Archives for performance

What Do We Really Need More of?

Love by Mayberry Health and Home on Flickr

Sing it with me…”What the world…needs now…is…”

Before you go labeling me as a “snowflake,” or “airy-fairy” or an idealist, all of which I have been accused of and may or may not be true, let me ask you this…. What do you prefer? Love or Rules?

In all the corporate disciplines that exist to help companies become better at cultivating a culture that keeps valuable talent and optimizes engagement (Organizational Development, Human Resources, Training and Development, Talent Management, Change Management, Human Capital Management, etc.,) it seems the best a company can do as of right now is to engage an emotional intelligence trainer, train their managers to be better coaches (I will distinguish between these things below), and re-employ someone who turns out to be suited for their intended role or should their role be eliminated.

Even in these best practices, there are shortcomings, and most companies are just trying to cover their butts with more extensive sexual harassment awareness training and instituting more clear expectations of respectful behavior as well as clear and fair consequences for infractions. Is this adequate? Are these companies treating the symptoms instead of the causes?

Not all managers are coaches. Most managers focus mainly on the pragmatic components of performance. Some, for liability reasons or simply because they don’t feel work is the time or place or because they don’t feel adept at addressing it, ignore the emotional side of their human resources. At what cost?

On the morning I was interviewed by KQTH radio in Tucson last week, I awoke and read a page of Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Wayne Dyer. Reading an inspiring passage to start my day was a ritual that I adopted with the Miracle Morning in 2016. I was going to be interviewed on recruiter blacklists by Mike Rapp, and this particular passage was of serendipitous significance.

Think about the problems that would disappear if people were actually kind, instead of being forced to be kind:

  • The negatives of black lists
  • Harassment (sexual or otherwise)
  • Bullying
  • Bias/discrimination

A long time ago I stopped teaching my clients how to act confident and focused more on helping them be confident. If I find that my clients are hurting or resentful about their employment past, I know that they will get much further much faster if they acknowledge that pain, process it, and release it rather than if they ignore it or pretend it isn’t there.

What would happen if instead of creating rules and guidelines to attempt to avoid offensive behaviors, we address why people treat other people poorly in the first place?

“Hurt people hurt people.” (This quote has been attributed to Will Bowen, Yehuda Berg, and Rick Warren)

Regardless of who said it, can you see how this is true?

I’m not suggesting traditional therapy is the answer. I spent years in therapy myself during my youth through my parent’s divorce, and while I did gain some validation for why I acted out as I did, and it was nice to have someone to talk to during that time, I only felt more emboldened and justified in acting out toward my parents. I felt justified in my resentment. I didn’t heal. The healing began when I started to take more accountability, learned how to forgive, and how to be compassionate. This was coaching, not therapy.

It’s not like flicking a switch. I’m not cured of my pain, and I still may tend to react in my old ways rather than respond in a conscious way, but my awareness improves with continued coaching and I continue to add tools to my toolbox to come from a place of love and compassion rather than pain, and the outcomes of my interactions with people are infinitely better when I do.

Coaching is a way of providing an objective perspective on what can hold back peak performance, and what can be done to attain and maintain peak performance. Coaches do not shy away from the nitty gritty of feelings. They create a safe space for a person to be flawed, give feedback without judgment, and provide techniques, drills, exercises. They provide support and accountability in creating new habits.

Some might say that the workplace is no place for:

  • Love
  • Crying
  • Feelings
  • Personal problems
  • Games

Except, science is proving that positive psychology techniques in the workplace are already:

  • Transforming how a company collaborates
  • Feeding innovation
  • Improving workforce health
  • Improving productivity
  • Increasing profits

Shawn Achor proved in his work with Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries that the byproducts of a more positive workforce are well worth the investments and the investments don’t even have to be monetary or require a lot of time.

I am keenly aware that people in pain don’t usually just make a simple choice to be more positive. Personal transformation is much more complex. There are patterns of thinking reinforced over a lifetime that need to be identified and reversed. Yes, you can apply some simple happiness techniques to become more positive, and that WILL trickle down to various elements of your professional and personal life, and maybe that would be adequate to cultivate respect and tolerance.

But what could work look like if there was a focus on healing and helping employees reach potential in areas of their lives besides work?

