France’s New Work Email Policy

worklifev5The entire text below is from GOOD website written by Tod Perry. As we start a new year, and you are a leader, think about how a version of a policy like this might have a positive difference in both business and employees’ lives.

Nothing can ruin a relaxing weekend or holiday like an email from the office. Even if there’s no need to take action until Monday, the unwanted intrusion of professional life can really suck the joy out of a Sunday afternoon bar-b-que. That’s why the country that’s famous for giving its employees 30 days off a year and 16 weeks of full-paid family leave, just made itself even cooler with its new “right to disconnect” law. Continue reading

Get Rid of “1-hour”

onehourGo ahead and look at your calendar right now. My guess is that your day, especially your work day, is largely carved up into 1-hour chunks of meetings or activities. Fair to assume that recreational or wellness activities are also chopped into 1-hour blocks. Perhaps a 1-hour yoga class or massage or work out at your gym. Even classes at school are mostly in 1-hour blocks. That most of what we do is in 1-hour increments is a safe argument to make. Now consider whether there is any research that suggests, even remotely, that 1-hour is the right amount of time to conduct any activity much less all activities? I will save you the google search – there is none.

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Look to applaud …

applause.pngI was listening to a three-person acoustic band recently. It was a small intimate setting just perfect for the kind of music they were playing. It was very clear that the audience and the band had connected as we all applauded every song they played. Half way through, the lead musician said “I wish all of you could have a job were every five minutes, people applauded your work.”
I was struct at the depth of his comment, partially filled with envy and the rest with a conviction to applaud people who were passionate and good at their craft. I could easily share statistics on employee engagement and how powerful simple rewards are or case studies to support the power of acknowledgement, but I will leave it at this and let you digest and enjoy the power of his comment as I did.
This week, look hard for anyone enjoying their work and give them a hand!

Pick me ups …we all need them.

pickmeupNot sure how many of you listen to music when doing something physical like a walk, jog, bike or hike. I’m fairly certain that while listening to the music, there will be one song that will come on that you really like, that get’s you pumped up, pick’s you up, more than the previous songs did, and pushes you to do whatever you are doing both with more enthusiasm and better form. Have you considered why that is the case with that particular song? Or if you can choose songs like that strategically before a big event requiring you to be at your best?

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All Perspectives Matter …

2sidesA married couple went to a college football game where their alma maters played against each other in a rival game. Two people who love each other at the same event watching the same plays unfold. Their reactions, as predictable, were polar opposite. When team A made a great play, the wife jumped in exhilaration while the husband dropped his head in sorrow. The quality of athleticism of each play on either team was irrelevant to how each reacted. This story is relatively easy to decipher. Each spouse feels loyal to their school. They went there, have four  fond years of experiences and many more alumni memories. As a resident of Charlotte, NC, I was struck at how the events of the last week were interpreted and experienced differently divided largely by racial lines. Continue reading

Share failures …

failure22.jpgThere are so many ways that leaders start their weekly staff meetings. Some use ice breakers, some share successes, some share big events coming up and the like. The idea is to start on a positive note. There is nothing wrong here. However, it’s rare to insert into the agenda failures of the past week. I’d like to suggest considering doing so. Continue reading

Maturity = “Howhen”

howhenLike most parents, I struggle with balancing allowing a child to be a child with expecting them to be a little more mature than their actual age. On some frustrating days, I may even have the gall to expect my children to behave adult-like. Leaders in the workplace have similar struggles. Employees are diverse not just in age but in dozens of ways where behavior is not uniform as perhaps might have been decades ago. The idea of wearing shorts and sandles would be considered unthinkable but Steve Jobs proved that what you wear has little to with how productive you are. Despite this diversity, there are two universal expectations: (1)  that performance not be compromised and (2) a level of Maturity be exhibited in behavior. Performance is easier to process, teach, and expect. Maturity is not. So let me introduce both a parenting and workplace term to process maturity. It is “Howhen” – one word – a new word – easy to remember.
The “what” is intellectual. It is the task to be executed. For example, you make a decision to eliminate a large budget item. This is the “what.” Some “what” are better than others, but most problems do not come from the “what.” After you made the decision, you decided at 2PM in the afternoon when everyone was working in the cubicles to yell that decision as loud as you could standing just outside your office. The “when” was at 2PM and the “how” was by yelling in the hallway. In this example, most of what will be discussed after will not be the decision regarding the budget item, but the decision to communicate that to those impacted by yelling in the middle of the afternoon. This would be considered immature even if the “what” was the correct decision.

