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Overwhelmed at Work? Here’s What You Can Do

Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that “what goes up must come down.” However, stress and feeling overwhelmed is not bound by the constraints of physics—it just goes up and up and up. Psychotherapists say that many of us wind up amplifying the mental health harms already placed upon us by our jobs and relationships—even when it’s the last thing we want.

In 2015, the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America survey revealed more and more adults were feeling “extreme stress,” and that average stress levels were slowly increasing. With that stress came increased stress-related symptoms and overall poor health caused by such a huge mental strain. Many respondents admitted to partaking in unhealthy eating habits, not sleeping well or losing patience with loved ones because of the stress, too.

When you feel overwhelmed, you may react in ways that not only don’t help the situation, but that even make it worse. Maybe you’re oblivious to these patterns, or you know what they are but struggle to do anything about them.

Feeling overwhelmed at work can make you feel stressed, confused, trapped, and at risk of burnout.  When you experience overwhelm at work it can be difficult to manage your time, energy, and focus. Overwhelm can affect your ability to think and act clearly and rationally.  Feeling overwhelmed at work can also prevent you from making effective decisions and taking appropriate action.

To stop feeling overwhelmed at work it’s important to understand the triggers.  When you feel overwhelmed at work, causes include having too much too to do, tight deadlines, work pressure, or stress. Some of the best ways to handle feeling this overwhelmed actually fall into two camps—neither of which have anything to do with working until your brain melts: taking action to get a handle on your work, and taking a break so you can keep working to the best of your abilities.

The following are common self-sabotaging mistakes overwhelmed people tend to make. There are practical solutions for each that will help you feel like you’re on top of things and do a better job of navigating your most important tasks and solving problems.

1. You think you don’t have time for actions that would help you

People often have great ideas about things that would help them feel better and more in control — for example, hiring someone to help around the house, practicing self-care, seeing a therapist, taking a vacation, or organizing a game night with friends. However, they dismiss them because they think they’re too busy or that it’s not the right time, waiting to take those actions until a more ideal moment that typically never arrives.

Instead of thinking about what would be ideal, choose the best option that’s easily available to you now. Perhaps you don’t have time to research the best therapists by interviewing multiple candidates, but you do have time to pick someone who meets a few of your criteria and try a couple of sessions with them.

When you have good ideas but don’t act on them, it can lead to a sense of powerlessness or incompetence. You may also have endless open loops of “shoulds” and waste time and energy thinking the same thoughts over and over again. Plus, when you don’t act, you miss out on the benefits you’d accrue from trying your ideas. By acting to help yourself, you’ll get practice finding doable solutions, feel more self-efficacy, and reap those benefits sooner.

2. You interpret feeling overwhelmed as a weakness

Lots of times, we feel overwhelmed simply because we need to do a task we’re not very familiar with, or because a task is high stakes and we want to do a superb job of it. By itself, this isn’t necessarily a problem. We can often work through the task despite those overwhelmed feelings.

However, sometimes we get self-critical about the very fact that we feel overwhelmed. We think: “I shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by this. It’s not that hard. I should be able to handle it without it stressing out.” When you’re self-critical, you become more likely to procrastinate, because not only does the task trigger feelings of overwhelm, it also triggers shame or anxiety about having those feelings.

Some people react to this shame and anxiety in other ways. They might approach the task with extra perfectionism, or they might become more reluctant to ask for tips and advice from others. It’s important to replace your self-criticism with compassionate self-talk, which I’ve provided specific strategies for previously.

3. You navigate towards your dominant approaches and defence mechanisms

When we get stressed out, we tend to get a bit more rigid. Because we have less cognitive and emotional bandwidth to consider other options, we become less flexible about adapting to the demands of the situation and default to our dominant ways of handling things.

We all have values, but we don’t always use them to our advantage. For example, thoughtfulness can turn into overthinking, self-reliance can morph into micromanaging or doing everything yourself, having high standards can lead to being picky or perfectionistic, and resourcefulness can steer you toward doing things in unnecessarily complicated or unconventional ways.

When you’re overwhelmed, make sure you’re matching your values to the demands of the situation. Does the particular task or problem need…? (Insert your dominant attribute, such as thoughtfulness or self-reliance.) Or would a different approach be better suited to the circumstances?

4. Wasting time and energy on things you have no control over

No one controls everything. It’s impossible. Some things are simply beyond our influence. Don’t waste your time on those things. Instead focus on areas that you can influence or change. For example, you can’t control whether the company you work for will merge or not.

Don’t waste your energy or time worrying about it. Allot yourself 5 minutes of worry time, then shift gears. Move on and get over it. Focus on what you can do to make the situation better. Figure out what skills would make you more valuable to the organization. Explore different options so that you are prepared when the decision is finally made and announced.

5. You’re Multitasking

When you feel like there’s way too much on your plate, your first instinct will probably tell you to knock out more than one task at once. But that, my friends, is an urge to ignore. While we’re multitasking we may feel as though it makes us high-achieving, it actually makes us prone to even more mistakes and increasing our feelings of being overwhelmed. Even though answering emails and writing up a project at work may make you feel productive for, like, 10 minutes, it pays to give each task (and, more importantly, yourself) some room to breathe.

Finally, just remind yourself—it will all get done. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and with the help of these strategies, you’ll be sure to get there with your work done well.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/feeling-overwhelmed-4-mis_b_9266878
https://www.baofootspa.com/blog/2020/2/21/the-3-most-common-mistakes-you-make-when-youre-stressedand-what-to-do-instead
https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-unexpected-ways-to-deal-when-youre-overwhelmed-at-work

Decision-Making Myths – Debunked

Decision-making is not fortune-telling, and good decisions do not always result in predictable outcomes.

Can you imagine life without your smartphone? So many of us can’t. We depend upon them for everything from directions to telling us the temperature outside to tracking our daily steps and heart rate. Our “Hey, Siri” culture has conditioned us to equate speed with efficiency and efficacy — and it’s changing how we process information. Our brains have become conditioned to respond with pleasure to the bings, pings, and dings our phones and computers provide.

While Siri and Alexa and Google are great when we’re jonesing for Italian food and want help finding a restaurant, they’re not great, or even desirable, when it comes to complex decision-making. In fact, they help enable a series of counterproductive ideas and reactive behaviors that actually impair your ability to make informed decisions. For example, let’s say you want to buy a car. Maybe you’re weighing a Prius versus a Crosstrek. Siri and Google can give you all sorts of information, such as fuel efficiency or the current interest rate on your loan. But a search engine won’t know why you’re buying the car, how you intend to use it, or what impact the purchase will have on your budget. Ultimately your decision needs to come from a clear understanding of your needs, values, and goals — information that’s outside the reach of their algorithms.

