Be Kind, Be Well.

From Courageous Success Inspiration

One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. World Health Organisation (WHO).

The WHO estimates that around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide, costing the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year.
This October the spotlight is shining on this issue with Wednesday 10th being World Mental Health Day.
Kindness to yourself and others is a consistent part of iAM Values across all cultures.  Yet, how many of us actually focus upon it and actively give kindness to ourselves and remember to help others?
In her research, Christin Porath highlights the importance of how we treat each other at work, ‘‘insensitive interactions have a way of whittling away at people’s health, performance and souls…immune systems can pay a price”.  Whereas her research shows that kindness at work has a powerful and positive impact:

  • ”The more the individual was perceived as civil by others in his or her network, the better his or her performance.”
  • ”Employees who say they have more supportive supervisors are 1.3 times as likely to stay with the organization.”
  • ”People who said leaders treated them with respect were 55% more engaged.”

As humans we are programmed for kindness.  Darwin identified kindness as the strongest and most valuable instinct for man, the one that makes survival possible for humanity as a species. Many other scientists nowadays argue that our brains are hardwired for kindness, telling us that when we are compassionate and kind it releases the powerful feel good neurochemical oxytocin, generating a whole load of positive emotions.
This is about being kind to ourselves (make sure your oxygen mask is secure first), as well as those around us.

Here are our top tips for looking after your wellbeing and having a positive impact on the wellbeing of those around you, a little can go a long way;

Be positive about you.

  • Tell yourself how great you are – like you do to those who are close to.
  • If you haven’t worked with us, create your list of positive beliefs by asking yourself:
    • What’s great about being me?
    • What do I love about me?
  • Keep your power and manage your emotional response – don’t let small irritants spoil your mood, day or interaction with others.
  • Take responsibility to create a positive environment around you.
  • Use your iAM Values to maintain the right balance in your life for your well being.
  • Be kind.  Watch for judging people.
  • Stop making it about you and take a moment to listen and make it about others.
  • Show people that you like them – engage, listen, smile, show others that you see the spirit and potential and real person in them.
  • Aim to have a positive impact.  Be warm and informal – the same person at work as at home. Don’t conform to a leadership and business ‘role’.
Make a positive and powerful difference in your workplace and support mental health by being the best you.  #BeYourselfAtWork

The Humanity of Business & You!


The world is waking up to the realisation that the way to improve business is to improve the humanity of business.

In a world of work where worldwide disengagement (Gallup) is 85% (OMG!), surveys now reveal that 85% of people are unhappy at work.
HR Magazine recently reported that ”bad company culture costs UK economy alone £23.6 billion.” (BreatheHR survey).
We need a new way of doing and being at work.  One that is more human and therefore more normal and more enjoyable.  It’s no shock that this will lift engagement – a measure that is old hat in itself!
We know from our work and research that when you decide to #beyourselfatwork, others follow suit.  You feel happier, are generally more positive and your natural self has the power to make a career, even life changing impact on those working for and with you.
The HR Mag report above reveals the benefits of positive workplace cultures, including improved morale and relationships (cited by 44%), better customer service and satisfaction (43%), and reduced employee turnover (35%).  Reports also share that programs that address emotional well-being have a positive impact on employee health and workplace productivity.
Why wouldn’t any business want all this?
What about you?  Willing to take action to improve your workplace?

Recently an article in Fast Company (Do you have a different personality at home and work?) shares the views of the Psychologist Andrea Liner, PsyD,  that
”We tend to mimic the behavior of those we spend time with in order to fit in. If your work environment is at odds with your true personality or differs greatly from your home environment, you may find the need to alter your personality in order to fit in better.”
“It’s exhausting to feel like you’re acting all the time, and it can be hard to keep it up forever,” says Liner. “This type of behavior can lead to negative psychological consequences including anxiety and depression”.
All too often at work we worry about what people think of us, are busy trying to fit in and do and say the ‘right’ thing:  we become masked trying to be the person we think we should be, to be ‘good enough’, leading to lack of authenticity, creating conformity, and hindering real communication and genuine relationships.
Liner, like us, recommends finding out your internal ‘values’,  your iAM Values, to find out who you really are to better understand if you are truly being yourself at work.
If you don’t have your own iAM Values – talk to us now!

