What Kind of Networker Are You?


ALISON BEARD: Welcome to the HBR IdeaCast from Harvard Business Review. I’m Alison Beard.

We all know that networking is critical to career success. You need to meet the right people and form strong relationships to get access to the best opportunities. As the old saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

But how exactly do you build a strong professional network? Which contacts should you pursue and what type of connections do you want to make? How much time and energy do you give to everyone? What does it take to maintain those relationships, especially in a time of crisis? And, how can you do all of this in an authentic way without feeling slimy?

Our guest today has done deep research into workplace social connections. She says they’re critical to both performance and well-being, but notes that not all successful networks are built the same.

Marissa King is a professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management, and she’s the author of the new book, “Social Chemistry: Decoding the Patterns of Human Connection.” Marissa, thanks so much for being with me.

MARISSA KING: It’s great to be with here with you today, Alison.

ALISON BEARD: So as I mentioned in the intro, most of us know the importance of networking. It helps us get jobs, move up the corporate ladder, find support if we want to start our own company. But it seems like the relationships that you study are going beyond what we think of as professional networks. They’re more like connections than contacts. So how do you describe the difference?

MARISSA KING: One of the ideas that you think is oftentimes misleading is this notion that if we simply know more people, we’re building an effective network, that you need to be attending the next professional event in meeting new people and connecting. But what we know from a wide variety of research is that the relationships that you really need, the ones that are going to help you get a job, that’ll help you get promoted, your health and your well-being, it’s not simply how many people you know, it’s the strength of those relationships, the quality, and the patterns that exist in your own existing network.

ALISON BEARD: And what type of research have you done to study these relationships?

MARISSA KING: Most of my research focuses on understanding what these patterns are. We’re all embedded in webs of social interaction. Whether you’re bumping into a stranger at a coffee shop or connecting with an old friend, all of these connections and moments leave tracers that are your network. Different types of network configurations have different benefits, and most of the time we’re focusing on, what are those positive benefits? Of course, they have trade-offs. But the idea really is to think of your network as a map and understanding what those contours are that really arise from where you’ve been and how you’re living your life help you understand where you are at the moment, but also predict what your likelihood of success is going to be in the future.

ALISON BEARD: But if you have strong connections, no matter what your map looks like, that means that you’ll perform better, you’ll be more creative, you’ll be more engaged, you’ll be happier?

MARISSA KING: Yes and no. So if you think about some of these outcomes that you would care about, having deep, stronger relationships, those really close ties, provide more emotional support. They help guard against burnout. They help increase trust. But there’s a whole different type of connection that we care about if you’re thinking about innovation and creativity. It’s oftentimes not that people in your closest network and your deepest relationships that are going to provide those benefits. So understanding what some of these trade-offs are, depending on what type of relationship you are, having stronger ties is going to help with trust, it’s going to help guard against burnout, but it’s really, if you care about innovation and creativity, it’s a different type of connection that’s going to be really important.

ALISON BEARD: So it seems like you’re saying that people can be successful networkers in many different ways. we don’t all have to follow the same model. What are the models that you’ve studied?

MARISSA KING: If we think about the decades of research that we have, we know that there are essentially three different network signatures. I refer to these as brokers, conveners, and expansionists. Conveners really focus on maintaining their existing ties and devote their energy to maintaining existing relationships, and as a result, they have a lot of trust in their relationships and they have a lot of emotional support as a consequence. A second type of network configuration that we frequently see are brokers. Brokers have really unusual career paths. They’re good at giving impromptu speeches about things they know nothing about. And because they often span different social worlds, this allows them to be much more creative and much more innovative. And the third type, expansionists, are who we think of as the quintessential networkers.

If you ask them how many people they know named Adam or how many people they know named Rachel, they know two or three. So they have extraordinarily large networks. They give them a lot of influence and a lot of reach. So by understanding what different type of network configuration you have, you can either maximize those benefits, if that’s what you need, or thinking about changing your network to try to utilize different network approaches to get different benefits.

ALISON BEARD: Yeah. I’d love to dig into each of those in turn. You talked about some of the positives of being a convener, but what are some of the negatives?

MARISSA KING: Well, the benefit of being a convener is there’s a lot of trust and a lot of reciprocity. The downside is that conveners often fall victim to group think. They tend to have friends who are friends with one another, so they essentially can be in an echo chamber. And oftentimes those echo chambers are composed of people who have similar ideas to them and also look similar to them, and as a result they really can oftentimes be really sealed off from new ideas.

ALISON BEARD: And what about being a broker? That to me sounds totally transactional.

MARISSA KING: Yeah, and the research is consistent with this. The benefits of brokerage really are also contingent on how the broker interacts. So if you think about where the benefits from this particular network configuration come from, it’s by spanning different worlds. That also puts you at a place where you could be either transactional or you could also just simply be exploitative. So for this type of configuration in particular, a lot of research has focused on the importance of having an empathic and trustworthy broker, if you’re thinking about not just the broker benefiting themselves, but what that implies for the companies that they’re embedded in.

ALISON BEARD: And then the third, the expansionist model, that seems super fun and interesting, but I can imagine that sometimes it doesn’t feel all that rewarding, because you’re not really close with anyone.

