Make your Team a Happy Team – Part 3

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It is a proven fact, happy employees add more to your business and increase your profitability.

They are way more productive, less likely to change jobs, take less sick leave, and have more energy which they are willing to invest in your business.
They will also have a higher achievement rate than their unhappy counterparts.

But there is a big difference between happiness and engagement factors, and the key to a happy team lays in knowing how to combine both in balance.

 

These are a few suggestions you can try to help achieve this balance, plus a higher level of profitability.

 

  1. Team engagement starts with your commitment

Take the time to get to know your team members as individuals.

Getting to know them will tell you how to motivate them. It’s the details what will show them you care about them as people, not just workers –only, in order to do so, you will genuinely have to care.

 

  1. Give them the tools and training for their personal growth

They will know that you’re invested in them if you take the time to develop their skills, challenge them to learn more, do more and accomplish more; give them the ability to move forward within the company.

 

  1. Listen to your team members

Every member of your team is motivated differently, so review them often so you can learn how to find what is the perfect combination of programs and resources for that person.
Once you get their feedback, act on it.

 

  1. Boost teamwork through team-building activities

Your relationship with your team members is important, but so is the close relationship between teammates.
When you encourage this kind of friendship through team-based projects, and team-building activities, this creates a sense of responsibility and accountability within the team –they don’t want to let their mates down.

 

  1. Use rewards and incentives

These are huge motivators for most workers, also non-cash related awards, and inside-the-team recognition programs are excellent tools for engagement.

 

An engaged workforce is a happy, productive workforce, and that is always good for your business.

Work towards developing your team members as individuals, help them become their best versions of themselves, and you will be well on your way to happy and engaged teams.

 

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed this Team Happiness series of articles, and that you were able to implement them into your business strategies.

 

See you next week.
Stay strong!

Make your team a Happy Team – Part 1

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Not everyone knows where to start when it comes to team happiness. Many managers –whether in sports, business, or any other category, mistakenly think that providing incentives (paid vacations, bonuses, or foosball tables) will make their people happy.

In part, those tangible benefits contribute to retaining a workforce, but to achieve real happiness and fulfillment, you’d need something more.

As a starting point, you must ensure that your organization core values are aligned to produce a commitment for excellence besides contentment.

We all know this: a happy team creates a happy business, scores, and achievements in general.  But what does “happy” mean in this context?

Basically, it is about the need every human being has to be significant. It also has to do with contribution, and finally, with growth. We all need to know that what we are, and what we do, matters; and that it helps make a difference in the world. That’s the way we grow, and become better.

 

In all this, the team or company culture plays a pivotal role.

Research indicates that not only money makes team players happy; it takes something far less tangible: trust.
Trust in a team makes each member more productive, excited and innovative in whatever it is their task at hand.
Brain physiology studies demonstrated that oxytocin enables trust, connection, and generosity, which in turn allows contentment.
There is a flip side of this coin, high levels of stress (the opposite of happiness) inhibits the oxytocin, decreasing team bonding and positive interaction.

If you intend to take your team to a higher level, take every measure possible to reduce stress so that team members can get their jobs done efficiently and without burning out.

All in all, the best strategies to ensure team happiness and performance are leader recognition, peer recognition, achievable workloads and assignments, clear leadership, and deliberate relationship-building.

 

 

Next week we’ll talk about team members’ personalities and how to leverage this in favor of the team.

Until then, stay strong!

 

 

 

 

 

One of the core values we have as a company is to inspire and empower people in all aspects of their lives. Additionally, if you want to read about our Custom Software Solutions and Consulting Services, please visit www.isucorp.ca

A Better World through Compassionate Leadership

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There is an ancient tradition that describes three styles of compassionate leadership: The Trailblazer, who leads from the front, taking risks and setting an example; there is also The Ferryman, who accompanies those in his care and shapes the ups and downs of the crossing; and finally, there is The Shepherd, who sees every one of his flock into safety –or success, before himself.

These are three different styles and approaches, but they have an all-encompassing concern for the wellbeing of those they lead in common.

Leaders, whatever field they work in, have a strong impact on people’s lives and on the world in general.

No matter how much time we have to live, we should work to leave the world a better place.
But, what does that better world look like?

I believe a better world is one where people are happier. We all want to be happy; our desire for happiness is something we all share.

