Say “Hello” to Gen Z!

No, they’re not millennials, and they’re about to, once again, flip your organization on its head!

According to Stillman and Stillman, the authors of Gen Z @ Work, this newest generation was born between 1995 and 2012 and they are your interns, new college grads and young employees. Are you ready for them? They are high energy individualists and ready to work!

Here’s 3 things that make them unique:

  1. • They want to stand out in a crowd- team playing does not excite them. You know those “open design” work spaces you created for your Gen X’s and Millennials? Well, Gen Z’s are going to ask “Where’s my office?”
  2. • They want to help create their own job that fits their unique strengths, skills and interests. Most have been very active in their lives and have a variety of talents. How can they use them on the job?
  3. • They want to be sure that their company is stable. They are not so interested in switching employers every couple of years. Remember, due to their connection with technology, from an early age they have seen an unstable world – global warming, terrorism, active shooters, political unrest….A strong organization that is making a positive impact on the world will keep Gen Z’s longer.
Like the couple of generations before them, this group does not like to be labeled. Understanding the cultural issues that impact their decisions, values and work ethic will help you to be more prepared for them, but not make assumptions that they are alike. They are certainly not!

Click here for a brief review of Gen Z @ Work, an excellent resource for getting to know this fascinating group of young people!

TriVantage Development can help you and your team to continue to be successful by partnering with you for training and coaching on topics like generational differences, conflict management and building relationships.

How’s that time management working out for you?

If you’ve mastered the work-life balance issue and have figured out how to manage time, then no need to read any further! For all the rest of you, there are 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That’s it. You can manage your priorities, manage your workload, even manage people, but time, no so much.

So how can you achieve that life balance that has eluded you for years?

In the bestselling book The Power of Full EngagementManaging Energy, Not time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal, authors Jim Lohr and Toy Schwartz explain how you can use your energy, in four categories, to live the life that you desire.

  1. Physical Energy

    Yes, this is the body – the stuff you’ve heard for years, but usually don’t do consistently. Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep. But it also includes deep breathing and recovery- taking short breaks throughout the day. Physical strength is the foundation of this model. When you don’t feel strong and healthy, your emotions can run wild, you don’t perform your best and you’re “too tired” to do the things you want to do. Why aren’t you motivated? Perhaps you haven’t aligned health and fitness to a personal value…

  2. Emotional Energy

    Have you found yourself avoiding necessary conflict, overreacting to things, freezing up when someone approaches you aggressively? These can be time suckers and impact your productivity. Increased emotional energy is what you need. Building this energy comes from intentionally placing yourself in situations that stress you out, then working through them, reflecting on your reactions, then trying again! Just like muscles, emotions need “stressed” to strengthen!

  3. Mental Energy

    When you allow chronic daily stressor to control your behaviors, the “Fight or flight” part of your brain is getting more blood flow than the logical, focused, planning part of your brain. Learning to trigger optimism, creativity and planning will energize this part of the brain, increasing your productivity and knowledge.

  4. Spiritual Energy

    Motivation to spend energy in an area that is tough comes from your spirituality. What is your purpose, your values, your goals in life?

Evaluate where the gaps are in your life. Where do you feel a lack of balance? Instead of thinking about “time”, how can you put more energy into that area?

Click here for a brief review of The Power of Full Engagement, a complete workbook for implementing this model, including exercise and blank forms.

TriVantage Development can help you and your team to continue to be successful by partnering with you for training and coaching on topics like emotional intelligence, stress management and resilience.

Is your Chimp out of control?

Are you tired of your emotions running wild? Do you wish you weren’t so irritable, tearful, reactive, anxious, defensive etc.? Does emotional flooding occasionally (or frequently!) impact your workday or personal life? If so, you may want to learn about “chimp management”!

