3 Things To Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed At Work

These are stressful times we are all facing in the age of COVID-19. This past year has taught us more than ever how important our mental health is. Our mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act.

There has been a social stigma in our society around mental health for far too long. In 1992, the World Federation for Mental Health declared October 10th World Mental Health Day. This day has brought awareness to mental health education and mental health issues around the world. The biggest benefit has been helping people connect in efforts to support mental health. This cause has also enabled people to talk about it more and realize mental health struggles are more common than you might think. In the US alone, 1 in 5 adults have a mental illness.

Regardless of where you work, jobs can be stressful, and it’s normal to be overwhelmed at work from time to time. Some common causes of feeling overwhelmed at work can be due to having numerous assignments without the capacity, tight deadlines, staff cutbacks, and work overload. It’s the nature of employment that every job comes with its good and bad days. How you choose to handle those days though are up to you.

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Posted in Stress Management

Top 5 Tips To Reimagine Your Virtual Onboarding Experience

When my partner and I got married in June – in the middle of a pandemic – we wanted to bring together friends and family to join us in celebrating this special moment in our lives. After exchanging our vows in front of a handful of family and friends (and nearly 400 virtual guests from around the world!), we realized we had pulled off something pretty unique.

The pandemic required us to rethink how to make this milestone special for us and our guests. The receiving line and seating charts at our reception were replaced with Zoom breakout rooms and virtual hellos with groups of friends. Pre-mailed celebration kits replaced a traditional cocktail hour. A virtual MC guided our friends through a virtual reception. Different? Absolutely. But you know what? It was fun!

Why share such a personal story in our blog? Because there’s a distinct parallel between how we reimagine gathering together for a life event and how we reimagine welcoming new team members on board. All the similarities are there – receiving new hires into your corporate “family”, gathering teams together to celebrate a milestone moment and new beginnings, coordinating all of the behind-the-scenes logistics to make it happen – seamlessly. And with the “Great Resignation” upon us, there’s never been a better time to rethink onboarding practices than right now!

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Posted in Virtual Onboarding Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Managing Executive Competition to Deliver a Successful Project

Managing a complex merger integration and keeping your sponsors and key stakeholders engaged is hard enough. So what are you supposed to do when your sponsors don’t get along with each other? How do you keep the multiple workstreams on track and deliver a successful project?

This is a story about the acute challenges a project manager faces when senior leaders across a company don’t get along. For the sake of confidentiality, actual names and details of the effort have been changed.

The Backdrop
Let’s start by acknowledging this was a virtual engagement. Our project management team worked from several sites – including numerous home offices – in multiple time zones across the US. Other than the initial in-person pre-COVID kickoff, the team never saw each other “live.” We managed the entire project via Zoom, phone calls, texts, and emails.

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Posted in merger and acquisition, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Employee Engagement & Psychological Safety in the Post-Pandemic Workplace

If you knew 60% of your workforce would quit tomorrow, what would you do? While seemingly alarmist, this statistic reflects what we’re seeing in study after study as we emerge from the pandemic. Sixty percent of employees who worked from home during the pandemic indicated they would quit immediately if their organizations do not implement some element of virtual work.

This is the challenge HR and business leaders are now facing as they look to bring their teams back to the office after nearly a year and a half of virtual work arrangements. Yet there is a positive opportunity in this moment that many of the alarmist headlines are overlooking. In this new era of work, how does this need for hybrid work arrangements enable us to reimagine the employee experience while still delivering outstanding results for our customers and clients?

Let’s start with the end in mind. What exactly is employee engagement? Note that we didn’t say “employee entertainment”. This isn’t about having air hockey in the breakrooms, holding yoga classes on-site, or splurging on top performer trips to exotic locales (remember those?!). According to the “Best Places to Work” criteria, “Employee engagement is the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward the work they do, their teams, and their organization.” Simple and straightforward, right? Then why does it feel like employee engagement is so hard to get at? Because it’s hard work!

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Posted in corona virus, Virtual Workplace Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Beyond Business Continuity Planning

This past year has shown us what it takes to be resilient and keep your business going. While it has been deemed an “unprecedented” time, 2020 is but one example of a business disruption we must plan for and take swift action to address. Whether a force of nature or man-made, we have lived through countless other disruptions including fires, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, snowstorms, and more. We have also survived strikes, trade wars, workplace violence, military and police intervention, changes in government and policies, regulations, and taxes. None of this is going to get easier going forward. In fact, life will only get more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (“VUCA”). The question we must answer then is, “How can we make our businesses more resilient to survive in a VUCA world?”

Business continuity must be viewed not only as a risk mitigation strategy but also as a growth strategy. In any industry, leaders must de-risk their businesses before growing them to avoid creating a “house of cards.” De-risking the business means planning and preparing to ensure the organization is capable of operating critical business functions, even in the face of an emergency. With business continuity plans in place and recovery plans stress tested on a regular basis, businesses can focus on growth and increased profitability.

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Posted in business cotinuity, business disrumption, growth strategy, recovery plan, risk mitigation, VUCA Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

DEI & Vulnerability: How Leaders Can Drive Belonging in the Workplace

In the past five years, we have witnessed a shift as business leaders directly address societal issues, recognizing their employees and consumers are conscientious of business and brand stances on societal events. As we approach the one-year mark since George Floyd’s murder and the amplification of voices calling for societal change across multiple dimensions, it’s important to pause and reflect on what progress we have made – both individually and collectively — and how to continue to choose the next right step.

