Is your workplace thriving or dying? Why you need to know the answer.

Light Streaming Through the Crown of a TreeYour people ARE your business. If not for them, you would have nothing.  Creating a workplace where your people thrive is paramount not only to the growth of your company but also to its very survival. 

A mind shift needs to happen so that we believe that creating an engaging workplace, one where employees enjoy their work, get to share their strengths and passions, and are able to grow and develop, is not just something “good for the employees”.  We need to believe that a focus on creating a thriving workplace and the changes you are brave enough to make are a win-win.  They are good for you, for them, and for the organization at large and your customers.  When your people are thriving, everyone wins.

With everything that we know about what motivates individuals to do their best work, there are still very few organizations making innovative strides to align their organizations with those motivations.  According to Dan Pink’s book DRIVE:  The Surprising Truth Behind What Motivates Us, individuals are not primarily driven by money, as traditionally believed.  Once they are paid at a level they believe is commensurate with their work, financial incentives actually start to work in reverse.  His book points to truckloads of research that says what really motivates employees is three things: Mastery – the need to continue to develop and learn, Autonomy – the desire to be self-driven and not micro-managed and Purpose – an alignment with the “what” of what the company is creating.   And yet, we still think that if we provide a good salary and benefits that that should be enough.  It’s not.

According to a Forbes article entitled “Why Millennials are Ending the 9 to 5”, freelancing and self-employment are on the rise.  The article also notes “Millennials are leaving their companies in less than three years. With 87% of companies reporting a cost of between $15,000 and $25,000 to replace each lost Millennial employee, industries need to start paying attention to structural changes.”

Start paying attention to structural changes, huh?  I say, start paying attention to the people.  You want them to come.  You want them to stay.  You need them to thrive.

Follow me and my blog as I take you on a journey into workplaces big and small, and what they are doing to start creating the workplaces of the future, today.  We’re all in this together, and don’t you want to create a workplace where the next generation can work in an environment where they can shine?

Working for the Weekend? Working for Now.

yes - notepad & penThis phrase flitted through my mind the other day and for the first time since I heard it, I stopped and thought about it.  Working for the weekend.  What it implies is that the only time in your week that you actually enjoy, or want to actively participate in, is the weekend.

I know way too many people who unconsciously live this way.  Their workdays are a series of to-do lists, “must-do’s” and “just get through it’s”.   They take their first real breath of the week as they walk into their home on Friday, and then Monday comes and you hear the response to “how was your weekend?” – “way too short”.

What if every moment of your life was worth “working for”?  What if you were working for NOW?  Many of the clients I work with are dealing with overwhelm, frustration and overall exhaustion.  Even if they WERE able have a moment, take a breath and enjoy any of the spoils that came with all their hard work, they are too worried about everything that hasn’t been done or what they should be doing or are so exhausted that they miss the weekends too!

I know that there are things that have to be done that none of us particularly enjoy.  It takes bravery to pause, look up, and ask yourself if you can do better – if you can create a life where you enjoy the now? 

Why wait for the weekend?  

Get Comfortable with Your Boundaries (and Beyond Them) from Fear.Less

This post is taken from the Fear.Less newsletter I received today.  Thank you Fear.Less for inspiring, as always.  To subscribe to their posts:

You can take it with you. Your comfort zone, that is. You know, that cozy place that all these books and seminars and gurus keep telling you to leave. Leaving is scary, so sometimes even if you claim to be seeking “discomfort” (oof), maybe you really aren’t. But see, a zone is like a territory, or like a country. And the thing about leaving your comfort zone is that you’re not a tourist, visiting these risky new places for a little while and then retreating back home. No, you’re an imperialist, putting forth a considerable effort to extend your borders over an area that wasn’t always yours. There’s a reason that board game is called Risk. But once that happens, your zone is bigger, and you are comfortable doing more things. You can survive job interviews. Extreme sports. Awkward social situations. What I find people forget to tell you about leaving your comfort zone is that you’re not supposed to return to it, wipe your sweaty brow and say “phew, well that was ultimately healthy, I’m sure. Now to never do it again.” The idea is to make the uncharted realm the newest part of your zone and say “I don’t necessarily have to come back here again, but at least I know I probably can if I want to.” Always making an effort to test yourself is important, but don’t forget to take stock of where you are, and how your recently contested comforts are developing.

What Do You Want? FeMBA Highlights

“What do you want?”

