The 10 Laws of Trust.jpgIn The 10 Laws of Trust, Joel Peterson examines the importance of trust in the corporate world and beyond. He presents 10 easily followed concepts to building, maintaining, and even repairing trust. Peterson differentiates between high- and low-trust organizations and, through case studies and examples, shows that it is the high-trust environment that is the most successful. He asserts that not only does trust work, but it makes for good business.

The image of the take-no-prisoners, exceed-at-any cost, Machiavellian businessman may not represent the best corporate leader. Trust as a basis for business comes naturally for some, and integrity, while a morally comfortable way to do business, might also be the most effective way. The following are the 10 laws of trust in business:

  1. Start with personal integrity. Integrity should be practiced at work and in all other interactions, both personal and professional. True integrity involves syncing words with actions, avoiding hypocrisy, and doing the right thing habitually.
  2. Invest in respect. Leaders must model and freely give respect, which is another component of trust. It builds reciprocity and should be extended to all employees.
  3. Empower others. Respect can mean allowing others the room to make mistakes, which helps them grow and achieve. If employees know that they are free to explore and will still be trusted even if they fail, they will push themselves.
  4. Measure what should be achieved. If employees or others know what is expected from them, then they have a way to measure their achievements. Uncertainty breeds distrust.
  5. Create a common dream. In addition to individual goals, everyone should be aware of the long-range, shared goals of the organization. Knowing that every individual plays a part toward achieving the communal goals promotes trust between team members.
  6. Keep everyone informed. Leaders need to clearly convey information to those working alongside them. Some of the most successful companies are transparent to a fault.
  7. Embrace respectful conflict. Conflict, if encountered in trust, should be viewed as an opportunity for growth. If the aims of the business are paramount, all interaction moves toward the common goal.
  8. Show humility. Humility encourages the free exchange of ideas. Sometimes the best ideas come from those lower on the company ladder. While this fuels innovation, trust is needed for employees to air their ideas and for management to hear them.
  9. Strive for win-win negotiations. Each party should not come to a discussion with an aim to win, but instead see it as an opportunity for both sides to win. A working relationship should be viewed as ongoing, not something to be ended on the battlefield of the conference table.
  10. Proceed with care. Betrayals will likely happen, and when they do, the leader of a high-trust organization should find that its previously built alliances sustain the organization. Rebuilding trust can occur, and it happens more easily when an atmosphere of trust has been well established.

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career-courageKatie C. Kelley was a driven professional living out the dream she carefully constructed as a teenager: to have her own psychotherapy practice in Manhattan. Despite that success, she grew increasingly dissatisfied with her personal and professional life. In Career Courage, Kelley shares the knowledge she gained by transforming her life and finding true satisfaction. Kelley’s key message is that every person has the power to create a fulfilling career and personal life–it just takes time, courage, and careful planning. Each of the book’s chapters is designed to help readers find their true callings, and presents true stories of people who worked hard to make their own dreams come true.

People seeking to transform unfulfilling careers can create more satisfying lives by focusing on 10 keys to success:

  1. Motivation. People find true satisfaction when they figure out what really motivates them, and create a vision for their lives based on that knowledge.
  2. Confidence. Change is scary. Overcoming the fear of change requires self-confidence. Professionals can build up their confidence by exposing themselves to their fears in controlled doses.
  3. Risk. To find true satisfaction, professionals must think like entrepreneurs and take calculated risks. To increase their tolerance for risk, professionals should accept that bold moves are inherently risky, prepare in advance for setbacks, and not take setbacks personally.
  4. Character. Character is an essential ingredient for career success. Influential professionals should cultivate three key character traits: trustworthiness, transparency, and loyalty. These traits enable successful professionals to attract and hold people within their spheres of influence.
  5. Harmony. Harmony reinforces the balance between a successful career and happy home life. To create more harmony in their lives, professionals must learn to say no, delegate responsibility, and set boundaries.
  6. Strategic thinking. Implementing a vision requires careful step-by-step planning. Professionals can use strategic thinking to go from dreaming about changing careers to living lives that make them truly happy.
  7. Community. Most people long for more meaning in their lives, and being part of a community is one of the most effective ways to fill that need. Having a strong network of family, friends, and colleagues provides a powerful sense of belonging.
  8. Influence. The ability to influence people plays a vital role in personal and professional success. Although influencer styles vary, influencing is a skill that professionals should hone–or they will lose opportunities to more influential people.
  9. Fortune. While everyone should have a fulfilling career, short- and long-term financial security is also important. Professionals should keep money and emotions separate and determine what their values are regarding financial success.
  10. Pivots. Critical junctures, or pivot points, occur when professionals must decide whether to change directions or stay the course, such as after being laid off. Successful professionals learn to recognize pivot points and listen to their gut instincts.

