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Being a Great Leader: the fine line between Confidence and Skepticism

You’ve probably heard, over and over again, about the importance of self-confidence for a leader. Confidence gives you charisma. It makes people follow you. It makes friends trust you and enemies fear you.

It’s pretty hard to imagine Caesar or Napoleon telling their people “Well, we could try this, but I don’t guarantee that it’ll work.” So why should you, if you aspire to become a great leader?

But let’s leave confidence aside for a minute. There’s another element which most leaders of today are lacking. Have you ever had a boss who thought he knew all the answers to every question? Who never admitted he was wrong or, even more, that idea didn’t even cross his mind? Of course you did. In one word, do you know what that guy was missing? It was skepticism. Will all the praise of confidence and self-esteem, almost everyone forgot the importance of a certain dose of self-doubt.

Being a little skeptical about your own opinions is such an important factor these days. While everyone has an opinion (and everyone thinks that their opinion is the right one), those who can be skeptical about their own beliefs have a great advantage: when a problem arises they won’t take anything as given, but they will try to make up their mind, starting from zero, about what would be the best solution. That includes asking every employee’s opinion on the subject matter, because the skeptic knows that he is just a human being, fallible like any other. From this type of behaviour, two big advantages emerge: the employees will appreciate their leader for respecting them and the final solution to the problem will have a much, much higher chance of being the right one.

Well, but it seems pretty impossible to be skeptical and confident at the same time, right? Indeed, but that might not be needed. Here’s my piece of advice: whenever a problem arises, adopt this two-step approach in solving it:

Step 1– Total skepticism.
Do not take anything for granted. Search the internet for similar problems that other companies had and look at how they’ve handled them. Take notes. Now take what you’ve learned about it and present the information to your employees. If possible, ask each and every one of them how would they handle this. Finally, make a decision based on all of their insight.

Step 2 – Total confidence.

Once you’ve made that decision, stick with it until the end. At this point, you know you’ve done your best, so there’s no reason to be insecure. Your people also have to feel they they are going in the right path, so make sure you radiate confidence. Act like nothing can stop you and your people anymore from reaching your objectives.

Doesn’t look so hard anymore, does it? And while this two-step approach is meant specifically for leaders, it can be a great idea to use the same pattern in making any kinds of decisions, the results will be great nevertheless.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Successful Brainstorming: Possibility or Hoax?

In terms of brainstorming, people often tend to forget that in order for it to be achieved the answer is quantity, not quality. Brainstorming represents the essential first step in early stages of a new project, so it is crucial that everyone understands how important it is to be open towards all ideas and variables. Naturally, issues occur when team members feel the need to filter themselves from potentially good ideas that they may seem far-fetched or just simply because they are afraid of rejection and embarrassment.

Another common misconception about brainstorming is that employees and managers alike believe it can be done only in a certain way: the evergreen group discussion with everyone involved. It is not necessarily the worst idea, but it can have major drawbacks from a creative point of view. There is a general tendency that during these meetings, the first two ideas that get bounced around tend to be the focus of the entire meeting. In a recent study on traditional brainstorming methods, it has been discovered the fact that only a handful of people do approximately 60-75% of the talking. Logically, it can prevent other ideas from being discussed.

How to Make Brainstorming Better

There are many ideas through which brainstorming sessions can become more practical, based on individual creativity, idea generation and a better meeting experience. The following strategies will help your organisation’s brainstorming.

1. Select only necessary employees: Choose the people you need for a brainstorming session. If the meeting is filled with people who have no relation to the nature of the discussion, their contribution and participation will be zero. Moreover, more people mean a higher level of difficulty in passing along ideas given the fact that people may exhibit anxiety in explaining their ideas. A manager’s best bet here is the creative individuals who can actually carry the discussion in a productive manner.

2. Brief sessions: It is as clear as day that shorter meetings are more efficient. The current tradition is for a meeting to last for an hour. However, shortening the meeting time will entice people to bring ideas to the table much faster with a healthy disregard to keeping some ideas for themselves. Normally, a meeting shouldn’t be any longer than 30 minutes. Managers can always do follow-up meetings to discuss leftover ideas or if the schedule is too hectic then the recommendation is individual brainstorming time.

3. “Bad” ideas are welcomed: Managers should encourage their employees to speak their mind. Good ideas “happen” after a lot of other ideas have been bounced off at the meeting table. People should understand the fact that there is a very fine line between good and bad ideas. From a managers point of view all ideas are welcomed given the obvious fact that it will lead to the best solution in the end.


