Wingham Rowan: A New Kind of Job Market

Listen to Wingham Rowan, founder of Silvers-of-Time, talking about job market, focusing on people who need to have very flexible working hours:

Wingham Rowan starts his presentation with enumerating example of people who might need ultra-flexible working hours (such as sick people or the ones who have to take care of somebody else) and situations in which employers could benefit from such labour force (during rush hours in a cafe or in case of urgent order in the warehouse). The problem is the lack of information about supply and demand for such workers – it would be useful for example in the context of local services, such as babysitting.

Wingham Rowan says: “Markets have changed beyond recognition in the last 20 years, but only for organizations at the top of the economy”. He suggests that the same technology and mechanisms that helped the organizations at the top of the economy, can be also useful for smaller trade.

He then elaborates on the example of hypothetical National E-Markets (NEM). Facilities offered by the government would include public spending channeled through NEMs, interfacing, de-regulation and promotion. On the other hand, obligations placed on operators would be as follows: all costs, small, local transactions, fixed % charge for use, neutrality/privacy and public reporting of demand and supply data.

Wingham Rowan is a founder of Silvers-of-Time, which allows companies to book workers by the hour. This online marketplace allows people to sell hours of their time in segments that suit them and organizations to hire them for that period. Wingham Rowan points out that this would create very small trades, but very well-infored because national e-market would deliver necessary data. He calls it “atomized capitalism” – small trades for small people, which definitely shouldn’t be underestimated.

Read more about Wingham Rowan here or visit the Silvers-of-Time website and learn more about the project.

We Live our Lives Based on What we Want to Avoid

By Dr. Ron Bonnstetter

We’ve been told our whole lives to go after what we want. What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you want for dinner? What do you want to do this weekend?

Even though it’s good to know what you want, our research is showing that our brains are more decisive on what we don’t want and do not like. And, that makes sense. Think of when go you to a restaurant. You look at the menu and see a plethora of things that you would like, but there are always a few things that you definitely will not eat. You may ask your family what they’re getting or ask the waiter to help narrow down your choices, but you know what dishes you will avoid.

Almost two years ago, we started conducting brain research using EEG and we quickly began learning that our brains have opinions on all nouns and adjectives. That opinion can be positive, negative or both, which often shows confliction in your brain and leads to an uncertain feeling. Our EEG protocol reads these opinions from the subconscious in a fraction of a second. There’s no time for the conscious mind to deliberate about the meaning and feelings behind each word. We measure gut reactions – how you really feel deep down inside.

This research is changing the way we do business here at TTI. The research coming out of our Center for Applied Cognitive Research is showing that more weight should be given to what we say we are not and the traits we say we definitely do not possess.

We have recently improved our behaviors and motivators assessments to include issues that our brain wishes us to avoid.

Human Resources CAN Innovate with TTI’s Job Benchmarking System

By: Ashley Bowers, President of TTI Performance Systems, Ltd.

A couple of days ago Bloomberg Businessweek posted an article entitled “Why HR Can’t Innovate,” and it’s already sparked some spirited comments about – and from – human resources professionals. In the article, the author takes the time to catalog the many ways recruiters and hiring managers are failing at securing qualified talent in a list she calls “How to Hire an Empty Suit.” While perhaps intended to be playful and spark controversy, as a leader in the talent management industry with a 92% retention rate with talent acquired via our patented job benchmarking process, we at TTI Performance Systems would like to offer our own guidance.

How to Hire a Superior Performer:

  • Prior to writing a job description and posting an opening, have you identified the specific behavior styles, motivating factors and skills that the job requires? How will you ensure that the candidates you review are truly qualified to succeed in your company? When it comes to talent acquisition, the number one resource any hiring manager should be using is a job benchmark. With a properly implemented job benchmarking technique, you’ll save time and money by hiring the right people the first time and reducing the learning curve with new employees who are strategically matched to be successful in your organization.
  • To create a job benchmark, it’s important to gather a group of subject-matter experts. These are people who understand how the job should be done, and may include managers who have been in the job before and/or top performers who are currently in the same role. While certain leaders may desire to be involved in the talent acquisition process, it’s extremely important that the individuals creating the job benchmark are people who are very familiar with the day-to-day activities of the position. It’s common for a president or CEO of a company to be acquainted with the goals and desired outcomes of a position without fully understanding the steps a superior performer will take to achieve those goals.
  • In an interactive session, the identified subject-matter experts will then come together to identify the key accountabilities of the job. Moderated and managed by a TTI-certified associate, the group will focus on the main contributions the holder of the position makes to the organization, thus avoiding a laundry list of tasks and assignments. This ensures you are able to distill the crucial elements of the role. By the time this part of the process is complete, the team will have created a comprehensive, yet succinct, group of three to five final key accountabilities that can and will be prioritized, weighed and ultimately measured.
  • Through a multifaceted job report, the job benchmarking team will individually complete an assessment while keeping in mind the three to five key accountabilities. Once those individual reports are reviewed and merged, the final report will illustrate a clear picture of the job.
  • At this point, anyone can be compared against the job benchmark. As personal assessments are administered, results will appear in a Gap Report that recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of each individual, as pertaining to the job, and even include recommended interview questions. As hiring managers review applicants, they won’t have to question, “Can this person do the job?” Instead, they’ll be able to focus on selecting the best person to do the job at that company.

