Who Gets The Money?

The strongest predictor of who gets venture capital investment is not the credentials or the content of the pitch.  The strongest predictors are the traits: confidence, comfort level and passionate enthusiasm.

Harvard Professor Amy Cuddy reveals data from Lakshmi Balachandra in her new Presence book.  Balachandra investigated the way entrepreneurs made 185 pitches to potential investors and the way investors responded.

This is relevant for all of us as we go into budget meeting season, whatever industry we’re in.  The clear message is that it’s important to focus as much time on your own ‘professional presence’ as on your content.  But how many times do you find your teams pouring over the final slides at the last minute rather than working on how they communicate?  It’s like going into bat with your hand tied behind your back.

The data may sound puzzling but it makes a great deal of sense.  What the investors are looking for is a person who will deliver the plan.  If the entrepreneur looks like they don’t genuinely believe in the proposition or isn’t genuinely confident, why should the investor believe?

The other interesting part of this research is that the investors distrusted ‘slick’ communicators and were looking for the genuine person.

You can learn these business skills with KineticFuture.  We have a new training programme called ‘Professional Presence. The power of the truth’, which blends skills from psychology, brain science and theatre.  Call us if you would like to know more.

You Want Creative? Then Get Into a Good Mood

If creativity in the organisation features in your leadership vision, you must read this. A top team of researchers from Harvard and three other top US universities found concrete evidence that creative thought is consistently preceded by being in a good mood.

The reason why this study matters is that it wasn’t conducted in a lab or some other experimental setting, but in the workplace where people were using creative thinking to solve problems in their work. They analysed over 11,000 daily diaries kept by 222 employees in seven companies over a long period of time, and found ‘consistent evidence of a positive relationship between positive emotion and creativity’. These people weren’t relentlessly positive and there was plenty of evidence of negative moods – but they didn’t find a negativity-creativity link.

Then there was more…the people who’d been creative experienced more positive emotion and there was some evidence that the reaction of others to the creativity caused more positivity as well; a potentially powerful organisational effect.

So how could you encourage your team to be in a good mood?

Research source: Teresa M. Amabile, Harvard University; Sigal G. Barsade, University of Pennsylvania; Jennifer S. Mueller, New York University; Barry M. Staw, University of California at Berkeley (2005). Affect and Creativity at Work.