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

“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!

How Millennials and Gen Zs Are Navigating the Pandemic: Stress and Resilience Revisited for the Young

Each year, Deloitte releases their annual survey about the youngest generations in the workforce, Millennials and Gen Zs. I look forward to their report because it’s full of valuable research and statistics we use to inform much of the work we do here at launchbox by bridging the gaps with our clients.

Conducting a study of this size and magnitude is a serious undertaking that takes months and months of work. So what do you do when a global pandemic arrives and changes the world as we know it almost overnight? If you’re Deloitte, you take your original research and back it up with a pulse survey to see how some of the original respondents are faring amidst extreme change. Then, you use that data to publish a survey that offers one of the most informative and well-researched pictures of how young people are doing at work and at home even as they face an uncertain future.

Hint: they’re doing better than a lot of us would have thought. And the younger they are, the better they’re doing with uncertainty.

Below, we break down some of the key findings in the 2020 Deloitte survey and what this means for employers who are struggling to connect their remote employees to each other and their teams.

 

Key Finding #1: Millennials and Gen Zs Are Less Stressed Now Than They Were and That Means No More Business as Usual

Deloitte’s original survey was conducted between November 2019 and the early weeks of 2020. In that survey, 48% of Gen Z respondents and 44% of Millennial respondents reported that they were “stressed all or most of the time.” But in the pulse survey Deloitte conducted in April and May of 2020, they discovered an 8% decrease in stress for both generations. This is despite the fact that about 25-30% of respondents actually lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic. Pretty crazy what a huge reset will do to a generation or two.

What does this mean for employers? It means that many of your younger employees aren’t going to want to go back to business as the old usual. For some, the pandemic has had measurable benefits and they’re going to want to keep them. Things like the ability to work remote, flexible schedules, a reduction in calendar obligations, and more. 69% of Millennials and 64% of Gen Zs reported that they believe having the option to work from home in the future would relieve stress. After the pandemic is over, 64% of Millennials and 60% of Gen Zs said they would like the option to work from a remote location from frequently. So as an employer, ask your people what they want from you and their workplace. What parts of life pre-pandemic do they miss? And what do they hope stays in the past? We know they miss connection – look at the bars! However, do they need work connection 24/7 like we thought? No. They want to be trusted and also have more control and freedom about how and where they live and work. Pandora’s box is open.

 

Key Finding #2: Job Loyalty is Increasing Amongst the Younger Generations

A common complaint I hear from the older generations is that Millennials and Gen Zs “aren’t loyal.” They job hop a lot and when something’s not working for them, they are quick to seek alternative employment rather than stick it out to see if it improves. It’s one thing I love about the youth – they refuse to settle for anything less than what they think they deserve.

Yet in Deloitte’s primary survey, and contrary to popular belief, “more millennials said they’d like to stay with their employers for at least five years than would prefer to leave within two years.” In fact, just 31% of Millennials respondents to the primary survey shared that they intend to leave their current employment within the next two years, down from 49% in 2019! Interesting because we are seeing this with our clients too. They really want more safety and belonging. If you trust them and grow them, they will want to stay. Imagine that.

Deloitte hypothesized that the increase in job loyalty amongst the younger generations is due to their employers doing a better job addressing their needs, creating a diverse and inclusive working environment, and supporting their development through training and mentorship, among other factors. Across both generations, 71% of respondents felt that their employers were doing a fairly good job at creating a working environment that is inclusive and diverse. And roughly 70% of Millennial and Gen Z respondents felt their employer was making a positive impact on the local community. As an employer, pay close attention to these findings. We know that some of the things young people want from their employers include opportunities to learn and grow, transparency, real-deal authentic communication, and purpose and contribution. Make sure you have a system in place that gives your people what they want. Need help? Reach out to us – we have actionable tips and hacks that will help you create that system inside your business.

 

Key Finding #3: The Pandemic Has Increased Individual Responsibility and Empathy

If there’s one thing we can all agree on about the pandemic, it’s that we’ve all been affected in one way or another. Some of us dramatically, others marginally. Yet the coronavirus pandemic has emerged as one of the defining moments in living history, uniting us against a common enemy. For our young people, it’s had the positive effects of increasing their empathy for others and encouraging them to get more involved in supporting their local community. In Deloitte’s pulse survey, 75% of respondents across both generations reported, “once restrictions are lifted, they will take actions that have a positive impact on their communities. Seven in ten said they already have done so.” Three-quarters of respondents also mentioned that the pandemic had made them more aware of and sympathetic towards the needs of different people around the world.

What does this mean for employers? It means your younger generations, who were already pre-disposed to wanting to make a difference by doing work that matters, have had their innate generational desire towards purpose and contribution reinforced by recent events. Which means you really have to get this right with them! You need to connect them to their purpose, help them see that the work they’re doing matters, and give them the tools to create impact for others. It’s a tall order, but we think you’re up to the challenge. And we recently launched a new virtual product, Strengths & Story, to help. Your employees will learn how to identify their strengths and connect to their story so they can create an impact that matters. Contact us to learn more about getting access to this product for your team.

 

Click Here to Read the Full 2020 Survey From Deloitte

 

Did any of these key findings surprise you? Are their areas you know you need help in? We’re here for you. We’ve helped companies from start-up to Fortune 500 bridge the gap in their workplaces and solve for success. Reach out to us to claim your complimentary call and learn what we can do to help you succeed!

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.

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.

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!

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.

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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