FEEDBACK & Harvard Research Says If You Want to Improve Your Performance Don’t Ask for Feedback, Ask For Advice

by Scott Mautz, Inc. Magazine, 8/17/19.

The normal line of thinking goes that if you want to improve at something– let’s say it’s a key sales presentation you’ve just given– that you should ask the people you just gave it to for feedback. Seems reasonable.

But the Harvard researchers discovered that there’s a real problem with this approach. Feedback is often too vague to even be helpful. And in my experience, when you frame it as asking for feedback, people often default to being nice and not wanting to say what they really think. It’s human nature. But human nature doesn’t nurture in this case, it just glosses over.

The researchers say there’s a far better alternative if you want to get better at something–ask for advice.

Why asking for advice is better than asking for feedback.

In one study, the researchers asked 200 people to give input on a job application, asking some to give feedback on the application and others to give advice. Those who gave feedback were vague and glossed over flaws in the application, giving only praise.

Those who were asked to give advice gave more critical and actionable input. In fact, advice-givers gave comments on a whopping 34 percent more areas of improvement and gave 56 percent more ways to improve. Three more studies by the researchers produced similar conclusions.

The studies also highlighted another problem with asking for advice–it’s associated with evaluations.

Imagine you just got off stage from giving that sales presentation I mentioned earlier. You then pick out an audience member to give you feedback. What happens? They immediately go into evaluation mode rather than picturing how you could do that presentation better in the future. So their comments migrate to observations of how well you did something (or not), in their minds articulating a mental letter grade they’re giving you.

But if you asked for advice instead, it puts the audience member in a different frame of mind. Now, implicit in the fact that you’re asking for advice, is the fact that you’re open to getting better.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/harvard-research-says-if-you-want-to-improve-your-performance-dont-ask-for-feedback-ask-for-advice.html

TIME MAMAGEMENT & Forget the 80-20 Rule. Follow the 1-50 Rule Instead.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel. A good friend of mine and former president of our seminary Dr. Wayne Schmidt (and now the superintendent of our denomination) told me that another megachurch pastor gave him this advice: “Do your most important work when you have the most energy.”

This article points out a corollary principle, and that is that some things have some of the greatest impact on your overall success. The author does so by a unique and interesting thesis. Take a look.

Forget the 80-20 Rule. Follow the 1-50 Rule Instead: A tiny fraction of your highest-value work produces half of all your results by David Finke, Inc. Magazine, 9/17/19.

…If you’ve read anything on time management, you’ve come across Pareto’s Principle, inspired by the work of 19th-century economist Vilfredo Pareto. Commonly called the “80-20 Rule,” Pareto’s Principle states that 20 percent of your actions generate 80 percent of your results (high value) and 80 percent of your actions generate the other 20 percent of your results (low value). We have all been taught to focus on the 20 percent that generates the high-value work…but there is more that we can do.

With my coaching clients I have taken this idea and further refined it to create something that I share in detail in my latest book, The Freedom Formula.

The Math (Stick with Me)

If you take the 20 percent of your actions that generate 80 percent of your results and apply the 80-20 rule to it a second time, then 20 percent of that 20 percent produces 80 percent of 80 percent of your results. That means 4 percent of your effort (the 20 percent of 20 percent) generates 64 percent of your results (80 percent of 80 percent).

…Hang in here with me for one more math moment and apply the 80-20 rule one final time. That means that just 1 percent of your effort (20 percent of 20 percent of 20 percent) generates 50 percent of your results!

That’s right–a tiny fraction of your highest-value work produces half of all your results.

No, this is not an exact science. Nor does this just work automatically. But Pareto’s Principle illustrates a valuable point: All time is not valued equally. An hour or two of your best time on Tuesday may have produced a far greater return than 30 to 40 hours of the low-value tasks you “checked off” on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

The 1 Percent that Matters

I encourage all business owners to choose one day a week where they block three to four hours out of their day to focus on the 1 percent that produces 50 percent of their results. Turn your cell phone off, shut down your email client, and work on the A-level tasks and projects that really matter. Avoid distractions and other people’s “fires,” and you will soon begin to see the power that comes with upgrading your time.

And once you have a handle on the top 1 percent of your task list, teach your key team members to do the same with their time, and watch your business grow exponentially.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/david-finkel/forget-80/20-rule-follow-1/50-rule-insteaddraft-1568660931.html

DELEGATION & How to Delegate Using a Simple Questionnaire & a 7-Step Process

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Coaching leaders for 30 years and teaching leadership to graduate students for 24 years, I believe the greatest leadership weakness is the desire to “do it yourself” rather than delegate when someone else is better at doing it than you. To address this I created the 3-STRand leadership test.

Take this test to find your leadership style and who you should have on your team. Then read this article for application ideas.

The Best Managers Share Authority. Now It Teaches Them to Delegate Using This 7-Step Process by Michael Schneider, Inc. Magazine, 7/22/19.

The best Google managers empower their teams and do not micromanage.

