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What Wolf of Wallstreet can (or can't) Teach Us about the Secret to Life
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

What Wolf of Wallstreet can (or can't) Teach Us about the Secret to Life

Jan 6 2014, 11:39am CST | by

It’s not exactly burning up the box office but Wolf of Wall Street is creating a lot of buzz. Is it, as People says , self-indulgent and skippable, a disappointing depiction of “a bunch of scheming...

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28 weeks ago

What Wolf of Wallstreet can (or can't) Teach Us about the Secret to Life

Jan 6 2014, 11:39am CST | by

It’s not exactly burning up the box office but Wolf of Wall Street is creating a lot of buzz. Is it, as People says , self-indulgent and skippable, a disappointing depiction of “a bunch of scheming, loathsome creeps given a whole movie in which to play (again) on our dime”? Blurbmeister Peter Travers disagrees , calling it one of the 2013’s ten best, “a high-wire act of bravura filmmaking” and “a lethally hilarious take on white-collar crime.”

Amidst the critical moshpit, one thing caught my eye. At a downtown screening of the film, in a theater overlooking the Goldman Sachs trading floor, bankers cheered the lead character’s spectacular drug use—and his “no snitch” ethos (mild spoiler ahead): “[T]he feds get Belfort to wear a wire to implicate others at his firm. Meeting with his No. 2, Belfort slides over a piece of paper: ‘Don’t incriminate yourself. I am wearing a wire.’ And the crowd goes wild. Don’t rat! Stand by your firm!” The reporter, Stephen Perlberg, points out that “guffawing while Leo attempts to evade federal indictment doesn’t exactly help America’s perception of your societal value.”

True—but the money guys have a point, however askew it may be.

They’re misapplying a business cliché: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Like most clichés, it expresses something both true and useful but also way oversimplified. The man most often credited with coining the phrase never said it, and he wouldn’t have been a fan of the monomaniacal focus on money, or any other metric. Paul Zak, director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at the Claremont Graduate University, recently wrote about Peter Drucker’s nuanced view, which actually relates to the viewers’ sense of solidarity.

“Your first role . . . is the personal one,” Drucker told Bob Buford, a consulting client then running a cable TV business, in 1990. “It is the relationship with people, the development of mutual confidence, the identification of people, the creation of a community. This is something only you can do.” Drucker went on: “It cannot be measured or easily defined. But it is not only a key function. It is one only you can perform.”
So while I appreciate the got-your-back sentiment displayed at the screening, I do think conspicuous consumption is a pretty terrible organizing principle. There are much healthier, more productive ways of developing community in the workplace, and here are three./>

1. Go with the flow . We’ve all been there—so absorbed in a task that time just vanishes. Each of us has a different way of getting there, so how do we create flow at work? Researcher and jazz pianist R. Keith Sawyer says it requires balancing two paradoxical requirements: enough structure to support and direct improvisation but not so much that communication and innovation are shut down. According to Sawyer, “The most effective business teams balance these tensions in the same way: They listen closely, they are concentrated on the task, they communicate openly so that everyone gets immediate feedback, and they trust that genius will emerge from the group, not from any one member.” Develop group flow and better results, for the group and each individual, will flow from there.

2. Be helpful. The consulting firm IDEO tackles complicated design, branding, and process problems for clients in a broad range of business sectors. CEO Tim Brown says , “I believe that the more complex the problem, the more help you need. And that’s the kind of stuff we’re getting asked to tackle, so we need to figure out how to have a culture where help is much, much more embedded.” The company has created a “culture of helping,” in which reaching out for assistance is a normal part of the work process, no stigma attached. The result? Greater trust up and down all levels of the organization and potential mis-steps are caught before they can develop into real problems.

3. Get crafty. It’s not just for knitters or woodworkers. People who use their creative impulses to reshape their jobs in terms of tasks, relationships, and perceptions are both happier and more productive. Amy Wrzesniewski of the Yale School of Management talked to members of hospital cleaning staffs about their jobs and found two very different attitudes. One group looked at it as just a job, and not a particularly meaningful or interesting one. But other workers found ways to creating connections between their work and the mission of the hospital. They spent extra time with patients who received few visitors, or avoided certain cleaning supplies around patients who were sensitive to them. Wrzesniewski says , “It was not just that they were taking the same job and feeling better about it, pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and whistling. It was that they were doing a different job.” The Center for Positive Organizations has developed a Job Crafting Exercise that will help you and your team reimagine your work to make it more fulfilling and engaging, for everyone.

No question that a movie about building community in the workplace would lack compelling visuals such as bikinied babes papered with benjamins. But if community makes for a boring cinematic experience, it creates a very satisfying life.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
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6 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Cambodia's Famous Battambang Circus
KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was t ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

6 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Collingwood Magpies Training Session
KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

6 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Federal Aviation Administration Bans All US Flights To Israel
KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rej ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

6 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

6 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

INDIA-CHINA-DIPLOMACY-TRADE
PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
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5

6 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Government Weekly Cabinet Meeting
KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

6 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed s ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

6 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Iskandar Johor Open - Previews
JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocatio ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

6 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM - Day One
PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
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1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Skyway (Ki ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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