Category Archives: Finance


How To Be A More Emotionally Intelligent Leader [Infographic]

The CEO tells the VP Marketing candidate he’d hire her if she lost 20 pounds. She’s “too fat to represent our company.”

The VP Operations tells her team if they were competent they would’ve achieved their quarterly goals.

The CFO sends the Controller an angry email saying his budget “sucks and is pathetic.”

The VP Product Development says “deal with it” when the favorite lead engineer and keeper of the culture quits.

What do all these leaders have in common?

They aren’t emotionally intelligent. They are sending “nasty-grams” to their teams and causing emotional disengagement and shutdown in others. They have low EQ.

 And EQ = money. According to Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves “The link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ equals $1,300 to an annual salary. If that’s not enough, EQ accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs”. All. Wow.

So let’s figure this out in a straightforward way. First, a handy infographic:

Emotional Intelligence

Here’s how to start becoming more emotionally intelligent:

  1. Figure out what you’re feeling. It’s essential to be in tune with your emotions—this is Self-Awareness. Now based on what you are feeling, is it the appropriate time to send that angry email? Right now it’s key to remember that communication is redundant: humans cannot *not* communicate—our facial expressions, body posture, vocal tone/pace/pitch betray us. Even in email or texts our vocal tone/pace/pitch can be detected.Communication Is RedundantYou know what it feels like to receive an email when someone is spewing anger or venting frustration. You also know what it feels like when someone handles a challenging situation with compassion, a spirit of collaboration, and overall respect and kindness. People can tell. Your vocal tone does indeed come through in written communication.
  2. Take a breather. Holding off on sending a nasty-gram until you cool down is Self-Management. We need to shift out of Critter State into Smart State in order to practice Self-Management. Now is a great time to unpack the visual, auditory and kinesthetic cues that triggered you. And if you’re in Critter State (fight/flight/freeze or Amygdala Hijack) one of the easiest ways to shift out of it and into Smart State is to practice 7-7-7 breathing. Inhale for a count of 7, hold for count of 7, exhale for count of 7. Do 7 times. Ahhhhh. Now you have choice to respond vs. react compulsively. Excellent!
  3. Consider the recipient. While you are practicing #1 or #2 above, consider what the recipient might feel upon receiving your communication. This is Social Awareness. They are a different person from you, so they’ll likely make different meaning—they’ll interpret your communication–based on their Map of the Worldand not yours. Here are the many components that factor into a person’s map of the world—which is why we misunderstand one another so often too: we all have different maps.Make MeaningThis consideration is Social Awareness.
  4. Focus on the outcome. What is the outcome you’d actually like to achieve? How would you like to make someone feel in order to empower them and move the ball forward? It’s time to craft a message that will get the result you want and make the person feel powerful, effective, enrolled, engaged, whatever positive emotion you want. This is Relationship Management.
Pain and Pleasure

via UCLA

Let’s revisit the above real-world scenarios. When I was asked to come in and coach these leaders to become more Emotionally Intelligent they had team members ready to quit, some were totally checked out and no longer cared, some were downright hostile due to prolonged mistreatment. So I had my work cut out for me.

Once the leaders were in touch with their feelings and had boosted their Self-Management and Self-Awareness, we then worked on Social Awareness and Relationship Management. This transformation took 4-6 months (based on the leader) to become an automatic response.

When I asked each of them how they would’ve navigated the scenarios above were they able to turn back time, here’s how the communications were edited (yes, after the fact, but better than repeating the mistake!).

The CEO tells the VP Marketing candidate she has great skills and he’d like to explore how she can best represent the company.

The VP Operations asks her team what they need to achieve their goals next time. Did she set the bar too high? Were they all too ambitious? Do they need more/different resources? Were there cross-functional dependencies that we all missed considering?

The CFO meets with the Controller and works through expectations for the budget, filling in any gaps so what defines “success” is super clear. The Controller feels safe to ask questions and push back on things they disagree with.

The VP Product Development sits down with the team and lets them express their grief without judging them. Then she asks what the team needs to heal and move forward, noting that they’ll tackle this together, as a team, all for one, and one for all.

