March 28, 2014

The tilt intervention for working with involuntary clients

In coaching, supporting the autonomy of clients is extra important with involuntary clients. Involuntary clients are clients who's own idea it wasn't to go to a coach but who were sent by someone else. Although these clients may at first be reserved or uncooperative it is usually possible to reach a good cooperation with them rather fast. The key to doing that is to recognize their perspective and to acknowledge and accentuate their autonomy.

March 27, 2014

Interests as drivers of competence development

Coert Visser (2014)

Competence development is important for individuals and organizations. This article outlines the advantages of interest-focused development which is to structurally engage yourself with and train yourself in what interests you, both in the short and the long term.

Interest-focused development
An important motivation of people is what psychologists call competence motivation (Elliott & Dweck, 2005). Competence motivation is the tendency of people to make efforts to retain their level of competence and to develop it further. People from all cultures and of all ages have this motivation. The extent to which people feel competent contributes to their well-being and their functioning. Competence development will not come about automatically; it requires an investment. For anyone who wants to become more competent, the question is therefore important how that investment can be made most wisely.

March 23, 2014

Seeing willpower as an abundant resource (rather than a highly limited resource) works

Implicit Theories About Willpower Predict Self-Regulation and Grades in Everyday Life 
Job, Walton, Bernecker, and Dweck (in press)

Abstract: Laboratory research shows that when people believe that willpower is an abundant (rather than highly limited) resource they exhibit better self-control after demanding tasks. However, some have questioned whether this “nonlimited” theory leads to squandering of resources and worse outcomes in everyday life when demands on self-regulation are high. To examine this, we conducted a longitudinal study, assessing students’ theories about willpower and tracking their self-regulation and their academic performance. As hypothesized, a “nonlimited” theory predicted better self-regulation (better time management and less procrastination, unhealthy eating, and impulsive spending) for students who faced high self-regulatory demands. Moreover, among students taking a heavy course load, those with a nonlimited theory earned higher grades, which was mediated by less procrastination. These findings contradict the idea that a limited theory helps people allocate their resources more effectively; instead, it is people with the nonlimited theory who self-regulate well in the face of high demands.

March 21, 2014

If we want to get real good at something we have to work real hard

A few days ago I spoke to a manager who told me that she had had a conversation with a subordinate in which she had communicated some clear expectations she had of him. She told me that she had found it quite hard to prepare for the conversation. In this conversation she had used our technique of progress-focused directing. With this approach you formulate very specifically what you expect of the subordinate (this is called your expectation) and you give a clear reason for your expectation (this is called the rationale). This manager told me that, during her preparation, she had found it hard to formulate the rationale. She said she had made it quite difficult for herself and that she made her rationale very complex at first. Only at the end of her preparation she had managed to formulate her rationale in a brief and simple way. When she told me this, I asked her whether the conversation had led to the desired result. She said it had and added: "But I wonder why I make things so hard and difficult during my preparation."

March 20, 2014

Blaming people never contributes to progress

When something has gone wrong we are often inclined to assigning blame to individuals or groups. It happens in families, in schools, in companies, and in politics. The assumption is apparently that assigning blame is useful and necessary for solving the problems in question. But is this true? I don't think it is.

I think that blaming people never contributes to progress. The reason is that the person who is blamed will view this as an attack and will try to defend himself. As psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson show in their book Mistakes were made but not by me, people seldom agree with accusations against them. In the way in which people view reality and their own choices and behaviors, a mechanism of self-justification operates.

March 16, 2014

The power of small steps in project management (case by Niklas Tiger)

Niklas Tiger
Two years ago I posted a post which I called Taming the beast, which described a case by Niklas Tiger (he had originally posted it as a comment to this post: Small steps are often the only way to start tackling problems that nearly overwhelm us). Niklas wrote how my post had inspired him to start tackling the biggest problem in his organization with a small steps approach. He said that he and his colleagues had just started but that they felt that they were already on top of things and that success was just around the corner. Now Niklas has posted an update, again in the comment section, in reply to a question by another reader wo wondered what had further happened to Niklas' case. Here is his update:

Hi! I actually wrote a piece on this about a year ago and my idea was to post it here but somehow I forgot about it. Anyway, I found it so here it is along with some additional thoughts, now two years later.

March 13, 2014

Autonomy support at work

Self-determination theory (SDT) is one of the most powerful frameworks to understand how human flourishing can develop. Here is a very brief recap of what it is*. SDT assumes two things about human beings: 1) that they are naturally active and growth-oriented, and 2) that they have a tendency toward psychological integration. This second process means that, as people encounter new experiences, they are challenged to integrate them with existing aspects of themselves. This process of integration leads individuals to develop increasingly complex self-structures in which values and regulatory processes from outside are internalized.

March 3, 2014

Using social network incentives to stimulate engagement, trust and results

In this article I mentioned Alex Pentland's book Social Physics. One of the points frequently made in the book is that engagement, direct strong, positive interactions between people, within work groups is very important. By repeatedly interacting in cooperative manners, trust grows between team members and common beliefs, habits and norms emerge.

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