The Case for Creating Safety and Belonging in the Workplace Has Never Been Clearer

As we get used to a new normal and over the shock and grief of COVID-19, it’s never been more important to care about our workplace. Our employees and teams really need a sense of safety and belonging. Both in the psychological and in the physical sense, as COVID-19 leaves us with new rules and regulations.

Simply put, if people don’t feel safe at work and if they don’t feel like they belong, they won’t do their best work. It really is that simple. The key to creating a successful culture that helps your company thrive and deliver high performance is to make sure your employees are safe. That means addressing their fears and concerns over their physical and psychological safety in a post-COVID19 world. Here’s how:

 

Ask, “What Can I Do Differently to Serve You?”

To solve any problem in your workplace, start by asking great questions. Questions that encourage the other person to go deep and really mine for the crystals so you can help solve for the challenges. I love these ideas from Google’s Head of People Analytics – start this week by asking these questions of every person on your team:

1) What am I doing now that you want me to continue to do?

2) What am I NOT doing frequently enough that you’d like to see more of?

3) What can I do to make you more effective?

Asking great questions demonstrates to the other person that you care about them, that you’re willing to listen, and you’ve got their back. When people know you care, they’ll trust you. Trust goes a long way toward creating a true culture of safety and belonging. In this new world you actually may want to share your procedures for physical safety and further check to see if they do feel physically safe and social distanced.

 

Ask, “What Makes Work Meaningful?”

We all want to do work that is meaningful, that makes a different for someone else or the world. With all this time at home, worrying about what’s going to happen to our families, our friends, our jobs, it’s got a lot of people thinking about what’s really important in life and questioning if they’re living in alignment with those principles.

Make sure you’re helping everyone on your team connect their work to their meaning and purpose. Help them see why they’re doing something and how it’s contributing to larger team or organizational goals. When people can see that they are part of something and helping to meaningfully create progress, they will feel that they belong. Again, COVID-19 is a game changer. Is there something you can do to help your employees or clients create meaning while protecting them at this time?

 

Seek to Reskill on Emotional Intelligence and Behaviors to Create Safety and Belonging

In previous articles we’ve discussed the importance of cultivating Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in our changing workplace. As we reenter the world and workforce with differing fears, anxieties, and stresses, demonstrating EQ has never been more important. Self + Others = Success. EQ helps us get there.

Reskill your team on the basics of EQ and make sure they understand how to really listen in a meaningful way, how to ask great questions, how to have empathy for the other person, and how to tap into their own strengths and story to connect. Also, make sure that you understand the real challenges of the current times and be sensitive to how they are feeling. Seek to address how their colleagues and clients may be feeling as well.

Check out our toolbox here for free resources you can use to help your people level up and let us know if we can help you apply them to our current day scenarios.

 

If you make a conscious choice to intentionally create a culture of safety and belonging, your team and company will thrive. We’ve seen it happen over and over again with our clients – and we’re sure these simple hacks will make the difference for you, too.

Need some support? Reach out to us – our Strength & Story system guarantees you will create a culture of safety and belonging and see real results with your team and business in 100 days or less. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you grow and thrive.

Mastering the 3 Components of Resilience

We are all are experiencing trauma right now, at all ages in all generations. But as we struggle, at least we are all together. No one is unscathed by the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic. We must all pivot our businesses and ourselves, and lead our teams through the trauma. We’re lonely, grieving, depressed, sad, in shock, uncertain, anxious – in short, we are overwhelmed, exhausted, and scared. And we wonder constantly how and if we’re going to make it through.

I’m here to tell you that you ARE going to get through this. It won’t be easy, it’s going to hurt, and you’re going to be challenged more than you’ve ever been challenged in your life. But you will make it through so long as you cultivate this one crucial skill: resilience. 

Also sometimes called “grit,” resilience is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.” It’s a measure of how well you can bend, flex, and bounce back when you get knocked down. It’s a measure of your ability to triumph in adversity. And it’s all about shaping your mindset though training. We need this trait right now.

