Why Superfund Toxic Waste Sites and Offices Are Often Alike

Image of this question: What amount of money does the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) spend annually on cleaning up toxic waste sites in America? The choices are $100 million, $1 billion or $10 billion. What’s your guess?

The correct answer to this week’s quiz is $1 billion, almost the entire budget for the EPA (which has been cut in half by Congress in recent years). Also, perhaps worth knowing, companies that caused the problem often avoid paying the clean-up costs: most often because offenders can’t be identified, no longer exist, or claim they can’t afford to contribute. 

How do toxic waste sites compare to offices? Well, with over 25% of all bosses qualifying as bullies, and burn-out rates in various occupations running in the range of 50% or more, hazards abound. People’s lives feel contaminated by undue and/or uncompensated stress. Who’s to pay up? Just like taxpayers shouldn’t have to compensate for the ill-gotten gains of companies polluting our environment and using citizen’s taxes to finance Superfund clean-ups, why should stressed-out employees be left holding the bag? When will Vice Presidents, Directors and Managers have their pay and career advancements influenced by metrics such as the employee retention rate in their departments along with other metrics like the absenteeism rate vs. the company average, and an accounting of the degree to which the mental health needs of employees reach a chronic level?

Released today: Episode #57 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” features Paula Davis, the author of Beating Burnout at Work: Why Teams Hold the Secret to Well-Being and Resilience.  Click on here to get to the new episode.

Image of Paula Davis and her book: Beating Burnout at Work. For Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight Podcast episode 57

Paula Davis JD, MAPP is the founder and CEO of the Stress & Resilience Institute, a training and consulting firm. She’s been featured in The New York Times, O (The Oprah Magazine), and The Washington Post; and she’s also a contributor to Forbes, Fast Company and Psychology Today

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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. 

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

Making Company Culture Something Real

AN image of the question "Tell me about something you’ve invented” a the question Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson asks of job candidates wanting to join his company.

In the book, The CEO Test, which executive “aced the exam”? I would vote for Jeff Lawson, the CEO of Twilio, a cloud communications platform company. Why? Lawson allows for very little daylight between Twilio’s espoused values and how the company actual operates. Here is how Lawson pulls off that feat:

  • First, the company’s values were formulated based on broad input from current employees, not just as an exercise controlled by the c-suite.
  • Second, those values are carried forward to future employees by being front and center during the hiring and onboarding processes. The “invention” question above is but one example, given the goal of ensuring every employee likewise has a “builder mentality,” which is one of Twilio’s core values.
  • Third, quarterly and annual employee awards, as well as all promotions, involve honoring employees who embody the company’s values. The converse is that violating those values is cause for the firing of even high-performing “culture felons.”

Released today: episode #49 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Adam Bryant, the co-author, along with former Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer of The CEO Test: Master the Challenges That Make or Break All Leaders. Check out the audio link below to get oriented or click on https://newbooksnetwork.com/category/special-series/dan-hills-eq-spotlight to get to the new episode.

Image of Author Adam Bryant and the cover of his new book "The CEO Test: Master the Challenges that Make or Break All Leaders" For Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight podcast "The X-Factors That Set the Best Leaders Apart" episode 49

Adam Bryant is managing director of Merryck & Co, a leadership development and mentoring firm. Before that gig, Bryant was a journalist for 30 years, including at the New York Times where he authored the “Corner Office” column. In addition, he’s a frequent contributor on CNBC.

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

Why Walking the Talk Doesn’t Propel Culture Change

The typical large American company is estimated to spend $2,200 per employee, per year, trying to manage its corporate culture. That amount equals over $60 billion annually.

Like a three-car pile-up on a freeway, consider these statistics: two-thirds of all business mergers fail; under 30% of executives think their company manages its culture well; and only 10% of HR leaders would go that far. Walking the talk doesn’t work. Who needs to hear more about a company’s “values” or “mission statement”? Trying to instill behaviors based on high-minded rhetoric isn’t nearly enough. Instead, a company’s basic operating system requires change if progress is to be made. That move means changing the habits and routines—the practices—that both drive and reflect the company’s true culture. What is also needed? Executives must ditch overconfidence in favor of psychological flexibility, the competency Israeli thought leader Yuval Harari has called the single most important passport to success in the 21stcentury.

Released today: episode #46 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring David G. White, Jr., the author of Disrupting Corporate Culture: How Cognitive Science Alters Accepted Beliefs about Culture and Culture Change and Its Impact on Leaders and Change AgentsCheck out the audio link below to get oriented or click on the image below to go directly to the new episode.

