Joy at Work(er) Blog

Give People What They Want

change decision joy at work Sep 17, 2021

Written by Roxanne Brown

In times of crisis (and change), leaders need to give people something constructive to do that’s not throwaway work. That’s what people want right now. 

In normal times, the workforce has a much easier time deciding what they should focus on. A company’s values, mission, strategic objectives and historical track record are the guide rails employees use to judge what’s important and make decisions about their priorities. Today, companies are making frequent, unexpected pivots to both survive and take advantage of new opportunities. Among other things, shifts in supplier relationships and customer buying patterns are influencing adjustments to long-established business models. For employees, this means those guide rails for knowing what’s important are less clear.

On top of which, employees are overloaded with making decisions about their safety. Employees are asking themselves these questions:

  • (WFH policy) Will I be...
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The Secret to Virtual Work

joy at work management Aug 17, 2021

Written by Ed Cook

Perhaps the most consequential business decision of 2021 will be to what extent a business should return to the office. With COVID-19 continuing to impact the planet (and sadly showing signs of a very strong resurgence), it seems likely that we will continue working virtually at least in part. It also seems increasingly likely that as this situation continues, we will never use offices in the way we did two years ago. Virtual work will no longer be for distributed salespeople and a few other job types that make up a fraction of the workforce. It will be for everyone. So how do we do it well?  Answer: With Trust.

 “One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life.” -- E.M. Forster

But what is Trust? And, why do we want to build it? Let’s start with trust. We place our trust “in” things and people, as in, “I put my trust in this old car,” or “I put my trust in...

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It may be a company ending mistake to “Go Back” to the office

Written by Ed Cook

The increasing frequency of calls to “go back” to the office is not surprising.  The past year-and-a-half has been anywhere from difficult to deadly for nearly everyone on the planet.  Who wouldn’t want to roll back the clock?  Sure, we had worries back then, but, for most of the world, it was not a trade-off between your livelihood and your life.  Now, with increasing vaccination rates (although there are important concerns about new variants and resurgent infection rates), it is possible to contemplate a return to normalcy.  So, of course, talk about going back to the office has been increasing in the last couple of months and will only increase through the summer and early fall.  But before pulling the trigger on the announcement that everyone in your organization should “go back” to the office consider the impact of the Great Resignation. 

The Great Resignation

Texas A&M Associate...

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In Search of Meaningful Work

joy at work Mar 15, 2021

Written by Roxanne Brown

Imagine this: You love your work. You love being absorbed by it. You feel your life’s purpose reflected in the work you do and you can see the impact it’s having. Your family and friends are proud of you and the work you do. They can see why it’s important, why it drives you. Even on those most hair-raising days leaving you completely rung out you still feel deep satisfaction because you know your energy and time is worth the effort. 
 
Nirvana, right? Maybe this is you today. Or, maybe this was you at some point in the past. Maybe it's something you wish for. The question is, how can you cultivate meaningful work?
 
Turns out even if you don’t have a deep, meaningful connection to your work today, there are still ways to bring meaning into your world of work without leaving your current position.
 
Like what? Well, you could…

  • Slowly expand the time you spend on the more meaningful parts of your work
  • ...
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Rethinking What Work Means in Life

change joy at work Mar 01, 2021

Written by Roxanne Brown

Today, many people are asking themselves what it means to work. Most of us have to work to financially support ourselves and others, to be safe in this world, to create the life we want to have. Because that’s true it gets complicated. There are a lot of questions to consider:

How am I going to spend my time working?
How am I going to allow myself to be treated? How will I treat others no matter how I’m treated?
What choices do I feel I have to work to financially support myself and others?
What is a life worth living and how does work factor into that?

The impact of the pandemic has been felt deeply, uniquely among a huge number of us. Because this has been a prolonged experience, change has happened. It’s hard to see the implications but people are reevaluating what work means in a person’s life.

How have your thoughts about work evolved over this past year? What crazy ideas have you entertained? How have you created choices for...

