I have become very interested in the all too often ignored concept of self efficacy and it’s impact on work performance.
Self efficacy refers to an individual’s conviction (or confidence) about his or her ability to execute a specific task within a given context. It is often confused with self esteem and self confidence. Self efficacy has a direct impact on performance as the more confident the individual:
- The more likely they will take up a challenge;
- The more effort and motivation will be given to successfully accomplish a task; and
- The more persistence he or she will be when obstacles are encountered or even when there is initial failure.
A meta alanlysis of 114 studies found a stronger relationship between efficacy and work related performance than other popular organisational behaviour concepts such as goal setting; job satisfaction; the Big Five personality traits, including conscientiousness.
What’s more, self efficacy can be developed through mastery experiences, feedback, modelling. Whilst this appears straightforward, the modelling examples need to be context specific with critical feedback to help understand succes and failure. For example, it is obvious that previous success builds one’s confidence. However, success should not just be equated with future confidence. Instead, the key to subsequent confidence is how the individual interprets and processes the previous success (e.g.,hard-earned through one’s own efforts versus being easily handed the success). For example, I can build confidence in my own golf game by observing one of my similar ability level colleagues but watching Tiger Woods win another Master’s, I’m afraid does nothing for the confidence of my game.
Can leaders impact upon another individual’s experience of meaning (in the workplace)?
This is the question I am currently grappling with as part of my MSc research. Whilst much research has been undertaken into positive psychology, happiness and the conditions which enable individuals to flourish including ‘meaning’; alot of the writing around organisational dynamics lacks empirical research, is negative (focused on raising underperformance and so on) or focuses upon organisations creating values and vision for others to work towards. Therefore, it might be valuable to facilitate, through research, an opportunity to identify how positive psychology can impact, in a positive way, an individual’s experience of work. One of the questions I’m curious about is what impact leader’s have on their followers around creating meaning.
People who feel their work is meaningful report greater well-being, view their work as more central and important, place higher value on work and report greater satisfaction. People who feel their work serves a higher purpose also report greater job satisfaction and work unit cohesion (in Steger, Dik and Duffy, 2012). In Steger’s research, he found that meaning was the only reliable predictor of absenteeism – not even job satisfaction was a better predictor.
But are we solely responsible for finding and creating meaning in our lives – or is that something our leaders can (or even should) help us with? For example, do leaders who have a sense of meaning in their work inspire better followership? Do people engaged in meaningful work respond more effectively to leadership? What is the imapct of transformational or charismatic leadership on individuals who place high importance on meaningful work?
These are just some of the many questions to ponder over, the first of which must be to clearly define meaning and meaning at work and how they differ.
“Styles change, times change, customs change, and tastes change – but human nature, never” G. Lynn Sumner 1957
His book “How I learned the secrets of success in advertising” is full of lessons as relevant today as when they were written.
Drayton Bird always attributes his success to study and growing up in a pub where he saw all of human nature from behind the bar.
David Ogilvy famously improved the Pearce Motor cars advertisment to create a brilliant advert for Rolls Royce.
Here is an example of one of the best direct mail letters ever and could this be the advert that they got the idea from written about 50 years before (approx 1915).
Drayton Bird writes that this sales letter for the Wall St Journal ran for 20 years pulling over 2million subscribers. The words are different, but the idea is the same.
And the lesson – keep learning and studying what has worked previously. Chances are it will work again.
Very pleased that my work with Cornerstone Barrristers is now award winning in the category of Best Rebrand of a Professional Services Firm at the Transform Awards last night.
Cornerstone Barristers news story here in full.
Last night, 19th March, Cornerstone Barristers’ excellence in rebranding was honoured at Communicate magazine’s Transform Awards 2013 held at The Brewery, London.
Cornerstone won a Bronze award in the category of “Best Rebrand in Professional Services” for its work with Thinkfarm Strategic Consultants and interim marketing director Crispin White. A category which had a record number of applicants this year.
Crispin White identified the need to review the positioning and branding of Cornerstone Barristers in order to support marketing to boost awareness of their capabilities, experience and areas of focus.Thinkfarm was asked to develop strategic positioning, messaging and refresh the brand identity to ensure it supported the brand story.
Google is very clear: nothing will ever beat good relevant content published on a regular basis.
But you do have to get the basics right to help build your site and publish your content in a way that allows the search engines to index you correctly.
There are lots of new and exciting tools for helping get your website in order for SEO purposes. I have tried several recently and WooRank is one that I found particularly useful. I like the way the data is displayed and clear action points are given.
You can try WooRank out here.
Ads Worth Spreading is TED’s initiative to recognize and reward innovation, ingenuity and intelligence in advertising — the ads that people want to see, and share with their friends.
An ad worth spreading is a short way of communicating an idea. The ad can be as long as it takes to communicate the idea powerfully, up to five minutes, whether that’s through state of-the-art animation, lush imagery or an individual talking directly to the camera. What matters is the “a-ha” moment, the central idea.
Here is one of the winners: Dumb ways to Die
The full list is here.
Kelly Mcgonigal, PhD has produced a scientific, evidence based book on willpower which helps explain why most of us never stick to our new year resolutions. Her strategies are useful at an individual and organisational level.
1. Forgive yourself - when you have a set back (in your diet, your exercise regime etc), instead of beating yourself up and letting the whole diet slide (by having that second piece of cake), show some self compassion and forgive yourself – you’re less likely to repeat the indiscretion next time around. In the donut experiment, participants who were on a diet, were given a donut to eat followed by a large glass of water to make them feel uncomfortably full. Those participants who were told to not be so hard on themselves, it was just a donut afterall, etc etc, ate 40% less candy than the rest at stage two of the experiment. In a work environment this translates to picking people up after a mistake and providing encouragement.
2. Sleep – addicts on programmes who undertook 5 to 15 minutes of meditation a day and subsequently increased their sleeping by up to one hour per day (as a result of the meditation) had a lower incidence of relapse than others. Sleep or some other form of nourishment (being outside, listening to a favourite song, playing with a pet) refuels and recharges your body and this is critical to willpower as self control uses more brain energy than anything else. At work, are individuals encouraged to take breaks and exercise?
3. Find rewards - rehabilitation rates went from 23% to 83% on drug programmes when individuals were invited to put their hand in a fish bowl filled with raffle tickets as a reward for getting through another drug free week. 40% of the tickets said ‘well done’, others had vouchers for v. small amounts ($1) but even after realising this after the first week, the impact amongst participants didn’t diminish. We are programmed to seek reward – think of the impact on a sales programme using something as simple as this.
4. Bring acceptance to difficult situations – recognise that what you’re trying to do is tough and don’t wait until things might get better to change. For instance, the cravings for a cigarette will be there a long time during and after you start your ‘quit smoking’ campaign. Acknowledge that change is hard.
5. Plan to fail - When women were asked to write down the biggest obstacle each day to exercising and to say how they were going to spend their day not exercising, they were more likely to do the exercise. This feels counterintuitive but if you think of it, it is about getting individuals to articulate excuses. When it’s down on paper maybe it does look feeble and we should just go and do it.
Her link is here