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jerryking : empathy   40

Six rules for managing our era’s oversupply of non-stop news, high-decibel outrage
May 11, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | editorials.

Rule No. 1: You don’t need to have an opinion about everything. Shocking but true. ....It’s perfectly fair to say, “I don’t know enough to have an opinion on that," or, “I will leave that to others to debate,” or even, “Both sides have some good points.” You might not please everyone, but see Rule No. 2.

* Rule No. 2: You can’t please everyone. Get over it.

* Rule No. 3: Embrace ambivalence....often misinterpreted as indifference, or derided as indecision. In fact, the ability to entertain contradictory but animating ideas goes to the heart of what it means to be a mature and civilized human being. It’s also central to preserving political freedom. The most dangerous person in a democracy is the blind partisan who outsources her opinions to politicians or an ideology, and who sees those who don’t agree as enemies to be righteously chased from town by a torch-wielding mob. The biggest threat to such black-and-white partisanship is the person who keeps her mind open, is not blindly loyal to any one team and sees people with different opinions not as monsters to be slain but as human beings to be understood, especially when you disagree with them, and they disagree with you.

* Rule No. 4: When you take a stand, be forceful. While the process of reaching a conclusion should involve a lot of “on the one hand” and “on the other,” at some point you have to make a choice.

In a criminal trial, the decision to convict an accused person can only be taken if the evidence is persuasive beyond a reasonable doubt – in other words, if the evidence is irrefutable and the conclusion is certain. But in politics, business and life, most decisions must be taken under conditions that cannot meet that exacting standard. Reasonable doubts are reasonable. Only the extreme partisan is without them.

* Rule No. 5: Set your bottom line. How far are you willing to let another person go before you feel obliged to offer a counter-opinion? Not every take you hear deserves the energy required to argue against it. Sometimes, you have to just let people say things you don’t agree with. You might learn something.

And remember, just as there is no obligation to have an opinion on every subject, there is also no rule that says you must express your opinion every time the chance presents itself. But when someone or something does cross a line, sometimes you can’t hold back. It may be as lofty as a matter of justice, or a simple as a question of common sense, but there comes a moment when your opinion will matter.

* Rule No. 6: Opinions are not the same thing as empathy. Empathy is what makes it possible for people who disagree to live together in peace and harmony – to agreeably disagree. And in a multicultural, multireligious, multiracial, multiparty democracy, people are going to disagree about all sorts of things, all the time.

The world has enough opinions. What it really needs is more empathy. Without it, life isn’t possible.
21st._century  agreeably_disagree  ambivalence  commoditization_of_information  disagreements  disinformation  dual-consciousness  empathy  hard_choices  incivility  incompatibilities  indecision  information_overload  news  opinions  open_mind  outrage  partial_truths  partisanship  partisan_loyalty  political_spin  propaganda  rules_of_the_game 
may 2019 by jerryking
US declining interest in history presents risk to democracy
May 2, 2019 | Financial Times | by Edward Luce.

America today has found a less bloodthirsty way of erasing its memory by losing interest in its past. From an already low base, the number of American students majoring in history has dropped by more than a third since 2008. Barely one in two hundred American undergraduates now specialise in history......Donald Trump is a fitting leader for such times. He had to be told who Andrew Jackson was.....He also seems to think that Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave and 19th century abolitionist, is among us still.....But America’s 45th president can hardly be blamed for history’s unpopularity. Culpability for that precedes Mr Trump and is spread evenly between liberals, conservatives, faculty and parents........Courses on intellectual, diplomatic and political history are being replaced at some of America’s best universities by culture studies that highlight grievances at the expense of breadth.......Then there is the drumbeat of STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Most US states now mandate tests only in maths and English, at the expense of history and civic education...... In a recent survey, only 26 per cent of Americans could identify all three branches of government. More than half could not name a single justice on the US Supreme Court.....
the biggest culprit is the widespread belief that “soft skills” — such as philosophy and English, which are both in similar decline to history — do not lead to well-paid jobs.....folk prejudice against history is hard to shake. In an ever more algorithmic world, people believe that humanities are irrelevant. The spread of automation should put a greater premium on qualities that computers lack, such as intuitive intelligence, management skills and critical reasoning. Properly taught that is what a humanities education provides.......People ought to be able to grasp the basic features of their democracy. [Abiding] Faith in a historic theory only fuels a false sense of certainty....What may work for individual careers poses a collective risk to US democracy. The demise of strong civics coincides with waning voter turnout, a decline in joining associations, fewer citizen’s initiatives — and other qualities once associated with American vigour......There is no scientific metric for gullibility. Nor can we quantitatively prove that civic ignorance imposes a political cost on society. These are questions of judgment. But if America’s origins tell us anything it is that a well-informed citizenry creates a stronger society.
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here is what robots can't do -- create art, deep meaning, move our souls, help us to understand and thus operate in the world, inspire deeper thought, care for one another, help the environment where we live.......The role of the human is not to be dispassionate, depersonalized or neutral. It is precisely the emotive traits that are rewarded: the voracious lust for understanding, the enthusiasm for work, the ability to grasp the gist, the empathetic sensitivity to what will attract attention and linger in the mind. Unable to compete when it comes to calculation, the best workers will come with heart in hand.
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algorithms  automation  citizen_engagement  civics  Colleges_&_Universities  critical_thinking  democracy  Donald_Trump  Edward_Luce  empathy  engaged_citizenry  false_sense_of_certainty  foundational  historians  history  historical_amnesia  humanities  ignorance  political_literacy  sense-making  soft_skills  STEM  threats  U.S.  vulnerabilities 
may 2019 by jerryking
Artificial intelligence and jobs: What’s left for humanity will require uniquely human skills - The Globe and Mail
July 27, 2018 |CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL by STEVE WOODS.

