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The Halo Effect Writ Large

2015 November 10
by Prosperos World

Interviewing Skills 101 instills the need to look beyond the stereotypes you might have in your head about someone, looking past the weedy handshake or the really smart outfit to see the person beyond.  It’s too easy to spot the school that someone went to, or that someone likes ballet, line dancing or a mosh pit and make a set of assumptions about them.

Canon took a group of photographers and asked them to capture the essence of a subject in a single portrait.  They made some truly spectacular photographs, each capturing exactly what they saw in the person in front of them.  They’d each been given a little information about their subject, one photographed a self-made millionaire, another a fisherman, one got an ex-con, another a recovering alcoholic.  Here’s what they came up with …

What would your portraits of your team look like? What would their photograph of you convey?

Why This Week Matters In Pay Equality

2015 November 2
by Prosperos World

This week the USA has reached pay equality this week.  Perhaps not in the way you hoped, but this week everyone will be staring work knowing that since January 1 2014, they’ve earned as much as a white non-hispanic male earned between January 1 and December 31 2014.  OK, so it’s taken Latina women an extra 10 months of work to get there, and white males will of course have those extra 10 months of salary to celebrate with.

We do hear about average pay gaps between men and women quite often, but sometimes the gaps in pay equality that are seen between races get forgotten.  This handy chart shows how far into 2015 female Americans had to work to match white male earnings, broken down by race.

Pay Gap


How does your organisation stack up on equal pay?

If anyone has a similar chart for Europe/EU/UK gaps, we’d be interested to see how it compares.


A New Turn Of Phrase

2015 October 16
by Prosperos World

An international group of participants were having fun with English idioms this week, then began sharing some of the more interesting turns of phrase from their own languages. A fair few of these transliterations got an airing, though in being translated back and forth “feeding the circus monkeys sponge cake” was our favourite mashup …
Idioms of the WorldSource – HotelClub

Would Your Organisation Survive Photoshopping?

2015 October 14
by Prosperos World

After the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January this year, world leaders gathered to march in support of freedom of speech.  One small Israeli news sheet, HaMevaser, opted to Photoshop out the female leaders in its photo of the scene to avoid offending its readers. It was initially hard to tell, but close inspection showed some really shoddy digital artistry skills.  In response a tiny news service Ireland Photoshopped out the men which left very little in the picture.

Elle have put together a little montage of photos with and without men in power.  What would your organisation look like if it was Photoshopped in the same way (other photo manipulation software is available!)?

How A Complex City Gets Built

2015 September 15
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Detroit started life as a fur trapping town on the edge of the river on the Great Lakes.  Farms grew up around it, so when more people came to live there expansion along old trading routes wasn’t always easy.  This delightful old film explains the mess of roads in the city as city planners fought with land owners to create a city that cars could love.

Look out for how Henry Ford’s own city within a city creates its own diversions, and how wealthier residents deliberately built meandering streets to discourage people from driving through.


The Most Dangerous Time Of Year

2015 September 8
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by Prosperos World

We’ve made it through the most dangerous time of the year.  We’ve welcomed plenty of new people into the workplace, people who are fresh out of education and raring to go.  It’s great to see the enthusiasm with which new people are taking on projects.

In medicine there’s a noticeable blip as new, less experienced doctors take over in July from their colleagues who have one year of hard won experience behind them, it’s often the same with new graduate schemes, with mistakes being repeated year on year.

This graph from Simon Wardley made us chuckle as we looked back on how much we used to know before we learned new things:

Knowledge Graph


Why Focus Is Important

2015 August 8
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by Prosperos World

Focus Creativity gets a bad name because creative thinkers tend to provide good ideas on all problems except the ones they have actually been asked to think about.  This happens for two reasons:

  1. The idea that simply messing about will hopefully produce a new idea
  2. Focus is insufficiently emphasised

Focus Is One Of Three Disciplines

  1. Discipline of focus: being very clear as to what you are thinking about
  2. Discipline of technique: knowing exactly what you are trying to do at any one moment
  3. Discipline of time: setting time guidelines


It’s time to get focused.



