Category: Remote Work

Communication is the Most In-Demand Skill for the Future of Work: Here’s How to Up Your Game

Communication by video conference. Close up photo of computer screen with people. Business colleagues discuss about economic trends by video conference from home. Distant work

Turns out, we were right! In a recent report from LinkedIn Learning, communication is the most in-demand skill for today’s job market. From day one we, launchbox, predicted that the most in-demand job skill people would need to get hired, promoted, or change careers would be great communication and connection with others. The Swedish job search engine, Jobbland.se, found that “effective communication was cited in job postings at more than 35 times the frequency of other soft skills such as empathy, conflict resolution, adaptability, and dependability.”

Communication is in demand now more than ever and that’s not changing anytime soon. When we peel back the layers and look at why this skill dominates recent job postings, we can see that while uncertainty, tolerance and diversity require communication, the pandemic has also increased the need for effective communicators.

The global workplace had been heading in this direction all along. With the increased use of AI and robotics in the workplace, a growing remote workforce, and technology allowing us to connect with people around the world, it’s never been more important that we know how to actually talk and listen to each other and establish connection. The ability to communicate along with the other soft skills like empathy and leadership will be your competitive advantage in the years ahead.

At launchbox, we focus on helping people bridge the gap by connecting with themselves and others. We have the tips and tools to help you increase the effectiveness of your communication, build stronger relationships, and create trust. In particular, we specialize in no BS, on-demand coaching that helps you quickly cut to the root of your problem so you can up your game and create impact for others. When it comes to better and more effective communication, put these 4 tips into practice this week and watch what happens:

Make it About Others

Remember WIFTHEM:  What’s in it For Them? This acronym is the backbone of great communication. It’s not about you anymore. People don’t care unless they know what’s in it for them. This is as true for the hiring manager on the other end of the phone as it is for your coworkers and clients. You must be able to demonstrate and articulate the value you bring to others. Before your next conversation or interview, take a moment to think about what the other person is really looking to achieve from their interaction with you and then DELIVER.

Ask Great Questions

Another way of making sure you’re staying other-focused, or to understand what people need from you, is simply to ask great questions. Great questions are open-minded, non-judgmental, and supportive. They allow you to begin the process of going deeper, to drilling down below the surface level to uncover needs, motivations, and challenges. When you understand what’s really driving and motivating someone, you’ll know how to make it about them and create value. Asking great questions gets you there!  Lead employees, teams, clients and yourself all by understanding where to meet them.

Use Our GPS Communication Strategy

Having conversations, whether difficult, with or without conflict, or just to demonstrate support, is a way of life in business. Having conversations that end painfully is never productive. So turn it around and have winning conversations. Use our GPS communication strategy to make sure you’re delivering impactful messages that are moving the relationship forward, rather than damaging it. GPS stands for Gratitude, Permission, and Shared Experience. It’s one of the fundamental frameworks we teach inside our Strengths & Story workshop. To learn more about how to use GPS in your workplace, click here to read our blog and grab our free worksheet that will guide you through the process.

Own Your Story

Before you can hope to communicate more effectively with others and create better relationships, you must first work from the inside out to really understand who you are and what you have to offer. Your story matters. It is the connection currency that you use to increase trust, build stronger relationships, and ultimately get things done. Think about it this way: how can you possibly connect to others if you can’t even connect with yourself? Start now by doing the work to get in touch with your own story. If you need help, just reach out – we’ve had thousands of people go through our Strengths & Story workshop and we’re ready to help you, too.

The future of work is now. Seize opportunity and chase relevance by up leveling your communication skills. Whether you’re trying to get the job, changing careers, have your eye on a promotion, or are launching your own business, great communication really really matters. We can help. Contact us to learn more about our personalized, on-demand coaching program that will help you get the results you’re looking for.

How to Attract and Retain Talented Tech Employees

Two Engineers Using CAD Programming Software On Laptop

(Today we’re sharing a guest post from our friends over at Career Karma. Attracting and retaining talented employees is the name of the game for any business, but especially in the rapidly-changing technology sector. To help you compete and stay ahead of the competition, here are three ideas you can implement to help you hold onto your most talented employees.)

The American workforce is going through a period of disruption, the likes of which have never been seen before. Advancing technology was always going to merge with the workforce, that much was clear. However, the recent Covid-19 pandemic accelerated this change via the widespread integration of remote work at companies. Rather than first getting their feet wet with technology, many companies were forced to take the plunge.

