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7 Secrets to Getting on a Corporate Board
- "As corporate boards are opening themselves up to more diverse slates of director candidates, there is a window of opportunity for those seeking to get on a board," says Susan Stautberg, CEO and co-founder of WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD) and a co-author of the new book, Women on Board: Insider Secrets to Getting on a Board and Succeeding as a Director.
"CEOs are normally limited to serving on one outside board, so companies are casting a wider net," says her co-author, Nancy Calderon, Global Lead Partner at KPMG LLP and board member of KPMG's Global Delivery Center Ltd in India.
1. Meeting what the market demands 2. Highlight your global know-how 3. Build a more "board-able" CV 4. Leverage a background outside the traditional C-suite 5. Become a visible industry leader 6. Find both mentors and sponsors 7. Start small.
Self-affirmations may calm jitters and boost performance - When the stakes are high, people in positions of low power may perform better by using self-affirmations to boost their confidence. "Most people have experienced a time in their lives when they aren't performing up to their potential. They take a test or have a performance review at work, but something holds them back," says lead researcher Sonia Kang, Ph.D. "Performance in these situations is closely related to how we are expected to behave." When participants were in a position of high power, they tended to perform better under pressure, while those with less power performed worse. Self-affirmations, however, helped to level the playing field and effectively reduced the power differences.
"You should reflect on things that you know are good about yourself," says Kang, an assistant professor of organizational behavior and human resource management at the University of Toronto. "Anyone has the potential to do really well. It's how you respond under pressure that makes a key difference."
"Anytime you have low expectations for your performance, you tend to sink down and meet those low expectations," Kang says. "Self-affirmation is a way to neutralize that threat."
Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Neuropsychology: produce a significant improvement - Neuropsychologists have shown that even a brief sleep can significantly improve retention of learned material in memory. Newly learned information is effectively given a label, making it easier to recall that information at some later time. In short, a person's memory of something is stronger, the greater the number of sleep spindles appearing in the EEG. 'A short nap at the office or in school is enough to significantly improve learning success. Wherever people are in a learning environment, we should think seriously about the positive effects of sleep,' says Axel Mecklinger. Saarland University
Have a sense of purpose in life? Having a high sense of purpose in life may lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. The new analysis defined purpose in life as a sense of meaning and direction, and a feeling that life is worth living. Previous research has linked purpose to psychological health and well-being, but the new analysis found that a high sense of purpose is associated with a 23 percent reduction in death from all causes and a 19 percent reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, or the need for coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) or a cardiac stenting procedure. "Developing and refining your sense of purpose could protect your heart health and potentially save your life," says lead study author Randy Cohen, MD, a preventive cardiologist at Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai Roosevelt. "Our study shows there is a strong relationship between having a sense of purpose in life and protection from dying or having a cardiovascular event. As part of our overall health, each of us needs to ask ourselves the critical question of 'do I have a sense of purpose in my life?' If not, you need to work toward the important goal of obtaining one for your overall well-being." Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Leaders - Leaders of a group synchronize their brain activity with that of their followers during communication. Great leaders are often good communicators. In the process of communication, the relationship between leaders and their followers develops spontaneously according to new research from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig and the State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning and IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research in Beijing. When a member becomes the group leader, the leader's brain activity in the left temporo-parietal junction, known as representing others' mental states, begins to synchronize with that in the same area of their followers. The findings also suggest that interpersonal neural synchronization is more likely due to the communication skills of the leader and less likely due to how much they speak. Thus, in a group of peers, the individual who says the right things at the right time usually emerges as the leader. These findings also confirm the assumption that the quality, not the quantity, of communication determines who will emerge as leader of a group.
