Cobra Effect

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The Cobra Effect is a term in economics. It refers to a situation when an attempted solution to a problem makes the problem worse. This name was coined based on an incident in old colonial India.

By some reasons, there were too many venomous cobra snakes in Delhi. People were dying due to snake-bites and it became scary for almost everyone to step out of their houses.

The government of the day had to get into action to stop this menace and it offered a silver coin for every dead cobra. The results were great, a large number of snakes were killed for the reward.

Eventually, however, it led to some serious unwanted consequences. After a short-term dip in cobra population, it started going up.

This was because few people began to breed cobras for the income. When the news reached the government, the reward program was scrapped, causing the cobra breeders to set the now-worthless snakes free. As a result, the cobra population further increased. The solution for the problem made the situation even worse.

The unintended consequence for a well-intention-ed idea led to making the problem worst.

Trying a new solution?

or

Planning to tackle an existing problem with a new idea?

Well, it’s time to pause and think about how people would respond to the new idea that may sound great on paper!

Specially the solutions that try to affect how people behave.
There’s always a certain group of people who have a tendency to game the system -intentionally or otherwise.

They have a tendency to take short-term advantage of any situation though that may lead to harm to them & society-at-large only in the long run.

Every solution has consequences and those consequences may lead to certain situations where rather than solving a current problem, you may end up with more complex problems.

Few more examples:
A similar type of incident like increasing cobra-population occurred in Vietnam. The rulers realized that there were too many rats in Hanoi and spread of plague was imminent They created a reward program that paid a prize for each rat killed. To obtain the bounty, people would provide the severed rat tail. After initial success, the officials, however, started noticing rats with no tails. The rat catchers would capture rats, cut off their tails, and then release them back into the sewers so that they could breed and produce more rats, thereby increasing the rat catchers’ profits.

As they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the similar mistakes are happening around us everyday when the decision -makers fail to take a 360 degree view of all the possible outcomes of an action before implementation.

Nearly 2 years ago, city of Philadelphia in USA passed a “soda tax” — a US $1 tax on a typical 2-liter bottle of soft-drink- as a “sin tax” in the national war on obesity. But the natives didn’t cut calories as a result of the tax on sweetened drinks, nor there was a shift towards any healthier option. Instead, most of them just drove outside the city to buy the same colas , from stores where they didn’t have to pay the tax. But the poorest paid more as they could not find it affordable to drive out of the city to buy their drinks. In the end , city suffered loss of revenue due to lower sales whereas the lower section society paid more .

The unintended consequence for a well-intentioned idea led to making the problem worst.

Even big & brilliant companies do the same mistake!

It is not that mistakes happen only with the government run programs, there’re n numbers of examples in great private companies too where the best & brilliant people lose sight of certain negative outcomes due to the initial magic of seemingly great looking ideas .

The Nano Car – a small car that could never it make it big !

The car once touted as the world’s cheapest, Tata Nano, seems to be running into a dead end as sales and production is down to a trickle. The poor demand has resulted in Tata Motors shutting down the plant in last month.

A car considered as a brilliant product, launched in a segment having a billion dollar opportunity. Hope ran high , the company expected all present and potential two-wheeler owners would shift to Nano.

But they forgot to dwell deeper – a car marketed as ‘the cheapest car’ , created huge initial interest. But it never took off.

Later on, Ratan Tata admitted that the reason for failure of this idea was none other than the term which became synonymous with Nano – “The cheapest car”.

Buying a car in India is associated with social status and prestige; if a person owns a car, he is assumed to be successful and settled. But the word ‘cheap’ in its marketing campaigns spoiled everything.

The company also failed to dwell upon the competition from used-cars. Used cars (2nd hand cars) from other companies , which were much better in quality, space and mileage were available to the same customer -segment at the same or lesser price than Nano .

An intelligent team of people failed to think about the above likely outcomes because it became temporarily blind by the brilliance of such a great idea, by the idea of tapping a billion-dollar opportunity.

Apple turning sour!