Not surprisingly, traditional jobs have begun to decline more than they already were, as more and more companies see the importance of tech jobs. Online business is the way of the future, and securing tech employees who can propel your company above the competition should be the number one priority of any human resources division. The question, however, revolves around where to find this talent and how to attract them to your company. Fortunately, both aspects of that question have prominent solutions.

Source From Different Educational Backgrounds

Far too often, companies focus solely on going to universities and colleges around the country in an attempt to hire recent graduates who have no experience. However, one of the best ways to attract top tech talent is to show that you are willing to source employees from different educational backgrounds.

An alternative to the traditional four-year path, that has been rising in popularity, is attending an intensive trade school that prepares students for specific fields. In fact, CNBC discussed how the premium that comes with a college degree is declining while trade school attendees are able to become skilled workers and already have some industry experience.

Popular options such as General Assemblyoffer multiple courses in pressing tech fields such as web development and engineering immersion. An added benefit of attracting potential employees from trade schools is that they graduate far quicker than their college counterparts. When it comes to finding talented tech employees, the specialized training received from trade schools makes this a great option.

Offer Jobs With a Wider Variability of Tasks

In the past, employees with traditional jobs typically had one daily task that they excelled in. Tech students and employees are different than these traditional workers, though, and provide more freedom and variability in their work. Harvard Business Review discusses how employees of today want to feel as if they are performing meaningful work.

To that end, offering numerous tech jobs at your company can attract new types of tech talent. One such dynamic tech field is data science which is growing at an exponential rate. The day-to-day tasks of a job such as this change daily and can provide a great source of dynamic work to any talented employee.

As a company, numerous tech jobs need to be offered to employees to keep them interested in applying to your company. The best way to stay up to date on this is by modernizing your company and ensuring you are adapting to the times as they change.

Competitive Benefits

When it comes to actually retaining your employees, it is incredibly important to offer competitive benefits. Keep in mind that the different generations of your employees will require different things to retain them. Millennials typically prefer benefits that are structured to give them more freedom and paid time off.

Consistently offer feedback options amongst your employees and ensure that none of the criticisms that arise line up with some of the common reasons for leaving a job. This can help you to keep your company as an attractive place to work for tech talent. The most important key to retaining talented tech employees is to understand what they desire and to be knowledgeable about their specific demographics.

In the end, one of the best benefits of a job is undoubtedly the salary. It is also important to make sure that you are offering comparative salaries to your employees and not giving them less than they are owed.

When it comes to attracting and retaining talented tech employees, it’s important to think outside the box. The workforce is changing and so are the employees who make it up. Benefits and perks that attracted workers from past years are no longer relevant. Millennials and Gen Z are the future of the workforce and benefits that appeal to them do not appeal to older employees. Understanding the demographic of your company and where you are hiring your employees is important to take the steps needed to retain your talented workforce.

Humans (People) Really Really Matter: The Workplace of the Future Needs Humans (Real People) Now More Than Ever

Cartoon robot sitting in line with applicants for a job interview

“Humans (People) are underrated.” Elon Musk tweeted those words back in 2018, but they still ring just as true in 2020. Humans (People) ARE underrated. Especially in the workplace. In the keynotes and workshops we’ve delivered for organizations around the world who want to get a handle on what the future of work will be, we posited that all these discussions about the future overlook most important person: the worker, yes the People.

Back in 2016, the World Economic Forum predicted that Emotional Intelligence would be one of the top 10 skills people needed to cultivate in order to thrive in 2020. Well, it’s 2020 and guess what? In the midst of a global pandemic, remote work, and social distancing, we need People more than ever. But when the threat of COVID-19 is gone, we won’t stop needing People. The need for human skills (emotional intelligence, creativity, people management, etc.) will only continue to grow as our workplaces become increasingly automated.

Machines Don’t Erase the Need for Human Workers – They Create a New Need

A new article from MIT Sloan Management Review (Brynjolfsson and Beane) looked at the role of robots in our workplaces and made some surprising conclusions for our post-pandemic world. Chief among them is the idea that the workplace of the future will more than likely involve humans working alongside machines, rather than machines putting humans out of a job. In their interview with CNN, the researchers remarked that “there is a whole spectrum of having humans and machines work together. You can choose different points on the range in this division of labor, but in almost every case, you want humans doing some of the task.”

To summarize their findings, machines are great at doing certain things for us. Things that are repetitive and don’t require creative problem-solving. But that’s not all that happens inside our workplaces. We’re constantly challenged by unique problems, situations, and team dynamics. Things happen every single day that no machine could ever be programmed to deal with. But we humans are uniquely suited to solving the unpredictable. So rather than replacing our jobs, machines instead create a new need for humans in the workplace of the future – alongside new career opportunities.

