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Best content from the best source handpicked by Shyam. The source include The Harvard University, MIT, Mckinsey & Co, Wharton, Stanford,and other top educational institutions. domains include Cybersecurity, Machine learning, Deep Learning, Bigdata, Education, Information Technology, Management, others.

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    The revolution shaking up business education

    Big data will rapidly revolutionise the business school curriculum; students and schools will need to adapt quickly to stay ahead, says Julia Tyler



    There is increasing demand for MBA and Masters graduates with analytical skills 

    It is estimated there are more than 2.5 quintillion data bytes of “big data” moving among us every day. Every time we use Facebook, Twitter, Google, the Web, YouTube, a tablet device, a mobile phone, GPS, email, or any digital social media platform to communicate, make purchases, or conduct business, we are maneuvering the virtual tsunami of data bytes washing across the globe.

    MBA applications: can you pass the GMAT quiz?

    Big data, or the massive amount of large data sets created by the technology that surrounds us, reveal relationships between people, decisions and behaviours, and can enable analysts to make predictions that shape smart products and processes.
    It is now driving discussion about the future of business, and impacting corporate strategies at both SMEs and the world’s biggest brands and organisations.

    With so much information flowing around us and influencing the future of business, it comes as little surprise that there is increasing demand in both private industry and public policy arenas for MBA and Masters graduates with the analytical and decision-making skills needed to process and act on these multiple 

    This has real implications for not only the type of courses that business schools are offering – but also for the skills that students (and future job candidates) will need to possess in order to compete in an increasingly tough employment market.
    Big data will rapidly revolutionise the business school curriculum; students and schools will need to adapt quickly to stay ahead. Indeed, there is a real sense amongst business school leaders that the answer to the question of precisely how to integrate big data into curricula remains far from clear.

    Postgraduate education: the rise of the DBA

    In the years to come, increasing numbers of businesses will need to work with and manage big data – to understand their customers, optimise their organisational design, and improve sales.

    The view from the business community and corporate recruiters is clear: a focus on big data will enable tomorrow's leaders to make smart decisions, not only to drive corporate growth, but also solve problems in areas as diverse as public policy, medicine, agriculture and engineering.

    Accordingly, the hiring market has sent a clear message to business schools: programmes need to integrate a curriculum that develops students’ ability and skills to use data to solve complex problems in order to provide employers with the talent required to compete in a data-driven world.

    The 2012 GMAC Corporate Recruiters survey showed that the skill set required of candidates has changed significantly in recent years. According to our poll, 79 per cent of recruiters need candidates to be able to integrate data from multiple sources to make sound judgments; and 71 per cent need candidates to be equipped with the skills to organise data to solve interrelated problems. Students, take note.

     MBA students ask 'what does the future hold?'

    Business schools have responded to the rapidly changing business environment by including more academic course offerings focused on data analytics and business intelligence, to ensure their graduating students can help meet the looming talent gap.

    Meanwhile, we have also developed a focused section of the GMAT exam – Integrated Reasoning – to test students’ analytical skills. This new addition to the GMAT emerged in response to a survey of management faculty worldwide who identified these skills as important for incoming management students.
    The big data revolution is an opportunity for the education world. 

    Business schools able to adapt and evolve their offering to the requirements of corporate recruiters and students, and provide new services, products and courses, will be well placed to boost their graduate employment rates. This will of course have implications for business schools own in-house expertise. Meanwhile, students will need to adapt their mind set and outlook to compete in an evolving job market, where analytics and technical insight are prized.

    Either way, the possibilities for educators and students are palpable – and those that invest time and energy into the big data revolution will be best placed to reap the rewards.


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    20130918_3

    Personal Branding for Introverts


    I had just finished a talk at a leading technology company when an engineer approached me. “I liked your ideas about personal branding, and I can see how they’d work,” he told me. “But most of them aren’t for me — I’m an introvert. Is there anything I can do?” What he didn’t realize is that (like anestimated one-third to one-half of the population) I’m one, too.


    Despite the common misperception that all introverts are shy, and vice versa, they’re two very different phenomena. (Author and introversion expert Susan Cain defines shyness as “the fear of negative judgment,” while introversion is “a preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments.”) I actually like giving talks to large groups (that day, there were 180 people in the room and another 325 watching online). I’m happy to mingle and answer questions afterward. But at a certain point, I’ve learned through experience, I have to get away and go somewhere by myself.
    Conference organizers and attendees will often ask you to join them for dinner the evening before, or cocktails afterward. Rationally, it’s a win-win: they perceive more value because they get to interact with you personally, and you can make interesting business connections and learn tidbits about attendees that allow you to personalize your talk. For those good reasons, I’ll often say yes, but I’ve had to learn my limits: if I’ve been traveling too much, or had a frenzied schedule that day, or my social chops are hampered by lack of sleep, it’s far better to refuse. Like a car that requires periodic oil changes, I have to recharge with quiet, alone time.
    It’s true that many of the best ways to establish your brand in the professional world are still weighted toward extroverts: taking leadership positions in professional associations, starting your own conference or networking group, or — indeed — embracing public speaking (all of which frequently entail extended social contact).
    Over time, I’ve learned “when to say when” and graciously call it an evening. But for many introverts, it’s a tough balance. One executive at a large consulting firm once asked me how she could be truly authentic in her dealings with others, given how uncomfortable she was when it came to networking; she worried she’d have to put on a smiley, hypersocial façade. Yet I’m convinced it’s possible to be real about building connections and developing our personal brands, while still respecting our natural tendencies.
    First, social media may actually be an area where introverts, who thrive on quiet contemplation, have an advantage. With a blog — one of the best techniques for demonstrating thought leadership — you can take your time, formulate your thoughts, and engage in real dialogue with others. Indeed, while extroverts desperate for their next fix are trading business cards at cocktail parties, you can build a global brand on the strength of your ideas.
    Next, with a little strategy and effort, you can become a connector one person at a time. A friend of mine used to work at a large research hospital; it was a sprawling institution with countless divisions and initiatives. She made a simple commitment: each week, she’d ask a person from a different office or department to lunch. Often, she’d meet them initially at company meetings or through project work; if the suggestion to have lunch together didn’t arise naturally, she’d tell them about her project, and they were almost always intrigued enough to join her.
    Within a few months, she had begun to build a robust network inside her organization — on her own, quiet terms (Susan Cain herself told HBR that we ought to “be figuring out ways where people can kind of pick and choose their environments, and then be at their best.”) 
    My friend’s “lunch initiative” exemplifies the research of Ronald Burt at the University of Chicago, who urges workers to “bridge structural gaps” in their organizations. In other words, you can make yourself professionally indispensable if you develop connections that enable you to break through silos, and identify and surmount knowledge gaps.
    Introverts can also use subtle cues to establish their personal brand. As well-known psychologist Robert Cialdini told me during an interview for my book Reinventing You, simply placing diplomas or awards on your office walls can help reinforce your expertise to others. (Cialdini saw this powerful effect in action at an Arizona hospital he advised; exercise compliance increased 32% almost immediately after the physical therapy unit started displaying their staff’s credentials.)
    Finally, use your downtime strategically. You’re likely to need more “thinking time,” as introvert and former Campbell Soup Company CEO Doug Conant advised in an HBR post. So while the extroverts may be schmoozing with colleagues after work, you can ensure you’re being productive while you recharge by reading industry journals or thinking creatively about your company and your career. (Introverts often do their best thinking on their own, as Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino suggests, rather than amidst the scrum of an office brainstorming session.)
    In popular imagination, personal branding is often equated with high-octane, flesh-pressing showmanship. But there are other, sometimes better, ways you can define yourself and your reputation. Taking the time to reflect and be thoughtful about how you’d like to be seen and then living that out through your writing and your interpersonal relationships (and even your décor) is a powerful way to ensure you’re seen as the leader you are.

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    The Amazon of Higher Education


    How tiny, struggling Southern New Hampshire University has become a behemoth.



    SNHU President Paul LeBlanc, Oct. 31, 2013.
    SNHU President Paul LeBlanc vastly expanded the school's online offerings.
    Courtesy CSPAN
    Five years ago, Southern New Hampshire University was a 2,000-student private school struggling against declining enrollment, poor name recognition, and teetering finances.
    Today, it’s the Amazon.com of higher education. The school’s burgeoning online division has 180 different programs with an enrollment of 34,000. Students are referred to as “customers.” It undercuts competitors on tuition. And it deploys data analytics for everything from anticipating future demand to figuring out which students are most likely to stumble.
    “We are super-focused on customer service, which is a phrase that most universities can’t even use,” says Paul LeBlanc, SNHU’s president.
    The near demise and subsequent rebirth of SNHU offers a glimpse into the crisis facing American higher education. More than a third of American colleges and universities have deteriorating finances, according to a 2012 report. While more Americans find that a college degree is their only ticket to the middle class, fewer institutions are able to provide it at a reasonable cost.
    When LeBlanc took over in 2003, SNHU was struggling. It had poor name recognition and fewer students could afford its rising tuition. When the recession hit, enrollment dipped and it looked as though the school would have to make cuts to stay afloat. LeBlanc, who previously had run an even smaller institution, 300-student Marlboro College in Vermont, thought SNHU’s one hope might be its fledgling online division.
    He had long been friends with Clay Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor and author of the groundbreaking book The Innovator’s Dilemma, which examines the impacts of disruptive technologies on traditional industries. LeBlanc made Christensen an SNHU trustee and consulted extensively with him about embracing online education as a way to escape what seemed like certain decline.
    In 2009, instead of cutting, LeBlanc asked the board to double down on the online division. He argued that rapid growth in online could quickly produce new revenues that could save the main campus in Manchester, N.H. “It was a big-gulp moment,” he says.
    But he was convinced by Christensen that there were no other options. “The business models implicit in higher-ed are broken,” he says. “Public institutions will not see increasing state funding and private colleges will not see ever-rising tuition.”
    His solution was to tackle what colleges were doing poorly: graduating students. Half the students who enroll in post-secondary education never get a degree but still accumulate debt. The low completion rate can be blamed partly on the fact that college is still designed for 18-year-olds who are signing up for an immersive, four-year experience replete with football games and beer-drinking. But those traditional students make up only 20 percent of the post-secondary population. The vast majority are working adults, many with families, whose lives rarely align with an academic timetable.
    “College is designed in every way for that 20 percent—cost, time, scheduling, everything,” says LeBlanc. He set out to create an institution for the other 80 percent, one that was flexible and offered a seamless online experience. But in the process, he turned what had been a small New England college with red-brick buildings and a quad into something barely recognizable. There are still nearly 3,000 students enrolled at its campus in Manchester (the men’s soccer team won the NCAA Division II championship last season), but the action has shifted to its fast-growing online division.
    The SNHU website works like a one-stop storefront for everything from a master’s in creative writing to a degree in sports management. The school spends millions to employ more than 160 “admissions counselors” who man the phones, especially on weekends, guiding prospective students into the right degree program. Click on an ad for the MBA program and you get a phone call from a counselor in less than nine minutes. If someone asks about transfer credits, SNHU tracks down their old transcripts and pays the administrative fees itself.
    It’s a strategy borrowed from the aggressive recruiting techniques of the University of Phoenix and other for-profit schools. Many of those institutions have come under fire from Congress for gouging students, low completion rates, and inferior degree programs.
    The similarities don’t end there. Just like many of the for-profit universities, SNHU tries to maximize efficiencies and scale up everything it does to drive down costs. At SNHU, online courses are created centrally and then farmed out to a small army of adjuncts hired for as little as $2,200 a class. Those adjuncts have scant leeway in crafting the learning experience.
    “The instructor is just there to deliver the content,” says Steve Hodownes, the head of SNHU’s online division, which, he says, “helps us create standardization.”
    The online courses themselves are a mixture of readings, practice problems, and videos (most under five minutes). Undergrad classes run eight weeks, with a new assignment each week and a final project. Interaction with the instructor (and other students) comes mostly through discussion boards and email. An instructor’s main job is to swoop in when a student is in trouble. Often, they don’t pick up the warning signs themselves. Instead, SNHU’s predictive analytics platform plays watchdog, sending up a red flag to an instructor when a student hasn’t logged on recently or has spent too much time on an assignment. It’s a cookie-cutter approach, and a far cry from what some might recognize as the hallmark of a vibrant education.
    Steven Mintz, who heads the University of Texas’ Institute for Transformational Learning, says there is a lot that people might take issue with in the SNHU model, including the highly standardized courses, and adjuncts who act more like coaches than professors. But it’s also designed for an underserved segment of students who flail in the traditional system. “This is not about Animal House, it’s about students who need a return on their education,” he says.
    Even on campus, LeBlanc has his share of critics. Alumni object that SNHU’s slick TVads cheapen the name by making it seem like it’s the same ilk as Kaplan or University of Phoenix. And some faculty worry that he is trying to usurp their role through the reliance on adjuncts and online teaching tools.
    It’s also difficult to determine just how strong an education SNHU is delivering. An online forum offers a decidedly mixed picture, with one review calling it “a great experience,” while another claims, “It is not quite a degree mill, but they give out 4.0's for merely completing the work.” A tally of nearly 4,000 recent graduates conducted by the university showed satisfaction was increasing steadily and that 95 percent would recommend SNHU.
    One issue that vexes SNHU is that it goes after many of the same students who are winding up at places like the University of Phoenix—adults, often from the lower middle class, who can’t fit in at a traditional college. That means it is often trying to explain why an online education delivered from a New England nonprofit university is better than its for-profit equivalent.
    LeBlanc insists that SNHU’s sole focus is on serving students. As a nonprofit, he says, SNHU can deliver a higher quality experience because it doesn’t have to satisfy shareholders trying to squeeze out profits. “If I need to put $1 million into academics, I do it,” he says. “But if I run a for-profit, I can’t put in that $1 million because it will hit the bottom line.”
    Certainly, SNHU comes out ahead on price. An online student with no transfer credits can get the equivalent of a four-year bachelor’s degree for about $37,000. A comparable degree at University of Phoenix runs about $52,000.
    SNHU boasts six-year online graduation rates of about 50 percent for bachelor’s students. While LeBlanc concedes that’s still abysmal—“Would you accept a 50 percent success rate for surgery? For construction?”—it’s partly explained by the fact that most SNHU students are part time and take even longer to finish.
    SNHU is clearly determined to push the envelope of online education. It latest gambit is the College for America, which offers college degrees but has no courses and no faculty. Instead, students are required to demonstrate mastery of different “competencies.” These include the ability to display data by using charts and graphs, understanding of marketing terminology, and even the ability to “distinguish fact from opinion.” Here, the role of adjunct faculty is replaced by “evaluators” who determine whether a student project has cleared the bar. Completion of 120 competencies earns an associate’s degree.
    The most radical element might be the price. One six-month term costs only $1,250, and students can gobble up as much as they want in that time. “We call it our ‘all-you-can-learn model,’ ” says Kris Clerkin, who runs the division.
    The program is just getting started, with around 300 students. Their first graduate completed the program in 100 days, though most are expected to take a couple of years.
    LeBlanc says that as odd a university as SNHU might now appear, with its full-throttle marketing and data-driven approach, it will soon blend into the pack. He cites one study that predicts more than 300 nonprofit schools will ramp up their online programs in the next few years. “Frankly, we would have thought they would have been here already,” he says.

