Take the Leap and Clear the Hurdle of Fear

In an article on CNBC, author Tom Reiger discusses a key issue covered in his book Breaking the Fear Barrier: How Fear Destroys Companies from Inside Out and What to Do about It.

Due to the past and current economic climate, anxiety and fear has become a staple in the workplace. “In the midst of all of this uncertainty, managers and employees will inevitably feel compelled to build walls to protect themselves, regardless of the impact on the overall company. If left unchecked, this attitude can pit the good of the individual against the greater good of the organization—spelling death for companies.”

Two kids of courage are at play in this situation, and they are at odds:

  1. Vital courage: the inward focus of survival, which could be thought of as our Reptilian brain
  2. Moral courage: our compass of morality that leads us to take a path for the greater good

In companies that have a high level of fear, employees may be asked to make decisions that tap moral courage and suppress vital courage. But humans are wired to focus on our vitals. Thus Reiger advises companies to “make employees feel comfortable and motivated to perform acts of moral courage. The key is to design rewards and performance management in a way that balances and aligns both types of courage. ”

Have you even been in a situation where you felt at odds? Please share!

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

Remote Employees Are More Engaged? Really?

Employees who work remotely are actually more engaged with their teams than their “in-office” counterparts, according to a recent Harvard Business Review study. Surprised?

Our own Keith Ferrazzi has published advice on how dispersed teams can be more productive than co-located teams in Harvard Business Review, and yet my initial reaction was disbelief. How can individuals be more engaged with people they never see than with people down the hall? But author Scott Edinger proposes several possible reasons:

  1. Proximity breeds complacency.  Even co-located teams communicate primarily through email. It’s so easy to walk 100 feet to communicate personally that people take it for granted.
  2. Absence makes people try harder to connect. People make more of an effort to connect when they you don’t ordinarily interact with people.
  3. Leaders of virtual teams make better use of tools. When your primary form of connecting with people is virtual, you master many different modes of communication.
  4. Leaders of far-flung teams maximize the time their teams spend together. When remote people do finally get face-time with people they don’t see often, leaders do everything to maximize the precious time spent together.

Do you agree with Edinger’s suppositions? Have you noticed more engagement with remote teammates?

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

Company Cultchah: Habit Labs

Recently I highlighted to-do managing app Asana’s list of Company Values. This week I ran across another company with a great list.

Habit Labs is devoted to “writing the code for human behavioral change” – literally. They build apps designed to (so far) help people adopt new habits, achieve goals, and empty their email inboxes.

HL has an entire page devoted to their Company Axioms, part of which covers 8 Core Values:

  1. Believe, or leave
  2. Everyone gets true autonomy
  3. Create opportunities for everyone to do their best work, every day
  4. Show people how they are making an impact Continue reading

The Workplace Drone and How to Silence It

Your work environment can have a profound impact on your workday and the quality of your work. The current trend is to steer away from isolation, making offices tear down the walls, both literal and figurative. The problem is, it’s hard to concentrate when you can constantly hear the conversations of your coworkers. A recent New York Times article sheds some light on this particular issue.

To some people, it is very difficult to work through the constant chatter that comes with an office space. So if there are no walls, we make our own. Headphones. Giant filing cabinets. Books. You name it, we do it.  “After surveying 65,000 people over the past decade in North America, Europe, Africa and Australia, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, report that more than half of office workers are dissatisfied with the level of ‘speech privacy,’ making it the leading complaint in offices everywhere,” according to the Times. Continue reading

Relationship Roundup

Repeat after me, “perception is reality, perception is reality, perception is reality.” That’s the theme of this week’s roundup, along with some business hacks to assist your sanity, and productivity as we race to close Q3.

Perception management tips from royalty – Perception is reality and when leading any charge, critical to success. Scott Elbin’s blog details the superior perception management skills of the Windsor’s and how we can use their strategies to manage our day-to-day reality. Read Scott’s blog here: http://bit.ly/LvEPyP.

Managing internal relationships – When you manage people the buck inevitably stops with you. However the image you project and the relationship you build with your workers will equate to the quality of work you receive from the team. Author of What Great Bosses Know, Jill Geisler, shares how to build quality relationships. Read her Poynter.org blog here: http://bit.ly/KKI4En.

Relationship mastery – The basis of relationship mastery is the foundation for superior interpersonal skills. How these elements align to leadership excellence is explored in this Smart Brief Blog on Leadership. Read it here: http://bit.ly/LvSBS2.

Time hacks for managers – Getting straight to the point. Read this to save more of your precious time: http://cbsn.ws/Mj9oZs.

Productivity booster – MyGreenlighters are constantly asking for productivity advice. Try this system for managing the interruptions that throw productivity off course. View author and productivity expert David Allen’s strategy here: http://cbsn.ws/L6269l.

Kibibi Springs is myGreenlight’s Community Director.

Turn Your Volume Up

There is a lot of advice out there on the right way to act at work. Obviously, maintaining a certain level of composure and professionalism is necessary, but does that mean you can’t be yourself?

Not necessarily.

A study by Kellogg School of Management offers some reasons why.