New Jobs Will Emerge

Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum released a new report analyzing the workplace of the future to make predictions about the jobs of tomorrow. They identified seven emerging professional clusters and the necessary skills we should be cultivating for careers in each. In the summary of their report, they made the following remark: “While disruptive technology skills such as data science and AI skills will certainly be critical to the future of work, so will caregiving, leadership, and the ability to provide learning and development. In other words, the transition to the new world of work will be both human- and tech-centric.”

Machines aren’t going to replace us. Instead, they are paving the way for us to assume new roles – roles best suited to our own very human talents and skills. Our Strengths and Story. The most successful managers of tomorrow will be able to effectively integrate and leverage the best of both worlds inside their organizations. Yes, that means investing in your people, reskilling them, and ensuring they have a pathway to learn and grow. But we know how to help organizations do that. We’ve been doing it for years with our clients in all kinds of industries – and we can help you, too.

We’ll Have to Learn New Skills

We are living through what’s been called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that as many as 375 million people will need to change their occupation by 2030 – just ten years from now! Which means there’s going to be a lot of people in the world who’ll need to go back to school, get retrained, reskill, level up, or otherwise dramatically alter the work they’re doing today.

Increased investment in automation and technology means we’ll have to lean harder on those things machines can’t take from us. Those soft skills we’ve been talking about for years – emotional intelligence, relationship building, connection, communication, trust. All things that you can’t program into a robot. They don’t come easy to some of us and they can be hard to teach. But nothing is impossible when you have a proven system that works. We have that system plus tips and tools to help you and your organization succeed and help you find your relevance.

We’ve been saying it for years and we believe it still: People matter now more than ever and they’re going to matter even more in the workplace of the future. If you want your company to grow and thrive for years to come, you need to put your focus on people right now. Use our 3-hack system to help: turn your workplace upside down to ask your people what they want and need from you, help them find meaning and purpose in their work, and reskill them for what’s to come. People are the heart of an organization and no amount of technology is going to change that.

If you need help equipping your people and your organization to succeed in the workplace of the future, reach out to us to learn how we can help through our customized workshops, personalized, on-demand coaching, keynotes, and more.

Employee Development in the Virtual Workplace Matters Now More Than Ever

Employee development really matters. It always has. But now look at this: we’re all working remotely, interacting virtually, and dealing with uncertainty, stress, and anxiety surrounding the pandemic. It’s never been more important to invest in employee development, especially for the younger generations, Millennials and Gen Zs. They want to matter in the workplace and want a career plan. We all did. How do we know all this? Easy, we just asked them! They’re human beings, too.

In Deloitte’s recent Global Millennial Survey, they found that 41% of Millennials and 43% of Gen Zs expressed concern over their longer-term financial future. Similarly, 40% of Millennials and 46% of Gen Zs worried about their job or career prospects. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, in diving deeper, they discovered that respondents felt less confident that they possessed all of the skills and knowledge necessary for future success.

Guess what employers – you have to be the guide! As an employer, it’s your job to make sure your people get what they need from your organization. And organizations that provide that support outperform their counterparts. It does not just happen and how you do training and mentoring matters. Good news, while the Deloitte survey found that companies are doing a better job of this (with 65% of Millennials and 68% of Gen Zs saying their employers are providing enough support in this area) we need to be doing more to win. Investing in your people is one of the key ways to make sure your organization not only survives this pandemic but thrives in the world that comes after.

At launchbox, here is how we help. We know each client is different and they need customized products and solutions to reach their goals. Increase your employee development offerings in the months ahead with these 3 simple ways to give your people what they need and want to achieve success:

 

Virtual Workshops

In this disconnected world, help your team pull together to solve the disconnect because we can’t afford for our people to be anything other than highly engaged in the workplace. We need them to bring their best selves to work every day. Offer a transformative system that will help your team find, build, and share connection. Then empower them through simple and unique tools and strategies to own their growth and get to that next level.

 

On-Demand Training

We’ve worked with thousands of young Millennials and Gen Zs and if there’s one thing we know about them, it’s this: they want things on their own terms. And that includes access to employee development training. MEET THEM WHERE THEY ARE. Try a system for coaching and mentoring that is sustainable over time. We use virtual training systems that employees can access anywhere on-demand called Hooga, however, just make sure they can access people when they need help. Help your people figure out how to work from the inside out, to discover who they are, and the value they have to contribute to the world. Then show them how to use their learnings about their own Strengths & Story to connect with others and build better relationships. Ask us how you can try Hooga for free today!

