How we see the world
 
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In her book, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey, Dr. Jill Bolte writes, “Although many of us may think of ourselves as thinking creatures that feel, biologically we are feeling creatures that think.” In fact, evolution has designed us this way. Within our brains, we have the limbic system and the neocortex system. The limbic system, also known as the lizard brain, is very old. It has been with us since our caveman days. This is the part of the brain that oversees our emotions and decision-making. The neocortex system is relatively new to us. It controls language and logic.

Working with this system, it becomes vital that we remember two things.

First, our initial thoughts and “decisions” will always be made by the limbic system. They will be guided by our emotions in that moment and influenced by past beliefs and experiences. Only then will they go to the neocortex where we will rationalize and verbalize them.

We cannot deny the impact our emotions have on our decisions and accompanying actions. Trying to remove them from the equation will exclude vital information we need to assess our motives and conclusions. By acknowledging the impact of our emotions on our thoughts and behaviours it gives us the freedom to examine them.

This leads us to the second important thing to remember. You don’t need to accept or own what the limbic system passes along to your neocortex. You can exercise control at this point. You don’t have to serve up the first thing it presents you. You can take a moment to decide if it’s what you truly need and can decide to send it back. You get to create the story at this point. You can decide to examine the emotions and beliefs that are fueling the decision and choose whether you will rationalize it with logic.

You can ask yourself, will this move me forward? Will it help me reach my potential? Will it create a good experience? Will it help build a relationship?

Or, is it coming from a place of fear that will keep you stuck, create a bad experience or hurt a relationship?

We must recognize that we all feel sad, angry, frustrated and hurt at times – both at work and home – and these emotions have the power to drive our actions and behaviours. But we don’t need to accept them as is. We can act and control the logic and words behind them.

When making decisions remember that the story you tell yourself about these feelings needs to help you, not hinder you.


A TEAM HUMAN CONVERSATION

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. Think of the last big decision you needed to make; what emotions might have fueled it?

  2. How often do you examine the role your emotions play on your actions and decisions?

  3. What are things you can do to make sure that your emotions are not sabotaging your decisions?

 
Kick Ass Zombie Hunter
Learning is our advantage
 
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Back-to-school season is upon us – small and big kids alike filled the hallways of schools this week. I’m sure many parents rejoiced after a summer of hearing, “I’m bored.” I know my kids were happy to be reunited with all their friends, even after an enjoyable summer. They’re still at that age where school is fun and exciting.

As with every school year, soon enough we’ll receive the mid-term report cards. Of course, I want to know that they are learning what they should be. However, the one indicator that is most important to me – and never appears on the report card – is “Do you still like learning?”

For me, if my kids tell me they still like learning new things, then they’re in good shape. No matter what their ability is in the present, they can improve on it in the future. The purpose of school isn’t necessarily the end product of what my kids have learned, but whether or not it has instilled in them a love of learning.

It is our ability to learn that predicts our future success. Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock, said “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Our organizations can’t be filled of “knowers”. We need people to be life-long learners. Our ability to stay flexible and open to new ideas, information, and skills is our biggest competitive advantage. It keeps us resilient and innovative.

When we put a focus on traits like curiosity, humility, and enthusiasm we increase our ability to learn, and when need be, unlearn and relearn with grace.


A TEAM HUMAN CONVERSATION

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. In the last week, what three new things have you learned?

  2. How open are you to learning new things? How about unlearning and relearning?

  3. What can make it difficult to stay a life-long learner? What can you do as an individual, team and/or organization to remove these roadblocks?

 
Kick Ass Zombie Hunter
The pain of rejection
 
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Imagine you’re sitting in a waiting room with two strangers. One of them picks up a ball that’s sitting on a table. He tosses it to the other stranger. She tosses it to you. You smile and toss it back to the first person. This continues for a couple rounds. Then, instead of tossing it to you on your turn, the woman tosses it to the man. He tosses it back to her. They continue the game without you.

No big deal, right? It’s just a couple people you don’t even know throwing a ball in a waiting room. However, this was a real experiment researchers did to see the impact rejection on people. And what they found was this situation actually caused people a considerable amount of emotional pain. The hurt from the exclusion didn’t just stay with them either. When they were given the opportunity to blast white noise at an innocent person they didn’t know, they did so at louder levels and longer intervals than those not rejected.

The pain we feel from rejection makes sense. From an evolutionary standpoint, being a member of a tribe was important to our survival. The pain of rejection kept us from doing anything that might get us kicked out.

