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BE FULLY PREPARED – PART ONE

‘If you haven’t thought about what you really want, you may get something you don’t want.’

When we are preparing for meetings or important conversations, we’re usually good at making sure we have all the relevant information, and have thought of answers for questions that might be asked. These are the things we call good preparation.

And I want to remind you of a couple of other areas of preparation that we often forget to do so thoroughly. This month, I’m looking at defining the outcomes you want from the meeting or interaction.

Now most of us will be clear about the result we want: that the others agree with us, approve our plan of action, act on what we’ve told them etc. However, this result is not the full story of the outcomes we want from the interaction. If it were, then we would never encounter those times when we do get the result we wanted, yet still feel a bit disappointed.

For example, you may have wanted your team to agree to focus on an area of work where performance has slipped a bit, and everyone agrees that they will. And there are a lot of miserable or fed up faces around, and your ‘demand’ gets thrown back in your face if you ask about any other aspect of their work. The focus is happening, the performance is improving, but there is resentment in the air.

If you fully think through your outcomes, you realise that it’s about more than what you want them to do; it’s also about how you want them to react to your request, and wanting them to approach it constructively. So the second stage of the outcomes is to think about what will motivate the team to want to focus and improve that part of their performance. It also prompts you to think about how you can present your request in such a way that it doesn’t feel like a reprimand or restriction.

There is a third stage to a fully formed outcome. This is where you consider, not just the immediate impact on the others, but also the longer term impact or effect. You don’t want the improved performance at the expense of slippage in other areas of their work, nor do you want increased resistance to or resentment of any other requests you may make in the future.

What the act of thinking through, fully, what you really want as outcomes does for you, is to help you prepare far more than just your facts and arguments. It helps you to clarify the approach you will take, the way you will engage the others with what you want to achieve, and how you will make it an attractive proposition.

And as you think through these different aspects of your outcomes, you will find that your mind automatically starts to think of ways you can do this. It’s worth the extra time thinking it through, because it can enhance the likelihood of useful results significantly.

Di Kamp, Leadership Director of Meta

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IF IT LOOKS TOO BIG, BREAK IT DOWN!

We all have those tasks to do that we put off, because it looks like a big job. It may be a report, or sorting out your inbox emails, or those meeting notes you’ve taken at the time but not really looked at – you get the gist. They are usually tasks that are a mixture of being somewhat complex and also not very exciting or motivating.

The trouble is, the longer we put them off, the bigger they seem to get, so we need a way of tackling them that is not daunting. So, my suggestion is to break it down into smaller chunks – as the saying goes, the way to eat an elephant is to take small pieces at a time!

Clear 10 extra emails a day, sort through one set of meeting notes, get the info you need for the report from one of the sources – just do some small piece towards it. Those small pieces don’t take too long or too much effort, and cumulatively they bring the task down to a manageable size.

Now sometimes we tell ourselves off, because we know it isn’t really such a big job – but we still don’t do it! There’s no point in judging ourselves or being logical about it, because that doesn’t help to get the job done. What does help is still to break it down into even smaller chunks. For example, to respond to that email requires checking your diary to see if you’re free, checking what else you are doing that week, and doing some prep for it – the travelling time, the info you’ll need. So make it a 5 or 6 step project. Once you have started it, it will get easier to finish.

Things that are left hanging because they feel daunting don’t usually go away – in fact they occupy a part of our mind all the time they’re left, and often seem to keep growing bigger! That uses energy we could more usefully put elsewhere. And once you start chipping away at them, they almost always turn out to be easier than we thought.

So come on, do that first small step on that thing that’s hanging over you, and make your life easier.

Di Kamp
Leadership Director of Meta

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LISTENING – WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON?

I remember my boss at the time once asking another member of staff to bring him the report on his clients by the end of the week, in the middle of talking to me. Dave said: ‘Yes, of course,’ and carried on to wherever he was going. My boss turned back to me and said: ‘He won’t, you know..’ And he didn’t. And the boss was angry with him. Yet he knew that the verbal agreement was not what was really going on with Dave.

