NARRATIVE & How to Create a Powerful Narrative for Your Company- Combine experience with enthusiasm to tell your story.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: attaching a story to your mission can help people see how spiritual goals are attained through prayer, progress and God’s leading. Churches like 12Stone Church in Atlanta have effectively employed Old Testament stories to describe their missional journey. Check out this Inc. Magazine article for ideas how to craft a missional story.

By Frank Wazeter, Inc. Magazine, 6/6/22.

… In my early 20’s I was fortunate enough to be in charge of a small company. We didn’t implement any best practices because we didn’t know any better. It was run on sheer enthusiasm, power of vision and daring to dream in an idyllic version of how things could be. Keeping the entire company focused on the pursuit of idealism had a surprising result.

… As time went on, I gained battle-hardened experience through recessions, booms and struggles. By the time I started my own company, I knew how to profit from vision, but something along the way had gotten lost. Boldness was replaced by measured risk assessment and experience-driven insight.

Experience gives you the ability to seamlessly overcome obstacles and challenges, but it also makes you act more conservatively or become skeptical on what can and cannot work. Conservatism comes because we simply don’t want to experience painful learning curves all over again.

…What you must do is rekindle that purpose in order to capture its power. To do that you’ve got to be in the habit of constantly reminding yourself of what it was that made you start the company to begin with. Write out a bold manifesto for your vision of the future and go back to it every single day.

… When you operate your company from a bold manifesto, an interesting thing happens. People begin to get attracted to you in a way that’s simply more endearing and long lasting than focusing on the mechanical benefits of what it is you do or the mundane daily details of operating.

Your hiring gets better because you attract like minded people. Your marketing gets better because you operate from a place of passion. You attract better and longer lasting repeat customers because they’re bought into your vision and feel like they’re just as much a part of it.

What happens is you and your business become a part of a narrative. A part of a story, rather than simply another business out there.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/frank-wazeter/how-to-create-a-powerful-narrative-for-your-company.html

COMMUNICATION & How to Write Email Subject Lines that Get a Response: If you want action, you need to tell your reader what you want.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: More and more communication is taking place online. The weekly or monthly printed bulletin mailed to congregants has become more expensive, too time-consuming and less effective. But in this new hybrid church world, people are increasingly bombarded with more communication due to the ease of email. Therefore, here are insights for helping congregants open your email amid today’s cluttered communication channels.

“How to Write Email Subject Lines that Get a ResponseIf you want action, you need to tell your reader what you want,” by Elizabeth Danzinger, Inc. Magazine, 5/16/22

… Here are three elements to include in your subject line to trigger a response from reluctant readers.

1. Tell the reader what to do.

⁃ Tell the Reader What to Do. By writing “Please Respond” or “Action Required” at the beginning of a subject line, clients tell me that their response rates soared.  In your subject line, write phrases like:

• Please Respond

• Response Required

• Immediate Action Required

• Please Approve

• Please Confirm

• Please Respond: Closing your file.

2. Tell the reader when you need it.  

People respond to deadlines. When everything seems urgent, how do people decide whom to respond to first? Often, the message with a credible deadline moves to the top of the pile.

So your subject line might say:

• Friday Approval Needed: Purchase of new scanner

• Respond by 5:00: Audit report review

• Please Confirm Now: Lunch Today at 1:00?

3. Tell the reader why it matters to them.

Adding a “hot button” spin to the subject line will generate more responses.  How will your reader benefit by opening your email? What will it cost him to ignore you? Don’t be manipulative or salesy when you touch hot buttons. For example, you wouldn’t write Act now while supplies last! because that sounds like spam. But you could write Send docs today to avoid late fee.

If you met a person and exchanged email addresses, remind them briefly in the subject line to remind them that you are a person they want to know.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/elizabeth-danziger/how-to-write-email-subject-lines-that-get-a-response.html

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & The Cure for Burnout, According to Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman: Play More. Apparently, even genius physicists experience burnout. Here’s how one overcame it.

by Jessica Stillman, Inc. Magazine, 5/6/22.

It’s official: Post-pandemic America is incredibly burned out. “According to Google Trends, which since 2004 has collected data on what the world is searching for, queries for ‘burnout’ –from work, life, and school–are at an all-time high in the US,” Quartz recently reported.

