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

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.

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.

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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Two Predictions Shaping the Work(er) of the Future: Reality Hits Sooner

Last year we made some predictions for the future workplace. We predicted (i) technology is going to continue to evolve and drive change, and certainly (ii) people will matter more than ever. Our new Coronavirus reality further demonstrates the importance of both these points.  So as we enter this next decade, we’re gratified to see that new interviews and evolving research continues to support our predictions for the future workplace.

 The Wall Street Journal recently published an article called, “The Workplace of 2050.” It featured interviews with five experts at the top of their game making bold predictions for the future. All five talked about the way evolving technologies will reshape their industries – and the important role humans will play in the future of work.  

David Baszucki, CEO and co-founder of Roblox Corp, talked about the gaming industry as a whole. Alongside tremendous technological innovation, he envisions teams getting larger and transitioning to remote work with employees spread out around the world. While not mentioned directly in his interview, we know that communication between humans will be critical. As teams stop reporting to the same central office and start logging onto Slack from their couch, being able to articulate your story, demonstrate your value, and build relationships will become key factors for success in this industry.   

In the medical field, the need for technological expansion is particularly great. Dr. Esther Choo, ER doctor and Associate Professor at the Oregon Health and Science University, expects we’ll see “a lot more options for communicating with patients, monitoring them, connecting them to needed care…and streamlining things.” She also expects increased integration among the many electronic health systems doctors and patients are currently using. Although these innovations will certainly help healthcare providers improve job performance, what’s really driving this shift is a desire for better communication between patients and doctors in order to create meaningful change.

 Other CEOs and founders echo Baszucki and Choo, predicting an increasingly prominent role for technology in industries ranging from restaurants to talent acquisition. But for all this focus on technological innovation, Free the Work founder Alma Har’el sums up it up best: “At the end of the day, the heart of the work is really about connecting on a human level, and that’s never going to change.” No matter how an industry is disrupted or what new technologies they choose to deploy, at the heart of all this change is us: people. We still matter.

To help you create success and shift to a culture of high performance, we introduced our 3-hack system. Many of our clients have already reported tremendous success after implementing it in their organizations. How will you keep the future workplace human? What choices will you make to make your employees matter? How will you empower and lead your people to high performance? Reach out to us for a free consultation. Through our dynamic keynote speeches, game-changing workshops, and bold coaching, we will inspire your people to up their game and help you create a high-performance culture.

Shaping the Work(er) of the Future. It Matters Now More Than Ever.

The Future of Work is under attack: literally. The current fear of the Coronavirus has exacerbated the existing state of increased worker anxiety, depression, isolation and disengagement. They are all at all-time highs across the globe. And the pressure keeps mounting as the world moves ever faster.  In the U.S. alone, it’s costing billions of dollars in lost revenue and workforce productivity.

The Future of Work and the Workplace of the Future are huge topics of conversation. Yet, we’re still SOOO confused.  We ask, what it will look like? What it will feel like? Where and how will we work? How many hours will we attend to work and how will we balance that with all our other life challenges? How will we handle disease, global challenges, technological changes (robots, AI, digital, etc.), and how will we survive as workers?  It is an amazing question, especially today.

WE ARE MISSING THE POINT!  We are forgetting the single most important Future of Work component: the workers themselves.  The Worker of The Future. What will they do?

To break through all this uncertainty and confusion, to succeed in the future workplace, we need to first make sure we’re focusing on the right thing: the worker. Then, we need a system that helps and supports our workers as they navigate this period of tremendous change. Adjusting our focus and implementing a proven system is the only way to develop better connection, better engagement, and better teams. If we can figure that out, we’ll have better performance and financial results, better impact, better communities, and a ultimately a better world! 

Why We Need to Be Asking the Right Questions About the Future of Work

The workplace is changing and this change is creating enormous pressure. Industry research and our own independent polls of 20,000 people demonstrate the impact of big data, robotics, AI and other technologies our future. Here are the stats that we need to be concerned about and now with our new anxiety about Coronavirus, add fear on top of that – yikes!

  • 375M people will have new job categories,
  • 41% of companies will be fully automated,
  • 47% of jobs will be gone by 2030,
  • 67% of CEOS believe technology will create more value than human capital,
  • 44% of leaders believe automation will make people largely irrelevant,
  • Workers are scared too: 53% believe people may become irrelevant and 50% believe that they will need new jobs. 