Read also: What Makes a Great CPO


4. Brain Writing: The general principle of this technique is to separate idea generation from actually talking. The manager shares the topic with the team, and the team members individually write down their ideas. This helps eliminate anchoring and encourages everyone on the team to share their own ideas. It also gives everyone more time to think over their ideas, which is especially helpful for your introverted participants. This brainstorming technique works best for teams who seem to be greatly influenced by the first ideas presented during a meeting. When you get your team to brainstorm ideas individually, away from distraction and public opinion, concepts are generated that may not naturally surface when in a larger setting. Individual brainstorming techniques such as this will often give you more unique ideas than when the group is left to think up topic ideas.

 5. Online Brainstorming: These days, virtual teams are becoming more and more common across all industries. The evolution of email and collaboration tools makes working remotely the norm in some organisations. Having a central location online where team members can collaborate is crucial for these virtual teams — talking here about cloud-based document storage or an online collaboration tool. One of those brainstorming exercises for groups involves using an online mind-mapping tool to answer very specific questions or simply to generate ideas that might be tangential to the main problem. What other ideas surround this concept? Map these examples out, visually.

 

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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Sources:

https://www.wrike.com/blog/techniques-effective-brainstorming/

https://www.inc.com/larry-alton/5-strategies-for-team-brainstorming-to-use-in-your-next-meeting.html

https://www.inc.com/kat-boogaard/4-easy-tips-to-improve-your-brainstorming-sessions.html

How to keep your Employees energised

Top organisations around the world are starting to manage employee energy like a highly important strategic asset. They know that the ever-increasing pace of advancements requires more and more human energy. Any entrepreneur will tell you that it takes a tonne of energy to grow and build a business. The key is to manage it; sometimes you have to exert energy, other times you need to conserve it to go the extra mile, and after a sprint you need to replenish it. When teams are energised, they feel like they can achieve almost anything. But when there’s an energy gap among employees, it’s up to you the leader to bring back the necessary level of energy. You have to show the kind of energy you want to see. At the beginning it’s important to assess where your employees stand. Think about when they were at their highest energy levels, when they had a perfect day, what does the average day look like. These things will help you take things forward. Here are some of the best hacks in order to maximise human energy:

1Spend time engaging with people.

Say hello in the morning and goodbye at night. Be approachable. Ask about their families and show them you care about other things besides work. When they miss work because their baby is sick, ask how the child is doing when they come back. Also, enable your teams to enjoy and get to know each other. One great and very simple way to do this is through team lunches and dinners.

2Honor special occasions.

Celebrate every new hire. Acknowledge special occasions and make people feel special. For example, IBM used to give a gold watch to celebrate 25 years with the company, but most people don’t stay that long anymore. Don’t wait 25 years! You can celebrate every year and every other milestones in small ways by recognizing employees’ achievements in meetings or writing them personal thank you notes.

3. Careful with work hours

In the U.S. employees who are earning a salary of less than $47,476 must track hours and be paid for overtime. It’s wise to start enforcing this rule and discourage employees from doing work off the clock. Try and explain to your people that work-life balance can and should be achieved. Talk to each and every one of them individually to show them that you really care and you may see shifts in attitude towards themselves. It is also recommended that they take regular breaks during office hours in order to unwind. Encourage them to leave their desks, go out for a walk, stretch or even find a quiet space where they can relax.


Read also: Preventing Burnout in 5 Easy Steps


4. Allow creativity

Employees need to be reminded that there is no such thing as a bad idea. Even when an idea is not pursued, it can shift ideas into new territories.

From how employees decorate their desks to how they complete assignments, allow creative freedom, as long as standards of work are met. Encourage employee input, and, however possible, provide time and resources for meaningful, work-related smaller projects.  Nowadays, companies now set aside time each week when employees can work on their own projects, as long as those efforts further the company’s goals.

Employers can’t remove all the stress of their employees’ lives, but they can make the workplace a source of purpose, focus and togetherness that can help prevent employee burnout.

5. Celebrate wins

Do fun things with and for your team. Take a break and take the team to a movie, or do some charity or volunteering work together. This can be achieved very easily and here are some examples:

  • LiveOps have random Nerf arrow attacks and paper airplane contests.
  • At AdMob and Everwise, the sales teams ring a gong when a big deal is done.

It’s especially important to do this even when times are hard. At eBay, there was a day in which they started to do a free listing day. Users were thrilled about it—they stayed up all night posting listings. The increase in volume was immense – a year ahead on volume projections. Although a great marketing ploy for the company, it was a nightmare for the people running the system. They worked tirelessly to make it through capacity problems, and when they finished they had a parade and turned the relief into positive energy.

It is essential that employees understand the long-term winning strategy you are trying to implement. Run the positives and negatives by them in order for them to analyse and understand why there is a change in policies.