In his 1985 book Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! physicist and Nobel Laureate Richard Feynmanrecounted his own case of burnoutand explained what worked to cure him (hat tip to Kottke). His prescription is a whole lot more pleasant than a lot of advice you’ll get about rejiggering your work responsibilities or schedule: Play more.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/burnout-richard-feynman-albert-einstein.html

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & Study Shows 74 Percent of Introverts Don’t Want Full-Time Remote Work. They Want This Instead

by Jeff Steen, Inc. Magazine, 4/12/22.

… In a recent study detailed in The Wall Street Journal. In fact, they found something quite different: 82% of extroverted workers would prefer a hybrid work model, with 15% actually preferring full-time remote work. Self-described introverts, on the other hand — a whopping 74% of them — said they wanted to be in the office at least part-time.

CEOs and people leaders who are navigating our new normal should see a lesson here, namely that employee preferences aren’t as black and white as management would like.

As one introverted employee, quoted in the article, noted: “At the end of the day, I want to be home by myself, but it doesn’t mean you can’t crave other people’s company.” Indeed, as Myers-Briggs’ head of thought leadership, John Hackston, noted, the takeaway here is that new work models shouldn’t be all or none — or even as highly regulated as some managers would want. The control should land with employees.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/jeff-steen/study-shows-74-percent-of-introverts-dont-want-full-time-remote-work-they-want-this-instead.html

PLANNING & Forget Bucket Lists. The Formula for Satisfaction Is Actually the Opposite, Says Harvard Professor. Social Scientist Arthur Brooks’ theory of reverse bucket lists is a powerful way to remove too many ‘wants’ and enjoy our existing ‘haves.’

by Jeff Steen, Inc. Magazine, 3/23/22.

… Here’s the idea in a nutshell: Bucket lists are filled with wants and dreams. When we get what we want or achieve our dreams, it’s a nice feeling, says Brooks — at least for a while. Then we need something else.

It all comes back to the “satisfaction formula”: Satisfaction = getting what you want. But you never really stop wanting things and so, well, are you ever really satisfied?

Brook has spent a great deal of time parsing this formula and the human behaviors that enable it. What he uncovered was a missing piece. The formula should actually look like this, he says: Satisfaction = what you have / what you want.

While we can, to some extent, increase our haves, our real control lies in our wants. If we whittle down the wants, our satisfaction increases. In others words, if we create reverse bucket lists — lists of wants to do away with — we’ll find ourselves closer to satisfaction in the present.

… What does this look like in business? As with most wants, they can be large or small. Say, for example, you want a bigger office — but the price tag would require you to hold off on the rollout of new employee benefits or raises. Ask yourself: Do I NEED a new office? Or is it merely a want (reverse bucket list)? And if it’s a want, how can I turn it instead into money, supplies, or support for my team (giving list)?

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/jeff-steen/forget-bucket-lists-formula-for-satisfaction-is-actually-opposite-says-harvard-professor.html

HIRING & Elon Musk’s Brilliant Hiring Strategy Uses The ‘2 Hands Test’–Instead of Degrees. #IncMagazine

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: The first consultation I ever conducted (over 30 years ago) was to help an embattled pastor transition out of a church that wanted to fire him. I was successfully able to do this and not surprisingly afterwards most of my clients were pastors or churches who needed or wanted to transfer.

As a result, I’ve been interested in pastoral transitions since a majority of my consultations over three decades may have been involved coaching ministerial transitions.

Two things I have found and utilized while serving as a senior member of a seminary faculty was 1. An applicant should have hands on experience. 2. Hands-on testing, whereby the applicant should be able to create something (e.g. a syllabus or preaching series).

To my surprise, Elon Musk uses the same formula. Check out this article for more details.

How Tesla and SpaceX discover top talent through this expertly-engineered process

by Kelly Main, Inc. Magazine, 1/11/21.

…Musk holds his conviction that skills matter more than degrees. In doing so, his companies, Tesla and SpaceX, attract and retain some of the brightest minds of our time from across the globe-no degree required. But the hiring process does require two things, which comes down to one thing: the ‘Two Hands Test.’

