Blog Archives

Juan Lopez’s TEDx Talk: Why You Should Embrace Your Stutter

Juan V. Lopez is currently an MBA student at The University of Nevada. He was the winner of the Nevada Student Speaker Competition at UNR and hence won a spot to speak at TEDxUniversityofNevada 2015.

Juan stutters, and in this video he discusses how most of his life he saw his stutter as a problem that he had to try to fix or hide. He has now come to accept his stutter and embrace it as something that makes him unique. He challenges us all to think about our own “stutter” and likewise embrace what makes each of us unique.

Please watch the video, then please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Misha Raffiee’s TEDx Talk: Engage And Embrace Your Natural Curiosity By Asking “Why?”

Misha Raffiee is a budding scientist, musician, and STEM educator. She is currently a research fellow at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in biology and mechanical engineering. She is also a graduate of The Davidson Academy of Nevada.

In this talk, Misha encourages us all to recognize and develop our natural curiosity about things. Passion and deep learning occur when we follow our curiosity and delve deeply into why things work the way they do. Challenge yourself and develop a confidence to ask deep questions when you encounter something new in your everyday life. Take that confidence and have the courage to think more deeply and develop new ideas. This deep exploration can become the foundation for a passion.

Please watch Misha’s talk and then share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Owen Robert’s TEDx Talk: Chances Lead To Choices Lead To Changes

In his current role as General Manager for Microsoft’s Americas Operations Center, Owen Roberts leads a team of more than 2,000 employees and contractors in operational roles that support the fulfillment and revenue processing operations of the company’s $80+billion business. In addition to developing and nurturing partner and customer relationships, Owen’s team is responsible for building, launching, and maintaining operational programs and processes, and putting the infrastructure in place for Microsoft to support the technology of tomorrow.

Owen gave a masterful talk at TEDxUniversityofNevada 2015 about how he has embraced risk taking and change in his life and career. He shows how in his own life choosing adventure and uncertainty over safety and certainty has lead to career opportunities and set him ahead of his peers. Even though this advice is not new, so few people choose to really embrace change as a habit of well-being and success.

Please take the time to watch Owen’s talk and then share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Liz Wiseman’s TEDx Talk – Living And Working With Child-Like Wonder

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Liz Wiseman’s TEDx Talk – Living And Working With Child-Like Wonder

We were extremely pleased to have Liz Wiseman as the first speaker at TEDxUniversityofNevada 2015. Liz  teaches leadership to executives and emerging leaders around the world. She is the President of the Wiseman Group, a leadership research and development firm headquartered in Silicon Valley. She is the author of the “Rookie Smarts, Why Learning Beats Knowing In The New Game Of Work.”

In this very insightful talk, Liz describes how being inexperienced can actually help us and our teams do better and faster work because we are forced to assume a posture of learning. Living and working with rookie smarts can be accomplished with three simple choices 1) ask more questions, 2) seek novelty, and 3) treat work as play.

Please take the time to watch Liz’s talk, then share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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My Story: Elizabeth Smart’s Riveting And Encouraging Talk

Elizabeth Smart is an amazing woman. She delivered an extremely compelling talk at TEDxUniversityofNevada 2014 about overcoming extreme trials and remaining healthy and positive. Please take the time to watch this very important talk and share it with your friends. After you watch the video, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.


photo credit

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Barry Posner: Two Truths About Leadership

I use Barry Posner’s book The Truth About Leadership in my EMBA class on Organizational Behavior. In this talk he did for TEDxUniversityofNevada 2014, Barry talks about two truths from his book – you make a difference and you can’t do it alone. It’s an excellent talk. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below after you watch Barry’s talk.


Focusing On Performance Enhances Employee Motivation

Does improving employee motivation require improving job satisfaction? Not necessarily. We all know people that love their jobs because they have a great salary and supportive co-workers, but at work do only enough to get by. By the same token, many of us have had jobs that for one reason or another were less than stellar (e.g. budget cuts, poor leadership), but we still gave a good-faith effort to perform on a daily basis.