In the bestselling book The Chimp ParadoxThe science of Mind Management for Success in Business and in Life, author Professor Steve Peters introduces three parts of the brain, or as Peters calls, the “psychological mind”:

  1. The Chimp

    All signals that come into your brain first travel through the part of the brain that controls the “fight or flight” reactions. When your emotions are “running wild” it is because this part of the brain is activated. Peters has labeled this the “Chimp”. Chimpanzees’, as with all other wild animals, main purpose is survival. They need to be safe, have food, procreate, be a part of a group to survive. Humans have that same instinct, hence the “Chimp” in your brain!

  2. The Human

    Once the signal passes through the Chimp, it makes its way to the part of the brain where rational, logical, compassionate, creative, open-minded thought occurs. Unless you are in an emergency survival situation, you want your behaviors to be controlled by this “Human” part of your brain. It can’t happen if the blood is flowing to your Chimp!

  3. The Computer

    Since you were born, your brain has been storing, sorting and spitting out data and information to guide your behaviors. Most of that information is necessary and helps you get through the complexities of living without much thought. However, some of the data needs deleted or evaluated for its usefulness. Your computer’s data might be causing your Chimp to run wild by quickly feeding it stories that say you’re not “safe” so fight, freeze or run away!

You know what IT folks tell us – data is never really deleted, it’s in there somewhere! Changing a lifetime of programmed reactions is not easy. But if you want to stop crying at work, yelling at your employees, freezing up during conflict or otherwise allowing your emotions to control your behaviors, change your stories so that your Human can step in. Click here for a brief review of The Chimp Paradox, a fascinating and creative book, using analogies and metaphors to teach the reader how to maintain emotional control and achieve their life goals.

TriVantage Development can help you and your team to continue to be successful by partnering with you for training and coaching on topics like emotional intelligence, stress management and resilience.

Negotiation Breakdown? Thank Biology

Powerful tips for successful negotiations

Barbara had tried several times to negotiate with Edward, VP of Finance, over a significant change to her division’s budgeting model. Each time, the conversation ended in loud voices and no changes. While new to the organization, Barbara, an expert, was charged with turning around a failing division. The budget model needed to change, and Edward was hearing none of it.

The work of Dr. David Rock, founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute, suggests that Barbara might want to take a look at the biology involved in her discussions with Edward. Frequently, a breakdown in negotiation is due to one or both parties feeling threatened.

Our brains are wired to readily sense a threat to our safety or security and take action to protect ourselves. Although the world can be a dangerous place in many ways, we are actually born with only two natural fears – loud noises and falling. That’s it! All other fears are learned.

Throughout our lives, we are taught to fear things for our safety, well-being, or success. For example, we learn to fear authority figures, such as teachers, supervisors, policemen, etc. When we don’t listen to these figures, we experience negative consequences. We also learn to fear failure. This leads us to practice, study, and work hard to avoid something bad happening.

From a lifetime of programming, our brains trigger a threat in a split-second and put us on alert to protect ourselves. We protect ourselves by fighting, freezing, fleeing, or appeasing. Barbara was definitely a fighter.

Dr. Rock discovered five human traits that are easily threatened during negotiations: status, certainty, autonomy, relatability, and fairness. Examples of what you might “hear” from yourself or others are listed in the table below.

STATUS “He/she is smarter, older, more attractive, more successful, in authority, etc.” “Who do you think you are?” “Don’t talk down to me.” “You keep telling you how much you know.”
CERTAINTY “I don’t know what this person is like and I don’t know this person’s needs.” “There’s something you’re not telling me.” “I have no idea what you are talking about.”
AUTONOMY I’m in charge.” “This is my thing.” “I need to win.” “It’s all up to me.” “Don’t tell me what I have/need/should do.” “I guess I have no choice.” “I feel forced”
RELATABILITY “He/she is so different than me.” “We have nothing in common.” “You don’t understand us.” “We’re not like you.” “Our needs are different.” “I don’t understand you.”
FAIRNESS “I shouldn’t be the one who has to negotiate.” “Why is it always me who is put in these situations?” “This is not fair.” “Others don’t have to make these choices.” “Why do I have to make this decision?”

