Taking a holistic approach to your wellbeing strategy is never simple. Even when your wellbeing strategy is established, growing the health of your staff and remaining proactive is crucial. As Prof. Cary Cooper states, “A workforce that is well works well.” Creating a culture of wellbeing takes time, commitment and constant innovation. The old one size fits all approach to wellbeing is now obsolete. One of the most new and innovative ways to support staff wellbeing is writing. Long since recognised in the US as a workplace intervention, it is slowly gaining popularity in the UK.
However much you love what you do, if your job involves working with people, you’ll understand the concept of emotional labour. Perhaps you’re a figurehead and it’s important to build rapport and maintain your cool even in difficult circumstances that would send the rest of us running? Maybe your role involves managing other people’s emotions and it’s not always pretty? Or if you’re the first point of contact for a business, it’s possible you’ll be on the receiving end of frustration, disappointment and rancour.
Are you able to answer ‘Yes’ to the following questions;
You’ve seen things start to change in your organisation, perhaps the automation of specific departments has already taken place. With driverless cars on the horizon and self scan tills already here, the march of automation has already begun. Predictions suggest that it’s a matter of when rather than if for many professions. Could automation replace you? [Read more…]
Reports this week suggest that Google’s DeepMind, the AI programme which learns independently has developed some interesting strategies under stress.
The team responsible for DeepMind have published a blog outlining how it responded to stressful circumstances during an apple gathering computer game with another AI agent. It appears that the agents didn’t want to share their spoils, employing aggressive tactics to ensure they won. So what’s going on with DeepMind? [Read more…]
Innovation. How best to develop, sustain and refine it? Let the battle commence between divergent and convergent thinking. Or perhaps not? Here we make the case for both types of thinking, side by side and suggest techniques for how best to unlock them.
Unleashing the creativity genie
The elusive muse. Creativity. How to unlock it, nurture it and keep it generating innovative ideas time after time. It’s the holy grail of the creative process. Mindfulness may be the answer to developing and sustaining your inner creative genius. Let’s take a look at how to apply it. [Read more…]
At Positive Change Guru we’re sometimes asked whether mindfulness is harmful. It’s a sensible question and one which we’ll attempt to shed some light upon here.
We all know that looking after yourself is important. You go to the gym. Check. You eat well. Check. You make time to rest. Check. But what about your brain? One of our most complex organs, what goes on up there is just as important as the rest of your body. Want to know how to develop brain friendly habits? You’ve come to the right place, we’ve put together 10 evidenced ways to love your brain, increase neuroplasticity and future proof your brain from the risk of cognitive decline.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is a sure fire way to create a foggy mind and leave you feeling stressed. Make sure you get an adequate amount of sleep each night by practicing sleep hygiene before you go to bed. Relax, turn off your devices and in the same way that you wake up by washing, cleaning your teeth and completing the myriad of ablutions you’ve created of mornings develop a similar routine before you go to bed so that your body knows it’s bedtime.
- Read. Research suggests that the more we read the less likely we are to experience dementia. Join a library or hunt out bargains at your local charity shop and bury your nose deep inside this month’s bestseller, slowing down cognitive decline.
- Share the love. Practicing kindness will increase your wellbeing and decrease your stress levels. Pay it forward by looking for ways to act kindly each day either randomly or letting someone know how much you appreciate them. Looking for reasons to thank others will activate the compassion regions of your brain.
- Eat well. Get your five a day and more if you can. Research shows that diet has a huge role to play in cognitive health. Your stomach is often referred to as the second brain. Gut bacteria influences your cerebral functioning, maintaining a happy, healthy gut will pay dividends for your brain. Decrease saturated fats and aim to eat as many green alkaline foods as you can. Aim for a nutrient rich diet making sure to include Omega 3.
- Develop happiness. Evidence suggests that depression, sadness and anger are bad for your brain suggesting links with dementia. Guard your mental health and if you experience depression don’t keep it to yourself. Seek help from professionals.
