A Field Guide to Behavioral Science

Who welcomes change? Basically, nobody – except maybe a baby with a dirty diaper! Behavioral science is an umbrella term that covers the realms of social psychology, behavioral economics, and sociology among other fields. As applied in business or government, behavioral science is often a matter of creating small “nudges” in designing changes to human behavior in hopes of achieving buy-in rather than resistance from those who are wedded to the status quo. Khan and Newman, who co-edited and contributed to this book, are candid about the challenges involved in enacting real change in organizations. Without executive buy-in, and a few quick wins to placate the doubters, the odds of enacting change get pretty long. For more tips, listen in as In this episode focuses on a pair of behavioral science applications relevant to business: running human resources (HR), and promoting innovation.

Released today: episode #102 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Zarak Khan and Laurel Newman, discussing Building Behavioral Science in an Organization. Click this link to get to the new episode.

Zarak Khan is a Senior Behavioral Researcher at Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight, as well as a Behavioral Science Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and a board member of Action Design Network. Lauren Newman is a behavioral scientist at Edward Jones, and a former psychology professor at Fontbonne University.

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Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc. His latest book, available on Amazon is Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo.

Building the Innovation Muscle of Your Company

This episode could have just as easily been called “The Democratization of innovation.” After all, the fundamental thrust of this book and our conversation was about moving innovation beyond the “usual suspects,” i.e., the R & D Department, and spreading innovation opportunities across the ranks. Most promising of all for soliciting input might be front-line employees, who know best the frustrations and disappointments of customers. Others to include range from current and potential customers to distributors and other business allies. Where might resistance emerge to such an expansive view of the innovation process? The answer could be middle managers, focused on executing the current business model. To win them over, it may be necessary to combine coaching about the importance and means of innovating with monetary incentives or placing limits on their career growth if they don’t “play ball.” If there’s a regrettable need to play the heavy, at times, it’s because as the saying goes, “It’s not that people see the light so much as they feel the heat.”

Released today: episode #90 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Ben Bensaou discussing Built to Innovate: Essential Practices to Wire Innovation into Your Company’s DNA. Click on https://newbooksnetwork.com/category/special-series/dan-hills-eq-spotlight to get to the new episode.

Images of Author Ben M. Bensaou and his new book "Build to Innovate: Essential Practices to Wire Innovation into Your Company's DNA", for Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight podcast, episode 90, entitled "Building the Innovation Muscle of Your Company" Broadcast by the New Books Network.

Ben Bensaou is a professor and former Dean of Executive Education at INSEA. He’s also been a visiting professor at the Harvard Business School, a research fellow at the Wharton School of Management, and a visiting scholar at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

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Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc. His latest book, available on Amazon is Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo.

Re-Imagining Your Company

Since the 1990s, the fade rate or inability of companies to stay ahead of their closest rivals, has gone from sustaining a lead, on average for 10 years, to now a single year. So focusing on innovation alone won’t suffice. A company that will survive and thrive must re-imagine every aspect of the its culture and operations in order to succeed. That re-imagining requires an open mind and an inquisitive spirit, not averse to surprises but instead, willing to embrace them. Who better than these two authors to take on that task? Martin Reeves is in his own words a “failed” musician and biologist turned businessperson, and Jack Fuller is versed in philosophical theology. Together, they are a perfect team for exploring how organizations can even change their very “souls”.

Released today: episode #73 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Martin Reeves and Jack Fuller discussing The Imagination Machine: How to Spark New Ideas and Create Your Company’s Future. Click on https://newbooksnetwork.com/category/special-series/dan-hills-eq-spotlight to get to the new episode.

Images for Authors Martin Reeves and Jack Fuller, and their new book "The Imagination Machine: How to Spark Ideas and Create Your Company's Future" for Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight podcast, episode 73.

Martin Reeves is a Senior Partner and Managing Director at BCG, i.e., the Boston Consulting Group. He’s also the Chairman of the BCG Henderson Institute, BCG’s internal think tank. Jack Fuller is a former special project manager at the BCG Henderson Institute, and the founder of Casati Health, a company that re-imagines mental and physical health. He’s a Rhodes Scholar with a background that combines neuroscience and philosophical theology.

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Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc. His latest book, available on Amazon is Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo.

Rip Currents

An image of this question: Which of the 3 categories contributes the most top-10 trends? Is it economic, technological or social?

The correct answer is Economic, twice over. Not only does it provide half of all the top-10 trends or “undercurrents” in Jonathan Brill’s seminal book Rogue Waves, those economic trends also garner the most prominence by laying down the changing landscape (or “seascape”) that companies must navigate to protect and enrich their futures. What goes first? Changing demographics: the cost and availability of a company’s most precious resources: its personnel and its customers. Aging populations, a skilled labor shortage, and accelerating urbanization are the key emerging patterns in that case. Other trends that belong in the Economic category consist of the data economy, automation, the rise of Asia, and cheap money. The technological category encompasses the closing innovation window, and what Brill calls “remixing and convergence” (new combinations of existing technologies). Finally, the Social category addresses digital trust and new social contracts. This week’s new episode dips into several of these top-10 factors; to get to them all, buy Brill’s book!

Released today: episode #67 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Jonathan Brill discussing Rogue Waves: Future-Proof Your Business to Survive & Profit from Radical Change. Click on https://newbooksnetwork.com/category/special-series/dan-hills-eq-spotlight to get to the new episode.

Jonathan Brill is the former Global Futurist and Research Director for HP, a board member and advisor to the Chairman at Frost & Sullivan, and the Futurist-in-Residence at Territory Studio. Companies he’s consulted for over the years have generated over $27 billion from new revenue sources.

