The hybrid workplace

Is not the same as a remote workplace nor is it the same as a centralized workplace.

It’s an entirely new opportunity. One that most companies have not attempted before. One that requires doing things differently than we have done before.

A good place to start is to consider these questions:

What are the given circumstances? What are we looking to achieve? How might we go about achieving it?

Recent reads (and listens) – March edition

A selection of recently read books and listened to podcasts to assist with your noodling:

For the clearest outline of humanities greatest threat (and what to do about it):

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster – Bill Gates

To revisit one of my favourite books of the last 5 years:

Stillness Is The Key – Ryan Holiday

If you like the idea of hearing me think out loud (hey mum):

Simple Ideas Taken Seriously Podcast with Carly Valancy talking about asking questions and holding space.

The Work Life Podcast with Andrew Scarcella talking about coaching leaders.

And of course The Long and The Short Of It, with my coconspirator Jen Waldman.

PS. If you enjoy these emails/blogs I’d love it if you help spread the word by forwarding one to a friend or two. You might use the subject line “checkout these noods” for a laugh. And yes, I will continue to recycle this joke, and so can you.

In a flurry

No-one will be fully present, in flow, or productive for the entirety of a day.

No matter how hard we try there will be moments of struggle, distraction, tiredness, and frustration.

Think about your day today. Was there a moment where you picked up your phone mindlessly or checked your email in a meeting?

Then at some point, if you’re anything like me, a bunch of things might have happened in a flurry.

You write the email you were putting off all day, call the friend you had been meaning to get in touch with, write a proposal for a prospective new client, book a dinner with your partner, write a chapter of a book, ship a blog and pay 7 bills, all in the space of 28 minutes.

Having done all that, you wonder how it’s possible to get so much done in such a short amount of time.

It happens to me almost every day, and I am still surprised by it.

Knowing this, it’s worth cutting ourselves, and those around us, some slack. Progress rarely looks the way you thought it might.

Taking the dread out of a 1:1

Almost all leaders, managers, and employees working in a company are familiar with the 1:1.

A 30min ‘check-in’ organised by a manager at a regular frequency, designed to catch up with each member of their team.

Often employees dread these meetings because it involves the manager spending ~85% of the time talking at them, providing updates they deem to be important, giving their opinions, and in the worst cases, micromanaging and telling the employee how to do their job.

In these 1:1’s you’ll hear statements like:

  • “Here’s what you should be focussing on…”
  • “If I were you…”
  • “Could you just…”

These managers use it as a chance to disseminate information and their opinions. They fail to consider what it might be like to be the employee, hence, dread.

The opportunity is to remove this dread by using the 1:1 as a chance to disseminate culture. A culture that leads with empathy and a curiosity to find out what it’s like to be the employee. A culture that says: I care about you and what you have to say.

To do so, a leader must flip the ratio on its head and do ~15% of the talking, spending majority of the time asking questions and holding space for their employees.

In these 1:1’s you’ll hear questions like:

  • What are you working on?
  • Where do you feel stuck?
  • How can I best support you?

Once upon a time, I thought wearing a visor was cool. Thankfully I reconsidered this trend. Now is the opportunity to do the same with our 1:1’s and create connection over dread.

Did you know?

A list of things I like to remind myself of regularly, and a handy resource to boot:

  • People like it when your personality is in your work (ie. more height jokes) – see here and here.
  • You’re not the only one who feels like an imposter – see here.
  • Empathy is a skill that can fundamentally change how you view the world and can be practiced starting right now – see here and here.
  • Acting as if is a powerful mindset technique – see here.
  • Three reasons to share a blog each week are: to practice being uncomfortable, to crystalise your thoughts, and to remind yourself of lessons previously learned – see here.
  • Everyone is making it up as they go – see here.
  • You can make a counter-argument to basically anything. That doesn’t make it right, or you wrong (although it might) – see here.
  • We need to be reminded of the same lessons over and over (things are getting meta now) – see here.
  • The calmest, wisest, and most chill emoji is the turtle – see here.

Collaboration is a two-way conversation

That’s what makes it so thrilling (and hard). We work with someone to produce something.

In doing so we can ask questions of one another like:

What do you think about this? How would you tackle this? What am I not seeing? How can I support you? What does success look like for you?

PS. I’m collaborating with the brilliant Jen Waldman on our 3rd cohort of The Big Ideas Lab. It’s a 6 week workshop designed to help leaders like you develop the tools, techniques and skills for communicating your idea(s). Applications are open until March 15th and we’d love to see you there.

When in doubt, look for the fear

Fear changes our behaviour.

By way of example (and for your amusement) consider my relationship with spiders.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been afraid of spiders. Treat yourself to a real life war story from 2017.

Growing up I used to avoid getting in my dad’s old Ford Laser when it was parked under a certain tree at home (my sister and I still refer to it as the “spider tree”).

This wasn’t because I didn’t want to go anywhere, or that I took issue with my family, I was simply afraid.

The fear changed my behaviour. In fact, it still does. To this day I avoid parking too close to the tree when visiting my parents.

Now think about the behaviour of the co-worker you don’t understand, the boss who seems to be always stressed or the family member who you’re always disagreeing with.

What might they be afraid of? What’s their equivalent of a spider?

Recent reads – February edition

A teeny tiny selection of recently read books to assist with your noodling:

To get clarity in who your audience/clients are and how to best serve them:

Your Music and People – Derek Sivers

To have mind exploding and gut wrenching moments of sonder and empathy:

Tiny Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed

To gain perspective and wisdom (the kind that kicks you in the gut with a gumboot):

Life of a Stoic – Seneca

PS. If you enjoy these twice weekly posts I’d love it if you help spread the word by forwarding them to a friend or two. You might use the subject line “checkout these noods” for a laugh.