I recently read my first Success Magazine in a very long time. I remember reading the periodical when I was younger, but it is not the kind of magazine you see in your local convenience store.

I enjoyed this months magazine, filled with a range of personal articles. The Friend Virus caught my attention:

Your friends’ behaviour is contagious. Everything including obesity, divorce, smoking and apparently sweater-wearing spreads like a virus. An ongoing, multi-decade research project proves the extent that our friends’ behaviour affects our own. The Framingham Heart Study began in 1948 with people in Framingham, Mass. To date, the data collected on some 12,000 participants has yielded some startling results. Check this out:

· If someone you name as a friend gets divorced, you are 147 percent more likely to get divorced than if you didn’t have a friend who got divorced.

· If a friend becomes obese, the likelihood that you will follow suit increases by 171 percent.

Reflecting on the phenomenon, it makes sense. I would expand it to the work place. Spend time with someone that is positive, driving hard for results, works well with others and you are bound to see it rub off. Spend time with someone who gripes, complains and is pessimistic and the same will happen.

I have had it happen to me. It seeps in slowly, spreading and spreading until you are changed. I have also seen those people ruin teams, their demeanour slowly eating away, transforming the group.

The key is to catch it before it is too late.


I have seen this time and time again, sales people and managers who work hard to make tasks more complex than they need to be. A world that now includes CRM systems, instant messaging, easy to set-up portals, tools, tools, more tools and instant access information all work to make it more complex.

While watching the move Primer,  they made an interesting statement:

How did the Americans solve the problem of writing in space? They invested $1MM into building a pen that could write at any angle and in zero gravity.

How did the Russians solve the same problem? They used a pencil.

In day to day work, it often pays to boil the problem down to base elements. Simpler problems. Simpler solutions.

It is easy to make it complex, hard to make it simple. Leaders need to help teams make it simple.