Posts Tagged ‘fired up or burned out’

Avoid burnout by getting your people connected

I love it when the planets align. I was about to hold a podcast with Connection Culture author, Michael Stallard, when I read an article in Fast Company titled, “The Top Three Nonprofit Jobs of the Future.” One of those jobs is Chief Culture Officer. It’s been said that you have a culture whether you cultivate one or not. The question is, are you going to be a leader who carefully cultivates one or leaves it up to chance?

When I had my conversation with Stallard last week, I asked him why nonprofit CEOs need to prioritize culture. My guess was competitive advantage and quality of work life but, of course, he had a much more interesting answer.

Join me in listening to this answer and others about how to avoid burnout in your ranks, the signs of a healthy culture, examples of connected cultures and where to find more than 100 ways to connect employees:

CausePlanet: What are the benefits of a connection culture? In other words, why should a nonprofit CEO care if their people are connected to one another?

Benefits of a Connection Culture

CausePlanet: How can the ideas in your book be applied specifically to the issue of nonprofit burnout?

How Do CEOs Neutralize Burnout?

CausePlanet: How can nonprofit executives foster connection within their organizations?

What Elements Are Necessary for Connection?

Get a free copy of 100 Ways to Connect and Stallard’s “Connect to Thrive” email newsletter.

CausePlanet: Can you tell us about a connected culture you observed and appreciated?

Connection Culture Example

CausePlanet: Tell us more about the Connection Culture!

More About the Book

Learn more about Michael Stallard’s first book, Fired Up or Burned Out and our summary.

More titles and summaries in this genre:

The Nonprofit Organizational Culture Guide: Revealing the Hidden Truths that Impact Performance

Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch: The Secret of Extraordinary Results Igniting the Passion Within

Winning with a Culture of Recognition

Image credits: ATD, culturetalk.com

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Is your nonprofit team fired up or burned out? A case for connection

Connected organizations are more productive, more innovative and more profitable; conversely, a lack of connection will gradually burn employees out. Author Michael Lee Stallard makes the case for increasing connection at work and shows you how to build a “connection culture”—a culture that increases connection among people—by increasing the elements of a connected culture: vision, value and voice. Paying attention to these so-called “soft” aspects of the work environment will help increase employee engagement and, in the end, will make your organization more successful.

The case for connection

Research by the Gallup Organization shows that fewer than three in ten Americans are engaged in their jobs. Gallup also estimates the annual cost to the American economy from the approximately 22 million American workers who are extremely negative or “actively disengaged” to be $250 to $300 billion every year. Unless people in an organization feel a strong sense of connection to their work and colleagues, they will never reach their potential as individuals, and the organization will never reach its potential.

Conversely, employees in an organization with a high degree of connection are more engaged, more productive in their jobs, and less likely to leave the organization for a competitor. One trend in particular makes connection more important than ever: the increasing globalization of labor. As globalization makes it easier for companies to move work and jobs around the world, organizations that want to retain jobs in their home countries will need to boost the productivity of their people or lose business to competitors who reduce their costs by offshoring.

The connection formula

A “connection culture” is a culture that embraces the beliefs and behaviors that enhance connection among people and meet their basic human psychological needs for respect, recognition, belonging, autonomy, personal growth and meaning. There are three elements of a connection culture that meet these basic needs: vision, value and voice. Leaders who intentionally foster these three elements will reap the benefits of a connection culture.

Vision exists in an organization when everyone is\motivated by the organization’s mission;

united by its values; and

proud of its reputation.

Value exists in an organization when everyone

understands the basic psychological needs of people;

appreciates their positive, unique contributions; and

helps them achieve their potential.

Voice exists when everyone

seeks the ideas of others;

shares ideas and opinions honestly; and

safeguards relational connections.

A good way to remember these elements is to remember this formula: Vision + Value + Voice = Connection.

When all three elements are in place, it’s a win-win for individuals and organizations.

The evolution of organizations

Most organizations today focus on task excellence—or the quantitative and analytical aspects of business. However, according to Stallard, organizations that focus exclusively on task excellence will fail to meet the basic human psychological needs that maximize employees’ contributions to the organization.

Stars, core employees and strugglers

Employees fall into three categories: stars, core employees and strugglers. Stars are the superior performers; they are either part of senior management or are on the management track. Core employees are valuable contributors but not stars. And strugglers perform poorly, either for temporary reasons or because they are not well suited to their position. Stars are the “favorites” of management and are treated as such—they may be paid more, listened to or included in social situations. This “caste” system within organizations makes most employees feel like second-class citizens and affects an organization’s economic, political and social aspects.

