No matter how eloquent the words, we cannot transmit the joy, excitement, or change in perspective when we experience pure spontaneity. It awakens the creativity in us we didn’t think we had. It demonstrates fearlessness. There is no need for applause as self-satisfaction is far greater than the world’s admiration. What stops us from letting it rip – to feel the freedom of spontaneity?
1. Fear of looking foolish
Some of you are thinking, “Easy for you to say. I’m not going to risk looking like a fool. My team, family, friends, teachers have shut me down too many times. Not worth the risk. Someday though…”
How about someday being now? Heck, we’re in the middle, end, who knows, of a pandemic that has jolted our need for everything to go as planned – a delusion even before March 2019. Now’s the time to let it rip!
We all know what it feels like when we’ve had that missed opportunity to self-express. “I should have said…” or “I wish I had asked…” “Maria’s idea is good, and I could have added on to it.” I don’t know about you, but when I have the opportunity to express myself, and I don’t take, it’s me judging me – a worse consequence than fearing whatever you may be thinking.
Perfectionism has become a most acceptable character defect. Society thinks it’s cute. Some of us wear it like a badge of honor. We hold back our enthusiasm because it may not sound perfectly thought out and then perfectly expressed.
Then comes the day we recognize our isolation, lack of creativity, and rut we’re in is more damaging than people being witness to our mistakes. We cleverly and rightly so identify our need to be perfect as an addiction. Hence, those that have found liberation from it call themselves recovered perfectionists.
(In full disclosure, I spent three hours searching for the "right" pics)
Where we jump in with a big smile on our face and surprise ourselves with originality. Jumping in may look like speaking up at a meeting and pretending not to care what others think. (Besides, other people’s thoughts are not our business.) Throw that idea out on the table and be ok without knowing why you think it would work. Dance your goofy dance, sing that song, tell the person you love that love them, sit back and feel the freedom gained.
Are you open today to be so perfectly present that you forgo approval (or disapproval) to let your wisdom, ideas, and creativity – rip? Don’t think. Just answer.
1. Play 2. Play 3. Play As I began researching this article, I started asking Google, what are the scientific benefits of laughter? Even though we all know how we feel when we laugh, I wanted the facts.
The facts for all those naysayers who say they like to laugh but who don't believe it belongs in the workplace, which currently, for many of us, is in our kitchen, dining room, or stairwell.
We all know how we feel when we laugh when those magical hormones, endorphins go up and that stress, that we didn't even know we had, is gone, and the TV blaring in the other room? who cares!
There are nine million results on google, for the “scientific benefit of laughter.” Mayoclinic is the first to write about it. “Stress Relief from laughter – it’s no joke.” How cute is that?!
But, I got more curious. You see, I’m not a big fan of one person who’s “just great at telling jokes.” A lot of times, I am that person. And I am pretty good at it. Still, not satisfying.
Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College, shares a few of his findings. Play:
What’s most important to note, is that we’re not just talking about sports games. In fact, for my purposes, we’re going to set that aside. What about the rest of us who just can’t catch the soft ball anymore, or ever could?
There is play you can do right now, in Zoom or Teams, whatever the virtual platform. Now, tell me, which of the handful of benefits above do you feel would NOT be a game changer for your organization – in the middle of a pandemic?
Here’s a quick activity you can start with today. SUPERHERO/SUPERPOWER Activity
In this most precarious time, emotions are running the gamut, as we navigate our way back to our offices – or not. Just as we thought we mastered the virtual meeting, new questions and unspoken concerns are simmering directly below our cordial conversations.
What is happening outside our office is acutely being felt by each employee inside. There is no leaving fear and confusion at the door. In most cases, there is no door.
Employees are craving a way back to connection and civility, while desperately needing and wanting the courage, confidence, and most importantly, agility to embrace this uncertainty and unrest – thriving would be the bonus. They are also looking to leadership to forge the way.
And then, leaders, wanting and needing for it to be over (like the trend in the country), stopped on a dime and disconnected from their managers and employees.
So, how to get communications back on track?
Here’s Gallup’s three suggested actions:
Let’s all agree that #1 is stating the obvious. If you assumed that your managers are "taking care" of the employees, I ask you, then who's supporting the managers?
How much energy you put into #2 and #3, directly correlates to the employee experience and engagement which more precisely will be reflected in revenues.
In my working with teams, this is what’s being asked and said: “Are we coming back into the office, or aren’t we? When? Why not now? I want to stay at home. Will I be required to wear a mask? What if people aren’t required to wear a mask?" You can understand why dialogues
These questions and statements are just the tip of the iceberg. Beside a paragraph press release, many leaders haven’t gone any further in addressing Black Lives Matter and your organization. Don’t be scared to show your vulnerability – that trait is right up there in the list of what makes a great leader/manager.
