Reinventing Failure

Reinventing Failure

In 1919, a young twenty-year-old was fired from one of his first animation jobs at the local newspaper. As rumor has it, his employer cited his “uncanny lack of imagination and creativity” as the cause for his termination. This wasn’t the last of his failures – a few years later he started his own animation company that he eventually drove to bankruptcy.

Out of these failed attempts to create something meaningful (and many more that we’re not listing), grew an idea and a dream. This same man later founded one of the greatest innovations in entertainment and hospitality that the world has ever known.

The Walt Disney Company.

Disney has been sharing Walt’s ideas, his creativity, and his passion with the hearts of people all over the world for the last 90 years.

How we fail is important.

What is your philosophy of failure? How do you innovate?

In our experience, most people do one of two things:

  1. The first person runs as fast as they can from every opportunity that could implode to escape from the feared collateral damage of failure. Their self-worth and value as a person and employee is so intricately intertwined in the success of what they do, that they are terrified to fail – so they never innovate. They never challenge.They never grow.
  2. The second type of person charges forward in most every situation. Like an out-of-control train, they never looking back and never realizing the impact of their actions, the people and things they harm, or asking questions about why this or that failed. They skip the step where they ask themselves “how and why did this happen?” or “what can I do differently next time?”

There is, however, a third type of person. A person who innovates – who has a strong philosophy of failure, and who daringly defies the status quo -all the while, learning, asking questions, being sensitive to their failures, but not letting the failures define their success. 

In 2009, Google launched Wave, a technological marvel that seamlessly integrated emails, messaging, social networking, and online collaboration for it’s users.

It was genius.

It was also a complete and total disaster.

By 2010, Google announced that it would be sunsetting the program, and discontinuing all future development.

By 2011, it was, for all intents and purpose, dead. The program never hit the mainstream, it never collected a critical mass of users, and it fizzled out almost as quickly as it was developed. The media lambasted the project, calling Wave an “overhyped bust and a tremendous failure.” And they were right – Wave was a flop.

However, the 60 person team at Google that worked on the project was praised internally. Each of them was highly sought-after for other high-profile, internal projects.

No one lost their jobs.

None of them achieved the creation of something that was successful, but each of them did push the boundaries of innovation. They created something new and different. They dared to think outside of the norm, and made something really special and unique.

Curious about what comes next? Us too!

This week take some time to think about your philosophy of failure and next week we’ll keep talking about how to reinvent your failure.

Handling Shame

Handling Shame

Last week, we talked through what shame can look / feel/ sound like in the workplace.

Our homework assignment was to identify where you’ve experienced shame and to see that shame is not just a word but something that all of us have experienced in our life.

So, take a deep breath – let’s jump back in!

Get a Handle On It

Shame crushes team member engagement. It’s the single-highest contributor to employee turnover. If it’s present in your workplace, and you don’t get a handle on it, then your organization will eat itself from the inside out.

The pathway out of shame is authentic and intentional vulnerability.

And, by vulnerability we mean openness – the willingness to share what you are really thinking and feeling.

Not just those thoughts or feelings that you think (or know) will be widely accepted, but also the ones that are a little edgier or that make you feel a little (or a lot) more open or exposed than you would really prefer to be.

Shame cannot live in vulnerability. They cancel each other out.

In an article for Fast Company, Brené Brown says:

When the culture of an organization mandates that it is more important to protect the reputation of a system and those in power than it is to protect the basic human dignity of individuals or communities, you can be certain that shame is systemic, money drives ethics, and accountability is dead.

Here are three ways to battle shame if you think it has a hold at your workplace:

  1. Think about it. Where is it impacting your workplace? Are there certain meetings, teams, or people that are encouraging this type of damaging behavior?
  2. Talk about it. Support others who have the courage to have authentic conversations about shame and acceptance in the workplace.
  3. Be patient. Though shame can be born in an instance, it’s not eradicated overnight. Be clear about your expectations regarding honest and vulnerable interactions. Model it. With the power of vulnerability, your culture can change from one of shame to one of thriving creativity, employee engagement, and innovation.

So, think about it and pick one person with whom you can choose to have an authentic conversation!

Want to Know More?

Check out Brené Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, a resourceful guide to wholeheartedness by honestly confronting your shame and invulnerability as a leader, teacher, parent, and human.

Let’s Talk About Shame

Let’s Talk About Shame

“Are you intentionally trying to destroy this company?”

You slump further into your chair, staring down at your shoes as Adam, your boss, glares across the conference table. Adam probes again: “Are you? Or are you just an idiot? How could you make such a stupid mistake?”

You open your mouth to respond, but nothing comes out. You can’t feel your fingers.

You can barely breathe.

The room was painfully silent.

The five other men and women gathered around the table nervously shifted in their seats, boring holes in their notepads, as the silence continued to thicken.

Adam stood up.“Get out of this room. I cannot have idiots on my team, and we can all agree here… together…that you are an idiot. You are the worst mistake I’ve made in the last 14 years of building this company.”

Shame. Everyone has it. No one likes to talk about it. It affects everything that we do.

Have you ever worked in an environment that’s controlled or dominated by fear?

If you’re not sure, consider some of these questions:

  • Am I consistently afraid of not doing a good enough job?
  • Am I worried that my Manager or colleague is going to ridicule me?
  • Am I nervous that I am going to be undermined in a call or meeting?
  • Am I concerned that I’ll be blamed?
  • Is the value I put on myself (my self-worth) tied to achievement, productivity, or compliance?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, you may be caught in a work environment that uses fear to control, manage, or ‘motivate’.

It’s incredibly damaging. Shame crushes creativity, innovation, courage, and learning.

In her book, Daring Greatly, research professor at the University of Houston, Brené Brown says this about the subject:

Shame is the fear of disconnection. We are psychologically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually hardwired for connection, love and belonging. Connection, along with love and belonging…is why we are here, and it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.

While the story above is a dramatic case, these types of interactions happen in offices, cubicles, and around water-coolers all across the world.

They might not look the exact same. They might be more subtle or subdued:

  • Highlighting top performers in the company…and bottom performers
  • Criticism in the presence of other co-workers
  • Belittling of new ideas, projects, or initiatives
  • Blame: an inability to take personal ownership for failure

We have all experienced shame in our lives, in one place or another. It could be at your current job, or past job, or with friends – and even family.

This week, take some time to sit with some of the questions that shine a light on shame, and consider were in your life you’ve experienced shame before.

We’ll dive in next week on how to get a handle on it!

Defining Shame

 

As a part of jumping into company culture – we want to take a step back and first define shame.

We’d encourage you to watch Brené Brown’s Ted Talk on Shame (above), as we will use this as a launching pad to talk about shame in the work place in the next few weeks!

Let us know your thoughts on Brené Brown’s research, and we look forward to digging deeper in the next few weeks!

Staying Mindful

Staying Mindful

So, did you try some of the mindfulness tips from last week?

Normally, we’ve got a number of paragraphs with thoughts and ideas.

This week, we’re doing something a little different – we’re going more interactive!

First, we’d encourage you to look at the clock and make sure you’ve got about 15 minutes free.

Next, set a timer on your phone for 1 minute.

Close your eyes for a minute and think about your breathing.

           Focus on your breath and clear your mind.

Now, take out a piece of paper and set your timer for 5 minutes.

          Write down everything that comes to mind. Don’t try to think or solve any problems. Just. Write.

How are you feeling? Maybe some of those things that were stressing you out are now on paper and not just being stored in your mind?

Last, think though or write about 1 or all of these questions:

  • What will I do today that will matter 1 year from now?
  • What is 1 thing I want to accomplish today?
  • Is what I am doing the best use of my time?
  • Am I having fun? How come?

We’ve found that staying mindful and present takes a combination of little checks through out your day (breathing when you are frustrated or enjoying your food instead of scarfing down a couple of chips) and taking a couple minutes of intentional time to reground yourself amidst the stress.

Try it out and let us know your thoughts!

Be Mindful

Be Mindful

Mindfulness.

It’s a term that has started to become more and more popular. But what is it?

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, mindfulness is:

“The practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.”

Who has time for that?!

As our days are packed, back-to-back, and often feeling like we are running behind schedule, it can feel like if we didn’t automatically breathe – we’d forget to do it!

And yet, staying present and not letting the stress and busyness of life carry us away can be really beneficial.

Need some easy places to start?

  • The next time you find yourself getting frustrated in a meeting (or at home), take some deep breaths … in through your nose, into your belly, and with a long exhale – out through your mouth
  • Or, the next meal you eat, pause to smell your food. Think about the flavors you are tasting. What do they remind you of?
  • Pause between your actions. So, the next time you are running to your meeting – stop to notice your surroundings before you walk in. Or, the next time your phone rings – listen to the sounds and breath before you answer

Sound a little different? Totally!

Try it out this week and see if it makes a difference in your temperament or the stress you may be feeling.

And let us know what works or doesn’t work for you!

Continuing You in 2017

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-4-42-10-pm

So, do you have your 3 words you want to use to describe yourself this year?