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/alison-eyring/these-5-strategies-will-keep-your-employees-energized.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maynardwebb/2016/08/23/7-ways-to-re-energize-your-team/#5aad4d267349

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/9711-prevent-employee-burnout.html

Presentation Mistakes: Why it Happens and How to Solve It

At some point in your life, you must have experienced this unfortunate event. You are halfway through your presentation and things are going amazing. Your speech is fluent, the audience is engaged and you are feeling confident. But, somehow, your mind draws a blank. And your mind starts racing: “Oh no, things are getting bad! What was I about to say?”

If you relate in any way to this situation, you obviously know how awkward and cringe that feeling can be. It is also difficult to regain your rhythm. So the question now beckons; what can you do to avoid this mental mishap? Fortunately for everyone, there are a few tricks you can use and they will follow in the list below.

  1. Oversimplification isn’t helpful

Regularly, keeping things simple is one first public-speaking strategies you can follow, but there is a limit to simplicity as well. For example, if you are looking for one word or phrase to best explain various ideas you may not select the right one. Consequently, your thoughts get tangled, and your mind has to go through the whole process of unravelling each idea and then try to put them back together in the appropriate order.

Sometimes, all you need to get baffled during a presentation is to forget or cannot find the right word. This usually happens when people are trying to compress 2-3 ideas into one. That is where the mind can no longer cope. When preparing for a presentation it is essential you pinpoint every main idea and afterwards search for explicit language in order to convey it. Oversimplifying can make people struggle during a presentation in which everyone is paying attention to them.

  1. Never mention how many points you are going to make

This one is one of the most common mistakes out there. People should avoid telling the public how many points they are going to make because once the audience has a number in their head, be assured they will be counting. Being prone to mistakes due to our human nature, you may forget which exact point you were talking about and will have to encounter that awkward silence trying to remember where you left off.

In terms of strategies, people should also avoid using terms and idioms such as: “first of all”, “secondly”, “third” etc. It is recommended you keep things a little bit ambiguous by saying: “One of our strategies”, “Another one of our strategies” and so on and so forth. If you manage to keep out numerical terms from your speech you are helping your mind avoid going blank.

  1. Keep your rhythm

If you happen to stumble during your speech, do not get stuck trying to make it right. There are speakers out there that once they mispronounce a word their next thought is completely deleted from their “system” due to the simple fact that they thought about their mistake. In order to get passed the “system” failure all you have to do is reconnect with your speech rhythm. Start by breathing. When people breathe, they have the opportunity to get the body back in sync and from that their thoughts will start flowing again.

Drawing a blank is nothing to be scared or ashamed of. It happens to absolutely everyone and it doesn’t mean that you are not cut out to be a speaker. A true speaker is the one who knows how to make mistakes less often and how to recover quickly when it happens.

  1. Technical difficulties

There is nothing worse than sitting around and waiting for a presenter to figure out how to make the projector or clicker works or even worse, listening to a presentation without visual aids because he or she couldn’t make it work. Be prepared to connect to anything. Know beforehand the kind of projector, the size of the screen, and the layout of the room so you can be prepared for anything.

  1. Disorganised presentation

When people have to make a presentation, most people open up PowerPoint and start making slides.  That is a really bad idea. At first, use sticky notes to prepare your presentation’s story. It will save you loads of time and make your presentation more organised. Plus, if you want to create an emotional response in your audience use full-screen pictures. The text should just be used for facts. Animations are fun for the person making the presentation, but they don’t usually add anything valuable to it.

It is as clear as day that mistakes are inevitable; there will be a point in everyone’s career when they will have to make a presentation. Of course, for some people, public speaking is their opportunity to shine, but for others, it may seem like the perfect nightmare. Wherever you think you may have a problem, these tricks will help you develop your presentation skills.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/239443

https://www.fastcompany.com/40478112/heres-how-to-avoid-drawing-a-blank-in-the-middle-of-your-presentation

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/presentation-mistakes.htm

Innovation through Failure

For the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, every practice session ends up with something a little bit surprising and that the analysis of their mistakes. The pilots do not congratulate each other on their training achievements, but rather say what they did wrong in front of the whole group and how they plan to fix that issue. Even though they are expert aviators, the Blue Angels do not allow their pride to come in the way of further improvement. Their approach is meant to strengthen ownership, to encourage the desire of being better and also coming up with a plan for it as well.

Failure is often seen as inevitable, but the way in which it should be viewed is invaluable. Failure is common in all industries, economic situations and market trends; it is one of life’s best philosophies. If your employees do not fear failure, they have a very good chance of succeeding. Fear is a very powerful component of the human mind, it makes people disengage, panic and pull out of possibly prolific business opportunities. The past cannot be fixed, but learning from past experiences can enable employees into harnessing a strong sense of innovation. Here are just a few tips through which companies can enable their workers to be more innovative.