We forget just how much even the smallest rejections can impact how we work together. We face rejections daily - not included in a meeting, left out of a lunch with co-workers, not asked for our opinion on a decision, didn’t get the promotion. Big and small, rejections hit us hard. And when we hurt, it affects how we relate to those around us.

Being aware of how and when we feel rejected, and how to combat it can go a long way to improving the trust and relationships on our teams.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. When was the last time you felt rejected?

  2. How did it feel? How did it impact your actions and behaviours?

  3. How does rejection impact your team/organization? What can you do as a team/organization to lessen the harm it causes?

 
Kick Ass Zombie Hunter
The gratitude hack
 
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It turns out that if gratitude was a fighter, it’s the one you’d want to put your money behind. Not only does gratitude increase determination, attention, enthusiasm and energy, but it’s not possible for the brain to hold both positive and negative thoughts at the same time. So gratitude quite literally kicks negativity’s butt.

It makes sense then that we should build cultures that encourage people to recognize and appreciate one another, their environment, opportunities, and achievements as much as possible

It doesn’t stop with just celebrating the good though, we can also see struggles as chances to grow and come together to help one another.

Feedback becomes an opportunity to appreciate the potential a person is capable of and can bring to the team. We can provide it from a standpoint of wanting to see them achieve their best.

We can receive feedback with the understanding that someone cares enough to recognize the potential in us.

Opportunities to be grateful are all around us, we just need to be willing to embrace them.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how grateful are you on a daily basis?

  2. Name five things you can appreciate about today.

  3. What can you do as a team/organization to create a culture of gratitude?

 
Kick Ass Zombie Hunter
Sinking culture
 
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Benjamin Franklin said, “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” While he was talking about dollars and cents, the same can be said about workplace culture. We think its big issues that cause a culture to crumble and degrade, but it’s the small things that turn a great culture into a mediocre one.

It’s not asking what Tom did on the weekend.

It’s not telling Kristen you appreciate the time she spent on the latest project.

It’s expecting Sharon to respond to emails that could wait until after her vacation.

It’s not having a conversation with Dave after the meeting even though you think he felt put out.

And a thousand other small moments. It’s usually not a catastrophic storm that sinks a culture, just general carelessness.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. What small actions and behaviours create a great culture?

  2. What might stop you from doing these things and cause your culture to decline?

  3. What can you do as a team or organization to protect you from these small leaks?

 
Kick Ass Zombie Hunter
Conditioning failure
 
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If you want to watch someone work a group with finesse, confidence and ease – watch a seasoned street performer. Their very livelihood depends on how well they can engage a diverse crowd of people for just 15-20 minutes.

While watching one such performer at a busker festival on the weekend, I was amazed at how well he trained the crowd to accept any potential mishaps. At the beginning of the performance, he told us that if he dropped anything, we should all go, “boooo”.

Of course, not long after while he was juggling, one of the pins fell to the ground. Immediately, the whole crowd booed on cue, laughing at the same time while he displayed mock outrage. The assumption was it was part of his act, an easy way to involve the crowd while eliciting fun and laughter. However, perhaps the drop wasn’t on purpose. He’d simply found an easy way to condition us to not see his mistakes as things that should cast a shadow on all the other amazing feats he did accomplish flawlessly. The mistakes – intended or not – allowed him to connect with the audience while also trying skills he might not normally for fear they wouldn’t succeed and would ruin the act.

What would happen if we did the same thing in our workplaces? If we conditioned ourselves to not view mistakes and failures as things that take away from our performance (and, let’s admit it, harm our ego), but rather as opportunities to try new things, improve ourselves, and reach out and connect with others? What would happen if we could make light of our failures in the same way the busker did and not harshly judge others for their own? Seeing them as not something shameful to be hid, but just normal occurrences?

I think we wouldn’t be so worried about dropping the ball that we’d be willing to step into the spotlight more often.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. When was the last time you didn’t do something because you were afraid of making a mistake or failing?

  2. What’s your biggest fear about making a mistake?

  3. What can you do more of as a team/organization to create a culture that allows people to make mistakes and fail?

 
Kick Ass Zombie Hunter
Kindness isn't optional
 
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Being nice to one another isn’t just nice to have at work, it’s a necessity. Being kind and genuinely caring about one another does more than just increase engagement at work (a huge benefit just on its own), but leads to higher productivity, increased sales, innovation, and more efficient and effective performance.