Outside CEOs could rejuvenate struggling businesses - CEOs hired from outside a company tend to spend more money on research and development, while CEOs hired from within are likely to make large, strategic acquisitions. According to the study, while 78 percent of new CEOs are selected from within the organization, internally and externally chosen CEOs execute different financial strategies that could be best-suited for companies with different needs. University of Missouri
Work site wellness centers - As employees and employers face higher health care costs, work site wellness are becoming increasingly more important to help control the costs of health care and encourage healthy lifestyle behaviors among the workforce. "A well-planned comprehensive wellness center can engage and retain members which can ultimately lead to important savings in health care costs and reductions in body mass index (BMI)," says lead researcher Bijan Borah, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery. Mayo Clinic. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Creative genius - The literary great Marcel Proust wore ear-stoppers because he was unable to filter out irrelevant noise -- and lined his bedroom with cork to attenuate sound. Research suggests why the inability to shut out competing sensory information while focusing on the creative project at hand might have been so acute for geniuses such as Proust, Franz Kafka, Charles Darwin, Anton Chekhov and many others. Northwestern University. Neuropsychologia
Workplace lifestyle intervention program improves health - Employees participating in the program lost weight and reduced their risk for diabetes and heart disease. University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Chance as a motivator - Can uncertainty motivate people to work harder? According to a new study, people will often put in more effort to obtain uncertain rewards. "When comparing the time, money, and effort people invest in order to qualify for either a certain or an uncertain reward, we find that the uncertain reward is more motivating than the certain reward, an effect we dubbed the motivating-uncertainty effect," write authors Luxi Shen (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Ayelet Fishbach, and Christopher K. Hsee (both University of Chicago Booth School of Business). Journal of Consumer Research
Change the way you think - Does your mind wander when performing monotonous, repetitive tasks? Of course! But daydreaming involves more than just beating back boredom. A wandering mind can impart a distinct cognitive advantage.
Scientists demonstrated how an external stimulus of low-level electricity can literally change the way we think, producing a measurable up-tick in the rate at which daydreams - or spontaneous, self-directed thoughts and associations - occur. Along the way, they made another surprising discovery: that while daydreams offer a welcome "mental escape" from boring tasks, they also have a positive, simultaneous effect on task performance. Bar-Ilan University, Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Trying to project an image of success? - "When consumers experience a psychological threat to how they would like to see themselves, buying products that signal accomplishment in the same area of their life could ironically cause them to dwell on their shortcomings. This can strip consumers of their mental resources and impair their self-control," write authors Monika Lisjak (Erasmus University), Andrea Bonezzi (New York University), Soo Kim (Cornell University), and Derek D. Rucker (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University).
"Consumption can sometimes compensate for our blunders and failures, but this doesn't always work. Consumers who use products to boost their sense of self-worth tend to dwell on their shortcomings and their ability to exert self-control is impaired. After experiencing a setback in one area of their life, consumers might be better off boosting their sense of self in a different area of their life. For example, a consumer whose intelligence is undermined might be better off signaling their self-worth socially rather than trying to assert their intelligence," the authors conclude.
Journal of Consumer Research.
Practice really does make perfect - Researchers have shown that follow-through - such as when swinging a golf club or tennis racket - can help us to learn two different skills at once, or to learn a single skill faster. The research provides new insight into the way tasks are learned, and could have implications for rehabilitation, such as re-learning motor skills following a stroke. University of Cambridge, University of Plymouth. Current Biology.
Cognitive training can improve brain performance - "Previous research has shown that growing up in poverty can shape the wiring and even physical dimensions of a young child's brain, with negative effects on language, learning and attention," said Dr. Jacquelyn Gamino, director of the Center for BrainHealth's Adolescent Reasoning Initiative and assistant research professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at The University of Texas at Dallas. "What this work shows is that there is hope for students in poverty to catch up with their peers not living in poverty." Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
Herd mentality: Are we programmed to make bad decisions? - A natural desire to be part of the 'in crowd' could damage our ability to make the right decisions. "The result is that groups evolve to be unresponsive to changes in their environment and spend too much time copying one another, and not making their own decisions," said Dr Colin Torney. University of Exeter, Princeton University, Sorbonne Universites, Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation. Royal Society journal Interface.
More progress than setbacks - People tend to believe good behaviors are more beneficial in reaching goals than bad behaviors are in obstructing goals. A dieter, for instance, might think refraining from eating ice cream helps his weight-management goal more than eating ice cream hurts it, overestimating movement toward versus away from his target. A lapse while working toward a goal, referred to as goal-inconsistent behavior, doesn't feel as damaging to the perpetrator and can be redeemed. Successes while working toward a goal, referred to as goal-consistent behavior, feel like big accomplishments. "Basically what our research shows is that people tend to accentuate the positive and downplay the negative when considering how they're doing in terms of goal pursuit," said Professor Margaret C. Campbell. University of Colorado at Boulder. Journal of Consumer Research.