Either party to the negotiation, or both, may feel threatened and behave in a protective manner, thwarting a successful negotiation. With knowledge of Dr. Rock’s five areas of potential perceived threat, you can proactively address these areas and achieve better outcomes in your negotiations. Follow these tips to help the other person(s) in your negotiations feel more like a partner than an opponent.

  1. Status - Speak the person’s language (figuratively or literally!). Sit beside the person rather than across a desk or table. Do your homework to understand the person’s background and goals. Offer praise whenever possible.

  2. Certainty - Ask questions to uncover what the other party needs. Be as transparent as possible. Be ready to communicate a clear plan that addresses contingencies.

  3. Autonomy - Provide as many options as possible. Give choices.

  4. Relatability - Learn as much as you can about the other party before meeting. Have someone introduce you. Use the person’s name often. Make the effort to find commonalities. Smile.

  5. Fairness - Listen intently. Demonstrate empathy. Acknowledge any actual unfairness.

In the process of working with a professional coach, Barbara recognized that she had allowed her sense of status to be threatened by the VP due to his age, title, and seniority. When threated, Barbara had resorted to raising her voice, acting tough, and refusing to back down.

Barbara also thought Edward’s sense of certainty might have been threatened by the way she communicated her recommendations. She realized that she needed to provide Edward with more data and information about managing risks. After making adjustments in these two areas, Barbara reported a successful negotiation, with a solid plan for her division’s future!

Quickly minimizing threats will help you to move through negotiations with confidence, poise and success!

Tough Tactics for Managing Work Stress and Burnout

You know when you are in this place – emotional and physical exhaustion, constant irritation, negativity, hopelessness. You work so hard but somehow don’t feel fulfilled. Something’s missing.

There are many reasons for work life balance issues, chronic stress and burnout. Countless books have been written on these subjects with numerous tips for living the life you chose. Somehow, the problem continues to grow.

You want your boss, your organization to “fix” the problems so that you can have a job that meets your needs. The truth is, only you can fix your life balance issues, and it’s not easy!

There are no quick fixes, “10 simple steps”, or “one easy plan” that is going to accomplish this for you. It really comes down to deciding who is in charge of your life, and what that life looks like.

Here are four tactics that are tough because they require a mindset change:

  1. 1. What are your values? What are those most important things in your life? Family, financial security, honesty, fun, challenges, accomplishments? There are many resources on-line to help you to figure these out. Click here for a free values assessment.

  2. 2. Determine if you are leading a life that is aligned with your values. Do you need to make different choices with your time? Is the work environment supporting your values? Are you being true to yourself? If you answered “no” to any of these, that could be the root cause of your burnout.

  3. 3. Are you expecting your work to provide your self-worth and fulfillment? Make a list of your strengths - what you do that provides value to the world, what makes you a great human being. What are you grateful for, in your personal life and work life? Gratitude shifts the brain from negative, defensiveness to optimism and hopefulness.

  4. 4. Have the courage to talk to your supervisor about your struggles. Do so in a conversational manner, seeking input and advice. Are you making assumptions that nothing can change, even though you haven’t tried? Telling the boss that you are not satisfied isn’t easy. Weigh is against how hard it is to continue to live your current life.

If a new job is not your choice, change your expectations and your mindset about the job. Begin each day with gratitude, find at least one thing positive about the day and verbalize that. Be a role model to others to spread hopefulness. Easy? No. Is your life worth it?

Click here for a brief review of The Other Side of Burnout, Solutions for Healthcare Professionals. This book is from a physician’s perspective, but the concepts and suggestions are relevant to all professionals.

TriVantage Development can help you and your team to continue to be successful by partnering with you for training and coaching on topics like emotional intelligence, stress management and resilience.

Plans are Better Than Resolutions

Download your Personal Annual Plan Template here.

Goals for 2019? It’s Not Too Late!

