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Volume 4, Issue 11

November  2012 


What's your see? squeegie


I don't know about you, but I'm relieved. No more negative political ads, coming by the dozens, one after the other. No more interruptions by robo calls. (A friend told me she got 27 in one day.) The election is over. But the politics are not.


Already in Washington - and around the country - Republican Party leaders and advocacy groups are surveying the damage. Exit polls taken by the television networks and The Associated Press underscored the stark contrast in the demographic support for the two parties. As Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for President George W. Bush's 2004 campaign, said, "This is a changing America with a changing electorate...the Republican Party is a 'Mad Men' party in a 'Modern Family' America." And it appears that a big RETHINK is in order.


In other words, it's time for the post-mortem, a process those of us in organization development use after we've completed an intervention. It's a way to identify what worked...and what didn't. Only then can we move forward to make changes.


It's during this post-mortem that we're called upon to challenge our SEE. I think too often people perceive that in challenging our SEE we have summarily made the commitment to change it. That's not true. We may indeed challenge our habitual way of looking at the world and decide that our perception is, in fact, spot on. Other times, we will challenge our SEE and come to the conclusion that it no longer serves us. That is what is happening now with the Republican Party.


Regardless of which party affiliation we carry, all of us can learn a valuable lesson from this past election. Neglecting to challenge our SEE can all too often lead to negative consequences.


How long has it been since you challenged your SEE? 


Boldly yours,


Jennie Ayers

Senior Partner

October 2012

In This Issue
  • If She Can See It...She Can Be It
  • Is Your IDP a Waste of Time?
  • The Power of Group Think - Take a Ride on the Elevator

BrainIf She Can See It...She Can Be It
Curated by Janice Criddle, Principal at BoldWork

I watch The View (yes, I admit I'm a fan). I record and watch it during the evening, primarily to see the first 15 minutes when the panel discusses "Hot Topics." A compelling guest sometimes propels me to stick around. One such recent guest was Geena Davis, one of my favorite actresses. I discovered that day that she is also the founder of the non-profit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and its programming arm See Jane, which engages film and television creators to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters -- and reduce gender stereotyping -- in media made for children 11 and under.


If They Can See It 

I believe our SEE is greatly influenced by the media, starting when we are small children. As Davis' Institute points out, children tend to watch movies and TV programs over and over and over again. My own adult children can still recite the dialogue from The Labyrinth...and frequently do. We know this repetitive viewing can be productive, as demonstrated by Sesame Street and other programs used to reinforce learning. We also know this same viewing can be destructive when it imprints negative images and stereotypes. So I was extremely interested in finding out what her Institute is doing.


There is a wealth of information on the Institute's website. Not surprisingly, the Institute's research confirms that women still lag behind in representation, both in front of and behind the camera. And the statistics about how women are portrayed, also not surprising, are maddening.


Gina DavisThe good news is that the Gina Davis Institute is making a difference. Through research, education and advocacy, they are insuring that things will change...for the better:   

  • The Institute has the largest body of research on gender representation in entertainment.
  • The Institute is the go-to resource and thought leader on gender in media.
  • Through its biennial Symposium on Gender in Media, the Institute brings together hundreds of entertainment industry decision makers, thought leaders and content creators to work toward improving gender equality in children's media.
  • The Institute works on inspiring and sensitizing the next generation of content creators to focus on gender and equality in children's media.

I encourage you to go to their site to see first hand the work they are doing. Read the research. Whether you are a manager, an OD consultant, a coach or a parent, it's important that we understand what films and media teach us as children (both girls and boys) about the world of work, and how that influences our SEE of roles, abilities, possibilities,and effectiveness once we enter the workplace.


SolveIs Your IDP a Waste of Time?
Curated by Jennie Ayers, Senior Partner at BoldWork


Every organization we've worked with creates Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for its leaders. Too bad that most of these IDPs are a waste of time. And too many in leadership roles continue to believe that what worked for them in the past will work for them in the future. (Think they need to challenge their SEE?)


individual development plans  


What kind of IDP works? Why does it work? And how can you ensure that the IDPs you craft - for yourself and others - are going to be effective? The answer to this last question is simple - while working a well-crafted IDP, honest and objective feedback is key. That feedback comes most effectively from an external coach.


For answers to the first two questions, check out "The Power of a Development Plan" by Robert A. Stringer and Randall S. Cheloa. I'm betting that they'll change your SEE about IDPs. Click here. 



FailingThe Power of Group Think - Take a Ride on the Elevator  
Curated by Kris Campbell, Managing Partner at BoldWork


This month, I have something I want you to view - two amazing videos. Made over 60 years apart. It's been said a picture is worth a thousand words and these two videos will prove this axiom true.


Don't worry. They're short videos - one is less than 3 minutes, the other only about 5 minutes long.


elevator people 

Over the years, you may have read stories about how influential and compelling a group of people can be. From family decisions to demarcations in war to current election results...the sway and potency of groups is all around us. There are many experiments and research studies that shake a finger at "group think" and how it can derail our individuality, our capacity for clear, singular decisions. But now really, just how valid can all this finger wagging be?


In my professional field of study of human behavior, I've learned to stand in awe and be humbled by the sheer power of groups to create communities, move mountains, change long-standing governments and alter the path of human history. Even more amazing is to watch the power of how a small group of people can transform an individual right before our eyes.


Daniel Goleman, author of the big best seller "Emotional Intelligence" (1995), wrote a groundbreaking follow-up, "Social Intelligence", (2006). He said this in his introduction: "When I wrote Emotional Intelligence, my focus was on a crucial set of human capabilities within us as individuals, our ability to manage our own emotions and our inner potential for positive relationships. Here the picture enlarges beyond a one-person psychology  - those capabilities an individual has within - to a two-person psychology: what transpires as we connect."


Pandora's boxSo...what does transpire when we connect? Over time, I've come to realize that a Pandora's box of unconscious power is unleashed as soon as a group forms. What transpires in the two videos I'm asking you to watch will bring a smile to your face and I'm betting a response something like, "I'd never do that!" That's what you think.


The video titled The Elevator Experiment was shot in the early 60's and should be watched first. Then watch the second video, titled USF Elevator Experiment. I was a tough skeptic, pretty convinced that by 2011, when the second video was made, that college students would surely be more enlightened, more autonomous, more individualistic. Right?


Smile and try to believe that this would never be you... 

The Elevator Experiment (video one)

USF Elevator Experiment (video two)


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