Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Happiness Track

Emma Sappala is the science director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University and wrote The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success last year.

In the book she notes the latest scientific research that indicates the connections between happiness and success and she details six “Keys to Happiness and Success.”  According to her, they are:

  1. Live (or work) in the moment.
  2. Tap into your resilience.
  3. Manage your energy.
  4. Do nothing.
  5. 5. Be good to yourself.
  6. Show compassion to others.
As summer is the ideal time for an educator to read and begin new year’s resolutions I will admit these are not as easy as they seem (especially #4).

Nevertheless, it’s a wonderful read with many, many applicable ideas for life and work

Friday, June 23, 2017

Leaders Eat Last - Simon Sinek

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last - Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t.  
Sinek focuses his study of groups around the world and his observations regarding the various levels of success of dysfunctionality of different teams and organizations.  His title stems from his experience watching Marines eat in the chow hall and noticing that the most junior Marines ate first whole their superiors were at the end of the line.  He writes, “What is symbolic in the chow hall is deadly serious on the battlefield: great leaders sacrifice their own comfort - even their own survival - for the good of those in their care.”
He cites many different aspects of successful (and not so successful leadership) from a number of very different organizations and his lessons have great applicability to any leader trying to improve his/her craft.
Of note, his chapter on The Value of Empathy was especially interesting relative to decision-making and developing the discipline to think about decisions from all perspectives, and especially building empathy in employees toward one another for the common good on the institution.
Some of the other points he made that resonated:

  • The rank of office is not what makes someone a leader.  Leadership is the choice to serve others with or without any formal rank.
  • The moment we are able to make tangible that which had previously been a study or a chart, the moment a statistic or a poll becomes a real living person, the moment abstract concepts are understood to have human consequences, is the moment our ability to solve problems and innovate becomes remarkable.
  • So goes the leadership, so goes the culture.
  • We work to advance the vision of a leader who inspires us and we work to undermine a dictator who means to destroy us.