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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!

4 Important Questions You Should Be Asking & the 4 Actions They Will Make You Take to Win the Millennial Race!

“The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.”

– Thomas Berger

 

The only way to get powerful answers is by asking powerful questions. Deloitte released a brilliant and insightful report about 10 questions you should be asking. We’ve taken 4 of these 10 key questions and shifted the focus on how they relate to your millennial workforce.

1.) What risks are my biases creating?

Every action we take is in accordance with our belief system. The beliefs we hold are much more powerful than we realize. They can cage us in or empower us; they can hold us back or push us forward. If you are biased by the myths that millennials are entitled, lazy, and selfish, could that be affecting your business? Considering that millennials are 60% of the world’s population (and that number is growing fast), this could adversely affect your operations, your relationship with millennial employees and your strategy moving forward.

The Deloitte report reveals, “during periods of great change, at the very moment rationality is needed most, the impulse to act without reason kicks in.” To act impulsively and think from a victim mindset is the easy thing to do. “My millennials don’t work hard. They don’t care at all.” But what if you take a different approach, taking responsibility for your workforce and finding ways to empower and engage them? Seek advice from people in your organization who you can trust, especially millennials themselves. Ask people outside your organization what they think. This will help remove any biases that may be holding your business back from excelling.

ACTION: Ask the Millennial and Manager so you can bridge the gap!

2.) Am I acting decisively when I see change around the corner?

The world is changing, and fast. Technology is altering the way we do business and will continue to do so over the next decade. If you don’t grab innovation by the horns and adapt to current and future trends, you will be left by the wayside. It’s evident that company culture, business ethics, virtual opportunity, and generational gaps are among us. But, as stated elegantly in the Deloitte report, “The problem is not just seeing around the corner. It’s also deciding when to take arms, and then taking them confidently.”

Boom. It’s one thing to notice a problem (or opportunity, depending on how you see it.) It’s another thing to take initiative and act. Three out of four companies do not have a plan in place to adjust to the millennial shift in both the workforce and economy. Great leaders make changes before the changes overcome them. Make sure your organization is equipped and prepared for the rise of millennials.

ACTION: Get a friggin plan together now, appoint a committee, DO SOMETHING TODAY!

3.) What’s your reputation worth, and who owns it?

Reputation is everything. It’s worth more than just dollars, and is measured in a variety of currencies like attention, trust and loyalty. Reputation defines the heart of your business. It reveals what you represent and how you fulfill the promises and expectations of your customers and employees.

We agree with the Deloitte report, which encourages a brand reputation program to help enhance, progress and preserve your reputation and business. “That program should engage employees as corporate ambassadors, constantly look for gaps in what is promised vs. what is delivered, and invest in systems to monitor and track external feedback across stakeholders.” What are you promising your millennial employees? A Deloitte Millennial survey revealed that 44% of millennials rejected a job offer because the company values didn’t match their own.[1] Is your company delivering on its moral values? Make sure you are transparent about who you are and what you stand for.

ACTION: Develop your brand story clearly, create it, be it, live it, live it with relevance. Don’t look back. Be your brand and millennials will make your brand relevant!

4.) Who digs in and challenges the assumptions in my strategy?

Having a devil’s advocate is essential for challenging assumptions, eliminating biases, surfacing blind spots, offering new perspectives and building a resilient strategy. As the old adage says, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” Assumptions can be wrong. By openly discussing strategy and encouraging a devil’s advocate to challenge strategy, you can remove possible flaws and weaknesses as well as adopt new ideas to strengthen your game plan.

The great part about having a diverse workforce is that every person has a unique set of experiences. Therefore, each individual may see a problem or opportunity that only they can see due to his or her perspective. As Alan Alda said, “Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won’t come in.”

ACTION: Push yourself now. Engage a millennial to push you and let them. You will be better, stronger and wiser, which will grow your business.

DO SOMETHING NOW: GO GROW YOURSELF!

Chasing Relevance by Dan Negroni

Interested in learning more about bridging the gap between millennials and managers? Here’s your chance! Grab your copy of  Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace.

 

[1] Yakowicz, Will. “Half of Millennials Would Reject a Work Assignment That Clashed With Their Ethics.” Inc.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 June 2016.