How to create connection in the workplace a review of “fired up or burned out” by michael lee stallard

Helping Leaders Create Cultures that Connect

  • Connection Culture
  • Ways to Connect
  • E Pluribus Partners
  • Leadership
  • Career
  • Wellness

How to create connection in the workplace a review of "fired up or burned out" by michael lee stallard

Today, increasing human connection in organization cultures is getting more media attention. Julianne Holt-Lunstad and the insurance company Cigna have declared America and other democracies are facing an epidemic of loneliness. Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General, is calling for individuals and organizations to boost social connection to combat America’s loneliness epidemic, which is undermining individual wellness and wellbeing, and organizational productivity, innovation and performance. Several books have come out that join the chorus.

More than a decade ago, Michael Stallard first called for organizations to boost human connection and create what he described as “Connection Cultures.” In his first book, Fired Up or Burned Out (Thomas Nelson, 2007), Michael wrote:

“The bottom line is that connection is a necessity to any organization that aspires to achieve sustainable superior performance. Organizations with people who report they are more connected and engaged are also better performers across the board in a variety of measures from customer satisfaction to profitability… An overwhelming amount of evidence points to the need to increase connection in our organizations.”

Since that time, Michael and his colleagues have worked with a wide variety of business, government, healthcare and education organizations to boost connections in their culture. They share best practice attitudes, language and behavior to create cultures of connection that have propelled the success of teams and organizations including the Lin-Manuel Miranda and the team that developed the musical Hamilton, Costco, the U.S. Navy and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

About Michael Lee Stallard

Michael is an author, thought leader, speaker and a widely recognized expert on how how effective leaders boost human connection in cultures to improve the health and performance of individuals and organizationals. He is the author of Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy and Understanding at Work and Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity and Productivity, and a contributor to other books.

Articles by or about Michael’s work have been in the media worldwide including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Leader to Leader, Entrepreneur.com, Forbes.com, FastCompany.com, HR Magazine, Human Resource Executive, Talent Management, SmartBrief, Rotman (Canada), Shukan Diayamondo (Japan), Developing HR Strategy (UK), The Economic Times (India), LiveMint (India), Outlook Business for Decision Makers (India), Smart Manager (India), and Capital (Dubai).

Michael has spoken at many organizations and conferences including the Association for Talent Development, Center for Creative Leadership, Costco, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, General Dynamics, General Electric, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NASA, Northwestern Medicine, Qualcomm, Turner Construction, University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Department of Treasury. He is a faculty member at the Institute for Management Studies. Texas Christian University created the TCU Center for Connection Culture to advance Connection Culture at TCU and in higher education generally.

Prior to founding E Pluribus Partners, Michael was a managing director on Wall Street. Earlier in his career he worked in the technology sector. Michael is married to Katharine Stallard. They have two grown daughters.

I recently interviewed Michael Lee Stallard, author of the new book Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy and Understanding at Work, to learn more about the unique advantages a connection culture provides. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What does it mean to be a part of a “connection culture?” When you are part of a connection culture, you feel connected to others, included and part of the team versus feeling unsupported, left out or lonely. Although most leaders overlook it, connection is critical to success because it makes people more productive, healthier and happier. Disconnection sabotages individual and organizational performance. Unfortunately, two-thirds of American workers, and 87 percent globally, don’t feel connected at work. It’s a huge opportunity for leaders and organizations.

2. Why is creating a connection culture at your organization more important now than ever before? Today the world is moving at a very fast pace. Many people are feeling overwhelmed. Furthermore, more than half of Americans struggle with anxiety, depression or addiction, which is more likely to occur when people feel disconnected. Connection gives us the psychological resources to perform well and makes us less vulnerable to stress, ultimately resulting in a more productive workforce.

3. Why do you think the business world in particular has neglected the value of connection? The business world tends to focus on what is most visible – which is not necessarily what is most important. Tasks are tangible and give us a sense of accomplishment, whereas relationships are not as visible and are often overlooked.

4. How does a connection culture differ from a culture of control and a culture of indifference? In a culture of control, those with power, control, status and influence rule over others. In a culture of indifference, everyone is so busy they don’t take time for relationships. In a connection culture, people develop supportive, cooperative and collaborative relationships. In essence, connection cultures excel at relationships while cultures of control and indifference do not.

