Learned Optimism 101
Beliefs impact outcomes
Having a positive set of beliefs and attitudes as an individual and as a team member is a key aspect of Bioteams. I was particularly impressed by Seligman's work on Learned Optimism and referred to it both in The Bioteaming Manifesto and The Bioteams book.
Learned Optimism in a paragraph
Seligman characterises the three main differences between pessimists and optimists in terms of how they rationalise "set-backs":
- Permanence: Optimists point to specific temporary causes for negative events; pessimists point to permanent causes.
- Pervasiveness: Optimistic people compartmentalize helplessness, whereas pessimistic people assume that failure in one area of life means failure in life as a whole.
- Personalization: Optimists blame bad events on causes outside of themselves, whereas pessimists blame themselves for events that occur.
Learned Optimism in a single sentence!
The optimist's outlook on failure is "What happened was unlucky (not personal), a temporary setback (not permanent) and just for one of my goals (not pervasive)".
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
Here is a short self-assessment questionnaire from Stanford University which you can take to see your scores in terms of Permanence, Pervasiveness and Personalization and your overall score.
Applying Learned optimism in business
Learned Optimism has many applications in health and in sports and there are also some interesting papers applying Learned Optimism to business, for example, Applying Learned Optimism to Increase Sales Productivity by Peter Schulman
Checkout The Book
Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
About Ken ThompsonKen Thompson delivers keynote conference speeches, workshop facilitation and in-house consultancy in four key business areas:
- Creating High Performing Teams in enterprises including Virtual and Mobile Teams (based on the Bioteams Book)
- Establishing effective Collaborative Business Networks enabling companies to co-operate effectively in areas such as sales and product development (based on the book - The Networked Enterprise)
- How to use the latest social media technologies including blogging and online communities to promote enterprises, brand, organisation or event
- Development of graphical on-line interactive Business Dashboards and What-if Simulators for organisations to support Performance Improvement, Strategy Development and Executive Team Development.
Bioteams Books Reviews
Humans and animals do not need complete information to act; they can operate on various clues provided there is a sufficient context. Organizational teams can also use this thin slicing technique in conjunction with short messaging to enhance their performance. Malcolm Gladwell’s introspective book Blink digs deep into the abyss of human cognition to illustrate the human ability to think at a subconscious level. The idea of thin slicing is used where one is introduced to only a few snippets of information which lead to a series of conclusions based on moments of rapid cognition – an ability claimed to be intrinsically dormant in most humans. By bioteams guest author Max Bhanabhai.