Posts

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.

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!

Deepen Relationships and Improve Communication With Our GPS Communication Strategy

The workplace of the future may look a little different, but one thing that’s not changing? Humans. We will STILL matter. In fact, we will continue to matter more than ever.

Which means we have to find a way to connect, to get along with each other, and to communicate effectively. It doesn’t matter if your team works remotely, has different shifts, or spends all day inside a single shared space – relationships MATTER. 

My favorite exercise to deepen relationships and improve communication is something we at launchbox call our GPS Communication Strategy.

GPS stands for Gratitude, Permission, and Share Experience.

I’m going to break down what those three things actually mean (and how you use them in real conversations), but we’ve also got a great worksheet for you to download that goes along with this exercise. You can grab it by skipping down to the bottom. Or you can also follow along as I take you through our GPS Communication Strategy!

Gratitude

Begin by framing your conversation with gratitude. Communication is critical and gratitude is fundamental to having great conversations. Gratitude shows people that you care and that you have their back…even when you have to have a tough conversation with them. Perhaps most importantly, it gets them in the mood to start listening to you!

Sharing gratitude sounds like this:

-“I enjoyed having lunch with you.”

-“I found that advice you shared during our conversation the other day to be helpful.”

-“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to learn and grow in order to serve you and the team better.”

-“The way you handled that interaction with a customer was awesome!”

-“It means a lot to me that you made time to show me that trick with the new program.”

-Or just a simple “Thank you!”

Permission

Before you get to the tough stuff, make sure you ask permission. Asking permission to share your experience demonstrates respect and tells the other person that you really care about them. 99% of the time, they’ll say yes without hesitation

Now the #1 thing I hear when I share this strategy with a room full of executives and managers is, “Dan, if I’m a boss why would I ever have to ask permission?”

And there’s a couple reason why you want to do that. Besides demonstrating respect and showing that you care about the person, it cedes a little bit of control to them. When they feel like they have more control, they’ll be a little more comfortable with what comes next. And it sets the listener up to really hear you!

Asking permission sounds like this:

-“Would it be okay if we discussed what happened yesterday afternoon now?”

-“I want to help you grow and deliver value to our customers. Can we go over a few things?”

-“Are you open to some feedback on your presentation?”

Share Experience

Okay, now it’s time for the tough stuff. Start by assuming positive intent (API) on the part of the other person and make sure that what you have to say is delivered without judgment. Stick to the facts, don’t make any assumptions about what was going on in the other person’s head, and make sure you deliver the message clearly.

One way to do this is to describe the situation and what you observed or experienced. Another way you can do this is to share a story of when you felt the same way and what you learned from it. 

Share experience sounds like this:

-“I’ve been able to experience your mentorship in this particular way – is that the way you wanted to come across?”

-“What you just said to me came across as harsh. Did you mean it that way?”

Have you used the GPS Communication Strategy in the workplace or at home? Let us know in the comments below. And if you haven’t grabbed our free worksheet designed to help you have great, other-focused conversations, just fill out the form below to get your copy!

Want a little help implementing this with your team? Reach out to us – we love working with companies and teams to help them bridge the gap and build connection!

Want to build better relationships in work and in life? You have to make it about others first - the audience is the hero of your story! Use these tips to change the conversation:



* indicates required

5 Steps to Keep the Multi-Generational Workplace Human

With the increased digitization of our businesses, it’s easy for employees to start feeling isolated and forgotten, like they just don’t matter. Where we previously had to pick up the phone or walk across the office if we wanted to talk to one another, now we can communicate with just a couple keystrokes. Where co-workers previously spent all day sitting in adjacent cubicles, now team members can be spread across the city, country, or even the world.

While technology has allowed us to work faster and more efficiently, it’s also contributed to higher levels of stress and anxiety among workers. Because as technology has changed the way we work, we’ve kind of forgotten the most important element: the people.

So if you care about keeping your humans happy (and you should because happier employees are more productive and successful at work) make sure you’re taking these five steps to keep your multi-generational workplace human:  

Communicate Like a Human

We have the power of speech for a reason: to communicate! So instead of texting your employees, actually pick up the phone and call them (yes, even your Millennial and Gen Z employees). Or better yet, drop by their desk and have a real conversation complete with facial cues and body language. Yes, it’s inefficient and yes, it might not be the most productive use of time, but real human communication is essential to forming better relationships and bridging the gap in the multi-generational workforce. Which brings me to my next point:

Face Time Not FaceTime

You’ve got to encourage your people to have meaningful face-to-face interactions. That means coming out from behind the computer screen and planning regular in-person meetings, going to lunch, or grabbing coffee together. As a boss or manager, one of the most valuable things you can do is plan one-on-one meetings with each of your employees. And when you’ve met with them all, go back and start over again.

