Tonight’s guests, Harvard Negotiation Project leaders Sheila Heen and Doug Stone, may be perceived as wonky sorts who advise corporate and world leaders on doing their work effectively, but as you can see from the video above, they have lots of advice for negotiating murky waters of friendship and family.
We’ve talked a lot about the achievement gap here, but what about the confidence gap? Girls are less likely to lead (or even raise their hands in class) by middle school, according to a group called banbossy.com, started by Sheryl “Lean In” Sandberg and Girl Scout CEO Anna Maria Chavez. And the trend, as so many of us know, continues into adulthood.
Channel your inner bossy girl (or get your daughter to) by reading more in Sandberg and Chavez’s article in Saturday’s WSJ.
We realize there are bigger stories happening in FANdom: The heroin epidemic in Vermont (watch the Sheff video to discover some solutions), Putin vs. world (don’t miss Harvard Negotiation Project leaders Sheila Heen and Doug Stone on the fine art of receiving — and dealing with —feedback on Monday), the revamp of the SAT.
But we couldn’t resist this story from the Shriver Report, “Is the Key to Professional Success Marrying a Rich Husband?" And this sort of comment came from successful professionals to those on the cusp of professional success (!). For all of you with daughters out there, let’s hope women’s business tactics shift into more objective realms by the time they start working.
“In the past year, I have overheard no fewer than four women in my personal acquaintance suggest that their lives would be completely solved (and that their creative potential would be completely realized) if only they had married (or could marry) a rich man,” said best-selling novelist Elizabeth Gilbert in a Feb. 20 Facebook post, which featured a poster of a fist with arrows shooting out of it claiming, “Autonomy!”
A whole new way of looking at eat, pray, love, we’d say.
1. UNICEF’s Tap Project: How long can you go without touching your phone? For every ten minutes you go (with this website open), a sponsor donates enough money for a child to have clean water for a day.
2. Charity Miles: With this app, you choose your favorite charity, and a sponsor donates…
WE SEE NOW WHY UKRAINE AND RUSSIA ARE FIGHTING OVER CRIMEA. Gorgeous! But what the Ukrainians — and the rest of the West, which they are turning to for help after Russia “invaded” over the weekend — may need now is help from top negotiators like Doug Stone and Sheila Heen, members of the Harvard Negotiation Project and authors of “Thanks for the Feedback!” (and FAN’s next speakers. The timing could not be more delicious!).
The Negotiation Project even has a post on its blog titled “Dealing With Difficult People — Such as Putin?" Tip #1: "Avoiding a conversation altogether by finding more collaborative negotiating partners." Obama, are you taking notes?
Since most of us aren’t Obama or John Kerry, however, there are still plenty of difficult negotiations we navigate each day, with co-workers, spouses, even children. Tip #2: “Aggressive tactics and hard-bargaining strategies may, at face value, provide a roadmap to success at the bargaining table.
"But adaptability to ever-changing circumstances is essential for the ‘dynamic’ negotiations one encounters in everyday life.”
We are going to be reading this blog all day.
As befits an exam named for itself, the SAT measures those skills — and really only those skills — necessary for the SATs.
THE PERFECT SCORE: EVER-ELUSIVE, AND FOR WHAT? That conclusion pretty much sums it up for New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert in her article, “Big Score: When Mom Takes the SAT.”
Kolbert, perhaps better known as the environmental writer who just published a book on disappearing species called “The Sixth Extinction” than as a crack test-taker, follows a mother who took all seven (yes, seven!) SAT tests offered in a given year in the hopes of learning enough about the test to help her son with “modest” athletic and academic abilities do well enough to get into a “good” college.
This well-intended mom, Debbie Stier, wrote a book about her ordeal, “The Perfect Score Project: Uncovering the Secrets of the SAT.” She did get an 800 on the writing portion on her fifth try, but her math scores never rose above 560. As the guidance counselors would predict, her scores dropped in her sixth and seventh attempts.
Whatever we think of standardized tests, however, they are still benchmarks used by most colleges and, according to a front-page article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, by many companies during the hiring process. SAT scores (especially in math) are used to compare recruits at banks, and consulting and accounting firms, sometimes even for senior positions.
