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A blog by Ryan Quinn, Robert Quinn, Shawn Quinn, and Amy Lemley

Archive for the ‘Positive Parenting’ Category

The Generosity Family Project: Do Good and Feel Good

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

By Ryan W. Quinn

I posted a review of Adam Grant’s new book, Give and Take, a few weeks ago on this blog. The timing of this book’s release was fortuitous for me on a personal level.

It was good timing. Just when the book came out, my wife approached me to let me know that we needed to help our children become more generous (read: “less self-centered”).

Now, I don’t think that our children are all that different from most children their ages. But generosity is a value I hold in high esteem, so I agreed. We gathered the children for a family meeting to discuss what we could do to learn to be more generous.

It was very nice of Adam to publish a book right at this same time on the very topic we were working on. I’m sure he did it just for us! (more…)

How to Read a Book like Adam Grant’s “Give and Take”

Friday, April 19th, 2013

giveandtake-coverBy Ryan W. Quinn

Our friend and colleague, Adam Grant (whose work we have featured in this blog before), has a new book that is receiving wonderful media attention from outlets as diverse as the New York Times Magazine and the Diane Rehm Show. The title of his book is Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, and it has its own accompanying web page, blog, assessment tool, and opportunity to nominate and highlight givers you know and admire. The book is fun to read and well-grounded in research. As with anything I’ve known Adam to do, it is a high-quality product and worth the investment. Rather than review his book in the typical fashion, however, I would like to take a different approach. I would like to discuss how a person should read a book like this.


Work-Life Enrichment and Being Willing to Die for the Organization That Would Kill You for Caring

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

By Ryan W. Quinn

There is a phrase used in Bob Quinn’s book Deep Change that is intentionally provocative—perhaps a little too provocative: “being willing to die for the organization that would kill you for caring.” I once had a discussion with someone about this phrase, and her reaction was immediate and visceral: “I can’t see why anyone would die for their organization. I wouldn’t.”

I can understand why she felt that way. In a world where there seems to be a new biggest scandal every year from corporations, governments, religions, and other organizations, many of our organizations inspire more mistrust than they inspire commitment, and certainly not sufficient commitment to fall on the sword for them. And, frankly, if I am going to feel that level of commitment for anything, it would be more likely that I would feel it for my family or other loved ones, not my organization.

The lack of commitment we feel toward our organizations, however, may say more about our particular view of our organizations than it does about who does and does not deserve our commitment. In fact, sometimes, our lack of commitment to our organizations may, in fact, hurt our families or loved ones (and, conversely, our lack of commitment to our families and loved ones may hurt our organizations). (more…)

Lead from the Positive by Cultivating a Grade-School Classroom’s “Culture of ‘Can’”

Monday, February 11th, 2013

By Amy Lemley

No manager wants to “baby” his or her employees. Who has time? Yet borrowing some ideas from the grade-school classroom can bring positive leadership into play in a way that is meaningful at an adult level—no babying necessary.

A recent post by InformED blogger Julie DeNeen identified 20 tenets schoolteachers can use to create “a culture of ‘can’” for their pupils. Those practices read like a page from the positive leadership playbook:

1. Make It a Safe Place to Fail

2. Encourage Curiosity

3. Give Your Students a Voice

4. Tiered Responsibility—“show me, teach me, let me”

5. Foster Peer Support

6. Use Natural Consequences

7. Confidence Building

8. Model How to Learn

9. Don’t Impose Limitations

10. Use Real-Life Examples of Perseverance

11. Teach Students How To Set Manageable Goals

12. Teach Students How to Overcome Disappointment

13. Reward Attitude, Not Just Aptitude

14. Believe in Their Abilities

15. Accept the “Mess”

16. Offer Reflection after the Project Is Over

17. Give Immediate Feedback

18. Give both Short and Long-Term Assignments

19. Identify Obstacles and Negative Beliefs

20. Let Go of the Idea That a Student’s Success Reflects on You

When we picture a classroom full of children, I think most of us imagine it as a place where these 20 tenets are in play. Boys and girls, young men and young women, engage with each other and with their teachers openly and without fear of ridicule, receive constructive feedback that supports them to try, try again. Their teachers show them how to learn and learn with them. And their self-confidence grows.

