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L.L. Bean, Microsoft, And Amazon Tell Happy Employees To “Take a Hike!”

Feeling stressed?

Stuck in a creative rut?

Need more energy?

The cure for all these ills — and more! — is nature.

Whether you choose forest bathing, hiking, biking or a walk on the beach, the very act of connecting with nature improves mood, energy and focus.

Science tells us nature makes us happier and healthier. So smart companies today are listening. They’re leveraging the power of nature to create happier, healthier spaces and happier, healthier employees.

Who doesn’t want their employees to be more creative, more focused and happier at work? Happiness is, after all, a key driver of employee loyalty, employee engagement, and employee retention.

The Nature of Happiness at Work

Does nature make us happier at work? Yes!

In her book The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier and More Creative, author Florence Williams explains that natural spaces — even citified versions of them — can help us feel psychologically restored, making us healthier, more creative, more empathetic and more apt to engage with the world and with each other.

Author Ingrid Fetell Lee spent 10 years exploring how an intangible concept like joy could manifest in the physical world, a journey she describes in her TEDx talk “Where Joy Hides and How to Find It.”  Her key finding was that “the physical world can be a powerful resource to us in creating happier, healthier lives.”

And in his book Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, author Dr. Wallace J. Nichols describes water as medicine for our health and well-being. The book takes a deep dive into explaining how proximity to water can increase performance, calm, and professional success.

Clearly nature is essential to happiness at work — a concept co-author Rosaria Cirillo Loumann and I detail in Yellow Goldfish, our guide to the nine ways to find and create H.A.P.P.I.N.E.S.S. in the workplace. In the book, we look at how more than 300 companies provide little extras to contribute to the happiness of their customers, employees, and society.

Nature is the sixth factor of the H.A.P.P.I.N.E.S.S. equation we’ve defined, and the sixth in a blog series taking a closer look at all nine factors that help businesses increase happiness to drive growth, productivity, success, and bottom-line results. Read the first five blogs in the series here:

·     Health – Google, Ben & Jerry’s, Cisco And Zappos Show How Napping Is One Way To Health And Happiness At Work

·     Autonomy – If You Love Your Employees, Set Them Free: Autonomy Is Key To Employee Engagement

·     Purpose – How Do Ben & Jerry’s, Google And Facebook Boost Employee Engagement And Happiness? They Know Why

·     Play – To Win The Customer Loyalty Game, Southwest Airlines And Epic Games Play For Keeps

So why happiness? Happiness is the ultimate WHY, the most sustainable competitive advantage, and the ultimate currency in business. Today’s most successful companies prioritize happiness to boost employee engagement and loyalty.

Nature is Good for Business

Nature is good for people — and, therefore, it’s good for business. Here’s three reasons:

  1. Nature reduces sick days. According to a University of Oregon study, providing employees with a view of trees and landscape reduced the amount of sick time they took.
  2. Nature boosts productivity. Psychologists from Exeter University concluded employees were 15 percent more productive when looking at greenery, achieved just by bringing plants into the office. The research showed the plants also increased concentration and employee satisfaction.
  3. Nature reduces stress. Considering workplace stress costs U.S. businesses $190 billion a year in healthcare costs alone, reducing it should be a top priority. Research shows exposure to natural sensory experiences like the sound of running water or the smells of the forest reduce stress, heart rate, and blood pressure.

Key to exploring how nature makes us happy are the five senses: sight, smell, sound, taste and touch. Companies that create, or re-create, the sensations of nature for employees succeed in meeting the deepest human needs for beauty and harmony — including calm, relaxation, communion, comfort, predictability, stability and balance.

Let’s look at some examples:

Last fall L.L. Bean partnered with Industrious to launch the first-ever outdoor coworking space in urban parks around the country. Some have roofs, while some are open to the big blue yonder. They even created a handbook explaining the science behind their initiative, and a list of how-to’s for more inspiration.

As Kathryn Pratt, director of brand engagement at L.L. Bean, was quoted in a Slate.com article the goal is encouraging people to “integrate the outdoors into their workday, not just reserve it for after work or on the weekends.” She added: “Many different types of meetings can benefit from being in the outdoors, whether that’s creative brainstorming sessions or interviews (which we’re dubbing the outerview).”

Microsoft takes employee engagement to new heights, in the trees! Microsoft has a trio of on-campus treehouses built to amp up employee creativity and happiness by leveraging the power of being out in nature. In fact, the entire Microsoft campus is intentionally designed to be park-like, complete with wi-fi that gives employees the freedom to roam the grounds, weatherproof benches hiding power sources, and an indoor-outdoor cafeteria.

Says Shanon Bernstine, a business manager who helped plan Microsoft’s treehouse spaces:

“Being more creative and flexible with our workspace allows us to be more creative and productive in our work and the products we create.”

Amazon Seattle thinks outside the box — with pentagonal hexecontahedrons. It links its urban employees to nature with The Spheres, two greenhouse biodomes boasting more than 40,000 plants from dozens of countries. The indoor gardens — with glass facades to let in the most daylight possible — feature everything from living walls to a 50-foot tree. The goal? Creating a space where employees can think and work differently, inspiring innovation through connecting with nature.

Today’s takeaway: If you want to boost employee engagement, shore up employee retention, and see more creative, more focused, happier, healthier employees at work every day, tell your employees to take a hike!

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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Why Are These Powerful Women Invested In Luxembourg’s Economy?