"It is a little confounding how a test somebody took when they were 17 predicts success in a competitive workplace," said Carnegie Mellon’s career-services dean Kevin Monahan.
Google used to be famous for fixating on candidates’ test scores, GPAs and alma maters, the Journal article said. That is, until it discovered that new hires with the highest metrics didn’t always turn out to be the best employees.
And, even though the SAT is supposed to predict a student’s success in college, we’re not so sure it predicts the best students, either.
AH, SO THAT’S WHY IT’S CALLED “ARTS AND SCIENCES.” You must be wondering: What in the world does Alan Alda have to do with the mind? or research? or FAN? Turns out the former M*A*S*H star is so curious about how things work that he had a super-popular PBS show called “Scientific American Frontiers" and now has a whole department at SUNY-Stony Brook named for him, the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. He was considered the most popular speaker at the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science convention!
Alda’s passion has become helping scientists translate their work so that laymen (and sometimes Congressmen who are funding their work) can understand it.
"Every experiment is a great story. Every scientist’s life is a heroic story," Alda said in an interview in today’s Times. There’s an attempt to achieve something of value, there’s the thrill of knowing the unknown against obstacles, and the ultimate outcome is a great payoff — if it can be achieved. Now, this is drama!”
Interestingly, another person featured in today’s Times, Chinese writer and MacArthur “genius” Yiyun Li, is also operating at the intersection of science and art. The highly regarded novelist and short-story writer came to this country as a University of Iowa Ph.D. candidate in immunology, then switched to the school’s renowned creative writing program. Science doesn’t figure much in her writing, but it’s what got her here.
We love these intersections of STEM and art. What a relief that we don’t always have to choose.
Source: The New York Times
Now that the Olympics are over, we’re guessing that some of the athletes wish they had been able to apply some simple psychological tools that help shape performance, explained here by FAN’s most recent speaker, Sian Beilock, who runs the Human Performance Lab at the University of Chicago. It’s all about training the mind as well as the body, and in many instances to ignore what the body has learned so well.
We may not be Olympians, but we’ve all been in situations where we’ve worried about whether we’re going to do as well as we know we can: work presentations, important tests, golf games, piano recitals. How can we overcome our fears and let our mind do its work?
Simple, Beilock says. (Okay, actually it’s complex, but her tools are simple to understand and use.) The highlights:
1. Focus on the outcome of your performance, not the intricate steps it takes to reach that outcome. Let your body do the work you’ve trained it to do. Distract yourself.
2. Walk away from a problem and then come back to it. Walking in nature or meditating for a few minutes can be especially helpful.
3. Talk over a problem with a friend or colleague, which allows you to see a problem from a new perspective.
4. Keep a positive mindset that focuses on effort rather than talent (sound familiar? That’s the work of Carol Dweck, of whom we are huge FANs). Don’t let yourself (or your kids) fall prey to negative stereotypes, such as “girls are bad at math.”
5. Failure is okay. And more than that, failure is good, if we learn from our mistakes.
6. Journaling about our anxieties before a big test, game or other event can improve performance, and provide lasting gains.
Sounds easy, right? As we all know, it’s not. But getting a slightly better understanding of how stress affects the brain and then translates into behavior is one step toward doing well on all those things we practice.
WILL GRIT TRANSLATE INTO GOLD? The excitement, for us, this Olympics is in the skiing and boarding (gold medal tie in women’s downhill! Shaun White and Julia Mancuso’s fails! Sage Kotsenberg’s happy-go-lucky attitude!). And along comes downhill powerhouse Ted Ligety, above, the 29-year-old who rarely won races until his second decade.
"Ted Ligety was no prodigy, but a tenacious pursuit of excellence has paid off," according to a huge profile of the world champion in today’s Times. All Olympic athletes have grit, of course, that trait defined by our pal Angela Duckworth as perseverance and passion for a long-term goal, despite obstacles and set-backs. But not so many were told as kids that they didn’t have a chance to win a race, much less an Olympic one.
Not surprisingly, it seems that Ligety is just as tenacious about promoting his sport and his burgeoning ski gear business as he is about competing. Something tells us he’s going to do okay, no matter what he sets his mind to.
Source: The New York Times