Like Songs, Leaders Can Produce Earworms

I woke up today with an earworm. It’s driving me nuts. No doubt you’ve experienced annoying earworms too. You know, that “little fragment, often a bit of the chorus of the song, that just plays and replays like it's stuck on loop in your head,” explains Elizabeth Margulis, director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas and author of On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind. Researchers have found that over 91% of us get a song stuck in our minds—earworms—at least once a week. The term "earworm" originally comes from a translation of the German word 'Ohrwurm'. If you’re a songwriter, earworms are the stuff of dreams. You want your song to stick in people’s minds. Songs like "What Does the Fox Say?" by Ylvis, and The Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out?" are tunes researchers say generate earworms. I've noticed that Meghan Trainor’s "All About That Bass" seems to catalyze earworms in old and young alike. But alas, (most) leaders are not songwriters. If we’re not careful, repetition of catchphrases or buzzwords become earworms that can blow our chance to inspire others or worse, close followers' ears completely. Earworms at Work As an entry-level employee, I … [Read more...]

Reclaiming The One Thing We Can’t Live Without

Connection is the one thing we cannot live without. We crave it. We thrive when we have it and suffer when we don’t. That’s what I believe. Scientists, philosophers, and even prophets tend to agree. Last year, I got a surprise when a colleague asked me to pay her for a connection she’d made for me. Of course I realize that many business models rely on “referrals” for revenue-generation. But this request for a percentage of the business I completed took me off-guard, especially since I’d freely shared ideas, strategies, and work assistance with her for several years. After that surprise, I started paying closer attention to how the word connection is being used. (And yes, I now get clear about connection/referral fees expectations upfront.) Questions around the word connection keep cropping up for me in New Year conversations with clients, colleagues, and friends too. I use the word connection, connect, and  connections so much, it dawned on me that I may have lost sight of what connection means. In today’s supposedly hyper-connected world, what does connection mean? Let’s look at some great thinkers' quotes and see if we can remove some of the fuzziness around the … [Read more...]

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