Re-post: <1% Turnover in a 500-Person International Company? How they do it

This article, originally by Ian Fosbery of Recktor, on writing for Fast Company looks at the Scandanavian company Recktor. He points out some tips that we could all use in some form or another when trying to surround ourselves and coworkers with talented, effective, fun individuals.

Original Article: Fast Co

From shorter workweeks to high marks for employee happiness, many Scandinavian companies seem to have figured something out about work culture that others haven’t. Unfortunately, those successes haven’t always translated elsewhere around the world.

But as a Finnish company with 500 employees across four countries and three continents, we’ve been trying to change that–and so far, it seems to be working. Here at Reaktor, our current turnover rate is less than 1%, and that includes the more than 40 employees in our New York office, where we’re working within the city’s super-competitive talent pool. In reality, hiring and keeping great talent doesn’t require lavish benefits. Here are five things that we’ve found work just about everywhere.

1. DON’T LEAVE THE INTERVIEW PROCESS JUST TO HR

Don’t get me wrong; I think HR is great. But to hire the best people, you need candidates’ prospective colleagues to do the interviewing. No matter what, we always interview in teams, pulling in people who might not otherwise be involved in the hiring process. This means that everyone gets interviewing experience, and when we mix and match our interviewers, we can get fresh sets of eyes and perspective on our job applicants.

And in our experience, it’s important to cross-pollinate. We have designers interviewing engineers and engineers interviewing designers. That way, we make sure that all of our new hires get along with people from across the company, not just the boss and HR. We’ve also found that this approach brings up more interesting questions. As a result, the whole interview experience better resembles what it’s really like to work at our company.

To be fair, this might not work for everyone. At Reaktor, we have a flat hierarchy and build digital products from start to finish, which means we hire generalists who can execute with precision. When it comes to hiring decisions, everyone gets an equal say in who gets hired. But even if your business isn’t set up this way, it’s worth considering what somebody in another department might have to say about candidates for a role that they’ll have to work with–even if not on the exact same team.

2. TREAT INTERVIEWS LIKE DISCUSSIONS

The best people don’t want or need to be interviewed. They want to have a genuine, interesting discussion with people they can respect as equals and would enjoy working for.

We never want to make the recruitment process feel like an interrogation, which means letting go of some of the traditional formality. Hiring managers typically approach with a mind-set of, “now’s your one shot–impress me!” But this can create a stiff, uncomfortable exchange. Interviewers have to let go of their ego and treat the other person as their counterpart.

In our experience, a more informal discussion-style interview eliminates stress. If we sense that an interviewee is in the middle of a bad day or just too nervous, we usually invite that person in for another chat later. Too often in American culture, applicants only get one shot at an opportunity. It may sound inefficient to give people multiple chances, but it’s more than made up for in the smart, long-lasting hires you’ll make by being more patient.

3. BE HONEST ABOUT THE DOWNSIDES OF THE JOB

Being honest and upfront is the only way to build trust. And it has to go both ways: as an interviewer, you can’t pull tricks and expect the candidate to be frank with you. Many companies want to portray an overly positive image to applicants, but this isn’t going to help anyone in the long run. When we’re candid about the challenges our employees face on the job, we’re better able to find people who will enjoy (and grow from) those challenges.

This creates a whole new level of openness in discussions with our applicants. Often we’ll ask things like, “What makes you nervous?” or, “What would a previous coworker say about you?” to see if the person will stop bullshitting and get real with us. We even ask the applicants to interview the interviewer, and their own questions to us can be non-work related too–we’re willing to get personal (within legal and ethical bounds, of course.)

4. INVEST IN NEW HIRES’ LONG-TERM WELL-BEING

Even in our New York City office, we still offer the same Nordic working culture with generous benefits. All our employees work eight-hour days, and everyone gets four weeks of vacation a year. And unlike at glossy startups and tech giants–where the vacation days are technically endless but everyone is too afraid of getting fired to use them–we require everyone to rest up and use their vacation days.

And it isn’t just about fending off resentment between employees on either side of the Atlantic. It’s because we genuinely believe that work-life balance leads to greater creativity, productivity, and loyalty than pushing people to the brink of burnout. In other words, it’s a strategic means of attracting people who are not only curious about the things they’re good at–the work they do for a living–but also about the world around them. That makes for great employees, who actually want to stick around.

Ian Fosbery is a senior software engineer and architect at Reaktor in New York City, where he spends a lot of time on recruitment.

Re-Blog: Sorting Out the Facts About Mindfullness

In this weeks article, from Fast Company, we hear from Aaron Orendorf. He argues that the increase in awareness to mindful practices has had the effect of "watering down" the field. Mr. Orendorf bring out those who are looking to depend the empirical and scientific evidence that helps to clarify what mindful practices are really doing for us. 

Original Article

How To Make Mindfulness A Working Advantage (And Not Just Cuddly Nonsense)

Step one, according to researchers Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson, is ditching the “neuromythology.”

  • BY AARON ORENDORFF

“When we started,” says Daniel Goleman, “there were two journal articles on meditation that we could cite. Today there are more than 6,000.” So, the first thing Goleman, a leading expert on emotional intelligence, and psychologist Richard J. Davidson did when they set out to write their new book, Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body, “was go through those 6,000 and identify 60 solid enough to stand up under pressure,” Goleman recalls.

Today, mindfulness is big business. From book-length treatments and quick-tip guides to downloadable apps and virtual reality, mindfulness has moved not just into the mainstream but onto the Main Street of commercialism. And it’s gotten more than a little misconstrued in the process. As Alison Carter, a principal research fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies, recently put it, “Attitudes toward mindfulness in workplaces tend to be binary: it’s either considered brilliantly effective or cuddly nonsense.”

