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Beat Zoom Fatigue in 4 Neuroscience-Savvy Steps

Season 4, Ep. 16

Do you often find yourself drifting off after only a few minutes in a Zoom meeting?


Why?


Most likely it’s because we’re not emotionally engaged at an optimum level. And when it comes to group meetings, it’s often due to the Ringelmann Effect. Ringelmann proved that there’s an inverse relationship between the size of the group and the size of each group members’ individual contribution. So if we feel we aren’t, or can’t, truly make a difference, why emotionally engage?


And if we don’t have “skin in the game” it’s easy to slide into checking our email, web surfing, or planning our weekend.


Get The Most From Your Zoom Meetings Now


I recently led a full day workshop on Zoom, with super high engagement—actually, it was even higher that I had hoped! When my client gave rave reviews, I realized it was essential that I share what worked.

Here’s what I did:

1 – Start (And End) With An Emotion Check. Have everyone say how they’re feeling by using the Emotion Wheel

graphic showing a wheel with emotion names

Emotion Wheel, Smart Tribes Institute


This will help the meeting leader “read” the room, and address any proverbial elephants or issues up front. When the air is cleared, people can be present instead of ruminating on what is unsaid or being avoided. Remember to use the Meta Model when someone tells you their emotional experience. If they say they’re feeling __(their emotion here)__ ask what specifically they are ____(their emotion here)____about. Never assume you know what a person is feeling, and why! Compare everyone’s emotional states before the meeting and at the end… this will be helpful feedback for moving forward.


2- Have A Role For Everyone. This will help you counteract the Ringelmann Effect and keep the oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin flowing . I had a list of all the leaders in my workshop, the departments they worked in, and their roles. So I could easily call out to individuals and ask their opinion on a given topic, relevant to their expertise. Likewise in a meeting, everyone needs a role. If they don’t have one, why are they present? See the effective meeting process our clients love here to help you clarify:

· who needs to be in the meeting, and why. If they can’t add value, they shouldn’t be there

· how to time box a meeting for optimal results

· how to let everyone feel heard without wasting time

· and more!


3- 10 Minute Breaks, 10-15 Minute Labs, Frequent Questions Increase Blood Flow To The Decision-Making Center Of The Brain. A 10 minute break every hour will work wonders for engagement. Make sure you ask everyone to get up and move. Give them a question or topic to ponder to keep their prefrontal cortex in visionary/problem-solving mode. Likewise, having people move into breakout rooms to brainstorm solutions or solve problems keeps everyone on their toes. Then their findings are reported out to the larger group when the lab is over. I had 11 labs during 6 hours of content in my workshop. The labs were either solo, large group, 2 person, or teams of 4. Labs were every 10-15 minutes, so everyone knew they had to pay attention.


4 – Summarize Topics To Refocus Everyone, Add Due Diligence To Decisions. Since many of us are working from home, distractions like kids and pets will happen. Be sure to recap what was just covered with a quick summary to bring everyone back. Do the same with decisions made, agreements/accountability/follow up items so all understand who owns what post-meeting and when the deadline is. Remember the brain likes specific deadlines with a date and time (Thursday, 4pm) and also watch out for cognitive bias, so your team doesn’t make unrealistic commitments.


The Net-Net

· Use the above tools to keep the brains of your team engaged during Zoom meetings

· Honor the brain by paying attention to breaks and emotions

· Engage everyone by ensuring the right people are present and an effective meeting process is followed


Christine Comaford is a leadership and culture coach. She hosts the podcast, Crack the Behavior Code, and would love to offer you access to her free mini-course, the Emotional Resilience Mini-Course

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12/30/2021

Do Your Employees Have Buyer's Remorse?

