The View From Here — Positive Brains Perform Better
January 23, 2014
To begin, let me apologize on two fronts. First of all its been awhile since my last post, and secondly I promised content relating to shared vision and as some of you may have garnered that is not the topic of this post. I will revisit that, but for the time being please accept my musings on some research being done in the field of positive psychology that I find quite remarkable.
Some of you may have heard of a researcher, author and TED speaker named Shawn Achor. He’s spent his career at Harvard studying the connection between positivity and success, and personally I find his results remarkable. If you were to have asked me the greatest indicators for job success prior to looking at Shawn’s work, I would’ve considered things like work ethic, passion, expertise and certainly intelligence. In fact in turns out that a high IQ is only accurate as an indicator for job success 25% of the time. So what is the single greatest indicator that a person will be successful is their chosen field? Optimism.
Which as simple as it sounds, isn’t really all that simple. We live in a culture that feeds on negativity. We spend a lot of time at work examining and focusing on what’s wrong, or what doesn’t work. Not to say that there isn’t value there, but in my experience pointing to what’s wrong is much easier than figuring out what’s right. It’s easier to be a critic than to create. And there are consequences to those lines of thinking. By consistently focusing on what’s not working we prime our brains to see dead ends. We limit our ability to create solutions, and we limit our ability to find resilience in the face of hardship.
Fortunately the inverse is also true. When we focus on the positive our brains make connections they otherwise wouldn’t, we have more energy for the task at hand, and our ability to stay strong in the face of stress rises. Which is great, but how do you find that positivity when you’re awash in a culture that focuses largely on the negative? This again is where I find Shawn’s work so fascinating. There are a few behaviors practiced consistently that can actually shape our brain chemistry, priming us for positivity and leading us to greater success. And although it may sound hokey, there is scientific evidence that backs it up. When doctors attend to patients with a positive mindset they get to the right diagnosis 37% faster, sales people sell 31% better, and in fact across the board people become more effective in every aspect of their job. The practices he recommends are fairly straightforward — journaling about positive experiences in the day, exercise, meditation, random acts of kindness and acts of gratitude.
It’s a simple as sending an email letting a co-worker know you were impressed with them. Or taking time to jot down something you were grateful for. These small acts of focusing on what’s right beget more of what’s right. So with that said I’d like to close off by focusing on a few of the things that I see going right at Long View. First off, I see a company that’s arrived at a new level of capability and maturity. As many of you know, we are now being asked to bid and partner on significant large and complex opportunities that reflect a belief in our increasing competence. The recognition we are receiving from industry giants such as Microsoft, Cisco, Gartner and others is both a reflection of the quality of our people and our position in the market. I also see so many examples of quality leadership and not just by those in formal leadership positions, it’s across the board. Finally, I see investments in Long View’s future like our Toronto office, our service management office and in Cloud that I know are priming us for an incredibly promising tomorrow.
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