But fear not because science shows us that resilience is something you can cultivate and teach to others. So for your teams, families, clients, and the world let’s start with identifying and mastering the three components of resilience:

1. Confidence

When we talk about confidence in relation to resilience, we’re really talking about the unwavering belief that you can influence outcomes in your life. That you DO have control, even when things feel completely out of your control. Of course, you can’t control everything. You can’t control when the current pandemic will end, when we’ll get to go back to life as normal, or even whether you get sick or not. But you can control yourself, your emotions, your decisions, and how you show up when things get touch.

To master the confidence component, focus on this simple list daily:

-Check-In: Check in with yourself about how you’re doing. Be honest about what you’re feeling, then set aside the beliefs that don’t serve you.

-Breathe: When things get tough, we get tense. When we’re tense, we often forget to breathe. But our brain needs plenty of oxygen to do what it does best: think clearly and find the opportunities. Make sure you’re taking deep breaths throughout the day. You might even pick up a practice of meditation.

-Mindset: What you think, you become. If you’re thinking negative, unhelpful thoughts about yourself, your team, your business, or the current crisis, get rid of that talk track. Replace destructive thoughts with things that are positive and empowering. Be mindful of your power to be present.

-Accountability: Hold yourself accountable to shaping your mindset every single day. Do not let yourself slip into bad habits or ways of being. You get to choose how you show up every day, so choose to be a leader.

-Hardiness:  Understand that some of us are innately more positive; however, learn what you can about yourself to be strong. Move through your negative feelings and practice the act of reframing your own power. Use whatever you can to thrive. No judgment! Face the reality, seek tools, and push through it.

2. Commitment

When things get tough, it’s easy to take the easy way out. To shrink back from whatever is causing our stress and look for the path of least resistance. But when things get tough, we need to recommit ourselves to our lives, to our relationships, and to our work. Resilience by its very definition means that we are staging a comeback. That we got kicked in the teeth, we’re down, but we’re not out.

To master the commitment component, you need to first start with your belief system. What you believe in and what provides you with purpose, interest and meaning. The belief that your work and effort have real meaningful impact. This is best when it also serves others because as humans we want to contribute. Use these tips to help:

-Context: In the midst of crisis, it’s easy to lose the context of our work. But we can’t lose sight of to how we fit into the bigger picture. Whether as a member of a team or the CEO of a business, we must connect ourselves into the larger context to find engagement and meaning, which are the next two items on our list.

-Engagement: With everything that’s going on and the constant stream of news updates, it’s hard to stay engaged with our work. But if we want to increase resilience, we must be able to filter out distractions and stay engaged. Set limits for yourself when it comes to looking at the news and social media so you don’t go too far down the rabbit hole.

-Meaning: To increase our commitment to ourselves and our own future success, we must find what we do meaningful. We need to connect back to our why (per Simon Sinek) in order to find our way through the chaos. Why does what we do matter? What is the benefit to people or society or industry? Who do we help?

-Authentic: Adversity can bring out the worst in us or worse, cause us to put on a mask and show up inauthentically. But that’s not what our people or our customers need from us. They need us to be real with them, to be honest and vulnerable so that we can build greater connection. People need people. Be the person that people need.

-Story: Recommitting to our work and ourselves comes from doing the deep work to understand who we are, articulate our story, and own it to demonstrate the value we have to give to others and the world.

3. Creativity

The third and final component of resilience you need to master is creativity – even in the face of challenge. We lose our creativity when we get stressed, when we get overwhelmed, when we get tired. But creativity is one of the foundational components of resilience for good reason. Creativity helps us be flexible, create new opportunities, and discover new pathways through the changing landscape. We need some of that now.

To master creativity, you must consistently demonstrate these things on a daily basis:

-Welcome Challenges: The name of this one says it all. Welcome Challenges. Instead of seeing hardship and challenge as something negative, we must welcome it gratefully into our lives as a catalyst to become better.

-Frame as Exciting: We must see all hardships as something exciting, as an opportunity to continue to live our purpose, and achieve even greater success.

-Growth Mindset: In Carol Dweck’s seminal book, Mindset, she teaches about the concepts of growth vs. fixed mindset in depth. But having a growth mindset simply means you believe you have the capacity to learn, grow, and change.

-Reinvention: Mastering creativity comes from our ability to reinvent our careers, our businesses, and ourselves. To adapt, survive, and thrive no matter what challenges we face. This is the way we learn to bounce back better than before.