Image of the author, David G. White Jr's and the cover of his book "Disrupting Corporate Culture" for Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight Podcast episode 46, entitled "You are What You Do"

David G. White, Jr. is cognitive anthropologist working with organizations on culture, change, and leadership issues. He’s the co-founder of Ontos Global, a boutique consulting firm. David previously held leadership roles at Microsoft, Mercer, and IBM; and is also a professional jazz musician with 7 CDs.

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

The Shift from a Thinking to Feeling Economy

A summary of the main point from the book "The Feeling Economy" by Roland T. Rust and Ming-Hui Yuang, which is that we’ve gone from a Physical Economy (manufacturing) to a Thinking Economy (information) and are now entering a Feeling Economy (empathy).

Your career and future employability will depend on how you add value in a world where AI (artificial intelligence) + HI (human intelligence) are converging. Reading faces (facial coding), voices (e.g., Apple’s Siri) and bodies (via Fitbit) fit a world in which your emotional intelligence skills will be vital.

Here are some signposts of the basic socio-economic change underway from a thinking to feeling model:

1987: FCC repeals Fairness Doctrine, opening the way for Rush LimbaughFox News will launch in 1996

1995: Daniel Goleman publishes Emotional Intelligence

1997: Big Blue (IBM) defeats world chess champion Garry Kasparov; emojisfirst appear in Japanese mobile phones

1998: launch of Google & also Sensory Logic (my company, using facial coding to capture/quantify emotions)

2001: release of Stephen Spielberg movie AI Artificial Intelligence

2004: Facebook launches

2005: Malcolm Gladwell publishes Blink (which highlights facial coding)

2007: Fitbit launches; I release my book Emotionomics

2009: Lie to Me TV series based on facial coding launches on Fox (#29 most-viewed show that season); Affectiva and Realeyes switch to applying (automated) facial coding to business in imitation of Sensory Logic

2011: launch of the 1st digital assistant, Apple’s Siri

2014: SoftBank Robotic’s Pepperis 1st social humanoid robot

2016: Apple buys Emotient, the original facial coding automation company

2017: Female robot Sophia named an AI citizen in Saudi Arabia

Released today: episode #44 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Ming-Hui Huang, the co-author of The Feeling Economy: How Artificial Intelligence Is Creating the Era of Empathy. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Image of Author Ming-Hui Huang and her book "The Feeling Economy" for episode 44 of Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight, titled When A.I. Thinks, Humans Feel. Click on the image to get to podcast link.

Huang Ming-Hui Huang holds a number of posts. She’s a Distinguished Professor at National Taiwan University; a fellow of the European Marketing Academy (EMAC); an International Research Fellow of the Centre for Corporate Reputation, University of Oxford, UK; and a Distinguished Research Fellow of the Center for Excellence in Service, University of Maryland, USA. She is also the incoming Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Service Research.

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

What Two Steps Can Lift Productivity Most?

Quote by Authors Gary Hamel & Michele Zanini “Deprived of any real influence, employees disconnect emotionally from work.”

In lots of companies, the CEO’s strategic playbook now looks like this: become a de facto monopoly seeking bailouts and other, regulatory advantages through a lobbying budget that rivals the money being spent on research and development. What would be a better way forward for companies and the country alike? Two steps can most help drive innovation and lift productivity. The first is to empower employees. Working in small groups free of middle managers, they will be closer to the action and know best what needs to change. Second, link compensation to contribution. Inspire a groundswell of micropreneurs by ensuring that bonuses reflect results achieved on the ground, rather than funding golden parachutes for those in the C-suite.

Released today: episode #39 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Michele Zanini, the co-author of The Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside ThemListen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode via the New Books Network web site.

The authors of Humanocracy are Gary Hamel, who is on the faculty of the London Business School and has been hailed by the Wall Street Journal as the world’s most influential business thinker; and Michele Zanini who, along with Hamel, is the co-founder of the Management Lab and an alumnus of McKinsey & Company and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Dan Hill, Ph.D., 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.

What Growing the Pie is Really About

I’ve been busy writing and crowdsourcing diabolical definitions for my latest book, The Devil’s Dictionary of Work Life & Commerce. Art Markman, my guest for the 14thepisode of my podcast, gave this entry for NEGOTIATIONS: “A dignified discussion held by people dividing the pie, all of whom channel their inner five-year-old because deep down everyone wants the whole pie.”

Guess what! In wanting the whole pie, we blow the deal, and negotiations expert Leigh Thompson knows why and also what the better options are. First, the shortcomings consist of 1) being either soft as pudding and avoiding conflict or being tough as nails and pounding our fists to get as much of the existing pie as possible; 2) taking the even-steven route and dividing the pie 50/50%; and/or 3) making compromises because neither party explores where mutually advantageous agreements might be realized.