Today though, the world seems to be facing an emotional crisis, when the stress, anxiety, and depression rates are higher than ever.
The gap between rich and poor, and between CEOs and employees is at a historic high; and the ever-present focus on turning a profit often overrules our commitment to people, the environment, and our society.
We work closely together every day, but in spite of it, many feel lonely and stressed… there is a lack of responsibility toward each other, and we tend to forget that we, as humans, are physically, mentally, and emotionally the same.

We need to ask ourselves what’s going wrong.

Perhaps our strong focus on material development and wealth accumulation had led us to deny our basic human need for connection and contribution.

Reconnect with the oneness of humanity and altruism is fundamental for societies and organizations, as well as their individuals in order to thrive in the long run.

And we all have a responsibility to make this happen.

So, what can leaders do?

Practice mindfulness, selflessness, and compassion

Cultivate your own peace of mind. Destructive emotions like anger and attachment cloud our ability to use our intellect clearly, so we need to tackle them.

Fear and anxiety give way to anger and violence. The opposite of fear is trust; which, mixed with warmheartedness, can boost our self-confidence, and compassion –a concern for other’s well-being– also reduces fear.

All this, not money and power, is what really attracts success.
When our mind is focused on compassion, it is calm, and when we do, we’re able to use our sense of reason practically, realistically, and with determination.

Peace of mind also means being undisturbed, free from concern. It’s all about our mental attitude and having a calm mind, and it is within us, it requires that we develop a warm heart and use our emotional intelligence.

Remember, the source of happiness lies within.

Stay strong.

What’s Your Identity?

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We all humans have an identity; a set of beliefs that we establish through time and define who we are, what we’re not, what we would or wouldn’t do.

This identity is really important because one of the strongest forces in the human personality is the need to stay consistent with the way we define ourselves, we can’t go against that; is engrained deep within our psyche. Beliefs set the guidelines for all our behaviors.

Let’s say your everyday life is a thermostat at 72 degrees. That’s a fair representation of you, enjoying your comfort zone –but let’s be clear on that, that’s just where you’re comfortable, NOT at your best. That 72° is where you are content physically, financially, intimately with your partner, connected to your spiritual life, friends, family, etc.

If things begin to cool down if you drop to a 65 or 60, things are going to change from that convenience to discomfort to intolerance; your whole self is going to start screaming in complaint, for sure. This is your baseline that says “Hey, I won’t take less than this!” and gets you moving to get things back to how they were; to what you believe you deserve.

Have you ever gone through something like this?

Sure you have….

When things got that bad with your health, your body, your relationship, your career or finances, you hit a threshold and start doing whatever it takes to get it back up.

Of course, there is a flip side of this coin; if you start doing better than you, for whatever reason, believe you deserve –you start making more money, have deeper relationships, get in the best shape of your life, etc.; you’re going to start sabotaging you and get you down again.

 

In order to avoid this, you don’t need to change your identity, you just have to expand it.

When the chance presents itself for you to grow, you must be able to say “I get this”. Get into the habit of looking forward to doing the things you never believed you could do; keep growing that muscle.

 

What can you do to challenge and redefine yourself? What would you like to become?

DECIDE and get on with it today.

Stay strong!

Your Words can Change your Life

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Words can be a simple but powerful tool to immediately change the quality of your life; both for the better or for the worse.

It might seem a far-out concept, but language can actually shape our behavior, and consequently, our lives; even those we say to ourselves and those inside our mind).

Each word we use is imbued with our own meaning and emotional charge. The right words spoken in the right way can bring us love, money, and respect; while the wrong words can get create a world of fear, anger, and suffering.

 

It’s important to carefully evaluate the words we tend to use in a constant way because they tend to shape our experiences regarding the situation we’re describing.

Words can transform our emotions, and shape the course of our destiny.  Beliefs are created by words, and they can also be changed by them.

They provide the vehicle for expressing and sharing our experiences with others, but the words we choose also affect how we communicate with ourselves, and what we end up experiencing every given moment.

 

We also tend to respond to other people’s words; they have an emotional impact on us.

For example, if someone tells us “I think you’re mistaken”, or perhaps “I think you’re wrong”. Our biochemical response is going to be different; and even more if we hear “you’re lying!”