Goleman and Davidson think we need a more realistic–and scientific–framework for thinking about mindfulness. What’s more, they believe that dispelling the most pervasive “neuromythology” on the subject is the key to making mindfulness not just a private, individual practice but something that teams can practice together, and see great results.

CUTTING THROUGH THE MORE DUBIOUS CLAIMS

Some of the shakier popular claims around mindfulness are that it shrinks the amygdala–when, in fact, researchers found “a longitudinal decrease in right amygdala activation”–recalibrates emotional set-points–which by-and-large are biologically determined–and can even slow aging. Despite making headlines three years ago all the way on up to CNN (another site declared, “Nobel Prize Winner Shows that Mediation Significantly Slows Aging”), the real finding was far more about the side effects of reduced stress than any direct correlation.

Goleman readily admits the actual limits of mindfulness. “What we think now is that increased neural activation may happen at first, but it doesn’t keep going the way some people, in the business world especially, have claimed. The brain only has so much give.” The substantiated benefits of mindfulness now include: reduced stress, stronger intimate and social relationshipslower blood pressurebetter emotional regulationincreased gray-matter density, and some cortical thickening in areas associated with attention and sensory processing.

In other words, the brain–and, therefore, the body–can be reshaped. And mindful activities like meditation are potentially powerful tools to aid that reshaping. However, rather than thinking of meditation like a pump and your brain as an ever expanding balloon, a better metaphor would be mental fitness. “Mindfulness is like developing your biceps and doing reps,” explains Goleman. “If you want to go deeper, that’s fine. What’s important is to not overstate the initial benefits as if mindfulness’ basic practices will grow exponentially over time.”

The good news is those “basic practices” are precisely where businesses can benefit most.

PUTTING MINDFULNESS TO WORK IN THE OFFICE

At a personal level, mindfulness revolves around three disciplines:

  1. Purposeful breathing
  2. Physical awareness
  3. Mental observation

Introductory guides tackling all three areas abound, but most focus on individual applications. The question is: Can you apply mindfulness collectively in a working environment? Goleman says yes and offers a few steps to get started.

First, set the stage. “Instead of starting your workday on autopilot or with a meeting, come together to breathe together. Naturally, your mind will wander,” Goleman says. “When it does, that’s a moment of mindfulness. Bring it back to your breath, and do this as a group.”

For individuals, experts recommend 10 minutes a day of mindful breathing to strengthen the brain’s executive functions. Goleman suggests the same length is effective for groups as well.

Second, watch. “Throughout the day, create a kind of balcony in your mind where you just watch your thoughts come and go. This transforms impulses into choices,” Goleman explains. “Instead of obeying them, you can observe them and then make the decision of what to do.”

Teams can practice this collectively by taking the time to intentionally slow down during difficult tasks. It’s also helpful to develop shared habits for pausing–like taking two-minute timeouts–anytime things start getting heated.

Third, cultivate compassion. “Think of people in your life who have been kind to you, and wish them well. Think of yourself, and wish that you’d be healthy and happy. Then, think of the people you work with and do the same,” Goleman advises.

Practiced regularly, these simple mental exercises can strengthen the brain’s circuitry for caring. And organizations where people care are organizations that work well together.

LEARNING TO NOT JUST “BLINDLY CHARGE AHEAD”

Of course, those collective benefits are all grounded in personal practice. But untethered from empathy and a purpose larger than ourselves, most people’s ambition tells them, “I want to be a success–my way, for mybenefit, at whatever cost.” Needless to say, this attitude can get in the way of practicing mindfulness.

“The nervous system,” Goleman explains, “was not designed to be on high stress all the time, so if you put yourself in that mode–which, in many ways, corporate culture rewards–you’re going to burn out or you’ll burn out the people around you. Mindfulness comes to the rescue because it says, ‘Hey, why don’t you just take a pause–regularly–and not blindly charge ahead?'”

When you boil it down like that, mindfulness sounds a lot less like “cuddly nonsense” and a lot more like a strategy for better collaborative problem-solving. And indeed, larger-scale mindfulness projects are also underway.

Anthony Stephan, for instance, a principal at Deloitte, is currently leading 100 executives through a program built around core mindfulness principles like vulnerable communication, reflective listening, and gratitude. Conceived in early 2017, Anthony spent the first 100 days of the initiative meeting with leaders one-on-one and in town-hall settings, not to simply expound the virtues of mindfulness but co-create the “intentions and behaviors” the program would foster. Deloitte is still a month or more away from quantitative measurements, “but already,” Anthony told me, “we’re seeing far more collaboration and efficiency.”

The benefits of mindfulness to individuals is profound–that’s why the concept became so popular so quickly. But it doesn’t need to be a solitary affair. Instead, teams, departments, and even entire organizations that learn to apply mindfulness practices together can build more productive, empathetic relationships. You just need to cut through some of the junk science first.

Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent and a regular contributor at Mashable, Lifehacker, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and more. Connect with him about marketing, behavioral economics, and bunnies on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Re-Share: Grit- Is it What Determines Our Successes or Failures?

Here is a great Ted Education Talk from Angela Lee Duckworth that takes aim at what it is that makes people successful. Is it education level? Is it wealth? Is it IQ? While not discounting these and other factors, Ms. Duckworth says the answer is often Grit: passion and perseverance for long term goals. The big question is then: how do you teach or build grit? Check out this great talk: 

https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_grit_the_power_of_passion_and_perseverance

 

 

Re-Blog: Weekend Mindfulness

Vacations are done, the kids are back in school, and you're definitely back to working at least 5 FULL days each week. Prevent the days from blurring together and practice mindfulness after work and on the weekends with these three incredibly easy tips. 