Wealth, power or lack thereof at heart of many mental disorders - Researchers have linked inflated or deflated feelings of self-worth to such afflictions as bipolar disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, anxiety and depression, providing yet more evidence that the widening gulf between rich and poor can be bad for your health.
"We found that it is important to consider the motivation to pursue power, beliefs about how much power one has attained, pro-social and aggressive strategies for attaining power, and emotions related to attaining power," said Sheri Johnson, a UC Berkeley psychologist.
"People prone to depression or anxiety reported feeling little sense of pride in their accomplishments and little sense of power," Johnson said. "In contrast, people at risk for mania tended to report high levels of pride and an emphasis on the pursuit of power despite interpersonal costs." Studies have long established that feelings of powerlessness and helplessness weaken the immune system, making one more vulnerable to physical and mental ailments. Conversely, an inflated sense of power is among the behaviors associated with bipolar disorder and narcissistic personality disorder, which can be both personally and socially corrosive. University of California - Berkeley. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice.
Office stress? - When office stress increases, some employees may wait weeks or months before engaging in 'counterproductive work behaviors'. San Francisco State University. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.
Protect against cognitive impairment - Some people suffer incipient dementia as they get older. To make up for this loss, the brain's cognitive reserve is put to the test. Researchers have studied what factors can help to improve this ability and they conclude that having a higher level of vocabulary is one such factor. "This led us to the conclusion that a higher level of vocabulary, as a measure of cognitive reserve, can protect against cognitive impairment," said Cristina Lojo Seoane. University of Santiago de Compostela. FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. Anales de Psicología (Annals of Psychology).
Boost mental performance -
Engaging brain areas linked to so-called “off-task” mental activities (such as mind-wandering and reminiscing) can actually boost performance on some challenging mental tasks.
Cornell University neuroscientist Nathan Spreng. Journal of Neuroscience.
Personality influences career success - "Our study shows that it is not only your own personality that influences the experiences that lead to greater occupational success, but that your spouse's personality matters too," said Joshua Jackson, PhD, assistant professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences. Although we marry "for better for worse, for richer for poorer," this study demonstrates that the personality traits of the spouse we choose may play a role in determining whether our chosen career makes us richer or poorer. Washington University in St. Louis. Psychological Science.
Experiences make you happier - To get the most enjoyment out of our dollar, science tells us to focus our discretionary spending on experiences such as travel over material goods. A study shows that the enjoyment we derive from experiential purchases may begin even before we buy. Cornell University. Psychological Science.
Enjoying the possibility of defeat - Winning isn't everything, and in fact can even be a bit boring. Some people actually enjoy a game of tennis or poker more if their mettle is tested by a strong opponent – regardless of the outcome. It's the suspense and uncertainty of a close game that often brings them back for more. Istanbul Sehir University. Motivation and Emotion.
Personal setbacks: Do you bounce back or give up? - Sometimes when people get upsetting news – such as a failing exam grade or a negative job review – they decide instantly to do better the next time. In other situations that are equally disappointing, the same people may feel inclined to just give up. How can similar setbacks produce such different reactions? It may come down to how much control we feel we have over what happened. Rutgers University. Neuron.
Part of the brain stays 'youthful' into older age - At least one part of the human brain may be able to process information the same way in older age as it does in the prime of life. "Our studies have found that older and younger adults perform in a similar way on a range of visual and non-visual tasks that measure spatial attention," says Dr Joanna Brooks, who conducted the study as a Visiting Research Fellow with the University of Adelaide's School of Psychology and the School of Medicine. 12th International Cognitive Neuroscience Conference.
“Moral victories” might spare you from losing again -
It's human nature to hate losing. Unfortunately, it’s also human nature to overreact to a loss, potentially abandoning a solid strategy and thus increasing your chances of losing the next time around.
Brigham Young University. Management Science.
How you cope with stress - “Our study is among the first to show that it’s not the number of stressors, but your reaction to them that determines the likelihood of experiencing insomnia,” said lead author Vivek Pillai, PhD, research fellow at the Sleep Disorders & Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. “While a stressful event can lead to a bad night of sleep, it’s what you do in response to stress that can be the difference between a few bad nights and chronic insomnia.” The study identified potential targets for therapeutic interventions to improve coping responses to stress and reduce the risk of insomnia. In particular, they noted that mindfulness-based therapies have shown considerable promise in suppressing cognitive intrusion and improving sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Sleep.
