Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Question: What Is Psychology?

One of the most common questions asked by students new to the study of psychology is "What is psychology?" Misconceptions created by popular media as well as the diverse careers paths of those holding psychology degrees have contributed this confusion.

Psychology is both an applied and academic field that studies the human mind and behavior. Research in psychology seeks to understand and explain thought, emotion and behavior. Applications of psychology include mental health treatment, performance enhancement, self-help, ergonomics and many other areas affecting health and daily life.


Early Psychology

Psychology evolved out of both philosophy and biology. Such discussions of the two subjects date as far back as the early Greek thinkers such as Aristotle and Socrates. The word psychology is derived from the Greek word psyche, meaning 'soul' or 'mind.'

A Separate Science

The field and study of psychology was truly born when Wilhelm Wundt established the first psychology lab in Leipzig, Germany.

Wundt's research utilized a school of thought known as structuralism, which involved describing the structures that compose the mind. This perspective relied heavily on the analysis of sensations and feelings through the use of introspection, a highly subjective process. Wundt believed that properly trained individuals would be able to accurately identify the mental processes that accompanied feelings, sensations and thoughts.

Schools of Thought

Throughout psychology's history, a number of different schools of thought have thought have formed to explain human thought and behavior. These schools of thought often rise to dominance for a period of time. While these schools of thought are sometimes perceived as competing forces, each perspective has contributed to our understanding of psychology. The following are some of the major schools of thought in psychology.

  • Structuralism
  • Functionalism
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Behaviorism
  • Humanism
  • Cognitivism

Psychology Today

Today, psychologists prefer to use more objective scientific methods to understand, explain, and predict human behavior. Psychological studies are highly structured, beginning with a hypothesis that is then empirically tested. Psychology has two major areas of focus: academic psychology and applied psychology. Academic psychology focuses on the study of different sub-topics within psychology including personality psychology, social psychology and developmental psychology.

These psychologists conduct basic research that seeks to expand our theoretical knowledge, while other researchers conduct applied research that seeks to solve everyday problems. Applied psychology focuses on the use of different psychological principles to solve real world problems. Examples of applied areas of psychology include forensic psychology, ergonomics, and industrial-organizational psychology. Many other psychologists work as therapists, helping people overcome mental, behavioral and emotional disorders.

Psychology Research Methods

As psychology moved away from its philosophical roots, psychologists began to employ more and more scientific methods to study human behavior. Today, researchers employ a variety of scientific methods, including experiments, correlational studies, longitudinal studies and others to test, explain and predict behavior.

Areas of Psychology

Psychology is a broad and diverse field. A number of different subfields and specialty areas have emerged. The following are some of the major areas of research and application within psychology:

  • Abnormal Psychology is the study of abnormal behavior and psychopathology. This specialty area is focused on research and treatment of a variety of mental disorders and is linked to psychotherapy and clinical psychology. Mental health professional typically utilize the Diagnosistic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) to diagnose mental disorders.
  • Biological Psychology, also known as biopsychology, studies how biological processes influence the mind and behavior. This area is closely linked to neuroscience and utilizes tools such as MRI and PET scans to look at brain injury or brain abnormalities.
  • Clinical Psychology is focused on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders.
  • Cognitive Psychology is the study of human thought processes and cognitions. Cognitive psychologists study topics such as attention, memory, perception, decision-making, problem-solving and language acquisition.
  • Comparative Psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the study of animal behavior. The study of animal behavior can lead to a deeper and broader understanding of human psychology.
  • Developmental Psychology is the branch of psychology that looks at human growth and development over the lifespan. Theories often focus on the development of cognitive abilities, morality, social functioning, identity and other life areas.
  • Forensic Psychology is an applied field focused on using psychological research and principles in the legal and criminal justice system.
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology is the area of psychology that uses psychological research to enhance work performance, select employee, improve product design and enhance usability.
  • Personality Psychology looks at the various elements that make up individual personalities. Well-known personality theories include Freud's structural model of personality and the "Big Five" theory of personality.
  • School Psychology is the branch of psychology that works within the educational system to help children with emotional, social and academic issues.
  • Social Psychology is a discipline that uses scientific methods to study social influence, social perception and social interaction. Social psychology studies diverse subjects including group behavior, social perception, leadership, nonverbal behavior, conformity, aggression and prejudice.

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Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs

The Five Levels of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

hierarchy of needs

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - Self-Actualization And The Hierarchy Of Needs

Psychologist Abraham Maslow first introduced his concept of a hierarchy of needs in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation"1 and his subsequent book, Motivation and Personality.2 This hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other needs.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is most often displayed as a pyramid. The lowest levels of the pyramid are made up of the most basic needs, while the more complex needs are located at the top of the pyramid. Needs at the bottom of the pyramid are basic physical requirements including the need for food, water, sleep and warmth. Once these lower-level needs have been met, people can move on to the next level of needs, which are for safety and security.

As people progress up the pyramid, needs become increasingly psychological and social. Soon, the need for love, friendship and intimacy become important. Further up the pyramid, the need for personal esteem and feelings of accomplishment take priority. Like Carl Rogers, Maslow emphasized the importance of self-actualization, which is a process of growing and developing as a person to achieve individual potential.

Types of Needs

Maslow believed that these needs are similar to instincts and play a major role in motivating behavior. Physiological, security, social, and esteem needs are deficiency needs (also known as D-needs), meaning that these needs arise due to deprivation. Satisfying these lower-level needs is important in order to avoid unpleasant feelings or consequences.

