Category Archives: blog

The Rush Back to “Normal”

The longing to rush back to “normal” is  probably natural after all these months, but it may not be practical. Resistance to change is natural, too, but it can also be disastrous.

The joy of healing hugs 

Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June; that lands it on the 20th this year. The idea for this venerable holiday was inspired by a loving daughter from Spokane Washington in 1910. Fortunately most of us embraced the idea long before it  became an official national holiday in 1972.

And the Hugs for Health Foundation designated June 29th National Hug Holiday. The idea according to their website: “…[it] encourages us to give hugs to those who need them. On this day, people go out and give hugs at senior citizen centers, hospitals, and other places. The focus is upon elderly, sick and invalid, lonely people and anyone who needs the warmth, cheer, and love that a hug provides.”

That was then; this is COVID

The joys of June! Two delightfully unselfish, joyous celebrations of our common humanity! So full of hearts, flowers, hugs, kisses, and well wishes. That was then—but now we’re in the midst of a pandemic. So ironically social distancing via air-hugs and mask-covered smooches may be the safest way to say “I love you.” 

Many of us yearn for the “good ol’ days” when we always knew what to do. And what we knew always saw us through—as seen through the lens of nostalgia . But this slow-motion reality check called COVID-19 compels us to learn  some hard lessons and learn them well. We simply can’t afford to fail the tests it imposes—there’s no wiggle room in the middle of a pandemic.

So what should we have learned by now?

A CEO’s power to command is no longer sacrosanct. Granted these titans of industry have power to wield, but it should not be wielded against their own employees.  Surely we should understand now that when power is monetized it is more easily weaponized.

Work/life balance matters. And a lot of workers being ordered back to base camp are saying “NO”! And, no, they’re not just being rebellious or insubordinate. They’re being  caring parents, and committed spouses. And they’re also being stretched to their emotional  limits. So some of them are saying no to the stress and expense of interminable commutes, a lack of affordable child care, and  the psychological pressure of longer inflexible hours. And, of course, there’s the fear of contracting a deadly disease.

“Human resources” are not cogs. Ours is a capitalist country and one of our greatest assets is human capital. As defined by Oxford Languages, human capital refers to “…the skills, knowledge, and experience possessed by an individual or population, viewed in terms of their value or cost to an organization.”

Silos suck. Pivots work. That is to say, departmental territoriality, resource, and information silos can suck the life out of employees and the corporate culture. Cross-departmental collaboration can breathe life into a company, as evidenced by the early “pivotal” days of the pandemic [pun intended].

Hybridization is a thing now. Office-based and home-based assignments are not either/or choices anymore, but many executives cannot accept this. Perhaps their clarion call to return to the office  reflects their  need for control. After all, close quarters facilitate easy oversight and domination, and this may be the only way they know how to command. But it’s not the only way.  Hybrid business models can work if you work them—if you’re willing to work them.

COVID-19 sucks. Its lessons don’t have to. To some, the phrase “rush back  to normal” translates to “being driven backwards by fear”. That’s a natural human emotion, but not necessarily the best way to run a business. So how about this: “a steady pace forward into a new era of business”.  This may prove to be a much healthier call-to-action as well as a more viable strategy for survival.


Back to the Office

Is the dark cloud of terror from COVID lifting? Corporate bosses think so. Hence, the clamor for workers to come back to the office post haste. 

“Location, Location, Location”

Before WWII, Harold Samuel, a British real estate tycoon, coined this familiar phrase. It basically means that a property’s value depends on its location. Right now executives are hoping to boost the company’s value by bringing employees back on site. Their rationale: interaction, collaboration, and innovation may be fostered in the office. Or they may be forfeited by remote work assignments. 

Connection, connection, connection

Let’s face it, we’re a social species. Shaping humanity is really a contact sport, that is to say, it determines the kind of humans we become and continual connection helps us grow. Even “challenging” relationships can be the fertilizer that makes us more mature, secure individuals.

Some experts think in-office team building helped many companies pivot more easily to remote assignments early on in the pandemic. They contend that those pre-COVID  in-house relationships facilitated agility and resilience during the lockdown. 

On-site benefits

And admittedly there a number of practical reasons for calling in the troops. For one thing, it’s a safe bet that no one will miss what’s now called “Zoom fatigue”. Many workers suffered eye strain and headaches from these virtual meeting marathons. 

And while their energy sagged, their shortened tempers flared. Additionally, retro-fitting home nooks into office space didn’t guarantee privacy from spouses and children, many of whom were on lockdown as well. 