  1. Creating an innovation prone environment

This has to start right from the very top. CEOs and CFOs have to start creating an internal ecosystem in which innovation can flourish. In order to begin garnering innovation, there has to be a clear vision of what the company wishes to achieve and how innovation is at the very heart of it. Leadership teams within the organisation have to figure out the right way in which employees can be motivated and inspired in order for them to deliver on any innovative ideas the company may want to implement.

Of course, selection and recruitment play a very important role in this matter. The HR department has to recruit the right candidates, people who are well-trained on how to come up with ideas and to properly establish what kind of tools and resources they require in order to create, test and receive feedback from customers. All of these processes together help create an innovative culture. An organisation that tries out a lot of ideas will definitely encounter failure but chances are, success is closer than ever. Due to the fact that companies have numerous initiatives, they improve their chances that one of them will be a major score.

  1. Outside-the-box thinking and aggressiveness

Usually, the basic culture of a team promotes safe-playing. In layman’s terms, be on time, try not to upset the hierarchy, follow the group norms and have a steady paycheck. This type of model is clearly an innovation killer and can put an organisation light years behind the competition. For example, entrepreneurs have never been people who play it safe. Also, they praise employees within their organisation that actually do something and are outside-the-box thinkers. Managers have to make sure their teams do not rest on their laurels because there is no such as thing as a one-size-fits-all game plan. It is essential that entrepreneurs and managers empower their workers to come forward with their ideas, to present their action plan and put it into practice afterwards.

Of course mistakes and odd product releases may happen but that is simply part of the business world as we know it. In the 1950s, the Jacuzzi brothers invented a whirlpool bathtub in order to treat people with arthritis. Even though the product worked in the way it was intended, from a sales point of view it was a total bust. Unfortunately for them, their target market was small, due to the simple fact that not a lot of people could afford expensive bathtubs. The idea was killed immediately after but was relaunched in a completely different market – luxury item for the rich. Obviously, it was an instant hit.

In 1959, Honda Motor Company entered the US market with their range of low-powered motorcycles. Things were going from bad to worse for Honda, as it learned in a very cruel way that what was tremendously popular in Tokyo suburb areas was a complete flop on American soil. After a while, they came back in the US with high-powered bikes that became an instant success. The founder of Honda, Soichiro Honda had this to say: “Many people dream of success. Success can only be achieved through repeated failure and introspection. Success represents the one percent of your work that results from the 99 percent that is called failure.”

Great deals of successes have been failures in the beginning. What today may seem like a logical invention that was meant exactly for that purpose, this is not always the case. People have to ready to fail; success cannot be achieved without gaining all the necessary variables from a problem. At Penn State University, there is a course for engineering students which is called Failure 101. The sole purpose of this class is for students to take risks and do as many experiments as possible. The more fails they have it gets them that much closer to an A grade.

Another great example is Christopher Columbus. He set out to discover a new and easier route to India. He landed in America and the rest is history. Pfizer scientists were testing a drug called Viagra which was meant to reduce high blood pressure. After further investigations it lead to the discovery of the effects it had on men, thus making Viagra one of the most successful failures in recent history. Another great example is regarding champagne. It was invented by a monk called Dom Perignon and it happened when a bottle of wine had fermented twice. 3M invented glue that wasn’t sticky enough. However, it was the basis for the invention of our daily used Post-it notes.

A leader who thrives on innovation will always encourage a culture of experimentation. People must learn that every failure they encounter is another step closer towards the road to success. Allow your employees to have the necessary freedom to innovate, to experiment and to be successful. All in all, it means allowing them the freedom to fail as well.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/294673

https://www.forbes.com/sites/karenhigginbottom/2017/08/03/why-the-ability-to-fail-leads-to-innovation/#5bfd624a36f6

http://www.innovationmanagement.se/imtool-articles/failure-is-the-mother-of-innovation/

Inspiration at Work: Importance and Significance

Inspiration at work is always an added bonus. When we are inspired, everything we have to do simply clicks. We feel that our work has purpose and all of our skills are being used in the best way possible. In layman’s terms, we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. Unfortunately, inspiration can come and go as it pleases; it can vanish into thin air. This usually happens when your boss gives you a negative review on some of the work you’ve done or you’re simply content about a particular task at hand. Even if you are one the few people that have a job that they love, it’s in our human nature to experience periods of time when we have to dig deep to find some excitement about your job.

Todd Thrash and Andrew Elliot, two psychologists who have been studying inspiration in the last few decades, have spotted 3 elements which occur the moment a person is inspired:

  1. The person sees new possibilities.
  2. Receptive to outside stimuli.
  3. Energy and motivation.

Inspiration does not represent a static state of mind, which is fortunate for us because it means people can cultivate it. Although we cannot force inspiration upon us, we can create an environment that favours inspiration.

Feeling stuck is a normal reaction when you don’t feel inspired. The key here is not to wait for positivity to hit you because your inaction is your worst enemy in this scenario. Studies in cognitive behavioural therapy have concluded that people’s behaviours alter the way they feel and think. Consequently, when people act differently they feel differently. Instead of waiting for a change coming out of thin air, try and put yourself in motion somehow. You are in control of your work environment and not the other way around. This can help you discover new methods in which you can solve your duties.

Continuous learning is very important. If you have a good number of years of experience and have excelled in your field, it is somehow natural to think that you may not require additional training or learning. However, researchers have discovered that when we stop believing we require further expertise we become more close minded or as it also known ‘earned dogmatism’. If we train ourselves to always be fresh and on top of things the more likely we are to get inspired. Given the fact that nowadays it has become more and more difficult to have some time for ourselves, it is absolutely vital we devote at least a few hours a week for enlightenment purposes only in order to assure ourselves of longer periods of inspiration and engagement. For example, Bill Gates used to take a few weeks of work twice a year just to map out new ideas.

Making new friends is always a good idea. When we spend time with people they affect our mood and energy, whilst also having the same conversations with them week in, week out. It is recommended to start and meet new people. It is important you try and meet people who can challenge you mentally and do things differently from you. These types of people can stimulate new ideas with the added bonus of learning from their vast experience.
Furthermore, think about friends whose qualities you admire tremendously. Try and focus on qualities, not perfection. They do not even have to know you are trying to emulate them in certain aspects. It is actually better to be a distant observer due to the simple fact that you can extract and dissect the necessary information much easier.

When questioned, most entrepreneurs and business people say that their passion and inspiration derives from their desire to serve their customers, to lead a company in an upward direction and to support the development of a product that may revolutionise the market. Unfortunately, inspiration and passion can fade away and, of course, people start questioning themselves. It happens over the course of one’s life, to discover that their once meaningful job has become close to meaningless. It begins with the slow erosion of spirit and enthusiasm due to the fact that there is no longer any purpose in their work. People start feeling trapped, restless and they see no end in sight.

This happens because people start confusing the achievement of daily goals with accomplishing truly meaningful work. Thus, they continue to worry and set goal after goal, until they realise boredom has set in. When this happens, it is imperative that people respond to this problem through a conscious choice on how to solve it. More often than not, people don’t realise they are fed up with their job because they lose track of what is meaningful about their work. In their attempt to separate their work and personal life, some people go to such an extent that they do not bring their values into the office environment. Even more so, they engage in activities that clash with home persona.  Some people discover that their work has become their life, even though their family is what they value most, but they still work 12+ hours and miss birthdays and holidays in order to be successful at work.

Like all things in life, there is no one-size-fits all solution. There is no one method that can bring back your passion and inspiration. There is a combination of strategies that can guide you towards the path you desire, but that must be discovered on your own, due to our uniqueness. The only common trait in everyone’s strategies should be reflection – evaluate where you stand at the moment, where you’re headed and what you really want to become.

Inspiration isn’t elusive. It is within our grasp if we search for new opportunities from which we can extract new ideas and insights. Even though sometimes it may not feel like you’re getting the best deal out of a situation, it will still push you to new boundaries and experiences which will inevitably lead to something that resembles inspiration.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2002/04/reawakening-your-passion-for-work

https://hbr.org/2017/09/how-to-rediscover-your-inspiration-at-work

https://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/8-ways-to-be-re-inspired-at-work.html

Remote Work – Better for Productivity?

Few people know that the 8-hour work schedule has its origins from the times of the Industrial Revolution and not the Information Age. During the second half of the 18th century, the standard norm was workdays of 10-16 hours due to the fact that factories required to be run 24/7. This type of schedule had become absolutely brutal and exhausting for workers, but change only started to happen with 1817 when Welsh activist Robert Owen advocated for 8-hour workdays, his slogan being: “Eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

Close to a century later, in 1914 to be exact, the 8-hour schedule became the norm when Ford Motor Company started working on 8-hour shifts whilst also doubling workers’ wages. The result was obvious for everyone to see, a dramatic increase in productivity. Nowadays, it may seem unfathomable to work for more than 8 hours, but history offers us a lesson into how things have developed along the way. At the moment, we may witness another disruption into the workday schedule. In a recent research revolving around this issue, it was suggested that in an 8-hour shift, the average worker is productive for a mere 2 hours and 53 minutes.

It is becoming more and more obvious to many of us that the modern workplace is not the well of productivity everyone hoped for. Furthermore, for many of us, the workplace is actually filled with distractions of all natures. Combine this with the everyday hassle of commuting and you got yourself one long day of work. Of course, situations such as these can be avoided through a flexible schedule arrangement, this being an option more sought after than ever before.

In one of the most recent FlexJobs surveys on remote work, it has been discovered that 66% of professionals they’ve interviewed said they would be more productive if they could work from home, rather than the office. The most common reasons why they favoured working from home:

  • 76% wanted fewer disruptions from co-workers.
  • 70% reduce stress levels from commuting.
  • 69% wanted to avoid office politics.

The survey also revealed something incredible, only 7% of the people interviewed said that they are productive during regular office hours. If only so very few people are productive during their regular schedules, then there is something inherently wrong with our traditional workplace model.

In the past, there were fewer distractions and fun past time activities. Also, there was no internet and the sheer volume of information that we are being bombarded with. Due to these changes and shifts in programmes and schedules, there are people that don’t fit into the normal productivity ranges. There are people who are at their best really early in the morning, while others’ productivity goes through the roof during night hours. That is why it is a bit foolish to expect that all your employees to give their best during the 9-5 programme.

Your average worker gets disrupted every 3 minutes, and recovering from that is time-consuming. We need, on average, about 23 minutes to return to a task after being disrupted. Furthermore, discoveries in the field of neuroscience have all but confirmed what we were all thinking: the human brain cannot concentrate for 8 straight hours.

One of the career specialists at FlexJobs, Brie Reynolds, said that given the meteoric rise in remote work and freelancing, workers have become more aware of the future of work environment. This has risen from a simple combination of factors that encompass demographics and remote-friendly technology. Millennials have been growing up with technology by their side, so it is more than natural for them to expect they can work remotely. There are companies that now offer flexible hours to their new employees. And if your job requires the simple use of a laptop, then you can basically work full-time for any company in the world. At the moment, what we are experiencing in the workforce, is a hybrid model where people work alternatively from home and from the office.

For employers, Reynolds has a simple suggestion: “crafting remote programmes which help employees be at their productive best, whilst keeping the good parts of in-office interactions.” For the time being, the hybrid model seems to the best approach, given the simple fact that many companies are still struggling with coming up with the necessary tools and programmes in order to make remote work a success for their operations.

However, in a recent Gallup survey, it has been revealed that although remote work is on the rise the United States, employees that work exclusively from home are the least engaged. The reasons for this are isolation and ambiguous job descriptions. There are some companies that have been successful in implementing a proper remote work programme. These organisations, as pointed out by Gallup, were disciplined in creating proper plans and processes for this to work. Some of the techniques they have used include:

  • Face-to-face meetings with remote working employees.
  • In-depth training programmes.
  • Implementing a ‘buddy system’ for new employees during their first few months.

Implementing successful remote work programmes is going to require a lot of work for your organisation. However, given the fact that more and more talented workers want flexible working hours (and it cannot be negotiable), you simply cannot ignore this trend.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

http://fortune.com/2015/08/04/brian-shapland-productivity-at-work/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/irisleung/2017/08/31/report-only-7-of-workers-feel-productive-during-regular-work-hours/#10571760744e

https://www.inc.com/melanie-curtin/in-an-8-hour-day-the-average-worker-is-productive-for-this-many-hours.html

How to Stop Thinking about Work

For many people, work has become synonymous with their personal lives. Whether employees love or hate their current job, they most likely are thinking about what they have to do, even in their off hours. There are times when planning and organising future moves is helpful and useful, but when you do something for too long it may become detrimental to your personal life and health.

If you have had nights in which you cannot fall asleep because you are stressing out over what you have to do at work and start ignoring your friends, which may be the sign that you are in way over your head.

In layman’s terms, bringing work back into your home can transform you into a very tensed, boring, stressed-out and sleep-deprived person. If any of these thoughts have invaded your mind lately…

  • The business will fall apart in my absence.
  • There is a definite crisis at the office.
  • I’ll definitely receive a very important email anytime soon.

… you may require a real break from everything starting from the office environment and even the city where you do your business. It sounds easier said than done because fear plays an important role in achieving a healthy work-life balance. In order to start coping with this situation here are a few suggestions of what you can do:

Bypassing the brain in order to relax

The vast majority of people can agree that smartphones make our lives just a little bit easier. Unfortunately, they have become problematic for many employees who cannot resist the temptation of checking their emails and workload. Because we have incorporated smartphones into our day-to-day business activities, they activate the Zeigarnik Effect – which represents the difficulty with which people forget something that has been left incomplete. This is a real psychological justification why people struggle to switch off during vacations. However, there are ways in which we can reduce the Zeigarnik Effect to become part of our private lives.

  1. Sports – Taking up tennis, or going out with your friends to play a game of football can set your mind free of the incomplete activities you have going on at work. Basically, everything that necessitates constant focus in order to keep your mind busy on something new and fresh.
  2. Turn it off – If you know that physical exercises cannot make you give up your gadget, it’s time to switch it up a notch: turn it off or give to your friends or family to hide it. At some point, the brain will give up on trying to solve those problems.

