E-Book: How to Stop the Great Resignation

What is driving this historical moment in time where tens of millions of people have quit or are thinking about quitting their jobs in search of something new? The standard aspects of a job like career advancement, compensation, and benefits play a role, but it’s the human aspects of work (or more accurately, the lack thereof) that seem to be pushing people over the edge.

A recent article published by McKinsey & Company in September 2021 reported that because of the isolation, uncertainty, and change brought about by the pandemic, employees are craving a human investment in the workplace. Download e-book and discover what people want.

Digitally Exhausted? Well-Being Tips & Apps for Leaders Managing Hybrid Work

Hawaii Business Magazine, December 21, 2021

Hybrid work doesn’t always mean easier work. Actually, it is the opposite; it requires more collaboration to manage expectations, processes, and results. If you find yourself exhausted, you are not alone. Hybrid work can quietly take a toll on your well-being.  In fact, a 2021 survey conducted by Microsoft, reports  that high productivity is masking an exhausted workforce.   As the year winds down, consider three practices to create a healthy hybrid new year.

Ritualize Wellness

Anything can happen if you schedule it and commit to it.  Consider adding to your daily schedule a wellness activity that you enjoy. Perhaps, swim or yoga at the start or end of your day?  Or how about a 30 minute walk break?  Choose something you enjoy so that you look forward to it and will commit to it. Why not invite a buddy to make it more fun and hold each other accountable?  When exercise becomes a ritual, you can’t imagine your day without it!  One of our favorite yoga apps is CorePower Yoga On Demand.

Schedule Focus Time

While the hybrid work can take a toll on wellness, a possible strategy to prevent burn-out is to manage focus time. Microsoft also shares that people who tend to have higher work-life balance satisfaction had 1.3 times the number of focus hours than employees who were less satisfied with work-life balance.  Therefore, block out time on your calendar when the work cycle is naturally less hectic to focus on projects and put your notifications on do not disturb.  Have you noticed that the phone rings less at lunch time?  Take your lunch a little later and tackle an hour of focused work when everyone else is chowing down.

Study Sleep

Have you ever studied your sleep quality?  And we do mean “study.” Sleep is essential to your whole wellness.  Find a sleep app that you like such as “Sleep Cycle”.  Sleep apps will study your sleep habits, report your daily sleep quality, and give you the option to enroll in ‘sleep school’ to raise your sleep quality score.  You will discover a sleep ritual that helps you recharge.  The difference between a 69%  and a 90% sleep quality score could impact how you approach a difficult situation the next day!  Good luck and good night.

Interested in boosting the effectiveness of teaming in your hybrid work environment? Reach out to TH!NK at info@think-training.com

Are Your SMART Goals Smart Enough?

‘Tis the season for strategic planning! Whether your organization fared well or not during the pandemic, this is the perfect time to dust off your plan and check if your goals are still relevant. Or is it time for a whole new set of goals as you navigate the post-pandemic landscape? 

In our 20+ years of experience helping organizations create strategic plans, we have found these four tips essential in creating and achieving any goal. 

  1. Test assumptions. People have different perspectives. While vetting out goals, you often hear assumptions such as “Isn’t everyone clear about our mission or values?” or “Shouldn’t they know THAT by now?” Whenever you hear assumptions, challenge the belief and start asking open, non-judgemental questions such as “That is a fair point, what evidence shows us that it is true?” Not only will people gain clarity, but you may discover valuable gems to refine a goal or strategy in your plan.
  1. Plan for dialogue. Allow ample time for open dialogue so that healthy debate can thrive. Schedule dialogue sessions at different levels of your organization as you seek feedback or do research related to a goal.  
  2. Practice discipline. Although important to your organization’s success, goal setting and strategic planning can easily take a back seat to urgent tasks. Identify a strategic planning champion(s) to hold the team accountable to the plan. Write down and communicate a well-defined strategic planning schedule complete with steps/phases, dates, and deliverables. Discipline is the key to a successful implementation.
  3. Have a communication plan. Once you set your goals, strategies, and action plans, create an internal marketing and communication plan. This plan should answer questions such as:
    a) How will you communicate the strategic plan within your organization digitally, visually, and verbally?
    b) How much detail will you share about your strategic plan with the whole organization? Will you communicate just the goal statements? If so, is there enough information in the message to spark excitement and motivate people?
    c) How will you make your organization’s goals memorable to all team members?

Recognize that not everyone on your team will fully understand the context of your organization’s goals. Therefore, carve out time upfront to test assumptions and engage in open dialogue. Remember to plan for successful implementation with discipline, accountability, and communication so that everyone can get excited about their role in making success happen!

