Do something you’re afraid of today….

bikeshoesI did it. I finally got bike shoes that clip into the peddles. If you’re not a cyclist, no worries, just imagine your shoes being attached to the peddles and you have to unclip them when you stop or else you fall off your bike and go BOOM! And here’s what everyone who has clips tells you…”You WILL fall!”

Why, you might ask, am I subjecting myself to something scary that also has the potential of causing injury (I’m wondering that myself as I type this – haha). Because I CAN! And because all my cycling buddies tell me that I’ll see a vast difference in the energy I put out to climb hills or do long distance rides. The effort will decrease and the reward will increase. (Now that I’m typing that, I’m thinking “Why didn’t I do this in 2008 when I participated in my first triathlon?)

So here’s my question for you…

What’s something you’re afraid of doing at work that would have a great payoff if you did it?

Here are some challenges for you to ponder and take the plunge:

  • Offer to lead part of a staff meeting – make it fun and interesting.
  • Volunteer to be part of an organization-wide committee or project team that’s outside your comfort zone.
  • Call someone in another department that you kind of know and wish you knew better and invite him or her to meet you for coffee.
  • Schedule a meeting to talk with your boss about your hopes and aspirations – share your plan for making changes you’d like to see at work.
  • Have that tough conversation with someone who reports to you about the thing that everyone knows and secretly talks about behind your back.

That’s plenty for today. Picture yourself being “successful” (For me that will mean becoming comfortable with clipping in and unclipping so that I remain safely upright on my bike). What does success look like in your situation? How does that connect to what makes you satisfied, energized & productive (AKA engaged) at work?

Boredom at work is a real buzz kill and doing something you’re afraid of (that has a calculated risk) is one way to cause a spark that leads to you creating your own Professional Paradise.

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What I learned at a Carrabba’s in Texas

Earlier this month I presented the opening keynote for the Texas Organization of Nurse Executives (TONE) Annual Conference. The group of 200+ nursing leaders were great (welcome to all of you who are reading this). As an added bonus, my book editor and good friend, Juli Baldwin lives in Dallas so she came to see me speak and help me sell books after the talk.

After I was finished, Juli and I headed to the Carrabba’s Italian Restaurant in Dallas for lunch because Juli’s Carrabba Family Picson, Ryan, is a manager there (Ryan is 23 – he’s on the left in the picture). I’d met Juli’s two other son’s, but hadn’t met Ryan so this was a perfect spot to go. Ryan and his team were delightful hosts.

Near the end of the meal, the proprietor of the store, Cameron Morrow (he’s in his late 20’s) came in with his 10-month old daughter to run the weekly manager meeting. He and Juli had never met.

What I saw then was nothing short of amazing when it comes to engagement.

With Ryan standing next to him, Cameron looked Juli in the eye and talked for several minutes about how wonderful Ryan is doing as a manager. He spoke with authority, conviction and most importantly a caring heart. No, I haven’t gone all soft on you – I could just tell that Cameron is very dedicated to recognizing those around him. It was lovely as Cameron took his time with the conversation.

I had just met Cameron that day but I’m guessing that something that makes him satisfied, energized & productive (AKA engaged) is mentoring others and seeing folks grow and develop. He was certainly successful that day. Ryan stood next to Cameron and watched with a big smile on his face. Juli started to cry (she’s a self proclaimed crier – haha). I had goose bumps all over. I can only imagine that Ryan’s level of engagement (which is already high) has increased based on those few minutes of thoughtful conversation.

Today, think of the power of your words. Think about who you could positively influence by sharing your appreciation and honest comments about his or her work. Maybe it’s the person working along side you or someone who reports to you, maybe it’s someone from another department who you depend on to get your work done…the list of possibilities is endless. The gift you give that person is priceless.

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Part 2 – Why your employee engagement survey scores aren’t what you want them to be

employee engagement survey2Wondering why your engagement scores aren’t improving? Here’s the second reason. Did you miss the first? Just click HERE.

Now, here’s the second reason…Leaders take on too much of the responsibility for engaging others.