Provide Individualized Mentoring for Career Success

One thing we hear over and over again from the young Millennial and Gen Z employees we coach and train is that they want personalized mentorship from their bosses and managers. They don’t want to feel like just another cog in the machine. They want individualized support to help them learn, grow, and achieve their career goals. As we previously discussed, mentoring and coaching is the new leadership development training. So make sure you’re giving all your employees the right support and not just a one-size-fits-all solution.

Encourage Work-Life Balance

Work is a big part of our lives. But it’s not our whole life. So encourage your employees to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Don’t give them grief if they ask to leave early to catch their kid in a school play or need to come in late because their dog got sick. If they’re not feeling well, tell them to stay home and rest even if you’re in the middle of a big project. Tell them to have a great vacation and actually mean it. Respect your employees enough to trust that the work will still get done.

Show You Care

Our #1 tip for keeping the multi-generational workplace human? Show your employees you care. Take an interest in their lives. Ask how their weekend was, how their spouse is doing, what their kids are up to. And then actually listen to the answers. Say “Thank You” and “Good Job!” Get to know them as people and demonstrate that you really care.

 

Keeping the workplace human in the age of technology isn’t hard. It just takes conscious effort and systems that are designed to encourage it. If you’re struggling to provide a human workplace that keeps your employees engaged, reach out to us. We’ve developed systems and frameworks you can implement in your multi-generational organization to make sure you’re meeting the needs of your people. Click here to schedule a discovery call with one of our high-performance coaches!

3 Hacks to Guarantee Success in the Multi – Generational & Diverse Workplace

What does it take to really bridge the gap in the multi-generational workplace? To transcend age, culture, diversity, and experience? To overcome everything that pulls us apart in order to pull teams together and crush it in the workplace?

We’ve spent the last four years exploring those questions. Along the way we’ve had the privilege of training more than 20,000 millennials and their employers. We’ve talked to audiences around the world in all different kinds of industries.

And what we realized is this: there is a system that can GUARANTEE multi –generational workplace success!

The best part? It’s pretty dang simple.

Hack  1: Turn Your Workplace Upside Down

You need to lead by providing value to others. And in order to provide value to others, you’ve got to listen, learn about what matters to them, and find a way to connect and serve them.

So when it comes to your employees, you’ve got to turn your workplace upside down. Instead of applying a top-down approach to your people, giving orders, and guessing what will make them happy, you’ve got to start at the bottom and friggin’ talk to them! Ask them about what they want from you, their manager, and their job. And then find a way to give it to them.  Make them matter and feel safe.  In case you haven’t realized it, you really work for them anyway.

Hack 2: Create Meaningful Work

No matter what industry you’re in, you’ve got to make sure your employees have meaningful work. Because in order to be engaged they have to connect themselves to the meaning of their work.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re saving lives or selling widgets. You’ve got to give your employees work that means something to them! And if they can’t see that meaning for themselves, it’s up to you to show it to them. Paint the picture of why it matters. Show them that their task, no matter how boring, tedious, or insignificant it seems, makes a difference and has an impact. And let them in on the wins!

P.S. the biggest way you can win is to train, grow, coach, and mentor them to get better to create more impact.  Self-growth allows them to draw a connection to the work that created it – and makes their work meaningful!

Hack 3:  Reskill Your People from the Inside/Out (on Emotional Intelligence)

As a boss, as a manager, it’s up to you to coach your people to be their very best. And one of the best ways to help them is to reskill them on emotional intelligence. We call it connection currency.  According to a recent study from the World Economic Forum, emotional intelligence is one of the top ten most in-demand skills listed by employers. And with good reason! As our workplace increasingly becomes dominated by technology, people matter more than ever. So make sure your employees have the skills to successfully connect with their bosses, their coworkers, and your customers.

Want to learn more about our 3-hack system and how it can work for you?  Shout  out to us – we can help you bridge the gap with your employees to CRUSH performance in the workplace today and in the future!

4 Reasons Why You Need to Care About Creating the Worker of the Future Right Now

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “The only constant in life is change.” While I’m no philosopher, he certainly got that right! Just compare our world now to Heraclitus’s time. Hell, a lot has changed since I entered the workforce – and I’m no dinosaur!