MARISSA KING: It’s funny that you say that it seems like it would be fun, because to me being an expansionist was just exhausting as someone that doesn’t work a room that well. Expansionist, it can be extremely rewarding for people who really thrive on having interactions with strangers and getting to know new people. But the consequences, regardless of what type of network you have, you’re essentially making a choice between, do you want a smaller number of deeper connections or do you want to know a lot more people? But necessarily just because of time constraints, those connections are going to be much thinner. So the downside of expansionism comes really that they’re oftentimes surprisingly lonely despite having this extraordinarily large network.

ALISON BEARD: You studied lots of interesting real-world examples, brokers like Yo-Yo Ma, conveners like Anna Wintour. Who was your most interesting networker?

MARISSA KING: Vernon Jordan is a classic example. He has been called the Rosa Parks of Wall Street. He was instrumental in bringing together the Black community and the business community. He was also known famously as Bill Clinton’s first friend and closest ally. And he in many ways exemplifies all of these different properties. He started out with very little. He was the grandson of a sharecropper. His first job was acting as a chauffer to Robert Maddox, which he thought because he was excluded because of his race from working at an insurance company. And over time he built an extraordinary range of connections, so he had a really large network. He also had this property of brokerage, which was really central to his ability. He spent a lot of time in the Civil Rights Movement and working to improve the conditions for African-Americans, and because of that, he had deep ties into that community that he could then bring to the business community.

And that connection allowed him to sit on more corporate boards than anyone else at the time and that he was known as the shortest link between any two corporate boards on Wall Street. And so he has all of properties in his network and they allowed him to be creative, but it also exemplifies one of the trade-offs that people will say, essentially, “What did he actually do? What’s his job?” And the downside is that people can think of it like, “Well, he was just simply networking and what value is there to that?” And there has been extraordinary value in that it’s transformed racial relations and representation on Wall Street, and he’s had a profound influence in politics. But at the same time, he’ll also report that he himself feels lonely. So his case, in very many different ways, exemplifies both the opportunities and drawbacks to all of these different network positions.

ALISON BEARD: Is it okay to just network and form connections in the way that feels natural and organic to you? Or are you suggesting that some of us need to consider trying these other strategies in order to succeed?

MARISSA KING: No, I think it’s absolutely critical to network in a way that is comfortable to you. There’s great research that was done by Tiziana Casciaro, Francesca Gino at Harvard, and Maryam Kouchaki at Northwestern that’s actually looked at what happens when people engage in types of networking that feels inauthentic to them. And a lot of their research is focused on why networking feels dirty. And what they found throughout the course of their work is that t’s a particular type of social interaction, what they call an instrumental work-focused networking. The idea that I’m going to go to an event and meet someone to try to get something out of that particular interaction. And in their work what they found is that when people engage in that type of network building that they often have this moral aversion.

And this makes perfect sense. If we think about our social connections, in many ways, they are the most sacred thing we have, so thinking about being purposeful about them or inauthentic actually causes people to shut down. And when they feel that, for the close to two-thirds of people, what we know is when they experienced that they then will just simply not engage in building relationships or networking.

ALISON BEARD: Have you seen people successfully shift their style?

MARISSA KING: Our styles are shifting all the time, and I think that that’s one of the things that is so exciting and has so much possibility. If you think about research that has looked at network size, our networks are largest when we’re 23. So this early period in our life, actually, we have extraordinarily large networks that would meet the criteria for expansionist. But over the course of our careers, we know that early parenthood is like falling off a network cliff. Our ties shrink and focus inward. And so these natural life changes and phases have strong imprints on our network. So everyone’s network really is changing all the time. Some of this is unconscious, we’re just at the fate of life transitions without thinking about it. But what I really hope to call attention to is that we can be more thoughtful about how the choices we are making impact our networks, and so certainly they can and do change all the time.

ALISON BEARD: What about some people who just aren’t very social at all? Can they learn to be one of these types? Do they need to?

MARISSA KING: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s one of the greatest opportunities. And also, what we know is that one of the greatest difficulties most people have when they’re thinking about this, for lots of different reasons, the idea of being purposeful about our social relationships is often off-putting. But beyond that, there’s a wide variety of research that shows a lot of people feel the exact way that you described, that they simply don’t know how to do this. And it’s funny, in a lot of different areas of our life, we oftentimes think we’re better than average, these better than average effects. We think we’re smarter than average, we think we can drive better than average, but consistently when it comes to social relationships, research by Erica Boothby and Nick Epley has found that actually people think that they’re worse at building social relationships and connecting socially than they really are.

And so having this confidence is really key, and part of that confidence can also come from realizing that there are ways that we know that are much more effective for being able to build relationships. So understanding, for instance, Alison Wood Brooks has talked on this podcast about the importance of followup questions, the importance of listening, you’ve also talked about. We can think about, if you’re trying to enter a room, where do you go when you enter a room, understanding that it’s going to be much easier to go to an odd number group, it’s going to make that much easier. So by starting to understand that many people feel like they don’t know how to do this, but by understanding some pretty basic rules about human connection and how they work can help increase people’s confidence and make them feel much more comfortable for building social relationships.

ALISON BEARD: You and other authors are suggesting that we should do more of the socializing build stronger bonds in our professional world, so ranging from casual acquaintances that we can introduce to each other to serious friendships. But isn’t there a danger in focusing our social energy in our professional life, because you’re making your entire identity about work? Isn’t it okay to totally compartmentalize and have a social life that’s totally separate from work.

