I recently worked with three colleagues to design and lead a “Gratitude Pilgrimage”. The goal was to offer people a chance to disconnect from technology, explore local areas, and connect with new people through the theme of gratitude. Each participant approached this opportunity differently and enjoyed the 15 mile trek from Lands End San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge to Rodeo Bridge at the Marin Headlands. After the walk people reflected on how recharged they felt despite the physical fatigue. A fellow participant and I coined the term “Joy Spark Sabbath”while walking and discussing our gratitude. We felt it was a good term to illustrate the value of those short term connections in life that begin with curiosity. [Read more…]
It’s day 32 of camping in a tent in my backyard. I’m sleeping in a tent on the back deck due to some home improvement projects. I don’t usually spend a lot of time in our backyard as our front deck is where we have a view. I’ve learned an awful lot about what goes on in the “rear of the house”. After the first night I quickly learned there is a small dog that consistently barks for about 15 minutes at 9:30pm. The neighbor kitty-corner to our house is an amazing whistler when he wakes up and goes to bed. The neighbors on the other side eat dinner and wash dishes quite late at night. [Read more…]
August Pullman is a 10-year-old boy who likes Star Wars and Xbox, ordinary except for his jarring facial anomalies. He shares his story in Wonder, a children’s book written for all ages. August pulls classmates, parents, and teachers into a dialogue about kindness and wonder. Six million people have read this book and it will be released as a film in November 2017. Are we just hungry for a sprinkle of wonder and kindness or is there something deeper going on in our communities and workplaces?
It is summer and that time of year when people tend to shift their routines to take a break. It’s a time when traditions appear on the calendar: a BBQ with friends, a trip to the beach, a family reunion or even a vacation. The question is how do we ensure these traditions are also times of recharging and refueling. How are you doing at recharging your batteries this summer?
In talking to people about their summer plans, it seems one of the biggest challenge is how to truly step away from work. In some ways, our technology allows us to step away because we can flex our schedules. However, if we are stepping away and still staying connected throughout our time off are we really recharging? If we are feeling obligated to check email and texts on vacation, are we truly unwinding and refueling?
Much has been written about the importance of taking time away from work and focusing on family, friends, hobbies, and rest. Digital Detox is easy in concept but unless organizations put policies in place to support times for recharge, it’s difficult to unplug. People fear falling behind at work or coming back to work with 100’s of unanswered emails. What is your workplace doing to support you in taking time away from work? What structures would help you to fully disengage from work and focus on your summer refueling? What can you do to take ownership of your digital detox?
Some organizations now make it a requirement that employees not check their emails. In fact, there are some that even pay you a bonus if you don’t check email. Others, inform email senders that an employee is on vacation and that the sender’s email will not be received. The sender is invited to resend the email after the end of the employee’s vacation. Creating organizational structures and policies for people to recharge results in a more energetic work force.
Call it “Unplugging”. Digital Detox. Sabbath Manifesto. Optimize Brain Function whatever but the research is telling us if we turn off FOMO(Fear of Missing Out) and work through the digital withdrawal that we really can recover and recharge.
What can you do to ensure that your summer tradition becomes a recharge time? You deserve it.
In a recent conversation, a small group of us were talking about caring for elderly parents. We discussed the tension that exists between supporting parental independence and increasing health challenges. One friend said, “I just remind myself to stay on my yoga mat.” I laughed and then realized the brilliance of the statement.
In meditation and yoga, it’s easy to have your mind wander as you settle into a class. One yoga instructor likened it to being a puppy…jumping from one place to the other. Or better said, “having a hard time staying on your yoga mat!” In addition, a goal of a yoga class is to focus on what you can do on your mat and not worry about what others are doing.
In our conversation about aging parents we agreed, that it’s easy to jump in and rescue, sometimes when it’s not even needed or wanted. Yep, jump right off that yoga mat.
Where else do we jump off our yoga mat?
In the 1970’s Robert Greenleaf wrote “visions, both good and bad, can be contagious.” When was the last time you set a vision for yourself? your team? your organization? The exercise of casting a vision is a critical step in building the future you want. Casting smaller scale, mini-visions can build momentum even faster and become even more contagious. Mini-visions build the future you want.
Let’s explore the concept of a mini-vision. [Read more…]
Vulnerability is a word loaded with baggage. It is a word that often connotes weakness, confusion, even “being stuck”. Yet, if we look at vulnerability with more curiosity we can see that it potentially is one of those great pivot point words. If we pivot away from the judging of vulnerability, we can actually shift towards connection, collaboration and opportunity.
Try this on. Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you feel a little vulnerable admitting the mistake? We all make mistakes, yet, in the workplace, we are often cautious to discuss our errors. We are not intentionally trying to make mistakes, we are just human! We can often feel vulnerable when we make mistakes and fear being judged or dismissed. Yet, as Amy Rees Anderson from Forbes wrote “good employees make mistakes, great leaders allow them to”. [Read more…]
When you arrive at a meeting do you feel synergy or silos? Do you notice that people are working together and recognizing that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts? Or do you experience silos, territories, and guarded boundaries of “that’s not our responsibility”. Robert Greenleaf reminds us of the challenge of silo versus synergy in his reflection on serving…”how can institutions become more serving? I see no other way than that the people who inhabit it serve it better and work together toward synergy—the whole becoming greater than the sum of its parts.”
You may have experienced organizations that work in silos. Many books, articles and trainings are offered to help break down silos. Unfortunately, management structures, policies, and team dynamics often result in separation of teams into silos. Building synergistic teams takes practice, intention and a belief that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. [Read more…]
Do you remember the first time you were assigned to be a supervisor or manager? How steep was your learning curve? What was harder for you…managing your team or managing your boss? Did you come to the leadership role naturally? Or, was it a struggle to feel like it was a fit and you secretly longed for you “old job” where things were easier? Over the years, I’ve heard managers pronounce after learning a new skill…”I wish I knew that when I first became a manager!”
As a manager, what do you wish you had known and learned first of all? Do you wish you had known more about people or tasks? More often than not I hear people wishing they had more skills in building their team, delegating responsibilities, managing meetings, and navigating challenging conversations. Many managers learn management skills by trial and error. Others learn by watching their own managers. Some read about management.
How did you learn to be a supervisor or manager? [Read more…]
May 10, 2017 was 50/50 Day. Around the world, people gathered to watch a 20 minute film by Tiffani Schlain. Viewers then participated in conversations using a well-crafted discussion guide. The guide encouraged groups to discuss equity, power and the arc of women’s history. It ends with an invitation to “pull the next one up”; an invitation to overcome challenges together. [Read more…]