Category Archives: Growth

Soft Skills for Work

Source: Fast Company, Nov 2019

According to a 2015 LinkedIn report, people with high EQ make on average $29,000 more than their non-emotionally intelligent counterparts. The bottom line is that you’ll thrive in the job market if you have strong interpersonal skills.

RESPECTFULNESS

It’s easy to get absorbed in our work (or ourselves) and forget about common courtesy, but demonstrating respect for others is key to developing personal relationships.

When you’re in a meeting—or anywhere else, really—wait for people to finish what they’re saying before you chime in. Thank others when they’ve shared an idea, acknowledge their contribution, and build upon it. If you’re leading the meeting, acknowledge everyone’s presence by inviting comments from each person and thanking them for participating.

Another way to convey respect is by showing up on time for appointments and meetings. (And if you come into a meeting late, don’t try to justify it by saying, “I had a meeting with our chairman,” or “I got stuck in traffic.” Just show up on time.)

INTEREST

A just-released study reveals that 48% of employees have felt embarrassed because they didn’t know a coworker’s name. This should go without saying, but make it a point to learn the names of your colleagues (even if they work in other departments or offices) and use them.

Once you get to know someone, remember what they’ve told you. If someone has given a big presentation or has a family event, don’t let that slip from your mind. Ask about it, and make sure you talk more about them than about yourself.

FOCUS

One of the best ways to make sure you sustain your focus on the person you’re talking with is to put your phone away, and use body language to keep yourself centered on the other person.

Look others directly in the eye and align your body with theirs. Facial expressions, too, can help show you’re focused. These sorts of body language cues will show that you are paying attention, which will also help you stay connected.

LISTENING

Listening is a delicate art, but there are three simple ways to listen: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Physical listening means watching the body language of others, and responding accordingly. If someone has a frown or closed arms, realize you’re not getting through, and revamp the conversation.

Mental listening involves connecting with what others are thinking, and probing to get to the heart of what they are saying. So ask, “Do you think we should launch this program? Tell me more.”

Emotional listening means listening for what others are feeling, and showing that you understand and care. You might say to a team member, “Do you feel comfortable with this assignment?” Or, “Did you enjoy the conference?” Avoid the more generic, “How’s it going?” (That cliché is bound to prompt others to respond with a cliché of their own: “Not bad.”)

LOVE

While it’s rare for us to think of love in the workplace, there are absolutely grounds for doing so. Sigal Barsade, professor of management at the Wharton School, writes about the importance of “companionate love” in the office. By this she means “feelings of affection, compassion, caring, and tenderness for others.”

Moral Grandstanding

Source: ZeroHedge, Nov 2019

moral grandstanding can be defined as “the use and abuse of moral talk to seek status, to promote oneself, or to boost your own brand.”

A moral grandstander is therefore a person who frequently uses public discussion of morality and politics to impress others with their moral qualities. Crucially, these individuals are primarily motivated by the desire to enhance their own status or ranking among their peers.

Across 6 studies (involving 2 pre-registrations involving nationally representative samples), 2 longitudinal designs, and over 6,000 participants, these are their core findings:

Moral grandstanders (those scoring high on the moral grandstanding survey) tend to also score high in narcissistic characteristics and also tend to report status-seeking as their fundamental social motive.

There is no relationship between moral grandstanding and political affiliation. However there is a link between moral grandstanding and political polarization: people on the far left and far right are both more likely to score higher in moral grandstanding characteristics than those who are more moderate democrats and republicans.

Moral grandstanders are more likely to report greater moral and political conflict in their daily lives (e.g., “I lost friends because of my political/moral beliefs”) and they report getting into more fights with others on social media because of their political or moral beliefs. This correlation was found even after controlling for other personality traits, and continued over the course of a one-month longitudinal study.

Grandstanders were more likely to report antagonistic behavior over time, such as attacking others online, or trying to publicly shame someone online because they held a different moral or political belief.

moral grandstanding can be fueled by either:

  1. The need to seek social status by dominating others (“When I share my moral/political beliefs, I do so to show people who disagree with me that I am better than them”)
  2. The need to seek status through being a knowledgeable and virtuous example (“I want to be on the right side of history about moral/political issues”, “If I don’t share my views, others will be less likely to learn the truth about moral/political matters”, “I often share my moral/political beliefs in the hope of inspiring people to be more passionate about their beliefs.”)

The researchers found that the dominance path to social status was much more strongly linked to antagonistic behaviors and conflict in everyday life

Towards a More Scientific Science – Value of IP Repositories

Source: Heidi Williams, Sep 2018

Isaac Newton famously noted, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants,” highlighting the idea that many scientific discoveries enable future discoveries.

Yet although the scientific community makes tremendous investments aimed at finding new discoveries, much less attention focuses on improving access to past discoveries—efforts that could help us, like Newton, to “see further than others.” Although the idea that past discoveries may enable future discoveries is quite intuitive, measures of and mechanisms for such so-called “cumulative inno-vation” have traditionally proven elusive to pin down empirically.