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    AAP gets set for Lok Sabha polls; Kejriwal opts out

    First list of candidates in 10-15 days; to have separate manifesto for each constituency
    Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)
    Buoyed by its recent success in Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday laid out its national plan, even as the party’s star campaigner and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he would not fight the coming Lok Sabha elections.

    “AAP will contest the Lok Sabha elections in as many states and on as many seats as possible. We will try to list out the names of most of our candidates by mid-February — the latest by the end of February” said AAP leader Prashant Bhushan. The party expects to replicate its recent success in Delhi and cash in on people’s dissatisfaction with mainstream political parties.

    Kejriwal said he was not contesting the Lok Sabha elections because he wanted to focus on his present job as Delhi’s chief minister.

    “I won’t break the trust of the people who have elected me”, he said. Earlier, party leader and strategist Yogendra Yadav had said he would like to see Kejriwal as prime minister.

    “It is my dream to see Kejriwal as PM,” Yadav said. He added the country needed better alternatives to Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

    Saturday’s decision was taken after a meeting of the party’s 23-member national executive committee (NEC), its core decision-making body, at Constitutional Club here.

    Though the party did not disclose the exact number of constituencies in which it would field its candidates, AAP sources said the party was likely to contest the elections on about 300 seats. The party is in the process of finalising the names of individual leaders who will head its state units. These leaders, to be picked from within the party, will be responsible for deciding on candidates in their respective states and working on regional manifestos, besides other things.

    The party also said that it would have separate manifestos for each Lok Sabha constituency where it would field its candidate, as it did in Delhi.

    Refuting the criticism that AAP’s impact was limited to cities, Bhushan said the party’s presence in rural areas was the same as that in urban parts of the country. The party claims to be present in 309 districts through 22 state units. But the Supreme Court lawyer clarified that AAP would contest only from those states where it would find reasonable structures and good candidates.

    “People in rural areas are as excited about AAP as those in urban areas — people in some villages are more excited than those in cities,” Bhushan said. He added that people now wanted an alternative to the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. AAP, he said, was a people’s movement, and not just a political party. “AAP believes the government should run according to people’s wishes.”

    The party has so far avoided answering questions on who would be its prime ministerial candidate. On Saturday, it deflected the question by saying a would be taken after the elections.

    “Arvind Kejriwal is the supreme leader of the party but we have not decided on the name of our prime ministerial candidate,” Bhushan said. Another party leader, Sanjay Singh, said: “The first list of AAP candidates for the coming Lok Sabha elections will be out in 10 to 15 days. The process for selection of candidates followed during the Delhi Assembly election will be followed in the Lok Sabha elections as well.”

    Replicating its strategy in Delhi, the party said it will have separate manifestos for each constituency of the Lok Sabha where it will fielding its candidates.


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    5 Higher-Education Trends for 2014



    Expect an increased emphasis on teacher effectiveness, technical education, and more.




    A number of education trends made their mark in 2013, from massive open online courses to evaluating colleges based on their graduation rates. The underlying forces that drove change this year aren't likely to change anytime soon: declining public funding, changing demographics, advancing technology, and a tough job market.

    Here are five trends we'll be watching next year, with special attention to how they affect minority and at-risk students.

    Earning College Credit for What You Know

    The Obama administration, state governments, and foundation funders are all pressuring colleges to shrink the time it takes for students to graduate. Two strategies for doing so gained attention this year: advancing students based on mastery, and giving students credit for work experience.

    The fancy term for the first strategy is "competency-based learning," and it works best online. Students move through course material at their own pace, their test scores—not time in class—determining how quickly they move through the material. At Western Governors' University, an online institution that pioneered this structure almost 20 years ago, students earn bachelor's degrees two years faster than the national average. This year, the University of Wisconsin system started offering a competency-based option.

    Another strategy is "prior learning assessment," whereby students get college credit for on-the job and military training, volunteer experience, and hobbies. Credit is usually granted through placement tests, assessments of student portfolios, or according to the American Council on Education's recommendations. Some employers and colleges—like Starbucks and City 

    University of Seattle—have struck up partnerships that allow employees to earn college credit for workplace training.

    Career and Technical Education


    After years of being pushed aside to free time for academics, career-focused learning is back. High schools, community colleges, and companies are banding together to help increase the opportunities students have to gain technical skills—often spurred by new state laws, like those in Texas and Georgia, that put a bigger emphasis on career and technical education.

    Policymakers stress the economic benefits of CTE: Students with specialized training or skills find it easier to get hired in this tough labor market. Educators like that CTE can help get more students excited about math and science. Given that CTE and college preparation no longer have to be divergent paths, college costs are rising, and it remains hard for young people to find work, there's much less political opposition to career training than there used to be. The Next America recently profiled a majority-minority school in Georgia that illustrates this new vision for career and techinical education.

    Student-Loan Outrage


    Seventy-one percent of students who graduated from college in 2012 carry student-loan debt, some as much as $49,000 for a four-year degree. A recent Harvard Institute of Politics poll found that 42 percent of students blame colleges and universities for rising college prices.

    As outrage grows over America's student-debt burden that now exceeds $1 trillion, policymakers will likely continue to focus on making college more efficient and cost-effective, not on drumming up support for a major public reinvestment. While there's much colleges and universities can do to provide a better service—such as ensuring students who enroll don't drop out—the focus on performance ignores the main causes of the student-debt crisis. State and federal funding for higher education and financial aid has dropped radically since the 1980s, and today's college students are less well off than they used to be.

    Data-Privacy Concerns


    This year saw the beginnings of a backlash over the collection and storage of student data, including grades, contact information, and disciplinary records. Look no further than the furor over data-storage company in Bloom. A recent Fordham University study found that most contracts between school districts and Web-based services lack privacy protections.

    Schools and colleges have embraced data-driven software to help them track student progress. Proponents of data collection and analysis point out that federal and some state laws limit how children's educational records can be shared. But a whole lot of parents don't trust the government to keep data secure, or don't trust corporations not to abuse access to information about how individual minds work.
    Conservative legislative-advocacy group the American Legislative 

    Exchange Council has put together a bill that would require state boards of education to make public their data-collection activities and restrict access to information about children's educational progress. State legislatures may consider the model bill, and others like it, when they reconvene next year.

    Teacher Effectiveness


    As policymakers move toward rewarding teachers for the quality of their teaching, not for factors like whether an educator holds an advanced degree, districts have to get better at assessing teacher performance. The big debate now is how closely teacher evaluations should be tied to student test performance and how closely they're tied to teachers' job security.

    A recent union contract in New Haven, Conn., could show a path forward, the American Federation of Teachers believes. Teachers, not algorithms, set learning targets. Teachers are assessed based on classroom observation, principal reviews, and student test scores, and are given a full year's worth of support to improve their practice if they aren't performing well.

    Teacher recruitment also matters. In 2014, expect to hear more calls for teachers who reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of students and debate over alternative teacher-training programs, particularly those aligned with charter networks.


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    Inspiring   Employee   Engagemen t   through   Emotional   Intelligence

    Each year, the United States experiences $450 billion to $550 billion† in lost productivity due to low employee engagement. Companies have poured millions into programs designed to make people happier and more satisfied at work, but in ten years, employee engagement levels across the U.S. have remained tenaciously static.
    What is wrong with this picture?

    The approaches to creating engagement have varied from attempting to make the workplace more fun (free food, bring your dog, making work like a game), to being family friendly (on-site day care, flex time), to inclusion strategies (clarify expectations, involve people in decisions), to rewarding performance (time off, more money), to just being nicer at work.
    While these sound great (who wouldn’t want free food?), there’s a simple reason these approaches are failing: 
    The majority of current engagement strategies focus on external mechanisms. 
    True engagement comes from the employee’s relationship with the employer and with the work itself. By definition, engagement is an inside job.
    motivation-inside 
    Classical vs. Behavioral Economics
    We operate in a world governed largely by classical economics: people are presumed to behave rationally. Classical economic theory says that if we pay people for how much they produce, they will produce more. The idea works up to a point; it stumbles due to a basic fact: people do not always behave in a rational way.
    Rationally, free food and the other perks might sound great. But research has also shown that these benefits can also be viewed as a means to control behavior (makes sense, since that’s the company’s real goal).

    The Four Keys to Engagement
    What drives deeper motivation?  Research by Richard Deci, author of Why We Do What We Do, highlights a few factors for deep motivation:
    1)    sense of autonomy,
    2)    feeling of competence,
    3)    relatedness to the broader work of the organization, and
    4)    connection to the community of fellow employees.
    If material perks are interfering with these factors, then those “motivation schemes” will actually adversely impact desired behavior. The behaviorist approach backfires because it’s actually a way to reduce autonomy (manipulating people), it undermines competence (you don’t earn those benefits through your strengths), there’s no larger meaning, and many corporate benefit programs subtly (or overtly) pit employees against one another.

    leadership-people-rationalHow to Engage People?
    So if we want to recapture the $350b in lost engagement, how do we support autonomy, competence and relatedness by building stronger relationships?
    One answer can be found in emotional intelligence — which, simply stated, is being smarter with feelings. Leaders can become aware of how emotions influence themselves and others. Leaders can learn how their words and actions support each employee’s autonomy, competence and relatedness and either build or tear down relationships.
    Emotional intelligence is the primary driver in leader effectiveness because leadership is about using influence and building effective relationships, which are largely emotional tasks. In fact, EI has been measured as contributing 75-80% of the elements for success compared to 20-25% for IQ.
    Leaders who practice emotional intelligence are less reactive and more responsive.  They know themselves, so they don’t need to prove their own power.  Instead, they work WITH others, giving an appropriate level of autonomy.
    Emotionally intelligent leaders are attuned to their people.  They see their people’s strengths (and weaknesses) clearly, so they can foster that essential sense of competence.
    In the Six Seconds Model of Emotional Intelligence, part of EI is being connected with a sense of purpose.  This allows the “High EI Leaders” to do a better job helping employees see the link between their daily work and the larger picture.
    Finally, leaders who put EI into action are better at relationships.  They “get” people and are able to foster genuine collaboration.  This fuels stronger interpersonal connection, motivating people through relatedness.  The problem is, this trait seems to be waning.