A sense of caring is important at every level of an organization, but it is especially important in leadership roles where it is rarely discussed or measured.

A study of nearly 52 000 leaders showed that leaders who expressed warmth were both better liked by their reports, and also the most effective. The researchers found that leaders who show a lack of caring have little chance of becoming highly effective leaders.

Kindness and caring are actions that should be encouraged and recognized in every employee – making personal connections, providing help, collaborating on work, being a source of inspiration, helping develop another’s skills, and a hundred other things.  

When we come together with the best of intentions for one another, that’s when the real magic happens.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. What are examples of showing kindness in the workplace?

  2. What is the impact of a lack of kindness/caring in a workplace?

  3. What three things can you do today to show others that you care about them?

 
Kick Ass Zombie Hunter
Two rules for conflict
 
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Are you or your team adverse to conflict? When a disagreement starts to form, do people sink into the floor or pull out their armour for battle?

While these are natural reactions to conflict, they do little to solve it effectively. Conflict isn’t just something we can learn to deal with, it’s a tool we can use to launch our teams to new levels of performance and engagement.

When allowed, conflict can lead to improved performance, innovation, creativity, and better relationships and experiences within the team.

The two pre-requisites to healthy conflict are:

  1. It is used to maintain and strengthen relationships within the group

  2. It should move the team forward.

Conflict should never be about victory. There are no winners or losers; no right or wrong. Conflict is about progress.

No topic should be feared if you embrace this approach to conflict.

A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how open to conflict are you?

  2. Describe a situation you were involved in when conflict wasn’t handled well. What caused the problems? What was the end result?

  3. Describe a situation you were involved in when conflict was handled well. What positively influenced the situation? What was the end result?

 
Kick Ass Zombie Hunter
The foundation of a team
 
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Teams are successful when the people within them build relationships based on a solid foundation of trust. This goes for work teams, sports teams, and even families and friends. Without a foundation of trust, a team will not be able to continually produce good results, and last for the long-term. They may achieve good results once or twice, but dysfunction and insecurity will eventually erode connections.

How is this trust built? A good relationship between any two people consists of three aspects – respect, equity and empowerment. When evaluating our own relationships with team members ask yourself these questions:

Do I respect this person, and feel respected by them?

Respect is shown when we strive for understanding, when we choose to communicate both the good and the bad, when we work towards consensus and through our disagreements, and when we honour our commitments.

Do I value what they bring to the table, and feel valued by them?

Equity is when we feel both people in the relationship bring equal value to it – no one’s contributions outweigh the other person’s and thus power is shared. Equity can take the form of money, knowledge, connections, time and energy, and more.

Do I feel we have the capability of meeting our goals together?

Every team has goals – that is the point of coming together after all. Relationships have trust when we feel capable of taking action. This means we feel we can make an impact, take ownership, lean on partners, and take responsibility for results.

When you can answer “yes” to these questions, you know your building the trust needed to sustain lasting relationships in your team. Teams with respect, equity and empowerment create the enthusiasm necessary to face new challenges, innovate, and persevere in the face of hardships.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. Have you been part of a team that lacked respect, equity and/or empowerment? How did it impact the team’s ability to reach its goals?

  2. How does a lack of respect, equity and/or empowerment impact the feelings team members have for one another?

  3. What can you do as a team to ensure you maintain respect, equity and empowerment between members?

 
Kick Ass Zombie Hunter
Death by meeting
 
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Ask any office worker what they hate the most about their work and meetings will be near the top of their list. Too many meetings. Meetings that are too long. Meetings that are meandering and pointless. Meetings involving too many people.

 While most of us would agree that many of the meetings we attend are wasteful, we continue to book them. We are addicted to meetings. And really, meetings themselves are not the issue, it’s the way we run them that’s the problem. Meetings done right can be productive and efficient. They can add value to our work rather than taking away from it.

If you want to remove worthless meetings from your workday, answer these three questions before you book your next one.

1. Can this meeting be accomplished by a well-written email?

Too often we are part of meetings that do nothing but pass along information. If your meeting is simply about transferring information, updating or notifying people or assigning tasks, don’t waste time by organizing a meeting. Instead, take the time to write a thorough email covering off the details and send it. There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting through a meeting that could have been a two-minute email. Remember, a one-hour meeting isn’t just one hour, it’s one hour x the number of people involved.