Original article:

3 Mindful Things to Do When You Get Home from Work

Using mindfulness to picture your perfect Friday—and put it into practice.

By Elisha Goldstein | June 24, 2016

When we’re at work—especially on a Friday—home is not far from our minds. We yearn for some down time, and the relaxation that comes from being with friends, family, or just resting by ourselves. But as the work day comes to an end, maybe we get stuck in rush-hour traffic, or we have to run a few errands that take more time than we’d like, and that picture-perfect Friday starts to dissipate. We arrive at our doorstep exhausted and irritated, and another night seems to fly by without us really noticing.

Bringing mindfulness to this experience can help us savor and appreciate the final hours of the day. You made it through the week, and you deserve a happy hour (or three!).

Bring these three mindful tips home with you and see what you notice.

When you get home from work:

1. Set your intention: Before you even step foot in the door, take a deep breath, soften your body as a way of becoming present, and take some time to think about how you want this evening to unfold. Do you want to spend time with your family? Do you want to relax in another way?

2. Hug something: It could be an animal, a loved one, or if there’s no one else there, curl up in a ball and hug yourself. Hugging allows us to feel connected, soothes the body, and it sets us up to feel good for the rest of the evening.

3. Control your environment: Put on some soothing or playful music, bring some play into your environment, or put on some candles if you want it to be a relaxing evening.

About the Author:

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is hosting an online course to help people fully integrate mindfulness into their lives in a deep way in order to realize more enduring change. The in-depth 6-month online course called  Course in Mindful Living runs this SeptemberSign up now to join a community of people growing in confidence, calm, compassion and a life you love.

Re-Post: Leadership- Back to the '80s?

Should we always embrace the next best business books? This article, by Eric McNulty takes ever-changing business and leadership themes and mantras and reflects on one from 1983. When it comes down to it- its tough to argue with: "Grow the company profitably. Share the wealth with employees. Ensure that everyone is having fun."

Original article by: Eric J. McNulty

Eric J. McNulty is the director of research at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative and writes frequently about leadership and resilience.

Each month I receive an email with a preview of the latest leadership books. There are always five or six new entrants in this already crowded field. Meanwhile, my Twitter feed overflows with three steps, five tips, and seven ways to improve engagement, build trust, and employ mindfulness.

Yet with all this knowledge available, employees don’t seem to feel as if they are being led any more skillfully than in the past. In my travels, I encounter people frustrated by seemingly arbitrary rules, vague visions, out-of-touch bosses, and a lack of development opportunities. They are confused by labor laws and company policies, which often are evolving more slowly than the work arrangements of an agile, tech-enabled economy. Further, data from Gallup has shown that workforce engagement has hovered around 30 percent for years.

This is why I was stopped cold recently by a simple formula for effective leadership. In the book The Leadership Challenge, by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, first published in 1983, a CEO offers this straightforward philosophy: Grow the company profitably. Share the wealth with employees. Ensure that everyone is having fun.

I was stopped cold recently by a simple formula for effective leadership.

As I reflected on this direct and open prescription, I wondered why anyone has ever felt the need to write anything else on how to run an organization. This seemed like an intensely prudent yet humane approach to business. Growth satisfies investors and provides funds to increase internal rewards, sustain training, and fuel ongoing innovation. Sharing the wealth reflects consideration for the full range of stakeholders: employer, employee, and shareholder. And what better way to measure employee engagement than by people enjoying what they do? If you can pull off all three, it seems logical that the organization will thrive.

Perhaps, I wondered, we could take significant steps forward by forgoing fancy formulas and returning to the principles articulated back in 1983, being mindful to incorporate the changes brought by globalization, technological advances, and the increased diversity in the workforce.

To test my hypothesis, I reached out and interviewed people who are focused on engagement and leader development. I asked them to react to the quote from Kouzes and Posner’s book. While generally embracing the idea, each of them added important nuance that strongly emphasized humanity.

Focus on culture. Organizational psychologist Nicole Lipkin said that humanity “is the crux of everything” in organizations, yet “we've gone against human nature in how we’ve designed them.” She said that excessive rules go against the “sticky culture” of a great team, one on which people appreciate one another and their respective contributions. Instead, these rules instill fear of stepping out-of-bounds. That stifles the willingness to treat people as people.

Lipkin summarized people’s needs using the SLAM model: social connection, leadership excellence, aligned culture, and meaningful life. “No matter how old you are, or your status, these are the things we need as humans,” she said. “We underestimate the social connections — they can make a mediocre job enjoyable. It requires leaders to pay attention to the pulse of the culture. We are so busy rewarding for performance that we forget to reward for the behaviors that make an organization a great place to work.” Lipkin noted that the expectations millennials have for flexibility, investment in their development, and work–life integration actually play more into our psychological need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness and how we naturally interact with people than do industrial-age structures.

Give and take. Leadership coach and former Inc. 500 CEO Alden Mills is a former Navy SEAL, and thus has learned from a group renowned for its leadership excellence. He told me that “to lead is to serve and to serve is to care.” There, once again, is the importance of humanity. Mills noted that although people want to be part of something larger than themselves, they also want a reciprocal process. Executives who expect employees to be all in for the mission yet treat them as disposable units of production fail to understand the second half of the equation. “Truly great companies treat their employees like they treat their customers,” he said.