Management and employees are both uncertain. As a result, fear, anxiety, depression, lost productivity and disengagement pervades the workplace.

But to bridge this gap, move out of uncertainty, and create engaged workplaces and workers of the future, you must put your focus where it belongs. On the people. People need people and people need to matter. 

Reports from Korn Ferry, McKinsey, Josh Bersin, and The World Economic Forum show that Emotional Intelligence and effective human interaction are the real skills necessary to win in the workplace and create engagement.  Human interaction will become even more important to succeed, connect, provide value and grow businesses.  And it is multifaceted. It includes purpose, meaning and an integrated and diverse approach to work, community, and family. Humans want connection and meaning. They want contribution and impact. They want to feel seen and heard. They want immediate feedback. But most of all, they want to matter.

The Hacks, Tools and Solution:

Let’s create that connection and bridge the gap between the Worker of the Future and the Future of Work. After coaching over 20,000 Millennials, Gen Zs and their managers, we’ve developed a simple 3-hack system that will help solve the workplace disengagement crisis. This system can be rapidly implemented today to shift the way you lead and positively impact your company’s bottom line.

Hack #1: Turn Your Workplace Upside Down:

Learn what your most critical audience (your workforce) needs from you to create high performance. Ask them questions on an individual level, create focus groups, and send out surveys. Get a sense of what they need and value in order to meet them where they are and utilize them in creating a culture that defines the Future of Work within your company. Safety will be added to this list for sure so let’s have the dialogue: what do workers need from you to feel safe and protected? Utilize our tools like The Platinum Rule, “WIFThem,” and our signature communication tool, “GPS” –  Gratitude, Permission, Shared Experience

Hack #2: Create Meaningful Work:

Many studies demonstrate that meaning, purpose, impact and contribution are the most important things that workers of all ages want from the workplace. To create meaningful work, make sure your organization is addressing these two key things for each of your employees: providing opportunities for learning/growing and creating a sense of community. This is the way you will ensure the work feels meaningful, no matter the task. Now more than ever when we have been pushed to a new normal , which includes fear of survival, meaning matters.

Hack #3: Reskill from the Inside/Out on Emotional Intelligence:

According to the World Economic Forum, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is key for 2020 and beyond. Additional research, including the 2017-2020 Bersin reports on HR and talent predictions support this. To help your people develop a higher EQ, focus first on finding a way to connect with them. Then, create a safe workplace and encourage them to be vulnerable in sharing the truth of who they are. Finally, mentor and coach them in the moment, not during a quarterly or annual performance review. Today’s workplace moves fast and tomorrow’s workplace, even faster. You need to help your people grow and develop new skills for success now. Particularly, are they capable of being managed remotely, engaged through self-motivation, trusted by coworkers, and still learning and growing?  What systems will you put into place to help them?

Doing the work and committing to using this 3-hack system MATTERS. If we don’t put our focus in the right place (on the Worker of the Future) there won’t BE a Workplace of the Future. Because without the people, none of it really matters. So start solving the disengagement crisis in your organization today! Use our system, check out our free tools, and read the rest of our blog for even more implementation tips. Reach out to us to learn how we can support you in creating lasting change through our high-performance coaching, keynote speeches, and workshops.

The Workplace of the Future is NOW – Do You Have a Plan to Solve Employee Disengagement and Anxiety?

Our clients tell us they can’t keep up because the world is changing so rapidly. The word “change” actually seems insufficient to describe the rapid transformation affecting all our businesses. And yet we’re more connected than ever.  One misstatement, misstep, miscalculation of impact and a disgruntled person’s tweet can go viral at a moment’s notice. We’ve never felt more vulnerable to the opinions of others and it’s affecting our businesses.

Not a stretch for any of us or our businesses, just look at what happened to Peloton recently. When its holiday commercial failed to strike the right note with its customers, the company’s stock dropped more than 10% after a storm of criticism helped its infamous commercial go viral for all the wrong reasons.

