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The Next Big Wave of Culture is Right Now

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Contributed by Dianna Wilusz, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, CEO, The Pendolino Group
Presenting: Leveraging Core Values to Accelerate Your Business Strategy
Wednesday, March 8th 9a.m.

Register today

The Next Big Wave of Culture is Right Now: 
Look to Your Vision When Making Your Next HireLeadership_Training_Interim HR_Recruiting_Interview_Selection_Barbara Ekstein.jpg

Did you know that first time employees, those hired fresh out of college, and those returning to the workforce from either a stint of entrepreneurialism or from taking time-off, mid-career to volunteer, “retire”, or to reassess their career objectives - are often the best employees that your company will ever hire according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

Why is that? The reason is actually quite simple: experience, innovation, and core motivation.

In the WSJ article, Mr. Giandrea shared that many people [returning to work] are interested in the “non-monetary benefits of continued employment,” including “mental stimulation and continued social networks.”  He added, “I think it’s the case that many people like their jobs. We think people are revealing what they prefer through their actions.”  

Note that these are the same hallmarks of people who are entering the job market for the first time as well - they too are seeking: “mental stimulation, continued social 
networks, and revealing what they prefer through their actions.”

This opens up an excellent opportunity to realign your recruiting practice with your Vision and break away from the reasonableness of the status quo. An opportunity to intentionally target hiring the unemployed, experienced and older worker, and new college graduates - intentionally avoiding the most heavily recruited group of “25-40 somethings.”

Concentrating your hiring practices toward the unemployed, experienced and older worker, and the new college graduate/intern, is counter to what most recruiters will tell us. Rather they often suggest that hiring direct from your competitors and concentrating your recruiting search on those people who are currently employed, mid-careered, and
with little/no gaps in their employment history, is the way to go. But, that stands to reason since recruiting from a candidate pool of actively employed is the
life-blood of the recruiting profession… and let’s be honest… it’s much easier to source candidates that are actively employed.

While there is nothing wrong with that approach per se, intentionally (or unintentionally) practicing a hiring bias toward those already “actively employed” can have a direct negative impact on the quality of your culture and therefore the ultimate success of your business to achieve your Vision.

In addition, by throwing your hiring process into the frenzy with your competitors, you inadvertently set yourself, and your company, up for what we call the “scarcity bias."

This is the same bias that marketeers count on through the use of last minute, end-of-season sales. You are led to believe that the talent simply doesn’t exist… or is scarce. Hence, you are biased to make the hire fast - rather than patiently plan and wait for the right hire.

How is it that managers and HR have been led so far astray by the conventional wisdom so as to put their business and their teams at risk?  More importantly, now that you
know otherwise, how can you apply your refreshed knowledge about the advantages to hiring the unemployed, the older worker, and the new college graduate/intern?

And, what is the first step that you should take to succeed in applying a methodical Contrarian Recruiting Practice (CRP)?

“Harvard Business Review (HBR) suggested that 85 percent of hiring managers and human resource managers
are more understanding of employment gaps now than they were pre-recession.”

Here are the top four non-technical skills [SOURCE: Vanto Group] to look for when practicing the contrarian hiring philosophy to positively shape your company culture, and
align your team to achieve your Vision and deliver rapid and inspiring results.

 The top four skills of the successful (and powerful) people that you’ll want on your team:

They Understand (and Live) Integrity

  • Integrity at its most fundamental level, is doing what you said you would do, when you said you would do it. But, that is just where it starts...

  • Integrity also includes cleaning up the messes you have made by not doing what you said, by breaking your promises, and by not being 
    responsible for your actions.

  • Successful people know that to maintain integrity requires discipline. And, discipline is a condition of self control, rigor and maintaining order.

They Thrive on the Power of Relationships

  • Successful people in business (and in life), know that people become resources for your life.

  • You know that people may be the coaches for your success… and, relationships are the vehicle to make this happen.