Do you recognise this syndrome? I have since seen it repeated many times, and it still seems daft to me that we will all sometimes accept words alone as being the communication with us, and then complain because the words were not fulfilled.

If we take a moment or two to notice what’s really going on with the person, we can respond to their full communication. The tone of voice, the language used, the manner of speaking all give us more information about how that person is, and how they are reacting to us, or the particular message. Their body language tells us even more. That ‘knowing’ that my boss had, was because he had picked up more information about Dave’s response, yet he chose to ignore it, to everyone’s cost.

In that instance, Dave was distracted and about to go into an important coaching session, and he just forgot. It could have been that he was unsure how to do the report, or already feeling he had too much to do, or resenting the way in which the boss had asked him. We don’t necessarily know why we’re getting a mixed message from someone, just that it is a mixed message.

If we take the time to notice what’s going on, and check it out, we can do something about it. We can ask them if there’s a problem, and if we can help with it. That way we can avoid the likelihood of failure on one side, or resentment and annoyance on the other.

And of course, if we know we are the one giving a mixed message, we could take the time to say: ‘I’ll do my best, but I’m really busy this week, and I’m not sure how I’ll fit it in’, or: ‘Can you put a note on my computer – I’m just going into a meeting and I might forget.’ Or whatever may clarify our response.

Words are great and we can’t do without them, but they are never the full message. Just take a moment to notice what’s really going on, and you can save yourself a lot of extra hassle.

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LEARNING FROM THE GOOD STUFF – A MODEL OF EXCELLENCE

We’re told that we need to learn from our mistakes, and there’s no doubt we can, if we can get over feeling bad about making them in the first place, and if we can then work out a better way of handling whatever it is. It isn’t the most effective way to learn and develop though. If it were, we wouldn’t need teachers or role models!

However, the prevailing culture is one that emphasises mistakes and problems. We analyse them to death: why did it happen; what caused it; whose fault is it; and eventually, what can we do about it. If something has worked, we usually just tick it off the list and return to problems.

Excellent people take a different approach – they learn from what went well. Imagine if we spent as much time on those things we do well, asking similar questions: what worked; what helped it to work; what contributed to the success; what made the difference; and then, where else could we apply what we’ve realised.

When we do begin to analyse what went well, we discover good practice that can be used in lots of situations, in terms of the approach used to achieve this specific task or project. Most things work well when the people involved are motivated, and really clear about the outcomes they want to achieve. People usually need to feel it’s something worth achieving – there’s some benefit or value to it. It also tends to work better if those involved work together well and all value each other’s contributions. The list goes on, and each point identified can be used to enhance the likelihood of success in other aspects of work.

This form of analysis gives us immediately useful information for planning the next project or task, as well as making us feel even better about our achievements!

I’m not suggesting that we stop paying attention to mistakes and problems. It just might be useful to give an equal amount of attention to the good stuff – it has rich information to give us.

Di Kamp
Leadership Director of Meta

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A THANK YOU GOES A LONG WAY

Last month I wrote about using your critic more effectively. This month I am looking at the other half of the story: continually growing the habit of appreciating all the helpful things that others do.

It is easy to take for granted the everyday things that people do. We notice the big gestures of course, when someone goes out of their way to be helpful, but we don’t tend to pay attention to the smaller, more routine things that people do. Yet these are the building blocks of relationships, which create the environment for successful teamwork.

On any given day, it is likely that some of the following happen at work:

  • Someone does their part of a task and hands it over on time
  • Someone makes a cuppa at just the right moment
  • Someone lightens the mood when things are tough by making you laugh
  • Someone takes a message for you while you’re away from your desk
  • Someone has cleaned up the office before you arrive for work
  • Someone has made sure the technology is working
  • Someone has solved a problem that could have landed up on your desk.

(And of course, there is a long list of things that ‘someone’ does which make it easier for you to be at work; the chores that you don’t have to do, whether that be gong to the supermarket, looking after the kids, or driving the bus or train you catch!)

We forget, sometimes, how reliant we are on other people to make our lives easier; and, of course, you do some of the same things for others as well, so we can justify not always appreciating what others do by saying that it balances out. However, we re missing out in thee big ways when we don’t show appreciation to others.

