20 things the most valued employees do every day

Great Article from Business Insider

Become invaluable. Think about the best boss you’ve ever had. Now, think about the kind of employee that boss valued most. Regardless of who that employee was, I think I can probably describe him or her. That’s because the most valued employees have a lot in common, regardless of their jobs or the companies they work for. Here are 20 of the key things they do almost every day. They buy into the vision. A great leader’s top priority is to provide a goal that is worth his or her employee’s time. READ MORE>>

Seven Reasons Organizational Culture Matters

culture synergyWe spend 40 . . . or 45 . . . or 50 . . . or more hours at work each week. Many of us spend more time with those we work with than we do our families. For us to be content and fulfilled people, that time must be valuable for more than a dollar. . .

We want to be engaged in our work. We yearn for work that is enjoyable, meaningful and engaging. When we are engaged we are safer on the job, more productive and more willing and able to delight Customers.

It is for these basic reasons that organizational culture matters. It is the right thing for an organization to do – to think about the work environment, working relationships and “how we do things here.”

Focusing on building and sustaining an organizational culture is one way of showing that people are the organization’s most valuable asset.

There are of course many other bottom line business reasons to focus on and build organizational culture. Here are seven of those reasons.

A strong culture is a talent-attractor. Your organizational culture is part of the package that prospective employees look at when assessing your organization. Gone are the days of selecting the person you want from a large eager pool. The talent market is tighter and those looking for a new organization are more selective than ever. The best people want more than a salary and good benefits. They want an environment they can enjoy and succeed in.

A strong culture is talent-retainer. How likely are people to stay if they have other options and don’t love where they are? Your organizational culture is a key component of a person’s desire to stay.

A strong culture engages people. People want to be engaged in their work. According to a Gallup survey at least 22 million American workers are extremely negative or “actively disengaged” – this loss of productivity is estimated to be worth between $250-$300 Billion annually. Your culture can engage people. Engagement creates greater productivity, which can impact profitability. Need I say more?

A strong culture creates energy and momentum. Build a culture that is vibrant and allows people to be valued and express themselves and you will create a very real energy. That positive energy will permeate the organization and create a new momentum for success. Energy is contagious and will build on itself, reinforcing the culture and the attractiveness of the organization.

A strong culture changes the view of “work.” Most people have a negative connotation of the word work. Work equals drudgery, 9-5, “the salt mine.” When you create a culture that is attractive, people’s view of “going to work” will change. Would you rather see work as drudgery or a joy? Which do you think your employees would prefer? Which will lead to the best results?

A strong culture creates greater synergy. A strong culture brings people together. When people have the opportunity to (and are expected to) communicate and get to know each other better, they will find new connections. These connections will lead to new ideas and greater productivity – in other words, you will be creating synergy. Literally, 1 + 1 + right culture = more than 10. How is that for leverage?

A strong culture makes everyone more successful. Any one of the other six reasons should be reason enough to focus on organizational culture. But the bottom line is that an investment of time, talent and focus on organizational culture will give you all of the above benefits. Not only is creating a better culture a good thing to do for the human capital in the business, it makes good business sense too.

Hopefully this article has helped you see that time spent enhancing your organizational culture will be time wisely invested. Regardless of your current culture, it is never too late to enhance it and to begin creating the benefits described above.

What are you waiting for?

Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group (http://KevinEikenberry.com), a learning consulting company. To receive a free Special Report on leadership that includes resources, ideas, and advice go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/leadership.asp or call us at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER.

Author: Kevin Eikenberry
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Story Telling As a Project Management Tool

Before the human race had words, stories in gestures and drawings were the base for learning and continuous improvement. Here are 7 ways that stories are still effective tools today.

1. Communicate Stories get the message across in concepts that can be universally understood. Whether it’s pictures on cave walls, parables, fairy tales, folk tales, or anecdotes, people understand a concept in the form of a story. They can “see” what you’re saying in your word pictures.

2. DemonstrateThe word pictures in your story make it easy for your listeners to understand your point. People get it when they hear about the fox and the grapes. They get the idea of applying negative aspects to something that seems too hard to get and how counterproductive that can be.

3. Educate When you present your points in a story you have many devices to help you illustrate the differences between the current situation and the anticipated change. A story with pictures can be that light bulb over the head moment for your audience.

