Doodling: A Frivolous or Productive Activity?

200249351-001The Applied Journal of Cognitive Psychology conducted a 2009 study that has shed a new light on the habit of doodling.  As part of the study, researcher Jackie Andrade played a lengthy voicemail to the group of volunteers.  The first group was asked to doodle during the course of the message, while the second group was instructed to simply listen to the recording. Interestingly, the group of doodlers remembered 29% more details than the other group.

City University of New York psychology professor Jesse Prinz claims “doodling isn’t just a distraction from boredom- it may actually keep us from daydreaming and zoning out altogether. Mindless drawing [is]…a way to take all those things that distract you, all those subjects that you ruminate on, and clear them away [to] open this space where information can get in”.

So the next time you find yourself stuck in a long meeting or watching a lengthy informational video, embrace your creative side and doodle away!

Click the link below to be redirected to the original cbs news article on the study:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-higher-purpose-of-doodling/

The below video segment expands upon the above research study and discusses how casual doodling can improve our daily memory and comprehension:

 

Peter Drucker on Encouraging Excellence

Post Capitalist SocietyKennesaw- Peter Drucker emphasized simplicity for decades.  Part of his genius was the ability to take complex problems and break them down into simple observations that can be analyzed.  “A turnaround requires abandoning whatever does not perform and doing more of what does perform”. Post-Capitalist Society

His message to us is to improve effectiveness by concentrating more on what works.  Can’t get much simpler than that.

Encourage excellence by helping others focus on improving their strengths.

Click the link below to be redirected to a video segment of an interview with Drucker on his philosophies:

Using Color Psychology to Improve Your Business

Color PsychologyEnvironmental psychologist Sally Augustin, Ph.D., teaches individuals and businesses how to use color to help them achieve their goals. Whether you’re a supervisor looking to renovate your store, or a manager deciding what color to paint the office, color psychology can help us in our pursuits for success.

According to Augustin, the color of a wall can actually influence the way a person perceives temperature.  For instance, cool colors like blue, green, and light purple have a tendency to make us believe it is colder, while warmer colors such as yellow, red, and orange can cause us to think it is warmer.  Business owners can use this philosophy to their advantage by saving on heating and cooling costs.  If you are based in a colder environment, painting a waiting room a warm color might cause others to think it is a few degrees warmer than it really is.  While you should always keep your thermostat at a reasonable and safe temperature, it may still allow you to keep the temperature a few degrees lower.

The color green has been linked to broader thinking and creativity! I LOVE creative writing, so maybe this is one of the reasons I love this color?  According to Augustin, “There is a positive association between nature and regrowth” when it comes to the color green.  Likewise, Augustin argues that painting a work area green could help your employees be more productive.

Did you know that red sports cost more to insure? Forbes.com contributor Amy Morin writes, “When humans see the color red, their reactions become faster and more forceful”.  Yet, this burst of energy, though powerful, is only momentary and red ultimately reduces our analytic thinking.

University of Rochester psychology professor Andrew Elliot maintains that “athletes are more likely to lose when they compete against an opponent wearing red, and students exposed to red before a test are likely to perform worse”.

Red has long been connected with concentration difficulties and feelings of defeat due to our memories of teachers using red pen to mark up our papers and tests.

While yellow usually isn’t a popular color, research surveys have shown the color blue to be the most preferred color among large groups.  Historically, when our ancestors saw the color blue like a clear blue sky or a watering hole, it was a good sign.  Painting an office building blue, therefore, is “likely to satisfy the majority of the people”.

What colors can you incorporate in your office to encourage excellence in others?

Click the link below to be redirected to the webpage for Sally Augustin’s business, Design with Science:

http://www.designwithscience.com/aboutsally.html

Click the link below to watch a PBS segment on the psychology of color in our business and personal lives:

 

 

Financially Fearless

Financially FearlessAlexa Von Tobel’s recent publication, Financially Fearless, explores the financial philosophy of how to create a realistic budget and take control of your money.  Financially Fearless includes a section of questionnaires geared to filter through common misconceptions about planning a budget.  Many of Von Tobel’s readers have greatly benefited from the financial tools that come with the book, such as budget worksheets and income calculation guides.

As the CEO of LearnVest, Inc., Von Tobel’s mission is to inform and educate financial literacy to not just white collar workers, but to anyone who has ever lived under a budget. When LearnVest was launched in 2009, it did just that by offering financial advice through certified financial planners, along with a multitude of resources from experts.

Click the link below for direct access to Von Tobel’s website:

http://www.learnvest.com/author/alexa/

Click below to be redirected to a video segment of an interview with Von Tobel, where she discusses her career and the motivations behind Financially Fearless. Enjoy this resource and remember to encourage excellence today:

Eric Lusk Awarded as this Year’s Scholarship Winner

Eric Lusk photoBy: Suzanne Ostrander

Congratulations to Eric Lusk, this year’s Foxwerthe Consulting scholarship recipient! Eric is a student at Toccoa Falls College, a Christian-centered school in the Northeast mountains.

Eric has proven himself as an exemplary student, as he has managed to excel in both academics and athletics as a full-time student and baseball player at Toccoa Falls.

When asked what it means to be a scholar, servant, and a steward, Eric has referenced his ability to rely on his education, which has taught him that learning is “a lifetime concept”.

