moments of brilliance

We all have them………….now, what do you do with them?

If a moment of brilliance goes unspoken, is it still a nugget of fabulousness? What happens if we don’t share the moment…Is it a fallen tree in the forest that no one heard?….

Fear of appearing crazy, or wrong, misguided and silly is mega powerful. So what is a driving force for the ability to speak openly and with purpose when we are at work and with those we have spent hundreds of hours with?

This is all about acceptance. If we feel we can speak and communicate without painful consequences, judgement or if we ourselves can welcome honest feedback, then those moments of brilliance are diamonds. And yes, on the flip side there will always be those individuals, the perpetual skeptics, the ones you have at best a luke warm connection and are the reason you are even more hesitant about speaking up.

The real challenge is to accept those differences and work at developing the internal strength/maturity to be able to see, but to get past the quirky, uncomfortable obstacles. Moving on these actions are a big bold effort to conquer our fear…great moments of brilliance don’t materialize from ones comfort zone; they are cultivated through critical thought and are the essential ingredients for progress. It may be a moment in its natural state; polished to its full potential by the team.

Recognize and value your moments, but value the moments of others…

“It is in moments of brilliance that our destiny is shaped” Steve Jobs

….but we’ve always done it this way..

These are some of the most painful words in a workplace in this century.

“Lets make a dent in the universe”.

Steve Jobs 

No business can afford ordinary in 2016; or for going forward. Progress is moving at a hyper-speed pace and if we have ‘always done it this way’ we best be working hard now at how we can do it better tomorrow for survival. If you are seeking growth, it must be closely maintained and cultivated meaning that it must be afforded the time and resources to be beneficial.

The use of these words by any employee or leader are a direct result of a struggling work environment. It is directly related to cultural norms. When there is public, open resistance to change it is a big bold red flag.

Innovation…while being the buzz word everywhere (in biz, education, medicine) what does it really mean and how do we make the cultural shift? It begins with the mindset of leadership and the strategy of the company; whether that company is 3 or 150k. If our leaders are not promoting risk taking, there will not be active participation in that action. Imperative that it is modeled; setting examples.

MAKE A VISUAL and VERBAL STATEMENT in your workplace for the perpetual need for new opportunity first, and follow it with a clear message soliciting for ideas for change. Test different tools that will work to collect the ideas. It’s got to be something that the someone’s in the environment actually want to do.

Now the tough part...When it becomes a standard practice, there will be craziness and chaos. The key is to make dialogue/decisions a habit over theses ideas; that’s why project managers invented agile meetings. The industry norm for process and product improvement is to invest 11% of our work hours for that effort. There is a waterfall effect to this as a return on investment….Make it meaningful…lean practices and improvements will develop organically.

The Brooklyn and The Golden Gate

The common denominator is simple; these engineering phenomenas created endless possibility. It made the seemingly impossible, possible.

“the Golden Gate Bridge offers enduring proof that humans can alter the world with reverence” Kevin Starr

Built in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge has inspired more artistic genius than any other icon in the United States. Master artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, playright Arthur Miller and poet Jack Kerouac often times made the monument the focus of their crafts. Fifty years later The Golden Gate Bridge was the nations next command performance. 1933 the image of the red orange towers seemingly emerging from thick fog that rolled into San Francisco Bay. And oddly enough not only did they both close gaps between cities and land that would be crucial for survival, growth and development, but the bridges were linked in that the critical cables they were constructed from were the same, made by the same company.

Not unlike the examples above, building bridges answers many of the questions, provides viable solutions and resolves challenges that surface daily. How do we do that as humanity?..one very effective way, we make our team or organization members who are at unrest a priority. We need to recognize when to stop the show, have respect for the person that has the relentless rock in their shoe and allow them to vent, or just put it out on the table. It may be an aggravation/a rough day, a seemingly crazy idea, or it could be an apology or optimistic feedback. Does this always lead down the road to a great success or epiphany? No, but it does send a solid message of respect and inclusion. At worst it will take a little time out of your day to validate a coworker. At best, it will begin an ice berg type dialogue, where you will realize there is endless hidden opportunity.

