Martin Seligman Learned Optimism
Seligman is a psychologist and his work is very helpful for those teaching or rearing children. However there is much in this book that is helpful for management also.
He was hired to help Metropolitan Life, one of the largest insurance companies, with one of the largest cadre of salespeople at that time. They were using aptitude test to select recruits for sale people, investing millions of dollars in them only to find that many dropped out in the first few years. When they added Seligman’s tests of optimism, their retention rates when up dramatically. Someone who just barely failed the aptitude test but rated highly in optimism was much more likely to be a successful salesperson than someone who had a high aptitude but little optimism. They stop hiring the high aptitude but bottom half in optimism. Both moves increased retention and improved sales.
However, when asked to apply the same measures to the executive suite, Seligman had reservations. The executive suite needed people who could accurately judge the situation, while optimists are not very accurate.
Optimism may be measure, and may be induced, by an explanatory style that posits all bad occurrences as temporary and all good occurrences as rooted in the permanent.
“I did poorly on the test because I failed to study enough.”
“I did well on the test because I am smart.”
“My class is failing this points because the parents are not…”
“My class is failing on these points because I was distracted and so taught other items.
“I didn’t reach my sales goals because the market is down.”
“I didn’t reach my sales goals, because, gosh, I just didn’t spend the time contacting prospects that I should have.”
How can you model optimism for your staff?
How can you refrain from optimistic errors when doing management planning?
What they are saying….
“My solution genie!” Michael Morgan of Morgan Printing
“Very professional.” Harvey Madison, Madison Photography Center for Critical Thinking
“I enjoyed Sharon’s enthusiasm, eagerness to connect with her audience and her down to earth personality that really brought forth new tactics in teaching, but also interesting insights to people skills in all! I will implement much of her lesson into my classroom as well as my home and personal life.”
“I’d like to have her back everyday.” Owner, ABC Preparatory Academy
How could this session be improved? No, this was perfect actually. Loved that it allowed for discussion.
“Knowledge of presenter is outstanding; makes it easy to sit through training.”
“Very helpful to use in my classroom.”
“I love love loved the tidbits of the history of teaching you included…. I would love to dig deeper into how … education has changed and [talk about how to] “get back to basics.”
What did you like best about this seminar? She had an emphasis on Christ centered education. (This was in a church affiliated preschool.)
What did you like best?
- Where to find books [relating to] morals.
- Plenty of time for discussion was given.
- Explanation of the class which I could understand well.
- Learning how to incorporate values into our planning.
What I like to hear most: “We want to have you back. When can you come? “
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Thanks to Stat Counter!