Where should we look for this final archipelago of human employment? The best place to start is deep within ourselves. As much as we pride ourselves on advanced skills such as mathematics and chess, humans are not born innately aware of algebra or checkmate. We are, instead, a social species. We are born innately aware of others, their reactions to us and our relationships with them. Removing a person from a social environment is so harmful that it is deemed to be a form of torture and is banned by the Geneva Convention.

When we attempt to use machines to replace the role of humans in our social lives, the response is immediate and negative......we, as a society and as a species, don’t want AI to replace our social interactions and our relationships. It’s a part of what makes us human and it’s a part that we intend to keep.....areas where we don’t desire AI replacement: relationships, trust, guidance, caring, nurturing and social interaction are traits that these post-AI jobs will share.
artificial_intelligence  automation  relationships  emotions  emotional_intelligence  empathy  EQ  humanity  creative_destruction  Joseph_Schumpeter  character_traits  AlphaGo  IBM_Watson 
july 2018 by jerryking
Why tech titans need an empathy handbook
April 4, 2018 | Financial Times | Gillian Tett
..........if engineers want to be better understood by consumers, they need to learn empathy for mindsets that were different from their own, or hire non-engineers. .....These days, Silicon Valley executives need to relearn these lessons — not only to make their gadgets more user-friendly, but also to create a better social contract to underpin technology in a wider sense. As criticism of the tech sector — in particular, concerns about the power of Silicon Valley — gathers momentum, the response of most of its executives has been very defensive......there is an epistemological angle too. Most of the people running the big tech companies today have come from engineering, computing or mathematical backgrounds. They are used to working by deduction and logical steps, not always prioritising emotion or empathy. They want to assemble the facts before jumping on to a public stage or making a strategic policy decision.

That works well if you are designing code or running a fast-growing team of engineers. After all, one of the striking features of the employee base at places such as Google or Facebook is just how homogenous this tribe tends to be......The problem is that what might seem routine from a software-engineering standpoint is not necessarily normal or acceptable for the wider world, and tech companies are now having to confront angry politicians, journalists and consumer groups, all of whom operate within different frameworks.....Tech executives now need to go further, not just listening to outside voices but actively trying to empathize with and understand them. .......we are all creatures of our own cultural environment, saddled with endless biases and assumptions. But, somehow, those titans of tech need to get a lesson in empathy, and see the world through non-tech eyes.
empathy  Silicon_Valley  engineering  mindsets  Gillian_Tett  empathy_vacuum  homogeneity  Big_Tech  tribes 
april 2018 by jerryking
Open books, open borders
OCTOBER 20, 2017 | FT| Janan Ganesh.

The globalised Booker also confirms this medium-sized country’s knack for cultural decorations — degrees from its universities, air time on the BBC — that are coveted worldwide. The unfakeable emotion from Saunders and Beatty upon receipt of the prize was a larger compliment to Britain and its soft power than a Booker for one of its own would have been.....There is a strategic imperative to open up that goes beyond the aesthetic one. As the gap narrows between the superpower and the rest, it becomes more important for America to understand the outside world. Better foreign news coverage can help, but mere politics is downstream of culture. The real prize is to comprehend another country’s thought patterns, speech rhythms, historic ghosts and unconscious biases — and these seep out from the stories it tells and the way it tells them....Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker cites the spread of literacy as a reason for the long-term decline of human violence. To read another person’s story is to end up with a larger “circle of sympathy”. But even if America’s concern is the narrowest raison d’état, rather than world peace, it would profit from reading beyond its borders.

The minimum return is that more American readers would have more fun. The headiest writing tends to come from places that are ascendant enough to matter but raw enough to retain some measure of dramatic chaos: 19th-century Britain and Russia, mid-20th-century America, and now, perhaps, early 21st-century Asia. It is not just in economics that protectionism stifles.
books  cosmopolitan  cross-cultural  cultural_products  empathy  fiction  George_Saunders  Janan_Ganesh  literature  Man_Booker  middle-powers  national_identity  novels  open_borders  open_mind  parochialism  prizes  protectionism  reading  soft_power  storytelling  United_Kingdom  writers 
november 2017 by jerryking
Heed the human factor before judging leaders' achievements | Evernote Web
14 January/15 January 2017 | Financial Times | Gillian Tett.

