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Navigating Uncertainty Adaptive Leadership Leadership Styles Effective Leadership

Navigating Uncertainty: The Relevance of Adaptive Leadership Post-COVID-19

The post-COVID-19 pandemic world requires a more thorough examination of traditional leadership paradigms to maintain employee engagement and retention. Today more than ever before, employees are searching for a sense of security and safety from their leaders. 

Adaptive leadership provides a framework that aligns with the complexities of our rapidly evolving world. It equips leaders with the insights necessary to keep pace and successfully guide their teams through uncertainty.  

This blog outlines the essence of adaptive leadership and its profound relevance to “leading human” in a new era of leadership.  

What is Adaptive Leadership? 

“Doing nothing requires effort. Over time, that effort is greater than the effort necessary to improve, or move somewhere better. The trick is to redirect energy.”

Max McKeown, author, Adaptability: The Art of Winning In An Age of Uncertainty

Adaptive leadership diverges from conventional leadership models by focusing on the ability to thrive amidst uncertainty and times of change. As stated by Brent Gleeson on Forbes.com, “Adaptive leadership, a philosophy originated by Ronald Heifetz – Founding Director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School – and his colleagues, offers a framework for tackling complex challenges by encouraging flexibility, experimentation, and learning. Unlike traditional leadership models that emphasize stability and control, adaptive leadership acknowledges that change is inevitable and that leaders must adapt their strategies accordingly.” Considering the tumultuous past few years, this leadership style can provide a breath of fresh air for employees.  

Under this model, leaders focus on anticipating future needs and effectively conveying those needs to key stakeholders. This allows leaders to develop collective understanding and support for relevant future risks and opportunities. Unlike traditional hierarchical structures, solutions to complex organizational issues emerge from the collective problem solving and innovation of the organization, not from a single authoritative leader. 

“What people resist is not change per se, but loss.”

Ronald A. Heifetz, author, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World 

The above quote reflects a common cognitive bias, loss aversion. People tend to strongly prefer avoiding potential losses rather than acquiring gains of similar value. Because losses often carry greater emotional charge, people often opt for a path of least loss when making decisions. In organizations, change can be challenging because of the potential loss associated with undergoing a transition. However, this resistance to change often hinders progress and innovation.  

Adaptive leadership promotes a culture that embraces change and uncertainty as opportunities for growth as leaders empower their people to navigate turbulent waters with confidence. Adaptive leaders inspire innovation and collective action, charting a path toward a brighter and more resilient future. 

Adaptive leaders demonstrate flexibility, resiliency, and continuous learning, enabling them to better adapt when necessary. They encourage accountability and transparency throughout the decision-making process, which builds trust amongst their teams.

We can help: 

Change is inevitable, yet only 29% of leaders have received training dedicated to managing successful change (ddiworldwide.com). 

Answering the demand for more effective and relevant leadership in a post-covid era means attenuating to the often-overlooked element of change – the human dynamics and interactions.  

The Lantern Group works with organizations providing the tools and insights leaders need to effectively anticipate, interpret, and respond to their team’s needs to drive the right attitudes and behaviors that lead to long-term success. Through a mix of behaviorally informed workshops, leadership coaching, and on-going consulting, we help organizations thrive through transitions.  

Anticipate an upcoming organizational change? Reach out to us today our team is ready to explore opportunities to help you navigate it successfully. 

Confidence is Key, Until It’s Not: The Overconfidence Bias at Work

The Overconfidence Bias

Illusions of Invincibility 

The workplace is prone to experience a variety of common cognitive biases. One bias, called the overconfidence bias, can exacerbate many other cognitive thinking errors. In a study, 93% of participants claim to be better than the average person in terms of their driving abilities (Svenson, 1981). Considering this improbability, we must question why so many individuals have an inflated sense of confidence in themselves.  

Failure to acknowledge our own limitations and overlook the instances in which our decisions were biased leads us down a path of suboptimal decision-making. Within organizations, this overconfidence in one’s own abilities can cause conflict with co-workers, poor investments, and missed opportunities.  

The Confidence Paradox 

The overconfidence bias is the tendency for an individual to have an inflated sense of their own abilities, physical appearance, intelligence, or knowledge. This inflated opinion of ourselves often leads to sub-optimal decisions or actions as we trust our own intuition instead of looking at the true facts.  