Iron sharpens iron

Initially, some workers enjoyed the freedom from commuting and having more time to spend with family. Ironically, though, many of these same employees began to feel isolated and depressed.  

According to the Book of Proverbs, “iron sharpens iron,” which means that innovators inspire and challenge other innovators. And that’s proven true in the workplace—creative people get their juices flowing around like-minded game-changers. 

Lots of home-based workers have missed that spark ignited by collaborating with fellow workers.  Even in the “old” office, synergy still kindles innovation.  And there’s the added benefit of feeling comfortable in familiar surroundings. Veterans like knowing the lay of the land. And newbies get to learn the ropes, establish relationships,  and absorb the corporate culture more easily on-site. 

Old office, new norms

So the old office may indeed be the launching pad for a whole new era of business. But that can only happen if new norms are adopted, because “old norms” are in the rearview mirror of COVID-19.

Expectations about the big return are interlaced with both nervous excitement and absolute dread. According to, “The predictions are dizzying, conflicting—and confusing. Imagine the plight of workers trying to make decisions about homes, commutes, childcare and school districts right now…..”

These issues caused by COVID-19 created a perfect storm of mental health problems. And for the first time, the mental health crisis in America is so serious it supersedes worries about the traditional stigma of mental illness. Mental health matters, for today’s remote workforce: a vast majority of workers (80%) would consider quitting their current position for a job that focused more on employees’ mental health. That’s according to a recent survey of 1,000 Americans, published by TELUS International. Research indicates that 75% of U.S. workers have struggled at work due to anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other recent world events.”

Self-care is not selfish

Granted “self” is a 4-letter, but it can no longer be treated as such in the workplace if employers want robust, healthy, productive employees. Workers need to be treated more like human assets than machine cogs.


  • How about making mental health counselors available throughout the work day—virtually or on-site?
  • What about additional restrooms that are actually designed for rest breaks?
  • And how about more humane work hours, and flexible schedules?
  • What about publicly acknowledging each employee’s value and privately supporting workers who need to improve? You know, instead of the reverse—public humiliation and private commendations.
  • When is  your company going to care about child care?

 CEOs who want to call their troops back, should remember not to wage war against them—re hours, salaries, and the like. Instead, equip them to fight for the survival of the company during this surreal time— and win!!

Upgrading Your Leadership Style

COVID-19 has turned Corporate America on it’s head. And you leaders in the executive suite have been on the receiving-end of the biggest and most traumatic disruptions.  To regroup and reset,  maybe it’s time for you to think about refreshing and upgrading your leadership style. 

Great expectations or pipe dreams

With the increase in vaccinations, the subsequent decrease in social restrictions, and schools reopening, things seem to be looking up. And CEOs are chomping at the bit, longing to return to the old normal—on site supervision and control of employees.

Reality checks and paychecks

Even if all remote employees were eager to return to the office, few are eager to embrace the old norms. From where they sit on the corporate ladder, stressful commutes, long hours, and iron-fisted leadership are unappealing and impractical.

It may be equally impractical for underlings to expect superiors to yield to their demands and expect to keep their jobs. Forgive the mixed metaphors, but everyone on the corporate ladder is also in the same boat. That’s the paradoxical reality with which both camps must grapple.

The pain of change

Reversing course can be challenging even in smooth waters. But, like the iceberg tha t sank the Titanic, COVID has threatened to sink businesses, large and small. Some CEOs can see the iceberg dead ahead. But many don’t know how to change what they do and how they do it in order to avert disaster.

Traditional leadership styles

In his book Campfire Leadership: Effective Leadership From a Personality PerspectiveMagnovo’s CEO, Rob Jackson identifies 4 dominant traditional leadership styles. His descriptions may cast a new “light” on your own style.

  • Jackson calls leaders who enjoy the limelight “Spotlight leaders.” That’s because they’re at their best when they are in charge.
  • Leaders who shine backstage, will take center stage when necessary—but only when necessary. These timid “Torchlight leaders” prefer to lead from behind.
  • Jackson’s “Lighthouse leaders”  wear this moniker well because like any lighthouse, they search the horizon for obstacles. And while they avoid the spotlight, they quickly sound the alarm lest a project be compromised or destroyed. 
  • “Disco light leaders”  savor action, set a pretty fast pace, and keep their teams up to speed. 

Both superior and servant

What some popularly refer to as servant leadership,  Jackson calls “Campfire Leadership.” Like servant leaders, Campfire Leaders both value and invest in their employees. As described in his book, they encourage innovation and listen to out-of-the-box ideas. They aren’t threatened by opinions that contradict their own. Campfire Leaders know that “Yes”men do no good.

