Thursday, July 30, 2009

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In good times: Confidence swells.

We all know what happens when the economy hums: A lot of what businesspeople try works. AIG discovers a profitable market in insuring dicey securities. General Motors sells lots of gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles. Innovation and entrepreneurialism flourish because the odds of success rise. And confidence climbs higher — often, as we can now see so clearly, dangerously high. “There’s evidence that in good times, suddenly everyone thinks that they’re better than everyone else,” says Don Moore, an associate professor of organizational behavior and theory at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business. “On average, that’s just not true.”

Our problem? We can’t easily view our achievements with anything approaching objectivity. In a study on confidence published last year, Moore gave participants 18 computer-based trivia quizzes and then asked them how well they did. Turns out, most were horrible at assessing their performances — about 90 percent of the subjects guessed wrong about how they did.

Hubris and delusion, as you might imagine, are a dangerous combination. When things are going gangbusters, the truth is we get too full of ourselves. Our confidence has us looking at our businesses through rose-colored lenses.

In stable times: Overconfidence dictates.
When business is OK but unspectacular, we get conservative. We lean on practices that served us well during the earlier boom. Our confidence lies in the fact that we know what works, and we stick with it.
But that confidence can lead us astray again, as we adopt the false belief that experience can replace effort. Veteran cops do this: Moore cites well-known research in which seasoned policemen frequently erred in determining whether or not suspects were telling the truth. The related study, titled “Who Can Catch a Liar,” proves that few folks really can. Experience, it turns out, counts for little. “If I teach the same class for 10 years and start failing to prepare, then my performance suffers,” Moore says. “You have to find that sweet spot: sufficient poise to work with what you’ve already got, and sufficient anxiety to invest time and energy into your work.”
In downturns: Confidence evaporates.
Here’s where we are now. The economy has tanked. People are paying off mortgages worth far more than their homes; folks are out of work. Those still on the job, including company management, walk around office hallways with their heads down, in part because they fear becoming the next casualty.
Again, Moore says that confidence — really, the lack thereof — is misleading, slightly out of whack with reality. Yes, the national unemployment rate is a sobering 8.5 percent, but that means the employment rate is still 91.5 percent. Real estate is cheap, certainly compared with a few years ago, when those looking for homes bemoaned the sky-high prices. Weaker businesses are ripe for acquisition.
You have to look at the proverbial glass as half-full. “These days, I bet there are a lot of managers imagining that they’re not doing well, and that others are doing better,” says Moore. “On average? That’s untrue.”
Confidence experts say that in these stressful times, leaders need to be level-headed and courageous. Be brutally honest with yourself and others, and get comfortable with making changes and even going against the grain. Marriott, for instance, recently took what could be viewed as a leap of faith when it agreed to buy West Virginia’s iconic and bankrupt Greenbrier resort. In the long run, the hotel’s estimated $130 million price tag could very well represent a bargain. “This is a time to do things even if you don’t want to do them,” says Marina Gorbis, who runs the Institute for the Future, a Silicon Valley think tank. “This is a time for heroic actions.”

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can POMEGA5 products cure ED?

Most women, at some point in their lives, have tried to get with a guy whose equipment didn’t work. And if she loved him, or even liked him enough to make another date, she probably didn’t take a sledge hammer to his ego. But that probably didn’t stop him from beating himself up and considering some drastic measures to make sure his Johnson stands at attention when desired. After the jump, the drastic things men will do to get and stay hard.

Four burglars broke into the Bayer AG headquarters in Germany recently. They didn’t steal the formula to popular medicines or expensive equipment. Instead, the gang took $6.9 million-worth of Levitra pills. As you probably know from all the annoying commercials, Levitra is a potency pill used by men to fight erectile dysfunction. The burglars got away with two barrels full of 320,000 pills. That’s a lot of erections! Bayer has offered a 20,000-euro reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators or recovery of more than half of the stolen swag. The Levitra pills will probably be sold on the black market, but I bet one of the four experimented just a little. [Reuters]
Men in Malaysia could become the Levitra burglars’ first clients because they can no longer get their Viagra-laced coffee. Authorities from the Health Ministry recently raided a direct-selling company that was distributing sachets of a coffee-mixture that promised to “perk up” drinkers. The coffee contained sildenafil, more commonly known as Viagra. Viagra, like Levitra, should only be taken under doctor supervision. A spokesman for the ministry said the company used individuals to sell small quantities to avoid alerting authorities. [Impact Lab]
And to think, all these men needed to do was eat a bull penis to get hard. Well that’s according to an ancient Chinese belief, which claims the penis of a bull will boost a man’s blood flow and stamina for sex. The Chinese believe that what you eat is what you treat, so if a man eats an animal penis, then he is treating his own penis. As soon as the bull penis hits the tongue, the meat jump starts the brain and enhances the sexual urge, says one expert. Sounds easy enough, right? Well consider that if this ancient delicacy isn’t prepared properly, the result is a sinewy mix of tendons and meat.