 

Individual One-on-One Coaching

For the employee, manager, or executive who desires to take their development to the next level, we believe in direct individual or group high-performance coaching that is tailored to the needs of the individual. Make sure you place an emphasis on creating a connection to self first, so they can then build the tools to win with others. Through one-on-one coaching you will help them discover, develop, and articulate their own impact: we call it Strengths & Story. Once you help them become self-reliant and create the work competency of knowing who they are, you can believe they will better connect to coworkers, team, boss, clients, etc. to deliver value and create greater impact for them and you.

 

The world as we knew it has changed. It’s time for us to step up and invest in developing next-generation leaders within our own organizations. We are here to help! If you’re not sure how to start, click here to reach out and book a free call with us.

Connecting in the Virtual Workplace: B.R.I.D.G.E. the Gap

Now the need for connected and engaged workforces has never been greater, thanks to COVID-19! Remote and separate work is killing us. Our 5-year focus has been connecting the generations in the workplace. We developed a winning workplace formula to connect the Millennials, Gen Zs, and every generation. B.R.I.D.G.E. the Gap.

Companies of all sizes and shapes around the world are now forced to confront heightened culture issues inside the workplace.  The need for a system to help them B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap around generation, gender, race, religion, whatever, is daunting. Our workplace connection system is guaranteed to work when companies authentically believe and deploy it.

FACT: The most important life/work skill is relationship building. The ability to build relationships is your connection currency. B.R.I.D.G.E. is a 6-step framework that solves today’s most challenging workplace issues. Learn more about how to B.R.I.D.G.E. the Generation and Diversity Gap below and if you’d like help implementing, reach out to us.

B.R.I.D.G.E. the Gap in Your Workplace

 

B: Bust Myths

No matter what specific challenge you’re facing in your workplace, it starts by checking your assumptions at the door. We all buy in to myths, biases and beliefs about the people we work with that may or may not be true. But make a commitment right here, right now, to stop placing people in a box. Instead, lean in and really listen. Understand and welcome that diversity, it creates better business results – just check out this study from Deloitte. If you connect to yourself by busting myths you are free to inquire and listen to your own strengths.  Once you understand yourself, you’re ready to engage with others to find the strengths in them. Busting myths starts with understanding and identifying what people are really bringing to the table – not the baggage or labels you’ve assigned to them.  That is what leaders that transform the workplace do.

R: Real Deal

Authenticity and trust are two of the most important ingredients for creating strong relationships and real leadership. And, now that we’re all working remote and dealing with the uncertainty, anxiety, and frustration of life during a pandemic, it’s become more important than ever that your workplace colleagues know you’re there for them. Be interested and interesting.  Care and put in the effort to be vulnerable.  It pays in connection currency.  Stop making excuses and blaming others (colleagues, friends, etc.) and start becoming genuinely interested in your team, their ideas, solutions, and strategies. Challenge yourself to learn as much as you can about everyone: What makes them tick? What motivates them? What inspires them?  What are their goals? Simply ask great questions and then go deeper to form rock-solid relationships.  My 19-year-old son told me this week that the greatest gift I gave him was the ability to understand, practice, and shape question asking. He said with that he could enter any room of 200 and find something in common with every person and build relationships.  Now I want to test that skill.  Anyone have a room of 200 during COVID?

I: I Own It

Let’s face it: it’s easier to blame others and make it someone else’s problem when you don’t have to hang out with them in the break room or stare at their cubicle all day. But real leaders step up and own their side of the street. When things go wrong, take responsibility. And when things go right, own that too. You must have personal accountability in everything you do if you want others to own their stuff, grow, change, and show up differently.  You want to change the world change yourself because what happens to you is because of you.

D: Deliver Value

If you’re familiar with my views, you know I’m always talking about delivering value to others. Without that, you’re dead to me and everyone else. Value is a big freakin’ deal! I believe if you show up, serve, and focus on how to consistently give values to others, your life and your results will change tremendously. So how do you personally connect, mentor, lead, motivate, engage, and add value to those around you? Where are you crushing it and where could you do better? And has it changed since the pandemic began? When will you recapture some of the magic you had before you went remote? And, how?

G: Goals in Mind

In the virtual workplace, it’s more important than ever that people have a clear sense of what a company’s goals are and what the vision is for the future. A shared vision and shared goals allow people to get into alignment with each other, regardless of their differences or past experiences. If you’re a leader, it’s up to you to create that vision and then lead with transparency and purpose. If you’re a team member, check in with yourself and ask great questions like: How does what I do help achieve the company’s goals? Why am I important to the company? Most importantly, given the radical changes we’ve gone through, what goals in mind do you have for workforce development?  Now more than ever, adapting to change in economies is not just about cost-cutting and risk assessment, it’s about finding and training the right leaders that will persevere in the new uncertainty. DO you have a system for that goal? If so, it better relate to connecting people.