Satisfied, Energized & Productive
If you want to positively impact engagement, start with talking about it in a way that’s relevant to the employee. In my first book, SHIFT to Professional Paradise: 5 Steps to Less Stress, More Energy & Remarkable Results at Work, I define engagement as when someone is satisfied, energized & productive. A synonym is Professional Paradise™. Yes, you read that right. Professional Paradise. It’s not an oxymoron and it’s not something you can create for someone else. Keep this in mind as you continue.

Click here to uncover what to do next…

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Miscommunication and Disengagement

Miscommunication and misunderstanding are causes of disengagement and frustration at work. Here’s a case in point.

I went to a bar/restaurant with 2 friends to watch the 2015 National Championship (for college football). My older son went to Clemson undergrad and Alabama law school so we knew we were going to win either way – ha-ha. When we arrived at the watering hole, they had the game on with no volume. They were playing background music and when we asked the bartender to turn on the sound, he said (with a sad face), “My manager won’t let me”. When we asked “Why?”, he said “I don’t know”.

There were two other ladies there watching the game and cheering as well. The bartender said he could turn on the closed captioning, but that just didn’t cut it. One of my friends walked to another bar and sure enough they had the volume on. We made our move. That bartender who was waiting on us, wasn’t happy. Money that could have been his – just walked out the door. We told our new football watching friends (the 2 ladies) that there was sound down the street and they came with us (along with 15 friends who were meeting them).

That first bar got what the manager wanted…a quiet night with soft music with 18 less customers than they could have had. The bartender had to be super frustrated due to the misunderstanding. Now to think about this from the manager’s perspective, maybe there was a long standing set of complaints about having football games on or games don’t mesh with the values and branding of the bar. I don’t think that message had been conveyed to the bartender and other servers who were watching money walk out the door.

Here’s your opportunity to avoid miscommunication that causes disengagement, regardless of your position in your organization.

If you are in a supervisory role (making decisions that affect others) …

1. Explain the “What”, the “Why” and the “How” of your decision
2. Listen for feedback. What do team members know that you don’t that could affect this decision?
3. Be flexible where you can – sometimes the method for reaching goals isn’t as important as you think
4. Trust your staff to make the best decisions for the organization and your customers

If you are a team member (on the receiving end of decisions that are made) …

1. Ask “Why?” if you don’t understand – curiosity is a helpful attribute
2. Share the benefits for the business that your method provides
3. Avoid the temptation to complain about a decision all night to customers or coworkers
4. Trust that your manager may have more information than you do

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Why your employee engagement survey scores aren’t what you want them to be

ScoresI spend 80 percent of my time working with healthcare organizations that are serious about positively impacting employee engagement.

The leaders in these organizations understand the benefits of engaged employees. They willingly invest in improving their workplace and levels of engagement.

After working with dozens of organizations over the last several years, I found the following 3 reasons why engagement isn’t improving:

Click here to learn what those reasons are!

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What are you cooking up at work?

The Big Idea sign with clouds

My son, Josh, and I both love to cook. We also like watching TV shows about cooking. He recently recommended a Netflix documentary called Chef’s Table about chefs who change our perceptions of food and the way we treat the planet and ourselves.

One episode in particular got me thinking about you and work. The chef who was profiled is Dan Barber – the co-owner and executive chef of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns – and the author of the book, The Third Plate.

During the episode, Chef Dan shared that as a young chef a mentor told him, “If you’re not teetering on the edge of the tightrope, you’re not pushing the envelope enough.”

Of course, I immediately thought…”Am I teetering on the edge? Am I pushing the envelope enough?” But this isn’t about me, it’s about you.

“What would a person in your shoes do if he or she wanted to do the BIG thing? If he or she wanted to leave the BIG imprint on the person in front of him or her, then he or she would WHAT??

You might be thinking, “I can’t do the BIG thing, I’m just a (fill in your job). Or “How can I do something so impactful? I don’t have a BIG stage or the ability to make a difference.”

Not so fast my friend…the person you are with today – your coworker, customer, patient, boss, future customer, etc. is counting on YOU to do the BIG thing. That might be listening with empathy, finding a different solution or simply being kind. It’s not rocket science, but it has the power to change the world just like rocket science did.

As you wrap up 2015 and start to look towards 2016, chose to launch yourself, think BIG, stay on the tightrope, have fun, make a difference.

If not you, then who?

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