Saturday, October 24, 2009

PM in the AM and PM

There isn’t much in life to which a baseball analogy can’t be applied. I was reminded of that as I read Paul Jacobs’ recent post on Life Lessons from the Detroit Tigers.

The Minnesota-Detroit playoff game proved to be the first of what so far has been a terrific post-season of lead changes and momentum swings - which brings me to the topic of Psychological Momentum – the perception that one or more factors, positive or negative, help create a particular outcome.

Jim Taylor’s and Andrew Demick’s “A Multidimensional Model of Momentum in Sports” defines “PM” as a “positive or negative change in cognition, affect, psychology, and behavior caused by an event or series of events” that together bring about a positive outcome. They point to a six-part “momentum chain:” a precipitating event; changes in cognition, physiology, and affect; a change in behavior; a change in performance; a contiguous and opposing change for the opponent; and a change in the outcome.

(If you want a quick read on this and more on PM in general, check out this terrific piece from Dan Peterson.)

If you root for a team, you’ve probably felt more than once a true-or-not intuition that one team now has things going “their way” and seems to be playing with more confidence while the other team is back on their heels appearing more desperate than self-assured.

To be sure, PM also has critics who can cite studies that refute the theory.

But I’m on the same side of the fence as sports psychologist Jeff Greenwald who, in “Riding the Wave of Momentum,” says momentum gives players a “heightened sense of confidence… the most important aspect of peak performance” and that this improved self-efficacy can help take “the ‘performer self’ to a higher level.” Greenwald suggests that champions not only capitalize on momentum, they ratchet up their game. He also notes that great players more quickly perceive when momentum begins to shift and make adjustments before their opponents.

Perhaps you’ve seen PM at your station. A precipitating event like a new hire, a great promotion, or some highly effective occurs that elevates the perceptions of employees that causes a change in behavior and performance. Suddenly the staff is working with more intensity or creativity, displaying a greater level of confidence, and delivering a noticeably improved performance.

These are the times, as Greenwald suggests, to “pour it on.”

In 1996, while playing with the Yankees, Mariano Duncan coined the phrase, “We play today, we win today. ‘Das it.” The phrase became a mantra for the Yankees with many players wearing it on t-shirts under their uniform. That was the year the Yanks came back from losing the first two games of the ’96 World Series – at home – to the Atlanta Braves before turning it around and winning the next four and their 23rd world championship.

Whether or not you buy into PM in sports, I’ll be you’ve heard and seen something special in stations whose people believe they have PM going for them.

Can you create some Psychological Momentum today?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

How To Wynn In Vegas

Garth is coming out of retirement.


Beginning December 11 and running through the end of February, he’ll do 15 one-man weekend shows at the Wynn Las Vegas at $125 a pop.

A few fast facts on Garth…

...Garth has sold over 128 million CDs.

...In 2007, he passed Elvis to become the top selling solo artist in US history.

...His 2008 release, “The Ultimate Hits” finished 10th on Billboard’s list of best selling CDs for the year.

...In our last A&O Gold sort, Garth had eight songs among the top 100 testers.

I’m always excited when country grabs headlines and when one of our acts gets on a marquis (check out the Wynn’s home page).

On your gold list or not, and without any current music, I’m glad to hear that Garth’s performing again.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Curious Times

In a 5-year study of more than 7,000 growth companies, author and former CEO Keith McFarland found that a common characteristic of the best performing companies was that they employed people who were curious.

Curious people are generally interesting people. They’re problem solvers, idea generators, innovators and experimenters. They draw others to them because they help us to see our world through fresh eyes.

Jim Canterucci, author of “Personal Brilliance” says curiosity is “actively exploring your environment, asking questions, investigating possibilities, and possessing a sense of both wonder and doubt.”

Curiosity includes a love of learning, growing and self-improvement, a willingness to break routines and try new things, a fascination with alternative points of view, the ability to recognize things that are worthy of further consideration and thinking about things from an unconventional perspective.

Albert Einstein said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

I’ve always considered curiosity to be an important trait of a great talent (and an equally important trait for leaders in radio or any industry).

Curiosity is not inborn. While it may take an initial conscious effort, you can cultivate your curiosity in the same way you can develop a new habit.

Here are a few ways to increase your level of curiosity:

• Don’t take things for granted or at face value. Ask “What if…” The better the quality of your questions, the more interesting the answers will be.
• Try connecting things that aren’t normally connected.
• Think about something from three different points of view.
• Break a routine and note your experiences.
• Deliberately study your (and your listeners’) world each day; as you go through your day, look for life’s oddities and trivialities that would make for an interesting conversation. Practice turning these into stories.
• List things you feel you ought to know about and make a commitment to improve your knowledge.
• Spend time with other curious people.

Positive Psychologist Chris Peterson has found that along with gratitude, zest, hope, and the capacity to love, curiosity is one of the strengths most closely related to greatest life satisfaction. It has also been found in at least one study to be associated with a long life.

Walt Disney said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Sounds like an exciting way to live on AND off the air, don’t you think?