In 2017 Apple admitted that it was slowing down the speed of old iPhones as the batteries of those old phones were degrading with the passage of time.To make up on loss of brand image and to saistfy its erstwhile customers, it offered to cut its US $79 battery replacement feed down to US $29 as a way of apologizing.

This lower fee led to more people in 2018 ended up swapping their batteries — instead of upgrading to the latest iPhone models thus affecting new iPhone sales. As iPhone batteries became cheaper and easier to replace, fewer people are shelling out for new iPhones that can now cost up to US $1,449.

On January 2nd this year, Apple revealed that it was expecting a $9 billion loss in revenue due to weak iPhone demand that’s partly caused by more people replacing their batteries, according to a letter issued by CEO Tim Cook addressed to investors.

Slowing down of iPhones sales can be attributed to many external reasons too (better Chines phones, better Apps on Android phones etc ), but strategy of battery-replacement was an internal idea. It would have been handled better if people at top would have thought more about it , if they would have filtered this program from Cobra effect

What’s in it for you ?
Next time if you or your team has some brilliant idea , get your brilliant guys together in a room and think about the Cobra- effects before implementing that idea.

You can always fine-tune the idea to minimize the negative implications by spending few extra hours/days before rushing to announce it.

Don’t implement while you’re under the awe of the brilliance of a never -tested, nice-looking solution or idea, think about the Cobra-effects first.

(Reproduced from a Facebook post by Shri Nilesh Vikamsey, Past President, ICAI)

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AVOIDING THE INTERVIEW TRAPS

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Stay interviews hold potential pitfalls. Most of these potential problems occur when interviews are conducted inefficiently. The following 13 traps should be avoided whenever possible:

fullsizeoutput_380e1. Fear of response. Managers who are reluctant to use stay interviews often fear that the employee responses will present them with no-win situations based on specific areas of concern, such as pay or promotion. The proper approach toward this inappropriate fear is to rely on prepared probes, as well as solutions that are reliable responses to these specific employee concerns.

2. Bringing up performance issues. Unless an employee’s responses indicate an ambition that goes beyond the scope of his or her performance, issues related to job performance should be avoided–particularly if they have not been discussed previously. If an employee uses the phrase “You never told me that,” the stay interview is effectively concluded.

3. Tipping the agenda. Since managers will have an “Important to Them” list for reference, there may be a temptation for them to direct the conversation to items on the prepared list. The employee must be the driver of any good stay interview’s content.

4. Being sketchy about resources. A manager must know the full details of the company’s resources and be prepared to reference and offer them during stay interviews.

5. Forcing meetings. The initial drive toward conducting stay interviews should originate from team leaders, not from the top levels of management on down.

6. Conquering silence. A manager should leave ample space in the conversation for an employee to pause, reflect, and then continue speaking. A manager who speaks simply to relieve tension or break an awkward pause is redirecting the flow of the interview and discouraging the employee from opening up.

7. Losing focus. Even if an employee’s conversation is so dull that it is sleep inducing, a manager must remain on task. One helpful hint is to write the same phrase over and over on a notepad in order to remain alert.

8. Becoming defensive. Rather than responding to perceived criticisms, a manager must remain focused on probes, allowing the employee to control the flow of conversation. Listening, being respectful, and asking probing questions establishes employee trust by proving that the employee’s concerns have been heard.

9. Throwing the company under the bus. Executives or other higher ups should never be blamed for conflicts, policies, or problems. The best response to criticism of the company or company executives is to state confidence in the knowledge and decision-making capacities of top officers.

10. Solving quickly. The objective of a stay interview is to probe deeply, solve completely. Quick solutions are seldom effective. Managers must ask and listen to gain valuable employee information.

11. Building a poor stay plan. It is vital for employees to be involved in follow-up actions and the development of stay plans.

12. Dropping the ball. Managers must honor all commitments made in stay plans, including deadlines.

13. Breaking trust. Any statement or action that fails to promote trust or offer a solution to trust-breaking issues is a detriment to a stay interview.