They don’t treat mistakes as failures, nor do they berate the workers who make them. These leaders know that mistakes happen and that they shouldn’t be used as weapons.And they think and plan beyond their own self-interest. This means they readily groom others to lead. They see future leaders as company assets,  not competition.

Campfire Leadership, aka servant leadership, may be hard to wrap your head around at first. You probably weren’t trained to  embrace team members as people instead of dominating them. Establishing a corporate culture of transparency, openness, and support may seem counter-intuitive right now.But in the current climate, drastic changes across the board may be necessary—from the executive suite down.

Upgrading your leadership style with DiSC

Of course, you may be one of those forward-thinking leaders who doesn’t bristle at the idea of being transparent. And you may be too secure and mature to feel threatened by the prospect of  losing your  so-called “clout”. 

Nevertheless it may still be hard to unlearn the old and embrace the new. Truth is, it’s hard not to do what you’ve always done. First, ask yourself these questions: How would you characterize your leadership style? How’s it working for you? Are you willing to upgrade it?

Would you like to get to the heart of how you do what you do, why you do it and how effective it is? All of these answers are available through DiSC personality training.

DiSC means Dominant, Influential, Steady, and Conscientious. These are the 4 basic personality types we all share in differing measures. Understanding your own personality will increase your self-awareness and dramatically improve your insight into the personalities of your employees. 

DiSC is a window into the minds and hearts of the people who make your company successful. Open that window, let some fresh air in, and begin afresh. It will be the first important step toward reviving your company during these challenging times.

Upgrading your leadership skills with DiSC and Campfire Leadership concepts—it will be an illuminating experience.



New vs. Old Norms in the Workplace

New versus old norms in the workplace. The battle is heated and you can almost hear the rumbling and grumbling about home-based versus on-site work spaces.

The great perception gap

There’s good news and there’s bad news—which one applies to you depends on where you are on the food chain.

The reports that  “According to Microsoft’s newly released Work Trend Index survey, 61% of business leaders say they’re “thriving” right now, while only 38% of workers without decision-making authority say the same………Business leaders in the survey were more likely to be male and farther along in their careers. Compared to workers without decision-making authority, they reported stronger relationships with colleagues and leadership, higher incomes, and a higher likelihood of taking all of their allotted vacation days.”

They’re encouraged by the  success of the current vaccination drive and the trend toward loser social restrictions. Plus millions of students around the country have returned to school. So many CEOs  see these as signs that things are returning to normal. In fact, they’re feeling so optimistic that many are ready for their staffers to return to the office.  

Meanwhile their underlings are still overwhelmed by all of the daily challenges COVID caused. And a lot of staffers are balking because their bosses refuse to adjust to the “new normal.” 

Ready or not: new versus old norms in the workplace

The fact is that while millions of people have been vaccinated, there are millions who are still waiting, and many who refuse to do so! And since the shots are not mandatory, what can you do? Then there’s the threat of COVID virus variants about which we’re still learning. So the fear of infection is very real. 

According to Newsweek, “Nearly two-thirds of Americans still have not received even one dose and only 20 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated. And with variants spreading, COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in most states across the country.”

Additionally, thousands of kids continue learning remotely, which puts their parents in a bind. They can’t return to the office without someone to supervise their children. This is particularly problematic for single parents and lower income families. 

Be they ever so jumbled, there’s no place like home offices. As chaotic as it was adjusting to remote work assignments, a lot of employees aren’t ready to face the daily commute and the 9 to 5 grind.  

Granted, remote work hasn’t exactly been paradise. Zoom fatigue. Longer hours. Isolation. Feeling  undervalued. Fear of not being promoted. These issues have loomed large in the minds of remote workers. Nevertheless, child care, and flexible schedules outweigh these concerns for a lot of them.

New versus old norms in the workplace and team building

Effective leadership during this pandemic means  being in touch with what’s impacting workers. The well-being of the company and the well being of the employees should not be at odds with each other.  They are interdependent, or they should be, if team building goals are going to be met.

At the beginning of this nightmare, everybody felt they were in the same boat. The drawbridge was lowered and siloed information was released as needed. Leaders risked transparency with their teams and share decision-making challenges with them—and the positive feedback was phenomenal. Employers who expect workers to be dedicated to the company must be dedicated to the welfare of those workers. That’s one lesson  from the COVID school of hard-knocks that can’t be scrapped at this juncture. 