Three tips for accomplishing personal and professional goals

Why is it that we only think about setting goals for ourselves at the beginning of the calendar year, or at the beginning of the week? How many times have we participated in conversations over weight loss that ended with; “I am going on a diet starting on Monday!”? Why not today? Why not right now? Throw the cookie in the trash. Walk up two flights of stairs. The same tends to go with “New Year Resolution” – if you don’t set goals in January, well, that’s it for this year! Why can’t your “year” start February 3rd, March 15th, July 27th?

Here are three tips for accomplishing personal and professional goals:

  1. Begin with a higher-level motivation. Who do you want to be? What kind of person do you want to become? If you look back on this time, what would make you feel great? Forget the short-term motivators: “I want to fit into that swimsuit”, “I want to get that promotion”. Once you reach or don’t reach those type of motivators, what’s the purpose of continuing your actions? Strive for a higher vision of yourself.

  2. Write down your goals. List everything you’re currently doing or not doing that will prevent success. (“I go to the snack machine everyday”, “I procrastinate work I don’t like to do”, “I don’t speak up when I disagree with my boss”, “I don’t go to networking events”) Then document actions to overcome each of these. Yes, it’s a lot of work!! But if these goals are important to you and you want to, once and for all, achieve them, you will put forth the effort!

  3. Document your progress at least monthly. Most high-achievers push themselves to accomplish what is put before them, even if it’s their own doing. Create short term measures of success (which can be fitting into that swimsuit!) Don’t be afraid to modify the goal, if it continues to get your closer to that vision you established to motivate yourself. Click here for a comprehensive Annual Plan Template.

You can achieve success. Spend some time increasing your awareness of what is holding you back, create solid actions to build your resilience to handle roadblocks, and defiantly find ways to reward yourself for reaching milestones along the way! For a deeper-dive into achieving tough goals, read Immunity to Change by Kegan and Lahey. Then hire a coach to help you along the way!

Say What You Mean (without being mean when you say it)

Four steps for giving feedback successfully

Candace chose coaching to help her to address her “fear of conflict”. Her organization requires written peer feedback twice per year and her manager told her he expected to see her documenting some of the concerns she had expressed to him about her colleagues’ behaviors. She was panicked and said, “I just don’t like conflict”. So I questioned what the goal would be- to “love conflict”, to “seek out conflict”, to “thrive on conflict”?? None of these sounded right to her. Think about someone you have worked with that fits those descriptions- they cause problems in the workplace! What Candace really wanted was to change her mindset about what she considered “conflict” or “crucial conversations”.

We worked through four steps to help her get to that place:

  • Acknowledge that few people “like” conflict! Most of us learn at a very young age that loud voices are scary, that there is a winner and loser in conflict, and that it is important to feel that you belong. Just the thought of “conflict” and the primitive part of our brain says; “Look out!”, “Protect yourself!”, “Run away!” The first step is to recognize and accept that we are wired to avoid conflict!

  • Redefine “conflict” and “crucial conversations”. We make assumptions that difficult feedback will provoke negative reactions in others, which is not always the case. Most people will tell you that they appreciate when someone gives then feedback, when it is given in the right way. And what make it “crucial”? The outcome of the conversation is of high importance to you. Can you change your mindset and see feedback as a normal part of workplace communication? Step #3 can help.

  • Figure out what you’re afraid of. Being wrong, being yelled at, feeling attacked, being seen as not a team player, being not liked, being labeled in a negative way, etc. These fears come from past experiences and stories that we have programed in our minds. You have full control to change these stories. Not easy, but definitely possible!

  • Determine your intention. Why do you want to provide this feedback? What is the most important outcome for you? Instead of being anxious due to not wanting to be seen a certain way, focus on your positive intentions and if appropriate, communicate those intentions!

