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    What if everything I told you was wrong?

    If you are a fan of the video series TED Talks or have been to an HR conference or two in the past couple of years then you are probably familiar, or at least have heard of Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy. Her work on something called 'power poses' has been the source of one of the most popular TED talks of all time, with something like 35 million views, a bestselling book titled 'Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges', and has been out on the speaking circuit for most of 2016 promoting the book.I'm the person not in the power pose

    The book's central theses: that leveraging body language in these 'power poses', (think standing tall, arms raised, chin up, chest out, etc.), can help us overcome things like anxiety, fear, lack of confidence and allow us to perform our best, (or at least better), in stressful situations like speeches, job interviews, or presentations. The book, the TED talk, and the speaking gigs all stem from the same source: a 2010 study titled Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance authored by Amy Cuddy along with Dana Carney and Andy Yap.

    From the 2010 paper's conclusion:

    Our results show that posing in high-power displays (as opposed to low-power displays) causes physiological, psychological, and behavioral changes consistent with the literature on the effects of power on power holders—elevation of the dominance hormone testosterone, reduction of the stress hormone cortisol, and increases in behaviorally demonstrated risk tolerance and feelings of power.

    It goes on a bit longer, but you get the idea. 'Power poses' can increase testosterone, improve our feelings of power, and help us perform under stress. Awesome to know this, as taking a minute or two to put yourself in a 'power pose' is about one of the easiest things I can think of to do.


    What if this actually isn't true? I mean what if the benefits and positive outcomes from adopting 'power poses' are really non-existent, or at least incredibly negliible? What would you think if you have watched Ms. Cuddy's TED talk 26 times, bought and read her book, or paid to attend a conference where she was a keynote speaker?

    Remember that 2010 research study at the core of the 'power pose' idea?

    Here is what one of the paper's co-authors, Dana Carney has to say today, as reported in Inc.com:

    There's only one problem: It (the effects of power poses), isn't real. Several subsequent studies following rigorous protocols were unable to reproduce the effect Cuddy and her co-authors found. Striking a power pose did not increase testosterone, associated with confidence, or decrease cortisol, associated with stress in these subsequent tests. And late last night, Dana Carney, one of Cuddy's co-authors on the original paper, published a document disavowing that research.

    She, Cuddy, and the other researchers weren't being dishonest, she explains, but they made some significant mistakes in their research. Their sample size of 47 was much too small. The people conducting the experiment mostly knew what outcome was being sought, which has a tendency to skew research results. The testosterone increase might have been caused by a different aspect of the experiment--people were given the opportunity to gamble and some of them won, which also increases testosterone.

    Considering all that was wrong with the original experiments and the fact that later experiments did not produce the same effect, she writes, "I do not have any faith in the embodied effects of 'power poses.' I do not think the effect is real." She goes on to say that she does not conduct research in this area herself and hasn't in years, nor does she teach the material to her students anymore. And she wants to discourage other researchers from pursuing power poses, which she believes are a dead end.

    If you read what Carney published essentially disavowing the research's validity and the follow-on from the marketing of the value of 'power poses' you will come away wondering just how silly it all sounds now. 

    Standing in the Wonder Woman pose for 45 seconds will actually make you act and think and seem like ,you know the actual Wonder Woman? That seems kind of dopey. 

    And it did to me back when I met Ms. Cuddy, (and where I got the pic you see above).

    She was one of the featured speakers at a conference I attended earlier this year, and I was invited to go back stage prior to her talk for a meet and great, get a copy of her book, and take a picture. Prior to that day I had not seen her TED talk, and frankly didn't know much, (anything) about her research and the book. I had never heard of a 'power pose'.

    But as I waited in the meet and greet line, I observed 10 or 12 people before me all take a picture with Ms. Cuddy, with the author and the conference attendee each proceeding to adopt the Wonder Woman pose you see Ms. Cuddy in the pic above. As I said, I never heard of the pose, kind of felt idiotic taking up the pose for the pic, and instead stood in what was for me a more comfortable, natural position.

    After taking the pic, and talking to some of the folks backstage, I was clued in to just what the Wonder Woman/Power Poses thing was all about. And I felt really stupid that I stood next to the world's foremost expert on Power Posing and took up a pose that (I later learned), was the exact opposite of what I should have done.

    I am standing with my arms folded in, am slightly hunched, (Ms. Cuddy is kind of short), and more or less look exactly like someone who had never heard of a Power Pose, and the benefits that such a pose provides.

    Long, long story short - I really have no idea if Power Posing creates any real benefit or value or not. I suppose even if it can't be scientifically proven, but it still makes one feel better and seemingly more confident, then it can't hurt.

    Just, in the future, if you have Ms. Cuddy speak at your Conference you may want to skip the awkward meet and great posing routine. It did feel dumb to me when I was there. And I'd feel even dumber if I had taken up the Wonder Woman pose only to find out a few months later that it doesn't actually, you know, do anything.


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 260 - #HRTechConf Preview and Oracle OpenWorld Review

    HR Happy Hour 260 - The HR Tech Conference Preview and Oracle OpenWorld Review

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Recorded live at Oracle OpenWorld 2016, San Francisco

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show hosts Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane review the recently concluded Oracle OpenWorld event, talk about some of the important and interesting developments in the Oracle HCM products, as well as the broader implications for HR and business leaders that stem from moving more enterprise applications, (ERP, SCM, HCM), to the cloud. It was a great event and there are lots of interesting and exciting things happening at Oracle.