Luxembourg may be a small country landlocked in between France, Belgium and Germany, but it’s stable, high-income economy makes it the fifth wealthiest country in the world based on GDP per capita basis. Since 2002, Luxembourg’s government has proactively implemented policies and programs to support economic diversification and to attract foreign direct investment. The government has focused on key innovative industries that showed promise for supporting economic growth such as logistics, information and communications technology (ICT); health technologies, including biotechnology and biomedical research; clean energy technologies, and more recently, space technology and financial services technologies. The economy has evolved and flourished, posting strong GDP growth of 3.4% in 2017, far outpacing the European average of 1.8%.

Those programs have attracted private equity and venture capital firms to start making strategic investments in the country. Rajaa Mekouar-Schneider, is a multilingual private equity investor with twenty years of experience across Europe and emerging markets. As the head of private equity for a single family office based in Luxembourg, she has worked closely with the Luxembourg government to aid in the globalization of North American, Asian and European markets in relation to the country’s economy. That lead her to be elected Chairwoman of the Luxembourg Private Equity and Venture Capital Association in July of 2018 with the task to expand Luxembourg’s potential to play a growing role as a private equity hub.

That task for Mekouar-Schneider included bringing global organizations such as The Global Venture Summit | Silicon Valley Tours The World to the country. “The summit is bringing together some of the world’s biggest powerhouses in the private equity space to drive new investment and conversation in efforts of globalization. Luxembourg has established itself as a global hub for PE, and increasingly VC. Out of the 20 largest PE firms, 19 run operations from Luxembourg and global houses such as EQT having consolidated their fund centers in Luxembourg. They chose the Grand Duchy for its stable macro environment, deep skill set and professional international workforce. We have also seen a number of VC’s settling here, some of whom are very specialized fields such as cybersecurity, fin-tech and, as mentioned previously, space investing. Luxembourg offers these entrepreneurs and investors many benefits, such as those mentioned, and, critically, EU access In this sense, hosting GVS is further helping to raise the profile of Luxembourg on the international scene and foster the dialogue with US-based investors, Big Tech and start-ups who are keen to be present in Europe, while offering a platform for the European players to build relationships and knowledge in order to expand into the US. At LPEA, the local PEVC association which I happen to lead as CEO, fostering the VC ecosystem by providing access to investors and start-ups, as part of our motto “Matching talent and money”, finds a great platform within GVS to do just that,” explained Mekouar-Schneider.

But what about Silicon Valley? Which is where GVS is managed by Parkpine Capital. According to Mekouar-Schneider, even though venture capital has become global with the advent of disruptive tech trends over the past 10 years, the investment scene remains largely regional. The European venture capital market has been traditionally under-rated versus its US counterparts. That being said many US venture funds do not source investment opportunities in Europe, vice-versa. “GVS coming to Europe gives other funds and startups to get closer to Silicon Valley which remains the core center of venture capital globally. Conferences like GVS break those barriers and promote intercontinental exchanges on more than one level, which is hugely welcome,” says Mekouar-Schneider.

Tara Tan, investor and designer at IDEO CoLab Ventures, an early-stage fund focused on blockchain and the distributed web, will also be attending GVS in Luxembourg to in hopes to globalize Silicon Valley. The Harvard graduate has been working on partnering with blockchain and emerging tech startups for the last four years at IDEO, and has worked closely with some of the leading companies to pioneer their first products into the world. “As investors, we often seek out outlier ideas that go against what we would expect, so expanding our perspectives and mindset is very much part of the work we do. A conference such as GVS brings together entrepreneurial and venture-minded folks from around the globe with extremely different perspectives, which — if we’re lucky — might lead to lots of creative and unexpected insights,” says Tan.

The summit that is ran by Parkpine Capital’s Ahmed Shabana and Billy Zane is partnering with Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LOHFT) Nasir Zubairi and Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel.

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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Vietnam Wants DreamWorks To Get The Map Of South China Sea Right

DreamWorks hasn’t got the South China Sea map right, according to Vietnam. 

That’s something that adds to geopolitical tensions between Hanoi and Beijing.

The movie studio’s new film Abominable, a joint production with China, includes a scene containing a map featuring China’s claims in the South China Sea.

The “nine-dash line,” which China unilaterally has declared to be its own.

That’s a vague self-defined borderline in which Beijing wants to assert control over virtually all of the sea, including an area Vietnam claims to be its own. 

And that’s why Vietnam is banning the film from movie theaters, according to a recent BBC report.

Vietnam and China have been caught in a long dispute regarding overlapping claims in the South China Sea. And it’s doing whatever it takes to get this message across to its neighbors. Like the building of human-made islands, in violation of international law. And the sailing of its vessels in disputed waters.

There are a couple of reasons for China’s grandiose claims. One of them is that the South China Sea is rich in oil and gas, which China very much needs to sustain economic growth.

Then there’s the sea’s strategic importance as a waterway to the riches of Middle East and Africa.

Additionally there is domestic nationalistic sentiment China wishes to appease, in order to distract Chinese citizens from the country’s real problems. Like the blowing of multiple bubbles and the soaring government and private debt, as was discussed in previous pieces here.

But making grandiose claims is one thing, enforcing them is another. These claims pit China against neighbors like Vietnam, which has showed its will and determination to fight back, even if that means an all-out war.

Beijing’s assertions further pit China against America and its allies, which want to enforce freedom of navigation rules in the South China Sea. They, too, have demonstrated their will and determination to stop China. 