To inspire more collaboration in your strategic planning process, reach out to us at www.think-training.com.

Are You Worried About Leading a Virtual Team? Just Stick with These Basics

Hawaii Business Magazine, March 8, 2021

Have you been scrambling to read everything you can on leading a distributed team?  Take a deep breath and get back to basics.  Whether you are leading an in-person or distributed team, the mission is to create a motivating space for people to work and innovate.

Take this quick temperature check to see if you have the basics in place for an engaging environment.

  • My team has high trust.
  • We operate in a psychologically safe environment.
  • We are a community that works together, supports each other, and has fun together.
  • We own our vision, and each person can communicate it.
  • Each team member has defined goals.
  • Each team member knows the daily and weekly priorities and meets deadlines.
  • We have productive, regularly scheduled meetings.

The key in executing the basics is to communicate and the results are team clarity and buy-in to decisions.

Here are five essential questions to ask in any team meeting:

  1. What are the team’s priorities?
  2. Where are the obstacles you are facing? How can we help?
  3. Did anything unexpected pop up that needs immediate attention?
  4. Who needs to be informed about the decisions we made today?
  5. What are you grateful for?

What types of meetings can you lead?  

  • Pre-shift Huddles:  Quick, 15-minute meetings, align the team on the day’s priorities.
  • Weekly: Drive meetings with a plan to make the most of team collaboration.
  • End of Week:  Celebrate successes, address challenges, express gratitude and recognition, and set the tone for the next week.
  • Strategy:  Plan your projects from start to finish. 
  • Social:  Have fun together!

If you need help leading a successful team, the TH!NK team would love to help you.  

More Team Creativity? First, Look at Safety

Hawaii Business Magazine, February 15, 2021

Why do people hold back from sharing their thoughts and ideas in a team meeting?

Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson would say the team lacks psychological safety. Psychological safety is a belief that you will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.

Do you have psychological safety on your team? Here are a few symptoms that indicate that you may NOT:
  • People don’t speak up in meetings
  • People don’t admit their mistakes
  • People don’t challenge each other’s ideas
  • People don’t ask for help
  • People DO go along with whatever the leader says

Psychological safety is essential because a lack of it can lead to mediocrity, anxiety, stress, and boredom. The team consequence is a lack of risk-taking and refinement of ideas. Recently, our TH!NK Team led a department through a SWOT analysis. The manager was confident that no one would speak up; we assured her that the right environment allows an abundance of ideas to flow.

These are a few of the heavy-hitting ideas the team generated:
  • Rebranding the team internally
  • Need for revamped processes and procedures
  • Unique IT solutions for customers
We used these four tips to create psychological safety in this meeting:

Tip #1: Help your team get to know each other with a quick icebreaker before each meeting. It can be as simple as, “What are you grateful for today?”

Tip #2: Ask more questions. Create an agreed upon list of questions to process decisions. “How could this go wrong?” or “How does this align with our values?”

Tip #3: When teaming virtually, don’t assume that everyone is tech savvy. Provide tutorial sessions for your meeting platforms before your session. 

Tip #4: Time. Give participants ample time to prepare. Provide an agenda or pre-work as an onramp to the meeting.

TH!NK logo

(808) 224-6694

HR360: Leaders it is Time to Shine, Literally

Hawaii Business Magazine, January 13, 2020

Face it: 2020 was devastating. You ditched your business plans, shifted performance goals, and raised spirits for your employees through social media videos (like how to make a pizza). It’s been tough to be a leader.

2020 is behind you. What kind of leader will you be in 2021?

Will you ground and stabilize your team? Will you be the light at the end of a tunnel, project sunny optimism? Honestly, 2021 needs you to be both… grounding to endure the challenges and illuminating to uplift spirits.

Will it be hard? Sometimes. Will it be worth it? Absolutely.

Find the opportunities waiting for you in 2021 with three practices:

  1. Ground with strategy: Gather your team and carve out solid strategic goals. Motivate and drive purpose with a clear plan of action. Do it virtually and do it well. That leads us to #2. 
  2. Get the most out of your meetings, don’t wing it: 
    • Get smart about your virtual meeting tools to get results. Speed up team innovation with “breakout rooms.” Conduct pulse surveys with “polling.” Hit record to create a digital artifact. Document feedback by saving the chat log.
    • Collaborate synchronously and asynchronously with interactive whiteboards. (And, we don’t mean annotating on screen). Imagine post-its filled with brilliant ideas flying around your screen and gain buy-in faster. Try Mural.coMiro.comGoogle Jamboards.
    • Use a producer (we’re very serious about this). TH!NK producers troubleshoot tech issues and ensure a smooth meeting.
  3. Connect for fun: Try our favorite virtual team activities: escape room challenge, Maui Ku‘ia Estate chocolate tasting, or game night. 