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In Smarter Than You Think, tech journalist Clive Thompson argues that digital technology is dramatically changing the ways people think and act. While he is not the first person to make such a claim, Thompson’s perspective on the matter is unique in that he believes these cognitive behavioral changes are largely positive. By investigating some of today’s most cutting-edge innovations and the transformative effects they have on work, relationships, education, and society as a whole, Thompson demonstrates that the rise of intelligent machines should be embraced rather than feared.

According to Thompson:

  • Technology is transforming people’s cognitive behaviors. By providing new ways for people to store memories, collaborate, and communicate, digital technology is upending existing mental habits.
  • The rise of intelligent machines should not be feared. Despite the fear that digital technology will render the human brain obsolete, it is actually making people smarter and society stronger.
  • The more connected people are to one another, the more they can accomplish. By facilitating widespread collaboration, the Internet enables people to tap into the power of collective intelligence and develop innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems.
  • Technology is drastically improving literacy. In addition to creating a culture of avid writers, the Internet has facilitated the rise of data, video, and photo literacies.
  • For technology to create lasting social change, people must fight for their digital rights. Online activists need safe spaces on the Internet to conduct civic discourse.

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ASwipedIn Swiped, Adam Levin warns that while identity theft may not be completely preventable, people can mitigate the dangers through the Three M Strategy: minimizing risk, monitoring their identity, and managing the damage. A nationally recognized expert on identity management, Levin offers practical advice and real-life lessons to individuals and corporations on spotting, thwarting, and recovering from identity theft.

According to Levin:

  • A person should not wait to become a victim. Nearly everyone’s most sensitive data is already accessible, and perhaps already compromised, so identity theft needs to be thought of as a likely scenario–but one that can be handled.
  • Convenience should not outweigh security. A system is only as secure as its weakest link, and the weakest links are generally people, whether through carelessness, ignorance, or deliberate malice.
  • Identity theft cannot be stopped. People should focus on making themselves narrower targets and on establishing recovery plans before anything happens.
  • A cultural change. The world needs change at the enterprise level in how data is stored, but people also need to change how they handle their personal information.
  • Be smart about social media. People should never reveal anything online that they would not share in front of a scam artist, and should always assume the bad guys are listening.
  • Tax ID theft and medical/healthcare-related scams are on the rise. These are easier to conduct than some financial/credit-related scams, and usually carry shorter prison times (if any).
  • Build the possibility of postmortem identity theft into every estate plan. The lag time between death and estate closings makes carefully thought out plans a necessity.

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The Power of 50 BitsPeople’s natural inclinations when making decisions tend to default to patterns that do not help them in the long run. While there is broad agreement among researchers about the science underpinning these tendencies, people need more solutions to help overcome the gap between what they really want to do and what they actually do. In The Power of Fifty Bits, Bob Nease offers a seven-pronged strategy to deal with common decision-making failures. He explains why people struggle with inattention and inertia and demonstrates how simple changes in environment can nudge people toward better overall outcomes.