  • Powerful people create powerful alliances with others; powerful people (those who live up to their word) have powerful resources, and

  • They allow other people to contribute to creating a shared Vision.

They Breath the Essence and Sustainability of Existence

  • By existence we not only mean that the Vision exists but, how the Vision exists.

  • Successful people have a Vision, they realize that their Vision lives in the conversations that they have.

  • And, successful people manage their conversations wisely and to ensure that their Vision continues to exist - it never goes out of existence.

  • Keeping your Vision (a possibility) in existence requires having a structure - and this is where you can quickly shape the positive effect of your recruiting practice.

  • Seek candidates that thrive on milestones, a visual display of their work and passion, use tracking tools, timelines, and monitor their progress.
    These are people who know how to keep the game alive in distance, time and form - they have the tools and the commitment to keep the Vision alive in reality.

  • Successful people know that you need to keep the existence of the Vision (the progress of the game to achieve that Vision) up to date with accurate information.

Lastly, They Leverage the Multiplicative Nature of Enrollment:

  • Powerful people, new grads and experienced older workers, are often at the peak of understanding the multiplicative nature of enrollment.

  • Enrollment is causing new possibilities (a Vision) to become present for another, and understood by the other, such that they are touched moved
    and inspired by that possibility.

  • This is at the heart of engagement and engagement is at the heart of your culture. This is what moves others into action.

  • Seek candidates that are at the peak of understanding the nature of engagement. They are energized by their own Vision… and see the integrative
    nature of their personal Vision with your company Vision.

Remember you can have any business result you want for your company that you invent as a possibility when you enroll others in your having achieved that Vision.

Acting intentionally to shift your hiring practice can accelerate the achievement of your Vision. “Hire slow and fire fast” - Commit to your Vision and know that to accomplish
your Vision may require you to act in unreasonable ways, buck the conventional trends, and have the courage to act in contrarian ways.

When you seek candidates that are at the peak of these four pillars (Integrity, Relationship, Existence, and Enrollment) you can enjoy the ride as you select powerful people to join you in achieving your business goals!

For guidance regarding Interim HR, Candidate Selection and Manager Training, or to conduct a thorough review of your HR practices to ensure cultural engagement and strategic alignment, the Pendolino Group is here to support you and your team. Reach out to us at: 1-(888) 726-1414 or to explore more.

Be sure to catch up with Dianna Wilusz at HR West 2017!


Tags:  candidate selection  culture  Dianna Wilusz  HR Communication  HR management training  HR West 2017  Pendolino Group 

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HR systems are critical in building culture

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Friday, January 13, 2017
Updated: Friday, January 13, 2017
Contributed by Russ Elliot, SPHR, Founder and Chief Consultant, Conscious Culture Group
Russ will present: Creating a Conscious, Intentional Culture
Wednesday, March 8th 10:35am

Register today

HR systems are critical in building culture

Wells Fargo has become a vivid example of how companies can veer off in the wrong direction due to the influence of their Human Resources systems. There were “widespread illegal” sales practices that included opening as many as two million accounts without customer permission which led to a $185 million fine with many lost clients.* Trust was lost in a company, in an industry, that is based on trust.

Employees shared the impact of the HR systems. “I had to meet sales goals every day or I could get written up.” according to one employee.  Another employee stated that “The quotas were simply a way to keep my job, not to earn any substantial bonus or commission.” Some employees indicated they were fired or forced to quit when they did not meet the sales goals and refused to create fake accounts.

Wells Fargo like many companies has organizational values. One of those stated five values on their website include “Doing what’s right for customers.” When discussing company culture and the sales practices, Chief Executive John Stumpf said it was the employee’s fault and that some employees did not honor the bank’s culture by putting customers first. He further said that “This type of activity has no place in our culture.”

Leadership cannot expect a set of behaviors to occur by simply stating them as an organizational value. HR systems will win!

How did Wells Fargo, a company with a stated mission of “We want to satisfy our customers’ needs and help them succeed financially get so far off the mark? Was it the employee’s fault? And what is HR’s role in all of this?