Ironically, Vietnam’s recent challenge of the South China Sea map came at an interesting time. Recently Christian Dior, a French luxury brand company, had to apologize to Beijing for showing a map that didn’t including areas China considers part of its sovereignty. 

That was after Beijing strongly protested about that incidence.

While it’s still unclear whether the two incidents were accidental or intentional, one thing is clear: China’s map wars will continue for years to come, and impact its relations with companies and countries.

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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Tension Between Data And Action Took Center Stage At The World Bank’s ‘State Of The Africa Region’ Event

Should the need for more data get in the way of action?

Today, the World Bank hosted “The State of The Africa Region: Empowering Women, Transforming Africa” at their Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and streamed it live so that people around the world could participate.

The event started like any other event hosted by a multilateral organization on women in Africa. We admired the work that women do to educate their children and build communities. We lamented the fact that while Africa is the only region in the world where women are more likely than men to be entrepreneurs, they still only make 66-cents on the dollar when compared to their male counterparts. We celebrated a project in Ethiopia that uses data and psychometric testing to provide women with uncollateralized loans and achieved a 7x rate of repayment.

Then we all agreed with the keynote speaker, Hafez Ghanem, the VP of the World Bank for Africa, when he closed with, “We have to do that [reach gender equity] not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it’s the only way we can develop Africa.”

This is where things got interesting. The moderator, Julie Gichuru, invited Acha Leke, a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, Christabel Ngwashi, a Cameroonian doctor and blogger, Ciiru Waweru Waithaka, a Kenyan entrepreneur, and Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist of the World Bank for Africa to join Ghanem on the stage for a panel discussion. After some introductory questions, Gichuru asked, “What can the World Bank do to help achieve gender equity in Africa?”

Stop with collecting data. We have the data. Women are disadvantaged period.

Ciiru Waweru Waithaka, CEO of Funkidz

Waithaka, the co-Founder and CEO of the Kenyan kid’s brand Funkidz, was ready for the question. “It’s almost 2020. Stop with collecting data. We have the data. Women are disadvantaged period. Girls suffer period,” she said. She followed up with, “If you ever receive a delegation, especially from my country, if they are all male, send them back.” She believes that a bold step in the short run, even if it as bold as pausing collaboration with a beneficiary government, is critical to reaching long term gender goals.

On one hand, she has a point. The litany of statistics that were shared over the first 30 minutes of the event were not news to anyone in the audience. On the other hand, if you want to set off a group of economists, tell them to stop collecting data.

Ghanem responded in opposition stating, “Even if I don’t agree with the government, I still want to help the people.” He listed one critical World Bank program after another and then asked which ones Waithaka wanted the World Bank to cut in the case that a country didn’t reach their gender equity goals.  

Zeufack played the middle ground. He admitted that they need to stop trying to find 10 explanations to problems where the answers are known. He used reaching gender equity in presidential cabinets as an example. It is the decision of one person, the president, to hire the same number of women and men in their cabinet. He implored presidents to look to the countries that have achieved this – South Africa, Rwanda, and Ethiopia – before saying, “We can’t find good enough women to be ministers.”

We are not just a project and money bank; we are a knowledge bank as well.

Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist of the World Bank for Africa

But he also came out arguing for data collection and research; “There are other issues for which we don’t have answers. We are not just a project and money bank; we are a knowledge bank as well. We need to know what actually works to get women ahead on an economic front.”

Ghanem did not seem satisfied. “We have women in positions in power across the continent. Come on, give me a break. Look at the executive directors representing Africa on the World Bank’s Board. Half are women and they are strong and have loud voices,” he said. His frustration was merited. When we look forward to how far we have to go, it’s easy to forget how far we have come. Some of that progress is thanks to work that he has done at the World Bank.

Leke brought it all together by saying that even if we have enough data to know where the problems are, we need to keep collecting data to understand how the solutions are working.

This debate seemed to strike a chord with the panelists. For those, like Waithaka, working on the ground, the analysis paralysis of large organizations effects their ability to live, work, and influence outcomes in their governments. For women affected by bias, implicit or explicit, they do not need a study to tell them that they do more work and earn less money.

But for the big organizations who spend dollars by the millions, they need a level of certainty before they act. Equating this bureaucracy with a lack of care for outcomes is not always fair. Grinding all activity to a halt until we are satisfied by the steps governments and corporates are taking towards gender equity can be as destructive as enforcing equality.

So where does that leave us? Aichatou Kané, the Minister of Planning in Niger, quoted her president while intervening from the audience. Speaking through a translator she said, “We cannot go far if we are only walking on one foot. We have two legs; one is women and one is men.” Gichuru chose to restate this quote to close the session. This proverb has resonance beyond gender equity. We cannot go far if we are only walking on one foot. In this case, the two feet we need to reach our gender equity goals are not just men and women, but also data and execution.

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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Welcome To The College Summer Internship Race

A poignant, slightly pleading, op-ed appeared in the Stanford Daily at the end of the summer from rising sophomore prospective econ major Lena Han. Surveying her peers, she realized that, though she was in the middle of her current summer internship, she felt like she was falling behind because many of her classmates had already secured next year’s summer internship. By summer of the prior year. Most of these internships were at investment banking, consulting, or tech firms. Many came attached with five-figure salaries, and, more importantly, the promise of a high-paying, likely six-figure, starting salary upon graduation.