5. How does an emotional connection between management, employees, and customers actually provide a competitive advantage? Emotional connection gives people more energy and makes them more enthusiastic. It also makes them more creative and better decision-makers. All of these benefits are performance enhancers that provide a competitive advantage to an organization.

6. How does a connection culture affect the bottom line? A connection culture affects the bottom line in four ways. When people feel connected they give their best efforts at work. They also align their behavior with the leader’s goals so everyone is pulling in the same direction. Additionally, they communicate more, which gives decision-makers the best information to make optimal decisions. Finally, they participate in activities to help improve the organization through innovation. All four of these actions have a positive effect on the bottom line.

7. Doesn’t culture change have to start at the top of an organization? It’s ideal for the leaders at the top to be intentional about creating a connection culture but not necessary. Local culture (subculture) matters the most. If a leader of a unit of an organization creates a connection culture, the people in that unit thrive and so will the unit’s performance. Every organization I’ve seen has a mix of subcultures. The challenge for leaders at the top is to get as many of the subcultures as possible to become connection cultures that contribute positively to the organization’s performance rather than subcultures of control or indifference that undermine sustainable success.

8. Doesn’t culture change take a long time? If you get a leader at the top who understands how to create a connection culture and has the courage of his or her convictions, culture change can happen fast. In Connection Culture I describe how CNO Admiral Vern Clark changed the culture of the U.S. Navy, which resulted in a surge in first term reenlistment within 18 months. The Navy went from being concerned about having enough sailors to having more sailors than it needed. Sailors liked the Navy’s connection culture so much they didn’t want to leave.

Michael Lee Stallard, president and cofounder of Connection Culture Group, speaks, teaches and consults on leadership, organizational culture and employee engagement. He is the author of Connection Culture and Fired Up or Burned Out. Follow him on his blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn.

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How to create connection in the workplace a review of "fired up or burned out" by michael lee stallard

How to create connection in the workplace a review of "fired up or burned out" by michael lee stallard

How to create connection in the workplace a review of "fired up or burned out" by michael lee stallard

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Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity, and Productivity
Michael L. Stallard, Carolyn Dewing-Hommes, and Jason Pankau
Thomas Nelson

Many of those who get “fired up” about a new job, a new assignment, a new promotion, etc. eventually become “burned out” by it. What we have in this volume, written by Michael L. Stallard with Carolyn Dewing-Hommes and Jason Pankau, is a remarkably thoughtful and sensitive examination of the causes and effects of this familiar workplace Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity, and Productivity
Michael L. Stallard, Carolyn Dewing-Hommes, and Jason Pankau
Thomas Nelson

Many of those who get “fired up” about a new job, a new assignment, a new promotion, etc. eventually become “burned out” by it. What we have in this volume, written by Michael L. Stallard with Carolyn Dewing-Hommes and Jason Pankau, is a remarkably thoughtful and sensitive examination of the causes and effects of this familiar workplace situation. Stallard observes that, “Although people generally enter their organizations fired up, over time most work environments reduce that inner fire from a flame to a flicker.” Why? They lack “connection” with others, especially with their supervisors and immediate associates. As a result, they have unmet needs; more specifically, to be respected, recognized, included and accepted.

Stallard asserts that “the lack of connection will gradually burn [employees] out. Organizational environments where connection is low or absent diminish [employees’] physical and mental health. They create a low level of toxicity that drains [their] energy, poisons [their] attitudes, and impacts [their ability and willingness] to be productive.” It is difficult (if not impossible) to calculate the total cost of such a situation, including its impact on customer relationships and retention of valued employees. The potential damage and (yes) cost of a group’s disconnection must be at least the number of people in a given group compounded by a factor of 3-5, if not greater.

Stallard and his collaborators focus almost all of their attention on “how” when addressing challenges such as how individual, a group, and (eventually) an entire organization can establish and then sustain emotional connections others, how a clear and compelling vision “ignite” commitment throughout the given enterprise, and how shared values can nourish human development.

