“This is a safe space”

I’m seeing more and more situations where someone will say “this is a safe space” in a meeting invite or at the beginning of a session. While I appreciate that the person saying the words really wants that to be true, the fact they feel the need to say it, highlights the fact that it probably isn’t. If it really were safe, we would already know that.

Six Thinking Hats Retrospective

Six Thinking Hats is an approach for creativity that was created by Edward DeBono. I use it as the basis for an agile retrospective, and find this approach to be particularly effective when the topic we’re discussing is expected to be controversial or heated.

Inattentional blindness

Inattentional blindness is when we are so focused on some things that we completely miss other things that should be completely obvious. This can be used to hilarious effect, as you’ll see below, and at the same time is something we need to take into account in business.

Cognitive load

Cognitive load is an indication of how hard the brain works to perform specific actions. Although often used as just a conceptual model, cognitive load can be measured by watching cerebral blood flow while performing different tasks, and many formal studies of programming tasks do exactly this.

Coaching to Logical Levels

In a previous article we discussed what the logical levels are. In this article, we’re going to show how we can assist someone at each level. If you haven’t read that article first then we suggest you do that now.

Polyvagal Theory: Understanding safety

Polyvagal Theory is the work of Dr Stephen Porges and describes what we know today about how our nervous system, and entire body, responds to how safe or threatening the world feels to us. This has significant implications for the behaviours we see in ourselves and in others. It’s important to note that we react based on our perception of how safe the world is, and not how safe it actually is.

World Hypnosis Day

Today, January 4, is World Hypnosis Day. If you’re like most people, all you know about hypnosis is what you’ve seen on TV or in movies, and while entertaining, that’s mostly wrong. You may have even seen a live hypnosis show, and while there will certainly be real hypnosis being done, most of what you’re going to notice is showmanship and entertainment.

Attribute substitution

Attribute substitution is a situation where, when we are faced with a computationally difficult decision, we will often substitute a more easily calculated decision in it’s place and answer that instead, without even realizing that we did this.

Hero Culture

Hero culture is when we rely on individual heroics on a regular basis. Someone pulling an all-nighter to get one thing done, one time, may be ok. Relying on that on an ongoing basis is unsustainable and will destroy whatever teamwork and culture you used to have.

Not motivated to do anything

I occassionally hear from managers that their people just aren’t motivated to do anything. This is rarely the complete story as these people are clearly motivated to do many things, just perhaps not those things that the manager wants them to do.