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Terry's Original Quote Keepers

A minute of silence can be more productive than an hour of debate.
~Terry Braverman

Arrest yourself when under the influence of a negative thought.
~Terry Braverman

Give me levity, or give me death!
~Terry Braverman

An intimate relationship is the ultimate training.
~Terry Braverman

Clarity of purpose is the ultimate decongestant.
~Terry Braverman

Faith keeps the voice of fear out of your ear.
~Terry Braverman

Peace begins between your ears.
~Terry Braverman

Peace begins between your ears.
~Terry Braverman

Be patient, before you become a patient.
~Terry Braverman

Over-analysis causes paralysis.
~Terry Braverman

May the 'farce' be with you.
~Terry Braverman

Plan some time to be spontaneous.
~Terry Braverman

Laugh at yourself, and you will always be amused.
~Terry Braverman

Imagination sharpens the dull blade of routine.
~Terry Braverman

Inquisitiveness cures boredom; nothing cures inquisitiveness.
~Terry Braverman

Feed your soul, starve your worries.
~Terry Braverman

Avoid time in the Tower of Babble.
~Terry Braverman

Release any false sense of insecurity.
~Terry Braverman

Life is a fantasy, made real by our thoughts.
~Terry Braverman


Music is arguably one of humanity’s greatest creations. It can provoke powerful emotions, from stirring us into action to soothing a troubled soul. A simple tune can inspire, challenge, unite us, help us focus and invoke a positive state. Music has served as a trusted companion to some of the most complex scientific theories. Einstein credits many of his pioneering ideas to the inspiration derived from listening to Mozart. When asked about his thought process by one interviewer, he attributed images and musical structure, rather than formulas and words, to his breakthroughs: “If I was not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”


For countless professionals in a variety of fields, music has been a catalyst for bold ideas and bodacious achievements. And yet, until recently much of the corporate world has disregarded, dismissed or discouraged the role of music as a critical driver of a more effective organization. Still in many companies, the presence of music, even the use of headphones, is either frowned upon or even banned by corporate policy. This contradicts the overwhelming evidence showing music to be a potent tool for morale, team building, creativity, and productivity.


Background music has been employed in the workplace for centuries. In the Industrial Age women and occasionally orchestras would be booked in the quieter factories to sing and play among the workers. In the Victorian era handloom weavers would sing together to keep awake.


Radio in its early days was primarily a news broadcasting platform, but in 1940, the BBC launched a program called “Music While You Work.” It ran twice a day and was tailored for factory workers. Bands hired for the show played medleys that would keep the workers’ attention – pieces with an upbeat rhythm with the intent to foster productivity. The benefits of background music in the workplace were quickly realized: increased productivity, fewer accidents and sick days, improved alertness, and more team interaction.


“It breaks you out of just thinking one way,” insists Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami. Dr. Lesiuk’s research points out how music affects workplace performance. In one study involving information technology specialists, she found that those who listened to music completed their tasks more rapidly and initiated better ideas than those who didn’t, because the music improved their mood. “When you’re stressed, you might make a decision more hastily; you have a very narrow focus of attention,” she stated. “When you’re in a positive mood, you’re able to take in more options.”


In a five week study on software developers, she observed that “positive affect and quality-of-work were lowest with no music, with longer task times.” Furthermore, “positive mood change and enhanced perception of design” were recorded with the addition of music.


Dr. Lesiuk determined that personal choice in music was very important. She granted study participants the freedom to select whatever music they liked and to listen as long as they wanted. Those who were moderately skilled at their jobs benefited the most, while experts experienced more modest results. Some novices regarded the music as distracting. Dr. Lesiuk has also found that the older people are, the less time they spend listening to music at work.


In physiological terms, melodious sounds help encourage the release of dopamine in the reward area of the brain, as would eating a delicacy, looking at something appealing or smelling a pleasant aroma, said Dr. Amit Sood, a physician of integrative medicine with the Mayo Clinic. People’s minds tend to wander, “and we know that a wandering mind is unhappy,” Dr. Sood affirmed. “Most of that time, we are focusing on the imperfections of life. Music can bring us back to the present moment.” He asserts that it takes just 15 minutes to a half-hour of listening time to regain concentration. Music without lyrics usually works best, he said. For those who choose to listen to music, it’s best to set limits, because wearing headphones for an entire shift can be perceived as rude by those nearby.