E: Empower Success

Our signature program, Strengths & Story, centers on helping individuals discover and articulate their own strengths to others. Why do we focus on highlighting strengths rather than correcting weaknesses? Because we want to empower people and help them discover what is already special about them. Everyone has their own innate superpowers so help your team recognize and cultivate their gifts. Then, celebrate them when they succeed!

 

As we went through the B.R.I.D.G.E. acronym, I hope you noticed that even though we’re using B.R.I.D.G.E. as a means to close the gap between self and others, we kept the focus on the self – specifically, on you! That’s no accident. The only person we can control in all situations in ourselves. So creating change and getting the results we want starts with us doing the work from the inside out. If you need help stepping up and becoming the leader you want to be, we offer personalized, on-demand coaching. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you and your team!

What Your Millennial and Gen Z Employees Need From You Right Now

For the younger generations, Millennials and Gen Z, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be particularly profound. For some of them, too young to feel the full weight of other recent, life-changing events like 9-11 and the 2008 market and jobs crash, this pandemic is their first exposure to real hardship. And, the most profound hardship most of us for any generation have experienced; it’s taking away the in-person human connection that is our primary source for safety and belonging. For other generations, the effects of the last recession, 9/11, wars, swine flu, still haven’t faded away.

As the employer and future employer, to the next leaders of our world and your workforce, you must truly understand this younger generation’s experience. And what they need from you in the workplace or the marketplace. They currently account for 38% of the workforce and by the end of the decade, 58% of employees will be either a Millennial or a Gen Z. If you and your business want to continue to survive and thrive in the new world of work, it’s not an option to ignore the needs of the younger generations and the effects the pandemic is having on them. You must meet them where they are and give them what they want in order to build your high-performance team and extend their reach to connecting with your clients. These generations actually account for 3 trillion dollars worth of annual spending!

Really, what Millennials or Gen Z employees want from their employers is no different than what any of us want. They just tend to be more vocal about it and more insistent that they get the support they’re seeking. This is one reason I love working with young people – they are absolutely determined to make it a better world and they’re not shy about going after it.

To help your Millennial and Gen Zs learn to be resilient from all the change we’ve had over the past few months and thrive, focus on these simple things:

 

Help Them Feel Safe

This is a big one and we covered it in our last blog. People need to feel safe at work. Physically safe (make sure they know the steps you’re taking to protect them from the virus), but also emotionally and psychologically safe. They need to know the workplace is a safe place to speak up, to tell it like it is, and to call out toxic or damaging behaviors. The depth and spread of the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements have shown how much the younger generations value creating spaces of inclusivity, equality, and safety. As I tell all of my clients, listen and listen like a trampoline, meaning bounce back with even better questions.

 

Help Them Feel Like They Belong

We all want to feel like we’re part of something that matters and again, Millennials and Gen Zs are no different. They place a high value on finding workplaces that allow them to do work that is meaningful. And it’s up to you to make sure they can clearly see how their work has meaning and how it’s contributing to your overall organizational goals. If you need help, we’re here. We’ve helped hundreds of organizations and teams solve the crisis of disengagement by helping connect team members to their personal and professional purposes (their why) threaded to your corporate missions through our flagship online program, Strengths & Story.

 

Provide Access to Mentoring and Coaching Opportunities

Though COVID-19 has done away with a lot of our traditional ways of providing professional development through the method of sending our people off to workshops and conferences, the younger generations were craving something different even before the pandemic. In a recent blog, we discussed how today’s young workers want the freedom and flexibility to seek out their own mentors and coaches, to learn on demand and in the way that suits them, sometimes even informally. They also need to take ownership in their mentoring relationships. With our teams working remotely and feeling isolated, helping your young people access new mentoring and coaching opportunities and techniques is critical.

To help, we recently launched our online portal, Hooga, to provide a virtual and on-demand coaching options for your people to learn the principles of our Strengths & Story workshops. Reach out to us to find out how you can get access!

 

Show Them How to Build Resilience

With all the uncertainty and stress that’s invaded our lives recently, one of the most important things Millennial and Gen Z employees need from you is to learn how to build and cultivate their own resilience. Sometimes called “grit” but even deeper, a person’s resilience is simply a measure of their ability to bounce back quickly when things get tough. And things have never been tougher for our workers than the challenges of COVID-19.