Overconfidence often stems from past successes that can blind individuals to the flaws in their approaches and hinder innovative solutions. For example, you may recall a very popular movie rental chain going bankrupt just six years after its peak (e-careers.com). The organization’s prior success dominating the movie rental realm caused them to downplay the potential for online streaming services and the decision to pass up the opportunity to buy the now current largest movie streaming service. An overconfident decision based on their past success ultimately led to their demise.

Confounding this paradox, is that this inflated confidence can also lead to having an inaccurate assessment of our own vulnerability to bias and errors. Without acknowledging this vulnerability, we are unable to combat other biases and heuristics such as egocentrism and availability bias.  

Between Confidence and Consequence 

Within organizations, the overconfidence bias can significantly impact the quality of decisions made. Decisions based off an inflated sense of confidence can cause one to overestimate their accuracy and underestimate the risks involved with a decision. At all levels of an organization, this bias can lead to suboptimal decisions that negatively impact organizational effectiveness.  

The overconfidence bias can also influence communication within organizations. Co-workers can mistake a confident assertion for competence and offer their support in favor of a poor decision. When leaders are overconfident, they may be less receptive to conflicting opinions or ideas and turn down innovative ideas. Issues with collaboration and team dynamics can also result from the overconfidence bias going unaddressed. When an overly confident team member fails to listen to the alternative choices presented by members of their team, creativity and innovation are stunted.  

Breaking the Illusion and Overcoming Overconfidence 

Mitigating the overconfidence bias involves training and educating employees on this common cognitive error. When employees understand the errors that we as humans are all prone to experience, self-awareness increases, and they are better able to recognize when they are committing this bias. 

Leaders should strive to promote a culture of open communication and encourage new ideas. Setting the example as leaders of learning from mistakes and taking accountability of decisions encourages team members to follow suit. Conducting post-mortems of decisions can help to assess whether the overconfidence bias influenced a decision. This in turn, can help to prevent the same occurrences from happening in the future.  

The Lantern Group specializes in applying behavioral science insights to positively influence behavior change within organizations. We take a unique approach when crafting organizational communications and training by fusing visual design with behavioral science to create messages that resonate with employees. Reach out to us today to find out how we can help your organization!  


Ola Svenson, ‘Are We Less Risky and More Skillful than Our Fellow Drivers?’, Acta Psychologica, 47 (1981), 143–48. 

10 businesses that failed due to poor management | e-Careers

Knowing When to Abandon Ship: The Sunk Cost Fallacy at Work

Sinking Ship 

You have invested $10,000 into a hot new energy drink eggnog stock that you heard would take off like Santa’s sleigh.  You’re not sure why, but the stock’s performance hasn’t done what you expected.  In fact, you are down over 20% after the first week.  Your friends are all telling you to sell, but you’ve already invested this much into it and still think that there is a chance that it can rebound – you decide to just stick it out.  Over the next few weeks, the stock tanks, but each day, you keep thinking about the $10,000 that you invested and hope for a rebound to get that money back.  In the end, the company folds and you lose the whole investment.   

This is an extreme case of The Sunk Cost Fallacy.   

Getting Invested 

The Sunk Cost Fallacy is the tendency to continue to invest resources such as time, money, or energy into a decision even when it becomes clear that this decision is not in one’s best interests. When we make a significant investment, it becomes more difficult for us to walk away from it. Past investments heavily influence present and future decisions, regardless of the potential benefits.  

This bias is frequently seen within organizations and the continuance of certain projects that, to an outsider, may seem doomed from the start. For example, a company that continues to pour a substantial amount of time and money into a research project that has failed to produce the expected return. Prior investments can weigh so heavily on the minds of decision-makers that they start to ignore warning signs and continue pouring more into the project to see it through. 

What’s There to Lose? 

A related concept, loss aversion, may contribute to the occurrence of the Sunk Cost Fallacy. For some, the fear of acknowledging a loss can lead to the persistence of a failing project in hopes that a further investment will eventually turn the tide (think about the story at the beginning of this blog).  Humans are often more motivated to avoid a loss than to acquire an equivalent gain, making it difficult to give up on prior investments seen as a loss – particularly if there is even the slightest chance that the loss will not be realized (i.e., that the stock will rebound or that the research will have a miraculous breakthrough).   

Emotional attachments are another factor making it difficult to walk away from investments. Individuals often develop emotional attachments to certain projects or decisions which can cloud their judgment. Making an objective assessment of the current and future state of a project becomes challenging when prior investments that carry an emotional element with them weigh heavily in the decision-maker’s mind.  

