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FREE PowerPoint Icebreaker Download in TGI Newsletters
|Unfortunately we are not above typical marketing techniques and gimmicks to get you to buy our products. We try to place interesting articles into each edition, and this is of course a good way to maintain your interest. In addition, we know that many of our readers use training games and icebreakers within their own training programs. In an effort to offer "whatever might best entice" we felt it would be a clever idea to provide our readers with a downloadable MS PowerPoint or Excel icebreaker game free with each and every newsletter edition. Here is the link for another FREE PowerPoint Icebreaker game from TGI for Newsletter 26 – enjoy!
We've included a free TGI PowerPoint or Excel based Ice Breaker Game in this newsletter and promise to send you a free game with each and every issue! These games are great fun, and will make your meetings, presentations and training sessions more interactive and engaging. The download link is only active in newsletters sent out to TGI subscribers.
TGI 6-Pack PowerPoint Games
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Three Great Things for Your Great Brain
|"Oh, he's not going to start rattling on about Omega 3 Fatty Acids!" Well, among other things I am. Yes, Omega 3 Fatty Acids as found in fish, plants, and nut oils are all the rage today and for many good reasons. Turns out they are good for your brain, your heart, good for combating diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, arthritis, asthma, weight loss and even help to keep your mood elevated. What's not to like!
Why would you think that "FAT," the thing we all try our best not to consume, turns out to be such a good consumable. Well, as I'm sure many of you know, Omega-3 fatty acids are what we call essential fatty acids, meaning you need these for your continued health, but your body cannot manufacture them. You need to get them from foods like fish, especially fatty fish (mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon). The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least 2 times a week. They also warn that pregnant women and mothers, nursing mothers, young children not eat several types of fish, including swordfish, shark, and king mackerel. You can also get your Omega 3's from good quality fish oil supplements as many of us do. Note: make sure they are certified mercury-free!
Besides all of the great health claims and the many bodily ailments Omega 3 Fatty Acids help to defend against, they are just plain good for your brain. And as Daniel Amen Phd., author of the new NY Times best seller, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, tells us "When your brain works right so do you", your brain is the most complicated thing in this Universe. Many things help and hurt your brain, and if you change your brain, you change your life." Your brain is mostly water (80%) but of the remaining solid 20%, 60 percent happens to be FAT. Next time someone calls you a "FATHEAD" you can simply smile and say "thank you", or maybe "Oh, so kind of you to notice". Studies indicate that the intake of omega-3 fatty acid help protect against stroke caused by plaque buildup and blood clots in the arteries that lead to the brain. And beyond all of what I've already mentioned, Omega 3 Fatty Acids help with memory and cognition. There are basically two types of cells in your brain. Neurons, the basic information transfer unit of the brain, the work horse of the system, and supportive brain cells called glial cells. You have 100 billion neurons in your brain and ten times that amount of glial cells. Among many other things glial cells make the all important myelin sheath which wrap around the axons of each and every neuron. Axons work like electrical cables, carrying excitatory messages from the neurons cell body to the next neuron or neurons in line. The myelin sheath allow the message to travel quickly through the cell. So when you step on hot coals it doesn't take three hours for your brain to know your feet are burning and you are in excruciating pain! Pretty important stuff! And what do you suppose the myelin sheath is made from? Yup, you guessed right, Myelin, the protective sheath that covers communicating neurons, is composed of 30% protein and 70% fat.
Two kinds of fatty acids are considered "essential," which again means you must get these essential fatty acids (EFAs) from the food you eat. The first essential fatty acid you need is Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is the foundation of the "omega-3" family of fatty acids. Food sources of omega-3 ALA include flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, sea vegetables, and green leafy vegetables. The second essential fatty acid you need is Linoleic acid (LA). LA is the foundation of the "omega-6" family of fatty acids. Food sources of omega-6 LA include sunflower, safflower, corn, and sesame oils. From ALA and LA, your brain can make (docosahexaenoic acid) DHA and (arachidonic acid) AA the longer chained fatty acids that are incorporated in its cell membranes. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is the most abundant fat in the brain. Loss in DHA concentrations in brain cell membranes correlates to a decline in structural and functional integrity of this tissue. Also, the oxidative damage that comes with age causes a decline in membrane DHA concentrations, and with it, cognitive impairment. Individuals taking more than 3 grams daily of omega-3 fatty acids from capsules should do so only under the supervision of a health care provider due to an increase risk of bleeding. For healthy adults with no history of heart disease: The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish at least 2 times per week.