    Where Has All the Empathy Gone?
    It has been said that people join organizations but leave their supervisors. It’s a problem of relationships — one of those core motivators.
    To be effective, today’s leaders have to connect with people on a personal level – understand what drives their people. This “connecting” requires a high level of emotional intelligence, specifically empathy: the ability to sense how others feel and connect at an emotional level.
    Bad news: a recent Harvard Business review article notes that the quality senior leaders lack most is empathy.
    Leaders can use emotional intelligence to develop empathy. First, by examining how they feel inside. Second by becoming aware of the impact of their words and actions on others.  
    Like the other components of emotional intelligence, empathy is learnable.  Actively, consistently developing the skills of EI is a “must do” for today’s and tomorrow’s leaders — and it works.

    Success Stories: Emotional Intelligence Drives Engagement
    environment-for-successIn a six-month leadership development process at Komatsu, a Japanese maker of construction and mining equipment, engagement increased from 33 to 70%. At the same time, plant performance increased by 9.4%. The pilot project, conducted by a team from the Six Seconds Network, took place at the company’s Este plant and focused on educating line managers in the use of emotional intelligence skills.
    In another study by Six Seconds, Amadori, an Italian agro-food sector company and European supplier to McDonalds, emotional intelligence was found to predict 47% of the variation in manager’s performance management scores.  Emotional intelligence was also correlated with increased organizational engagement with 76% of the variation in engagement predicted by manager EQ.  Finally, plants with higher organizational engagement achieved higher bottom-line results. During this period, employee turnover also dropped by 63%.
    “The workplace climate is a driving force in how employees engage in their daily activities,” Massimiliano Ghini, a management professor at Italy’s Alma Graduate School, said. “So the conclusion is simple: If we want business success, we need to equip leaders with the skills to make an environment where employees can work effectively.”

    The Bottom Line:
    Motivation is an inside job.  It means employees must motivate themselves and become engaged, but it is up to leadership to create the conditions where self-motivation is possible.


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  • 01/06/14--02:15: Give autonomy a boost 01-06
  • Give autonomy a boost

    As the government tries various means to achieve the required proliferation of good-quality higher education institutions, bolstering autonomous colleges could well be the answer.

    One of the key challenges that we face today in higher education is how to create new quality institutions, colleges and universities so that India can achieve 30 per cent Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) by 2020 and establish its credentials as a knowledge economy in the comity of nations.
    The obvious answer is that existing good colleges and universities be encouraged to grow and multiply even as we create similar new ones. Unfortunately, the “affiliation system” does not let the colleges grow beyond the limits set by the affiliating university. Some of the oldest universities in the country — University of Mumbai, University of Pune, Osmania University and University of Nagpur — have over 700 colleges affiliated to them. No wonder none of the Indian universities figure in the top 200 universities of the world. Where is the time left for them to do research or quality teaching?
    Many paths

    Getting the status of a university is like summiting Mt Everest — there are very few routes and each one is tougher than the other. The first, through an Act of Parliament, is only for Government of India institutions. The second is through the Deemed to be University route notified by UGC, but after the Supreme Court order of 2009, this has become an impregnable fortress due to stringent entry-level barriers. 
    The last is through an Act of State Legislature, which unfortunately, instead of promoting trusts/societies with good track record and commitment to education, for the most, ends up creating green-field universities which do not have the capacity for research. The ministry’s attempt to open alternative routes, whether it is through the “Foreign Education Providers” bill or the “Universities for Innovation and Research” bill, have not been successful so far.
    A ray of hope can be seen in autonomous colleges which could gradually make the affiliation system less relevant. Unlike the cumbersome process which needs to be followed for establishing a university, autonomous colleges do not require legislative processes. The governing bodies of these colleges are independent and can design their own curriculum/coursework, conduct examinations, etc.
    Currently, there are nearly 450 autonomous colleges identified by the University Grants Commission. This status is earned by them on the basis of their proven record on a number of indicators. As a consequence, they enjoy considerable academic and administrative freedom.
     Many of them have a glorious legacy and continue to be excellent centres for teaching and research. Stella Maris College (estd. 1947) and Women’s Christian College ( estd. 1915) in Chennai, St. Xavier’s (estd. 1869) in Mumbai, Nizam College (estd. 1887), in Hyderabad, St. Joseph’s College (estd. 1882) in Bangalore are some exemplars having excellent claims to be converted into universities.
    RUSA to the rescue?

    UGC’s notification on mandatory accreditation and the recent announcement of the Rs. 90,000-crore Rashtriya Uchhatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) by the Union Cabinet could play a major catalytic role. The roadmap would be to encourage all NAAC A-accredited institutions to become autonomous. Secondly, for the benefit of those already existing 450 autonomous colleges (100 already have NAAC A accreditation, and 45 of these have even been identified as Colleges with Potential for Excellence by UGC) and the ones to come up in future, 
    UGC needs to issue revised and unambiguous regulations which make it clear that short of degree-giving powers, they are as autonomous as any university. RUSA has a provision of Rs. 5,500 crore for this purpose to fund 100 such institutions. This would also be in line with the Yashpal Committee Report and the NKC Report (2008) both of which had strongly recommended that in order to meet the educational needs of the country some of our existing top 1,500 institutions need to be upgraded as universities. Thirdly, UGC should amend its Act to make provisions for degree-granting powers to these colleges.
    Lastly, while creating new universities, the Centre as well as the States must give priority to the existing autonomous colleges. This could be incorporated in the private universities regulation presently being finalised in UGC and also stressed under RUSA when the State-specific Perspective Plans are drawn up. Under RUSA there is a provision to incentivise States to create universities out of a cluster of colleges in a particular city or a region for 100 such universities. This exercise could be done gradually and the target is to reduce the present average of 300 affiliated colleges per university to around 100 colleges on an average.
    For too long, the Centre and the States have been working in their respective silos. RUSA with its huge funding clout and its emphasis on an independent third-party accreditation system could provide the necessary glue and prove to be the deus ex machina paving the way for transparent creation and growth of universities in the country.
    The writer is the secretary for higher education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India

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  • 01/06/14--02:43: Learning to learn 01-05
  • Learning to learn

    MALINI SESHADRI  


    Each one of us is unique. There is no single formula for effective and efficient learning.

    “A little learning is a dangerous thing.”
    Thus wrote Alexander Pope in the early 18th Century. And generations of delighted slackers have been feeling vindicated in their unwillingness to get started! They do not get to the second line of the quote which begins… “Drink deep…”
    Here is this little fellow who has not read Pope yet. 

    He is only 11-months-old. But every waking moment he is learning something new. Now he is sitting on the floor, clutching at the table top and trying to pull himself up. It doesn’t work. He tries from a kneeling position. Better, but not quite….So how about squatting? Yes, now his leg muscles are helping him….victory!

    Who taught him how to stand? Who does the learning? And who does the teaching?
    His brain is learning. His brain is also his teacher. In that infant body, the brain is growing networks at a furious pace. And, in a marvellous feedback loop, it is learning as it teaches….teaching as it learns…till learning and teaching are one seamless whole…. and all this at a rate that no teacher in any classroom can aspire to.

    So what happens later when we have ‘learned’ to walk and talk and start going to school? Do we exchange our ‘brain teacher’ for the ‘classroom teacher’? Sometimes we come perilously close to relying too little on our own brains to take the learning process forward. That is when learning stutters and loses steam.

    “Learning” is an interesting word. Everyone knows what it means. Yet no one does.
    Kids in kindergarten use it. “I learned my ABC”.

    Children use it. “I am learning Sanskrit”; “I am learning football.”

    Teenagers use it: “I am learning how to drive a car.” “I am learning a new computer language.”
    Parents use it: “When will you learn to keep your room tidy?”

    Motivational speakers use it: “Learn what you really want in life.”

    Philosophers use it: “We must learn the meaning of life.”

    But none of them would be able to explain what the word itself means. Yes, yes, I know the dictionary attempts it…and tries to cover a wide ambit in doing so. And yet it lists ‘teaching’ as the antonym of ‘learning’! That infant has shown it’s just not true.

    What is it all about?

    The purpose of education is to teach/learn how to learn. Indeed, some would say it is the purpose of life itself!

    Now that we have established the importance of learning to learn, how do we go about it? What is involved?

    Take the example of training for a sport. First, the person must be physically fit; this means he/she must be healthy and well in body, but also in mind and attitude (as we all know, the latter two affect the former acutely). Next, the stamina must be steadily built up and muscles must be exercised and trained to optimal strength. Only then come the specific skills associated with the sport in question. One cannot be a couch potato one day and a football star the next.

    So also with all learning. Early in life we learn to pay attention to physical appearance (though not always to physical fitness!). We are taught the parts of the body and their functions. Even in primary classes children are taught ‘health science’ which ignores the brain altogether! As early as possible, even in early childhood, every person should be made aware of the role of the brain. It is the motherboard, the control panel…or whatever parallel nomenclature this electronic age prefers.

    Becoming aware and informed is the first step towards control. We must learn about our right brain and left brain and how they work. We must be aware what our brain is doing when we eat, sleep, play, study; or when we look at a sunset or listen to rock music; or when we laugh or weep or feel a pang of jealousy. In other words, one must figure out what one’s own brain is up to….and one must use one’s own brain to do the figuring out. That is where learning how to learn actually starts.

    The learning process

    Next we should understand the process. If someone shows you a page containing several columns of figures, you could read them, sure, but what would they mean? Nothing. Let us say you are then told they are to do with the weather. So are they temperatures, rainfall in centimetres, atmospheric pressure? Here your general knowledge may help you out a bit, so you have something…but by no means all of it. You don’t know why they are listed that way. Time sequence? Different locations…what?

    By now you know what I am getting at. Data is not information; information is not knowledge; knowledge is not learning. Yet they are all essential ingredients of learning. Learning involves understanding information in the proper context and processing it to make it applicable to a situation or a problem. It is a skill — a skill we never completely master. But it is essential to try, because continuous learning is what makes life both challenging and interesting…and therefore satisfying.

    Can we improve our efficiency in learning? The short answer is, yes. There are any number of self-help articles and books that address the topic. In essence however, it calls for:

    Becoming aware of our own brain processes and what switches them ‘on’ and ‘off’.

    Never ceasing to ask questions, about ourselves as well as about what our five senses tell us.

    Looking for the unusual and the off-beat, and embracing change.
    Seeking new challenges for our mental faculties.

    Increasing our tolerance of differences so as to widen our horizons.

    Being respectful of others and their opinions; there is much to learn from others.

    Being respectful of people’s feelings; learning human values is an important part of learning.

    Being respectful of nature; she is the best teacher if we are willing to learn from her.

    Let us also remember that we are not clones of one another. Each of us is unique. There is no formula that will guarantee that we learn how to learn better.

    But in this New Year, should we not resolve to give it a try? And read the other three lines of Alexander Pope’s verse?


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    20131017_4

    Nice Managers Embrace Conflict, Too


    Most people want to be liked: It’s one of the fundamental tenets of human behavior. Because of that motivation, many of us have an unconscious desire to avoid conflict. We prefer to “get along,” “not make waves,” and “act as a team player.” We all want to be known as a great person to work with.