For organizational decision-makers, public commitments intensify the sunk cost fallacy. Typically, people would rather not admit to a failure. In some cases, this fear of failure is enough motivation to stay the course regardless of the potential consequences. Managers can fall into this trap especially when they assume their organization places a high value on saving face. When the pressure of maintaining a certain reputation comes into play, managers may choose to continue with a sunk cost despite the red flags popping up in the process. Taking accountability for a mistake may be more daunting than continuing with a failed project.  

The Art of Letting Go 

One of the best ways to combat the sunk cost fallacy is through training. Educating employees on common biases within the workplace and training leaders to prioritize accurate decision-making based on the best potential future outcomes rather than their reputation. Organizations can often avoid any further losses by fostering the right organizational culture. When decision-makers feel comfortable admitting to a sunk cost, further investments into failed projects can be avoided.  

The Lantern Group has worked with organizations for over 25 years training employees and leaders on different behavioral science principles to improve the workplace. If you are interested in improving communication, understanding human motivation, and mitigating biases in your organization, contact us today for more information on how we can partner with your organization.  

The Power of Possession: Understanding the Endowment Effect in the Workplace

The Influence of Ownership

If given the option, would you choose an item worth $10 or an item worth $20? The typical response would obviously be to choose the item valued at the higher price point. However, this logical response is not always the norm.

Ownership of an item often changes the value we attribute to it. In a classic experiment, participants were given a mug and then offered to trade the mug for an item of higher retail value (Kahneman et al., 1990). They found 80% of participants would rather maintain possession of the mug than trade for the higher priced item. This is an example of how our emotions can often override our logic.

Getting Attached to the Idea

The endowment effect, or mere ownership effect, is the tendency for individuals to place a higher value on objects once they own them. When we attach positive emotions to material objects, they become more valuable to us than their actual market value. This effect is not limited to material items alone, rather, can apply to ideas, values, or opinions as well.

One example of the endowment effect in the workplace is when individuals show greater investment in projects that they have initiated in some way. Feelings of ownership over a project intensify the emotional connection that an employee has to the project. This in turn increases their commitment, effort, and passion to see the project to the end.    

Unfortunately, this effect can also hinder innovation and progress within organizations. When an individual becomes so attached to their own idea, they may be quick to turn down the ideas of others in favor of their own. Over time, this tunnel vision can negatively impact the organizational culture.

The Value of Ownership

One way to leverage the endowment effect for organizational good is to offer employees equity or stock options. A second option is to focus on psychological ownership. Psychological ownership empowers employees to further the advancement of the organization as they feel more attached and have a sense of control over their work (Buriro et al., 2018). To foster psychological ownership, employees need freedom over their work and a culture in which they feel comfortable voicing their ideas or opinions in the organizational decision-making processes.

One way of fostering psychological ownership is by involving employees in the process of creating their development plans. Another way is through recognition. When employees receive recognition, even for minor accomplishments, they feel a greater sense of value, which increases motivation and commitment to their work.

The Lantern Group has over 25 years of experience working with organizations to address their greatest assets- their people. Reach out to us today to find out more about how we leverage behavioral science insights in our leadership training, work in rewards and recognition, and when crafting communications to motivate and engage.


Buriro, Sobia & Ng, Siew & Jantan, Amer & Ho, Jo & Brohi, Noor. (2018). Psychological Ownership and Employee Engagement.

Kahneman, D., Knetsch, J. L., & Thaler, R. H. (1990). Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem. Journal of Political Economy98(6), 1325–1348. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2937761

Navigating the Complexities of Co-Workers: One Common Cognitive Error We All Make

The Fundamental Attribution Error – Assuming others’ wins or losses are due primarily to personality traits without fully considering how situational factors contribute to their behavior.

Our Brain Takes Shortcuts  

We rarely have all of the information when it comes to understanding others and why they make the decisions that they make.  This lack of understanding does not sit well with our brains. We have evolved to crave certainty and a desire to know why other people behave the way they do.*  However, to achieve this certainty, we would typically have to spend a lot of time and mental effort to peel back the reasons for other people’s behavior.  

To save time and energy, our brains apply heuristics or mental short cuts, which help our brain ascribe reasons for other people’s actions. As useful as these short cuts can be, they can also be damaging when they are incorrect, misinformed or just too simplified to really describe the complexity that most decisions are made in. This can lead to misunderstandings in the workplace, tension amongst colleagues, and policies that backfire. 

