The Science of Bad Decisions and How You Can Avoid Making Them Arielle | April 6th, 2016

choices

If you’ve recently made a bad decision (or a baker’s dozen of them), you are not alone. Not a single person is immune from making bad decisions.

Humans make mistakes. Let’s face it, even though we often deny it, we have inherently imperfect judgement. Anxiety, stress and fear can easily distort our choices. In fact, in the competitive and strenuous world of small businesses and startups, it’s much too easy to make bad decisions. Often, we don’t even know whether the decision we are making is good or bad. This is because the aggregate total of the decisions we make throughout the day impacts our ability to clearly see the upsides and downsides of some of the decisions we must make. Plainly put: the more decisions we must make, the more likely we’ll make bad decisions.

Realistically, not all bad decisions end up being detrimental and crazy, but it is in our best interest to make smarter decisions. After all, we don’t always learn from our mistakes.

With such high stakes, why aren’t people more careful and make smarter decisions?

A recent study, Decision Fatigue Exhausts Self-Regulatory Resources — But So Does Accommodating to Unchosen Alternatives,  highlights the importance of being selective when making decisions.

In five studies, participants who made a series of choices regarding consumer products, college courses, or course materials subsequently showed poorer self-regulation (measured in terms of task persistence, task performance, and pain tolerance), as compared to people who viewed or rated similar options without making choices.

Essentially, the researchers confirmed that the more choices, or decisions people had to make in a short amount of time, the worse their future decision-making and general productivity became.

 

Blogger James Clear echoes these sentiments in a blog post for his blog where he explores several case studies on this subject:

In fact, you may be surprised just how much small daily decisions impact the willpower you have for important choices. And most importantly, it turns out there are simple choices you can make that will help you master your willpower and make better decisions on a more consistent basis.

Clear uses the analogy of willpower in decision making to be similar to a muscle – too much use and it will become very tired and have difficulty recovering, but too little use and it will be rusty and out of shape. He suggests that when the decision-making muscle gets tired, we are more likely to make bad decisions, just as a fatigued muscle is more prone to injury than a healthily worked one.

Importantly, the art of avoiding a bad decision lies in the art of avoiding decision fatigue.

But how can you avoid decision fatigue?

Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to avoid decision fatigue, just as there are ways to prepare your muscles and train them to not become fatigued as quickly.

Read the rest of this post »

Successful Entrepreneurs Know That Failure Is Rarely Permanent Ross | April 5th, 2016

If you do something that carries more risk, you are more likely to fail. That’s one reason so many people fear failure. But if you risk nothing, you risk everything. The most successful entrepreneurs take calculated risks and are always willing to fail.

The question isn’t whether you will fail – everyone fails at something. The question is what you do after you fail.

I’m not suggesting – as some do – that failure is good. After all, not every failure is a learning experience. Success is often a better teacher. As I wrote previously:

Knowing what not to do helps you focus and avoid setbacks, but doesn’t help you adapt to changes. You know what didn’t work — does that help you next time when you need to figure out what will work? If you ask successful entrepreneurs whether they would rather hire someone who has failed or someone who has succeeded, I suspect most would prefer to hire the person who has succeeded. This is not surprising — scientific research shows that we learn more from success than from failure.

Here’s a wonderful short video showing why failure is rarely permanent. Michal Marosi was racing in a mountain bike race. He was in the lead and made a risky move on an aerial descent that got him into trouble. He could have easily stopped racing. Instead, despite the big setback, Michal got back on his bike and executed an absolutely incredible passing move that was even more risky than the one that caused him to fall.

It’s a great reminder that failure is rarely permanent. Your attitude can turn even catastrophic failure into success.

Fresh from the SPRING:
 Cleio Audree | April 5th, 2016

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this gem submitted in this logo project.

Let us start the slow clap for Cleio. Check out more great work on Cleio’s profile page.

Nicely done, Cleio, nicely done!

FFTS-Cleio

How The Cloud Is Reshaping Small Business Productivity And Profits Arielle | March 30th, 2016

I am not listening

The business world changes frequently and quickly, making it difficult for small businesses and entrepreneurs to keep up with new trends. But if small business owners and entrepreneurs fail to keep up with these trends, they will be left behind in the dust as the technology, organization, and marketing techniques in their industries change.

A 2014 study from Emergent Research revealed that there are four main forces currently driving the development of the next generation of small businesses: socioeconomics, customer needs, platforms and ecosystem, and technology and infrastructure. These driving forces have caused both new and old companies to adopt and emerge with cloud based technology, one of the newest and most prevalent trends in the small business world over the past few years. Emergent Research partner Steve King commented on this change for Talkin’ Cloud:

Today, the U.S. and global economy is going through a series of shifts and changes that are reshaping the economic landscape. In this new landscape, many people are using the power of the cloud to re-imagine the idea of small business and create new, innovative models that work for their needs.