 

 

Stop to connect. Modesta Lilian Mbughuni, a serial entrepreneur and human-capital consultant from Tanzania, reflected that when she launched her first venture, she thought that a vision that highlighted substantial tangible rewards would be enough. It fell short. “The people must have ownership in the vision,” she said. “They need to be enabled to accomplish it. If there is one investment you should make, it is [in] people.” She looks for service-oriented people who are interested in a purpose higher than themselves. She noted that there is a relatively small pool of top talent in Tanzania and multinationals can always pay them more. To attract and retain this talent, “I had to continually ask myself, ‘What did I do by them?’”

Mbughuni said that those who aspire to lead have to be humans first: truly “seeing people,” having genuine conversations, demonstrating respect, and being willing to say “I don’t know.” Some executives shy away from emotional encounters. She takes the opposite approach. “Sitting down for a heart-to-heart talk can be messy,” she said. “However, ultimately we are more efficient when we take time to stop and connect.”

Reframe the question. Executive coach Michael Bungay Stanier suggested a simple way for leaders to ask their subordinates effective questions: Adding the words “to you” to the end. For example, “What does this realignment mean?” invites abstract analysis. “What does this realignment mean to you?” makes it much more personal. It injects humanity into the conversation.

Commit to diversity. Anka Wittenberg, chief diversity and inclusion officer at global software firm SAP, is concerned with the challenges of creating an aligned culture, which spans many national boundaries, ethnic identities, and social norms. “I strongly believe that if we give people opportunities to grow and have fun, the company will grow,” she said. “However, some people are always left behind. Patterns and processes don’t include those who are underrepresented, so we have to think about the sustainability of the culture.”

RELATED STORIES

To address culture sustainability, SAP has committed to actively foster diversity with four focus areas: gender, generations, cultures and identity, and disability. For example, the company met its goal of filling 25 percent of leadership roles with women this year. It has committed to hiring 650 people with autism by 2020; more than 110 have been hired so far.

Such initiatives open doors, though they also add complexity. Here, I think that the final component of Lipkin’s model is useful: making work part of a meaningful life. Meaning and satisfaction are derived through building skills and achieving goals as well as through participation in a welcoming culture. For example, Wittenberg noted that SAP’s research shows that when members of the LGBT community can out themselves in an inclusive environment, their productivity goes up 10 to 20 percent.

Should executives in 2017 revert to 1983? In some ways, yes — organizations are still populated by people and thus humanity matters. Given the increasing levels of technology, automation, and business rules that come with the efficiency of enterprise-wide software systems, finding ways to acknowledge people’s needs as humans is more important than ever. Globalization and increased diversity in the workplace also require a human focus if we are to create environments where as many employees as possible contribute to the fullest extent of their abilities.

The three principles stand the test of time as guideposts for thoughtful discussion of how to bring — and sustain — humanity in your organization. Don’t restrict your thinking about humanity to just an executive retreat and don’t be afraid of those messy conversations. “You must serve your people so they can serve you,” Mbughuni said. “They want to see their aspirations fulfilled —and they have options.” So, too, do leaders. I suggest opting for profitable growth, sharing, and embracing a bit of fun. 

Original link: https://www.strategy-business.com/blog/Putting-Humanity-First-in-Our-Organizations?gko=3c982&utm_content=buffera38af&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Re-Post: Managing to Liberate Energy

5 Powerful Shifts That Help Leaders Liberate Human Energy

This article/interview, by Kathy Caprino talks about how leadership styles have changed over the past couple decades, and about the paradigm shifts that have brought us to the world that we live and work in today.  

Original article:

Kathy Caprino ,  CONTRIBUTOR

I cover career and personal growth, leadership and women's issues.  Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Part of the Series “Today’s True Leadership”

Liberating energy and unleashing potential

In my work as a career success coach over the past twelve years, I’ve witnessed a significant shift in focus among the leaders and directors I work with. While these leaders still wish to learn new ways to expand their own success, impact and growth, they’re also keenly committed to helping all the people around them – their employees, colleagues, partners and all those they come in contact with on a daily basis – become all they wish to be. In short, there’s a clear commitment toward helping their entire work culture thrive.

To learn more about this trend, I was excited to speak with Renee Moorefield, PhD, CEO of Wisdom Works.  Renee has been a trusted adviser to thousands of leaders—from Fortune 500 executives to socially-conscious entrepreneurs—committed to unleashing human potential for thriving, optimal performance, and positive global impact. She speaks at major conferences internationally and writes for outlets such as Experience Life, Coaching World, and Huffington Post. Renee chairs the Wellness at Work and Wellness & Government initiatives for the Global Wellness Institute, and has a deep passion for creating a well world through wisdom in leadership.

Here’s what Renee shares:

Kathy Caprino: Based on your work with leaders, what do you see is different about leadership today versus 20 years ago?

Renee Moorefield: The notion of leadership has changed dramatically. When I started advising leaders in global companies decades ago, “leader” meant the one person in charge (usually male). Leadership was about hierarchy, titles, and management controls.

This leadership style generally fit the nature of work at the time. You worked at a specific location with set hours, your work was pigeon-holed from the rest of your life, you expected long-term job security from your employer (and vice versa), and the meaning you gained from work was defined by money and prestige. You “climbed the ladder of success.” Of course, this wasn’t true for every company or person—but it was by and large the accepted culture of corporate life.

Practically no one can relate to those days now.

Caprino: If we’re not “climbing the ladder of success,” what are we focusing on now?