But it’s not just our customers that are challenging. Our employees live in this world and they are challenged by the change too. They’re also confused. Hence, most businesses are facing a two-headed crisis with their employees: (1) disengagement and (2) anxiety. Just when we need our teams to pull together, crush performance, and be stronger than ever, actually the opposite is happening. Our employees are instead disconnected from each other or with their bosses. Rampant anxiety is hurting their individual performance. And high turnover is costing us serious money.

At launchbox, we’re all about finding solutions to help you solve disengagement and anxiety to ignite your team and company’s performance.  We’ve developed a 3-hack strategy you can use to ensure your company is meeting the demands of the changing workplace. Follow along as we show you how we’re helping three clients solve their own unique organizational problems:

Asking Questions to Solve for Disengagement

One of the clients we work with had a modern challenge that needed solving: many of their employees worked in the field at customer sites while others remained behind at the company’s main office. Not surprisingly, they were struggling to keep their remote employees engaged.

When they came to us for help, we coached them to start by conducting an assessment of all their employees to help them figure out what the specific problems were. Turns out the employees that spent a lot of time in the field were having trouble remaining connected to their peers, the company’s mission, their contribution, and ultimately their own career path.

With this information in hand, we were able to help the leadership design and implement specific engagement strategies through coaching individuals and the team to create increased engagement. The solution? Double down on understanding the employees needs and then solve them at the individual and group level.  Model behavior, downstream techniques, and stand for the employee. The result? Greater engagement and increased retention across the entire company.

Helping Employees Find Meaningful Work

Another of our clients, a respected financial advisory firm, sent one of their talented young employees to get coached by us. This young man was struggling to find real meaning, purpose and contribution in his work. The company’s mission of protecting their clients’ assets and growing wealth just wasn’t cutting it for him. He was looking for something deeper, more meaningful, something to feel he was a part of and that would allow him to make a difference.

In working with us, he learned about himself, his own why, and the impact he wanted to have. It was critically important for him to have belief around his impact and tangibly see the results of his work (in the form of seeing his clients’ wealth grow) in order to feel connected to what he was doing. We talked about how he could better communicate that to his bosses in order to get some help to create bigger results for all of his accounts.  He was predisposed as many millennials are to create impact.  We tied his ambition and work to philanthropy that was created by the growth of wealth. Once he became aware of this meaning, he could articulate it as his value and extend it to his clients.

Can you guess what happened next? He got the help he needed from his supervisors to recast his own meaning and impact in order to contribute to the team. This in turn helped his clients AND his company’s bottom-line.

He also discovered how to live his own values and find greater purpose and contribution by seeing the positive things his clients were able to do for both their families and for others as a result of their increased wealth. How’s that for a win?

Reskilling Emotional Intelligence

Management at one high-end health club came to us because they were frustrated with the performance of their younger employees. They felt that many of them didn’t display the warmth and friendliness they wanted to see in such customer-centric positions.

After instituting hacks 1 and 2 above, we dug deeper to create a system of skills to help employees connect more readily to the company’s mission. We helped the employer bridge the generation gap by showing them how to reskill their young employees on the basics of customer service, making it about teaching, learning and growing. We encouraged them to train and coach young employees on connection. This gave their young people skills they could see they would use forever. It also made them feel that they had power over their own future, that they were creating their own path to success. Finally, we encouraged management to illustrate how their role was absolutely vital to the entire customer experience and that how they showed up as individuals made the ultimate difference.

The culture at the health club became one that was focused on others and giving value. As a result their young people began to flourish. They learned new skills and changed the way they communicated with clients and their peers. And ultimately, they took ownership of their own self-development and growth in order to provide the best possible experience for the customers they saw every day.

As we enter the next decade, one thing is for sure: the workplace will continue to rapidly evolve even faster. In order to keep up and achieve even greater success in the years to come, make sure you’re solving problems for both your customers and your employees. If your company could use a little support in igniting growth like these three clients, book a free call with one of our coaches today!

Young Lawyers are Leading Change in the Law Practice, Like it or Not

Change is coming one way or another. That was the conclusion of a recent report from Major, Lindsey, and Africa, a leading attorney search firm, in which they detailed their findings after surveying over 1,200 millennial attorneys. And while their survey was exclusively focused on law firms and the people they employ, we’ve noticed similarities about our clients inside law as well as those we work with across all kinds of industries.