Cloud based technology, or cloud computing, allows companies to deliver information, services, and more via the internet, rather than locally through information stored on your own computer or on a local server.

Given the speed with which cloud technology is spreading and high adoption rates by businesses, it’s clear that cloud based technology is here to stay. At the conclusion of the Emergent Research study, researchers predicted that 78% of small business will fully adapt to the cloud by 2020. The US Small & Medium Business cloud computing and services market will grow from $43 billion to $55 billion over the course of one year- from 2015-2016.

How does cloud computing affect you and your business?

If you aren’t yet using cloud based services or offering such services, it is inevitable that your future will involve the cloud. Here are three reasons of why your small business should consider cloud technology for your business:

1. Lower expenses.

Most people assume that cloud computing services can be cheaper to use as you scale your business. This is true. For example, many of you already use Google Apps for email, documents, presentations and more. Some of you use Office 365. Both of those are cloud-based services, as are Dropbox, Slack, MailChimp, and many other useful products.

Cloud-based products are also useful because you don’t need to make capital investments in the products. They cost little when you use them, and have small marginal costs when you don’t use them. Joe Weinman, author of Cloudonomics: The Business Value of Cloud Computing, explains: “In effect, it doesn’t matter that much what you pay when you use cloud services, the key cost reduction driver is what you pay when you don’t use them: zero.

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Fresh from the SPRING: loginstudio Audree | March 29th, 2016

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this gem submitted in this logo project.

Let us start the slow clap for loginstudio. Check out more great work on loginstudio’s profile page.

Nicely done, loginstudio, nicely done!

FFTS-loginstudio

 

 

 

 

4 Fears Leaders Must Overcome To Help Their Businesses Succeed Arielle | March 23rd, 2016

fear

Fear is one of the most common, innate emotions we feel as human beings. From a psychological point of view, fear is a reaction from your Lizard Brain – the part of your brain that is very primitive. Fear is a survival tactic – it warns and protects us against dangers. It can also paralyze us from action. In business, fear can be our worst enemy.

You might think, looking at other startups and small businesses, that you are the only one who is fearful of failure, being lost, etc.

You are not alone.

Fear is a common denominator that ties the business community together. The perceived fearlessness  you see around you is typically entrepreneurs re-framing their thoughts to sound brave. The truth if often very different.

Jen Groover, author of What If? and Why Not?: How to Transform Your Fears Into Action and Start the Business of Your Dreams, a book about transforming your fears, says that rejecting fear creates destructive self-doubting habits:

Until you can jump over your inner roadblocks, the outer ones will stay firmly in place. Overcoming these inner obstacles is about learning to rethink the fearful thoughts that can lead you to quit before you start.

Groover makes the connection between re-framing and using fear to your advantage. Fear can prevent bad decisions and negative situations, but fear can also be fostered in a way that propels you forward. For example, fearing failure can push entrepreneurs to work harder in their business, and make better decisions, all while avoiding mistakes. The key is to avoid shutting down.  Entrepreneur and author Jonathan Fields, in his book Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, explains:

One of the single greatest determinants of high-level success as an innovator or creator in any realm is the ability to manage and at times even seek out sustained high levels of uncertainty, bundled lovingly with risk of loss and exposure to criticism. These three psychic horsemen of creation must often not only be sought, but embraced repeatedly and with increasing level of intensity over extended periods of time.

What do entrepreneurs and small business owners fear, and how can you take advantage of these fears to improve the success of your business? Here are four of the biggest and most debilitating fears that all entrepreneurs and small business owners experience.

1. Fear of feeling lost.

Every entrepreneur or small business owner will feel lost at some point. It’s crazy to expect to know what you are doing 100% of the time, or to always assume that the plan will work without problems. Things change fast in business, and you must constantly adjust and evolve. It’s okay to feel lost, but it’s not okay to stay that way. Always have a Plan B and adjust to changing situations through trial and error until you get it right.

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Fresh from the SPRING: pixelideas Audree | March 22nd, 2016

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this gem submitted in this logo project.

Let us start the slow clap for pixelideas. Check out more great work on pixelideas’ profile page.

Nicely done, pixelideas, nicely done!