What’s a lowly undeclaredliberal arts major to do? Though Han herself came to Stanford with little or no interest in a finance or tech career, the centrifugal force of the finance/consulting culture was creating gravitational pull on her future ambitions. What’s wrong with her, she wondered, when all of her friends seemed so certain that finance or consulting was the way to go? In a conversation after the article came out, Han told me: “Lots of kids come in with an interest in liberal arts. But the internship culture creates pressure for them to switch to tech or finance, which is a sure path to a job and a high salary. It’s really hard to buck the trend.”

How did this centrifugal force happen in the first place?

Anand Giranhiradas, in his recent bestselling Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World enumerates the ways that elite consulting firms seduce ambitious students. He points out that the firms prey on the FOMO of high achievers. For all their leadership skills that allow them to accumulate credential after credential, there seems to be a stark lack of confidence in this elite cadre. Many have become “excellent sheep.” Han writes: “For an image-conscious student body that has had the word ‘elite’ branded onto them since enrolling, many are drawn into pursuing these prestigious and ever-visible paths mindlessly.”

“Many are drawn into pursuing these prestigious and ever-visible paths mindlessly.”

What happened to college helping students learning to think for themselves, to take the road less traveled, to map their own path on the road to life? In a word: anxiety. Not only the clinical form, but economic anxiety born of disruptive technology (think Amazon), parental anxiety born of The Great Recession, and cohort anxiety born of a generation of high achievers who have learn to measure their self-worth by external tallies (how well did I do on the SAT? What’s my class rank? How many followers to I have on Twitter or YouTube?). Han laments “the security of knowing. Not having to explain what you’re doing to other people.”

The colleges themselves aren’t so much complicit in these trends as helpless to stop them. After all, at the end of each course, professors grade the students, famously with grade-inflated marks, but students grade teachers, too, with course and teacher evaluations, and a class shopping period at the beginning of each term. If schools don’t provide students the classes and majors they want, students will simply walk.

If it seems like the intellectually blind leading the intellectually blind, it is. Young people in the most vulnerable period of their lives, often away from home for the first time, with the chance to learn about themselves, the world around them, and life itself, are instead opting in ever-increasing numbers to postpone the self-reflective part of college and instead heap credentials onto their LinkedIn profiles.

If it seems like the intellectually blind leading the intellectually blind, it is.

I witnessed a career day at Stanford that celebrated one student who had complete fourteen internships during her four years on campus. Five years, actually. She co-termed to receive her masters degree, of course.

There can be no doubt in our ever-widening income-disparate economy that financially-oriented careers are among the most certain to be lucrative. The attractiveness of a high salary to a young person (and especially, her parents) is understandable. Student borrowers average $28,500 in student debt and enter a world with massively high housing and healthcare costs.

I was a liberal arts grad who decided on my major halfway through my junior year. In my journey, pre-med became pre-law became pre-entrepreneur. I had time and encouragement to grow. Times have changed, even high achievers need time and space to think about their life path. Nearly all of my fast-track techy and finance peers faced an existential crisis ten or fifteen years after graduation, while my liberal arts friends experienced most of their crises while in college, with a cohort of friends, professors and advisors to help guide them through it.

America is a land of possibility. College, elite or otherwise, had long been a place to begin to explore different aspects of that possibility. To lose that trait is to lose the American dream itself.

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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3 Things That People Who Achieve Their Biggest Dreams Do Differently

Part of the series “Accessing The Most Powerful Version of You”

During the last years of my corporate life when I was most unhappy and chronically ill, a colleague shared with me that she saw a future in which I was writing books, doing fulfilling work I loved and making a positive difference to people in a way that mattered to me. I thought she was crazy, or that she was talking about someone else. I simply couldn’t imagine a way out of this career I’d built that felt like a trap. And I certainly couldn’t imagine achieving my biggest dreams of being a published writer and doing work that could help others. That was 20 years ago, and a lot has changed.

Now, in interviewing and meeting people who are making a big, beautiful impact in the world, and are overcoming huge odds (and often devastating trauma) to do successful work that’s a calling for them, it’s clear that people who are shining their lights brightly and achieving their biggest dreams behave differently from others in a number of key ways.

On the flip side, so many people who are not achieving their dreams are experiencing what I call the 7 most damaging power gaps that keep them from working and living as they want to. In my recent Power Gap survey, the single most pressing gap that people report experiencing is Power Gap #6: Losing Sight Of Your Thrilling Dream.

This gap crushes people down and leaves them feeling demoralized and hopeless. 98% of the respondents indicate experiencing at least one of these 7 gaps, and 75% are having 3 or more at the same time. And 25% viewed Power Gap #6 as the one that resonates most for them right now.

There are three critical actions that separate those who reach their biggest dreams from those who get to midlife and beyond failing to create or achieve what they’ve longed to.

The three essential actions of those who achieve their biggest dreams are:

#1: They stop ceaselessly wondering if they’re good or worthy enough to do great things.

Coaching professionals from around the world, I have a window into people’s deepest fears, anxieties and insecurities. For so many, they stay stuck in an endless cycle of thinking they’re not “good” (or smart, talented, young, experienced, educated, worthy, etc.) enough to achieve what they long to. Their confidence has been rocked and now they are so entrenched in believing they don’t deserve to achieve their dreams that they fulfill their own prophecy of inadequacy. They perpetuate their negative reality by sabotaging their own growth and success, or failing to do the work to move beyond this negative state.

Tip: Stop wondering if you’re good or worthy enough. Just stop. If you have a dream, then you’re meant to pursue it in some way, to become more of who you already are. You are worthy, but you have to believe that and start being the person you want to be.