Life is one big collaboration. Business is one big collaboration. We need each other

Everyone contributes in a meaningful way. Let’s start communicating with this awareness.

Christine Comaford is the author of SmartTribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together.


Source: How To Be A More Emotionally Intelligent Leader [Infographic]

Could man-made diamonds crack the lucrative gem market? 

Synthetic diamonds look perfect, and could be a lot cheaper. Samples of laboratory-grown rough diamonds are seen at IIa Technologies’ facility in Singapore.

MAIDENHEAD, ENGLAND — A small team of scientists working for De Beers is scrambling to stave off a looming threat that could tarnish the luster of natural-mined diamonds: high-quality man-made stones.

In the past few years, lab-grown diamonds have become indistinguishable from natural diamonds to the naked eye and are growing in sales. While still a small fraction of the market, synthetic gems could account for nearly one-tenth of rough-diamond sales within five years, according to Morgan Stanley estimates.

Lab-Grown Diamonds: How They’re Made, How They Differ

Lab-grown diamonds are marketed as an ethical alternative to natural stones, but mining companies argue they’re no match for the real thing. Here’s a look at how synthetic gems are made — and how they compare to those culled from the ground. Video/Illustration: Heather Seidel/The Wall Street Journal

Made by a small group of private companies as well as giants such as Anglo American PLC’s AAL, +4.76%   De Beers itself, man-made diamonds could undermine the value of the entire diamond industry, some experts say. These diamonds have the same chemical and physical properties as their natural counterparts. They sparkle like mined stones, are hard and durable enough for intense industrial purposes and — perhaps most important — can be marketed without any hint at their provenance.


Infinite quantities of man-made diamonds could be theoretically produced, upending a market that depends on a perception of relative scarcity to secure premium prices.

Morgan Stanley analyst Menno Sanderse doesn’t expect synthetic diamonds to ever displace a big chunk of global output, but he wrote in July that lab-grown gems had become “a serious potential disrupter.” Des Kilalea, a mining analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said consumers might gravitate toward the synthetic stones, which are currently about 20% to 30% cheaper than natural diamonds on average. The capital costs involved in producing a lab-grown diamond are only slightly lower than mining a diamond.

Source: Could man-made diamonds crack the lucrative gem market? 

How to Ace Your Next Job Interview 


Anyone launching a career knows how hard it is to get a job interview. Since you don’t get a lot of shots, it’s crucial to make every one count. Your goal is to overprepare and go all out to convince the interviewer that you are a fantastic candidate. Even if you don’t get an offer, or maybe you’re not even sure you want the gig, your interviewer could be a crucial ally in the future, passing your name on to others at the company or hiring you for a different role down the road. Here are six steps to keeping your resume on the top of the stack.

• Learn everything you can about the company and the job you’re seeking. It seems obvious, but Caroline Ceniza-Levine, co-founder of Six Figure Start, a career coaching firm, recalls candidates for jobs at Time Inc. being unable to tell her the names of the firm’s publications. “It was a question that enabled me to weed out so many people,” Ceniza-Levine says. Read the job description line-by-line to make sure you fit the bill and can articulate why, Ceniza-Levine says. If Microsoft Excel skills are required, you’ll want to not only declare your proficiency, but to tout how you’ve used Excel successfully in past roles. Interviewers want specifics.

• Prepare your own questions: Job candidates should be ready to interview the company as well to be interviewed. From your perspective, of course, you want to learn everything possible about the business and their potential role. More importantly, smart questions tell a potential hiring manager that you are enthusiastic, curious, and engaged. If you don’t have a list of questions prepared, that tells a hiring manager “you’re not that interested,” says Jeff Lipschultz, principal at recruiter A-List Solutions.

• Take ownership of the interview: True, you’re the one being interviewed, but use it as an opportunity to sell your skills and background. Many interviewers don’t know how to draw details out of a candidate. Don’t let their inadequacy hurt your chances of getting a job. Write a checklist of key points you want to convey in the interview. Make sure you have at least two examples of how you solved a problem at your current job. If you are a recent graduate, then explain specific skills you developed on a summer internship. A checklist tells a hiring manager you’re organized and have thought the job through. It also ensures you can tick off important details about how you handled a difficult customer or met a tight deadline when an open-ended question comes your way. You know, the one that begins, “tell me about yourself.”