In his book titled “This is Your Brain on Music,” author Daniel Levitin helps to clarify how our brain processes music, and why certain music, like classical or jazz, evoke stronger emotions than noise or monotonous music. As he describes it, when we hear one part of a song, it’s the process of anticipating what is to follow and the challenge of it derives pleasure for us. Without it, our brain is unchallenged and excitement is limited. The excitement releases dopamine and serotonin in our brain, and these chemicals elicit a feeling of euphoria and positivity. Music gets us high, it feels good, enhances our mood, and opens the mind, all positive outcomes you want for your employees.


However, not all are convinced by the merits of music in the workplace. "If people need a high level of concentration, it could be a distraction," asserts Dr. Carolyn Axtell, at the Institute of Work Psychology. The key is control, according to Dr. Anneli Haake, who has a PhD in music psychology. "When people choose to listen there can be positive effects - it can be relaxing and help manage other distractions such as noise. But when it's imposed, they can find it annoying and stressful," she says. Problems occur when colleagues clash. "You can look away if you don't want to see something, but you can't close your ears."


Daniel Rubin, a columnist at The Philadelphia Inquirer, has listened to jazz and piano concertos for most of his 33-year newspaper career — but only when writing on deadline. He began with a Sony Walkman, but now listens to 76 days’ worth of music on his iTunes playlist. “The person clicking their nails three desks away and the person humming next to me all sound equally loud and it’s hard for me to block them out,” he said. As a columnist, he works mostly alone, and people in the office seldom need to approach him. But when he was a budding reporter, he noticed that colleagues would become irritated when trying to get his attention. “It was really annoying because suddenly you would hear ‘Dan ... DAN ... DAN RUBIN! People were screaming at you because they needed you.”


The work space is increasingly being filled with techno-gadgetry that embraces the benefits of music. One company is already offering headphones that can read your brain’s wavelength and play music according to your mood. Another technology company called Focus@Will collaborated with UCLA researchers to create a neuroscience-based music library designed to motivate and inspire. The service aims to find your productive zone, or flow, by offering a few genres to choose from and by taking continuous feedback on how you performed based on what you were listening to. After 100 minutes, it shuts off briefly, reminding you take a break before coming back to focus.


Companies are starting to consider more seriously the role of music within their organization. Music can have a positive impact both at the individual level of employees, and as a collective unit throughout the company as a whole. Individually, music can directly impact the mood and state of happiness of employees. It can affect performance and help push individuals beyond their limits. Collectively, it can synchronize teams into a rhythm with their activities and output, unite employees and create a social bond that brings the organization closer together.



“All music is folk music. I never heard a horse sing a song.” ― Louis Armstrong


“Let me be clear about this: I don’t have a drug problem, I have a police problem.” ― Keith Richards


”To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.” ― Leonard Bernstein


“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.” ― John Cage


“Actually I don’t remember being born, it must have happened during one of my black outs.” ― Jim Morrison (The Doors)


“If I didn’t do this, I wouldn’t have anything to do. I can’t cook, and I’d be a terrible housewife.” ― Freddie Mercury (Queen)




Reid Hoffman changed the way individuals networked and searched for jobs as co-founder of LinkedIn. Now the billionaire venture capitalist has plans for revolutionizing the way employees work.


In his new book “The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age” (co-authored with Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh), Hoffman outlines a new employee-employer contract -- one in which employees sign up for "tours of duty." He instituted such a radical policy at LinkedIn; new hires were given a 2-year or 4-year tour of duty and if managers were pleased with their contributions, employees were awarded with another tour of duty, which the company characterized as “career advancement”. "Functionally this is the way the world works already in many industries," says Hoffman in the video above.


Hoffman picked the two-to-four year time frame because "it syncs with a typical product development cycle, allowing an employee to see a major project through." Of course, contract work of this nature does not typically include benefits like stock options, sick days, paid vacation, holiday pay, etc. And does the more frequent adaptation contract workers must make to different company cultures affect productivity both ways? What bank would issue a loan or mortgage to someone who only has a contract for a 2 year tour of duty? Who would even want a mortgage if you only have a 2 year commitment?


He believes this new paradigm builds trust between employees and their bosses and keeps the employee engaged throughout the entire tour; employees direct their attention to discrete tasks and are assigned specific goals. The process allows honest conversations, Hoffman explains, and helps ease employees' concerns over layoffs and instability. How does making any sort of job longevity tenuous at best build trust? Yes, it eliminates the employee fear of layoffs, and replaces it with the likelihood of a layoff. Do most people really want to go job hunting every couple of years?