#2: They commit to brave action every day that propels them forward towards their highest visions. and they keep going and learning.

I believe there isn’t one person whom you deeply admire for doing something great that just popped out of the gate doing it. It’s been a long journey for them, and usually a rocky and challenging one at that. They tried hard, they fell down miserably, they picked themselves up again and they kept going. They may have pivoted to a new direction entirely, but they kept growing. And they turned their embarrassing failures and lowest points into exciting, new successes because of what they learned and applied through that failure.

Commitment to brave action that moves you forward emerges from what Dr. Carol Dweck explains is a “growth mindset.” Stanford University psychologist and author of the bestselling book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck shares:

Believing that your qualities are carved in stone— the fixed mindset— creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character—well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics…

There’s another mindset in which these traits are not simply a hand you’re dealt and have to live with, always trying to convince yourself and others that you have a royal flush when you’re secretly worried it’s a pair of tens. In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way—in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments—everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”

Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) shares a wonderful story that reveals his own growth mindset, about how his devastating failure being cut as a pro football player and never making it to the NFL paved the way to the big career he now loves. He says:

“Sometimes the goal we’ve worked our ass off for years is never achieved. Then years later we look back and realize, it’s the best thing that NEVER happened.”

Tip: You can’t achieve (or recognize) your biggest dreams if you never do anything that will help you live, learn and grow in a larger way. Adopt a growth mindset, and understand that big dream you end up fulfilling may be one you never even considered. But you’ll never get to that big dream if you do nothing in your life to commit to expanding and experiencing yourself in a new and bigger way. Make a brave step this week to move toward (in a small way) a dream of yours that won’t die and watch what you learn.

#3: They understand they can’t do it alone, and they don’t want to. They connect from their hearts and souls with people who uplift and support them on the path to their dreams.

I see this one challenge over and over in many people I work with who want a bigger, juicier life: They are trying to hack it out alone and in a vacuum. They don’t understand the need for support, and that we all need people in our lives who can uplift and teach us. You cannot have an amazing career or life that fulfills your biggest dreams without the help of others–it’s just not possible.

People who are achieving their most thrilling visions have realized that fact, and embrace it. They don’t need to prove that they’re good or tough enough alone or that they don’t need anybody. They know that powerful support, including mentors, sponsors, and ambassadors who believe in them are an essential ingredient to big success.

Tip: Start building a larger, more supportive community and network of people who inspire you today. Don’t stay stuck in your own bubble of aloneness. There are amazing people out there in the world right now who are waiting in the wings to help you soar and rise to your highest potential. All you have to do is ask.

As Richie Norton, bestselling author of the book The Power of Starting Something Stupid  and one of the world’s top 100 business coaches (named by Dr. Marshall Goldsmith), shared with me in our recent Finding Brave podcast interview,

If you’re thinking that it’s not possible to do these things you dream to, then it’s not possible. But if you open your mind to the possibilities, it will become possible.

Richie Norton

To reach your highest potential and your biggest dreams, work with Kathy Caprino in a Career Breakthrough program and tune into her weekly Finding Brave podcast.

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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The 3-Step Strategy For Powerful PowerPoint Presentations

Is PowerPoint still a useful tool at your organization? At Amazon, Jeff Bezos has outlawed this software in meetings. According to former Amazon executive, Jeff Rossman, replacing PowerPoint presentations with memos helps the participants in a meeting to develop clarity about the project or proposal under consideration. “It forces leaders to put away their computers, to put away their phones, to not be dumbed down by PowerPoint. It’s forces them to read it, to grok it, to deeply understand it so they can have a much better discussion.” Can you smell what the grok is cooking? Amazon’s strategies may not be in place at your organization. According to this poll, over 35 million PowerPoint presentations are given every day to over 500 million audiences. So why are there so many horrible, dense and boring PowerPoints out there?

Perhaps it’s because there’s no clear methodology for evaluating what makes a good PowerPoint presentation. Nancy Duarte, author of Data Story and owner of the top-rated presentation design firm in Silicon Valley, recommends making each slide unified around just one single idea. Way back in 2005, Guy Kawasaki created the 10/20/30 rule for high-impact business pitches. So tell a story, follow the fractions, be like Bezos, or just download Prezi…What’s the answer?

Beyond Templates: When PowerPoint Is Powerful

Today, sales teams are hungry for personalization in the customer relationship; clients demand authenticity. Sophisticated audiences know if you are copying someone else’s work. And that formula is just not working for them. An authentic and strategic approach to your story (instead of paint-by-numbers) can guide you to new results. If you’re interested in more than just matching a pattern, there is a way to deliver a powerful impact using these three steps.

Take a look at each slide in your deck, and put yourself in the position of the audience. Consider the person (or people) who will receive your message. Because, ultimately, what the audience does when you are done will be the best measure of your success – not the cool graphics, or the bar chart on slide 43. Consider your audience’s point of view.

When your audience sees this slide, what do you want them to:
1. Think? 2. Feel? 3. Do?

Ask this question for every slide in your deck

There should be at least one answer for every slide. Some slides are more thought-provoking than others. Some are more hard-hitting and emotional (if you truly wish to persuade in your presentation). Some slides provide direction and a call to action. And some slides contain elements of all three. In my coaching work with clients, especially business development teams, we look at how to arrange these three categories for maximum impact.

But none of your slides should make the audience feel like you are trying to confuse them. Or overload them. Or prove that you are the smartest person in the room (because, if you really are, you’re going to focus on service and impact – not on proving something that doesn’t really matter anyway).