MARISSA KING: Absolutely, and there are huge benefits to that. One of the things I found in my own research comparing different types of network structures is that we’ve actually found that brokers who tend to keep their social life and their personal life separate actually have much more work-life balance. And while I think that it’s important to think about relationships in general, I think that there are huge advantages actually to keeping our work lives and our social life separate. And the idea is just to give the understanding about, what are the trade-offs between making these choices and to think about them in a way that is thoughtful and allowing them to create a set of relationships that’s most supportive for what they need, either that’s for their health or well-being, which I spend a lot of time focusing on, or their professional lives. And it doesn’t need to be that we need to focus most of our energy on our professional lives. And for a lot of people, I actually think that, that could have negative consequences.

ALISON BEARD: We do tend to gravitate to people who are similar to us, whether it’s inside work interests or outside work interests. So how do we develop a more strategic mindset about this, figuring out the right people to put our time and energy into without being or coming across as Machiavellian? You’ve talked about that a little bit, but I still have this sense that people will say, “Oh, it’s just not me,” and I don’t think people will appreciate that kind of behavior.

MARISSA KING: No, I completely agree. And if there’s anything that I try to emphasize again and again in my work is that it’s networks, it’s not networking. We all have networks. It’s just our existing set of relationships. And what’s key really is figuring out how to use those in whatever it’s most supportive to you, but also to the people that you have relationships with. And so it’s really, really critical I think to realize that there’s a profound difference between thinking about, here’s the set of social relationships I have, here’s how I contribute and here’s how that’s helping me. But in contrast to the idea of networking, which I oftentimes think of, and you were talking about, Alison, how I need to go out so I can meet this one person. Based on everything that we know from science, that idea is really, really misguided.

So if I have an idea that I’m going to go somewhere and I’m going to meet a specific person and then that specific person is going to help me, the chances of that happening are really, really low. But instead if I’m saying, “Okay, I want to switch careers. I at least want to learn about a new industry,” a much better strategy is thinking about, how am I spending my time? Is there somewhere I could go? Could I attend a webinar that is speaking to this idea that I’m interested in? And by starting to spend my time differently, the chances are that you will meet someone who may be able to help you down the road. But it’s very unlikely that you can specifically reach out to a person with an idea of getting something out of that in mind.

ALISON BEARD: If I’m a manager and I see that one of my employees needs some social growth or a better network, how do I encourage that? Or is that too much intrusion?

MARISSA KING: I think it’s really the responsibility of a manager to help all employees in this regard. If you think of what your job is as a manager or a leader, if it’s developing talent, then it’s also helping your employees develop the social skills that are going to help you, but also them and also other people in the company. And I think that’s the goal, really. We all are trying to learn in this regard. If you take one of the most simple skills, seemingly simple skills, that’s absolutely critical, the ability to listen, if you ask most people, the vast majority of people will tell you that they’re a really good listener. But if you’ve ever spent any time working at a company, you know that most people don’t listen at all. And so starting to think about, okay, how can I help encourage the development of this skill, is going to have extraordinary dividends for both employee, but also for the group as a whole.

ALISON BEARD: How have you seen organizations try to help groups of employees and especially their leaders be better at making social connections? What works and what doesn’t?

MARISSA KING: So at a very high level, people spend a lot of time measuring and thinking about human capital, but they spend far less time thinking about social capital. So if you even ask most managers, “What does the network of people in your company look like? Alan, is he a broker or an expansionist? What type of network does he have?” Managers are really, really poor at understanding what type of networks exists within their own company. And that’s a basic starting point. If you’re trying to think about how to build social relationships, you actually need to understand what relationships you have within the company as a starting point.

ALISON BEARD: Now, the inevitable question, how does all of this change, has all of it changed, because of COVID?

MARISSA KING: During COVID, I have done research, and my colleagues and I have found a couple of key changes and what has happened to people’s networks pre and post-COVID. One of the biggest changes is that we’ve seen the outer layer of social networks shrink. So, by our estimates, this external layer of social networks have shrunk by close to 17%, which is a pretty striking change, but it’s also consistent with what we know from research, that networks tend to shrink or turtle in, in times of uncertainty and crisis. And part of that is because they’ve made a natural adaptation. In any type of network, there’s naturally going to be this trade off between, are you focusing on your time, it’s a fixed commodity, are you focusing your time on your closest relationships or are you spending it more on acquaintances? And what we’ve seen in research is that people are focusing much more on their closest relationships and spending far less time maintaining these weaker outer ties.

ALISON BEARD: So I’d love to talk about some ways that people networked pre-COVID and might go back to, and then also what we’re doing now, and you tell me if it’s a thumbs up or thumbs down.

MARISSA KING: All right. I like this.

ALISON BEARD: Okay. LinkedIn?

MARISSA KING: LinkedIn, I think it’s a thumbs up. LinkedIn has a couple advantages. Any social media, whether it’s LinkedIn or another platform, is great for maintaining existing relationships, if that’s the goal. But one of the things that I’ve found most interesting about what happens on LinkedIn as a platform, if you look at social interactions that are happening there, they actually tend to be more diverse than our face-to-face social interaction. So if you’re looking to try to increase the workplace and have it been more diverse and more inclusive, surprisingly, LinkedIn is helping to contribute to that.

ALISON BEARD: I’m going to group these together, because they’re the more social, social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram?

MARISSA KING: Oh. It is not my personality to say thumbs down to anything, but I would say use them sparingly. And what we know from research is that, even simply having a phone on the table if someone’s not even using it during a conversation, is it makes the conversations that we’re in less enjoyable. If you have kids at home right now, I’m with my kids all day every day, but I don’t feel like we’re actually connecting in the way that we would if everyone were on devices. And I think that social media is giving the illusion that we’re staying connected and deepening our friendships, but in reality, it’s making us distracted from the people that we’re with.