The most important things you need to learn often aren’t formally taught when you’re young. For example, many lament that teenagers aren’t educated on how to manage money. It’s a fair criticism. Evidence suggests a severe lack of knowledge around basic personal finance; a 2018 survey found that less than 50 percent of respondents could correctly define what interest is, the concept of bankruptcy, or how inflation works. In the absence of knowledge, myths creep in. One example that gets attention this time of year is the “benefit” of receiving a tax refund. This is a myth. In almost all cases, receiving a substantial refund isn’t a good thing. After all, you lent the government money—interest-free— throughout the year. 

Another myth: All college degrees are a sound financial decision. Data suggests that some people spend way too much money on a degree that won’t land them a job with a salary sufficient enough to make the investment worthwhile. It’s part of the reason why there’s a student debt crisis. Like personal finance, management isn’t something most people study formally—although HBS Online offers a Management Essentials course. Most people learn management “on the job,” and in fits and starts. As with personal finance, myths often develop for those who’ve never received management training.

On January 15th 2009 the world witnessed an unusual incident. The press called it ‘Miracle on the Hudson’. On that unforgetable day, an Airbus A320 aircraft with 150 passengers and crew members on board, encountered multiple bird strikes. They damaged the turbofan engines to the extent that both the engines of the aircraft became immobile.

In that situation, Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger took a bold decision to land the unpowered aircraft on the Hudson River. Fortunately, it was a safe landing and the lives of all 150 passengers and crew members were saved. This was truly unprecedented. Such events allow us to appreciate the criticality of making the right choices in times of crisis. It proves that a decision can be a life changing one and that too not just for an individual, but for an entire nation. Though decision making is a critical survival skill, research shows that it is prone to biases. Hence, it is worthy of deep study.

Myths About Decision-Making

1. I like to be efficient

So many of us think efficiency means jumping right in and making a decision. But to be truly effective, we need to be clear on what we are solving for. Rushing can lead you to make a decision based on the wrong factors, which ultimately will lead to regret. For example, walking into a car dealership and buying the first car you see may feel efficient, but may mean you end up with the car the salesperson wants to get rid of, not the car that best fits your needs and budget.

2. I just need to solve this problem at this moment

This is the classic example of “losing the forest for the trees.” Our problems sit in a context. A narrow focus may solve the wrong problem, or only partially solve the problem. If your car breaks down unexpectedly and you rush out to buy a new one, are you considering your needs beyond the present?

3. This is my decision alone; I don’t need to involve others 

Our important decisions do involve other stakeholders. Avoiding this bigger picture of who else is affected by a decision can, at best, only partially solve the problem, and may exacerbate it. For example, if your spouse or child can’t drive a stick-shift, do you really want to buy a manual transmission car that no one else in the family can get out of the driveway in an emergency?

4. I know I’m right; I just want data or an opinion to confirm my own thinking

Also known as “confirmation bias,” this decision-making flaw has been behind notorious failures from the Bay of Pigs to the subprime loan market implosion to the NASA Challenger explosion to the Deepwater Horizon environmental catastrophe. In each case, disconfirming data was available and should have raised concerns, but groupthink set in, and no one wanted to raise the red flag. To better understand and define the limitations of what you think you know, look for contrary examples and evaluate rival explanations. These techniques can prevent “frame blindness” to keep you from seeing what you want to see rather than what may be present. For example, maybe you’ve settled on the Crosstrek in your car search, but you decide to look around anyway. Could your preference for the Crosstrek influence how you evaluate the other cars? Could you be looking to confirm your inclination rather than buy the best car for your needs? To pry open cognitive space, first consider your needs and then look for cars that fit those parameters.

5. Decision-making is linear

In fact, good decision-making is circular; it needs a feedback loop as we gather information and analyze it and our thinking. At times we need to go back to find information we’ve glossed over, or to gather new information or conduct a different kind of analysis. When buying a car, for example, you might think that doing your research first and then going to a dealer and negotiating a price is enough. But there are many dealers, and they each have leeway to negotiate a price, so circling around and comparing offers may get you a better price.

6. There’s just one way to do this

Whether it’s how the bed should be made, which diet to follow, or how to divide up your retirement account, there’s always more than one way to get to “yes.” We’ve been conditioned out of listening to other voices, siloed in our information, environment, and social (media) circles. But getting outside your routines and patterns leads you to seeing things differently. You may always have gone into the dealership to buy cars, but more and more, people are negotiating car purchases online and through texting and email.

7. I have all the information I need

 While we may want to forge ahead, we can improve our decisions — and our satisfaction — by investing in a little bit of research and confronting assumptions with evidence. Your best friend might love her car, but that doesn’t mean it’s the car for you, particularly if it won’t fit your daughter’s hockey equipment. Looking to the experts, such as Consumer Reports, which does substantive research, can help you make an educated decision that’s also right for you.

8. I can make a rational decision

Psychologists far and wide, such as Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, have demonstrated that as much as we’d like to believe it, none of us are rational. We all operate through a dirty windshield of bias based on past experiences and feelings. You might think you won’t get taken in by a car dealer, but they are professional salespeople who know how to evoke an emotional response.

For all our talk about the importance of management, it seems to be one of the most mysterious business disciplines. As with any realm shrouded in mystery, myths develop to help individuals understand what they know little about. But beware of believing them. While some myths point to the truth, many don’t. The best anecdote for knowing which myths are helpful shorthand and which are falsehoods? Education.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.johnolivant.com/2020/07/16/the-myths-surrounding-decision-making/
https://www.greenbook.org/mr/market-research-news/4-common-myths-about-human-decision-making/
https://eugenie.ai/3-myths-about-decision-making-busted/

Working Parents and How They’re Dealing with Time

The stress and uncertainty brought on by a year of the COVID-19 pandemic has left working parents struggling to find a child care solution that not only meets the expectations of their employers, but also the social and educational development of their children.

A new survey of working parents done by Bright Horizons revealed that over three-quarters (78%) of parents whose children are not in a child care centre or school setting are worried that their child is missing out on social and other developmental opportunities. Almost half of parents (46%) with a nanny or in-home care provider agree that a child care centre or school setting would provide more opportunities to socialise with other children, and 4 in 10 believe it would provide educational opportunities (41%) and/or more engaging activities (38%) for their child. On the other hand, two-thirds (67%) of parents with children in a child care centre or school environment feel their arrangement supports the social development of their child.

In light of these results the CEO of Bright Horizons, Stephen Kramer said: ” Working parents have spent the past 10 months being very nimble, pivoting on a daily basis as the world follows the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. But after almost a year of living, working and caregiving from home, parents are in need of a consistent, reliable child care solution that enables them to focus on their work while keeping their children safe and healthy and also supporting the social, emotional and intellectual growth of their children.”

According to the aforementioned survey, the majority of parents (97%) with children in a child care centre or school setting feel their arrangement allows them to focus on their work. The survey also revealed that most parents (89%) whose children do not attend a child care centre would consider this option for their child in the foreseeable future. The inability to juggle parenting and work (34%), along with children becoming increasingly bored at home (29%), are the factors that will weigh most heavily in parents’ decision to enrol in group education settings.