2. Do you have a clear goal?

A meeting should accomplish something. People find so many meetings meaningless because all they accomplish is eating up time. Before scheduling a meeting, you should have a clear objective you want to achieve through the meeting. If you don’t have a goal to reach, take some time to consider why you are having the meeting in the first place.

3. Are the right people there?

When it comes to meetings, the more is not the merrier. Meetings should only involve the people necessary in achieving the intended goal of the meeting. Some companies have even gone the route of making all meetings voluntary. If you’ve created a detailed agenda and outlined your objectives, people can decide if it is necessary for them to be there and/or the best use of their time. This way people scheduling meetings must prove the value of their meetings if they want people to attend.

Meetings are never going away. They are a necessary evil. However, if you follow these three guidelines, we can start making them useful again.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. On a scale of 1-10, on average, how productive and useful are the meetings you attend?

  2. What do you feel makes meetings unproductive?

  3. When you attend well-run meetings, what makes them so?

 
Kick Ass Zombie Hunter
When life gives you lemons
 
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Some of the most useful advice I gain about business comes not from the corporate world, but from sources far removed from it. I make it a point to read as many diverse voices as possible. I particularly like following artists. Lisa Congdon is an artist, illustrator and author out of Portland. She creates beautiful, inspiring pieces that I encourage you to check out.

The other day, she posted a piece on Instagram about “embracing the suck” – essentially having the ability to grow and learn when things aren’t going your way. Useful advice just on it’s own, but what caught hold and held on for me, was how she says she does it. She writes, “This requires curiosity over judgment. Learning over resentment and humor over taking ourselves and our work too seriously.”

Just like that, three steps that allow you to not only accept the valleys that life will inevitably send your way but turn it into something you don’t just survive, but can use to come out stronger and wiser on the other side.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. What’s your go-to ways of dealing with problems and issues at work and in life?

  2. When did a negative situation teach you something valuable that helped you later?

  3. What can you do to “embrace the suck” better?

 
Happiness is a by-product
 
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As a society, we’ve wholeheartedly embraced the search for happiness as something that will make our lives better. And yes, happiness does have some obvious perks at work too. Professors Andrew Oswald, Dr. Eugenio Proto and Dr. Daniel Sgroi from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick found that happiness makes people 12-20% more productive. In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor says, being happy makes us more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work.

So, we should all just try to be happier right? The problem with this lies in how we define happiness. We’ve been trained to see happiness as an inside job. We must focus on making ourselves happy – read the right books, eat the right foods, do the right activities.

But happiness has little to do with what we do for ourselves and more to do with who’s beside us while we’re doing it. Happiness is simply a by-product of building relationships with others. The longest running study on happiness by Harvard researchers – over 80 years – found that close relationships are what keep people happy throughout their lives (not too mention healthier as well).

If we want people to benefit from the perks of happiness, we need to shift our focus from “what do I need to make myself happy?” to “how can I build stronger, closer relationships with people in my life?” When we spend our time and energy on the latter, happiness is a natural result.

What does this look like in our workplaces? It means cultivating environments that not only make room for people to connect as human beings but make it a priority as well.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. Why do you think good relationships make people happier?

  2. What do you do personally and at work to build better relationships?

  3. What can you do as a team/organization to make room for people to build relationships with one another?

 
Kick Ass Zombie Hunter
Communication is energy
 
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Communication is a default skill on job postings – applicant must have good communication skills. With the fact it’s on 99% of job applications, you’d think our workplaces would be filled with stellar communicators. However, go into any workplace and you’ll find one of the main issues that impact our cultures negatively is poor communication.

It’s not a surprise that communication is must-have for workplace skills because communication is the lifeblood of organizations. The quality of the communication happening between employees is the energy that will be present daily. Poor communication = negative energy. Good communication = positive energy.

But if communication skills are so vital to us, why do we have so many problems with it? We forget just how all-encompassing communication is in our lives. Communication is more than just being able to write a report or a professional sounding email. Communication is asking Dan about his weekend. Communication is working through a difference of opinion with Melissa that doesn’t create bad feelings. Communication is telling Sam how much you appreciated the attention to detail he put into the project.

Communication is having body language that is open. Communication is company messages that are transparent and inspiring. Communication is people who feel safe enough to speak up when there are problems or mistakes.

Communication is everything we put into building our relationships with one another and the experiences we have together. This is what makes it so powerful when we get it right, and destructive when we get it wrong.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your own communication skills? Why?