If you’re curious about what we’re talking about, check out last week’s post here.

What we know is that having a goal (these three words) is awesome – and to actually make things happen, we need some actions we can commit to.

Ready to start?

Step 1: Look at your calendar and pick a time each month (for an hour) that you can block to take the time to reflect on YOU

  • Strive for consistency, such as the last Friday or the first day of each month
  • Send yourself a re-occurring invite for that time each month through December

Step 2: Take each of your three words and ask yourself, what is one thing I can do between now and the next reflection time to start to see progress?

Step 3: WRITE IT DOWN. Put it somewhere you’ll see so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of life!

Need some places to start?

  • Maybe you want to hit new goals this year …
    • Define one of those and talk to your Manager about it in your next 1×1
  • Or you want to finish a 10k …
    • Decide on the month you want to race and choose which race you want to do (AND maybe even register for it!)
  • Or maybe you want to start an herb garden …
    • Take some time to choose a couple of herbs you want to start with

Then, when you have your blocked time next month, ask yourself some questions about these words. For example:

  • How am I seeing change in these areas?
  • What more can I do?
  • Who do I need to talk to in order to make that happen?
  • What is the next step or thing I can do before next month?

Excited for YOU in 2017?

Us too!

Be sure to share your words with us. We’d love to know!

The Election and Your Team

The Election and Your Team

WHAT AN EMOTIONAL WEEK.

Regardless of which political candidate you supported in the recent United States election – YOU. HAVE. HAD. A. WEEK.

Your team is likely filled with extremely strong thoughts and emotions (both positive or negative or a confusing mix of both). And sometimes, it feels like tension is so high that it could explode if a pin poked it.

What is a Manager to do?

In times like these, one of the most important roles you play, as Manager, is to hold your team together.

How?

Give your individual members of your team the space to talk it out, if and only if they want.

If they want to – choose to ask and actually listen without judgment. Something that often plagues us is judging (or assuming) and not asking, and really being curious about others and their thoughts.

The goal should not be to change opinions, but to allow people to really share their opinions /struggles /thoughts /challenges. These skills can be helpful when talking about the election and in your daily work.

Need a place to start?

First, make sure this is a 1:1 conversation.

Second, ideally this conversation takes place where the person you are talking to is comfortable and relaxed. This is not the time to corner them in the crowded break room or over the water cooler with their peers!

Third, the key is to NOT to argue or ‘fix’ their opinion if you don’t agree with their thoughts. This is the place to give your direct report the space to share their thoughts and ideas. In fact, don’t even say what you think unless they ask you.

Here are some conversation starters:

  • I’ve noticed I haven’t heard your voice as often in meetings during the last week. What’s up?
  • I remember you mentioning your support of [insert political candidate here that you’ve ACTUALLY heard them mention that they support]. What is intriguing to you about them?
  • I’ve noticed recent posts you’ve made on (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat) around the election. What’s been coming up?

Choosing to mention what you are seeing (noticing or observing) and then asking a very open-ended question inviting your direct report’s opinion is extremely powerful.

This may be a new approach for you! So, try it out and let us know what you think!

Don’t forget you!

Don’t forget you!

What. a. WEEK.

Work was crazy. Personal life was crazy. And, our county has been a little crazy gearing up for our next presidential election.

When our lives (and the lives around us) are busy, it can be easy to forget to take care of ourselves.

So, as the weekend approaches, think about what you need to do for you (and this doesn’t need to be extravagant)!

Need a starting point?

  • Actually eat (read: chew!) lunch – don’t scarf it down in 2 minutes flat
  • Take 30 minutes to start a book you’ve been meaning to read (for fun)
  • Take a long shower
  • Get outside and go for a walk (even if just around the parking lot)
  • Get a Pumpkin Spice Latte (celebrate the season, right?!) and spend a few minutes at a coffee shop

Doing something for you doesn’t have to be extravagant and a little self-care can do wonders for your energy level.

ENJOY!

Reflecting on Where You’ve Come From

Snowy MountiansWe made it!

It is the last week of 2014. Can you believe another year has already gone by?

Let’s take a few minutes to think back about the year that just passed by.

Like the picture of the mountains, sometimes before you look at what you are going to conquer next it is helpful to look back at all the mountains you’ve already hiked.

Regardless of how this year was, here are some questions to direct our thoughts about the year:

  • What was best thing that happened this year?
  • What was the most challenging thing that came up this year?
  • What was the most unexpected joy?
  • What was the most unexpected obstacle?
  • What are 3 words you would use to describe 2014?

Let’s use the best and most challenging things from this past year to help us dream about where we want to go in 2015.