Business Beach Reads 2015

2015 July 23
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Some people love to relax on holiday, taking time to smell the roses (or the Ambre Solaire) and forget all the work worries.  Other people hate the idea of relaxing, but can tolerate slowing down just enough to read some business books and get some inspiration on vacation.  If you’re the sort of person who hides a copy of The Economist inside a lifestyle, fashion or sports magazine to fake relaxation, then here’s some ideas for your Kindle this summer:

The Misfit Economy

Misfit Economy Ever felt like you didn’t really fit in?  Ever sat staring out at the ocean, or down from a skyscraper, wondering how you would cope with life as a pirate, drug runner or people trafficker?  Our advice is that you should never try those career options, but do think about what you could learn from them.

How can someone with no educational advantages set up and run a successful crime cartel, organising networks of people, ensuring a motivated workforce, forging deals across international boundaries, and keeping law enforcement off their trail?  The Misfit Economy explores what can be learned from what the authors euphemistically call “informal entrepreneurs”, it turns out, there’s quite a lot.


Winners: And How They Succeed

Winners We’ll resist the easy snark that comes from a segue from gangsters to Alistair Campbell, and look instead at why Campbell has something interesting to say about winning.  As someone who has had his fair share of lows, he knows the difference between winning and losing.  Having had a successful career in politics, training in journalism, and a passion for sports, he has great contacts and knows how to talk to them about success.

There’s more than a hint of failure in the book, but the “winners” responses to failure may just be what makes them successful in life.  An easy read, with a few political anecdotes thrown in for fun, this is a good wind-down book to ease you into your holiday.


A Curious Mind: The Secret To A Bigger Life

Curious Mind You may never have heard of Brian Grazer, but you will have heard of films and TV shows he’s produced.  He counts A Beautiful Mind, Splash, Apollo 13, Arrested Development and 8 Mile among his successes.  A curious mix of films from a curious man.

He attributes much of his success to his curiosity, making time every week to talk to interesting strangers and people who have a different world view and a different set of talents to his own.  Rather than only hanging out with movie types, gaining a deeper understanding of his industry, he recommends getting out there and learning about other lives.

You could read this book and learn something, or head out of your hotel and go to a gallery or museum, take a stroll through a local market or go talk to strangers in a cafe.  Your choice.



What 8 Years Of Practice Looks Like In 6 Minutes

2015 July 22
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by Prosperos World

What are you practicing?

You’re Gonna Sell More … Tommorrow

2015 July 3
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by Prosperos World

Sorrento Go ahead and sing along, just like Annie, and the sun will come out tomorrow.  Or maybe it won’t.  It doesn’t really matter to your sales results (unless you’re in the ice cream business).  What does matter is you and your cheerful belief that it will.

There are certain professions where people just seem to naturally know how to make you pay more, and do it gladly, wait staff in restaurants are a great study in how people react.  The feedback is fairly straightforward, servers who do a great job get bigger tips.  It’s easy to observe and to do the maths.

If restaurant staff can use simple ways to quickly build rapport, improve the customer experience and up “wallet share” then how do they do it, and how can other sales people learn from them?

Use names: It can seem odd to a European that a waitperson introduces themselves by name, but they do it because it improves tips.  Tips go up even further if they use your name too, so if you book a table, the smart employee will use your booking information to call you by name.  Using names builds rapport (even though many waitresses use fake ones) so make sure you’re using your customers’ names in meetings.

Use eye contact: Many servers will squat down to eye level to make better eye contact with you.  It puts them on the same level as you, making it easier to connect.  Fortunately most sales people can achieve eye contact across a table or desk, but do aim to sit at 45 or 90 degrees to your customer rather than directly across a desk.

Compliment them: Sometimes you’ll hear a waitperson declare “great choice”, they do this whether you’ve ordered the fresh caught local fish, the bacon double cheese burger or the egg white omelette with kale juice.  It may or may not be a good choice, and let’s face it, you secretly know that some of your choices aren’t great, or that the server doesn’t really think you’re brilliant for ordering the sauce on the side and penne instead of linguine, but waitstaff who say “great choice” get better tips because their customers feel better about themselves.  Be positive about your customers questions, concerns and choices and you’ll sell more.

Be positive about tomorrow:  Here’s an odd fact.  If your waiter or waitress suggests that the weather will be better tomorrow, then on average, they’ll get more tips than when they don’t say that, or when they say the weather is getting worse.   We’re not suggesting you mention the weather in every meeting, or that you tell bare faced lies about how great some upcoming event will be, but maintaining a positive outlook about the future, and speaking positively about future interactions will help your customer to feel positive and to view you and your company as people who will be around for the future.

All together now … the sales will come out, tomorrow.

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