- Engage your brain. When you set goals on a regular basis and challenge yourself you’re stretching your brain in the best possible way. Take a course, learn a language or a new skill and see what you can achieve.
- Hit the gym or the road or the pavement. Regular exercise keeps you fit, increases neuroplasticity and lowers stress. Just 30 minutes 3 times a week will have a positive impact so grab your trainers.
- Have fun and maintain Friendships. We know, prescribed fun doesn’t sound much fun at all but studies researching longevity demonstrate that maintaining a social network is good for you. Isolation increases the risk of dementia and can contribute to depression and stress. Make time to meet friends, to keep in touch in person as well as virtually. Your brain will thank you for strong social connections, reducing your stress and giving you a sense of purpose.
- Look after your heart. See number 8. We know that indicators such as diabetes and obesity have a corollary impact on the brain. Make sure you look after yours.
- Become a quitter. Yes, smoking is bad for your body and your brain. It increases the risks of cognitive decline and impacts negatively upon your health. The one time being a quitter is a good thing.
- Meditate. Where to start with meditation. Over 20 years worth of research demonstrate it has a positive impact on the brain and the body. It reduces your stress levels and increases self compassion, adding to your kindness quotient. Start with a minute of pause per day and wrk your way up. Take our mindfulness test or check out our mindfulness articles and training courses for more information.
- Commit. Yes. we used the ‘C’ word. People who have a sense of purpose thrive. Know your values, why you’re here on the planet and commit to that. Purpose in life predicts lower mortality rates and benefits wellbeing and brain health. Set goals, find your passion and like a well kept garden, cultivate it.
To find out more about health, wellbeing, resilience and stress management take a look at our other blogs or why not take our stress test? If you’d like to discuss wellbeing consultancy contact us at email@example.com To find out more about our resilience courses or in house training visit our course page http://positivechangeguru.com/events-2/
Failure makes an uncomfortable bedfellow. Many business spend their time focusing upon performance goals avoiding mistakes or trying to shift them elsewhere when they happens. In many start ups and established businesses the resulting blame culture stifles and shuts down innovation as employees fear the aftermath of failure. The problem with this is that innovation is an inherent unknown, it’s value lies in discovery by trial and error and that path is littered with the carcasses of failure.
Many start ups, especially in the tech world are turning the traditional paradigm of failure avoidance on it’s head. Google subsidiary, X, the company’s research lab led by Astro Teller, or “Captain of Moonshots” is a failure evangelist. X works firmly in the future rather than the present. Think AI, Google Brain, the driverless car, Project Loon or Project Calico researching life extension none of these would have come into being if Google fostered a blame culture. With a fail fast mantra firmly focused on the future, this culture incubates the art of possibility, of what could be rather than what is. In fact, Teller goes one step further actively encouraging experimentation by celebrating and rewarding failure (see our blog on Moonshots for more on this). This organisational culture embraces error reporting, shunning shaming and cover up. Proving Stanford Business Professor, Baba Shiv’s claim that failure truly is “The mother of innovation.”
Creating a No-Blame Culture For Innovation
Researchers at the Johannes Kepler Universitat (Rami, U. & Gould, C. 2016. From a “Culture of Blame” to an Encouraged “Learning from Failure Culture”. Business Perspectives and Research) found 3 drivers necessary to shift away from a blame culture.
- Act on covering up errors. If they’re hidden you can’t learn from them. This comes from the top and is usually influenced by leadership style. A punitive, authoritarian leader is less likely to persuade employees to discuss and learn from failure than a delegative, authentic leader who listsens. Genuine conversations need to take place around the value of error and it’s inherent correlation with innovation. Take a leaf from Google’s dream leader, Teller and throw a failure party.
- Error communication. The research found that employees in fast paced organisations with elevated workloads were more likely to report their errors. Where error was caused by lack of knowledge or training it was less likely to be reported. One of the most important factors in error reporting was peer support. This requires a people focused leadership style along with trust, transparency and openness.
