Would you rather be Right or Happy?

When you argue and win, your brain floods with different hormones: adrenaline and dopamine, which makes you feel good, dominant, even invincible. It’s a the feeling any of us would want to replicate. So the next time we’re in a tense situation, we fight again. We get addicted to being right.

lionHenpeckedI’ve coached dozens of incredibly successful leaders who suffer from this addiction. They are extremely good at fighting for their point of view (which is indeed often right) yet they are completely unaware of the dampening impact that behavior has on the people around them. If one person is getting high off his or her dominance, others are being drummed into submission, experiencing the fight, flight, freeze or appease response I described before, which diminishes their collaborative impulses.

Luckily, there’s another hormone that can feel just as good as adrenaline: oxytocin. It’s activated by human connection and it opens up the networks in our executive brain, or prefrontal cortex, further increasing our ability to trust and open ourselves to sharing. Your goal as a leader should be to spur the production of oxytocin in yourself and others, while avoiding (at least in the context of communication) those spikes of cortisol and adrenaline.

Continue reading “Would you rather be Right or Happy?”

Europe Most Generous, Asia Stingiest For Paid Days Off

  • Workers in UK and Poland have most generous statutory employee holiday entitlements
  • Employees in the USA, Canada, Philippines, China and Thailand have the least generous
  • Colombia has greatest number of public holidays; Mexico the least
  • UK employees have access to a highest amount of potential holiday (36 days per year) but in reality fare worse than other European employees

According to Mercer Consulting, holiday entitlement is often more complex since actual holiday provisions often depends on company contracts and the number and treatment of public holidays. In the UK, for example, employees are entitled to 28 days holiday. With the UK also holding 8 public holidays each year, this suggests that employees in the UK could be on holiday for 36 days, or 10%, of each year. This would be one of the highest entitlements of all 62 countries. The reality is that companies are allowed to include the 8 public holidays as part of the 28 day entitlement so UK employees actually have fewer days’ holidays than their peers in the rest of Europe where, in general, the practice is for European employees to take public holidays in addition to their statutory entitlement. Employees in the Asia-Pac region have comparatively low levels of statutory entitlement but public holidays are taken in addition to this rather than as part of it. However, the levels of holiday entitlement in Asia-Pac are still below those of Western Europe.     Employee holiday entitlements around the world.

Korean Virtual Subway Grocery Store

It’s the future in South Korea now: people don’t even have to go to grocery stores there any more. Tesco installed virtual grocery stores in subway stations, which are basically giant photos of grocery store aisles. Customers can then take photos of the food they want to purchase and have it delivered to their homes later. But what if your train comes while you’re still shopping? That is the kind of problem we’ll all have in the future. Here’s a video: Thanks to Marty Acevedo

via The Future : Eater National.

Decline of Snail Mail Killing U.S. Postal Service

The USPS has 571,566 full-time workers, making it the country’s second-largest civilian employer after Wal-Mart Stores (WMT). It has 31,871 post offices, more than the combined domestic retail outlets of Wal-Mart, Starbucks (SBUX), and McDonald’s (MCD). Last year its revenues were $67 billion, and its expenses were even greater. Postal service executives proudly note that if it were a private company, it would be No. 29 on the Fortune 500.

The problems of the USPS are just as big. It relies on first-class mail to fund most of its operations, but first-class mail volume is steadily declining—in 2005 it fell below junk mail for the first time. This was a significant milestone. The USPS needs three pieces of junk mail to replace the profit of a vanished stamp-bearing letter.

During the real estate boom, a surge in junk mail papered over the unraveling of the postal service’s longtime business plan. Banks flooded mailboxes with subprime mortgage offers and credit-card come-ons. Then came the recession. Total mail volume plunged 20 percent from 2006 to 2010. Continue reading “Decline of Snail Mail Killing U.S. Postal Service”

Billion Dollar Baseball Teams

The remarkable valuation was apparently placed on the Red Sox — and their cable arm, New England Sports Network — in a transaction earlier this year.

A $9.1 million profit on a $5 million purchase implies a $14.1 million sale. The shares sold amounted to 1.2% of the Sox. By that math, the total value of the club would be $1.2 billion.

The Yankees will surely be worth even more than this if George Steinbrenner’s heirs decide to sell. Forbes magazine puts the value of the Yankees at $1.6 billion. Click on the link below to see how they came up with these numbers.

via How the Red Sox beat the Yankees to a billion Brett Arends’ ROI – MarketWatch.

Management Secrets of the Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead Archive, scheduled to open soon at the University of California at Santa Cruz, will be a mecca for academics of all stripes: from ethno­musicologists to philosophers, sociologists to historians. But the biggest beneficiaries may prove to be business scholars and management theorists, who are discovering that the Dead were visionary geniuses in the way they created “customer value,” promoted social networking, and did strategic business planning.

via Management Secrets of the Grateful Dead – The Atlantic (March 2010).

Chef Of The Mac

0914_mcdonaldsCoudreaut, or Chef Dan as he’s called within McDonald’s, has navigated pretty well within his straits. Since hired on in 2004, he has led the creation of the Snack Wrap, the latest iterations of McDonald’s chicken-topped salad entree, the Fruit and Walnut Salad, McCafé espresso-based coffees, and, most recently, the 1/3-lb. Angus burger. (He has blown it, too. McDonald’s dropped the too-adventurous Hot ‘n’ Spicy McChicken sandwich in 2007 after just six months on the market and disappointing sales.)

The stream of new products is paying off. While restaurant sales have been sinking industrywide since the recession hit in 2007, McDonald’s quarterly same-store sales have continued to climb. The string, which began in 2003, continues into the third quarter, with a 1.7% increase in the U.S. in August and 2.6% in July. CEO James A. Skinner credited the gains to premium coffees and the Angus burger.

via The Challenges for McDonald’s Top Chef – BusinessWeek. Continue reading “Chef Of The Mac”

How Food TV Feeds Our Fast-Food Culture

The Food Network can now be seen in nearly 100 million American homes and on most nights commands more viewers than any of the cable news channels. Today the average American spends a mere 27 minutes a day on food preparation (another four minutes cleaning up); that’s less than half the time that we spent cooking and cleaning up when Julia arrived on our television screens. (Currently the most popular meal in America, at both lunch and dinner, is a sandwich; the No. 1 accompanying beverage is a soda.)

Julia Child on PBS 1963/Paul Child/Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard Universit

When we let corporations do the cooking, they’re bound to go heavy on sugar, fat and salt; these are three tastes we’re hard-wired to like, which happen to be dirt cheap to add and do a good job masking the shortcomings of processed food. And if you make special-occasion foods cheap and easy enough to eat every day, we will eat them every day. The French fry did not become the most popular “vegetable” in America until industry relieved us of the considerable effort needed to prepare French fries ourselves. The time and work involved in cooking, as well as the delay in gratification built into the process, served as an important check on our appetite. Now that check is gone, and we’re struggling to deal with the consequences.

Read the whole article here Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch – NYTimes.com.