MAGIC® Insights
Inspiring Exceptional Service Cultures
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In This Issue

Letter from the Editor
What is the Most Important Quality of a Leader?
The Six Constructs of Skeptics and How to Engage Them to Support Organizational Success
Three Strategic Steps for Building a Culture of Innovation
Another Fun Reinforcement Puzzle

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Letter from the Editor

What do you say to yourself when no one's looking or listening? Admit it; every now and then you might share a few choice words with yourself. It's a fact…most of us engage in self-talk, though some do it louder and more often than others. According to Elizabeth Bernstein in a recent Wall Street Journal, we talk to ourselves all the time. She found that people do it any time of the day and just about anywhere too:  at their desks at work, at the dinner table or in their cars. And, much of that self-talk is negative or demotivating, which can chip away at our confidence and competence. Here are just a few examples:

"There is nothing I can do about it."
"I'll never be any good at that."
"I should be able to handle this by now."
"I know I can't do that."
"I won't be able to learn this."
"It's not going to work out."
"I messed up again."
"Why does this always happen to me?"
"I'll always be fat. I was born that way."

Any sound familiar? They may seem totally believable to us, but they serve no useful purpose. They usually just make us feel worse.

According to Dr. Alice Domar Ph.D., clinical psychologist, we all have a silent, internal conversation with ourselves, almost all of the time. And, this internal dialogue can impact our feelings and behaviors. If our self-talk is mainly negative, harsh and unrealistic, it will not only affect our self-image, but it can also exacerbate any stress we are under. (She suggests that a healthy self-talk ratio is two positive thoughts to every one negative thought). And, Domar added, "If we talked to our friends in the same way that we talk to ourselves, we would not have any friends."

It's not easy to change something we've been doing for much of our lives, and it won't happen overnight. After all, it is a practice that many of us have mastered. But, here are a few suggestions to help you chip away at it:

1. Use "You" versus "I"
A University of Michigan study found that using external pronouns allows us to give ourselves more objective advice. Psychologist Ethan Kross, who led this research, suggests addressing yourself as "You" or your name, versus using the pronoun "I" in your self-talk. He contends that this approach, e.g. saying, "What are you worried about, Diane" instead of "What am I worried about," will help you maintain a neutral perspective, and perform better under stress.

2. Step Back and Turn it Around
Take time to step back and share a constructive comment with yourself, such as "I can make that change" or "I can share that another way." You can even enlist a friend to help you. I have one who gently reminds me when I've had a relapse. 

3. Remember…It's a Habit
If you catch yourself saying some self-deprecating remark, just pause and recognize that it's just a habit, which means it can be changed. So, don't beat yourself up about it.

Singer/songwriter, David Roth wrote a song with this in mind; it's called "Be Kind to Yourself." David's songs have found their way to Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and into my heart and soul as well.  This one is a particular favorite, given its message:

"Be kind to yourself, be kind to you
That's what you're put on earth to do
If you just let your love shine through 
Life may be kind to you.
It's easier said than done, I know
I'm the first to admit I take it slow
I just have a hard time letting go
Letting go of the critic inside me."

So, what will you say to yourself from now on?

What is the Most Important Quality of a Leader?


There is a pattern of key skills that describe qualities of effective leaders, but one is the foundation for all the others.  It is also where leaders must start their growth.

Read on to identify this important quality and three statements that will help you operationalize it to maximize success. 
The Six Constructs of Skeptics and How to Engage Them to Support Organizational Success

Every organization has them: skeptics who question everything, voice doubt and demonstrate apprehension. Yet, these associates can offer great value to your organization, if you know how to harness it. 

Read on to understand the constructs of skeptics and five ways to engage them for maximum contribution and impact.
Three Strategic Steps for Building a Culture of Innovation

The key to building a culture of innovation is setting the right foundation. For without it, you are setting up yourself and your organization for failure.

Read on to discover the three strategic steps needed to start this process, how to implement them and the benefits of this proven approach.
Reinforcement Puzzle #8

Try your hand at Word Scrambles, Crossword Puzzles, Logic Games and more. Use them to support your training, stimulate thinking and reinforce MAGIC principles. Fill them out on your own, or use them for a lively team challenge.

If you'd like to test your knowledge and puzzle prowess, click here to view the latest puzzle.