ALISON BEARD: So it’s faux expansionism.

MARISSA KING: At best, yes.

ALISON BEARD: An industry conference?

MARISSA KING: Oh. Industry conferences are good depending on what your goal is. I think the best industry conferences are ones that are small when you actually have the time to learn from one another and spend time with other colleagues. But when they’re unstructured, that it’s let’s all go to the ballroom now with our name tags on and just awkwardly stand in the corner and try to figure out where we’re supposed to go, is not as helpful. So they’re helpful, particularly when they’re well structured.

ALISON BEARD: Virtual industry conference?

MARISSA KING: I like virtual industry conferences better, for a lot of different reasons. I think it allows more people to participate, and it gives you a lot more flexibility about how you’re structuring those social interactions. It allows for people to actually engage more who wouldn’t as frequently engage and it allows us to connect in ways that we normally wouldn’t connect. So I think that there’s a lot of possibility there and I think it’s beneficial both from an inclusion standpoint, but also allowing us to be more creative about how we’re structuring these types of events.

ALISON BEARD: Cold email?

MARISSA KING: I’m going to say thumbs down. Email just generally gets thumbs down. It’s very hard to connect with people over text in general. I will say that in our study one of the really surprising findings to me is that people who emailed strangers were less lonely than, for instance, people who are emailing acquaintances. I’m not sure what they’re doing when they’re emailing strangers, so I think there may be some benefit to that. But one of the few emails that I think can be really impactful right now is to reach out to someone without an agenda. We spend so much time on email getting asked it just drains energy from that type of interaction. But simply reaching out to someone right now because of that and saying just, “Hey, I don’t have an agenda. I just wanted to say hi,” I think that that’s one potential positive use of it.

ALISON BEARD: Cold call?

MARISSA KING: Cold call I like better than the cold email. And my colleague Michael Krauss has done really interesting work showing that voice conveys empathy in a way that other mediums can’t, and this is one of the reasons I don’t like email so much. And I think right now more than ever just hearing a voice can have an extraordinary impact. And so I think we all want to spend more time on the phone and less time on email and video, so I think that that’s a better way to go.

ALISON BEARD: One-on-one coffee?

MARISSA KING: Thumbs up. I think if you want to build relationships, one-on-one interactions, there’s no substitute. So big thumbs up on coffee or tea.

ALISON BEARD: One-on-one Zoom?

MARISSA KING: One-on-one Zoom, Zoom is tough right now. And it’s tough for the same reason that it’s hard to have interactions with a phone. It’s just distracting. And so I think Zoom can be helpful, but if you’re going to do it, keep it short.

ALISON BEARD: Marissa, thanks so much for joining me.

MARISSA KING: It was a lot of fun. Thanks for having me.

ALISON BEARD: That’s Marissa King, a professor at Yale and the author of Social Chemistry. This episode was produced by Mary Dooe. We get technical help from Rob Eckhardt. Adam Buchholz is our Audio Product Manager. Thanks for listening to the HBR IdeaCast. I’m Alison Beard.

Thank you for spending your time with us on My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed seeing this article involving InterInternational and World Business news and updates called “What Kind of Networker Are You?”. This news article was posted by MyLocalPages as part of our local news services.

#Kind #Networker



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what kind of Christmas shopper are you?


Back when we had a houseful of children, Christmas gift-giving was big. The thing I loved most, to my surprise, was the stockings. We held to the old-fashioned notion that parents gave the major presents, while Father Christmas left a footy sock full of little goodies.

How I loved to fill those grimy, out-of-shape socks! An orange at the toe, of course. Chocolate coins covered in gold foil were de rigueur. There were minor stationery items – novelty pens and erasers and dinky paper clips and post-it notes. As they got older, we included knickers, socks, soap, deodorant, spray-on Lynx when the boys were in their teens.

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One of my favourite moments each year was when all four of them piled onto our bed, extricating their treasures from the stocking, item by item, child by child, feigning surprise at each modest and utterly predictable discovery. When they hit adulthood and left home and I called a halt to the practice, there were howls of outrage.

The last few years, we have simplified things enormously by going the Kris Kringle route. And it’s bliss. Christmas prep has become almost stress-free. Some of us are cash-strapped, none of us needs more stuff in our lives. We are all weary at year’s end. All we want is to be together. Result? These days I am not any kind of Christmas shopper. I just sit back and rejoice that I don’t have to worry about it.



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Singer Arya Dhayal on her new English single, ‘King of My Kind’


Arya, who shot to fame during the lockdown with her fusion music and ukulele, has written, composed and sung the track

It was during the lockdown that Arya Dhayal took the social media by storm with her singing. Arya is now out with her new English single, ‘King of My Kind’, which she has written, composed and sung.

A bundle of nerves prior to the before the release of the video, she is happy that the song has been received well. “I had apprehensions about the reception to an English song because most of my listeners are Malayalis. But the response has been overwhelming,” says the 25-year-old, a native of Kannur in Kerala.