Agility in the executive suite is now equally as important as it is among subordinates. Hybrid schedules that include both on-site and remote work assignments may be necessary for the long term. Assuring employee safety on-site and at home-based offices should be a top priority. And whatever happens, everyone from the top down will need a learning curve and allowances for hiccups should be made.

Employee well-being must be included in plans to boost or revive the company’s bottom line. Mediation and compromise have never been more crucial in Corporate America. With strong but humane leadership everyone can thrive.

What Makes a Workplace Great?

What makes a workplace great? It depends on who you’re asking. For younger staffers—who dominate the landscape of Corporate America—it means proactive involvement in making the community great— economically, environmentally, and socially.

What makes a workplace great during a pandemic?

American journalist, David Ignatius said it best: “Fear brings out the best in some people and the worst in others. It’s a test of character, for individuals and nations.”

No doubt, the pandemic has tested the mettle of every business enterprise on the planet and exposed their worst and  best attributes. Many big corporations and small businesses have managed to stay afloat by tossing a lot of their core values and best people overboard in order to do it.

But companies with the most dynamic and agile leadership styles rose to the challenge and became hometown heroes and champions among their own staffers. 

Just ask employees at Nationwide. They’re all wearing pretty wide grins these days, touting the company as one of the top workplaces in the country. They told that their employer really knows how to  “walk its talk of being ‘on your side’—in this case, the side of communities hit hard by COVID….” 

Nationwide workers bragged that “…. the mutual insurance company contributed millions of dollars to the Red Cross and other COVID relief efforts…and they saw the organization donate millions more to groups working on racial equity and fair housing…”

What makes a workplace great to Millennials?

The pandemic has humanized the worldview of many American CEOs. So they are responding to COVID as both a crisis and an opportunity. They recognize it as a chance to become better and to do good. 

Many American companies earnestly want to bring their communities together and strengthen them. So in spite of our masks and social distancing protocols, these enlightened executives are warmly embracing their hometowns. This means that they are committed to the concept of corporate social responsibility for the long haul. 

That’s the Millennial wheelhouse! Corporate social responsibility is part of what they call work-life balance. These bright young things fervently believe that what you do at work should also make life better for your neighbors!

To Millennials, work-life balance is simply the humane thing to do.

Authentic employee engagement makes a workplace great

Millennials are most easily engaged when they feel valued for their work and for themselves! That’s why financial services giant Edward Jones recently ranked No.2 on the latest list of great workplaces. Millennial staffers reported to that,“They strive for a teamwork approach and include everyone no matter what level they are at. Your thoughts and opinions matter and are taken seriously. I feel valued as an employee by this company.”

Authentic employee engagement also placed Reddit at No.20 on the list. Their Millennials told, “One of the company’s values is ‘Remember the Human.’ Beyond just a stated value, I feel this permeates in the work we do and in the culture we have. Internally, there is a real sense that you can be your quirky, weird, individual self.” 

What makes a workplace great to Generation Z?

This question may seem redundant since both Millennials and GenZers are young. But how’s this for a reality check: the oldest Millennials are now 40, which makes them middle aged! The oldest GenZers are only 24.

While you’re recovering from that shock, consider this:  According to, GenZers only know what it’s like to live in a fully digital world.  It’s the only way they know how to navigate and that’s just fine with them, thank you very much. They were born into a world where smartphones [not cell phones], social media and online shopping were already the norm. reports: “As the pandemic has dragged on, Gen Z has been ready and able to harness the power of the Internet to organize, entertain, and stay incorporated in each other’s lives. When social justice moved to the forefront of American consciousness, Gen Z was leading the charge. An ethical, morally serious generation, Gen Z are mobile, wily, thrifty, and up for the challenge.”

Professional and personal fulfillment opps make a workplace great

Millennials aren’t as motivated by money as GenZers, but for both, employee engagement is about advancement opportunities—and not just for the dosh. They want to grow professionally and they expect professional development to be personally fulfilling.

Both are committed to diversity and equality and expect the brands they buy and the companies they work for to do the same.

What makes a workplace great? Leadership EQ 

To these young whippersnappers, social and digital tech are not just tools or office supplies, like a stapler or phone. They’re foundational to team building. GenZers network, problem solve, strategize and coordinate community service projects, and plan happy hour with their digital appendages.

Ironically these same tech toys that make their teams so cohesive also distract them, because they all interface with smartphones, to which their brains are hardwired. Consequently their stress levels are high along with their burnout rates.

