Five Ways to Make Joy a Core KPI by Liz Matthews & Amy Jo Martin

Five Ways to Make Joy a Core KPI by Liz Matthews & Amy Jo Martin

Are you happy at work? Here’s how to boost the often-overlooked KPI of joy.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are foundational to most jobs. These useful measurements help companies understand progress over time. But beyond revenue growth and profit margin, there’s one KPI some managers overlook: JOY!

How happy are your employees? Perhaps more importantly, what’s your own level of joy in your job? At Dell Technologies and at Renegade Global—a consulting practice that helps people invest in their personal brand and growth—we see the people in our businesses, not just the professionals.

Make Play Nonnegotiable!

Play goes hand in hand with curiosity, which in turn fuels engagement. When you prioritize play, you combat opposing feelings of burnout and even depression.

Diversify Your Sources of Happiness

There are different kinds of happiness: “rock star,” which you might experience after a big win; “flow,” which happens when you’re caught up in something you enjoy; and “higher purpose,” which occurs when you focus on something bigger than yourself. You need all three.

Avoid the Three Ps (Perfectionish, People Pleasing & Personalizing)

Of the common pitfalls people tend to fall into at work, three Ps top the list: perfectionism (seeking an unattainable standard), people-pleasing (never putting yourself first) and personalizing (making things “about you”). Be sure to give yourself—and others—the grace to make mistakes. Prioritize your own needs and remember that not everything is personal.

Overcome Difficult Conversations

Effective communication is an art form. When you have a difficult conversation ahead, consider the following steps:

  • Vent to a neutral third party (not colleagues) to release tension.
  • Empathize with the other person’s perspective.
  • Rehearse what you want to say.
  • Ask for what you need—then stop talking.
  • Check in weekly.

Here at Dell and within Renegade Global, we have seen great results with weekly check-ins, asking questions such as:

  1. Which activities did I love?
  2. Which ones did I loathe?
  3. What are my priorities?
  4. What help do others need from me?

With these tips in mind, you can transcend clichés about work-life balance and make joy a core Key Performance Indicator of your job.

Authors:  Liz Matthews is a Senior Vice President of Global Brand, Dell Technologies, and Amy Jo Martin, CEO and founder, Renegade Global

 

Why I Joined the American Business Women’s Association by Ka’Ryn Holder-Jackson, Ph.D.

Why I Joined the American Business Women’s Association by Ka’Ryn Holder-Jackson, Ph.D.

To view the complete video, “WHY I JOINED ABWA” – Click the link and/or copy and paste the link into the internet search field:  https://youtu.be/iqHYOG_rmcg

About ABWA Member, Dr. Ka’Ryn Holder-Jackson

Dr. Ka’Ryn Holder-Jackson is a dynamic innovative business executive; her expertise is leadership training and development, strategic planning, and organizational development. An articulate, diplomatic, interpersonal communicator with an uncommon ability to influence, motivate, inspire, and communicate with diverse constituents,

A native of San Francisco, she is a graduate of San Francisco State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, the University of Phoenix, where she earned a Master’s of Business Administration and Capella University where she earned a Doctorate in Human Services.

Ka’Ryn presently serves as the Executive Director of ACCEL San Mateo County Adult Education Consortium where she leads a Ka’Ryn leads a coalition of regional education, training, business and industry partners bridging the gap between employer demand for an educated and skilled workforce and the supply of workers with the necessary skills for a 21st century labor market.

As a former Associate Director for the American Diabetes Association, San Francisco Bay Area, Ka’Ryn received honors as the recipient of a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition in 2015 from the Honorable Barbara Lee 13th Congressional District of California, In Recognition of Dedication to Educating the Community About Diabetes & the Importance of Health Care.

Ka’Ryn has over 20 years’ experience serving in Executive Management in corporate, for profit, not-for-profit, non-profit, and education Sectors.  She is the CEO of A’Ryze Consulting; a Certified Executive Coach, Speaker, Trainer, Corporate Facilitator, and has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry and is a licensed financial services representative.

Awards & Recognition:

  • 2023 Top Ten Business Woman, American Business Women’s Association
  • 2019 Woman of Distinction, American Business Women’s Association
  • 2018 Commendation Board of Supervisors of San Mateo County, California
    for Leadership in our Communities
  • 2015 Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the Honorable Barbara Lee 13th Congressional District of California, In Recognition of Dedication to Educating the Community About Diabetes & the Importance of Health Care.