KISS This: Keep It Simple, Superstar

Consider that if your answer to question #1 is: “I want them to think of all 47 steps in the integration process, beginning with a brief historical overview of our’s team’s expertise as well as an overview of our procedures that emphasize their input but maximizing our developmental outcomes and synergies as well as impacts to external stakeholders…”

I’m gonna stop you right there, Gunga Din. Why so many objectives? Einstein said that if you can’t explain something simply, you don’t really understand it.

Density is deadly. Density is detrimental.

Density is destroying your effectiveness. A complex process needs to be simply explained – otherwise, where is your expertise? Do you expect people to sort through mountains of data, or are you going to offer them insight and guidance, in a way that’s clear, powerful, and easy to understand?

Three Simple Steps for Each PowerPoint Slide

Each slide has a purpose – a single purpose. What do you want people to think, feel and do, on each slide?

In PowerPoint, as in life: where you put your attention is where you will find your results. Go one step at a time. Have the courage to internalize this idea: the simplest message is the strongest. The shortest distance to the results you need isn’t through a shockingly dense and cryptic tour of your intelligence. Shift your focus to your audience: what do you want them to think, feel and do?

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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Modi Should Look Beyond New Delhi, Mumbai, And Kolkata—To The ‘Other India’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi should travel more at home and less abroad, to see the “other India.”

India is a tale of two countries. One tale for the big cities and their financial centers, large corporations and healthy and highly skilled workers benefiting from the country’s opening to world markets; and the other tale for the countryside, which has yet to see any of these benefits.

 To lift India up in the global economy, Modi needs to look beyond the country’s few big cities, to distant regions and towns, which need a better access to infrastructure and “ease of doing” business.” In order to become competitive and catch up with these cities, that is. 

That’s according to Dr. Namrata Goswami, Senior Analyst and Author. “The development of competitiveness should be across several cities and towns, and not limited to few metropolises,” she says. “The issue with India’s development is that while certain regions like North or South India have better access to infrastructure and ‘ease of doing business’ this scenario is not true of its northeast, one of the most strategic areas sharing international borders with Bhutan, Bangladesh, Tibet (China) and Myanmar.”  

Dr. Goswami’s statement was made in response to a recent World Economic Forum Report (WEFR) report, which ranked India 68th in 2019 in the world competitiveness ranks, down 10 places from 2018. 

WEFR ranks countries according to 12 “pillars:” institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation. 

India’s competitive performance is “in stark contrast to the most competitive economy in 2019, Singapore,” according to Goswami. “From a competitiveness perspective, what matters are the robustness and efficiency of financial and regulatory institutions; how efficient they are and how flexible they are. India is yet to develop such overarching institutions across the country.” 

To be fair, India’s slide in the WEFR’s ranking is more a matter of other countries improving faster, and catching up with India, rather than a matter of absolute decline. While India performed well on macroeconomic stability, innovation and market size pillars, it performed poorly in the infrastructure, health and primary education, and product and labor market efficiency.

India, for instance, ranks 109th in life expectancy (59.4 years), the shortest outside Africa and well-below the South Asian average. It also ranks 107th in skill base, 101th in product market efficiency, and 128th in workers’ rights.

Some of these factors affect the rural areas disproportionately, over the metropoles. Like the lack of infrastructure, which cuts off the countryside from major cities, and the poor health and skill conditions, which makes it difficult for rural Indians to get access to new job opportunities. 

What should Modi do to lift India up in the WEFR competitive ranks? “To become globally competitive; there are four critical factors; state of the art infrastructure; robust global financial institutions, ease of doing business, standards of living across the country must be comparable,” Goswami says. “India’s score in all these four are much lower than say another major country in Asia, China which is ranked 28th. Certain focus areas of reform could be: agriculture, state-federal coordination processes of doing business; develop a single window system…become a global hub with less bureaucracy and more efficiency.”  

Apparently, Prime Minister Modi has plenty to do to lift India up; and traveling more at home rather than abroad is a good place to start. 

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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Business Strategy For Climate Change

In 100 years or a little more, Minneapolis will be as warm as Des Moines is now. That is not as shocking as most climate change news headlines, but it’s what the scientific consensus claims.

What is the best business strategy in a warming world? The answer is different from the most common comments about business and climate change. We often hear that companies should “protect the planet” through reduced carbon emissions and other approaches. And corporations are quick to engage in climate theater, taking meaningless actions which make feel-good sound bites. But business leaders must understand how their general business decisions—choices made about marketing, production and finance—should change due to the warming climate.

Some business leaders have been climate skeptics. I believe that position is incorrect but understandable. Some of the most ardent climate “advocates” previously argued that we would face worsening pollution, resource scarcity, massive famines, and other disasters. None of these has happened, and they are now saying that the climate is threatening our lives. And it seems that we have “watermelon” activists: green on the outside, red (as in socialist) on the inside. So skepticism about climate change is understandable, but the data does support belief in global warming. See, for example, NASA’s global temperature estimates. And human activity probably triggers the bulk of the warming.

Corporate planning with climate change should be based on two major points. First, that temperature change will continue, though not at the pace suggested by the extreme worries. Second, that uncertainty about the future path is great; great enough that warming could be much worse than predicted, or could even reverse itself.