From Kindergarten through the twelfth grade, Eric has reaped the benefits of being exposed to an ongoing study of the Bible as part of his curriculum.  As a young child, Eric watched his family teach Sunday School until he eventually started helping them teach a class of first grade students.

Eric has been blessed to be a blessing to others, as he has served on two different mission trips at Cumberland Christian Academy.  In Denver, he worked throughout the homeless shelters to assist those living in poverty.  Eric also served as a missionary in Barbados, where he “performed dramas and puppet shows to demonstrate the Gospel to children in schools”.

As a steward, Eric has credited all of the ways the Lord has entrusted him with his “time, talents, and treasures”.  While Eric notes that he is still in the process of learning about his unique spiritual gifts, he has recognized that essentially all believers in Jesus Christ are instrumental in His ministry.  Every believer, regardless of his or her age or ranking in the church, serves as a steward to the kingdom of Heaven.  One of the most important lessons to us as followers of Christ is that our talents have nothing to do with us; it is God alone who has awarded us these gifts.  I believe that Eric has done a marvelous job in using his resources to glorify God.

Congratulations to Eric in his academic, athletic, and missionary pursuits.  As a follower of Christ, I am inspired by this young gentleman and know that we will hear great things from him.  I would also like to recognize his family for raising an outstanding young man with such a bright future!

Congratulations again to the Lusk family and Merry Christmas to all of our readers out there!

Ethical Interviewing: From the Other Side of the Table

By: Suzanne Ostrander

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In corporate America, it seems like we are constantly hearing about how to ace an interview, from tips on what to wear to final resume edits.  We are taught the proper questions to ask, and the customary behaviors for following up.

What about the other side of the equation, though?  It’s not unreasonable to assume that many employees outside of the HR department will be involved in the interviewing process. Members of a job applicant’s potential department need to meet and have the opportunity to interact with a candidate, in order to make a well informed decision from the company’s standpoint.

So, where do we draw the line when it comes to how much we allow non-HR employees to get involved in the interviewing process?

It’s wise to remember that HR personnel have been trained on the ethics of holding interviews.  Not only is it immoral to make “false promises” to a job candidate, but it is extremely unprofessional. Unfortunately though, interviewers are giving exactly this type of false hope to applicants all of the time.  Perhaps it starts out innocently.  The interviewer may be completely convinced that a candidate has a position “in the bag” so he gives a verbal promise to the hopeful candidate.

What happens next?  Oops, the interviewer that made these promises didn’t realize that there was a new mandatory test or additional qualification that must be met. Suddenly, the same candidate does not appear to shine as brightly.  Or, it could be that the very last candidate blew everybody away in the interview and he gets the job instead.

If a non-HR employee becomes involved in the interviewing process, it is imperative for he or she to refrain from making a “job promise”.  It’s one thing to have a good feeling about a potential fit, but it should be left at that.

Another possible solution would be for companies to hold periodic recruitment training for all HR and non-HR employees involved in interviews.  It can take years to build a good company reputation, but just moments to destroy it.  If we aren’t careful, we could be sending the wrong message to the people who walk into our doors.

Aside from the ethical issue, I tend to cling to the “golden rule” when it comes to interviewing: Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

Let’s face it, we’ve all been on the other side of the table before.  At one point, even the biggest business executive, manager, or CEO was just a young intern or new college graduate applying for an entry level position.  It’s not just the young ones we should be kind to.  What about those looking for a career shift or the people between jobs doing everything they can to find a position to pay the bills?

Regardless of the reason for their job search, no candidate wants to be promised a job one day and then login to Linkedin the next day to read about the person who received the job.  Sure, you could probably get away with doing it, but just remember- at one time, that person was you.

Let’s try and remember to treat others as kindly and professionally as possible when it comes to holding interviews, as well as our interactions in everyday life.  If we are ever tempted to act otherwise, or if we forget, remember Galatians 6 verse 7: “Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. We reap what we sow”.

In other words, God sees everything, and he knows our hearts.  Even though good deeds come back to us, those who truly love the Lord treat others with kindness because it’s in their nature. Our love for God should be our motivation, not the reward.  What’s even better is that when we put God first and focus less on ourselves, God’s blessings seem to be even more abundant.

I hope you are blessed by this message and, as always, I urge you to encourage excellence in your everyday lives!

To read more about the ethics of interviewing, click the link below:

http://mediacareers.about.com/od/gettingthejob/a/Ethics.htm

LEADERSHIP defined

leadership
My best friend, Jim Schimpf, struck up a conversation with a gentleman on a plane from Dallas (I think the gentleman’s name was Tom Sloan), who gave an acrostic on what Leadership is. Take a moment and think through what leadership means to you:

  • Listens – a leader listens intently and asks good questions
  • Ethical – a leader is ethical in all his/her activities and actions in personal and professional environments.
  • Analytical – a leader analyzes details to better understand the situation
  • Driven – a leader is driven to be excellent
  • Energy – a leader has energy and enthusiasm, sometimes known as charisma
  • Responsibility – a leader doesn’t hide behind others but takes responsibility
  • Shares – a leader will share success with others and deflect accolades to the team while serving the needs of his teammates.

Here is quick 2 min video that helps explain leadership and I hope that you continue to reach for your dreams.

Encourage Excellence,

Bryan