Teams are craving connection and community and it’s affecting our mental health

Covid is a mixed bag.

For some who are working remotely it has been a good thing. No more commuting to the office has been a big hit, the flexibility and the ability to work out and have more family time is another plus. And let’s not forget learning to bake sourdough!

For others it has been not so pleasant – where does work end and life start? Heavy workloads, an unrelenting pace, and social isolation can cause overwhelm and worry to take its toll.

The experience is indeed individualized.

Collectively however, our teams are suffering. Recently the Ivey School of Business found that teams are craving connection. In wave one we went out of our way to have Friday beers and cheers and match the pet with owner games were a novel hoot.

But now teams are feeling lost and disconnected.

Lost and disconnected teams don’t perform.

To find a way forward, connect back to purpose.  Not only your team’s purpose, but also the purpose of each individual.

Recognize effort.

See each other. Tell someone you love their new glasses, envy their zoom moxie and tell them that you want to meet their cat! (of course when it is safe to do so J and only if you really want to meet their cat.)

If you are looking to increase the effectiveness of your team, be the best version of your purpose-driven self.

PurposeBrand was designed to help teams like yours reconnect, build community and increase productivity.

Can we chat about it?

Find out more here.

*Live in Saskatchewan? Bonus! This training qualifies for 100% reimbursement of training costs through RSTS.

New Normal

The more we talk of the “new normal” the longer we stay tethered to the past.

And let’s face it; the past was not perfect, even though right now we are idolizing it. We did not have it all right then, the economy was still difficult, and we have never been able to go back in time, so why wish to go back now? Obsessing about the past is a lot of backwards energy.

But we are craving something. (Which often includes many trips to the fridge, hmm salty or sweet? 🙂

We are aching for something that will act as our rudder to steer us as we move forward and as we move our business forward.

That rudder is your purpose, both your personal purpose and your corporate purpose.

Dominic Houlder, professor of strategic and entrepreneurial management at London Business School put it bluntly and succinctly:

As business and organizations face stronger crosswinds, purpose becomes even more important, not less so. That’s because the “what” and the “how” of business is changing more frequently in a volatile world. This leaves the purpose, the “why” as the primary compass for navigating key decisions.

There is no shortcut, no magic wand, to wave us through this pandemic, but if we do the hard work and get clear on our purpose and then put our purpose to work, we will have the type of impact we imagined.

Keep going.

P.S. If you would like to get clear on your personal or corporate purpose so that you can have the impact you are looking for, set up a time to call me by clicking below.

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Things Have Shifted

Could you feel the shift?

I felt it this weekend.

I am not sure if it was that the buds on the trees seemed to burst in front of my eyes, that the grass was tinged with green, or our puppy Stella’s insane spring fever, but I felt it!

It echoed what I have been experiencing at The Story Co., too.

Since the pandemic clients have been gradually shifting from crisis mode to vision mode. Now, we are asking, “where to from here?” The questions are more hopeful and also more helpful. There is an openness to new ways of thinking.

This time last year our whole family was wrapped up in the Raptors’ triumphant run for the playoffs. (I’m seriously missing the Raptors but I promise no pivot analogies!)

Remember that game winning shot by Kawhi? There was a collective gasp at our house and all across the nation. With each exciting game I became really impatient, craving to know how the story would end.

I feel the same way now!

With the Raptors story I only saw it ending one way.

There was so much to cheer for; the nation, the underdog, the star, the hustle, the fans.

And at that pivotal moment was the shift.

We went from a nation shaking our heads at the luck of having a chance to win it all, to a nation believing we were champions.

Maybe it feels like all you have been doing is shifting and changing gears lately.

But all this shifting is making us into believers.

Retailers began this pandemic by shaking their heads wondering how they could possibly get an online store up and running so quickly, to seeing it now as a permanent income stream.

The gyms and yoga studios that now know that online classes will be here forever. Universities and educational institutions, not designed for being nimble, shifted gears completely getting online classes up and exams written. Masks were produced in basements; factories were re-tooled.

In the process raving fans have been created. The kind that never forget how when the chips were down you were there and willing to help with what you do best. That is what we live for. That is the soul of a purpose brand.

The “what” and “how” we do business has changed radically.

The raw innovation is profound.

The shift is real.

Keep going.

Life interrupted

We have a puppy named Stella.

She works with me, and after having her for three months I am smitten, all in, and sometimes losing my mind!

I have a bag of tricks to keep us both happy but sometimes she gets annoyed and wants my full attention. And she has now literally found a way to “pop up” between me and my desk.  She is like Houdini, and then she stares me down, all the while madly wagging her tail.

I started to laugh thinking she is the furry version of a pop up ad in a world that has been very interrupted! 