Emotional intelligence [EQ] is the most valuable leadership tool you can have as an executive when working with GenZers. A high EQ will help you: 

  • Customize your team building strategies 
  • Understand and adopt work life balance goals
  • Improve their time management skills
  • Tailor your conflict management and resolution style
  • Monitor their need for and plan: short breaks, vacations, and limited off-hour communications 

Ultimately, you’ll set them up to succeed and live their best lives. And you’ll also groom them for leadership in the future. That will make your workplace the best in the world.





Team Building 101: Open Up and Listen Up!

The first lesson in Team Building 101 is “open up and listen up”! No need for notetaking or quizzes here.  Just open your mind and you’ll reach the head of the class in no time.

Team Building

Team Building 101: What to consider before you communicate

Remember the teacher in Charles Shultz’s comic strip Peanuts? When Miss Othmar, the teacher,  spoke, all students heard was “Wonk Wonk Wonk Wonk Wonk”! Neither Linus or the rest of the Peanuts gang understood a word she said. They just sat politely, stared straight ahead, and tuned her out.

Peanuts debuted in 1950, but the truth is that more than 70 years later, nobody has mastered “Wonk.”  You can’t communicate if you’re not understood. Reading the temperature of the room is great, but knowing your audience is better. 

Speaking of oldies-but-goodies: one of my faves is the 1969 movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Remember what the Sundance Kid famously asked about the posse chasing him and Butch? “Who are these guys?!” 

Well, follow his example and ask yourself the same question about your posse. And I’m not just talking about gender, race, or educational level—they’re just demographics, cold hard figures. 

I’m talking about warm, fuzzy “people” stuff. So who are these guys? Why are they here—what are their professional aspirations? What do they care about personally? How are they important to your team? I know that warm and fuzzy are not part of the corporate wheelhouse, but it won’t kill you to give it a try, right? And if you do, it might just kill the competition, right?

Team Building 101: Open up and listen up!

Speaking of which, when a member of your staff speaks, what do you hear? If your answer is  “Wonk Wonk Wonk Wonk Wonk,” that’s a  problem. 

If you don’t listen to them, why should they listen to you? Nope, the answer isn’t because you’re the boss. Team building means give-and-take. It’s about reciprocity. Leadership guru, Steve Covey said it best, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” In other words: never be too self-important to close your mouth and open your ears. 

Team Building 101: Own your spin

The pandemic has elevated the stress level in Corporate America to an all-time high. Leaders are being stretched to the limits of their abilities and as well as their confidence. 

But you can’t [or shouldn’t] wear your COVID-mask to hide your fears. Own them and seek help if you need it. That’s the only way you can lead authentically and effectively. It’s the only way you can own your spin, that is to say, you need to actually believe what you’re saying. 

If you don’t, no one else will. And make sure you know what you’re talking about. If you’re  trying to drive home a point, don’t speculate. Do your homework first.

And while slide presentations can be great if you need a visual point of reference to reinforce your spiel, try to resist the temptation to hide behind them. Using graphs and charts as a form of “life support” may leave you dead in the water.

the importance of team buildingTeam Building 101: It’s a contact sport

Very shortly after COVID-19 crashed into our lives, the Internet was loaded with protocols for proper body language during a virtual meeting! That’s because the disconnects were fast and furious and teams began to unravel. 

Sometimes, in a remote setting, eye contact is the only obvious form of  human contact! We all know that sometimes virtual work assignments can feel surreal. So it’s important to make the connection between what your body is saying and how people react to what you’re saying. And if you’re not sure, better ask directly.  

Team Building 101: Accentuate the positive

You’ve got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive

Eliminate the negative

And latch on to the affirmative

Don’t mess with Mister In-between

Songwriter Johnny Mercer wrote it and the Andrews Sisters sang it in 1944—you know, back in the dark ages before microwave ovens and Spotify. But even if you’ve never heard of either, they definitely got it right! 

As a leader, you’ve got to cast your vision for the company in a way that makes your team look forward to the future instead of dreading it. Fanciful dreams won’t cut it either.

Being honest, hopeful, and optimistic are not mutually exclusive if your leadership style is a healthy one. Identifying the positives—financial and personnel—and basing your game plan on them are the best way to build a strong, confident, loyal team.



Women’s History in the Workplace

March is Women’s History Month. And women’s history in the workplace deserves pride of place during this commemorative month, even in the midst of the pandemic.

Since 1987, Americans have saluted women’s contributions to the nation’s history. And with the election of our first female Vice President, the National Women’s History Alliance [NWHA] chose “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced” as the theme for 2021.