The Fundamental Attribution Error 

One common type of cognitive error that our brains make in this situation is called the fundamental attribution error (FAE). When we try to understand someone else’s actions, we tend to assume other’s negative outcomes are a result of their personality.  Our brains assume that they are lazy, or not smart enough, or that they didn’t try and fail to fully consider the impact of situational factors on their results.  Interestingly, when others experience success, our brains often attribute their success to luck and situational factors (i.e., they got a head start or were on the easier course).** 

The FAE occurs as we try to understand how others arrive at certain outcomes. In the corporate world, this can have a negative impact because when we judge a co-worker for missing deadlines, we might jump to the conclusion that they are lazy or lack time management skills. In reality, there are a multitude of situational factors at play that we are unaware of. 

When Tension Arises 

One very negative aspect that can arise with FAE is when it is combined with another common human bias, which is our in-group favorability.  This in-group bias underscores the fact that we tend to think more highly and are more forgiving of people that we see as part of our in-group.  It’s often easier for individuals to understand members of one’s “in-group,” rather than members of one’s “out-group.”

We have more knowledge of “in-group” members and their daily experiences. This makes it easy to understand when outside factors influence productivity, and we are less likely to apply the Fundamental Attribution Error. This can be more difficult with “out-groups” because we have limited knowledge on their day-to-day, their workload, or any organizational issues they must overcome. Therefore, our brains are more likely to apply the FAE towards people in “out-groups.”  

We can see how this could create significant issues for organizations.  

For managers, attribution errors can lead to unfair performance reviews, passing a quality candidate up for employment, or unfair policies that push out top talent – just because they fall into an “out group.” When an “out group” employee’s performance is not on par during their yearly performance review, their manager may be quick to assume the employee failed to put in the effort needed to meet expectations. 

Beyond Bias: Mitigating FAE 

Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the impact of FAE. When organizations foster psychological safety, employees are more open to expressing their true selves to the group.  By creating an atmosphere where people can be themselves, we gain greater insight into their personality and motives, thus reducing the need to make assumptions about why they did something (i.e., they become more of an in-group).  Additionally, psychological safety allows people to feel safe to bring up issues or contexts that may negatively impact their performance – again, providing a deeper insight to why the outcome happened the way it did.  

Another way of reducing FAE inside organizations is providing managers with training and coaching on how to provide effective feedback.  One of the key aspects of FAE is that it reduces the mental effort needed to get to the root cause of the behavior.  Effective feedback doesn’t take that shortcut.  Training managers to dig into the root cause of an issue and identify other factors that impact performance, forces them to look past the initial gut reaction of applying FAE to people’s intentions.  When we teach managers to look deeper into the context that the behavior is happening in, they often find that the issue is not with someone’s lack of effort or skill but has to do with outside factors.    

The Lantern Group

The Lantern Group specializes in applying behavioral science insights to positively influence behavior change within organizations for decades. We know how important effective communication is to organizational success. Our team takes a holistic approach to crafting organizational communications and training – we fuse visual design and behavioral science to create messages and insights that resonate with employees and help shed light on the reasons we do what we do. Contact us today to find out how we can help your organization! 

*This evolutionary factor goes to trying to make sure we understand other’s motives as it relates to our overall safety.  Note that one of the biggest threats that our ancient ancestors faced was other people in the tribe.  We needed to understand how they were feeling and why they behaved the way they did to ensure that we stayed on their good side or could predict their behaviors.   

**It has been hypothesized that we attribute others success to luck to help maintain a positive self-image of ourselves.  We don’t like the cognitive discomfort that comes to thinking that maybe we are not as good as someone else.   

Unwrapping Success: Unique Office Gifting Ideas

Unwrapping Success: Unique Office Gifting Ideas

Building Office Bonds: Thoughtful Gifts for the Workplace

The workplace is more than just a space to accomplish tasks; it’s where we spend approximately 30% of our waking hours. It’s often our second home, where we develop both personally and professionally, and where we build connections with others. Thoughtful gifts go a long way in strengthening the bonds between co-workers and bringing a touch of positivity to the office.

Whether you’re a leader searching for unique gifts for your whole team, a spouse looking for something to brighten your partner’s workday, or a co-worker looking for the perfect present to wrap up for this year’s holiday party, we’ve got you covered! Show your appreciation this year using our list of the top unique and thoughtful gifts for the workplace.