Season 4, Ep. 18
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Does this apply to everyone in the organization?#2 - Are remote workers treated as equals?Remote workers are 30% less likely to strongly agree that they havediscussed their development withtheirleaderin the past six months.Are your remote workerstreatedthe same as your onsite workers? Are they included in development andperformance motivation programs? Are they included in recognition programs? Does their leader have the same number of one-on-one meetings with them (via webcam) as with onsite workers?#3 - Doleadersknow how to manage in a matrixed environment?Per Gallup, 84%of U.S. employees today participate in matrixed teams.And the biggest challenges for workers are prioritizing work and excessive amounts oftime in meetings(up to 1/3 of their day!).Howare you helping your workers to prioritize? See a prior blog for atool on this.See the meetings link above too for a technique our clients love to reduce meetings and those that attend.#4 - Doleadersunderstand gig workers?PerGallup's recent gig economy perspective paper, 36% of all U.S. workers participate in a gig work arrangement in some capacity.With freelance workers its essential to ensure they click with your culture quickly. 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Are they then having quarterly orworst caseannual development check ins?Are they allocating time for workers to develop?#6 - Are employees offered andencouraged to participate in well-being programs and other benefits?A2016 Society for Human Resource Management surveyfound asignificantgap between the benefits companiesactuallyofferand the benefits employees think their company offers.Why? I find two reasons in my executive coaching work. One: the onboarding process isn’t effectively communicating the actual benefits, and two: annual benefits summaries are not being offered to refresh everyone’s memory.The Net-NetBuyer’s Remorse occurs when an employee experiences a disconnect and disappointment between what they understood a culture would be and what itactually is.Leaders can tackle and prevent this problem by ensuring the culture is clear, the policies are clear, the above six questions are addressed and the employee experience is consistent.How consistent is your employee experience?
12/16/2021

Want More Meaning at Work?

Season 4, Ep. 17
Now more than ever we want to find and feel meaning in our work. And a cornerstone of meaningful work is who we are together, how we show up for one another, how our environment supports this, and how we know we are safe, belong, and matter at work. These prerequisites enable us to expand our identities via our work, and to become a bigger version of ourselves as a result.Does your work environment enable this?Here are 3 ways to create more meaning in your workplace now.1-Your Leaders Create MeaningIt all starts with our leader, with the culture they put in place and continue reinforcing. Let’s unpack this. When we experience trust in our leader Serotonin and Dopamine are released, which makes us feel good because the result is:Oxytocin (a human bonding hormone) levels increaseCortisol (a stress-related hormone) levels decreaseThe result? Increased resilience and emotional agility in stressful times due to trust of our leader, and ultimately trust of our tribe. This then supports self-regulation, which is our ability to manage our emotional state. Self-regulation occurs in our prefrontal cortex and is only possible when we’re in our Smart State - where high engagement, collaboration, communication, innovation reign—versus being in our Critter State where we’re snared in fight/flight/freeze.2-Your Environment Creates MeaningThere are two qualities of an optimal work environment that helps a tribe become and stay agile: an enriched environment and a reliable environment.An enriched environment is an interactive, stimulating environment which leads to increased surface area of brain cells. The result? Team members making more connections, solving problems faster, figuring things out faster and innovating better.Enriched cultures create a more meaningful and purpose-driven workplace. A more meaningful and purpose-driven workplace yields countless benefits:Two Basic Modes For The Human BrainSMARTTRIBES INSTITUTETrust also creates reliable environments.A brain in a more reliable (trust their leader) and enriched (stimulating) environment will have more branches. So the overall team will have more neural branches too. More branches = more surface area = more connections = more positive meaning is made.More positive meaning results in:More fulfillmentMore contributionMore innovationMore loyaltyMore emotional agilityMore retentionMore engagementAnd to boost meaning we turn to a Tribal Identity rich in purpose. This helps us to feel powerful together, understand where we fit in and how to belong to the tribe, gives us shared beliefs, and increases the potency and power of our individual identity (because we belong to such a cool tribe).3-Tribal Identity Creates MeaningTribal identity is how we describe ourselves. At Google they are Googlers and are collaborative innovators. In the early days of Microsoft the engineers were awarded lab coats for great achievements, as they were seen as brilliant scientists inventing the future. Some sales teams see themselves as cowboys and cowgirls out on the range rounding up customers. Our team at SmartTribes Institute sees themselves as providing Ritz Carlton-level 5 star client service. What is your tribal identity? Is it compelling? Aspirational? Playful? Engaging?In my book Power Your Tribe we talk about a Cultural GAME (Growth, Appreciation, Measurement, Engagement) Plan and how to harness its power to transform your tribe into a highly engaged, thank-God-it’s-Monday group of high performing, healthy, happy people—to make sure your tribal identity sticks.Yet a GAME plan is only as effective as the emotional experience that surrounds it and is reinforced by it. 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11/18/2021