Women’s work

In the early 20th century, women’s work meant one thing: housekeeping. Those few women who did earn a living outside the home were young and single. Household duties replaced their “careers” once they married. Consequently, as few as five percent of women earned a living in the labor force.

That changed dramatically in the 1970s when women began to enter the American workforce en masse. This was due in no small part to the availability of educational opportunities and child care. These options—which we take for granted now—weren’t open before.

The Brookings Institute reports that “By 1970, 50 percent of single women and 40 percent of married women were participating in the labor force. Several factors contributed to this rise. First, with the advent of mass high school education, graduation rates rose substantially. At the same time, new technologies contributed to an increased demand for clerical workers, and these jobs were increasingly taken on by women. Moreover, because these jobs tended to be cleaner and safer, the stigma attached to work for a married woman diminished. And while there were still marriage bars that forced women out of the labor force, these formal barriers were gradually removed over the period following World War II.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women comprised 50 percent of the workforce in America in 2019 earning approximately 80 percent of what men were paid.

Erasing women’s history in the workplace?

Thanks to the calamity caused by the  coronavirus, women are leaving the workplace in droves. And sadly,  the strides they achieved  in leadership and pay equity may unravel right before our eyes.

When the pandemic-induced recession hit the United States, women, especially women of color, were laid off or furloughed more frequently than their white counterparts. Subsequent lockdowns meant schools and child care facilities closed, so millions of working women were left without their main support systems.

Ironically, the NWHA’s theme, “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced”  now has a dual meaning. That’s because so many women have raised their voices by voting not to work outside the home. While this vote was compulsory for many women, it is going to have a profound effect on the entire country—socially, politically, and economically.

Consequently, “shecession”  is the trending buzzword that reflects the mass exodus of  nearly three million women from the American workforce as of February 2021. This alarming statistic signals the precarious crossroads at which corporate America has arrived.

Women in your workplace

As dire as all of this sounds, there may be an up side. In their landmark report, “Women in the Workplace 2020,”  McKinsey & Company report “This crisis also represents an opportunity. If companies make significant investments in building a more flexible and empathetic workplace—and there are signs that this is starting to happen—they can retain the employees most impacted by today’s crises and create more opportunities for women to succeed in the long term.”

So where does that leave you and your company? Eager to find the “up side” but not sure where it is? Magnovo can help you find it. Our facilitators will chart your path and help you navigate through the process of:

  • Making an honest assessment of women’s roles in your company;  
  • Identifying what you are willing to do to retain them; 
  • Facilitating transparent dialogue about your expectations and theirs; 
  • Strengthening your conflict management protocols.

Ultimately the decisions you make now will contribute to the story of women’s history in the workplace in America.  And Magnovo can make sure you’re proud of your legacy.



The Importance of Employee Appreciation and Recognition

March 6 is Employee Appreciation Day. Like everything else, the pandemic has  dramatically increased the importance of employee appreciation and recognition. It probably started out as a token gesture; but now such acknowledgements are more important than ever because the nature of employment has changed. What it means to be a reliable employee and team player is no longer just about job function. It’s now about being essential to the survival of  the company. 

Employee appreciation and recognition says “You matter”!

The struggle for work-life balance has always been real, but now everybody knows it—even those at the top of the food chain! And that’s because everybody has been affected by the pandemic.

Maintaining your work performance in relative isolation under tremendous pressure? Focusing on the job while keeping an eye on your child’s distance learning progress? Juggling spousal, parental, and multiple other roles? Struggling to keep at bay your anxieties about contracting the most deadly disease any of us has ever faced in our lives?

Now’s the time for your executive suite to shout from the penthouse-rooftop: “Hey team! We appreciate you! We couldn’t do this without you! Thank you!” And they should continue to shout it out in emails, newsletters, social media, and chat boards until it echoes throughout the company corridors.

Employee appreciation and recognition: personalize it!

Virtual work duty can foster feelings of isolation and relative obscurity. Fortunately, an up close and personal expression of gratitude from a superior can have inestimable value in dispelling a remotely located employee’s notion that they’ve been forgotten.

Employee appreciation and recognition often works best when it’s personalized and passion-driven. So for some members of your team, the best way  to give them accolades that really matter may be to support their giving back to the community. For example, you could host a charitable team building event targeting a cause that they love!

Genuine acts of kindness have a longer shelf-life when they’re driven by genuine zeal for a noble cause. Our remote Rescue Buddies workshop is a prime example. After all,  what could be more life-affirming than helping traumatized children?

Rescue Buddies rescue!