1. First-hand experience… In other words, education is not limited to what is taught within the walls of a classroom, but what is learned through first-hand experiences. And because of this, first-hand experience is sought as means of discovering talent with deep knowledge.

2. Hands-on testing … Sure, a job interview is a test, but rather than actually examining a candidate’s capabilities, many companies simply work to evaluate a candidate’s knowledge. However, this is a fatal flaw as there is a major difference between memorizing and parroting information and actually understanding how something works. To overcome this challenge, put candidates to the test with highly relevant hands-on testing.

To test candidates effectively, give tests (e.g., a task or assignment) that most closely matches what the role itself may encounter. To yield an accurate measurement of one’s ability to effectively perform the position’s tasks, be sure that the test’s scope is limited to the resources necessary to perform said test or task.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/kelly-main/elon-musks-brilliant-hiring-strategy-uses-2-hands-test-instead-of-degrees.html

STRATEGY & Every pastor should learn about these cognitive biases to better assess your situation & to be a better planner. www.ChurchLeadership.Consulting www.Leadership.church

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Having read most likely thousands of student papers, the most reoccurring error may be when people attribute the wrong “cause” to an “effect.”

This tendency, to misdiagnose the reason behind something, has been built into our brains because of our many experiences. Such biases to make wrong conclusions about the cause of something are called mental or “cognitive” biases. For an introduction to the 50 most prevalent see this article about Elon Musk.

Elon Musk Thinks Every Child Should Learn About These 50 Cognitive Biases

Would the world be more rational if we did as Musk recently suggested and taught kids about cognitive biases in school?

BY JESSICA STILLMAN, CONTRIBUTOR, INC.COM, 1/2/21.

