Posts Tagged colorado
Happy Holidays from BizPsych! We typically have several requests this time of year to present our “Thriving with the Holidays” seminar for client companies. Surprisingly, this year we have had only one request, from our sister division in Las Vegas. Is it possible that there may be less acute stress this year in many organizations? Is there still much stress, but no time? Perhaps our past years’ efforts have cured all holiday stress (Nice fantasy…)? The holidays are a wonderful time for so many of us. Yet, for many people, the holidays bring an increased stress level that can take away from that delight. For some it’s actually a depressing time of year for a variety of reasons.
The cornerstone of our recommendation about coping or thriving with holiday stress has to do with setting balanced and reasonable expectations of ourselves and of others. There are cultural expectations that can lead to stress and disillusionment, i.e. “we should all be blissfully happy, have beautiful and significant presents for all, and be ever cheerful.” This probably does not work for all of us 100%. We can, however make meaning, be grateful, have authentic interactions, and celebrate what we believe in. One of the ways we can accomplish this is to set meaningful and realistic expectations for the holidays.
A number of years ago I worked out an optimal holiday stress management strategy formula called “Holiday Stress Math.” It is not rocket science, so please enjoy:
Holiday Stress Math
Holiday Stress is a function of: Expectations (E) vs. What Really Happens (WRH)
If E are H (High) and > WRH = HS (High Stress Holiday)
If E are L (Low) and < WRH = LS but DOL (Low Stress) (Depends on Luck)
If E are L (Low) and = WRH = LS but NGT! (Low Stress) (Negative Good Time)
If E are H (High) and = WRH = MS, PGT but HRI(Medium Stress) (Positive Good Time) (High Risk Investment)
BPRE (Best Possible, Realistic Expectation) = WRH(What Really Happens) = GRE (Good, Realistic Holiday)
Have a meaningful and reasonable stress holiday.
Peace and Joy,
Vice President, BizPsych
In the past, I have had a hard time remembering how daylight savings worked. Why? Because I would always recall the time I insisted on wearing my tennis shoes to go bowling and I flew down the alley and landed flat on my face. In my mind, falling was forever synonymous with falling forward and making face plants. Hence, the reason why I‘ve had such a hard time learning (and remembering) that it was fall backward and spring forward.
Then, I finally came up with an easy way to make the distinction clear. The word “fall” has four letters in it and so does the word “back.” Ever since I discovered this handy-dandy way to remember, I’ve been able to get it right!
Now that we’re into daylight savings time, I’ve had to ask myself:
Are there any other areas of my life that could benefit from a slight recalibration?
Am I getting a less than desirable outcome than I would prefer? And if so, is it because I am perpetually stuck in thinking the same way in a given situation?
Do I need to change my perspective and see things in a different light?
Is there a better way for me to think about things that would make my life easier and create less heart burn? Am I still making unnecessary “face plants” because of my stubbornness?
Daylight savings creates a slight shift. The nights become longer and the days become shorter. We’re reminded that the holidays are just around the corner. We start to notice that the mornings are a little chillier while the grass and car windows show slight signs of frost. We grab our sweat shirts and start looking for our favorite sweaters. We even begin to notice the displays in the grocery store are different. There are multiple signs and signals shouting: “change is in the air!”
So, I ask, “Why wait until the New Year comes to make resolutions that promote positive change and wellbeing?” Daylight savings is a great reminder that we can always make recalibrations and adjustments and, there is always time to make a slight shift to get a more desirable outcome. How often do you feel as if you’ve just won the lottery because you’ve been given the luxurious “gift of time?” Even though it’s just a slight move on the clock’s hand that creates the change, I encourage you to think of it as an invitation; an invitation to stir things up a little, create a shift in your thinking, change your rhythms, and challenge your beliefs. Then, during the long hours of the night, as you watch the hands on the clock go by, you can celebrate all of your successes that will make it easier to spring forward into action the next time we change the hands of time.
Just remember, if your organization needs a few recalibrations or you want support with making a few refinements the professionals at BizPsych are here to support you with executive coaching, training, and organizational development.