Too much talent -
As the FIFA World Cup kicks off and the NBA finals "heat" up, new research suggests that there is such a thing as having too much talent on a sports team. The research indicates that, after a certain point, the addition of more superstar talent to a team can actually be detrimental, resulting in poorer team performance.
"Like sports teams, teams in organizations vary in their levels of interdependence. When team success merely depends on the accumulation of individual performance (e.g. sales teams), hiring and staffing could simply focus on getting the most talented individuals on board," Swaab explains.
INSEAD Professor Roderick Swaab. Psychological Science.
Get groups more fired up for team work - Chairs provide great support during long meetings, but they may also be holding us back. Standing during meetings boosts the excitement around creative group processes and reduces people's tendency to defend their turf, according to a study that used wearable sensors. Get Up, Stand Up: The Effects of a Non-Sedentary Workspace on Information Elaboration and Group Performance, by Andrew P. Knight and Markus Baer. Social Psychological and Personality Science.
A Sense of Purpose May Add Years to Your Life - Feeling that you have a sense of purpose in life may help you live longer, no matter what your age. Patrick Hill: “Our findings point to the fact that finding a direction for life, and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve can help you actually live longer, regardless of when you find your purpose,” says Hill. “So the earlier someone comes to a direction for life, the earlier these protective effects may be able to occur.” Patrick Hill of Carleton University in Canada and Nicholas Turiano of the University of Rochester Medical Center. Psychological Science.
Spontaneous thoughts - Spontaneous thoughts, intuitions, dreams and quick impressions. We all have these seemingly random thoughts popping into our minds on a daily basis. The question is what do we make of these unplanned, spur-of-the-moment thoughts? Do we view them as coincidental wanderings of a restless mind, or as revealing meaningful insight into ourselves? Spontaneous thoughts are perceived to provide potent self-insight and can influence judgment and decisions more than similar, more deliberate kinds of thinking – even on important topics such as commitment to current romantic partners. Carnegie Mellon University and Harvard Business School. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
Women's empowerment and Olympic success - New research shows that nations with greater women's empowerment win more medals and send more athletes to the Summer Olympics. Grand Valley State University. Journal of Sports Economics.
Success breeds success - Success really does breed success - up to a point. It has been observed that similar people experience divergent success trajectories, with some repeatedly succeeding and others repeatedly failing. Some suggest initial success can catalyse further achievements, creating a positive feedback loop, while others attribute a string of successes to inherent talent. To test these views the researchers conducted four experiments. Dr Soong Moon Kang (University College London Management Science & Innovation, UK). Dr Arnout van de Rijt (Institute for Advanced Computational Science, Stony Brook University, USA).
Accurate decision-making - Princeton University researchers report that smaller groups tend to make more accurate decisions while larger assemblies may become excessively focused on only certain pieces of information. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Interest and Success - Maintaining an interest in the goals you pursue can improve your work and reduce burnout. "Our research shows that interest is important in the process of pursuing goals. It allows us to perform at high levels without wearing out," said Paul O'Keefe, who conducted the studies as a doctoral student in Duke University's Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, along with associate professor Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia. The studies suggest that if people experience activities as both enjoyable and personally significant - two important components of interest - their chance of success increases. Paul A. O'Keefe, Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia, Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Duke University. "The Role of Interest in Optimizing Performance and Self-Regulation." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
Benefiting from creative activity - Creative pursuits away from work seem to have a direct effect on factors such as creative problem solving and helping others while on the job, said Kevin Eschleman, an assistant professor of psychology. "A lot of organizations carve time out where they talk about physical heath and exercise and eating habits, but they can also include in that a discussion of mental health and the importance of recovery and creative activity," he said. San Francisco State University. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.
Procrastination and impulsivity are genetically linked, suggesting that the two traits stem from similar evolutionary
origins. The research indicates that the traits are related to our ability to successfully pursue and juggle
Mentally challenging jobs may keep your mind sharp - A mentally demanding job may stress you out but can provide important benefits after you retire. "Our study suggests that certain kinds of challenging jobs have the potential to enhance and protect workers' mental functioning in later life," said Gwenith Fisher, a faculty associate at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and assistant professor of psychology at Colorado State University. University of Michigan. Occupational Health Psychology.
