Joy at Work(er) Blog

Change: Learn Your Way Forward

change leadership Aug 22, 2021

Written by Roxanne Brown

Change is an active learning process! Even when the destination is clear (which most often it's not even in the most stable times), the path there involves a lot of test-and-learn activity. We like the "learn your way forward" way of thinking about change, or "decide-change-learn-decide-change-learn".

This way of thinking about it…

  • Removes the pressure of needing a clear future picture before acting – let that go!
  • Removes needing to have the answers to all the questions you anticipate getting – that’s not realistic, ever
  • Removes feeling like you have to be ready for every doubter’s comment – the doubters are worth listening to with lightness, meaning don’t get weighed down, instead think of them as helping you see the fears people have and what might be important to address
  • Removes the feeling that it’s hopeless, that any change is destined to fail and it’s impossible to come up with the right answer...
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2018 Change & Innovation Summit

change leadership Jul 30, 2021
 

The founder and host of the Change & Innovation Summit, April Callis Birchmeier, interviews Roxanne Brown. Roxanne shares her thoughts about how to work with leaders and how to develop layers of change leadership.

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Are You a Great Change Leader?

Written by Ed Cook

It’s a fascinating exercise to pose the question, “Are you a great Change Leader?”  The personae that tend to emerge break in one of two directions,  Lawyer or Scientist.

The Lawyer will begin with a recitation of presumably amazing evidence underlying their Change Leadership prowess -- the project that landed well and the difficult situation that got smoothed over;   the success in personal conflict resolution and the time something else “amazing” happened.  It is all true and valid, an airtight case!  

In contrast, the Scientist will pose a question: “How do I know if I am a great Change Leader?”  Evidence will be collected. But, even if done well, it’s not about proving a case but understanding the situation as informed by outside evidence, not inside justification.  That means asking others for assessments of your Change Leader skills.  The Scientist knows that...

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If You Think Change Will Be Hard, It Will Be

change leadership Feb 27, 2021

Written by Roxanne Brown

If you think change will be hard, it will be. We’ve seen it over and over again. If you believe your people can’t handle change or don’t like change then you are pretty much guaranteeing that it won’t go well. If you believe that your people can handle change and just need to be treated with respect in the process, you have a much better shot at the change going well.

Do your words and your actions demonstrate that you…

• Understand (or at least are trying to understand) how people are affected by the change you’re introducing?
• Believe people are basically reasonable and just need context and a little space/time to process?
• Recognize people will have a lot of questions, have reasonably prepared for that and are willing to be available for more questions as they make progress?
• Value their participation and contribution to make your vision come to life?

A little of this goes a long way!

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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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Change is a Learning Process

change leadership Jan 22, 2021

Written by Roxanne Brown

It’s not usually WHAT you want to change that upsets people, it’s HOW they feel they (and others) are treated in the process that is most upsetting. The best you can do is be intentional about how you want it to feel and decide what must be true for that to happen. Then doing what’s reasonable. A structure to act and learn your way forward gets you there. This is empathy in action and can increase Joy at Work in the process.

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Connecting to Your Intention as a Leader

leadership Jan 21, 2021

Written by Roxanne Brown

As a leader, you do things all the time that no one will ever know you did. No one will ever know how you struggled over the decisions, the work, the sacrifice you made or the arrows you took. It’s impossible for others to know. They aren’t you and they don’t sit where you do. Plus, it would be nearly impossible for you to describe it to someone else.

It’s helpful to widen your perspective when you feel the weight of this. Remember your intention. Why did you decide to be leader? What impact did you intend to have? What did you want to contribute through your work? Leadership is personal.

When you get back to your intention, the rest gets smaller.

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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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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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