#1- Brain/Shift Journal Series

First up on our list, the Brain/Shift Journal Series. The only journals designed by behavioral scientists, that tap into underlying human drives, biases, habits, and behaviors to help you align your focus and achieve your goals. These daily guided journals contain daily reflections and activities designed to help you become more mindful, organized, and focused on what matters most in life.

The first volume within the series focuses on habits and goals. Utilizing psychological principles including priming, goal-activation, commitment devices, habit formation, and gratitude, Brain/Shift provides the tools to break out of the status quo and jump in the driver’s seat toward your future success.  

The second of the series (which was just released in November of this year) focuses on decisions and goals. Learn how to leverage decision science, decision-based biases and heuristics, and implement decision tools to achieve your biggest (and smallest) goals.

These journals are the perfect gift for everyone in the office and beyond! Whether it’s for your boss or colleagues, that busy entrepreneur friend always on the go, teachers, college students, or career-driver relatives, the Brain/Shift Journal series are your gifting go-to this holiday season! Order them individually or save when you bundle and order both!

Oder here: Order Brain/Shift Journal Vol. I

Order Brain/Shift Journal Vol. II

Order Vol. I and Vol. II Bundle

#2- Light Therapy Desk Lamp

The next gift on our list is Doraubia Light Therapy Desk Lamp. This lamp brightens up any office using UV free sun light. Control the brightness using both touch and remote control, set the timer and the color temperature, and get as close to natural light all in the comfort of your office.

This product is designed to bring the benefits of sunlight to those who spend a majority of their time indoors. Helping with natural body and emotion regulation by simulating natural sunlight. We love this product for anyone on your list who is susceptible to seasonal depression, works or spends a lot of time indoors, and any sun lovers looking for summer sun in the chilly winter months.

Doraubia Light Therapy Lamp,10000 Lux UV Free Sun Lamp with Touch & Remote Control, Desk Lamp with Stepless Brightness, Timer and 3 Color Temperatures (Gold)

Order here: Order Doraubia Light Therapy Desk Lamp

#3- Ninja Blast Portable Blender

Next up on our list, the Ninja Blast Portable Blender is a great gift for busy, on-the-go professionals. Enjoy your favorite blended drink anywhere you choose with this compact, self-cleaning blender. This blender comes in a variety of color options to choose from. Perfect for bringing healthy lunch options to the office or for preparing a quick protein shake at the gym. A gift sure to be loved by all on your list this year.

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Order here: Ninja Blast Portable Blender

#4- Adjustable Massage Footrest

Who doesn’t want to add a little more comfort into their work day? With this adjustable footrest and massager, this gift helps alleviate stress and provides comfort during those stressful working hours when it’s needed most. Under 9 pounds and easy to carry dimensions, this product is perfect for travel or for back and forth to the office. Sure to be a hit at this year’s gift exchange!

Order here: Adjustable Massage Footrest

#5- The Behavior Shift 2024 Wall Calendar

The final gift on our list is the newly released Behavior Shift 2024 Wall Calendar. Learn 12 goal and habit based behavioral insights and how to overcome them (or leverage them). Each month focuses on a different behavioral science concept explaining it in an easy-to-understand way. This includes actionable advice on how to overcome it (or in some cases leverage it), a relevant and inspiring quote to put you in the right mindset, and help establishing and maintaining your goals.  

This wall calendar is ideal for anyone looking to increase their productivity and understand their own and others’ behavior better. A gift that is perfect for the upcoming start of the new year! Order a calendar today for your colleagues to start 2024 off organized and prepared to stay on track throughout the year.

Order here: The 2024 Brain/Shift Calendar – Habits & Goals

Thoughtful Gifting Goes a Long Way

Thoughtful gifts go beyond mere formalities, they create positivity and encourage a collaborative work environment. This holiday season, express gratitude, boost morale, and strengthen connections at the office with one of the top unique office gifts from our list.

The Power of Decision Science: How to Shift Your Approach to Decision-Making and Overcome Decision Fatigue

Unleash the Power of Purposeful Decisions

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

On average we make an estimated 35,000 decisions every day. Each decision compounds and impacts the foundation for which our lives are built upon. Often without even knowing it, each decision we make leads to a chain reaction that elicits new opportunities. Focusing on improving the quality of our decisions is vital to our growth – both personally and professionally.

Fatigue, Paralysis, & Regret

Considering the magnitude of decisions we face, it’s no surprise that we often experience roadblocks such as decision fatigue, decision paralysis, and choice overload. Each of these roadblocks can hinder the decision-making process.

