Under Pressure

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    This Episode: Emotions at Work, Shortening Communications, and Butterflies in your Organization

    Go Shorty

    Earlier this week, I got the opportunity to speak at a conference in Tulsa, called DisruptHR. The format of all DisruptHR events is the same – every speaker gets 5 minutes to talk about a topic of their choice – and it’s exactly 5 minutes. They ensure this by requiring that your presentation is precisely 20 slides, with each slide advancing every 15 seconds.

    If you have ever worked in a startup, you might have encountered even more rigorous restrictions than that. A few months ago, I pitched our company at an event in Calgary. I needed to explain all relevant facts about what BillionMinds does, how it helps companies build resilient and adaptable employees, and why it is worthy of investment – all in 120 seconds or less. Even that is longwinded when compared to the traditional elevator pitch that founders and aspiring screenwriters are expected to nail – typically 15-20 seconds.

    As someone who’s job used to be paid to write books and long form articles where I was literally paid by the word, it’s taken some time for me to see the true benefit of these restrictions. But as we’ve mentioned in this newsletter previously, when you communicate with others, you are taking up their time. So it makes sense to make every word count.

    However, as the experience at DisruptHR reminded me – putting restrictions on time or number of words is not just about easing the burden on your audience – it can have an amazingly positive impact on you as well. Explaining concepts to others is one of the best ways we can explain those same concepts to ourselves. Even some of the most complicated topics can be distilled down with some effort, and that effort typically creates a deeper degree of understanding about the topic. If you cannot explain something in a small number of simple words, there is a good chance you don’t understand it as well as you think you do.

    The Butterfly Effect

    My co-founder Ryan has been doing some interesting research recently on how adaptability and resilience can propagate inside organizations. It’s a complicated picture, and one we will write about more in the coming weeks, but here is the first part – how adaptability and resilience can spread outwards from individuals to teams and ultimately to organizations.

    You can check out the article here.


    Oops! I Did it Again

    One upside of researching and writing a lot about what it is to be human is that you start to observe more of the human condition in yourself. That of course includes the great stuff – having intuition, bonding with others and of course being adaptable and resilient. But it also includes the rubbish bits – falling victim to cognitive biases, forgetting things, and of course just making mistakes.

    I made a doozy this week. On Tuesday I did a LinkedIn Live event about identifying adaptable and resilient employees. Hundreds of you registered, but when you clicked to attend the event – you saw…..Nothing.

    Now as much as I’d love to blame LinkedIn, or our streaming partner Vimeo, the actual problem was the human in the mix – me, forgetting to connect the two. Thank you so much for attendees that showed two other amazing human qualities, grace and patience as we sorted out the issue. I’m sorry for the mistake, and we will do some double-checking next time to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    The event did actually go ahead, so if you missed it, you can watch it here.

    I Get So Emotional Baby

    Video Length: 2 mins 31 seconds

    Emotions are a core part of what makes us human, but sometimes the very existence of them can seem to get in the way of getting things done. If you find your emotions are getting in the way of being productive some days, then take a look at these handy tips from my animated twin – they may help you wrest back control.

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