There is often talk about the “balancing act” of managing work and parenting, which assumes that the solution is a combination of compromise, multitasking, and choosing an understanding employer. But there are limits to compromise, and multitasking is exhausting. And we do not all have the good fortune or opportunity to choose a flexible and understanding employer. Even if we do, this choice can be undermined by the inherent demands of the work or the realities of who gets promoted, whose role is made redundant, and who gets pay raises.

Empathising with and supporting your employees with children during these difficult times can help set up your organisation for long-term success. Not only can it help you retain top employees, but it can also help these employees be more productive and can improve your employer brand and broader brand perception. Here are a few specific examples of ways employers are supporting working parents at this time, along with best practices your organisation can consider. Not every organisation will have the financial resources to offer a full range of support, but some of the practices outlined here can be implemented regardless of company size and resources.

Top employers offer working parents added support

Some technology companies and other larger organisations have recognized that overseeing virtual learning is challenging even for the most tech-savvy parents. To support parents during the ongoing pandemic, Accenture partnered with Bright Horizons, the childcare provider, to offer employees access to small-group, part-time school day supervision at a subsidized cost. Other organisations such as Microsoft and Bank of America are also offering this benefit to employees.

Bank of America is also offering employees benefits such as $100 in childcare reimbursement per day and virtual experiences for school-aged children. School-aged children of employees can participate in tutoring, virtual field trips and after-school programs through the non-profit online learning tool, Khan Academy. Working parents also have access to an online hub that features information about childcare, virtual education resources and opportunities to connect with other parents.

Citigroup is adding new employee benefits to help working parents balance their day-to-day work and virtual learning. The organisation is offering employees discounts on test preparation and tutoring services to kick off the new school year. Employees can receive assistance with finding an educational caregiver to supervise their children’s online learning and if they prefer small group learning, they can be matched with other families and educators.

Supporting flexible scheduling

The uprise in remote work since the initial COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020 leaves many individuals wondering whether they’re ‘working from home’ or ‘living at work.’ In the absence of set times in the office, employees across organisations are often taking a different approach to their working hours. Some start the day earlier or work later than they did before the pandemic because they don’t have to spend the extra time commuting. Others need to take a break during the day to help children with virtual learning or to run an errand for an at-risk relative. Due to this shift, employers should consider placing less emphasis on gauging success based on showing up at a certain time and instead embrace flexible, employee-driven scheduling.

Starting with new hire onboarding, encourage employees to block time on their calendars when they might have personal conflicts – such as supervising virtual learning or preparing lunch for their children. Foster a culture in which this type of time blocking is widely accepted and employees do not face negative repercussions for not being available at specific times. Encourage new hires to speak up as soon as possible if they’re struggling to balance their home and work schedules. This can help you identify solutions to set up for immediate success your new employees who are working parents, rather than only having this discussion if the employee’s performance noticeably suffers.

Rethinking performance reviews

Many employees who have faced challenges with juggling work and parenting responsibilities are concerned that this balancing act will lead to poor performance reviews. Google, for example, suspended performance reviews due to the pandemic in March and recently decided to reinstate them. In a recent survey of 870 Google employees who are parents, many indicated they expect the upcoming assessments to show that their job performance suffered in recent months. Others are asking Google for an option to opt out of this review cycle, which determines raises and promotions.

Other organisations are taking different approaches to performance management. Facebook suspended its usual performance ratings in early 2020. Instead, all employees who exceed expectations will receive bonuses. Facebook and other tech companies like Netflix and Google have also implemented performance management initiatives such as providing constant feedback, the ‘Keeper Test’ (in which a manager is asked, ‘Would you fight to keep that employee?’), and separating performance reviews, salary discussions and peer reviews.

A recent survey from Willis Towers Watson found that 66% of employers are not planning to alter performance expectations or career development and promotion processes for workers dealing with childcare issues. Whether employees are working parents or not, they have spent the past six months adapting to this new normal while doing their best to perform well in their roles. The unusual circumstances surrounding the pandemic need to be taken into consideration during performance reviews. This might mean setting up more frequent, informal check-ins instead of formal annual reviews for the time being or having a more open, two-way conversation rather than gauging success based on measurable numbers. By showing understanding, companies demonstrate that they truly care about their employees, not only generating higher productivity in the near term, but also strengthening employee loyalty in the long term.

In conclusion, about 41% of US employees between the ages of 20 and 54 have a child at home, meaning two in five employees are currently managing work and childcare or education in one way or another. By understanding the strain the pandemic has put on all employees – including working parents – your organisation can put a plan in place to better support your team, retain employees and drive results that will support long-term business success.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.parents.com/parenting/moms/healthy-mom/time-management-tips/
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210119005073/en/Working-Parents-Prioritize-Social-Development-in-Considering-Pandemic-Child-Care-Solution
https://qz.com/work/958747/the-eisenhower-box-helped-me-balance-parenting-and-work/

Developing Better Apprenticeship Programmes

As economies recalibrate from the shocks imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders in the public and private sectors are swiftly trying to reimagine how people should navigate the labour market, whether it is an apprenticeship, mid-level or corporate level management.

Among other things, the economic tumult has exposed a clear disconnect between higher education and workforce development. In this new age of precarity, consumers will need sure-fire means to acquire the skills necessary to become productive employees, while employers will require reliable information to compare and hire the right talent. 

This has motivated providers, non-profits, and policymakers alike to create new models and mechanisms that will increase trust and accountability between education providers and employers and allow consumers, employers, legislators, and investors to navigate the postsecondary marketplace with confidence.

The Education Quality Outcomes Standards Board (EQOS) has created a robust Quality Assurance Framework in order to address these key issues. By pioneering a universal, outcomes-based standards framework for postsecondary education and training programmes, EQOS is strengthening the connection between higher education and workforce development and empowering all stakeholders to make informed choices.

During 2020, EQOS launched a number of partnerships with innovative postsecondary providers to pilot the Quality Assurance Framework by collecting and reporting their student outcomes data. During 2020, EQOS launched a number of partnerships with innovative postsecondary providers to pilot the Quality Assurance Framework by collecting and reporting their student outcomes data. The framework provides a clear, consistent way to compare the results data of all kinds of postsecondary programmes. Having that data allows learners, states, employers, and others to identify and support the most successful programmes.

There is strong evidence that work-based learning helps to equip young people with the skills that can improve their employability and ease the transition from school to work. Onsite work and mentoring are the core of the training model that today’s entry-level workers need in order to build and sustain lifelong careers. Strategically designed apprenticeship programs aggregate, monitor, and streamline the changing inputs and relationships required to promote workers and pave paths of sustainable employment. University graduates have become unemployable in some countries, even while jobs go unfilled.

Businesses worldwide lack skilled workers, even as unemployment—particularly among the young—is high. Too few skilled workers means that projects sit idle and revenue growth falls short of potential. Therefore, an apprenticeship combined with on-the-job training programmes make good sense for companies that need middle-level skilled workers.

An apprenticeship that involves mentoring provides young people with the frame of reference they need to forge a sustainable path, including networks and training resources. Hybrid training, from one-on-one development to being on the job, bridges school and the world of work. Programmes keep individuals motivated and plugged into hiring employers.