Core employees, however, are just as critical—and often more so—to an organization’s success as its stars. Core employees make up the majority of an organization’s employees and are often just as intelligent, talented and knowledgeable as stars. They differ from stars in three important ways:

They are less likely to call attention to themselves;

They are less likely to leave their current employer for a different organization or position; and

They are quietly dedicated to their work and to their colleagues.

Core employees are key

Organizations are at risk of losing their core employees if they do not foster a sense of connection in the workplace. The reason is simple: Core employees feel that their ideas and opinions aren’t heard and don’t matter, and that they are not respected or recognized for their contributions. Over time they become frustrated and feel underappreciated. This leads them to becoming disconnected and disengaged which, in turn, causes burn out. Leaders need to treat everyone with dignity and respect, and give core employees opportunities to shine as well as the stars. These so-called “soft” issues are essential to any organization that aspires to be the best.

Nonprofit implications

Much has been written about nonprofit “burnout” and the impending “leadership crisis” as Baby Boomers prepare for retirement. Disengagement, an aging population and globalization are converging to become the perfect storm that will make today’s leaders and organizations vulnerable. However, leaders can gain a performance advantage by intentionally creating a work environment that increases engagement and connection within the organization. Organizations that do this will attract and retain committed employees and, as a result, achieve high impact in the long run.

See also:

Fired Up or Burned Out free ebook

The Leadership Challenge (4th Ed)

The Six Secrets of Change: What the Best Leaders Do to Help Their Organizations Survive and Thrive

Image credits: bloomberg.com, accidentalcreative.com, wallconvert.com

 

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Three ways to a better culture & bottom line (Audio)

Unengaged employees cost time and money. So why do we have molasses-like reflexes when it comes to cultivating a positive culture in the organizations we lead?

Billions of dollars are lost every year by corporations through turnover as well as legitimate and non-legitimate sick days. Tens of thousands are lost in productivity and outcomes within a single position if it turns over or if the employee is unengaged in your nonprofit.

Michael Stallard, author of Fired Up or Burned Out, says there are many easy ways you can cultivate what he calls a “connection culture” in your workplace. CausePlanet hosted a live interview with Stallard last week and one of the questions from the attendees generated a response that centered on three steps toward a great culture (podcast).

CausePlanet members: You can play back the full interview with Stallard if you missed the live session last week. Don’t forget to register for our next interview with William Mott, author of The Board Game: A Story of Hope and Inspiration for CEOs and Governing Boards.

Not a member yet? Find out more about how you can download this book summary and other titles as well as attend or play back regular live author interviews.

by Denise McMahan

See also:

Links provided by Stallard during the interview:

Stallard mentioned in the interview: www.epluribuspartners.com, www.michaelleestallard.com, Indiana University Center of Philanthropy studies that assert donors stop giving due to a lack of connections: “Indiana Gives 2008” and “The Local Connection” in “Coming to the Table,” “Great Leaders Connect” (article about Admiral Clark), and the National Geographic video on stress entitled “Stress: Portrait of a Killer.”

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So what’s all the fuss about culture?

So what’s all the fuss about culture? Why does promoting a good culture feel like something that can be pushed down on the priority list after board recruitment, fundraising, and filling that vacant position?

Though you can’t see it, and it’s even harder to describe, experts prove again and again how a healthy, toxic, or even ignored culture can make or break every aspect of your efforts—yes, that includes productivity and your bottom line.

Now that I have your attention, turn your focus to our upcoming live author interview with Michael Stallard. He’s coauthored Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite your Team’s Passion, Creativity and Productivity with Carolyn Dewing-Hommes and Jason Pankau. Connected organizations are more productive, more innovative and more profitable; conversely, a lack of connection will gradually burn employees out. Author Michael Lee Stallard makes the case for increasing connection at work and shows you how to build a “connection culture”—a culture that increases connection among people—by increasing the elements of a connected culture: vision, value and voice. Paying attention to these so-called “soft” aspects of the work environment will help increase employee engagement and, in the end, will make your organization more successful.

Stallard recent submitted an article, “Weathering the economic storm: how to boost morale.”

Join us for a conversation with Stallard about three elements of a connection culture: vision, value and voice. Leaders who intentionally foster these three elements will reap the benefits of productivity and innovation. Now who can’t use more productivity and innovation in the workplace?

Watch Stallard explain “Connection Culture.”