I’ll say it again: resilience is something you can cultivate and teach to others. But it requires a focus on these 3 things: confidence, commitment, and creativity. As you begin to master the three components of resilience, focus on getting better every day. Better, not best. If you make small improvements consistently, you will develop greater resilience.

Need help understand the three components or any of their sub principles? Check out our keynote on the Path to Create Resilience for the Worker of the Future.  Want to learn how to better cultivate resilience in yourself and/or teach it to your team? Reach to us – we’re offering complimentary coaching right now during the pandemic to help you get through this. All you have to do is book your call with us.

7 Strategies to Create a Habit of Learning

Have you ever noticed that when you run into someone you know at Starbucks and ask them how they’ve been, most people give you one of two standard answers? “Good” or “Busy”. Or my personal favorites, “Good, but busy” or “Busy, but good.” 

Let’s face it: we don’t know how to get un-busy anymore. We have too much going on at home and in the workplace. ESPECIALLY in the workplace!

We know the future of work is changing rapidly and we MUST keep up. So how do we prioritize our own learning and development to ensure it becomes a habit?

 It starts with hacking our existing habits to make learning fit. Choose any one of the seven strategies below and you’ll be surprised about how much learning you can add to your already packed day. 

Morning Routine Hacking

Most successful people have a morning routine, whether that involves going to the gym, praying or meditating, or just enjoying the first cup of coffee. Whether you already have an existing routine or want to start one, try waking up just fifteen minutes earlier.  Use it to read an article or just a few pages from a book related to your industry. Depending on the difficulty, the average person takes between two to six minutes to read a page.

 So while you might only be reading three to twelve pages a day, keep in mind that many non-fiction books are fairly short – only around three hundred pages in length. At that pace, you’ll finish a book every thirty to a hundred days which means you’ll read three to twelve books a year! Not a bad result for devoting just fifteen minutes each morning to your learning!

Makeover Your Commute

For most of us, the morning commute is a pure and simple waste of time. But rather than spending it listening to music, catching up on the news, or having a casual conversation with a friend or co-worker, why not put on a podcast episode instead? There are thousands of hours of podcasts available on all kinds of topics and many podcasts take the form of interviews, which allow you to learn from the success and failures of others. Find a podcast related to your industry and take your education on the road! Some of my favorites podcasts are the GaryVee Audio Experience, the Tony Robbins podcast, School of Greatness by Lewis Howes, the Tim Ferris Show, and the Peter Attia Drive podcast. 

Knowledge by Subscription

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office? Make a cup of coffee and gossip with your coworkers? Browse social media before the boss comes in? What if you started each work day with a bit of education instead? While most of us don’t want to add any more email to our already overcrowded inboxes, be purposeful about subscribing to email updates from an industry leader or coach whose content you enjoy. If you don’t have a particular person in mind, there are also services like NuzzelFeedly, or Flipboard that will send you a curated list of news articles that match a certain keyword or topic. 

Lunch and Learn

Most of look forward to lunch as the time we can take a break and relax. But I’ll bet that you often spend your lunch hour scrolling through Instagram or watching funny Youtube videos. So what if you took that time and redirected it towards your learning? Read an article from an industry leader, watch a how-to video, or put your earbuds in and finish listening to the podcast you started on your morning commute! For lunchtime reading, I recommend Josh BersinAriana HuffingtonBrené BrownRay Dalio, and Adam Grant

Daily Workouts for Your Body and Mind

Whether you hit the gym before or after work, the gym presents yet another opportunity to engage your mind in learning. While you might feel that you can’t workout without a good playlist, try listening to a podcast episode from an energetic speaker instead! And if you really can’t listen to anything, but music when you work out, use that time to review what you’ve learned recently and make a plan to implement the new knowledge as soon as possible.  

Social Media With a Purpose

After a long day at work, most of us can’t wait to wind down with some mindless time spent looking at social media or watching Youtube videos. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t allow yourself a little freedom to indulge in these activities, but what would happen if you spent fifteen or twenty minutes purposefully looking at content that educates or inspires you first? Who knows – those fifteen or twenty minutes could easily become forty minutes or an hour of learning!  I personally enjoy following and consuming content from Gary VaynerchukTom BilyeuGrant CardoneTom FerryMel Robbins, and Oprah.