Arya says that the song is about her “dreams, life and destiny”. It is all about her journey as an artiste and a person. The lyrics clearly say that the going has been tough for her — ‘I’ll be like the one I wanna be/I’ll do all the things I wanna be/I have a list what mamma said never do/but it got the things which I wanna be in true/Holdin up I would walk like I’m king of my kind’

“It was not easy to break free of the barriers — cultural, gender-based and the like. The effort I took to overcome each of those challenges has been put forth in the lyrics,” says the musician. She had released a single last year, ‘Try my self’, which had gone unnoticed. “But now I am proud to have made a video with the money I earned from YouTube. I even got help from an anonymous fan. That’s why I call this a production of Arya Dhayal and friends. I am indebted to each subscriber. Also, most of the people behind the video are people whom I met on the social media,” she adds.

Arya had shot to fame on social media in 2016 for her soulful recital of a poem, ‘Sakhavu’. After a break she came into the limelight again during the pandemic. A trained Carnatic musician, she had finished her studies and was in Bengaluru looking for a job when the lockdown was announced. Stuck at her paying guest accommodation, she used her phone to shoot videos of her singing on the terrace of her paying guest accommodation and uploaded it on her pages. She started doing videos blending Carnatic and Western music, playing the ukulele.

Among her followers are the who’s who of Indian music and film industry, including Amitabh Bachchan who posted about her video in which she combines Suddha Dhanyasi raga with Ed Sheeran’s phenomenal hit, ‘Shape of you’. Other viral videos of Arya include a medley with swaras in Thodi raga, a Kathakali padam from Nalacharitham— Day IV and ‘Believer’ by Imagine Dragons, Charlie Puth’s ‘We don’t talk anymore’ with ‘Entharo mahanubhavulu’, The Chainsmokers’ ‘Closer’ and ‘Vathapi ganapathim’ and a Carnatic version of Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’.

‘King of My Kind’ also has fused Carnatic and Western music. “Carnatic music is part of my daily life and I can’t keep it out of the music I make. This song is based in Suddha Dhanyasi raga and I wanted Hriday Goswamy [the producer and arranger of the song] to bring in a balanced blend of pop and Carnatic genres,” she says.

On her decision to bring out an English track, Arya avers that she can convey her thoughts better in English than in Malayalam. “I started listening to English songs when I was in Plus One and have written over 10 songs till now,” she adds.

Looking ahead, Arya says that she wants to concentrate on independent music. “Our music industry is heavily dependent on film music. It is disappointing when original compositions by bands and musicians go unnoticed. However, times are changing. During the pandemic most of the composers came out with original compositions on social media. So I feel that in another five years or so, independent musicians will find more success,” she adds.

‘King of My Kind’ is available on YouTube. The video is directed by Amal Komath and Abhijith Kuttichira. Cinematographers are Favaz Afi & Faseen visuals and editing is by Artofshambu.



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21 Disturbing Historical Facts That I Kind Of Wish I Hadn’t Heard


It began with a single woman dancing solo for a few days, before eventually more and more people became affected. Doctors proclaimed that the illness was caused by overheated blood, and recommended that the inflicted should continue to shimmy and sway the fever away – musicians were even called in and a stage was set up in the town centre to give the ‘dancers’ more room. While the idea may seem funny at first, most of them kept dancing till they fell unconscious, and some died from exhaustion, heart attack, or stroke.



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To say this Brutalist building is ugly would be too kind


Wedged between Foveaux and Belmore streets, the 1970s three-storey brown-painted brick building has received two new levels, and a complete makeover in the process.

Hill Thalis Architecture added two new levels using a concrete structure and added generous glazing in the process.Credit:Ross Caddaye

The architects’ client, Laoutaris Constructions, was initially contemplating transforming the building into apartments, with retail at ground level.

However, research at the time suggested a greater need for commercial offices, but not the ones inherited.

“It was an awkward combination of spaces, with partitions dividing up spaces in an ad-hoc way.

“We also discovered the ground floor was originally a garage from the 1920s, ‘buried’ in the 1970s structure,” says Thalis.

Some of the main problems with the 1970s building were the lack of windows, a few slithers in the wall, no lift (although three levels is doable without one) and – importantly – no sense of the outdoors.

Given the leafy environment, with oak and jacaranda trees in Belmore Street, and established plain trees in Foveaux, this seemed a lost opportunity.

Hill Thalis Architecture added two new levels using a concrete structure and added generous glazing in the process.

Rather than expressing each level, it used a series of external blades to make two floors appear as one and thereby reduced the building’s scale.

These copper-coloured blades also function as filters for the sunlight, in particular the orientation in part to the west.

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The brown paint used on the original building was also removed to reveal a sand coloured brick that creates a more contemporary edge.

A new point of entry, via a double-height void, is also more welcoming.

“”We had to retain the original brick arches [at ground level] as there was far too much concrete involved, says Thalis.

The interiors have also been completely reworked, with the removal of false plaster ceilings allowing the ceilings to increase from 2.7 metres in height to almost 3.5 metres.

The exposed ducts and services are now revealed against the concrete ceilings. The polished concrete floors also allow for a more industrial aesthetic.

As individual tenancies occupy each floor, no one layout is identical.

Some have used the core as an informal seating area, with workstations arranged on the perimeter to create a sense of being in the treetops.

Other offices have a dedicated recreation area.

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Bathrooms were updated and a lift installed, although those working on the lower levels tend to use the stairs.

One thing they all share are the opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, whether this takes the form of a terrace, a courtyard, a balcony, or a combination of all three.

The office located on the top-level benefits from a generous terrace that accommodates seating for a dozen people, which is used for meetings or simply a place to have lunch.