We have a 3-step system you can use to help them build better resilience. Click here to check it out now.

 

Reskill Them on Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is key for success in the future world of work. And with so much stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, people need people. We need to feel connected to each other and that we have strong relationships, whether it’s with our bosses, coworkers, clients, or friends and family. Make sure your younger employees are equipped with the skills they need to up their game when it comes to their own Emotional Intelligence. Learn how to reskill them and coach them on Emotional Intelligence here.

 

Your Millennial and Gen Z employees need you to step up and help them in the wake of COVID-19. Start here with these five ideas. If you need help implementing any of the above strategies or would like a personalized recommendation for your team, reach out to us to learn how we can support you to success.

Where’s the Free Food and Ping-Pong Table? What New Hacks Will Solve the Innovation Vacuum in the Work-From-Home Economy?

The work-from-home revolution has been unleashed. While it’s true that the workplace and worker of the future were both already changing prior to our current global pandemic, this lockdown has cemented a new era.

Big headlines from some of the largest tech companies in the world are just the beginning of this new era. What will it do to our workplaces?

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of both Twitter and Square was the first to announce their “work-from-home forever” policy change. Other companies soon followed suit and last week we had the announcement from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that the tech giant’s employees may also continue working from home indefinitely.

So what does this mean for cities that currently enjoy prestige as tech hotspots like San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Austin, and others? And more importantly, what does this mean for companies who have invested years and hundreds of thousands of dollars creating campuses stocked with free food, gyms, ping-pong tables, and more in an effort to attract the best and brightest employees in the industry?

That is the question that has been on my mind the last few weeks as I work with my own clients, including executives from some of the largest companies in America. It’s been well documented that perks like free food do more than attract rock star employees. A 2015 study from Cornell University found that when crews of firefighters eat together, they perform better on the job than crews who eat alone. This didn’t escape the leader in free food and organized socialization, Google, or the thousands of other companies that have followed their lead. For tech companies, offering free food has the same effect. Science dictates that it brings people together and fosters friendships, ideas, and innovation.

Prior to CVOID-19, the ubiquitous new age “dining hall” that could be found at many tech companies created a natural space for innovation. Where people gather and come together, there is always the potential for the creation and spread of new ideas. And it’s these new, innovative ideas tech companies relied on to stay one step ahead of the competition. Summarily, food and eating together creates safety and belonging , which creates trust, which creates innovation.

Here’s one thing I know: the work-from-home revolution and less human-to-human gatherings will create a safety and belonging gap which will lead to an innovation vacuum in your company unless you take steps to prevent it. Even now, your employees likely are not sharing meals together. They’re logging off of Zoom or Slack to go eat alone in their own kitchens. Ideas are not being exchanged and innovation is stalled.

So if you want to continue to spur innovation inside your company, as I know you do, use these ideas to foster safety, belonging, and innovation in the workplace:

 

Bring People Together

One of the most important steps to fostering innovation during the work-from-home revolution is to be intentional about replacing the cafeteria. You must find a replacement for your company’s dining hall, happy hour, or mixers that fits our new normal of social distancing and working remote. Rather than getting off of Zoom or Slack for lunch, encourage people to stay on and eat together as they would at the physical office. Schedule virtual happy hours. Randomly assign or encourage small groups to form and meet weekly over video chat to check in with each other and talk. As regulations allow, have people meet outside of work in small groups to walk or go for a hike. In fact, creating small bonded teams of 6-8 works for the Navy Seals. They create a brotherhood of safety and belonging, which yields the highest performance. Our millennial/Gen Z networking groups at launchbox, encourage participants to form a “tripod,” a small group of three people that meet for lunch and check in with each other between monthly meetings. No matter what you choose to do, you must be intentional about encouraging the human-to-human connection.

 

Ask Your People What They Need From You

One of our favorite workplace hacks to create and build strong teams and companies is to simply ask your people what they need from you. Are they feeling Zoom Fatigue with too many meetings already? Are they isolated and feeling distant from their team? Are they experiencing challenges at home that are interfering with work? Regular check-ins with your people will help you solve problems, build strong employee loyalty, and ultimately create the space people need to innovate. Unhappy, stressed, scared people do not create game-changing breakthroughs. Happy, confident, supported people do.

 

Foster Resilience

If you haven’t checked out our blog on mastering the 3 components of resilience, read that next. Our 3 C’s of Confidence, Commitment, and Clarity will help your people create resilience. As I said above, unhappy employees do not innovate. Help your people meet the challenges of the work-from-home revolution by teaching them the skills to build and maintain resilience. It will change the way they show up for work, their team, and your clients.