Not only does an apprenticeship help equip a workforce with the practical skills and qualifications needed within an organisation, they can also contribute to the productivity, growth and overall success of a business. Here are four ways a business could benefit by getting on-board apprenticeship programmes:

Career-focused development

Apprenticeships provide a great opportunity for employers to develop, nurture and grow a more qualified workforce aligned to their future strategy. Using a combination of best practice, theory and on-site application, leadership and management capabilities within your business can be improved, so that your people will lead in new and improved ways.

Additionally, they also provide an effective way to ensure the future leaders and managers of your organisation develop the right skills to contribute to the growth and improvement of the business. After all, leadership and management are key to helping businesses achieve sustainability.

Greater innovation

Apprenticeships can help all types of business, big or small, across a range of sectors harness fresh new talent. As apprentices come from a range of diverse backgrounds, from aspiring managers to those with more experience under their belt, new innovative ideas and approaches are often brought to the business which help drive it forward.

Additionally, throughout an apprenticeship, individuals are encouraged to develop creative thinking skills and strategies, enabling them to think outside of the box. Leaders are responsible for the environment they create; they are the role models of the behaviours they want in their teams.

Therefore, it goes without saying that leadership and management development is a key driver in embedding a culture of innovation into an organisation.

Increased staff loyalty and retention

Investing in the development of employees can have a real positive impact on the morale of the workplace. Apprentices have an appetite for development, and when given that opportunity, they are likely to be more eager, motivated and loyal to the company.

This motivation and positivity from business leaders will cause a radiating effect amongst other employees, meaning the whole business will benefit as a result.

Additionally, offering existing staff the opportunity to develop through a leadership and management apprenticeship demonstrates that you are willing to invest in their future. This can help employees to see their job as a career and prolong their time at the company, increasing retention.

Improved bottom line

Developing staff through apprenticeship programmes can generate a real return on investment for many businesses. An apprenticeship is a great way to grow your team while keeping staff costs down, proving to be more cost effective than hiring skilled staff due to lower overall training and recruitment costs.

Additionally, as staff become better skilled and gain greater understanding of the wider business throughout the programme, confidence and independent thinking will develop. This can contribute to the generation of new ideas and suggestions such as improvements to business processes or strategies. Which, in turn can have a positive impact on productivity and efficiency in the business, thus reducing costs.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/gradsoflife/2021/04/06/tracking-outcomes-toward-better-apprenticeships/?sh=649293113252
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/building-back-better-with-apprenticeships
https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/About/Blog/Article/Apprenticeships-a-valuable-approach-to-developing-your-workforce.aspx

2 Questions that Are Vital If You Want to Be a Better Leader

Being a leader is a great privilege that brings with it great responsibility. As a leader, you are often the first to receive the credit and almost always the first to receive the blame. Your position is both demanding and rewarding and requires great skill and balance. You are expected to build authentic relationships, maintain confidentiality, develop your team and meet your goals. Your communication must be strong, and your time management must be masterful.  You need to effectively delegate, problem solve, strategise, manage conflict and prioritise. People expect you to be engaging but serious, charismatic but sincere, confident but humble, and transparent but discreet. It is one of the most challenging and rewarding positions you can have, and it is replete with great joys and deep challenges.

The few leaders who are lucky enough to receive training on how to be a leader often attend a one-time seminar or class that focuses heavily on skill acquisition. This is a good place to start but an insufficient one to begin and end. The development of leadership skills is most certainly necessary to become a strong leader, but it is hardly a one-shot deal. Mastering the skills required of leadership is a lifelong endeavour and should be treated as such with consistent training, application, support and coaching. Further, honing these skills is just one of the components of becoming a strong leader. The other component is comprised of mindset, desire and investment required of a leader. Without a leader’s mindset, skill mastery becomes largely irrelevant. Being a leader requires the mindset of a leader.

In 2017, after nearly a decade spent building Uber into a household brand, Travis Kalanick yielded to pressure from investors who demanded that he step down as CEO. Shortly before offering his resignation, the scandal-plagued founder issued a statement: “For the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help.”

That was too little too late. And for such once-great commercial giants as Kodak, Blockbuster, and Blackberry, the unwillingness to solicit advice or consider potential pitfalls resulted in not only personal but corporate catastrophe.

Two thousand years ago, two great academies of study debated the ancient laws of the Judean commonwealth. History records that the scholars of the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai argued with one another so passionately it was as if “they fought with swords and spears.” Each school had its own angle on higher truth, and each was committed to preserving the integrity of Jewish legal tradition.

But when they left the study hall, they were fast friends. They married their sons and daughters to each other. Their different visions never became personal. And, occasionally, one school convinced the other that it was wrong.

Ultimately, it was the opinions of the House of Hillel that prevailed, and later authorities explain why. Not only did the scholars of Hillel always record the opinions held by the scholars of Shammai along with their own—they always recorded the opposition opinions first.

Only when we understand the other side of any argument can we truly understand our own. That’s why intellectual integrity demands that we ask ourselves these two questions:

  • If I don’t understand why you believe what you believe, how can I be sure that you’re wrong?
  • If I don’t understand why you might reasonably disagree with me, how can I be sure that I’m right?

It’s important to note that leadership is not management. And the satisfaction you derive from being a leader has nothing to do with monetary bonuses and everything to do with purpose.

Why do you want to become a leader?

If you lack purpose or drive, there’s no reason for you to become a leader. You might as well do something else. Because at its core, leadership requires sacrifice, and if you don’t have a strong sense of purpose and an unfailable drive, none of the things you sacrifice will mean anything.

Without these two quintessential characteristics, you’ll come to resent the role as well as the people that you lead. For those who have a strong sense of purpose, they are more than willing to go the extra mile — to go out on a limb for those we lead. It’s an inexplicable feeling, but all great leaders have it.

Many people realise that they’re not leadership material. And that is ok, don’t let anyone judge you because that’s indicative of great self-awareness. It’s also one less person who will potentially take a leadership position to use it for selfish gain.

As a leader, when you encourage underlings to propose new ideas, challenge conventional thinking, and argue against the status quo, you are not promoting insurrection. Just the opposite. You are forging a culture of creativity, mutual respect, and intellectual integrity, one in which every contribution is valued and where a commitment to sound decision-making overrides investment in ego or personal prestige. And that will drive you and your organization relentlessly toward success, not occasionally, but always.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.bngteam.com/blog/top-4-leadership-questions-ask-every-day/
https://letsgrowleaders.com/2019/11/07/7-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-be-a-better-leader/
https://www.coburgbanks.co.uk/blog/assessing-applicants/21-tough-interview-questions-that-reveal-true-leadership-potential/

The Productivity Paradox and Its Link to Technology Innovation

From PCs to smartphones, office tech has always promised to make us more productive. But time and again, it’s come with unexpected side effects. In 1982, Time magazine skipped its annual tradition of naming a “Man of the Year” to instead crown the personal computer as the “Machine of the Year.” The Apple II had been released only a half-decade earlier, and the subsequent introduction of the VisiCalc spreadsheet software in 1979 seemingly all at once convinced the managerial class about the business potential of computers. Soon, IBM released its own PC, which went on to become both widely copied and wildly popular. The journalist who wrote the Time feature noted in his article that he had typed his contribution on a typewriter. By the next year, their newsroom switched to word processors. The revolution in workplace productivity had begun.