Company culture does not happen by simply writing vision and mission statements and posting values on the website. Mr. Stumpf was incorrect when he stated that it was the employees fault and that the employees did not honor the bank’s culture.

Wells Fargo is not alone. Every organization has a culture with some creating a conscious culture while others have an unclear culture. Company culture is not what’s on the website nor on the back of an employee’s ID card. It is the everyday behaviors that occur at work.

 Let’s review HR systems that play significant roles in directing the company culture.

HR systems that build culture


In Wells Fargo’s case, it was their compensation system and criteria for performance that had more impact on the culture than their vision, mission or value statements. In creating a conscious culture, HR leaders need to ensure that bonuses and other incentive practices are tightly linked to desired behaviors. With Wells Fargo, their bonus reward system put organizational needs first, not customer needs. If sales goals are the only activity rewarded, then sales performance is what will happen, regardless of the unintended consequences. Use the company values as part of the assessment of determining financial rewards. If accountability is valued, then make certain those who demonstrate accountability are recognized and not ignored. Be thoughtful and intentional in all aspects of compensation. Know the power of compensation and learn from Wells Fargo.

Performance appraisals

Similar to compensation, when goals are set in performance appraisals and employees are measured to those standards, expect the stated behavior in those standards. If performance appraisals or formal feedback in any context is used, whether annually or quarterly, verify that the company values are part of the evaluation. When values are given weight of 30% or more, a strong message is sent to both employees and their managers. To have the most impact on reinforcing the culture, tie specific behaviors to all formal feedback including performance appraisals.


As a company culture consultant, I find that many organizations do not comprehensively think about what behavior they are rewarding when recognizing employees. Recognition can include verbal thanks, gift cards, a day off or one of the many other ways of sharing appreciation with a job well done. If one of the organizational values is teamwork and the recognition goes towards individuals excelling, you will have individuals excelling and not teamwork. If creativity is important and employees feel like new ideas are quickly shut down, employees get that message. The best way to tie recognition and culture together is to ensure that when sharing employee appreciation, it is directly tied to one of the company values. Be consistent in your intentional message.


As both an internal SVP HR director in my past and as an external consultant today, I have listened to employees share their shock when certain individuals were promoted. The hallway talk tells the truth of how well the newly promoted manager is received. Employees, rightfully so, become upset when they hear certain values describe by the organization and then the company moves forward on promoting someone who has no regard for those behaviors.

One of the most visible ways to create and build an intentional culture is to promote people who are aligned with the conscious culture. HR leaders must stand up and influence any decision that could lead to a promotion that sends the wrong message to the staff. Using the culture aspects of feedback tools like performance appraisals provides information to end or support promotion decisions. HR has this information and needs to bring it to the table.


Hiring cultural fit is perhaps the most important long term HR system that builds and reinforces culture. Companies that make the “best place to work” lists often have a rigorous and lengthy process for hiring, and often give culture 80% or more of the evaluation weight. For this to happen, the organization and the interviewers need to understand the criteria for culture fit. The rubber meets the road when there is a highly talented professional who will not fit the organizational environment. HR must determine what fit looks like and train interviewers on how to select culture fit. And, when it becomes apparent there is not a fit, HR leaders must stop any momentum in these circumstances even if it is not popular. Refining the hiring process shifts all organizations.

Manager training

One final HR system that builds intentional culture is training managers to the competencies and behaviors needed to be successful in the organization. If actionable feedback is a key component on how things are done, then ensure you provide managers with the skills needed to effectively provide actionable feedback. For many new managers, this is not a skill that is picked up through osmosis. It can and should be taught so that managers and the staff have more opportunities to be successful in the company.

It was not the employee’s fault that Wells Fargo get off course from their mission and values. Leadership cannot expect certain behavior and outcomes by simply stating those behaviors in company communication. HR must create intentional HR systems that promote the culture and, when appropriate, stand up when dissonance arises. Whether it is through compensation, performance appraisals, recognition, promotion, selection or training, HR must regularly review and update its systems with culture in mind.