A retractable canvas awning can also be drawn back to enjoy a greater connection to the elements.

The ground floor now includes a Korean restaurant, Tokki, along with a takeaway coffee spot.

It’s no longer the downtrodden and “shabby”, but a smart new office building that attracts a creative cohort.

“It made economic sense to rework the building rather than simply starting from scratch.

“The rental is considerably greater and this is a much more sustainable option,” says Thalis, who received a commendation from the Australian Institute of Architects (New South Wales Chapter) for his efforts.

Those who walk past 44A Foveaux will also appreciate that the result isn’t simply a building that’s been added to, but has been – as Thalis says – “needled together” through both the existing and added fabric.

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Be Kind & to Yourself!


Mental Health Humor and psychological disorder humor and cartoons by Chato Stewart






Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness.
Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew – seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels).
info@mentalhealthhumor.com


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APA Reference

Stewart, C. (2020). A Bunch of Brains (8): Be Kind & to Yourself!. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/humor/2020/08/a-bunch-of-brains-8-be-kind-to-yourself/

 

Last updated: 31 Aug 2020
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review
the content that appears in our blog network (blogs.psychcentral.com) prior to publication. All opinions
expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of
the editorial staff or management of Psych Central.
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

 





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What Kind of Startup Founder Are You?


Executive Summary

When it comes to getting a new venture off the ground, a sense of collective ownership is vital — but it’s not always clear how founders should go about fostering that shared ownership in their teams. In this piece, the authors describe recent research that looked at how different types of leaders attempt to cultivate a sense of ownership in their people, ultimately concluding that a careful balance between delegation and dictation is most likely to be effective. They go on to suggest that the best way founders can keep their teams engaged and their businesses on track is by proactively deciding which elements of their idea are open for discussion, and which are fixed — and then clearly communicating those distinctions to everyone involved.

Erik Dreyer/Getty Images

Many promising new ventures struggle to get off the ground because their founders fail to cultivate a sense of collective ownership — a feeling that the venture idea is “ours,” and not just the founder’s — in their teams. When teams feel ownership of an idea, they are more collaborative, they take more risks, and they make more personal sacrifices to support the shared goal — and when there’s a lack of ownership, team members quickly become demotivated and unproductive. So what can founders do to foster that all-important sense of collective ownership?

To explore this question, we conducted a series of studies with more than 500 startup founders and team members from both entrepreneurship competitions and university startup launch courses. We collected extensive quantitative data to measure the performance of these companies, including surveys and investor evaluations, and also conducted qualitative interviews with founders and their team members. Based on our research, we discovered that founders tend to adopt one of three styles — and which style they choose can have a major impact on their success:

The Delegator

The first type of founder actively seeks input from their team not just on questions of execution, but on their entire venture idea. For instance, one founder we interviewed, Sam*, was the head of a medical device startup focused on developing a surgical tool for kidney transplants. Rather than just having his teammates implement his idea, he frequently asked them to consider how the tool he had already developed could be redesigned. In response, one person suggested a design change to make the tool adaptable for other surgical procedures, which expanded both the company’s potential market and its social impact. As one member of Sam’s team put it, “Even though he has been working on this for two years, he is not coming in with an attitude of, you know, ‘This is my idea, so you are just going to work on it.’ He still wants all of our input, which is really nice.”

Proactively engaging your team on shaping the core idea is an effective way to build ownership — but only to a point. In our interviews, we found that if a founder encouraged too much feedback, the team was liable to lose focus and motivation. For example, Hallie, the founder of a concert-planning startup, asked her team members to pursue any and all changes to her idea, no matter now far afield of her original plan. Her team suggested a number of useful avenues, such as dynamic ticket pricing and a customer rewards program. But as the team explored all these different directions, Hallie found herself becoming less attached to the venture. As she told us, “The original idea was my baby, and then it really morphed into a new direction. After the change, I became less invested in the idea — and it showed.”

In addition, these founders often fail to set clear boundaries around what is and isn’t up for debate, creating conflict when team members suggest ideas that the founders don’t like. For example, one team member recalled how her founder claimed to be totally open-minded, but in fact struggled to accept certain new ideas: “You could see she had kind of a shock factor and she was trying to defend it. She was holding onto her idea. After that, it just wasn’t worth it to any of us to shake it up any more or put in the effort. There was just an uneasiness that never really went away.” The team ended up disbanding before it had even finished its prototype.

Getting your team involved by delegating important decisions is a great way to cultivate a sense of ownership — but without clear boundaries, you risk losing both your own interest in the venture and the support of your team.

The Dictator

The second type of founder is much more territorial about their ideas. In some cases, this approach can boost collective ownership, as clear direction can reduce ambiguity, minimize potential conflict, and ensure people are focused on the same goals. As one team member reflected when discussing her experience with a dictatorial founder, “She shared with us her personal connection to the idea. After that we knew where she wanted to go with it, so we really didn’t try and change it. It helped us understand the strategy and where the product fit in. Having something tangible helped everyone get excited about it.” A passionate, dictatorial leadership style can in some cases increase collective ownership, because clarity around who is in control can help things run more smoothly.