Pointing out mistakes is a legitimate part of healthy journalism and civic debate. But as blaming and fingerpointing start to mount, it's worth remembering that people tend to freeze in a crisis, especially when there is a shortage of information. Hindsight is a wonderful thing for an econometric model or history book, but it downplays the human factor. There is a danger in criticizing others' decisions until you've walked in their shoes.
Gillian_Tett  human_factor  empathy  mistakes  human_errors  criticism  blaming_fingerpointing  hindsight  crisis  information_gaps  immobilize  paralyze  psychology  stress_response 
january 2017 by jerryking
How to See: Looking, Talking, and Thinking about Art: David Salle: 9780393248135: Amazon.com: Books
How does art work? How does it move us, inform us, challenge us? Internationally renowned painter David Salle’s incisive essay collection illuminates the work of many of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Engaging with a wide range of Salle’s friends and contemporaries—from painters to conceptual artists such as Jeff Koons, John Baldessari, Roy Lichtenstein, and Alex Katz, among others—How to See explores not only the multilayered personalities of the artists themselves but also the distinctive character of their oeuvres.
books  art  Amazon  perception  empathy  inferences  Communicating_&_Connecting  observations  incisiveness 
december 2016 by jerryking
Center for the Future of Museums: Painting in Blue
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Painting in Blue

Often, I must repeat what I do for a living. You teach police about art? Not exactly. I teach them to improve their observation and communication skills by learning to analyze works of art. Paintings, sculptures, and photographs have proven to be transformative tools in professional training programs for authorities in law enforcement, intelligence, and counterterrorism. Agencies from around the country and around the world are turning to museum collections to bolster their efforts to combat crime, terrorism, and unrest in our increasingly threatened and complex world....The US spends about $15B each year to train doctors, and over $100B per year to train and maintain police forces. Shouldn’t museums, drawing a direct line from their resources to improved outcomes for these and other critical social needs, be included in that support? ..... In 2001, as Head of Education at The Frick Collection, I instituted a program for medical students, The Art of Perception. Based on a model program at the Yale Center for British Art, the course took medical students from the clinical setting into an art museum to teach them to analyze works of art—big picture and small details—and articulate their observations. When they returned to the hospital, they would, we reasoned, be better observers of their patients. (You can find an assessment of the program in Bardes, Gillers, and Herman, “Learning to Look: Developing Clinical Observational Skills in an Art Museum, Medical Education, vol 35,no.12, pp.1157-1161.) Humanities in medical training has a strong historical precedent and this program underscored the value of critical thinking and visual analysis in the disciplines of both medicine and art history.
art  art_galleries  Communicating_&_Connecting  creativity  critical_thinking  empathy  historical_precedents  inferences  law_enforcement  museums  noticing  observations  pay_attention  perception  policing  the_big_picture  training_programs  visual_analysis  visual_cues 
december 2016 by jerryking
Silicon Valley Has an Empathy Vacuum - The New Yorker
By Om Malik , NOVEMBER 28, 2016

Whether self-driving cars and trucks, drones, privatization of civic services like transportation, or dynamic pricing, all these developments embrace automation and efficiency, and abhor friction and waste. As Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, told MIT Technology Review, “Productivity is at record levels, innovation has never been faster, and yet at the same time, we have a falling median income and we have fewer jobs. People are falling behind because technology is advancing so fast and our skills and organizations aren’t keeping up.” It is, he said, “the great paradox of our era.”
empathy  technology  Silicon_Valley  Donald_Trump  Campaign_2016  efficiencies  empathy_vacuum  automation  Om_Malik  Erik_Brynjolfsson  productivity  paradoxes 
december 2016 by jerryking
Donald Trump Voters, Just Hear Me Out
NOV. 2, 2016 | The New York Times | Thomas L. Friedman.

No one knows for certain how we deal with this new race with and against machines, but I can assure you it’s not Trump’s way — build walls, restrict trade, give huge tax cuts to the rich. The best jobs in the future are going to be what I call “STEMpathy jobs — jobs that blend STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, math) with human empathy. We don’t know what many of them will look like yet.

The smartest thing we can do now is to keep our economy as open and flexible as possible — to get the change signals first and be able to quickly adapt; create the opportunity for every American to engage in lifelong learning, because whatever jobs emerge will require more knowledge; make sure that learning stresses as much of the humanities and human interactive skills as hard sciences; make sure we have an immigration policy that continues to attract the world’s most imaginative risk-takers; and strengthen our safety nets, because this era will leave more people behind.

This is the only true path to American greatness in the 21st century.
open_borders  Donald_Trump  Campaign_2016  Tom_Friedman  STEM  manufacturers  Hillary_Clinton  adaptability  empathy  life_long_learning  humanities  safety_nets  signals  warning_signs 
november 2016 by jerryking
Daniel S. Glaser: The Challenge of Keeping It Simple
JULY 15, 2016 | The New York Times | By ADAM BRYANT.

When I joined Marsh more than 30 years ago, he said to me, “Danny, all I can tell you is that there’s going to be a lot of people who don’t think like an owner, and you should always be thinking like you are the owner of the business, and make your decisions like that.”..Empathy is more important as he matured: "Now I have a basic belief that almost everyone wants to contribute and do well. Some people, for a whole variety of reasons, have difficulty doing that, and at least an attempt or two should be made to try to help them."...I’ve always felt that the world is filled with smart people who love complicating stuff. Working to simplify, to try to get down to that first principle, is really important.....My feeling is that companies that do well for long stretches of time have a tendency to become either complacent or arrogant, and both of those are bad paths. So how do you prevent that? To me, you do that by trying to create this striving, challenging, questioning culture, where there’s always a smarter way of doing something, and you feel a permanent dissatisfaction with obtained results.
bonuses  empathy  CEOs  leadership  leaders  complacency  arrogance  hubris  hiring  organizational_culture  forward_looking  simplicity  Marsh_&_McLennan  owners  dissatisfaction  first_principle  restlessness 
july 2016 by jerryking
Powerful Thoughts From Paul Graham — Ross Hudgens
21. Empathy is probably the single most important difference between a good hacker and a great one. Some hackers are quite smart, but practically solipsists when it comes to empathy. It’s hard for such people to design great software, because they can’t see things from the user’s point of view.