    The only problem with this mindset is that creative ideas and better ways of getting things done often stem from constructive conflict. Organizations need it to advance. And even in the day-to-day, workplace conflict is still inevitable because organizations are full of bright, ambitious people with different points of view, controversial ideas, and disparate values. There’s no way that we can get along with everyone all the time.
    Finding the right balance between the need to deal with conflict and the instinct to avoid it is one of the toughest challenges that most managers face. While most realize that allowing unbridled conflict can create a toxic atmosphere with low morale and high turnover, they often miss the fact that not enough conflict can be just as damaging. When people hesitate to speak up about poor practices or processes that don’t make sense, it creates a significant amount of unnecessary complexity and fosters a passive acceptance of the status quo. That’s why “stop being so nice” is one of the seven strategies for organizational simplification that we highlighted in a previous post.
    Of course, overcoming the natural and often unconscious tendency to damp down conflict is tough to do – but if you’re willing to try, these four best practices can help:
    Quote The Godfather. In order to foster more constructive conflict and feedback, remind your team and your colleagues about Don Corleone’s admonition that “it’s not personal, it’s business.” Doing this will reinforce the notion that we can disagree about ideas and strategies, but still respect and like each other — something that is often forgotten in the heat of battle. 
    With this principle in mind, encourage team members to ask probing questions and challenge assumptions. Eventually asking, “Have you thought about this?” should feel like a productive conversation, rather than a personal attack.
    Create challenge events. Rather than leave it to chance, schedule time with your team to question norms and change the way things are done. Make it clear to them that processes are expected to evolve over time (even the ones you created) and that it’s OK to push back on them. Doing this will create a “safe space” where they can assess whether routine tasks  are worth the effort, and modify them if necessary. It also allows people who might hesitate to raise issues by themselves feel more comfortable doing so in a group.
    Recognize employees who question the status quo. When employees take the risk of creating a productive disruption, give them positive reinforcement. If someone pushes back or raises an uncomfortable question in a meeting, back them up rather than shut them down. If possible, use it as a teachable moment to encourage others to do the same.
    Set ground rules for conflict. Since everyone struggles with conflict to some degree, develop a few standards for how your team can manage it constructively. For example in one company’s review sessions, participants need to begin with at least two positive comments before anyone is allowed to throw in a criticism. Although it feels a little awkward at times, this practice forces everyone to take a more balanced view of other people’s work, which reduces the tension and allows for more productive discussions.
     In another firm, every meeting ends with five minutes of what’s called a “plus/delta” critique of the meeting – with quick comments about what was good about it and what should be changed the next time. Again, this more structured practice makes it easy and acceptable to openly and constructively criticize.
    In the short-term, it’s almost always easier to avoid conflict and come across as being a “nice” manager. But more often than not, being a little less nice might be the best thing for your people, your organization, and you.

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    Research: Too Many Choices Can Derail Success



    Stanford marketing professor Szu-chi Huang finds that what motivates people to achieve a goal changes along the journey.

    Have you ever been oh-so-close to reaching a goal but then fallen short or even thrown in the towel, only to become frustrated and discouraged? Perhaps the reason wasn’t a lack of willpower. Maybe you simply faced too many options for making that final push to the end.

    When people are close to achieving something, whether it’s as challenging as losing weight or as simple as earning enough points to get a free cup of coffee, having more than one possible path leading to success can actually derail it, says Szu-chi Huang, assistant professor of marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business. 

    Yet when those same people are just starting out on a pursuit, having a number of ways to make progress is motivating and encourages them to keep going, Huang says. Her study, "All Roads Lead to Rome: The Impact of Multiple Attainment Means on Motivation," was published in 2013 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

    Huang, who joined Stanford GSB in 2013 after receiving her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, researches consumer motivation, producing findings relevant to businesses and other organizations that persuade people to buy, donate or otherwise participate. Much of her research examines how individuals attain goals. The big takeaway: What motivates people to achieve a goal is dynamic, changing over the course of the journey, and organizations should adjust the options they offer individuals to help them maintain their drive.

    Early in any initiative, people wonder, “Can I achieve this goal at all?” and they seek reassurance that they can, says Huang, who co-authored the study with Ying Zhang of Peking University and University of Texas at Austin, and teaches a class at Stanford GSB in consumer behavior. 

    Offering people several paths to follow when they are taking their first steps makes the goal seem easier, encouraging them to go for it. But when people are close to the end of the pursuit, they ask, “How do I speed to the end?” Offering choices undermines people’s motivation at this stage because it makes answering that question harder, she says.

    “By providing multiple ways to attain the goal, we’re actually forcing people to stop and think and make a choice instead of giving them a straightforward path to rush to the end,” says Huang. “If you tell them, ‘Here are five things and you can do them all and you have to choose,’ we’re interrupting their momentum with choices. They now have to think and make a choice. Therefore, options are demotivating when people have reached the advanced stage of the pursuit.”

    Huang’s latest findings follow her previous research showing similarly counterintuitive findings on the effect of flexibility on people’s likelihood of achieving goals.

     In another study, published in 2013 in the Journal of Consumer Research, Huang learned that customers who were required to make purchases in a strict order of six flavors in a yogurt shop’s loyalty program were more likely to complete the purchases of these flavors to earn a reward than those who were given the flexibility to choose their own order of purchases of the same six flavors of yogurt. 

    “People fail to realize that relatively rigid structures can often simplify goal pursuit by removing the need to make choices, especially when people are already well into the process” she says.

    In field research for her latest study, Huang gave coffee-shop customers different versions of invitations to join the café’s loyalty program. Some invitations gave customers a head start by providing them with six of the 12 stamps needed to earn a free coffee. Half of those in this advanced stage of purchases were told they could earn more stamps in several ways: buying coffee, tea or any other drink. The rest of the advanced-stage customers were offered only one route to more stamps: by buying a drink.

    Another set of invitations gave customers no stamps at all, placing them in an “initial” stage. Again, half the customers were given multiple ways to earn more stamps, and the rest a single method.

    Among the customers starting with six stamps, those instructed only to buy a drink joined the program at a 40% rate, compared with 26.5% for those who were given multiple options. The results flip-flopped among the early-stage customers. Those who were offered several options were more likely to sign up (37.5%) than those who were instructed only to buy a drink (21.6%). 

    The findings suggest that people with significant progress under their belt were more motivated to join if given just the narrow path of “buying a drink.” And for those starting out with a blank slate, having more options gave them the motivation to sign up.

    Many types of organizations typically give customers and donors multiple choices without adjusting them as their clients approach their goals, Huang notes. Companies running loyalty programs give members sitting on thousands of points many ways to keep earning more. The risk is not that they will never turn in their points, but that they will stop purchasing from the company altogether because their motivation to earn more points in the program is weakened by the overwhelming options.

     Nonprofits let patrons donate in various ways, and even late in a fundraising campaign as the organization approaches its goal. Instead, Huang says, organizations should consider narrowing the options once a goal is within reach.

    Some organizations are reluctant to actually take away options or design separate programs for advanced-stage customers. Instead, the company or group can simply tailor its pitch, Huang says. A gym, for example, can market just one type of fitness program to a population that’s already relatively fit. Then, when the New Year rolls around and people make their resolutions to lose weight, the fitness club can play up a range of programs to make their customers’ goals seem easier.

    Analyzing customer data is another way for organizations to determine what to offer to whom and when, adds Huang. A customer with only a few points might wonder if she can ever collect enough to earn her reward, so telling her about a few more ways to earn points would give her a nudge. But a customer with many points is likely to respond to a pitch that highlights simply one way to get to the reward.

    “When customers are in the advanced stage, you’re dealing with a completely different animal,” Huang says, “so we can’t be static in our communications or in our design of loyalty programs and promotions. It’s a dynamic process.”

    Now, Huang, who has a longtime interest in consumer marketing and was formerly an account director at the advertising agency JWT, is studying people’s motivations when they’re in the middle of a pursuit. “Many people have no problem starting a goal, but they often find themselves losing motivation in the middle of the journey,” she says. She is trying to determine the effectiveness of encouraging those people with “social information,” such as messages about the progress of others.

    “Your friends are working out or using a product or donating money,” she says. “Our prediction is that social information could provide that extra push when you’re in that middle stage.”


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    20140108_4

    Build a ‘Quick and Nimble’ Culture


    Since 2009, Adam Bryant has interviewed hundreds of CEOs for the “Corner Office” feature in The New York Times. This month he’s publishing his second book based on the interviews: “Quick and Nimble: Lessons from Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation.” He talked with HBR about why a company’s culture is more important than its strategy — and some of the innovative tactics that CEOs have used to help create a high-performing culture. Excerpts:
    Why did you focus on culture?
    Culture is such an amorphous concept — if you and I stood at a whiteboard and tried to list elements of our companies’ cultures, we could come up with 100 things and they might all be true. A lot of managers just let culture happen — it becomes the sum of the personalities, good and bad, that work in an organization. While writing this book, I became convinced that culture really does drive everything. Managers do focus on results, but I think culture drives results. That’s the important equation.
    What’s the biggest problem you see in how companies build culture?
    It’s the creation of silos. As one CEO put it to me, “Silos are what topple great companies.” As human beings, we like to operate in small tribes. If there’s not someone creating and communicating an overarching, simple plan for the larger organization and getting everyone to pitch in, people start breaking down into small tribes and pursuing their own goals and agendas. That’s when you see a culture focusing inward, instead of outward on competition. That’s the fundamental problem that prompted Microsoft to announce its big restructuring last summer — it recognized it had too many separate divisions.
    When CEOs hold town hall meetings to talk about overarching goals, some people reflexively roll their eyes.
    In thinking about how CEOs communicate, I’ve become a big believer in the power of the number three. I’ve come to admire the CEOs who can come up with three or fewer metrics for how they measure company performance. When I’m interviewing a CEO and ask about their values, if the CEO says the company has 7 or 8, I privately make a bet with myself that he won’t be able to remember them all. Very often, he can’t. If the CEO can’t remember the company values, how will anyone else? So keep things simple, and keep repeating it.
    You write that over-reliance on email can hurt company culture. Why?
    Many organizations have too many people who spend their days sitting behind their 30-inch monitors. These massive screens in our cubicles have become our new caves — it’s easy to stay in there. CEOs recognize email as a problem. They see the endless CC: loops. They see protracted arguments that could be settled in 30 seconds of face-to-face conversation. As one CEO told me, “Email taps into this bad part of our brain where everyone wants to have the last word.” 
    Smart companies come up with very specific rules to try to uproot that email culture. They require people to pick up the phone or walk down the hall. Culture is built from relationships between people. Email does nothing to build relationships, and can actually damage relationships.
    You devote an entire chapter to the need for “adult conversations.” Why is this so difficult?
    When I say “adult conversations,” I’m focusing on the kind of problem that a manager and an employee need to discuss candidly. The CEOs I interview say people will do everything they can to avoid those conversations. This is where the power of rationalization kicks in. Managers will say “I’m too busy,” or “Maybe it was just a one-time thing,” or “I’ll wait until the performance review next month.” People avoid these things because they’re difficult—there’s uncertainty and stress.
     I spoke with a neuroscientist who says that when a boss asks an employee into the office and closes the door, the same parts of the brain light up as if your life is in danger. But I do encounter companies that teach people rules for having these conversations, some of which are in the book. And in the management roles I’ve held at The New York Times, every time I have one of these conversations, I feel great afterward. You can feel the tension dissipate and the energy increase.
    One cultural tool you describe in the book is bosses who provide a “user manual” to their quirks—sort of an FAQ to how to deal with them. How did you hear about this technique?
    A few years ago I began managing a group of reporters at the Times, some of whom I didn’t know. In our first meeting, I tried to describe the important things they should know about me. One example is that I really hate errors in stories, particularly in the kinds of feature stories we produced. It’s probably the most important thing they needed to know about working with me. 
    Sure enough, over the next 18 months, we had only two corrections as a team. Later I talked with a CEO named Ivar Kroghrud of QuestBack, who wrote a formal user manual of his own quirks and preferences. (One example: “I tend to shy away from conflict and confrontation. I sometimes accommodate easily to the needs of others when challenged.
     I am aware of this and am working on it.”) A user manual recognizes that we all have our idiosyncratic preferences, and people will work together more effectively if they get to know each other’s quirks quickly. As one CEO put it, “Why not tell people up front, and remove the mystery?” I really believe this is the kind of thing everyone will do 20 or 30 years from now.
    Your interviews tend to focus on best practices. Does writing about innovative management ideas in your column create frustration with your present (or past) employers, and is this an occupational hazard?
    I’ll focus on past employers, not my current one. But you are right — doing these interviews does make you see opportunities to improve and makes you more aware of untapped possibilities. I tend to think of organizations as eight-cylinder engines, and in every organization you ask: “How many cylinders are actually firing?” If the answer is five or six, then you think, “How awesome and powerful would it be if we could unlock those two or three extra cylinders?”