See also:

Michael Stallard’s site: www.epluribuspartners.com

The Nonprofit Organizational Culture Guide: Revealing the Hidden Truths that Impact Performance

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

Image credit: PhilmMcKinney.com

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Weathering the economic storm: how to boost morale

I was an enthusiastic 21-year-old recent college graduate when I arrived for my first day of work at Texas Instruments in 1981. Ready to take on the business world, what I encountered was an office of stressed-out coworkers. The day before, the company had announced its largest layoff in history. The mood at the firm made me wonder if I had just bought myself a seat on the Titanic. Since then I’ve lived through many a recession, restructuring and downsizing and I’ve learned how to cope with the normal feelings that arise in times of uncertainty.
Emotional responses
When we face adversity and colleagues lose their jobs, it is natural for us to fear for our own. Triggered are a range of emotions, including anxiety, anger, sadness and even grief. These emotions are grounded in our needs for respect, recognition and a sense of belonging at work. Meeting these needs is critical to restoring normal emotions.
Focus on control
If office morale is sinking due to the fear of potential job cutbacks, I recommend people concentrate on two areas. First, focus on what you control, that is, your efforts in carrying out your own job responsibilities. When you do this, your colleagues will see you in a more favorable light. If you mope around and complain, however, it looks immature and selfish. Now is not the time to drop the ball. If the team has been weakened, everyone needs to step up during this time of adjustment.
Connect with others
The worst thing for people going through a time of uncertainty is to feel alone. When we feel alone, we tend to become more pessimistic and may overreact. The office mood will sink even further if everyone tries to “suck it up” on his/her own. When people worry about losing their jobs or get stuck in their grief over the loss of their former colleagues, the level of the stress-related hormones soars in their bodies. A whole host of negative physical and mental effects arise when stress hormones remain high. When people feel connected relationally, however, and receive encouragement from others, their stress hormone levels fall. The connection helps them feel better and the clouds of gloom begin to clear. The second response I recommend, then, is to intentionally reach out to “connect and encourage” your colleagues.
Connecting with coworkers may include taking them out for a meal or coffee or out for a walk. As important as the time and attention is the opportunity to get them to talk about how they’re feeling. Listen closely and try hard to empathize. Our brains are equipped with mirror neurons that allow us to feel what others are feeling. When you feel someone’s negative emotions, it diminishes the pain he or she feels. When you feel someone’s positive emotions, it enhances the joy he or she feels. Also, look for ways to encourage coworkers by complimenting them on their strengths and assuring them they will be fine. Because your coworkers will feel respected by you and recognized for what they do well, it will boost their sense of belonging to the group. And when you connect with and encourage others, you will find you feel better too.
Know and do
Let me forewarn you not to dismiss these recommendations because they sound simplistic. A problem in most organizations today is that people suffer from a knowing-doing gap. They know what needs to be done and yet fail to do it because it requires the expenditure of additional energy until that behavior becomes hardwired into the subconscious parts of their brains. Once they get used to the new behaviors and they are hardwired, they become natural and require less energy and intentional effort.
Create a checklist
To begin, over the next two weeks start every day by creating a checklist of what you have to get done that day to do your job well and include at least one action you are going to take to connect with and encourage a coworker. At the end of each day, review the checklist to see what you accomplished.
You can make a difference and lift the spirits of your coworkers by getting your work done well and taking the initiative to connect and encourage the people around you. If you do this, your team will weather this storm, and the support and encouragement you show one another will make you better equipped for a bright future.

See also:

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work

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Why leaders need to create connected cultures

Connection is “a bond among a group of people based on shared identity, empathy and understanding that moves self-centered people toward group-centered membership.” Nothing boosts the engagement of a social sector organization’s beneficiaries, employees, donors and volunteers like connection.

Connection is a universal phenomenon, though different cultures refer to connection using different words and phrases. The French phrase “esprit de corps,” which literally means “the spirit of the body,” describes a connection among people. The Japanese call connection “Ittaikan,” which means “to feel as one body of people.” In Kanji, it is  “一体感” (一 = one, 体  = body, 感 = sense or feeling of). Cohesion, unity, social capital and attachment are also ways to describe connection. It’s interesting to note the word “corporation” is based on the Latin root word “corpus,” which means “body.” The definition of corporation is “a group of people combined into one body.”

