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I spoke at the Fusion2.0 conference last fall and have been reminiscing about the important paradigm shift that is happening.
You may know what “Fusion” means, but many organizations and the people who work there don’t realize what type of innovation can happen when mindful employers fuse people, ideas, and resources across different job levels and departments.
The Fusion2.0 conference brought organizations, industries and professionals from various disciplines together in order to create something new. It was an innovative, collaborative experience that focused on practical application: How we can all work together to create people-centered, thriving workplaces? The exciting updates from this late 2018 event continue to arrive well into 2019.
In the keynote speech, Bob Chapman talked about the power of understanding that “Everyone is someone’s child.” He spoke to the idea that how you care for people at work can produce astounding results. Chapman also asserted that “parenting and leadership are identical. They both begin with empathetic listening.” Part of empathetic listening allows us to truly to connect with people when they are being real and vulnerable. Human beings are hard-wired for connection and we relate powerfully to stories. Often, however, we allow data to lead discussions and decisions in the workplace.
If this sounds too hard and uncomfortable for you to share a story, here are a few ideas that attendees and I have instigated to begin the transition.
- Ask questions! And listen to the answer. Start to intentionally cultivate empathy for the people you work with and the people you serve. A better understanding of your colleagues and clients will translate into positive organizational outcomes.
- The rule of three: Ask three questions to find out what really matters, as the first answer is rarely it.
- Still uncomfortable? Another strategy is to truly see others, be fully present and practicing empathetic listening. Shining a light on desired behavior can bring out the best in people.
I personally had an experience where an employee wasn’t thriving and we realized they were not following their passion. Together we were able to realign some of her roles and responsibilities and, along with some coaching, her productivity and happiness skyrocketed.
A second takeaway: The number one determinant of happiness at work is not only having meaningful work but also having people who care. Did you realize that how people are treated at work by their immediate supervisor has a greater impact on their health than their primary care provider? We are all leaders and have the ability to provide defining moments every day that instill beliefs in people and make them feel like they matter.
Don’t know where to start?
- The first 10-15 minutes of work sets the tone for the day. Make a good beginning (greet me), middle (check in on me once during the day), and end (thank me at the end of the day).
- Ask more impactful questions. There’s nothing more interesting than an interested person!
- Dedicate some of your training and development funds to middle manager training to equip them with the skills to lead, not just manage.
The most exciting project I have been working on after this conference is not only sharing my personal experience but focusing on how I can help others have their “aha” moment. After being in the wellbeing industry for 20 years, I have realized it is not about just implementing a program, but really being a catalyst, an influencer and a resource to help people identify what is meaningful and relevant to them.
I know I am not alone in this as I consult with wellbeing coordinators, managers and directors. Companies that completely focused on deploying the “best” online challenge portal or walking competition are missing the bigger picture.
Online challenges can be great tools, but true behavior change and unwinding 10 or 20 and even 30 years of unhealthy habits require a support system, supportive culture and a positive social network. These underpinnings allow individuals to tap into their “why” when their willpower weakens; true support continually bolsters their confidence to healthy choices and their tiny habits become their way of living and being.
The silver bullet is not paying people a premium credit to be healthier; the solution is getting out from behind your computer, and starting to connect with your people. Start to move away from implementer to influencer.
So, you don’t know how to get started? Here are a few ideas
- Who do you know that is currently an Influencer and what traits would you like to emulate?
- Who is one person you want to build a relationship with so you can grow your sphere of influence? And why?
- What is one thing you want to try to move more towards role of influencer? And why?
Once you start, you will begin to see how you can evolve traditional wellness programming and transition well-being into existing aspects of the workplace, fusing all your employee experience efforts together so people and the organization can thrive.
April 28, 2019 at 12:55PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs