©2017 Switch and Shift, LLC
When we think we are using our mind to actively form or connect an idea. But there is more to the word “think.” Thinking is also an approach, a possibility, a deliberation, an opinion, or an attitude; it can be a belief or a conclusion. And it can be a spark that helps unleash pure thinking power.
Let’s contemplate the act of thinking…
Thinking can happen in parallel. That is, you can think about one thing while doing something completely different. When you take a shower, for example, you go through a routine that you have likely performed thousands of times. Your brain thinks through the routine and action ensues. Soak. Soap. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. It’s been like that for years, so why change?
But maybe while lathering or rinsing you have a chance to simultaneously unleash thinking that may be more creative or critical than simply lathering soap over your body. I shave my head and face every morning in the shower; a routine of mine for more than 20 years. But during the shave I often float into a state of endless possibility and wonderment. The medical community calls it “automaticity,” when a cell spontaneously generates action without an external stimulus. My morning ritual has become a daily five-minute instance of ideation and decision-making while I continue completing the task of shaving without cutting myself. In the end, I am getting things done – safely – in more ways than one.
Richard Martin, co-author of The Neo-Generalist, confirmed my point during a discussion we once had. “There are times when my mind is freed up to concentrate on other things. For example, when I ride a bike, my body is doing one thing that is very mechanical, while my mind is freed up to sift through bits and pieces of information, sorting them into ideas for action, writing, and so on. I’ve experienced blog posts and articles coming to me fully formed in this way.”
Both of us are paying homage to what Daniel Kahneman calls “System 1 and System 2” thinking. Kahneman writes: “People who experience flow describe it as ‘a state of effortless concentration so deep that they lose their sense of time, of themselves, of their problems,” and their descriptions of the joy of that state are so compelling that [colleague] Csikszentmihalyi has called it an ‘optional experience.’ ” Some of my showers have lasted extra-long because I ended up in a daydreaming trance as my brain tried to put disparate pieces of data or knowledge together. Even then I failed to cut myself, to the relief of my wife Denise.
Thinking—like eating—is something we all do. In fact, we are all constantly thinking. But as with eating, there are both healthy and unhealthy habits we must become more aware of.
Thinking is both conscious and unconscious. It is voluntary and involuntary. It is equal parts contemplative, interrogative, and active. And it is automatic and manual. We can control thought, but there are times when our thinking becomes instinctive. It is the quality and healthiness of thinking, however, that we must reconsider. While a chocolate donut or greasy fries are fine in moderation, when unhealthy food choices become the norm, our physique suffers. We become obese, subjecting our bodies to more complicated maladies such as diabetes or heart disease. Similarly, if you constantly employ poor thinking habits, don’t be surprised if your life becomes detrimentally affected over time.
Let’s consider a scenario at work in which your boss presents a series of customer service issues to solve. Ideally, you enter a state of reflection that should transition into a decision and finally, action. You should consider the possibilities, deduce what will work, make the decision and then act to fix the customer problem in a mutually acceptable timeframe. If you spend too much time white-boarding the possibilities and/or overanalyzing your options—or you immediately dive into action without devoting thinking time to being creative or critical—that is akin to eating a 12-pack of donuts for lunch every day of the week. Inevitably, the result is unhealthy. At some point your habit becomes set. In this case, the customer remains dissatisfied. Poor thinking has won.
A different example: Your team wishes to improve how its members share information with one another. In a perfect world, everyone gets together to first think of some new ideas, critique them, decide what will be used, and then move to implementing the ideas. Hopefully, the process is iterative and weaves in any new feedback or thoughts. But, for many teams, either the leader mandates changes in a top-down fashion, or the team itself doesn’t spend enough time on the various options. Inescapably, any so-called improvements that were applied miss the mark because a version of closed thinking is applied. It is not open. It is not engaging. Time is not invested. Consequently, the result is unsatisfactory. Everyone loses.
In my home, when I share my opinion about my young son Cole’s latest “Jack and John” short story, I am thinking critically, providing thoughtful, patient feedback so he can become a better writer. If I am too flippant or quick, Cole loses out on additional learning and opportunities for improvement. If I interrupt the moment by attending to my mobile phone simply because it vibrated or lit up, how will he feel about my commitment to his learning? What type of example am I setting for him?
Conversely, in my place of work, if am not regularly asking team members for feedback on an idea, what does that say about my own personal level of thinking? Closed or open? In fact, thinking is tied to your attitude or behavior. If you are close-minded and fixated on dominating at all costs, what does that say about your ability to think openly let alone being viewed as a respected leader?
But thinking is also intuitive and instinctual. When an erratic driver is about to collide head-on with my car, I am forced to think and then react quickly to take evasive action. The process is seamless and fast and quite different than the examples mentioned above. Similarly, when an emergency-room doctor is presented with a life-or-death case, she must make critical decisions right away based on her experience, then act to save the patient.
The type of thinking we want to focus on in Open to Think does not pertain to avoiding car crashes or saving a patient’s life. Open to Think is not a book about the psychology or neuroscience of thinking, nor is it intended to rehash Design or Integrative Thinking. Furthermore, the book is not aimed at those who actually enjoy repetition in their role at work.
The kind of thinking we analyze is more conscious than unconscious, more interrogative and contemplative than innate or automatic.
Ultimately, Open to Think looks at the type of thinking you have control of in your daily lives—including your role at work—and the kind you, hopefully, want to improve.
To do so, I urge you to consider doing something throughout the book: continuously assess how you think. In doing so, you are not simply reading the book, you are potentially developing better thinking habits along the way. Along the way, try asking yourself these three simple questions as you journey through the pages:
In other words, as a leader, mentor, or manager… how do you currently unleash your thinking power?
Excerpted from Open to Think by Dan Pontefract. Copyright 2018 by Dan Pontefract. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
If you as a leader want to achieve greater business results – and help people feel more fulfilled and happy with their work – you need to intentionally create workplace optimism.
Not the warm-and-fuzzy, puppies-butterflies-and-rainbows kind of optimism, but the kind with a real impact on your bottom line. The kind that increases productivity and profits – and leads to higher retention of your best people and referrals for more great people.
What Is Workplace Optimism?
Most of us are familiar with optimism as an outlook on life – a personal “half-full” approach. That’s not what workplace optimism is, however.
Optimism in the workplace is the way the environment feels to the people spending 30 to 50 percent of lives at work. This positive feeling gives others hope that good things will come from their hard work. In a positive workplace, people focus on what’s right and what’s possible – rather than being dragged down by idolizing problems and polarizing politics.
While optimism in the workplace doesn’t require all team members to be optimists, this positive approach to work certainly shapes people’s perspectives about their contributions during the work day.
So what can a leader do to create more optimism in the workplace? Here are five actions that help it emerge. The more of these actions you take, the stronger the feeling of optimism you’ll create in your work environment.
Merely clocking in and “doing a job” – as the majority of employees view their work – is a barrier to optimism.
To help employees get past the Industrial Age mindset, we must show – by example – that good results will come from hard work. Help employees understand how their role impacts their customer, colleagues and the bottom line. Most important, help them tie their work to the company’s mission so, at the end of the day, they can say, “I did that…I made that happen.”
The best leaders understand how their leadership impacts the work climate. They know people do their best work when the leader actively listens, considers the diversity of opinions around them and inspires action.
To understand your impact, meet with carefully selected people – employees, colleagues and mentors – who you believe will be honest with you about your impact. Ask what you do well, and what you should improve. Listen intently. Then, as you seek to deepen your impact, focus on the issues and influences you have control over.
Peter Aceto, CEO of Canada’s Tangerine Bank, sets aside the first ten minutes of every meeting to connect with people. He deliberately “wastes” (his word) time making people smile, having non-work related conversation, and building relationships.
A simple act by a leader like this helps people bond. It makes us more empathetic, tolerant and patient. It helps us work closer together, in a more optimistic fashion. This feeling of relatedness also helps people, as they work together, tackle difficult tasks or start tough conversations.
Workplace optimism is first experienced when people feel good about themselves. They know their contribution matters.
To enable positive identity, promote an environment where regular feedback – positive and constructive, formal and informal – is appreciated, even expected. Learn what excites each of your employees in their work, and help them experience it more frequently. Develop meaningful relationships with each person on your team, and contribute directly to their positive identity.
Today, employees want to make a difference. In fact, in a recent DeVry study of what Millennials want from their careers, 71 percent said “meaningful work” was at the top of their list. It’s no longer enough for members of today’s workforce to contribute only to goals set by the company. It’s also important to satisfy one’s own goals and make a difference for others – customers, colleagues and community.
As a leader, look at the whole person – not just the worker. Help them grow as people. Allow them to spend time supporting causes important to them. And they’ll bring their increased confidence and optimism into the workplace.
Our work day doesn’t have to be a grind. Work doesn’t have to be a drag.
The workplace can be optimistic. First, though, today’s leaders must choose to make a difference; they must choose to create a positive, energizing work experience.
This post originally appeared in Shawn’s weekly column on Inc.com.
A central theme in dystopian science fiction stories (and now when we talk about future of work technology) is the fall of humankind to machines.
At the core of this alternate reality is this question: Can humans and the machines we create co-exist? It’s a bit of an existential crisis for us; one the one hand we are the proud creators of technology that is learning and growing, but at what cost? Will we humans become irrelevant, replaced by our own creations?
While we don’t need to worry about a machine or android uprising, we do need to face impending realities. In some industries, routine, mundane tasks are already being automated. Will some employees be replaced by the outcomes of our technological explorations? The answer is nuanced. There are, however, emerging themes and insights from research that show a promising future for us workaholic organic beings. It will be different.
To tackle wicked or difficult problems requires employees to work together. In fact, teamwork is the predominate way projects are implemented today. It’s when you merge the advantages from technology–artificial intelligence or machine learning–and our ability to collaborate that the future of work gets fascinating, even exciting.
Take for example the start-up company, Cogito. Founders, Joshua Feast and Dr. Sandy Pentland, lead the company to design their artificial intelligence to help agents become better human beings. How? “Cogito detects human signals and provides live behavioral guidance to improve the quality of interaction,” says the company’s website copy.
Imagine you’re helping a customer on the phone. Your customer is getting upset and begins yelling at you. You start to raise your voice in response. Cogito’s technology can detect the change in your voice and prompt you with ways to de-escalate the interaction. In an interview I had with Feast, he characterized Cogito’s value by “[helping] people be more charming in conversations.” Technology and humanity come together to create a better customer and employee experience.
In a 2018 discussion paper, consulting firm McKinsey & Company list the industries that will experience significant tech-driven transformations: banking and insurance, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, for example. These transformations will not only effect tasks but also bring humans together differently.
Consider the banking and insurance industries. It’s entirely plausible that the tasks tellers perform will be automated. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean teller jobs will go away. Remember, we are working in teams more than ever before. The teller role could be redesigned differently to address needs like improving the customer experience. Consequently, if we’re working more in teams, there is an increased expectation that we work better together. McKinsey identified that employees and the company’s leadership need to be stronger in social, emotional, and cognitive thinking skills. These skills, often considered soft skills, are already in short supply in the talent pool.
In our work with clients at WorqIQ, we see a significant skill gap in designing, leading, and adapting to change. We also are seeing more agile teams forming throughout companies, requiring employees to learn to work without a formal team lead. This raises the need for engaging in radical candor when exploring solutions and resolving a conflict. High performing cultures have no tolerance when people can’t learn to speak up for themselves and, at the same time, own their mistakes. This double whammy inserts toxicity into workplace climates.
The changes in the contents of how work is done can be unsettling. At the same time, there are new opportunities. What is important now is how you prepare yourself, and your team for shifts in the way work gets done.
To help you and your team be ready, below are some areas to investigate. You’re looking for skill gaps, biases, and change readiness. Your goal as a people leader is to prepare your team for changes.
Learning and Development | How active are you and your employees in learning new technical skills, soft-skills, too? Learning and development don’t only mean workshops. It can be on-the-job learning or placing employees in teams that will require them to learn to work better with others.
Change Agility | Change is emotional. Spend time helping employees learn how they respond to change. Then coach them to use tactics that help them get past resistance or denial of change.
Focus on the Climate | In my book, The Optimistic Workplace, I highlight how essential it is for employees’ immediate managers to create a positive work environment. If the climate is negative, stale, or toxic, change of any type will produce heightened levels of drama.
Technological advancements aren’t a threat. Our unpreparedness of their impacts is.
The meaning you and your company give to the inevitable will either hinder or accelerate growth. Technological advancements will require us to do the one thing we’re still better at–being human. The savvy companies are already learning how to integrate our tech creations with the elegant touch in our humanity.
This post originally appeared in Shawn’s weekly column on Inc.com.
In this week’s episode of Work That Matters by WorqIQ, Jacqueline Carter joins us to talk about the growing need, and impact of, human-centered leaders in the workplace…
Navigating the constant, rapid workplace changes can leave even the most skilled leaders exhausted. Aptitude Research Partners, an esteemed human capital management consulting and research firm, performed a study. Their work documented that 67 percent of survey participants believe the quality of their work and productivity suffer because of burnout and fatigue. At WorqIQ, we maintain that human-centered leadership is an untapped solution for today’s weary managers.
Research from Deloitte finds that 57 percent of companies are unsure how to solve the overwhelming demands on its workforce. You likely know the drill: back-to-back meetings, an unending list of project commitments, coaching and mentoring staff, and on and on. While the nature of the work demands are unlikely to change, chasing a solution only adds to the distress leaders and their employees experience. Contrast this with the approach of human-centered leaders…
Today’s best leaders take time to stop. In the pause, they take time to account for commitments, workloads, and work flow. Then they evaluate how they’re meeting employees’ basic needs.
To learn how you can do to just that, check out this week’s episode of Work That Matters by WorqIQ!
Employees’ basic needs—meaningful work, a clear sense of purpose, connection, and even a self-generated form of happiness—are also intrinsic motivators. What’s more, when satisfied each of these needs act as a way to recharge a busy employee and manager’s batteries. This episodes guest, Jacqueline Carter, reinforces the value of focusing on human needs at work.
Jacqueline Carter is a the North American Director of the Potential Project, a firm that teaches mindfulness as an organizational effectiveness strategy. Carter is also an author and has published her research in Harvard Business Review, and Mindful magazine. She has some powerful insights to share when leaders fail to take a mindful moment. In that moment, these human-centered leaders can see how best to lead and respond to today’s hectic work environments.
Elaborating on this point, you’ll also hear Jacqueline talk about three core mental qualities: mindfulness, selflessness, and compassion. These qualities help broaden how leaders understand their surroundings. After all, when we are always rushing to get to the next “thing” we forget how that frenetic pace drains our energy levels, cognitive abilities, and even weakens relationships.
Leaders do not need to wait for their company to remove the feeling of being overwhelmed and exhausted. You can be the trendsetter who finds a way to enjoy work, feel good about the quality of it, and also be available for your team, too. Pause. Observe. Respond. Most important, use the human needs of your people to guide you.
In this episode of Work That Matters by WorqIQ, Morton T. Hansen joins us to talk about how we can do less, and still get more done at work.
Would you believe me if I told you that there is a compelling argument to be made that you should do less to get more done?
Certainly, it’s enticing for all of us who work over 50+ hours a week. There is hope for us workaholics. It comes at a time when the average American works the equivalent of 6 days, sleeps less than 7 hours per night, and fails to take enough vacation time. This mixture of long work days and not enough down time is stressing us out. It’s not healthy. And it’s not going to help you or your team achieve a sustainable track record of success.
The challenge with this model of how we work? Learning what to do about it.
Fortunately, there is new research revealing some better ways to be “great at work.”
Morten T. Hansen, who is no stranger to the rigors of research, co-wrote with Jim Collins, Great by Choice. Collins is well known for his research-based approach to writing books. Hansen applies the same rigor in his latest book, Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More.
In today’s episode of Work That Matters by WorqIQ, we talk with Hansen about some compelling conclusions linked to high performance. I’ll recap some of those insights in a moment. For the time being, take a look at what Hansen calls seven work-smart practices. I highlight below a few of my favorites:
The other four smart practices Hansen includes in his book include: Learning Loop, Forceful Champion, Fight and Unite, and Disciplined Collaboration.
Listen in, and learn more about working less in order to get more done!
We ask Morten T. Hansen about how top performers actually do less and obsess, and then get more done. It’s appealing and also doable. Are you, though, willing to challenge the familiar ways of doing things? It’s key to doing less.
We also explore with Hansen how “do less” bosses are the best models for transformational leadership. Hansen also indulges our unending curiosity about outmoded beliefs managers are seemingly unwilling to change.
Regardless of your place in the hierarchy, Hansen’s work contains invaluable insights to help you find better integration of work with your personal life. After all, having a personal life is priceless to those who are high performers.
Be sure to check out these links mentioned in today’s podcast episode:
Check out Morten’s website: MortenHansen.com
Take the “Are You a Top Performer at Work” quiz.
In this episode of Work That Matters by WorqIQ, Nick Gianoulis joins your hosts Shawn Murphy and Mark S. Babbitt to discover how to make work fun.
David Ogilvy was quoted saying, “When people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good work. Kill the grimness with laughter. Encourage exuberance. Get rid of sad dogs that spread gloom.” Ogilvy, regarded as the father of advertising, believed fun was an important ingredient to work. He even went as far as to encourage funny thinking to discover great ideas.
Yet, fun seems to be in short supply these days.
The divisive times we live in have contributed to your colleagues feeling pissed off and unhappy. Perhaps you feel similarly? But I think we mischaracterize fun at work. Stuart Brown, author, psychiatrist and play researcher, believes play (another word for fun) can be part of our daily experience. Through his research, Dr. Brown is finding that fun, or play, can help us be more successful by shaping human development and intelligence.
To provide some concrete insights and actions, we talked with Nick Gianoulis, aka The Godfather of Fun. We wanted to pick his brain so you can learn ways to create some “goodness” in your team or company. Enjoy the listen!
Gianoulis is the founder of the Fun Dept. He’s a former corporate manager, “grinder,” where he learned that hard work and fun are a great combination. Unfortunately, the corporate grind can eliminate play from a typical work day; many of us find it hard to make work fun. The Fun Dept. is a company that provides products and team-building services aiming to up your fun quota at work. In short: their job is to make work fun!
The Godfather of Fun shares with us how shared experiences can positively shape team morale and cohesion. He also explains how fun can be a competitive advantage. I assert the advantage comes in the form of rewarding employees through hard work and helping them forget, at least for a wee-bit of time the demands of a busy business. Stuart Brown would argue that our brains can find newer levels of focus through play. After all, your energy levels are positively influenced with a mental break.
Leaders, to improve your workplace intelligence make time for fun with your team. Gianoulis would tell you it doesn’t have to be a long investment in time. But the dividends from play are greater than the time investment.