Maslow termed the highest-level of the pyramid as growth needs (also known as being needs or B-needs). Growth needs do not stem from a lack of something, but rather from a desire to grow as a person.

Five Levels of the Hierarchy of Needs

There are five different levels in Maslow's hierarchy of needs:

  1. Physiological Needs
    These include the most basic needs that are vital to survival, such as the need for water, air, food and sleep. Maslow believed that these needs are the most basic and instinctive needs in the hierarchy because all needs become secondary until these physiological needs are met.
  2. Security Needs
    These include needs for safety and security. Security needs are important for survival, but they are not as demanding as the physiological needs. Examples of security needs include a desire for steady employment, health insurance, safe neighborhoods and shelter from the environment.
  3. Social Needs
    These include needs for belonging, love and affection. Maslow considered these needs to be less basic than physiological and security needs. Relationships such as friendships, romantic attachments and families help fulfill this need for companionship and acceptance, as does involvement in social, community or religious groups.
  4. Esteem Needs
    After the first three needs have been satisfied, esteem needs becomes increasingly important. These include the need for things that reflect on self-esteem, personal worth, social recognition and accomplishment.
  5. Self-actualizing Needs
    This is the highest level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Self-actualizing people are self-aware, concerned with personal growth, less concerned with the opinions of others and interested fulfilling their potential.

What Is Self-Actualization?

What exactly is self-actualization? Located at the peak of Abraham Maslow's hierarchy, he described this high-level need in the following way:

"What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization…It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming."1

While Maslow's theory is generally portrayed as a fairly rigid hierarchy, Maslow noted that the order in which these needs are fulfilled does not always follow this standard progression.1 For example, he notes that for some individuals, the need for self-esteem is more important than the need for love. For others, the need for creative fulfillment may supersede even the most basic needs.

Characteristics of Self-Actualized People

In addition to describing what is meant by self-actualization in his theory, Maslow also identified some of the key characteristics of self-actualized people:

  • Acceptance and Realism: Self-actualized people have realistic perceptions of themselves, others and the world around them.
  • Problem-centering: Self-actualized individuals are concerned with solving problems outside of themselves, including helping others and finding solutions to problems in the external world. These people are often motivated by a sense of personal responsibility and ethics.
  • Spontaneity: Self-actualized people are spontaneous in their internal thoughts and outward behavior. While they can conform to rules and social expectations, they also tend to be open and unconventional.
  • Autonomy and Solitude: Another characteristics of self-actualized people is the need for independence and privacy. While they enjoy the company of others, these individuals need time to focus on developing their own individual potential.
  • Continued Freshness of Appreciation: Self-actualized people tend to view the world with a continual sense of appreciation, wonder and awe. Even simple experiences continue to be a source of inspiration and pleasure.
  • Peak Experiences: Individuals who are self-actualized often have what Maslow termed peak experiences, or moments of intense joy, wonder, awe and ecstasy. After these experiences, people feel inspired, strengthened, renewed or transformed.3

Learn more in this article about the characteristics of self-actualized people.

Criticisms of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

While some research showed some support for Maslow's theories, most research has not been able to substantiate the idea of a needs hierarchy. Wahba and Bridwell reported that there was little evidence for Maslow's ranking of these needs and even less evidence that these needs are in a hierarchical order.4

Other criticisms of Maslow's theory note that his definition of self-actualization is difficult to test scientifically. His research on self-actualization was also based on a very limited sample of individuals, including people he knew as well as biographies of famous individuals that Maslow believed to be self-actualized, such as Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt. Regardless of these criticisms, Maslow's hierarchy of needs represents part of an important shift in psychology. Rather than focusing on abnormal behavior and development, Maslow's humanistic psychology was focused on the development of healthy individuals.

Thanks to Kendra Cherry / About Guide


18 Social Networks For Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are no strangers to going it alone. But that doesn't mean they have to be alone. Social networks provide a way to collaborate and share ideas with peers, search for partners, locate service providers, get the necessary information to run a business, and join a community of fellow entrepreneurs.

Here is a list of social networks for entrepreneurs. Some of the sites focus on building business relationships, while others are more of an ask-an-expert style. All of these networks are free, though some have fees for enhanced membership.

Social Networks for Entrepreneurs

Biznik. Biznik is for sharing your ideas, not posting your resume. Biznik members meet online and in person, because nothing beats the power of a face-to-face meeting to build lasting business relationships. After you establish your profile city, Biznik shows you local members in your area and events you can attend for local networking. Basic membership is free; Pro is $10 per month for enhanced profile; ProVIP is $24 per month for enhanced visibility.



Cofoundr. This is a basic social network for entrepreneurs. Post your question or message, get answers from followers, and follow other entrepreneurs.

Dreamstake. Dreamstake provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals and launch their ideas. Features include mentoring, funding support, talent matching, and legal. The network has over 4,500 members.

Entrepreneur Connect. This is a social network started by Entrepreneur Magazine. Create a profile and explore the idea-sharing community. Create or join professional groups. Create a blog and have it featured on the home page.

Entrepreneur Connect.

Entrepreneur Connect.

Focus. Post questions to business experts, receive research and analysis of business trends, and participate in a variety of events, including roundtables and webinars.

Go BIG Network. Go BIG Network claims to be the biggest community of startup companies. Create your business plan and meet investors. Members of Go BIG can either search profiles of other members to contact, or post a request to let members know what they are looking for.

LinkedIn. The largest social network for professionals, LinkedIn has over 100 million users. The "On Startups" group alone has nearly 200,000 members. LinkedIn offers many resources for entrepreneurs. Brand yourself as an entrepreneur, find service providers or partners, and participate with your LinkedIn network to strengthen your profile.