 

 

What To Do About Burnout When You’re Not Burned-Out, By Jessica Rector

What To Do About Burnout When You’re Not Burned-Out, By Jessica Rector

3 Ways To Keep Burnout From Spreading Like Wildfire

Burnout is impacting every company, position, and industry. With 90% of the workforce experiencing burnout in the last year, you can no longer afford to ignore this epidemic. It’s affecting teams, leaders, and the whole organization…even you.

Even if you’re not the one in burnout, it still impacts you.

Think of it this way. How do you feel the next morning when you don’t get quality sleep the night before? Grumpy? Groggy? Foggy? Impatient, irritable, unfocused? Lack of sleep impacts your perspective, attitude, how you respond to others, and how you react to situations.

The same thing happens with burnout. It doesn’t stay self-contained.

When a team member, let’s say Burnout Betty, has burnout, it impacts how she leads, communicates, listens, focuses, thinks, interacts, her behaviors, energy, mood and disposition.

It literally impacts everything. When one person is in burnout, it also trickles out to others, because burned out people burn others out.

Even if you don’t have burnout, you’re being impacted by it when someone else does or is on the brink of it. You have the power to do something about it.  What can YOU do?

START A DIALOGUE—Begin talking about burnout is the best place to start. Even though burnout is rampant in the workforce, there’s still some stigma around it. People often fear, if they admit they have it, what will others think, do or say. Will my leaders think I can’t do my job? Will they take away responsibilities or will they lose trust in me?

If Burnout Betty (BB) isn’t focused, she becomes distracted, unproductive, and making more errors. She will do the same work multiple times, miss deadlines or forget to meet a client. Those are best case scenarios. BB will easily cut corners leading to cybersecurity attacks, safety issues and possible injuries.

When BB misses deadlines, makes mistakes, or has to redo work, how does that impact you? You might have to stay longer, do some of her work, or maybe your work gets pushed back waiting on her to get her part to you, which means missing dinner with your family, being absent at your kids’ activities, or not meeting your deadlines.

Lean into your storytelling skills. Share your burnout story with BB. When you were in it, what led to burnout in your life, and the strategies you implemented to move past it.

When people are in burnout, they tend to pull away and isolate themselves. When you tell your burnout story, they will start to engage. The more you talk about burnout, the more it reduces this stigma. In the process, you allow others who are experiencing it to not feel alone and to know that someone, somewhere gets it and understands. You create a safe place of compassion and empathy.

This lets others know it’s okay to feel burned out. You can still love your job and be burned out.

CREATE AWARENESS AROUND BURNOUT—Burnout doesn’t discriminate. It’s impacting your people. The more your team knows what to look for and what to do to prevent it, the less likely they will find themselves in it. Develop a keen eye, because you can’t change something you aren’t aware exists.

Since burnout impacts mental health, Burnout Betty is easily frustrated or irritable, making it harder to communicate or interact with her, because others don’t want her mood to affect them. One Burnout Betty, Negative Nancy or Toxic Tim can bring a dynamic team to a halt.

Talking to BB can leave the most positive person in a negative state, because she doesn’t listen or she’s in a bad mood. So, every conversation takes longer than it should, which means less time for you to tend to your daily tasks.

Build a task force of people who want to be the eyes and ears in your organization in regards to burnout. They can gather information, ask questions to BB and other team members, and start creating a strategy to combat this epidemic. Then take the information they gather, and do something now to help them prevent it.

This allows BB to know that she is being heard and understood and that she matters. One of the biggest qualities people want in their company is to know they matter. When BB knows she matters, she feels supported, knowing she will get the help she needs to combat burnout.

Hint: Time off is great, but vacation won’t cure burnout. Once you create awareness around it, share with your people day to day strategies that work to help alleviate burnout.

IMPLEMENT A BURNOUT PROGRAM—This is the key, fundamental element. Talking about it is a great beginning, but it’s imperative to do more. The only way to prevent and address burnout is to be intentional and strategic with it. Workplace wellness programs aren’t enough; 97% of them don’t specifically address or help with burnout, which is also why 80% of employees aren’t actively involved in wellness programs.