Of course, this style also limits opportunities for new team members to influence the direction of the company, making it difficult to stay engaged and invested. For example, in one founder’s initial exchanges with his team, he made it clear that his idea was fixed and not open to any design changes. As a result, his team wasn’t able to share their unique perspectives, which they found extremely demotivating. As one team member recounted, “When I joined the team, I was really excited about it. But now it seems like he doesn’t really want me to contribute that much. We’ve been more like advisors than team members, kind of stuck in the backseat.” A dictatorial approach can reduce conflict and ambiguity around direction, but the lack of opportunities for engagement can alienate your team and erode their sense of collective ownership.

The Designator

The final type of founder we observed struck a delicate balance between the two approaches described above. These flexible founders clearly designated which parts of their original idea were “off limits,” and which parts were open for discussion. As one team member described, “He told us there were two core things [about the venture idea] he was not willing to give up, and that those core elements would remain in place. But he also said that [for] other things, like the target market, he wanted input from the team.”

This blended approach captures the benefits of the other two styles while minimizing their downsides. By asking for help in some areas and articulating clear boundaries in others, these founders are able to bolster engagement while keeping their teams from taking the venture in an unwanted direction. For example, Alex worked for a founder who had specified that he wasn’t looking for new feature ideas, but he was very interested in exploring new markets or other business-side changes: “We knew the core technology was ready,” Alex explained, “and that our efforts would be spent on developing the business model for that technology.”

Part of what makes this mixed approach so effective is that it’s not just about designating what’s not up for debate — it’s about explicitly stating where founders would like their team members to contribute. Reflecting on his experience, one founder said, “I think that allowing [my team] to help the company pivot and have their ideas not only heard, but acted on — that’s how they’ve developed a sense of ownership.” It isn’t easy to pull off, but the founders who embraced a combination of these seemingly incompatible leadership styles were the most successful at building collective ownership in their teams.

Takeaways for Founders

So what does this mean for startup founders? Ultimately, there’s a time and a place for both delegation and dictatorship — the important thing is to designate clear boundaries between the two. Based on our research, we suggest a simple three-step plan for founders looking to help their people foster a strong sense of collective ownership:

  1. Start by cataloguing the various elements of your business idea, such as the core technology, target market, product/service design, financial projections, and customer acquisition strategy.
  2. For each of these elements, determine for yourself whether they are fixed or open to change.
  3. Clearly (and consistently) communicate these distinctions to your team.

It’s natural that there will be parts of your idea that feel sacred, and other parts in which you will be happy to welcome feedback. To keep your team engaged and your business on track, what matters most is that you clearly designate which is which.

* Names have been changed to protect privacy.



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Snacks Maker Kind Bars Selling Out to Mars – Jewish Business News


Snacks Maker Kind Bars Selling Out to Mars

Mars makes Snickers and Kind Bars makes healthy snack foods.

Daniel Lubetzky from KIND

Kind Bars, a maker of healthy snack foods which was founded by Daniel Lubetzky, is to be sold to the candy maker Mars which produces popular chocolates like Snickers bars and M&Ms. No figure for the acquisition has yet been revealed.

Mars previously bought a stake in the company in 2017, taking over Kind International. It will now also run Kind North America.

Founded in 2004, Kind declares its mission to be to create a kinder and healthier world – one act, one snack at a time. Its products are made from nutritionally-dense ingredients like whole nuts, fruits and whole grains and it promises no secret ingredients and no artificial flavors, preservatives or sweeteners.

Photo Courtessy of Kind

This is in stark contrast to Mars Incorporated which sells candies loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients like M&M’s, Snickers, and Twix. But that is exactly the point.

People are more conscious these days about what they put into their bodies. They check ingredients more often and are wary of added sugars and artificial ingredients. So Mars expanding into the healthier snack market makes sense.

KIND Founder and Executive Chairman Daniel Lubetzky will play a key role in the future development and expansion of KIND, helping to maximize the reach and impact of the KIND mission and products

“I am so proud of how well the Mars and KIND teams have complemented and strengthened each other over the past three years,” Lubetzky said. “We are now well positioned to further advance our efforts and continue building a foremost health and wellness platform. As we said in 2017, Mars is a company that shares KIND’s passion for business as a force for good, and I am confident that together, we will be able to make our small contribution to make this world a little kinder.”

Daniel Lubetzky not only started Kind Bars, he is also the founder of OneVoice Movement, a grassroots movement that amplifies the voices of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians to become advocates for a two-state solution, and Empatico, an initiative of The KIND Foundation that offers a free tool for educators to connect classrooms around the world through video and activities that spark curiosity, kindness, and empathy. He is the author of The New York Times bestseller Do the KIND Thing and a Guest Shark on Season 11 of Shark Tank.


Read more about: Daniel Lubetzky, Kind Bars, Mars






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Hugo Boss And Art Teacher Reach ‘Amicable Solution’ Over ‘Be Boss, Be Kind’ Trademark Application


from the who’s-the-boss? dept

Several weeks back, we discussed how Hugo Boss, German upscale clothier, had opposed the trademark application for an artist who has taken to teaching online art classes during the pandemic. At issue was John Charles’ decision to apply for a trademark on the phrase he used to sign off at the end of these classes: “Be Boss, Be Kind.” That he had begun selling shirts and hats with the slogan on it, alongside the trademark application, was enough to get Hugo Boss’ lawyers working on opposing the application and sending a legal threat letter to Charles, despite the fact that any claims about potential customer confusion between the two entities is laughable at best.

As we noted at the time, while any legal letter such as this is at least mildly scary for someone like Charles, it should be stated that Hugo Boss wasn’t overly threatening in the letter. Instead, the letter stated that the company would be opposing the trademark application, but was willing to drop the matter entirely if that application was withdrawn. In public comments, too, Hugo Boss made it clear that it was looking for an amicable resolution to the situation.