“Authenticity is a huge component of successful interpersonal relationships. It can be very hard to feel connected with people to whom you are inauthentic.”
The benefits of this authenticity, is significantly higher job satisfaction and engagement, greater happiness at work, stronger sense of community, more inspiration and lower job stress (HBR).
After working with us, our clients rate the impact on their positivity and happiness as 88%, and feel that they have the power to change their workplace (81%).
“Leaders must abandon their egos and be truly authentic to be most effective …. if a CEO wants to transform their organisation around trust they need to start with themselves.….this takes high levels of confidence for leaders to achieve…abandoning your ego is directly connected with vulnerability. You’re responsible but you give people the keys.”  Isaac Getz, (professor of Leadership and Innovation at ESCP Europe Business School).

This is about bringing the real us to work:  being honest, no pretence, truly being yourself and letting others be the same.  Let go of that mask you wear at work to look competent and appear how you think you ‘should’ – stop being that person you think others want to see.  We all need to sign up to a new way of doing things.


#BeYourselfAtWork – the No.1 stumbling block

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

90% of iAM questionnaires contain statements like, I am an over thinker, I worry what people think of me, I lack confidence and try hard not to show it.

This week, as with every week I see, hear and feel in everyone the insecurity that stops us being ourselves at work. 
Also this week, research by LinkedIn was shared in HR Grapevine under the headline ”British workers are staying in roles they are unhappy in, with a lack of confidence preventing them from securing their dream jobs…” The study found that 42% of workers said a lack of confidence would deter from applying for a new position.  We know that this applies globally.
It’s one thing to know who you are (iAM), it’s another to believe that you are good enough.  Again and again, I meet people who seek mine and other’s reassurance.  Even if they don’t ask for it – if I give it, their eyes light up.  People will ask me, what is stopping me having confidence in myself Liz, and my response is always the same;

  1. You.
  2. Patterns and cycles of your own behaviour that mean that you are compromising yourself at work.

The minute we doubt ourselves, even the tiniest bit, we start to change our behaviour.  We might push a bit more assertively (I hate that assertiveness behaviour is still being “taught”  at work – urgh!).  We might hold back and over think our approach, or in meetings, we may not jump in and say what we really think – and if we had, it could have changed the discussion.  We start to conform, rebel, step up parts of ourselves that we then overdo.  We take it all on ourselves or we start to avoid and procrastinate.  Every day, every hour I experience this in you. 
What’s fascinating is that it is so easy to change!

The average Courageous Counter scores of the questions “I don’t conform to be liked” and “I don’t let my mood get affected by others” are around 4/10.  Often lower.  These two simple examples of blockers to being yourself at work can be changed in an instant. How?  You choose not to let your mood be affected by others, by realising that they can’t affect your mood – only you can. You decide to be conscious of not changing yourself to fit and instead express who you are with enjoyment.
More difficult is “I like myself, I am one of the best people I know”.  What is wrong with liking yourself?  The normal answer is it sounds like arrogance – especially in senior leaders.  What rubbish!  The cost of withholding yourself for fear of arrogance makes you guarded, inauthentic and less approachable.  It also reduces creativity and your ability to maximise yourself and your business results.  So, what is the answer to reversing this to liking yourself, and seeing that you are – when you are being your real self – in fact one of the best people you know?  After all, there is a reason why people recruit in their own image!
The journey to liking yourself begins with not distracting yourself from you.  Start conversing with you.  Spend time just with you.  Notice when the voice in your head starts to tell yourself negatives and push it away – this is not you.  Most people have a low score on their relationship with themselves – so start building yours.  You are permanently in good company –  because you are with you!  Make the most of this and enjoy being you!
Here are some watch outs to reflect on and notice – are these making you stumble? 

