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The Antidote to the Great Resignation is You

By Musings

For anyone who doubted, the data is in. The “Great Resignation” is real and it’s happening.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that during the months of April, May and June 2021 a total of 11.5 million workers quit their jobs. What does this mean for leaders who have to hire to backfill people who have left and hire new people to support business growth? If you want to stem the rate of turnover in your organization or team, you must look inside yourself and decide what is possible, what you can do to make a difference.

It starts with You

First of all, be aware of your impact. As leaders, people are watching you all the time whether you realize it or not. So, pause and consider how you are showing up in both your words and your actions.  If you are having high turnover, how do you message the realities of these pain points? How are your concerns and frustration about these issues experienced by others? This is outcome creating work as you act with the intention of creating the results you want and communicate:

  • What you envision as the best possible outcome for this situation.
  • What excites you about that.
  • What that gives you/the team/the organization.

When you communicate to your people in this way, the impact is one of potential and possibility.

Next, be courageous in creating the outcome you want. The marketplace for talent has shifted. You need to think of your employees like customers and put thoughtful attention into retaining them. This first step is to slow attrition and regain your growth curve.  A few tips:

  • Re-recruit them. Spend time to understand their motivations and ambitions, identify where opportunities might exist inside the organization (even if it is outside of your team) to help them fulfill unrealized dreams and ambitions.
  • Reward them. Challenge the status quo if what you are hearing from the talent marketplace is misaligned to your company’s current reality.  This is not just about paying people more, it is about how you recognize and value the contributions and impact of your people.
  • Engage them.  Businesses are hurting and at the root of that pain for most is a shortage of people to do the work. Your existing people feel that pain as they extend themselves to pick-up extra shifts to provide coverage or witness one more colleague call it “quits” when their tipping point is reached. So, be bold and ask for their help. This requires courage because admitting that you do not know everything is vulnerable work. Then give them agency to help mitigate the day-today concerns they are faced with. This sends a message that they are trusted and valued.

Change happens all the time. And in the midst of change, you lead the way and choose the right path forward. The only thing you can control, is you.

Your Baggage Has Wheels

By Musings

Change happens all the time – you get to choose the right path forward.

Do you have whiplash yet? We went from the headlines being about how or if folks will return to the workplace (still TBD) to droves of articles and news stories about “the great resignation” – predictions that more than 40% of people globally are considering a job change. This has caused companies to question how to hold on to and recruit talent; and has caused people considering a move to question what to do. So, let’s take this on. In a two-part series will look first at those 40% considering a job change, followed, in the next newsletter, with a focus on what companies can do to hold on to their people and to attract more great talent.

So, what’s driving folks to consider a change? The short answer – they had time to think. While the pandemic was hard in so many ways, one of its gifts was life slowed down. It offered people time to be with their thoughts and ponder what is important, time to reflect, to dream and to plan. No surprise that this has ignited change. If you are inspired to change, here are a few things to consider:

1. Clarify what is important to you. When considering what you want, dig deep. Start with your WHY – this is where you ground your desire in your core values. Start by answering the question “what do I want?” When you have that answer, ask and answer “what’s important about that?” at least three more times.  Resistance might pop up when you are doing this. That’s a great sign that you are pushing yourself past a comfort edge. Stay with it!

2. Define your outcome. When you are in an outcome-creating stance you act with the intention of creating the results you want. You are grounded in what matters and from the realm of possibility ask and answer these three questions:

  • What do you envision as the best possible outcome for this situation?
  • What excites you about that?
  • What does that give you?

This step can get uncomfortable as you come face-to-face with practical realities of that very desire.

3. Explore your options. Circumstances are changing. Redefine what is needed, for you and for others.  Be willing to revisit that what got you here may not be what is needed going forward.  Here are some tips:

  • Remain focused on your WHY yet detached from what that looks like. See what you discover!
  • Consider mutual needs. When exploring possibilities with others, like your boss or folks at work, don’t make the conversation all about you. Consider the needs of the whole.
  • Clear assumptions – yours and others. Our assumptions are not the truth – they’re your made-up realities – and they limit you. Clear them with open communication, listening deeply and curiosity.

4. Choose. This is your life. You have created consciousness around WHY this outcome is important to you. You have explored the options. Now you choose.

  • You choose to stay. Many companies are rebuilding or growing. If there is a new opportunity you want for yourself – and it can be beneficial for the company – be bold and share your thoughts. This is a both/and outcome: you get to grow and stretch, and the needs of the company can be met.
  • You choose to leave. When staying does not support your envisioned outcome, choosing to leave might be the best thing to do.  First, if you make this choice, own it. Meaning, make the decision about you – not anyone or anyplace else. Second, figure out what’s not working in your current situation and get clear about what part of that is yours – own it. If you don’t figure out what your role is in the break-up, you just drag that baggage along with you and it will repeat itself. Work is hard; people are messy. And you are one of them. Deal with your stuff—don’t put it on others.

Change happens all the time. And in the midst of change, you get to choose the right path forward. The only thing you can control, is you.