Marcia Kent, MS
We have all been touched in one way or another by the recent rash of violence in our communities. One tragedy seems like an anomaly and we tend to be able to put it in context as such. But when another occurs we start experiencing it as out of control and as a new norm. We start to carry a pervasive ill-ease. The experience of these tragedies may trigger a variety of stress reactions for different individuals. Some of these could be profound and require the need for professional help, be it medical or psychological. At the least, the general ill-ease most of us are experiencing may also compound the numerous other external stressors we encounter in our work and personal lives.
These stressors especially compounded by the senseless violence of recent shootings cannot help but affect us, in many ways, as well they should. In our modern world, stress is here to stay. We can learn to set more effective boundaries, we can better manage our time, we can shut out the painful images, but in most of our work and personal lives we will continue to be barraged by external demands and stressors. By focusing on stress, we often invite stress.
We offer a new approach. As we have learned in the Critical Incident Support Services (CISS) field, promoting emotional resilience gives those experiencing a specific trauma a more positive response than focusing on the trauma and stress. Emotional Resilience is our ability to “bounce back” from adversity and challenge. This does not mean we can remain unaffected by stress and setbacks. What it means is by strengthening our resilience we improve our ability to cope with set backs and recover more quickly. Emotional resilience traits can be learned and practiced. We would like to share some of the characteristics of emotionally resilient people as an invitation to practice – especially at this time of shared sorrow and tragedy. Some of the characteristics of emotionally resilient people are:
- Emotional and Physical Awareness: They understand what they’re feeling and why. They understand how their emotions are affecting their behavior and performance. They understand the absolute connection between mind and body – emotions and physical health. They support physical health by practices such as exercise, relaxation, healthy nutrition, and increased mindfulness in the moment – awareness of emotional and physical states.
- Perseverance: Whether they’re working toward outward goals or on inner coping strategies, they’re action-oriented – they trust in the process and don’t give up. They carry on in the face of setbacks and obstacles.
- Internal Locus of Control: They believe that they, rather than outside forces, are in control of their own lives. They know the limits of control and focus on the areas of life they can control.
- Optimism: They see the positives in most situations and believe in their own strength. They are able to view events as time-limited versus permanent. They are able to view events as specific and not pervasive. i.e. “all or none.” They are able to not personalize negative events by defining themselves by these negative events.
- Support: While they tend to be strong individuals, they know the value of social support and are able to surround themselves with supportive friends and family.
- Sense of Humor: They’re able to laugh in spite of life’s difficulties. They are able to respond to serious situations with appropriate seriousness, but not take themselves so seriously that they get in their own way.
- Perspective: Resilient people are able to learn from their mistakes (rather than deny them), see obstacles as challenges, and allow adversity to make them stronger. They can also find meaning in life’s challenges rather than seeing themselves as victims.
- Sense of Mission: Being connected to your spiritual side has been connected with stronger emotional resilience. This has to do with being connected to a higher purpose than oneself, and could be a sense of purpose or mission.
This is not an absolute list of Emotional Resilience traits. However, focusing on one or all of these traits and developing ways to practice them may be a positive way to help cope with the recent trauma that we all have experienced, as well as the common and extraordinary stresses we experience regularly. It may prove more effective to focus on strengthening one’s positive resilience than “combating” stress. Over the past couple years, BizPsych has offered emotional resilience programs in a large variety of settings and situations with very positive results and response. Please consider what you might need to enhance and exercise your resilience at this time.
Patrick Hiester MA, LPC,
Vice President of BizPsych
A division of MINES and Associates.
A common question when chatting causally with someone is “are you dating?” When the answer is no, people often apologize like being single is such an awful thing. The fact is when you are single you have the freedom to explore a variety of activities and indulge in your every whim. Friendships strengthen. And the idea of compromise takes a back seat. Being single doesn’t have to be a woe-is-me state of mind, rather a lifestyle choice that has just as many advantages and disadvantages as being in a relationship!
