Thursday, January 9, 2014

Time to unplug!

I love this article by Daniel Goleman... I encourage you to reflect on this topic...

Think About the Benefits of Unplugging

A recent New York Times article and viral video about pervasive smartphone use ask, “Is experiencing life through a small screen distracting us from living our lives and forming real connections?” We all know distraction is a big problem in the workplace. We're addicted to responding to endless alert chimes from apps or texts. We feel compelled to share our every move (or mood) with our "networks" throughout the day. And that's just a small sample of how we spend our time glued to our smartphones.
While it's the norm, it goes without saying that such practices and distractions can affect performance and our face-to-face communication. But what's the toll of so much virtual living on our emotional well being? Mirabai Bush, key adviser to Google’s Search Inside Yourselfcurriculum, spoke with Dr. Richard Davidson, founder and chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, about the latest research that suggests adopting attention training skills can help us lessen the harmful impact of our hyper-wired, ADD culture. Here’s what Dr. Davidson had to say.
“One of the great heroes in American psychology, William James, dedicated a whole chapter on attention in his classic tome from 1890 called The Principles of Psychology. In this chapter he said the faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention over and over again is the very root of judgment, character, and will. Then a little later he goes on to say an education, which should improve this faculty, would be the education par excellence.
We clearly understand that many contemplative practices can be thought of as training methods for educating attention. A number of other scientists have now marshaled very compelling evidence to indicate that we can learn to focus our attention betterWe can be more skillful at not being hijacked by distractions. We may notice them, but there's a big difference between noticing that something may be occurring, being aware of it, and being hijacked by it, being pulled away from one's central focus.
There is now quite a bit of evidence to indicate that the circuits in the brain that play a role in regulating our attention, and very rigorous behavioral measures of attention, change in response to mindfulness meditation practiceOne of the central indices of that change is our capacity to not be hijacked by distracting events in our environment, particularlydistracting emotional signals, which often pull us away from our task at hand.
There's a recent study that was published by friends and colleagues of mine at Harvard that involved a technique we call "experience sampling", where people are actually using smart phones, the very technology that we're discussing. They're randomly beeped at during different time in their daily life, and they're simply asked what they're doing right now, and whether their mind is focused on what they're doing.
It turns out that in a very large sample of adult Americans, 47% of the time people were mind wandering. That is, during waking periods, 47% of the time, people were not actually attending to what they were supposed to be attending to. It's quite remarkable. This is really one of several indicators that our culture is suffering from attention deficit disorder.”
You can read the rest of Dr. Davidison’s conversation with Mirabai Bush in her new ebook collection Working with Mindfulness: Research and Practice of Mindful Techniques in Organizations.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

"What inspires me" by Richard Branson - CEO Virgin group

What Inspires Me: Game-Changing People Everywhere

My professional inspiration has no separation from my personal inspiration: it is people who will stop at nothing to make a positive difference to other people’s lives. I am fortunate to come across quite a few of these game-changing people, and the desire to help (and keep up with them!) is what drives me.

As Steve Jobs famously said:
The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
There are lots of these crazy ones hard at work today trying to make the world a better place, but there is always room for more! Nowadays I spend most of my time working with our not-for-profit foundation, Virgin Unite, and am honoured to work alongside inspirational people taking on challenges from climate change with the Carbon War Room to conflict-resolution with The Elders.

In The B Team, we are stimulated by the desire to ensure business has a purpose beyond profit, also focusing upon people and the planet. I think it is all of our responsibility to try and leave the planet in a better condition than we found it. A good way to find inspiration — and to have a positive impact — is to think about your grandchildren (whether you have any yet or not). What type of world do you want them to inherit?

Elsewhere within the Virgin Group, there are countless people who provide endless inspiration, not least the pioneers at Virgin Galactic. The whole area of space exploration can be held up as an example of what can be achieved with action and ambition. I have looked to the stars for inspiration since I was a child, and hope to be inspired by looking back at earth from space one day soon.