- Social backing. This is really about buy in and trust. Employees need to believe that their colleagues have bought into no blame, error reporting. They also need to trust in the leadership team and that there is a real investment in innovation through fast failing. If employees secretly believe that the honesty required for error reporting will come back to bite them on the ass, your culture of innovation will fall down at the first hurdle.
12 Steps to Creating A Failure Friendly Innovative Culture
If you’re building a start up or leading an established business these steps are necessary to shift from a blame culture to an innovative learning culture.
- Model the behaviour you want to by admitting your own mistakes. A learning culture instead of a blame culture starts at the top.
- Discourage your managers from promoting a purely task focused performance culture.
- Promote open error reporting for large and small errors equally.
- Examine your systems, do they support or reward error outing rather than creative discussion?
- Ensure that all employees prevent error cover up.
- Place the spotlight on error management rather than people blame.
- Make sure that you have buy in from your leadership team to create a constructive error culture
- Cultivate a culture of discussion, creative debate and non-judgement
- Shine the light of error responsibility on procedures and systems rather than people.
- Make sure than competency and knowledge deficit is reduced by training your people.
- Celebrate and reward failure in a tangible way.
- When you enjoy a success borne out of failure communicate it to all levels of your organisation.
Want to know more about creating a no-blame culture or building innovation and creativity? We offer consultancy, training, bitesize, half day or one day training courses along with conference sessions on how to build effective organisations. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more. We’d love to talk with you.
Should You Care?
Is what you wear to work important? Do you even care? For some of us the idea of ‘dressing to impress’ is an anathema “Why should what I wear to work matter? My work speaks for itself” you respond aghast. For others, perhaps begrudgingly, we acknowledge that there might be something in first impressions so we dress accordingly, or at least make the effort to ensure that we don’t look as though we’ve just fallen out of bed.
A Sea Of Grey
I once worked in a sea of grey suits, an office populated by identikit colleagues, who had managed to find as many shades of grey to wear to work as I imagine is humanly possible. Air conditioning up there on the seventeenth floor ensured we cultivated a pallor to match the suits. One colleague would deliberately wear a flamboyantly coloured, new item of clothing every day. “Dress for the job you want. Not the job you have” she responded curtly with a smile on her face when asked why. I doubt she’s still there.
If you find yourself feeling stifled in an environment like this, it might just be telling you something about the organisation’s culture (stick to the rules, don’t take risks, we value conformity) and also about your own personality (I want to express myself and be an individual or just ‘dress down’ for the rest of my born days) and ultimately your match with the job or the organisation.
Research into ‘Dressing to Impress’ from Joy V. Peluchette, Katherine Karl and Kathleen Rust published in the Journal of Business & Psychology ‘examined individual differences in the beliefs of MBA students and their attitudes regarding workplace attire including: the value placed on clothing, the impact of attire on workplace outcomes (e.g., promotions, raises) how their clothing made them feel and whether they used their attire to manage the impression of others in the workplace. Results indicated that those who valued workplace attire used it to manage the impressions of others and believed that it positively impacted the way they felt about themselves and their workplace outcomes. Dressing to impress appeared to have particular utility for high self-monitors and those in management/executive positions’.
Ditch the Uniform
In reality, this often gets translated into a uniform of sorts where the unwritten rule appears to be ‘leave your real personality at home’. Conform or risk being sidelined. Count the number of identical suits, colours and sensible shoes on your next commute and draw your own conclusion.
Turn this uniform orthodoxy on its head and like the woman who was dressing for the job she wanted, it doesn’t take much to stand out (said the woman who once wore a pair of green suede wedges with pink flowers on them to an interview and no, I didn’t get the job). Swap the ‘grey’ and let a little bit of ‘you’ shine through instead. Shallow? Irrelevant? Well, yes but if it’s a game and you’re going to play it anyway you might as well bend the rules in your favour and see what comes your way as a result.
Want to find out more? Check out our Events page http://positivechangeguru.com/events-2/ to see our courses