FFTS-pixelideas

5 Strategies To Increase Productivity In Open Offices Ross | March 21st, 2016

Basecamp Office

More and more companies, especially startups, are adopting open office floor plans. Today, nearly 70% of all offices have open floor plans. Companies of all sizes see open offices as an opportunity to reduce real estate footprint and costs – you can put more people into an open layout. In fact, as more companies embrace remote work, the need for dedicated private offices diminishes. The trend has been fueled in large part by startups. Some startup teams are nimble, energetic and productive, and people assume that open offices are, at least in part, responsible for those traits.

Despite this trend towards open offices, there’s a growing body of research casting doubt on the benefits of open offices. Researchers have found, for example, that the benefits of easy communication in an open office layout don’t outweigh the lack of privacy, and other disadvantages.

The chart below, from Harvard Business Review, summarizes the biggest complaints about different types of office layouts (based on a study of more than 42,000 U.S. office workers).

everyonecanhear640

As you can see, people complain the most about open offices and cubicles.

The researchers, Jungsoo Kim and Richard de Dear of the University of Sydney wrote:

Our results categorically contradict the industry-accepted wisdom that open-plan layout enhances communication between colleagues and improves occupants’ overall work environmental satisfaction. The open-plan proponents’ argument that open-plan improves morale and productivity appears to have no basis in the research literature.

Should you sound the alarm and build private offices for your teams?

No, unless there are specific reasons that private offices are necessary.

I’m a big fan of open offices, but I believe it’s extremely important to create an office plan that overcomes the many real challenges of open offices.

Here are five strategies to help you get started:

1. Build a culture of quiet. Many companies encourage (or don’t discourage) open and loud communications in an open office. This builds a dangerous culture. After all, open offices have few sound-reducing walls. A study found that workers exposed to open office noise for three hours can experience an increase in adrenaline levels associated with the fight-or-flight response.

From the start, build a culture of quiet – encourage people to talk in private rooms or common areas, and to use chat tools like Slack or HipChat. Encourage people to use headphones – especially noise-canceling headphones. These can help cut out background noises and distractions and can also boost productivity.

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4 Toxic Behaviors All Successful Leaders Avoid Arielle | March 15th, 2016

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The most successful entrepreneurs and business owners are good leaders. Notice I didn’t say good managers or bosses – good leaders. This is because good leaders are often good bosses. Good leaders know what has to be done and who should do it. They work to put their team in the best position to succeed. On the other hand, bosses who lack strong leadership skills are often ineffective leaders. Instead of motivating their teams, they often scare their teams through toxic behavior. In an essay on LinkedIn, Alan O’Rourke, Vice President of Growth at OnePageCRM, writes about the differences between leaders and bosses:

A boss is all about power and control, demanding orders, and has an “I’m always right “ attitude. A leader is inspires the team to grow, learn, and succeed. A leader will recognize employee’s strengths and utilize them, while also helping to build up their weaknesses. He provides an environment for the employees to think for themselves and solve problems independently. Instead of being defensive, a leader is playing offense—helping his team become more productive and making situations better instead of placing blame when things go wrong.

Good leaders avoid the toxic, negative behavior that is so common in the workplace. A 2012 study by the International Journal of Leadership Studies explored the effects that toxic and cooperative behaviors in the workplace had on companies and their employees. Successful entrepreneurs, business owners, and employees all echoed the same sentiments: the best leaders show little evidence of toxic behavior and therefore, improve the chances for success. Poor leaders exhibit numerous types of toxic behavior and substantially lower their chances to succeed.

This makes sense – toxic behavior led to breakdowns in communication, trust, culture, interactions, promotion, and conflict resolution. Such negative behaviors caused people to become narcissistic, egocentric, blind to reality, or even angry. Those who demonstrated the toxic behaviors clouded their thoughts with a toxic mentality, rendering them unable to make good decisions. The opposite was true for those who demonstrated cooperative behaviors. So what are these toxic behaviors that successful leaders avoid? Here are four common toxic behaviors that prevent people from being good leaders.

1. Taking everything personally.

Good leaders don’t take everything personally. Psychiatrist Abigail Brenner writes about the importance of this in a blog post for Psychology Today. Brenner cautions that in order to avoid this toxic behavior, it’s important to not jump to quick conclusions. For example, when customers voice negative comments about your product or service, they’re rarely personally directed at you. But as an entrepreneur or small business owner, it is very likely that you are one and the same with your business. You probably view all negative feedback as a personal insult. The most successful leaders can distance themselves and consider the feedback objectively.

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Fresh from the SPRING: bilhill_art Audree | March 15th, 2016

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this gem submitted in this logo project.

Let us start the slow clap for bilhill_art. Check out more great work on bilhill_art’s profile page.

Nicely done, bilhill_art, nicely done!

FFTS-Billhill

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