Has The “Extra Mile” Gotten Shorter?

Has The “Extra Mile” Gotten Shorter?

Attitude and Mindset
When The Modern Observer Group launched a new newsletter a mistake was made. The e-mail system sent the newsletter template out while it was being set up. So a portion of our list received a half done newsletter two weeks before it was supposed to launch. We quickly e-mailed those who received it an apology and explained what had happened. During this I received an e-mail from a woman who was unsure how she got on the mailing list and asked me to contact her, providing her phone number. I called her and had a brief discussion and we figured out what event she had attended that put her on the list. She proceeded to tell me how happy she was that I had called her and how much she…
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It’s Not About Being Liked

It’s Not About Being Liked

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
There have been a number of studies in gender diversity showing that when people to something generally considered to be normal for the opposite gender, they are found to be less likable. This has been cited as something that has to be overcome in the workplace. People need to realize that the behaviors should be acceptable. There is another aspect to this that goes undiscussed. Perhaps people shouldn't be trying so hard to be likable. In my first job as a camp counselor I decided that I didn't care if I was liked, but that it was important to me to be looked on as someone who was very good at his job. I kept the kids in line, did my job, and didn't concern myself with being liked. What…
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Build A Network That Challenges Your Point Of View

Build A Network That Challenges Your Point Of View

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
When your network is mostly people whose backgrounds and skill sets are similar to yours, it’s unlikely to help you find new ideas or creative solutions. Diversify your network by connecting with people whose viewpoints, insights, and experiences differ from your own. When you meet someone new, talk about what you don’t have in common. Ask friends to introduce you to their contacts who have an interesting job or who work in a unique space. In particular, try to meet people who will challenge your assumptions and biases. If you’re struggling to build your network in the usual ways, create a reason to bring a diverse group together. For example, a monthly book club can give you the chance to hear a variety of perspectives, as well as to read authors you…
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The Solution to a Tough Problem Isn’t to Overthink It

The Solution to a Tough Problem Isn’t to Overthink It

Attitude and Mindset, Evaluate, Featured
We all like to consider ourselves smart, but raw intelligence isn’t everything. When we get stuck on a problem, sometimes it’s because we’re overthinking it. Pay attention to when focused thinking isn’t getting you anywhere; perhaps it has turned into obsessing over the same answers or approaches. Consider whether experimenting with a new strategy or talking ideas through with others might be more likely to result in success. Take breaks to let your brain relax and get unstuck. Expand your range of skills for reaching insights and coming up with new ideas; don’t be someone who sees every problem as a nail because your only tool is a hammer. And when you do find yourself ruminating, disrupt it by doing a few minutes of an absorbing activity, such as a…
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Stress Doesn’t Have to Short-Circuit Your Creativity

Stress Doesn’t Have to Short-Circuit Your Creativity

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
When you’re stressed out, it’s hard to decide what to eat for dinner, let alone get work done. How can you produce ideas when you’re feeling this way? First, take a breath and relax. Trying to force yourself to be creative will only lead to more frustration. Instead of thinking, “I must be creative right now,” tell yourself, “I’m going to play around with some ideas.” Then do an activity that will let your mind wander. Going for a walk or napping, for example, naturally loosens up your brain, which can lead to new insights. If you still feel stuck, give yourself more material to work with: Read about the topic you’re tackling, take a field trip to observe other people’s solutions to similar problems, or talk to experts. Above…
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Build Relationships Around What You Care About

Build Relationships Around What You Care About

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
When business people network, they tend to look for people with complimentary jobs or people in their target markets. While this is a good short-term way to connect with people, if you want to build lasting relationships you should connect around topics of interest. If you have an interest in animal welfare, gardening, or gourmet foods for example find people who share that interest. Sharing a topic of interest gives you more to talk about than just business. It also helps you stand out. If a person knows several people in your industry, what will make you stand apart? If you have had conversations about something they care about. they will remember you. More importantly, if you are discussing something that interests you, you are more animated and passionate than…
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Be Lazy

Be Lazy

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
Every book and article on success tells you that you have to get things done, get started, get moving, etc. We're going to postulate that the true key to success is to be lazy. In all fairness, we're not talking about procrastinating or spending days in bed. There is an old joke that says give a difficult job to a lazy man and he will find the easiest way to do it. That's what we are talking about. Being lazy is about finding the easiest way to accomplish tasks. This isn't limited to the tasks you need to accomplish. Your product or service should allow your customers to get their tasks done as easily as possible. Customer service should provide assistance as easily as possible. If you are not making…
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What’s For Breakfast?

What’s For Breakfast?

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
What's a typical breakfast? Eggs and bacon? Coffee and muffin? Cereal? How about rice and beans? Americans have a narrow definition of what a breakfast food is. Elsewhere in the world the definitions are different. Rice is big all around the world, as are beans, spiced meats and other foods that Americans usually only consider for dinner. Why are we talking about what foods are appropriate for breakfast? It illustrates the disadvantage of a fixed mindset. When you limit how you look at things, it blocks out all kinds of possibilities. Beyond making breakfast more interesting, when you limit how you view things, you miss the ideas that occur outside that framework. To keep an open mind don't label. Keep in mind that items can be more than one thing.
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Learn Something New to Relieve Some Stress

Learn Something New to Relieve Some Stress

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Improvement
Many people handle work stress by buckling down and powering through. But that’s not a great way to actually relieve your anxiety. Instead, Harvard Business School recommends that you try reframing the stressful situation as a learning opportunity. Learning something new adds to your skill set and knowledge, and helps you develop feelings of competency and growth, which can alleviate feelings of stress. You can also learn with others. For example, rather than just wrestling with a challenge in your head, get input from colleagues. Discussing a stressful situation with them can reveal hidden insights, either from their backgrounds or from the questions and perspectives they’ll offer. And don’t think of learning as an additional layer of work; think of it as a break from the hard work of getting…
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Pump Yourself Up Before A Presentation

Pump Yourself Up Before A Presentation

Attitude and Mindset, Communication, Featured
Giving a talk in front of an audience can be stressful, and our bodies react to that stress in different ways. If you’re someone who gets jittery and anxious, or whose energy levels flatline, try an exertion ritual before your next presentation. The ritual is just what it sounds like: You exert yourself in order to get your heart moving, feel in touch with your body, and boost your energy. You might do a brief workout before heading to the venue, dance in your hotel room, or even jump up and down backstage. An exertion ritual can amp you up while also reducing your levels of stress hormones. It can be especially helpful if you’re presenting at a high-energy event like a sales conference, or if you feel ambivalent about…
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