One thing I can say with confidence – As hard as you can try to compartmentalize an area of your life, it will surely bleed into the others. This goes for both good and bad things. If you form a good habit in your health, it will have a cascading effect on other areas of your life. If you are having problems at home, or are dealing with health issues, you will find your productivity and engagement go down. Even those who escape their personal problems and dive into their work will find that there is a burn out point, or they are just a little less than their best selves when they are at work. There is even greater pressure to make that part of their lives go well.

Your emotions impact your brain chemistry and your brain chemistry impacts your physical body, communication, and cognition (obviously).

What I am suggesting is that companies consider a truly holistic, even “alternative” approach to the very current initiatives of ridding the workplace from bias, harassment of all kinds, bullying, discrimination, toxicity and stifled growth.

Yes, employees will always benefit from being able to relate better with one another, but they also need to relate better to themselves.

We are less able to give when we feel we don’t have enough. If we don’t feel like we have enough of our basic human emotional needs: connectedness, acceptance, love, we won’t be apt or able to offer it. What companies are asking their employees to do is to put other people’s feelings first. I foresee there being much resistance and inadequate execution with this method.

 

In 2018 Epic Careering is launching a program that will help companies create a conscious culture. It will come with assessments, live workshops, online courses, interactive communities, and management and executive consciousness coaching training. If you recognize that your company is experiencing conflicts and breakdowns that require an alternative solution to the traditional corporate approach, e-mail Karen at Karen@epiccareering.com. Confidentiality is guaranteed. Take the first step in transforming your company for everyone’s sake. There could be a day when you feel as good about going to work as you do about coming home.

What The World Needs Now Is Love / Dionne Warwick

Please skip CM. I am sorry to mistake some spellings. Dionne Warwick ディオンヌ・ワーウィック Burt Bacharach バート・バカラック

The Chicken or Egg Quandary: Happiness or Success?

happy by Gordon of Flickr

Happy! by Gordon of Flickr

 

What comes first? Happiness or success?

I have a client who is unhappy at his job (hence why he engaged me, obviously). He makes great money, when he is performing, but his compensation is highly commission based. When he’s not performing, he’s not making great money.

Due to life changes, he NEEDS to catch up financially and find a new job that pays the same or more to what he was making when he was at the top of his game. He also really wants to make sure that his next step is the RIGHT next step, or he will find himself at square one.

There are also personal priorities in his life that he rated highly, but is willing to delay them for years, if necessary, in order to land and succeed in a new, high-paying job.

In essence, he is delaying happiness for success.

However, what I learned this weekend from a Consciousness Engineering class is that Harvard studies prove that happiness increases success, and not just by a little bit. A quality annual vacation time of 11 days or more away from home leads to GREATER performance.

The main takeaway from this class was that using happiness as a means rather than an end increases productive energy by 31%, sales by 37%, and the likelihood of promotion by 40%.  Additionally, you are more likely to live longer and stave off sickness and disease. You raise your intelligence and improve your memory. Your creativity and problem solving abilities receive a boost. There is also the link between your wellness and performance to consider.

“Great,” you say. “Just get happy, eh?”

I understand. It is not as easy as it sounds, so Shawn Achor shared four practices that, when done daily for a period of 30 to 90 days will improve your happiness and gives you all of the benefits previously mentioned. None of them take longer than two minutes and you can use the strategy of habit pairing. An example would be doing these while you brush your teeth, to increase your likelihood of making them true habits.

Here they are:

  1. At work your first item of the day is to spend two minutes expressing your gratitude in writing to a colleague, boss, or vendor.
  2. Every night think about three new things that you are grateful for and WHY– the WHY is most important.
  3. Think about a single positive experience you had in the past 24 hours and write four bullet points recording the details you remember about it, such as the clothes you were wearing.
  4. Spend ten minutes focusing on your breath moving in and out, or whatever time you can make. Yes, this is meditation. Think you don’t have time? Investing this time has produced 62 more minutes of productivity. So, in essence, it creates more time.

Ironically, I listened to this class while driving down to the shore in an effort to make myself happy after an unusually challenging day with my youngest daughter. It did not work, but the next day we got to bike ride on the boardwalk, play in the ocean, and go on rides before heading back home for her first day of Pre-K. Today, even though I am still exhausted, I feel calmer, happier, and even more patient.

 

Try experimenting with happiness in your life and share with us the results you find.

 

Eddie Vedder’s Recent Words to Live By

Wild horse passing by Inyucho on Flickr

Wild horse passing by Inyucho on Flickr

Artists, musicians, actors, speakers and politicians wield an amazing power to captivate and inspire us. Any time I imagined being in the public eye, even if it was as a highly recognized thought leader in careering as opposed to a rock star, I have always been very intimidated by this power. I feel that such a delicate balance must be maintained in order to do the optimum good and not be intoxicated by it, both as the wielder and the recipient.

 

Compared to many of my friends, I would be considered a Pearl Jam fan by default. While I enjoyed grunge music when it emerged in high school, most of my friends and I were much more into hip-hop and R&B. It took me a couple years after it was pervasive to adopt an appreciation for grunge. It took until I met my husband to be a fan of it. We had recently been debating about what defines a true “fan,” a conversation spurred by the recent airing of an exclusive interview between Pierre Robert, Nick McIlwain and Matty Cord at WMMR (93.3 FM Philadelphia) and Eddie Vedder, lead singer for Pearl Jam. For the sake of this blog, we will consider a fan to be someone who attends at least 5 concerts (though I know my friends will say 10, 20, 50…)

 

My husband had been dubbed “the biggest Pearl Jam fan alive” by some of his friends, a title that was recently resurrected at a 90s party we attended last weekend. I know that there are A LOT of extremely zealous fans who would refute that, and he has no interest in defending the title. He’s lost count of how many shows he’s been to, though. Before kids, he would travel internationally to see them. There is no comparison between us; he is the “true” Pearl Jam fan.

 

However, between us, I may just be the bigger Eddie Vedder fan. Yes, I like his solo music, but I am talking more about the person. I don’t claim to know him; I know from my New Kids On The Block days (don’t judge) that I should not delude myself with that fantasy. What I do know of him, however, and what I continue to learn about him impresses me and deeply inspires me.

 

From where he has come, he is unequivocally emotionally intelligent. He is witty and a compelling storyteller. He uses powerful analogies that make poignant points, that don’t just resonate, but linger.

 

For instance, in the WMMR interview, Eddie was asked by Nick, another “biggest Pearl Jam fan alive,” if he is cognizant of the energy that is ever-present between the band and their concert attendees. I have been to a lot of concerts for all types of music, but there is definitely something unique about how unabashed a Pearl Jam crowd is to sing every lyric back to the band at the top of their lungs, some for the whole show  – every word…unabashed! A sea of this. There’s also a LOT of hugging and high-fiving, and I’m talking guys and girls, both known and strangers!

 

Eddie said, “It’s not always there and you can’t predict it.” Then he compared this energy to a horse. Paraphrased from memory:

 

It’s bigger than you. You have to respect it and know how to handle yourself around it, especially if you want to ride it.

 

This was a thought that hung in my brain all day, as I instantly recognized this as the same sentiment I have in regards to the respect I feel must be given to the greatness that is within all of us. If we could harness it, and ride it like a horse (or a wave), we would live exhilarating, fully actualized lives, but only if we were able to maintain awareness and appreciation that we are (all) great because of something greater than ourselves.

 

I can’t help but be in awe of Eddie’s ability to tune into this great energy to create life-altering music (a collaborative effort for which I’m sure he would not want sole credit), produce amazingly inspirational interviews, and engage a crowd like no other I have seen.

 

As a performer, Eddie gives me something to strive for. I would love to have an impact on people’s lives through music (or spoken word) like he has had. Check out the ESPN story on Steve Gleason.

 

Another quote about life in general that worth sharing:

 

“It’s not getting around the fire, it’s getting through it.

It’s about looking out for everyone on the planet.”

 

An aside: I am ecstatic that Eddie recognized WMMR. I decided to leave radio in 2000, when DJs were being replaced by computers, while a former classmate took the reigns as Producer of The Preston and Steve Show, which was then on Y100 (100.3 Philadelphia.) The show moved over to WMMR in 2005 and I am very happy for the show’s as well as the station’s success. Philadelphia is very blessed to have WMMR and XPN on our dial!