4. Elevate Like an assembly worker who was startled to be called a subject matter expert and seemed to grow in stature, aligning the team members with the hero of your story inspires them to greater things. An awareness of their importance to the project gets commitment.

5. Motivate Deliver a very clear idea of where you’re going. Stories lead to morals or calls to action. They can change behavior for better or worse depending on the speaker’s motivation. A story with a successful outcome brought about by the kind of action you’re encouraging is very motivational.

6. Collaborate The common understanding and vision brought about by your story provide the foundation for the team effort. You’ve got everyone on board and ready to work together. They’re poised to hear and understand the call to action.

7. Activate Use your story as a springboard for the requests you’re going to make. You want some specific tasks to be completed to ensure the successful completion of a project. Make sure the story you select supports the action you want the team to take.

Conclusion: Your presentation will be more effective and achieve the results you’re after with relevant, clear, concise communication in the form of stories.

Got drama in your workplace? Drama comes from confusion and resulting dissatisfaction. Put a solid, structured business system and clear, concise communication in place and end the drama.

Joy Montgomery converts business requirements to system specifications, presentations, and documents in a way that strengthens teams – a friendly way. She puts you in a position to succeed with consistently satisfied customers and employees.

Author: Joy Montgomery

Negotiations- Preliminary Tips & Techniques

Being a good negotiator is a skill you will find useful in many situations. The skills you will develop will facilitate your being more effectively assertive, being a better problem solver, and being a better conflict manager. Developing the skills is sometimes tedious and requires a lot of practice. The payoff is both substantial and positive, though.

At first, it will be useful to move through the negotiation process in a step-by-step manner. With practice and experience, you will gradually get to a point where effective negotiating is second nature to you and is not something that requires a lot of detailed activity. At first, though, it is important to develop a negotiating plan and then seek out opportunities to practice. It is a little like learning to play the piano. Learning how is tedious and time consuming. Being able to play well, however, is a very satisfying thing indeed.


What do you want that I have, control, or can do? As odd as it may seem, this is frequently the step that inexperienced negotiators leave out. Very specifically, what do you want that I have? Here, we are talking about things, about concrete and tangible objects. What do you want that I control? Here we are talking about opportunities, resources, time, or other less tangible ‘things.’ What do you want me to do that I can do? Here, it is important to think in terms of things that anyone with my skills, in my position, and with my resources ‘can do.’ In very specific terms, what do you want from me?

With ‘it’ referring to what you want, can I actually give it to you? This is another point that amateur negotiators frequently overlook. What they want is something that the other person cannot, as a matter of individual choice, give to them. Perhaps other people are involved, maybe it is not something that the individual has the right or authority to simply give away, perhaps it is not something that the person can actually do, or maybe there are other factors that have to be taken into consideration other than simply deciding to give it to you. Under these conditions, simply negotiating with you is not enough, since I cannot simply give you what you want. Be sure that your negotiations are directed to the individual or people who can give it to you. Who all do you need to include in the negotiations? You should not leave anyone out.

Assuming I can give you what you want, under what conditions do you think I can give it to you? If you believe that I will simply give it to you without conditions, there is nothing about which to negotiate. Simply ask me and I will give it to you. Here, though, let’s assume that you think I will give it to you under some conditions. In specific terms, what are those conditions?

Under what conditions will you accept it – accept what you want – assuming I am willing to give it to you? Yes, you undoubtedly have conditions. Suppose you want to use my car for a week while yours is in the shop. It is my car, and I can let you use it. You think I will let you use it if you agree to take good care of it, bring it back with a full tank of gas, and you pay my bus fare for the week. Suppose my conditions are a little different, however.

I agree to let you use my car for one week if you agree to make my car payments for one year. You will undoubtedly say, ‘No way.’ The point is that you do have conditions. Under what conditions will you accept what you want if I give it to you?


A successful negotiation is a conditional transaction. We do business under certain conditions. If you are still in the game to this point, you have a clear statement of what you want, a set of conditions that you think I will have in doing business, and your conditions for doing business. Make a chart with two columns with the left column including a list of your conditions and the right column including a list of my conditions. Now, what are the points of convergence: conditions on your list and on mine? The more points of convergence there are, the further along the negotiations are going in. Your goal, of course, will be to reach a point where there is complete convergence, a point where the conditions on your list are the same as the conditions on my list.