As a leader, you have to do your part to help your people with burnout. If you want long term results, your organization MUST implement a continual program (not a one and done) to help people like Burnout Betty with burnout and others to prevent it.

A long-term strategy is where the magic happens with burnout. Burnout is a slow crawl, and working through it is multi-layered. Whether it’s an online course, bootcamp or Train the Trainer certification, burnout training is no longer a “nice to have.” It’s imperative if your company wants to keep their top talent and create a happy, thriving workplace and culture.

The most successful burnout programs have these key components: accountability, support, encouragement, and Q&A.

Burnout doesn’t go away on its own. With most industries incurring staff shortages, it’s up to you, as a leader, to invest in your people if you want to keep them. Since the #1 reason why people leave organizations is due to burnout, it’s a huge opportunity for you to end the burnout epidemic by starting the dialogue, creating awareness and implementing a burnout program in your company.  It’s a win-win for everyone.  What will you do to help your people end burnout?

About the Author, Jessica Rector

Jessica Rector, MBA, author of the #1 best-selling “Blaze Your Brain to Extinguish Burnout” and nine other books, helps organizations, leaders, and teams Say Yes to eradicate burnout and enhance mental health.  As a burnout trailblazer, her research is used in her consulting and speaking and often shared on her podcast, “The Say Yes Experience.” For how Jessica can help your organization and team, go to www.jessicarector.com

 

Creating a Resilient Company Culture:  Navigating Change and Thriving Amidst Challenges by Margaret Graziano

Creating a Resilient Company Culture: Navigating Change and Thriving Amidst Challenges by Margaret Graziano

In an era marked by immense volatility and complexity, characterized by technological advancements, business consolidations, fierce competition, and economic fluctuations, you may find yourself in an unprecedented time of change. The aftermath of the pandemic continues to linger, with burnout, stress, and overwhelm persisting among individuals and teams. Amidst this tumultuous landscape, the challenge is this: How can organizations emerge stronger from the trials of recent years? How can they cultivate a culture that thrives, adapts, and responds effectively to the unpredictable? The answer lies in fostering an emergent culture – one characterized by change management prowess, response agility, and a positive environment with fulfilled employees.

Understanding Culture

When more than two people come together, whether as a couple, a family, or a company, they form a human system. Within this system, culture serves as the driving force or energy. Culture possesses the power to create and destroy, providing guidelines for interaction, conflict resolution, motivation, and progress. The objective of examining and shaping organizational culture is to channel the collective energy of individuals into a productive force – one that mirrors the synchronicity found in natural phenomena, such as the coordinated movements of a school of fish or flock of birds.  This is called an emergent culture.

Influencing Culture

Effective impact on company culture entails understanding and influencing the energy inherent within the human system. To initiate this process, focus on the following areas:

Start With The Leader

All culture begins with the CEO; the leader of the organization.  What is their vision? Who are they as a leader? What are their values? Are they operating and living congruent with all of those markers, no matter how challenging or stressful the circumstances may be? Having a CEO who can answer those questions clearly and can live in alignment with them consistently is the foundation on which a company’s culture gets built.  If the CEO is frazzled, overwhelmed, and in survival mode, that is going to set the tone for the entire organization.  Whatever energy the CEO brings to the company and to their life will be the energy that other people pick up on and assimilate to in order to fit in and make it.

Thus, the CEO must be conscious.  They must be awake and aware of what they’re emanating through their words and their actions. They must ensure that they have a clear vision, bolstered by positive moods and inspiring language that rallies people around their vision and engages them into action.  Human systems are guided by behaviors, beliefs, actions, what’s said, what’s unsaid – all of that equates to the energy of the human system, and energy is culture.  So, what kind of culture is the CEO creating?