Moorefield: We’re getting work done by collaborating across geographies and worldviews with a scale we couldn’t imagine years ago. We’re working from anywhere anytime—and this calls for greater personal leadership and self-direction. We’re still seeking meaning through work, but we usually find it by contributing to something larger than ourselves—a noble purpose, a social innovation, an extraordinary team, or visionary goals.

Caprino: How does that impact how we lead, manage and approach our work?

Moorefield: It turns the old way of leading on its head.  The fluidity of work has transformed what it means to lead. Effective leaders today facilitate positive outcomes by tapping into the power of human energy. They know work can be glorified drudgery in some cases, yet when energized by a person’s whole being, it can become joy.

Happiness, wellbeing, wisdom, dignity, trust, care, and love are not considered “soft” concepts as in the past; they are strategies to build exceptional work-teams and thriving organizations.

Caprino: What do you see is at the heart of this shift?

Moorefield: Deeper questions are guiding leaders, for example: “How can we lead in a way that unleashes human potential?”

Everything about work—relationships with colleagues, organizational culture, space and place, the act of work itself—is a potential agent of vitality, rejuvenation, meaning, and growth. Effective leaders ask: “How can we create the conditions where everyone can bring their best selves to work and leave work more capable and well than when they came?”

Caprino: How do you talk about this with organizations that want to cultivate better leadership?

Moorefield: I enter this conversation through the doorway of thrivingThere isn’t a person or organization I know that doesn’t want to elevate their capacity to thrive. Because most of us operate from a deep-rooted, usually unconscious, belief: If we work harder (longer, faster), we will finally get in front of the complexities we face. Our hamster wheel of stress will stop soon.

It’s exhausting …and, ultimately, quite unproductive.

When we pause to examine this belief, we realize it is groundless. There will not be a foreseeable future that isn’t (as the military so aptly puts it) volatile, complex, uncertain, and ambiguous. I’d add: astoundingly disruptive and networked.

When IBM interviewed 1,500 CEO’s of global organizations, 79% forecasted complexity to rise across the planet and over half doubted their ability to manage it. Yes, over half. World-shaping leaders feel ill equipped to handle the escalating complexities that we, in our civilizations and our personal lives, experience as the norm.

As disheartening is Gallup’s 2015 poll of managers. 65% of the leaders studied reported being disengaged or actively disengaged… basically, checked out. Kathy, I wonder what your readers’ experience is?

Ill-equipped, disengaged leaders are more likely to replicate that way of being wherever they are. I believe the sincere cultivation of a new standard of effective, thriving leadership within all of us is more important now than ever.

Caprino:  In my readership and community, I’ve seen there’s complete agreement with what you’re sharing. However, I see too that there are still so many leadership development programs out there that miss the mark entirely, and focus on the wrong things. What do you find is missing?

Moorefield: Forward-leaning companies want to continuously innovate and transform, yet often don’t grasp a basic tenet: they cannot evolve any faster than the consciousness and capabilities of the people leading them. This means they choose leadership development strategies that miss the boat in at least three ways:

Too superficial.

Their approaches don’t help leaders plumb the deeper values, biases, and beliefs driving how they lead. Yet it is at this depth of exploration—the leader’s internal operating system—where a generative shift of mind and heart can take place to activate a genuine leap forward in leadership effectiveness and impact.

Failure to embrace the whole self.

Great leaders use their whole being to get results with and through others. Yet leadership development strategies often lack the holistic approach that helps leaders amplify mental and emotional well-being, instead of reactivity and stress.

Lack of real change.

Many leadership development approaches awaken leaders to new possibilities for healthier ways of leading, yet still lack a system of accountability and learning to support sustainable changes in leadership behavior. 

After many years of working with leaders around the globe, we purposefully designed our Be Well Lead Well® leadership development programs to tackle these issues.

Caprino: What changes do you notice leaders making through your work with them?

Moorefield: When leaders are willing to travel the path of well-being and leadership transformation with us, we see five powerful changes:

They are committed to knowing themselves.

They are willing to really look at themselves—their gifts and their gaps—and reinvent how they lead based on authenticity, passion, and wisdom from within. This creates a tremendous boost. There is a quickening of energy that occurs when you operate from the truth of your being. For these leaders, it is as if the energy that was once tied up in “how I should be” is now freed.

They operate with greater clarity and balance.

Organizations need leaders who can lead from the inside out—where their inner world is so vibrant that the outer world doesn’t rattle them. This enables leaders to bring clarity, discernment, and balance to their teams and organizations, cutting through the organizational noise.

They are more inclusive.

When leaders appreciate themselves as whole people, they treat others as whole people too. They seek to understand how all people see the world differently, and they use these differences as catalysts for innovation, connection, and trust.

They proactively boost thriving in teams and organizations.

Too much or too little stress can erode performance. So, these leaders consciously make thriving a game-changer in their teams and organizations. When mind, body, and spirit come online together, people can create the extraordinary.

They cultivate shared wisdom and leadership.

Because these leaders make a positive impact by empowering leadership in others, they gain access to new ideas, relationships, and experiences—wisdom they might have been closed off to before. How they lead is an invitation to evolve.

Caprino: In our conversation, you mentioned that men dominated leadership roles in the past. What about women in leadership today?

Moorefield: Beyond the value of embracing the brilliance of women (just as you would embrace the brilliance of men), promoting women in leadership makes business sense.

Overwhelming research from well-known organizations, such as Credit SuisseMcKinsey & Company, and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, shows companies with more women in leadership, particularly senior and culture-shaping roles, experience a higher return on equity and greater organizational effectiveness.

On the other hand, excellent research by Mercer finds women executives three times more likely than men to leave a company. They aren’t as interested in the “climbing the ladder” approach of the past, and health, wealth, and career issues clearly differ for women than men.