What are the points of divergence: conditions that are on your list but are not on mine and conditions that are on my list but not on yours? Being careful to be very specific, now, make a master list that includes only our points of divergence, noting beside each point whether it is my condition or your condition. We will then negotiate our points of divergence.

As a central negotiating principle, keep in mind that you are never negotiating about what you want. That is a given and is actually nonnegotiable. If you did not want it, there is no point in pursuing it. We are simply negotiating the terms and conditions under which I will give it to you: our points of divergence. Amateur negotiators frequently fall into the trap of focusing on what they want. Skilled negotiators focus on the points of divergence: what we will call the transfer conditions.


What do you have, what do you control, or what can you do that would be of value to me? Look at my transfer conditions. You may use them as a guide for determining what may be of value to me in this particular negotiating situation. Make a list that includes what you can give to me in this particular negotiating situation. Make notation of why you think it would be of value to me. What benefits will I derive? What you give to me combined with the benefits I will derive from it represent the consideration you are offering in the negotiation.

As a summary point, you have determined what you want, have determined the transfer conditions, and now have determined what your consideration can be to induce me to follow through with the transfer. The stage for negotiating is set.

What are your negotiating limits? Review your list of consideration elements. Can you actually transfer control of them to me? What are the long and short term implications for you of making this transfer? Once you have considered the implications, revise your consideration list to include only those things you can give to me without jeopardizing yourself over time. This final list is what constitutes your negotiating limits: the maximum consideration you are prepared to introduce into the negotiations. At no point, and especially not during a specific negotiating session, should you go beyond your negotiating limits, no matter how tempting it may be. Yes, you may miss an opportunity once in a great while. The advantage to you is this: making an unexpected offer you cannot refuse is a game run by truly skilled negotiators. Assume that he/she is at least as skilled as you are and is not about to ‘give away the store.’ What seems like an unexpected prize will usually turn out to be something for which you will pay dearly and without the benefit of prior thought or analysis. As good negotiators say, ‘Never come to the bait!’

Importantly, following all of the above steps gets you to what you think will be the final outcome of the negotiations. You think you will get what you want, the full consideration I have to offer. You have also determined your negotiating limits: the maximum consideration you will offer. If you want, simply make your best offer on a take it or leave it basis. This is, of course, not negotiating. It is rather simply making a nonnegotiable offer. What should you do if you want to negotiate, though? Simply list the preliminary transfer conditions: the least you are willing to accept and what you believe – hope – might be the least I would accept in return. These then represent the minimum transfer conditions. If you have carefully completed your preliminary work as outlined above, negotiations may now begin.

This article is excerpted from The Frustration Factor from Glenbridge Publishing. For more articles and information from Gary Crow, visit http://www.LeadershipVillage.com or http://www.LeadershipVillage.org

Author: Gary Crow
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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How to Keep Workforce Efficient During Periods of Change and Transition

The most important factor in the outcome of any major reorganization is the human factor. “There is no such thing like over-communication during phases of change”. Even if all facts are presented in an all-hands-meeting, messages require frequent repetitions. Employees need to receive and understand the information provided. The following guidelines for executives, managers and supervisors help to improve communication during periods of change.

What is the reason for change – and why now? Even if employees may know the difficult conditions that led to the new situation, many adhere to the past. They may blame external circumstances rather than internal factors for it. The real situation needs to be explained in clear and credible language. Shorthand statements like, “With this measure we will increase our equity base”, even if correct, do not help to understand why change is necessary now.

Repeated information sharing. Often, people do not hear or understand a message right at the first time. This can be overcome with repeated communication – despite the fact that managers’ time is already stretched thin during periods of transition. Information not provided or understood will be replaced with grapevine. Obviously, such substitutes distract employees even more.

Frank information and courage to say: “I don’t know”. In situations of massive change, employees weigh every word from management. It is best to ask employees if they want to hear available information even if it may change in the future, or if they prefer to wait until information has become fact. Employees will assure that they want to hear all available information.

