Breaking down silos and helping everyone feel like their work matters
You are in for a delightful and important discussion with our guest today. She was named a Top 100 Leadership Speaker for 2018 and is here to tell us how we can have a happier workplace. Is there anyone who doesn’t want that? Maybe you are the 1 in a million person who says my workplace is happy enough, it provides all the enjoyment and contentment I need. But, for the rest of us, I bet you would…
- Appreciate feeling significant in your organization,
- Knowing the work you do truly matters,
- Being in an environment that feels safe and one where you belong, and
- Coming home energized, not worn out after a rough day.
We spend more of our waking hours at work than anywhere else. Those hours should be great, even awesome.
Let’s find out how to make that happen with Kris Boesch, the CEO of Choose People, a group that helps organizations build extraordinary workplace cultures.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers
[3:27] How did your work in this area come about?
I was asked to lead a moving company, where the culture was really bad. I didn’t know exactly what good culture was or how to fix the problems at this company, but I knew I had to do something. I decided to focus on the employee experience and making sure that the employees felt good about coming to work. We got to a place where turnover decreased while the company’s bottom line increased. I found that the need for this work existed in all types of industries.
[5:40] What are your thoughts on work-life balance?
I think the whole idea of work/life balance doesn’t really exist. People work an average of 2,000 hours per year, which is a huge part of life. Work and life always impact each other. If anyone is in an organization where people are “clocking in,” there’s a problem.
[7:45] How can we evaluate our current workplace culture?
The book contains a culture audit that anyone can take. There’s also a litmus test to help someone get a sense of where a team is. It’s one simple question, “How happy are you about coming to work on a scale of 1-10?” People most commonly respond with 7, which implies that things are good enough; no one hates their job, but no one is clamoring to work at the organization either. If there a lot of responses under 5, that usually indicates a toxic culture. The book is intended for organizations that are a 7. Anything below that requires clean up and repair before you can start building.
[16:25] What’s the secret to a better workplace culture?
The secret ingredient is emotional intimacy, which in this case means camaraderie. In order to achieve that, everyone on the team must feel they are known, that their contribution matters, and that they are included. When all three things are in place, the culture can move forward and go from a 7 to an 8 or beyond. Everyone also has to see how their work fits into the organization’s mission and the bigger picture.
[21:40] What is Interdependency Awareness and how can we create it?
Every organization struggles with silos and a disconnect with what’s best for the organization. Interdependency Awareness creates a sense of how everyone’s piece is critical to the organization’s mission. Once that sense of awareness exists, it brings a sense of value to everyone on the team. People will be more engaged in their work if they know that not performing will be letting others down. There’s a sense that everyone is connected in a system to accomplish a mission.
[27:38] How can we be better about meeting deadlines?
One of the things I see a lot of is the idea of time poverty, the idea that we’re all overwhelmed and have too many things to do. If you give your team permission to say those things, they will. As soon as I find myself feeling that way, I stop and remember that I get to choose how I get to spend my time. It’s a mindset shift about how people choose to spend their time and not allowing the chaos and procrastination to overwhelm us.
- Get the book, Culture Works: How to Create Happiness in the Workplace
- Resources from Kris’s company, Choose People
“If you don’t play, you can’t win.” -Unknown
Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it on your favorite social network.