There are three things we’ve deduced from the survey as being absolutely critical for employers to understand: 1) Work-Life Balance Rules 2) Lack of Authenticity and Transparency is a Non-Starter 3) Career Pathing is Your Duty

Just look at these results:

-Less than 30% of respondents described their firms as being very transparent about an associate’s career path.  Yet more than 80% of respondents still described transparency surrounding their individual career paths as being important to crucial to them.

-Only 20% of respondents classified themselves as being highly loyal to their firms. And of those, 54% still said they were not open to new job opportunities. It seems these things go hand in hand!

-When evaluating prospective employers, respondents cited these three factors as being most important in their decision: the employer’s commitment to fostering work-life balance, compensation, and professional development.

-If a respondent was open to new job opportunities, it’s usually because they were seeking better compensation, looking for a change in management or company culture, or wanted more work-life balance.

-More than 60% of respondents said informal mentorship has had a significant or crucial effect on their career. And almost 30% indicated that formal mentorship was irrelevant.

(Click here to read the full survey)

Did any of those results surprise you? They surprised ME and I do this for a living!

Like it or not, change is coming to your organization. So the question is: are you ready?

We’re going to break down how you can prepare your company to meet the needs of the worker of the future so that your organization can survive and thrive. After all, a company is only as good as its people. And if you can’t figure out how to give your best people what they want, they’ll find someone else who can – like your competition!

WORK-LIFE BALANCE RULES

We’ve been fighting to achieve work-life balance SINCE THE BEGINNING OF WORK.

Can we actually achieve work life balance or is it a myth?  And what the heck does work-life balance even mean? Because it’s different for every single employee.

One hack is to turn your organization upside down and ask each employee what work-life balance means to them. Understanding what your audience wants, a novel concept. Does it mean coming in early so they can leave early? Does it mean working from home a few days a week? Or does it mean not working a weekend, ever. Whatever it is, you’ve got to figure out what your employees need from you and then figure out how you can deliver it in a way that still serves your business goals.

There, now you have a system to find a way to help your employees achieve the work-life balance they crave. Remember, it goes both ways. You can give employees the better balance they want, in a way that meets your expectations.

LACK OF AUTHENTICITY AND TRANSPARENCY IS A NON-STARTER

Ah, transparency. Seems everybody and their brother wants the people, the government and the companies in their lives to be more transparent.  Science and data demonstrate people want the truth, as in can you be trusted.

So, you need to figure out how to be really real with your employees. And not just raw and authentic when it suits you – it needs to be baked into your company culture.  So entwined with the day-to-day operations that it is embedded in your culture.

How do you get there?

Friggin connect with your employees. Learn their story, find out what they want out of their job and their life, and understand what really matters to them. If you can achieve that you will create Trust.  Having a culture of trust and transparency and communication is what creates results.  See The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey:  (Strategy x Execution) Trust  =RESULTS . And not just any results, exponential results!

CAREER PATHING IS YOUR DUTY

In a world of on-demand learning, is it really any surprise that formal and forced mentorship is on the decline? We all want to learn at our own pace, on our own schedule, and with who we trust – which just doesn’t gel with a rigid mentorship structure.

Which isn’t to say that formal mentors themselves are out. We just want advice delivered in a more informal, of-the-moment way. So rather than formally defining our relationships with our employees in the workplace or relegating their career development to some far-off date on your calendar, practice delivering real-deal, authentic feedback. That means correcting the behavior when it happens, not during their annual review. It means taking time out of your busy schedule to commend an employee on a job well done – even when you’re so busy you can’t think straight.

We have to find a way to build more mentorship and professional development into the day-to-day culture of the workplace. And while you may be rolling your eyes and thinking, “Sure Dan, I’ll be sure to add that to my never-ending to-do list” the truth is, it’s critical you get this right. Employees who are listened to, supported in their role, given the tools to succeed, and encouraged to bring new ideas to the table do better work and STAY! It’s that simple.

Here’s the bottom line: if you want to survive in the years to come, you’ve got to figure out how to create and deliver:

1.  Work Life Balance

2.  Authenticity and Transparency

3. Career Pathing

It’s the only way.

Need help figuring out how to give your employees what they want in a way that still serves your company? Reach out to us for coaching – we’ll equip you with the tools you need to succeed! Click here to sign up for your free coaching session.