In recent weeks, Lift Blog cofounder Bob Quinn wrote a six-part series for educators and managers about teaching positive leadership. Last week, Ryan Quinn looked at two ways issuing “positive tickets” when young people were doing something right had made a quantifiable difference in their behavior.

As I read Julie DeNeen’s article, it occurred to me that, whether we are four or forty, we respond best to a positive leadership framework. It’s only natural. We look to our leaders—parents and teachers when we’re young, supervisors and senior executives when we’re adults—to, in Bob Quinn’s words, “create the space” in which we can succeed. When we enter that space, whether as employees or students and as leaders, our potential expands, and so do our achievements.

Conditioning Ourselves with the Positive

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

By Ryan W. Quinn

One of positive leadership’s essential features is creating a culture of positivity.  Last semester, on the final day of class, I had my students read a blog entry from the Harvard Business Review that presented a compelling example of this tenet in action.

It was entitled “Can We Reverse the Stanford Prison Experiment?” In that now-famous 1971 experiment, Philip Zimbardo randomly assigned Stanford undergraduates to be either prison wardens or prisoners and confined them to a basement for one week. Participants not only adopted their roles, but actually became their roles, with the prison wardens ultimately abusing their prisoners to such an extent that Zimbardo had to stop the experiment early.

The Stanford Prison Experiment is now a classic in the lore of social psychology, often cited among the best illustrations of how people’s behavior tends to be driven much more by their circumstances than by individual values and conscious choice. People familiar with it were not shocked by the U.S. military abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib in 2003–04, even if they were disappointed that we still don’t seem to have learned much from 40 years of social psychology research.

Some recent events in the sciences of the positive suggest that, maybe, we have learned a little more than we might have originally thought.

Reversing the Experiment

The HBR piece did not actually focus on the Stanford Prison Experiment, but on what could be characterized as its opposite: A program that generated exceptionally positive results instead of exceptionally negative ones.

In Richmond, Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) addressed a spiraling youth crime rate with a novel idea—giving “positive tickets” to youth they discovered doing a good thing for the community; these tickets entitled them to free entry at the movies or a youth center.

In one year, they gave out three times as many positive tickets as negative ones. During that year, recidivism reduced from 60% to 8%, youth crime reduced by half, and overall crime reduced by 40%. And the cost of positive tickets was just 10% of the cost of processing the previous years’ crimes. (more…)

Being Your Best Self at Home: How Exchanging Positive Feedback to Transformed a Father-Son Relationship

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

By Shawn Quinn

Can we separate who we are at home and at work?  I’ve worked with many professionals who believe they can.  More and more experiences have led me to think it may not be possible.

In many of our executive education leadership training programs, Lift Consulting runs an exercise where people receive feedback about who they are at their best from people in all different aspects of their lives—at work, yes, but also with their families and friends, within their neighborhoods, communities, and other groups in which they interact.

When they read the positive-only feedback, our participants recognize that though they have different roles in different parts of their lives and may adjust their style, certain traits remain consistent. Who we are fundamentally comes through in all aspects of our lives. (more…)

Parenting a Teen: It’s Not What You Think

Friday, April 13th, 2012

By Schon Beechler

So far, the cops have only called once. No one has been killed or mortally injured (although there was one really close call). And she’s not pregnant and is still in school, getting reasonable grades. That’s a pretty good record for the mother of a 16-year-old teenager.

I’ve seen the movies, heard the horror stories, and listened helplessly to the anguish of friends, and I know, despite my complaints, I’ve got it really good. (more…)

What Teenagers and Executives Have in Common: Using Positive Practices to Prevent Major Meltdowns

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

– By Schon Beechler

The other evening I accidentally embarrassed my 15 year-old daughter in front of one of her friends. I didn’t realize it at the time but boy did she let me know later that night! I repeatedly told her I was sorry and tried to convince her that it wasn’t intentional. Filled with anger, frustration, and embarrassment she let me have it. (more…)

Very Personal Positive Leadership

Monday, August 30th, 2010

By Schon Beechler

One June 18, 2010, I returned home after directing two positive leadership programs at the University of Michigan where I worked with faculty to help executives understand core concepts of Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) and the practical tools to implement them back in their workplaces. Upon arriving home, I was excited about the work that we had done, and the steps that the participants would take to create vibrant, positive workplaces. Little did I know that my ability to actually live these principles would be put to the test at home in less than a week. (more…)