Leaders who have invested in a foundational understanding around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) concepts for all employees in their organizations have benefitted from higher levels of engagement – even in the middle of a global pandemic. These investments have allowed leaders at all levels the opportunity to examine their biases, engage in open dialogue, and learn new ways of working that prioritize inclusion.

Some leaders, however, have not yet initiated these DEI conversations, or may have viewed them as a “one and done” type of activity. Others lost them in the myriad of other priorities competing for their attention. To move from introductory awareness to thoughtful action, the most visible leaders in this space are:

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Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Success with Change Management & Digital Transformation

Even the pandemic-driven work-from-home arrangements provide the ability for employees to stay connected at any hour of the day. This environment also increases the need for team members to step away from their constant screen time and manage blurred work/life boundaries.

Many organizations rely on their own internal communication teams, training programs, and business users to drive change within their organizations. This often leads to reinventing the wheel with every change effort rather than leveraging a consistent methodology for change. When a standardized change methodology is embedded into the DNA of an organization, teams become more agile and changes are adopted faster. Simply put, organizations can adapt to the next inevitable change when it comes.

Through a “people” lens, we have supported countless large-scale digital technology implementations over the years and recognize the need for the rigor behind the technical design and systems development activities. Unfortunately, the energy and focus to deliver a new system often takes priority over the “human element”. We’ve seen outstanding technologies fail to get the desired outcomes because a “people problem” got in the way! At a time when change fatigue and digital saturation are at all-time highs, organizations must commit to the principles of change management as a strategic imperative for their near-term stability and future growth.

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Posted in Change Fatigue, Change management, Communication, Digital Transformation, User Experience Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Unlocking the Wealth Trapped Inside Your Business

Did you know only about 20% of all privately held companies offered for sale each year actually sell? And only around 30% of all family businesses in the U.S. successfully transition from their first to second generation. Maybe worse, 75% of all business owners who do sell their companies “profoundly regret” the decision one year after selling.

Throughout my career, I have worked around the world with organizations big and small – ranging from multi-billion-dollar Fortune 500s to government agencies to privately held family businesses and startups. Of all my experiences, I cherish the most those projects that have had the greatest impact on the people I worked with. So, when I learned these statistics on privately held businesses completing a sale, I knew I wanted to help business owners maximize the value of their businesses and ultimately exit on their terms. This is especially true for the countless Baby Boomers who will transition out of their businesses over the next 10 years – a movement that represents roughly 4.5 million businesses and $10 trillion of wealth being transferred!

Many business exits fail because of a lack of knowledge and planning. Two-thirds of business owners are not familiar with their options for exiting. Almost 80% have no written transition plan or advisory team in place to help them. Nearly half of all business owners have not done any planning, and 93% have no formal “life after” plan. Compound that with the fact that 50% of all business exits are involuntary, forced by dramatic external factors such as death, disability, divorce, disagreement, and distress. Owners need to plan for how they will walk away from their businesses, not only in a perfect scenario but also in a worst-case situation. A properly planned and executed exit can handsomely reward the business owner for the time, effort, headaches, and heartaches that come from building a business. It also benefits the many employees who work in the business and all the customers they serve. The following, then, is a proven three-phase approach for unlocking the wealth trapped inside your business.

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Posted in Customer Engagement Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Making Better Data-driven Decisions to Drive Business Performance

At the turn of the century, we couldn’t get enough data. By 2010, we had a multitude of data. Now, we’re swimming in more data than we can possibly use.

Gartner recently noted that organizations use only a fraction of the analytic potential they possess. As organizations further embrace this idea of business intelligence and data analytics though, leaders are realizing that it’s more about the process of fact-based problem solving than it is about the data itself. Data is just the oil that helps business run smoothly. Leaders need to build engines based on powerful critical thinking capabilities, not just big data repositories, to deliver better results.

Traditionally, managers tracked and reported against key performance indicators. While some lessons may have been gleaned from this rearward-looking approach, it left companies largely blind to what laid ahead. So, how do leaders take a more proactive forward-looking approach to where they want to take their businesses? How do leaders better allocate their precious resources? What are their expected outcomes, and how do they know their actions will produce those desired results? These are critical questions to address. Determining what data is required to provide these insights is secondary to defining these problems and opportunities.

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Posted in Performance Improvement, Problem-Solving, Strategic Planning Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why Our Human Capital Matters So Much in 2021

In 2020, many business leaders recognized that it wasn’t our unique products or market niches that sustained us. It was our people. It was those leaders and team members who, despite incredible obstacles, stepped up and delivered great value for our companies and the clients/customers we serve. Last July, we wrote about the importance of supporting our employees as they do what they can to support us and our businesses. As we look ahead to 2021 and beyond, how can we further these efforts to support our most important resource – our human capital?

Even the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) – the entity that regulates reporting requirements for all publicly-traded companies – now recognizes the critical importance of an organization’s workforce.  The SEC recently determined that key human capital measures and objectives beyond traditional financial statements must be disclosed in order to more accurately describe the overall health of a company. To this end, all public companies now need to disclose the key human capital measures and objectives that enable them to manage their businesses when they file.

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Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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