This idea came in at number two on Google’s top 10 list of effective manager traits. If you haven’t heard the story, Google in an effort to prove that bosses weren’t necessary, ended up finding the exact opposite — managers not only matter, but they can significantly influence the performance of their teams. But, they didn’t stop there. After realizing that managers were important, they embarked on a quest to uncover all the behaviors that made some more effective than others. The initiative became known as Project Oxygen

To help its managers determine the work that they should delegate, Google asks leaders to:

  • Look at the goals. What is the end-game and what does the team need to do to achieve its goals. Break down the work and identify parts that can be delegated. 
  • Look at yourself. In which areas do you have strengths and responsibilities, and what should you delegate? 
  • Recognize the right person for the work. Take a look at your team’s skills and ask yourself who has clear strengths in the areas you want to delegate. Use your employees like “chess pieces” and strategically assign work that plays to their abilities. In the process, you’ll not only empower but also increase the overall productivity of the team. 

…Google has broken down the process into these seven steps

1. Give an overview of the work.

Discuss the scope and significance of the project. Tell your employee why you selected them and the impact that the work has on the business. 

2. Describe the details of the new reasonability.

Discuss your desired outcome and clarify expectations. Tell the employee what you expect, but not how to do it. It’s essential to give them the autonomy and freedom to learn and grow from the experience — not just follow orders.  

3. Solicit questions, reactions, and suggestions.

The conversation should be a two-way street. Remember, the ultimate goal is to put your employee in the driver seat. Make sure they have all the information they need to assume ownership, accountability, and meet expectations.  

4. Listen to the delegatee’s comments and respond empathetically.

This is new and uncharted territory for your employee. Ease their anxiety and create a psychologically safe environment where the employee feels comfortable voicing concerns, discussing hesitations, and coming to you for help. 

5. Share how this impacts the team.

So employees understand the importance of their work and prioritize accordingly, make sure that you connect the dots and explain how the task supports other team initiatives. 

6. Be encouraging.

Employees won’t take full responsibility until you encourage them to. Make sure they understand that you’re trusting them to deliver results. 

7. Establish checkpoints, results, deadlines, and ways to monitor progress.

Although they have the autonomy, make sure employees know the critical milestones they need to hit and what success look like to gauge progress. 

Delegating isn’t the easiest thing to do. But, you have to look at it as an investment in your employees. They learn, and you pick up more bandwidth to tackle other things — everyone wins. 

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/michael-schneider/google-found-that-its-best-managers-share-authority-now-it-teaches-them-to-delegate-using-this-7-step-process.html

PREACHING & The 25 Most Popular TED Talks Include This 1 Surprising Word Over and Over, and the Reason Why is Eye-Opening.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I am conducting a communication consultation for preachers in Ohio and it’s exciting to see the improvement every couple weeks. This TED talk research shows that using humor that leads to engagement is a key to great communication. I’ve studied today’s Christian communicators and I have found this to be true. Peruse this short article for more insights.

By Bill Murphy Jr., Inc. Magazine, 5/16/19.

The official TED website includes a list of the top 25 most-watched TED Talks of all time. 

The playlist runs seven hours. The transcripts are a combined 70,000 words. That’s like a 200-page book.

Still, I wondered if analyzing all of the language across all 25 talks might yield some takeaways. With 679 million total views, even though they’re about different subjects, what makes these TED Talks so popular? Would anything jump out?

Laughter

Even more striking than the frequency of “laughter” is the odd fact that none of the speakers actually ever says the word. Instead, it’s inserted into the transcript every time the audiences chuckled or laughed, with parenthesis around it, like this: “(Laughter.)”

Across 25 talks, there are 380 instances of laughter, which works out .948 per minute — just shy of “a laugh a minute.” But then I realized something else.

Applause(?)

Look, a lot of TED Talks are amusing and even interesting, but they’re not uproariously funny…

Often as not, the audience “laughter” in the combined transcript seems more like the audience communicating with the speaker..,

It’s related to “applause,” which appeared 95 times throughout the transcripts. Combine both words, and we reach an average of 1.2 verbal audience reactions per minute.

Of course, there’s also a third, very common way that speakers keep prompting audience engagement: by asking questions. So next, I counted the question marks. There were 579 total…

The power of engagement

Here’s my big takeaway, which I think has implications for anyone called on to give a speech or presentation.

Calling these super-popular TED Talks “talks,” is a bit of a misnomer. They’re more like a guided conversations, with the speakers giving the audience prompt after prompt after prompt — practically begging and cajoling them in fact — to stay engaged.

Combine my admittedly unusual metrics, and you find that there are a total of 1,061 instances across 25 talks during which the speaker either asks the audience a question or delivers a line inducing either laughter or applause. That works out to about once every 21 seconds.

No matter what they’re talking about — from Pamela Meyer’s “How to Spot a Liar,” to Amy Cuddy’s, “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are,” to Elizabeth Gilbert’s, “Your Elusive Creative Genius” — they keep doing the same thing: prompting the audience to engage, over and over and over.

Think of that the next time you sit through a not-so-great presentation, or you have to prepare and give a talk yourself. The secret isn’t just to share information, it’s to prompt engagement — and to keep doing it the whole time you’re up there.