Looking for things to do around town try meetup.com, a great resource for things to do locally!
~Health Psychology Team
Posted by minesblog in Alcoholism, Anxiety, BizPsych, business psychology, C Level, Centering, CEO, depression, Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), Leadership, Managed Behavioral Health Care, Management, Mines and Associates, Psychology of Performance, Stress management, substance abuse, Supervisor, The MINES Team, Tips, Work Performance on September 20, 2010
In his book The Mindful Therapist, Dr. Dan Siegel discusses the role of mirror neurons in actions that have a perceived intention behind them. He stated that the mirror neurons function as a bridge between sensory input and motor output that allows us to mirror the behavior we see someone else enact (p.36). Practically this means that when we see someone drinking from a glass, the mirror neurons become activated (firing off electrical currents called an action potential). If we were to drink from the same glass, the same specific neurons that fired when we saw someone else drinking also become activated. Dr. Siegel said “We see a behavior and get ready to imitate it,” (p.36).
The implications of this line of research are significant for performance. For example, if you watch a movie with alcohol being consumed and you are in recovery, now you have internal neuronal firing similar to drinking the alcohol yourself. Now you have to override the neuronal firing with “white-knuckling it,” or better yet with mindful awareness, or you will increase your probabilities of a relapse.
The upside of this research is that seeing others perform a behavior successfully – mentally rehearsing the image – would theoretically strengthen the neuronal firing and increase the probabilities that you will execute the behavior successfully. This concept is foundational to performance coaching. As coaches, therapists, and bosses we need to think about our current training techniques and how they incorporate watching, rehearsing, and doing as part of the sequence.
Have a day filled with Mindfulness,
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist
MINES and Associates
If you want to help, please check out their tips to get you started. To help immediately, text PETS to 50555 to donate $10 to the Humane Society.
If you haven’t caught the news, Boulder is currently experiencing a rash of wildfires and the Humane Society has been trying to rescue animals that have been trapped in this terrible event. Individuals wanting to help out in this effort are urged to make donations such as clothing, furniture and pet supplies to the Humane Society between now and September 16th when they will be letting victims of the fire pick up donations.
We applaud all of those courageously fighting the fires in Boulder, CO, and wish to thank the Humane Society for their dedication and effort in helping these lost, domesticated animals.
Posted by minesblog in Alcoholism, Anxiety, BizPsych, business psychology, C Level, CEO, education, Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), Leadership, Management, Mines and Associates, Psychology of Performance, Stress management, substance abuse, Supervisor, The MINES Team, Tips, Work Performance on July 22, 2010
How effective are your various business units?
What are your performance indicators?
Do each of your employees get held accountable for the results or just the managers?
All businesses and organizations get to address these questions and do their best to implement solutions depending on the answers. Elliot Jacques and Stephen Clement wrote an especially helpful book, Executive Leadership, which addresses these questions and many more. This posting will address a few of the many nuggets in their book.
One of the recurring BizPsych questions we get to answer and intervene on relates to individual differences in performance. Jacques and Clement argue that role theory accounts for performance more than individual differences such as personality. They add that people perform to their role in very predictable ways. There is a significant amount of social psychology research to support this. Yet in many businesses, individual personality characteristics are looked at for explanatory hypotheses related to performance over clarity of role. Role clarity for a manager – from Jacques and Clements point of view – would include an adequate organizational design, an assumption that the manager has the knowledge, skills, commitment, values of the organization, and cognitive complexity to do the functions of the role. In the role of manager they would have formal accountability for results and authority to allocate resources including staff, budget, and decision capability related to the complexity of the tasks in their role. In addition, they have the interpersonal skills to develop a team of people who think they add value as a manager and are enthusiastic about accomplishing the goals of the business unit. The role clarity for a manager includes organizational support to veto an appointment (their manager has the authority to fire the employee if no other suitable position can be found), decide task assignment, decide personal effectiveness and merit awards, and decide to initiate removal from a role.