The value of this material can be maximized only if it has been carefully absorbed and digested. Stallard and his collaborators also offer a self-improvement program that the reader completes with several “collaborators”: Stallard, Dewing-Hommes, and Pankau as well as “20 great leaders from various fields who fired up people by increasing connection.” These leaders do indeed comprise a diverse group. They include the Marquis de Lafayette, Ann Mulcahy, Ed Mitchell, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Howard Schultz, Frances Hesselbein, Fred Epstein, and Bill Belichick. At the conclusion of each profile, there is a follow-through section that will facilitate effective application of the given lesson(s).
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How to create connection in the workplace a review of "fired up or burned out" by michael lee stallard

Remote Work, Rising Stress and the Critical Need for Connection

Featuring Michael Stallard, President & CoFounder, Connection Culture Group, Author, Connection Culture;Featuring Michael Stallard, President & CoFounder, Connection Culture Group.

Author, The Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy,& Understanding at Work.

All invited to session in Wharton DC Club’s “Future of Work” series(2nd ed.)

Key points Michael will cover:

Greater remote work and rising stress make the need for human connection urgent.

Connection protects the emotional and physical health of individuals and boosts their performance. In this online interactive meeting, you will learn:

  • how human connection affects your emotional and physical health, and your performance
  • how to assess your current level of connection
  • a simple, memorable and actionable model to create a culture of connection, and
  • practices to tap into the power of human connection that help you and your organization thrive.
  • Q&A to follow
  • Click here to buy tickets. (Or Register FREE, if you’re a Member)
    How to create connection in the workplace a review of "fired up or burned out" by michael lee stallard
  • Michael Stallard, President and Cofounder, Connection Culture Group
  • While working in the technology sector and then on Wall Street, Michael observed differences in the cultures of organizations he worked with that negatively impacted morale and performance, which led him to ask, “is there a best culture?” In 2002, he left Wall Street to research organizational culture in-depth, ultimately writing two books about it, Fired Up or Burned Out (2007) and Connection Culture (2015), and co-founding Connection Culture Group.
  • Michael and his colleagues developed frameworks, training and tools that have been praised by many well-respected leaders, including Alan Mulally, the CEO who turned around the Ford Motor Company; Frances Hesselbein, the leader who rejuvenated the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.; Jim Sinegal, co-founder and longtime CEO of Costco; and CNO Admiral Vernon Clark, the second-longest serving chief of the U.S. Navy.
  • Michael’s clients have included a wide variety of organizations, including Costco, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NASA, Qualcomm, U.S. Air Force, Turner Construction Company and Yale New Haven Health System. Texas Christian University founded the TCU Center for Connection Culture based on Michael and his colleagues’ work. Articles written by or about Michael or his work have appeared in leadership periodicals worldwide.

Who should attend, part of the Wharton Club of DC series, “The Future of Work”?

Everyone who:

• Wants to learn about how to better connect with colleagues and your loved ones

• Needs to reduce stress in work and family, heightened by the economic disruption of the pandemic and the health risks posed

• Gain insight into where we may be headed in The Future of Work, while building a better culture for your team

• Whatever your ethnicity, age, or other factors, wants to learn more about managing your career, family, outside activities, life and your mental health

  • Click here to buy tickets. (Or Register FREE, if you’re a Member)

Praise for the new edition of Michael’s book:

  • Practical suggestions for employers who want to change the culture of their organization., Financial Times
  • [The stories] about the companies who have got it right . . . are memorable., Los Angeles Times
  • Connection is one of the most essential elements in a truly great team, no matter what the field. And no one understands that like Michael Stallard . . . a world-leading expert on how to create a ‘connection culture., Forbes.com
  • “Michael Lee Stallard…make(s) some practical suggestions for employers who want to change the culture of their organization.”-Mian Ridge, Financial Times
  • “At the end of the day leadership is all about the human experience. Connection Culture provides ideas, actions, and pathways that servant leaders can use to not only enhance performance, but more importantly to build a strong culture.” —Howard Behar, Former President , Starbucks International
  • “Connection Culture captures that profound truth that people come first and provides the framework, language, and practices every leader needs to achieve a sustainable, superior performance. A great leadership guide for leaders at every level.”—Frances Hesselbein , President and CEO, The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute
  • “Michael Stallard provides us with a new language about leadership, a new and important way of thinking for leaders, and all the research and evidence to back his connection strategy. This is more than a great read; Michael’s connection strategy is a game changer for leaders.”—Vernon Clark, Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret), Former Chief of Naval Operations

11:45 am – 12:00 pm — Virtual Networking on Zoom Meetings, in virtual breakout rooms, if enough people sign up