..,

  1. Foundational Attribution Error. When someone else is late, it’s because they’re lazy. When you’re late, it was the traffic.
  2. Self-Serving Bias.Attributing all your successes to skill or effect and all your screw ups to bad luck or a bad situation.
  3. In-Group Favoritism. We tend to favor those in our in-group versus those who are more different than us.
  4. Bandwagon Effect. Everyone likes to jump on a trendy bandwagon.
  5. Groupthink. Also just what it sounds like. Going along with the group to avoid conflict. The downfall of many a large organization.
  6. Halo Effect. Assuming a person has other positive traits because you observed they have one. Just because someone is confident or beautiful, doesn’t mean they are also smart or kind, for example.
  7. Moral Luck. Assuming winners are morally superior.
  8. False Consensus. Thinking most people agree with you even when that’s not the case.
  9. Curse of Knowledge. Assuming everyone else knows what you know once you’ve learned something.
  10. Spotlight Effect.Overestimating how much other people are thinking about you.
  11. Availability Heuristic.Why we worry more about rare airplane crashes than objectively much deadlier road accidents. People make judgments based on how easy it is to call an example to mind (and plane crashes are memorable).
  12. Defensive Attribution.Getting more upset at someone who commits a crime we feel we could have fallen victim to ourselves.
  13. Just-World Hypothesis. The tendency to believe the world is just, so any observed injustice was really deserved.
  14. Naive Realism. Thinking we have a better grasp of reality than everyone else.
  15. Naive Cynicism. Thinking everyone else is just selfishly out for themselves.
  16. Forer Effect (aka Barnum Effect). The bias behind the appeal of astrology. We see vague statements as applying specifically to us even when they apply to most everybody.
  17. Dunning Kruger Effect. One of my personal favorites. This principle states that the less competent you are, the more confident you’re likely to be because you’re too incompetent to understand exactly how bad you are. The opposite is also true — those with greater skills are often plagued with doubt.
  18. Anchoring. The way in which the first piece of information we hear tends to influence the terms or framing of an entire discussion.
  19. Automation Bias. Over relying on automated systems like GPS or autocorrect.
  20. Google Effect (aka Digital Amnesia). You’re more likely to forget it if you can just Google it.
  21. Reactance. Doing the opposite of what you’re told when you feel bullied or backed into a corner. Very topical.
  22. Confirmation Bias. We tend to look for and be more easily convinced by information that confirms our existing beliefs. A big one in politics.
  23. Backfire Effect. Repeatedly mentioning a false belief to disprove it sometimes ends up just making people believe it more.
  24. Third-Person Effect. The belief that others are more affected by a common phenomenon than you are.
  25. Belief Bias. Judging an argument not on its own merits but by how plausible we think its conclusion is.
  26. Availability Cascade. The more people believe (and talk about) something the more likely we are to think it’s true.
  27. Declinism. Romanticizing the past and thinking we live in an age of decline.
  28. Status Quo Bias. People tend to like things to stay the same, even if change would be beneficial.
  29. Sunk Cost Fallacy (AKA Escalation of Commitment). Throwing good money (or effort) after bad to avoid facing up to a loss.
  30. Gambler’s Fallacy. Thinking future probabilities are affected by past events. In sports, the hot hand.
  31. Zero-Risk Bias. We prefer to reduce small risks to zero rather than reduce risks by a larger amount that doesn’t get them to zero.
  32. Framing Effect. Drawing different conclusions from the same information depending on how it’s framed.
  33. Stereotyping. Just what it sounds like — having general beliefs about entire groups of people (and applying them to individuals whether you know them or not).
  34. Outgroup Homogeneity Bias. Seeing the diversity within the groups to which you belong but imagining people in groups to which you don’t belong are all alike.
  35. Authority Bias. Putting too much stock in authority figures.
  36. Placebo Effect. This isn’t strictly a cognitive bias according to Musk’s graphic, but still useful to know. If you think something will work, you’re likely to experience a small positive effect whether it really does or not.
  37. Survivorship Bias. We remember the winners and forget about the many, invisible losers. Big in startups.
  38. Tachypsychia. How exhaustion, drugs, or trauma mess with our sense of time.
  39. Law of Triviality (AKA Bike-Shedding). Giving excessive weight to trivial issues while ignoring more important ones.
  40. Zeigarnik Effect. Uncompleted tasks haunt our brains until we finish them.
  41. IKEA Effect. We tend to overvalue things we had a hand in creating. (In my experience not true of Billy bookcases but still…)
  42. Ben Franklin Effect. We tend to think more positively about people once we’ve done a favor for them.
  43. Bystander Effect. Again, not strictly a cognitive bias but important. Describes how people are less likely to take responsibility to act if they’re in a crowd.
  44. Suggestibility. Seen most often in children, this is when we mistake an idea or question someone else said for your own memory.
  45. False Memory. Mistaking something you imagined for a memory.
  46. Cryptomnesia. The opposite of the one above. Thinking a true memory is something you imagined.
  47. Clustering Illusion. The tendency to “see” patterns in random data.
  48. Pessimism Bias. Always seeing the glass as half empty.
  49. Optimism Bias. Always seeing the glass as half full.
  50. Blind Spot Bias. The bias that makes us think we don’t have as many biases as other people. You do.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/elon-musk-cognitive-biases.html

COMMUNICATON & 9 Rules of Winning Arguments

by Bill Murphy Jr., Inc. Magazine, n.d.

… This is a story about emotional intelligenceand winning arguments. If you find it convincing, I hope you’ll check out my free ebook, Improving Emotional Intelligence 2021, which you can download here

Rule #1:     Before you start arguing, decide how you want it to end.

But like so many things in life, people often fail miserably here because they haven’t taken the time to think deeply about what success would look like. (Put differently: Follow the Z-Y-X Rule.)

Rule #2:    Think how you can make it end well for the other side.

Rule #3:    Control the circumstances.

When are you talking? How are you talking? Who’s initiating the call or traveling to the other person’s location? Is this all over email or text? Are other people listening in?

Rule #4:    Control the emotions.

But also, keep an eye on the other person’s emotions.

Rule #5:    Do not skip the small talk.

Your small talk might be brief, but it’s nevertheless important. It’s an early opportunity to find common ground.

Rule #6: Adjust (not react) in real time.

Rule #7:    Listen — and look as if you’re listening.

Perception is important. Even if you’re a pro at multitasking, think through what it looks like if you check your phone five times during the discussion, or if your assistant interrupts you twice to ask you questions.

Rule #8:    If you interrupt, do so strategically.

“Think about how you strategically interrupt,” suggested O’Shea Brown. “Maybe, ‘I hear you have a lot to say in regard to your feelings. We both want a solution, so let’s pivot toward solutions.’ Your tone is everything. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, they might not remember what you said, and they might not remember what you did, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.”