Monumental potential in building bridges; we know what it can do..consider taking that 15 minutes, as it quite possibly could lead the day towards remarkable and be the best time you’ve spent this year. Most importantly if you get off the hamster wheel to tell someone with your actions that what they have to say matters, then you have started building the connection to the other side.

“You can’t understand the significance of it all until you walk The Brooklyn Bridge” unknown

The heart of the matter

I interrupt the previously planned post from workplace-renovation for a special event…

…tonight I had the pleasure of witnessing first hand… collaboration, creativity, passion, hope and motivation through sheer hard work. I was made a part of it with a treasured invitation……

‘only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go’

T.S. Eliot

It was the opening night celebration for a small collective of entrepreneurs who came together creating a gift as well as setting an example for their community by painstakingly building relationships, sculpting objects from raw materials and integrating ideas into a stunning display of art. The large picture windows on the building front tell the visual story larger than life in the central down town location. Their hard work was displayed beautifully.

There is a much greater message than the artistic mediums they chose; these business owners have taken the risk. While we hear that comment with some repetitive ho-hum, I challenge anyone to dig deeper and understand what that truly means. In reality they challenged themselves to make a difference with a strategy, a plan and actions to go where they had not gone before. They also took that opportunity collaboratively and without hidden agendas; transparency without hesitation.

There is No greater example of stamina and motivation….approach risks with pride and like you have a personal, all encompassing investment in its outcome…..

fluffy

According to dictionary.com, is an adjective meaning: 1. of resembling, or covered with fluff. 2. light and airy 3. having little or no intellectual weight; superficial or frivolous

 

There is much talk in the workplace centered around “the soft, fluffy people stuff”; that which often generates some frustration and usually delivered with verbal disdain or big sighs. It’s the difficult words thrown in the air all regarding the softer side of the workplace.

In the world of uber fast changing technology, the importance of recognizing and practicing  good communication skills only intensifies. It is so easy to get focused in task and technology that we devalue relationships necessary for connections, relationships, growth and innovation.

When the soft-fluffy talk occurs, it is a symptom of a much greater dilemma. It means that not only that there is discomfort with interpersonal exchange, but there is a problem with verbal expression, a lack of how-to communication skills and a lack of emotional intelligence. For some it may be far too close to an image they are trying to protect…or it’s the fear button that may have been pushed.

The most basic idea to understand is that the culture of any community, work or civil groups are created/maintained by its most important asset; its people, and yes it’s personal. Any research (Internet, education, or statistic) performed today provides a plethora of proof in the importance of relationships at work. These relationships are not limited to the internal environment , but reach business to business, customer and any network that one may interact within the business world.

Some of the most compelling data comes from Dr. Alex Pentland, Human Dynamics Lab at MIT. Dr. Pentland and his team have created a badge, that has the capability to gather some very human characteristics to measure where we have never gone before; the team environment in the workplace. The data painted a picture of the importance of working together by collecting from breathing patterns, reactions and many more non-verbal communication attributes. So detailed is this information, that they could determine as an example, if a particular team studied could collaborate to complete a successful project.

Rethink  the ‘soft, fluffy’ talk and the human emotions or other motivating factors behind those kinds of reactions. Open the door to flipping the pessimistic words into something greater;an open mind, compassion and a desire to build new bridges.

Leonardo da Vinci & motivation

“One can have no smaller or greater understanding then the understanding of oneself”

leonardo da vinci

There is infinite information available today on motivation at work. You can take a range of free to expensive popular tests, get advice on answering motivation questions in interviews or attend how-to seminars designed for managers in an attempt to make individuals more productive.

Exploring the idea I went to thesaurus.com typed in ‘motivation’ and discovered a new synonym; read on.