Well that is the case for the first good thing for your brain (Omega 3 Fatty Acids). The second thing I'd like to mention is, yes, I know you don't want to hear it, yes, I know you've heard it over an over again, and yes, I know you've been meaning to get around to it but something came up so you could not EXERCISE! Exercise is not only important for your body, but also critical for your brain. Now I'm not talking about crossword puzzles, riddles and trivia. These are good, but I mean actual physical, hop on the treadmill, get out of breath, exercise. Again exercise ranks high in Dr. Daniel Amen's book and for obvious reasons. Professor Arthur F. Kramer of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , testing 55 year olds, found that the three key areas of the brain, adversely affected by aging show the greatest benefit when a person stays physically fit. "We found differences in three areas of the brain, the frontal, temporal and parietal cortexes," said Kramer . This shrinking begins around age 30. In general the study showed that the more physically fit the individual, the less shrinkage was found in these key areas of the brain that deal with memory and thinking tasks. I m always amazed as how we go through life rationalizing that we don't need to exercise for an hour a day for at least 5 days per week. The excuses revolve around "I'm too busy" and "just don't have time", but if I tell you that you can have wealth, happiness, love and family in your life, but if you don't keep your body healthy, you won't be able to enjoy any of what you've worked so hard to build. And you'd simply agree with me and go on NOT EXERCISING. It's not a life style choice thing, it's not something physical fitness buffs do, and it's not something you should ever attempt to rationalize out of your life.
Exercising, like essential fatty acids, are essential to your health. If you are not exercising five times a week you should be! No if ands or slightly bigger butts. "If you think it's too late to get started with a fitness routine, a 1999 study by Kramer and associates found that even previously sedentary people over age 60 could improve their mental processing abilities with exercise. People who took part in the study walked rapidly for 45 minutes three days a week. They significantly improved mental-processing abilities that decline with age, and particularly tasks that rely heavily on the frontal lobes of the brain." From http://www.chiff.com/a/exercise_age_brain.htm.
The third thing you need to do for your great brain is Exercise. Sounds a bit redundant doesn't it. This time I mean mental exercise but again not just reading and crossword puzzles. People need to challenge themselves mentally. Here I am talking about stretching yourself to learn something new. I mean the kind of stuff that when you're done you say, "That was tough, I'm tired and my brain hurts!" The brain of a 71 year old is the same as that of a 17 year old in its ability to make connections (synapses). Unfortunately around age 30 many of us no longer challenge the brain to learn new concepts! Here are some suggestions taken from Oasisnet.org in this regard:
If you continue to learn and challenge yourself, your brain continues to grow, literally. An active brain produces new dendrites, which are the connections between nerve cells that allow cells to communicate with one another. This helps the brain store and retrieve information more easily. Some ideas for activities to keep your mind sharp and agile:
* Read - even better, join a book club and compare your thoughts with other readers.
In summation, there are many good things you can do for your health and for your great brain, but the above three in my estimation are the three top things you can do. Start today, and write me a long detailed letter about your experience 50 years from now. I bet you'll be able to do just that.
* Get creative - if you haven't fully explored your artistic side, try your hand at drawing, painting or photography.
* Take a class - look around your community for adult education programs and classes.
* Play some new games - computer games, puzzles, crosswords, riddles, chess and other board games are all great for sparking brain activity. The key is to keep trying something new. If you've been a crossword puzzle fan, try a different kind of puzzle or something more complicated to keep your brain challenged.
* Learn about technology - there are always new things to learn about computers and new ways to use them.
* Make music - learn to play a musical instrument, or listen to music from a genre you haven't explored, like jazz, roots or blues music.
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Levels of Decision Making in the Workplace
by Jane Weddle–Weddle Performance Group
|Here is a great article on decision making written by Jane Weddle of Weddle Performance Group. Jane even presents a nice exercise you can use to help determine how decisions are made within your team.
Levels of Decision Making in the Workplace
by Jane Weddle–Weddle Performance Group
Every day at work we are faced with decisions to be made. Leaders are faced with many issues when making decisions and employee perception plays a big role in the outcome of those decisions.