That Looks Good On You

By Musings

When you know what is important to you, you can then act on those values: that is the claiming part.

Claiming your values is the alignment of your thoughts, words and actions. We saw multiple, impressive examples of this over the summer from athletes on the Olympic stage!

Humanity shows up in many ways: Simon Biles offering support to her teammates as she struggles, and Annie Lazor cheering on her competitor Tatiana Schumacher, from Australia, who beat a world record. The agony of defeat found its way to the badminton court as Denmark took the gold from China. The response? Competitors exchanging hugs and jerseys. 800-meter runners helping each other up after a fall and helping one another over the finish line. And not to be forgotten, the two high jumpers, one from Qatar and one from Italy, who, for the first time in Olympic history shared a gold medal. Humanity looks good on all of them!

In our upcoming book, Humanity Works Better, Claiming Values, one of our Five Practices, helps you become conscious of what drives your behavior and articulate what is important to you. When you know what is important to you, you can then act on those values: that is the claiming part.

When something is happening around you – good, bad or ugly – it is hard to step into an action around that if you have not first identified what is important to you. Good (and big) questions to ask: What is important to me? What kind of person/athlete/sister/friend do I want to be? Begin there.

Sportsmanship has been the backbone of the Olympics for as long as we can remember and yet, somehow this year it feels surprising.  The gift? So many examples of athletes choosing sportsmanship over their own individual gain.  Their personal definitions of success exceeded a gold medal.

Here is what we know: YOU claim your values, no one else. Only you can do the hard, soul-searching work to understand and claim what is important to you. As always, it comes back to YOU. When you align your thoughts, words and actions with your values, we promise it will look good on you.

Why? Because the only thing you can control, is you.

Take a look in the mirror

By Musings

When it’s important to you, you have to dig in.

Last week in one of our social media feeds there was an article calling people forward to do their own research – the real kind of research where you read white papers created by knowledgeable people, gather information from various perspectives and based on data and facts, form your opinion.  What we took from it was if something feels important to you, you’ve got to dig in – do the work to understand what it is all about.

This is why we included the chapter, Claiming Your Values, in our upcoming book, Humanity Works Better. Claiming values helps you become conscious of what drives your behavior and articulate what is important to you and why. It means knowing what is important to you.

So many of us have been preconditioned – we are unconscious about what really matters to us and why.  Claiming your values is a practice of questioning your internal narrative. To challenge yourself. To notice where resistance is coming in and ask yourself, “what’s important about that?” Is a core value of yours being rubbed against – or is it an old, outdated belief that is limiting you, holding you back from expressing yourself as the good human you want to be?

This is hard, courageous work. Knowing your values creates intentionality. It allows you to stand in choice about how you are being and what you spend your time and energy doing. It creates clarity in your life. It might seem easier to point fingers, pick up on the narrative of others, and not think for yourself. But it isn’t. That behavior just keeps you stuck.

We saw the courage of claiming your values show up in the Olympics as Simone Biles pulled out of competition. On the world stage she took a stand for a personal value that was more important to her than the external narrative she had been letting drive her actions. We saw similar courage recently from Naomi Osaka. Behaviors are values in action, and they matter to people. Only you can change yourself, and when you change, others around you begin to change.

Michael Jackson’s hit Man in the Mirror is echoing in our ears:

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.

Here is what we know: you get to claim your values, not someone else. You have the responsibility to unpack what is true and not, even if you don’t like what you are learning. Only you can do the hard, soul-searching work to understand and claim what is important to you. As always, it comes back to YOU.

Why? Because the only thing you can control, is you.

Humanity works because of you!

The Problem with Perfect

By Musings

We seem to be having a lot of conversations these days with folks who are focused on the idea that they need to be perfect.

The whole idea of being perfect is tied up in the idea that you need to deliver flawless results, at super-human levels to feel secure and worthwhile as a person. Can you feel the weightiness of that idea? Doesn’t that sound exhausting!

Brené Brown, who we are constantly inspired by, is a writer and research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. In her work she highlights the difference between perfectionism and healthy behavior. She notes, “Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfection is not about healthy achievement and growth.” Rather, she says perfectionism is used by many people as a shield to protect against the pain of judgment, shame or blame.

We found ourselves caught up in the web of perfection when we were preparing to record our audio book. It was a new experience for both of us – we felt a bit out of our comfort zone. We were investing a lot of time, money and effort into this endeavor and we really wanted the outcome to be, well, perfect. We were so focused on the results we were trying to achieve that we lost the sight of the outcome we were hoping to create. Thank goodness we were being guided by a skilled producer who told us “You don’t need to be perfect; you need to get it right.” That direction helped us to take a breath, pause, and consider what “right” meant for us. We are on a mission to bring more humanity to the world of work. So “right” is sharing our real voice and getting our message out into the world so it is accessible and useful to everyone. How we do it might not be perfect in the eyes of some, and we are okay with that. (Phew – big sigh of relief)

As perfectly imperfect humans we are all striving to be the best version of ourselves. Just as our producer invited us to just get it right, we invite you to do the same. Let go of trying to be perfect, and step into being the best version of yourself.