Deeper Into Conscious Capitalism
San Francisco, Bay Area Chapter

  • 9 Apr 2020 4:59 PM | Anonymous

    Work at HomeSuddenly having to work at home has taken away some of our private space and created challenges for employees. In our second blog, we spoke about the need that we all have for psychological safety, belonging, and mattering. We also gave conscious leaders some suggestions for ramping up ways to create that needed safety. In this blog, we give the conscious leader some suggestions that we have learned from others.

    Get creative with solutions.

    • Have task mentors train and explain on Zoom. Here’s a personal example from one of the authors. Kris watched while her mentor showed her how to record on YouTube. “I could have been sitting right next to him as he shared his screens and moved the camera around to show his set up.”
    • I attended a Zoom workshop that had a Zoom coach; she helped participants break into smaller groups, brainstorm, etc.
    • Have work-at-home mentors, not just the IT department with the technical help. The work-at-home mentors can help with the new at home realities of homeschooling, childcare, and private space. Of course, employees need technical coaching so that they don’t have to stand next to the front window to get enough bandwidth.
    • Larger companies have enlisted stress management and psychology professionals to be available confidentially for employees. They have set up Listening Posts –a better way of describing Mental Health.

    Build community.

    • Continue the rituals. Convert them from in person work to a virtual world. One company still has Pizza Friday. What employee doesn’t love free food? To make it possible that everyone could afford to join, the company sent each employee $15.
    • When you have informal time together, have employees share resilience stories. A resilience story recounts a time when someone overcame adversity. Theirs or someone else’s. Resilience stories are personal, so Kris offered one of hers: “My father went bankrupt during the Depression. The only job he could get was digging ditches. The only entertainment he had was spending one nickel for a night of poker.” Stories about overcoming hardship inspire others to have the belief that they can make it through.
    • Now that you are working from your private space, conduct a Getting to Know You exercise. Prepare employees so they are not surprised. Ask them to share something from their personal space that they would not have brought to the office. Their pet fish. Favorite poster. The stuffed animal on their bed. Let them pass if they don’t want to play the game.

    Leaders, don’t waste a good crisis. Make this an opportunity where your values shine. Show employees that they are safe; they belong; they matter. You will have a tighter and more resilient team.

    The authors -- Donnie Hill and Kris Schaeffer – have never worked together before. Heck, they’ve never even met in person. They hope to be models of how to thrive while working virtually.

    Donnie recently resigned from his full-time tech job as a Marketing & Sales Enablement Specialist to build his own coaching and consulting company, Life Maximizer, LLC.  Now he’s taking his 15 years of experience to advise senior executives and leaders on increasing resilience and rebuilding so they can grow post-COVID. Donnie is really starting to love his new 15-second commute and the freedom to bounce between his garden, his home office and his kitchen table.

    Kris has always worked from her office where she is surrounded by binders full of 35 years of work. And books. Her only personal “homeschooling” has been the current year when she studied for the certification as a conscious consultant. Now she is a work gypsy who finally settled on the kitchen table where she’s able to get bandwidth. Kris Schaeffer & Associates helps companies engage their employees and astound their customers by building conscious cultures.

  • 9 Apr 2020 4:54 PM | Anonymous

    Work at Home, Blurring the PersonalIn the previous blog, we unveiled some of the deeper, personal trials with the new world of working from home. This sudden change in venue may open up some difficult feelings for employees -- a lack of privacy, embarrassment, no boundaries and no control. In this blog, we offer the conscious leader a way to achieve high performance.

    Brain-based science says that we each need psychological safety, belonging, and mattering to perform at our best. Abraham Maslow provided us with this description of the hierarchy of needs. And indeed, when one level is disjointed, it’s difficult to move on and up to better performance. This model of safety, belonging, and mattering are with us all the time. For example, when we come into a new team, we want to know that our egos will be OK; that we fit in; and that we will make a difference to the team.

    In this blog, let’s look at how the conscious leader can help to create that psychological safety when our home becomes our workplace. Emotional intelligence says that empathy is one of the finest, enduring skills of leadership. Leaders, here’s what you can do:

    Keep your finger on the beating pulse of heart-felt feelings.