  1. Positive appreciation of what others do creates that environment of helpfulness and cooperation, and encourages people to do those helpful things even more. We all like to be appreciated, and respond positively to it.
  2. Everyone involved gets a boost to the feel-good factor – those you are thanking, and you as you thank them. And this encourages more people to appreciate others more often, continuing to build that useful environment.
  3. Our lives get even easier! People are more likely to help us out if we appreciate what they do already.

And it doesn’t have to be a grand response: ‘Thank you for..’, ‘It made a difference when you..’, ‘I notice that you…’ Just a simple sentence can make a big difference. Just for one day, notice all the little ways in which others make a positive difference to your life, and say thank you whenever possible. You will be surprised by how much others make your life easier.

Di Kamp, Leadership Director of Meta

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USING THE CRITIC IN US WELL

We have all learnt to notice what others do wrong or don’t do, and we’re good at it! This is not surprising, because we live in a culture where the media reports predominantly on the mistakes and wrongdoings of others, so that ‘flavour’ is constantly in front of us. What’s more, most of us have been brought up and ‘educated’ through having our faults, weaknesses and wrongdoings pointed out to us – they are what drew attention to us more than our good behaviour.

However, the fact it’s normal doesn’t mean that it’s effective. Being critical of others doesn’t make us feel any better about them, nor does it improve the situation. It also makes them feel bad, if we voice it, and often resentful of us.

So what can we do that would be more effective?

Firstly, we need to ensure that whatever we are criticising is in perspective. Do they always do it? With everyone? Is it in certain circumstances? Or is it a one-off? And when are they getting it right? In most cases, the focus on their bad behaviour causes us to forget to notice the things they do well, and the times they perform well.

Secondly, we need to think about what outcome we want. Do we just want them to know we’ve noticed, or to feel bad about it? Or do we want their behaviour to improve? I assume that most of us would prefer the latter!

Thirdly, we need to consider what might help them to improve. Often, people don’t realise the impact their behaviour has had on others, so they don’t see it as a problem. For example, someone who leaves things till the last minute may not be aware that this makes those who pick up the next stage of the task anxious, in case this time they don’t deliver. Since the negative impact on others is not deliberate, it is important to just make them aware of it, not use it as an accusation.

The other aspect of helping them to improve is to identify what exactly would be an improvement. I find it useful to complete this sentence: ‘It would make a real difference if you could..’ For example: ‘It would make a real difference if you could show that you are going to complete your part of the task on time, instead of dismissing queries about it from others.’

Finally, having expressed a clear positive step to them, it is important to check out what might help them to do that. After all, if it were obvious to them, they would probably have done it already.

And of course, we also all notice our own faults and mistakes and beat ourselves up about them with our inner critic. Wouldn’t it make sense to apply this same process to ourselves?

  1. Get it in perspective: It’s not my constant or only form of behaviour.
  2. What outcome do I want? I want to feel better about my own behaviour.
  3. What might help me to improve? What is the one thing I can do next time the same situation occurs that would make a difference.
  4. What would help me to do that?

Our critical voice can be really useful in helping us and others to develop, if we use it as a starting point, an identification of a possible improvement, rather than as a finishing point, a judgement.

With that in mind, we wish you a wonderful month ahead.

Di Kamp, Leadership Director of Meta

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SPENDING OUR PRECIOUS TIME MORE WISELY..

We talk about time in the same way we talk about money: saving, spending, wasting, giving, and taking. And of course, time is like a form of currency. We have a set budget each day of 24 hours, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Fortunately, we get a new budget the next day, so we have plenty of opportunity to become better at spending it wisely.

So what does that mean in reality – spending it wisely?