Our leadership training and coaching firm, E Pluribus Partners, has spoken, taught and consulted with all sorts of organizations, including Greenwich (Connecticut) High School, Texas Christian University (TCU), the NASA Johnson Space Center, the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Google, Scotiabank (Canada) and ITV (London). Each of these organizations benefits from developing a “connection culture,” where people feel connected to their organization’s mission, values, reputation, supervisors, colleagues and day-to-day work responsibilities. When people feel connected to their organization, they give their best efforts, align their behavior with organizational goals, share information and insights with decision makers even when it may dangerous to do so, and participate in the organization’s marketplace of ideas that feeds innovation and creativity.

There are three elements in a “connection culture”: vision, value and voice.

Vision

Vision exists when everyone in the organization is motivated by the mission, united by the values and proud of the reputation. Social sector organizations can boost the element of vision in their cultures by having people who benefit from their organization’s work tell their stories to remind everyone he/she serves a cause greater than self. Also, I recommend people get together and share stories about how they live out their values, such as excellence, integrity, love of people, kindness, etc.

Value

Value exists when all in the organization understand the needs of people, appreciate their unique positive contributions and help them achieve their potential. Value is the heart of a “connection culture.” I recommend organizations give employees permission to take breaks and go to lunch together so they can get to know one another as human beings. This develops intimacy, an essential element of trust. Not tolerating condescending, patronizing or passive aggressive behavior is also important to respect the dignity of all people. Supervisors can boost the element of value in a culture by getting to know the people they are responsible for leading, including their personal and career hopes and dreams, and helping them achieve those aspirations.

Voice

Voice exists when everyone in an organization seeks the ideas and opinions of others, shares his/her opinions honestly and safeguards relational connections. Keeping people in the loop and then seeking and considering their ideas and opinions on matters that are important to them help engage people. Leaders who have humility do this. Wise leaders like Ed Catmull, CEO of Pixar, are intentional about it. Pixar’s directors get together regularly to help each other produce the best films possible. Pixar director Brad Bird and his producer John Walker set up a meeting once a week with their team of 200 plus people working on a film to keep them in the loop. Brad and John wander the halls of Pixar, connecting with the people they lead, and they are much beloved for their caring personalities and commitment to producing films the team and Pixar family will be proud to have created. Brad and John’s first film at Pixar was The Incredibles, a massive hit worldwide.

Just connect

Research shows people who experience an abundance of connection in their lives are more energetic, more creative and better at solving problems. They also live longer, according to a recent 20-year study of workplaces. The bottom line is that connection = productivity and life, whereas disconnection = dysfunction and death.

If leaders will be intentional about developing work cultures with vision, value and voice, they will see their colleagues and the organization as a whole flourish. Connected people are happy people. That’s why it’s wise to just connect.

See also:

Fired Up or Burned Out

Nonprofit Organizational Culture Guide

Winning with a Culture of Recognition

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Overcome employee discontent to gain competitive advantage

 

For the second year in a row, 84 percent of American workers intend to actively look for a new job, according to new research by Right Management. Workplace incivility is also on the rise.  According to research presented at the 2011 American Psychological Association annual meeting, up to 80 percent of workers have experienced incivility.   Workers are struggling and have been for some time.  In 2009, The Conference Board published a report with the subtitle “America’s Unhappy Workers.”   The report concluded that employee satisfaction was at its lowest point since The Conference Board began surveying it more than 20 years ago.

The good news is that is doesn’t have to be this way. Leaders can develop workplace cultures that engage people. There are three types of workplace cultures: Dog-Eat-Dog Cultures, Indifferent Cultures (cultures that are indifferent to people and treat them as human doings), and “Connection Cultures” where people feel connected to their organization’s identity (i.e. mission, values and reputation), where they feel connected to their colleagues and supervisor, and where they feel connected to their role in the organization (because it fits their strengths and provides the right degree of challenge).

Connection is the force that transforms a dog-eat-dog culture into a sled dog team that pulls together. Without going too far into the psychology of connection, let me just summarize by saying simply that we are humans, not machines. We have emotions. We have hopes and dreams. We have a conscience. We have deeply felt human needs to be respected, to be recognized for our talents, to belong, to have autonomy or control over our work, to experience personal growth, and to do work that we feel is worthwhile in a way that we feel is ethical. When we work in an environment that recognizes these realities of our human nature, we thrive. We feel more energetic, more optimistic, and more fully alive. When we work in an environment that fails to recognize this, it is damaging to our mental and physical health.