Russ Elliot is Founder and Chief Consultant of the Conscious Culture GroupThe Conscious Culture Group partners with organizations to determine their unique culture by developing impactful vision, mission and values statements and building systems in place that support the long term conscious culture. Russ and his team work includes starting with furthering the cohesion and trust of the leadership team. The company wants every organization, all leaders and each employee to be more successful.

Be sure to catch up with Russ Elliot at HR West 2017



* Sources for this article are The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press.

Tags:  company culture  Conscious Culture Group  HR Systems  HR West 2017  Russ Elliot 

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Orchestrating Excellence: Leadership Agility through Music

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Contributed by Gary Muszynski
Gary Muszynski, Chief Orchestrator, Orchestrating Excellence
Register today
Gary will present:  Leadership Agility Through Music: Orchestrate, Collaborate and Improvise!
HR West 2017  Wednesday, March 8th 9am

Music represents a comprehensive view of different leadership styles. Given the pace of change and the complexity and ambiguity of modern life, it’s important to be able to flex your leadership style based on the context and situation.  

Music holds some secrets for doing just that.

In classical music, for example, there’s a conductor who leads through acts of orchestration, selecting talent, directing and inspiring at scale.
In world of folk music, the melody and rhythms emerge from the collective ensemble, from interdependent interlocking parts--similar to a collaborative team conversation.

And in jazz, there’s a focus on being able to adapt and change, riff, and innovate in the moment, to shift between soloing and providing support for other talents to shine.
To do so requires embodied presence, awareness, and discipline, the kinds of skills that are useful for acting in the face of uncertainty and without a guaranteed outcome.

Combined as a flexible palette of leadership styles, orchestration, collaboration, and improvisation can be used in a variety of situations to produce different impacts at the enterprise, team, and individual levels. (See chart below.)

Strengths vs. range. The idea of stretching your leadership style to maximize your effectiveness as a leader does not negate the current trend toward understanding and making the most of your personal and professional strengths. Both viewpoints have their relative merits. For example, if a leader is not adept at facilitating certain team conversations, he or she can invest in a coach to help them develop this key skill, and/or, they can enlist the help of one of their team members to do so instead. Oftentimes, these two different solutions occur simultaneously. One is a longer developmental solution; the other a shorter term one.

Why not just stick with our preferred style for leading and communicating? Think of an actor who is good at a specific role? Perhaps they are typecast cast as a strong, silent type, and adventure action hero, or a damsel in distress. Life and leadership calls us to develop a wider range of skills and responses than just our preferred style.  And, moving into these knew roles might seems uncomfortable or scary at times as it brings up issues around competence and not being in complete control.  Think of engineers who are
learning to become new mangers for the first time and may lack some of the social skills needed to thrive in a new role.

As a theatre Improv friend recently reminded me, we need to all get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

And this leadership agility framework is intended to help in exploring a range of ways to respond based on context and intended impact.

Please take this out for a trial run!

When should you use one of these leadership styles over another? 
There’s no exact formula but here are some guidelines: 

1. Orchestrated leadership (organization = orchestra)

Context: This style of leadership is most appropriate for beginning a new initiative, at the start of a reorganization, in preparing for or navigating an acquisition or merger, when speaking to a larger group (more than 20 people), selecting talent and building a team, clarifying strategy and direction, or fine-tuning implementation. You’ll need to balance task and relationships here to ensure precise outcomes as well as creating a positive environment to maximize and sustain engagement and creativity.  Think of your role as an executive producer. You goal is not to micromanage your team, but to encourage, inspire, delegate, build trust, and let go. Your focus should be on managing your energy, attitude, and presence as these things speak louder than just words alone. Your intention and how you show up as a leader and treat others need to be aligned.