1. Get enough sleep

Sleep is essential to our health. While we’re sleeping, our bodies have a chance to heal and renew, and our minds can process our day and relax. We all need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night for these processes to happen properly and leave us refreshed for the next day. For more information on why we need sleep and getting a good night’s sleep see Jo’s excellent articles on LinkedIn –

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/sleep-your-most-vital-leadership-resource-all-jo-clarkson

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/sleep-your-most-vital-leadership-resource-all-part-2-jo-clarkson

2. Identify what’s important to you and make it a priority

At work, these are the tasks that matter most that will make the most difference, both to the organisation and to your state of mind. At home, this is the reminder that time spent enjoying your children and your partner and your friends is more valuable than tidying up. I always classify as important those things I would regret not doing if I found out I was going to die next week!

3. Make sure you have some energy boosters in your day

If we have regular energy boosters during the day, we can be more productive and committed to what we’re doing, and we don’t get so exhausted. The first obvious energy booster that sadly most people are missing out at the moment is your 30-minute lunch break! It’s a GOOD use of your time to take that break, not only does it re-fuel you, but it also allows your brain time to re-build internal capacity that allows it to function at its highest level again for the afternoon, which means you.. Get more done! Other energy boosters are things like – 5 minutes laughing with someone, the 10-minute walk round the block, getting some fresh air, talking to a work colleague about non-work stuff, grabbing a coffee with a friend, sit down with a good book or TV programme for 30 minutes. Di had written a great blog all about energy boosters – www.dikamp.com/your-energy-bank-2

4. Be social

We all need human contact. We are wired to connect with other people, and it boosts our immune system to have friendly interactions. That brief conversation with someone at work, having a cuppa with a work colleague, talking with the check out lady at the supermarket, or having a natter on the phone with a friend is time well spent.

5. Have some fun!

Life is too short to miss out on the enjoyable bits! Whatever is fun for you will help to energise you, will enhance your positive attitude – well, it’s just good for you! It may be doing a puzzle, having a laugh, being silly with your children – just make sure you do laugh every day, and build in fun into your every week. Fun is for grown ups too, and having fun and laughing is SO good for your body, your mental well-being and your overall health.

Now even if you do all these things every day, you will have plenty of time left for those necessary things that don’t fall into these categories. In fact, if you do spend some of your time each day wisely, you will probably find you can do more of those necessities more effectively, because you are keeping yourself in a good state.

Now let’s look at some of the other ways we use to describe time.

Wasting time

We often describe something, as a waste of time because it hasn’t been productive – there is no clear result at the end of it. By this we mean a task done, something off that list of ours.

We need to extend this definition because sometimes it is good use of time to do something that has no clear end product. Many of the wise uses of our time come under this heading: being social, talking to work colleagues etc. The basic rule is that if it makes us feel better – more positive, more energised – it is not a waste of time.

Saving time

When we talk about saving time – by going to the supermarket in our lunch hour, by multi-tasking at home, by shopping online – we also need to consider what we’re saving the time for. Since we can’t ‘bank’ that time and save it for another day, I think we could decide to spend it on something that makes us feel good, rather than cramming in a bit more of the responsibilities and duties. Maybe you could just sit in the garden and daydream for a while, or do something else you find relaxing and pleasurable.

Spending your time wisely is making the best possible use of it, so that at the end of each day, you can say to yourself: ‘That was a good day.’

Let’s make the most of our 24-hour budget of time each day – Let’s make the time to think about how we do spend our time, and spend it well!

have a great month!
in peace,
Di and Jo xxx

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Don’t sweat the small stuff! – making the tasks we avoid easier to do

We don’t think we’ve ever come across anyone who genuinely loved every aspect of their job. We all have some tasks to do as part of our responsibility that we would prefer to drop if we could. It may be all the emails, or some of those meetings or certain phone calls, but there’s going to be something that makes your heart sink when you think about it.
The effect of these tasks spreads beyond the task itself. When you know you have to do it, it can negatively colour your whole day:

• It brings out the most developed avoidance procedures we have
• We generally don’t do the task itself as well as we might
• It uses up a lot of our energy that could be better expended on things we get satisfaction from

This is too high a price to pay, so it’s worth re-examining our attitude towards these tasks.

What can you do about it?