And that, almost certainly in large part to the swift public backlash that occurred, is precisely what happened.

Now, Hugo Boss and the popular artist have reached an ‘amicable solution’ – and John has said ‘it was all worth it.’

John said: ‘We’ve now reached an amicable solution and the key thing is that we’re able to continue our free online art classes and release our merchandise to the public officially. I’d like to say a massive thank you to the public for all their support, it’s been really overwhelming.”

As usual, the exact details of this amicable solution aren’t explained publicly, but it’s worth noting that nowhere in any of the coverage currently is the acknowledgement that Charles has been allowed to proceed with his trademark application. And that, frankly, is the detail we should be focused on. Yes, it’s good that Hugo Boss isn’t threatening Charles with legal action. Yes, it’s also good that he’s being allowed to continue his art classes and even sell his merch with the slogan. That’s somewhat more permissive than I expected out of Hugo Boss.

But there was never a valid trademark issue here in the first place and, while I don’t really see why Charles needs this trademark for which he applied, he certainly should have gotten it. “Be Boss, Be Kind” is not going to confuse someone into thinking a t-shirt is a Hugo Boss t-shirt. The reach of Charles’ audience isn’t a threat to Hugo Boss, either. No part of this screamed for a resolution of anything at all, amicable or otherwise.

It’s sort of an offshoot of how trademark bullying is effective. On the one hand, a large enough company can bully smaller entities into not using anything remotely like its registered trademark, validly or otherwise, just because of the costs associated with those threats. Or there are cases such as this, where the big company can bully the smaller entity until it gets news coverage talking about a supposedly amicable deal.

Both are pernicious, if not equally so.

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: art teachers, be boss, be kind, boss, hats, john charles, shirts, trademark
Companies: hugo boss



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Kind Bars to Be Acquired by Maker of Snickers


Mars, the company behind M&M’s and Snickers, is acquiring the maker of Kind bars, the snacks that celebrate their lack of artificial flavors and preservatives, company executives told The New York Times in an interview.

The deal for Kind North America comes three years after Mars, a privately held giant in the candy industry, took a minority stake in the company. The purchase was confirmed by company executives. Terms were not formally announced, but people with knowledge of the deal said it valued Kind at about $5 billion.

Kind, which was founded by Daniel Lubetzky in 2005, sells bars in flavors like Cranberry Almond and Dark Chocolate and emphasizes clear packaging and simple ingredients. A deal with Starbucks in 2009 helped it expand in the crowded snack market. It now also offers granola, cereal and other products.

The deal is a bet on the durability of the healthy snacking industry, as Mars looks beyond its long-established brands like Twix and Skittles. Mr. Lubetzky said it would allow Kind to take a longer view and continue to consider new products, geographic expansion and, likely, acquisitions.

“We don’t need to worry about getting a return in 2021,” said Mr. Lubetzky. “We can think about investments that make sense for two, three, five, 10 years out.”

Mr. Lubetzky said he would stay involved in the company and retain a stake in Kind. Mr. Lubetzky, a Mexican-American entrepreneur, has made using Kind for social change a key part of its mission. Among his philanthropic endeavors is The Kind Foundation, which earlier this year helped give frontline workers protective equipment as they battled the pandemic.

For Mars, the deal comes as the company is planning for a future beyond its candies. One of the country’s largest private companies, Mars also owns several pet-food brands, including Iams, Pedigree and Royal Canin. It has also made big investments in the pet care industry, buying in the last few years the veterinary company VCA Inc for $7.7 billion, and Europe’s AniCura, a chain of animal clinics and hospitals.

When Mars purchased a minority stake in Kind in 2017, valuing the company at $4 billion, it was looking to catch a wildly popular snack brand that offered a healthy alternative to chocolate bars, while Kind was attracted to Mars’s international foothold.

The pandemic has disrupted how people eat and shop.

Sales at Kind initially jumped when the pandemic began, Mr. Lubetzky said, as the homebound stocked up on snacks like its bars. And it benefited from its strong online presence.

But snacks are under pressure, as corporate cafeterias, airports and coffee shops still have little or no business. It’s also become harder for food companies to introduce new products because supermarkets often limit shelves to those products they know will be popular.

In-person samples, a traditional way to bring a new product to the marketplace, have become a health risk.

“It is challenging in the year of Covid to introduce new items across the world,” said Mr. Lubetzky “Kind is gaining a lot of traction globally, but it’s just taking longer than we would have liked.”

Still, Kind — which Mr. Lubetzky said has gained market share in the pressured snacking category during the pandemic — has made headway since 2017. Retail sales have risen from roughly $1 billion at the end of 2017 to about $1.5 billion today, he said. It has expanded its reach from five countries to 35, including China, Germany and France. Its range of products has expanded and now includes frozen items, leaning on Mars’s technology to create dairy-free frozen treat bars.

“When we began this partnership, I said it was one built on mutual admiration and a shared vision for growth,” said the Mars chief executive, Grant Reid, in a statement. “After three years, you can see the impact, as together we have grown the healthy-snacking category.”

With this deal, Kind will combine its North America and Europe divisions, which will function as a distinct and separate business from Mars.

“I’m very proud,” Mr. Lubetzky said of the company’s trajectory. Still, he acknowledged, “giving up control is harder than I thought it was going to be.”



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