12:00 – 1:00 pm Presentation, including shared screen for slides and Q&A

1:00 – 1:15 pm: Further virtual networking

  • REGISTER for THIS EVENT (Free for Members, President’s Club Members (Yourself and 2 guests all comped).
  • Others: Early Bird: 19/person for all Non-Members (through September 12), 29/person after

11:45AM – 1:15PM Thu 1 Oct 2020 ( Timezone: Eastern )

Remember doing “Show and Tell” or presenting to your classmates as the “Student of the Week” when you were in elementary school? As it turns out, our teachers were on to something. Bringing back an updated version of this practice would be more than merely an entertaining way to enliven a meeting at work. It may be just what teams need in year two of the Covid-19 pandemic.В

How well are the members of your team doing at being teammates, especially if you pivoted to working remotely almost a year ago? How has the extended time being physically apart impacted the dynamics? Are people becoming less responsive to one another? Are you seeing any behavior that is hindering another person’s effectiveness?В

There may be direct conversations that need to take place to address specific situations or working relationships. We recommend you also consider an indirect but very beneficial step: be intentional about facilitating connecting in ways that allow colleagues to get to know one another as unique individuals. It will improve the overall level of positive relational connection across the whole team.В

Research supports the benefits of sharing about our lives outside of work. Organizational behavior professor Ashley E. Hardin of Washington University has found that greater personal knowledge leads to a more human perception of a colleague, which results in increased responsiveness and decreased social undermining. That makes sense, doesn’t it? When we see the humanity in others, we’re more likely to treat them with dignity and respect, and to help them, as compared to when we see them as mere means to an end.В

Jane Dutton, professor emerita of business administration and psychology at the University of Michigan, and one of the pioneers in recognizing the power of high quality connections in the workplace, observed: “… В it turns out the more you know, the better off you are in terms of connecting potential with another person. There’s this idea that we need to put on our professional masks and we don’t want to blur the boundary between the professional and the personal, but [Hardin’s] research suggests there’s not a lot of downside to letting people know more about you.”В

Two Simple Practices You Can Use in Virtual Meetings

To breathe new life into cooperation and collaboration on your team, take time to connect with people on a personal level and resist the inclination to skip time spent in conversation getting to know the people you are responsible for leading or who are your teammates. The 2nd edition of our book Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared identity, Empathy, and Understanding at Work features a robust collection of practices you can employ that will boost connection among your team. Below are two you can easily fold into virtual meetings.

1. “Share one good thing”

When Maureen Bisognano was CEO of Institute for Health Improvement (IHI), a not-for-profit independent healthcare organization, she began each Monday morning meeting with the senior executive team by asking the members to take one or two minutes and share one good thing.В Invariably, most of the good things that were top of mind were personal memories of the weekends with family and friends. She shared with Michael that this simple practice helped the leadership team get to know one another better.

2. “Inside Scoop”

Dr. Vivek Murthy, author of Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, served as the 19th Surgeon General of the U.S. from 2014 to 2017. One practice he and his colleagues developed to boost connection was called “Inside Scoop” and it helped them get to know each other on a deeper level without cutting into personal time or requiring a lot of planning, preparation, and resources. As part of the weekly all-hands meeting, one individual would have five minutes to show a few photos related to their life and tell the others about them. Over time, each participant took a turn.

Of the impact, Murthy told an audience of physicians, “In listening, in just five minutes, we got to see whole other dimensions of people we had not understood in working together for a year. People started treating each other differently, stepping out of their lanes and helping each other more. They felt they had been seen. It’s powerful as institutions to create simple opportunities like that to see each other clearly for who they are.”В

As a result of “Inside Scoop,” Murthy observed that people felt more valued when their colleagues learned about them on a more personal level, introverted individuals began speaking up more and taking more responsibility, people seemed less stressed, and they commented that they felt more connected.

If you were to bring this modern-day “Show and Tell” exercise into a regular meeting you have with your group, what photos would you select and, more importantly, what do they represent about you?

Letting Others In

Will people choose to be open about their personal lives with their colleagues? Dutton counsels that you explain that your aim is to “build better connective tissue so that our group will be better and more capable,” adding that when people understand the reasoning, “they let their guard down and participate more fully.”

Personal knowledge can be a powerful connector, especially when people discover points of commonality. What might you do this week to encourage your colleagues to offer a window into their world outside of work?