• Practice, practice, practice. Role play with professionals you may know — neighbors, friends, whomever — ideally people in human resources or recruiting roles, to get comfortable with your answers. If no one is available, try your university’s career service office, even if you’re already out of school. You’re in New York and your alma mater is in Virginia? No problem. With more companies conducting phone interviews, it’s an opportunity to practice conveying your knowledge and personality over the phone, Ceniza-Levine says.

• Make sure your voice doesn’t rise at the end of every sentence. Really. A rising cadence — that voice that makes everything sound like a question — is a trait many younger job-seekers don’t realize affects their voice until they listen to a recording of themselves speaking. The problem is a sing-song tone doesn’t project confidence. “It’s a credibility buster,” says Ceniza-Levine. “If you talk young in addition to looking young, that’s a problem.”

• Write a thank-you note. Your mother has always told you this, and it’s true. Some managers expect a thank-you note within 24 hours of the interview, says Ceniza-Levine. No need to break out the note paper, just send an email, but be sure to personalize it by referring back to a topic that resonated during the interview. Bonus points if you offer links to an article or to research that answers a question that came up when you met, Lipschultz says: “If it’s a tie, and there are two great candidates, and one sends a thank you note with a really good idea, it could be a tipping point.”

True story: A woman who applied for a job at Barron’s recently followed up the interview with a three-page email full of links to projects she had worked on at previous jobs. She’s getting an offer.


Source: How to Ace Your Next Job Interview

The incredible reason east sides of cities are poorer than west sides 

Getty Images
A sign outside a second hand shop on New York’s Lower East Side in 1955.

The east sides of New York, London and Paris are noticeably and famously poorer than their western sides. And it turns out there’s a reason for that.

Researchers have found that it’s due to the impact of air pollutants at the time of the Industrial Revolution, as prevailing winds in the U.S. and Europe typically blow from west to east. And it’s an impact that has lasted into today.

A paper from the Spatial Economics Research Centre examined 5,000 industrial chimneys in 70 English cities in 1880, and then re-created the spatial distribution of pollution. That historical pollution explained up to 15% of within-city deprivation in 1881.

“A pollution differential equivalent to the one between the 10% and 90% most polluted neighborhoods of Manchester would be associated with a gradient of 18 percentage points in the share of low-skilled workers,” the paper found.

Perhaps more incredibly, that difference has continued to this day even though the pollution that caused them has waned.


“Past pollution explains up to 20% of the observed neighborhood segregation whether captured by the shares of blue collar workers and employees, house prices or official deprivation indices,” the paper written by Stephan Heblich and Yanos Zylbergerg of the University of Bristol and Alex Trew of the University of St. Andrews found.

The researchers say the findings have practical implications both in the developing and developed world.

The success of urban policies to revitalize deprived areas depends on their position relative to the tipping point. For countries like China where pollution is a current challenge, there also are long-run consequences to consider, they added.

Source: The incredible reason east sides of cities are poorer than west sides – 

This robot could build much of your next house 

Fastbrick Robotics says its Hadrian X robot will build the shell of a building in just two days — replacing weeks of work by masons

Fastbrick Robotics
An animated look at Hadiran X at work.

The next invasion of the robots may be in the construction industry, when Hadrian X, a robot named after Roman emperor Hadrian (of Hadrian’s Wall fame), may soon laying bricks far faster and more cheaply than any human can.

Once commercially available, this amazing robot will be capable of laying approximately 1,000 bricks per hour, which means that it could build the entire shell of a building in just two days, rather than four to six weeks of hard labor needed for a human crew to complete the same task.

Hadrian X is the second iteration of the house-building robot from Australia-based Fastbrick Robotics Ltd. FBR, +4.00%   that could disrupt the $1.3 trillion global construction market and slash the cost of construction. The first one, a “technology demonstrator” called Hadrian 105, could provide an output of “only” 225 bricks per hour, so its successor would represent a substantial upgrade.