  • Do you drift through your day and not remember the details?
  • Do you dread going to work or who you work with?
  • Do your moods change throughout the day or are they steady?
  • How stressed are you?
  • How often do you lose your temper or withdraw?
  • How much do you withhold your opinion?
  • How guarded are you?  Do you have to know people well to let them in?

  Choose to believe in you.      

Want to be able to buy your Dad a Jag?

Growth Inspiration

Twitter has been buzzing with debate and strongly worded different views (!) this week about an advert seen at a school open day and posted on twitter.  The poster ad put up around the school, tells the story of a boy who visits the school with his Dad in their family Volvo.  The young boy wishes they had a Jag like the shiny one he can see in the school car park.  So, in the story he attends the school, does well, gets a good job and buys his Dad a Jag when he retires.  In other words, the school saying ‘send your child here and they will be successful.’
How do you see this?
A great story of aspiration, having a goal, purpose and the drive and determination to achieve them, and then share your success?  Or, is the story like some twitter critics have felt,  (as reported in the news) as  “vile”, “appalling” and “wonderfully tone deaf”.
The ad may have been badly written– but isn’t it interesting to see how its core message is interpreted so differently?
Be aspirational, have a dream, work hard and you will do well?    Or, arrogant in tone and encouraging materialism?  
There is lots of evidence and research that shows having a dream and ambition in life, whatever that may be,  is a great way to create motivation and purpose, on a macro ‘life goals’ scale, as well as a micro day to day scale.

Research quoted by HBR talks about how finding ‘a clear sense of purpose’ in day to day tasks can have massive benefits to efficiency, productivity and even health. The HBR article refers to a study of Japanese workers at a large IT company ”….a higher sense of purpose as well as a sense of interdependence with co-workers was correlated with lower inflammation as well as a higher viral resistance in the bodies of the workers.’’
Research has also shown a connection between a sense of purpose in our personal lives, and good health such as reduced risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, and even increased longevity.  Whereas ‘…. mindlessly performing tasks ….is a recipe for inefficiency, disengagement, and even poor health.’ 


So, having dreams, goals and a purpose is good for us.  It gives us focus and it can galvanise our energy and unlock our courageousness.

Hints & Tips on Finding Your Working Purpose

  • Identify and list your mission or purpose, e.g. being a force for good, changing the world, tangible success, money, helping others, beating the competition?
  • Identify your mainstream purpose e.g. financial security, enjoyment through activity, learning, feeling useful.
  • Choose your main primary purposes and begin to integrate them into your daily consciousness.  Use them when you are creating your daily goals and reflecting on what a difference you have made.
  • Ask yourself, what is meaningful in what you do? Focus on this more.
  • Identify what difference you really want to make in your role, in the company.  Make this happen.  Regularly review how you’re doing to get that positive feedback loop.
  • Create a purpose of being. How do I want to be as a co-worker, team member, leader?
  • Choose to make the most of everyday, wherever you are, not just for yourself but for others too. 

The £$ Power of Making Your Customers Cry

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

”Businesses Lose $75 Billion Due To Poor Customer Service.”

This stat, quoted in a recent Forbes article about a report by New Voice Media, shares that the cost of poor customer service is up a massive $13 billion since the last report in 2016.

I recently experienced such a shocking attitude in a restaurant that it actually made me cry.  First time ever, and I can’t even blame it on too much wine! 
As a Brit, I am generally quite forgiving and have a wide threshold, giving people a chance to do well and make things right when my experiences aren’t up to scratch.  But now and again you come across such shocking coldness, rudeness and apathy that you can’t help but raise it! 
Apparently “serial switching” (customers switching due to poor customer service) is on the up, 67% of us do it, and it has increased by 37%.  The Forbes article discusses the fact that brands and companies need to do more than just offer the best product at the best price.  To really compete they need to create “the positive, emotional experiences that drive customer loyalty.” 
My experience of poor customer service is generally with people rather than product.  You either get the selfish, moaning, negative unprofessional person or the arrogant, cold, challenging, defensive person.  In my recent tearful evening, the service had been so poor throughout the meal that I decided to speak out and asked for the manager…only for the manager to behave like the latter described here.  Cold.  Defensive.  I was so utterly shocked and flabbergasted that I couldn’t pay and get out of there fast enough!  I’d never name the establishment here – that’s just unprofessional – but the experience has really opened my eyes to the acute challenges in some human beings and their utter disconnection with emotion in other people.  Especially their customers!