Cultivate the Leadership Team

The leadership team further propagates cultural attributes throughout the organization. Behaviors exhibited by this team tend to cascade down to various departments. Similar to the CEO, leadership must demonstrate consciousness and accountability for their actions. This includes acknowledging their role in shaping the culture and undertaking personal growth to support a healthy, high-performance human system.  By focusing on the following key elements, the leadership team can contribute to a thriving culture:

  • Achievement. The company knows what they’re here to do, why they’re doing it, and how they’re measuring it.  Organizational achievements are individual achievements, and vice versa.  Achievements are specific, measurable, attainable results that are bound in time.
  • Self-actualization. Each person is conscious. They know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and they’re responsible for them and the impact they have on others. They’re doing their own development and personal work just like the CEO is.
  • Affiliation. People are partnering, collaborating, sharing ideas, and problem solving on an interdepartmental level. Cross-functional teams are committed to the noble cause and vision for the organization and are coming up with ways to problem solve together to fulfill the vision.
  • Humanistic Managers. Managers authentically care about their people.  They are aware of what’s going on in their employees’ lives, what their goals are, and how they want to grow.  When an employee knows to their core that their manager has their best interests at heart and they want them to thrive, difficult conversations to improve performance can happen.  Mentorship, coaching, and caring for people comes with humanistic management, and it supports employees who grow and thrive.

Assess Environment and Employees

Employee behavior provides insights into the prevailing environment. Key considerations include whether they experience autonomy, trust, and support in their roles. Ask these questions to assess the environment that your employees are navigating:

  • How well do employees handle changes and upsets and challenges in the market?
  • Do people feel the freedom and trust to share new ideas, take risks and have space to fail?
  • Is there space in the time at work to ideate, innovate and co-create?
  • Are the meetings inspirational and motivating or just a laundry list of getting things done?
  • Is everyone clear on what the noble cause is?
  • Is the right architecture or systems in place for people to work effectively together?
  • Is the leadership team dismantling anything getting in the way of employees taking the ball and running with it?
  • If there’s a problem, are the employees the ones to solve it?
  • Are people being given the autonomy they need?
  • Are people held accountable to their agreements and promises and measures?
  • Can you have difficult conversations?

Achieving Resilience Through Emergent Culture

In times of uncertainty, organizations with the ability to adapt and pivot harness their power. Such resilience hinges on a healthy human system and a shared commitment to the company’s purpose. Leadership needs to exemplify responsibility, optimism, and collaborative problem-solving across departments to overcome obstacles and realize the company’s vision. This approach cultivates an emergent culture, capable of navigating challenges effectively.

While creating an emergent culture demands considerable dedication, care, and focus, the rewards are boundless. With a culture founded on change management skills, response agility, and employee fulfillment, organizations can not only weather storms but also soar to new heights.

About the Author, Margaret Graziano

Margaret Graziano is the founder and CEO of KeenAlignment, as well as a Wall Street Journal Best-Selling Author for her book “Ignite Culture.”  She has been recognized as one of Silicon Valley’s Top 100 Women Leaders. Magi’s groundbreaking work is driven by her power to uncover and catalyze human potential. Go to https://keenalignment.scoreapp.com to take KeenAlignment’s Culture Assessment and see if you have an Emergent Culture.

 

Business is Blooming                               by Russell Trahan

Business is Blooming by Russell Trahan

Regardless of what date the calendar shows, business is blooming – and the season for sowing success is officially here. The ways businesses can promote themselves is blooming, too – blogs, podcasts, social media, website search engine optimization, television, magazines!  How can business owners, subject matter experts, and thought leaders weed out what will land on the rocks and what will bear fruit when it comes to publicity?

You see, a targeted publicity campaign is much like gardening. It requires an innate understanding of the medium where your expertise best fits, properly nurturing the attention that you generate, and reaping the rewards of increased awareness of your unique space in the business market.

So where to start? The soil, of course!

The Soil – Your Market

A successful publicity campaign starts with deep knowledge of where your knowledge works. Whether you excel at providing management solutions or the art of making the most of the clock, you don’t simply want to blast out your content like a defective garden hose. Just like different substrates, different avenues exist for your expertise – and you need to choose the one that’s best for your expressed goals.

Whether that means pitching your content out to a specific geographic area or DMA that pertains to a coming event, or providing comment on a national news story, you have to possess a keen awareness of where your knowledge best fits and the outcome that you’re hoping to elicit.

Sowing – Targeted Pitching

Just like you shouldn’t take a scattershot approach to planting seeds you hope will eventually produce fruit, you shouldn’t assume you can just cover each and every aspect of the media with a publicity campaign. It’s about targeted pitching of content to editors, writers, and producers.