About the Authors

Katharine P. Stallard is a co-author of this article. She is a partner of Connection Culture Group and a contributing author to Connection Culture.

‍Michael Lee Stallard is a thought leader, speaker and leading expert on how human connection in workplace cultures affects the health and performance of individuals and organizations. In addition to Fired Up or Burned Out, he is the primary author of Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy and Understanding at Work.

I recently interviewed Michael Lee Stallard, author of the new book Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy and Understanding at Work, to learn more about the unique advantages a connection culture provides. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What does it mean to be a part of a “connection culture?” When you are part of a connection culture, you feel connected to others, included and part of the team versus feeling unsupported, left out or lonely. Although most leaders overlook it, connection is critical to success because it makes people more productive, healthier and happier. Disconnection sabotages individual and organizational performance. Unfortunately, two-thirds of American workers, and 87 percent globally, don’t feel connected at work. It’s a huge opportunity for leaders and organizations.

2. Why is creating a connection culture at your organization more important now than ever before? Today the world is moving at a very fast pace. Many people are feeling overwhelmed. Furthermore, more than half of Americans struggle with anxiety, depression or addiction, which is more likely to occur when people feel disconnected. Connection gives us the psychological resources to perform well and makes us less vulnerable to stress, ultimately resulting in a more productive workforce.

3. Why do you think the business world in particular has neglected the value of connection? The business world tends to focus on what is most visible – which is not necessarily what is most important. Tasks are tangible and give us a sense of accomplishment, whereas relationships are not as visible and are often overlooked.

4. How does a connection culture differ from a culture of control and a culture of indifference? In a culture of control, those with power, control, status and influence rule over others. In a culture of indifference, everyone is so busy they don’t take time for relationships. In a connection culture, people develop supportive, cooperative and collaborative relationships. In essence, connection cultures excel at relationships while cultures of control and indifference do not.

5. How does an emotional connection between management, employees, and customers actually provide a competitive advantage? Emotional connection gives people more energy and makes them more enthusiastic. It also makes them more creative and better decision-makers. All of these benefits are performance enhancers that provide a competitive advantage to an organization.

6. How does a connection culture affect the bottom line? A connection culture affects the bottom line in four ways. When people feel connected they give their best efforts at work. They also align their behavior with the leader’s goals so everyone is pulling in the same direction. Additionally, they communicate more, which gives decision-makers the best information to make optimal decisions. Finally, they participate in activities to help improve the organization through innovation. All four of these actions have a positive effect on the bottom line.

7. Doesn’t culture change have to start at the top of an organization? It’s ideal for the leaders at the top to be intentional about creating a connection culture but not necessary. Local culture (subculture) matters the most. If a leader of a unit of an organization creates a connection culture, the people in that unit thrive and so will the unit’s performance. Every organization I’ve seen has a mix of subcultures. The challenge for leaders at the top is to get as many of the subcultures as possible to become connection cultures that contribute positively to the organization’s performance rather than subcultures of control or indifference that undermine sustainable success.

8. Doesn’t culture change take a long time? If you get a leader at the top who understands how to create a connection culture and has the courage of his or her convictions, culture change can happen fast. In Connection Culture I describe how CNO Admiral Vern Clark changed the culture of the U.S. Navy, which resulted in a surge in first term reenlistment within 18 months. The Navy went from being concerned about having enough sailors to having more sailors than it needed. Sailors liked the Navy’s connection culture so much they didn’t want to leave.

Michael Lee Stallard, president and cofounder of Connection Culture Group, speaks, teaches and consults on leadership, organizational culture and employee engagement. He is the author of Connection Culture and Fired Up or Burned Out. Follow him on his blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn.

How to create connection in the workplace a review of "fired up or burned out" by michael lee stallard

Everyone wants to feel connected—it’s part of human nature. Whether it’s building relationships at home, in the community, or with friends, people like to feel bonded to each other. But perhaps it’s nowhere more important than at work. A connection culture in the workplace can impact customer experience and create a place where employees are engaged and excited to be.

Michael Lee Stallard

Michael Lee Stallard

Studies have shown that people who aren’t connected can actually get physically ill and fall into poor health, especially during times of stress. However, the opposite is also true, says Michael Lee Stallard, author of “Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy and Understanding at Work”. When employees feel connected to their supervisors or the people they work with, all the parts of their body work together so they can physically work at a higher level.