Difference between winning and losing - "The goal of the program is to train the brain to better respond to the inputs that it gets from the eye," Aaron Seitz says. "As with most other aspects of our function, our potential is greater than our normative level of performance. When we go to the gym and exercise, we are able to increase our physical fitness; it's the same thing with the brain. By exercising our mental processes we can promote our mental fitness." ... "Understanding the rules of brain plasticity unlocks great potential for improvement of health and wellbeing," Seitz says. University of California, Riverside. Current Biology.
Feeling 'in control' can help you live longer - People who feel in control and believe they can achieve goals despite hardships are more likely to live longer and healthier lives. Brandeis University and University of Rochester. Health Psychology.
Training your brain using neurofeedback - A new brain-imaging technique enables people to "watch" their own brain activity in real time and to control or adjust function in predetermined brain regions. The study demonstrates that magnetoencephalography can be used as a potential therapeutic tool to control and train specific targeted brain regions. This advanced brain-imaging technology has important clinical applications for numerous neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions. McGill University. Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. Neuro, NeuroImage.
Enjoy Life - People who enjoy life maintain better physical function in daily activities and keep up faster walking speeds as they age, compared with people who enjoy life less. Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Problem-solving success -
"We thought at first it would be better to have innovators around you," said IU cognitive scientist Robert Goldstone, professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington. "But in our experiments, if people are surrounded by imitators, they actually do better."
"Social Learning Strategies in Networked Groups" Cognitive Science. Indiana University.
In the blink of an eye - Imagine seeing a dozen pictures flash by in a fraction of a second. You might think it would be impossible to identify any images you see for such a short time. However, a team of neuroscientists from MIT has found that the human brain can process entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics.
Health and wealth connected? - We ring in the new year with hopes of being healthy, wealthy, and wise. A new study led by SDSU professor John Ayers suggests that from a public health standpoint, health and wealth may be connected. San Diego State University. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
How stories may change the brain -
“Stories shape our lives and in some cases help define a person,” says neuroscientist Gregory Berns, lead author of the study and the director of Emory’s Center for Neuropolicy.
Self-worth boosts ability to overcome poverty -
For people in poverty, remembering better times - such as past success -
improves brain functioning by several IQ points and increases their willingness to seek help from crucial
Goals affect feelings of pride and shame after success and failure -
According to researchers at Penn State and Australia's Central Queensland University, a person's goals at the outset of a competence-based task, such as a sporting event, can influence how much shame or pride he or she feels upon completion of the task. Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology.
Wellbeing at Work ... -
Research reveals positive aspects of working life – such as high levels of control at work, good support from supervisors and colleagues, and feeling cared for – support higher levels of wellbeing among workers.
Queen Mary University of London.
Creativity ... -
Researchers have created a test that measures a person’s creativity from spoken words.
Neuroscientist Jeremy Gray is an associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Program. Co-researchers are Ranjani Prabhakaran from the National Institute of Mental Health and Adam Green from Georgetown University.
Neuroscientists discover new 'mini-neural computer' in the brain
Dendrites, the branch-like projections of neurons, were once thought to be passive wiring in the brain. But now researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have shown that these dendrites do more than relay information from one neuron to the next. They actively process information, multiplying the brain's computing power.
Mercedes-Benz Becomes Global Sponsor -
Billy Payne, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, announced that Mercedes-Benz will enter into a new worldwide partnership with the Masters, beginning at the 2014 Tournament. Having been an International Partner of the Masters since 2008, Mercedes-Benz will now become a Global Sponsor, joining AT&T and IBM.
Self-affirmation improves problem-solving under stress -
It's no secret that stress increases your susceptibility to health problems, and it also impacts your ability to solve problems and be creative. But methods to prevent associated risks and effects have been less clear – until now.
Distance may be key in successful
Adding physical distance between people during negotiations may lead to more mutually beneficial outcomes, according to new research from The University of Texas at Austin.
Powerful Postures -
According to research from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, posture plays an important role in determining whether people act as though they are really in charge. The research finds that “posture expansiveness,” or positioning oneself in a way that opens up the body and takes up space, activates a sense of power that produces behavioral changes in a person independent of their actual rank or hierarchical role in an organization.
Coaching with compassion can 'light up' human thoughts - Researchers at Case Western Reserve University used an fMRI to document reactions in the human brain to compassionate and critical coaching methods. Students tended to activate areas of the brain associated with openness to learning when working with coaches who inspired them. Students tended to shut down when coaches were perceived as judgmental. Case Western Reserve University
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