Because anybody can give a talk. It’s another level entirely to lead an engaged conversation.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/the-25-most-popular-ted-talks-include-this-1-surprising-word-over-over-reason-why-is-eye-opening.html

NEED-MEETING & Benjamin Franklin Says This Is the Noblest Question in the World (It’s Only 7 Words)

by Melanie Curtin, Inc. Magazine, 4/11/18.

In Benjamin Franklin’s words:

“The noblest question in the world is, ‘What good may I do in it?'”

But he is perhaps best known for his role as a politician and statesman in the early days of the United States of America. And it was in large part through that work that he came up with what he called the “noblest question in the world.”

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/melanie-curtin/according-to-benjamin-franklin-this-7-word-question-is-noblest-in-world.html

NEED-MEETING & Benjamin Franklin Says This Is the Noblest Question in the World (It’s Only 7 Words)

by Melanie Curtin, Inc. Magazine, 4/11/18.

In Benjamin Franklin’s words:

“The noblest question in the world is, ‘What good may I do in it?'”

But he is perhaps best known for his role as a politician and statesman in the early days of the United States of America. And it was in large part through that work that he came up with what he called the “noblest question in the world.”

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/melanie-curtin/according-to-benjamin-franklin-this-7-word-question-is-noblest-in-world.html

CHURCH PLANTING & America’s “Surge Cities” … These Are the 50 Best Places in America for Starting a Business

by Arnobio Morelix, Inc. Magazine, 4/2/19.

In December, Startup Genome partnered with Inc.to analyze 50 U.S. metropolitan areas–in everything from job creation to entrepreneurship rates to wage increases–and then to score them by economic growth. That turned into this list of America’s Surge Cities.


1. AUSTIN

Austin is now growing four times faster than most of Silicon Valley–drawing talent and startups from all over the country.

Once known as a magnet for slackers, the so-called “Live Music Capital of the World” and home of the University of Texas-Austin had a reasonable cost of living, loads of sunshine, well-educated people, and a fun streak. Those are still the reasons people flock to Austin, but slacking off is most certainly not their goal. Today, the metro area, with a population of 2.1 million, is growing four times faster than San Jose and San Francisco (per capita), with entrepreneurs leading the way. Last year, Tyler Haney, founder of New York City-based athletic clothing company Outdoor Voices, relocated her venture-backed company here, as did Peter Thiel’s San Francisco venture capital firm, Mithril Capital. Tech giants including Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Dropbox have all established large presences here. And in December, Apple, which already has its second-largest outpost in Austin, announced it will be investing $1 billion to build a new campus that could eventually hold 15,000 new employees. With all the shiny new high-rises sprouting downtown, it can feel like the city has changed almost overnight, but in fact it’s been decades in the making. Austin-born originals like Dell, Whole Foods, and Trilogy Software have been luring talent to town since the ’80s–and then watching alums go on to become founders themselves. More recent successes, such as Homeaway, Bazaarvoice, and Deep Eddy vodka, have done the same. And South by Southwest allows the city to show itself off to the world’s startup elite every spring. The result: thriving startup scenes in food and drink, computer hardware, enterprise software, and–increasingly–consumer tech. Austin still has lots of live music, but today the city’s creative class is creating business as much as art.

2. SALT LAKE CITY

Mormons, skiing, and a herd of tech unicorns have colonized Silicon Slopes, the region with the greatest volume of high-growth companies.

Known as the Crossroads of the West–the first transcontinental railroad and the first transcontinental highway both pass through–the mountainside city also has another, slicker nickname: Silicon Slopes. Tech giants such as Adobe, Electronic Arts, and Oracle all have offices here. Meanwhile, homegrown internet businesses like Ancestry.com and Omniture now employ thousands of people and generate billions in revenue. Entrepreneurs here tend to hail from one of two schools, Brigham Young University, owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Utah Valley University. People move here not just because of the world-class skiing–or their Mormon roots–but also because it’s still much more affordable than other tech hot spots. In recent years, the region has added five new startups valued at more than $1 billion each, including education platform Pluralsight, smart-home equipment maker Vivint, and data analytics firms InsideSales.com, Domo, and Qualtrics. The founders of the latter two, Josh James and Ryan Smith, respectively, are the big entrepreneurial personalities in town.
3. RALEIGH
The state capital, part of the hyper-educated Research Triangle, is buzzing with software startups.

This former tobacco and textile town has been transformed into a software hub. Raleigh’srevitalized downtown is home to a number of fast-growth startups, including business software maker Pendo, which closed a $50 million Series D in 2019. Like many startups in the area, Pendo got its start in HQ Raleigh, the city’s dominant co-working space, which offers flexible leases and access to mentors. The Research Triangle–the area encompassing Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill–boasts the fourth-most-educated population in the country, ahead of San Francisco, according to personal finance firm WalletHub. Forty-seven percent of the local talent pool holds a bachelor’s degree or higher, and many are from well-regarded local universities Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and NC State. These schools all offer strong engineering and computer science programs, so the startup scene is software heavy. But there’s also a thriving food scene that includes Seal the Seasons, which freezes and distributes farmers’ crops. Overall, North Carolina companies raised $1.1 billion in 2017, up 36 percent from the previous year.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/surge-cities/best-places-start-business.html