Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security


Effective Executives Lead By Example

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment

Close your eyes and think back to an executive you worked with (or for) that was truly inspiring. Someone so incredibly motivating that everyone around him/her seemed to work better, faster and more efficiently. What did this person possess that motivated everyone around them? 

When you meet someone like this (and they are few and far between), it feels like they were born for that job. But as explained in my previous article  (Answering the most important leadership questions (Link)), these leaders are made and are not born with these skills.

Effective leadership can be summed up in a few simple concepts:

  1. an effective leader knows what has to happen (strategy)
  2. an effective leader knows how it has to happen (operational excellence)
  3. an effective leader knows who has to make it happen (people management)
  4. an effective leader can let it happen by removing red tape and providing executive sponsorship (accountability, enablement, responsibility)

If you want to become one of those much needed leaders, you need to honestly assess your current skills gap and build a roadmap to acquire the missing knowledge. When was the last time you really took time to improve yourself?

Perform (or ask a superior to perform) a true  and honest 360 evaluation for you. This evaluation should include feedback from colleagues, employees, bosses, clients and anyone else you work with. This is  a great way to determine if you have any misconceptions about your skills. These evaluations also help you identify your real weaknesses (things you may not even know or realize yourself). 


Daydreaming - the untold secret to success

HealthEdward KiledjianComment

When  I was in elementary school, teacher actively discouraged daydreaming. They refereed to it as a "lack of attention" and a "waste of time". As we got older, we kept these negative beliefs about daydreaming which may adversely impact our intelligence and overall mental well-being.

Thinkers from the past have often defined daydreaming as a gateway to unconscious processing. It is a way to engage your subconscious mind (or other than conscious mind) to tackle all kinds of problem through improved creativity. T.S. Eliot called it  "idea incubation" while Lewis Caroll called it "mental mastication".

Then in the 50's, Jerome L Singer, a Yale psychologist,  put daydreaming through the scientific ringer and published his findings in 1975 in a book entitled "The Inner World of Daydreaming". Singer defined 3 categories of daydreaming:

  1. Positive Constructive Daydreaming - this is a positive constraint free model in which you experience playful, vivid imagery that encourages creative thought
  2. Guilty Dysphoric Daydreaming - This is a type veterans with PTSD sometimes experience which is driven by ambition, anguish and pain. It allows the dreamer to experience heroism, pain or relive a past trauma.
  3. Poor Attentional Control Daydreaming - Typically this is driven by distraction when people have difficulty concentrating. Sometime this is caused by Attention Deficit Disorder or identified as such.

Rebecca McMillan and Scott Kaufman wrote a paper entitled "Ode to Positive Constructive Daydreaming" (link) which talks about the benefits of the first style of daydreaming. They explain how it is not only beneficial but essential to making people happy, creative and empowered.

An interesting excerpt from the paper says

"Future planning which is increased by a period of self-reflection and attenuated by an unhappy mood; creativity, especially creative incubation and problem solving; attentional cycling which allows individuals to rotate through different information streams to advance personally meaningful and external goals; and dishabituation which enhances learning by providing short breaks from external tasks, thereby achieving distributed rather than massed practice"

They continue in the same thought direction

"These mental activities are, in fact, central to the task of meaning making, of developing and maintaining an understanding of oneself in the world"

Another study published in Psychological Science (link) from researcher from the University of Wisconsin and the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science posits that daydreaming (or sometime called mind wandering) " correlates with higher degrees of what is referred to as working memory". This is the type of memory with the ability to retain and recall information when actively distracted.

Daydreaming isn't free because it requires time and it requires that you give yourself permission to daydream (which isn't as easy as it sounds). You have to be able to daydream without feeling guilty for wasting time. Once you are able to daydream freely, you will start seeing huge benefits. It may be as simple as a mental vacation during a stressful day, daydreaming about an upcoming presentation you have (aka mental preparation), to dynamically work through complicated unrelated information or a freestyle session which bolsters memory and creativity.

"Encourage your kids to daydream. Encourage your employees to take time out of their day to daydream. Encourage yourself to daydream." -Edward N Kiledjian

Archives: The YOU brand

StrategyEdward KiledjianComment

I will be posting links to older articles that seem to be fairly popular. Hopefully some of the newer readers will find the articles interesting and helpful.

A 2010 blog post that explains what the You brand is and how to use it to succeed. You are only as successful as your personal brand so this should make for some pwoerful reading.

Read the full article here.