I spent last week in Florida. The weather was mostly sunny with a couple of beautiful beach days. I stayed with a friend whose neighborhood is inland a few miles. There are beautiful older trees and lots of tropical plants, but you'd never know it was the end of October looking at the foliage.
My return flight arrived after dark, so this morning I was awestruck by the progress of the fall trees. Gorgeous red and orange leaves shown like fire in the morning sun. And thanks to recent storms, the denuding of many trees was well underway.
As I processed my wonderment at the difference in one week, I realized that the stark contrast between my view last week and this morning was a gift. Had I spent last week at home, I would likely not have been as observant. Today, I appreciated the beautiful fall more because my perspective was fresh.
Similarly, working every day in your business creates tunnel vision that limits your ability to see your situation with freshness.
You are not alone. Nearly every owner I know is working harder than ever before and struggling to find relief. Unfortunately, working harder isn't the answer. What you need is to get every area of your business working more effectively for you. Realigning job duties, streamlining processes, and automating operations bring sustainable relief. But let's be honest, it is hard to see the answers when you are stuck in the trenches.
Here are two tips for getting the fresh perspective you are missing.
ONE. Use the holidays to disconnect so you can come back with fresh eyes. You may not have the freedom to take a break right now, but the holiday seasons are approaching fast, and you can use that time to your advantage.
TWO. You can replicate my startling change of scenery by inviting an outside perspective. This choice illuminates the highest pay-off opportunities quickly. And, as an early holiday gift to you, use this link to schedule your complimentary consultation with me. [My rates increased Nov. 1st, but this is your opportunity to purchase at my prior rates.]
You have two months remaining to achieve every goal you've set for the year. You may be basking in your success and banking the abundance, or you may be pushing with all you have to end the year on target. Either way,
Listen to my conversation this week with TODD K. MEADOR, MBA, CFP®, CTFA and Vicki Rogers as we discuss current business trends and the 3 essential things to do now so that you hit the ground running in January.
Listen now 👉 https://bit.ly/3nePPrY or wherever you get your podcasts.
If you enjoy it, be sure to share and subscribe.
Here are my 5 essential coaching tips that are guaranteed to deliver a winning culture, because let's be honest, less sucky isn't going to cut it in today's climate.
ONE. Replace mandates with invitations.
Collaborative Cultures that have mutual purpose, meaning, and respect trust that employees act in good faith and make decisions about the best use of their time. Mandates infantilize, creating unproductive resentments. Regrets to an invitation is an opportunity to start a meaningful conversation focused on increasing alignment.
TWO. Replace judgment with learning.
As humans, we fear and resist the judgment of others, especially when it is negative. Fear causes us to hide mistakes that are rich learning opportunities. Judgment also limits our perspective to our view of the world. Choosing learning allows us to broaden our thinking, grow capability, and avoid missteps that can put mutual respect at risk.
THREE. Replace telling with listening.
We all like to be right and this causes us to advocate too strongly. If you want to break away from the path and show up as exceptional, choose inquiry. Inquiry is simply asking questions with the sincere intent to understand another's ideas and thinking. It requires curiosity and a commitment to hearing over being heard. It also drives efficiency and effectiveness. Teams that practice inquiry execute swiftly because they achieve true alignment and shared commitment, eliminating the tedious cycle of revisiting and challenging decisions over and over that can delay progress for weeks, months, and even years.
FOUR. Replace feedback with appreciation.
Appreciation differs from feedback in many ways. The intention is more celebratory and affirming. The words tend to be more generous and supportive. The context is less transactional and more relational. The impact is always constructive for the giver and the receiver. Appreciation never expresses anger that can fester into resentment.
FIVE. Replace celebrating heroes with celebrating shared success.
Collaborative cultures recognize the support and partnership that surrounds the success of a single individual. No one operates in a vacuum. In fact, that behavior is in direct conflict with the values and norms of a collaborative culture where mutuality trumps vanity. The victory of one is a victory for all.
Workplace culture is more important than ever because happiness and fulfillment at work is what job seekers expect. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions about implementing any of these shifts. I'm always happy to support your success!
NOTE: These 5 coaching tips are extracted from an article authored for the Women in Insurance and Financial Services August 2020 national magazine which can be read in full here.