So if we know the world is constantly changing and will continue to change, why do we keep putting things off for the future? Why do we keep telling ourselves that when the workplace of the future finally “arrives” we’ll just figure out how to adapt? Why are we not prioritizing developing our employees, our companies, and ourselves NOW so that we can make sure we WIN in the future?

As we’ve been talking about the worker of the future, you might have thought to yourself, “Okay Dan, I hear you, but why I should care about this right now? What’s so different about this moment in time that I should drop everything and shift my focus to worrying about a future that’s not even here yet?”

For starters, you don’t need to worry about the future if you’ve done the work to prepare for it. It’s only those who haven’t put in the time that need to worry! But to answer that question, to discuss why it’s so important that we care about creating the worker of the future right now, we have to look at a few things that are true about this moment in time:

Key Industries Are Being Disrupted

My wife is a Realtor and a damn good one at that. But whether real estate agents will eventually go the way of travel agents and she’ll be out of a job is up for debate.

“It’s a people industry,” they argue. “Nobody wants to buy a house from a computer.”

Well most people never imagined we’d push a button to have a perfect stranger come pick us up at our house and look where we are now.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Where there’s a need, or where we can create a need, there’s opportunity. Every industry has its own pockets of opportunity that could lead to significant disruption and choosing to ignore this fact is the equivalent of burying your head in the sand and pretending like it isn’t happening.

Every industry that hasn’t already been disrupted is ripe for future disruption. And the industries that have already changed will continue to do so. Speaking of Uber, I recently learned that in response to companies like Bird and Lime offering alternative, on-demand transportation options, Uber has also gotten into the scooter-sharing game. It acquired Jump Bikes in April 2018 to the tune of $200 million. Because even the disruptors can become disrupted!

We’re More Connected Than Ever Before

A 2015 study by Bank of America found that 71% of smartphone owners sleep with their phones either on their nightstand, in their bed, or in their hand. That figure is likely even higher now! The fact is, for the majority of us the phone screen is the last thing we see at night and the first thing we see in the morning.

And do you know what’s on those phone screens? Apps. Facebook. Instagram. Gmail. What’s App. Slack. All these things that allow us to be connected to others 24/7/365. This connectivity has not only dramatically changed our personal relationships, it’s changed the way we work.

Walk into an office six or seven years ago and it wasn’t unusual to find that most companies had a policy about their employees having their cellphones on their desks. Now? Bosses are sending their employees Instagram DMs and expecting them to respond if they’re on the clock. Or not on the clock because the lines between where our workday begins and ends have become incredibly blurred.

Used to be that every business had the same forty-hour workweek to get things done in. But now that we are all connected at the push of a button, it is always game ON.

The Speed of Life and the Speed at Which Things Change Has Increased

You’ve probably heard this old riddle before:

“There is a pond with lily pads in it. Every day the amount of lily pads in the pond doubles. If on the 30thday, the pond is completely full, on which day was it half full?”

The answer? The 29thday.

Just like those lily pads, the rate of change has been growing exponentially for hundreds of years and we are now at that 29thday! Earlier I mentioned how much had things had change since the time of the ancient Greeks. Now think about this: the first personal computer arrived in 1975, the Internet in 1991. Now we carry an Internet-connected computer around in our back pocket and use it to share cat videos with our friends on Facebook. How’s that for rapid change?

This culture of disruption and the increased connectivity between each and every one of us means that the speed at which things change will only increase. If you can’t keep up and your competitors can, you will lose. Period.

Trust is More Important Than Ever

It only takes one tweet with a screenshot of a supposedly private conversation to go viral and ignite a PR firestorm for your company. If we do not do right by our customers and convince them at every opportunity (and I mean every opportunity) that they can trust us, we open ourselves up to enormous amounts of risk. Your customers have a choice about who they buy from and who they work with. Companies do not have the power anymore. Consumers have all the power.

But it’s also not just about the customer. Employees want to work for companies that are real with them. And if you don’t deliver, they will find another company who can. It’s that simple. So you better pay attention and give them what they want because employees matter. Yes, you need the customer to buy from you, but it’s the employee that handles the customer and delivers the experience that gets the customer to come back and tell all their friends.

So now do you agree that it’s time we shift our focus to attracting, creating, and retaining the worker of the future? Because if you don’t, then whatever you’re prioritizing instead isn’t going to matter in five or ten years. Your company will struggle and probably get crushed by the competition who figured this out and made it a priority.

 

Need help? Sign up for your free coaching call and let’s figure out how to help you and your team win!