Back on this planet, there is always another exciting new idea to get my teeth stuck into and find inspiration. I get a lot of business proposals and they are usually fascinating to hear, as you never know where the next game-changing idea will come from. Yet it is the personal tales of people I meet that are most inspiring. Thanks to social media, I hear plenty more stirring stories from people all around the globe. Often I am more struck by the potential of an individual than their idea. As I said recently, if you find the right people to work with, you can’t go wrong.

If you are creative, then inspiration can come from anywhere. Creators are never fully satisfied. They can always be better. They are determined to change the game for good. I would love to hear what motivates you, too. Where do you find inspiration?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jack Welch - "When to go with your gut"

When To Go With Your Gut

As a general rule, gut instinct is nothing to be ashamed of. Quite the opposite. It’s really just pattern recognition, isn’t it? You’ve seen something so many times over your life or career that you just get what’s going on without a lot of deep thinking. Gut instinct is a deep, even subconscious, familiarity — the voice inside you that tells you “Go for it now” or “No way — not ever.” We would wager, however, that the most common gut call falls in between the two. We’re talking about the “uh-oh” response in which your stomach informs you that something is not right.

The trick, of course, is to know when to go with your gut. That’s easy when you discover, over time, that your gut is usually right. But such confidence can take years.

Until that point, we suggest a rule of thumb: Gut calls are usually pretty helpful when it comes to looking at deals and less so when it comes to picking people.

No, we’re not mixing them up. Even though proposals arrive with all sorts of data analysis and detailed quantitative predictions, and people decisions seem so much more qualitative, the numbers in deal books are really just projections. Sometimes those projections are reasonable; other times they represent little more than hopes and prayers. When have you ever been presented with a deal with a projected discounted rate of return of less than 20%? You haven’t! So when it comes to looking at deals, consider the numbers. But be sure your gut plays a big role in the final call.

Say you’ve been asked to invest in a new office building. You visit the city and see cranes in every direction. The deal’s numbers are perfect, you’re told; you can’t lose. But your gut tells you otherwise. Overcapacity is about a year away, and the “perfect” investment is about to be worth 60¢ on the dollar. You’ve got few facts, but you have that uh-oh response. More often than not, that means you should kill the deal even if it infuriates the so-called rational thinkers on the case. Odds are they’ll give you credit for prophetic thinking down the road (although probably with less public gusto than you’d like).

By contrast, relying on your gut during hiring isn’t always a great idea. The reason: Our gut often makes us “fall in love” with a candidate too quickly. We see prestigious schools and great experience on a sparkling resume. We see a likable candidate who says all the right things in the interview. And even though we don’t admit it, too often we see a person who can quickly make a problem go away—namely, a gaping position we need to fill fast. So we rush to seal the deal.

We run into this dynamic in action all the time when people call us for references. They start off by firmly stating that they only want an unvarnished view of the candidate in question. But as we begin to give them the straight story, we can hear their voices tighten. It’s almost as if they’re saying: “Oh, please don’t tell me that. All I really wanted from you was a stamp of approval.” They can’t get off the phone fast enough.

So when it comes to hiring decisions, doubt and double-check your gut. Go beyond the resume. Dig for extra data. And don’t just make reference calls; force yourself to listen, especially to mixed messages and unpleasant insights.

Overall, however, your gut can play a real role in business. Don’t worry too much about explaining that to your bosses and shareholders. They use theirs, too.

Business English - how to describe sales

Nice link to practice the language of sales... Including listening, podcast, vocabulary, etc. 
Time to get down to business!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Steve Jobs

One of my all time favourites!
Inspirational, real, practical... we couldn´t expect less from Steve...
Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

¿Cómo se miden los niveles de Inglés? Así establecemos nuestros niveles, alineados a nivel internacional.

Este video explica en forma clara los niveles internacionales de competencias en idiomas de acuerdo al CEFR, sistema que utilizamos en MAR ENglish Services para establecer niveles y objetivos claros. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What's the best way to motivate people? by Deepak Chopra

The fact that motivational courses have flourished for decades means that people want to be more motivated. At the moment there are increasing reasons to feel exhausted, unmotivated, and eventually burned out. Motivation is decreased by stress and pressure, by economic insecurity, by overwork, and so on. Many people feel subject to these things, especially in an economic downturn. So what's the best way to remain motivated, and if you are in a position of leadership, to motivate others?