 

The work-from-home revolution has arrived and it’s now our normal. We do the work with business owners, executives and workplaces to help them find, build, and share their Strengths and Story to build high performance cultures through safety and belonging. What could be better? Click here to book a free session with us today!

What’s Holding You Back? For Many of Us, It’s Zoom Fatigue

Recently, I had a coaching call with someone I’ve had the pleasure of coaching over the last year. They’ve already made tremendous improvements since I first met them by using our system and tools. But with all the uncertainty that’s going on right now, I discovered they had gotten back into a place where they felt stuck and they didn’t know how to coach themselves out of being stuck. Often our thoughts are the biggest thing that holds us back from action.

A lot of us are feeling big time Zoom Fatigue these days. Harvard Business Review and Forbes have both shared articles on this topic in the last month. Going from video call to video call with no time in between to do our work, recharge, or even to just stop and think. And that’s really holding us back from being our best selves, from showing up with confidence and clarity to create impact for other people.

I know we all just want to get better, and in this time of social distancing, virtual work, and isolation, everything is compounded and we are more fatigued then ever and in a funk. So, you’ve got to ask yourself, “What’s standing in my way and keeping me from moving forward?” And, “Whose permission am I seeking to get unstuck and change my thoughts into action within this uncertainty?”

Changing your life and getting out of your own way come down to just factor: you. You are the only person you can control. You get to choose how you show up, how you behave, and ultimately what happens to you. As I always say, what happens to you is because of you. This is because we have the capability to question our own thoughts and motivations, which affects mindset. And mindset can eradicate fatigue.

So if you are struggling with Zoom Fatigue, use our tips to own your role in that and then make the changes that are going to best serve you and help you create impact.

Get Your Mind Clear

With everything that’s going on, we’re probably feeling a lot more anxious, confused, and tense than normal. While it’s ok to feel that way for a short time, we need to not get stuck. Your mind must be clear in order for you to show up to every Zoom meeting or call with confidence and clarity. To get your thoughts under control, start a meditation practice. Use an app like Waking Up With Sam Harris, Calm or Headspace to start your day with a guided meditation.

Change Your Thoughts

We all know mindset is key. But right now, we need to make sure we’re approaching every day with a positive mindset. If you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about your own performance or that of your team, it’s time to ask questions about that talk track in your head. Are those thoughts true? Usually they’re not. Actively use questioning to accept the real thoughts, fear, anger, etc. as reality and then move on to set yourself free to get into action. Try saying the positive aspect of the reality aloud and repeating each positive phrase for extra emphasis. You might even laugh which is a step in the right direction.

Own Your Calendar

One of the easiest things we can do to fight Zoom Fatigue is to take back control of our thoughts about our calendar. Don’t let other people dictate your day for you. Don’t let other people drag you into back-to-back meetings. Be firm and schedule 45 or 50-minute meetings instead of 60 minutes. This will give you 10-15 minutes at the top of each hour to take a breath, do a quick meditation, prepare for your next meeting, or even take a walk around the block to clear your head. You will approach the uncertainty with clarity of thought!

Assign a Communication “Czar or Czarina” for Your Meeting

If you’re like most of my clients, as soon as you get off a call you all immediately send follow up emails with your notes, lobbying your position about what was discussed and what the next steps will be based on the outcome of the discussion. But, there’s a better way. Meeting notes recorded on the spot creates immediate consensus and avoids time wasted relitigating positions. Appoint a communication “czar or czarina” to capture all the salient details of the meeting, agree on the points BEFORE the call is over, and then have that person quickly send a copy of their notes to all attendees. Wow, think of how much time and energy you’ll save!

Be Intentional About Making Time to Recharge

For many of us, exercise was built around routine and accountability. Now that gyms and fitness studios are closed, we’re finding it difficult to keep these habits in our schedule. And now, it matters now more than ever and we have the bonus of more flexibility to get it done. So do it. Be intentional about making time to recharge. You can’t serve others and show up well if you’re not taking time for yourself. Make sure you’re scheduling in time each day to do a workout, walk, or even just stretch. Something that forces you to move your body and work up a sweat. I actually do sets of push-ups, pull-ups or sit-ups between my calls. By the end of the day I have belted out hundreds of each.

Schedule Free Time to Think

When was the last time you took an hour just to stare off into space and think? In our fast-paced world, we’re increasingly driven by deadlines and the need to use up every second of the workday being hyper-productive. Taking time to sit and be alone with our own thoughts feels indulgent. It is absolutely critical to free your thoughts to grow and create innovation. It solves your challenges, both in the workplace and in your life. If you never get the space to just “think”, you will always be stuck in reaction mode. You need to create thinking space in order to start being proactive, rather than reactive. Google and many other amazing companies actually have policies of “20% time” to do or think about things that are meaningful. And, while many question whether that really exists or works, what we know for sure is that it does create a culture of wanting to be known for thinking time and innovation.