Self-Directed Courses and Certifications

These days there’s no end to the continuing education courses and certifications you can take. While you can attend classes through a local college, for many working people it’s a lot easier to choose a self-directed online learning program without a hard deadline. That way you can work at your own pace and make learning fit your schedule, rather than the other way around. If you don’t know where to start, try looking up courses on Udemy.

Whether you spend five minute or five hours on your learning each day, what really matters is whether you actually DO something with the knowledge. Most people go to conferences, sit on webinars, read books, watch videos, and do NOTHING with what they’ve learned. If you can devote a small amount of time each day to learning something new and then actually implement it, you will win! Learners are Earners!

Eat to Nourish Your Brain (at Work)

No matter how hard we try to convince ourselves otherwise, eating a bag of chips at our desk does not count as lunch. Unfortunately, professionals often find themselves struggling with a heavy workload, and lunchtime can be the first thing to go. As a culture, we need to stop seeing a solid, well-balanced lunch as a luxury, and see it as more of a necessity. After all, food has a direct impact on our cognitive function, and eating the wrong meal—or failing to eat at all—can derail our work performance. So what can we do?

Plan Your Lunches

Plan for a lunch that will actually recharge you during your workday. Salads, wraps, and sandwiches are simple main courses, and you can supplement with small, nourishing snacks such as fruit, nuts and vegetables. Try planning out your lunches for the week (and doing the shopping) on Sunday, so you’re not scrambling the morning-of for something to bring to work.

Eat the Right Foods

Research has shown that certain foods can actually improve your cognitive function, so if you find that you feel a little foggy as the day goes on or even want a nap, try to work a few of these food items into your daily lunch. Brain-friendly foods include:

• Wild Salmon
• Blueberries
• Nuts and Seeds
• Avocadoes
• Whole Grains
• Beans
• Pomegranate Juice
• Freshly Brewed Tea
• Dark Chocolate

Salmon and nuts can easily be added to a salad for a delicious, healthy lunch, while blueberries, dark chocolate (in small amounts), and guacamole can be enjoyed as a light snack at your desk.

Eat the Right Portions

It can be difficult to strike a balance when it comes to your lunch portions. It’s important not to overeat, but it’s just as important that you get the right number of calories to fuel you throughout the day. Read a nutrition guide, and instead of guessing, be sure to measure each portion of your lunch. This will not only help you avoid overeating, but it will ensure that you’re eating the correct amount of protein, vegetables, and other foods on a daily basis.

If you aren’t getting enough calories—or you’re eating the wrong calories—your work performance can suffer. Help your brain keep up with your busy schedule by eating healthy, nourishing foods, and you’ll see your productivity and overall health improve.

What foods fuel your brain at lunch? We want to know.

Mind Body Career Balance

While so much has changed in two years, this hasn’t. In 2012 Forbes published this insightful article about working out. We believe it still rings true today and make exercise a central part of our lifestyles. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennifercohen/2012/05/08/6-ways-exercise-makes-you-smarter/

Nutrition matters

Today millennials need to be more focused on every aspect of their life than ever.  On this day when the Federal Government is shutdown, we need to really make sure that we are completely balanced so we can have the strength to get to the next level.  It’s tougher and harder than ever before so we need to use all the tools available.  The tool I am personally focused on today is my toughest challenge – nutrition.  Seek tools and tips to get you in the right nutritional place.  Your Mom always told you to have a solid breakfast.  And guess what, she wasn’t lying.

Is enough sleep the new black?

With iPads, iphones, kindles, google, internet and every other info-tech distraction out there are our millennials getting enough sleep.  We all know how it feels to try and hit it hard when we don’t have enough sleep.  We are tired, dragging and not on our game.  If life and success and having it all are about what you bring to the table… you need enough sleep.   Millennials get your rest.  Don’t you remember when your ancient Gen-X parents were telling you to get enough rest for the next day.  Well that is probably one of the best lessons you can learn from them.  If you are not well rested and ready to go, well then you are average.  Who wants to be average?  I know you do not, you have things to do, records to break and ideas to contribute to change the world.  Average is not the new black, but dynamic, smart, authentic, aware and on it are the new black.  So get enough friggin sleep and turn off the iphone when you’re in bed.