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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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People’s Strengths

by Rick Baker
On Oct 19, 2010
StrengthsFinder* presents Strengths as…
Strengths = Talent Theme + Knowledge + Skills
If I understand StrengthsFinder properly then our top 5 Talent Themes do not confirm Strengths, rather, they confirm Potential Strengths.
To create Strengths we need to:
  1. understand our Talent Themes,
  2. gain Knowledge related to the Strength we desire, and
  3. take planned action aimed at developing Skills that allow us to illustrate our Strengths.
I think StrengthsFinder is directionally correct. It is a tool that should not be used in isolation. It should be used in conjunction with other tools and guides.
For example, our ability to exhibit Strengths is influenced by many factors including:
  • Interest…Are we interested in, or passionate about, the end-goal that is the motive driving our actions? A strong and well-grounded Interest increases the likelihood a Strength will be developed.
  • Situation…does the situation allow us to act in accordance with our Strength? As Haidt and the Heaths* explained to us, situations can be designed to promote action aligned with Strengths.
  • Self-Esteem…the higher the self-esteem, the better we feel about ourselves, the greater the likelihood our Strengths will be realized
  • Confidence…if we perceive we can be effective at the task, in the given situation, then the greater the likelihood our Strengths will be realized
  • Mood…we all have good days and bad days…our Strengths tend to shine during our good days
  1. Web link for StrengthsFinder
  2. Web link for Haidt
  3. Web link for Heath brothers

You probably suffer from Knowledge Overconfidence

by Rick Baker
On Sep 14, 2010
According to experts most people suffer from Knowledge Overconfidence.
That is, most people think they are more knowledgeable than they really are.
As individuals we think we are smarter than we really are.
As members of groups we think we are smarter than we really are.
Put another way – in general, when it comes to knowledge most people have an inflated self-image.
One often-cited example of proof goes like this:
  • Experts [psychologists etc.] pick a random group of people
  • A problem is presented to the group of people and they are asked to come up with solutions
  • The people are split into groups and the groups brainstorm to come up with as many viable solutions as possible
  • The solutions from all the groups are compiled
  • All the people get to see all the solutions and they select the best solutions
  • Then the group of people are asked to assess how well it did creating viable solutions to the problem…for example, rating its solutions on a scale of 1-to-10
  • Typically, the group of people scores its solutions high, say 8-out-of-10
In a separate process people who are considered to be experts in the problem area are asked to create solutions to the same problem.
Then the experts’ solutions are compared against the solutions created by the random group.
And, it is confirmed the experts’ solutions are much better than the solutions created by the random group. The experts have a broader range of solutions and the experts have better quality solutions.
These sorts of experiments are interpreted as proof people have knowledge overconfidence.
I don’t believe everything I read. However, when things I read catch my attention as this knowledge overconfidence concept did I find myself thinking…
So, I have been thinking about knowledge overconfidence.
How might knowledge overconfidence show up in day-to-day life?
To the extent people suffer from knowledge overconfidence, they probably tend to:
  • Be intolerant toward other people’s ideas
  • Listen poorly
  • Stop seeking solutions too early
  • Bulldoze over other people
  • Have a win-lose attitude in competitive situations
  • Under-estimate the value of expert advice
Now, I don’t think I suffer from any of these things. On the other hand, isn’t that exactly what we would expect a person with knowledge overconfidence to believe?

Sales Tweet #38

by Rick Baker
On Sep 8, 2010
Sales Tweet #38 Positive messages are twice as magnetic as negative messages. (Make the better choice)
The Thinking Behind the Sales Tweet
We have tested positive and negative marketing messages. For example…"in these tough economic times" versus "to build for the future". We found positive messages were twice as successful as negative messages. We believe the same applies to verbal messages made during sales calls. Keep your communications on the positive side of centre. Don't badmouth your boss. Don't badmouth your products. Don't badmouth your service department. Don't badmouth your competition. Don't badmouth the economy. DON'T BADMOUTH ANYTHING!


Attitude: Creating Positive Attitude | Sales | Thought Tweets

More about breeding passion at our workplaces

by Rick Baker
On Aug 11, 2010
We should reduce and control negative thinking and negative action. If we make it clear we are working to stamp out negativity then that will help breed passion at our workplaces.
As we stamp out negativity we will promote self-control and consideration of others. These are good things.
Why should we make conscious efforts to stamp out negativity?
Our performance is the consequence of our thoughts and actions...or the lack of them. And, human nature is such that negative thoughts and negative actions are often more powerful and more contagious than their positive counterparts.
When the contagion of negative thought or negative action enters the situation it has the ability to immediately affect and infect each person in the situation. Body language and voice tone, for example, register immediately. Many people are under-equipped to resist the contagion of negativity. And, many people have difficulty coping with negative situations.
Even if the people 'in the situation' have thick enough skin to resist the contagions, negative thoughts and negative actions tend to stall others and create the need for follow up by others. The 'stalls' may be as small as wondering why so-and-so is in such a bad mood today. The 'actions' may be as large as drawn-out slugfest battles. These workplace ‘stalls’ are inefficient. Inefficiency costs money.
So, there is an economic argument to support the reduction and control of negativity.
In addition there is the benefit of paving the path for workplace passion. If cost control is our desire then we need to work hard at keeping our thoughts and actions on the positive side of centre.
If passion for success is our desire then we need to work hard at keeping our thoughts and actions on the positive side of centre.


Attitude: Creating Positive Attitude | Change: Creating Positive Change

How a leader can help to change people's attitudes and behaviour

by Rick Baker
On Aug 4, 2010
…the following set of suggestions caught my attention:
How a leader can help to change people's attitudes and behaviour
  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
Point 6 includes a recommendation Dale Carnegie repeats frequently:
Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.
Now, well into the 21st Century, numerous folks teach this sort of advice. So, sets of suggestions such as those above probably do not stand out as particularly innovative or novel. However, when we consider Dale Carnegie was adventuring into this territory during the first quarter of the 20th Century…it is interesting to wonder how this sort of advice was received when he first provided it.
Carnegie’s 1937 classic, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” was a major success, a bestseller.
So, we don’t have to wonder if people bought the book…but, how readily did those who bought the book practice what Carnegie recommended?


Attitude: Creating Positive Attitude | Change: Creating Positive Change

Sales Tweet #6

by Rick Baker
On Jul 26, 2010
Sales Tweet #6 Try a low-negative-thought diet. Grab your next 3 worries & refuse to let your mind chew on them anymore.
The Thinking Behind the Sales Tweet
Napoleon Hill and many others to follow have taught us the value of keeping our mind free of negative thoughts. FYI: Dr. Daniel Amen provides some very useful techniques that he has provided to help his patients. He talks about getting rid of your ANTs...Automatic Negative Thoughts. All of us have them. Few of us have proven techniques for minimizing them.


Attitude: Creating Positive Attitude | Sales | Thought Tweets

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