1. Divide the task into smaller chunks
These tasks can easily become ‘elephants’ in our minds, so break it down into smaller parts: plan to make 1 phone call, not 5; clear 5 extra emails, not 10; avoid back-to-back meetings (at the very least make sure you’ve got 10m minutes between each one); give yourself a little space to breathe – diary in some reflection time; plan a little time each morning to plan your priorities and a little time to get back your perspective at least once a week.

2. Experiment with when in the day you do the tasks you don’t enjoy
We are all better at doing the less attractive tasks at certain points in the day. For example, you may find that first thing in the morning you can tackle something you don’t like, and then feel virtuous for the rest of the day. Or it might be that the end of the day, you’re only fit for something tedious!

3. Do something different
Look for ways to make it more enjoyable or at least interesting. What motivates you? It may be listening to some music, if appropriate, while doing it, or having a little competition with yourself – how many can you do in the next half hour? Or it may be giving yourself the added task of finding something to take away from that meeting, or something delightful about that person you don’t normally connect very well with.

4. It’s OK to avoid things sometimes
There’s nothing wrong with avoiding things if a) it’s not something that makes your priority list that day b) that actually it’s something that you don’t have to do or you’re not the best person to do it i.e.: it’s not really something that you need to do at your level. Ironically sometimes something you don’t like is something that other colleagues are happy to do – so can you delegate it to someone? Or swap it for one of their tasks that you wouldn’t mind doing?

It’s daft to continue to let a part of your job, and often a small part, bring down your mood for other things you have to do. When we let the small things disproportionately affect us, it can ruin our motivation for the entire day. Experiment with ways of making it work for you, and save your energy, creativity and drive for making a positive difference to the things that really matter.

We hope this blog has been useful to you, we think it’s about time that we began to really use the precious time that we have at work to do what needs to be done in a more effective way, working at a sustainable pace that ensures quality and creativity – we’re sharing this because we believe you can and DO make a difference to the organisations you work with, and if we can make your work day that bit easier, well, that’s what we’re in business for!

Have a great month,
In peace,

Di and Jo xxx

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GET THAT STRESS OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM!

Yes, we are talking to you!

Even if your don’t think you’re stressed, we know that you probably are. When we talk about being stressed, we are so far out of balance that it’s hard to come back to normal. So we want to encourage you to tackle the imbalance early, and make it easier for yourself to stay healthy and happy.

What we’re designed for

You see, biologically, we are still functioning as if we were hunter-gatherers. When we find something stressful, we release a mass of adrenaline and cortisol into our bloodstream. These hormones direct all the energy in our bodies into our arms and legs – for fight or flight – and to the instinctual part of our brains – for survival. Now this is really useful if you are facing a life or death situation – think of the stories of someone lifting a car off their child who’s been run over – but for most of us, the stresses are not about survival, they are more emotional and mental. So we have an excess of preparation for fight or flight that is not dissipated by using it for that purpose.

Causes of stress

And what causes that stress that we do have? Well, as I said, we are designed to be hunter-gatherers. That means we would have highly physical times, and then some downtime to recover. We would also live to the seasons, in touch with nature, awake in daylight hours, sleeping when it’s dark. We would eat natural unprocessed food, with a high proportion of fruit vegetables and grain. Instead we have become far more sedentary, we completely ignore seasonal changes, and we eat processed food a lot of the time. On top of that, we have a 24/7 culture, shopping after dark, online till the wee hours, responding instantly to communications. None of this is what we are biologically designed for, so puts stress on our system, before we even start to call things stressful.

Symptoms of stress

If you don’t think this applies to you, just consider whether you have any of these symptoms of stress in your system:

Do you know of someone who is suffering from difficulty in getting to sleep? Waking up in the middle of the night? Waking up with butterflies in their stomach? Suffering from low-level anxiety as they wake up or drive to work, for no obvious reason? Making snap/bad decisions? Not able to get over a cold? Getting ill easily and then being ill for a long time before recovering? Not being able to stop themselves saying something before they’ve said it? Feeling out of control? Wired? Uptight? Bad neck/back/shoulders? Stomach issues? Gut/digestion problems? Struggling to eat? Eating comfort food? Smoking/drinking too much? Jiggling their legs or fingers? Dropping things? These all can be signs of stress.

