What It Takes to Avoid Derailing Your Career

The correct answer to this week’s quiz is all of the above, A through C. It’s a trick question because advancing as well as protecting one’s career is a tricky proposition. It’s tempting to say A, competency, is the single most important quality to possess. After all, what’s more fundamental than can you do the job well? And yet, as a university department chair said to me in an interview years ago: “We know you’ll publish and be good in the classroom. What we want to know is can we stand to go to lunch with you for the next 20 or more years?” So in lots of ways, B, compatibility, can you get along with others, proves more decisive in one’s career. Finally, don’t underestimate option C, commitment. Sure, on day one you want to do the job well and get along with others. After three to five years into the job, however, when you’ve been disappointed by sundry developments within your department, can you still summon the energy to care? It’s hard to fake being excited to be there. They give Oscars in Hollywood for playing a role, but you may not be an A-list actor day in and day out.

Released today: episode #62 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Gorick Ng discussing The Unspoken Rules: Secrets to Starting Your Career Off Right. Click here to get to the new episode. 

Gorick Ng is a career adviser at Harvard College. He’s also managed new employees at the Boston Consulting Group, worked in investment banking at Credit Suisse, and been a researcher with the Managing the Future of Work project at Harvard Business School. Gorick’s book has been featured on “The Today Show,” CNBC, and in the New York TimesWall Street Journal, and Fast Company

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Catch 23: Anxiety about Anxiety at Work

An image of this question: As of July, 2020, what percentage of Americans feared for their job security? The possible answers are 40%, 60% or 80%. What’s your guess?

The correct answer to this week’s quiz is option B. Nor is that the last of the eye-opening statistics contained in the new book by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. Workplace anxiety is estimated to cost America $40 billion a year in lost productivity, errors, and health-care costs. Add in stress in general and that number climbs to over $300 billion. What percentage of millennials have quit a job for mental health reasons? The answer is estimated to be over 50%. For Gen Z, the estimate is 75%. Finally, here’s the kicker. In a situation reminiscent of Joseph Heller’s famous, satirical novel about World War Two, Catch-22, 90% of employed adults report that they would be anxious about reporting their on-the-job anxiety to their bosses. In other words, welcome to the bureaucratic absurdity Heller’s characters encounter on a daily basis: “a problem for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem” itself. A boss causing stress becomes the choke point for resolving that stress.

Released today: episode #61 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Chester Elton discussing Anxiety at Work. Click on https://newbooksnetwork.com/category/special-series/dan-hills-eq-spotlight to get to the new episode. 

Image of Authors Chester Elton and Adrian Gostick and the cover of their new book "Anxiety at Work Eight Strategies to Help Teams Build Resilience, Handle Uncertainty and Get Stuff Done. for Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight on the New Books Network.

Adrian Gostick is ranked among the top ten global gurus in leadership and organizational culture. Chester Elton is ranked number two among organizational culture experts around the world and among the top ten in leadership and it shows in my interview in which he’s an exceptionally gracious guest.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Sensitive Strivers, Incorporated

An image of this question: There are five personality traits that belong to the Big-5 Model. Three are shown here: conscientiousness, neuroticism, and agreeableness. Which two of these three traits might best describe somebody who’s a Sensitive Striver? What’s your guess?

The correct answer to this week’s quiz is answers A and C, though B is hardly out of the question. That conclusion comes courtesy of Melody Wilding, a self-described Sensitive Striver. What characterizes this type of person in Wilding’s estimation? Sensitive Strivers tend to be sensitive obviously; also thoughtful, responsible, vigilant and full of inner drive. They’re committed and kind-hearted, hence conscientious about the details and eager to get along with others. Their tendency to be “over-everything” can get them into trouble. In other words, they’re perfectionists who get burdened with more work than they or anybody could readily handle. Stress results. To overcome what Wilding calls the Honor Roll Hangover and subsequent burn-out, she suggests cutting your to-do list by 70%. A safer route is to ditch an all-or-nothing approach for something more modulated and realistic. If you can do that and keep your job, another way others might describe you is a Miracle Worker!

Released today: episode #60 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Wilding discussing her book Trust Yourself. Click on https://newbooksnetwork.com/category/special-series/dan-hills-eq-spotlight to get to the new episode. 

An image of the author Melody Wilding and her new book "Trust Yourself: Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions for Success at Work" for Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight podcast episode 60.

Melody Wilding has been named one of Business Insider’s “Most Innovative Coaches” with clients across a range of Fortune 500 companies. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, Fast Company, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. She received her master’s degree in social work from Columbia University. 

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Getting Some Love (and Money, Too)

Image with the Question: What number of powerpoint slides should entrepreneurs use in pitching their start-up company to venture capitalists? The choices are 5 slides, 15 slides or 25 slides. What’s your guess?

The correct answer to this week’s quiz is 15 slides, following the title slide. That number comes courtesy of Debi Kleiman, who’s seen it all; she’s witnessed over 1,000 pitches by the entrepreneurs of start-up companies based on her own business world experiences. Having been the Executive Director of the center for entrepreneurship at Babson College, the nation’s #1 school for entrepreneurship, Kleiman developed a pitch deck formula she calls the 4-H Framework: Headline, Heart, Head and Hope. A good pitch hits all four bases, and the pitch might be a home run if delivered well. Sadly, the odds don’t favor females, who receive a measly 2% of all venture funding despite owning 38% of all the businesses in America. No wonder Silicon Valley has also been called the Uncanny Valley, a reference to what it feels like to have to interact with uncaring robots!

Released today: episode #59 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Kleiman discussing her book First Pitch. Click on https://newbooksnetwork.com/category/special-series/dan-hills-eq-spotlight to get to the new episode. 

