The National Learning Institute

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Customer meeting

Can a “face” make a difference?

June 2, 2014 No Comments


Andrew O’Keeffe ©2014

To lift motivation and performance of a team, put a face to their task – have them meet someone who benefits from their work.

Humans are a face-reading species and as the truism tells us, there’s nothing like putting a face to a name. Once we have met someone we have greater empathy.

It’s not surprising that the science confirms significant impact on job motivation and performance if people who don’t usually meet their clients do so.

Best managers

The Secret to Appointing the Best Managers

March 31, 2014 No Comments

Andrew O’Keeffe ©2014

One of the most important decisions organisations make is who to appoint as a manager. It’s not surprising for a social species that the leader of a group of humans plays a key role in team engagement and output. Our track record in manager appointments tends not to be good, and we could significantly improve our hit rate by using one lever. We could move the power of the decision from above and pass it into the hands of the followers.

Too many jams

Are we spoilt for choice? Too many jams!

March 3, 2014 No Comments

Andrew O’Keeffe ©2014

Over the January holidays my wife and I dined with a friend at a fine-dining restaurant. At the early stage of ordering our meals there was so much choice we had trouble deciding. First we were presented with three menus (a la carte, degustation and “future concepts”) and in turn on the a la carte menu there were an incredible number of choices. The three of us struggled to choose!

While choice is a good thing, maybe we can have too much. The subject goes to human motivation and has implications in our dealings with customers and staff.

Bonell Family

Does team size matter?

February 3, 2014 No Comments

By Andrew O’Keeffe ©2014 Hardwired Humans

Jeni and Ray Bonell live in the Australian city of Toowoomba. They are parents to a family of 15 children! Instinctively we know that’s an awfully big family – it’s clearly outside the normal size of a human family. We immediately wonder how they cope. The same question applies to workplace managers asked to manage teams of that size. How can they possibly cope? The short answer is managers can’t as the group size is beyond human tolerance.

The Bonells have a chance of functioning because in their case they are kin. But managers in workplaces aren’t generally managing kin. In abnormally large work teams team members get “lost”, the team fractures into sub-groups, and engagement and productivity suffer.

Two recent studies provide insight into our nature and the implications of team size.