At least, this is the simple version of the tale we tell. A closer look at what happened next and, in the decades following has complicated matters. We’ re used to the idea that new office technologies make us strictly more productive, but the history of workplace tools teaches us that the quest to make common activities more efficient can yield unexpected side effects. This was true of the first PCs, and it likely explains the uneasy relationship we have with a more recent office innovation: email.

Not long after the arrival of the PC, experts began to question the miraculous nature of this suddenly ubiquitous device. In 1991, an article in The New York Times quoted an economist who pointed out that although companies continue to spend heavily on technology, “white-collar productivity has stagnated.” He concluded at the time: “No longer are chief executives confident that throwing computers at their office staffs will result in greater efficiency.”

The data supported these concerns. A study of the years 1987 to 1993, conducted by economists Daniel Sichel and Stephen Oliner, estimated that computer technology contributed at most 0.2 percentage points a year to business output growth, after adjusting for inflation, a period during which overall growth expanded by 1.9 percent a year. A contemporaneous article summarized these findings bluntly: “The impact of computers on recent productivity growth has been vastly overstated.”

Productivity growth in most of the world’s rich countries has been dismal since around 2004. Especially vexing is the sluggish pace of what economists call total factor productivity—the part that accounts for the contributions of innovation and technology. In a time of Facebook, smartphones, self-driving cars, and computers that can beat a person at just about any board game, how can the key economic measure of technological progress be so pathetic? Economists have tagged this the “productivity paradox.”

What are the problems that cause the productivity paradox?

  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

According to an article in ‘The Economist‘ , research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s. This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity. Therefore, we won’t be seeing any spikes in productivity until all the major powers have reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use.

What’s happening now may be a “replay of the late 80s,” says Erik Brynjolfsson, another MIT economist. Breakthroughs in machine learning and image recognition are “eye-popping”; the delay in implementing them only reflects how much change that will entail. “It means swapping in AI and rethinking your business, and it might mean whole new business models,” he also said. In this view, AI is what economic historians consider a “general-purpose technology.” These are inventions like the steam engine, electricity, and the ­internal-combustion engine. Eventually they transformed how we lived and worked. But businesses had to be reinvented, and other complementary technologies had to be created to exploit the breakthroughs. That took decades. The debate over the productivity paradox is understandable, given the expectations of productivity from computerisation that are embedded in our culture. But it is arguable that the changes under way will inevitably take place across a much longer time frame than the measurements can currently cover, and actual payoff cannot be expected until major elements of organisational and social learning are complete. The measurement, management, and learning arguments can be combined to create a broad case for fundamental social transformation. In this transformation older systems of measurement and management fail as the entire regime of production is altered, and learning becomes to a much greater degree experimental and risky. The slow accumulation of knowledge will probably, eventually, produce major productivity benefits.

Illustrating the potential of AI as a general-purpose technology, Scott Stern of MIT’s Sloan School of Management describes it as a “method for a new method of invention.” An AI algorithm can comb through vast amounts of data, finding hidden patterns and predicting possibilities for, say, a better drug or a material for more efficient solar cells. It has, he says, “the potential to transform how we do innovation.”

But he also warns against expecting such a change to show up in macroeconomic measurements anytime soon. “If I tell you we’re having an innovation explosion, check back with me in 2050 and I’ll show you the impacts,” he says. General-purpose technologies, he adds, “take a lifetime to reorganize around.”

Even as these technologies appear, huge gains in productivity aren’t guaranteed, says John Van Reenen, a British economist at Sloan. Europe, he says, missed out on the dramatic 1990s productivity boost from the IT revolution, largely because European companies, unlike US-based ones, lacked the flexibility to adapt.

We must accept that these better methods will not emerge spontaneously. We have to instead seek them out, put them in writing, experiment to get things right, and be willing to put up with some of the inconveniences and loss of flexibility these efforts might create. All of this, of course, is harder than simply waiting for engineers to build even faster email clients. But ultimately, it’s the only way to ensure that continued innovations in workplace communication can improve rather than hold back our ability to make progress on the things that matter.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/1986/07/the-productivity-paradox
https://www.technologyreview.com/2018/06/18/104277/the-productivity-paradox/
https://www.wired.com/story/email-slack-productivity-paradox/

Mentor Relationship and Its Growing Importance in Organisations

Connecting with a mentor can be a huge benefit in your career. More and more companies are launching and expanding mentorship programs, so they are designating mentors, matching mentors, and establishing mentor-mentee relationships from the moment you join the company.

But for many, the assignment of a mentor is only a first step. Like a blind date, it can be awkward—only a toe in the water in an uncertain sea. As a mentee, how can you make the relationship successful? Especially if you’re new to a company or a role, you may not feel you have a lot of influence in the venture. In actuality, you can significantly contribute to creating the conditions for a great experience.

Many successful people attribute at least part of their success to having a mentor. The right mentor can provide advice and connections that help their mentee reach heights that would be impossible alone.

A mentor helps you build your skills as a leader, a strategist, a consultant or a manager. They can guide you toward making sound decisions that positively affect the trajectory of your career path or in gaining skills needed for your industry. In the entrepreneurial sector, a mentor can help you successfully guide your new business through the pitfalls inherent with being a start-up, including funding challenges, paperwork, finding clients, and delivering on projects, for example.

But, like every relationship, building and maintaining a successful mentor relationship isn’t effortless.

Mentorship requires intentional investments of time and energy; you get what you put in

Being a mentee is not a passive role. When you have a mentor, it’s your job to define your own goals, cultivate the relationship, seek out advice, attend meetings or events you’re invited to, and so on. Mentorship is not a “do it on the side” or “when I get time” job. It’s real hard work that requires dedication and commitment much like any other part of our job.

Apart from time being of paramount importance to succeed in a mentor-mentee relationship, it also requires a tremendous amount of energy to engage, guide, deal with the ups and downs and all possible human emotions that come into play when two people are trying to achieve something significant.

A true meeting of the minds requires true commitment to each other and their time. Set time boundaries, define protocol to cancel, agree on the medium to contact depending on the issue. It’s highly advisable that both mentor and mentee write down their commitments and refer to them from time to time. `

Form a personal connection, understand each other’s principles and values, strengths and weaknesses, what drives them and what they wish to achieve out of this relationship. Discuss shared values like integrity, mutual respect, openness, trust and active listening as the basis for all conversations.

As much as possible, take time out to engage in face-to-face conversation (video, in-person). It’s not enough to hear a person’s words. Their body language, facial expressions and emotions play a large role in understanding their true intent. 