Goals: Conduct and inspire talent across silos; create team integration and cohesion. 

Actions: Direct, inspire, align, and harmonize talent.


  • Clarify your intention
  • Share compelling stories
  • Set the stage context and tone for your leadership
  • Articulate a clear vision and measures for success (qualitative and quantitative)
  • Find ways to creatively engage your people (involve head, heart and the body in learning)

Key principles:

  • Meet your team where they are and lead them somewhere new.
  • Step back to get a broader perspective as if you were in fact a conductor: is your extended team or organization making music or noise? Gather insight from different internal and external stakeholder groups to ensure that your perspective is grounded in qualitative data (i.e., stories) as well as qualitative data (key success measures).
  • Being a strong leader in this style does not mean being autocratic (command-and-control) nor does it mean only offering feel-good assessments and feedback. Have the fierce conversations you need to have one on one but from a place of respect, directness, and compassion. Be willing to be vulnerable and transparent.

2. Collaborative leadership (team = ensemble)

Context: This style of leadership is most appropriate at the team level. Your goal at this level is to facilitate and coach rather than to direct.  This means that you are empowering others and helping them to develop their thinking and effectiveness. This requires more time and patience and it is more effective then simply providing the answer. Given the complexity we’re surrounded by, leaders need to engage thinking at the team level to meet our most complex challenges. Mastering the art of collaborative conversations is an important set of skills. Adopt one or two processes as a framework for moving a team from high level thinking to tactics, from the global to the granular.

Goals: Develop and empower your team to think critically and creatively.

Actions: Connecting, synchronizing, and co-creating; facilitating and coaching.


  • Ask powerful questions that challenge people see things from different perspectives.
  • Use a framework to make sure that your team moves through different conversations for comprehensive planning and collective learning.
  • Make sure that your team is as diverse as possible (cognitive, cultural, functional, level, gender, age, seniority, introversion and extroversion, etc.) to ensure that you get a broad range of perspectives and ideas.

Additional notes:

  • Encourage and accept different viewpoints rather than groupthink
  • Make it safe for people to express divergent views
  • Recent research at Goggle about what makes teams most effective points to two indicators:
  • The ability of the team to maximize diversity, and
  •  The team’s ability to tolerate candid, direct, and honest conversations while maintaining an environment of trust, openness, and emotional safety (no shaming, blaming, or recriminations) – i.e., psychological safety. 

3.  Improvisational leadership (individual = soloist)

Context: Unlike “orchestrative leadership” which focuses on impacts at the larger group and organizational levels or collaborative leadership which looks at how to be effective at the team level, improvisational leadership concerns itself with how an individual leader reacts in moments of change, stress, conflict, ambiguity, and complexity.  The focus here is on excellent self-care, emotional regulation, resilience, and developing the ability to pause and shift when you get triggered to ensure you regain your center.  These skills are ones that are cultivated and practiced in the martial arts, yoga, scientific inquiry, mindfulness and mediation, active listening, improvisational theatre, and music.   

A reminder that the brain likes certainty, predictability and safety. A natural reaction when there is a breakdown of a group’s communication or individual performance is to assign blame or verbally attack someone.  While this is an understandable human reaction, it is not an effective move as a leader.  Regain your emotional center so that your feedback or communication can be neutral, begins with a positive context, and is based on observable facts, so that the person on the other end can “hear” and “digest” your remarks. Remember that you need to find your own ground, before you can create common ground with others especially in fast paced environments that place greater emphasis on speed rather than effectiveness or impact.

Goal: Remaining effective in the face of change and ambiguity

Skills (When you notice yourself getting triggered by a person or events)

  • ·      Pausing and shifting
  • ·      Reframing challenges as learning opportunities
  • ·      Shifting from moods of resentment, resignation, and reactivity to ones that engender curiosity, proactivity, and positivity
  • ·      Cultivating compassion for self and others

Actions: Adapting and changing, delighting and surprising

The Process:

  • Trusting your intuition (gut).
  • Delaying action until you feel an inner alignment of head, heart, and gut.
  • Wait until you are not in a very triggered state before communicating with the apparent cause of your reaction.
  • Check out your assumptions; know your biases.
  • Consider how you have contributed to the breakdown before simply assigning blame.
  • Build up the capacity to think on your feet by riffing often (thinking out loud with others) and by adopting a playful rather than a perfectionistic mindset.