The same thing happens with the words we use within ourselves, but we tend to not realize its impact consciously.

How many times have we said something like “he stabbed me in the back!”; although it’s hardly the case.

Coming upon an unexpected inconvenience, we sometimes overreact with internal or external expressions like “I’m pissed off!”…

In both cases, this word choice leads us to an enraged state, it actually worsens our condition and ability to deal with the situation.

 

What if, instead of adding fuel to the fire with words like “I’m devastated”, we purposely de-escalate this situation with a wiser choice of words; ones that convey the same meaning, but that has a comical connotation to us, like “it’s beginning to peeve me”…

I bet it put a slight smile on your face just by reading it…

 

We can also use this trick to enhance an already good situation; for instance, next time you feel good about something, instead of saying “I’m pleased”, why not try “I’m ecstatic!”?

 

Whatever words you hold in your mind and use on a consistent basis will directly shape your thoughts, which in turn will shape your actions, which in turn will shape your entire destiny.

 

Give it a try.
Stay strong!

Creating Your Action Plan for 2019

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Goals without plans are just wishes”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Another New Year is here, and everybody is making their list of goals again.

What most of them are failing to do, is an action plan for them.
Action is the fuel that powers our Life engines. Without action, we can’t be able to realize our goals; kind of being stuck in neutral…
We tend to get constantly sidetracked, unable to focus our energy and efforts on consistent action.
This is mostly all because of our poor habits, but also our inability to set goals correctly; we only get an abstract notion of what we want, but we lack the specifics and a concrete plan.

From Anthony Robbins to Napoleon Hill and Jim Rohn; all the greatest coaches always stressed the need for taking action as a fundamental part of any success in goal achievement.
A good example of how to correctly approach goal settings is that of an airplane. Think about it for a moment…
When it takes off, say, from LAX heading for Hawaii, that’s its goal, and everyone on it relies on that.

Before taking off, the pilots set a plan, direction, general speed, and altitude; but the plan isn’t specific about them, because the plane, like us, might encounter some obstacles along the way (turbulence, traffic, etc.) forcing it to make adjustments, but keeping the overall goal of making it to Hawaii.
It only takes constant tracking and evaluation to realize it.
If you’re serious about your goals, then you must create an action plan, and then constantly monitoring and adjusting your approach where required until you succeed.

In order to do so, you have to consider these 6 basic steps:

1. Visualize specific, time-based goals

This is the most important step. You need to set perfectly clear what, how much, and by when.
2. Create monthly milestones

This will give you specific monthly targets that you want to hit in order to evaluate if you’re making good progress or not.

3. Create a weekly action plan

Now that you have your monthly milestone, you may want to chunk it down into 4 weeks to help you move closer and swifter… what can you do this week to reach your monthly target?
4. Make and prioritize a daily to-do list

Chunk your plan down again into day-to-day priorities… think about all your powerful reasons to attain the goal. The more efficient you get managing your time, the more likely you’re going to be to accomplish your goals.
5. Measure, track, and adjust

You need to constantly measure and track your progress so you’d know whether you’re getting closer or further away from your target. Also, action plans should be flexible as well as massive so you can make necessary adjustments that come out of your progress evaluation.
6. Face your failure and suck it up

Let’s face it, no matter what you’re pursuing; life is going to get in the way. The only thing that sets apart successful people from the rest is their refusal to accept defeat; they simply don’t give up.
Failure is a part of life; your goal is to overcome that failure… and by doing so, you not only are going to reach your goal, but you’re going to become a bigger and better person, and that is the ultimate value of goals.
Give it a try, don’t wait until next New Year to evaluate the goals you’re setting this 2019… get serious now, and do it.
Stay strong!

Improve Your Life, Two Minutes at the Time, Part 2

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Let’s continue here with our last week’s blog about changing our lives for the better, two minutes at a time.

 

Change judgment for understanding

When you’re inclined to past judgment to others, first take two minutes and ask what aspects of yourself do I see in this other person?

When we’re upset about somebody else’s behavior or actions, is because it is reminding us of something we don’t like about ourselves.

If we can turn this inner critic into a coach, we can help create a better relationship with ourselves, with others, and live a more positive life.

 

Compliment others

Get into the habit of coming up with ways to tell others –and by others I mean people who are actually present there with you at the time- what you truly appreciate about them.