Focus on future actions instead of work

When employees are out of office, some of them are experiencing what is called informally as ‘fear of missing out’ or FOMO. People tend to think that while they are out of office something important is going to happen and they are not there to experience it. Obviously, this leads to people obsessively checking their emails and forgetting to relax.

The solution here is pretty straight forward. People have to start focusing on things they are about to do in the near future rather than what they are going to miss out on. For example, if your plan is not to think about work you already lost the battle because you’re actually thinking about work. Instead, aim your attention towards a dinner party you’re about to attend or all the time you get to spend with your children. For better results keep it as specific as possible. For example, instead of thinking of ‘family time’, think about how you are going to take the kids to see a movie or go with them to the park and play.

In conclusion, try and set yourselves up for success. Try and put away anything work related when you get home. If that means you have to turn your phone off or leaving your laptop at the door as soon as you get home then by all means, just do it. Make it difficult for you to access work-related actions, given the fact that you will think at least twice before accessing it.

This is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company’s employees to thrive in any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-ways-to-stop-thinking-about-work-when-youre-not-there

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-stop-working-when-youre-off-the-clock-1798470779

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/work/how-to-stop-worrying-about-work-and-unwind-on-holiday/

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/science-explains-how-to-end-your-compulsion-to-work-on-vacation.html

Gamification and HR

As we all know, young adults have been introduced to the world of computer and video games early on in their lives. Nowadays, mobile games are a must on smartphones, the more complex, the better. HR and gaming have started working together for some time now, with the purpose of making otherwise dull processes more interesting and increase engagement levels. Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), has recently revealed there are 2 types of gamification:

  1. Structural gamification – applying gaming rewards such as badges, levels, leaderboards, etc to job-related activities.
  2. Serious Games – where a simulation is created for specific purposes such as training or sales simulation.

Although the whole process of gamification is definitely attractive, it requires serious financial investments in order to increase the visibility and importance of the HR department in the organisation. In general, employees tend to not appreciate anything coming from HR, but for sure they like games. Combining the various and tedious HR processes with games, almost instantly boredom is transformed into fun times and great engagement. Gamification has been discovered to work best with organisational practices such as: recruitment, training, referral recruitment, development and wellness. Of course, there are some instances in which games are not recommended at all, for instance, administrative processes. The risks in this instance are tremendous due to the simple fact that companies can suffer greatly. Administrative processes should be done successfully by everyone.

Here are some of the ways in which gamification can speed up various HR processes at the work workplace:

  • Training: Turn your company’s training into a game. Employees will have to work through numerous tasks in order to obtain points and badges in order to ‘level up’.
  • Cultural Alignment: Employees will be rewarded with ‘culture points’ if they live by the organisation’s core values. Offer people the chance to notice other employees that go the extra mile in regards to cultural aspects.
  • Wellness: It is essential that employees are using wearables such as Fitbit. From the data collected from these wearables, employees have the chance to earn wellness points and actually make a competition out of it with the others. This method helps a lot with morale and engagement.

At their very core, people are competitive, they like to challenge themselves one way or another. Based on this idea, every employee wants to be valued for the work and effort he or she puts into the company. HR departments are struggling annually or biannually to collect performance reviews from employees. If the organisation decides to make a game out of it, engagement would soar through the roof. While they complete their paperwork, employees can also see the progress of their colleagues. This way, people get motivated to move faster and be the first ones to finish.

In a recent Gallup research, it has been discovered that more and more organisations are interested in implementing gamification. In the same study, it has been shown that only 31% of employees are still engaged at their job. And, perhaps not that surprising, millennials are the least engaged. Here is where gamification can come in. By using it and deploying it efficiently, engagement levels could rise but it can also act as a magnet for young talents. Given the fact that millennials will represent 75% of the workforce by 2025 it is of utmost importance that organisations start to treat this matter as seriously as possible.

In order to address the low engagement levels, many Fortune 500 companies have launched their pilot gamification programmes. Here are some examples:

Learning at Walmart: Using short games to bolster safety training

In 2015, Walmart started using gamification in order to offer their 5,000 partners from 8 Walmart distribution centres the best possible safety training. The stakes for Walmart were high because they were addressing one of their bigger issues: a scattered workforce that had to adhere to the company’s safety procedures. The gamification of safety training exercises has been incredibly beneficial. Walmart saw a 54% decrease in incidents in their 8 distribution centres, whilst employees loved the competitiveness and togetherness the games brought. Soon after the programme started, employees started talking not only about the games itself but of the importance of safety protocols. Given the fact that gamification has an ‘emotional aspect’ to it, it is obvious it can have important benefits to employee behaviour.

Internal Collaboration at Qualcomm: Gamification used to increase collaboration between employees.