Debi Kleiman is now the managing partner of The Upside Angels, investing in early-stage startups and providing strategic advisory services to founders. After her BS from Cornell University and her MBA from Harvard University, worked at Coca-Cola, Welch’s, Procter & Gamble, and Babson College before launching her own firm.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Is It Time to Retire the Saying “Bully for You”?

Given the difference between bias and prejudice, what’s the best counter-response to prejudice. Is it an “I” statement, an “It” statement or a “You” statement?

First, let’s clarify that prejudice is a consciously-held bias against others based on gender, race, religion, or other factors. As for our little quiz, “I” statements may work best in responding to people not even aware that they have a bias problem. The reason is that telling these people how their bias impacts you personally, as a victim of bias, increases their awareness, and makes them take responsibility for the bias rather than (falsely) attribute that bias to others. A “You” statement is a way to get bullies who are being mean-spirited and exercising power to back off – in very personal terms. You’re fighting power with the power that your response will have consequences for the bully in question. That leaves an “it” statement as your best tool in countering prejudice because you’re dealing with a fixed attitude, a bias or essentially, an unmovable object that must be called out objectively for what it is: a cancerous problem.

Released today: episode #52 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Kim Scott, the author of Just Work: Get Sh*t Done, Fast & Fear and her business partner, Trier BryantCheck out the audio link below to get oriented or click here to get to the new episode.

Kim Scott and Trier Morgan co-founded the company Just Work to help organization and individuals crate more equitable workplaces. Scott was previously a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and other tech companies. She’s been on the faculty at Apple University and led various teams at Google. 

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

What’s Your Unpacking List Look Like?

“If you’re looking to challenge yourself and change your life, where might you visit? Option A is Las Vegas, where “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Option B is for you to decide.

It’s been said that tourists visit, travelers explore. A journey that has both an external and internal component means taking a hard, realistic look at the habits and characteristics of your current life and daring to imagine how you might transcend the status quo to reach a more ideal self. To do so requires “unpacking” to make room for new learnings and growth. Some journeys pose physical challenges. Others might pose challenges that are more emotional, spiritual, social or mental in nature. Everyone has a bucket list. Take your top 5 destinations and put them to this test: which best qualifies as posing the fullest challenge possible along all five dimensions for you?

Released today: episode #50 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Eric Rupp, the author of The Transformational Travel Journal: Your Guide to Creating a Life-Changing JourneyCheck out the audio link below to get oriented or click on here to get to the new episode.

Eric Rupp is a founding partner at the Transformational Travel Council, and runs an insightful naturalist guiding company. He’s a traveler, storyteller, engineer, carpenter, designer, and woodsman. After building traditional stone houses in Spain and running a small university in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Rupp currently splits his time on- and off-grid around Seattle, Washington.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Working up a Sweat

Quote: Between 1965 and 2009, the amount of time Americans sit around increased by 43%. Daniel E. Lieberman

It’s a typical New Year’s resolution: you’re going to get in better shape. To do it, you’ll eat less or healthier and you’re also going to exercise more. Here’s the math. For the average adult American weighing 180 pounds, total daily energy expenditure is about 2,700 calories. Maintaining our body, i.e., our resting metabolism, will cover only 1,700 of those calories.

Where can you “pick up the slack” by expending another 1,000 calories each day? You might still be growing. You might be sexually active. You might be otherwise physically active, i.e., exercise. Those are your options. Otherwise, that extra 1,000 calories will go towards storing energy, i.e., getting fatter.

Human beings have not evolved to use up extra calories through exercise, even though that would be healthier. We inherited a survival strategy based on reserving our extra calories, a trait that has helped us stay alive and reproduce in the past. If we have not inherited an instinct to help us work up a sweat, what will motivate us? The answers is making it fun, including: exercising with friends, doing so while entertaining yourself, as part of a game, in a nice setting, and adding variety to exercise routines. Finally, set realistic goals in order to stay with it. Use those tips to make your life span and health span overlap.

Despite Not Evolving to Exercise, It’s Healthy

Released today: episode #35 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Daniel E. Lieberman, the author of Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and RewardingListen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Photo of Author Daniel E. Lieberman and a photo of his new book: Exercised Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding. Episode 35 of Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight podcast "Despite Not Evolving to Exercise, It's Healthy"

Lieberman is the Lerner Professor of Biological Sciences in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. He received degrees from Harvard and Cambridge Universities. This episode isn’t about how to exercise (more) but, rather, why exercise is important and the myths that surround it. A key part of the conversation is a comparison between Westerners and non-Westerners, especially in Africa, to offer insights of what kind of historic lifestyle patterns Americans now run the risk of violating.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Of Changes & Values

From David Bowie to Tupac Shakur and others, songs about CHANGES abound. More prosaically, however, change proves hard to pull off. Since individual behavior changes must also happen for larger, company-wide initiatives to succeed, let’s turn the focus to individual change. Sustained personal change depends on tapping into deep-seated, inner motivations, which brings us to a person’s values system. 

Forget hackneyed corporate vision statements. What’s your own vision statement? If you had to choose, what five values might you select as most important to you? And if you created a bucket list of things you want to accomplish, personally and professionally, what 12 items might be on that list and why? In other words, how might those items or goals reflect your values and help you change and develop as a person, closer toward what you consider your ideal self?

Inspiring Sticky Change

Released today: episode #32 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Ellen Van Oosten, co-author of Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Photo of Ellen Van Oosten and her book Helping People Change for Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight Podcast.

Van Oosten is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and the Faculty Director of Executive Education at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. She is also the Director of the university’s Coaching Research Lab. This episode investigates not only what one wants to do in life, but also what one wants to be? To sustain change, be positive. Hunt for gold, not dirt, Oosten writes, and identify heroes from various stages of your life in order to help focus your dreams.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.