Conducting Interview

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MANAGING THE EXCHANGE DURING INTERVIEW

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 7.04.24 pmOpening remarks during the stay interview are focused on three objectives: informing the employee about the meeting’s purpose, narrowing the employee’s potential suggestions by limiting expectations, and ensuring that the employee understands that words spoken during the interview in no way constitute a legally binding contract.

Finnegan classifies employees into five types: satisfied, mystery, low performing, overly ambitious, and high performing. In each interview, the manager must be sure to probe deeply and solve completely. The following five scenarios illustrate how a stay interview can be used with nearly any type of employee:

1. Satisfied. Shelia is a competent employee who has never expressed dissatisfaction with her sales position. During her stay interview, Shelia says she gains energy from coming to her job each day and wants to remain in her current position. Management’s best move in this scenario is to repeat back Shelia’s key points to her and close the interview by encouraging her to come forward in the future if she should have any issues, ideas, or concerns.

2. Mystery. David was hired as a computer programmer after graduating from a top-tier university. Management believed he would be a hard worker and key hire. David’s stay interview reveals that he is uncomfortable with people but deeply motivated by programming and by gaining new knowledge. Management should provide David with new opportunities to expand his knowledge.

3. Low performer. Robert is a department head at an assisted-living center who is a plodder and whose job is hanging in the balance. Robert’s stay interview shows that he has lost faith in the company’s mission. Management must use this opportunity to encourage Robert, and remind him that other roles exist in the company for employees who remain focused and motivated.

4. Ambitious. Tyler was hired six months prior for a call center team. A medium performer, Tyler shows ambitions to move into management. Tyler’s stay interview shows that he is hungry to move up in the company but lukewarm on making improvements in his performance. Management should provide Tyler with company resources related to increasing leadership skills, while also reminding Tyler of his obligations to master his current assignments.

5. High performer. Tanya is a prize employee who works in quality control. After only two years at the plant, she has become the de facto leader in the plant manager’s absence. During her stay interview, Tanya refers to a set of notes and offers a range of beneficial ideas to improve plant efficiency. In this scenario, management must accept that Tanya may be a continually challenging employee, but one that is highly valuable for ensuring managerial success.

The important takeaways from these scenarios are that some employees are content with things as they are; some have more ambition than loyalty; a stay interview can push a mediocre employee to a productive one simply by demonstrating management’s interest; some quiet employees have to be prodded for basic information; and high performers often have egos to match.

Prepare to Maintain

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Most people work at only 40 to 50 percent of their capacity, and leaders have to be able to push them beyond their usual performance and get the best out of them. To do this, they have to find out what motivates their employees. There are six specific motivational factors that can turn an average employee into an exceptional one:IMG_2257

  1. Employees need to be challenged and find interest in their work. A great leader finds work that keeps their employees engaged.
  2. Employees appreciate open communication and they like to understand how the work they are doing fits the company’s mission. Leaders should explain to employees how their roles affect the company.
  3. Employees are more likely to take an interest in their tasks when yhey are given responsibility and held accountable.
  4. Employees want the opportunity to advance and learn more.
  5. Employees are somewhat motivated by money.
  6. Working conditions are also important.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 7.43.37 pmEmployees also have three emotional needs — dependence,independence, and interdependence. If all of these are met, employees will stay motivated and inspired.

Leaders must also be able to delegate tasks to their employees not only because it gives them a sense of ownership and responsibility, but also because it frees up the leaders to concentrate on high-value tasks. However, it is crucial that the right employees are given the right tasks — their abilities must match the responsibility of the task. If tasks are delegated to the wrong people, it will lead to failure.

Leaders also motivate and inspire by example. Leaders can accept nothing less than the best from themselves and the companies they work for. They must commit 100 percent of themselves to their work. The more excited and enthusiastic leaders are the more excited and enthusiastic their employees will be. Through constant encouragement, leaders empower their employees.

Interview – Core Skills

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Four core skills are needed to conduct an effective stay interview:fullsizeoutput_3610

1. Careful listening. Effective listening involves more than a person’s ears. Eye contact, body language, and verbal responses are crucial cues for demonstrating attention and authenticity. One tool is to strategically use the phrase: “Let me tell you what I heard you say to see if I got it right.” Another key is to restate the employee’s emotions in words that show comprehension and empathy.