In the New Voice Media survey, 86% of customers surveyed said that if there was a positive emotional connection with a customer service agent, they would be willing to continue to do business, only 30% felt that companies currently do that. 

The importance of a positive emotional and human connection is highlighted:  “Satisfactory is a rating. Loyalty is an emotion.” Creating an emotional connection in any environment and especially a customer one is incredibly easy, even with the most angsty of customers.  I’ve listed Courageous Success’s top tips below for creating one.  Ultimately, we know that being authentic, opening your gate and letting your guard down with genuine compassion and like for another person will win them over.  Even if they hate your product, they don’t have to hate you!
I know that some of you will be desperately trying to find out who made me cry – lol.  Rest assured that the universe gave me an incredible example of the worst in not being yourself at work that I have ever experienced.  And that’s useful!
Top tips to create emotional connection at work & with customers; 

  1. Remember what you are there for.  To make money and make people happy.  You’ll make more of the former if you focus on more of the latter.
  2. Show people that you like them.  Mean it.  People are always good, from an iAM Values perspective.  See through the challenge and complaint and don’t make this about you or blame others for a challenge.  Be open and listen.
  3. Most of us don’t enjoy conflict.  When we create it,  most of the time we just want to be heard, be sympathised with and be reassured.  So do just that.
  4. Deliver whatever you do as if it were for your most favourite person in the world.  Whether you answer the phone, open doors, drive a taxi, lead a factory, do the accounts.  Do it at your very best and make it your mission to make those around you even happier.
  5. Deliver specialness.  Practice asking people about themselves, rather than making the conversation about your experiences.  This is not a battle or competition that you have to win.
  6. Just be yourself, use your natural self, the same person at work as at home and only interact with people as you’d love to be interacted with. #beyourselfatwork
  7. Consider: what is my personal impact on others? What am I radiating to others?  Am I connecting positively and emotionally with people? 

Psychology research tells us that giving social support makes us feel good too!  We get greater brain benefits from giving than receiving – our brains are wired to feel rewarded more for magnanimity and selflessness than for meanness and selfishness.  


How Blurred are Your Lines?!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

”65% of us check our email whilst on holiday.”

The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) have recently asked  “is working while you’re on holiday fast becoming the new normal?”, after conducting a survey into summer working habits.
The Institute’s new research found that “65% of respondents check their work emails at some point whilst on holiday, and 75% have said they’ve taken or made a work call whilst on leave. Unsurprisingly, most senior leadership teams check their emails on holiday (81%).”

With the rise of our dependence on technology, we all seem to want to keep connected.  The results of another study, released this week by the University of West England, has led to the call that commuting time is included as part of the working day, due to the amount of work completed during this time. This connection can be great for keeping up with friends and relations –  but do we all need to be connected to work 24/7?  A rising trend; the line between work and home life becoming blurred.

The ILM research also asked bosses their view; 96% of bosses don’t expect their staff to check emails on holiday and 64% actively discourage it.  So, if this is the view of bosses, where is the pressure coming from that means so many people stay connected to work?  Is it pressure that we put on ourselves thinking that it is the ‘right’ thing to do, what we feel is ‘expected’?

Gallup estimate that 31% of us are stressed and 24% of us are suffering from tiredness or burnout.  It’s been reported that the UK have some of the longest working hours, but productivity lags behind other countries.  Feeling that we have to be permanently ‘on call’ can’t be good for energy levels or well-being, so won’t help these stats improve.