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Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc. His latest book, available on Amazon is Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo.

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

Clues to What You Might Detect on Stage

Photographs of Joe Biden and Donald Trump with arrows pointing to emotional expressions of anger, sadness, happiness and disgust to help TV viewers of the debates make sense of their emotions.

The fantasy is that citizens carefully, rationally, sift through political messages and information, making consciously informed decisions about which candidate to support based on the issues of the day. The reality is that 75% of Americans can’t name all three branches of government, 20% believe the right to own a pet is enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and 10% of our country’s college graduates think Judge Judy is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court.

So don’t think for a moment that emotions and intuitive, gut-reactions and biases don’t drive election results. How best to spot what a candidate is feeling?

Bear in mind that in ambiguous situations—think presidential debates—how we assess what’s being communicated is 55% from the face, 38% from the voice, and merely 7% from the words. Yes, facial expressions matter. So here is my cheat-sheet guide for you to use while watching the first debate on September 29th when the 7% of Americans who have supposedly not made up their minds may instead make up their hearts.

Chart of emotional expressions to look for in the first 2020 Presidential debate of Joe Biden and Donal Trump

Special Upcoming Roundtable Edition of Podcast

Airing on October 2nd will be a special, one-hour edition of my “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” podcast. It features a pair of political scientists, John Hibbing and Jonathan Weiler, who specialize in the emerging field of biopolitics: how our emotions, personality traits and even, perhaps, our DNA can predispose us to a liberal or conservative political orientation. This special edition will focus on how swing-voters in play may have responded to what they saw and heard during the 1st presidential debate.

Images of the book Predisposed by John R. Hibbing and the book Prius and the Pick up by Johnathan Weiler for Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight

Is It Expensive To Be Yourself?

Released today: episode #20 of my “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” podcast, featuring Timothy R. Clark, the author of The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2020). Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Image of the Author Timothy R. Clark and his Book The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety

How does any organization invite the true, full participation of its members?

Clark is the founder and CEO of LeaderFactor, and ranks as a global authority on senior executive development, strategy acceleration and organizational change. He’s the author of five book, and over 150 articles. Clark earned a doctorate degree in Social Science from Oxford University.

Topics covered in this episode include:

  • Why showing respect and granting permission are the keys to unlocking potential.
  • What lies beneath stunning statics like, only 36% of business professional believe their companies foster an inclusive company culture, and only one-third of workers believe their opinions count; whereas, 50% of workers report being treated rudely at work at least once a week.
  • How a leader’s “tell-to-ask” ratio relates to whether that person suffers from the narcissism that limits the effectiveness of so many leaders.

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

Adverse Circumstances, and a Bad Boss

Now blissfully many years ago, I survived two bad bosses in a row. The first was so capriciously mean-spirited that one day on the job our department secretary, a sweet, devout older woman, called me over with glee to tell me the latest joke making the rounds. “Why is Linda going on vacation?” The punchline was so she could write a new introduction to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Half a dozen lawsuits against the company for being subjected to “mental cruelty” would soon be filed by my colleagues. 

As to the other boss, well, that person ran a public relations operation with New York City real estate moguls as clients (Donald Trump wasn’t among them). By my second week at that firm, my neck was iron-tight and incapable of turning even a quarter-inch either direction with ease due to the stress of working there. When I confided my condition to a coworker, she breezily remarked: “Oh, everybody gets sick here by their second week on the job.”

Many of us have had bad bosses, but the two men I’m highlighting this week have it worse than most everyone. They’re stuck in dire circumstances. The first is obviously Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has to deal with the coronavirus and Trump’s back-biting. The other is Bill Stepien, Trump’s new manager of a campaign dealing with both Trump’s self-induced chaos and a double-digit deficit in the presidential race against Joe Biden. Fauci is certainly the kinder spirit of the two men. Stepien’s biggest claim to fame is being fired by former New Jersey governor Chris Christie for exhibiting “callous indifference” amid Christie’s Bridgegate scandal. Come to think of it that makes for a third, bad boss. That’s because I had taken on being manager of Christie’s first, brief foray into politics. The lure? Christie was challenging a fellow Republican who had claimed women were incapable of being good judges given their menstrual cycles.

What do Fauci and Stepien have to do now? Engage in what I call “reverse innovation”: whereby the situation is so dire that you have to practice creativity and triage both aggressively at the same time in order to have any chance of success. I’ll be elaborating on what “reverse innovation” means in a business context in my video below.

Reverse Innovation: Creativity & Triage

Creativity & Innovation, Demystified

Released today: episode #11 of Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight podcast series, featuring Nir Bashan, author of The Creator Mindset: 92 Tools to Unlock the Secrets to Innovation, Growth, and Sustainability. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode, hosted on the New Books Network (NBn).

Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight Podcast features a photo of Nir Bashan and his book's cover, The Creator Mindset

Why is the corporate fallback being “analytical” (as opposed to nurturing creativity)?

Bashan is a creativity expert who has spent the past two decades devising a formula for sustained creativity. Besides his blue-chip corporate clients, Bashan has also worked on album, movies and advertisements for people like Rod Stewart and Woody Harrelson, won a Clio and been nominated for an Emmy. This is his first book.

Topics covered in this episode include:

  • Creativity’s three unlikely personal traits (hint: courage is one of them).
  • Why self-doubt and complacency are both threats to successful innovation, and how to overcome each in turn.
  • Design obstacles Bashan has witnessed, plus five more from my book Emotionomics.

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