How long should a mentoring relationship last?

There is no one-size-fits-all relationship in the mentoring world. If the two of you are working together on your own, the relationship can last as long as is mutually beneficial. Some mentor-mentee relationships last a lifetime and often grow more equitable over time.

If you’re part of a more formal mentorship program, there may be time requirements you need to follow, so make sure you’re fully informed about your program. Knowing the guidelines also shows that you’re a good candidate for mentorship and that you’re taking the opportunity seriously. A good rule of thumb is to meet once a month for six months and then re-evaluate whether to continue together in your last couple of scheduled meetings.

What are the benefits of mentoring?

A good mentor relationship gives you a powerful resource for advice, strategy and a deeper understanding of the world you’re working in. That relationship can guide you through defining and understanding your job role, navigating any problems at work and empowering you to do your best work – which, in turn, can result in promotions in the corporate world or long-term business success in entrepreneurship.

At the same time, the relationship benefits the mentor, too, providing a way for them to feel heard and valued for their experience. The perspective provided by a mentor can elevate your career by helping you to be your best – if you’re willing to engage, listen, ask questions and cultivate the relationship over the long-term.

The journey itself is the reward

The mentor mentee relationship does not end once mentee achieves their desired goals. The deep bond formed during these years lasts forever. People remember good mentors and mentees throughout their life. They cite their examples when talking to others and draw inspiration from them when faced with challenging circumstances. Their paths may go separate ways but it’s the journey that stays with them forever. Remember, good mentees can become successful mentors one day. Do your best to create this beautiful relationship that sows the seeds for many more in future. I am excited to see you apply it in your work environment and in personal life.

Overall, know the relationship you have with your mentor is yours to shape and influence. It’s a context for plenty of learning — about tasks, roles, culture, and the network—and it can also be a great place for you to expand your views of what works best. Later, when you’re the mentor to a new mentee, you can apply all the best practices you’ve learned from the relationships you’ve built. To be a mentor makes you a more understanding human being. It helps you keep your mind young and your skills fresh. Successful people who don’t start to mentor others will over time lose touch with their own excellence. Mentoring someone connects you back to the original you who became so excellent.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.fastcompany.com/90607014/how-to-navigate-a-mentor-match-that-is-not-the-right-fit
https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurencebradford/2018/01/31/8-tips-for-an-amazing-mentor-relationship/?sh=4078216f21e2
https://www.togetherplatform.com/blog/how-to-build-a-successful-mentor-relationship

What Is Your Next Career Move?

As you begin to think about the type of career transition you want to make, start out by documenting what you already know to be true about your professional self. Pay close attention to your workday for the next two weeks, and take notes about when you’re feeling particularly unmotivated or unenthused about your job. Write down the tasks that bring you down as well as those that get you excited. It may seem like a tedious exercise, but if you stick with it, patterns will start to emerge. And it’s in teasing out these patterns that’ll help you build a picture of the role that’s right for you.

To make the right choice, you have to decide what factors are most important to you in a new job, and then you have to choose the option that best addresses these factors. However, this operates on two levels – on a rational level and on an emotional, “gut” level. You’ll only truly be happy with your decision if these are aligned. This article gives you a framework for analysing your options on both levels.

First, we have to look at things rationally, looking at the job on offer, and also at the things that matter to you. Then, once you’ve understood your options on a rational level, we can start looking at things on an emotional level and think about what your emotions are telling you.

You need to get in touch with your inner self and think about how well the career options fit with your overall sense of self and personal fulfilment. Ask yourself:

  • Do I feel like it is the right choice?
  • Do I feel positive about the choice?
  • Does this choice further my career and life goals?

If something doesn’t feel right, then you need to understand why. Are some factors of over-riding importance? Or are other factors important that are not mentioned? Take the time to make sure that you’re comfortable with your analysis, and that you’re confident that you’ve made the right decision, both on a rational and emotional level.

When you have an option that fits both objectively and subjectively, chances are you’ve got a winning career move.

In order to discover the right choice or choices you will have to follow an organised process in order to increase your chances of making a good decision.

1. Assess Yourself

Before you can choose the right career, you must learn about yourself. Your values, interests, soft skills, and aptitudes, in combination with your personality type, make some occupations a good fit for you and others completely inappropriate.

Use self-assessment tools, and career tests to gather information about your traits and, subsequently, generate a list of occupations that are a good fit based on them. Some people choose to work with a career counsellor or other career development professionals who can help them navigate this process.

2. Identify Your Goals

Identify your long- and short-term goals. This helps to chart a course toward eventually landing work in your chosen field. Long-term goals typically take about three to five years to reach, while you can usually fulfil a short-term goal in six months to three years.

Let the research you did about required education and training be your guide. If you don’t have all the details, do some more research. Once you have all the information you need, set your goals. An example of a long-term goal would be completing your education and training. Short-term goals include applying to college, apprenticeships, other training programs, and internships.

3. Lists of Viable Occupational Options

You probably have multiple lists of occupations in front of you at this point—one generated by each of the self-assessment tools you used. To keep yourself organized, you should combine them into one master list.

First, look for careers that appear on multiple lists and copy them onto a blank page. Title it “Occupations to Explore.” Your self-assessments ​indicated they are a good fit for you based on several of your traits, so they’re definitely worth exploring.

Next, find any occupations on your lists that appeal to you. They may be careers you know a bit about and want to explore further. Also, include professions about which you don’t know much. You might learn something unexpected.

4. Shortlist

Now you have more information, start to narrow down your list even further. Based on what you learned from your research so far, begin eliminating the careers you don’t want to pursue any further. You should end up with two to five occupations on your “short list.”

If your reasons for finding a career unacceptable are non-negotiable, cross it off your list. Remove everything with duties that don’t appeal to you. Eliminate careers that have weak job outlooks. Get rid of any occupation if you are unable or unwilling to fulfil the educational or other requirements, or if you lack some of the soft skills necessary to succeed in it.

5. Informal Interviews

When you have only a few occupations left on your list, start doing more in-depth research. Arrange to meet with people who work in the occupations in which you are interested. They can provide first-hand knowledge about the careers on your short list. Access your network, including LinkedIn, to find people with whom to have these informational interviews.

6. Deciding which Career to Follow

It can actually be harder to make a decision when you have more jobs to choose from. You may have to juggle multiple job offers, which can be stressful.

Don’t say “yes” right away. Take the time to evaluate each offer and to carefully compare employee benefit packages. It’s not all about the money—the benefits and perks you’re being offered are important too, and some perks can be negotiated in a job offer.

Don’t rush into a decision. Take the time to carefully consider all options. Forget about the ones you didn’t take once your decision is made; instead, focus on the future and get ready to start your new job.