As humans we all want to fit in, be liked and succeed, leading us to follow the ‘rules’ and conform to what we think is the ‘right’ thing to do.  We then spend time and energy worrying whether we are doing the right thing or not, inefficient working habits form and go unchallenged….presenteeism anyone?
Once we free ourselves from the feeling that we need to conform, we release courageous energy, powerfully shifting ourselves to be more creative, intuitive, better able to concentrate on the greater good and impact more positively within our workplace.
Here are our top tips for breaking work conformity and dealing with blurred lines:

  • Challenge your need for control.  Most of us use control as a strategy.  Ask yourself if you really need to stay on it whilst you are meant to be resting and recharging.
  • Habit and auto-pilot – I see many people on Linked In whilst away (that little green light) – are you checking emails and work based media as a habit?  Checking without thinking removes your recharge time.
  • Put your devices away – if you do need to stay connected, think about checking in only a couple of times a day at most.
  • When you aren’t checking in, relax!  Decide to be present, whatever you are doing and enjoy not thinking about work.  Be the master of your mind.
  • If you do need to check in, don’t see it as a burden – stress and emotional resentment will drain you – depleting your recharge.  Get on with it and don’t give your power away.
  • Ask yourself: what is the most valuable way for me to use my time right now?


Empathy as a Leader: Strength or Weakness?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

“How can you be empathetic without being perceived as weak?”

This is a question asked in a recent Sunday Times Style article.  The business leader who responded was Clare Smyth MBE, a leading chef and restaurateur. Clare had an interesting story to tell.  Early in her career she found the culture of working in kitchens as “survival of the fittest”  and found that the best way to survive was not to show emotion,  she experienced “hundreds of occasions when I had to suck it up – it toughened me up”.   A classic case of conforming to the culture she found herself within, and a culture in which empathy would be perceived as weakness.  In her first leadership role she “didn’t want to let anyone else affect’’ what she was doing and didn’t show care or empathy towards her staff.  This approach then “bit back”, she couldn’t retain people and was unable to build a team.  She lost good people and found herself in a very lonely place.  Realising she needed to break the cycle, Clare changed her approach and “became more human, more understanding of others.’’  She admits that it took some time as, in busy and tiring roles often the energy to be understanding of others can be hard to maintain, but she was able to turn it around,  and found she “didn’t need to hide behind an act of not caring about people anymore.’’   Clare now sees empathy in a leader as strength and that by focusing on people in her business she has been able to build up a better, more reliable team;


You can lose people’s trust if you don’t give them support…. if you show that you genuinely care for your team then they’ll give you everything.’’





We know from our own research that 80% of us have a personal value around kindness – so bringing that to work should feel natural.  However research by DDI, reported in Forbes, found that only 40% of frontline managers were either proficient or strong in empathy.

And along with Clare’s testimony there is tons of research and evidence that shows that kindness and empathy at work works.
Glassdoor have recently listed the 14 companies with the best cultures, the top company as described by one of their staff:  “The leadership team really cares about the people and there is a huge investment of both time and money into the culture and taking care of staff.’’
The HBR article “The Hard Data on Being a Nice Boss’’ shares loads of research and results including:  

  • “… leaders who project warmth – even before establishing their competence – are more effective than those who lead with their toughness and skill.’’  
  • A kind culture  “can even help mitigate stress. While our brains are attuned to threats (whether the threat is a raging lion or a raging boss), our brain’s stress reactivity is significantly reduced when we observe kind behaviour…..” 
  •  ‘’A large healthcare study showed that a kind culture at work not only improved employee well-being and productivity but also improved client health outcomes and satisfaction.

This shows that kindness works.
As Clare Smyth did, it’s about breaking that cycle: managers and leaders looking beyond just getting the tasks done – to the person – a more human approach.  
This means taking more responsibility for our impact on others – making it more positive, keeping our power, managing our emotional response, getting rid of that blame culture – and making kindness our natural way of being.  