Plant your expertise seeds where you have the strongest opportunity for success. That means having a firm grasp on your target market where you know you have a strong shot of developing enduring roots – not just a momentary glimpse of sunlight.

Nurturing – Building Relationships

Anyone who has ever seen that first seedling sprout in their garden or field knows that immediate feeling of elation. Things are happening! I wasn’t just tilling and watering this soil for no reason! It’s a burst of excitement in knowing that your work had paid off. But those same folks will can also identify with watching their work wilt on the vine and the inescapable thought that more could have been done.

Once you have started the process of pitching out your expertise – be it to daily newspapers in the form of interview availability, or articles to trade, industry, and association publications, it’s imperative that you nurture those leads by properly tracking and following up with the editors who have requested your comment or content.

One of the biggest mistakes that is made during a publicity campaign is fostering a one-sided relationship. Each one of those columnists and editors is looking to fill space with intriguing content on a consistent basis. Just like you wouldn’t prune your leaves or fertilize all at once when it’s convenient, you need to maintain a dialogue with those who are looking to you for answers.

That doesn’t mean to bombard them with emails or phone calls—it simply entails having a firm process in place to touch base on the status of your article or interview, and be ready to reach out when a mutually beneficial opportunity arises.

The Harvest – Frequency and Repetition

The pinnacle of sowing season is the harvest—where you can reap the rewards of your time, efforts, energy, and dedication. After months of tending to your crops, it’s finally time to take out your bushels and account for your yield.

In a PR campaign, the sowing season runs year-round as a well-targeted campaign means you’ll receive a bounty of coverage on a consistent basis – regardless of the date on the calendar.

To the Market – Benefiting from Publicity

Off to the market with your haul! This is where the hard work really pays off and you can assign a definitive, tangible value to the time investment to planting, tending, and harvesting your crop.

With publicity, post-placement marketing is a key, critical component in a campaign’s life cycle. Without effective marketing to the associations and industries who utilized your expertise in their publication you cannot truly capitalize on the commitment you made to growing your business or enhancing your audience at the outset.

Effectively marketing the publication that you receive involves outreach to the industries who found direct value in your content—be it your perspective in an interview or your unique selling propositions in articles. Without leveraging these placements and marketing to those industries, you’ll be left with a bounty without a buyer.

With business back in full bloom, events are currently being planned and organizations are seeking experts to enrich their audiences with their point-of-view. To enjoy the full range of benefits of a publicity campaign you must think like a farmer or gardener—determine the fertile soil for your content, sow the seeds of your expertise with targeted pitching, with a green thumb frame-of-mind (in a monetary context, of course), nurture the relationships built, and then leverage your placements to begin marketing your content.

As the gardeners and farmers among you know, it doesn’t happen overnight. But with time, care, and dedication you’ll enjoy the rewards of a fruitful publicity endeavor.

About the Author:

Russell Trahan is the Owner/President of PR/PR Public Relations and the Author of Sell Yourself Without Saying A Word.  PR/PR/ Public Relations is a boutique agency specializing in thought-leaders and subject-matter experts.  He positions his clients’ expertise in front of their target market.  PR/PR Public Relations has a 20+ year history of getting 100% of their clients results.  For more information, please visit: www.PRPR.net.

Avoid Days of the Living Dead…addressing the workplace zombies and promoting engagement one person at a time.

Avoid Days of the Living Dead…addressing the workplace zombies and promoting engagement one person at a time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Kate Zabriskie is the president of Business Training Works, Inc., a Maryland-based talent development firm. Kate and her team help businesses establish customer service strategies and train their people to live up to what’s promised. 

Zombies in the workplace are soul-sucking, money-draining, productivity-killing entities that chip away at an organization’s spirit and its engagement levels one convert at a time. These creatures often look like the rest of us, but deep down they’re cancerous beasts that can potentially drive a business to ruin.So what’s a manager to do? Recognize the problem, know its source, understand why action is essential, and then do the work required to create a zombie-free workplace.

