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Monthly Archives

April 2015

Small Actions With BIG Impact

By | Civil & Healthy Workplaces | No Comments

When I deliver keynotes or training programs, I often tell people to start small. Just doing little tiny actions, that seem ever so small, can really make a big impact on organizational culture. So I loved it when a friend sent me this video!

It’s all about Josh Yandt, who was bullied at high school. Out of ideas on how to stop it, he and his mother decided to move so he could attend a new school. Now with a fresh start Josh decided to change his path and hold the door open for fellow students. Morning after morning he greeted strangers as they walked through the door, and while the students thought it odd at first, after awhile they began to appreciate his gesture, learned his name, and greeted him back.

Then something interesting happened – the school’s culture changed. Students reported that they looked forward to Josh’s pleasant greeting and they noticed more kindness overall around campus. Josh’s small action impacted the entire school.

Here’s the video – check it out.

Still not convinced small actions can have a big impact?

In another example of how small actions can work wonders, a few researchers decided to determine if a small gesture of kindness could impact employee performance at work. They gave several test groups a piece of candy before they sent the groups off to solve a word problem. Several control groups were asked to solve the same problem, but received no candy.

Over and over again, the groups who received the piece of candy talked more openly, were more innovative in finding a resolution, had less conflict, and solved the word problem faster than the control groups who received nothing. In fact, the groups who received a piece of candy often got up and offered to assist the groups who hadn’t finished solving the problem yet.

Another small gesture with a big impact.

Are you “overassertive?”

By | Civil & Healthy Workplaces | No Comments

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Columbia business professor Daniel Ames and doctoral candidate Abby Wazlawek wanted to determine if people could gauge their own assertiveness.

Negotiators in the study were asked at the end of a negotiating session whether they had been overassertive, underassertive or just right in their assertiveness. They were also asked to judge the assertiveness of others.

When it comes to being overassertive, only 36 percent of negotiators who were judged as overassertive by the group thought they were indeed overassertive. Similarly, 34 percent of negotiators judge as underassertive thought they were indeed underassertive. In other words, in both cases approximately 65 percent of people judged themselves differently than they were perceived by others.

Another unpublished study found that only 11 percent of those deemed overassertive heard about it from colleagues, compared to 39 percent of underassertive people who were told of the trait by colleagues.

What does this mean? In communication we call it “perception checking.” Perception checking means taking the time to determine if your perceptions are correct or not. In this instance, you might ask others how you do as a negotiator and let them tell you. However, if you’re overassertive they may not feel comfortable telling you. To that end, another option is to try doing some anonymous 360 degree feedback. If you do that, however, you have to be ready to make real change in your behavior.