Additional notes: Under stress, your mind may tell you that only two polarized options exist.  This is called Either/or (binary) thinking.  Improvisational leaders can think on their feet to create yes/and solutions through an act of inclusion, courage, and creativity. Be curious about a third alternative and continue the conversation until one pops up. The skills of riffing, noodling, and playing prime the deeper parts of the midbrain associated with non-linear creativity, the heart of emergent thinking.

Questions for reflection

How will you improvise when the unforeseen comes to visit?


Based on the description of the three leadership styles in this blog, where do you believe you are at your strongest?  
Which style is most challenging for you and why?

Let me know what you think!

Gary Muzynski is an organizational development consultant influenced by neurological research and how it can be applied to learning, collaboration and creativity. He is also the founder of Orchestrating Excellence, a global team building and leadership development firm that leverages the power of play for workplace change, employee engagement and innovation.

Gary works with companies such as Pixar, Genentech, Kaiser Permanente, Electronic Arts, Bank of America, McKesson, HopeLab, and Xerox PARC, and has presented immersive learning programs and interactive keynotes for Fast Company, Apple University, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.



Remember to catch up with Gary at HW West 2017

Tags:  business transformation  creative keynotes  creative team building  creativity and innovation training  culture change and experiential learning  employee engagement  immersive learning  Leadership agility  leadership and music  leadership development  leadership through music 

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5 Tips to Attract the Right Culture Fit in 2017

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, January 4, 2017

5 Tips to Attract the Right Culture Fit

Contributed by LaSalle Network
Allison Penning, Branch Manager, LaSalle Network 
Register today
Allison will present:  The Grass Is Always Greener: Overhauling Your Recruiting Strategy
HR West 2017 10:50am  -  12:20pm Tuesday March 7th.






In LaSalle Network’s recently published white paper, the company surveyed over 6,000 professionals to gather insights about hiring trends and challenges.
They found second biggest challenge companies identified, just after finding skilled candidates, was hiring candidates who fit the culture.

It’s now more important than ever to make sure the right people are exposed to your brand and understand what it’s all about.
If you can attract the right people to apply for positions, it makes the hiring process a lot easier.
Here are 5 tips to do just that:

1. Inject the company personality into job descriptions

It’s the first impression. The companies that successfully find ways to express the company culture in their job postings are the ones that stand out.
Use words or phrases that will resonate with the type of person you’re trying to attract. Be clear with the job requirements and expectations,
but remember that generic job descriptions will often attract generic candidates.

2. Design a “work for us” web page that portrays your brand and culture

Make it exciting. Use images and quotes from real employees. Give candidates an authentic insight into what it’s like to work in your office.
There’s no better way to help someone understand your culture than people who are living it every day.

3. Encourage employees to share company social media posts

It shows high employee engagement, one of the defining characteristics of great companies.
It communicates that employees are proud of what the company is doing and excited to share it with their friends.
Who doesn’t want to work somewhere people are personally invested in the company’s success?

4. Create an employee referral program

Encourage your staff to recommend talent. Good people tend to know other good people.
Moreover, employees that work with friends are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work, according to Harvard Business Review.

5. Attend job fairs at universities

It’s a gold mine for up-and-coming talent and a great opportunity to showcase your brand.
Show students what’s authentic and unique to your company, and when it resonates, you’ll know you’re attracting the right person.

For more information on 2017 hiring trends and challenges, download the LaSalle Network white paper report here.