    • Ask employees directly how they are feeling about working virtually at home. Gensler says that employees without their own personal space are 3 times as unhappy as those with a dedicated space.
    • Salesforce surveyed their employees to find that 36% of them were stressed. If employees are not telling you how they feel, no news is not good news. Reach out directly, one-on-one, to hear how they are coping. Of course, ensure that the employee is in a private space to be able to answer that question.
    • You can cut through the boss-employee distance by disclosing your own feelings first. This primes the pump and demonstrates that Feelings-First is the new normal. A CEO revealed his own fear for his grandson in the hospital for cancer treatment; he cried. The team was gripped by the sincere tears of this former Marine.
    • Continue allowing for feelings. You might start a meeting by going around the group with a one word check-in. Jeff Marcous, a former CCBA board member, uses a technique called “clearing” to start meetings with his staff. This Emotional Exhale brings everyone closer.
    • Go beyond emojis. At toy-maker Mattel each employee has a stuffed animal that tells others how their day is going. Head down or up. Back or butt to you. Mr. Rogers isn’t the only one to use puppets to make expressing feelings OK.

    In the next blog, we’ll give you suggestions from other conscious leaders on how to develop belonging.

    The authors -- Donnie Hill and Kris Schaeffer – have never worked together before. Heck, they’ve never even met in person. They hope to be models of how to thrive while working virtually.

    Donnie recently resigned from his full-time tech job as a Marketing & Sales Enablement Specialist to build his own coaching and consulting company, Life Maximizer, LLC.  Now he’s taking his 15 years of experience to advise senior executives and leaders on increasing resilience and rebuilding so they can grow post-COVID. Donnie is really starting to love his new 15-second commute and the freedom to bounce between his garden, his home office and his kitchen table.

    Kris has always worked from her office where she is surrounded by binders full of 35 years of work. And books. Her only personal “homeschooling” has been the current year when she studied for the certification as a conscious consultant. Now she is a work gypsy who finally settled on the kitchen table where she’s able to get bandwidth. Kris Schaeffer & Associates helps companies engage their employees and astound their customers by building conscious cultures.

  • 9 Apr 2020 4:26 PM | Anonymous

    Many of us have no choice about working from home. The new reality of virtual connection fell upon us suddenly. Leaders need to help employees deal with this sudden work-life blend. The authors draw upon neuroscience, change management, emotional intelligence, and examples from others to provide you with some conscious ways to lead.

    We didn’t have even 24 hours to get ready. When we left the office on Monday afternoon, most of us would not be able to go back until April 7. At the soonest. Working at home is one thing. Having virtual meetings at home is another. Now those who used to have a place to work, at work, now have to let everyone enter what has been our private space, at home.

    Leaders – all of you who influence the work of others – had no ramp up for this change. No time for announcements to explain the purpose. No time for inspirational slogans or a name for this initiative. No time to prepare the “readiness to change” efforts. Leaders and employees were plunked into this at the same time.

    Personal space has become our professional space. There are as many individual reactions to this as there are individuals. As with any, sudden imposed change, negative feelings emerge. Leaders, in case you haven’t heard them already, here are some reactions:

    • Embarrassment – my place is a mess. The only room with a door is the bathroom. I can’t get enough bandwidth unless I sit on the washing machine.
    • Comparing brain -- my place isn’t as neat/large/attractive as others.’ My boss has a big private space at home; she has no idea of what it’s like to share an apartment with 3 roommates.
    • Invasion of privacy – it’s not your business to know that I have kids/out-of-work partner/an impaired spouse/ noisy toddlers and pets. Where’s my headset? It doesn’t matter because everyone around me can hear what I say to you.
    • Lack of control – I’m a gypsy in my own home without a dedicated place to work. I have to keep moving around. Even if the door is closed, it doesn’t mean that someone won’t knock or barge in.
    • Loss of boundaries – now I have teammates and my boss in my personal space. Getting the job done requires almost 24/7. I may not have shaved/ showered/ dressed before our call. Whatever “professional” image I had is gone.

    So what can leaders do to help build the resilience that we all need to handle the feelings about moving our work into our formerly private space? And how can we do this so that we build better relationships, get the work done, and emerge as a better team on the other side of this crisis?

    Stay tuned for the next installment of this blog.

    The authors -- Donnie Hill and Kris Schaeffer – have never worked together before. Heck, they’ve never even met in person. They hope to be models of how to thrive while working virtually.

    Donnie recently resigned from his full-time tech job as a Marketing & Sales Enablement Specialist to build his own coaching and consulting company, Life Maximizer, LLC.  Now he’s taking his 15 years of experience to advise senior executives and leaders on increasing resilience and rebuilding so they can grow post-COVID. Donnie is really starting to love his new 15-second commute and the freedom to bounce between his garden, his home office and his kitchen table.

    Kris has always worked from her office where she is surrounded by binders full of 35 years of work. And books. Her only personal “homeschooling” has been the current year when she studied for the certification as a conscious consultant. Now she is a work gypsy who finally settled on the kitchen table where she’s able to get bandwidth. Kris Schaeffer & Associates helps companies engage their employees and astound their customers by building conscious cultures.




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