Qualcomm implemented a simple and very efficient technique. In the organisation’s internal Q&A system, employees can ask and answer distinct questions and the best answers get to be voted up and rise through the rankings. Through this method, Qualcomm employees receive bonus points for their activity and level of engagement. Gathering enough points earns them badges, although there are unique badges that are being offered to people who overachieve. For example, an employee will receive points, a special badge (The Archaeologist) and for answering a question that was unanswered for 30 days. Furthermore, that employee gets recognition on the internal website and the badge will appear on his or hers profile in order to reward their willingness to help.

This is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2015/03/30/future-of-work-using-gamification-for-human-resources/#1bafcb1d24b7

http://www.creativehrm.com/hr-gamification.html

https://cultureiq.com/gamification-hr-try/

Organisational Knowledge and Learning

Organisational learning in companies nowadays is simply seen as sharing existing knowledge. But this should not take us by surprise given the fact that the primary focus of universities and MBAs is just that. This type of approach can be seen in training programmes and leadership development seminars as well. The modus operandi is straight forward: an expert passes on what he or she knows with people who do not possess that information already. This technique is supposed to be feasible in numerous and various situations and social contexts.

Due to this learning approach, the 1990’s have seen quite a boom in ‘knowledge management systems’. The obvious focus of these systems is clear: efficiency at scale – i.e. making existent knowledge more accessible to people who need it. In the case of employees, it could help them discover the relevant know-how in order to improve their performance.

In today’s culture of knowledge sharing, people often tend to forget about how enriching creating ‘new knowledge’ can be. Companies are struggling to cope with the increasing number of unexpected situations that obviously cannot be found in manuals or textbooks, thus compelling leaders to act on the spot, to improvise with approaches that haven’t been tested. Thankfully, due to this process, new knowledge is being developed regarding how things should or should not work in ‘clear-cut situations’.

Explicit knowledge vs. Tacit knowledge

Today’s business world everything revolves around efficiency and how can it be measured and scaled properly. Given this specific need, the documentation regarding this matter was created in great detail so that every known situation was handled by specific actions. The best example in this scenario is the idea that all employees supposed to follow.

Nowadays, information moves at the speed of light and everything is changing constantly. Basically, the new knowledge that could be acquired comes as tacit knowledge. In layman’s terms, tacit knowledge is the information that people already have but find it difficult to articulate to themselves much less to other individuals. This type of knowledge derives from our first-hand experiences when confronted with new situations and is exceptionally valuable. If organisations can create environments in which tacit knowledge can be created and developed, workers could confront and learn enormously from the new situations created.

Workgroups vs. Individuals

The best way in which to ensure the success of tacit knowledge is to create small workgroups. In this scenario, people from diverse backgrounds and with distinct skills and perspectives can create a powerful bond, based on trust in order for them to be comfortable to try out new things, to easily accept constructive criticism and collaboratively work towards the common good. The potential within small workgroups is tremendous. If two or more workgroups are connected through a network or project with other workgroups, seeking advice and confronting new circumstances can go beyond the experience offered by an individual workgroup.

Organisations may have an overwhelming proportion of smart people within their ranks, but managers should always take into account the fact that there are a lot of smart people out there, that do not work for them. It is imperative that employees gather experience through their own perception.

Learning and Unlearning

The general act of learning is seen as the accumulation of information over time. Basically, you are just pouring information over the pre-existing knowledge you already have acquired. But things are not that simple. In the ever-changing global market, it has become mandatory for people to be willing to unlearn and even develop such an ability. Our principles and ideas are being challenged on a daily basis so it is imperative that we understand that what may have worked in the past may no longer be relevant today. If we try to hold on strongly to these beliefs without questioning their relevance from time to time, then we will never be open to new ideas, approaches that may be more feasible for the foreseeable future.

Skills vs. Capabilities

Usually, when we start working at a new job we focus a lot on acquiring the necessary set of skills needed in order to perform at the desired level. The moment we are certain those skills have been integrated, productivity and success is just around the corner. However, everything around us sometimes feels like it is passing on fast-forward, thus skills have a shorter lifespan. While skills are important in order to progress and assure your professional success, it is recommended that the focus shifts towards acquiring capabilities that could accelerate the learning process. These capabilities range from willingness, imagination and creativity to curiosity, critical thinking and emotional intelligence. If organisations worldwide understand that new forms of learning are required to adapt. Re-thinking strategies and operations will be a must.

This is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/1993/07/building-a-learning-organization

http://www.participatorymethods.org/method/organisational-learning

http://www.innovationmanagement.se/imtool-articles/35-ways-to-cultivate-innovation-and-organizational-learning/

https://hbr.org/2017/08/help-employees-create-knowledge-not-just-share-it