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Two Myths About Strategy

Season 4, Ep. 13

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12/30/2021

Do Your Employees Have Buyer's Remorse?

Season 4, Ep. 18
Unemployment in the USA is now at 3.7%.  Great employees are harder to find than ever before—and if you’re hiring, chances are really good that you’re raiding another organization’s rock stars.  So once you get great hires on board, you need to keep them. In past blogs I’ve shared proven tools and techniques our clients use to recruit rock stars, to onboard them, to engage them and to identify the signs that they’re considering quitting. Now let’s focus on what’s happening in their brain when the honeymoon phase is over after being a new hire. Honeymoons End—Then Your New Hire “Goes Native” Based on an informal poll of my leadership and culture coaching clients, reality sets in, and the new job honeymoon is over in the first 60-90 days, depending on the role. This is when a new hire, then, is most at risk of buyer’s remorse, of regretting that they accepted a role at your organization. This is also when a new hire has “gone native”—they are now a part of the tribe and no longer have the fresh unbiased perspective of an outsider. Going native isn’t a bad thing—it happens out of our deep need to belong with the tribe we’ve selected. But if the tribe is in a tricky state, buyer’s remorse could become an epidemic. We’ve all seen influencers that leave the tribe—and take some of the top performers with them. Here’s how to prevent this. Six Questions That Reveal Buyer’s Remorse Think back to your dating history. Most of us have met someone we thought was really cool--until we got to know them better. Then disappointment set in because what was advertised, and what was reality, were different.  Gallup recently released research on the six questions employers can ask to uncover remorse. The primary finding is that when certain policies are promised, but not honored or followed by the organization’s leaders, remorse sets in. Ask yourself the following questions: #1 - Is flexibility consistent or dependent on the team manager? Per Gallup, 51% of employees say they would change jobs for flextime, and 35% say they would change jobs for a flexible working location. In today’s workplace, flexibility matters. Flexibility for hours worked, location worked from, even flexibility in reporting and collaboration. Is it easy to duck out of work for a personal appointment? 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 have discussed their development with their leader in the past six months. Are your remote workers treated the same as your onsite workers? Are they included in development and performance 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 - Do leaders know 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 of time in meetings (up to 1/3 of their day!). How are you helping your workers to prioritize? See a prior blog for a tool on this. See the meetings link above too for a technique our clients love to reduce meetings and those that attend. #4 - Do leaders understand gig workers? Per Gallup'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. This is where a compelling and clear mission/purpose, vision and set of core values make all the difference. Gig workers must be brought into your tribe quickly and emotionally engage quickly too.  And last, as a leader it’s your job to ensure they are welcomed into the team and experience safety, belonging, mattering from the get-go. #5 - Are development programs personalized in a meaningful way? In a past blog on performance motivation and Individual Development Plans (IDPs) I provided a template to ensure your team feels that their growth is important to the organization.  Are your leaders helping to co-create IDPs with their workers? Are they then having quarterly or worst case annual development check ins? Are they allocating time for workers to develop? #6 - Are employees offered and encouraged to participate in well-being programs and other benefits? A 2016 Society for Human Resource Management survey found a significant gap between the benefits companies actually offer and 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-Net  Buyer’s Remorse occurs when an employee experiences a disconnect and disappointment between what they understood a culture would be and what it actually 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 increase Cortisol (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. To boost the emotional experience you’ll want to:Bring profound meaning to your workplaceCraft a cultural identity and employee experience rich in trust Use neuroscience-based techniques that will increase human performance, cohesiveness, innovationYou probably have pieces of your Cultural GAME Plan already in place. Now you can craft or edit (if need be) your organization’s tribal identity and reinforce it with your cultural rituals. Note the lab coats above as an example. Fundamental to a solid GAME plan is a foundation of profound meaning.Let’s check in…Profound Meaning check in:Are your mission, vision, values working as well as they could be? Mission - Our emotional (“we believe”) purpose, why we get up in the morningVision - Where we’re going together (aspirational), and why it mattersValues - Who we are/how we behave as we fulfill our Mission and drive toward our Vision—these must be alive, celebrated, modeled by allYou can’t change a person’s values very easily. Which is why we need to recruit for them. Here’s a link to our values-based recruiting process that our clients love.Tribal Identity check in:Does your culture have a clear identity? If so, what is it?Does everyone throughout your organization agree with it and feel inspired by the identity?Does your identity reinforce safety, belonging, mattering?Does your team have high trust and transparency around performance expectations?Tribal Rituals check in:How do your cultural rituals support your identity and values? Are they enough to motivate belonging and mattering? Example: some of our clients have annual mini golf tournaments in the office where each “hole” is a plastic cup for a given value. Once you get the ball in the hole you share with all present who models this value powerfully and how, and how you’d like to model it more powerfully. Another client celebrates the “super powers” of each employee as their tribal identity is of super heroes. Outside of each cubicle or on their Zoom background you see the person’s “super powers”. Now you know who to come to if you want to cultivate yours.Is it safe to fail in your culture? Do you see “failure” as simply feedback as to what didn’t totally work, or is failure condemned?The Net-NetLeaders, environment, shared tribal identity help us create more meaning at workWith more meaning we are more productive, creative, engaged, collaborative, happyAny organization can create more meaning!Let me know how the above helps you create more meaning for your tribe.
12/2/2021

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 NowI 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 Wheelgraphic showing a wheel with emotion namesEmotion 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 followedChristine 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