I wonder how many brand messages we turn off or frantically X out of in a day, maybe 500?

We have so many ways to tell our stories, but interrupting isn’t the best way to do it. I mean really, who likes the interrupter who never lets you finish a thought? Do you picture your brand as the annoying person at the cocktail party (remember, we used to have those!) who, while you are in the midst of a fabulous conversation with someone else, butts in to control or change the dialogue? It is simply rude and annoying and the fastest way to get you off the invite list. The same holds true online.

The pop up is a poor way to start a relationship (unless you are as adorable as Stella), yet it is the core of so many campaigns. Realize that this is the old and out-dated model. The model of unrelenting frequency and reach, because we can, is still interruption-based marketing and not what drives a purpose brand.

Yes, by all means reach out to your beautiful community, reach out with empathy and reach from the very core of your values and purpose. Give them a meaningful experience.

Make the shift from a transactional relationship to a transformational experience and let me know what happens. Not sure what this might look like? Check out a video on Yeti’s storytelling website called “Shut Up and Paddle” on the Texas Water Safari. I bet you will watch the full 7 minutes and share it on. No one is screaming the Yeti brand except for a few well-done product placements. They sell very expensive coolers but what hooks us in is the inspiration and the desire to be part of the story, to join the community, the desire for us to feel transformed.

Ditch the pop up for real engagement (at the proper distance of course) that goes beyond transaction and then take your dog for a walk 🙂

How to work remotely without losing your mind

After 18 years of working remotely, together, Kelly and I feel like we’ve kind of got this figured out.

You see I work out of Regina, Saskatchewan and Kelly works out of Alliston, Ontario.  There are 2,684 kilometers between us and our working relationship is seamless, rewarding, and fun too! Not only do we zig and zag in the same creative direction we have supported each other through every zig and zag that life has thrown our way. And wow this is a big zig!

Kelly has her kids at home with her in this new reality, so her suggestions are golden! And my family is now working remotely so there is that too! Different perspectives, lots of suggestions!

If you suddenly find yourself working remotely you might feel a bit lost? Maybe the whole family is now at home and you have no idea how this will really work to actually get work done. Here are some tips to keep you grounded in the present so that you can tick a few things off your to-do list, and keep your business moving forward too.

  1. Get dressed! It might be cool to work in your sweats and slippers for the first few days, it may even feel liberating. You might not need office attire but get dressed and look your best. It is all about mindset. Getting dressed helps you get there.
  2. Whatever your morning routine is keep it up. Get up at the same time and since you don’t have the commute add some self-care into that time – exercise, meditate or journal.
  3. Define your space. It doesn’t matter whether it is a coffee table or a corner of the kitchen table, declare it yours. Let all of your family members know that this is your space and when you are working there you need to devote your attention to your work. Also, train yourself that the physical trigger of being at your space is when work happens. When you are there you must be present.
  4. Set your hours. Depending how busy your household is this might need to be short sprints or longer marathons. Let your family know you need 20 uninterrupted minutes, or 40 or 60. Let them set the timer and when it goes off be present with them until you start your next work interval. And if you have no one in the house set the same parameters for yourself. And when the timer dings get up and do something – stretch, throw in a load of laundry, doesn’t matter what it is, just move your body. Kelly’s tip: be prepared for this to also not work at all! Sometimes they might need more from you and you have to try to give it. If they need a movie and a cuddle, you need to adjust your day accordingly. You may need to prioritize your tasks, get what you need done and then spend some time with them.
  5. Equal living reigns! Everyone can help. Chores cooking and cleaning keep everyone busy and will keep you sane.
  6. Find an accountability partner. If you are used to working in an office environment, ask a colleague to be your accountability partner. Do a check in at 8:00 am saying, “I am at my desk where are you?” Check in at what might be your regular coffee time and say, “hey what did you get done?” or just quite simply “how are you?” These are challenging times and knowing you are not alone is just what we all need right now.
  7. Walk it out. Whether you are frustrated, anxious or overwhelmed a trip around the block can clear your head and reset your soul. Grab the kids, the dog or the neighbour’s dog and breathe in…from a social distance.
  8. One fun thing a day. Better than a vitamin! If kids are part of your co-work life, playing cards, art projects, kitchen dance parties, building a fort projects always win. Combine it with exercise. I loved Kelly’s idea that on their walks, every block someone got to pick an activity. Walk like a penguin for a block, do 25 mini arm circles or do a funny dance…come on don’t you wonder if you could walk like a penguin? It’s not easy! We think play is not just for kids, some time to just be silly is good for everyone.

If you are leading a team get some tips here on how to keep your team engaged remotely. Most of all do what you can to keep your mind and body healthy. Together we can make sure isolation is not a lonely experience.

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