25. In a field like physics, if we disagree with past generations it’s because we’re right and they’re wrong. But this becomes rapidly less true as you move away from the certainty of the hard sciences. By the time you get to social questions, many changes are just fashion.

34. Whatever the reason, there seems a clear correlation between intelligence and willingness to consider shocking ideas. This isn’t just because smart people actively work to find holes in conventional thinking. Conventions also have less hold over them to start with. You can see that in the way they dress.

43. E.B. White was amused to learn from a farmer friend that many electrified fences don’t have any current running through them. The cows apparently learn to stay away from them, and after that you don’t need the current. | If you’re a hacker who has thought of one day starting a startup, there are probably two things keeping you from doing it. One is that you don’t know anything about business. The other is that you’re afraid of competition. Neither of these fences have any current in them.

50. But since for most of the world’s history the main route to wealth was to steal it, we tend to be suspicious of rich people.

59. “A lot of the (people applying to be graduate students at MIT) seem smart,” he said. “What I can’t tell is whether they have any kind of taste.” Taste. You don’t hear that word much now. And yet we still need the underlying concept, whatever we call it. What my friend meant was that he wanted students who were not just good technicians, but who could use their technical knowledge to design beautiful things.

64. Good design resembles nature. It’s not so much that resembling nature is intrinsically good as that nature has had a long time to work on the problem. So it’s a good sign when your answer resembles nature’s.

70. You’re most likely to get good design if the intended users include the designer himself. When you design something for a group that doesn’t include you, it tends to be for people you consider less sophisticated than you, not more sophisticated. And looking down on the user, however benevolently, always seems to corrupt the designer. [Good design therefore requires personal risk? having skin in the game?]

76. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” – C.S. Lewis
biomimicry  business  inspiration  productivity  quotes  start_ups  Paul_Graham  Y_Combinator  via:hotchkiss  empathy  design  UX  hackers  personal_risk  PhDs  aesthetics  dangerous_ideas  smart_people  the_single_most_important 
november 2014 by jerryking
Leah McLaren: The hardest thing about having an invisible illness - The Globe and Mail
LEAH MCLAREN
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Oct. 02 2014,

It’s strangely unpleasant, this process of being forced into the ranks of the invisibly unwell. But it’s made me more aware of people whose lives are constricted by ill health, whose struggles we generally ignore because they aren’t bleeding or limping or anything. And most of them learned long ago to keep their suffering to themselves.
Leah_McLaren  empathy  disabilities 
october 2014 by jerryking
After moving here, I think Americans would be happier if they were Canadians - The Globe and Mail
JACOB BUURMA
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Jun. 30 2014

As a country with two official languages, there’s always a second opinion, a perennial need to co-operate across cultural lines to move forward. Until that moment, I didn’t grasp that humility, empathy and co-operation are the virtues that actually matter on the world stage.

Canadian theologian Victor Shepherd says that the depth of our relationships is measured by the degree to which they change us. If we have been married to someone for 35 years but remain unchanged, we actually don’t know our spouse at all....Americans tend to wear their emotions on their sleeves. I still find this a virtue, but no longer an unqualified one. In truth, my high-school football team set records for consecutive losses; something more than “pep” was needed to turn it around.

By comparison, I’ve found Canada’s capacity for honest observation a helpful corrective. After a dozen years north of the border, I’m listening more and speaking less. I’m more aware of “the other.”
crossborder  immigrants  relationships  Canadian  values  patriotism  virtues  humility  empathy  co-operation  world_stage 
july 2014 by jerryking
What Machines Can’t Do - NYTimes.com
FEB. 3, 2014 | NYT | David Brooks.
here is what robots can't do -- create art, deep meaning, move our souls, help us to understand and thus operate in the world, inspire deeper thought, care for one another, help the environment where we live
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We’re clearly heading into an age of brilliant technology.computers are increasingly going to be able to perform important parts of even mostly cognitive jobs, like picking stocks, diagnosing diseases and granting parole.

As this happens, certain mental skills will become less valuable because computers will take over (e.g. memorization)

what human skills will be more valuable? The age of brilliant machines seems to reward a few traits. First, it rewards enthusiasm, people driven to perform extended bouts of concentration, diving into and trying to make sense of these bottomless information oceans. Second, the era seems to reward people with extended time horizons and strategic discipline. Third, the age seems to reward procedural architects (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, etc. , people who can design an architecture/platform that allows other people to express ideas or to collaborate. Fourth, people who can organize a decentralized network around a clear question, without letting it dissipate or clump, will have enormous value. Fifth, essentialists will probably be rewarded--the ability to grasp the essence of one thing, and then the essence of some very different thing, and smash them together to create some entirely new thing. Sixth, the computer is the computer. The role of the human is not to be dispassionate, depersonalized or neutral. It is precisely the emotive traits that are rewarded: the voracious lust for understanding, the enthusiasm for work, the ability to grasp the gist, the empathetic sensitivity to what will attract attention and linger in the mind. Unable to compete when it comes to calculation, the best workers will come with heart in hand.
David_Brooks  Erik_Brynjolfsson  future-proofing  career_paths  MIT  problem_solving  persuasion  Andrew_McAfee  Communicating_&_Connecting  indispensable  skills  Managing_Your_Career  21st._century  new_graduates  focus  long-term  self-discipline  lateral_thinking  sense-making  platforms  emotions  empathy  time_horizons 
february 2014 by jerryking
Want to get rich? Read fiction -
Nov. 22, 2013 | MarketWatch | By Jeremy Olshan.
Want to get rich? Read fiction. 5 financial lessons from famous novels.