For several years, I had the privilege of teaching the Organization Behavior course in the McKendree University Louisville campus business school. I always included the Pike's Place Fish Market story when we talked about highly effective organizations, and here's why.
I honestly can't think of many jobs that I would dislike more than working as a fishmonger - the smell, the gore, the pre-dawn start to every workday, the hard labor of setting up the ice displays, and did I mention the smell. And yet, on the brink of bankruptcy, owner John Yokohama and his crew embraced a bold idea - to become world-famous.
Being world-famous wasn't John's master vision that he delivered to his team because he already knew that his top-down, traditional management style wasn't working. Instead, defeated and exhausted, John hired a business coach who showed him how to replace his command-and-control practices with an invitation for employee engagement.
Facilitated by the business coach, Pike's Place Fish Market employees sat together in a meeting room and reimagined their future. The compelling vision to become world-famous and the idea of turning the fish market into an entertainment destination was generated, embraced, implemented, and perfected by the team.
What happened from there not only saved the company with
When John and his team first gathered, I can only imagine that skepticism and distrust were present. Hiring a skilled professional who has the facilitation skills to bridge divides and makes space for every voice is essential to success. It is work to set aside old assumptions and beliefs and redefining relationships. Well-crafted questions, reframing of situations, and gentle reminders to practice new skills accelerate results.
Need help? I'll show you how, just like CEO Tiffany Howard, who recently hired me to help restore the high-performance culture in her organization. Read her review here.
Many people felt compelled to declutter their living spaces between feeling trapped during the "safe at home" orders and the need to make room for work and learning spaces.
Then we saw a surge in divorces as people looked at their 24/7 home-life and realized that their relationship with their partner no longer sparked joy.
Next social and political tensions grew, causing people to remove themselves from social media platforms or trim their friends to escape the negativity.
Now businesses are returning to in-person operations, leading employees to re-evaluate their joy equation at work and sparking the Great Resignation.
To understand what sparks joy at work, you need to understand the three avatars personifying the varying levels of commitment and engagement at work.
ACTIVE AVERY feels tremendous pride and ownership at work. They have the opportunity to do what they do best daily. They feel heard, appreciated, and regularly receive affirmation of their value as a contributor. A strong, positive connection exists between the organization's purpose and values and their own.
APATHETIC ALEX is dependable and gets the job done but isn't passionate about their work and contribution. They rarely feel energized by their work and do not see the value of doing more than minimally required. They see their relationship with their employer as transactional and never intend to stay too long in a job or company.
ABSENT ASH is checked out, a warm body filling a spot on an organization chart. They resent their treatment at work and feel completely disconnected from the company's purpose. Their needs are not met at work, causing them to act out in ways that undermine the commitment of others. They announce their unhappiness loudly and often, seeking company in their misery.
Depending on the makeup of your workforce, the Great Resignation could be the nudge you've needed to embrace the wisdom of Good To Great (Jim Collins, 2000) and focus on getting the right people on the bus.
Identifying the Absent Ashs and encouraging their departure is essential to prevent a few rotten apples from spoiling the whole barrel. Active Averys don't want to carry dead weight. They want to be surrounded by coworkers who share their commitment and pride. They also don't respect leaders who tolerate Absent Ash behavior.
In other words, if you want to not only keep your Active Averys, but attract more of them, continuing to accept "warm bodies" is not an option.
Next, assess your operating norms to ensure you are meeting the four basic needs for a highly engaged workforce.
Third, revise your talent acquisition strategy to take advantage of the influx of career changers. According to a recent article on hrexchangenetwork.com, "A relaxation around an emphasis on previous work experience coupled with creative approaches to talent development is leading to employers finding a great amount of talent that they weren't seeing previously due to preconceived rules the company had around expectations and qualifications."
Connection is the key to sparking joy in every part of life. Now more than ever, you must have a people strategy that focuses on employee engagement. By focusing energy on cultivating the right environment for Active Averys, you are guaranteed to get the best out of every person, even if they only stay for two years. And, your reputation boost will make it easier to replace vacancies with more Active Averys.
If you need some help assessing and building your culture, let's chat. DM me or use this link to hop on my calendar.