Effect of stress

Now you might say, ‘Oh well, that’s just the way it is’, but the effect on your physical and mental health of constantly having stress hormones in your body is significant. Those hormones take all the energy away from maintaining and repairing your vital organs, from using the evolved parts of your brain where you think things through, are creative and maintain perspective, and from your immune system which keeps you healthy. The other scary piece is that when stress hormones are in your body your cells do not regenerate. They just die off one by one and are not replaced.

The good news is, we can do something about it, by finding ways to re-balance our system, when we notice the signs of stress. As hunter-gatherers, we would have dissipated those stress hormones by our physical activity, and a successful hunt would lead us to release the health-giving hormones – dopamine and serotonin – which biologically re-balance the system, and re-direct our energy back to maintenance and repair of our bodies, and the more generally useful parts of our brain.

It’s important to emphasise here that actually stress is not our natural state, happiness, joy and fun is. You don’t see 3-4 year old kids stressed! You won’t find a 4-year-old sitting all depressed and moaning about everything, suffering from lack of sleep and suffering from anxiety! The vast majority of young children know how to look after themselves and actually our brains are wired not to make us feel bad, but to make us feel good. We are wired for happiness but we learn how to look for what’s wrong rather than what’s right. So it’s important to have our own strategies for getting ourselves de-stressed and back to our factory default setting of happiness!

Relieving stress/getting back to normal

Sometimes it’s not easy to just go back to default setting so it’s useful to have a number of strategies for de-stressing and getting back to normal.

We need to find our equivalents and consciously do something to correct the balance and help our bodies find their preferred state.

Anything physical helps, because it dissipates the effect of these stress hormones: have a run around the block to get rid of the excess adrenaline coursing through your body. Maybe you need to do some yoga to release the energy. Gardening helps, or just a walk in the park. Swimming, or the gym if that’s your thing. Even some energetic housework, if that doesn’t add to your stress! Just get your body moving.

It also works if we do anything which has a calming effect on us – it allows our body to find its natural balance: it may be a case of just sitting down for 5 minutes. Or take a break and have a cup of coffee. Maybe you could listen to a calming piece of music or phone a friend. Or just sit and relax and just breathe deeply to relieve the symptoms of stress.

Finally we can pro-actively use ways to release the dopamine and serotonin in our bodies, which counteract the negative effects of stress and quickly rebalance us. So do anything which makes you feel good, such as a favourite piece of music, reading a chapter of a good book, watching something that makes you laugh, or eating something that tastes good and is a natural food – anything which helps to shift your mood.

Whatever things work for you, it’s important to have a number of different ways to relieve stress for you, before it gets too unbalanced to deal with easily. This is not an indulgence, it is a necessary and vital rebalancing, if we want to function effectively and stay healthy. For the sake of our long-term heath, do pay attention to those symptoms of stress, and relieve them as quickly as possible. Your body, mind and spirit will all be grateful!!

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ARE WE LOSING OUR HUMANITY IN OUR DRIVE FOR MORE?

In the last few months, I have come across worrying signs in the meetings that I’ve had with our valued customers. Not only are we struggling out there to keep our heads above water, to weather out the current storm of difficulties and demanding organisational needs, but this constant drive for more for less (and with less) from organisations at the moment is leading to us losing our humanity.

That’s a bold statement I know, however I have recently been working with people maltreated by their employers, I’ve seen how people are off with serious illnesses (cancer, pneumonia, strokes) as a result of stress and work, and I’ve seen first hand how callous and inhumane some CEO’s and leaders feel they have to be in order to get the job done and deliver what needs to be delivered.

Now I believe that no one wants to be horrible. No one wants to be inhumane, but when we are set impossible targets, when we are under more pressure to deliver than ever before. Sometimes we get caught in the story, get caught by it all, and perhaps we ignore things that we really shouldn’t ignore. Tolerate things that we really should not tolerate.

The system at the moment is one that doesn’t want us to think or care. It wants us to deliver – to give more and more, faster and FASTER, with less people, less time and less budget.

