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Pages tagged "Paul Johnson"


The formative months: Three ways to set yourself up for long-term success in your job

It’s said that the formative years of human beings is 0-5 years, during which the brain is growing most rapidly and is extra vulnerable to trauma and stress.  It is during this time that parents need to be hypervigilant, ensuring that their children have the right nutrition, are exposed to learning opportunities and given the freedom to move around, play and test their environment.

I want to suggest that there is also a formative time for employees in a new position. Based only on my own experience, I would argue that this critical time period is 0-12 months.  In many ways, we are just like newborns when we start a new job: we have to adjust to a new environment, learn a new language (or, at least, a hundred new acronyms) and experience a steep learning curve. We are in a vulnerable position, one where we have to assimilate into the culture we find ourselves in rather than stake our claim or make our mark on the world. We have to crawl before we can walk.Photo credit: https://www.aresearchguide.com/

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Creating a culture of vulnerability

main.jpgWe've all been there. Our anxiety goes up while we scroll down on Facebook. We think "Why is everyone else's life so perfect, while I'm a mess?" One friend just got her MBA ("I don't think I could pass the GRE"), another posted a whole album of photos of him and his boyfriend in Las Vegas-smiling and laughing in all of them ("Me and my partner are bickering a lot lately, is she the wrong person for me?"). A cousin just posted about their 7-mile jog around the lake ("I haven't worked out in 3 weeks, I'm so lazy").

Facebook updates are symptomatic of a broader cultural truth: vulnerability is not rewarded. Revealing our weaknesses and shortcomings is not wise. What we're taught to do instead is hide our faults, embellish our positive qualities and try to one-up everyone.

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Design in the hands of experts

main.jpgWe all love pulling our new phone out of its box, feeling the radiant glow as it turns on for the first time. Over time, we develop an intimate relationship with it; we give it plenty of attention, and, in return, it gets to know us so well it begins to predict our behavior. Sometimes we take for granted how much an electronic device knows us better than some friends or family members.

But how did its producers know what we needed? How did smart phone gets so smart? How could its designers make a product that meets our needs so well?

The answer is: because they asked us.

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