Hey, we often have our head in a book or our ears tuned in to a podcast..

Our monthly recommendations are shared via our newsletter and below…

Note: You’ll see we direct you to hive.co.uk for our book recommendations – we love Hive– and as we’re on a mission to support businesses with clear purpose, try this one on for size… whilst there are a number of well known online retailers from who you can buy your books [winks], Hive are all about supporting our high streets – and for every single book they sell, a contribution is made to an independent book shop. When you buy from them, you can choose your own local book shop and continue to support our high streets even though visiting them is proving challenging at present.  More information about Hive’s purpose here.

Thinking Fast & Slow

Daniel Kahneman

Just look up the reviews and you’ll see this book described as a ‘masterpiece’ – Kahneman won the Nobel prize for Economics for its insights after all!  For me, it’s accessible (stick with it!) but wise – a book to savour, certainly one that I re-visit, and which encourages me to be more deliberate in my decision making and to challenge my intuition.

Kahneman explores in incredible depth, how and why we make the choices we make.  Why do we slip ourselves up and make decisions in what we believe to be a rational way, when in fact our decisions are flawed by numerous biases and a tendency to jump to conclusions!

He introduces us to the metaphor of System 1 and System 2 thinking – System 1 our intuitive and unconscious thinking mind, and System 2, the more rational, slower and effortful mind.  We tend to rely on System 1 as it requires less effort, and therefore we can use it more quickly but given the biases and stereotypes it leans on, it is not always to be relied upon.  System 2, is more cognitively demanding but more rational, and less likely to be influenced by the environment in which we find ourselves in a given moment.

So how might this play out in the workplace? The books provides us with numerous ways in which we can increase awareness of our biases, and slow down, challenge our intuition  before making a decision – perhaps we are over confident about the predicted success of a future merger, or we make judgements about suitability based on numerous biases that overwhelm our rational decision making processes. 

Covering areas such as optimism bias, loss aversion, anchoring, framing, overconfidence, prospect theory and availability bias he provides strategies for raising awareness and self insight, and uses learning from behavioural science to offer us an alternative lens through which to view our judgements and decisions.

This one has stayed with me, not an easy read by any stretch but absolutely worth the investment of time and cognitive challenge!

You can buy Thinking Fast & Slow here


Mary Portas

We’ve been following Mary Portas since her brilliant Work Like a Woman Podcast and book, which has now evolved into a forward-thinking concept of ‘the Kindness Economy’.

Some of you might remember Mary as the queen bee of retail. Her TV series ‘Mary Queen of Shops’ showed her as being a bit of a ball breaker. She started her career behaving an alpha female, going after money, power and status, but eventually realised that something was wrong.

She started to feel a massive disconnect with the traditional cut throat methods of doing business and eventually completely remodelled her agency so that its priorities were Planet, People, Profit (in that order). Her business model is based on the idea that we need to bring human kindness into the business equation and reconnect with the values do we hold dear as people. Our personal, human values can often be very different to the values that big corporates operate on and this can lead to a huge sense of dissatisfaction from employees who want to bring their whole self to work, rather than putting on a separate ‘business head’.

In the Kindness Economy Podcast, Mary talks to thought leaders and business owners who see kindness as a top priority. The podcast showcases businesses that are demonstrating that compassion-led organisations make a hugely positive impact on the people that work for them, the community at large AND turn a tidy profit. It’s a really inspirational listen – I particularly love the episode with Kate Raworth on Doughnut Economics.

In her recent TED talk, Mary states that she wants to leave the business world better than she found it. She also says that kindness is contagious. She’s certainly had a massive effect on giving us the confidence to run Team Up to Perform with authenticity, vulnerability, and yes… as massive dollop of kindness. I’d urge you not to make the mistake of thinking that kindness is the workplace is weak. Mary makes a very compelling argument that your can still make very difficult decisions (e.g. redundancy) but prioritise delivering them with a huge amount of compassion.

You can check out the Kindness Economy podcast along with its predecessor ‘Work Like a Woman’ here. Also check out Mary’s fabulous book here (get ready for lots of air-punching moments whether you’re a woman OR a man!) and her inspirational TED talk here.

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