People typically have good intentions, but they often struggle to act on them. This is because people’s brains have evolved in a way that makes inattention and inertia the two primary obstacles to action. Fifty bits design acknowledges the brain’s natural limitations and addresses them with the following seven strategies:

  1. Require choice: Interrupting a process, usually an existing one, and forcing a person to make a decision before he or she can continue the process.
  2. Lock in good intentions: Making some type of statement–a pledge, a signed document, or automatic reaction–in the present, which increases the chances that people will follow through on good behavior in the future.
  3. Let it ride: Making the desired behavior the default and asking people to opt out of a behavior rather than opt in, thereby using inattention and inertia for good.
  4. Get in the flow: Placing a cue or call to action in a location where people have already devoted their attention.
  5. Reframe the choices: Altering what a cue triggers in people, which directs people’s attention toward some aspects of an issue and away from others.
  6. Piggyback it: Making a behavior typically subject to inertia and/or inattention the side effect of something that people seek out or find pleasurable.
  7. Simplify…wisely: Removing barriers to change or improving fluency (the relative ease with which the brain processes information). Simplification of either type is usually, though not always, a smart design choice.

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Speaking PowerPointVisual communication is the new language of business. When a leader explains an idea clearly, persuasively, and simply, that idea can spread to others. Therefore, leaders who can master visual communication will drive their business strategies. In his book Speaking PowerPoint, Bruce R. Gabrielle outlines the Mindworks Presentation Method for visual communications. This method of creating PowerPoint presentations helps leaders use this tool to communicate more effectively. It focuses on three main strategies: (1) the story should be carefully planned out on a storyboard before the PowerPoint presentation is created; (2) visuals should be easily understood and each slide should promote a single message that ties into the overall argument; and (3) the design should feature color and decorative elements that draw attention to the message.

According to the author:

  • Every business is an idea marketplace in which managers jockey to get their ideas heard and implemented. Used well, PowerPoint can be the key to winning in today’s business environment.
  • When creating a boardroom-style PowerPoint presentation, the first step is to determine the main message of the deck. The best way to figure this out is to ask the question, “What does the audience want?”
  • A successful PowerPoint deck is like an iceberg, with 10 percent above water and the rest submerged below. The main message and three to four supporting points make up the above-water argument. The rest of the evidence and explanations should be kept underwater until necessary.
  • The title is the most important element of a slide. The best way to make the title memorable is to put it in the form of a sentence. Using a full sentence to clearly state an argument also makes it easy for the audience to understand the point of each slide.
  • The average person can only understand four ideas at one time. This Rule of Four is based on neuroscience and should dictate how much information should appear on each slide.
  • Research has shown that most people think in pictures. Adding pictures to a document makes it easier to understand, agree with, and remember.
  • Research has shown that people are more likely to agree with something if it is easy for them to process. Slides that are more visually pleasing are easily digestible and more memorable.

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Digital to the CoreDigital technology is upending entire industries within a very short time, and there is considerably more change to come. In Digital to the Core, Mark Raskino and Graham Waller of Gartner, Inc. demonstrate how leaders today must bring digital to the center of everything they do. The authors examine how digital business will cause greater disruptions and demand more significant business changes than the Internet technology of the past did. Taking digital to the core requires “remastery” of one’s industry, enterprise, and self, and it promises to be the only way leaders can help their organizations both survive and thrive.

Too few companies have acknowledged how radically digital and information technology will disrupt and transform their industries. At each level of business–industry, enterprise, and leader–the following three digital disruptive forces require change and adaptation:

  1. Resolution revolution: Precision in understanding data and in controlling objects, services, and outcomes is increasing exponentially. The ability of sensors, 3D printing, cloud computing, and remotely controlled objects to deliver greater detail and accuracy improves every year and creates a myriad of new business opportunities and challenges.
  2. Compound uncertainty: Digital change upends the mind-sets, organizational structures, and practices that business leaders were once successful with. Uncertainty is compounded by being spread across three key areas: technology, culture, and regulation. Success requires finding a triple tipping point where the three areas are ready to adapt or be revolutionized.
  3. Boundary blurring: The intersection of the physical and digital worlds blurs many boundaries. A company’s core product, its value proposition, its designated industry, its division of responsibility among departments, and more all become blurred by digital business. Digital is no longer a support function controlled by an IT department; it must permeate the whole enterprise.

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