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    The 2014 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings


    Rankings were restricted to university-based researchers. They exclude think tankers and advocates (e.g. Checker Finn or Kati Haycock) whose job description is to influence the public discourse. After all, the point is to nudge what is rewarded and recognized at universities. (The term "university-based" provides some useful flexibility. For instance, Tony Bryk currently hangs his hat at Carnegie. However, he is an established academic with a university affiliation and campus digs. So he's included. The line is admittedly blurry, but it seems a reasonable compromise.)
    No exercise of this kind is without complexities and limitations. The bottom line: this is a serious but inevitably imperfect attempt to nudge universities, foundations, and professional associations to do more to cultivate, encourage, and recognize serious contributions to the public debate.
    The top scorers? All are familiar edu-names, with long careers featuring influential scholarship, track records of comment on public developments, and outsized public and professional roles. In order, the top five were Linda Darling-Hammond, Diane Ravitch, Howard Gardner, Eric Hanushek, and Tony Wagner. Rounding out the top ten were Larry Cuban, Paul E. Peterson, Robert Slavin, Yong Zhao, and Joseph Murphy. Notable, if not too surprising, is that the top ten are all veteran, accomplished scholars who have each authored a number of (frequently influential) books, accumulated bodies of heavily cited scholarly work, and are often seen in the public square and working with state and district leaders. That reflects the intent of the scoring rubric, which weights the broader public influence of a scholar's work as much as their more recent visibility.
    Stanford University and Harvard University both fared exceptionally well, with Stanford placing six scholars in the top 20 and Harvard placing four. New York University, the University of Oregon, and the University of Virginia were the other institutions to place multiple scholars in the top 20.
    In terms of the most scholars ranked, Stanford topped all others with 21. Harvard came a close second with 19, and Columbia and Vanderbilt tied for third with a dozen ranked scholars. Overall, more than five dozen universities claimed a spot.
    A number of top scorers penned influential books of recent vintage. For instance, among the top ten, just in the past year, Diane Ravitch came out with Reign of Error, Rick Hanushek and Paul Peterson with Endangering Prosperity, Linda Darling-Hammond with Getting Teacher Evaluation Right, Howard Gardner with The App Generation, and Larry Cuban with Inside the Black Box of Classroom Practice.
    As with any such ranking, this exercise ought to be interpreted with appropriate caveats and caution. Given that the ratings are a snapshot of where things stand as we start 2014, the results obviously favor scholars who penned a successful book or influential study in 2013. But that's how the world works. And that's why we do this every year.
    A few scholars tended lead the field in any given category. For those keeping score at home, here's a quick review of the category-killers:
    • More than a score of veteran scholars maxed out on Google Scholar were Darling-Hammond, Howard Gardner, Hanushek, Robert Slavin, Joseph Murphy, Richard Elmore, Martin Carnoy, Robert Pianta, Helen Neville, Henry Levin, Deborah Ball, Camilla Benbow, Anthony Bryk, David Berliner, John Bransford, Lynn Fuchs, Helen Ladd, Marilyn Cochran-Smith, Kurt Fischer, Kenneth Zeichner, and Steve Raudenbush.
    • When it came to book points, Gardner, Carnoy, Nel Noddings, Cuban, Peterson, Carol Tomlinson, and Ravitch each maxed out. Ravitch scored the highest Amazon ranking at 19.9, as well as the highest Klout score at 8.2.
    • With regards to mentions in the education press, only Ravitch hit the cap, while Ravitch, Darling-Hammond, Gardner, Hanushek, and Wagner each hit the cap when it came to blog mentions. When it came to newspaper mentions, only Ravitch and Darling-Hammond maxed out.
    If readers want to argue the relevance, construction, reliability, or validity of the metrics, I'll be happy as a clam. I'm not sure that I've got the measures right or even how much these results can or should tell us. That said, I think the same can be said about U.S. News college rankings, NFL quarterback ratings, or international scorecards of human rights. For all their imperfections, I think such efforts convey real information--and help spark useful discussion.
    That's what I've sought to do here. Meanwhile, I'd welcome suggestions for possible improvements and am eager to hear your critiques, concerns, questions, and suggestions. So, take a look, and have at it.


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    Sticking With Students: Responding Effectively to Incorrect Answers

    "Who can tell me the name of the spider's anatomy that it uses to spin a web?"
    A number of hands shot up. "Sarah? Can you tell me?"
    "The spider's abdomen?"
    "Oh. Very close, but that's not quite right. Who can tell me the correct name?"
    More hands shot up. Sarah slouched visibly. Another student gave the right answer ("the spinnerette"), but it did not seem as if Sarah even heard it.
    This scene is taken from my visit to a veteran teacher's 1st grade classroom. It represents interactions I have seen many times while observing teachers, as well as in my own teaching: A teacher poses a question, the student offers an incorrect answer, and the teacher moves on to another student to provide the correct answer.
    I recently read the book The Skillful Teacher by Jonathan Saphier, Mary Ann Haley-Speca, and Robert Gower, in which the authors discuss the concept of "sticking with a student." With this method, instead of the typical response of moving on, the teacher keeps his or her attention and focus with the student who provided the incorrect answer and uses a variety of strategies to help that student reach the right answer. For instance, the teacher might validate what is right or good about an incorrect answer and then offer the student a cue.
    In the above example with Sarah, here's a way that the teacher might have responded in order to stick with her:
    "Wow, Sarah, that's excellent thinking. The body part that the spider uses to spin webs is located in the spider's abdomen, so you were very close. However, the answer was not quite right. It's a long word and it starts with /sp/. Would you like to try again?"
    Other ways of sticking with a student, according to the authors, include restating the question and giving additional think time before asking the student to try again.

    A Positive Message


    After reading about this idea of sticking with a student, I began incorporating the authors' strategies into my own practice. When I tuned into my internal reaction when a student gave an incorrect answer, I noticed that it caused a slight feeling of anxiety in me. It can be an uncomfortable moment for a teacher when a student demonstrates confusion, and the natural inclination is to diminish that discomfort for both the teacher and the student. Moving on to another student makes an awkward moment pass quickly and allows the lesson to move along.

    However, as I began observing teachers and paying attention to the body language of students whose teachers did not stick with them, I began to realize the damaging effects of moving along. Conversely, I saw that when a teacher sticks with a student, the student receives a positive message: "I believe in you. I will not give up on you. I have high expectations for you."
    In my own teaching, however, I found that when I stuck with a student, I had to pay attention to my body language, tone of voice, and rate of speech. If I conveyed any sort of urgency or frustration, sticking with a student began to feel more like putting a student in the hot seat. It became a high-pressure interaction, particularly when a student legitimately did not know the answer, regardless of the amount of cueing I provided.
    In a successful sticking-with-a-student session, I first praised the student's thinking in an excited tone, and then presented my cueing—and eye contact—in a way that addressed all students (i.e., "Let's all think a little more about that"). I also worked hard to keep my expression and body language relaxed so that the student did not feel any tension. Sometimes, especially with math problems, I took a moment to do a quick review of the steps a student could take to arrive at the correct answer, as it was likely that other students were experiencing the same kind of confusion.

    Changing the Classroom Energy


    I realized there were also steps that I could take preemptively to help my students avoid these wrong-answer moments entirely. Providing wait time before calling on anyone was one effective strategy, particularly for my students who were English-language learners. To ensure I provided enough wait time, I counted to seven in my head, and observed how many hands went up.
    I also found that having students take a moment to do a "turn and talk" with a partner before I called on anyone gave them time to process the question and practice their responses. A turn-and-talk session also gave me an opportunity to listen in on the responses of multiple children, as opposed to just the one child I called on. Giving students individual whiteboards to hold up also took the pressure off of them to produce verbal responses.
    When all else failed I had to know when to give the student—and the rest of the class—the correct answer. And, again, when I supplied the correct answer I made sure to do it with a facial expression and tone of voice that did not inadvertently convey any sort of frustration or displeasure. In some instances I would have everyone repeat the answer with me, and then make mental notes for reteaching. Incorrect answers can provide helpful feedback on how well a lesson has been absorbed by the class, as more than one student will tend to make the same mistake.
    In sticking with students, I found I changed the energy in my classroom. The quiet, shy students began taking more risks because it was no longer scary to supply a wrong answer. Wrong answers became opportunities for growth for all of us. I even began to occasionally make purposeful mistakes in my teaching, only to have my students gently correct me (with many giggles). 

    "See?" I would say, "Even teachers make mistakes. It's how we learn and get better at things."


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    Educators Weigh iPad's Dominance of Tablet Market

    Center Grove High School sophomore Sterlin McCormick, 16, uses her school-supplied iPad to write a journal entry in Kelly Scholl's science class in Greenwood, Ind., after the school handed out more than 2,000 iPads to high school students in September.
    Center Grove High School sophomore Sterlin McCormick, 16, uses her school-supplied iPad to write a journal entry in Kelly Scholl's science class in Greenwood, Ind., after the school handed out more than 2,000 iPads to high school students in September.
    —Scott Roberson/The Daily Journal/AP-File

    Keith A. Bockwoldt is not an Apple salesman, but sometimes he feels frustrated that this might be the impact he has on educators.
    As the director of technology services for Illinois’ second-largest high school district, Mr. Bockwoldt has hosted a steady stream of more than 1,000 visitors who want to learn how Township High School District 214—25 miles northwest of Chicago—developed its 1-to-1 computing initiative, which ultimately chose iPads, and the positive impact that device decision is having.
    “It’s not about the device; it’s about transforming learning,” Mr. Bockwoldt tells everyone who will listen.
    But he notices that about half his visitors usually leave convinced that they don’t need to really use his 12,000-student district’s process for vetting the effectiveness of various digital devices. Rather, they simply leave the visits “sold” on the power of iPads.
    From Los Angeles to Illinois to Maine—where Apple products far outpaced Hewlett-Packard in districts’ choices through the state’s bulk-purchasing program earlier this year— iPads are hot. In fact, they command nearly 94 percent of the tablet market in K-12 schools, according to Tom Mainelli, the research director focusing on the tablet market for IDC Research, a San Mateo, Calif.-based firm that provides market analysis of technology.
    By the end of this calendar year, total shipments for tablet computing devices in the U.S. education marketplace are expected to exceed 3.5 million units—a 46 percent increase over 2012, indicated Mr. Mainelli, who explained that the research is proprietary and declined to name the runners-up in the tablet race. The figure covers tablets in higher education and K-12, but colleges and universities account for a much smaller proportion because, at that level, most are personal devices.
    Apple Inc.’s CEO, Tim Cook, drew attention to his company’s dominance during an earnings call with analysts in October. He said that such a high market share was “unheard of,” and that it was “great to be making a contribution to education.”
    Education’s contribution to Apple is also noteworthy: The company set a record in education sales for the fourth quarter, generating $1 billion in revenue with sales of its iOS and Mac products.
    However, Apple’s king-of-the-hill market position in tablets is being eroded by various players—most recently by Google, with its official launch Nov. 13 of the Google Play for Education app store, delivered now on Nexus 7 tablets and intended to compete with the educational applications available through Apple. Priced at $229, with a $30 management charge per tablet, the Google device allows teachers to pay using a purchase order loaded on the tablet.
    Meanwhile, some high-profile tablet deployments around the country are making headlines, as various issues have arisen that could chill the market.
    For instance, the Los Angeles Unified School District recently decided to slow its planned rollout of iPads. The district experienced student breaches of security earlier this year, and other issues arose around device-management policies, the preloaded Pearson curriculum, total cost of iPads and curriculum, and suitability of the devices, compared with laptops, for high school students.
    While the district will deploy 30,000 iPads this school year, an evaluation of the second phase of the project could delay the next phase of equipping 660,000 Los Angeles students and staff members by as much as a year.