  2. How do you see communication creating positive energy in your workplace? How do you see it creating negative energy?

  3. What can you do as a team/organization to improve your communication and create more positive energy?

 
Kick Ass Zombie Hunter
You are the experience
 
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We believe strongly that the quality of our lives is based on the quality of our relationships and experiences.

If you have healthy relationships with others and positive experiences than more likely than not you will have a fulfilling life. Think of all the good things that have happened to you and you will find that they fall into these two categories.

However, what we often forget is that each of us is an experience ourselves. And this impacts both the relationships we cultivate and the things we experience.

Your attitude affects the experiences that other people have when they are with you. If you have a positive attitude, it’s easier for other people to have a positive experience with you. If you have a negative attitude, it can be hard for people to be around you. Ultimately this impacts the relationships they have with you. If every experience they have with you is tainted because of your negative attitude, it’s difficult to form a good relationship because they won’t want to be around you.

Your attitude also impacts the quality of your own experiences. For example, you can be at the most beautiful, exciting place in the world, but if you have a poor attitude, it will be difficult to enjoy that experience. On the other hand, a positive attitude can make even a trip to the grocery store a memorable experience. And when you create positive experiences through your attitude, people will be drawn towards you and good relationships can be built with ease.

When you are evaluating the relationships and experiences you have at work – and in your life in general – don’t forget to examine your role. What experiences are people having when they are around you? What role does your attitude play in how you experience things? How does it impact your ability to build relationships? When you take control of the experience that is you, you will find life gets a lot sweeter.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. When was a time that your attitude may have impacted someone else’s experience – positive or negative?

  2. When was a time that your attitude created a great experience from what would normally be a mundane one? What about a bad experience from what should have been a great one?

  3. What impact do you think your day-to-day attitude has on facilitating strong relationships with others?

 
Kick Ass Zombie Hunter
Take it personally
 
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Don’t take it personally. Has anyone every told you that? Have you ever said it to someone else? Does it actually help you not take something personally? I know it’s never worked for me. It’s just made me take it more personally.

We tend to say it about things that happen at work. I think we use it as a way of making sure people’s feelings don’t get hurt. But why wouldn’t we want people to take their work personally? When we take things personally, it means we care. When we tell people not to take it personally, we’re really telling them not to care. When we care about something, we bring our energy and passion to it. We fight for what we think is right. We’re willing to overcome struggles and work hard.

If someone says they don’t take it personally, it usually means they’re not emotionally invested in it. And is this what we want in our workplaces? When we acknowledge that people have feelings, we can do the hard work to gain not just their time and presence, but their enthusiasm, initiative, loyalty and creativity.

So, go ahead and take it personally.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. Has anyone ever told you to not to take something personally? How does it make you feel?

  2. Have you ever told someone not to take something personally? Why? Do you think it helped them?

  3. How would you change your actions if you knew everything about your work (and everyone else’s work) was personal?

 
Permission granted
 
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At NASA, there’s a poster of a bee that says, “Aerodynamically the body of a bee is not meant to fly, the good thing is that the bee doesn't know".

The bee doesn’t care that the laws of physics say it can’t fly, that its little wings shouldn’t be able to keep its giant body in the air. It just goes about its business anyway.

How often do you take the perspective of the bee in your life? Both at home and work? Probably not often enough. We let our own, and others, thoughts, beliefs, fears and insecurities tell us what we can and can’t do.

Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston and author of several books, talks about a concept of writing yourself a permission slip in her book, Braving the Wilderness.

She says that we tend to force ourselves into certain ways of being and doing and don’t allow ourselves to step out of what we are told is “normal”. When people want to do something out of the ordinary, she tells them to write themselves a permission slip. Just like how your parents used to give you permission to go on a school trip or sporting event, the permission slip frees you to do something new and different – something that you know will add to your work and life.

Sometimes we need a permission slip to be vulnerable with others, take a risk, deal with conflict, be creative or admit we don’t know.

Start giving yourself permission today and see what happens. You might just find life can be a little bit sweeter when you don’t stop to think about what you shouldn’t be able to do.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. Think of a time you wanted to do something but didn’t. What held you back?

  2. If you could give yourself permission to do one thing, what would it be?

  3. How can you make it easier as a team for people to give themselves permission to do things?

 
Purpose isn't enough
 
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We all know the importance of purpose when it comes to employee engagement. When people believe in the mission and goals of the organization and understand where they contribute, then they will be motivated to help achieve them.

And this is true. A strong purpose that people internalize drives them to do, and give, more to organizations.

However, purpose alone won’t keep people engaged.