See Hadrian 105 in action:

Aside from laying bricks much faster than its older cousin, Hadrian X will make sure they fit perfectly by grinding, milling, cutting and routing different brick sizes to where they belong on the project. And it will be able to do it all without human intervention — or even moving around the job site.

That may be bad news for masonry, an industry whose job prospects are now much better than the average of all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It has forecast that masonry jobs will increase 15% in the decade through 2024 as population growth leads to the construction of more homes, hospitals, schools and other building.

Here’s an animated look at how Hadrian X will work:

Before laying a single brick, Hadrian X will assess the 3-D layout of the structure being built, calculating the location and size of each brick needed. After bricks have been loaded into Hadrian’s truck, they will be cut as needed and treated with construction adhesive, which, Fastbrick Robotics claims, will improve the building speed as well as building’s strength and thermal efficiency.

The bricks then travel along the conveyor belt within the robot’s telescopic arm and are placed with great precision (0.5mm laying accuracy), thanks to a laser guidance system. The robot is being configured to leave enough space for windows, doors, plumbing and wiring, making other steps of the building process cheaper and simpler.

Hadrian X will revolutionize the bricklaying industry and cut six to eight weeks off the construction time required to build a home, claims Michael Pivac, Fastbrick Robotics’ CEO. His background is business operations management.

His cousin Mark Pivac, the company’s chief technology officer, is the primary inventor of the Fastbrick’s automated bricklaying technology.

Russell Barton

Michael Pivac, left, is CEO of Fastbrick Robotics. His cousin Mark Pivac, right, is the company’s chief technical officer.

Fastbrick Robotics has already spent close to $7 million on research and development and raised $3 million from an IPO in November 2015 to fund commercialization. The goal is have a version of Hadrian X ready for commercial usage sometime in 2017. The company has disclosed a framework agreement with a Perth-based builder to construct brick homes using the Hadrian X prototype. End-to-end construction of a full-scale house is expected to be demonstrated next year as well, and a commercial roll out is expected to follow soon after.

Before jumping aboard the Hadrian X hype train, remember that Fastbrick’s latest project still faces quite a few obstacles. The robot isn’t out yet, and the technology it demonstrates hasn’t been fully tested in a real-world scenario. Then there’s the issue of Hadrian X’s final price and the affordability. All these, as well as any unforeseen technical issues, should provide plenty reasons to approach this invention not only with curiosity, but also with patience and caution.

Source: This robot could build much of your next house

7 Ways People With A Purpose Live Differently 


While the little things in life can certainly make your day, a growing body of research says keeping your eye on the long game can make a major difference in how much you enjoy your life.

One recent study found that living your life with a sense of purpose could make you less likely to rely on external validation (in this case via Facebook “likes”) for your well-being.

What motivates you is entirely up to you. But understanding your own priorities, knowing what you are working to accomplish and being committed to meaningful causes can help balance your sense of self-esteem and self-worth.

“It’s not really about what the content of a person’s purpose is, but the strength of it ― how much they’ve committed to the idea that there’s something that they’re pursuing,” study author Anthony Burrow, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development at Cornell University, told The Huffington Post.

It’s important to note that having a sense of purpose is different from having goals, Burrow added. Goals are pursuits you can accomplish, he said. “Purpose is sort of an overarching direction for which you use to organize and align your goals.”

What the study revealed about people with purpose

Burrow and team wanted to investigate the way higher levels of purpose affected self-esteem, so they conducted two experiments. In the first, they surveyed Facebook users about purpose, self-esteem and average number of “likes” their posts typically received, finding the more likes people tended to receive, the higher their self-esteem tended to be. Except that for the individuals who reported having a high sense of purpose, there was no relationship between self-esteem and number of “likes.”

For the second experiment, the researchers created a fake social media site (to confirm that the results of the first experiment weren’t Facebook-specific). Plus, using a fake site allowed the researchers to manipulate the number of likes a given user received ― and then measure how that number (above-average, average or below-average) affected an individual’s reported level of self-esteem.

