Wednesday, July 22, 2009

CLUES Gmail and Dare Iced Coffee fix The Almond Effect

In this edition of CLUES, we look at two examples of STAR in action – Gmail and Dare Iced Milk. Then we see how it applies to leaders – or not!

‘I wish I hadn’t sent that’: Gmail now using STAR

The whole point of learning STAR, the antidote to The Almond Effect®, is to stop ourselves acting impulsively, in the wrong way, at the wrong time, for the wrong reason, when something stirs us up or catches us off-guard.

In the Gmail Labs, there is a fabulous tool that is doing just that. It gives us a second chance to Stop and Think before we send an email we will regret.

Turn on the ‘Undo Send’ feature in Gmail then when you hit ‘send’, Gmail will pause for 5 seconds before actually sending the email. If you realise in that time (and we usually know in an instant when we have done something and wish we hadn’t), you press simply ‘Undo’ and Gmail redirects the email to your draft box. Email not sent - no harm done!

It’s STAR in action

If you’re looking for an example of (assisted!) STAR in action, this is it: Stop, Think, Act, Rewire.

Gmail Stops the sending for you, giving you time to Think about what you’ve just done and what your real intention and the consequences might be.

It gives you 5 seconds to Act and press ‘undo’ if necessary. And if you press ‘undo’ it pops it back into your Drafts box so you can Rewire i.e. review and rewrite the email til it’s ready for you to send.

Now all we want is an ‘undo send’ mechanism for our mouths, facial expressions and our body language!

Watch The Almond Effect® in action

One of the recent ads for Dare Iced Coffee is all about The Almond Effect®.

Watch the imaginary fearful outcomes the guy’s 'almonds' (amygdalae) trigger in the split second after the woman says “hey babe, can we grab a coffee?” And see him use STAR to suggest an alternative course of action that will keep him out of harm’s way! Watch it here

What sets leaders (and losers) apart

The July 2009 Vol 10 edition of Boss magazine published its list of Young Executives of the Year

What was interesting was the list of tendencies of those who didn’t have what it takes to get on the list:

* Have good ideas but lack the ability to execute them
* Have closed discussions and make assumptions
* Derail frequently and let the dark side of their personality affect their work and relationships at work
* Be arrogant rather than inclusive
* Miss opportunities to use empathy
* Micro-manage instead of delegate
* Be impulsive rather than evidence based in decision
* Lack perception about how others are feeling
* Get confused about managing who they are as people and what’s required in the role

Almost everything on the list stems from inadequate insights about themselves, what makes them who they are and their affect on others – in other words self-leadership.

A huge component of that involves The Almond Effect® - understanding how the stressors and challenges of everyday life trigger our primitive survival (flight/fight/flock/freeze) instincts.

The best leaders know that each one of us is the sum of our experiences and that, unless we monitor our behaviours and actions, our brains are hardwired will take us by shortest, most well trodden route to action. This is fine if the action is appropriate but not fine if we end up reacting in ways that are inappropriate either for others or for ourselves.

The change organ

Our brains can and do change – it’s called neuroplasticity. However, it takes courage to deeply examine what makes us tick and triggers our immediate non-thinking behaviours.

Changing embedded patterns of behaviour can be hard without determination and practice.

We can change our brains by changing our minds. But you have to stay on track. Understanding The Almond Effect® and mastering STAR helps you do that.