Engagement is like baking a cake. Your purpose is your baking powder, it’s what makes the cake rise. People will rise to the challenge when they have purpose.

However, you need two other essential ingredients.

First, you need flour. Flour is your base – without it, there’s no cake to rise at all. Flour is what enables engagement to happen. This is ensuring people’s skills are matched to their tasks and they have access to the resources they need, such as information, technology, tools and equipment, training, and financial support. Without these, even if employees believe deeply in your purpose, they will become frustrated and be at risk of becoming disengaged, burnt out, or they may simply give up and leave.

Second, you need sugar for your cake. This is an energizing environment for engagement to happen in, one that focuses on the physical, emotional and social well-being of employees. Without sugar, no one wants to eat the cake. Without a culture where people feel cared for, and excited to be part of, people will quickly become disengaged from the purpose.

Make sure that when you are baking up the right culture for your team and organization that you have all the necessary ingredients to let them have their cake and eat it too.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. Have you ever worked somewhere where you believed in the purpose but didn’t feel enabled with the right skills, resources and tools? How did it impact your work?

  2. Have you ever worked somewhere where you believed in the purpose but didn’t feel energized by the environment because of negativity? How did it impact your work?

  3. What can you do more of as a team/organization to make sure people are engaged, enabled and energized?

 
The recognition fix
 
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Recognition is a funny thing. It’s something that we all need to feel good about ourselves, our work, and our lives, but we’re wholly dependent on other people for it. And no one gets enough of it.

So, we want it for ourselves, but we don’t give it to others. This isn’t a conscious thing. We just haven’t built cultures that support the level of recognition that people need. We think a pat on the back now and then, an Employee of the Month award, or a yearly good review is enough. But it isn’t. The high we get from recognition that drives us to keep doing good work and to feel like we are valued is something we need at least weekly. We’ll take it daily if we can get it – that’s why social media likes are so addicting. When was the last time you were recognized this often? When was the last time you recognized people on your team with this frequency?

Genuine recognition is something we need a whole lot more of in our workplaces. It may seem weird and uncomfortable at first, but the more regularly we recognize people, not just for the work they are doing, but just for who they are, the more engaged everyone will be.

Go out and recognize someone today.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. How does it make you feel to be recognized and appreciated at work?

  2. When was the last time you recognized someone on your team?

  3. How can you start building a culture that supports higher levels of recognition in your team/company?

 
The human story
 
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John Steinbeck once said, “Try to understand people. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a person well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.”

If you’re not familiar with it, check out Humans of New York online – through their website, Facebook or Instagram. I swear it will become a bright spot in your day. It’s the brainchild of Brandon Stanton who started taking photographs of people in New York and asking them questions about their lives.

He found that everyone has a story inside them. He now travels the world taking people’s pictures and asking them about their lives. And it doesn’t matter if the person is in the US, Pakistan, Mexico or Ukraine, the stories show the deep connections we share in our humanity – love, loss, humor, joy, heartbreak, and even the mundane.

We share more connections with one another than we think. The more time we take to share with each other, the more attachment and trust we grow. Teams build strong levels of loyalty and commitment when they are emotionally invested in one another. This means getting to know each other on a personal level.

Simply eating lunch together, going for a walk break, sharing small tidbits about your weekend before starting a meeting, or volunteering or attending events together are great ways to build strong connections.

Are you cultivating these types of relationships at your workplace?


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. How do strong relationships make your job easier at work?

  2. How often do you invest time in nurturing relationships with team members?

  3. What can you do as a team/organization to build stronger relationships by encouraging personal connections?

 
Selling change
 
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It’s easy to think that people don’t go along with change because they don’t like it or don’t clearly understand the benefits. We can spend a lot of time trying to rationalize with people that change will be good for them.

And it will be a waste of time.

If you have the person’s best interests in mind, they can usually clearly see that the change will be good for them. They can even be quite eager to make the change. The inaction doesn’t lie in not understanding it, it simply comes from fearing it.

We fear change for a lot of reasons – it’s a leap into the unknown, it’s uncomfortable, it forces us to grow and tackle issues we may not have faced before. What if we fail? And sometimes just as scary, what if we succeed?

If you want people to change, your job isn’t merely laying out the benefits of the change, its assuaging the fears that come along with it.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. Think of a time that you knew change was good for you, but you didn’t want to do it and explain why.

  2. How has someone helped you through change by removing the fear?

  3. What can you do more of as a team/organization to remove the fears that come with change?