On Materialism

It is what it is. If the shoe fits, wear it. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. A rose by any other name…. Our language is peppered with such phrases that urge authenticity. Perhaps Shakespeare said it most eloquently (Hamlet, I,3, 564-566) with This above all--to thine own self be true, And it must follow,... Continue Reading →

I’m Just a Churl Who Can’t Say “No”

Well, not really a churl. Or a girl, for that matter. At the Center for Applied Cognitive Studies, we employ the Five-Factor Model to describe individual differences in personality traits. One of the traits is Accommodation, which reports how an individual typically behaves around power. Broadly described, Challengers are those low in Accommodation—as a rule... Continue Reading →

What Does Meaning Mean?

Give me a break! That was my first thought when I read these passages in a scholarly article: “How do students make meaning when they explore their strengths?” “Does their meaning-making influence their daily lives?” “Identify your strengths and give them meaning.” “Enabling a deep analysis of personal meaning-making…” “Depending on individual meaning-making, etc….” “…reflection... Continue Reading →

Managing Micromanagers

“Get off my back—I can’t fly when you are weighing me down!” Such is the lament of the underling suffering from micromanagement—the uninvited incursion by a manager into the how to’s and wherefores of a subordinate’s day. Just last week a client asked me, “How do I get her off my back? I’ve about had... Continue Reading →

Communication Practices of Great Teams

At the Human Dynamics Laboratory of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers pinned electronic badges on 2,500 team members from diverse industries. These badges collected a wide range of team-relevant data such as tone of voice, length of talking episodes, who was addressed, body language, standing versus sitting, and so forth. Lab director Alex “Sandy” Pentland... Continue Reading →

Life’s Big Questions

Just as a sailboat needs a rudder to serve passengers, so a person needs a sense of Self in order to serve a relationship. My friend, fellow bass, hoops fan, and retired psychiatrist Mark Ardis suggests three questions that are an apt start for defining who we are. Our answers will likely change over time—as... Continue Reading →

The What and How of Motivation

Motivation is a complex concept with many definitions. I have a simple definition: People are most motivated, or engaged in what they are doing, when they are 1) acting in accordance with their values and 2) acting in a way that builds on their strengths and not their weaknesses. Values are what we hold as... Continue Reading →

Change of Life, Change of Personality

I frequently get this question, for which I’ve had no convincing data to respond: Do personality trait levels change as the result of menopause? I’ve decided to look for an answer. In a recent survey of the published research literature, I found no information. So, in lieu of answers from the known literature, I turned... Continue Reading →

Keeping the Mountaintop Experience Alive

I invite you, dear reader, to contribute to this list. It is prompted by an associate who asked me last week how to keep learning alive. She lamented that she conducted team building sessions and led participants to great insights based on personality assessments and other items in her professional toolkit. Her people were wowed... Continue Reading →

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