Candace was afraid of being ostracized by her peers. She learned to change her mindset about the feedback, realizing that she, too, was receiving peer reviews and glad to have the opportunity to improve! She knew her intention was to provide honest information to help her colleagues to be their best, and she focused on that when writing her reports. Finally, she had the courage to meet individually with each of her teammates to review what she wrote. Check out Radical Candor by Kim Scott for a comprehensive approach to saying what you mean without being mean when you say it!

Why “I’m a Perfectionist” is No Longer a Strength

Pushing for Perfect Prevents Real Progress

When asked about our strengths during a job interview, how many of us have proudly stated, “I’m a perfectionist!”? We talk about how hard we push ourselves, don’t except failure and lead teams with that same attitude. The work of Brené Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection), and other social researchers, have proven that a mindset of perfectionism holds back creativity, innovation and progress by having a foundation of fear. Striving for some unmeasurable, unattainable goal of “perfect” can result in constant disappointment of ourselves and others.

Following a talk on emotional flooding at a recent conference, a question was asked on the difference between “perfectionism” and “striving for excellence”. Perfectionism is about comparing yourself or others to some undefinable ideal state. It’s a place of “never good enough”, beating yourself or others up for mistakes, ruminating over self-defined “failures”, and extreme caution over taking risks. Striving for excellence is about making improvements, defining what “excellence” looks like, setting a goal and working towards that goal. It is a positive, forward-looking mindset as opposed to “perfectionism” being an anxious, self-defeating mindset. You know you’re never going to get there.

We all have a level of perfectionism in us. If it is preventing you from being your best, reflect on this:

  1. When is your work “good enough”?
  2. When are YOU “good enough”?
  3. What does “good enough” look like?
  4. Who are you holding to unattainable standards?
  5. What if you didn’t have to be perfect?
Brené Brown’s body of work has numerous insights and strategies for moving us all a little closer to accepting who we are while still striving for excellence. . Click here of an overview of The Gifts of Imperfection

What About Crying at Work??

6 Tips for Handling Tears in the Workplace

Jennifer came to coaching to address her one “big thing” – crying at work! Whenever she had to have a difficult conversation with her boss, when she was given tough feedback, or when conflict arose with her peers, the tears started to flow, and she hated it! For a while she resolved herself to being “overly emotional” and accepted that she would cry, and others would just have to deal with it. However, she had recently been told that her crying would impact her being considered for a position that she desperately wanted. Now was the time to figure this out!

Mario’s goal for coaching was to learn how to handle strong emotions that came at him, and crying was on that list. When one of his team members started to cry, he froze up and took steps to end the dialogue as quickly as possible. As a result, his employees were not getting the feedback they needed to hear, and he was finding himself taking over projects and correcting team member’s mistakes. Something had to change.

It’s one thing to cry when we feel sad, but it’s another to cry when we are trying to stand up for ourselves, our opinions, or our teams. If you are not satisfied with the outcomes you are getting and you believe your tears are getting in the way, try these steps:

  1. 1. Take some time to reflect on the underlying cause of the tears. Are you afraid, intimidated, insecure, anxious, etc.? What is the emotion causing the tears and how can you overcome that emotion?
  2. 2. Is your stress level consistently high? This can cause the brain to be on constant fight/flight/freeze mode which prevents emotions from being stable.
  3. 3. Establish a habit of deep breathing, positive mantras and perspective taking.

  4. A crying employee can trigger all kinds of emotions in us, from guilt and embarrassment to annoyance and anger. Think about how you might implement the following:

  5. 4. Acknowledge the tears and show empathy. “I see that this is hard for you to talk about/hard for you to hear”
  6. 5. Offer tissues, water, etc. (which help to deflect the brain from emotional thinking to rational thinking), sit back and have patience.
  7. 6. Keep the conversation going. Ask questions. Reflect what you are hearing. Provide a safe environment for communication. Don’t end the dialogue until both sides come to a mutual understanding and have clear next steps.
Strong emptions have their place at work, but if they’re preventing you from achieving your goals, take some time to practice the steps above. And hey, haven’t we all seen professional baseball players cry on TV?? I know I have!