PartnerUp. This is an online community focused on the needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs. You can find commercial properties, locate partners to join your team, find accountants and marketers to grow and maintain your business, and get answers from people with relevant experience.

Perfect Business. This site provides an online video center, business plan software, and access to expert investors to pitch your ideas to and get feedback. Build your network as you launch your business.

Ryze. This is smaller business professional's social network whose prime focus is to help like-minded entrepreneurs find one another. Ryze helps people make connections and grow their networks. You can dialog to grow your business, build your career and life, find a job and make sales. Or just keep in touch with friends.



Sprouter. Sprouter allows entrepreneurs to get answers to small business questions from a panel of experts. Entrepreneurs can ask a question, browse relevant content, comment on answers, and share advice with their networks.

StartupNation. StartupNation wants to be your one-stop shop for entrepreneurial success. Find practical information to start and grow your own successful business: step-by-step advice, helpful articles, small business and entrepreneur forums, member-to-member networking, expert blogs, and contests. There are over 105,000 members.

StartupSpace. The purpose of StartupSpace is to learn, share and prosper. Start a business group or join a listed group. Write a blog and have it featured on the StartupSpace front page. StartupSpace has over 38,000 members.

The Funded. The Funded is an online community of entrepreneurs who discuss fundraising, rate and review investors, and discuss strategies to grow a business. It has over 16,000 members.

Upspring. Upspring is a place to connect, ask questions, give answers, and learn from your business community. View updates from your contacts on social media like Facebook and Twitter, and reply directly from a single interface. Build and manage your professional contacts, track what people are saying about your company, and grow your business with free promotional tools.



Viadeo. Popular in western Europe and founded in France, Viadeo is for business owners, entrepreneurs and managers, with close to 35 million members globally. Manage your network of contacts, find new leads and partnership opportunities, and showcase your expertise to get headhunted.

XING. A social platform similar to LinkedIn, but mostly utilized by the business communities of China and Europe. It features closed communities so members of global corporations can have private interaction online. XING has more than 10 million members worldwide.

Young Entrepreneur. This social network provides solutions and support to assist small business owners with starting, managing and growing successful business ventures. The site provides the latest news, entrepreneurial conversations, small business webinars, a helpful blog, resource videos, advice from seasoned experts, and access to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.

Young Entrepreneur.

Young Entrepreneur.

Thanks to Sig Ueland / Practical eCommerce


Word Usage: 10 Common Mistakes

Here is a list of ten common word usage mistakes with explanations and examples of proper use:

  1. There vs. Their vs. They're

    There is an indication of location.
    Example: I want to see that book over there.

    Their is a possessive version of they.
    Example: They took their dog to the groomer.

    They're is a contraction, short for they are.
    Example: They're going to the theatre tonight.
  2. A lot vs. Allot vs. Alot

    A lot is an indication of amount.
    Example: I have a lot of laundry to do.

    Allot means to distribute.
    Example: I will allot you two cookies.

    Alot is not a word.
  3. i.e. vs. e.g.

    I.e. means "in other words."
    Example: Writing more articles increases your website traffic. I.e., it will bring you more exposure.

    E.g. means "for example."
    Example: I have a lot of chores to do. E.g., laundry, dishes, vacuuming, dusting, etc.
  4. To vs. Too vs. Two

    To is a function word to indicate relative position.
    Example: We took the dog to the vet.

    Too can indicate excessiveness or in addition to.
    Example: The chili was too spicy.
    Example: I would like to go too.

    Two is the number 2.
    Example: I want two cookies.
  5. Its vs. It's

    Its is the possessive version of it.
    Example: Its door came off the hinges.

    It's is a contraction, short for "it is."
    Example: It's a beautiful day.
  6. You're vs. Your

    You're is a contraction, short for "you are."
    Example: You're the nicest person I've ever met.

    Your describes the possessor as someone else.
    Example: Your shirt is very wrinkled.
  7. Loose vs. Lose

    Loose is an adjective, the opposite of tight or contained.
    Example: I have loose change in my pocket.

    Lose is a verb that means "to suffer the loss of."
    Example: I hope I don't lose my car keys.
  8. Choose vs. Chose

    Choose is a present tense verb meaning "to select."
    Example: I choose to eat healthy foods.

    Chose is a past tense verb meaning "to select."
    Example: I chose to eat healthy foods.
  9. Effect vs. Affect

    Effect is usually a noun meaning "result."
    Example: The effect of increased traffic to your website is directly related to the number of articles you produce for syndication.

    Affect is usually a verb meaning "to influence."
    Example: I hope this training series will affect you in a positive way.
  10. Know vs. No vs. Now

    Know is usually a verb meaning "to understand."
    Example: I know you are not coming to the movie.

    No is a negative reply, refusal or disagreement.
    Example: There is no problem with the car.

    Now is usually an adverb meaning "at the present time or moment."
    Example: Now I can easily write and market my articles.
Thanks to The EzineArticles Team
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3 Ways To ‘Crowdsource’ Your Career

In the book, The Wisdom of Crowds, the phenomenon of "crowdsourcing" is shown to be a powerful way to predict and even improve outcomes. Case after case is mounted to educate us on how the masses are smarter than the select few. In fact, it's a known fact the intelligence of a group is consistently higher than the actual average of the members actual IQs. As I re-read this book over the holiday weekend, it made me wonder:

"How can crowdsourcing be used to advance our careers?"

