Monday Mornings with Madison

Elevating Ordinary Moments to Create Extraordinary Experiences for Clients and Employees – Part 1

Word Count: 1,357
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ min.

Every company and leader is looking for ways to dazzle clients and keep top talent engaged and excited.  They want to ‘add sizzle and gleam to the steak’.  Credit card companies, hotels and airlines offer a proliferation of rewards programs geared to increase customer loyalty.  Corporate gift giving to clients and employees soars during the holiday seasons.   Employee of the month parking spaces, quarterly sales awards, and $ 25 grocery store gift certificates at Thanksgiving – all aimed at making employees feel appreciated and keeping them motivated — are ubiquitous.  Nothing wrong with any of that, but it’s been done a million times.  After a while, it starts to feel a bit stilted, common and uninspired.  There is a halo of tired familiarity around such efforts. Continue reading

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What To Do (and Not Do) When An Employee Resigns

Word Count: 1,803
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

As sure as death and taxes, business owners, leaders and managers should absolutely expect most employees to resign over time.  Almost no one works at the same company their entire career anymore unless they are related to the owners or are part of the top leadership.  That means probably over 90% of all employees will eventually leave.  Employee turnover is inevitable.  They resign for all kinds of reasons.  More about that later, but suffice to say that the reasons vary a lot.  And, they matter a lot. Continue reading

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10 Ways for Companies to Help Staff Grow and Develop – Part 2

Word Count: 1,289
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

Growth is an inherent part of human DNA.  Individuals begin growing at birth and the growth process never really ends.  First, it is “growing up” from infancy to childhood to adulthood.  Although physical growth slows over time, the desire for development never goes away.  Despite the routine of living and working in the same place doing the same job year after year, no one ever really wants to think that they have finished growing as a person.  People want to wake up every day knowing that there more opportunities ahead.  They want to know they have not yet reached their full potential.  And that human desire for growth is certainly manifested in the area of career because work plays such a huge part of daily life.  We spend most of our waking hours at work. Continue reading

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10 Ways for Companies to Help Staff Grow and Develop – Part 1

Word Count: 1,423
Estimated Read Time: 5 1/2 min.

The U.S. Labor Market shows that unemployment is pretty low.  The overall unemployment rate is at 4% nationwide.[1] But even that number doesn’t tell the full story.  Unemployment of those without a high school diploma is 5.5%, while it is 4.2% for those with a high school degree, and 3.2% for those with some college education.[2] More telling is that the unemployment rate for those with a Bachelor’s degree is at 2.3% and with a Master’s degree was at 1.6% in April 2018.  Given that some unemployment is frictional (people displaced by technological advances), a 2.3% unemployment rate for those with a Bachelor’s degree is on the cusp of what economists call zero unemployment (2%) and 1.6% for those with a Master’s degree is below zero unemployment[3].  For companies that depend primarily on highly skilled, very educated employees, that’s a very tight job market indeed. Continue reading

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It’s A Matter of Time

Word Count: 1,186
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

The average life expectancy for a person in the U.S. is 79 years of age.  Broken down by gender, it’s 76 years for a man and 81 years for a woman.  The first 18 years of life are spent growing and becoming an adult, and the last 11 years or so are usually spent in retirement.  For those who must earn a living – which is most people — that leaves roughly 50 years to gain skills, nurture a career or business, be productive and achieve goals. Continue reading

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Thinking Errors and Business: Confirmation Bias, Part 2

Word Count: 1,616
Estimated Read Time: 6 1/2 min.

The Downside of Confirmation Bias

The term Confirmation Bias was first coined by British psychologist Peter Cathcart Wason in 1960 during an experiment he conducted.  The term has since been used and proven countless times. Continue reading

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Thinking Errors and Business: Confirmation Bias, Part 1

Word Count: 1,367
Estimated Read Time: 5 1/2 min.

Confirmation Bias:  The Mind Wants to be Right

Has this ever happened to you?  You believe something to be true, and then a research study you read confirms that what you believed to be true is, in fact, true.  Days later, you hear something else that validates the same idea.  You research further, and the articles you find also validate your thinking.  You think “Aha, I was right!”

Or, you recall some data that proves a point you were making, even though the overall data may have actually been inconclusive or conflicted.  But, as you pore through additional studies, the information you find endorses what you believed to be so.  It affirms your previously held beliefs.  You feel better because you were right.  You think to yourself, “I am right again!” or maybe even “I am always right.”

One problem.  You are likely experiencing Confirmation Bias. Continue reading

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Thinking Errors and Business: Negativity Bias – Part 2

Word Count: 1,332
Estimated Read Time: 5 1/2 min.

Countering Negativity Bias in Individuals and Business

Negativity Bias refers to the idea that things of a negative nature — unpleasant thoughts, emotions, and social interactions, or harmful or traumatic events and experiences — have a greater effect on one’s psychological state, processes and decisions than do neutral or positive ones.  This is true even when they are of equal intensity. [1] Or, put more simply, bad is stronger than good. [2]As Dr. Rick Hansen said, “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.”[3] Continue reading

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Thinking Errors and Business: Negativity Bias – Part 1

Word Count: 1,225
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

The Problem with Negativity Bias and Business

People regularly have ‘thinking errors’.  These errors of the mind are generally instinctive.  One thinking error that influences behavior is called Negativity Bias.  This particular thinking error actually has a profound effect on business in the areas of strategic planning, employee satisfaction, retention and productivity and customer behavior. Thus, it is important to understand not only what Negativity Bias is, but how it affects the workplace and what can be done to mitigate, if not overcome, this thinking error. Continue reading

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How to Decrease Decision Fatigue

Word Count: 1,382
Estimated Read Time: 6 1/2 min.

Daily Decision Overload

General consensus is that the average adult makes about 35,000 decisions in a day.  That’s a LOT of decisions!  If it sounds dubious, consider the myriad of decisions big and small we confront daily.   Decisions about what to eat and wear….  And what to read and believe.  Decisions about career and tasks at work.  Decisions about where to shop, what to buy, how to spend money and how much to save.  Political decisions about who to elect.  Incessant decisions about dating, marriage, having kids, naming kids and then parenting them.  Scads of decisions about healthcare and grooming.  Decisions about where to go on vacation and the best travel arrangements.  And decisions about how to spend time and the best way to communicate something. Continue reading

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