Most importantly, these don’t have to be in-your-face-combative discussions. At Collaborcate!™ we get there through the application of improvisation, to focus on teams, agility, acceptance, and empathy, to name just a few.
So, if you don’t call us, please call someone – the healthy and prosperous status of your employees, teams, and organization depend on it!
Long before airlines were charging for the oxygen on their plane, Southwest Airlines, no Herb Kelleher had an idea – let’s make flying affordable, and while we’re at it fun and friendly. And let’s not make the latter two, an edict. Let’s just treat our employees really well – in fact let’s focus more on our employees than we do our customers – then the employees, naturally in turn, will give everyone awesome service and an awesome experience, and the customers will return, etc. etc.
(Later SWA transformed Chicago’s Midway Airport from a ghost town to their largest hub operating 34 of the 43 gates, with 234 daily departures.)
This whole lower fare thing was something the competition was not going to take sitting down. He was going up against some big guns, particularly in Dallas, American Airlines. (As I’m writing this commentary, I happen to be on an American Airlines’ flight. And, so as not to put any voodoo on this plane, I’ll confine my comments to the brilliance, moxy and love of Mr. Kelleher and do my best not to compare.)
It was not an easy beginning for them. There were all kinds of legal battles around airports and borders and still they thought themselves equipped to stay the course, going all the way to the US Supreme Court and Texas Supreme Court. They won and after this four-year fight, the first Southwest Airline flight was taking off.
Or, I could just throw around two financial stats that no other carrier can claim: 1. SWA has made a
profit for 46 consecutive years (since inception) and NO employee has ever been furloughed – even
through the Great Depression – not a one.
What I will tell you, is Herb’s Employee First Culture, was sincere and deliberate. This was one time, the trickle-down theory worked. He knew that flying was serious business and safety is ALWAYS first, still he encouraged his staff to keep it light and not take themselves so seriously. That was also his mode of operation. Think back to the first time you were on a Southwest flight and the attendants cracked a joke on the loud speaker. Or when you called Southwest and you knew the person on the other end really liked what they were doing. There wasn’t a stressed-out or impatient syllable muttered – they were down to earth and authentically friendly and helpful.
Being on the Board of the Press Club of Dallas, I had many opportunities to hear Herb speak, to watch his playfulness spill over into any event he was at, and to repeatedly quote his wisdom and wit as a financial commentator for NPR’s “Marketplace.” His joie de vivre was contagious,
and most of all he LUVED his employees.
Kelleher knew that without dedicated employees, he was just another CEO with a large company. And every other CEO knew he was special as he was constantly bestowed the coveted title of The Most Admired CEO. He sincerely loved his employees, and they loved him. So did I.
Once upon a time, there was a year dominated by turmoil – where groups were pit against groups and fear was being instilled everywhere – anti-immigrants against immigrants, cops against blacks – unfortunately the list is endless.
Then came an event that shook the world from China to Chile to Poughkeepsie and beyond. People from all walks of life put fear and the election on hold and bonded while they sat in front of their TV or radio.
You’re a business owner, HR executive, CEO, COO, manager, etc. and you’re completely perplexed on how you can stop this revolving door of millennials coming in and going out of your business.
You’ve supplied the kitchen, with 27 different cereals, nut mixes, candy bars, protein drinks and gluten free whatever. In fact the boardroom has been completely transformed and the only reason why you still call it “The Boardroom” is because of the wide array of board games millennials can play on their breaks. (Yes, you did your homework; according to The GBrief , the website ALL about millennials, “they love their board games” The GBrief – millennials and their board games) And still you haven’t found a way to get them to stay.
How to identify if you really have a customer-centric business.
I’m sure if I was to call 50 companies right now and ask if they were a customer-centric business, they would all say “yes.” Isn’t that why we’re all in business – to be of service to our customers? The happier (we’ll define happy in a future article) they are the more business we have. On paper,yes. In the board room, maybe. In your cubicles, not quite.
Now’s the time to be jolly and generous with our words.
“You’re great!” “Happy you’re on the team!” “Good work this year” Waiting until you hand someone their bonus check (you are giving one, right?) or slur some kind word at the Holiday Party, is not going to cut it. It’s empty and insincere. It won’t endear me to be vested in you or your goals. That said, if you choose to follow a few simple truths and a couple of rules, the organization and you the leader, will reap rewards beyond those you are sharing.
Let’s begin with the premise that things are always changing.
So, you’ve got an idea that you think may solve the challenges of your department. Or you’ve got something in your gut that says write the book. Or maybe your hand and your heart wants you to finally pick up the canvas or guitar that’s sitting in the back of your closet.
And oh, how you fantasize about how your little idea propelled big profits for your organization. And those luscious daydreams of how your book, your writing, touched people enough to tell all their friends about it. And no doubt about it, once you pull out the canvas and brush, the art will flow and your kids will fight about who gets to hang that gem in their room. All so perfect.