When we feel overwhelmed by the number of choices available, the potential impact of our decisions, or when we deplete too much energy on insignificant decisions, our confidence can take a hit and can lead to increased anxiety and stress. The cycle then continues as stress can negatively impact our decision-making abilities. According to the APA, 17% of adults reported difficulty making decisions because of stress.  

We are also prone to experience decision regret at times. People tend to engage in counterfactual thinking by playing out the potential positive outcomes of alternative choices. This can lead us to feel regretful of the choice we made because we are only thinking of the positives and not the lived consequences of alternative options.

With all that can go wrong in the decision-making process, creating a more efficient approach to both small and large decisions can reduce the amount of stress and fatigue surrounding our decisions. It can also enhance the overall quality of our decisions.

What Will You Decide?

We are excited to announce our newest product in the Brain/Shift collection – Decision/Shift. Decision/Shift is a guide backed by behavioral science. It is designed to help you improve your decision-making by focusing on one decision at a time.

Images of printed worksheets with a hand filling in information
Decision/Shift – a 31 page journey to better decisions.

Learn about the behavioral science behind how we make decisions and how to identify the type of decision you are facing.

Understanding which decisions require more thought and consideration and which ones you could be spending too much time on can help you better allocate your time and energy to prevent decision fatigue. After identifying your decision type, choose from the collection of decision-making tools best aligned to your situation.

 A structured approach can make all the difference when navigating uncertainty, weighing your options, considering the risks and benefits, and understanding potential outcomes. Shift your approach to decision-making with Decision/Shift!


Stress in America 2022: Concerned for the future, beset by inflation (apa.org)

For What it’s Worth- Engaged Employees May Cost Less Than You Think

Disengaged = Unmotivated?

Does “disengaged” equal “unmotivated?” Or is there more to a disengaged employee’s story? According to Gallup’s most recent poll, 66% of the U.S. workforce self-reports as disengaged from their work. Is it fair to say that two-thirds of the workforce simply lack motivation?

Perhaps the issue lies in how employers approach employee motivation. A reported 79% of employees who had left their organization recalled zero recognition from their employer within the past 6 months, according to The Achievers. Organizations without a sufficient recognition program are missing the mark big time by failing to capitalize on a major fundamental need of their employees.

Know your worth.

According to self-worth theory, our sense of self-worth is dependent upon our achievements and performance.

Behaviors are often driven by the need for self-acceptance. Starting at an early age, we attach our self-worth to others’ evaluations of our performance. School-aged children learn to seek a passing grade as approval from their teachers. This carries into adulthood, and we tie our worth to performance reviews, recognition from our employers and co-workers, and whether we receive the next promotion or raise. At some point along the way, achievement intertwines with competition, as we equate our own value with the comparison of others’ achievements. Your co-worker becomes the benchmark for your own sense of self-w

Disengagement enters the equation…

On the one hand, performance and competition equating to self-worth can be very motivating and facilitate engagement. For employees, the need to feel valuable elicits behaviors and actions directed at maintaining their sense of self-worth. Employees that feel connected to their organization and find meaning in their work feel more motivated to maintain their own and others’ perceptions of their value to the organization.

But on the other hand, when there is a lack of performance measures available, or biases in performance evaluations, politics at play, etc., that connection to the organization dissipates as the reinforcements necessary to maintain our sense of self-worth are either unfair or nonexistent. Disengagement now enters the equation.

What do you expect?

The Pygmalion effect is a psychological phenomenon in which an individual’s performance tends to increase when given high expectations and decreases with low expectations. The perception that a leader holds of an employee shapes the way the leader behaves and interacts with that employee. If a leader forms the belief that their employee lacks negotiation skills, the leader is likely to avoid assigning that employee to close any major deals. The employee may notice this and start to internalize that same belief about their abilities. The employee now avoids all tasks in which these skills may be required of them, providing further justification for the leader’s initial beliefs. Having low expectations of the employee negatively impacted the employees’ performance.

The same cycle emerges when leaders have high expectations of their employees- performance increases to meet their expectations. Providing employees with growth opportunities increases motivation to meet and exceed expectations in order to maintain others’ positive perceptions of one’s abilities.

What value do you put on self-worth?

