How to be Resilient – Face Reality, Find Meaning, Creatively Improvise.

Diane Koutu, writing for Harvard Business Review, suggests 3 very useful distinctions around being resilient. I like them because they addresses some of the weaknesses of otherwise excellent schools of thought such as Martin Seligman’s Learned Optimism – namely that it encourages people just to soldier on and put a brave face on things and not ask for help which can be seen as failure.

The first thing you need to do is to face reality – denial of your difficulties is not the same as being resilient.
The second thing, which resonates with Viktor Frankl’s findings of what made the difference between life and death in concentration camp prisoners survive (described in his book Man’s Search for Meaning) is to search for useful meaning in the difficulties.
Finally the third thing is to creatively improvise solutions – if it was easy you would have already sorted it!

The reason why top performers sometimes choke?

Very interesting article by Matthew Syed, a former Commonwealth table tennis champion. which suggests that experts (Unconsciously Competent) can suddenly flip under stress to “beginner mode” (Consciously Competent) with the accompanying degradation in their performance.

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Leadership under pressure: the two worst mistakes

I have been thinking a lot about what happens when a leader gets under severe pressure, usually because things are not going according to plan. It seems to me this is the very essence of real leadership and where leaders can really justify their salaries. BUT according to Professor Dietrich Dorner, in his excellent book The Logic Of Failure: Recognizing And Avoiding Error In Complex Situations, there are two very tempting but ultimately disastrous tangents a leader can pursue in a crisis instead of addressing the real issues.

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Change Management: tips from wild animal trainers

In How I put my husband through the hoops Amy Sutherland writing in G2 for the UK Guardian describes how she used tricks trainers use on wild animals such as dolphins, elephants and african crested cranes to modify her husbands behavior!

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A practical framework for change – head, hearts, hands & feet

The late Stephen Covey always reminded us that “the main thing was to keep the main thing the main thing !” However when you think about “Change Management” you could be excused for thinking its all about detailed road maps and large tomes of procedures and checklists. These are all important but sometimes they can also sadly distract from the whole point of the exercise. To stop you falling into this trap I offer you my easy to remember 4 point mental checklist based on the human body to help you constantly check that you have not been “detail distracted”!

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The five major theories of how people “learn”: a synopsis

Carlton Reeve has written an excellent series of five articles in Play with Learning which compares and contrasts the 5 main theories of learning (Behaviourism, Cognitivism, Constructivist, Experientialism and Social Learning) which underpin personal learning. Carlton also identifies different computer games founded on each theory. I have produced a short synopsis here with links to the 5 original articles which are well worth studying.
Each of these 5 theories (or modes) has its place in learning. In fact the most effective learning will likely contain some element of each mode. For example, this blending of learning modes is used in our portfolio of Business Simulation Games to develop highly effective Leadership and Management skills when combined with facilitation and learning in teams.

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How to assess Power and Influence: a simple but effective method

When we are dealing with change we need to be able to make quick but robust assessments of the power/influence of the different players. My colleague, Andrew Constable, has developed a concise but comprehensive approach to assessing power which he calls the 8P’s of Power.

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15 Principles of Business Game Design for team-based learning

I develop Business Simulations for team-based experiential learning workshops which usually have a significant computer element. This whole area is strewn with pitfalls, good intentions and misconceptions and there is a huge risk that the game becomes too complex or an end in itself or the graphical aspect of the user interface becomes all consuming at the expense of the learning.

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Learned Optimism 101

Learned Optimism is an approach to self-improvement invented by American psychologist, Doctor Martin Seligman and described in his book, Learned Optimism (1990). Seligman argues for the benefits of an optimistic outlook and describes how to learn to be optimistic.

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