 

Need help stepping into confidence and clarity to own your story and create impact? Get a complimentary coaching session that will help you quickly get your life and business back on track. Just click here to claim yours!

3 Steps to Effectively Lead Your Remote Team Through Crisis

Our employees are overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed out. And that was before the Covid-19 crisis! Now they have a whole new mess of problems to deal with: worrying about the virus, fear about what will happen to the economy, working remotely for the first time, trying to manage their kids at home, struggling to adapt to new technology, increased conflict with their partner from being cooped up inside…it’s A LOT. Meanwhile, we’re trying to get them to be as productive as possible and G.S.D (Get Shit Done).

If you’re anything like the clients we’ve been talking to over the last few weeks, you’re struggling just to keep your own head above water let alone be the kind of leader your remote team needs right now. While there’s no manual or precedent for dealing with a large-scale global epidemic in this modern age, we’ve been coaching our clients on how to pivot and adapt their businesses while leading their teams to success. No matter what industry you’re in or what catastrophe you’re facing, there are only three things you need to focus on as a leader to effectively manage your workforce and cultivate high performance.

1) Decrease Fear

Your people are scared. They are facing the unknown just like you.

As their leader your most important job is to decrease their fear. Even if the future looks bleak, your people want to know you have a plan to take care of them and see them safely through this storm. They want to know they can count on you, that you’ve got their back, and you’re here for them. 

One of the most effective ways to decrease fear is to ask your people what they want from you. Start by listening and leaning in. It may be different for every person, but you owe it to them to take the time to ask great questions, be an even better listener, and find a way to meet them where they are. Then authentically contextualize your mission and vision in a way that employees can relate to and find meaningful. And communicate, communicate, communicate. Take a look at our 4 C’s of Connection in Virtual Work – scroll down to get a free copy of our Remote Management Toolbox.

2) Increase Safety

Along with decreasing fear, you need to increase every team member’s sense of safety. When you start by turning your workplace upside down and listening to your people, you’ll have a good sense of where to begin.  Understand that people need people and that we are interconnected beings. The biggest challenge is the lack of community and perceived empathy.

But even more importantly, you’ll have taken a big step toward decreasing their sense of isolation. If your team is working remotely for the first time, they’ll quickly start to feel alone and adrift in the world. It’s up to you to make sure your team is connecting to you and with each other on a regular basis. Have at least two real connections per week that asks how they are doing.  And make sure to use video – verbal communication is only 7% of total communication!  Additionally, appoint a communication czar to make sure it works well with your team.

Start now. Implement daily or weekly video calls. Create a Slack channel where people can check in with each other during the day. And spend time demonstrating you care by coaching your team members through their specific challenges. Let them help each other and create a buddy system. 

3) Solve the Emotional Component

In times of turmoil, it’s normal for emotions to run high. As a leader, you need to make sure you’re helping your team process their emotions in a way that is healthy and productive. Make sure you’re regularly addressing these five areas on your check-ins with your remote team:

1) Self-Care: Discuss the importance of self-care and share strategies for individual success.  Routines, schedules, and how to deal with kids at home and connections.

2) Learn: Make sure your team has the tools and resources to support their learning and development with new skills for the virtual workplace and great communication tips.

3) Growth: If there is down time, encourage personal and professional growth along with real creativity.  What are some great ideas they can come up with for themselves to add big value for a future which will be super different and better than what we’ve experienced?

4) Mindset: Share practical ways each person can work on reframing their thoughts and help them through any mindset blocks. Remember, we need connection and help.

5) Connect: Illustrate the importance of connecting person-to-person and encourage team members to communicate over phone or video instead of email and text.

If you focus on just these three things and follow our hacks and tools, I guarantee you will see dramatic improvement in the performance and productivity of your remote team. While we are all being challenged to work differently, there is NO reason your team cannot continue to execute at a high level.

Need help implementing these strategies? Looking for personalized help for your organization? Reach out to us – the first session is always complimentary! We can deliver virtual keynotes, online workshops, and remote high-performance coaching to help your team continue to succeed and thrive. 

We also recently hosted a webinar on this same topic – click here to watch the replay. It will only be available for a limited time so don’t wait to watch!

    Download our Remote Management Toolbox including Our 4 C's of Connection to help you lead your team to success!


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