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Disagreement Might Actually Be Engagement or Even Progress

Written by Roxanne Brown

Instead of feeling defensive and beat up by a conversation at work that’s filled with debate, maybe you should feel excited!

Sometimes what looks or sounds like disagreement is actually a sign that people are trying to engage with your idea.

When people ask “why?” questions, they’re telling you they need to be convinced.

When people ask “how?” questions, it means they’re at least a little convinced, if not completely convinced, and have moved on to imagining how to implement your idea.

When people ask “what about?” questions, it means they’re pretty convinced, even hopeful you’re right, but have a concern you need to address to help them see what you see.

If they agree to try to apply your idea to something low risk and smallish, then you’ve got a chance to create an ally! The goal is to stay open and listen to what people are telling you they need.

Often what looks like resistance to...

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How To Be Adaptable

joy at work joy research Feb 20, 2021

Written by Roxanne Brown

The trick to adaptability is to have a strong point of view based on your experience and expertise yet hold a state of openness to take in and lightly evaluate new information, to see how your perspective changes and see if there’s any utility in that shift to the problem at hand.

When people struggle to adapt it’s often because the new information is in conflict with their personal values or outside their life’s experience. When you find yourself in this situation, it’s useful to explore what’s behind your struggle.

It’s okay to have a strong point of view. In fact, your employer may have hired you specifically for that point of view! Adaptability means you’re willing to learn and evolve or expand your thinking as a result. It means you are willing to accept that some situations require a different way of doing things.

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What is Joy at Work?

joy at work Feb 20, 2021

Written by Roxanne Brown

We see Joy at Work as this…an employee’s willingness to:

Commit, Participate, be Accountable
Trust
Belong and act with Cohesion
Adapt and Grow
Demonstrate Respect
Act with Integrity

Joy at Work exists when…

1. The company, leaders, and managers continually cultivate the environment and extend the invitation to employees to contribute in this way.
2. Employees constantly accept the invitation.

From this definition, you can see that Joy at Work is a two-way street. It’s not solely the company’s responsibility or the leader or manager’s responsibility. But it’s also not solely the responsibility of the employee. All have a role in Joy at Work.

You’ll also notice that we use the words cultivate, constantly and continuously. That’s purposeful as well. That’s because we know that you don’t achieve Joy at Work, and you’re done. It’s not a goal or ultimate destination. It’s something...

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What it Means to be Adaptable at Work

change joy at work Feb 19, 2021

Written by Roxanne Brown

Being adaptable at work means you’re willing to learn and evolve or expand your thinking. It means you’re willing to accept that some situations require different ways of doing things. Yes, you have experience that tells you what’s wise but you also know that evolving as a human is wise too. It’s okay to consider new information, or even old information in a new light. Your experience has value and learning adds value to that.

A willingness to adapt equips you to see change in a positive way too, not just negatively. It empowers you to take ownership of your experience and see the possibilities that emerge from that ownership. It allows you to see how you can have a positive impact on your colleagues and the work you do together.

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Our Vision of Work Can Be

joy at work leadership Feb 18, 2021

Written by Roxanne Brown

The first time we created Joy at Work on a team (a huge group of 250 people located all over the country), everyone asked us how we did it…

Was it more…

• Team lunches?
• Ice cream socials?
• Scavenger hunts?
• Roleplay simulations?
• Game competitions?
• Office spa days?
• Juggling lessons?

No!!

Those were indications of Joy at Work that you might have seen if you visited us, but they happened because the team made them happen.

As leaders, we worked every day to build trust, belonging, cohesion, commitment, accountability, adaptability and respect on the team. We also demonstrated integrity and growth and encouraged that in others.

Little by little the team trusted us to give them the space and protection to be inspired, to be themselves, to help each other, to be creative, to take risks and to relentlessly solve hard problems every day.

It was awesome. We want this for everyone. It’s our vision of what work...

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