S5E22: Laughter is the Best Medicine for Your Organization

“By injecting humor and levity into our work lives, we give ourselves an opportunity for human connection.” Peter Margaritis

According to some recent research, adding more laughter to the workplace helps improve the organization’s culture. Humor allows people to cope with stress and build relationships and is associated with intelligence and creativity.

Workplace humor is about a positive, light-hearted, open attitude and a playful mindset. One of the best ways to create a competitive advantage is to create a culture that embraces laughter. By injecting humor and levity into our work lives, we give ourselves an opportunity for human connection —something so easily lost in today’s pandemic weary and technology-driven world.

Humor has not been seen as a top leadership characteristic but rather a secondary leadership behavior. However, there is more research evidence that humor should be one of the top leadership behaviors. Incorporating humor into your company culture isn’t that easy, but well worth it. It is essential to understand your own company culture when it comes to humor in the workplace and bring it in a way that fits and enhances the culture and the people.

There is a delicate balance between creating a culture that embraces humor and developing leadership that learns how to use humor to strengthen the organization, and it’s well worth the effort.

S5E21: Burn Ladders Build Bridges with Dr. Alan Patterson

“The idea of burning the ladder is a shifting mindset, and building bridges is the action that creates opportunities to build relationships.’ Dr. Alan Patterson

My guests today are Dr. Alan Patterson and Jenny Knuth. Alan has more than three decades of international business experience. In 2006, he formed Mentore, a consulting practice specializing in leadership and organizational development. Many global and national businesses and organizations have tapped his expertise, including Anheuser Busch, Biogen, Federal Reserve Bank, Johnson and Johnson, Hewlett Packard, Major League Baseball, and the United States Navy. He’s the author of ‘Leader evolution: From Technical Expertise to Strategic Leadership.’ In addition, Alan has been a college lecturer and frequent presenter at several state and national conferences. He released his new book ‘Burn ladders, Build Bridges: Pursuing Work with Meaning and Purpose,’ on May 6 of this year, and can be found on Amazon. Jenny, Dr. Alan’s marketing person, also joins us in our conversation.

While working with my clients, I realized that there is blind faith in career progression and that people were on this treadmill that inherently held that someone else would decide for them the next step. Despite the need for such judgments, it is evident that devastation has taken place because people have become very limited, thus the need for a better concept and a better mindset.

Many people feel like the moves they need to make are out of their control, and I beg to differ. There’s a lot within your control, but the approach has to be different. If you’re looking for meaning and purpose, you’re not going to find it on the ladder. That meaning and purpose comes through meeting and working with people.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to who is a ladder burner. However, the people you find on the edge of the organizations have created these multiple relationships across the organization. So people that speak up have this broader view of their job and are looking to make a difference would be characterized as ladder burners.

A ladder climber puts themselves in the middle of their universe, but it is about how they can help ladder burners and is never about themselves. The idea of burning the ladder is a shifting mindset, and building bridges is the action that creates opportunities to build relationships.

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S5EP18: Optimizing Emotional Intelligence

“Emotional Intelligence helps you connect with your feelings, turning that into action, and making informed decisions about what matters most to you.” Peter Margaritis

To succeed in the highly competitive world of financial consulting, accounting professionals must possess the right mix of technical experience and soft skills, or think of them as power skills, or better yet, emotional intelligence — EI. EI plays an increasingly significant role in today’s business environment. Therefore, you must optimize your EI to improve your bottom line and increase your organization’s job satisfaction, engagement, and retention rates.

EI is the ability to understand, use and manage your own emotion in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. EI helps build stronger relationships, succeed at work, and achieve your career and personal goals. It can also help you connect with your feelings, turn that into action, and make informed decisions about what matters most to you.

The four components of EI are defined as self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, and relationship management. Self-awareness entails how you understand your emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior. Self-management refers to controlling and managing yourself and your feelings, resources, and abilities.

 In social awareness, you assess whether or not you recognize the emotions in others. It is about reading the emotional landscape and responding with empathy. Social awareness skills will help us understand professionalism in the workplace and make it easier to share information, communicate, and collaborate with others. Social awareness is a fundamental part of creating relationships with the people we work with and the customers and clients we need to build our businesses.

When we understand the top three elements of EI and apply them correctly, CPAs can begin to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well on a team and manage conflict. Improving your EI requires that managers first understand how people feel about their jobs and help them to improve morale.

Three main elements, empowerment, meaningful work, and recognition, can drive and engage workers to stick around even when they’re unhappy with their pay or leadership. However, disengaged employees are three times more likely than engaged ones who quit within six months, resulting in a loss of productivity and cost amounting up to $3 million per year.