Every year approximately 40,000 children are affected by house fires.  And nearly 100,000 kids are injured in car accidents. Even more heart-rending is the increase in domestic violence since the pandemic began. This spike was triggered  by the economic fallout from unemployment and prospective foreclosures and evictions, along with the stress from  “lockdown” confinement. Result: many abuse victims are trapped at home with their abusers!

Before COVID-19, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reported that   “1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.”  Incidents of abuse have skyrocketed since the pandemic and millions of children are being traumatized every day. In fact experts are calling this a “pandemic within a pandemic”.

Fire fighters, state troopers, health care providers, social service workers, and other first responders are witnessing this first hand. And hundreds of them  across America are grateful to have a stash of Rescue Buddies to give out.

Employee appreciation and recognition: paying it forward!

Rescue Buddies are stuffed animals—bears, birds, and other huggable beasties—that are assembled during our workshops for the express purpose of giving them to young victims of car crashes, house fires, and domestic abuse cases. 

They’re stored in the trunks of squad cars, ambulances, and other vehicles patiently waiting to be swept up into the arms of a frightened, disoriented child. The toys don’t talk, but they speak volumes: “You’re going to be okay.” “I’m here for you, just hold on tight.”  “We will get through this together!”

They’re stuffed with love, comfort, and security and you and your team can make them! How’s that for employee appreciation and recognition that  makes a real difference and leaves a tangible legacy of kindness?


DiSC is the Great Generational Equalizer

Conflict management in the workplace can be especially treacherous among different age groups. Fortunately, DiSC is the great generational equalizer!

A world, a part?

In the complex and confounding world of social media there is an ongoing feud between Millennials and Generation Zers about  wearing a part down the middle of your hair. Millennials do it. Generation Zers disdain it. 

Skinny jeans? Millennials wear. Generation Z swears they’re “old school.” Emojis? That’s how Millennials emote. Emojis lost their mojo with Generation Z. Of course, you do realize that  Millennials are between 25 and 40 years old; and Generation Zers are between 6 and 24. Let that sink in….slowly.

Yup. The yap in this generation gap gets louder as the gap gets wider.

Millennial furor vs. fervor 

Across the pond, the describes them as snowflakes: “…easily offended, attention-seeking and lacking resilience. Often lumped together with the words ‘liberal’, ‘political correctness’, ‘safe space’, and ‘identity politics’; snowflakes are accused of living in a bubble of righteousness, and shutting down free speech when it comes into conflict with their own opinions…”

Ouch! I’ll bet this was written by a Generation Z journalist. Frankly, I think  Millennials are unique but they don’t melt that easily. If they did, they wouldn’t be able to cope with the chronic stress of school debt, fluctuating economy, higher rents, and the wave of disasters from climate change that they inherited from their parents—all of this in addition to the trauma of life during a pandemic!

There are 56 million Millennials in the American workforce. Translation: they’re an “offer” no company can refuse. They’re redefining what work is, what it’s worth and how it’s done. Millennials are full of new ideas about what leadership is, what it’s worth, how it should be done, and how it could be done better—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

The good old days of employer dominance and employee submission until retirement doth they part is over. And that’s not necessarily bad either. I mean, be honest: how good was it really? 

These young people spent a lifetime observing their parents and all the stuff they endured on the job. And even though they reaped the benefits as kids, Millennials are not sure all that “stuff” is worth it now that they are all grown up themselves. 

Generation Z favor vs. frustration

In an article published by the Society for Human Resource Management, They “…consider themselves the hardest-working generation yet won’t tolerate being forced to work when they don’t want to, according to a new study. Moreover, although they consider themselves to be the consummate ‘digital generation,’ they say they prefer face-to-face interactions at work.”

There are 61 million Generation Zers out there who are ready to conquer the world! They’re not all in the workforce, yet, but they are already having an impact.

Actually, Generation Zers are no better or worse than Millennials. They’re just different. Their world views are different. For instance, What 9/11 is to Millennials, COVID-19  is for Generation Z. Let that sink in….slowly.

Now imagine being a Baby Booming CEO with a staff full of brilliant, tech savvy whiz kids from both camps! 

DiSC the great equalizer!

In order to manage such an assortment of mixed nuts, first you have to break open the shells, right?  But how? DiSC.

DiSC is a mental life-raft that identifies four personality types and teaches trainees how to stay afloat. Dominants. Influentials. Supportives. Conscientious. Each of us exhibits traits of all to a greater or lesser extent.

Learning how each employee thinksno matter their agemay determine how much you and your company tread water,  cruise along, or even pick up speed during a storm like the COVID pandemic.