If the above conditions are satisfied, Jacques and Clements would predict a higher performance level from that business unit versus those that have role confusion. In our BizPsych division we encounter organization after organization that are addressing these topics in their design. If it comes to dealing with human performance, we are all in continuous recalibration mode.
Have a day filled with loving kindness,
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist
When you allow your mind to focus on negative emotions does your performance improve or deteriorate?
Negative emotional states arise from expectation violations and then get potentiated by adding judgments about the negative feelings. Does “whipping yourself” help you improve? I had the opportunity to play in the DAD’s day (Dollars Against Diabetes) golf tournament sponsored by the Colorado Building Trades today. Golf is a wonderful laboratory in which there is a richness of self-talk, expectations, and emotional states available to observe in myself and others. A feature of golf is that each shot actually is independent of all of the other shots one makes (much like many aspects of our work). As we let our self-talk build, it can decrease performance; but, the mind has a wonderful ability reset itself in the moment and let go of the thoughts about the previous shot. Practicing a mindfulness meditation technique of just observing the thoughts, feelings, and physical experiences without judging them and then visualizing the shot (performance) you want can go a long way in improving your performance.
This works in the rest of our life as well
It requires gently returning to this technique each time as the old thought habit patterns return with force until you learn to to redirect and focus on the outcome you want, not the outcome you do not want.
Have a day filled with mindfulness,
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist
Posted by minesblog in Alcoholism, Anxiety, BizPsych, business psychology, C Level, CEO, depression, Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), Leadership, Managed Behavioral Health Care, Management, Mines and Associates, Psychology of Performance, Stress management, Supervisor, Uncategorized, Work Performance on May 19, 2010
In BizPsych we often run into CEO’s, VP’s, Managers, and Supervisors who have performance problems related to “wearing too many hats”. Elliot Jacques’ work described a variety of systems and organizational design problems that resulted in inefficiencies, interpersonal problems, bottlenecks, and other performance issues. When a person is “collapsed down” or in the weeds, which means they are below their role in a business, higher-priority strategic thinking, decisions or actions can be neglected or result in outright failure. Wearing multiple hats means that none of the roles assigned to that person will get full-time attention. In smaller businesses this may be a “sweat equity” issue, however, the results are still the same. I encourage you to look at your position, how many roles do you have and what is the performance result?
Have a day filled with Equanimity
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist
Posted by minesblog in BizPsych, business psychology, C Level, CEO, Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), Leadership, Managed Behavioral Health Care, Management, Mines and Associates, Psychology of Performance, Stress management, substance abuse, Supervisor, The MINES Team, Uncategorized, Work Performance on May 1, 2010
The social psychology of role has been extensively researched in psychology. Elliot Jacques in his book, Social Power and the CEO, discussed how role in organizations, clarity regarding accountability and authority, and cognitive complexity (Jacques refers to it as strata) account for higher performance more than other constructs such as personality, motivation and so forth. In addition, role is more predictive of behavior than the previously mentioned constructs. Role is defined in Jacques’ business applications as front line producers, supervisors, managers, vice presidents and CEOs. Those with the budget authority are accountable to the level above them. When roles are collapsed (one person from a higher role also functioning in a lower role) performance can suffer in the organization due to a number of issues that arise such as “being spread too thin”, confusion from subordinates regarding which role, therefore, which authority their boss is operating from, which accountability should be assigned to the person by upper management, having title with no authority (e.g., being a director, an assistant vice president, assistant medical director, captain in a fire department (leads the team, no authority to deselect, veto a new hire, no budget). These problems result in inaction, misallocation of resources, consensus decision making (one of the worst ways to run a business as decisions are political, not informed per se for better business results), poor morale on the part of those who appear to have authority and do not, yet are still held accountable for results. There are many other problems in ill defined vertical accountability and authority. The senior staff in the MINES BizPsych division regularly consult on managerial hierarchy and organization design problems related to the above problems.
The second area that is associated with numerous referrals relates to cross functional (dysfunctional) communication between departments related to accountability and authority. I will address this topic in my next blog.
Have a day filled with clarity in your role (s)!
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist
MINES and Associates