Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Thursday, June 23, 2022
|Source: Three Teachers Talk|
My dissertation adviser and mentor, David Garvin, used to love to quote Dr. Peter Carruthers of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Carruthers once said,
“There’s a special tension to people who are constantly in the position of making new knowledge. You’re always out of equilibrium. When I was young, I was deeply troubled by this. Finally, I realized that if I understood too clearly what I was doing, where I was going, then I probably wasn’t working on anything very interesting.”
The quote came to mind when I read about a new set of studies by Kaitlin Woolley and Ayelet Fishbach. Kasandra Brabaw recently wrote about the research for the University of Chicago's Booth Review. The scholars examined whether discomfort could be a motivating force for people or an impediment to learning and performance. The authors conducted a series of experiments (both in the field and online). They encouraged some of the research subjects to "seek out discomfort and take it as a measure of progress toward their goal." Their findings demonstrated that being encouraged to seek discomfort increased motivation to take on emotionally challenging tasks. Why? People tended to reappraise discomfort as a positive cue, as a sign that they were making progress and learning something valuable. In some of their experiments, the scholars showed that you don't have to even tell people that discomfort should be seen as a sign of progress; they tend to come to that conclusion on their own in certain circumstances.
At the end of the feature about this research, Brabaw summarizes the key lessons, with a word of caution as well. She writes,
"Woolley and Fishbach make sure to point out the danger of taking it too far. Just like sharp and unexpected pain can be a cue to stop exercising, emotional pain can be a signal to take care with your mental health, they write. But taken cautiously, adopting a “no pain, no gain” mentality when you know something will make you feel awkward, sad, scared, or uncomfortable can boost your motivation to stick with it."
Thursday, June 16, 2022
How should think about the power we may possess (or lack)? In this interview, Casciaro explains:
Power comes from control over valued resources. You have power if you have something that the other person or group needs or wants and if they have few alternatives to you to get it, such that you control their access to that valued resource. So in any power relationship, you want to ask: “What is it that people want?” Because if you understand that, you are well equipped to try to deliver it. And “Who controls access to it?” Because if you figure that out, you can create some dependency so that people need you to get a desired resource.
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
Thursday, June 09, 2022
There is a clear right and wrong with most things in my clinical field. Sure. You know, leadership is very, very different from that. I rarely find myself do I get it right the first time. And I depend upon the feedback of others. And the thing is if, unless this is, you know, a critically important time sensitive decision, and we were faced with many of those during COVID, in those cases, you do the best you can and, and you recalibrate very quickly. In cases that are not as acute as they have been during COVID, you can put up a straw person, you can float an idea, you can express your opinion in your belief about this is the way we think we should go. And some of that will be embraced, some of it won’t, but if you take the feedback. It’s not gonna affect your credibility as a leader.
Wednesday, June 01, 2022
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Julie Johnsson wrote a story for Bloomberg this week about the attempted cultural transformation at Boeing. The company has faced an uphill struggle trying to address safety deficiencies in the aftermath of the 737 MAX crashes and production troubles with its best-selling Dreamliner. As many have documented (including in my case study about the 737 MAX), Boeing seemed to be characterized by an enviroment of low psychological safety in which engineers were reluctant to speak up about safety concerns. The article focuses on efforts led by Chief Aerospace Safety Officer Michael Delaney to transform the culture and improve problem detection in the manufacturing and engineering operations at the firm. Here's an excerpt from Johnsson's story:
This point about the data is very important for any organization on a journey to improve quality and detect problems or errors more effectively. Remember that improving pscyhological safety is often a key element of a program aimed at improving product/service quality. In the early stages of a successful effort to enhance psychological safety, reports will (and often should) show MORE reports of incidents or problems, not fewer. At first, these data may seem alarming. Could quality or safety actually be getting worse? Actually, the rise in reported incidents typically means people are becoming more comfortable speaking up and sharing their concerns. A failure to see a rise in reported incidents would be concerning, as it would indicate that perhaps people are still reluctant to come forward with bad news. Naturally, you need to examine other metrics to be sure that the rise in reported incidents does not represent a serious deterioration in your operations. Hopefully, some additional research will reveal that incident reporting is being driven by higher levels of psychological safety.