With over 20 years of facilitation experience, let us help you work better together…virtually.

Lessons Learned While We Sheltered

It’s been 8 weeks since we were told to shelter-in-place.  It feels longer to us, how about you?   One of our clients shared that days feel like weeks, weeks feel like months, and months feels like an eternity.  We agree! 

In all of our classes we often ask about learning take-aways.   Learning exists in every relationship and every situation, and Covid-19 is definitely no different.  So, we asked ourselves, “What has the Covid-19 experience taught us?”

Learning something new brings JOY!
Take time to learn something new from your bucket list;  it brings joy and accomplishment.  Sarah and her son Wyatt started sewing!  Masks & bags from denim jeans galore!  Cindy finally started working on her headstand.  Being upside down when the world turned upside down has been good!

The most thoughtful gift is sanitizer and toilet paper
All we can say is “Who would’ve thought?”

We CAN function in a virtual world!
Our clients share that this is one of the biggest lessons learned.  Teams are reporting that they are stronger as they rally cohesively around shared purpose to pivot and respond to the crisis.  Meeting attendance and participation is up with the ease of a video or phone call.  At TH!NK we have been learning new virtual tools to take the same level of interaction and engagement we are known for in the classroom to a virtual classroom. Agile leaders has been key to teams functioning in a virtual world. Join us for one of our upcoming workshops; we’d love to see you!

Go to the ocean…salt water does heal  
Is zoom fatigue, a wacky sleep schedule, or worry taking a toll?  In these times, the best remedy has been hitting the ocean for some exercise or for an evening float. It heals!   Remember to slather on sunscreen because once you are in the Pacific blue, you won’t want to get out!

Simplify.  What you thought you needed, you probably do not
We’ve found ourselves cleaning and Marie Kondo-ing our spaces and lives.  What we imagined we couldn’t do without, is now a big HMMMMMM.  Yoga studio membership,  golf membership, business wardrobe. Cindy even ditched her microwave because “what’s the rush?”

The human spirit is designed to innovate, thrive, and remember
Food and cocktail online ordering, telemedicine, virtual fitness workouts, zoom yoga, farm to home produce boxes, drive-thru graduations.  You name it, organizations have a found a way to be innovative whether it’s something we’ve never seen before or a blast to the past.  We can’t wait to try the drive-in movies!  Bring your masks & popcorn!

Live In the moment, while planning for the future  
It is so easy to miss out on today because you are thinking about tomorrow.  Why can’t we do both?  How can you give people your undivided attention in the moment? Will you go back to the hectic over scheduled calendars of the past?  Maybe not. 

Social distancing does not mean friend distancing
Friendships are everything and true friendship never goes away. Sarah’s rekindled old friendships through Zoom happy hour calls!  Cheers!  Cindy FaceTimes with her hairstylist a few times a week and does food & recipe swaps with neighbors.  Relationships are blooming!

Don’t take anything for granted
We missed our freedom, gathering with friends at happy hour, school, team sports, taking in a movie, hugs.  The simple things we could do daily without a second thought are now precious and will be cherished like never before.

And lastly, remember that change is happening for you, not to you. We just need to find the gift.  

Training Must Go On

Now is the time to step into learning.  There are many reasons to continue to offer engaging, live virtual training opportunities to your staff right now.  Here are TH!NK’s top 4 reasons for conducting a live, virtual Everything DiSC Workplace® Session.

  1. Stress is High
    When people experience stress, they need to connect with others for support and to gain perspective.  An article written by Mayo Clinic Staff, Coping with Stress:  Workplace Tips, states that sometimes simply talking about a stressor and understanding your triggers can be a relief. Help people gain alternate perspectives on how to look at stressful situations by leading a virtual DiSC session. When you teach DiSC, people discover their personal stressors and triggers as related to their DiSC style. Everyone wins when people are able to shift their stress-driven behaviors to a mindful and productive approach.

  2. 24/7 at Home
    The entire world is interacting completely differently.  Many people are with their families 24/7 and spending more time together than ever before.  This is a wonderful opportunity to connect. But, it can be a challenge to overlook behaviors that frustrate you when they are magnified everyday.  By understanding family member’s DiSC Styles, use this time to understand what makes them tick and why they do what they do.  DiSC will provide you a new lens of why people display certain behaviors. You will gain new strategies to become more comfortable and effective when sharing space with your family.