Careers evolve over time, so instead of stressing about getting your trajectory exactly right, focus on setting yourself up to make an informed decision about what to pursue. Building a career is a process, and understanding that is a part of succeeding.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/podcast/2021/02/choosing-whats-next-for-my-career
https://www.forbes.com/sites/glassheel/2016/10/11/6-questions-to-define-your-next-career-move/?sh=768e7e95386c
https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-moves-to-make-if-you-still-have-no-idea-what-you-want-to-be-when-you-grow-up

Overthinking and How It Can Affect Physical & Mental Health

A high-achiever who processes the world more deeply than others is also known as a sensitive strive and susceptible to overthinking. Studies show that sensitive people have more active brain circuitry and neurochemicals in areas related to mental processing. This means their minds not only take in more information but also process that information in a more complex way. Sensitive strivers are often applauded for the way they explore angles and nuance. But at the same time, they are also more susceptible to stress and overwhelm.

Deliberation is an admirable and essential leadership quality that undoubtedly produces better outcomes. But for Terence and others like him, there comes a point in decision making where helpful contemplation turns into overthinking. If you can relate, here are five ways to stop the cycle of thinking too much and drive towards better, faster decisions.

1. Leave Perfectionism Behind

Perfectionism is one of the biggest blockers to swift, effective decision-making because it operates on faulty all-or-nothing thinking. For example, perfectionism can lead you to believe that if you don’t make the “correct” choice (as if there is only one right option), then you are a failure. Or that you must know everything, anticipate every eventuality, and have a thorough plan in place before making a move. Trying to weigh every possible outcome and consideration is paralysing.

In order to curb this tendency, use the following questions:

  • Which decision will have the biggest positive impact on my top priorities?
  • Of all the possible people I could please or displease, which one or two people do I least want to disappoint?
  • What is one thing I could do today that would bring me closer to my goal?
  • Based on what I know and the information I have at this moment, what’s the best next step?

After all, it’s much easier to wrap your head around and take action towards a single next step rather than trying to project months or years into the future.

2. Use Your Intuition

Intuition works like a mental pattern matching game. The brain considers a situation, quickly assesses all your experiences, and then makes the best decision given the context. This automatic process is faster than rational thought, which means intuition is a necessary decision-making tool when time is short and traditional data is not available. In fact, research shows that pairing intuition with analytical thinking helps you make better, faster, and more accurate decisions and gives you more confidence in your choices than relying on intellect alone. In one study, car buyers who used only careful analysis were ultimately happy with their purchases about a quarter of the time. Meanwhile, those who made intuitive purchases were happy 60 percent of the time. That’s because relying on rapid cognition, or thin-slicing, allows the brain to make wise decisions without overthinking.

3. Limit the exposure to decision fatigue

You make hundreds of decisions a day — from what to eat for breakfast to how to respond to an email — and each depletes your mental and emotional resources. You’re more likely to overthink when you’re drained, so the more you can eliminate minor decisions, the more energy you’ll have for ones that really matter.

Create routines and rituals to conserve your brainpower, like a weekly meal plan or capsule wardrobe. Similarly, look for opportunities to eliminate certain decisions altogether, such as by instituting best practices and standardised protocols, delegating, or removing yourself from meetings.

4. Getting the right tools

Knowing how to stop overthinking isn’t an innate gift. It isn’t genetic, or set-in stone during your childhood. Many people who are able to control their emotions and avoid getting stuck in a spiral of overthinking and anxiety have developed these skills over time. It takes determination – but it also takes the right set of tools. Discover your personal blueprint and how to align your choices with your ultimate purpose in life. Learn how to navigate pain and anxiety, rather than avoiding or suppressing it. Transform your thought process to crush negative behaviours – and any obstacles in your path.

5. Distract your senses

Overthinking and worrying are mental activities, so if they start to take hold, do something physical.

You can essentially “shock” your senses by taking the power away from one area of your body and giving it to another. Sounds confusing? It’s not.

For example, if you start to feel fearful about the uncertainty of an upcoming event, splash some cold water on your face, or smell some calming lavender oils. Your brain will start to react to the sudden change, and you’ll have less of an ability to focus on the worrisome thoughts.

Find whatever works for you to shock your senses, and keep it handy whenever possible.

Busying yourself with an activity is the best way to change the channel. Exercise, engage in conversation on a completely different subject, or get working on a project that will distract your mind from the barrage of negative thoughts. Remember that your mental depth gives you a major competitive advantage. Once you learn to keep overthinking in check, you’ll be able to harness your sensitivity for the superpower that it can be.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.themuse.com/advice/6-easy-ways-to-stop-overthinking-every-little-thing-and-just-enjoy-your-life
https://hbr.org/2021/02/how-to-stop-overthinking-everything
https://www.inc.com/business-insider/7-easy-ways-avoid-overthinking-improve-decisions.html

How to Empower Employees to Speak Up When They See Misconducts

More than 50 years after the term “bystander effect” was coined, many of us still witness workplace wrongdoing yet stay stubbornly silent. In motivating employees to speak up, most organisations still rely on traditional compliance-based tools such as codes of conduct, training, and audits. This approach has simply failed — only an estimated 1.4% of employees blow the whistle. Current strategies remain ineffective and are often counterproductive.

This matters because organisational silence perpetuates white-collar crime: It continues to rise despite companies investing millions in misconduct prevention. Scandals have slashed market valuations and ravaged the reputations of Boeing, BP, Barings, and many others. The leading cause of silence is fear of repercussions. One study showed that 82% of whistleblowers suffered harassment, 60% lost their jobs, 17% lost homes, and 10% attempted suicide. Other causes include our unconscious need for belonging, a preference for the status quo, and wilful blindness.

How can organisations motivate employees to speak up and respond to them effectively? The answer lies, of course, in behavioural science.

What Companies Often Do Wrong

Before delving into the solution, we need to understand three common mistakes or assumptions that companies make in combating misconduct.

The wrong tools. Organisations over rely on a narrow set of compliance and control tools to prevent wrongdoing and encourage its disclosure. How effective were codes of conduct, training, or audits when Volkswagen falsified the emissions of its diesel cars? Or safety training and testing when Ford launched the Pinto with a fuel-tank design flaw, saving $137 million but costing dozens of lives? The answer: Not very. Few spoke out. Why? Because sanctioning systems distort our thought process from doing the right thing. When rewards such as promotions, perks, or pay raises are threatened, self-preservation creeps in, and we use a business lens, not a moral lens, to decide what to do.

The wrong communication triggers. When companies design compliance policies and codes of conduct, they hope they will trigger our sense of duty and moral responsibility to speak up if we see bad behaviour. But they don’t inspire many people to speak up. For example, an independent longitudinal analysis concluded that codes of conduct are “insufficient to guide employee behaviour – tension-provoking when implemented across cultures – inward-looking – and dependent on effective communications.”

In many research papers done on this topic, respondents were exposed to a hypothetical situation where a senior executive bullied a junior employee to accelerate launch of a new drug, despite incomplete testing. The emotion triggered was not a feeling of responsibility to speak up, but anger at the offending manager — by a factor of four. But while 91% of respondents indicated they intended to report the incident, only 9% took action, and most associated speaking up not with responsibility but with the courage to report their superiors. Bystanders justify their inaction in what psychologists call diffusion of responsibility: the assumption others will intervene. The bigger the group, the bigger the assumption, and the bigger the problem.