Self-esteem was higher in general if the individuals were told they had received a high number of “likes” and lower if they were told they had received a low number of “likes.” But, Burrow added: “There was no relationship between the number of likes people received and their self-esteem if they had a high sense of purpose.”

Having purpose changes your life

The new Facebook study is far from providing the only evidence of why having a sense of purpose can be really important. Here are seven other ways that having a sense of purpose changes the way you live your life:

1. You think beyond yourself.

You think about others and how your actions affect others. Research has established that having a sense of purpose isn’t just about having goals and striving to achieve those goals. People who have purpose are also more likely to be aware of the world around them and how their goals contribute to that world beyond themselves.

2. You have higher self-esteem

Studies consistently show people who have a sense of purpose consistently have higher self-esteem. That’s because having a sense of purpose means having and working toward a direction for the future that you value, so what you think of yourself at any given time is less influenced by the daily ups and downs, Burrow said.

3. You may live longer

In a study that followed 6,000 individuals for 14 years people who reported having a higher sense of purpose were more likely to live longer than their peers across all age groups, including younger adults, middle-aged adults and older adults.

Purpose is creating this more stable experience over time that accrues better health.Anthony Burrow, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development at Cornell University

“You really don’t want your mood to be fluctuating around from moment to moment and experience to experience,” Burrow explained. “That can be an indicator of health problems downstream because your system is constantly calibrating and recalibrating to new things.”

Mood and mental health is related to physical health measures such as heart rate and inflammation because of the toll that stress takes on the body. The evidence linking purpose to physical health from the past decade is some of the most exciting research on the topic, Burrow said.

“Purpose is creating this more stable experience over time that accrues better health,” Burrow said.

4. You’re more likely to surround yourself with diverse people.


You’re more comfortable around other people. Previous research by Burrow and his colleagues showed that people who reported having more purpose tended to be in better moods and feel more comfortable around people with similar ethnic backgrounds (no matter what their own was). The study focused on how people’s reactions on commuter train cars changed when the commuters around them changed.

Stress tended to go up for everyone they studied when the other commuters were ethnically different. But for people who reported having a higher sense of purpose, there was no link between those individuals’ levels of distress and who else was on the train, Burrow explained.

“It’s more evidence that [for] purposeful people, their mood is not as contingent on what’s happening around them,” he said.

5. You make less impulsive decisions

Spontaneity can be a good thing. But acting on every impulse can drive us off the paths we actually want to be on, Burrow said. And the research suggests that people with more purpose actually make fewer impulsive decisions than people with less purpose.

One experiment offered a group of 503 adults either $100 dollars immediately or $150 two months later. The people who reported higher senses of purpose were more likely to take the larger sum later compared with people who were less purposeful.

“They can delay that gratification,” Burrow explained. “They’re not so caught up in the here and now.”

6. Challenges appear more attainable.


In another experiment researchers asked individuals the amount of effort they thought would be needed to climb hills of various inclines. People with lower levels of purpose were more likely to overestimate the steepness of the hills ― and the effort needed to climb those hills ― compared with people with more purpose.

7. You’re more likely to end up making more money.

Yep ―  another study showed that people who reported having more purpose actually had higher household incomes and net worth than people with less purpose.

And no money isn’t everything, but the finding says something really interesting about people with purpose, said Burrow, who was a co-author of the study.

Even when you controlled for income over time, the individuals with more purpose were accruing more net worth, which means they weren’t spending as much as they were saving, he said. “Purposeful people are thinking about the future.”

Source: 7 Ways People With A Purpose Live Differently 

8 Ways To Get People To Take You More Seriously 

Do you ever feel like nobody takes you seriously at work? If so, you’re not alone. More than 50% of people don’t feel respected at work, according to a global survey of more than 20,000 employees by the Harvard Business Review.

Maybe colleagues ignore your input in meetings. Perhaps they interrupt you or don’t include you in important decisions. It’s easy to blame that on a bad boss or a toxic work environment. In some cases, that’s even true. But if you really want to be taken more seriously at work, you should start by looking in the mirror and doing what you can to increase your influence.

There are eight things you can do right now to increase your credibility, get people to take you more seriously, and ensure you get treated with the respect you deserve.