Be sure to check out these links mentioned in today’s podcast episode:
In this episode of Work That Matters by WorqIQ, Mike Erwin joins us to discuss the role of solitude in the every day lives of great leaders…
As a leader you have responsibility for your people. And today that requires an intentional investment of time: one-on-ones, coaching, removing impediments, communicating and re-communicating and re-re-communicating.
And yet, for many great leaders time is a most precious commodity.
So, it’s no surprise when leaders tell us they have no time to think. And certainly there hardly seems time enough to pause, grab a notebook and pen, and reflect on the day, week, month, or quarter.
However, reflection is a non-negotiable attribute for all great leaders. It’s a way to re-energize yourself. It’s also vital if you want to make sense of what is and needs to happen in your company and team. Warren Buffett said, “I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business.” Reading and thinking, from Buffett’s vantage point, is “uncommon in American business.”
Buffett isn’t alone in his advocacy for solitude. Mike Erwin, West Point graduate, CEO of one company, president of another, and Founder and Chairman of Team Red, White and Blue, a veteran support non-profit literally wrote the book on leadership and solitude.
Erwin’s book, Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership through Solitude, opens with a forward from his friend and colleague, Jim Collins: “If leadership begins not with what you do but with who you are, then when and how do you escape the noise to find your purpose and summon the strength to pursue it?”
Leadership and solitude is the focus of today’s episode of Work That Matters by WorqIQ. Enjoy the listen!
Not only is Mike a well accomplished leader in business and in the military, he is also an assistant professor in leadership and psychology at West Point. We believe if there is a teacher to show us the value of solitude Mike is it.
Mike will share how solitude influences your sense of self, an essential exploration for all great, influential leaders. Perhaps you’re resistant to spending time alone and thinking? Mike also has some thoughts on this common response to solitude.
Relationships and communication improve, too, when you sort out your thoughts. Action follows thoughts. Thoughts come from your beliefs and mindset. I bet you can guess what helps make sense of our biases and related thinking…solitude.
Be sure to check out these links mentioned in today’s podcast episode:
In Japan, having a sense of purpose is expressed through the term ikigai. It means “life worth living.”
Associated with a sense of ikigai is a greater motivation to live and to experience positive emotions like joy and love. In a longitudinal study named the Ohsaki Study, it included over 40,000 Japanese women and men aged between 40 to 79 years. Researchers asked a simple question: “Do you have ikigai in your life?” Researchers learned that those without a clear ikigai had an increased risk of mortality.
Why does purpose positively influence longevity in life? And how does your business benefit from employees having a sense of purpose?
Cognitive Engagement | Here Kashdan and McKnight suggest that a sense of purpose may help people engage more deeply in their work. This can lead to a more profound sense of satisfaction creating a virtuous cycle: purpose fuels focus; focus leads to progress in work.
Goals | When you or your employees have a sense of purpose, you are more likely to know and name your core values. You can more easily align your interests with your personal “Why.” Combined, your values and interests help you identify goals. What’s more, your purpose enables you to develop meaningful goals. Kashdan and McKnight warn, however, that it is faulty logic to assume a sense of purpose means goal clarity and attainment.
Resilience | In the face of obstacles and setbacks, resilient people find a way to keep moving forward. Researchers have posited that purpose plays a role in resilient people. The logic goes like this: My clarity of purpose helps me stay focused on what I need to do when I encounter a problem. Purpose, in this case, is like the north star. It helps guide you when you don’t have all the means necessary to navigate back to where you want to be.
The Ohsaki Study found plenty of wellness benefits in the participants who answered “yes” to the study’s question. Here is a list of some of the positive outcomes:
It’s interesting to note that 66 percent of those who said they have a sense of ikigaiexperienced moderate levels of stress. The study did not suggest reasons for the substantial increase.
So, what do companies say about the value of purpose? In one study from EY Beacon Institute and Harvard Business School, the top five essential elements linked to purpose are creating value for customers, having a positive impact on society/the community, inspiring innovation, and positive change, providing employees with a sense of meaning and fulfillment, and generating financial returns for shareholders.