    Cost Comparisons

    What device to use in a school district is “basically a policy decision, and that can change overnight, as we’ve seen in North Carolina and L.A.,” said Sam S. Adkins, the chief research officer of Ambient Insight, a Monroe, Wash.-based market-research firm. “And from a citizen’s standpoint, as a guy who pays taxes, iPads are expensive in light of much cheaper devices now available.”
    School business and technology officials often talk about the relatively high price point for iPads.
    Mr. Bockwoldt in Illinois’ District 214 said his cost for 12,000 students is $429 per iPad, which includes the case and keyboard. In Maine, where the iPad was the most popular product purchased by districts, 39,457 students and educators received iPads at a cost of $266 per year, per seat. And in Los Angeles, where a math and English curriculum was bundled with the iPad, the expense was reported as $770 per device.
    Meanwhile, for Louisiana’s 33,000-student Calcasieu Parish public schools, an iPad II costs $499—a fact that frustrates Sheryl R. Abshire, the chief technology officer there.
    “You can get a Google Chromebook for $199,” she said.
    Ms. Abshire was surprised to get a recent report from Apple stating that her district is the largest purchaser of iPads in the state, especially since the district only has 5,136 iPads, compared with the 30,043 Dell computers it owns. Most of those iPad purchases were made at the school level, using grants or Title I money, not at the district level, she said.
    Ms. Abshire accounted for Apple’s tablet dominance in education by noting it was the first to enter the market, in 2010.
    “They seeded their success by pushing out to [app] developers. It’s almost like this went viral when teachers saw the content,” she said. “The iPad has a deep, entrenched space in the K-12 market because it’s a good product.
    “Other people are starting to chip away at that,” she continued. “The prices are lower, and the content is becoming much more available.”
    As a board member for the Consortium for School Networking, a Washington-based association for school technology leaders, Ms. Abshire talks regularly with other education technology leaders. They tell her, she said, that “purpose and content” are the main factors driving much of the decisionmaking around new digital devices for students.
    Tight budgets are an issue, too, as well as the fact that maintaining iPads in a Microsoft Windows environment, which is what most schools have, requires workarounds, or purchasing a mobile-device-management system.

    Market Predictions

    Whether the iPad will maintain its dominant position in education is difficult to predict, experts say.
    “Apple has a pretty robust universe, from its devices to iTunes U to the app store,” observed Jeff Mao, the director of learning technology policy for Maine’s education department. After 11 years of supporting a statewide 1-to-1 computing program, Maine vetted various devices and offered a four-year bulk-purchase option to its districts, which chose to buy 63,585 Apple iPads and MacBook Air laptops, compared with 5,475 Hewlett-Packard ProBook 4440 laptops, and no HP tablets. Three years from now, Mr. Mao said, Maine will evaluate whatever spectrum of devices meets the state’s instructional needs at the time.
    David T. Vinca, the founder and CEO of eSpark Learning, a Chicago-based company with an iPad-centered learning-management system, is banking on iPads for now, although its back end and systems are platform-agnostic.
    “It’s our belief that the most engaging educational experiences for students are being created for the iPad,” he said. “The iPad’s dominance has helped us focus and do much better work.”
    Every quarter, his team reviews the other options available to see if it’s time to expand the offerings. So far, the company is staying iPad-specific. When a “rich, diverse ecosystem of educational apps and content” is available for another platform, eSpark will make its system available for that device as well, Mr. Vinca said.
    Susan Einhorn, the executive director of the Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation, a Bellevue, Wash.-based organization that supports schools in developing and improving 1-to-1 computing programs, disagrees.
    She said that “iPads are a consumer device; I don’t feel they’re really designed for education.” Ms. Einhorn favors tablets with what she calls “greater functionality,” such as Microsoft’s Surface tablet.
    As a “technology-agnostic” organization, the International Society for Technology in Education does not take a position on specific devices, but CEO Brian C. Lewis observed that, “within a short period of time, tablets have become almost ubiquitous. What we forget is that, in another three to five years, another new thing will transform not only our world, but what’s happening in the classroom.”
    Mr. Lewis said he has heard too many stories of schools and districts that purchased technology before planning how to use it to drive learning.
    Richard Culatta, the director of the U.S. Department of Education’s office of educational technology, agrees.
    “An important question now is: What form of device makes the most sense? Is it tablets, or tablets with keyboards, or laptops?” he said.
    His office is working on a “connected schools” guide for release early in 2014 to help districts and schools sort through “getting the right device in the hands of students,” he said.
    Mr. Bockwoldt, meanwhile, is working on setting up a panel in 2014 to explore best practices of districts that have experiences with different brands and types of devices.
    “I even said this to Apple the other day,” said Mr. Bockwoldt, whose district is considered “distinguished” by Apple, earning him a rarely granted site visit to the company’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. “I don’t know that we’ll always be using iPads, in perpetuity, because technology changes.”


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    Indian Diplomat Leaves U.S. After Indictment

    Prosecutors Say Devyani Khobragade Underpaid Her Domestic Worker

    An Indian consular official has left the U.S., officials and her lawyer said, after federal prosecutors filed a criminal indictment accusing her of visa fraud and making false statements about a domestic worker.
    The indictment further fuels an international dispute over Devyani Khobragade's arrest, which has strained relations between the U.S. and India.
    It is a more serious step in the criminal-justice process because it means a federal grand jury has heard evidence and decided the case is strong enough to proceed. It also came as a surprise after prosecutors said in court papers earlier this week they were hoping to negotiate a plea deal ahead of her arraignment.
    The dispute began last month when Ms. Khobragade, a deputy consul-general for India, was arrested on prosecutors' charge that she submitted false documents to get a work visa for an Indian woman to work as her babysitter and housekeeper in her family's Manhattan home. Prosecutors say she grossly underpaid the helper and only allowed her one day off per week. Ms. Khobragade denied all the charges.


    A spokesman for India's Ministry of External Affairs on Friday said Ms. Khobragade left the U.S. late Thursday for New Delhi. Her father, Uttam Khobragade, told the Journal that she was expected to reach India on Friday evening. Ms. Khobragade has been transferred to the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi and her two children remain in New York, according to a statement on the ministry's website. In an email, one of her lawyers, Dan Arshack, also said his client had left the U.S.
    A federal grand jury voted to charge Ms. Khobragade with two counts visa fraud and making false statements, prosecutors said Thursday. Prosecutors also said that Ms. Khobragade had been accorded "diplomatic immunity status" but it was unclear whether the immunity would protect her from facing trial.
    "Dr. Khobragade denies the baseless charges brought by the prosecutor's office in New York and looks forward to providing the proof that over and over the investigators and prosecutors in this case have been sloppy and wrong," said Mr. Arshack.
    The State Department asked that Ms. Khobragade leave the country, after India denied a request to waive her diplomatic immunity, a U.S. official said.
    India has been outraged over the treatment Ms. Khobragade, who was strip-searched after being arrested in December and placed temporarily in a New York City jail, and the fallout has caused a rift in U.S.-Indian relations. The tension continued this week as U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on Thursday postponed a trip to India that was planned for next week.
    Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement of regret over the situation while Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the arrest "deplorable," and police removed barriers in front of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi in apparent retaliation.
    The status of Ms Khobragade's diplomatic immunity has been another source of friction.
    The U.S. has requested that India waive her immunity in order to prosecute her, a U.S. official said, but India denied the request. The State Department asked that Ms. Khobragade leave the country, which is protocol when a waiver request isn't granted, according to the official.
    Thursday's indictment gave previously undisclosed details about the alleged arrangement between Ms. Khobragade and her housekeeper, Sangeeta Richard.
    Ms. Khobragade allegedly initially offered her housekeeper 20,000 rupees a month but eventually raised the offer to 30,000 rupees per month (or $6,876 a year), which amounted to approximately $3.33 an hour for a 40-hour work week. Thursday's indictment said that Ms. Khobragade filled out a temporary-work visa application for Ms. Richard, claiming she was paying her $4,500 a month.
    Once in the U.S., Ms. Khobragade made Ms. Richard "work often up to 100 or more hours per week without a single full day off," which the indictment states worked out to $1.42 an hour or less, and withheld the woman's passport from her, the indictment said.
    Ms. Richard fled Ms. Khobragade's house, according to the indictment, after her requests for more pay and to return to India were denied. Ms. Khobragade subsequently pressured the woman's husband in India to tell her the housekeeper's whereabouts, the indictment said, and caused the woman's family in India to be "contacted by law enforcement."
    But Ms. Khobragade filed in July a complaint against the woman in India, the indictment said, accusing the worker and her husband of making a "false promise to work as domestic assistance" in order to procure an official passport and enter the U.S., where she would subsequently work as a "freelance servant and earn huge money, many times more than that of her agreed salary." An arrest warrant was issued in India in November charging Ms. Richard, who remains in the U.S., with extortion, cheating and participating in a conspiracy.
    "I would like to tell other domestic workers who are suffering as I did: You have rights, and do not let anyone exploit you," Ms. Richard said Thursday.

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    20140107_1

    The Relationship Between Anxiety and Performance

    by Scott Stossel 

    I choked.


    It was just a middle-school tennis match against a manifestly worse player, but I became overwhelmed with anxiety. Before we’d started, the most important thing was to win. But during the match, I just wanted to get off the court fast. Burping uncontrollably, afraid of throwing up, I hit balls out. I hit them into the net. I double-faulted. And I lost 6-1, 6-0. After shaking hands and running off the court, I felt immediate relief. 
    My distended stomach settled. My anxiety relented. And then self-loathing took over. This was a challenge match for a lower-ladder JV position. The stakes were low, but to me they felt existentially high. I’d lost to the overweight and oleaginous Paul (not his real name), and the result was there on the score sheet, and on the ladder hanging on the locker room wall, for all to see.
    This sort of thing—purposely losing matches to escape intolerable anxiety—happened dozens of times throughout my school sports career. My coaches were baffled. How could I look so skillful in practice, they wondered, and yet so rarely win a significant match?
    Choking when you’re expected to perform—whether you’re squaring off in tennis or vying for resources or key accounts or a desirable role at work—is actually surprisingly common. It happens with some regularity to probably around one-fifth of the population. Since this response is at least partly hardwired (more on that later), it’s not something you tend to outgrow as you mature and gain perspective. Thirty years after that match with Paul, I still struggle with it. A lot.
    Who chokes, and why?
    People who choke can be peak performers in some settings, trembling mice in others. The list of elite athletes who have choked spectacularly is extensive. Greg Norman, the Australian golfer, became completely unglued at the 1996 Masters, nervously frittering away a seemingly insurmountable lead over the final few holes. Jana Novotná, the Czech tennis star, was five points away from winning Wimbledon in 1993 when she disintegrated under pressure and blew a huge lead over Steffi Graf. And then there’s Roberto Duran, who famously lost his world welterweight championship to Sugar Ray Leonard. With sixteen seconds left in the eighth round—and millions of dollars on the line—Duran turned to the referee, raised his hands in surrender, and pleaded, “No más, no más [No more, no more].” Until that moment, Duran appeared to be invincible. Since then, he’s been widely considered one of the greatest quitters and cowards in sports history.
    That may sound harsh, but just about the worst epithet one can sling at an athlete—worse, in some ways, than ”cheater”—is “choker.” To choke is to wilt under pressure, to fail to perform at the moment of greatest importance. A technical definition, as laid out by Sian Beilock, a University of Chicago cognitive psychologist who specializes in the topic, is “worse performance than expected given what a performer is capable of doing and what this performer has done in the past.”
    In any performance arena, from sports to the military to the workplace, choking is produced by anxiety and, ipso facto, viewed as an absence of fortitude, a sign of weakness.
    Of course, it’s not that simple.
    Research shows a strong correlation between your genetically conferred physiology and how likely you are to crack under stress. For instance, a person’s allotment of neuropeptide Y (NPY), a neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates stress responses, among other things, is relatively fixed from birth, more a function of heredity than of learning. People high in NPY tend to be unusually psychologically resilient and resistant to breaking down in high-pressure situations.
    But that said, there’s also an element of “nurture” at work here. Psychological resilience is a trait that can be taught; the Pentagon is spending millions trying to figure out how to do that better. It’s possible that those who thrive under pressure have learned to be resilient—that their high levels of NPY are the product of their training or their upbringing.
    According to the explicit monitoring theory of choking, derived from recent findings in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, performance falters when you concentrate too much attention on it. This runs counter to all the standard bromides about how the quality of your performance is tied to the intensity of your focus. But what seems to matter is the type of focus you have. As Beilock puts it, actively worrying about screwing up makes you more likely to screw up.
    To achieve optimal performance—what some psychologists call flow—parts of your brain should be on automatic pilot, not actively thinking about (or “explicitly monitoring”) what you are doing. Beilock has found that she can dramatically improve athletes’ performance, at least in experiments, by getting them to focus on something other than the mechanics of their stroke or swing. 
    Having them recite a poem or sing a song in their heads, distracting their conscious attention from the physical task, can rapidly improve performance. Chronic chokers—especially those who are clinically anxious—are too distracted from the task at hand by a relentless interior monologue of self-doubt: Am I doing this right? Do I look stupid? What if I make a fool of myself? Can people see me trembling? Can they hear my voice quavering? Am I going to lose my job?
    When you look at brain scans of athletes pre- or midchoke, says sports psychologist Bradley Hatfield, you see a neural “traffic jam” of worry and self-monitoring. Brain scans of nonchokers, however—the Tom Bradys and Peyton Mannings of the world, who exude grace under pressure—reveal neural activity that is “efficient and streamlined,” using only those parts of the brain relevant to strong performance.
    Does that mean those of us whose bodies are set to quiver in response to the mildest perturbances are doomed to choke any time the pressure is on? Not necessarily. Because when you begin to untangle the relationship between anxiety and performance, it turns out to be very complex. It’s possible to be simultaneously anxious and effective.
    Take, for example, Bill Russell, a Hall of Fame basketball player who won eleven championships with the Boston Celtics (the most by anyone in any major American sport, ever). He was selected to the NBA All-Star team twelve times and was voted the league’s most valuable player five times. He is generally acknowledged to be the greatest defender and all-around winner of his era, if not of all time. 
    No one would question Russell’s toughness or his championship qualities or his courage. And yet, according to one tabulation, he vomited from anxiety before 1,128 of his games between 1956 and 1969. His teammate John Havlicek told the writer George Plimpton in 1968, “It’s a welcome sound, too, because it means he’s keyed up for the game and around the locker room we grin and say, ‘Man, we’re going to be all right tonight.’”
    Like someone with an anxiety disorder, Russell had to contend with nerves that wreaked havoc with his stomach. But a crucial difference between Russell and the typical anxiety patient (aside, of course, from Russell’s preternatural athleticism) was the positive correlation between his anxiety and his performance. When Russell stopped throwing up for a stretch at the end of the 1963 season, he suffered through one of the worst slumps of his career. For him, a nervous stomach correlated with effective, even enhanced, performance.
    How much anxiety is too much?
    At some level, it’s normal—adaptive even—to be anxious in our postindustrial era of pervasive uncertainty, where social and economic structures are undergoing continuous disruption and professional roles are constantly changing. According to Charles Darwin (who himself suffered from crippling agoraphobia), species that “fear rightly” increase their chances of survival. We anxious people are less likely to remove ourselves from the gene pool by, say, becoming fighter pilots.
    An influential study conducted a hundred years ago by two Harvard psychologists, Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson, demonstrated that moderate levels of anxiety improve performance in humans and animals: too much anxiety, obviously, impairs performance, but so does too little. Their findings have been experimentally demonstrated in both animals and humans many times since then.
    “Without anxiety, little would be accomplished,” David Barlow, founder of the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University, has written. “The performance of athletes, entertainers, executives, artisans, and students would suffer; creativity would diminish; crops might not be planted. And we would all achieve that idyllic state long sought after in our fast-paced society of whiling away our lives under a shade tree. This would be as deadly for the species as nuclear war.”
    So how do you find the right balance? How do you get yourself into the performance zone where anxiety is beneficial? That’s a really tough question. For me, years of medication and intensive therapy have (sometimes, somewhat) taken the physical edge off my nerves so I could focus on trying to do well, not on removing myself from the center of attention as quickly as possible. 
    For those who choke during presentations to board members or pitches to clients, for example, but probably aren’t what you’d call clinically anxious, the best approach may be one akin to what Beilock has athletes do in her experiments: redirecting your mind, in the moment, to something other than how you’re comporting yourself, so you can allow the skills and knowhow you’ve worked so hard to acquire to automatically kick into gear and carry you through. 
    Your focus should not be on worrying about outcomes or consequences or on how you’re being perceived but simply on the task at hand. Prepare thoroughly (but not too obsessively) in advance; then stay in the moment. If you’re feeling anxious, breathe from your diaphragm in order to keep your sympathetic nervous system from revving up too much. And remember that it can be good to be keyed up: the right amount of nervousness will enhance your performance.