1. Don’t let your statements sound like questions.
One of the most common things people do to undermine their credibility is end their sentences on a higher inflection than where they started. It’s called “upspeak,” and our brains are trained to interpret that pattern as a question. So instead of delivering information, you end up sounding like you’re asking if your own input is correct. And people notice. In a survey of 700 managers by Pearson, 85% considered upspeak to be a sign of insecurity and emotional weakness, and 44% said they mark job candidates down by as much as a third for using upspeak. That’s one habit you should break right now to give yourself an instant credibility boost.

2. Don’t just give reports—tell stories. The most successful TED talks follow a magic formula—they are 75% stories and 25% data backing up those stories. Stories provide an emotional hook that helps people remember what you said, and they give you a platform for connecting your knowledge to the real world. There’s a huge difference between memorizing mathematical formulas, for example, and being able to use them to calculate whether a particularly dangerous asteroid is going to hit us in our lifetime. Stories help people take you seriously because they demonstrate that you can apply what you know and can connect to your audience with emotional intelligence.

3. Encourage people to talk about themselves. When you first started dating, your mom probably encouraged you to get your dates to talk about themselves. Sure, it’s good manners—and we all know that everybody likes to talk about themselves. But it turns out that there’s a scientific basis for this. Your brain rewards you for self-disclosure. In fact, talking about yourself feels so good that it causes neurological changes in the brain. So if you want people to pay attention to what you have to say, let them talk about themselves first. Once those “feel-good” neurotransmitters are flowing and people start feeling connected to you, they’re much more likely to take you and your contributions seriously.

4. Do your homework.
One of the best ways to get people to take you seriously is to be prepared and know what you’re talking about. Americans attend 11 million meetings every day, and unproductive meetings cost the US economy $37 billion every year. Why are there so many unproductive meetings? Because people are unprepared. Don’t be one of them. Whether it’s a team meeting or briefing your boss, always take the time to prepare. Know what you want to say, be able to back up your opinions with data, and be prepared to answer questions two or three levels down.

5. Stay informed. If you look at the employee handbook for tech company Valve, it says that it looks for “T-shaped” employees: people who have a lot of broad knowledge layered on top of their primary area of expertise. Do whatever it takes to keep up with what’s going on in the world. It’s particularly important to stay abreast of trends in science and technology, especially as they relate to business. You don’t want to look like a deer in the headlights when somebody starts talking about how the Internet of Things is going to transform manufacturing.

6. Dress for success.
Fair or not, we judge people on their appearances every single day. And it happens so fast—in about a tenth of a millisecond, according to researchers at Princeton—that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. We make inferences about a person’s character and capabilities based on appearance. If your appearance is sloppy, for example, people are likely to subconsciously conclude that your work will be sloppy too. Looking polished and well-groomed, on the other hand, creates the impression of responsibility and competence. That doesn’t mean you have to rush out and blow your budget on a designer wardrobe. But it does mean that you should show enough respect for yourself and for your colleagues to make a substantial effort.

7. Strike a power pose.
If you assume an expansive pose—taking up more room by keeping your shoulders open and your arms wide—other people see you as more powerful. This is a hard-wired human characteristic, as people who have been blind since birth throw their arms out in victory, even though they’ve never seen someone do this. Moreover, power poses actually change our body chemistry. Researchers at Harvard found that after participants held a power pose for just two minutes, their levels of testosterone rose by 20% and their cortisol (the stress hormone) levels dropped. Power poses are a win-win: they make other people see you as more powerful, and they actually make you feel more powerful.

8. Be confident but not too confident.
No one is going to have confidence in you until you have confidence in yourself. But you have to balance that confidence with a little humility. Truly confident people aren’t afraid to admit that they don’t know everything—it doesn’t make them feel threatened at all. In fact, the most confident people are eager to ask questions and learn. The best way to show your confidence is to own what you know and what you don’t.

Bringing It All Together

If you feel like you don’t get the respect you deserve at work, nobody can change that but you. Sometimes people don’t take you seriously because of little things that you don’t even realize you’re doing. And that’s something you can fix.

Source: 8 Ways To Get People To Take You More Seriously

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