Improvisation plays a critical role in EI. In business, life, and sports, EI separates high performers from mediocre and average performers. Improvisation is the ability to adapt to change. It is the yes and philosophy of improv and EI leadership. This skill is also crucial for career development. Improvisation allows people who may not have a natural knack for talking themselves out of trouble to get creative by thinking on their feet.

Think about how you build an EI culture in your organization from start to finish. The first thing is to hire people skilled at managing their emotions and reading those of others and then develop a culture that promotes the skills, so employees see the value in developing EI.

S5 E17: Strengths of Running a Collective Intelligence Workshop with Rod Collins

“In rapidly changing times, dexterity to speed is your key to adaptability.” Rod Collins

In today’s episode, we are joined by Rod Collins, a returning guest. Rod’s initial episode was released on February 14th, 2022. The topic of conversation was ‘The Benefits of Flat Organizational Structures.’ Today, our discussion focuses on the strengths of running a collective intelligence workshop when you’re trying to solve problems or coming up with new ideas. If you have not listened to the earlier recording, I highly suggest giving it a listen and then following up with this episode.

Rod is a leading expert on digital transformation in the future of business. He is the host of The Thinking Differently podcast on the C-suite Radio Network, where he explores how technological innovations continue to transform the rules of how successful businesses. Rod is a regular blog contributor on Substack and the author of Wiki Management, a revolutionary new model for a rapidly changing and collaborative world, highlighting the innovative tools and practices used by a new breed of business leaders to sustain extraordinary performance in a world reshaped by digital disruption. Rod is the former chief operating executive of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal Employee program, one of the nation’s largest and most successful business alliances. Under his leadership, the business experienced the most significant five-year growth period in its 60-year history.

A collective intelligence workshop gets a microcosm of the business in the room. Everybody who would touch on the business’s project, process, and initiative must be in the meeting room. We come up with a way to develop good ideas where we put them into groups to discuss their ideas. At the end of the sessions, each table reports the vision they have settled on. As a decision-maker in a rapidly changing world, you want the best picture, which helps move things along.

After identifying the ideas, we open them up to agreements and disagreements because we want creative energy. The members are also allowed to present their grievances to uncover unknowns that always mess up projects. By having the whole system in the room, things get to be handled in real-time and rapidly, and it helps to drive unanimous consensus.

In rapidly changing times, dexterity to speed is your key to adaptability. My experience is that collective intelligence is more significant than one person providing answers, and frequently this is the power of a network. 

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S5E9: The Big Power of Tiny Connections with Jen Nash

“I truly believe that every person you meet has the power to change your life, and you have the power to change theirs.” Jen Nash

My guest today is Jen Nash, The Connector in Chief. Jen helps people add more meaning to their lives through connection. She’s a master facilitator, passionate about masterful storytelling, corporate training, and an author and sought-after executive coach. With over 20 years working as an entrepreneur building a multimillion-dollar real estate portfolio, and offering consulting services to Fortune 100 former tech, health, and finance giants, Jen Nash now regularly inspires and supports leaders to deepen their connections of all the good things in life.

 Born in Canada and raised around the world, Jen is an IFC certified executive coach and a graduate of the coach of the Life program. She studied communication design at Parsons and the New York School of Social Research in New York City. When not traveling the globe learning new ways to say thank you in finding bright souls with whom to foster lifelong friendships, Jen Nash can be seen biking around New York City, Los Angeles, or striding around El Centro, Mexico.

People have this innate fear of talking and connecting with strangers, and it is human. In chapter two of my book, I ask the reader to scan the top eight excuses that come up to avoid connecting with people. I then ask them to pick the one that resonates with them, and I jump into it.

Networking to some degree sounds hard because there’s a net underneath; you’re working. I genuinely believe that if you want to stay employed for the rest of your life, you want a net around your work. But connecting is so much more because it is about infusing that little moment with intangible fun.

We really get hard on ourselves, and it’s like from the outside to the inside, humans second guess themselves. One of the things that I suggest in the book is if you’re feeling awkward, be honest, lean into that vulnerability and share that because all of a sudden, it just makes you human.

I think that in life, we have this misconception that there is such a thing as good and evil. Sometimes we all need to accept that we don’t always get the final say. Unfortunately, I believe that humans only grow when they’re in pain. One of the exciting things about the big power of tiny connections is these little sparks with other people that are not always pleasant.

When you look into the answer to what more you want out of life, you can understand where you might want to consider leaning in and connecting. I truly believe that every person you meet has the power to change your life, and you have the ability to change theirs.

There are a lot of people who are held back by fear. Only a courageous person can realize that they will never get more if they keep living precisely how they have been living. It is hard but sometimes, when you hold a spotlight at something scary, all of a sudden; it’s not so frightening because the spotlight is illuminating all the dark crevices, and you’re seeing it.

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