In his book “Becoming The Evidence-Based Manager,” Gary Latham states “if you want motivated employees, you should focus on ways your employees can be high performers, rather than focusing on ways to increase their job satisfaction per se” (p. 85). Productive employees are often very satisfied employees; consequently, Latham believes that the ability to be productive is the real heart of motivation.

Partner with your employees to continually improve the systems (e.g. staffing, training, policies) that keep them from being as productive as they know they can be. Help them make daily progress doing work they find meaningful and watch as their motivation, performance, and satisfaction flourishes.

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Encouraging Dissent Helps Inspire Your Employees To Execute Strategy

Far too few leaders understand the value of employees that tell us what we need to know instead of what they think we want to hear. Many leaders view a lack of dissent as a good sign, but it is actually a very bad sign. In his book “Becoming The Evidence-Based Manager,” Gary Latham says the following:

An absence of complaints is often an indicator of an absence of hope. By embracing and welcoming criticism, you send your people a strong signal that you care about their concerns. They may have discovered that the vision and goals that were bang-on in the fall are no longer on target this winter. Dissent is an antidote to groupthink, which occurs when people agree with that they know to be wrong. (p. 53).

Hope thrives when people are willing to put forth effort to accomplish goals they value and understand how to achieve. You need to know immediately when people begin to lose confidence in the vision or no longer clearly understand how to make daily progress in work they find meaningful.

Encouraging dissent will help ensure that both the content and process of your leadership is relevant and effective. Your role as a leader is to not to control but rather to convene the conversation about how to best execute the strategy.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Avoid Demotivating Your Employees With These Five Points

Perceptions of unfairness inhibit the inner work life of your employees, which makes unfairness a powerful demotivator.  Evidence-based managers understand the power of negative events and assume responsibility for making their workplace as fair as possible.

In his book “Becoming the Evidence-Based Manager,” Gary Latham states “failure on your part to put principles of justice front and center will kill worker motivation as feelings sweep through your team that some people are getting a better deal than others.” (p. 92). Latham provides the following five-point checklist that we can use to help ensure that our employees perceive that our decisions and actions are fair (pp. 92-93):

  1. How will resources – salary, bonuses, office space – be distributed?
  2. Do you have agreed-upon processes or systems for determining who gets what (for example, a salary increase, a bigger office) and why?
  3. Have you explained to your people the logic of your decisions as to who gets what?
  4. Are the agreed-upon processes for making decisions applied consistently?
  5. Have you taken your employees’ viewpoints into account before you make your decisions?

Make sure your employees know their voice counts. Make it a matter of processes and policy to consult employees on important decisions that will affect them, and invite your employees to hold you accountable for this process. If you discover signs of lagging motivation in your employees, it might be because your employees have discovered you don’t value justice as much as they do.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Five Keys To Employee Motivation

Most managers I meet admit that motivating employees is one of the most challenging issues they struggle with. In my EMBA class on Organizational Behavior, we spend several weeks digesting the most recent evidence on employee motivation and engagement.

In our assigned reading from the book “Becoming the Evidence-Based Manager,” Gary Latham offers the following five evidence-based suggestions to help motivate employees to become high performers (pp. 75-76):

  1. Attend to employees’ psychological and security needs
  2. Make sure your employees have high, specific goals
  3. Focus on job performance
  4. Understand and change the work environment if necessary
  5. Avoid demotivation

What doesn’t work? The evidence shows that using money as a motivator in the form of a raise or occasional bonus does not get you much improvement in performance. Oddly enough, giving employees a monetary reward for work they would have done anyway can reduce the intrinsic appeal and satisfaction of doing the work.

Pay is important for motivation because it must be seen as sufficient and fair. Latham goes on to say:

Pay is important to the extent that it enables employees to satisfy their needs for security and autonomy. Pay is not motivating if it is not closely tied to performance. If high performers are paid the same as low performers, both job performance and job satisfaction will be low. Money is motivating to the extent it leads to the setting of and commitment to high goals. (77).

Latham is not saying that money is required for people to set and commit to high goals. Money is most effective when it is aligned with the goals people would set anyway to excel at the work they love to do.

What do you think? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

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