a sense of humor come into play. So be careful the next time, you decide to look “under the covers”. Have a look at this one.

http://www.youtube.com/get_player