The magnitude of warming over the past 100 years has been about 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.3 Celsius). The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expects faster change in the future, of about 0.36 degrees F per decade. That’s how I arrived at the concrete example at the beginning of this article. Minneapolis and Des Moines are almost directly north/south of each other, and about 230 miles apart. The average temperature, year round, in Minneapolis is 46.15 degrees F, compared to 50.85 degrees F in Des Moines. At the pace expected by the IPCC, Minneapolis will be as warm as Des Moines in 130 years.

Common talk sounds, at least to my ear, as if we should all buy Bermuda shorts and flip flops for winter wear. The scientists’ central estimates are much milder.

This data exercise has numerous caveats. Warming will vary from one place to another, and it will be different in winters than in summers, and Minneapolis’s change could be more or less than the global average. But as a ballpark estimate, think of Minneapolis becoming Des Moines in over 100 years.

Global warming will change our environment, but it won’t be all bad. Warmer weather will improve agricultural yields in high-latitude lands, such as Canada and Russia. The first round of economic estimates tell an illustrative story. Analysts looked at how crop yields changed with unusually warm weather, and the answer was negative. Heat waves were bad for crop yields. But the second generation of estimates assumed that farmers would adjust their crops to the new climate average. They would plant and tend their crops and livestock based on the new averages. And in many parts of the world, added warmth and more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are good for crops.

Take that idea across a wide swath of economic life, from agriculture to construction to cooling systems.  People will adjust to either reduce the harm, or to take advantage, of climate change.

Business implications of climate change will be most pronounced in a few industries. Agriculture will need to make multiple adjustments over time. The best correction to current practices may last a decade, then require an additional change, and then another change later on. Precipitation is likely to increase, according to the IPCC, but the change varies by location.

Regional impacts will vary substantially, so localized information will be valuable. Unfortunately, good regional projections are not yet available. The climate models currently in use have big-picture geography: major oceans, large mountain ranges, etc. But actual temperatures and precipitation depend on local geography: lakes, hills, and other features.

Businesses impacted by rain and snow, including construction companies, will need to dive into the scientific literature for more detail, or else hire a climatologist to provide local detail.

Sea level changes may have the most widespread business impacts. Projections for 2050 are about 10 inches higher than the recent past. That’s not much for many coastal areas, far less than daily tidal fluctuations. However, some ocean-front communities, will lack a margin for error when storms coincide with high tides. The higher average sea level will eliminate the cushion many communities now have.

Any production or distribution facilities in low-lying areas merits extra attention before additional capital investments are made. Direct risk to a company’s facility is a major concern, but also infrastructure risk: will the local power plant, water treatment facility, and transportation system become unusable? The most likely scenario has periodic floods, which will become more serious as time goes by.

Global warming might level off if very large changes are made in our carbon emissions. Don’t count on it. This is a political forecast, though one driven by strong economic factors. The major western countries are making progress in limiting increases in greenhouse gasses, but the developing countries are hugely increasing their emissions. People want electricity, once they know how it will change their lives. Many of us in the western world don’t understand life in extreme rural poverty. The sun goes down and darkness envelopes the land. Lighting—from oil lamps or fires—is expensive. Time is wasted, and for the poorest people, time is money. If cooking and cleaning must be done in daylight, then fewer hours are available for working fields or garden plots. The huge pent-up demand for electricity cannot be ignored by political leaders trying to help their constituents.

Transportation uses of energy will also increase as people demand the ability to go to better jobs, to obtain products at lower cost, to sell their products at higher prices, and to visit family and friends.

The poorer countries will continue to expand their energy use at a rapid pace. Thus, global agreements among developed countries will count for little. Global warming will continue, no matter how many electric cars Americans buy. We in the western world can certainly make a difference, but we shouldn’t expect to prevent further warming, given the changes in the developing world.

One unreasonable doom-and-gloom forecast is impoverishment of the planet. The economic effects of climate change turn out to be small relative to the most likely growth of the world economy. Most climate scenarios are based on the assumption of continued economic growth. It is the growth that triggers carbon emissions. If we all become poor, we won’t be using much carbon.

The long-term economic implications include benefits of warming, such as cheaper heating bills in the winter, increased agricultural production in some areas, and so forth. The costs of global warming, in most estimates, exceed the benefits. (Some researchers calculated a net benefit of warming, though with pronounced differences based on where people live.) One researcher summarized the published economic estimates: 100 years of warming has an economic impact equivalent to losing one single year of economic growth. So imagine the global economy grows for 99 years, then levels off for one year. That isn’t so bad. The world will be much wealthier even with global warming, but a little less rich than we would be without warming. The early economic effects of warming tend toward the positive, with the later effects more negative.

The second major conclusion from the research is that the path of climate change is highly uncertain. Yes, the evidence weighs heavily toward more warming, but magnitudes resist accurate estimation. The greenhouse effect from man-made carbon dioxide contributes a small portion of the total projected warming, in contrast to simplistic explanations of climate change. The larger portion of projected climate change comes from feedback effects, some of which are positive and some negative.

For example, a warming climate has more evaporation of water from oceans, lakes and ground moisture. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas—the most common greenhouse gas—so a little warming induced by carbon dioxide becomes a lot of warming after the water vapor increases.

Some feedback effects are negative, though. (In the usual language, a negative feedback reduces the initial action. In the case of global warming, negative feedbacks are actually good.) For example, as humidity increases, more clouds form. Low level clouds tend to reflect sunlight, cooling the earth.

The list of feedback effects, both positive and negative, is long. The concepts may be simple, but quantitative estimation is usually complex. Some of the feedback loops interact with one another. For example, some clouds tend to reflect heat while others absorb heat. The locations and altitudes of clouds are crucially important, but scientists cannot perfectly model cloud formation. They are doing the best they can, no doubt, but cannot pin down with precision the magnitude of all the feedbacks.

