Monthly Archives: August 2013

When Not Everyone Agrees With You

The workplace can be a stressful environment, especially when people must work together to find solutions to urgent and complex problems.  Inevitably, not everyone in the workplace agrees with one another, and it can be difficult to propose new ideas when they carry the possibility of catalyzing disagreement and conflict.  It’s important to continue contributing new ideas even though not everyone may agree with you.  In addition, it’s equally important to know when to graciously defend your ideas, and when to allow for the possibility that you could be wrong.

Being wrong feels like being right.  In the workplace, and in life, it’s essential to keep in mind that being wrong can feel exactly like being right.  Kathryn Schulz explored this idea in a recent TED talk, in which she points out that there’s nothing that feels inherently different about being wrong compared to being right.  Thus, it’s necessary to accept that an idea that feels completely on-target could still potentially benefit from improvement.

What don’t others agree with, and why?  After accepting that not all of our ideas are right, or are the best solution to a particular problem, it’s important to take a moment to ask what it is that others don’t agree with.  Seeing our ideas from another person’s point of view can help us think critically and objectively about our ideas in order to determine whether we should continue to defend them, or whether we should let them go.

Ask for specific alternate solutions.  If somebody has spoken up in order to disagree with your idea, he or she should be prepared to offer an alternative solution.  It’s easy for others to criticize, but if they do so they should be able to back up their own ideas.  For example, ask those who disagree to tell you which solutions they think would be better suited to solve a particular problem.

To learn more about achieving success and improving your workplace environment, please visit our website or blog for a variety of articles.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us!

Are you Curious?

4 Reasons Why Curiosity is Important and How to Develop It

Curiosity is an important trait of a genius. I don’t think you can find an intellectual giant who is not a curious person. Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, they are all curious characters. Richard Feynman was especially known for his adventures which came from his curiosity.

2013 is a new year. A new time for all of us to discover what makes each of us unique and wonderful and how we pull that back into the universe.

In the Wine Industry, curiosity is the mainstay of our existence. Ask any Winemaker, if it wasn’t for curiosity wine would not be what it was is today. With the shrinking of the individual family wineries and the drive to recreate over and over again the same wine flavor profiles we may be losing what makes us special on many levels.  Not allowing ourselves to take the time to allow curiosity and discovery to take over we will lose what makes us special.

When looking at yourself or your team or your company…ask yourself, “Are you curious?”

If you discover that you have been in the weeds and lost your way to curious behavior..I have listed a few ways to take it back.

But why is curiosity so important? Here are four reasons:

  1. It makes your mind active instead of passive Curious people always ask questions and search for answers in their minds. Their minds are always active. Since the mind is like a muscle which becomes stronger through continual exercise, the mental exercise caused by curiosity makes your mind stronger and stronger.
  2. It makes your mind observant of new ideas When you are curious about something, your mind expects and anticipates new ideas related to it. When the ideas come they will soon be recognized. Without curiosity, the ideas may pass right in front of you and yet you miss them because your mind is not prepared to recognize them. Just think, how many great ideas may have lost due to lack of curiosity?
  3. It opens up new worlds and possibilities By being curious you will be able to see new worlds and possibilities which are normally not visible. They are hidden behind the surface of normal life, and it takes a curious mind to look beneath the surface and discover these new worlds and possibilities.
  4. It brings excitement into your life The life of curious people is far from boring. It’s neither dull nor routine. There are always new things that attract their attention, there are always new ‘toys’ to play with. Instead of being bored, curious people have an adventurous life.

Now, knowing the importance of curiosity, here are some tips to develop it:

1. Keep an open mind

This is essential if you are to have a curious mind. Be open to learn, unlearn, and relearn. Some things you know and believe might be wrong, and you should be prepared to accept this possibility and change your mind.

2. Don’t take things as granted

If you just accept the world as it is without trying to dig deeper, you will certainly lose the ‘holy curiosity’. Never take things as granted. Try to dig deeper beneath the surface of what is around you.

3. Ask questions relentlessly

A sure way to dig deeper beneath the surface is asking questions: What is that? Why is it made that way?When was it made? Who invented it? Where does it come from? How does it work? What, why, when, who, where, and how are the best friends of curious people.

4. Don’t label something as boring

Whenever you label something as boring, you close one more door of possibilities. Curious people are unlikely to call something as boring. Instead, they always see it as a door to an exciting new world. Even if they don’t yet have time to explore it, they will leave the door open to be visited another time.

5. See learning as something fun

If you see learning as a burden, there’s no way you will want to dig deeper into anything. That will just make the burden heavier. But if you think of learning as something fun, you will naturally want to dig deeper. So look at life through the glasses of fun and excitement and enjoy the learning process..

6. Read diverse kinds of reading

Don’t spend too much time on just one world; take a look at another worlds. It will introduce you to the possibilities and excitement of the other worlds which may spark your interest to explore them further. One easy way to do this is through reading diverse kinds of reading. Try to pick a book or magazine on a new subject and let it feed your mind with the excitement of a new world.

Ok, now that you have had good read about curiosity, if you are curious about the Benchmark process – please give us call 707 933 1500 or shoot us an email.  We would be delighted to connect with you.

 

The Age Equation in Employment Numbers

The Age Equation in Employment Numbers

By DAVID LEONHARDT-NYTimes

The rosiest take on the jobs report is that the aging of the country’s population has made the employment statistics look worse than they really are.

That rosy take, in brief, goes like this: Yes, the percentage of Americans with jobs may not have risen much in the last couple of years. But the unemployment rate has fallen substantially during that time, and the unemployment rate is a better measure of the health of the labor market because its calculation excludes people who have stopped looking for work. With more people aging into retirement – the leading-edge baby boomers are now in their late 60s – it’s perfectly natural for more people to have stopped looking for work. The fact that the percentage of adults with jobs has held steady, rather than declined, is a sign that the economy is getting healthier.

To figure out whether this take is basically correct (and whether those of us emphasizing the lack of increase in the employment-population ratio have been too downbeat), you can look at the employment-population ratio for people 25 to 54 years old. They are in the prime of their working lives, old enough to have graduated from high school or college and young enough not to be retired.

Not surprisingly, a larger share of this group is employed than is the case for the overall population:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, via Haver Analytics

And the trend in the overall employment-population ratio does make the job market look a little bit worse than it truly is. As you can see in the chart below, the ratio for people between 25 and 54 has not dropped as much as the overall ratio since the downturn began in late 2007:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, via Haver Analytics

Yet it’s hard to take too much comfort in this chart. The percentage of prime-age Americans with jobs fell sharply during the 2007-9 downturn. It did not budge from 2009 through mid-2011, before rising somewhat in late 2011. In the last year and a half, it has not risen much further.

The fairest conclusion seems to be that the economy really is weaker than the declining unemployment rate suggests. The aging of society should indeed change the way we think about jobs numbers – causing us to look more brightly on a gain of, say, 150,000 jobs and an unchanged employment-population ratio than we would have a decade or two ago. But the aging of the country isn’t the main story. The economy’s continued weakness is