Tags:  HR  HR West 2017  recruiting  retention  talent acquisition 

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End the Year on a Grateful, Not Hateful, Note

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Thursday, December 22, 2016

Contributed by Michael Papay
The CEO and cofounder of Waggl will present his session,
The Power of Listening, at

March 6-8, 2017 - Register today

End the Year on a Grateful, Not Hateful, Note

Let’s be honest: 2016 has been a heavy year. For starters, we lost several admired cultural icons (David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, and Sharon Jones,
to name just a few). We also experienced what is widely regarded as one of the most contentious and divisive elections in history.

No matter what political side you found yourself on, you would have to agree that the negativity has seeped into even our most sacred spaces and taken an
emotional toll on most Americans.

Take a look at social media networks, which have morphed from safe places to exchange experiences and pleasantries into cesspools of anger and vitriol.
Our relationships have been strained. Turn on any news channel, and you can practically feel the toxicity pour into your living room.
Attend a local debate or any kind of gathering to see just how fractured our communities have become.

We now find ourselves in a holiday season meant to help us reflect, recharge, and celebrate new beginnings. We kicked things off with Thanksgiving –
my favorite holiday, because it revolves around the granddaddy of all meals, and more importantly, offers a time when we can reconnect with loved ones
and express our gratitude for our family, friendships, health, and freedom. Then came the Winter Solstice, and now, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa
are right around the corner. All of these holidays offer us the opportunity to reconnect spiritually and experience the magic of giving.

Finally, we end our holiday season with New Year’s Day, a time when we can reset our dreams and create goals designed to take us to new and exciting places.

We have the next two weeks to let gratitude, giving, and goals guide us back to feeling like human beings again. This is a noble opportunity. Let’s not waste it.
We can use this focus at home and at work.

My company, Waggl, offers a solution designed to help organizations pulse questions and create two-way dialogues with their employees. We are fortunate to have the opportunity each and every day to learn from our customers, who value their employees as their most important stakeholders and are actively and transparently
managing their organizations to create amazing workplaces.

Think of a Work Experience That Made You Feel Grateful

armsWaggl utilizes short questions (“pulses”) that you send out to employees.
Last week, one of our clients offered a simple and actionable question to help set a positive and impactful tone in their workplace:

“Think of a time when you experienced an interaction with a colleague or client that made you feel grateful to be part of the family. Please share your story.”

This pulse was received like water in the desert and resulted in one of the highest response rates ever at that particular company.

We have since shared this Waggl question with all of our customers and the results have been uplifting.

The opportunity for employees to share their stories has helped people realize that within all of our companies and communities, incredible acts of kindness and decency happen each and every day.

Too often, good news goes uncelebrated. We’re busy closing out fiscal years. We’re running from meeting to meeting.
Who has time to find the silver lining when it feels like we’re always under a cloud?

When we get caught up in measuring things through polls and surveys, we forget that there are people behind those numbers – people with incredible insights to share and stories that can resonate with us in many meaningful ways. Clear narratives cut through the distraction that is everywhere in our daily lives. Coupled with techniques like “appreciative inquiry,” which focuses the discussion on celebrating the positive instead of wallowing in the negative, these narratives can re-inspire all of us.

Carry It Forward

We can spend the next couple of weeks rebuilding together by listening to one another and celebrating all the positive things we are achieving. We are blessed to live in a country that is built on centuries of sacrifice and grit. Our economy thrives as a result of its incredible diversity. Throughout most of business history, the best companies and ideas have come from those with opposing viewpoints.

This year, instead of hitting your employees with another 60-question survey that will take months to process, ask one question that will have immediate, meaningful impact.
It won’t solve all of the world’s problems, but it’s a wonderful place to start.

After all, according to Marcus Tullius Cicero, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”  
A version of this article originally appeared on Waggl’s blog.

Michael Papay is CEO and cofounder of Waggl, a real-time feedback platform that helps organizations source authentic feedback.

Tags:  employee engagement  HR West 2017  Listening skills  Michael Papay  Power of Listening  waggl 

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