On the uncertainty of economic impacts, the researcher cited above, Richard S. J. Tol, summarized our current knowledge: “The uncertainty is right-skewed. Negative surprises are more likely than positive surprises of similar magnitude. This is true for the greenhouse gas emissions: It is easier to imagine a world that burns a lot of coal than a world that rapidly switches to wind and solar power … It is true for climate itself: Feedbacks that accelerate climate change are likely to be stronger than feedbacks that dampen warming…. The impacts of climate change are typically found to be more than linear: If climate change doubles, its [economic] impacts more than double ….  In the light of these uncertainties and asymmetries, the above conclusion needs to be rephrased: A century of climate change is no worse than losing a decade of economic growth.”

The business implication is that climate change could be much worse than we currently expect, or much milder. That may not sound useful, but some possible strategies would be dialed in to a particular climate path. That is not wise. Instead, it’s better to adjust as we go along. Be flexible and monitor issues. Take sea level rise as an example. The best estimate of a safe location may turn out to be wrong: either too low and prone to flooding, or too far away from the sea for efficient operation. Consider if critical facilities can be set up with flexibility for different sea level changes. In some cases that won’t be possible, but in other cases it may be fairly cheap. For example, if two possible production locations seem to be about equal in all other respects, the one in Nashville is probably better than the one in Miami. (Sorry, Miami.)

The climate will continue to warm. Businesses should add this as an element of business strategy. However, analysis should be based on the best current estimates, not the hysteria that change advocates use to garner political support. And the uncertainty about current estimates must be considered along the way.

Source: Forbes – Leadership
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Top 5 Places in Greenland You Can’t Afford to Miss

Greenland is truly a beautiful place, covered in ice. For the ones who want to visit a place where they can enjoy the scenic view away from the massive crowds, Greenland is the place to resort to! Greenland, the world’s biggest island, is full of places that are so fit for a soul-feeding experience in the form of a trip. The following are our top picks for the places in Greenland you can’t afford to miss!

  1. Scoresby Sund
    Being the biggest fjord system in the world, Scoresby Sund was made by decades of floating icebergs and seismic movements of ice. It occupies about 100 kilometres off the coast of Greenland and is a must on the travel list to Greenland if you are interested in experiencing what the Arctic has to offer. There are lots of polar expeditions going on at all times at the Scoresby Sund, where you are certain to see a plethora of seabirds, polar bears, and even narwhal whales. For these expeditions, make sure you carry a pair of binoculars!
  2. Uunartoq
    In case you are a fan of bathing in hot springs, you cannot miss exploring Uunartoq. It is located in the middle of Nanortali and Qaqortoq and can be travelled to in the daytime with the help of boats. Even though there are a lot of hot springs in Greenland, the only few that are warm enough to bathe in are present in Uunartoq. Uunartoq is an aesthetically pleasing place and the whole scenario of you enjoying a warm bath in the hot spring while glancing over the beautiful views will not leave your head anytime soon, after you experience it! This place has very minimal signs of human intervention, which includes gangways and a cottage, making the place serene and worth exploring.
  3. Greenland National Museum and Archives
    Built during the mid- ‘60s, the Greenland National Museum and Archives is one of the oldest museums of the island. The main attractions here are the mummies of a 6-month old child who was dug at Qilakitsoq and that of 3 women. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the whole of Greenland, and other things that can be viewed in this museum are various artefacts of archaeological and anthropological nature. Excavated tools, buildings, ruins, etc. are some of the things you will frequently see here, making this museum worth a visit.
  4. Katuaq
    Katuaq, an L-shaped modernist structure, was designed by the famous Schmidt Hammer Lassen. The place consists of two auditoriums, which are used to host concerts, and screen movies, and organise plays and conferences. The bigger auditorium has a capacity of over a thousand people, while the other auditorium can seat about 500 people each. One of the more interesting things about Katuaq is that it has a Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) themed screen, which overlooks the central space of Nuuk. Overall, Katuaq is indeed a sought-out tourist attraction and is worth experiencing.
  5. Ilulissat Icefjord
    Ilulissat Icefjord extends 40kms to the Disko Bay from the Greenland ice sheet, and in 2004, it was announced as a UNESCO World Heritage site. At its eastern end, the most productive glacier of the Northern Hemisphere, the Jakobshavn Isbrae, is located, which passes out around 20Bn tonnes of icebergs after melting. To visit the place, people usually take a boat. This place is so beautiful to look at that one might resort to calling it a wonder within nature. To get an aerial view of the Ilulissat Icefjord, many people take a helicopter service, which is worth the experience, to say the least.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just an amateur, Greenland can’t possibly fail to impress you. From beautiful sceneries to hot springs and whale watching, Greenland is a wonderland for any set of eyes. And if you’re visiting between November and March, there is a high chance for you to be able to witness the greatest light show on Earth— the Aurora Borealis! So pack your bags, book your tickets, set off for a journey of a lifetime!


Have you read?

The 20 best (and the worst) cities for retirees in the United States, 2019.
Cities With The Most (And Least) Expensive Apartments In The United States, 2019.
Revealed: Most Forested Countries In The World.
Ranked: The World’s Most Fashionable Countries For 2019.
Most Prosperous Cities In The World For 2019.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the CEOWORLD magazine.
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Source: CEOWORLD magazine
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