3 Common Mistakes That May Be Killing Your Sales

Season 4, Ep. 15
We all want better sales results—so what’s the secret?It lies in the brain, and knowing how to guide our sales people out of theirCritter State, where they are overwhelmed, stressed, in fight/flight/freeze, and into theirSmart Statewhere they have fresh insights, are ready to tackle the day, are motivated and psyched to succeed.Here are the top 3 reasons you aren’t getting the sales results you want:CLICK TO TWEET1-You Aren’t Asking the Right QuestionsSome of these are harder than others. But you need to ask them. Often, like quarterly at a minimum.What percentage of your sales people are performing at quota?How many stages are in the sales process? What happens at each stage? In which stage(s) do sales get stuck/slow down?What’s your current sales cycle? How long would you like it to be and by when?What percentage of your pipeline do you close? What percentage would you like to and by when?What percentage of sales do you lose to competitors? What are the most common reasons? 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Be sure to recap on email post-meeting so everyone remembers what was covered.Summary sales activity per salesperson: how many orders at what stage of sales process, total $ per salesperson per stage, total velocity (movement from one stage to the next each week)Winners for the weekly contest (whatever behavior you are currently incenting: new orders, upsells/down sells/cross-sells, specific product/service sales, fastest to report sales status in the CRM, etc.)Weekly CRM Update– Make sure all salespeople know what data needs to be entered in the CRM after each sales call. For example: sales stage movement for the week, notes per call/communication with prospect, proposal info and all sales activity info above. Some clients have their customer service reps do CRM data entry for salespeople as a reward once a certain sales performance level is achieved.Some of our clients like to set up a Google doc or other repository to help celebrate sales people (as well as all other team members). On the doc each employee fills in their section listing what treats (under $200) they’d like to receive for terrific performance. Make this public so all can see and use, and you’ll find leaders have a much easier time providingfun and meaningful incentive gifts.3-Your Compensation System Isn’t WorkingThe below plan is a super simple way to compensate sales people to incent them to:Sell more new businessHand off recurring business to account managementTeam-sell where appropriate and know they’ll be compensatedEdit this, make it your own, and see how well it works for you.Base CommissionNew sales from new clients at x% (see “Levels of sales people” below)Repeat sales from existing clients at y% (shared between sales person and CSR/account manager)Year 2 commission at½of y%Year 3 commission at1/3of y%Year 4 commission at¼of y% (sales person should be out of commission sharing here or sooner) Gross margin expectation at z% — see “Accelerators” section below Levels of sales people:Entry level person and entry level quota of $ __________. Base: $ _____ Model salesperson: [name here]Mid-level person (reaches quota 75%+ of time), has quota of $_________. Base: $ _____ Model salesperson: [name here]Senior level person (reaches quota all the time), has quota of $_________. Base: $ _____ Model salesperson: [name here] Levels of CSRs/Account Managers:Entry level and entry level quota of $__________. Model: [name here]Mid-level (reaches quota 75%+ of time), has quota of $_________. Model: [name here]Senior level (reaches quota all the time), has quota of $_________. Model: [name here]Accelerators2 accelerators on increases in gross sales above quota – at ­­__% over quota gets __% commission, __% over quota gets __% commission2 accelerators on increases in gross margin – at ­­__% over quota gets __% commission, __% over quota gets __% commissionTeam Selling – per saleEffort Allocation must be defined clearly in CRM and entered formally:Partner (shares ½ of all selling work) = 50-50% commission split?Consultant (advisor, stops by client if in town, answers occasional client questions and encourages future communication to be with sales person– gets far less commission but still helpful) = 10-30%???of total commission (varies based on specific consultant levels)Doing the above will help get and keep your sales team in their Smart State—which means greater performance, happier people, less stress for you!”