Having volunteered for the past 11 years of my life at a certain organisation and having felt pressed to a turning point in my journey recently, I do agree on importance of recognition and praise.
I usually scoff on public attempts of praise though (Asian culture perhaps, unlike what this column posits), and do think the Asian preference/need is for private recognition and appreciation.
My personal opinion though is that appreciation can be overdone, especially in a public setting. What’s more important is to have individual and personalised ‘thank-you’s.
Former of CEO of Mattel recently wrote a column on HBR on the two things people want most (besides sex and money).
Wherever I show my thanks, these tips work well for me:
- Set aside time every week to acknowledge people’s good work.
- Handwrite thank-you notes whenever you can. The personal touch matters in the digital age.
- Punish in private; praise in public. Make the public praise timely and specific.
- Remember to cc people’s supervisors. “Don’t tell me. Tell my boss.”
- Foster a culture of gratitude. It’s a game changer for sustainably better performance.
(Read full HBR column here)
The perennial nature vs nurture question - are we born moral creatures or we somehow absorb a sense of morality from our cultural upbringing?
Apparently, infant morality studies (which are pretty new!) show that toddlers have proactive helping behaviour at 1.5-2.5 years of age. Of course, there is the whole concern about methodology and its validity. But that aside, it was an interesting (and long…) read and brings out more questions about altruism.
The last few years produced a spate of related studies hinting that, far from being born a “perfect idiot,” as Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued, or a selfish brute, as Thomas Hobbes feared, a child arrives in the world provisioned with rich, broadly pro-social tendencies and seems predisposed to care about other people. Children can tell, to an extent, what is good and bad, and often act in an altruistic fashion. “Giving Leads to Happiness in Young Children,” a study of under-2-year-olds concluded. “Babies Know What’s Fair” was the upshot of another study, of 19- and 21-month-olds. Toddlers, the new literature suggests, are particularly equitable. They are natural helpers, aiding distressed others at a cost to themselves, growing concerned if someone shreds another person’s artwork and divvying up earnings after a shared task, whether the spoils take the form of detested rye bread or precious Gummy Bears.
This all sounds like cheering news for humanity, especially parents who nervously chant “share, share, share” as their children navigate the communal toy box. Indeed, some of these studies suggest that children’s positive social inclinations are so deeply ingrained that it doesn’t matter what parents say or do: A Harvard experiment, nicknamed “The Big Mother Study” (as in Big Mother Is Watching You), showed that small children helped others whether or not a parent commanded them to help or was even present.
These findings may seem counterintuitive to anyone who has seen toddlers pull hair in a playground tunnel or pistol-whip one another with a plastic triceratops. Day to day, babies can seem unfeeling and primitive, or at the very least unfathomably bizarre, afraid of donkeys one minute and the moon the next, their prismatic minds beaming nonsense and non sequiturs instead of the secrets of our higher nature. No seasoned parent can believe that nurture doesn’t make a difference, or that nature trumps all. The question is where the balance lies.
“Where morality comes from is a really hard problem,” says Alison Gopnik, a developmental psychologist at the University of California at Berkeley. “There isn’t a moral module that is there innately. But the elements that underpin morality—altruism, sympathy for others, the understanding of other people’s goals—are in place much earlier than we thought, and clearly in place before children turn 2.”
(Read more here)
Think about the metric by which your life will be judged, and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end, your life will be judged a success.
In a HBR article that has makes its rounds on social media, Professor Clayton Christensen gives a speech to the Harvard Business Schools’ graduating class of 2010. While undergraduates are inundated with the ‘necessity’ of success, of joining the rat race, Professor Clayton makes the point that “the choice and successful pursuit of a profession is but one tool for achieving your purpose. But without a purpose, life can become hollow.”
One underlying message was that enduring happiness can only be found from enjoyment of close familial ties and intimate relationships. Of course, ‘only’ being a point-driver.
A worthy 20-minute read as one balances the tension between leading a happy life and a successful one. Perhaps, one needs to merge the meaning of happiness and success.
Read the full article here.
A new research experiment showed something interesting.
At just the moment the magician swaps the position of two cards in her left hand, she looks across deliberately and misleadingly to her right hand and your attention follows. You can’t help it. You see where she’s looking and your attention is sent automatically in the same direction. Magicians have known this power for centuries and now psychologists are confirming and measuring the effect under tightly controlled laboratory conditions. More surprising, perhaps, is their finding that the directing effect of arrows is also impossible to resist.