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    To Make Virtual Teams Succeed, Pick the Right Players  



    Setting up small, high-performing virtual teams has enormous potential for companies to increase sales, penetrate new markets, improve business processes and come up with the next generation of disruptive innovations. But putting together a great team is tricky.
    Part of the problem is that teams—both the virtual and co-located types—are often thrown together without much thought or planning.
    At a large, multinational manufacturing company Ferrazzi Greenlight recently worked with, a virtual team was formed to deal with the company’s complex interdependent businesses. The goal was to optimize decision-making all along the value chain and boost earnings by tens of millions of dollars.
    But when we looked under the covers it was clear not enough thought had gone into selecting members. The team was huge—more than 30 people—with a mixture of business, manufacturing, and commercial leaders, some of whom reported to each other. Many who were selected (seemingly because of seniority) lacked the deep technical knowledge vital for optimization decisions. By the time we were asked to help, members openly acknowledged that the team was in disarray and its decisions had failed to boost earnings as expected.
    As the manufacturer discovered, getting team composition right is critical. That’s especially true for virtual teams, which are more autonomous than co-located teams. Leaders of virtual teams must work harder to develop trust and rapport among team members who lack the frequent informal exchanges and visual and body language cues of co-located teams—vital feedback mechanisms that help keep team members’ efforts aligned.
    The manufacturing company is not alone. In many companies, teams seem to come together out of nowhere, grabbing any available resource, operating without adequate planning, and then fail to gel. Months or even years later, senior executives have to face the unpalatable truth: the virtual team that was put together to slash costs is not only dysfunctional, it was a drain on your bottom line.
    These problems generally originate at the beginning of the process, when the team is put together. That’s why it’s important to focus on team composition—the size and structure of the team, as well as the skills members bring to the team, including interpersonal skills. These attributes are among the most important predictors of team success.
    Small is Beautiful: In my experience working with everything from iconic multinational companies to tiny start-ups, the best virtual team is a small one—under 10 people. Four or five is ideal.
    Small is better in part because relatively minor coordination and communication challenges grow exponentially as a virtual team grows. Do the interpersonal math! Inevitably, someone (or a subgroup) feels left out of the loop. Few things erode trust faster than being left out of important communication.
    Where input from a wide range of people with expertise in different areas is needed, there’s a strong temptation to put together a virtual team that’s too large. Keeping the core team small while advisory groups gave input on an as-needed basis was more likely to be successful.
    Don’t make the mistake of including honorary team members. And team membership shouldn’t be voluntary or outside the normal job. It is the job. Teams with a lot of members who have no real stake in the team’s success almost invariably fail.
    Get the Structure Right: When virtual teams come together from a range of functions —say, finance, operations, HR and IT to work on a cost-management initiative—problems tend to arise from a lack of accountability. Leaders may lack formal authority over all members of such a matrixed team, making it difficult to hold them accountable.
    I see this a lot, especially in large firms. Virtual teams members are frequently not evaluated on their contributions to the team or on successful collaboration, but rather on their performance within the line of business they represent. This sets up an automatic disincentive to collaborate and has the potential to derail important and innovative virtual team initiatives.
    The important takeaway is that leaders of a cross-functional virtual team need to establish clear lines of accountability and uniform performance measures at the outset.
    Virtual Work Isn’t for Everyone: Red Giant, a company that develops video special effects software, has gone from being two guys with an idea 10 years ago to a leader in its field by adopting a “no backup plan” mentality. They define the goals for each project, put together small virtual teams and—here’s the big one—give them the responsibility for the success of the project. Each team member shares a piece of that responsibility. “There is no Plan B,” says Micah Sharp, GM of Red Giant, “It’s us.”
    Despite the company’s rapid growth, they don’t make team staffing decisions quickly. “We like to date a lot first,” says Sharp, of the 50-person company, 36 of whom work virtually. Micah recognizes that not everybody is suited to virtual work. He says it takes entrepreneurial spirit and initiative as well as technical skills to thrive as a remote worker.
    What does it take to succeed as a virtual worker?
    Research by OnPoint Consulting confirms that successful virtual employees need to be more self-sufficient than co-located counterparts who can more easily turn to others. Successful virtual team members also tolerate ambiguity better than other employees—everything from that terse email from the boss that might be taken negatively to not knowing project details as quickly as co-located workers.
    Virtual workers need to have is excellent communication skills. They have to express themselves well and update project documents quickly and consistently. Distance and time lags are an inevitable downside of working remotely. Virtual employees need to be hyper-vigilant about communicating with everyone else on the team. There’s no room for personality conflicts or information hoarding.
    Virtual team workers also need to be more resilient than the average employee. But leaders can’t forget that they have the same need as other employees to feel a sense of purpose in the work they do, and to feel connected to others within the organization. Interestingly, Gallup’s work says a strong predictor of an employee’s productivity is whether they have a best friend at work. Carefully chosen, small teams of self-directed people who engage with each other deeply are the keys to creating high-performing virtual teams.

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    Narendra Modi addresses National Education Summit in Gandhinagar 

    On the morning of Friday 10th January 2014 Shri Narendra Modi addressed the start of the National Education Summit organised in Gandhinagar.
     Shri Modi described the Summit as a grand opportunity to learn. Sharing his thoughts on the importance and future of education in India, Shri Modi envisioned an education system that creates harbingers of change. “Hume Yug Nirmata aur Samajh Nirmata Taiyar Karne Hain” Shri Modi affirmed, adding that through the medium of education we should dream of giving something to the world.


    Shri Modi called for creating the right environment where education can shine and this does not only include proficiency with books. “Man Ki RachnaKitabon Se Hi Nahi Hoti. Hume Environment create Karna Hoga” (the mind does not only develop with books…an environment has to be created). Shri Modi opined that in addition to the head, both the hand and the heart are important for all round learning. Shri Modi stressed on the fact that every type of work is important and must be respected. He pointed, “I do not know this craze for white collar jobs. It is as if doing small things is bad. This must change.” 
    Elaborating further he said, “One day I switched on the television and I saw a debate on why school children must not join cleanliness drives. I was surprised. Weren’t we always taught to give importance to Shram Karya? Even Mahatma Gandhi gave importance to this.”


     Shri Modi avowed that change is possible when each and every pupil is treated like a celebrity. Seeking a paradigm shift from the prevailing mindset Shri Modi asked, “Schools give character certificates. What is the use of these? We suggested why not give Aptitude Certificates? School children go for school trips to Udaipur or Taj Mahal but at the same time why cannot we take our children to a manufacturing plant where cutting edge research is taking place?”
    In his speech Shri Modi talked about some of the steps taken by the Gujarat government for the growth of the education sector. He shared that the government has given importance to the syllabus and has also revamped the course structurefor ITIs that have benefitted several youngsters.
    Narendra Modi addresses National Education Summit in Gandhinagar
    33 states and Union Territories were present on the occasion. Over 100 Vice Chancellors and Directors from institutions across India were present on the occasion. Scholars, innovators and experts from various fields were present on the occasion.
    Italy’s Ambassador to India Mr. Daniele Mancini spoke about bridging the gap existing between academia and the real world, while also laying emphasis on giving due importance to both, classic studies and scientific disciplines.
    Prof Dinesh Singh, Vice Chancellor, University of Delhi, spoke about the reformatory phase that India is going through and highlighted the significance of education and technology in effecting a change for the nation.
    Narendra Modi addresses National Education Summit in Gandhinagar
    Dr. Rajan Welukar, VC, University of Mumbai, shared the need to comprehend the revolutionary 21st century changes, whilst creating an environment of innovation and approaching the same with a positive mindset.
    Prof Charles Zukoski, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, spoke about the role of engineering education in the development of the country and mentioned that successful practical education of the next domain should involve deep domain expertise, with a substantial component of that education in liberal arts and social sciences.
    Dr. Kishore Singh, responsible for Right to Education at UNESCO and special reporter on Right to Education at United Nation Human Rights Council,mentioned about skill development and institutionalized cooperation as being the need of the hour.

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    Best Start-up from 14 Tech Heroes

    Some say that people do not really want advice, even when they ask for it — but when starting a company, good advice early on can be the difference between success and failure. For this reason, it is common practice for startups to have an advisory board — a group of smart people they trust to help steer them through hard times and open doors for them along the way. While I agree with Paul Brown that setting up an advisory board is essential, I think you can get a lot of everyday wisdom from those who have gone before you (and who have been successful) by just reading their interviews, speeches and memoirs. Their advice is often pithy, profound and, if followed, can save you a lot of time, money and headaches along the way.

    Here are some of my favorite quotes and lessons from the tech superstars of our time.