Recognizing employees for their achievements and creating the right stretch goals are both crucial for keeping employees engaged. Developing incentive programs for your organization can also aid with retention- according to Forbes, a lack of sufficient recognition is enough motivation for 66% of employees to quit their current role.

The Lantern Group has over 25 years of experience working with organizations to improve incentive programs and increase employee motivation. Our work focuses on crafting effective communications that resonate with employees by leveraging behavioral science insights. We work with organizations to train and develop leadership on the impact of communication and the different techniques for positively influencing employee behavior. Contact us today to find out more!


Gallup: Global Indicator: Employee Engagement – Gallup

The Achievers:  Employee Recognition Platform | Achievers

Forbes: 66% Of Employees Would Quit If They Feel Unappreciated (forbes.com)

To Trust, or Not To Trust? The Question Employees Are Asking

Trust Me- I’m Your Leader 

Shockingly, only 21% of employees trust their organization’s leadership, according to Gallup’s recent report. The majority of CEO’s agree that a lack of employee trust poses significant risk to their organization’s growth, yet many leaders are struggling to foster a culture of trust (PwC 2016 Survey). 

Trust requires a sense of confidence, security, and a positive perception of the future. But with the effects of the pandemic still lingering, news of mass layoffs, forced return to in-person work, and the added pressure from rising inflation costs, 2023 may feel very unpredictable for employees. Organizational leaders now more than ever need to focus on helping their employees navigate such uncertainties by instilling a sense of trust in their capabilities as a leader.  

Should I Stay or Should I Go? 

Job insecurity is reported as the greatest fear of 85% of employees (Harvard Business Review). With 64% of Americans now living paycheck to paycheck, feeling secure is undoubtedly of high importance (CNBC). But this fear extends past financial factors alone. Work roles greatly influence self-identity and how people perceive themselves.

A threat to one’s position becomes a threat to their identity.  

Many organizations have strategically built in threats to job security in hopes of increasing the performance of their employees. But what organizational effects stem from this tactic? Despite initial small boosts in short-term performance, the long-term consequences have serious implications for organizations.   

Those short-winded spikes in performance can be explained by a psychological principle called loss aversion. People tend to be more motivated to avoid potential losses than to strive for a potential reward. When organizations implement fear tactics to provoke a sense of job insecurity, employees react with an energized drive to do whatever it takes to look good in the eyes of their employer. Productivity spikes, but for a limited time.  

Over time, those productivity spikes begin to plummet as stress, resentment, frustration, burnout, and anxiety continue to increase. And that’s not all – employees are also more likely to break rules, engage in counterproductive, and even unethical behaviors at work. The increased cognitive load from living in a state of fear overrides rational thinking and starts to drive negative behaviors to avoid potential loss.  

Status Quo Bias

The status quo bias might explain why people often choose to put up with toxic work environments even when threatened with the security of their positions. People tend to stick to what they know for the fear of change can be overwhelming. With so many uncertainties surrounding major life changes, such as pursuing a new job, people are more comfortable sticking to what they know even if they are unhappy. Hence, the quiet quitting trend. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.  

Building Trust

So, how do leaders create a trusting work environment? By focusing on communication, consistency, and collaboration. Leaders that listen to their employees through open, two-way communication to understand their needs and expectations are better equipped to respond in a way that speaks to their employees.  

Developing a talent-centric organization that recognizes and rewards employees can be another strategy for promoting a culture of trust. Employees that feel appreciated and valued for their work are more likely to remain engaged and feel invested in their company’s success.  

Lantern Group has over 25 years of experience in employee motivation and incentive compensation plans- reach out today to find out how our team leverages deep insights into human behavior to craft effective communications to resonate with employees. 


De Cuyper, N., Schreurs, B., De Witte, H. and Selenko, E. (2020), “Impact of job insecurity on job performance introduction”, Career Development International, Vol. 25 No. 3, pp. 221-228. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-06-2020-332 

Give the Gift of Productivity: The Top 6 Productivity-Enhancing Products

Gift-giving has gotten bland.

It’s not your fault – in this constant on-the-go world we live in, with so many everyday tasks that take priority, its hard to spend time securing that perfect gift to show your loved ones you truly care. Instead, we resort to those readily available gift-cards found at every local pharmacy as a quick last-minute fix enroute to the event it’s needed for. Thoughtless, watered-down, bland.

Stop gift-carding and start putting thought back into your gifts.