Barry Schwartz: Our loss of wisdom

Watch Barry Schwartz‘s speech about what being wise mean and why practical wisdom is such an important value in contemporary world:

Barry Schwartz compares a wise person to a jazz musician – “using the notes on the page, but dancing around them, inventing combinations that are appropriate for the situation and the people at hand”. What he emphasizes is that a wise person is made, not born, wisdom comes with the experience. You actually don’t need to be brilliant to be wise, but without wisdom brilliance is not enough.

When something goes wrong we have a strong tendency to reach for rules and incentives – without intending it, but turning to rules and inventives we often stage a war on wisdom. An example illustrating this hypothesis is provided by strict curricula in schools, leaving no place for creativity and adaptation, guaranteeing mediocrity instead. Barry Schwartz quotes Barack Obama, who said “We must ask, not just is it profitable, but is it right” – people tend to forget this second question.

One of solutions to the problem suggested by Barry Schwartz is very simple – we need to celebrate moral exemplares, and it doesn’t have to mean superheroes, ordinary heroes, such as teachers, as equally or even more important. What is underlined in this speech is importance of practical wisdom – according to Barry Schwartz, “it’s what allows other virtues – honesty, kindness, courage and so on – to be displayed at the right time and in the right way”. 

Richard St. John’s 8 secrets of success

Learn in less than 4 minutes what leads to success – watch Richard St. John’s presentation:

Richard St. Jones asked a simple question – what leads to success, it took him 7 years of research and 500 interviews carried out to get the answer. Here are 8 things leading to success:

1. Passion – do it for love, not money

2. Work – work hard and enjoy it, instead of workaholic, be a workfrolic

3. Get damn good at what you are doing – practice, practice and practice

4. Focus

5. Push yourself

6. Serve – “millionaires serve other something of value”, do the same

7. Ideas – listen, observe, be curious, ask questions, solve problems, make connections

8. Persist – against everything

Richard St. John wrote a book, you can also follow his blog.

Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness

Watch a fascinating presentation by Dan Gilbert, talking about natural and synthetic happiness:

Before pilots start flying real planes, they learn how to do that using simulators. Similarly, we all can predict reactions to various things, simulating them in our mind – it’s pre-frontal fortex in our brain that enables this experience. These simulations can be very misleading though. If you are shown pictures of lottery winner and paraplegic, you would be sure that lottery winner would be far happier, but as it turns out, year after they are equally happy with their lives. Explanation to this mistake is provided by so-called impact bias – tendency for the simulator to work badly, make you believe that different outcomes are more different than in fact they are in reality.

Dan Gilbert says that humans have something like “psychological immune system“, we are able to synthesize happiness. Natural happiness is what we get when we get what we wanted; synthetic happineszs is what we make when we don’t get what we wanted. Contrary to popular belief, it is as real and enduring as natural happiness. Dan Gilbert brings examples from New York Times, one of them features Moreese Bickham, exonerated immate, who after being released from the prison at the age of 78, said: “I don’t have one minute’s regret, it was a glorious experience”. This is what we call synthetizing happiness.

Dan Gilbert continues his presentation with providing various examples supporting his thesis, among which free choice paradaigm can be found. Subjects are asked to rank objects from most to least liked, then they have a choice between #3 and #4 objects which they will own, vast majority chooses #3. After some time they are asked to re-rank objects, liking for owned object increases and liking for unowned object decreases, what is interesting is that also people with amnesia follow this pattern. We make ourselves like object we have more and the one we couldn’t have less.

As Adam Smith said: “The great source of human life misery and disorders of human life seems to arrive from overrating the difference between one permanent situation and another…” – it is true that some things are better than others, but we should never let either our longings or our worries to become overblown.