Rule #9:    Seek to understand

Tactically speaking: Ask open-ended questions, and even repeat back to the other person some of what they say. You want to know where they’re coming from so that you can better articulate your own points, and improve the odds of emerging closer to your goals.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/why-emotionally-intelligent-leaders-use-9-secret-rules-of-winning-arguments.html

MINDSET & 7 questions that rewire your brain for success.

by Debbie King, Inc. Magazine, 2/4/21.

…start by noticing how you feel. When you’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, ask yourself these questions:

1. Why am I choosing to feel this way?

This question makes clear that how you feel is a choice. It creates an opening for change…

2. How do I want to feel?

Asking how you want to feel can jolt you into awareness that you have a choice. If you’re frustrated because you or someone else missed a deadline, you may feel justified because you’re thinking, “This will damage our relationship with the manager or client.” But it’s this thought that creates the feeling of frustration, not the person…

3. What am I making this mean?

This question helps you see that you’re the one assigning meaning to every situation and it’s up to you to decide what that meaning is. For example, if an employee quits, you could make it mean “I’m not a good leader.” But does it serve you to think that?..

4. What else could this mean?

The primitive part of the brain is quick to imagine the worst-case scenario in order to keep you safe, but its judgment is often wrong. This question helps you imagine other possibilities…

5. What if I did know what to do?

Asking this is especially useful when you feel overwhelmed, uncertain, or worried. For example, you lost a client, and need to make up the revenue to reach your goals…

6. Where else does this happen in my life?

This question will help you find patterns in your instruction manual. The brain develops patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting that lead to similar results and point to core beliefs, like “I’m not good enough,” or “Leaders must always be right.”..

7. What would the best version of me do?

This question is a great reminder that you have a choice in how you show up…

Bestselling author and mindset expert Debbie King is the founder of Loving Your Business and now teaches her proven approach to other business owners.

Read more at … https://www.fastcompany.com/90601076/7-questions-that-rewire-your-brain-for-success

HAPPINESS & Writing Just 3 Sentences Each Day Can Massively Boost Your Productivity and Happiness

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: God‘s principles are logical … and they work. So I’m not surprised to find that leadership experts often come to the same conclusions that God stated in his Word so many years ago. Take a look at Jessica Stillman’s excellent analysis of Neil Pasricha’s article: “The happiness factor.” Then note in parentheses a few Scriptures I’ve inserted that form the corollary for Neal’s conclusions.

by Jessica Stillman, Inc. Magazine, 12/27/21.

A recent HBR post by The Happiness Equation author Neil Pasricha delivers just such a nugget of self-improvement gold. The post tells the story of how Pasricha clawed his way out of depressed workaholism, but the actionable takeaway from this tale is a simple addition to your daily routine. Both Pasricha and science attest it can improve both your mental health and your productivity in mere minutes a day. It boils down to completing just three sentences.

1. “I will focus on…”

…”The practice began providing ballast to my days because it blew away the endless fog of ‘what should I do next?’ and helped break giant projects down into simple tasks,” he reports. “A looming book deadline became ‘write 500 words,’ an all-hands meeting about a major redesign became ‘send invite to three execs for feedback,’ and my nonexistent exercise regime became ‘go for a ten-minute walk at lunch.'”

(“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 NIV)

2. “I am grateful for…”

Science is very clear on the antidote to this tendency — gratitude. Just like going to the gym builds your muscles, nudging yourself to notice the positive trains your brain to get better at optimism and serenity…

“The key is that they really need to be specific. Writing down things like ‘my apartment, my mom, and my job’ over and over doesn’t do anything. I had to write down things like, ‘the way the sunset looks over the hostel across the street,’ or ‘when my mom dropped off leftover matter paneer,'” Pasricha advises.

(16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

3. “I will let go of…”

Breaking down your to-do list is one proven way to beat anxiety and procrastination. Being nice to yourself is another. Counterintuitively, studies find that the more we forgive ourselves our lapses and failings, the more likely we are to move forward with positive action. Science also shows that being open about your flaws doesn’t just make you happier and more productive. It can also make you a stronger, more creative, and even more competent-seeming leader.