Careful use of language. Phrases like, “it is business as usual” are far too often used by management. The intention is well meant, soothing and taking away employees’ fears. The situation during major organizational change is however not at all “usual”. Managers who resort to such phases may easily be stamped “incredible”. Statements like, “let’s stay focused on work” are much more advisable under such circumstances.

Assurance of what is not changing. Even if the focus is on the transition, explaining which characteristics of the former organization remain helps reducing employees’ fears and makes it easier for them to cope with stress that inevitably accompanies transitions.

Information over form. Information must not be delayed because forms are not available, or the final presentation template has not been agreed to. If information is valuable to employees, it should be provided as soon as possible. Even if available information is incomplete, providing two memos is better than causing “information delay”. Employees will always appreciate management’s efforts to get information to them as soon as possible, even if the form is not yet perfect.

Diligent and realistic transition planning builds the foundation for a successful, in time realization. Execution as a team leads to motivated employees, which results consequently in more efficient, more competitive organizations. Employees build the backbone of most companies. They carry pride in what they do and have usually very keen interest in contributing to make “their” company successful. Communication is a very simple, yet very powerful element of change management to make this happen.


Wolfgang “Deiton” Damm can build on over 25 years of management experience in different industries. With engineering and business degrees, Deiton embraces managerial, organizational, marketing and technical disciplines. He is author of a book and patent holder. Deiton writes articles and blogs about better business practices.

Author Links
Blog URL: http://deiton.com/Wordpress
LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/wolfgangdamm

Author: Wolfgang Damm
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Implement Your Strategy Successfully

Too many managers wait far too long before thinking about implementing their strategy. They finish their strategy sessions, and only then consider the question of implementation. This is a mistake. By waiting until after their strategy sessions, they miss earlier opportunities to encourage successful implementation. Don’t follow their mistake. To encourage successful implementation of your strategy, you should take specific steps before, during and after your strategy sessions


Prior to your strategy sessions, you have the opportunity to lay the groundwork for successful strategy implementation. Here are your specific steps…

o Demonstrate Senior Management Commitment. If senior management isn’t committed to the strategic planning process, neither will anyone else be. Senior managers must demonstrate their commitment, not just by word, but by deed as well. They must devote their own time to the planning process. And also demonstrate readiness to allocate the necessary resources to the resultant strategies.

o Select the “right” planning team members. The members of your planning team will come from the ranks of top management – likely your key functional managers. This brings the expertise necessary to develop the plan and also allows the necessary immediate strategic decisions. And just as important, it builds ownership among the key managers who will later direct implementation of the resultant strategies.

o Gather the “right” pre-planning information. Gather not just the obvious financial data. Also gather information about your customers and the benefits they seek in purchasing your products and services. Why they buy. Why they don’t. And information about your competition. Their strengths and weaknesses. And how their offering compares to yours. Successful strategies follow from your management team’s full appreciation of your enterprise and its relationship to its marketplace. You need to go well beyond the data. Gather information to build and maintain your planning team’s knowledge and to encourage strategic thought.

o Solicit input from your employees. Get your employees involved in the planning process. Use a survey to “flush up” issues important to them. Their participation will build their commitment. Employees having the opportunity to participate in their company’s strategic plan feel “a part” of that plan. They’re committed to the success of the plan; and the successful implementation of the strategies within the plan. At his company’s strategic planning retreat, the Vice- President of Marketing for one of our client companies remarked, “The managers in our marketing department are eager to see this plan. They’ve provided much of the initial input for this session, so they’re looking forward to learning of, and implementing, the resultant strategies.”


At your strategy sessions, you and your planning team will develop each of the elements of your strategic plan. During those sessions, you’ll again find opportunities to encourage successful strategy implementation. Specific steps for doing so include…

o Encourage participation. Work toward rich, lively discussion on all issues. Solicit input from the more hesitant, and, if necessary, temper the more domineering individuals. To do so, you must be sure the facilitator of your sessions has not only expertise in the planning process, but also, skill in handling the planning team’s interpersonal dynamics.

o Develop objectives which you can track with your current reporting system. You’ll be busy enough implementing your plan; you don’t want to pioneer a new reporting system at the same time. Yes, once in a while – particularly for an “outside the box” strategy – you’ll need to “invent” some new measurement. But try to keep such inventions to a minimum.