    “An entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create.” -David Karp, Tumblr founder and CEO

    “A ‘startup’ is a company that is confused about three things: (1.) What its product is. (2.) Who its customers are. (3.) How to make money.” – Dave McClure, 500Startups co-founder

    When read together these quotes highlight the contrast between being an entrepreneur and actually running a startup. Most entrepreneurs have a very clear vision of what they want to change in the world. They want a physical product, a new web application or a community they were not able to find elsewhere. However, having a good idea is just the first step in a long journey. To be successful, an entrepreneur must be able to answer all of the questions Dave McClure poses and execute a plan to bring the idea to market. Even the cleanest idea can quickly become the messiest startup.

    On Being Brave

    “You jump off a cliff and you assemble an airplane on the way down.” – Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder

    “Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it, the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.” – Arianna Huffington, President and Editor in Chief of The Huffington Post Media Group

    DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 26JAN11 - Arianna Huffingto...
    Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post, USA, speaks during the session ‘The Future of Employment’ to start at the Annual Meeting 2011 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 26, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Everyone knows that it takes guts to take the “entrepreneurial leap of faith,” but what few founders mention is that you have to keep leaping over and over again as long as you are in business. Building a business in not a one-time thing. It is not like a house where you build it and then it is done. You have to keep testing, reinvesting, extending, partnering, and taking risks you hope, but cannot guarantee, will pay off in order to build a successful company. It takes bravery to be an entrepreneur from start to finish.

    On Funding

    “Stay self-funded as long as possible.” -Garrett Camp, founder of Expa, Uber and StumbleUpon

    “Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” -Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

    “Money is like gasoline during a road trip. You don’t want to run out of gas on your trip, but you’re not doing a tour of gas stations.” -Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Media founder and CEO

    I picked these quotes, but could have selected hundreds of others just like them. While venture funding may seem glamorous from the outside, the one thing that almost every CEO will tell you is that raising money is the worst part of their job. Try to go without if you can and if you are going to raise capital, take as much as you can up front so you can focus on the company and not on constant fundraising. A “tour of gas stations” is the worst path for everyone.

    On Product Development

    “Get five or six of your smartest friends in a room and ask them to rate your idea.” -Mark Pincus, Zynga CEO


    Sales Tips and Sales Quotes from 62 Top Sales Experts
    Ken KrogueKen Krogue
    Contributor

    10 Founders On What They Don't Tell You About Building A Startup
    Hollie SladeHollie Slade
    Forbes Staff

    “Wonder what your customer really wants? Ask. Don’t tell.” – Lisa Stone, BlogHer co-founder and CEO

    “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder

    These quotes are in this order because they apply to different parts of the building cycle. Before launch, getting feedback from your smartest and closest (and most honest) friends is essential. Once you have customers, start surveying them and you will be surprised what you will learn. When your product is more mature and people are familiar with your brand, the vocal “unhappy customers” are the best resource you can have because they will tell you things that happy customers (those who take the time to fill out your surveys) never will.

    Effort And Focus

    “The last 10% it takes to launch something takes as much energy as the first 90%.” -Rob Kalin, Etsy founder

    “Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.” -

    Just remember that everything takes longer and costs more than you will expect. It is hard when you are so close to the finish line of a new launch, for example, not to feel frustrated that small things are holding up the process – but they always do. Because of this universal truth, the key is to keep the number of things you are trying to accomplish to a minimum and focus on doing them very very well.

    On Hope

    “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” -Drew Houston, Dropbox founder and CEO

    “Fail early, fail fast, fail often,” is practically a mantra now on the West Coast. Failure is part of the learning process and each failure provides valuable information about how to succeed in the future. It is easy to intellectualize, but all of that failure can take a hefty mental toll. I love Drew’s quote because hope is what helps people endure the relentless failure of entrepreneurship.

    Summary

    “Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” -Biz Stone, Twitter co-founder

    If you are lucky, all of the struggle and hardship of entrepreneurship will finally pay off.  However, before you begin, you need to be ready for the long haul. Biz’s point is that almost everything we think of as an overnight success took much longer to build than it appears. If your plan is to make a quick killing, entrepreneurship is not for you. If you have an idea you are passionate about and you (and your family) are up for the challenges, disappointments, joys and triumphs of ownership – jump on in.

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    How I made sure all 12 of my kids could pay for college themselves



    My wife and I had 12 children over the course of 15 1/2 years. Today, our oldest is 37 and our youngest is 22.  I have always had a very prosperous job and enough money to give my kids almost anything. But my wife and I decided not to.
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    I will share with you the things that we did, but first let me tell you the results: All 12 of my children have college degrees (or are in school), and we as parents did not pay for it. Most have graduate degrees. Those who are married have wonderful spouses with the same ethics and college degrees, too. We have 18 grandchildren who are learning the same things that our kids learned—self respect, gratitude, and a desire to give back to society.
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    We raised our family in Utah, Florida, and California; my wife and I now live in Colorado. In March, we will have been married 40 years. I attribute the love between us as a part of our success with the children. They see a stable home life with a commitment that does not have compromises.
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    Here’s what we did right (we got plenty wrong, too, but that’s another list):
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    Chores

    • Kids had to perform chores from age 3. A 3-year-old does not clean toilets very well but by the time he is 4, it’s a reasonably good job.
    • They got allowances based on how they did the chores for the week.
    • We had the children wash their own clothes by the time they turned 8. We assigned them a wash day.
    • When they started reading, they had to make dinner by reading a recipe. They also had to learn to double a recipe.
    • The boys and girls had to learn to sew.

    Study time

    Education was very important in our family.


    • We had study time from 6 to 8pm every week day. No television, computer, games, or other activities until the two hours were up. If they had no homework, then they read books. For those too young to be in school, we had someone read books to them. After the two hours, they could do whatever they wanted as long as they were in by curfew.
    • All the kids were required to take every Advanced Placement class there was. We did not let entrance scores be an impediment. We went to the school and demanded our kids be let in. Then we, as parents, spent the time to ensure they had the understanding to pass the class. After the first child, the school learned that we kept our promise that the kids could handle the AP classes.
    • If children would come home and say that a teacher hated them or was not fair, our response was that you need to find a way to get along. You need find a way to learn the material because in real life, you may have a boss that does not like you. We would not enable children to “blame” the teacher for not learning, but place the responsibility for learning the material back on the child. Of course, we were alongside them for two hours of study a day, for them to ask for help anytime.

    Picky eaters not allowed

    • We all ate dinner and breakfast together. Breakfast was at 5:15am and then the children had to do chores before school. Dinner was at 5:30pm.
    • More broadly, food was interesting. We wanted a balanced diet, but hated it when we were young and parents made us eat all our food. Sometimes we were full and just did not want to eat anymore. Our rule was to give the kids the food they hated most first (usually vegetables) and then they got the next type of food. They did not have to eat it and could leave the table. If later they complained they were hungry, we would get out that food they did not want to eat, warm it up in the microwave, and provide it to them. Again, they did not have to eat it. But they got no other food until the next meal unless they ate it.
    • We did not have snacks between meals. We always had the four food groups (meat, dairy, grain, fruits and vegetables) and nearly always had desert of some kind. To this day, our kids are not afraid to try different foods, and have no allergies to foods. They try all kinds of new foods and eat only until they are full. Not one of our kids is even a little bit heavy. They are thin, athletic, and very healthy. With 12 kids, you would think that at least one would have some food allergies or food special needs. (I am not a doctor.)

    Extracurriculars

    • All kids had to play some kind of sport. They got to choose, but choosing none was not an option. We started them in grade school. We did not care if it was swimming, football, baseball, fencing, tennis, etc. and did not care if they chose to change sports. But they had to play something.
    • All kids had to be in some kind of club: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, history, drama, etc.
    • They were required to provide community service. We would volunteer within our community and at church. For Eagle Scout projects, we would have the entire family help. Once we collected old clothes and took them to Mexico and passed them out. The kids saw what life was like for many families and how their collections made them so happy and made a difference.

    Independence

    • When the kids turned 16, we bought each a car. The first one learned what that meant. As the tow truck pulled a once “new” car into the driveway, my oldest proclaimed: “Dad, it is a wreck!” I said, “Yes, but a 1965 Mustang fastback wreck. Here are the repair manuals. Tools are in the garage. I will pay for every part, but will not pay for LABOR.”
    •  Eleven months later, the car had a rebuilt engine, rebuilt transmission, newly upholstered interior, a new suspension system, and a new coat of paint. My daughter (yes, it was my daughter) had one of the hottest cars at high school. And her pride that she built it was beyond imaginable. (As a side note, none of my kids ever got a ticket for speeding, even though no car had less than 450 horsepower.)
    • We as parents allowed kids to make mistakes. Five years before the 16th birthday and their “new” car gift, they had to help out with our family cars. Once I asked my son, Samuel, to change the oil and asked if he needed help or instruction. “No, Dad, I can do it.” An hour later, he came in and said, “Dad, does it take 18 quarts of oil to change the oil?”
    •   I asked where did he put 18 quarts of oil when normally only five were needed. His response: “That big screw on top at the front of the engine.”  I said “You mean the radiator?” Well, he did not get into trouble for filling the radiator with oil. He had to drain it, we bought a radiator flush, put in new radiator fluid, and then he had to change the real oil. 
    • We did not ground him or give him any punishment for doing it “wrong.” We let the lesson be the teaching tool. Our children are not afraid to try something new.  They were trained that if they do something wrong they will get not get punished. It often cost us more money, but we were raising kids, not saving money.
    • The kids each got their own computer, but had to build it. I bought the processor, memory, power supply, case, keyboard, hard drive, motherboard, and mouse. They had to put it together and load the software on. This started when they were 12.
    • We let the children make their own choices, but limited. For example, do you want to go to bed now or clean your room? Rarely, did we give directives that were one way, unless it dealt with living the agreed-upon family rules. This let the child feel that she had some control over life.

    In it together

    • We required the children to help each other. When a fifth grader is required to read 30 minutes a day, and a first grader is required to be read to 30 minutes a day, have one sit next to the other and read. Those in high school calculus tutored those in algebra or grade-school math.
    • We assigned an older child to a younger child to teach them and help them accomplish their weekly chores.
    • We let the children be a part of making the family rules. For example, the kids wanted the rule that no toys were allowed in the family room. The toys had to stay either in the bedroom or playroom. In addition to their chores, they had to all clean their bedroom every day (or just keep it clean in the first place). These were rules that the children wanted. We gave them a chance each month to amend or create new rules. Mom and Dad had veto power of course.
    • We tried to be always consistent. If they had to study two hours every night, we did not make an exception to it. Curfew was 10pm during school nights and midnight on non-school nights. There were no exceptions to the rules.

    Vacation policy

    • We would take family vacations every summer for two or three weeks. We could afford a hotel, or cruise, but did not choose those options. We went camping and backpacking. If it rained, then we would figure out how to backpack in the rain and survive. We would set up a base camp at a site with five or six tents, and I would take all kids age 6 or older on a three- to five-day backpack trip. 
    • My wife would stay with the little ones. Remember, for 15 years, she was either pregnant or just had a baby. My kids and I hiked across the Grand Canyon, to the top of Mount Whitney, across the Continental Divide, across Yosemite.
    • We would send kids via airplane to relatives in Europe or across the US for two or three weeks at a time. We started this when they were in kindergarten. It would take special treatment for the airlines to take a 5-year-old alone on the plane and required people on the other end to have special documentation.
    •  We only sent the kids if they wanted to go. However, with the younger ones seeing the older ones travel, they wanted to go. The kids learned from an early age that we, as parents, were always there for them, but would let them grow their own wings and fly.

    Money and materialism

    • Even though we have sufficient money, we have not helped the children buy homes, pay for education, pay for weddings (yes, we do not pay for weddings either). We have provided extensive information on how to do it or how to buy rental units and use equity to grow wealth. We do not “give” things to our children but we give them information and teach them “how” to do things. We have helped them with contacts in corporations, but they have to do the interviews and “earn” the jobs.
    • We give birthday and Christmas presents to the kids. We would play Santa Claus but as they got older, and would ask about it, we would not lie.  We would say it is a game we play and it is fun. We did and do have lists for items that each child would like for presents. Then everyone can see what they want. With the internet, it is easy to send such lists around to the children and grandchildren. Still, homemade gifts are often the favorite of all.

    The real world

    • We loved the children regardless of what they did. But would not prevent consequences of any of their actions. We let them suffer consequences and would not try to mitigate the consequences because we saw them suffering. We would cry and be sad, but would not do anything to reduce the consequences of their actions.
    We were and are not our kids’ best friends.  We were their parents.



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