February 2013

I’m reading Daniel Pink’s latest book To Sell Is Human.  After each chapter he offers some tips for applying what he presents.    Chapter 5 is on buoyancy.  A salesman Pink follows through the book describes his day as facing “an ocean of rejection.”

How to stay afloat amid that ocean of rejection is the second essential quality in moving others.  I call this quality “buoyancy.”

One of the qualities of buoyancy is positivity.  In the application section of chapter 5, Pink cites research done by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson.  She has developed a self-test to help a person determine their current positivity ratio.  I took the test this morning and my ratio was 1.17.  Her research suggests the ideal ratio is 3:1 so it appears I have some work to do.

She has identified 10 positive emotions (joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love).  According to her research these emotions are evidence of positivity.  How do we tap into those positive emotions?  She says the secret to improving one’s positivity ratio is “to lightly create the mindset of positive emotions.”  Click here for Dr. Fredrickson’s explanation of positivity ratio.

Count me a skeptic.  As an experiment I am going to focus on one of these emotions over the next 10 days and take the self-test every day.  If the research is accurate and I can use some of the other tips in Pink’s book my positivity ratio should increase.  Stay tuned.


The author of this article advocates for a paradigm for organizational learning which includes micro learning as a significant element.   Click here if you are not familiar with the term micro learning.

Even if you are not familiar with the term you might be surprised to hear that you already do it.  You check the weather on your smartphone.  You send a text message to your friend asking for fantasy football advice.  You follow blogs and check people’s status on Facebook.  While this is not formal learning it adds to your overall knowledge base.  If you need to know something, the answer can be found.  And found surprisingly fast.  As long as people share what they know, do, and think.


Image source: Shutterstock

Image source: Shutterstock

From an organizational learning perspective the challenge is taking the habits we have in our personal life and apply it to our professional life.  The foundation of micro learning is content provided in chunks that are small enough for rapid consumption while providing just enough information to be helpful. You could call this micro content.  Think of micro content as highly specialized information that is available at the time and place it is needed.  The author analogizes microlearning to eating.

[T]he most beneficial eating patterns include eating six small meals through the day as opposed to when the clock says to eat.  In other words, consume when needed.  There is a lot to be said for applying the same strategy to learning as to nutrition.  These analogies include:

  • Too much consumption at one time can be painful and stressful, and the value can be lost.
  • It is often wasteful.  Investments of time and expense may not satisfy the true need.
  • No one wants to clean up after a big meal.  It can be messy and exhausting to redo learning and restore order.

Manageable chunks enables personalization.   I’ve written about personalization here, here, and here.   Its personalized because you don’t need to spend hours reading and searching for information.  You get a short answer fast.  If you want to spend more time you can come back later and dig deeper.  Maybe check a book out from the library or watch a video.