INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
How do you revitalize an organization’s culture when so many people work remotely now? In last week’s issue, I shared the key is to, first and foremost, be intentional about it. Most leaders are (forced by the reality of physically distant workers), and research is surprisingly showing, as a result, remote workers actually feel more connected to their culture than before the pandemic.
But we’ve still got a long way to go, and a study from Gartner helps you further direct your intention. The study shows the key is to connect through emotional proximity, not physical proximity. As the researchers say, “Physical proximity is being in the same space as another individual—being seen. Emotional proximity is being of importance to others—feeling seen.” Emotional proximity increased employees’ connectedness to their workplace culture by 27%, while physical proximity had no impact.
That’s worth repeating. It’s about making others feel seen, not be seen. It’s about making others feel like they, and their work, matters.
It’s key for creating culture in any condition, especially, in a remote work world. And making others feel seen doesn’t require big, grandiose gestures. It can be conveyed through simple gestures, like inviting others in to share their point of view (then acting on it), listening as if nothing else in the world mattered, or recognizing someone for good work.
By following this research finding, can’t you just feel the potential for a revitalized culture?
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake many make)
Building on the INSIGHTS section above, here’s a way to make people feel like their work matters – and to feel seen. I share it in the IMPERFECTIONS section as a mistake, because it’s such a low-hanging fruit opportunity that so many leaders miss.
Create mission fit. This is when you explain to an employee how their work fits into the organization’s mission.
A story to illustrate, one shared in my new course, Inspiring Today’s Workforce to Go Above and Beyond – click below to access it for FREE – it’s unlocked until Nov. 30, 2022:
A while back, Mark Shapiro was the General Manager for the Cleveland Indians, (now Cleveland Guardians), an American baseball team. He eventually steered the organization to a divisional championship, defeating the mighty New York Yankees. But it wasn’t just the talented players on the field and the dedicated coaches who drove the impressive result.
Something more was at work, Shapiro told me.
He made it a point to spend time with everyone in his organization to ensure they understood the purpose and mission of the Cleveland Indians organization and how their work fit into it. Every scout, trainer, coach, and front-office worker, knew how important their work was.
All the way down to the interns in their cubicles whose only job was to break down reams of video. Mark made sure they understood that their analysis could make a huge difference in giving the team an important tactical advantage. And then he empowered them to do so. As Mark told me, “We’ve had interns make a huge difference in advancing our mission, because we let them.”
Mark’s efforts to provide Mission Fit reconnected employees to their work in a new, deeper way; bringing out the best effort and results, from everyone.
It was this kind of commitment to showing employees how their work fit into the organization’s mission that earned him multiple Executive of the Year awards and led to his team being named the “Organization of the Year.”
You can have this kind of impact too, by showing employees the impact that they have.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
Want to overcome a fear of failure? Try this strategy:
Burn the boats.
When sea-bound Greek armies landed on the shores of their enemies, before entering battle, they immediately burned their boats. Suddenly, there was no turning back. You could either press forward to victory or retreat back and drown in the seas of your fear. If you want to get past a fear of failure, commit to the thing you’re afraid of failing at. Take that first step without overthinking it (burn the boats). We’re often more afraid of the anticipation that leads up to that first step than the first step itself. It quickly leads to more steps and your fear of failure begins to dissipate as you’re focused on what you now need to do to succeed.
Simply put, making a commitment puts your fear to work for you. Fear of failure disappears when you realize you can’t hide behind it anymore.