Susan Cain: The power of introverts

Watch a presentation by Susan Cain talking about the power of introverts.

Susan Cain starts her speech by the story how she went to a summer camp with a suitcase packed with books, expecting that this is what she will be doing there, similarly to what she used to do at home, with her family. It turned out that summer camps are all about teamwork, being extrovert and outgoing. She points out that 1/3 to 1/2 of the population is introvert, we need to let introverts do what they best do instead of pushing them to change.

Introversion – which shouldn’t be confused with shyness – is about how you respond to stimulation and how you prefer quieter, more low-key environment. As Susan Cain says, to maximize our talents, we need to put ourselves “in the zone of stimulation that is right for us”.

Majority of institutions, both schools and workplaces, are designed for extroverts, which is connected with their need for a lot of stimulation, teachers believe that ideal student is extrovert. The same happens at work – introverts are often ignored when it comes to leadership, despite the fact that they are more careful and less likely to take unreasonable risks. In fact, research done by Adam Grant from Wharton School shows that introvert leaders often deliver better outcomes than extroverts do. Susan Cain brings up some examples of introvert leaders in the history, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks and Gandhi. 

Even though there is no such thing as pure introvert or pure extrovert, each of us can be placed somewhere on this scale. In contemporary world we need better balance between these two types of personality. Cooperation is extremely important, but we shouldn’t forget about power of solitude – Susan Cain illustrates this thesis with example of Steve Wozniak, introvert who invented first Apple computer and then started cooperating with Steve Jobs to create Apple company.

There is strong cultural background for support for extrovert personality: Western societies, especially the US, “have always favored the man of action over the man of contemplation”. We should realize that the person speaking the loudest in a group is not necessarily the person with the best ideas.

Teamwork is necessary, but the more freedom we give to introverts to be themselves, the more likely they are to come up with their own unique solutions to various problems, says Susan Cain. 

She finishes her presentation with advice of three courses of action to take:

1. Stop the madness for constant groupwork

2. Go to the wilderness (not necessarilly literally, it just means getting inside our heads more often than we do)

3. Think what is in your suitcase (reference to the story from the beginning about the suitcase filled with books) and why these things are there.

3 Silver Bullets to Hiring the Best

By Bill Bonnstetter

For years, companies have been searching for a “silver bullet” when it comes to hiring superior performers for specific jobs. Increasingly as of late, we are hearing hiring managers from large companies complain, “I cannot find anyone to fill these empty positions.” Perhaps it is not the available workforce that is letting them down. Instead, it could be the outdated hiring methods still being used by those in charge of hiring.

Times have changed, and so have hiring techniques. No longer can those who hire rely on the old rubrics of education and experience as the one-two-punch of uncovering ideal candidates. If education and experience always leads to superior performance, then all people with an education and experience would be successful. We know not all lawyers, doctors, nurses and CPAs are successful even though they have degrees and certificates that demonstrate proficiency. It is estimated that a majority – some research states as high as 80 percent — of all people hired are interviewed based on education and experience. According to hiring website, a tendency to hire sales people based on experience alone most likely means hiring managers are side-stepping the hard work of developing and training staff properly.

Hiring managers or business owners who instead adopt a multi-dimensional view of resumes and candidates are more likely to hire the correct people.

People have many different attributes and talents such as behavior, skills, motivators, education, experience and worldviews that will predispose them to success in a given job. The first step – before hiring begins – is to reflect on what this job will require. Create a comprehensive list of these skills, talents and attributes, not based on a person but based on the job itself. Think about what the job would say, if it could talk. Use these attributes as the main screening factors.

Once that is complete, load up on these three (silver) bullet items:

Analyze behaviors – What behaviors do your candidates routinely engage in? Every job is unique and can require a different set of behaviors. Sales people should have a degree of competitiveness that might show up in the interview by pointing out past achievements or through a participation in sports. Other behaviors such as decisiveness or analytical thinking can also be ferreted out during screening, and can be major advantages to the job as you’ve defined it.

Understand motivators – Is your candidate motivated by financial success? These types of people are best in sales or commission type positions. By helping others or making other people better? Consider these types of candidates better for an inside sales or customer service role.

Assess personal skills – Is your candidate passionate about continuous learning? Then a role as a social media manager or a researcher, which both require constant inquiry and learning in a fast-paced setting, might be the best fit.

While just these three silver bullet approaches will help increase the likelihood of hiring a person ideally suited to your position, the more aspects you can screen, the better your company’s hiring will become. Investing in the process of hiring with your time and patience will ultimately pay off with better hires, who are more suited to success and superior performance on the job. In addition, with these employees in place, companies will have lower turnover and experience less lost income associated with dipping retention.