This is not a new paradigm. This practice simply reinforces what is already happening. It’s a way to avoid long term commitment to rewarding employees with pay per skill/experience level and benefits for any great length of time, so new people can be hired at entry-level wages. In the long run, when you have a growing abundance of people in between jobs their inclination to invest in homes and spend on consumer goods becomes muted; ultimately, it will come back to bite the companies that laid them off .


Employers committed to engaging, fairly compensating, and appreciating the best employees for the long run, are likely to get the most optimum returns in productivity and bottom line results.




“Once I had a guy show up for an interview in flip-flops and shorts, high as a kite. I asked him about a gap on his resume, and he said that during those two years he had been starring in a well-known television show. He had not been.”


“I once had a candidate show up for her interview directly from the pool. She still had on a wet bikini under a super short, strapless romper thing and flip flops. Her hair was still wet. The interview had been scheduled for over a week.”


“I once interviewed a job candidate who said she was interested in the position because she had ‘nothing better to do.’ No, thank you.”


“My friend was conducting an interview one time, and asked the candidate the dreaded, ‘What’s your worst quality?’ question. Answer: ‘I’m kind of unreliable.’”


“I work for a well-known nonprofit so it’s important to us that employees believe in our mission. One interviewee explicitly said she didn’t care about our mission, but she was willing to try to work on it.”


“I was conducting a phone interview and the guy’s tone changes to a slight echo for about 5 or 6 minutes. As he is talking, I hear the toilet flush in the background and 60 seconds later there is no echo.”


“I asked a candidate, ‘Tell me about the biggest challenge that has taken up your time unexpectedly in the last 3 months.’ Her answer: ‘Well, I’ve started breastfeeding, and that can be tough. Sometimes even painful.’








“Learning and teaching are not inherently linked. Much learning takes place without teaching, and indeed much teaching takes place without learning.” Jane Bozarth


Two weeks ago, our feature story focused on the pros and cons of eLearning. Linked-In’s HR Group recently ran a survey with 700 members, 59% having taken four or more eLearning courses. While 56% felt ‘increasing amounts of professional training will be through eLearning courses’, a paltry 8.5% felt ‘eLearning courses are usually of a high standard’.


The most important influences on choice of eLearning course are a relevant description (72%), the course supplier’s reputation (60%), attractive price (49%) and certification credits (45%). Some people emphasized the importance of ‘easy access, anytime, anywhere’, stressing the importance of ‘less time out of the office for training because this way I can engage with the content when I am most able to learn & retain the information’. Others wanted courses to take ‘an hour or less to complete’ and one noted they should ‘deliver value commensurate with price: less expensive may not provide good value’.


The influence of social media was clear from many comments, with one respondent suggesting ‘some form of social collaboration & someone who comes in once in a while to facilitate reflection would make eLearning win’. Another noted ‘my biggest issue with eLearning is the limited ability (or total inability) to interact with the session leader & fellow participants’. 64% of respondents agreed with the idea of ‘being able to refer to a professional advisor’, with one asking for ‘real time support, so when a particular concept is not understood there is an alternative learning intervention available’.


This was borne out by 49% suggesting ‘being able to correspond with fellow students’ would add to the appeal of a course, while 53% would value course rankings & 48% would appreciate reviews from previous students. One respondent wanted ‘solid and verifiable references and personal experiences from former participants’, while others sought the facility to ‘take a test run through a course’ or ‘trial samples’. But interactivity with fellow students & the tutor was a key, with respondents seeking friendliness, fun, engagement & encouragement to change their thinking & behavior.


Conclusion: There is a plethora of substandard eLearning courses. Many eLearning students have clear ideas on how to improve them; many of those ideas relate to Social Media principles. Is greater interactivity the route forward for eLearning? It appears so.







As we get ready to celebrate the 4th of July, my thoughts shift to the concept of independence. Webster initiates a definition of independence as “not subject to control by others”. Unless you are living self-sufficiently on an island by yourself with no governance, who is not subject to control by others? Virtually all humankind is subject to laws, regulations, the actions of others, and social constraints, some justified, some not. 


The Founding Fathers of this country didn't like being controlled, they believed in liberty and freedom. The foundation we call the Declaration of Independence and Constitution was established to protect rights, and freedom from government overreach. While they are praiseworthy documents, a document cannot guarantee true independence any more than a drive on the freeway can guarantee safety. Independence is really a myth, and the reality is that we are interdependent. We depend on others to generate electricity, supply us with goods, support us with our projects, and for human comfort, among other things.


Perhaps this time is better spent over the weekend acknowledging our interdependence, and reflecting on the strength of our business and personal connections. It may be cause for celebration, or inspiration for change.















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