To address this head on, we’re now launching an exclusive version of our Be Well Lead Well® programming for current and high-potential women executives. It is a yearlong transformative and groundbreaking journey where women leaders explore two profound questions: “What enables me to thrive?” and “How can I cultivate the conditions where others thrive—at work, at home, and beyond?”

We’ve incorporated revolutionary personal wellness genomics, mindfulness training and neurofeedback, somatics, pioneering leadership assessments, and other transformative practices and tools to assist women leaders in tapping into their deepest commitment to thrive—mind, body, relationships, and spirit—plus uplift their consciousness and capabilities for driving cultures of thriving wherever they lead.

To learn more, visit BeWellLeadWell.com.

For more from Kathy Caprino, visit her career and personal growth programs and her TEDx talk "Time to Brave Up."

Re-Blog: Three Tips on Mindful Communication

So much of business is communication: in-person, email, phone, messaging channels, newsletters; and it happens on so many levels. It is easy to lose track of yourself and your goals in communication. One frustrating meeting can change your tone for the whole afternoon. This article, originally from Laurie Thomas Ross, Founder of Wild Web Women is primarily geared towards web-based small business owners, but the tips can be helpful in anyones everyday communications. 

Original Article: http://wildwebwomen.com/the-power-of-mindful-communication/#.WYI6v_9MX9A.twitter

The beauty of being your own boss is that you have control of your business. What you do, when you do it, what to charge, how you conduct yourself. It took me years to understand that one of the most beautiful parts of being my own boss is having the ability to control communications. The power of mindful communication can boost sales, motivate your team and can resolve challenging business situations.

To practice the power of mindful communication, here are three things to focus on:

#1 – Tone
The way you speak can communicate more than your actual words. Having positive energy and confidence in your voice and online messages will help attract ideal clients, responses and secure trust in the people you work with.

Confidence is contagious.

I can’t tell you how many amazingly super talented women I have met who come across sounding shy and anxious. Nobody wants to work with or for someone who makes them feel uneasy. If you are tired, upset or stressed, take a step back and make sure that your message (in person, phone or even via email!) does not come through in your tone. Even when things aren’t going as well, know you can always turn it around and find a different perspective.

You have the power to manage your message!

Here’s an easy and effective trick that will transform your tone: If you’re talking on the phone, talk in front of the mirror (or put a small mirror on your desk) and make sure you are smiling while you talk. While this might sounds silly, it works. Your tone will automatically sound more energetic and assured. Pair this with monitoring your talking speed (when you talk too fast you sound nervous) and you will already be on your way towards creating confidence in your clients.

If you are dealing with a customer who is being, well, not so pleasant, you DO NOT have to get on their negative train! Being positive can turn things around! We don’t solve problems by being problematic – think positive, think solutions and steer the communications that way!

Never, ever start communications on a negative note. No “I’m so tired” or ripping into someone who sent you a nasty email. It is human nature for people to be defensive so find a way to speak in a way that is positive. Even if someone is emailing you nastygrams, starting your email reply with something positive like: “I appreciate you letting me know where you are coming from…” (then proceed to educate them why they are out of left field – ha!)

The way you communicate can either repel or attract business. People want to play on a winning team, so make sure your tone evokes calm, positivity and confidence.

#2 – Clarity/Focus
You started your web-based businesses with a purpose. Know that and OWN that.

Your purpose is your communications compass.

Be clear about who you are, what you do, whom you serve and what your values are. My first web-based business was called Lorrie Thomas Web Marketing. I wanted to leave the confines of corporate hell and leave commuting and working with people I didn’t choose behind. At the time, I was clear that I wanted to do web marketing, but who I wanted to serve and what I stood for weren’t fully defined. It took me two years to understand that my purpose was to help small businesses get on a better path with a relationship-focused approach and the people I LOVED serving were passionate professionals (not soulless people who just wanted to make a quick buck). When I let go of the wrong clients, it opened me up to being ready for my ideal clients. By voicing my value and values, I began to work with and attract really amazing people.

A clear purpose and focus also helps you manage tough conversations. I’d be lying if I said every client I have worked for was wonderful or was 100% happy with me. However, when times weren’t peachy, I would remove emotion (which sometimes means taking a step away from the computer and getting your thoughts straight) and I would get clear. I would always go back to my purpose and make sure the way I was communicating was supporting my goal.

This also goes for your marketing messaging. Your tagline, website copy, about page, bios on social media. All of these need to be on brand and on purpose.

#3 – Own Your Value

There are tons of other capable companies that can do what you do. It’s your job to communicate to potential clients why they should pick you.

If you don’t believe in yourself, how the hell will you get other people to believe in you?

Know what you can bring to the table and what makes you unique needs to be clear so you can communicate it to others.

Tell your story in a way that will sell your story.

Remember, it is up to you to control the conversation.

Re-Blog: "Leaders: Try a Little Mindfulness"

This article, based off of research done by the China-Europe International Business School draws from a primarily qualitative study on mindful leadership. They recommend looking at mindfulness when hiring and training company leaders, and the evidence point to mindful leaders reducing negative work incidents and increase employee engagement and satisfaction. 

Original Article: http://www.ceibs.edu/new-papers-columns/leaders-try-little-mindfulness

The toxic work culture at the ride-hailing company Uber was among the reasons why a group of investors recently forced out its CEO Travis Kalanick. Company culture typically comes from the top; employees take their cues from company leaders about what behaviours are acceptable in the workplace. The issues at Uber, which received extensive media coverage, included battles between the company and its drivers over some of its compensation practices, and an investigation into around 200 bullying and sexual harassment allegations.