2. Taking notes. Pen and paper are more useful for note taking than electronic devices. Notes allow management to capture all critical points for later reference. Taking notes also shows employees that their opinions are of genuine importance. It also aids in keeping similar employee comments separate and distinct.

3. Probing. Questions such as “Can you give me an example?” or “Can you tell me more about…?” are open-ended and allow employees the freedom to offer new and important information. Probing can discover the root of an employee’s urge to terminate his or her employment.

4. Owning up to corporate decisions and corporate responsibilities. Managers must demonstrate support for company policies while also maintaining trust with workers. Good managers must be able to state honestly that they support executive decisions and that they believe executives make decisions based on knowledge that is unavailable to management and employees.

INTERVIEW SKILLS

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PREPARING TO CONDUCT STAY INTERVIEWS

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Leadership Session with Service Sector by Anubha on Interviewing Skills

Before conducting a stay interview, it is essential for a manager to follow a nine-step preparation plan. Each premeeting step is designed to increase the manager’s understanding of employee needs while strengthening employee commitment.

1. Plan. When first preparing for the stay interview, a manager should make a list with two columns: one for what is important for the employee, and one for what the manager believes. The latter column is simply for topics the manager might like to introduce if the employee does not. The contents of the two columns should be kept separate; what is important to employees is what should be stressed. Two potential detours exist at this stage: The employee will introduce unforeseen topics during interview, or the stay interview will somehow devolve into a routine performance review.

2. Have a clean slate. The employee sets the agenda for a stay interview. This means that management must refrain from directing the topic of conversation. An interviewer should not project his or her personal ideas onto the meeting’s agenda.

3. Devise questions. Stay interview questions should be open-ended so that employees feel free to expound on their feelings and opinions. A question is different from a probe, which should be used to gain information from the employee regarding potential solutions to problems. Five specific questions function as ideal probes during a stay interview: (1) What do you look forward to? (2) What are you learning? (3) Why do you stay here? (4) When was the last time you thought about leaving? (5) What would make work better for you?

4. Have resources close at hand. Reference to existing programs that are designed to retain employees should be at the ready during a stay interview. A good manager can match a company program to an employee need during the interview.

5. Move past fear. A good rule of thumb to follow during a stay interview is to “probe deeply, solve completely.” Understanding is the first priority for management; employee feedback should be met with openness and genuine concern.

6. Invite and schedule. The manager should let employees know that 30-minute interviews are to be conducted on an individual basis in the near future. The first should be scheduled with an employee who is more or less comfortable in his or her position and is compatible with management. The next interviews should be with the most valued employees; then with those who perform well but who may be considering leaving.

7. Choose a setting. When searching for new information from employees, it is crucial to select an environment where they feel comfortable and secure. Formality–or lack thereof–should be considered. It is generally a better idea to conduct a stay interview outside of the office in order to loosen the employee’s sense of subordination.

8. Gather equipment. A stay interview requires either an electronic device or paper for keeping notes. During the meeting, the manager needs to make detailed notes regarding key conversation items to use for crafting a stay plan. Taking notes also clearly demonstrates the manager’s attention and concern to the employee.

9. Envision success. The premeeting materials consist of a two-columned list, a clean slate, five researched questions, resources about employee programs, guidelines for moving past fear, and a detailed plan for invitations and schedules for targeted stay interviews with each employee.

Values

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Values represent what is important to people. They necessitate a shared understanding of how to behave. The idea of values in business is complex. While many businesses today are making an effort to be more values based, they is often a large gap between their self-prescribed values and actual business practices. R. Edward Freeman and Ellen R. Auster explore this “values gap” in their book Bridging the Values Gap, along with strategies for how companies can close the gap and regain the trust of their customers.