We’ve made it easy with this productivity-enhancing gift-guide, just in time to secure those graduation, and spring and summer birthday gifts. What’s a better gift to give to those who seem to have everything and want for nothing? Something they wouldn’t have thought of themselves but are guaranteed to use every day.

#1- The Brain/Shift Journal

Brain/Shift Journal Vol I: Habits & Goals

The Brain/Shift Journal is the only journal designed by behavioral scientists that taps into underlying human drives, biases, habits, and behaviors to help you reach your goals and achieve your dreams. Containing daily reflections and activities designed to help you become more mindful, organized, and focused on what matters most in life. A resource to break out of the status quo and to regain control of your life.

This journal is the perfect gift for recent grads, journaling fanatics, and anyone looking to live a more productive lifestyle. Plus, the affordability of this journal means you can grab a few at checkout to keep on hand as your go-to last minute gift option. We even have a promo code to use for stocking up! Use promo code: B2GO50 and buy two get the third for half off!

Order here: Brain/Shift Journal Vol. I

#2- Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life

Author Nir Eyal unveils the psychology behind distractions and outlines strategies for breaking free of interruptions. Get back to focusing on what really matters in life- family, relationships, creativity all without distraction. Fear not, the solution he details does not require abstaining from technology all together. He takes a more practical and realistic approach with a four-step, research-backed model that helps capitalize on the benefits of technology without overdependence.

We love this book because of its applicability across the board. Readers uncover what truly drives human behavior and can apply those insights to avoid the negative effects of a tech-driven world. Ensuring relationships with friends, spouses, and children are not dissolved in the sea of notifications and alerts we all experience each day.

Order here: Indistractable

#3- Get Sh*t Done: The Ultimate Guide to Productivity, Procrastination, and Profitability

We all intend to do what we set out to do (like thinking through those thoughtful gifts we plan to give) but that tricky little thing called procrastination always seeps its way back into the process (hence the gift-card go-to tendency). Not anymore with the insights you’ll find in Get Sh*t Done: The Ultimate Guide to Productivity, Procrastination, and Profitability.

Bestselling author, Jeffrey Gitomer provides a comprehensive, step-by-step guide for maximizing productivity using insights from neuroscience and psychology. Readers discover strategies for setting goals, keeping motivation, and becoming more efficient. Also included are tips on how to manage your time more effectively to reach your goals faster. The perfect gift for recent grads (who love to procrastinate), or spouses (we’ll leave it at that).

Order here: Get Sh*t Done

#4- Goal/Shift

The newest product in the Brain/Shift collection: Goal/Shift is a 7-week guide designed with behavioral science insights. Discover the reasons why people often abandon their goals and how to avoid common barriers to goal attainment. This guide helps you identify more meaningful goals, the ones that align with what you envision for your life. You then develop a process to progress towards those goals. Keeping committed and motivated to achieve has never been easier with Goal/Shift.

The perfect gift for couples planning a wedding, anyone on a fitness/weight-loss journey, those looking to purchase a new home, anyone after a promotion or starting a new business. Your loved ones will be sure to love this product and can even take it on the go as Goal/Shift is available for instant download.

Order Here: Goal/Shift

#5- Productivity Timer

Designed to help you manage your time management, this productivity timer and clock comes in 6 different colors and the choice of either a 30-minute or 60-minute countdown. A perfect addition to any home office, this clock allows you to dedicate your full attention to the task at hand without getting lost in time.

With three options for volume level, and the remaining countdown time displayed on the LCD screen, this gift is sure to be a hit as an end-of-the-year gift for teachers or anyone working from home. Plus- purchasing this productivity timer also means supporting a small business!

Order here: Productivity Timer

#6- reMarkable 2

The reMarkable 2- the next generation paper tablet that has revolutionized notetaking. The world’s thinnest tablet, that feels like paper when you write. Now you can take notes on the go, read, and review your documents, to-do lists, PDF’s, sketches, and ebooks all in one place. The best part- everything is accessible from your digital devices. You can upload everything to cloud services, including handwritten notes that convert to text for you.

This planet-friendly product is also distraction-free with zero pop-ups, social media, or notifications. Allowing complete focus without distractions. The perfect gift to give your spouse, as a going away gift for recent grads, or kids with a passion for art and design.

Order here: reMarkable 2

What are you waiting for?

We’ve made it easy to put the thought back into gift-giving with this productivity-enhancing gift-guide. Ditch the gift-cards and prepare for upcoming parties by stocking up on gifts that empower your loved ones. Sure to be a hit with everyone on your gift list!

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