Joy at Work(er) Blog

It's Becoming Okay to Talk About Feelings at Work

joy research Dec 11, 2020

In a Joy Research Interview this week, a senior executive said this year one of the biggest changes that happened in her company is it became okay to talk about feelings at work. It started at the top. It started with one executive admitting how he was feeling, and then the floodgates opened. She thinks it’s highly likely that’s here to stay for them.

We’re wrapping our brains around the implications of this for the workplace. We’ve seen this trend all year but to hear it so definitively described by an executive working in an industry that’s quick to dismiss the relevancy of employee feelings, is exciting.

How can this humanness be sustained and built on in way that’s good for people and for business?

One thought: We know that change can happen in a way that’s good for people and the company. That’s why we love it. It just makes sense to us.

As a result of 2020, there may be an increased openness among leaders to talk about...

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Balancing Respect

joy research Dec 09, 2020

Written by Ed Cook

As we grow up, Respect is something we are taught to give. Children are told to respect their teachers and coaches and other adults. The Judeo-Christian Bible commands Respect for parents, placing the commandment, “Honor Thy Father and Mother, ” after commandments concerning God but before those concerning crimes.  “Respect your elders” has been demanded for thousands of years. Like Trust, Respect is often included in organizational statements of values.

But the direction from which Respect is demanded (consider it a vector) has changed. Respect is demanded by individuals. It is a cry of defiance against indifference. As a result, Respect appears even more frequently. Google’s Ngram Viewer shows this increase in the past few decades. There is tension between Respect for the individual and Respect for the organization (and, as we’ll see, another player), a tension at the heart of growing Joy at Work.

Respect Is About...

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Joy, Even When Work is Hard

joy at work joy research Nov 01, 2020

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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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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Joy Research Interview

joy research Sep 30, 2020

In every Joy Research interview with a CEO or senior leader, we always ask this question at the end…

“If we’re successful in our research, what questions would you wish we could answer?”

Here are a few they’ve given:
• Is joy the word?
• Is that the metric that will help us get the most out of our people?
• How do we help people reach this state?
• How do we know it’s happening?
• How is joy unique for our line of work?
• How do people define it?
• How is it different from happiness?
• Why are leaders afraid to talk about joy at work?
• Why does joy matter so much?

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Measuring Belonging

joy research Jul 07, 2020

Written by Ed Cook

Part of our Joy Research from The Change Decision involves validating a Joy Assessment. That assessment has ten criteria against which we believe Joy at Work can be measured. You can hear more about that research and the specifics of the Joy Assessment in an upcoming free webinar. You can sign up for the free webinar here. In this post, we want to focus on one of the ten Joy Assessment criteria: Belonging.

In particular, we want to measure belonging. Although we believe there is much that humans can simply intuit about joy attributes, such as belonging, we have found there is power in using the tools of analytics to gain insights that might not otherwise readily reveal themselves. Here’s what we mean by belonging.

“My unique capabilities and contributions have value here. I know that because I can see for myself how my capabilities and contributions have value in delivering the organization’s purpose and others communicate my value back to me as...
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The Perils of Declaring: "I'm a Change Agent."

joy research Jun 18, 2020

Written by Ed Cook

Joy Research
Since the start of 2020, we have engaged in a fascinating project: Joy Research.  This plays into informing the mission of The Change Decision - to bring Joy at Work.  We have been interviewing CEOs and senior leaders about how leading teams, managing change, and group decision-making impact Joy at Work.  There are so many enlightening elements of this research that we are going to do a free Webinar.  If you’d like to hear the full story, please sign up here. This post is a taste of what we have found. One discovery is that the phrase,  “I’m a
Change Agent” is an indicator, a canary in the coal mine, for the organization’s culture.

Before describing why that is so, some background in what we have found through the Joy Research will be helpful.  First, there is some difference between managing change and managing a project.  In our Joy Research interviews, leaders tell us it is possible to...

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What does empathy mean now?

joy research Apr 25, 2020

Written by Roxanne Brown

Empathy became a popular word to use at work a few years ago. Have you thought about it lately? 

I admit I can be a bit jaded about words that become popular in the workplace because I’ve seen them enter the vernacular with good intention, then end up being meaningless or used to appear informed. Sadly, they can become another source for breeding employee cynicism and even weaponized. Adding to a kind of workplace blather. 

The word "vulnerable" has been through this cycle, ironically. And, so has the phrase “failing fast”. It sounds great but talking about it without examining the lack of safety (in the practices that a culture values) just grows more cognitive dissonance which subtracts time and energy from creating value, the purpose of the company.

So, have you thought about empathy lately?

Take a look at these synonyms for empathy:
What do these words mean to you now? Do you have more of this at work? Less? How do they show up...

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How to Build and Sustain Trust on a Virtual Team

Written by Ed Cook

What is Trust? And, why do we want to build it? These may not have the easy answers the simplicity of the question suggests. Let’s start with the concept of Trust. We place our trust “in” things and people, like, “I’ll put my trust in this old car,” or “I’ll put my trust in Angela,” or even “I’ll put my trust in God.” We talk about “my trusty pen,” or “umbrella,” or “screwdriver.” But how do we even know we have Trust? The one key characteristic of Trust is that it is something given, as in, “I give my trust to you.” It cannot be taken or really even earned. The origin of the word itself is from Old Norse and means strength. In giving Trust, you are giving your strength to another. A powerful gift.

As to why would we want to build trust, especially in a team situation, the value is clear. The team is stronger. This makes sense if the team is...
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