o Develop a “balanced” list of objectives. Resist the tendency to set all of your objectives in the areas of finance and marketing. Make sure that at least one of your objectives is in the area of human resources. Far more of your employees care about human resource issues than about profit or sales volume. Having one or two human resource objectives, you can successfully respond when an employee asks “What’s in it for me?”

o Develop strategies built on your company’s strengths. If you’re strong in marketing, you’ll do best by promoting your way to success. If you’re good at product development, you’d best invent your way to growth. Don’t select a strategy just because it’s currently popular or because it worked well for another firm. For a strategy to work well for you, it must be based on your company’s strengths.

o Consider available resources. You’ll need to estimate the resources required to implement each strategy. Be especially careful about over-committing those resources – particularly peoples’ time. There’s a fine line between challenge, which encourages implementation; and over-commitment, which discourages implementation. Be careful.

o Develop a built-in monitoring system. Have a key manager accept responsibility for implementing each strategy. That manager’s name, along with a due date for completion, then becomes a part of your strategy statement. Including a name and a due date along with the strategy aids in monitoring the strategy’s implementation. It also assures that a key manager “owns” each strategy.


Following development of your strategies, you’ll have additional opportunities to encourage implementation…

o Communicate your strategy. Tell your employees of your strategy. Especially those employees who will help with your strategy’s implementation. As you conclude your strategy sessions, ask this closing question of your planning team: “Now that we’ve developed our strategic plan, how should we communicate it to our employees?”

o Link your strategic plan to your operational plan. Ask each manager responsible for a specific strategy to take that strategy back to his or her department. And there, ask those employees who will implement the strategy to develop detailed tactics. Ask them to assign responsibility for each tactic; to set due dates; to project required resources. Peter Drucker wisely said, “Nothing happens until we reduce strategy to work.” Implementing strategy is work. You’ll do well to manage it as such.

o Monitor your progress quarterly. You’ve perhaps heard the saying, “If you don’t measure it, it won’t happen.” This certainly applies to implementing strategy. With a quarterly monitoring system, you’ll be well aware of your implementation progress and any associated problems. And during your quarterly monitoring meetings, you can consider your options for getting a wayward strategy back on track.

o Fine tune the process. Watch for opportunities to improve your planning process. This will help with implementation of your strategies in later years. At the third quarterly review of your strategic plan, take a little extra time to discuss the planning process. To look back on your strategy sessions. Ask, “What went well?” and “What didn’t go so well?” and “What changes might we make to improve the process next time around?” Explore any and all suggestions to fine tune your planning process – so it brings continuous improvement to both your strategy development and your strategy implementation.

Bill Birnbaum, CMC, is President of Birnbaum Associates, business strategy consultants. He helps clients develop a shared strategic vision, and then turn that vision into a sound business strategy.

Bill has served on the board of directors for three high growth corporations. He’s taught strategy courses for the American Management Association and authored “Strategic Thinking: A Four Piece Puzzle” (Douglas Mountain Publishing, 2004). His book is available through book stores and on-line book sellers.

His website contains informative articles on strategic thinking, on business strategy and on economic trends affecting business: http://www.BirnbaumAssociates.com/

Author: Bill Birnbaum
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Why Doesn’t Leadership Training Produce Leaders?

Great leadership is one of the keys to long-term organisational success; so how come there seems to be such a shortage? In the corridors of political power, and in the boardrooms of large and small organisations, we regularly hear the questions: “Where is the inspired leadership we crave?”, “Where is our next generation of leaders coming from?”, “Where is the flair and inspiration we need to take us to the next level?”

If asked, you could probably say what ‘leadership’ is. Like everyone else, you’ve read the books and seen the leadership competency frameworks. You could clearly describe how it feels to be well and poorly led – you ‘know it when you see it’. But how many current great world leaders can you name off the top of your head? How many great leaders are there in your organisation now?

Why do so many people, knowing what good leadership is, fail to demonstrate it themselves? The first place to look is in the learning environment where leaders are usually developed.