  3. Remote Working
    In a recent executive coaching call, a client shared that the most powerful driver in her team’s reaction to the COVID-19 crisis has not been work experience nor the role they played in the organization.  It was their DiSC style.   For example, an employee who relates to the Influence style starts out their check-in call with with an enthusiastic “I am here and ready to help people feel happy. Where do you need me and who should I call first?” Meanwhile, an employee whose style is Conscientiousness provides her with the latest CDC data every morning and makes sure that the information is considered whenever they need to make decisions.  Knowing the DiSC Styles of her team is allowing this leader to help people maximize their gifts to lead the company and also help keep them engaged by valuing what they bring to the virtual work environment.

  4. Learning Is Fun, DiSC is Fun!  
    It is important to keep on top of the current COVID-19 news to understand the world we live and to be good citizens, but it also needs to be balanced by good news.  People are looking for good news everywhere.  Just type in “good news” to your google search; you will see a flood of stories.  Think about how you can be that ray of sunshine in a very meaningful way during your training sessions. Aim to deliver learning sessions where people can laugh and learn together.  

For those who currently own an Everything DiSC Workplace® Facilitation Kit, click here for an outline of how you can deliver that same session virtually.  If you want to teach Everything DiSC Workplace® Virtually but do not own the facilitation kit, we can help.   Click here to learn more about it and make your purchase.

Need support?  We are here to help.  Reach out to us for a complimentary 1-hour consultation session on how to make the most of your virtual DiSC training.  

Focus on the Human, Not Just the Employee

It’s week 3 of sheltering in place. People are wearing masks for protection and kids are home 24/7.   Employees have traded a traffic commute for 27 steps to their pop-up home office. The home front is loud and chaotic. For some, work from home is lonely and isolating. Consequently, daily life as you know it has drastically changed, but the expectations around work productivity has not.  

As a leader, you may be worrying, “How do I get 8 hours of productivity out of my team members?”  “Can I track if employees are actually working?” “What do I do to maintain engagement levels on my virtual team?”  “Should I monitor work being done or not done?” Keeping a pulse on productivity and generating results are a must.  However,  the Covid-19 crisis has thrown employees into an emotional spin. As a result, people are struggling to figure out the new work norm.

Your Leadership is Needed More Than Ever

Your leadership is needed more than ever. Most importantly, your employees need you in new ways. Help your employees be more productive by checking-in with them more frequently. And, focus on the human and not just the employee. For instance,  remember to add check-in questions that are more relevant and meaningful in these challenging times. By doing so, you demonstrate empathy & build feelings of trust. As a result, you help to boost engagement and productivity as people transition into work from home.

With engagement in mind, here is a guide to make your check-ins more effective.

Consider an Engagement Pulse

Gallup recently shared a pulse survey in a webcast titled, Week 2:  Briefing:  Gallup’s Latest COVID-19 Data and Insights for Leaders.     This pulse survey introduces 5 key questions any organization can use to get a pulse on how their employees are doing.  

  1. My leadership has a clear plan of action.
  2. I feel well prepared to do my job.
  3. My supervisor keeps me informed about what is going on.
  4. My organization cares about my well-being.
  5. Over the past 24 hours, have you been practicing social-distancing?

Launch an Engagement Pulse in 5 Simple Steps

  1. Create your Pulse Survey
    First, select your online survey tool to send out your pulse surveys to your employees.  Select a tool that is easy for you to use, fits your short term and long term survey goals, and fits your budget. For example, Survey Monkey and Glint are popular options to consider and explore. 

  2. Deploy your Survey  
    Next, ask participants to complete your 2-minute survey within 2 days of receiving the survey link.

  3. Create a Pulse Action Team
    Create a small committee responsible for analyzing and acting on the results. 
  4. Analyze the Results & Take Action
    In addition, schedule a meeting to review the results the day after it closes.  Your review meeting should cover:
    • Identify what is going well
    • Identify what needs to be improved
    • Create an action plan around the items that need to be improved
    • Design your communication plan. Click here for tips from Everything DiSC Work of Leaders to help align your communicate your plan.

  5. Align Your Action Plan
    Communicate your action plan to your employees two days after the survey is closed. In addition, introduce your plan in writing and in virtual team meetings to allow for questions.

  6. Re-Survey
    Send the survey out again in 14 – 21 days. In doing so, follow the same review and communication process.  In other words, rinse and repeat.

  7. Measure Results
    Finally, document your results in a manner that will allow you to see trends.  People love being able to quickly see data and trends with snappy bar graphs and/or line charts.

Need support?  We are here to help.  Reach out to us for a complimentary 1-hour consultation session on how to deploy and take action on this survey data.