Literature has always been a vessel for nuggets of practical wisdom — Homer’s epics contained a Wikipedia’s worth of ancient schooling, oral poetry being the original textbook. Fiction provides us “equipment for living,” in the words of the theorist Kenneth Burke, an assertion supported by a recent study linking literary reading to greater empathy.

1. Read Defoe to understand money.
2. Read Trollope and Dickens to spot the next Bernie Madoff.
3. Read Eliot and Flaubert before swiping that credit card.
4. Read Dickens to learn the difference between saving and hoarding.
5. Read Tolstoy before heading to the car dealership.

The old poker player’s adage that if, after a few minutes at the table, you can’t tell who the sucker is, it’s you, is more or less true in every financial transaction. Whether it’s the purchase of a horse, a car, a stock or a house, there’s a fair chance either the buyer or seller is getting the shorter end of the deal.

This is why it’s essential that before buying — or selling — anything one read “Anna Karenina.” Though the Tolstoy novel is better remembered as, yes, another novel of adultery, it’s also a highly useful manual for negotiating with car salesmen.

Stepan Oblonsky, a Moscow nobleman, visits his friend Konstantin Levin’s country estate, and tells how he sold a parcel of land — a wood — and wants to know whether he got a good deal.

Levin replies with a simple question: “Did you count the trees?”

“How can I count the trees?” Stepan Arkadyich said with a laugh, still wishing to get his friend out of his bad mood. “To count the sands, the planets’ rays, a lofty mind well may...” .....In other words, only a fool buys or sells something without knowing what it’s really worth. It sounds simple, but I’ve been that fool many times. How often do we fail to count the trees? How often do we sit with the car salesman and not know the real value of the car?

So always count the trees. Count them with calculators, with Excel spreadsheets or with iPhone apps, if you must. Or count them in their ideal form, after they’re churned into pulp and bound together as the pages of a good book.
fiction  books  lessons_learned  empathy  wisdom  literature  reading  wealth_creation  personal_enrichment 
november 2013 by jerryking
To Persuade People, Tell Them a Story - WSJ.com
Nov. 9, 2013 | WSJ | By Dennis Nishi.

"Lead With a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire.

* Use far fewer slides. Use a lot more anecdotes
* Turn presentations into stories that your audience can relate to, instead of lecturing them on what needs changing.
* Judge performance on the quality of questions being asked and the quality of feedback received.
* Being an effective storyteller requires preparation.
* Move beyond facts and figures, which aren't as memorable as narratives, says Cliff Atkinson, author of "Beyond Bullet Points."
* Many people in business think raw data is persuasive. But when you're dealing with people from other departments and in different fields who don't understand how you got that data, you can lose them pretty quickly. * Step back and put yourself into their shoes and take them through the process of understanding," "Distill the most important facts and wrap them in an engaging story."
* Find ways to connect with your audience on an emotional level, Neuroscientists have discovered that most decisions—whether people realize it or not—are informed by emotional responses. Do legwork to find significant events in your audience's lives or your own that you can base your story on or use to reinforce your points.
* Insert anecdotes about taking care of a sick family member or a memorable customer story, says Mr. Smith, author of "Lead With a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire."
* Organize your story into three acts and starting by establishing context. You want to let your audience know who the main characters are, what the background of the story is, and what you'd like to accomplish by telling it, he says. Open, for example, by describing a department that's consistently failed to meet sales goals.
* Move on to how your main character—you or the company—fights to resolve the conflicts that create tension in the story. Success may require the main character to make additional capital investments or take on new training. Provide real-world examples and detail that can anchor the narrative, he advises.
* The ending should inspire a call to action, since you are allowing the audience to draw their own conclusions about your story versus just telling them what to do. Don't be afraid to use your own failures in support of your main points.
* Whatever you do, don't preface your story with an apology or ask permission to tell it. Be confident that your story has enough relevance to be told and just launch into it. Confidence and authority, he says, help to sell the idea to your audience.
storytelling  presentations  Communicating_&_Connecting  persuasion  books  P&G  howto  pitches  buy-in  large_companies  emotional_commitment  narratives  self-confidence  preparation  empathy  seminal_moments  contextual  think_threes  anecdotal 
november 2013 by jerryking
Why empathy is an economic necessity - The Globe and Mail
TODD HIRSCH

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Aug. 14 2013

The world is full of wonderfully engineered, but poorly designed products – with no eye for how the average person might use it. This highlights a certain quality that isn’t taught in business schools but can make a huge difference for companies developing new products: empathy.

Empathy is the ability to see the world through someone else’s eyes. It’s far more than just being a nice person. If properly developed, empathy can give you and your company a distinct competitive edge. Negotiating a contract, dealing with workplace conflicts, coming up with a marketing campaign, or dreaming up the next must-have consumer gadget all require the ability to see the world through eyes that aren’t your own.