What’s a better outcome? The answer is growing the pie by finding the sweet spot(s) where trust can built up by not asking the other party to sacrifice. Instead, find out where one party’s gain isn’t actually the other party’s loss. Thompson’s book covers 41 “hacks” to avoid the “traps” negotiators typically fall into. Her favorite is The Dessert Tray, i.e., offering the other party an array of options of equal value as far as the first party is concerned and learning from that hack where the real opportunities for a win/win reside.

Negotiating at Home, at Work, and Virtually

Released today: episode #31 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Leigh Thompson, the author of Negotiating the Sweet Spot: The Art of Leaving Nothing on the Table. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Thompson is a Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. This is the latest of her 10 best-selling books. The episode covers the differences between scripted and unscripted negotiations and how expressing disappointment, rather than showing anger, helps make negotiations turn into a success.

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

The Digitization of Psychology

An assumption is often made that knowledge can or will bring about change in human behavior. That viewpoint ignores the reality that emotions play a major role in changing behavior because there are so many knots in the wood of human nature.

In my interview of Amy Bucher, I asked her about live experts vs. avatars vs. chatbots. For consumers interacting with a digital product online, which of these three approaches is most successful in effecting change?

What her research suggests is that avatars serve as an ideal middle ground between a mechanistic approach (chatbots) and a costly, fully human approach (live experts). Why? The answer lies in emotions. By using an avatar’s face on screen, an intimate enough connection is simulated. At the same time, online users don’t feel at risk of being condescended to by a live expert. In other words, the emotion of trust—of being shown respect—gives the nod to avatars, and a reason for live experts to improve their EQ skills.

The Psychology of Using Design to Motivate Change

Released today: episode #30 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Amy Bucher, the author of Engaged: Designing for Behavior Change. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Amy Bucher, PhD, works in Behavior Change Design at Mad*Pow and previously worked at CVS Health and Johnson & Johnson. She received her A.B. from Harvard University and her M.A. and PhD in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan.

This episode addresses both the barriers and levers to achieving behavioral change. Among the barriers are cognitive biases, like a Status Quo Bias, as well as growing both emotionally and mentally exhausted by changes that require too much willpower on behalf of the user. Opportunities to promote change include having accountability buddies to help guide you, and avatars that have proven highly effective in providing information in a trust-building, nonjudgmental manner.

Getting Out of Your Own Way

Quote by Everett M. Rogers from his book, Diffusion of Innovations. "Only 2.5% of people like to be guinea pigs for something new."

“Problems, the problem is you –what ‘ya gonna do, you’re a problem,” snarls Johnny Rotten on the only studio album The Sex Pistols ever recorded. While punk rock isn’t the force it was in 1977, the problem of trying to solve problems, both business and personal remains central to our daily lives. Enter Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg with his own take on the matter. Given that only one in 25 of us is open-minded about participating in something new, our problem solving could benefit from a methodology to push us forward. 

Here is the Danish author’s in a nutshell:

  • Frame the problem– Create a written statement that avoids being too vague, too ambitious, or else not ambitious enough (because a preferred solution is implied).
  • Look outside the frame– Consider expertise outside your group, plus look to prior events and hidden influences for a fresh perspective on the problem you’re trying to solve.
  • Rethink the goal– Understand the benefit of the benefit you seek on order to arrive at a more valuable solution.
  • Identify solution sources– Are there instances where others have already solved a version of this problem? If so, learn from those examples.
  • Finally, gain perspective– Admit that you and the various shareholders interested in problem-solving have biases and may be contributing to the problem as well as blocking a superior solution. Remember that successful collaboration requires vulnerability which, in turn, requires fostering an atmosphere of trust for everyone involved.

Stop Solving the Wrong Problem

Released today: episode #29 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg, the author of What’s Your Problem? To Solve Your Toughest Problems, Change the Problems You Solve. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Photograph of the author, Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg and his book "What's Your Problem?" for Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight podcast

Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg is a globally recognized expert on innovation and problem solving whose clients have ranged from blue-chip companies to The United Nations. His work has been featured in The Economist and the Financial TimesHR Magazine named him a “Top 20 International Thinker.” 

This episode covers the author’s Rapid Reframing Method for solving people-related problems in particular. Specific topics include: how emotions can either facilitate or hinder the challenging of established mental models, how reframing fits the top 3 skills of importance for the future economy, and why “vagueness” is the enemy of change.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the President of Sensory Logic, Inc