 

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THE VALUES GAP IN BUSINESS

 

Public trust in business is at a low point. While many businesses have values statements, they often conflict with one another or with the actual values of employees, which causes a values gap. Many business scandals over the years, such as the Enron incident, have led the public to view businesses as occupying the ethical low ground in society. Even the thousands of businesses that have not been tainted by scandal are not trusted.
On the other hand, some feel that the media has been too critical of businesses. These people often believe that the pursuit of profits will generate a better society. If people leave competitive markets alone, everything will work out for the best in the long term. However, this point of view ignores the fact that there are businesses doing real harm in the world.
With the implementation of modern technology, companies now live in fishbowls, with everything they do being scrutinized by individuals and agencies all over the world. The rise of globalization also means that different cultures may interpret a company’s values differently. For example, while child labor is prohibited in the West, some other cultures still embrace it as a legitimate business practice.
Most people want to build businesses that are inspiring and beneficial to society, but humans are complicated. There are times when people in business are seriously conflicted about what to do or how to behave. People often have a difficult time applying their values to business situations. There are very few truths that work everywhere for everyone, but there is a growing trend to put values in the center of the way people think about business. This new narrative is integral to bridging the values gap.
JUST BE AUTHENTIC
Being authentic is more difficult than it appears. It is also difficult to truly define “values.” Many believe that values are expressed in a person’s behavior. If a person says that respect is something he or she values, but that person continually shouts at people and calls them names, it would appear to others that respect is not truly one of his or her values. However, this way of viewing values fails to acknowledge that values are not just likes and dislikes, but are also the things people find the most important. Values should require introspection and reflection. They are easy to say but not easy to do.
Values tend to change frequently as well. As people grow and develop, their feelings, hopes, and dreams evolve with them. New technology can also cause people to rethink their values, as can different stages of life. For example, the idea of respect usually means something very different to a senior citizen than it does to a teen. Values are always set in context; different situations may call for different behaviors.
Values also help define a person’s identity. In the West, values are very individualized. In other parts of the world, values are often imparted from culture and society. The self is often thought of as a vessel for a person’s individual values and implies that people are free to choose what they do, but this view can go too far. People are connected to other people and to society as well. Complete individual freedom can result in estrangement.
Leading an authentic life is not merely stating one’s values and sticking to them. As life goes on, preferences change and circumstances change. To lead an authentic life, one must struggle with change and an evolving self-identity.
AUTHENTIC ORGANIZATIONS
It is very difficult for an organization to be truly authentic. Organizations can employ thousands of individuals, which leads to inevitable conflict. To be truly committed to living their values, those in an organization must engage in conversations about its purpose, aspirations, history, and connections to stakeholders.
For an organization to perform at a high level, thrive, and innovate, it should use values as an opportunity to engage in dialogue. However, many people feel that when executives listen to employees it is only with the aim of making money, and employees who are motivated to participate are doing it for some sort of reward. A company can overcome this line of thinking by constantly keeping the lines of communication open. Values cannot be just words on a website; they must live in the day-to-day processes of companies.
Executives often try to find employees who say they have the same values as those claimed by the organization. This does not always work out for the best. If an organization claims a value it does not actually act out, those employees will become disheartened and disengaged, and they may even undermine the company.
Values statements have little benefit if they are just posted on websites or printed on company documents with little to no conversation. They must be the result of discussions and behavior. These statements need to be grounded in both the reality of what a business is actually doing and in its aspiration to do better. Senior executives should not just announce a value statement. Executives can lead value-setting conversations, but the final decision should be made collaboratively.
DO VALUES RIGHT OR DON’T DO THEM AT ALL
Once a business model has been created in terms of purpose and values, and once employees have been asked to support those values, the business needs to get it right. It is very difficult to get a second chance. There are seven common mistakes businesses make:
1.They just walk the talk: Values always have a situational context as well as a human context. When a person is participating, the associated emotions and pressures can be overwhelming.
2.They police their values: Adding values to a performance appraisal process often leads to people paying too much attention to how they are perceived in terms of values, and may lead them to harshly judge others without taking into consideration conflicts and difficulties that often arise.
3.Top management sets the values: Without discussing the values beforehand with employees, management may miss the boat and make employees feel threatened or unappreciated.
4.Values are used as excuses: When someone uses values as an excuse not to do something, it usually masks a conflict between the employee’s personal values and what he or she perceives as company values.