I think far too many of us are guilty of not soliciting the right crowd to help us get better results than we can get on our own. While we may seek advice, it's often from individual sources who aren't even qualified to provide accurate insight. Let's face it – rarely do we seek the collective wisdom of a group we trust. Instead, we vent our career frustrations to people in our life who aren't really in a position to give us unbiased, honest advice – let alone advise us based on their own past success.

2 Reasons We Fear the Wisdom of Crowds

I think there are two reasons most of us don't use crowdsourcing in our careers.

  1. We are afraid to hear the truth.
  2. We don't want to look weak or needy.

And yet, there is undeniable proof crowdsourcing could provide us with information and guidance that could help us get what we want faster.

However, You Do Need to Seek the "Right" Crowd

It's important to note that a major factor that impacts the effectiveness of crowdsourcing for your career is mutual trust. In short, you must use a crowd who has your best interests at heart. And believe it or not, that is not as easy to achieve as it sounds…

The book discusses how humans have a natural desire to focus on their self-interests and a sense of fairness based on how much we think others deserve. Which means, if a person sees you getting more than they feel you should receive, they will tend NOT to help you.

Consider this: Many people, friends and family included, have an idea of how successful and happy they think you deserve to be. Which means, they will only help you reach that point, not go beyond it. Moreover, if helping you doesn't serve their interests in some way, why bother? You can see why choosing a crowd wisely is pretty important!

3 Ways to Implement Crowdsourcing for Your Career

In the video below, I discuss the pros and cons of using crowdsourcing for your career with our members. In my opinion, there are three ways you can leverage crowdsourcing to help you:

  1. Identify a 10-person board of directors for your business-of-one (a.k.a. a set of mentors who you admire) and ask them to provide you with some honest insight about your professional development. Send them your LinkedIn profile with a set of core questions. Then, review the answers and look for patterns in their responses.
  2. Send your career story to and have us post it for readers (many of whom are career counselors, coaches, etc.) and see what they suggest you can do.
  3. Join or start an accountability group that meets regularly to help one another. Be sure to choose the right members!


Thanks to J.T. O'Donnell / Careerealism



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3 Ways To Build Rapport And Ace The Interview

People hire people they like. So while your skills and experience are important elements to securing a job offer, just as important is your ability to build rapport that is natural and engaging with your interviewer. The rapport you establish during an interview can greatly impact the impression you leave behind.

Building rapport occurs in many ways. In addition to having subject matter that you both can relate to, it is also very much about body language. The handshake you offer when you first meet your contact, how you stand and sit, your facial expression and eye contact, to where you place your arms, hands, legs and feet is all part of body language to help establish the confident and engaged impression you want to leave with the interviewer. The more engaged you are and the more similarities the interviewer sees in terms of your body language, the easier it is to establish rapport.

Find out more on how to project effective body language during an interview from my blog post, "What Your Interview Body Language Reveals about You."

Effectively building rapport is what gives many candidates the leg-up in the company's interview process. Even if the candidate does not have as much experience as another candidate, he is seen as more favorable because he's been able to connect with the interviewer in a way that is more relatable and can be seen as fitting along with the rest of the people at the company. Those who do the hiring want to know that the candidate is someone they themselves would enjoy working with.

Ace your interviews by applying confident and positive body language with relevant topics that help build effective rapport. You will come out of the interview leaving your contact with the best possible impression for consideration to a job offer. Meaningful topics of relevance to help build rapport during an interview include:

  1. Current events on the company and/or industry: Before you go in for an interview, look over the company's website for news events. Most company websites have a section with press releases. Did the company just sign a significant partnership, bring in a key individual from the industry or launch a new product? These are topics that can help build rapport and show you are on top of what's going on at the company or industry.  It shows you have a sincere interest in the company.
  2. Challenges of the position and challenges the company faces: Asking questions about challenges and then turning around the discussion to clearly point out how you may have experience handling the issues is an easy way to show your contact that you have a desire to learn, face problems and bring solutions.
  3. Information about your contact: Establishing small talk with your interviewer may be done by asking questions such how she came to work for the company or her experience with particular projects. If you are conducting an interview in your interviewer's office, take note of any family photos showing children or locations you may relate you. You may draw up small talk simply by commenting on the beautiful smiles of the children in the photo, asking how old they are, and sharing information on the age of children you may have of your own. You can also ask if a photo was taken at a certain destination and add comment on how it relates to you – whether it's your hometown or if you went on vacation there recently. Small talk is a time where an interviewer can get a better feel for your personality and a chance to establish a stronger bond by showing how you two may have similarities. Many questions during the interview may be standard and seem a bit rehearsed, so slightly stray from the norm with small talk during the earlier part or latter part of the interview.

There's generally a clear sense of what is expected out of an interview. The employer wants to know how serious you are about this opportunity by your preparedness for the interview and what you can offer to the company through your skills and experience. Now, just let them know you are someone who can work well with the team and you will be on the right path to acing the interview.

Don Goodman, president of About Jobs is a nationally recognized career expert. Get a FREE Resume Evaluation, read his blog at or contact him at 800-909-0109 or by e-mail at

Thanks to Don Goodman / Careerealism



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No Magic Tablet For Under Performance

Australians enjoy an unemployment rate of 4.9%, but not all of the remaining 95.1% are necessarily up to scratch.
With the retail industry suffering and troubling statistics showing that 75% of senior staff are looking to move to other organisations, it's tougher than ever to retain quality employees.
Michael Floyd, director of sales and marketing recruitment firm, Carrera Partners, has identified fatigue as a major factor behind a surge in employee disengagement. He has suggested that many people who are falling behind are simply in need of a change.