Sadly, managers and human resource departments too often neglect the interpersonal skills that are so essential to achieving results. Along with other aptitudes such as story-telling and creativity, empathy is underappreciated by many in the corporate board room. The fact that we even call them “soft” skills implies that they’re less important....The ability to see the world through the eyes of others is an economic imperative. If empathy were given the attention it deserves, companies would find new ways to please their customers. Innovators would dream up systems that save time and money. Conflicts would be resolved more easily. And maybe – just maybe – engineers would design products that are simple to use.
empathy  product_development  design  skills  storytelling  Todd_Hirsch  UX  usability  competitive_advantage  under_appreciated  people_skills  new_products  interpersonal_interactions  soft_skills  delighting_customers  product_design  economic_imperatives  must-have_experience 
august 2013 by jerryking
How to Write Clearly | TIME.com
By Harvard Business ReviewMarch 06, 2013

Here are three ways to ensure your ideas aren’t misinterpreted:

Adopt the reader’s perspective. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes to assess your clarity. Better yet, ask a colleague to summarize the main points of your draft from a quick read-through.
Keep your language simple. Strive to use short words and sentences. Aim for an average of 20 words or less in each sentence. With every one, ask yourself whether you can say it more briefly.
Show, don’t tell. Be specific enough that readers draw their own conclusions (that match yours, of course), as opposed to expressing your opinions without support and hoping people will agree.
Communicating_&_Connecting  writing  howto  HBR  memoranda  clarity  empathy  misinterpretations  brevity  concision 
march 2013 by jerryking
Don’t Blame Autism for Newtown - NYTimes.com
By PRISCILLA GILMAN
Published: December 17, 2012

Asperger’s and autism are not forms of mental illness; they are neurodevelopmental disorders or disabilities. Autism is a lifelong condition that manifests before the age of 3; most mental illnesses do not appear until the teen or young adult years. Medications rarely work to curb the symptoms of autism, but they can be indispensable in treating mental illness like obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Underlying much of this misreporting is the pernicious and outdated stereotype that people with autism lack empathy. Children with autism may have trouble understanding the motivations and nonverbal cues of others, be socially naïve and have difficulty expressing their emotions in words, but they are typically more truthful and less manipulative than neurotypical children and are often people of great integrity. They can also have a strong desire to connect with others and they can be intensely empathetic — they just attempt those connections and express that empathy in unconventional ways.... This country needs to develop a better understanding of the complexities of various conditions and respect for the profound individuality of its children. We need to emphasize that being introverted doesn’t mean one has a developmental disorder, that a developmental disorder is not the same thing as a mental illness, and that most mental illnesses do not increase a person’s tendency toward outward-directed violence.

We should encourage greater compassion for all parents facing an extreme challenge, whether they have children with autism or mental illness or have lost their children to acts of horrific violence (and that includes the parents of killers).
autism  mass_shootings  blaming_fingerpointing  empathy 
december 2012 by jerryking
You Have to Negotiate For Everything in Life, So Get Good at It Now - WSJ.com
January 27, 1998 | WSJ |By HAL LANCASTER

What kind of negotiation is it, asks Peter J. Pestillo, executive vice president of corporate relations for Ford Motor and one of the auto industry's leading labor negotiators. If it's a one-time-only event, you can concentrate on the result, he says. But if there's an ongoing relationship involved, "victory is making both sides feel satisfied," he says. "Take only what you need and don't try to make anybody look bad."...The toughest part of negotiating, Ms. Pravda says, is listening -- really listening -- to the other side. "Most people who negotiate like to talk," she explains, but if you understand their problem, you can craft a creative solution. "It doesn't hurt to say, 'I hear your problem; I don't know yet how to get there, but let me think about it,' " she says. "You become part of their team trying to solve their problem."

In career-related negotiations, she suggests anticipating concerns and lining up allies before making your pitch. In one case, she relates, an inexperienced associate seeking a new assignment lined up a senior associate to supervise him before making the request. "So he'd already taken care of my concerns," she says. In job-related negotiations, also, you must explain not only why the request is good for you, but for the company, she says.
Hal_Lancaster  negotiations  listening  Communicating_&_Connecting  win-win  anticipating  preparation  relationships  one-time_events  empathy 
december 2012 by jerryking
Why Listening Is So Much More Than Hearing - NYTimes.com
By SETH S. HOROWITZ
Published: November 9, 2012

The difference between the sense of hearing and the skill of listening is attention.

Hearing is a vastly underrated sense.... hearing is a quantitatively fast sense. While it might take you a full second to notice something out of the corner of your eye, turn your head toward it, recognize it and respond to it, the same reaction to a new or sudden sound happens at least 10 times as fast.

This is because hearing has evolved as our alarm system — it operates out of line of sight and works even while you are asleep. And because there is no place in the universe that is totally silent, your auditory system has evolved a complex and automatic “volume control,” fine-tuned by development and experience, to keep most sounds off your cognitive radar unless they might be of use as a signal that something dangerous or wonderful is somewhere within the kilometer or so that your ears can detect.

This is where attention kicks in.