A clear purpose is a potent, aspirational factor linked to performance. It’s also a strong intrinsic motivator that excites employees to want to apply their talents and strengths to their work. However, a false sense of purpose can backfire. So how do we prevent purpose to go the way of values, vision, and mission? Leaders need to have a genuine conversation about the company’s “Why.”
Then, it must be socialized at all levels of the organization.
When employees freely advocate and promote your company’s purpose, you’ve achieved an organic, genuine belief in why your company exists.
Your company does not exist to make money. That is the outcome of a compelling purpose. Your company exists to solve a problem your customers’ value. That is a great place to look when seeking clarity of purpose.
This post originally appeared in Shawn’s weekly column on Inc.com.
The thought of organizational change can scare even the most accomplished leaders. But it can also create a feeling of insecurity for everyone else in the organization.
So the question becomes: How ready is your organization for real change?
To simplify the thought of organizational change, and to apply the Darwin approach to make change a little less scary, we present this infographic from Line-of-Sight and the Newberry Group.
Here, you’ll learn about the drivers of change as well as the three key ingredients to change. You’ll also come to understand the high cost of not changing, which certainly creates a certain sense of urgency. Next, you’ll learn about how change starts and the tools you might need along the way. Finally, learn more about the deployment of change and how to measure impact and success.
The reason we love this infographic is the simple approach to change. After all, change itself doesn’t have to be complicated. But we must make sure that our leaders and employees are responsive to the idea of change in the first place. Then, as the leaders of change, we must help them understand the “why” before we dive into the “what” and “how.”
Take a look. Think like Darwin. And then decide how responsive your organization is to change.
In this episode of Work That Matters by WorqIQ, Andy Molinsky joins us to talk about seamlessly navigating unfamiliar situations in the workplace, and in life…
Ambiguity is no stranger to the workplace.
In a time where disruption is increasingly more common—start-ups competing with legacy companies and technological advancements changing the workplace landscape, for example—there is no shortage of unfamiliar situations to test leaders and employees alike. It’s no longer enough to have a great product or service. If companies and its employees at any level are ill-equipped to navigate today’s ambiguous, rapidly changing business realities, they will struggle to remain relevant. For people, there is another level of concern: developing the skills to adeptly respond to new situations.
Today’s career playbook has added and revised chapters. With the aforementioned technology advancements, employers are seeking more soft-edge skills: collaboration, emotional and workplace intelligence, and navigating conflict, for example. It’s not that these skills are new expectations. But their importance has moved to the top of the list because how we are working is changing. Consequently, companies are seeking talent who can more gracefully integrate their professional disciplines with soft-edge skills.
For employees and job seekers to stand out, they absolutely need to learn how to step outside their comfort zones.
In today’s episode of Work That Matters by WorqIQ, this is what we explore.
Andy Molinsky is a professor of psychology and organizational behavior at Brandeis University’s International Business School. His work is widely published in reputable media outlets such as Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Fast Company, and has been featured on NPR. His latest book is Reach: A New Strategy to Help You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, Rise to the Challenge, and Build Confidence.
Molinsky reveals some invaluable ways to help boost your repertoire of skills and success, including navigating unfamiliar situations and extending our comfort zones. The five core psychological barriers people face when stepping outside their comfort zones is particularly important to understand. We specifically talk with Andy about the authenticity challenge and the morality challenge. This is fascinating stuff!
If you struggle with avoiding doing something you want or need to do, be sure to listen to Andy’s insights about why this happens.
Throughout our conversation, you’ll also hear tips to help you navigate ambiguity and ways to help behavior change stick.
Today’s top performers may be reluctant to step up and rise to new challenges. But they find a way to lean on their talents and move forward. Indeed, this has always been a winning strategy. It’s merely evolved to be more important for all of us and not just something the daring do.
As you’re thinking about navigating unfamiliar situations, be sure to check out these links mentioned in today’s podcast episode: