November 19, 2013

Stop Monkeying Around!

Does your office sometimes feel like a zoo? Perhaps you need Ape Management to get everyone sorted out! 

Ape Management is a Dutch company that studies primate behavior to better understand human dynamics in a group setting… much like the dynamics of any office. Founder Patrick Von Veen believes that studying our closest animal relatives is extremely helpful when learning about human relationships, communication and problem-solving. Apparently, stereotypes, managerial hierarchy, chit-chat and bullying are not solely limited to observations at the water cooler.

Ape Management's trainings and workshops for companies conclude with a unique outing to a local zoo or primate sanctuary where staffers observe and apply lessons learned from watching monkey interactions. This unique approach to inter-office politics has been utilized by mammoth corporations in the insurance, accounting and energy industries and receives glowing reviews from HR professionals and staffers alike.  

So, are you and your colleagues in need of a field trip?

To learn more, listen to this Marketplace Story or check out this article on BBC News

November 6, 2013

An Office in the Sky

It is not everyday you get to peek into the office of a CEO. Thanks to Sam Rohn, we can virtually walk right into J.Crew's President and Executive Creative Director, Jenna Lyons' breathtaking office!

Click the link above to see the 360 view, courtesy of

A couple of things strike me right away. First and foremost: the view! the view! I would not be able to get anything done with huge windows so close to my desk. Also, I find it interesting how neutral the office is. Despite the bright pink desktop and a few small pops of color, the walls, flooring and fixtures are basic and simple.

P.S. Did you notice how the vibe instantly changes as soon as you leave Jenna's area?  The desks and cubicals of Jenna's worker bees are downright plebeian!

November 1, 2013

New Day, New You

I love to tackle huge, seemingly insurmountable problems. To swoop in and save the day when everyone else has given up on a sticky issue or overwhelming problem. (Cue: super hero theme song!) 

My problem? Cultivating everyday habits like making time for small talk with colleagues, remembering to drop off the huge pile of clothes for donation, or registering for that free class I wanted to take at the library. 

Often, little events and to-dos pass me by while I am busy saving the world.

To my dismay, I recently learned that it takes more than 21 days to form a new habit. Alas, I cannot force myself to do something for three weeks and it will become natural for the rest of my life. Anecdotally, I know this, but why is that? 

Research shows that intention is everything. Pure willpower is not enough! Instead, it is the deep desire to change one's lifestyle that ultimately wins out in the end. So, unless I truly want to get to know my coworkers better, act more philanthropic with my extra resources or become a lifelong learner, I probably will never will.  

So how to get From Thought to Action? Psychologists propose that I spend a good amount of time thinking about what it is that I actually want to do or achieve. Am I simply looking to cross something off the perpetual to-do list? The satisfaction that comes from random acts of kindness? The confidence comes from being a good citizen and neighbor? Turns out that visualization is a very helpful tool when adopting new habits. Not only does it help with motivation, but it also helps identify concrete steps to turn a one-off action into a routine. I like the sound of that, since it harkens back to my strategy for saving the day (see above).

Now if only I could daydream visualize my way to math proficiency... well, I'm working on it.

NB:I got the idea for this blog, which was originally posted on
If you like to nerd-out on behavior psychology and trying new things, this is the website for you!