With many long-term employees having survived the redundancy layoffs of 2009, "they've seen workmates lose their jobs and have had their workloads substantially increased and as a result, are exhausted and unmotivated", Floyd said.

Additionally, uncertainty issues relating to continued squeezing of margins and a tough market, reduced marketing budgets, restructures, mergers, and changes in leadership/management are all issues that have greatly affected employee confidence.

While it is an unprecedented time for various employment sectors, Floyd added that HR managers must firstly articulate a well communicated vision for rallying staff motivation. Secondly, transparency is the key to allowing staff the opportunity to rise above poor performance.
"Communicate to the team what's happening in the business with regards to the overall business performance, clients, industry and employees [and include meaningful appraisals]," Floyd said.
The recruitment specialist also identifies taking feedback on board, and acknowledging exceptional performance as key factors behind motivating and engaging staff.
Ben Thompson, CEO of The EI Group said the management of underperforming staff "comes down to a range of processes and strategies dependent on the culture and attitudes of each company".

The EI Group, which specialises in HR consulting across a broad area, offered the following six tips to manage underperforming staff:

1. Use progressive discipline. Focus on helping employees understand that their performance is not up to standard and help them be aware through regular feedback and the impact of their performance

2. Keep records, of your informal and formal discussions, to demonstrate your attempts to improve the situation.

3. Issue appropriate warnings.

4. Provide opportunities to improve. Keep your employees skills fresh and up to date by providing appropriate training and support

5. Assess your management style. Any good manager audits their own performance. Managers should ask themselves, 'Am I able to offer guidance, good communication and a clear understanding of the implications of non-performance?

6. Make sure you comply with the Fair Work Act. Ensure you are fair to the employee and comply with disciplinary procedures in the case of dismissing them. Get expert advice if you are in any way unsure about what constitutes a fair disciplinary procedure.

Thanks to HCA / HC Online / MCA Mag


Is Your Organization Ready To Go ROWE?

Imagine having the freedom to do your job when and where you want, as long as the work gets done. Sounds like a utopian workplace dream, but not likey to exist in the real world, right?

For some, this dream is a reality. An e-learning specialist at Best Buy completes an entire month of work in two weeks so he can spend the other two weeks following his favorite bands around the country. Sure, he checks in via email and cell phone, but he's out there livin' the dream 50% of the time.

This dream is made possible by ROWE: Results Only Work Environment. What is ROWE? According to Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler, the creators of ROWE, it's a management strategy where employees are evaluated on performance, not presence. Thompson and Ressler say that by focusing on results - and only results - the organization's performance increases while creating the right environment for people to manage all of the demands in their lives.

Here are the 'Nine Commandments' of ROWE:

  1. We do not post office hours or core hours. Our employees know where to be when they need to be there. We don't dictate it. Everybody has complete control over how they spend their time. All the time.
  2. We do not track time for our exempt/salaried workforce. We track work getting done.
  3. There are no hours-worked expectations for exempt/salaried employees. We do not talk about how many hours we work or demand 40, 50, or 60 hours out of people.
  4. We do not have a tele-work policy, handbook or tele-work rules. Tele-work is so 1970's, Work is just work. It doesn't need a location label, And, we don't have flextime.
  5. We do not track PTO (vacation, sick time, personal time, holiday time). It's not a benefit. Unlimited paid time off as long as the work gets done is the contemporary benefit that matters.
  6. Nobody asks permission to go to an appointment, event or any other personal activity. Ever. And they don't have to inform the team or management in an effort to be polite.
  7. We have adopted the Sludge* Eradication Strategy - NO SLUDGE in our workplace.
  8. We NEVER put 'mandatory' on a meeting invite. Every meeting is optional.
  9. We don't have any limits put on how or when we can work: "No E-Mail Fridays" and "No Meeting Wednesdays" don't exist in our organization.

Sounds like a good idea, right? In the right environment it can be. The philosophy lends itself easily to knowledge work. Implementing ROWE in service or industrial environments is more challenging. Best Buy, the original adopter or ROWE, has implemented this strategy in most departments at its Minneapolis headquarters. They've discussed bringing ROWE to the retail floor, but haven't yet figured out how to make it work.

The success - or failure - of ROWE also depends on the people. This strategy can only be effective if managers are goal-oriented. In traditional work environments, employees often complain that they can't be measured by results because their managers don't articulate what they want them to accomplish. ROWE only works if managers figure out what they want done and effectively communicate that to employees.

Employees have to do their part too. ROWE requires self-motivation. Managers aren't "supervising" - employees are essentially supervising their activities and how they spend their time themselves. Not all employees are up to this challenge. Two years after implementing ROWE, Best Buy's involuntary termination rate in three ROWE departments increased an average of 77 percent.

Not only do you need the right kind of people for ROWE to work, you need to figure out some regulatory issues. For non-exempt workers, ROWE appears to be in direct conflict with wage and hour laws. If employees don't track their time, employers won't know if - or how much - overtime pay is required. The FLSA makes it impossible to implement a pure ROWE strategy for non-exempt employees.

Is ROWE right for your organization? It's hard to say. On paper it seems like a great idea. In reality, there are some serious issues that have to be figured out to make it work.

*According to Thopson and Ressler, sludge is "skeptical, critical and often downright passive aggressive comments made by others who don't understand what a Results-Only Work Environment is all about." Examples of sludge can be found here.