Our top tips to spread kindness everyday:

  • Be more conscious of your behaviour every day and the impact on those around you – always aim to have a positive impact.
  • Manage your emotions. Leave any frustration and annoyance at the door.
  • Give people time and pay full attention to others, drop the multitasking with technology whilst speaking to others, and really listen instead.  Ban phones from meetings and conversations.
  • See the good in everyone, focus on what is positive, even those you may feel you don’t like.
  • Invest some time every day in others – and stick to it.
  • Be a leader or colleague that everyone wants to work with!  

How to Beat Imposter Syndrome at Work

From Courageous Success Inspiration

“Two-thirds of UK women suffer from imposter syndrome at work.”

This is according to a study reported in Aug 18 in HRGrapevine.  Imposter syndrome is that feeling of self-doubt, lack of self-confidence and insecurity, that creeping or sudden fear about our skills and abilities, forgetting we have them and thinking ‘I’m going to get found out’.  The study found the key triggers to be: receiving criticism; 26% of respondents, having to ask for help; 22% and 16% when “colleagues used complicated technology or jargon that they weren’t familiar with.”  It’s interesting that the article concentrates on women.
New York magazine ran an article recently that talked to 25 famous women about their experiences of imposter syndrome and shared in another…  “that if you haven’t had a moment in which you were buffeted by these sorts of fears, you’re in the minority…. something like 70 percent of people will experience at least one episode (of Imposter Syndrome) in their lives.’’  

Women may suffer from self-doubt more than men, or maybe they are just more honest about it, but at Courageous Success we know that we all have times when we doubt ourselves, irrespective of our sex, job role or life-stage. 
Courageous Success global leadership research shows that 88% of leaders agree that: I have times when I doubt myself, 79% agree that they’d use words like worrier, doubter, overthinking and lacking confidence when describing themselves.
When feeling like this we can often look outside of ourselves to find our confidence, or rely on strategies such as perfectionism, control and micro management, using jargon and technical language, to help us cope and feel better.   However these strategies can keep us on the treadmill of never feeling quite good enough.


Looking inside of ourselves for confidence and nurturing the habit of thinking positively about ourselves are key to maintaining self-belief and getting rid of imposter syndrome.




Building confidence and self-belief from within means it’s in our control, it increases resilience, and is a strategy that can last.  We can all choose to manage ourselves this way.
At Courageous Success we know that the best person that you can be is yourself, and if you choose to think more constructively and positively about yourself and situations, you will build inner strength, belief and resilience.  Here are some tips to help beat Imposter Syndrome at work:

  • Write down what makes you good at your job and keep them front of mind, using the positive energy to fuel your confidence.
  • At the end of each day, list three things that went really well because of you.
  • Don’t rely on knowledge and data totally to do your job, trust yourself too.
  • Recognise your strengths and play to them.
  • Be kind to yourself and others, don’t waste time beating yourself up about things.
  • Believe in and see the best in others, and yourself.
  • Use your heart and your kind actions, to support your self-esteem and know that the very best person you can be is yourself.

Smell a Lemon and Boost Your Productivity!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

Make 54% less mistakes by smelling a lemon!

Research into productivity in the workplace, recently shared in HR Grapevine, found that people working with computers made 20% fewer typos if the office was scented with lavender, 33% fewer with jasmine and 54% fewer if exposed to the scent of lemon.  The best smells for boosting productivity and moods at work are lemon, lavender, jasmine, rosemary, cinnamon and peppermint. 
Smells! What a simple and creative way to improve working environments and boost productivity.  
We’ve quoted before the research by Warwick University that happy employees are 12% more productive and unhappy ones 10% less productive. The researchers say; ‘’positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings.”
We know from Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, that the brain works much better when a person is feeling positive. ”When workers are happy they’re more effective collaborators working toward common goals.’’
How’s your productivity?  Do you think creatively to positively improve your environment and the way you work?  Or, do you blame where you work, your workload or your bosses and colleagues for negative feelings and stress?
We all have a choice about how we live and enjoy our lives in and outside of work.
We’re all human and it’s so easy to blame other people or things for the situation we find ourselves in.  Similar to other strategies we employ when life feels a bit too hard: being a victim, a martyr and thinking that ‘life happens to me’, that I have no choice.  Blaming other people or things (workload, mess, amount of emails) for how we feel is a choice we make – an unproductive one, but a choice just the same.