As an employer, it makes sense to want employees who are physically and mentally strong and engaged over employees who are dragging and stressed. Who would you rather have interacting with your customers?

Brands want their customers to be engaged and feel connected to the company. But it’s hard for employees to give customers what they themselves don’t have. A company won’t have energetic and enthusiastic employees who connect with customers if those employees don’t feel connected to the company.

According to Stallard , there are five benefits that come from having a connection culture: employees have cognitive clarity, they give their best effort, they align their work with the organization’s goals, they communicate more, and they engage in creativity to fuel innovation. A culture of connectivity impacts everyone, and customers can feel if it is there or not. When employees are engaged and connected, they naturally want to share that with customers.

Stallard tells the story of Admiral Vernon Clark, who was the Chief of Naval Operations just before 9/11. When Admiral Clark took over, the Navy was having a hard time retaining sailors because they weren’t treated well and didn’t feel connected to the organization or to each other. When he first joined the Navy, Admiral Clark had a Master Chief mentor him, which connected him to the organization and set the path for his career, and he wanted other young sailors to have a similar experience. Admiral Clark turned things around by talking to the Master Chiefs and encouraging them to mentor and train the sailors under them. It worked—by mentoring the sailors and building connections, the sailors became more engaged and connected to the Navy’s mission. In just 18 months, re-enlistment jumped from 20% to 70%. Creating a connection culture in the Navy ensured that it was ready for whatever came its way and could do its job to protect American citizens.

Similar principles are found at Costco, which is known for taking care of its employees. Because Costco is focused on doing the right thing, employees feel connected, and the company has a much higher retention rate than other retail stores. The result is employees who are happy to be there and serve customers in any way they can.

A connection culture builds long-term, sustainable performance, which creates a high-quality customer experience. When people don’t feel connected, they are only coming to work to get a paycheck, and it shows in their interactions with customers. Conversely, a connection culture helps every employee see how their role impacts the organization and makes them excited to provide a great customer experience each day.

Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and author of “More Is More.” Sign up for her weekly newsletter here.

How to create connection in the workplace a review of "fired up or burned out" by michael lee stallard

Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist. Blake is the author of two books on customer experience. She is the author of the new book “The Customer Of The Future: 10

Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist. Blake is the author of two books on customer experience. She is the author of the new book “The Customer Of The Future: 10 Guiding Principles For Winning Tomorrow’s Business” (HarperCollins). Her first book was ‘More is More: How The Best Companies Work Harder And Go Farther To Create Knock Your Socks Off Customer Experiences.” Blake’s clients include Comcast, Genentech, Accor Hotels, Accenture, Parker Hannifin, Ericcson, Omron, Verizon, Adobe and more. Blake is a guest lecturer at Columbia University and adjunct faculty at the Rutgers MBA program. She is a contributor to Forbes and the Harvard Business Review. Blake is the host of The Modern Customer Podcast and a weekly customer experience video series on YouTube. She’s worked with Accenture, Intel, Verizon Wireless, and many more. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband, their two children and two dogs.

by Michael Lee Stallard with Carolyn Dewing-Hommes and Jason Pankau

In his book, Fired Up or Burned Out, Michael Stallard shares the three key actions necessary to transform even a lethargic, disconnected organization or office into an impassioned, innovative, and thriving workplace.

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  • What’s In Our Summary?

Description

  • Find out why a sense of emotional connection is necessary for people and organizations to thrive.
  • Discover the three essential elements to creating a “connection culture” (a culture that increases connection among people).
  • Learn how to apply the elements of a connection culture to increase connection in your organization.
  • Find out how to develop the habits and character strengths that increase connection.

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About the Author

Michael Lee Stallard is the founder and president of E Pluribus Partners, a think tank that helps organizations increase employee and customer engagement. Formerly, he was the chief marketing officer for businesses at Morgan Stanley and Charles Schwab, where he was a thought leader on the topic of engaging people on the front line of business. He can be reached at [email protected]

Carolyn Dewing-Hommes is a cofounder and partner at E Pluribus Partners. Previously, she worked at Citibank for 15 years where she worked on a global task force identifying companies worldwide whose practices successfully engaged their employees.

Jason Pankau is also a cofounder and partner at E Pluribus Partners and is president of Life Spring Network, an organization that helps people realize life’s potential.