5.Values are seen as soft and fluffy: Many people believe that values are not subject to the same conversations as other elements of the business, but this often leaves employees wondering if a business is truly serious about its values.
6.Values do not lead to healthy debates: Conflict can produce breakthroughs, but only when conversations occur. Brushing conflict under the rug solves nothing.
7.There is aseparation of business and values: Separating the business from its values is a main cause of underperformance. Values need to be connected to the business model because they:
*Empower and engage employees.
*Activate business strategy.
*Are the wellspring for business growth.
*Yield vision and purpose.
*Lead to discipline, efficiency, and innovation.
INTROSPECTIVE VALUES
Most organizations spend time focused on current goals and issues, which leaves little time for reflection. By being preoccupied with the present and future, companies have little time to figure out how decisions, actions, and behaviors have narrowed or widened their values gaps. By focusing on introspection, a business can uncover blind spots and understand the consequences of decisions.
When values conversations do not include introspection, rash decisions are made and mistakes are often repeated. Creating space for reflection and introspection facilitates success. Deep introspection may even expose an organization’s common assumptions, routines, norms, and processes, and may answer why values were ever implemented. Introspection can also reveal the things that are working well. Introspection should be embedded into everyday processes. Values through conversation (VTC) may involve taking a hard look at customer feedback or engaging in in-depth consultations with customers. Afteraction reviews (AARs) can also help businesses determine what is working and what is not.
Many people ignore ugly truths and hope they go away on their own. They usually do not, and can often get worse. Truths should be viewed as great triggers for change. Acknowledging ugly truths enables companies to become more open to discussing them and doing something about them.
HISTORICAL VALUES
Every organization is the sum of all the choices and decisions employees make. These choices shape an organization’s identity. Companies need to remember that viewing the present through the lens of company history can be quite enlightening. At a minimum, conversations about the past enable companies to uncover the convergence of their history and where they are now. Understanding history helps companies respect and honor their legacies and helps ensure that they see the bridges between past choices and future actions.
Storytelling is a great way to engage stakeholders. Understanding and sharing an organization’s history is vital for inspiring employees and ensuring that the founding story stays alive. Other ways to share history include rituals, grand celebrations, photos, and onboarding.
History is critical, but sometimes things have to be let go. Moving into another geographic region, with cultural and language differences, is a good example of a way to honor legacy and adapt. For example, when Disney opened a theme park in Paris, it assumed the visitors would want French foods and toned-down merchandise. In reality, visitors wanted the American experience. Disney also banned alcohol in the park even though it resided in the world’s largest wine-consuming country. These mistakes resulted in a loss of $900 million over two years.
CONNECTEDNESS VALUES
Connectedness refers to how people converse and interact to achieve a collective purpose. Focus is placed on relationships with one another and the sharing of ideas. Connectedness is often missing in organizations because its importance is not even on top management’s radar. When connectedness is missing at work, life at work feels empty–there is no community. Humans are social animals, and connecting with one another is essential in driving innovation and success.
The starting point for understanding connectedness is a strong sense of “we.” Connectedness values help leaders build organizations that respect and value what everyone brings to the table. Leaders in connected organizations actively solicit input and engagement from everyone, even customers and communities. In moments of crisis, values become transparent to others. A strong collective identity cultivates a sense of pride and an environment where everyone can be a hero.
Companies should spend time cultivating relationships internally. When team members actually like one another, a lot more work is accomplished. Engaging in community and social activities, offering company retreats, and planning fun activities in the workplace can all support strong working relationships.
ASPIRATIONAL VALUES
When employees are inspired, they are able to set high aspirations. Aspirations represent an organization’s collective passion and purpose, painting a picture of the future it wants. People need aspirations to know what they are working toward. Aspirations help guide decisions, choices, actions, and behaviors as individuals work toward common goals. To feel intense dedication, a person’s work needs to matter and make a difference.
Research shows that companies that make a difference in the world perform better. Employees are often willing to take pay cuts if their companies are altruistic. These companies recognize how business can revolutionize the world for the better. They focus on making meaningful contributions. That is where aspiration and inspiration come together to foster passion and creativity. Meeting aspirational goals should be personally fulfilling for employees. By bridging personal and organizational growth, organizations enable employees to see what will personally benefit them.
GETTING STARTED
Values are complicated. Organizations should pay more attention to how organizational values are implemented rather than to their actual content. If organizations’ values are to be meaningful to their members, there must be participation in bringing the values to life every day. In the event of a values violation, it is essential that the organization take action to address how the company will deal with the violation.