Stephanie R. Thomas is an economic and statistical consultant specializing in EEO issues and employment litigation risk management. For more than twelve years, she's been working with business and government agencies like the DOJ and the FProactive Employer Podcast and is the founder of Thomas Econometrics. Follow her on Twitter at ProactiveStats.BI, providing expert analysis. Stephanie's articles have been published in Bloomberg Law Report, Corporate Counselor, and other professional journals.

Thanks to Stephanie R. Thomas / Compensation Café


8 Ways To Simplify Moving

A reader is facing a major move in her life, from a small attached house to a free-standing house, this time with a young child in tow. She asked me to write an article on how to simplify moving. So here it is!

Bear in mind, I haven't moved in 8 years, but the last time I moved, my husband and I did it with the help of three other adults, and I had a 10 month old baby and 2 cats running around underfoot. The move was successful: everything ended up in the right place, and I had the kitchen in such order that by the second day after the move I made brownies. From scratch. (Yes, it can be done)

Plan Where Things Will Go

You know where things are now, and you know what the new layout of the house will be. Make a list of rooms in the new house, and decide where things will go from the old house.

When we moved from the condo to the house, items from various rooms were dispersed. We used to store extra blankets in the master bedroom; these were delegated to the new guest room. One and a half baths were put into two and a half; the extra storage for pantry items was moved from a closed bookshelf into the kitchen.

With a little thinking about where things will go, you will spend less time unpacking.

Have Materials On Hand

It is almost impossible to pack if you don't have the right materials to do so. Make sure you have plenty of boxes, bubble wrap, paper (preferably the non-printed leftover newsprint paper), and lots of strong tape, in a dispenser.

We bought boxes for our last move: many packages of bankers boxes for heavy objects like books, wardrobe boxes to hold our hanging clothes without having to fold, compartment boxes for glasses and dishes, and bigger moving boxes for lighter items.

It is well worth it to pay for these boxes. You will have clean, strong boxes to work with, and suited to what you are packing. Uniformly sized boxes can help with packing a moving truck as well. If you absolutely have to go for free boxes, check with your local Freecycle to see if anyone has moving boxes they can give you. When you are done, Freecycle any boxes you don't need.

Bubble wrap is essential to cushion breakable items. You can use things like towels, but towels don't give the protection of bubble wrap.

Buy or borrow a packing tape dispenser that will not have you swearing. Nothing is worse than being ready to seal a box, and having to pick the ends of the tape off the roll.

With proper supplies on hand, the actual act of packing will go much quicker.

Label Each Box

After you are done packing and sealing each box, label on the top and one side the general contents of the box, and where it will go in the new house. This will allow the movers to put the boxes in the correct locations as they unload, and will allow you to find what box you may need to look in, as well as what order you may need to unpack things.

For example, we had books in our office that were going in two places: our new office upstairs and the built-in shelves in the living room. The books were split into boxes accordingly, and each box labeled with "books" and the location they needed to end up in. This also applied to my kitchen: I put all of the items I needed for feeding my daughter (bottles, spoons, bowls, baby food) in a box and labeled it "kitchen" and "baby food". That way I found the box right away after we moved and unpacked it before littler used items like the blender.

Purge As You Go

As much as possible, get rid of anything you don't need as you are packing. Old magazines, unused books, outgrown clothing should all be gotten rid of appropriately. Some charities will even send trucks to pick up discarded items, and the more you get rid of, the less you have to pack, move and unpack.

Cycle Through The House Multiple Times

Although it might feel like a great idea to fully pack each room at a time, you will still be living in the house as the packing is going on. Pack the least used items in each room, then cycle back through the various rooms as the moving gets closer to pack other items.

For instance, the first round of packing included the holiday decorations, the winter clothes, the clothes my daughter had yet to grow into, books not in use, and rarely used kitchen appliances. This went on, until the last week all that was left to pack was a skeleton kitchen setup (we were using paper plates at that point), my daughter's necessities, a week of clothes for all of us, the cat food and the litter box.

Organize for the New House

As much as possibly, plan for where things will go specifically in the new house. This is really great if you can do this in the kitchen. Figure out where the silverware, glasses and plates will go. Decide what will be stored in the kitchen, and what will be stored elsewhere. Plan your pantry.

This may seem like a lot of effort, but it will make unpacking the kitchen a snap (and it was how I was able to bake the day after moving!)

Resist the Urge to Dump

At some point you will have the urge to run your arm over horizontal surfaces and dump everything in a box. Try to resist this as much as possible. It will only create chaos and confusion as you are unpacking.

Leave Other People's Messes Until the End

If you live with another able-bodied adult who has packrat tendencies, leave his or her own mess alone. The urge to declutter will be great, and will not be well-received. This also applies to things that the person may value but for which you see no worth (such as a beer can collection or a large chunk of metal from an engine used as a toe-stubber doorstop).

You may end up packing some of these things in the end, but I recommend leaving other people's messes for their own packing.

With just a bit of effort, you can streamline your packing and make your move go smoothly.
Thanks to L. J.  Earnest / SimpleProductivityBlog

It’s Quality, Not Just Quantity That Gets You Hired

Over the last few years, I've heard a lot of very intelligent job seekers casually remark they had sent out hundreds of resumes while looking for a job. These people firmly believed job searching was entirely a numbers game, so the more resumes they sent out, the more likely they were to be hired.

Unfortunately, these job seekers were flawed in their thinking—and were generally not getting any hits from their resumes. While it's true you have to be actively applying for jobs in order to get one, it's also true sending a generalized resume out to dozens of openings for which you're only peripherally qualified is a huge waste of time. Job searching is time consuming for everyone, and it can be especially challenging for those who are already working full-time. If you only have three hours per week you can devote to job searches, chances are you'll fare better spending one hour each on three well-targeted applications rather than taking 15 minutes each to submit a dozen resumes.