When Uber evaluates CEO and other C-Suite candidates, besides the traditional personality and competence assessments it should also evaluate their mindfulness, according to the results of a new study co-authored by several CEIBS faculty members. The researchers explored how leader mindfulness enhances employee performance, and their results show that leaders who are more mindful are more likely to follow fair principles (what academics call procedural justice) when making important decisions. This includes allowing employees to express their views, giving them influence on the decision, and adhering to ethical standards. In the case of Uber, it seems that the CEO mostly ignored the perspective of his employees (e.g. when they complained about company culture/practices) and of the drivers (when they complained about declining pay). A more mindful approach would have helped him to be open to the signals by his employees and to adhere to ethical standards, which may also promote performance in the organization. As the researchers found, this is in part because increased procedural justice reduces employees’ emotional exhaustion. This study by CEIBS faculty is one of the first to examine how a person’s mindfulness can influence the attitudes and behaviours of others.

The researchers conducted three studies in their exploration. The first involved an online survey of 277 US employees across a wide range of occupations and industries which asked questions designed to rate their leaders’ mindfulness and their own degree of emotional exhaustion and performance at work. The second study was done in China. The researchers surveyed 54 team leaders and 182 employees from various organizations in China. Leaders were surveyed on their degree of mindfulness and asked to provide contact information of at least five direct subordinates. The subordinates were later contacted and asked to complete an online survey that measured the degree of their leaders’ procedural justice and their own emotional exhaustion. Next, the researchers asked the leaders to rate their employees’ performance. The final study was a laboratory experiment. The researchers recruited 62 senior managers from various organizations in China and randomly assigned them to one of two conditions, an experimental condition (mindfulness), and a control condition (unfocused attention). The participants then listened to a 10-minute pre-recorded audio clip based on which condition they were assigned to, and afterwards completed a survey designed to measure their mindfulness and degree of procedural justice.

The results suggest that promoting leader mindfulness may be an effective way to reduce unfair behaviours. Besides measuring the mindfulness of candidates for supervisory roles, companies may want to promote a culture that recognizes and rewards the benefits of mindfulness. The researchers also suggest that companies should consider mindfulness training programmes. The improved employee well-being and performance that would result, particularly when mindful leaders are better able to follow fair principles in their decision-making, would seem to outweigh the costs involved.

The results of the study have been published by the Journal of Business Ethics in the paper titled “The Interpersonal Benefits of Leader Mindfulness: A serial mediation model linking leader mindfulness, leader procedural justice enactment, and employee exhaustion and performance”. The authors are Assistant Professor of Management Sebastian C. SchuhLecturer of Management Michelle Xue ZhengProfessor of Management Katherine R. Xin, and Professor of Management Juan Antonio Fernandez . Read the paper here.

Lessons in Mindfulness...From an NBA Team?

Inspiration that comes from unexpected places can often be the most interesting. In this article, originally by Jason Marsh for Greater Good Magazine talks about the 2017 NBA Champions the Golden State Warriors and how they create a culture of mindfulness that has in part helped them reach the pinnacle of their sport. 

Original post:

Three Greater Good Lessons from the Golden State Warriors

The NBA Champions are a case study in mindfulness, empathy, and cooperation.

BY JASON MARSH | JUNE 14, 2017

The Golden State Warriors are a Greater Good team.

I say that not only because they play in Oakland, just a few miles from our office. Nor because several of our staff (myself included) have been known to skip out of work early to cheer them on. Nor even because our faculty director, Dacher Keltner, sat in on a couple of Warriors practices earlier this season.

Kevin Durant (left) and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors celebrate with Curry's daughter after winning the 2017 NBA Finals.

No, I say that because throughout their dominant run across the NBA regular season, playoffs, and Finals, they preached and played by Greater Good values. Indeed, Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr has deliberately shaped the Warriors’ team culture around four core valuesjoymindfulnesscompassion, and competition. That last one is a no-brainer for any professional sports team, but the first three are less conventional—and they obviously resonate with our work here at the Greater Good Science Center.

When the Warriors reclaimed the NBA championship from the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this week, those values took center stage. From their postgame interviews, as well as their play during the finals and their season as a whole, I took away three lessons that, according to Greater Good science, feel just as important to finding satisfaction in life as they do to finding success on the court.

1. Good things happen when you focus on the present.

Finals MVP Kevin Durant has been one of the top players in the NBA for a decade. But his consistently jaw-dropping performance in the Finals—including the most clutch shot of the Warriors’ season—brought him to a new level of greatness. What made the difference?

“I just tried to stay in the moment the whole series, and I think that worked for me,” he said after Game 5. “I remember plenty of times throughout my career, I continued to look in the past or look ahead, and not stay in the moment. And this series, I just stayed in the moment.”

That sounds a whole lot like mindfulness, the moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, sensations, and surrounding environment—and one of the Warriors’ core values.

While mindfulness is often seen as something you practice during formal meditation, many experts, including famed author and mindfulness teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn, stress that it’s better thought of as a state or quality you can bring to any activity. That could be taking out the garbage, enjoying an ice cream cone, or shooting a three-pointer with LeBron James in your face. The key is that you’re attuned to the present moment, not dwelling on the past or lost in the future.

Research has linked mindfulness to a whole host of benefits, from better health to more positive emotions to more compassionate behavior. While I bet Durant wouldn’t mind any of those, perhaps most relevant is the research linking mindfulness to sharper focus and less distractibility. And as we have reported in the past, studies have even linked mindfulness to concrete improvements on the basketball court, such as better defense and a higher free throw percentage.