Attention is not some monolithic brain process. There are different types of attention, and they use different parts of the brain. The sudden loud noise that makes you jump activates the simplest type: the startle. A chain of five neurons from your ears to your spine takes that noise and converts it into a defensive response in a mere tenth of a second — elevating your heart rate, hunching your shoulders and making you cast around to see if whatever you heard is going to pounce and eat you. This simplest form of attention requires almost no brains at all and has been observed in every studied vertebrate.

More complex attention kicks in when you hear your name called from across a room or hear an unexpected birdcall from inside a subway station. This stimulus-directed attention is controlled by pathways through the temporoparietal and inferior frontal cortex regions, mostly in the right hemisphere — areas that process the raw, sensory input, but don’t concern themselves with what you should make of that sound. (Neuroscientists call this a “bottom-up” response.)

But when you actually pay attention to something you’re listening to, whether it is your favorite song or the cat meowing at dinnertime, a separate “top-down” pathway comes into play. Here, the signals are conveyed through a dorsal pathway in your cortex, part of the brain that does more computation, which lets you actively focus on what you’re hearing and tune out sights and sounds that aren’t as immediately important.

In this case, your brain works like a set of noise-suppressing headphones, with the bottom-up pathways acting as a switch to interrupt if something more urgent — say, an airplane engine dropping through your bathroom ceiling — grabs your attention.

Hearing, in short, is easy. You and every other vertebrate that hasn’t suffered some genetic, developmental or environmental accident have been doing it for hundreds of millions of years. It’s your life line, your alarm system, your way to escape danger and pass on your genes. But listening, really listening, is hard when potential distractions are leaping into your ears every fifty-thousandth of a second — and pathways in your brain are just waiting to interrupt your focus to warn you of any potential dangers.

Listening is a skill that we’re in danger of losing in a world of digital distraction and information overload.

And yet we dare not lose it. Because listening tunes our brain to the patterns of our environment faster than any other sense, and paying attention to the nonvisual parts of our world feeds into everything from our intellectual sharpness to our dance skills.

Luckily, we can train our listening just as with any other skill.
10x  listening  attention  hearing  senses  information_overload  distractions  perception  empathy  signals  physiological_response  bottom-up  top-down  pay_attention 
november 2012 by jerryking
Oh, those lazy young people
Aug. 24 2012 | The Globe and Mail | Todd Hirsch.

The first thing a young person should do is get an education. Not coincidentally, postsecondary education has been a huge issue burning a hole in Quebec politics this summer. But rising tuition fees or not, there is no single factor more effective in boosting creativity and productivity than an educated work force.

Travelling or living abroad is also important. The human mind needs to see different patterns and systems in order to tap its full creative potential, and seeing how people and economies work in other parts of the world is enormously helpful for this.

Finally, working in the community offers tremendous benefits. By getting involved in an arts group, a not-for-profit charity, a neighbourhood sports league – it almost doesn’t matter what as long as the interests of others are at the forefront – self-awareness and empathy are enhanced. And from this flows innovation and creativity.

Economic productivity isn’t about working longer hours, nor is it about finding a warm body to fill a dead-end job. It’s about tapping human potential. It’s about spawning new industries – ones that perhaps need some risk-taker champions along the way. And it’s about inspiring a new generation of young Canadians to say “this is our economy.”
productivity  youth  creative_renewal  travel  creativity  Millennials  Todd_Hirsch  self-awareness  empathy  innovation  education  new_businesses  perspectives  volunteering  arts  nonprofit  human_potential  young_people 
august 2012 by jerryking
The 6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers
Mar 20, 2012 | | Inc.com | Paul J. H. Schoemaker.
Adaptive strategic leaders--the kind who thrive in today’s uncertain environment--do six things well:

1. Anticipate. Hone your “peripheral vision.” Reduce vulnerabilities to rivals who detect and act on ambiguous signals. ... Build wide external networks to help you scan the horizon better
2. Think Critically. Critical thinkers question everything. To master this skill, you must force yourself to reframe problems to get to the bottom of things, in terms of root causes. Challenge current beliefs and mindsets, including your own Uncover hypocrisy, manipulation, and bias in organizational decisions.
3. Interpret. Ambiguity is unsettling. Faced with it, you are tempted to reach for a fast (potentially wrongheaded) solution. A good strategic leader holds steady, synthesizing information from many sources before developing a viewpoint. To get good at this, you have to:Seek patterns in multiple sources of data; Question prevailing assumptions and test multiple hypotheses simultaneously.
4. Decide. Many leaders fall prey to “analysis paralysis.” Develop processes and enforce them, so that you arrive at a “good enough” position. To do that well, you have to: Carefully frame the decision to get to the crux of the matter, Balance speed, rigor, quality, and agility. Leave perfection to higher powers. Take a stand even with incomplete information and amid diverse views
5. Align. Consensus is rare. Foster open dialogue, build trust, and engage key stakeholders, especially when views diverge. To pull that off, you need to: Understand what drives other people's agendas, including what remains hidden. Bring tough issues to the surface, even when it's uncomfortable
Assess risk tolerance and follow through to build the necessary support
6. Learn.