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You are what you think …

thoughtsThe notion that a large part of our identity and our performance (decision-making) is dependent on the prevailing thoughts in our minds, specifically our monologues, is not new. “We are what we thinketh” the adage goes. What IS new is the neuroscience that now supports this age-old belief. Neuropathway-mapping now shows that our response to experiences is far less objective that we think. In fact, our response to just about everything is not based on a rational and critical-thinking set of neuropathways. They are significantly subjective and based on the thoughts that have inhabited the context of that experience. Continue reading

The ‘Fail Fast’ Myth…

failureEntrepreneurs, investors, and executives have all fallen in love with the “fail fast” motif. It’s a simple concept: Make your mistakes early in the game whilst it is easy to make changes to avoid digging out of a big hole. Sounds very logical. I am calling this a myth because the logic  works if two other components are also sequentially included. Failing fast only works if (1) there’s an acceptance to the failure (2) a subsequent process to learn, and change quickly. Continue reading

Workplace work …or is it?


Personal and Professional … is the same


worklifeMany years ago, I was asked to work with a veteran executive at a company he had been with for over 15 years. In the previous year, his behavior had changed. He had gone from being an effective leader with all the right attributes to being highly disliked exhibiting an autocratic and impatient style. “He needs to revisit his leadership style” I was told. Once I started working with him, it became quickly apparent that his personal life was a mess and his 25+ marriage was at an impasse. His issue was not lack of leaderships skills, but that those skills where hijacked by a personal trauma whose impact he had failed to recognize. Continue reading

Emotional Speedometer

speedometerWhen driving your car, you look at your speedometer to get a measurement of how fast or slow you are driving. It’s a necessary gauge and every car has it as the primary gauge in plain sight for the driver to see easily. If the gauge were not there, you would be guessing at your car’s speed and not know when you were going above or below the speed limit. The speedometer helps you to perform within the established road speed limit. Similarly, I want you to consider adopting an EQ Speedometer – a gauge to help you monitor your emotional temperature. I’ve blogged about this before sharing the Red, Yellow and Green levels in the Emotional Speedometer where GREEN is a calm state, RED is a very agitated state and YELLOW is somewhere between the two where most of us operate. Continue reading

A Hero is …you!

heroF.Scott Fitzgerald wrote: Show me a hero and I’ll write you a story of tragedy. Indeed, most over-achieving people, whether in business or athletics, find their drive in some form of inequity – either personal or one in their environment. Can a logical argument then be made that tragedy can be a source motivation? Could it also be argued that since tragedy is random (not orchestrated) in nature, then either avoiding it by not taking risks or not willing to use it when it does occur are both ways to rob yourself of a drive to live better and perform better?  Continue reading

What ya waiting for…

regretgraveI had the great privilege of having lunch recently with a retired and aging former college professor of mine. He was in good spirits sharing the many adventures he had taken since retiring about 18 years ago often quoting some great philosophers and thinkers in his stories. I loved the way he weaved in his youth, his family life, his academic life into all the experiences creating stories where I hung on to every word. His stories were rich in content and pure in spirit. I only had about 90 minutes with him and it made me wonder how many more stories I could have heard had we had more time and subsequently, what would happen to these stories, so full of amazing and timeless lessons for any generation or person, once he passed? Afterwards, I wondered if his knowledge would be used to its optimal potential or simply be taken to his grave. Continue reading

Declining Productivity …

decline productivityAccording to Yves Morieux of the BCG Institute, annual productivity increase peaked in the business sector in the 1980s at 3%. In the 1990s, it dropped to 2%, to 1% last decade and continuing to decline this decade. It is worth noting that this steady decline is occurring during the most revolutionary changes in the workplace both in terms of technology and maturity of management principles. How is this possible and what role are you playing in it? Continue reading