And when you think about it, that makes sense. Let’s consider how this plays out in the workplace. When we first meet people, we expect them to respect us. If they look down on us, if they are uncivil or condescending, we get upset. In time, as our colleagues get to know us, we expect them to appreciate or recognize us for our talents and contributions. That really makes us feel good. Later on, we begin to expect that we will be treated and thought of as an integral part of the community.

Our connection to the group is further strengthened when we feel we have control over our work. Connection is diminished when we feel we are being micro-managed or over-controlled by others. If we are over-controlled, it sends the message that we are being treated like children or incompetents, and it’s a sign that we are not trusted or respected.

Connection is also enhanced when we experience personal growth. In other words: when our role, our work in the group, is a good fit with our skills, providing enough challenge to make us feel good when we rise to meet that challenge (but not so much challenge that we become totally stressed out). Finally, it motivates us to know our work is worthwhile in some way and to be around other people who share our belief that our work is important. To the extent that these human needs of respect, recognition, belonging, autonomy, personal growth and meaning are met, we feel connected to the group. When they are not met, we feel less connected, or even disconnected.

The bottom line is that connection plays a critical part in improving individual performance. People who are more connected with others fare better in life than those who are less connected. Connection, because it meets our human needs, makes people more trusting, more cooperative, more empathetic, more enthusiastic, more optimistic, more energetic, more creative and better problem solvers. It creates the type of environment in which people want to help their colleagues. They are more open to share information that helps decision makers become better-informed. The openness that emerges in a trusting and cooperative environment creates a robust marketplace of ideas that stimulates innovation. Connection among people improves performance in an organization and creates a new source of competitive advantage.

See also:

www.epluribuspartners.com

The Connection Culture

Fired Up or Burned Out

Image credit: careergirlnetworking.com

 

 

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Fired up or burned out?

You’ve all heard the phrase “You should never judge a book by its cover.”

The truth is we all do.  In this particular case, I looked at some of the great management books we’ve featured at CausePlanet over the years. One of them caught my eye because the cover’s so great. But the more intelligent answer you’re looking for is that it contains a terrific amount of sage advice for managers. The book is called Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity and Productivity by Michael Lee Stallard. December feels like an appropriate time to take a pulse and see if you fall into one of these “fired up” or “burned out” camps. In either case, you’ll find Stallard’s approach worth your time.

Stallard talks about the notion that connected organizations are more productive, more innovative and more profitable. Conversely, a lack of connection will gradually burn employees out. Stallard makes the case for increasing connection at work and shows you how to build a “connection culture”—a culture that increases connection among people—by increasing the elements of a connected culture: vision, value and voice. Paying attention to these so-called “soft” aspects of the work environment will help increase employee engagement and, in the end, will make your organization more successful.

Research by the Gallup Organization shows that fewer than three in ten Americans are engaged in their jobs. Gallup also estimates the annual cost to the American economy from the approximately 22 million American workers who are extremely negative or “actively disengaged” to be $250 to $300 billion every year. Unless people in an organization feel a strong sense of connection to their work and colleagues, they will never reach their potential as individuals, and the organization will never reach its potential.

A “connection culture” is a culture that embraces the beliefs and behaviors that enhance connection among people and meet their basic human psychological needs for respect, recognition, belonging, autonomy, personal growth and meaning. There are three elements of a connection culture that meet these basic needs: vision, value and voice. Leaders who intentionally foster these three elements will reap the benefits of a connection culture. The connection culture formula can be thought of in the following way:

Vision exists in an organization when everyone is
• motivated by the organization’s mission;
• united by its values; and
• proud of its reputation.

Value exists in an organization when everyone
• understands the basic psychological needs of people;
• appreciates their positive, unique contributions; and
• helps them achieve their potential.

Voice exists when everyone
• seeks the ideas of others;
• shares ideas and opinions honestly; and
• safeguards relational connections.

A good way to remember these elements is to remember this formula: Vision + Value + Voice = Connection. When all three elements are in place, it’s a win-win for individuals and organizations.

See also:

Michael Lee Stallard’s website, www.epluribuspartners.com
Stallard’s new eBook, The Connection Culture
Fired Up or Burned Out Page to Practice™ summary

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Have the holidays got you fired up or burned out?

“Fired Up or Burned Out” is a great read this time of year because Michael Lee Stallard’s book discusses how to reignite your team’s passion, creativity and productivity.  Stallard feels that emotional connection is important for a team to the extent that he explains how to build a “connection culture.” I like this book in December because it’s a great foundation for New Year’s resolutions and new positive patterns–especially in the workplace. You can book shop till you drop at the NEW CausePlanet Store!

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