Other teams, like the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Cubs, have embraced mindfulness in recent years. Perhaps not coincidentally, those teams won the Super Bowl and the World Series, respectively. Add Durant and the Warriors to that list of mindful champions.

2. Empathic joy feels better than selfish joy.

In his post-game press conference soon after vanquishing the Cavaliers, Warriors power forward Draymond Green was asked how it felt to share this championship with some NBA veterans, like JaVale McGee and David West, who were new to the Warriors this season and had never won it all.

“To see them celebrate that,” he said, “was an even better feeling than just celebrating it [myself].”

Draymond was onto something. In fact, research suggests that people experience greater pleasure after succeeding as part of a team than they do on their own. That might be at least partly because, in certain situations, seeing other people smile seems to activate the same brain regions as when you smile yourself, flooding you with happy feelings.

As my Greater Good colleague Emiliana Simon-Thomas has written, “This research suggests that seeing teammates’ expressions of triumph and joy may enhance one’s own experience of triumph and joy.”

Researchers call this experience “empathic joy”—feeling another person’s happiness as your own. And they’ve found that it doesn’t just carry benefits for NBA champs: A recent study found that when teachers experienced empathic joy with their students, those students later scored higher on standardized tests.

3. Cooperation is key to getting ahead.

It has become something of a cliché to call the Warriors an “unselfish” team—this is, after all, a team whose motto for the past several seasons has been “Strength in Numbers.”

But that ethos was put to the test this season with the arrival of Durant, a four-time NBA scoring champion, who joined last year’s scoring leader, Stephen Curry. Would both of those superstars—along with All-Stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green—be able to share the ball, and the spotlight, for the good of the team?

The statistics speak for themselves: They earned a league-leading 67 wins—and led the league in assists, with 20 percent more than any other team. Curry took about 10 percent fewer shots per game than he had the previous season; Durant took 14 percent fewer. And, unlike last season, the Warriors finished as champions.

“We got an unselfish team who just wants to win,” said Klay Thompson. “They don’t care who gets the stats or the accolades.”

Durant said he and his teammates embraced a message preached by Warriors “sixth man” Andre Iguodala: “It’s all about the group.”

And research suggests they were wise to do so. Indeed, studies across species—from ants to fish to bats to humans—have found that groups whose members sacrifice their own personal self-interest for the good of the group are more likely to survive, and thrive, in competitive environments.

The evolutionary edge we get from cooperating might explain this provocative finding by Harvard researchers David G. Rand, Joshua D. Greene, and Martin A. Nowak: When people are pressed to make snap decisions between cooperating and competing, they choose to cooperate. “Although the cold logic of self-interest is seductive,” they write, “our first impulse is to cooperate.”

While the 2016-17 Warriors could arguably compete with any team from NBA history, this season they proved that the best way to compete is to cooperate.

“That’s what, to me, carries teams over the top,” Kerr told the sports website Bleacher Report soon after the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers. “A lot of teams have talent, and obviously we have great talent. But when that talent is committed to the greater good . . . that takes you over the top.”

Caring Deeply for Others Without Burning Out

For many professionals, and notably those working in the health field, burnout can be a big problem. Constantly needing to remain compassionate and mindful around very high touch and stressful situations often leads to a mental and emotional disconnect from patients, families, and coworkers. This short re-post, originally from Susan Talan from Mindful.org gives a few short ways to recognize when you may be on the brink of burnout, and what you can do about it. 

Original article: https://www.mindful.org/care-deeply-without-burning-out/?utm_content=buffer92a06&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

How to Care Deeply Without Burning Out

Sharon Salzberg and Dan Harris explore how to recognize the signs of empathy fatigue and maintain a balanced, mindful, compassionate response.

By Susan Talan | June 9, 2017

Mindfulness teaches us to be aware of and responsive to the emotions of others. But when we face the suffering of others without equanimity, our empathetic response can overwhelm us. “I think it’s almost inevitable that we get burnt out, at least from time to time,” says meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg. Part of the reason that happens is that we respond to the suffering of others without recognizing the difference between empathy and compassion.

You can acknowledge the pain, you can want to help, but you have to recognize that you can’t change other people’s experience of the world.

When we sense the suffering of others, that’s empathy. But our response might be to forget about it, or feel like we can’t bear it, or we might start blaming. Having compassion is a choice we make consciously and it can only happen with the balance of equanimity. In this conversation between Sharon and Dan Harris, of 10% Happier, they talk about the difference between empathy and compassion, and explore a few ways to avoid burning out.

How to Care Deeply Without Burning Out

  • Know the difference between empathy and compassion. Empathy is our natural resonance with the emotions of others, where we sense the difficulty someone might be feeling. Compassion is one of the many responses to empathy.
  • Realize when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s inevitable that we will all experience burnout. What’s important is recognizing what’s happening and moving towards balance. Compassion implies a stability of attention and caring in a wise and balanced way—caring about yourself and others.
  • Recognize that you can’t change others. Compassion also implies a wisdom and intelligence to know that it’s not up to you to fix the world for others. You can’t function if you’re just taking in other’s pain all the time. There’s a balance that’s crucial: You can acknowledge the pain, you can want to help, but you have to recognize that you can’t change other people’s experience of the world. That’s the letting go. Dan Harris puts it this way: “My father says the hardest thing about having kids is letting them make their own mistakes. That’s compassion with equanimity.” 

Dive in deeper with Sharon and Dan in Episode #81: Sharon Salzberg, ‘Real Love’ on the 10% Happier podcast.