And DiSC can be a unifier as well. For example, you will find that the one thing these two generations have in common is that they’re all about support versus control. Collaboration versus domination.  

Recognizing the idiosyncrasies of your various Dominants along with their points of commonality—their passions and core values—will open the way forward in developing collaborations between staffers. A  Millennial Influential may be an ideal match with a Conscientious Generation Z because of a mutual commitment to CSR projects.

According to an article in The Guardian, “There is a wealth of data bearing out their view that a business which involves and supports its staff is going to have a better relationship with its customers, and be more profitable.”

DiSC is a threshold over which everyone can step on an equal footing. And each individual can move forward with the full assurance that in spite of—and sometimes because of—their  age, cultural, social, or other differences they will be valued and supported.

DiSC is the great generational equalizer and that always translates to a healthier corporate culture and a bigger bottom line.

How DiSC Can Promote Mental Health

Do you feel as if you’re losing yourself? Unable to focus and move forward because of everything that’s going on? One way to find yourself again is through DiSC personality discovery. It doesn’t treat mental illness but DiSC can promote mental health.

COVID-19 and the psychological pandemic

You know how if enough bugs splat your windshield, you can’t see clearly? Each bug is small, but together they can wreak havoc. The pandemic has made our emotional and psychological windshields seem impenetrable. And sometimes windshield wipers just aren’t enough. 

Millions of people are not only suffering the physical effects and side effects of COVID 19, they’re also suffering emotionally and mentally.

Frank Snowden, a historian of pandemics at Yale said: “All pandemics ‘afflict societies through the specific vulnerabilities people have created by their relationships with the environment, other species, and each other….’ Each pandemic has its own properties, and this one—a bit like the bubonic plague—affects mental health… [and he sees] a second pandemic coming ‘in the train of the COVID-19 first pandemic … [a] psychological pandemic’.”

So what do you do when you can’t see your way forward? For some of us, the only recourse is to seek professional healthswiftly and unapologetically. Such an act of self-care is a step toward sanity and peace.

DiSC to the rescue

For others, a lens adjustment may bring things into sharper focus. DiSC personality discovery can promote mental health by clearing away the mental clutter and the gunk on your emotional windshield.

DiSC is shorthand for Dominant, Influential, Steadfast or Supportive, Conscientious. They’re four personality types that we all share in some measure. A deeper understanding of your own personality and those of your colleagues may make it easier to navigate through these uncertain times.

For example, as a leader, you have to wear many hats: commander-in-chief, vision caster, and sometimes even career coach. Now it’s one thing to gauge the temperature in the boardroom, but it’s quite another to do it virtually.  And with so many emotions and psyches to deal with, now you have many more layers of economic chaos, fiscal threats, and business matters to juggle! Surely something’s got to give, right? Well that’s where DiSC comes in.

DiSC can promote mental health at your company by helping your team members understand each other. And they’ll learn what they can and cannot expect from themselves and others regarding specific crises. 

For instance, a Steadfast employee may not provide the booming voice of encouragement that a cheerleading Dominant staffer can when the team really needs it. However that same Steadfast employee will no doubt prove to be an anchor and a voice of reason possible during the crisisjust more quietly.

DiSC promotes healthy team building

The pandemic is enforcing new rules of employee engagement. So the old elitist food chain must transform into a diverse and inclusive buffet if businesses are to survive. DiSC can help managers figure out who has what to offer for this new menu. And that’s the key: everyone has something to offer; you just have to learn how to recognize it.

The ability to see everyone’s value and turn it into an asset will: 

  1. Ease relational tensions—generational, racial, and otherwise
  2. Facilitate conflict management
  3. Transform team building into team bonding
  4. Boost the overall morale of the company
  5. Create a sense of emotional stability and professional security 
  6. Increase the level of confidence in the company and its leadership

DiSC personality discovery is just thatan adventurous discovery of your best attributes and a chance to learn how to become an even better you. And as you grow more tolerant and accepting of yourself, you’ll “discover” how to cope with and value the personalities around you.

Aoife O’Donovan, an associate professor of psychiatry at the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences in California said this: “… these times as creating the conditions for new opportunities. The challenges will be many; the fallout painful. But there is an opening for previously unthinkable change, not only to the structures of societies, but also in countless small ways — privately, personally. We have lived for months at close quarters with ourselves. We will deepen our appreciation of some of the simple things we have missed, and some of the pleasures that have helped us through, even if it is only the taste of a new season apple. And in some measure, we will know ourselves better.”

DiSC will help with that processgetting to know ourselves and each other with acceptance, inclusion, and support.

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