Tag Archives: #leadership

Advice: Goodvice, Advice

23 Nov

Are you giving goodvice or badvice advice?

With Thanksgiving upcoming, it might be a really good time to think about it!

Good advice is goodvice.  Here are a few characteristics it has:

  1. It’s solicited (asked for!).  Sounds simple, but most of us don’t consider that before we open our mouths.
  2. You’re qualified (in some way at least) to offer an opinion.
  3. Like your mom said, “if you can’t say it nicely, don’t say it at all!
  4. You take no offense if it’s completely discarded.

Sometimes people don’t actually want advice (even goodvice) at all.  They just want to vent.  Or to be heard.  Admit it, we all do it from time to time (some more than others, myself included). 

  • Rarely do we open the conversation with “Can you please just listen and shut up?” 
  • Or we’re actually just looking to build an ally or get positive reinforcement
  • Or (quite tricky to detect) we cloak it as “I want to run something by you” or “Can I get your opinion on…?” when we really don’t want advice in the first place.  Not sure why we do that, but we do! 

Rather than give badvice, keep it simple & don’t guess.  Ask (don’t guess):

  • “Do you really want my opinion?” 
  • “Do you just want to be heard?”  

It’s surprising how often the answer to the two questions above are respectively “no” and “yes.”  It’s also interesting to realize how often we don’t ask the questions when seemingly asked for “advice.”

Curious to know what you think …and if you want to catch these little nuggets, please follow me, and/or You Are Possible, and/or Transformational Change on Linked in.

Anna Minto

Founder & Managing Partner, Transformational Change

Founder, Coach & Collaborator, You Are Possible

Email:  AMinto@trchange.com

Linked-In: LinkedIn.com/in/annamintoBlog:  www.annaminto.com  

Investment Banking Riddle

19 Jun

As I said last week, I’m going out on a limb on some sensitive topics in the next couple of weekly posts, and I don’t want to offend anyone in any way.  My intent here is to share some observations and ideas and spark some collaboration and discussion, rather than make statements about any gender identity, race, social class, sexual orientation, age, physical attributes, political belief, national origin, religious or other groups.  There’s the caveat, and please read along with an open mind.

First, stop.  Let me implore you to check out “Can You Solve the Riddle?” – a great short-clip on YouTube, created by Mindspace – Investment Banking Riddle.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kFC7669quE if my newly found blogging skills don’t translate).  It’s worth the 3 minutes if you haven’t seen it before … and “then we shall proceed” (Did your parents ever say “Are you sitting comfortably?  Then we shall proceed” before reading stories to you?  Anyway, I digress). 

… … … … … … … … … … …

Go to the link … it’s only 3 minutes … it’s worth it.  Really!  “Just Do It” as Nike would say.

… … … … … … … … … … …

“And NOW we shall proceed.”  

We all have hidden biases.  OK, I’ll own up to it.  I didn’t figure out the answer to that enlightening Mindspace video immediately.  Actually, I crafted a convoluted wrong answer.  And my Mum was a high-powered executive in the business world … and I know a few female CEOs … and I too consider myself a smart, senior leader.  Who happens to be female.  Who blogs about gender issues.  But I fell for it. So did my girlfriends.  Hidden bias.  It’s real.

Gender bias occurs when views and attitudes assign a greater importance to one (gender) over the other.   Here are a few snippets from studies in the world of recruiting, development and retention:

  • A resume with a female-associated name is perceived as “less competent” than a male-associated one (and in the US, a “foreign” name has similar perception differences as “American” one)
  • Recruiters view men who have only part-time work experience as less hirable than women with the same part-time work experience
  • Managers are more hesitant to overtly criticize women, even when needed
  • Men are more cautious about being seen to be “unsupportive” of female employees (especially in today’s environment)
  • Managers couch written criticism more vaguely than they do for males with the same quantitative performance ratings
  • Managers often couch development areas for women with light praise (to “soften the blow”), but then go on to give the same women lower ratings that don’t correspond with the remarks on the evaluation
  • Supervisors do notice when women behave in ways that conform to gender conventions (e.g., being “likable” and demonstrating “communal” behavior), but those characteristics do not meaningfully contribute to career advancement
  • Relative to men, feedback for women has a higher judgement-to-fact ratio, which makes it more subjective (based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions)
  • Women are more likely than men to under-emphasize their own strengths and over-emphasize their skill-gaps in self-evaluations
  •  And … as we’ve just seen, we can believe that men are more likely than women to be the CEO of an Investment bank.

Our biases and gender expectations are rooted in evolutionary genetics and learned behaviors (as I discussed in a blog earlier this month “What We Can Learn From The Savanna”).  Our instincts take less than 1/20th of a second from stimulus-to-reaction, and we are often not even aware of them.   

So, what’s the problem with a bias driven by instinct?  The definition of “bias” sounds harmless enough (“prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another”).  The problem is that word “prejudice”: “injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one’s rights.”  Hmm… not so good.

Are you brave enough to explore that you’re biased?  We all harbor gut-reaction instincts that are biased.  Isn’t it time to start recognizing, admitting, and talking about it?  Then we might be better able to do something about it.  

Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & CEO, Transformational Change




Going Forward, it’s not about who wins, but how we react to it

3 Nov
What is known, what can we do for ourselves and for our communities?

What is known:

  • This is probably one of the most significant US elections of our lives.
  • It’s not just about the US.  It impacts global politics, the environment, and power dynamics.  
  • We are going through this as a human race, and the rest of the world is interested and impacted.  
  • We won’t know the final result for days, if not weeks.
  • It will likely be a tumultuous and speculative time in the interim.
  • Results (beyond casting our votes, if we have the privilege of doing so), are beyond our personal control.

What we can do for ourselves:

  • Vote if you have the right (and responsibility).  Make your voice heard.
  • Have a positive view around what you hope will happen – it’s better than living in fear.
  • Decide whether and how you will engage in monitoring news of the outcome in the coming days or weeks.
  • Let go of the illusion of your personal control over the outcome and future speculation.  Stay in the present moment.
  • Get on with your life before knowing which way the election goes.  Keep focus on important things that excite you. 
  • Acknowledge your feelings (if you are disappointed, fearful, angry, stressed, anxious, uncertain, sad, or in disbelief), but don’t indulge in them.
  • Then get on with the things that matter most in your life.

What we can do for our communities:

  • Recognize that we are in this together … either way.
  • Encourage open, conscious, respectful dialogue.
  • Avoid retrenching to discussion with only others with shared beliefs.
  • Don’t accept or sanction violent protest as a course for change.
  • Find your passion to be heard and make a difference going forward.