As your company grows, honest feedback is harder and harder to come by. You have to do what you can to keep it coming.
Encourage and exemplify honest, rigorous debriefs to extract lessons
Shift course quickly if you realize you're off track
Celebrate both successes and (well-intentioned) failures that provide insight
Do you have what it takes?
tips  leadership  habits  strategic_thinking  anticipating  critical_thinking  networks  biases  conventional_wisdom  decision_making  empathy  feedback  thinking  failure  lessons_learned  leaders  interpretation  ambiguities  root_cause  insights  paralyze  peripheral_vision  analysis_paralysis  reframing  course_correction  vulnerabilities  good_enough  debriefs  post-mortems  problem_framing  discomforts  wide-framing  outward_looking  assumptions  game_changers 
march 2012 by jerryking
Why Should Anyone be Led by You
September-October 2000| HBR | by Robert Goffee and Gareth Jones
leadership  HBR  myths  tough_love  tough-mindedness  empathy  mindsets 
november 2011 by jerryking
Amy Chua Is a Wimp - NYTimes.com
Jan 17, 2011 | NYT| DAVID BROOKS. ... Practicing music for 4
hrs. requires focus, but it’s not as cognitively demanding as a
sleepover with 14-yr-old girls....Participating in a well-functioning
group is really hard. It requires the ability to trust people outside
your kinship circle, read intonations & moods (i.e. cues & prompts), understand how the
psychological pieces each person brings to the room can & can`t fit
together.This skill set is not taught formally, but it is imparted
through arduous experiences....Chua would do better to see the classroom
as a cognitive break from the truly arduous tests of childhood. Where
do they learn how to manage people? Where do they learn to construct and
manipulate metaphors? Where do they learn to perceive details of a
scene the way a hunter reads a landscape? Where do they learn how to
detect their own shortcomings? Where do they learn how to put themselves
in others’ minds & anticipate others’ reactions?
Amy_Chua  parenting  cues  prompts  nonverbal  David_Brooks  Tiger_Moms  arduous  empathy  emotional_intelligence  EQ  self-awareness  self-reflective  metaphors  people_skills  self-regulation  girls  hunting  tacit_knowledge 
january 2011 by jerryking
In praise of power seeker
Oct. 19, 2010 | G& M | Harvey Schachter. 7 qualities
build power: ambition, energy, focus, self-knowledge, confidence,
empathy, & capacity to tolerate conflict. Unlisted is intelligence
(overrated).Power must start somewhere,“People err in choosing where to
start accruing their power base.The common mistake is to locate it in
the dept. dealing with an org.’s core activity/skill/product – the unit
that is the most powerful at the moment,” The problem is that’s where
one encounters the most talented competition, well-established career
paths & processes. Further, what’s vital to an org. today might not
be in future. To move up, seek unexploited niches where one can develop
leverage with less resistance & build a power base in activities
that will be important in future. e.g., Robert McNamara & the whiz
kids at Ford built their power base in finance, acctg. & control
functions, rather than eng. allowing McNamara to become the 1st non-Ford
president. Wherever you start – stand out!
ambition  conflict_toleration  core_businesses  empathy  focus  Ford  Harvey_Schachter  influence  leadership  movingonup  Niccolò_Machiavelli  overrated  Pablo_Picasso  personal_energy  power  Robert_McNamara  SecDef  self-confidence  self-knowledge  unexploited_resources  whiz_kids 
october 2010 by jerryking
Op-Ed Columnist - History for Dollars - NYTimes.com
June 7, 2010 NYT By DAVID BROOKS. Studying the humanities
will: improve your ability to read and write; give you a familiarity
with the language of emotion; give you a wealth of analogies; help you
befriend The Big Shaggy.
career_paths  humanities  liberal_arts  Colleges_&_Universities  David_Brooks  analogies  empathy 
june 2010 by jerryking
A whole new mind: why right-brainers ... - Google Books
Excerpt from 'A whole new mind: why right-brainers will rule
the future' By Daniel H. Pink. "Indeed, one of design's most potent
economic effects is this very capacity to create new markets... The
forces of Abundance, Asia, and Automation turn goods and services into
commodities so quickly that the only way to survive is by constantly
developing new innovations, inventing new categories, and (in Paola
Antonelli's lovely phrase) giving the world something it didn't know it
was missing.
============================================

See also Tom Friedman's piece ("We Need a Second Party" - NYTimes.com ) below:

The first is responding to the challenges and opportunities of an era in which globalization and the information technology revolution have dramatically intensified, creating a hyperconnected world. This is a world in which education, innovation and talent will be rewarded more than ever. This is a world in which there will be no more “developed” and “developing countries,” but only HIEs (high-imagination-enabling countries) and LIEs (low-imagination-enabling countries). Adding "imagination"
design  Daniel_Pink  innovation  storytelling  symphony  empathy  play  meaning  sense-making  new_businesses  new_categories  automation  abundance  Asia  developing_countries  imagination  Tom_Friedman  high-touch  special_sauce  skills  developed_countries 
october 2009 by jerryking
Dilemma flipping, bio-empathy: vital skills for leaders of the future -
Jul. 15, 2009 | The Globe & Mail | HARVEY SCHACHTER.

Leaders Make The Future

By Bob Johansen,
Berrett-Koehler, 192 pages, $34.95
book_reviews  Harvey_Schachter  leadership  CEOs  books  empathy 
july 2009 by jerryking
I Want You to Apologize
Tuesday April 7, 2009 | HarvardBusiness.org | - Peter Bregman -
business  empathy  psychology  apologies  atonement 
april 2009 by jerryking

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