FOCUS ON RESULTS

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Leaders know that if a task does not lead to valuable results then it is a waste of time. Leaders should only work on what is most important. Even if a leader is doing something great, if it is not in their key results area, it is a waste of time. To prioritize, leaders can ask themselves four questions:

  1. Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 8.05.35 pmWhat things contribute the most to the organization?
  2. What are the key result areas that should be focused on?
  3. What is it that only the leader can do?
  4. What is the most effective use of time?

Leaders can use the ABCDE method to help them prioritize tasks:

*The most important tasks are labeled “A” and get done first.

*Tasks labeled “B” should be done, but are not the most important.

*”C” is for tasks that would be nice to complete.

*Tasks that can be delegated to others, are labeled “D.”

*Any tasks labeled “E” need to be eliminated.

OUTLIER PERFORMANCE

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Constructing a workable, tenacious career trajectory will result in sustained success over time. Individuals who put the effort, wisdom, and willpower into planning their professional futures will become positive outliers, or Maintainpeople who distinguish themselves from the crowd. Becoming a positive outlier requires an avoidance of rigidity and a constant eye to the changing future. Individuals operating at full capacity may not be the best or brightest in the room, but they will achieve sustained success based on their proven track records of excellent work.

Everyone ultimately controls his or her own success. Achieving full potential requires harnessing the power of self-esteem and positive thinking. Professionals should consistently and willfully visualize positive outcomes. Every significant challenge that comes down the professional pipe can be thought through and dealt with in advance, as positive outcomes are willed into existence and alternative or worst-case scenarios are dreamed up and dealt with. Individuals who put in the prep work of thoroughly visualizing challenges will be in a great position to respond to every possible factor thrown their way.

Visualization must be accompanied by self-efficacy, or a real belief in the inevitability of one’s success. High levels of self-efficacy generate a positive feedback loop, resulting in a higher sense of self-confidence and a greater likelihood of positive results. Self-efficacy can result in self-fulfilling prophecies, where positive expectations create positive outcomes. Positive expectations, when properly and realistically maintained, can result in a cycle of perpetual success where excellent results are visualized, worked toward, and achieved. Much of the energy needed to achieve this cycle comes from having an internal rather than external locus of control. Individuals who cultivate an internal locus of control accept and take responsibility for their failures and successes, while externally-oriented people consistently look to outside circumstances.

To achieve sustained success and truly enjoy it, individuals must align efforts with passions. Success can be achieved outside the realm of personal desires, but the best career trajectories come when individuals put their efforts toward activities they truly love. By cultivating passion and applying positive lessons to career development, anyone can construct a remarkable career trajectory.

Our FUTURE

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SIX HUMAN DRIVES

Today’s consumers want to buy products that have a balance between form and function and that are enjoyable to use. For a product to achieve enchantment, it must address one of six human desires:IMG_1506

1. Omniscience. The amount of information available today is overwhelming, and people want assurances that the information they are receiving is correct and factual. People have not lost their sense of curiosity or their desire to learn, but information needs to be compelling, believable, and fit naturally into people’s current lives.

2. Telepathy.Advances are happening today in devices, such as the Apple watch, that allow users to do much more than just tell time. These devices help people stay connected to one another. Enchanted devices will continue to become more ingrained in everyday life by providing data about loved ones. Rather than disconnecting people from one another, enchanted objects will result in a more connected society by improving genuine communication.

