Saturday, 27 April 2013
Thursday, 18 April 2013
Sunday, 14 April 2013
Friday, 12 April 2013
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
It is now much more memorable and we have different cues and levels of processing to assist recall. Next time we meet ‘JS’ ‘Just Super’ nice John, we won’t be stuck for a name or get caught trying to read his name badge. This might be why nick names tend to stick and are easily remembered.
Monday, 8 April 2013
Research by Pham and Taylor at the University of California, suggests however that visualizing needs to involve the process of achieving your goal, not just the outcome. In other words, you visualize your run up to the ball, feet position, momentum, the contact with the ball, the release of the strike on the ball. Just visualizing the ball going between the posts is not enough.
Thinking about the process, in detail and ‘experiencing’ it via visualization helps us to focus the mind on potential problems, what needs to be right, what can go wrong and how to overcome any problems.
Just visualizing the outcome lets us prone to the ‘Planning Fallacy’ This is a cognitive error which affects most of us, regardless of experience. We continually fail to anticipate just how much of any plan can and will go wrong. We are hardwired to think everything will be much easier than it really will be.
In the research cited, students were asked to either visualize their ultimate goal of doing well in an exam or the steps they would take to reach that goal, i.e. studying.
The results were clear-cut. Participants who visualized themselves reading and gaining the required skills and knowledge, spent longer actually studying and got better grades in the exam.
Just imagining reaching a goal may be worse than ineffective, it may reduce our performance. In the study by Pham and Taylor, participants who just envisioned a successful outcome studied less and actually had reduced motivation.
So for visualization, like the song goes, “it ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it”.
Saturday, 6 April 2013
Different descriptions, allow us to think about it in different ways, we then end up with different perspectives and this increases the potential sources of a solution.
You could get different members of your team to each describe the problem in their own way or from their perspective. The differing descriptions could show up different avenues for a solution or work around. For example, a server or web site starts to run slow. The techies will have something to say about load balancing, VMware etc, the Customer Service Manager will have the end users in mind, the Sales Manager might consider it a PR / Sales problem.
Each perspective expands the problem but also expands the mitigating tasks you can employ e.g. contact all users and let them know there is a problem but you are working on it. This will reduce the inbound support calls. This frees up the techies to fix the issue and not get pulled into reactive inbound support calls. The Sales Manger contacts key clients with updates from the techies. When it is fixed, users can be contacted with the good news and the episode used as an example of how well your support works.
Put it another way. When you start solving a problem, you normally have a fairly specific description of what is wrong. You think about the problem in terms of how it presents itself. If you are trying to fix your car when it won’t start in the morning, you think about the battery, fuel, the starter, plugs or alternator.
When you describe your problem as being something other than, ‘How do I start the car?’, e.g. ‘How do I get to work?’, ‘How do I get someone to cover for me if I can’t get in?’, 'who can fix my car?' your thinking gets a little more abstract.
You now think about not having transport, not being able to keep to a schedule. As the details change, it leads to new insights and potential solutions. You might decide to call a mechanic, call work and put on your ‘out of office’ or work from home for a few hours.
That might be a better solution than dissecting your engine and figuring out if the spark plugs or starter is bust. You will still be late for work and may only have swapped one problem for another.
Monday, 1 April 2013
Heading back to work after the bank holiday. Does last weekend seem like ages ago, and work deadlines this week scarily close?
The Past feels psychologically further away than the Future. Recent research by Caruso et al (2013) showed that Valentine's Day will feel closer in time one week beforehand than one week after. This has been dubbed the ‘temporal Doppler effect’.
Caruso had a scale from 1 to 7 (1 is close in time, 7 being distant in time). Participants rated an upcoming Valentine's Day an average of 3.9 when it was one week in the future, but an average of 4.8 when it was one week in the past.
This could be a good thing. We appear to be future orientated. This may even be adaptive as it is useful in helping us plan, we are more concerned about (perceptively closer) future events. It may help us move on from past mistakes (‘that was ages ago’ type of feeling). It allows us to focus on and meet deadlines we think are imminent.
There could also be a downside however, as we tend to forget the past, repeat mistakes and focus on ‘getting it right next time’. Either way, as long as we know that we are prone to this way of thinking we can factor it in.