Competition is stiff for every single job out there. Just last week I was talking to someone who had received 300 applications for an administrative position. Many of the applicants had graduate degrees but were unable to find work suitable to their advanced qualifications. Faced with that kind of odds, a general resume will almost always go directly into the discard pile. Your challenge as a job seeker is to produce a cover letter and resume that truly stand out to the hiring manager for each job you pursue. The simple truth is doing this requires spending a significant amount of time on every application you submit.

One of the greatest advantages to hiring a professional resume writer is the amount of time it saves you in your job search. A skilled writer will spend some time learning about who you are as a person and a candidate. He/she will then create documents that require minimal changes each time you apply for a job. By hiring a professional, you're better able to play the numbers game by submitting a greater number of high quality applications; as a result, you make the best use of your valuable time. It's the quality of your job applications—not the quantity—that will ultimately get you hired.

How does your resume match up?

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter.

Thanks to Jessica Holbrook Hernandez / Careerealism


The 80/20 Rule: 5 Places To Focus On To Declutter 80% Of Your Life

Most of us have probably heard of the 80/20 rule, also called the Pareto's principle. Pareto's principle states that 80% of effects come from 20% of the cause. Sometimes the actual ratio fluctuates to 70/30 or 90/10 but the main idea behind the rule still holds true.

Humble Beginnings

The idea that only 20% of anything account for 80% of the overall result was first proposed by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto in the early 1900s. He discovered that 80% of Italy's landholdings were owned by 20% of the population. The principle was first adopted to explore serious social issues as probably intended by Pareto himself, but soon enough people began to realize that the 80/20 rule is visible everywhere.

Since then Pareto's principle became a sort of mantra among individuals who want to stay on top of everything that's going on in their lives. Our hectic modern schedules don't leave much room for careful planning, and most of the time we're content doing things on the fly and letting things run their course. However, the 80/20 rule invites us to take a closer look at our everyday activities and to weed out the important stuff from the not-so-important ones.

With the Pareto principle in mind, you can actually change the way you run your household, office and ultimately your life. The idea is that by changing 20% of the things that you usually do, you can improve the overall results of your work by 80%.

The 80/20 rule means that you don't really have to exert too much effort to bring about the results that you want, but identifying that critical 20% is the challenge. If you want to simplify and declutter your life, you have to focus on that 20% to ensure that you don't waste your time doing. The key is to find the value in everything that we own or do.
Here are some places where you can apply the Pareto principle to bring about higher satisfaction and productivity levels:

  1. Closet. Your closet is home to clothes that you probably don't use. Are you already short on storage space because of all the clothes you've accumulated but have never worn? Identify the clothes that you actually like and use, and then throw out the others or donate them to charity. Other people can use the things that you don't, so why keep them? Besides, you will have a better experience choosing your outfit if everything is hung or folded neatly inside a roomy closet.
  2. Worktable. Your work desk is probably the most disorganized area in your house. What are the things that you really need on that table? What are the things that are just taking up space and accumulating dust but are never actually useful? Put away the things that don't help you with your work because you're better off having more elbow room as you take phone calls or answer emails. Besides, these unwanted items can only distract you from the task at hand and slow you down.
  3. Kitchen. Your kitchen may be filled with all the fanciest equipment and the most expensive ingredients, but probably cook with only 20% of them. Don't waste your money and time on things that are just meant to impress guests. If you're not a professional chef, you don't really need all those shiny chrome gadgets and copper pans.
  4. Bedroom. Some people sleep better with clutter around them, but it's actually more sensible for to sleep in a room that's clean and organized. You will be able to get dressed for work faster if everything is where it should be, from your socks and shoes down to your ties and cuff links. You no longer have to spend the better part of an hour looking for your lost briefcase amidst all the clutter of your room.
  5. Attic. Most homeowners think that their attics are black holes that simply suck their unwanted and forgotten junk into oblivion. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Instead of putting away unused items in boxes and storing them up in your attic, you have to sort through them regularly and determine which ones should leave your home for good. Otherwise you'll just end up having a house where all the unwanted stuff collects dust in the attic.

What are the areas you think would have the most payoff for decluttering?

Krisca Te can be found visiting blogs that cover topics about productivity. She is also a personal finance junkie who is currently working with Australian Credit Cards, a personal finance guide based in Sydney, Australia.

Thanks to Krisca Te / SimpleProductivityBlog


How To Get An Employer’s Attention In 20 Seconds

I review a lot of resumes, and they often land in my mailbox with the exact same titles: resume.doc or resume.pdf. Can you say boring? Try these alternatives to stand out as an interesting candidate and get an employer's attention:

1. Your Name Resume.doc — This minimum level of personalization ensures your resume will remain attached to your application.

2. Your Name Resume December 2010.doc — While this is also fairly generic, it suggests your resume is constantly changing, requiring you to date each updated version.

3. Your Name, Job Title.doc — This title utilizes the power of suggestion to show the employer how nicely your name and the job title go together. For instance, "Jane Doe, Financial Project Manager."

4. Your Name, Humorous Statement.doc — Don't try this at home unless you work in a field where creativity is the name of the game. For example, "Joe Smith, Nebraska Hula Hoop Champion 2002."

5. Your Name, Branding Statement.doc — Using a branded resume title is a powerful way to scream "read me!" For example, "John Grisham, Bestselling Crime Novelist", or "Tiger Woods, Global Golf Champion."