3. Safekeeping. Safety is a primitive human drive. Enchanted objects of the future will build upon the surveillance capabilities of smartphone cameras, police body cameras, and street cameras. They will also allow for instant communication with law enforcement and loved ones. A feeling of safety will arise from this ubiquitous surveillance and the ability to receive immediate help when needed.

4. Immortality. Many people understand the idea of a quantified self, where people keep track of diet and exercise to promote longevity. Sharing this information with others helps keep people motivated. This information could also be connected directly to medical providers.

5. Teleportation. The idea of teleportation is appealing due to the hassles surrounding traveling today. However, it does exclude the pleasurable parts of travel, such as meeting fellow travelers and enjoying the journey. There is much room for improvement in traveling and how people arrive at their destinations. Google’s self-driving car does not offer teleportation, but it does provide friction-free travel.

6. Expression. The desire to create is one of the most primal human drives. The game Guitar Hero spoke to the desire to become a rock star by making it easy to experience playing a guitar without the technical skills of playing a real guitar. It is an enchanted object because it works with a familiar object, the guitar, but makes it possible for anyone to use.

THE DESIGN OF ENCHANTMENT

The Extraordinary Capability of Human Senses

People interface with most technologies via sight and less so with the senses of touch, hearing, taste, and smell. However, these other senses can be just as powerful as sight. For example, the cocktail party effect occurs when people are in conversation about one topic but are able to tune into another conversation when a familiar name or word is mentioned. This demonstrates the human ability to use senses peripherally, and this ability should be considered in the development of enchanted objects.

Technology Sensors and Enchanted Bricolage

Although computers cannot recognize subtleties such as facial expressions, sensors can gain a lot of information from a person’s touch, movement, temperature, and location. For example, the Nike Fuelband not only tracks exercise but measures pace and distance based on footsteps.

The Seven Abilities of Enchantment

1. Glanceability. Enchanted objects provide necessary information with only a glance so people do not need to give their full attention to something. The Windows 8 operating system was designed with this in mind, placing the most important information in tiles on the screen. Other everyday objects that use glanceability include clocks, which only need a glance to determine the time.

2. Gestureability. People do not need to think about how to interact with familiar objects, so the question is how these objects can be improved. The Amazon Trash Can transforms an everyday trash can into a trash can that also notifies Amazon when an item needs to be reordered.

3. Affordability. Adding sensors to existing objects to create new features will become less expensive as hardware costs continue to plummet.

4. Wearability. People already wear technology to monitor their fitness levels. In the future, more enchanted objects will be wearable, including wrist bands, clothing, and shoes.

5. Indestructibility. Objects commonly found in homes, such as coffee tables, last for years due to their durability. Enchanted objects will need to mirror this level of hardiness to become staples in everyday life.

6. Usability. Objects with minimalistic interfaces are desirable because there is no need for an on/off switch. An example is the Google Latitude Doorbell, which senses when a family member is close to home and plays a sound specific to that person.

7. Loveability. To encourage people to connect emotionally to devices, designers need to include human attributes that are lacking in today’s devices.

Five Steps on the Ladder of Enchantment

The Ladder of Enchantment is a five-step process for design and development of enchanted objects. As an object climbs the ladder in features, it becomes more sophisticated and more enchanting.

1. Connection. Successful enchanted objects allow users to connect with them virtually via smartphone or computer.

2. Personalization. Amazon and Netflix already make recommendations based on individual profiles. The same concept could apply to any object, such as a scale that provides feedback based on age, weight, and medications.

3. Socialization. In the future, objects will interact with humans as if they themselves were human. A plant could signal the need for water to its owner. A smart trash can could recommend future purchases.

4. Gamification. Video game designers motivate players to reach new levels with points and leaderboards. They tap into the desire for achievement and recognition. These principles can be tied into other objects.

5. Storification. Stories speak to emotions. Creating personal goals within enchanted objects enables the objects to help tell individual stories.