Employee Brain on Stress Quash Creativity Competitive Edge

Employee Brain on Stress Can Quash Creativity And Competitive Edge:

Employee Brain on Stress Can Quash Creativity And Competitive Edge

Employee Brain on Stress Can Quash Creativity And Competitive Edge

Right to the point. “Work stress is a major problem,” David Ballard PsyD,  He heads up the American Psychological Association’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program. Work place stress is not news. But how companies are handling the issue is worth a gander. A recent APA study found only 58 percent of employees said they have the resources necessary to manage stress. Furthermore, a 2012 SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) survey found only 11 percent of organizations have specific stress reduction programs in place. “Even those organizations that do have stress management programs generally focus on individual-level training and resources to help stressed-out employees,” says Ballard, “but they neglect preventive and organizational-level approaches that may be more effective in the long run.” With more than forty percent of American workers reporting chronic workplace stress, the long-term impact of stress and its influence on the human creative condition and business can be detrimental, says Rick Hanson PhD,  a California based neuropsychologist and author of Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time. “As ten-thousand studies have shown, when you are chronically stressed, you’re less able to be at your best. Particularly when you’re talking about a knowledge economy which really places a high premium on creativity,”. Chronic stress degrades a long list of capabilities with regard to creativity and innovation, notes Hanson. It’s harder to think outside of the box, nimbleness and dexterity take a hit, and the response to sudden change is more difficult to manage. Hanson has been examining the impact of stress on the brain and well-being, while working in the trenches in corporate America and as the co-founder of The Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. Hanson explains, stress is like fine sand being drizzled into the brain. It might keep working, but if you dump enough sand in there, it’ll freeze up at some point. Beyond heading into the deep freeze, he says neuroscience is now showing us that the cumulative consequences of stress can be a dire thorn in the side of business innovation. “Even a small amount of stress is noisy in the brain,” says leadership consultant, David Rock, the author of Your Brain at Work and the co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute. The organization partnered on a survey of 6000 workers, and found that only ten percent of people do their best thinking at work. Expanded technology, multitasking and a competitively demanding (or threatening) company culture, can add to the noise in the brain which crushes creativity. “Threat makes you productive, but not necessarily effective.  It can make you productive if you don’t have to think broadly, widely or deeply,” says Rock. “A threat response, which we might think of as stress, increases motor function, while it decreases perception, cognition and creativity.” Ultimately, on the surface, stress might seem a good kick starter for productivity. But getting the creative juices flowing has more to do with the engagement of the employee and his or her disposition, notes Rock. “What neuroscience is telling us, is that creativity and engagement are essentially about making people happier,” explains Rock who adds, “It’s what is called, a “toward state” in the brain.” In that “state,” Rock explains, workers feel curious, open minded, happier and interested in what they are doing. A huge component of creating that state is to quiet the mind, and that means reducing stress. Rock discusses the neuroscience behind stress reduction here in my recent post at WorkLifeNation.com, Neuroscience Might Be New “it-strategy” to Boost Employee Creativity. Stress management programs in most companies, if they exist at all, are more of an ancillary stepchild in the wellness agenda. As David Ballard PhD said, workplace flexibility, mental healthcare coverage and on-site fitness offerings certainly help to reduce stress, but it’s not enough. Perhaps a company will do more to help employees better manage stress, if the end-game is a more creative and engaged employee.

Goldman Sachs ripping off Clients

Goldman Employee Criticizes Firm for Ripping Off Clients:

lloyd-blankfein_Goldman-Sachs

lloyd-blankfein_Goldman-Sachs

A departing Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) employee mounted an unprecedented public attack on its “toxic and destructive” culture in a New York Times opinion piece, becoming the first serving insider to openly criticize the firm.  Greg Smith, identified by the newspaper as an executive director and head of the bank’s U.S. equity derivatives business in Europe, will leave the firm after 12 years, blaming Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein and President Gary D. Cohn for losing hold over the firm’s culture. Executive directors are junior to managing directors and partners, the most senior rank.  A departing Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Employee mounted an unprecedented public attack on its “toxic and destructive” culture in a New York Times opinion piece, becoming the first serving insider to openly criticize the firm. Goldman Sachs said it disagreed with comments made by Greg Smith, identified by the newspaper as an executive director and head of the firm’s U.S. equity derivatives business in Europe. Gigi Stone and Christine Harper report on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop.”  Richard Bove, an analyst at Rochdale Securities LLC, talks about the results of Federal Reserve bank stress tests and a New York Times opinion piece by a departing Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Employee. Bove speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “InBusiness With Margaret Brennan.”  Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker, Stephanie Ruhle, Sara Eisen and Scarlet Fu report on an opinion piece in today’s New York Times written by Greg Smith, a departing employee from Goldman Sachs, attacking the firm’s culture. They speak on Bloomberg Television’s “Inside Track.”

“I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients,” Smith, a Stanford University graduate, wrote in the New York Times. “It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them.”  The attack adds to criticism from politicians and protesters who blame the company for triggering the financial crisis and profiting at clients’ expense. Goldman Sachs has faced congressional hearings probing its role in the financial crisis and paid $550 million in 2010 to settle a lawsuit accusing it of misleading investors in a collateralized debt obligation. “This will certainly be damaging for the firm,” said John Purcell, founder of London-based executive search firm Purcell & Co. “It’s obviously a very heartfelt piece. Maybe he’s made a sufficient amount of money in his life that he isn’t particularly bothered if he isn’t employed in financial services again and works in a completely different world like teaching.”  Goldman Sachs fell $4.17, or 3.4 percent, to $120.37 in New York trading at 1:34 p.m.  A call to Smith’s mobile phone in London wasn’t answered. Goldman Sachs said it disagreed with his criticism.  “In our view, we will only be successful if our clients are successful,” the firm said in a statement. “This fundamental truth lies at the heart of how we conduct ourselves.” “It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off,” Smith wrote. “‘Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as ‘‘Muppets,’’ sometimes over internal e-mail.’’Blankfein and Cohn addressed the criticism in a memo to employees today. ‘‘In a company of our size, it is not shocking that some people could feel disgruntled,’’ they said in the memo. ‘‘A recent survey of employees found that 89 percent believe the firm provides ‘exceptional service’ to clients and that a similar percentage of the firm’s 12,000 vice presidents, the rank held by Smith, felt that way, they said.  Employees are allowed to express concerns anonymously, according to the memo. ‘‘We are not aware that the writer of the opinion piece expressed misgivings through this avenue, however, if an individual expresses issues, we examine them carefully and we will be doing so in this case,’’ they said.  Smith blamed the company’s management for promoting employees who made money for the firm, often by getting customers to buy products that Goldman Sachs was trying to get rid of. If clients can’t trust the firm, they will stop doing business with it, however smart its employees, Smith wrote in the Times.‘‘Culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success,” he wrote in the New York Times. “It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients,” he said. “It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm.”  Goldman Sachs’s score was among the lowest in a recent study of corporate reputations, according to a Feb. 13 statements from Harris Interactive Inc. (HPOL), a market research firm.