In all aspects of life, we can take responsibility for ourselves and how we feel, and how we make others feel. Choose to be creative in making changes to feel more positive and productive in your life in and outside of work.
Lemon or jasmine?   How creative could you be to be more productive?

  • What three changes could you make to either your routine or environment to make you feel positive?
  • Get in touch with when you are most productive. Schedule your work to fit in with your natural rhythms.
  • Ask yourself, what is meaningful in what I do? And then focus on this more.
  • Identify what difference you really want to make in your role, in the company.  Make this happen.  Regularly review how you’re doing to get that positive feedback loop.
  • Create a purpose of being. How do I want to be as a co-worker, team member, and leader?
  • Self-manage your energy levels and make time for you, to rest and re-energise. Diarise breaks into your working day or be conscious of just having a moment of pause.
  • If you are a manager, are you being a role model for others around efficient working and maintaining balance? 
  • Make sure you’re not a slave to your ‘to do’ list and the feeling that you never accomplish anything – pause, step back and focus on what you are really trying to achieve, where could you add the most value?
  • Go and buy some lemons!!

Ever Been Written Off by an Algorithm?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

The world needs to move on – the oldest psychometric test, MBTI, is still widely used globally and it was developed in 1943!!

How on earth can this correlate with the excitement & move forward of AI? Are you using your profile as an excuse, or writing yourself off because of one?  Are you really sticking to methods that were developed 75 years ago to develop your people?
The media are constantly telling us that AI is growing in importance.  Driverless cars and even fighter jets are now being developed.  Don’t get me wrong, technology is great if it advances us and doesn’t damage society or keep us stuck in the past!
In the world of Learning & Development every day we see apathy and boring methods, lacking in power, being repeated again and again as we are so enthralled by so called “smart software”.  My question is, is your “smart software” really smart and are you questioning whether it is at all?  Along with outdated profiling there are reported cases of AI or automation getting it wrong, ex Facebook executives admitting that the way Facebook was built is bad for society, and driverless Uber taxi accidents.  The fact that online search algorithms provide suggestions based on our previous searches that narrow our experience rather than widen it – giving us what we have always had, rather than expanding our experience.  We stay unawares.
What we have gained in technology in recent years is undoubtedly amazing, it has revolutionised the way we work, and used wisely and well, it really helps us.

But are we also in danger of being so enthralled by “smart software” and the cost savings, that we underestimate the power of being human?  Are our futures at work determined by a machine?

Are we all ending up being slaves to the algorithm, relying heavily on AI and software that we are collectively unaware of, at the expense of being ourselves at work?



An article in the FT earlier this year, talks about a “depressing reminder of the relentless spread of psychometric testing.”  In discussing the growth of testing used by private equity and venture capital firms since the 2008 financial crisis, it shares the view of an expert that the growth is chiefly due to “spread accountability if it all goes horribly wrong”.
Articles debating psychometric testing quote the case of a disgraced ex UK banking chairman.  When he left the business, the Commons Select Committee were told, during the investigation, that one of the explanations of why he got the job ahead of better qualified and experienced candidates was that “he did very well in the psychometric tests.”  !!
An FT article also points out that along with the growth in psychometric testing there has also been huge growth in an industry built up to help people beat the tests!
Psychometric testing can be useful in creating objectivity and removing bias from assessing employees, but the downsides, when not used correctly, can be putting people in boxes or giving them labels that they then live to or feel ‘written off by’ or seeing people as black and white, either/or – when we are all more complicated than that!
You are not a colour, number or collection of letters, you are you!