“Why do people do stupid things in the workplace?” (Thomas Hoffman)

Thomas Hoffman, PhD. , PScience Associates

Steve Dorfman interviews Thomas Hoffman, PhD. Dr. Hoffman is a former NIH and FDA research scientist and author of over 100 biomedical and clinical research articles.

Here’s what we asked Dr. Hoffman:

  1. When we talk about “stupid” things in the workplace, can you give us some examples of what that might look like?
  2. You say that when it comes to neuroscience and psychology, we actually know very little about what causes these stupid behaviors.
  3. From time to time, we ALL do “stupid” things. What steps can we take to avoid this?
  4. How can we help our coworkers and employees be less “stupid?” Think/act intelligently?
  5. As a customer service trainer, I see this kind of thing all the time. Seemingly intelligent people acting unintelligently. (A server brews a fresh pot of coffee, bring you a cup several minutes later, and then you have to remind him that you’ll need cream, sugar and a spoon – why didn’t he bring those things to the table while the coffee was brewing?!)
  6. Here’s something else I tend to notice more than I wish I did: You’re a passenger in someone’s car, they do something “stupid” and then blame it on the driver of the other car. What the heck is that about?
  7. I think it’s fair to say that procrastination is stupid. How does procrastination fit into all of this?
  8. How does our MOOD affect all of this?
  9. For the first time ever, we have four generations in the workplace. What observations or findings can you share about generational differences?
  10. Sometimes an employee can have a brilliant idea/plan for their company but not be able to express it intelligently. What’s at play here?
  11. What about working in groups/teams? Do we become smarter or stupider?
  12. What should an employer do when their employee seems to be a repeat offender when it comes to stupidity? What steps should they take?
  13. We have 1/20th the number of daily human interactions as compared to just 25 years ago. Is this time of technology-overdose making us more stupid?
  14. You say bartenders shouldn’t take away empty glasses…
  15. Tell us about your work with “High Performance Teams.”
  16. Tips on attracting and retaining a remarkable staff?

“Understanding Resistance” (Victoria Grady)

Dr. Victoria Grady is the author of The Pivot Point: Success in Organizational Change. She is also President and Principal Consultant at PivotPoint Business Solutions and Assistant Professorial Lecturer at George Washington University. In this enlightening interview, we learn what’s really behind what we think of as our “resistance to change.”

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Here’s what we asked Dr. Grady:

  1. You say, “Resistance to change … isn’t about resistance at all.” How do you mean?
  2. Change = Growth:  Are we hardwired to require change?
  3. Do people deal with change in stages? Is there a process?
  4. …is there any way to speed up that process?
  5. What pitfalls must be avoided in any change initiative?
  6. You write about attachment… How does attachment fit into all of this?
  7. How can we have change affect morale in a positive way?
  8. Who has cracked the code on all of this; gotten it right?
  9. How can we best learn from having gone though major change?
  10. Help us understand what you call, “LOE: Loss of Effectiveness”
  11. Should we expect / prepare for conflict? How do we prepare?
  12. In “Do the Work” Steven Pressfield personifies the resistance we all experience when confronted with change.  How aware are most people of their somewhat “built in” push back when confronted with changes in either life or business
  13. Do we tend to validate our issues with other coworkers to justify our feelings?
  14. What tactics do you suggest to teach people to try and think individually before jumping into generalized opinions..
  15. Can you define the characters in large companies and how they react to big (or at least perceived large changes in organizations)?
  16. How do ego and contributing to the overall cause of a company interact?

“What You Don’t Know You Know: Our Hidden Motives in Life, Business and Everything Else” (Ken Eisold, Ph.D)

“What You Don’t Know You Know: Our Hidden Motives in Life, Business and Everything Else”

Ken Eisold, Ph.D, (author of What You Don’t Know You Know) joins us to discuss the unconscious mind, awareness and strategy.

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Here’s what we asked Dr. Eisold:

  1. When did we really start paying attention to the unconscious mind?
  2. How has our grasp of the unconscious evolved over time?
  3. You talk about something called “The New Unconscious?”
  4. Do we have more than the 5 senses we learned about as children?
  5. What about these BELIEFS & ASSUMPTIONS we don’t know we have?
  6. What do we THINK we’re motivated by … what are we ACTUALLY motivated by?
  7. How can we begin to leverage all of this in the workplace?
  8. How much of what we do is based upon logic vs. emotion?
  9. How can we bring cohesiveness between departments, at work?
  10. You say there’s often a mismatch between intentions & actions?
  11. For anyone who thinks this stuff is too “woo-woo,” is there a simple exercise one can do to shift their uncertainty?
  12. These “hidden motives”, are they unlearned as we grow from child to adult?  Are we trained to tune out or “dumb down” these clues?
  13. What clues do we look for in assessing ourselves in our business life in terms of our effectiveness to achieve our goals? and how far back do we look to better understand if our goals are really accurate?
  14. How can business owners avoid disappointment in their career during their later years and make sure that they are on track to “true happiness” earlier in the journey?
  15. What kind of “micro corrections” can we make on a smaller scale to match up our actions to our true motives?