Two recent empirical studies have made progress.

First, biological resource centers—“living libraries” of biological materials, such as cell lines—appear to increase follow-on research by more than 50% (8).

https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/75830

While cumulative knowledge production is central to growth, little empirical research investigates how institutions shape whether existing knowledge can be exploited to create new knowledge. This paper assesses the impact of a specific institution, a biological resource center, whose objective is to certify and disseminate knowledge.

We disentangle the marginal impact of this institution on cumulative research from the impact of selection, in which the most important discoveries are endogenously linked to research-enhancing institutions. Exploiting exogenous shifts of biomaterials across institutional settings and employing a difference-in-differences approach, we find that effective institutions amplify the cumulative impact of individual scientific discoveries.

Second, limitations on access to sequenced human genes— used by the private firm Celera during the “race” to sequence the human genome—reduced subsequent research and development on those genes by around 30% (9).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24639594

Do intellectual property (IP) rights on existing technologies hinder subsequent innovation?

Using newly-collected data on the sequencing of the human genome by the public Human Genome Project and the private firm Celera, this paper estimates the impact of Celera’s gene-level IP on subsequent scientific research and product development.

Genes initially sequenced by Celera were held with IP for up to two years, but moved into the public domain once re-sequenced by the public effort.

Across a range of empirical specifications, I find evidence that Celera’s IP led to reductions in subsequent scientific research and product development on the order of 20 to 30 percent.

Taken together, these results suggest that Celera’s short-term IP had persistent negative effects on subsequent innovation relative to a counterfactual of Celera genes having always been in the public domain.

These studies share two key features. Both generated novel linkages between records of scien-tific discoveries (such as sequenced human genes) and measures of cumulative innovation (such as gene-based medical diagnostic tests).

In addition, both isolated natural experiments, in which otherwise similar scientific discoveries were “treated” by different institutions and policies—akin to a randomized controlled trial—lending credibility to a causal and policy-relevant interpretation of the results. Taken together, these findings suggest that the institutions and policies that govern how past discoveries are accessed can have dramatic effects on cumulative innovation.

 

Algorithms can identify hypoth-eses unimagined and paths untaken, not necessarily because they lack scientific promise but because scientists are channeled away by shared institutional realities, such as the incentive to build on work familiar to one’s audience (and reviewers) (11, 12).

This incentive, combined with the difficulty to publish results from failed experiments, draws scientists to the same congested areas of common knowledge, pitted with unmarked failures doomed to repetition, and so dramatically slows the pace of collective discovery (13).

These patterns have been exploited to generate algorithms unhampered by professional pressures for publication and promo-tion, which more efficiently survey the space of scientific possibili-ties. These findings highlight the importance of supporting diverse approaches and independence in research, and of building institu-tions that log failures as well as successes in order to accelerate collective advancement.

Saving over 2,000,000 Lives

Source: CNN, Jun 2015

Harrison’s blood is precious. He and Anti-D are credited with saving the lives of more than 2 million babies, according to the Australian Red Cross blood service: That’s 2 million lives saved by one man’s blood.
“Every bag of blood is precious, but James’ blood is particularly extraordinary,” says Falkenmire. “His blood is actually used to make a life-saving medication, given to moms whose blood is at risk of attacking their unborn babies. Every batch of Anti-D that has ever been made in Australia has come from James’ blood.

Harrison is considered a national hero, and has won numerous awards. He’s now donated his plasma more than 1,000 times, but no matter how many times he’s given blood there’s one thing that will never change: “Never once have I watched the needle go in my arm,” he says.
“I look at the ceiling or the nurses, maybe talk to them a bit, but never once have I watched the needle go in my arm. I can’t stand the sight of blood, and I can’t stand pain.”

Focused & Diffuse Thinking

Source: Farnham Street, Oct 2019

 

Saying Thank-You (Professionally)

Source: Fast Company, Sep 2019

the thank you-note writers “significantly underestimated” how happy their letters would make recipients feel—and overestimated how awkward the letters would make recipients feel. “People know there will be a good reaction,” Kumar says. “But they underestimate just how good of a feeling it can incite to reach out kindly.”

There’s an underlying psychology at play. “We call it competence versus warmth,” Kumar says. When we evaluate others, we focus more on their warmth—their sincerity and positive intent. When we evaluate ourselves, however, we focus on competence: on whether or not we have crafted the perfect, most articulate words. “We underestimate the power of warmth on recipients because we are so busy evaluating ourselves on an entirely different basis,” Kumar explains.

What does that mean for thank-you note writers? Stop second-guessing your words and simply focus on penning something heartfelt. It will make the recipient feel better than you imagine.

36 Questions to Greater Intimacy

Source: Ideas & Discoveries, Nov 2019

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