So how can this system work? When we look at it like this surely this is untenable, surely this can’t work? Well it can’t work long term. It can short term, but that is only if we treat people as a consumable resource. One that is ultimately replaceable when one is worn out or not of use anymore – (sound familiar the contractors amongst you out there?)

However on a more positive note, people are remarkable, and at the moment they are the glue that keeps organisations together, the oil that keeps the cogs of the machine running, even though they are severely understaffed, is the will and power of their people. So isn’t it time that organisations said thank you to their people? The people who enable the business to keep in business? Who deliver, who go beyond the call of duty to ensure the mission impossible is fulfilled and made possible?

Isn’t it time that we actually brought the humanity back into business? A business where we dared to care, where we stood up for a work colleague, where we stood up for each other?

There is some interesting new research that shows that people are losing their ability to empathise. Nowhere is that more obvious than in the workplace. We don’t see the ‘work me’ as who I really am. So we do things at work that we’d probably never do in our personal lives. We also forgive behaviours that we would find intolerable outside of work, because ‘that’s just the way it is here’.

You see, as we are put under more and more stress so we become more individualistic, we rightfully look after ourselves first because we do not have the resources in our fuel tanks to protect more than just us. We can’t look after everyone anymore, we’re so busy trying to get our own impossible to-do list done, that we struggle to find time for anything else.

So sometimes we might send a snotty email or have a curt conversation with someone that with hindsight we regret. We might say yes to something, when actually we wish we’d said no! And what about when we witness other people being treated in a way that we wouldn’t want to be treated? Do we turn a blind eye? Do we look the other way? Do we not make a stand for fear of being picked on next? It’s totally understandable, but is it right? Is our silence allowing our natural empathetic responses to be dampened and lessened?

At what point do we say no?
Where is the line that someone has to cross before we say that’s not OK?
When we lose our empathy, we lose our humanity.

You can deliver more, if you care and look after your staff. Investing time and effort into your staff isn’t a luxury it’s a necessity for ensuring a happy, successful and productive organisation! There is so much research on this, and yet right now there are few organisations that are putting this into practice.

I mentioned earlier that its time for us to not tolerate things we are currently tolerating. To challenge what we feel isn’t right. There are basic human values that are being tested here today in today’s business practices. Inhumanity is being tolerated, and that’s something that has to be checked. Has to be stopped.

So how do we do that?
Well, release the hand of fear for a start.. Fear has been controlling many of our lives for too long. And.. get together to say NO.

When we are running the story that it is just us, just me vs. the organisation then if I stand up and say no then I am just a trouble maker. However, if I find like-minded people, people that believe in what I believe in then we can ally together. If we stand together, we are stronger, its hard to call you trouble makers when you have a team of 20 allies!

So how about making that list of allies right now? How about getting together with others to share the problems and difficulties you face? Remember a problem shared is a problem halved, and a monster shared is a monster halved too!

Find you own ‘rant buddies’ people at work that you can just go and have a good 5 minute rant about something with.

Find people that have witnessed similar bad behaviours and band together to do something about it together. You don’t just have to have one group of allies, the wonderful thing about allies is that you ally together over one cause, so if you have more than one cause, you can have a different set of allies for each!

Too many people right now are making passive choices. Its time to be pro-active, time to make active choices to change the way your workplace is.

The only way to change the way we work is to band together and to work together in a different way. To actively champion the causes and values that you hold dear and prove that working in a more caring, supportive, encouraging way is the way to get more done!

So let this month be a month that you find and get together with like-minded people in your organisation. The time for isolated working is over, its time to band together for a common purpose, a common goal. And I think that standing up for what is right, standing up for real human values, and treating people fairly and equally is a darned good common purpose to have!

If you can’t make that group in your own organisation, remember that here at Meta we are happy to be your rant buddies, and we’re happy to put you in touch with other people that feel just like you.

We are passionate about doing all we can to change the way we work. Its time for a more evolved way of working, and if you’re willing to make a stand for that, then we are with you every step of the way.

So call on us for support or guidance, we are always here for you, our valued customers and friends, and we always will be.

Wishing you a wonderful month!

Jo xxx

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