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Remember doing “Show and Tell” or presenting to your classmates as the “Student of the Week” when you were in elementary school? As it turns out, our teachers were on to something. Bringing back an updated version of this practice would be more than merely an entertaining way to enliven a meeting at work. It may be just what teams need in year two of the Covid-19 pandemic.В

How well are the members of your team doing at being teammates, especially if you pivoted to working remotely almost a year ago? How has the extended time being physically apart impacted the dynamics? Are people becoming less responsive to one another? Are you seeing any behavior that is hindering another person’s effectiveness?В

There may be direct conversations that need to take place to address specific situations or working relationships. We recommend you also consider an indirect but very beneficial step: be intentional about facilitating connecting in ways that allow colleagues to get to know one another as unique individuals. It will improve the overall level of positive relational connection across the whole team.В

Research supports the benefits of sharing about our lives outside of work. Organizational behavior professor Ashley E. Hardin of Washington University has found that greater personal knowledge leads to a more human perception of a colleague, which results in increased responsiveness and decreased social undermining. That makes sense, doesn’t it? When we see the humanity in others, we’re more likely to treat them with dignity and respect, and to help them, as compared to when we see them as mere means to an end.В

Jane Dutton, professor emerita of business administration and psychology at the University of Michigan, and one of the pioneers in recognizing the power of high quality connections in the workplace, observed: “… В it turns out the more you know, the better off you are in terms of connecting potential with another person. There’s this idea that we need to put on our professional masks and we don’t want to blur the boundary between the professional and the personal, but [Hardin’s] research suggests there’s not a lot of downside to letting people know more about you.”В

Two Simple Practices You Can Use in Virtual Meetings

To breathe new life into cooperation and collaboration on your team, take time to connect with people on a personal level and resist the inclination to skip time spent in conversation getting to know the people you are responsible for leading or who are your teammates. The 2nd edition of our book Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared identity, Empathy, and Understanding at Work features a robust collection of practices you can employ that will boost connection among your team. Below are two you can easily fold into virtual meetings.

1. “Share one good thing”

When Maureen Bisognano was CEO of Institute for Health Improvement (IHI), a not-for-profit independent healthcare organization, she began each Monday morning meeting with the senior executive team by asking the members to take one or two minutes and share one good thing.В Invariably, most of the good things that were top of mind were personal memories of the weekends with family and friends. She shared with Michael that this simple practice helped the leadership team get to know one another better.

2. “Inside Scoop”

Dr. Vivek Murthy, author of Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, served as the 19th Surgeon General of the U.S. from 2014 to 2017. One practice he and his colleagues developed to boost connection was called “Inside Scoop” and it helped them get to know each other on a deeper level without cutting into personal time or requiring a lot of planning, preparation, and resources. As part of the weekly all-hands meeting, one individual would have five minutes to show a few photos related to their life and tell the others about them. Over time, each participant took a turn.

Of the impact, Murthy told an audience of physicians, “In listening, in just five minutes, we got to see whole other dimensions of people we had not understood in working together for a year. People started treating each other differently, stepping out of their lanes and helping each other more. They felt they had been seen. It’s powerful as institutions to create simple opportunities like that to see each other clearly for who they are.”В

As a result of “Inside Scoop,” Murthy observed that people felt more valued when their colleagues learned about them on a more personal level, introverted individuals began speaking up more and taking more responsibility, people seemed less stressed, and they commented that they felt more connected.

If you were to bring this modern-day “Show and Tell” exercise into a regular meeting you have with your group, what photos would you select and, more importantly, what do they represent about you?

Letting Others In

Will people choose to be open about their personal lives with their colleagues? Dutton counsels that you explain that your aim is to “build better connective tissue so that our group will be better and more capable,” adding that when people understand the reasoning, “they let their guard down and participate more fully.”

Personal knowledge can be a powerful connector, especially when people discover points of commonality. What might you do this week to encourage your colleagues to offer a window into their world outside of work?

About the Authors

Katharine P. Stallard is a co-author of this article. She is a partner of Connection Culture Group and a contributing author to Connection Culture.

‍Michael Lee Stallard is a thought leader, speaker and leading expert on how human connection in workplace cultures affects the health and performance of individuals and organizations. In addition to Fired Up or Burned Out, he is the primary author of Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy and Understanding at Work.