The wrong assumptions about employee types. Assuming that certain populations or personality types — e.g., extroverts, optimists, or leaders — are predisposed to speak up is incorrect. Behavioural science shows that men are no more likely to blow the whistle than women, and extroverts no more likely than introverts, regardless of industry or occupation. There is no magic gender, disposition, age or personality. Anyone can speak up.

An Integrated Solution

Given that codes of conduct, training, and audits alone don’t suffice in getting people to speak up when they witness improper behaviour, other steps must be taken. Risk and compliance departments should engage with communications departments, and compliance-based tools must be supplemented with emotion-based triggers.

Based on decades of behavioural science research there have been discovered numerous strategies which work hand-in-hand with traditional compliance practices.  Managers can apply all the changes or simply cherry-pick a few. The best mix depends on a company’s culture, size, and systems.

1. Get Rid of Your “Zero Tolerance” Policies

You’re probably thinking, “Did I read that right? I thought zero tolerance is important, especially when you are talking about violence, fraud, safety, or harassment.”

To be sure, it is critical to have strongly worded and vigorously enforced policies, especially when dealing with behaviour that is illegal, that threatens employee or public safety, or that jeopardises company assets. But if your policies say (or imply) that an employee will be fired if they violate that policy, without any possibility of a lesser outcome depending on the severity of the behaviour, you may actually be dissuading employees from reporting possible concerns.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has cautioned that using the phrase “zero tolerance” may lead employees to believe that the company will automatically impose the same discipline–termination–regardless of whether misconduct is minor or devastating. But employees often don’t want their co-worker, or even their boss, to get fired over a minor offense. They frequently just want the troubling behaviour to stop, so they may opt to forego reporting and try to deal with the situation on their own, or ignore it. This can cause the behaviour to continue or to escalate, or lead to other workplace conflicts.

2. Prevent Retaliation

This point may seem incredibly intuitive, but if employees see or hear that someone has experienced retaliation after they reported a concern–or even if they simply fear that they will be retaliated against–they are less likely to come forward.

The number and percentage of retaliation charges filed with the EEOC, for example, indicates that retaliation is a big problem. Since the EEOC’s 2009 fiscal year, retaliation has been the no.1 complaint filed with the EEOC, and by FY 2018, over 50% of all charges alleged retaliation. In fact, the EEOC received 1.5 times more retaliation charges in FY 2018 than the next most frequent type of illegal behaviour, sex discrimination (32% of charges), notwithstanding the significant increase in those claims filed post #MeToo.

The challenge is that retaliation can take many forms, from subtle (a supervisor removing an employee from a lucrative project) to egregious (demotion or firing). Compounding the issue is that it is human nature to feel upset toward or uncomfortable around someone who has complained about you or someone on your team. People may feel betrayed, hurt, or confused–and as a result, may change their behaviour for a time vis-a-vis the person who complained. Some of these behaviours are illegal and some aren’t–but all can damage workplace culture and make employees think twice about coming forward in the future.

For these reasons, it is critical for employers to put safeguards in place to prevent retaliation, such as proactively and periodically checking in with whistleblowers to see how they are doing, or monitoring proposed job changes, performance evaluations, or other data post-complaint to ensure non-retaliatory treatment. Equally important, the employer also should provide coaching on conflict management and how employees can move forward in a collaborative manner post-complaint.

3. Encourage and Reward Speaking Up in the Workplace

In stark contrast to retaliation, organisations who truly want to know about concerns and who understand the value of having an accurate picture of what’s happening on the proverbial factory floor will take steps to encourage and reward speaking up.

This goes beyond simply communicating a “see something, say something” slogan. Company leaders must clearly and repeatedly articulate an authentic desire to know the good, the bad, and the ugly, and reward employees who follow through.

Here we have the example of former CEO of Ford Motor Company, Alan Mulally. He told the story of how when he first became Ford’s CEO, the company had many financial challenges and a rocky road ahead. Yet, at early meetings with his senior executive team, they each presented “all green” status reports indicating that their areas were on target to reach their goals. Mulally knew this couldn’t be right given the company’s struggles, so he encouraged one of his direct reports to ensure that his next report reflected the honest truth about what was going on.

When that subordinate’s next report at the executive team meeting showed several “red status” items, Mulally praised him enthusiastically for his candor and then asked the other executives in the room about what they could all do to help turn the situation around. Then, the following week, other executives’ reports also began to reflect “red” and “yellow” items. And once Mulally had accurate, unfiltered data, it was quickly apparent where the business was struggling–and what they could do to address it.

This two-pronged approach by Mulally–asking to know the truth and then praising the reporter publicly–was a game-changer. It proved to staff they could speak the truth without reprisal and created trust. And as a result, the company’s business was able to improve.

4. Gather Data About Reporting

If you find that workers rarely speak up about conduct violations in your organisation, one of the best steps you can take is to assess why. You may find it is as simple as a lack of awareness of policies or procedures to report incidents, in which case you can develop resources and training to make sure employees know where to go. If you find your workforce is fearful of retaliation or doesn’t feel reports will be addressed, then that information can also help the organisation to correct misperceptions, put anti-retaliation safeguards in place, and find ways to increase transparency about the post-report process.

5. Be Transparent

One of the other oft-reported reasons why employees do not speak up with a concern is because they do not believe that any action will be taken. When employees hear crickets after filing a complaint, a natural assumption is that nothing happened.

Of course, as HR, compliance, safety, and legal professionals are well aware, reported concerns generally set into motion a flurry of activity and often lead to an investigation. The contents and progress of an investigation are usually kept close to the vest to preserve the integrity of the process, and the results are usually confidential for privacy and legal reasons.

However, organizations are increasingly realizing that some degree of transparency about what happened is important to demonstrate accountability, earn trust, preserve culture, and encourage reporting. Thus, organizations should consider having follow-up meetings with the reporter and any witnesses involved in an investigation to thank them for coming forward or participating, noting that an investigation was conducted and concluded, and possibly sharing–often at a very high level and depending on the person who is being spoken to–if some sort of (usually unnamed) action would be taken as a result. Encouraging a speak up culture is a critical component of an organization’s efforts to not only ensure compliance with legal requirements and company policies but also to address inappropriate behaviour before it escalates into a larger issue. It creates a sense of shared responsibility among employees, communicating that we all have a role to play in safeguarding workplace culture. Leaders who encourage employees to speak up in the workplace, and who protect and reward those who do, demonstrate their commitment to an honest, ethical, and respectful workplace. By doing so, all employees–and the company–will thrive.

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Sources:

https://everfi.com/blog/workplace-training/5-ways-to-encourage-a-speak-up-culture-in-the-workplace/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2020/05/22/13-best-ways-to-encourage-your-employees-to-speak-up/?sh=7063b1d41f2b
https://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/empowering-employees-to-speak-up-against-unethical-behavior/