Can we embrace the spirit of E Pluribus Unum and move forward in 2021 as people who value connection, cooperation and making progress together toward the common good? Whether your political leanings are toward the left, center or right, whether you identify as a conservative, moderate, progressive or liberal, the political divisiveness and social strife that marked 2020, and were on full display in the troubling events last week in Washington, D.C., underscore the need for cultures of connection to become the norm in our communities, workplaces and governing bodies.
When a big storm is forecast to come our way, Katie, my wife, starts to plan ahead, just in case we lose power: non-perishable food in the pantry (check), flashlights with working batteries (check), gas in the car (check), some cash on hand (check). She reminds family members to charge up their phones and laptops. The havoc the storm may, or may not, cause is unknown but she has taken proactive steps to get us through.
“A company is stronger if bound by love than by fear,” the late Herb Kelleher, co-founder, CEO and Chairman of Southwest Airlines, once said. When Kip Tindell, retired co-founder and Chairman of The Container Store, first heard Kelleher’s bold declaration more than 40 years ago he was, in his own words, “completely taken by it.” In Tindell’s book, Uncontainable, he describes how he and his leadership team went on to shape The Container Store’s “employee first” culture in ways that reflect love. He credits the company’s culture for its success.
“The level of toxicity in the workplace is at an all-time high,” warns Johnny Taylor, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (“SHRM”). Taylor’s organization recently set up a pop-up coffee house in the middle of the Oculus at the World Trade Center complex in New York City to bring attention to the issue and its new report titled “The High Cost of a Toxic Workplace Culture: How Culture Impacts the Workforce—and The Bottom Line.”
Recently, Kevin Kruse, host of the LEADx Leadership show podcast, featured a webinar I created with the LEADx team in one of the show’s episodes. Kevin is a New York Times bestselling author and Inc. 500 entrepreneur who providers listeners with advice from top leadership experts in a format suited for a busy professional’s daily commute.
Listen to the episode to learn more about why loneliness and connection matter to your career and how you can use connection to create an engaging culture that maximizes results.
Are you addicted to your smartphone? Do you feel the pull to constantly check your messages and news feeds?
Are you addicted to busyness? As soon as you accomplish something, do you immediately focus on the next task or problem to solve? Are you always thinking about what you have coming up and so it’s difficult to be present with and focused on interacting with others?
I believe it’s wise for leaders to develop their organizational culture by being intentional about strengthening the bonds of connection and trust among leaders and employees. As the president of a company that helps coach leaders on improving connections within their businesses, I have seen the importance of strengthening bonds and trust among team members.
There are three steps I’ve developed throughout my coaching practice that can help build strong connections within your organization.
Sometimes life lessons come from surprising places. In early 2004, just nine months after completing treatment for breast cancer, my wife, Katie, was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. During the months that followed, I learned an important lesson about connection that influenced my perspective on how to approach organizational change.
I wrote about this lesson in an article published by SmartBrief. If you are navigating change in your organization or personal life, I hope this piece is an encouragement to you.
Loneliness isn’t something that people like to acknowledge, but it’s a real issue for many people today. Many leaders are so busy that they don’t even realize that they are in fact lonely. That’s a problem because loneliness is a “super stressor” that makes it difficult to perform at your best.
In a new article that I wrote for Forbes, I describe how loneliness is affecting today’s leaders and why we all need to take steps to address the issue in our lives and organizations. I hope you’ll read the article and consider ways you can boost connection in your workplace.