(“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him” Psalm 103:10-11 NIV)

(“Brothers, I do not count myself to have attained, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead…” Philippians 3:15 NIV)

Read more at …https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/productivity-gratitude-neil-pasricha.html

3-STRand TEAMS & Steve Jobs Believed 1 Career Choice Separates the Doers from the Dreamers (and Leads to Success).

(Click the following link for a short, self-scoring questionnaire to discover your 3-STRand leadership mix: https://churchhealthwiki.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/3-strand-leadership-questionnaire-c2a9bobwhitesel-fillable.pdf)

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I have written how leaders fall into three categories:

  • Strategic leaders are visionaries.
  • Tactical leaders are organizers and doers.
  • And relational leaders lead by developing long lasting relationships.

It’s no surprise you need all three on your team. Here is a quick questionnaire to find the leadership “mix” of each of your team members: 3-STRand Leadership Questionnaire

But in the church today, I’ve seen that there a lot of dreamers … and often not enough doers.

  • Plans are proposed, but there’s little follow through.
  • New ideas are promoted but congregants expect the staff to do all the work of implementing it.

Steve Jobs, as described in this insightful article, found how to help dreamers become doers. It involves asking one question. “What’s next?”

Read the article and find out more.

Timeless advice from the co-founder of Apple by Marcel Schwantes, Inc. Magazine, 11/25/20.

An infographic from Resume.io has captured Jobs’ insightful career advice, as well as those of other successful founders and entrepreneurs, to keep your career moving forward. Jobs once said:

“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”

Focus on your next goal

The above statement outlines the importance of setting fresh goals to make sure that you keep up the momentum in your career. If you get distracted by your current achievements, you might lose sight of exciting opportunities and long-term ambitions.

Ask ‘what’s next?’

Making sure you’re equipped for future success doesn’t mean that you have to have one definitive end-goal in mind. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Steve Jobs didn’t know back in 1976 that he would end up unveiling the iPhone to the world in 2007.

He was able to continue revolutionizing the world of consumer technology with an ever-expanding portfolio of innovation because he knew how to ask “what’s next?”

Progress is often incremental in nature, and new ideas and developments can grow out of past successes. Jobs’s career is a testament to setting goals that build on the foundational skills and knowledge you achieve and having the foresight to seek out new challenges that keep you moving forward.

Read more at …https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/steve-jobs-believed-1-career-choice-separates-doers-from-dreamers-and-leads-to-success.html

WORSHIP & Here are the tempos that research says make mood-boosting tunes.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Recently I wrote an article about how to keep worship from becoming monotonous. Part of the solution has to do with varying the tempo of the songs and not sticking to a lethargic pace (as I have noticed many churches I analyze doing). Here is more research that explains what makes a song inspirational and provokes a mood-boosting happiness.

“… back in 2015 a music-loving Dutch neurologist did us all a favor and figured out what makes for the most mood-boosting tunes. The impetus for the study came from an unusual source: British electronic brand Alba. Apparently, they wanted to know what made for a truly happy tune and reached out to Dr. Jacob Jolij to get an answer.

Jolij was happy to comply though he did note the obvious – taste in musicis subjective. What gets your friend dancing might have you running from the room covering your ears. “Music appreciation is highly personal and strongly depends on social context, and personal associations. In that respect, the idea of a ‘feel good formula’ is a bit odd,” he commented.

What you can do, however, is ask the listening public to submit examples of their favorite feel good tracks and then analyze those submissions for patterns to reveal what characteristics are generally associated with smile-inducing songs. Which is just what Jolij did. 

He found that the happiest tunes are slightly faster than your average song (between 140 and 150 beats per minute on average), written in a major key, and either about happy events or complete nonsense. Jolij combined these factors into a formula for the happiest song possible and then went searching for existing hits that matched his template. 

Here, to brighten up the tail end of what has been an all around dismal 2020, are the top ten tunes he identified. (Or if you prefer, here’s the same playlist on Spotify.)”

Read more at … “Neuroscience Says These Are the 10 Happiest Songs Ever,” by JESSICA STILLMAN, CONTRIBUTOR, INC.COM, https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/music-happiness-neuroscience.html

COMMUNICATION & This Ridiculously Simple Change to How You Say ‘Thank You’ Will Make It Much More Effective

UC Berkeley’s Emiliana Simon-Thomas says “Gratitude 1-2-3” has big benefits for both you and those you thank.

BY MINDA ZETLIN, CO-AUTHOR, THE GEEK GAP, Inc. Magazine, 10/7/20.

…When most of us say thank you, we should be much more specific. That advice comes from Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., science director at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. That’s why she recommends what she calls “Gratitude 1-2-3,” a way of thanking people that takes just a little extra time and effort, but can provide huge benefits to both you and them.

Here’s how it works.

1. Be specific about what you’re saying thank you for.

… “Instead of just saying, ‘Hey thanks, Dave, that was great,’ I can say, ‘Dave, thank you for inviting me to be on the show with you.'” That puts you and the person you’re thanking into what she calls a “shared mental space,” both of you considering the nice thing that the other person did.

2. Acknowledge the effort involved.

Make it clear that you’re aware of the effort others have made to help you out…

3. Describe how it benefits you.

This is an important step, because it’s the only part of Gratitude 1-2-3 that the other person won’t already know.

I first read about Gratitude 1-2-3 in a post Feldman wrote for Psychology Today.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/gratitude-1-2-3-grateful-saying-thank-you-emiliana-simon-thomas.html

LEADERSHIP vs MANAGEMENT & Why every leader needs to have a manager and Steve Jobs’ success at Apple was because he realized it.

by Chris Matyszczyk, Inc. Magazine, 5/26/20.

Being a manager… The very word conjures a sense of keeping things together, getting by and generally making a system work.

Being a leader, on the other hand, now that’s the apogee of rockstarism.

…I’ve been bathing in a commentary, published in the Academy of Management Journal, by INSEAD’s Associate Professor of Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, Gianpiero Petriglieri.

…Petriglieri explains how research has clearly shown the diminished impression of management:

To be a manager is to be useful, but dispensable. It is no protection against anxiety in the workplace. In many such places, in fact, wanting to be a manager is a questionable aspiration if it is one at all. It is like wanting to be a dinosaur in an age where leaders have the disruptive impact of meteorites. 

This has caused a skewing that is surely evident in the way so many organizations are run today. Says Petriglieri: 

Preach passion above competence, influence above stewardship, and soon you will find much passion for influence and little competent stewardship at the top of corporations and countries.

Too often, leadership becomes a game of self-aggrandizement, power and stock options. More troubling is the fact that the obsession with leadership has led to a sense that you must act like a leader (whatever that means) to succeed or get funded.

Somehow, says Petriglieri, we pick leaders in a hurry and managers at our leisure. In each case, we’re asking the question What Can You Do For Me?

We’re human. We’re irrational. Or, as Petriglieri puts it: 

We want evidence and excitement, data and dreams.

Yet instead of trying to find all those things in one, we separate the more rational traits from the emotional ones.

Oh, he looks and feels like a leader. Let’s pick him.

Petriglieri worries that leaders and managers are now seen as antagonistic, rather than complementary: 

Splitting leadership from management and arguing for the superior value of one, in other words, is like asking whether the brain or the heart is most important. Which one would you rather give up?

The truth, says Petriglieri, is that a balance between leadership and management is simply harder to build.

He’d like to see a different sort of organization: 

Institutions where we can get along or argue well, passion is held, reasons are heard, and managing and leading abound instead of their caricatures — the managers and leaders.

How many times do so-called leaders breeze in, make everyone feel good — for a short while — and then disappear to their next exalted position? Which all leads me to Steve Jobs. One of the greatest leaders of our time, so we’re told. Surely, then, he’d appoint another great leader to replace him.Instead, he appointed the ultimate so-called manager, Tim Cook.Perhaps Jobs appreciated that as his company got bigger and ever more global, certain skills of absolute competence were essential.It’s a vital lesson for today’s exceptionally disturbed and fractured world. Fine words and a fine image are not enough.I’ve often thought it’s more possible for managers to grow into leaders than for leaders to embrace true consequential competence.How do you think Cook’s been as a leader? Remarkably good, as well as remarkably competent, if you ask m

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/chris-matyszczyk/leader-or-manager-steve-jobs-had-definitive-answer.html

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

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