Take one minute to think about the reason, and another minute to tell the compliment.

You will make this person happy for sure; you’ll feel good about yourself, and most likely will receive some happy and affectionate feedback in return.

 

Hug more

It might seem like a small deed, but it’s known to reduce stress and make us feel very good; so spend –at the very least- two minutes a day hugging people!

Like compliments, hugs can be a simple way to build warmer and more positive relationships with people in your life.

 

Be interested instead of interesting

Whenever you engage in a conversation with someone, be interested in that person; ask questions about his or her life, interests, passions, and don’t just wait for your turn to talk back, really pay attention to the answers… Get to know and appreciate that person.

The interest you give will most likely be returned in what surely will build into not just a conversation, but a giving and fulfilling relationship.

 

Shuffle things up a little

Change things, mix them up… whatever you’ve been doing, try something different this time; for instance:

If you always go for the meat, next time try vegetarian.

If you tend to get into conflict often, next time try walking away.

Give away some of your favorite things.

Say yes to something spontaneously and stick to it to the end, see where it leads.

Take a different kind of decisions for today.

 

Get into the habit of mixing things up and have some fun. Grow your life in small or bigger ways, add unexpected experiences to it.

This practice will make it easier and simpler to step out of your usual comfort zone when you really need to, and also it will make you feel alive!

 

Talk again next week.
Until then, stay strong!

Tap into Your Resilience and Thrive

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by John Krumbach

Resilience comes from knowing that you are the only one that has the power and responsibility to pick yourself up

 

One of the main strategies to achieve success in life is related to your ability to tap into your resilience.

We all want to live at our full potential in order to accomplish our goals, dreams, and aspirations. One of the things we have learned in life is that we need to have the drive – drive, ambition, motivation – to reach those goals and dreams.

We are constantly trying to do more and better in our profession, our finances, family life, personal life.

 

Having drive is a positive thing. The problem is that in today’s world many are living in over-drive – studies have shown that 2 out of 3 people live their lives with high levels of stress. Stress can be positive only if it’s short-term stress, high-stress levels are completely negative.

Over-drive ironically backfires and prevents us from achieving the goals we aim for.

There is a better way: fostering resilience.

 

Instead of living in overdrive, train your nervous system to bounce back from setbacks. Resilience will allow you to control the moment, bounce back from stress –  empowering you to face difficulties and challenges with ease.

How quickly do you bounce back from frustrations, stress, disagreements? – five minutes, an hour, a day, a week?

 

Train yourself (your brain / your mind and your body) to bounce back by avoiding over-drive and taking the appropriate moments to relax and enjoy the moment.

Use Openness to Build Effective, Stronger Teams

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The key to building stronger teams is to, first and foremost, build stronger relationships and connection between the people on them. Learn about each other and build a deep and authentic relationship that will help the team navigate challenges together.

More and more people from schools, companies and all kinds of organizations are starting to use this approach. It might seem a little touchy-feely at times, but through time and experience, even the most skeptical person turns around and loves it.

These are some examples of exercises you can implement within your organization:

 

  1. Lifelines

Ask everyone to describe a few key moments or events in their lives that have made them who they are today. This task helps break the barriers between them and allows them to gain a deeper understanding of one another. The confidential nature of these exchanges helps them build enormous trust.

 

  1. Storytelling

Building upon the previous exercise, this one encourages all teammates to open up and tell a significant story about themselves, and it helps them appreciate the courage of those eager to share so much; and this exposure makes everyone more willing to open up as well.

 

  1. Appreciations

One of the most effective methods to build trust within a team is appreciation. At the end of a sprint, or a project, ask your group to share things they appreciate about each other; go at it in turns, letting everybody chime in with reasons why they appreciate that person. It might be awkward to be so openly appreciated, but it is extremely moving. We rarely take the time to tell people around us why we appreciate and admire them, and when we do, it is surprisingly great.

 

All these kinds of activities build deeper and meaningful relations among colleagues, helping them work more effectively together. It can also help with conflict resolution, since the stronger the foundational relationship between two people, the easier these conflicts are resolved or avoided in all.

If you get your team to know each other, everything after that just comes more easily.

Put these techniques in practice and see how it turns out.

 

Enjoy your long weekend, and have a Happy Thanksgiving Day.