Finally, instead of lamenting the lack of quality candidates, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say, “I’ve found perfect candidates for each of my open positions!”

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Simon Sinek gives a speech about the importance of belief and leadership in success. There is a pattern of how communication goes, Simon Sinek calls it the Golden Circle. It is why, how and what? Basically all the companies know what they do, some of them know also how they do it, but very few companies know why they do what they do. As Simon Sinek points out, the answer is not a financial profit, money is just a result, not a cause.

Majority of companies communicate from outside, they tell us what product they offer. Great companies communicate from inside, starting with explaining why they do what they do, through how, arriving at what – product serves as a proof of what they believe. People don’t buy what you do, people buy why you do it.

Simon Sinek supports his thesis with the examples of Apple, brothers Wright and Martin Luther King – all of them believed in what they did and this is what they sold. Martin Luther King told people what he believed, people who believed the same thing made it their own case and convinced others, this is how his ideas spread and this is why crowds of people came to listen to his speech.

Simon Sinek mentiones also law of difussion of innovations which explains why and at what rate innovation spreads. Martin Luther King can serve as an example of success, the company TiVo provides an example of failure – despite having money, good product and good market conditions, the company wasn’t successful. Why? Because they communicated their innovation in a wrong way, starting with what instead of why.

Leaders are those who hold authority or power, those who lead are the ones that inspire us – Simon Sinek says at the end of his presentation. They are also a key to success.

Daniel Pink: The puzzle of motivation

Watch a fascinating speech by Daniel Pink, talking about motivation in 21st century:


You can find a short summary of Daniel Pink’s speech below:

Daniel Pink starts his speech with mentioning Karl Duncker’s candle problem. Participants of the experiment are presented with a following problem: they should attach a candle to the wall and light it up in a way that wax doesn’t fall from it. They have box of matches and box of thumbstacks at their disposal. The solution is to use box as a platform for a candle. Years later experiment was carried out – two groups of students were presented with the same problem, only this time there was timing of their efforts. First group was told that they will be timed to establish average for further comparison, the second group was offered financial rewards. Surprisingly, the second group spent 3.5 minutes longer on solving the task, despite financial incentive. That seems to be against whole logic of bonuses, commissions and other incentives used at companies to motivate their workers. As it turns out, such incentive can block creativity and narrow out focus. According to Daniel Pink such rewards can work perfectly well in simple tasks, the ones that don’t require any creativity. The 21st century problems are hardly ever simple. One of the thesis Pink is defending says that there is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does, this example seems to confirm it.

The same conclusion about rewards as motivators was reached by American economists: D. Ariely, U. Gneezy, G. Lowenstein and N. Mazar. They carried out an experiment with participation of students, who were offered 3 kinds of rewards for solving a given task. The conclusions reached based on this experiment are as follows:

“As long as the task involved only mechanical skills, bonuses worked as they would be expected: the higher the pay, the better the performance. But once the task called for even rudimentary cognitive skill, a large reward led to poorer performance”.

In eight of the nine tasks we examined across the three experiments, higher incentives led to worse performance”.

The same conclusion was reached by Dr. Bernard Irlenbusch from London School of Economics:”We find that financial incentives…can results in a negative impact on overall performance”.

Daniel Pink points out business needs new approach, based on intrinsic motivation consisting of three elements: autonomy (Pink defines it as urge to direct our life), mastery (desire to get better and better at something that matters) and purpose (yearning to do what we do for something bigger than ourselves).

Speaking of autonomy, we have to realize as Pink points out that management is something invented, not intrinsic. It works if you are looking for compliance, but if you want engagement, then self-direction seems to be much better choice. This can be illustrated by various examples from different companies where focus is on autonomy, for example Google, where you can devote 20% of your time to your own initiatives (this is how roughly half of new products is created), or Australian company Atlassian that introduced so-called Fedex days: each employee once a month has 24h to work on his own project and then has to present it in front of whole company. The extreme form of autonomy is represented by a system called ROWE (Results Only Work Envrionment), where people don’t have any schedules, they don’t have to come to the office, they simply need to have the job done – how, when and where is totally up to them.

Final point used by Daniel Pink to illustrate his thesis is the example of encyclopedia – one designed by Microsoft, on which money was spent and of which hardly anyone has heard vs. Wikipedia, created just for fun, without any financial incentives, which turned out to be a huge success.

To sum up – in 21st century it is not the money, but intrinsic motivation that is a driving force behind success.