Joy at Work(er) Blog

Change & Joy Go Together

joy at work Nov 08, 2020

Written by Roxanne Brown

No matter what change you're making, even if people don't like it, there's a way to make it happen that creates joy, which we see as a combination of...trust, integrity, belonging, cohesion, participation, commitment, accountability, adaptability, growth and respect in the workplace.

Joy at Work is not a facade of happiness. It does no good to have team fun events and foosball tables if people don't feel like they belong.

Joy at Work is about what supports people to thrive the most at work, both individually and together, through good times and bad.

How do you contribute joy to the workplace?

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Shoutout to Millennials

leadership Nov 07, 2020

Written by Roxanne Brown

Last week I came across an HBR article with the title: Gen-X is More Creative than Gen-Y, According to Harvard.

Being a Gen-Xer, naturally, it caught my attention. I didn’t post it here because the article seemed pretty light-weight and this comparison definitely does NOT feel like Joy at Work to me.

That afternoon I had a client meeting with a leadership team that’s working on scaling their company. Our focus was to talk about announcing a shift in the organization. After the team discussed the basics—messaging, sequence of events, anticipated questions—I asked the question, “How do you want the team to feel, both during the conversation and then afterwards?”

Their immediate, almost reflexive response was, “That’s a great question.”

They meant it. They talked about it in depth. They thought it through. They aligned on it. They made adjustments. It was awesome. The leadership team is made up of members...

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Before Change Can Happen the Leader Must Change First

change leadership Nov 03, 2020

Written by Roxanne Brown

Before change can happen the leader must change first. This seems pretty straightforward but applying it can be challenging!

When change is introduced, people notice how the leader is modeling the change they want to see in others – or not.

If you think you’re fine, it’s just that everyone else needs to change, that might be a problem. It’s a good idea to ask yourself from time to time…

  • How am I modeling the behavior I want others to adopt?
  • How might I be preventing others to change?
  • What am I willing to do differently to communicate to others that this change is important to me and to the company?

Even a subtle shift on your part could have a huge influence on others.

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Joy, Even When Work is Hard

joy at work joy research Nov 01, 2020

Written by Roxanne Brown

Have you ever felt joy in your work even though you’re doing something that’s hard, maybe even painful? That’s a consistent theme out of our Joy Research.

An initial conclusion:

Joy at Work is…

Often work that is hard and takes a lot out of you AND you can see you’re on the right track and making progress toward the goal when you’re in the middle of it. This combination is important.

Joy at Work is not…

Work that’s easy because people get bored. In fact, many people that have a job they think is too easy for them will seek to create joy for themselves in different ways. They find ways to make it more challenging, interesting, meaningful. Examples: They start to take on more work or increase the responsibilities of the job or do more to connect their work to a larger purpose. They also might just look for another job or jump to a more challenging one as soon as they can.

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Your Positive Ripple Effect

leadership Oct 30, 2020

Written by Roxanne Brown

Leaders often want more change than their team can handle. That’s because they have a vision they want to see come to life. They can see it! They also know it cannot happen without their people. They regularly wrestle with patience, openness to how change unfolds and the determination to reach the destination.

It can wear you out! Especially if you dare to wonder if it’s worth it. Especially if you lose touch with why you decided to lead in the first place. Especially if all you’re reminded of is what’s wrong and you don’t see what’s right.

What have you done lately, however small, that’s good for the world? How have you had a positive ripple effect? Why not hang out there for a while? It’s good for you.

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When Someone Leaves the Company

change joy at work Oct 28, 2020

Written by Roxanne Brown

When someone leaves the company, it’s not just about that person. It’s about that person and all of the people that are impacted by their departure.

Even if the person’s departure is a relief, it’s still a loss. Even if a person’s departure isn’t voluntary, there’s at least a small amount of envy felt by others.

We often talk about the people that remain with the company as the people left behind, which is a way to put it that sounds a little strange. We say that because it can feel that way to the people that remain.

Naturally, people feel relief because it’s not them leaving. It’s a lot of work to leave a job and find/transition to another. It’s stressful. But there’s also excitement, adventure and possibility attached to the person leaving. So it partly feels like being left behind.

When someone leaves the company, everyone impacted needs to be cared for because it’s a loss. Even...

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How would describe the best team you've ever led or been part of?

team engagement Oct 15, 2020

Written by Roxanne Brown

When we ask people to describe the best team they’ve ever led or been part of, they usually say things like:

• We had each other’s back
• We had a hard goal to overcome and we were clear on the destination
• It was hard but we all focused
• People helped each other
• We laughed and did silly things to keep ourselves going
• We debated and tried things
• We took risks and sometimes we failed but we mostly had confidence that we could recover

It’s remarkably consistent!

When people are preoccupied with self-protecting and surviving at work they’re not focused on their work and the contribution they were hired to make so that the company achieves its purpose. Joy at work is about cultivating what supports people to thrive the most at work, together and individually, through good times and hard times. Joy at Work is about a way of being so the focus can be on the work itself.

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Nurturing Trust

joy research Oct 06, 2020

Written by Ed Cook

Trust shows up frequently as a corporate value, a desirable commodity.  It is inscribed on our money  (“In God We Trust”) and in our nation’s official motto.  But for something that is valued so highly, organizations struggle to explain what Trust is.  They seem unclear about how to get it,    how to nurture it, and how it erodes. They often make decisions that seem blind to the impact of Trust on their members.  

Organizations often expect their employees to think of Trust in terms of actions: 

“I can depend on you to do what you say.”

“They’ve got my back and I’ve got theirs”

“We are all in it together.”

Although these are fine statements and positive situations, they miss an important point,  an idea that has lived in the research literature about the individual but needs to expand to that of the organization --  psychological...

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Measuring Change

change Oct 04, 2020

Written by Roxanne Brown

When you’re leading change, how do you know you’re getting anywhere? How do you measure progress?

Measuring change progress does not need to be exact. It only needs to be directionally correct to lead to useful and actionable insights. The best place to start is by asking the question, what are the signs of progress? From there you can decide what data matters and what’s worth measuring.

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Change Can Grow Joy

change joy at work Oct 02, 2020

Written by Roxanne Brown

Change can grow joy. An executive we spoke with recently referred to change as the destroyer of joy. It’s such a fascinating statement when you consider some of the phrases we use in business:

  • Disruptive innovation
  • Failing fast
  • Digital transformation

These are catchy phrases but also inspire inertia, disbelief, fear and a lot of cognitive dissonance when the words and actions of the company, leaders and managers don’t match, when that’s not acknowledged.

Another executive we spoke with said they don’t use the word “change” in their company, they say “evolution” because change is too scary.

Clearly there’s fear attached to change, but there’s another way. A company can change and grow joy. It’s all about how!

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