This was the first question posed at the 3-day program called FeMBA (a mini-MBA for women entrepreneurs) I attended with Seth Godin at the beginning of last month. I was stumped. He was asking it in the context of my business, but I cannot address that question one-dimensionally. Like most working women I know, my whole life is intertwined in who I am and what I do. I want a career. I want to have an impact. I want to accomplish something significant. I want to be independent. I want to love and be loved. I want to be there for my children when they are sick/need cupcakes/want to be read to. I want to be a role model for my daughter. I want to be my son’s best friend. I want to work hard with amazing people. I want to go on vacation with my husband. I want to make lots of money. I want to do yoga. I want to connect amazing people. I want a lot. So to ask me that question…to ask how I might create a business that can enable all my dreams and desires is difficult and scary – I am having a hard time wrapping my head around a job that will enable all of it. But I am not one to avoid the scary path. The real question for me is what do I want to do first? And then next? And then have faith that the how will follow.  And I do.

So first up:  I want to connect all of you to each other.  You with me?

Thank you, Seth, for the gift of you, your questions, your ideas, and for connecting me with my new posse of FeMBA Phenoms.

FYI – for highlights of the FeMBA program, go here.

My Way Is Best…and So Is Yours

The other day I had two dear friends over for a play date and lunch. I met them both when we all lived in Chicago; we were single, working, and playing flag football on the weekends. We all grew up in the Midwest and went to Big Ten universities. One worked for a large cable network, one a well-known marketing firm, and I was working for Andersen Consulting. We were the epitome of our generation of women, forging through choices presented to us of potential mates, potential careers and all that goes with it.

16 years later, all of us are married, all of us with kids…but…
…one is a stay at home mom who loves the suburbs. Her trip to the city marked the first for her 16 month old daughter.
…the other, also now a stay at home mom, lives in Palo Alto and finds herself in San Francisco often meeting her husband for dinner after work, or to meet up with friends.
…and then there’s me. I still live in the city (NYC now). I own my own business and I live in a two bedroom apartment. My kids ride the subway with us on a daily basis and think back yards are public parks for anyone to play in.

From an outsider’s perspective, we could be perceived as very different. We could be analyzed, even…how did three women with similar upbringings have such different outcomes with regards to career and family? Who’s happiest? Who took advantage of the opportunities presented to them and who fell prey to social and cultural pressures?

I see similarity more than difference. We were all brought up to follow our hearts and do what makes us happy. And that has lead us each to where we are now. And only by being true to ourselves and our needs could we so confidently be happy with our lives and still be dear friends. I know that my two friends think I’m crazy for doing what I do, but they are happy for me. And they know that I could never live the life they do, but I am 100% supportive of the choices they’ve made.

Because we made the choices that align with our values, not with what the world wants us to be, we have ended up all exactly where we should be: happy. So here’s to the best way – which is any way that’s value-based and makes you happy.

Future Shape of the Winner: Week 2

This post is a continuation in a series of weekly posts about my thoughts and learnings with regards to Tom Peter’s “The Future Shape of the Winner” Model and the “Excellence Audit” .  I am in week 2 of a distance learning course to become an accredited user of the Excellence Audit.  Please feel free to comment and/or add to my thoughts below.

Please note, these comments are based on what I have read before, the conversations I have had with Madeleine at Tom Peters Company, and of course from our first session.  I may have some different thoughts after I read the materials tonight!

Future Shape of the Winner Model:  What it is?

The Future Shape of the Winner is…

  • A way to describe an organization that revolves around it’s people, understanding that they are nothing without them, and that if we stop moving and changing and moving forward in order to support our people, we will topple over and fail.
  • Based around Tom Peter’s work over 20+ years, built around his professional services model.
  • A way for organizations to put words around the challenges they are facing today.

How can it fit into my practice?

  • This is something Madeleine and I talked about months ago.  Measurement is paramount in my practice.  I want to not only be able to show results, but also be able to confidently identify and prioritize areas the organization should target as areas for improvement.
  • Although I always conduct some time of assessment when working with a client, this will be the first time I use a tool as thorough and as credible as I believe the FSW Model and Excellence Audit to be.
  • Helping an organization conduct an Excellence Audit will not only help me better assist the executives in creating their change agenda, but it will provide a baseline for any other work I do from that point on, as well as provide me with the breadth and depth of context I need about the organization in order to do my work well.
  • It’s just a darn good tool to have in my toolbox.

The Kinds of Situations Where it Might Add Value to My Clients…

  • Performance Issues, low morale, and/or culture issues with no real diagnosis
  • Lots of perceived “problem areas” with no way to prioritize
  • Lack of baseline information and feedback from employees about the state of the organization
  • Organization who wants to think ahead strategically, for the long term, vs. just putting out fires
  • Organization tight on budget who wants to target their dollars for development in the most efficient way