By being yourself we don’t mean that if you sing loudly and off-key at home, you should do the same thing at work. “We all have various masks that we put on and take off as we move through the day. We may act one way with a spouse and another with a close friend, one way at work and another at home. It’s not that we switch personae entirely, but we certainly offer different glimpses of our true selves to different people,” the author writes.

I like the way this person puts it: “I’m my true self at work, but I set my volume at 3 or 4 instead of 7 or 8.”

You may ask, why be myself at work? It’s easier to just be someone totally different. The answer is that “despite our best efforts, our true selves will always show through, and any contradiction will confuse the people we work with,” the author concludes. In other words, you may come off as fake.

Also you use up the energy you could otherwise be using on doing actual work. “You expend a lot of creative energy on keeping up appearances, and this can lead to stress,” the article reveals, and we all know nothing good can come of excess stress.

So why not give your real self a go?

Are you your real self at work? Do you think it’s worth it? Please share!

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

If the Timing’s Right…

Being effective is something that we all strive towards – but sometimes it’s the little things that can separate the good from the great.

One such small thing is deciding when to send an email. In a very interesting tip in the article, Timing is Everything: Five Tips to Better Networking in 2012, tip one is “send an email during working hours. You may think your email will get noticed if it’s sent off hours, but it will probably just get put aside. If someone is checking their business emails off-hours, they are checking on business-related items. Emails asking for help are often put aside and forgotten about.”

I tried getting a couple different opinions based on job functions. My friend, Andrew Bavelock who works as an Administrative Aide at New York University believes that “the afternoon is usually the time when I’m most responsive to emails, since that’s when I’ve finished most of my other time-sensitive work for the day.”

From our sales team at myGreenlight, Business Development Executive, Brian Frankel says “I check my emails first thing in the morning. I avoid checking emails in the middle of tasks as it is a time waster. I learned from Jason Womack to turn off the outlook notification message for incoming emails and that helped a lot.

However, not all people are of that opinion, some people think it is easier to focus on emails during our free time. When I asked our Community Manager, Kibibi Springs, she said,” I would say that getting someone’s attention at the start of their day is probably the best overall way to ensure that it’s recognized and replied to in a timely manner. So I would send an email in the evening so it’s on their radar when they check email in the morning.  I also have found that the end of the work day and the hours after a typical work day ends is great to catch people live.  I think a lot of people use the end of the day to catch up on emails and if you send something between 4-7pm you might get a direct response because that part of the day meetings are typically over, the phone has stopped ringing and they are more likely to be able to focus.”

As you may have noticed- there doesn’t seem to be a perfect time of the day to send an email. In my opinion, if it’s something that is very important to you- you should try to research “a day in the life” of the person you are emailing and go from there. It seems to be different depending on the industry and job function, so take all of that into account and see what works.

When are you most responsive to emails? Share your experiences!

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

If You’re Not Networking, You’re Not Doing Your Job

If you’re not networking, you’re neglecting a key part of your job, according to Forbes. We at myGreenlight obviously agree!

“To many, networking has been viewed as a mandatory activity for sales people but perhaps as an extracurricular option for others, or an activity only to be pursued when a person is in between jobs. Somewhere the paradigm has shifted and many people now recognize it has become a mandatory part of everyday life for anyone in the workplace,” writes Sherri Edwards.

However, unlike what many people think, just getting exposed, or networking for the sake of networking isn’t the answer. Personally, I don’t have relationships with many of the people I’m friends with on Facebook or connected with on LinkedIn.

So what’s the next step? “Relationships develop over time, not with a click and a connection. Developing relationships requires an awareness of a purpose and having an objective, followed by thoughtful communications that will support that objective.”

Just like everything else in life, you have to make an effort in order to have rewarding results.

What about you, do you prioritize relationship building like one of your official job duties?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

A Life Without Email

In a very interesting article in TechCruch, Jon Orlin delves into the possible repercussions of a “zero email” policy.

Thierry Breton, CEO of a very large European technology firm with over 70,000 employees, has vowed that in three years, his company will be a “zero email” company. He says that “only 10% of emails turn out to be important” and that email is no longer the appropriate tool. “It is time to think differently.”

We’ve all had moments of overwhelm thanks to the sheer mass of emails in our inbox after even mere hours of neglect. But I can’t help but ask, what happens to those ten percent of emails that are important? Is this a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater? And what is the alternative, how will we communicate with our colleagues if we have NO email?

There’s a lot of room to make email more productive without banning it. Take a look at Keith’s thoughts about sending emails: The Huge Mistake People Make with Email and 7 Tips to Avoid It.

How do you deal with email overwhelm? Are there times that you used to use email that you now reach for another tool?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Productivity When You’re Working at Home

Working from home can be liberating, but also tricky: It’s difficult to stay focused in an unrestrained environment. There’s no one to ask you what you’re doing or remind you about deadlines. You may get sick of yourself in pajamas.

The Oatmeal did a very funny comic about the pros and cons about working from home. Take a look!

According to this Microsoft article, there are some easy ways on to avoid the pitfalls of working from home:

  1. Set up a separate work area, with a computer and a specific computer and a reliable internet connection
  2. Make sure to store and back up your files
  3. Try to stay connected with colleagues by being available by phone and instant chatting tools

By creating a more formal work environment, it’s easier to stay focused and productive.

Have you ever worked from home? How did you stay on task?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.