What They Didn’t Teach You about Leadership

1. There is an imbalance in leadership training. There is not enough emphasis on the skills, central to great leadership, of inspiring others with beliefs, vision, values and attitude; and too much emphasis on the importance of systems, planning, measurement, budgets, controls and procedures – in short, on management! Does any great leader ever manage people into following him? No, he inspires them, motivates them, keeps them in touch with the bigger vision – he leads them.

2. As a business leader, you have probably been well trained in logic and analysis. But a key leadership skill is the application of ’emotional intelligence’ – the ability to know when things are ‘true’ or when they are ‘off’, when people are truly inspired, or just paying lip service. As a leader you need emotional intelligence to manage your own and others’ emotions, and you need skills appropriate to this task. Trying to do it by analysis and logic is about as effective as trying to drive a car by studying from a manual how the engine works.

3. People, especially in the business world, tend to avoid emotion – expressing it, dealing with it, looking at where it came from and its role in a situation. The rationale for not dealing with emotion, the very essence of leadership, is that all ‘this emotion stuff’ is ‘not professional’! Not so: it’s only ‘unprofessional’ to suppress emotion or express it inappropriately. When all ‘this emotion stuff’ is not explored and resolved in leadership groups, it always produces long-term tensions and political battles. These cause acute stress in individuals and cripple organisational effectiveness and efficiency. At the same time, they also destroy satisfaction, joy, fun, friendship, health, trust and a good night’s sleep!

4. Leadership skills like vision, inspiration and emotional intelligence can be trained on training courses – but it takes a different kind of course. In most leadership training programmes you will see models of leadership discussed, followed by practical exercises that analyse logically what went right and wrong in a ‘leadership game’. It’s all familiar and fun, but what’s being taught are the elements that underpin leadership, not the essence of leadership.

How Can You Learn to ‘Do’ Great Leadership?

You need to be coached in leadership skills, over time, in real situations – ones that matter to you and where there is a chance of meaningful success or failure – by coaches who themselves demonstrate the skills. A life skill like leadership can’t be learned by numbers; you can’t read a book about it, learn a model or play a game that simulates a real life situation, and say you know anything about leadership. The greater the ‘distance’ your learning experience is from your real world experience, the less likely it is that the learning will be transferred to your everyday performance. You didn’t learn to drive by sitting in a classroom!

So you can only effectively demonstrate the skills of leadership when the situation calling for them is real. Get a coach who has the experience to produce leadership competence, and put yourself in a programme where you are guided through real-time experience to learn leadership skills over time. Only this kind of approach will finally get you to the point where your leadership competence is as natural and instinctive as your driving ability!

At Shine Consulting, we work with leaders who are consciously engaged in designing their organisations to be places where people:
– are consistently passionate, inspired and committed
– produce results well beyond the predictable norm
In short, organisations that really shine!

Author: Kate Mercer
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

The Top 10 Traits of Super Star Business People

Emotional Intelligence is more important then IQ in superstar success.

1. They listen well and have great oral communication skills.

They have mastered the art of listening, can hold off giving their opinion, and keep an open mind to what is being said. They also can speak in a positive, friendly and encouraging manner even when giving constructive feedback.

2. They are adaptable and have creative responses to setbacks and obstacles.

These super star performers look creatively and hopefully at setbacks and turn those obstacles into opportunities.

3. Highly successful people have strong personal management skills and confidence.

They don’t need to have someone constantly supervising them to complete the job. They do things in an organized manner and are confident of the outcome.

4. Highly effective business people possess group and interpersonal effectiveness.

Top performers have exceptional group skills in cooperation, teamwork, and negotiating skills.

5. They are effective in the organization they work in.

They want to make a contribution to the organization and have leadership potential. They often start with informal power and then are promoted to formal leadership.

6. They posses the emotional skill of self-control.

They are composed under pressure and remain calm, confident, and dependable.

7. They are conscientious.

Peak performers take responsibility to fix problems and then move on.

8. High performers are trustworthy.

They have high integrity, with concern for the needs of others.

9. Our superstars have great social skills.

They are empathetic, sensitive and show tact for all levels of workers around them.

10. They build bonds and leverage diversity.

They demonstrate cooperation, appreciate, and enroll the diversity of people around them.

Submitted by Iris Fanning, Coach University Trained; M.A.- Psychology Counseling and Guidance; B.S. Psychology; Popular Success.