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Copyright © 2006 The National Learning InstituteThese articles may be freely published electronically. They may be reprinted for individual use in hard copy but may not be reprinted in hard copy for commercial purposes.

Olympic Gold

Winning Gold – One wonders ???

August 31, 2016 No Comments

Andrew O’Keeffe ©2016

At the Olympics, bronze medals seem to bring more joy to their recipient than do silver medals! At a rational level that doesn’t make sense, given the silver medallist beat the bronze medalist. But emotionally it’s a whole different ball game. From a psychological perspective it does make sense.

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Matrix Structures are unnatural – so why persist?

April 4, 2016 No Comments

Andrew O’Keeffe ©2016

When we point to a common workplace frustration we are probably pointing to a behaviour explained by human instincts. In organisations that have a matrix reporting structure, people generally experience frustration with the system. Human instincts helps to explain the issue and to identify solutions.

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What are the attributes of a good leader?

March 2, 2016 No Comments

Andrew O’Keeffe ©2016

The Maasai culture in East Africa has endured for centuries. What are the key elements of their approach to leadership and what can workplace leaders learn from their approach?

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Leadership and perspective

Power and Perspective – What’s Yours?

February 3, 2016 No Comments

Andrew O’Keeffe ©2016

As we rise to more powerful roles there are a number of blind spots that come with that acquisition of power. If we know the blind spots we can choose to avoid them and be more effective as leaders.    How might this relate to leaders?

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Rugby World Cup

Managing Change – Coming From Behind

November 3, 2015 No Comments

Andrew O’Keeffe ©2015

About a month ago, Sydney hosted the grand final of the National Rugby League. At half time in a close game, the North Queensland Cowboys were down 12-14 to the Brisbane Broncos. As the teams ran back onto the field after half-time, I said to Jude, my wife, “Given ‘loss aversion’, the Cowboys win it from here!” The Cowboys did come from behind and won in a thriller. Why did this happen?

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Accents in team work

Can accents affect team work?

October 6, 2015 No Comments

Andrew O’Keeffe ©2015

Humans aren’t the only species that speak with an accent. Chimpanzees do as well – and for the same reason. Accents help signal group membership and identifies whether an individual is “one of us” versus “one of them”.   How might this relate to our teams?

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Leadership Threats

How To Lead People With Threats

July 14, 2015 No Comments

Andrew O’Keeffe ©2015

With our mammalian brain our behaviour is continuously influenced by a complex interplay of chemicals. These chemicals, or neurotransmitters, are below our consciousness and are triggered by our emotional responses to events. The chemical spurts are related to our brain seeking rewards and avoiding pain.

It’s handy for leaders to know about the neuroscience of our behaviours. It adds to your toolkit of understanding and helps you make good choices in your leadership of other people, as well as self-regulation of your own behaviour.

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The Power of Story

April 8, 2015 No Comments

Andrew O’Keeffe ©2015

A few years ago I was being interviewed on radio. I was sitting at home in Sydney and the host was on the phone from regional Western Australia. We were talking about leadership and instincts as part of my book promotion campaign. Unfortunately, in the middle of the interview, part-way through a story I was telling, the phone-line dropped out.

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Group Think

Group Think is Alive and Well

March 23, 2015 No Comments

Andrew O’Keeffe ©2015

How groups make decisions is a key part of human living. “Group think” is alive and well. If we know the dangers in group think then we can take steps to avoid the traps.

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Feedback Sandwich

Why The Feedback Sandwich Does Not Work

December 16, 2014 No Comments


Andrew O’Keeffe ©2014

The ‘feedback sandwich’ might be a good idea in theory…BUT… for humans it doesn’t work.

The sandwich refers to an approach to giving negative feedback from a manager to a staff member. The sandwich metaphor refers to the negative feedback being placed between two positives; start with a positive, go to the negative and then end with another positive.

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