KNOWING YOUR ZOMBIES

Although zombies come in many varieties, most resemble one or more of the following:

  • Negative zombies – Often the easiest to spot, they complain, moan, and express their dissatisfaction regularly. Some will use humor to disguise their disgust, but they are nevertheless contagious and a threat to the uninfected.
  • Minimum-contributor zombies – They do the basics but nothing more. You will never see them looking for work or volunteering for projects. Furthermore, many act as if they are doing you a favor when you ask them to perform a task they get paid for doing.
  • Status-quo zombies – These change-averse creatures dig in their heels and fight the future. They are happy with everything the way it is and take no initiative to implement new ideas. The most dangerous of this variety will even resort to sabotage if they feel threatened.
  • Shortcut zombies – They find ways to cut corners and circumvent processes. Their choices frequently expose the organization to unneeded risk. Worse still, when these zombies are in charge of training others, they pass on bad habits and poor practices.

IDENTIFYING THE SOURCE 

To rid an organization of zombies, you must understand how you got them. Each zombie has a creation story. These are the most common:

  • The ready-made zombie story:  People who were really zombies when someone interviewed them, and they got the job anyway.
  • The we-did-it-here zombie story:  Unlike the ready-made zombies, these zombies were created after they joined the organization. They were discouraged, taught to fear, or worse.
  • The retired-on-the-job zombie story:  These zombies should be long retired, but because of a need to complete a certain number of years of employment before receiving some financial reward or other benefit, they’re still in the workplace and just going through the motions.
  • The abandoned zombie:  Abandoned zombies are employees who could perform well if they didn’t feel as if they were the only ones who cared. After struggling alone, these poor creatures eventually succumbed and now just try to survive.

MAKING THE CHOICE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE 

When left unchecked, zombies can take over a department, division, or even an entire organization with relative ease. For that reason, it is essential that organizations are focused and vigilant in their approach to zombie management. Organizations that fail to take the problem seriously may find that it’s too late. To escape havoc when zombies gain a foothold, good employees will often leave for safer territory. Then, by the time management recognizes its predicament, a lot of talent has walked out the door, and what remains is not sufficient to do great work.

TAKING ACTION 

Implementing an anti-zombie initiative is no easy task, but it can be done and done well if you take the process seriously and stay dedicated to invigorating your workforce.

Step 1

Be candid about your numbers. High turnover is a strong sign that there is a zombie problem. High absenteeism, poor output, and substandard financial performance are other clues. Think about what you would see if your organization were-zombie free and what numbers would be associated with that vision. Next, compare those statistics to the current reality and set some performance goals.

Step 2

Once you understand your global numbers, you should measure employee engagement. You can run a formal survey with a company that specializes in engagement or create one on your own. As with step one, the goal here is to get a sense of what’s working, what isn’t, and the breadth of your zombie problem.

Step 3

Next, ask yourself what are you seeing and hearing that you don’t want to see, and what are you not seeing and hearing that you do? After you know where the gaps are, think about solutions to address those shortcomings. If your zombies belong to the status-quo category, for example, consider putting in a process whereby everyone is tasked with finding two ways to improve his or her work processes or outputs. No matter what you choose, be sure you have the stamina to stick with the zombie-eradication tactics you implement. Fewer activities done well will beat a lot of mediocre ones every time.

Step 4

Be prepared to let go of those you can’t save. Despite best efforts, some zombies simply can’t be cured. If you’ve done all you can, and they’re still the walking dead or worse, it’s time to say goodbye. If the termination process in your organization is cumbersome and lengthy, at a minimum, you must protect the uninfected and recently cured from the zombie holdouts.

Step 5

Recognize success and coach for deficiencies. Saving zombies happens one employee at a time. People who are clear about expectations, receive proper training, get coaching when they miss the mark, and feel appreciated when they get it right or go above and beyond, are highly unlikely to enter or venture back into zombie territory.

ASK

  • Do managers “walk the talk” and model anti-zombie behavior?
  • Do employees understand how their work is connected to the organization’s goals? Can they explain that connection in a sentence or less?
  • Are employees held accountable for following established processes and procedures?
  • Do managers confront negativity?
  • Do managers encourage and reward initiative?
  • Do they meet one-on-one with their direct reports on a regular basis?
  • Does a strong zombie pre-employment screening interview process exist?
  • When good people leave, does someone conduct an exit interview to see if zombies are the reason for the departure?

The answers to those questions should serve as a starting point for encouraging engagement and avoiding everything from a small zombie outbreak to a full-blown apocalypse. You can never be too prepared.