    Additionally, Steve and Trish previewed the upcoming HR Technology Conference, (October 4 - 7, 2016 in Chicago). We talked about some of the new and exciting elements at the Conference this year, what sessions that attendees should be sure not to miss, and shared some advice on how to make the most of their HR Tech Conference experience.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below, (Email and RSS subscribers need to click through)

    This was a really fun show, and we hope you enjoy it. 

    Thanks to Oracle for having the HR Happy Hour out at Oracle OpenWorld this year.

    Be sure to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or your favorite podcast app. Just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 259 - Big Data and Innovation at ADP

    HR Happy Hour 259 - Big Data and Innovation in HR Tech at ADP

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest Host: Mollie Lombardi

    Guest: Don Weinstein, Chief Strategy Officer, ADP

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the show Steve and guest host Mollie Lombardi were joined by Don Weinstein, Chief Strategy Officer at ADP for a conversation on how the power of huge data sets can help HR leaders and organizational leaders be more informed about their own businesses and make better decisions about people and operations. ADP's Data Cloud and Benchmarking tools are leveraging the aggregated insights from hundreds of thousands of customers and millions of employee records to provide information and insight to HR and business leaders in real-time. 

    Additionally, Don provided an update on the one of 2015's HR Tech Products of the Year, the ADP Marketplace, and the continued importance of technology to enable better, faster, and less costly integration of multiple HR and Talent systems.

    Finally, Don shared some thoughts on where HR technology and innovation may be heading in the coming years, and how your voice may become the next User Interface technology.

    You can listen to the show on the show page here, or by using the widget player below, (email and RSS subscribers will need to click through)

    This was a fun and interesting show, and we hope you check it out. 

    Many thanks to Don and the entire team from ADP for hosting the HR Happy Hour Show. 

    Be sure to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or your favorite podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.


    Learn a new word: Fault Tolerance

    Why does your car continue to run if one of the tires goes flat?

    How was Sully able to still steer and point the plane, eventually landing in the Hudson River, when both of the plane's engines had lost power?

    How are our organizations able to (more or less), carry on when something goes wrong, or someone fails to get the email, or Jerry in accounting just screws up?

    It's called Fault Tolerance, and it's today's entry in the wildly popular 'Learn a new word' series. First, some definitions from our pals at Wikipedia:

    Fault tolerance is the property that enables a system to continue operating properly in the event of the failure of (or one or more faults within) some of its components. If its operating quality decreases at all, the decrease is proportional to the severity of the failure, as compared to a naively designed system in which even a small failure can cause total breakdown. Fault tolerance is particularly sought after in high-availability or life-critical systems. The ability of maintaining functionality when portions of a system break down is referred to as graceful degradation.

    fault-tolerant design enables a system to continue its intended operation, possibly at a reduced level, rather than failing completely, when some part of the system fails. The term is most commonly used to describe computer systems designed to continue more or less fully operational with, perhaps, a reduction in throughput or an increase in response time in the event of some partial failure. That is, the system as a whole is not stopped due to problems either in the hardware or the software.  A structure is able to retain its integrity in the presence of damage due to causes such as fatiguecorrosion, manufacturing flaws, or impact.

    Why does fault tolerance matter?

    Obviously it matters a ton in complex, mission-critical technologies and machines that rely on hundreds, if not thousands of components, connections, and systems. If every time a single failure point in a car or a plane or in a power delivery grid caused the entire system to crash and become inoperable, then, well, we would hardly every drive or fly anywhere and we'd be sitting in the cold and dark in our houses most of the time.

    As the sage Bender once said, 'Screws fall all the time, sir. The world is an imperfect place.'

    But why does falut tolerance matter more generally?

    Because I think we don't spend nearly enough time thinking about what will happen when something goes wrong in our organizations, or in our lives for that matter. Even just thinking about bad things happening is so unpleasant for folks that we tend to underestimate the chances of them happening, and undervalue the impact when they do happen.

    But the engineers who design systems and processes and machines with the idea of fault tolerance in mind seem to have come to terms with the inevitability of bad things happening - like both engines going dead on a jet plane, and have proactively designed the system response to such failures. 

    Put more simply, they know something is going to go wrong, because something ALWAYS goes wrong. The trick is knowing ahead of time not just that something will go wrong, but how to prepare the rest of the system and people and processes to not allow the thing that went wrong to crash the entire system.

    Something always goes wrong. In your car and in your semi-annual budget task force. 

    Be ready instead of surprised next time. Think about fault tolerance and what it means for your shop.


    PODCAST - Research on the Rocks #2 - Recruiting, Technology, and Candidate Experience

    Research on the Rocks #2 - Recruiting, Technology, and Candidate Experience

    Hosts: Madeline LauranoMollie Lombardi

    Guest: Gerry Crispin, CareerXroads

    Listen HERE

    Here at Research on the Rocks, we love talking about data. Luckily, we aren’t the only ones. On this week’s episode, we are live from IBM’s HR Summit in Boston with Gerry Crispin, co-founder of CareerXRoads and The Talent Board. He is in the process of gathering data for the Talent Board’s annual Candidate Experience survey where his team is currently, receiving 10,000 survey responses a DAY. So, we were more than a little excited to have Gerry as our first guest on the show. Listen in as we discuss IBM’s value proposition, the strategies for collecting and analyzing data, and why the word “best” isn’t exactly the best.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below, (Email and RSS subscribers may need to click through)



    This was a fun and interesting show - thanks to Gerry for joining us!

    Remember to subsribe to Research on the Rocks and all your favorite HR Happy Hour Podcast Network shows on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or your favorite podast player app. Just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.