Leaonardo da Vinci never went to a university. What he did have was the beginning of the technological revolution and the fire storm of ideas in infancy; it was all new in the written word. It is said that Leonardo read continually and wrote some 7000 pages of notebooks in his life time. His endless discovery, inventions, artistry and wisdom developed as he was motivated by innovation. He was miles ahead of his time, he was authentic and highly motivated.

As human individuals we are all motivated by something. Those somethings don’t lay dormant while we spend 8 or more hours a day at work. Money (not to confuse need to eat and pay the electric bill) for the desire to have the upper crust of material excellence, prestige in climbing the gold plated rungs of the career ladder and finally power/control of whatever there is a need to have power and control over, are those that have become the norms in the work environment today.

Dare to think and go past those motivations of the competitive corporate world; they have become unhealthily far too common.  What is our internal motivation and how does it impact how we do the meaningful parts of our jobs? It doesn’t matter if you are a corporate attorney, driving a truck, working at a call center, a hard working waitress or coaching a professional sports team. Your authentic self, equipped with your motivation are going to create a much improved version of the workplace and experience greater reward where you will spend 33% of your life.

It’ a great place to start with your counterparts, coworkers, employees, team members; the communication, connection, the opening of doors and windows to your motivation. New possibilities when you get past the status quo. The new synonym is wave-maker. Doesn’t need to be a tidal wave; but just imagine the pleseant sound a wave makes on the sand.

Work happy…..

Amy

The alarm clock…

“at any given moment we have two options; to step forward into growth or to step back into safety”

Abraham Maslow

Change evolves when we reach a level of discomfort we are no longer willing to accept. At the risk of sounding redundant to endless advice out there about change, it remains the catalyst for working happier. As we hit the snooze button for the third time reality sets in. If their is a struggle to rise and shine for the work we have committed to doing, asking the question, ‘what can we I do to make this better’ is an ideal question to ask.

Here is straightforward help on that mile marker… What if you started the work day in a way you had never done before? It could be a conversation with someone who has a skill that you admire or even need for your work…a face to face 5 minute conversation with a leader or colleague (open the mind, and have the conversation with someone available that you have had limited contact with in the past). Talk something of interest. Walk the floor or the cubicle; take a different path to the desk and say hello. The key here is to navigate uncharted territory, make it a deliberate effort and take a step into the unknown. This takes limited time to connect to someone and is low risk….but is change in its simplest form.

Change…not unlike many human characteristics, is tough and tougher for some. If you do have a tendency toward introverted behavior this may be well past your comfort zone. By taking this deliberate step on a regular basis, you have now set an example; you’ve made a statement by a change in behavior. The huge benefit is you have created a new norm for yourself. Have a cup of coffee or tea and reflect on the efforts, it is an important part of the transition.

The answer to the employee engagement question in the initial post…according to the consistent data collection effort over the last 15 years from Gallup, is 32%. There is much opportunity to grow our workplaces.

 

 

 

 

A new work day..

a person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected’      

Anonymous

 

Welcome to the first blog post for workplace-renovation. I invite you to view the about tab to understand the direction and engage in discussion or pose questions regarding the content.

Which of of the following represents the nations employee engagement statistic from 2000 thru 1st quarter 2016?

1. 32% employees actively engaged in the workplace

2. 55% employees actively engaged in the workplace

3. 72% employees actively engaged in the workplace

Engagement is defined as being enthusiastic, passionate and invested in the outcome of a specific job or statement of work. An employee (leader, entrepreneur) who is engaged typically  enjoys the work, will work with others to help make decisions, is customer service oriented, suggests process improvements as well as maintains market progression research for its success.

I look forward to a journey to share tools, innovative ideas, debate and putting the puzzle pieces together in quest to support people in the growth/evolution of workplace cultures. Offering incremental skills to build high performing teams are critical keys to the workplace puzzle.