How are your decisions made in your workplace? Workplace experts say that taking time to gather employee input can be worth the effort. Evidence has shown that productivity increases with decisions that are made with employee input. It has been my experience over the years that one key issue with decision making is that others are often not aware of the level of decision making the leader chose to use or that the leader isn't aware of what level of decision making they are gravitating towards when needing to make a decision. I have been approached by workers at all levels with statements like:
"My manager asked me what I thought and then went a totally different direction"
"They just decided with out involving us"
"Leadership asked us to make the decision and instead of going with our recommendation they chose a different alternative"
"They ask for our input and then they don't use it"
"The criteria that needed to be met in order for our decision to be accepted was not clear-so they moved forward with their choice vs. redefining the criteria"
"My team always seems to show little or not buy in to my decisions"
"I empowered them to make the decision and then couldn't do it–so I decided"
I am sure you have heard similar statements in your workplace. It has been my experience in working with teams that many times the leader has not clearly defined what level of decision making they are using or have taken the time to share what level they are about to use for a particular decision and communicate it to the team. It has also been my experience that leaders often don't take time to evaluate decisions to get an idea what % of decisions are being made and at what level. Another key factor is making sure you and your team have the skills and knowledge to contribute to effective decision making efforts.
The Five Levels of Decision Making
You will see that with each level the amount of time and the level of involvement increases.
Level One: Leader makes the decision alone & announces.
This level takes little time and no involvement. This is used especially in emergency situations where immediate action is critical. Input is not helpful, quick action and immediate compliance is what counts. Unfortunately, some leaders use this level when there isn't an emergency and more time could be taken to involve others and to use another Decision Making Level.
Level Two: Leader gathers input from individuals and decides.
The leader seeks input, usually to cover blind spots and enhance their depth of understanding around the issue to be decided. Key individuals hold important information and not consulting them would be foolish.
Level Three: Leader gathers input from team and decides.
Leader holds a team meeting and solicits input from the team—listens to the team's ideas and then takes that information and decides.
Level Four: Consensus building.
At this level the leader is part of the team and he/she is just one vote/voice among many. The group processes all the decisions involved, compromises positions until everyone is in agreement. Consensus is reached when everyone feels at least 70% comfortable with the decision, feels like their thoughts and opinions have been heard and everyone agrees to stand behind the decision 100%.
Level Five: Consensus and delegates with criteria/constraints.
Leader fully delegates the decision to the team and is not a part of the decision making discussions. This level requires the leader to be very clear with the team as to what are the criteria/constraints that must be met for their decision to be able to move forward! Failure to meet that criteria could result in the team being sent back to the drawing board or the leader choosing a "fall back option" and utilize another level for moving the decision forward.
What is "fall back option": Within the levels of decision making the "fall back option" is used by the leader when the team can't reach consensus and they need to get involved for certain reasons. I recommend to leaders that they make the team aware of the "fall back option" prior the process. Leaders also need to make sure they don't use it too quickly!
When I share the "Five Levels of Decision Making" with leaders and their teams the following occurs: 1) they start to see and understand one of the many components of effective decision making and the part it plays in their team. 2) leaders start to see the value of clearly communicating whenever possible with the team what level of decision making they are choosing prior to the decision being made so the team doesn't have inaccurate expectations. 3) team members start to see the reasons leaders have to choose one level over the other in certain situation and 4) leaders begin to evaluate if they are relying to much on one level over the other and are they using the best level for a particular decision.
Action Idea: On a flip chart post the levels of decision making–educate your team on them and then using "post-it notes" have the team write down decisions that have been made over the course of a set period of time-the time period is determined by you. Then have them put the "post-it note" with the decision on the level they perceived to have been used for that particular decision. One team I recall doing this exercise with found that the majority of the decisions were at Level 1 and 2. This was an awakening to the leader of the team–because they perceived they had a pretty good balance among the levels. The leader worked on utilizing more of the levels and the team's productivity increased!
Jane Weddle is the Sr. Performance Consultant and Certified B-Coach for Weddle Performance Group. To find out more about the services and products that WPG offers or for more information on other organizational needs, go to www.partnerinperformance.com or call 402-429-5224.
|Harry S. Truman - "Once a decision was made, I did not worry about it afterward."
Abraham Lincoln - "I have always believed that a good laugh was good for both the mental and physical digestion."
Carl Edward Sagan - "We are an intelligent species and the use of our intelligence quite properly gives us pleasure. In this respect the brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous."
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