Remember, the hiring managers reading your resumes receive hundreds of applications for every position they post. Something as simple as a catchy document title can catch a hiring manager's eye and leave them wanting to know more!

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter.

Thanks to Jessica Holbrook Hernandez / Careerealism

Are You Wasting Money On Management Training?

Most everyone would agree that the training and development of managers is a critical component of success for organizations — especially if you believe that a stronger leadership team makes a competitive difference. Yet despite its importance, when times are tough, management training and development budgets are among the first to be cut as we saw during the financial crisis.  More often than not the reason behind this apparent contradiction is the lack of a clear connection between training and results. Without this connection, cost-conscious executives at best view management development as a "nice" but discretionary expense and at worst as unnecessary time off.

Let's look at a quick example: The leadership development staff of a large pharmaceutical company worked with a well-known business school to create a five-day residential program on "becoming a senior leader" for their top 400 managers (just below the executive ranks). Over the course of two years, the company ran the program four times, with twenty-five managers attending each session. Each of the programs included visits from the CEO and other executives to talk about the company's strategy; case studies of other companies taught by world-class business school professors; and time for the participants to network and get to know each other. Post-session feedback was extremely positive, with participants saying that they enjoyed the program and "learned a great deal." However, six months later none of the participants could say that their business or function was any better off as a result of the program; and few could cite anything that they were personally doing differently. Based on this assessment combined with the multimillion dollar cost of the program and a budget squeeze, the program was cancelled and most of the leadership development staff was let go.

Unfortunately, this example is not atypical. Many companies create leadership programs that are filled with good content and delivered with great skill, but without any kind of measurable business impact they eventually die on the vine.

Luckily the "fix" for these kinds of programs is really quite simple: Require that participants come to the program with a specific business challenge (either individually or as a team); build time into the program to create a plan for addressing that challenge based on the content that is presented; and then insist that managers execute against these plans after the program. Firms such as GE, Honeywell, Siemens, and many others have used this approach for years with great success — and have documented many millions of dollars of benefits. In essence they have transformed their leadership development activities from a "cost center" to a "profit center" — which makes them much more difficult to dismiss when budgets get tight.

Now that the recession is over and companies are beginning to reinstate some of their budget cuts, perhaps this is a good time to take a fresh look at your management development activities — and how they can more directly connect to real business results. Ask yourself these questions: Are the participants in your management development programs "on the hook" to apply their learnings to real issues back on the job? Will the content of your programs give managers new insights into getting things done? Do the designs of the programs allow time for participants to create implementation plans? Are your program instructors pushing past casual discussion and facilitating specific back-at-work application of learning? Have you built in follow-up to make sure that managers translate their learnings into action?

Based on these questions, how do the management development programs in your company stack up?

Ron Ashkenas is a senior partner of Schaffer Consulting, a Stamford, Connecticut consulting firm and the author of the book Simply Effective:  How to Cut Through Complexity in Your Organization and Get Things Done.

Editor's Note:  A version of this blog was cross-posted on

Thanks to Ron Ashkenas / Blogs Forbes


Spotlight On Association Leadership: What Does The Perfect Leader Look Like?

Think for a moment about the qualities a perfect leader. A series of adjectives pop into your head. Maybe you picture a person who is a fearless, visionary, innovative, independent thinker. Or maybe you see someone who is a careful, detail-oriented, focused consensus builder. On top of that, the definition of the perfect leader probably changes based on circumstances. Depending on the context, maybe your idea of the perfect leader is a Patton and, in others, a Gandhi.

When you consider the range of talents a "perfect leader" might need, it is unreasonable to expect one individual to embody every leadership quality needed to succeed in today's environment. Complex environments require a complex set of skills. Rarely, if ever, can we find all talents needed in one individual. What does that mean for leadership in our associations and not-for-profit corporations? How can we adapt to this environment?

What if we flip our thinking and stop waiting for the "one great leader who can do it all" and instead develop processes to identify and combine the best talents in our groups? We know some situations call for someone with a light touch, and others call for a more forceful approach. What if we could have both at our disposal?

Not-for-profit associations are poised to create a collaborative leadership structure that harnesses the power of the group and move away from the "cult of the individual." I suggest that association leaders focus on identifying and using leadership qualities that already exist within their volunteer and staff base. We could then deploy a broad range of leadership qualities and skills on critical issues affecting our associations and member citizens as well as their industries and professions.

Here are five things to keep in mind when creating a collaborative leadership structure in associations and nonprofits.

  • Acknowledge the environment. Accept that complex environments require a more sophisticated leadership structure than the traditional hierarchical model of the past century.
  • Start simply. Make small shifts in language and terminology to support your outlook on leadership. Use different vocabulary to create opportunities to think about leadership differently.
  • Use a strengths-based approach. Ask volunteers and staff about their strengths, and concentrate on reinforcing and using those skills. Link innovators with detailed people, connect visionaries with tacticians and introduce social networkers to problem solvers.
  • Define expectations. Setting clear policy regarding conflicts of interest and codes of conduct are vital to creating a strong leadership culture within your volunteer leadership base.
  • Develop appropriate training. Leadership training must focus less on "definitions" and drawing on "examples of great leaders" and more on group processes that take advantage of skills already in the room. Interpersonal communications and collaborative processes are key to accelerating the development of a deep bench of strong volunteer and staff leaders.
This guest post is by Shelly Alcorn, CAE, an association-management consultant. Reach her on Twitter @shellyalcorn, on LinkedIn or at the Association Subculture Blog.