How can you lengthen holidays benefits?

How can you lengthen holidays benefits?

How can you lengthen holidays benefits?

While vacations are useful to rest and relax, they provide also great opportunities to create positive emotions. You can enjoy wonderful, warm feelings from recalling good memories. Research has shown that being able to call back concrete, detailed good memories can boost positive mood.
 
So here is a resilience practice we invite you to cultivate this week:
I lengthen holidays benefits by recalling a positive memory from my vacations.
Finding your Ikigai: how to drive organisational purpose and engagement

Finding your Ikigai: how to drive organisational purpose and engagement

Written by Stuart Taylor.
Originally published in Inside HR on July 9, 2019

Ikigai is a Japanese concept akin to one’s purpose and reason for being, and Stuart Taylor says that uncovering this on an individual level and driving it on an organisational level is critical to success.

Searching for a clear and driving purpose in our lives, or one’s Ikigai, is something humans have been in pursuit of for generations. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that purpose plays a key role in the health of employees and the overall success of an organisation.

And as we become a more secular society, people are searching for purpose and meaning through their work life, and we’re seeing a progressive shift where employees care less about monetary fulfilments and more about how their work seeks to fulfil a greater purpose. In fact, a recent study by LinkedIn found that 74 per cent of job candidates want a job where they feel like their work matters.

A workplace culture thrives when an organisation and its employees identify and nurture their collective purpose.

Purpose in the workplace
While it’s been found that knowing your purpose leads to numerous personal benefits including improved health and longevity, sleep, mental health, cognitive function and resilience, it’s often forgotten amidst increasing demands, deadlines and in striving for the bottom-line is that in the context of the workplace, purpose is powerful.

In the workplace, a collective purpose refers to the shared goals and values of the organisation and its people. It is the understanding of the ‘why’ of the business – why it exists and why it is important. In the absence of purpose, organisations almost inevitably become focussed on metrics, and miss our human need for purpose and our desire to engage in meaningful work. A shared purpose operates as a propelling force behind staff, encouraging them forward with a clear sense of direction and a mutually acknowledged destination.

Without organisational purpose, your employees are simply putting in time. Their minds might be engaged, but their hearts will not be. However, when a business establishes a collective purpose it loses the need for a hard-line approach on productivity and innovation. Workers who buy into the company’s purpose are motivated from within, meaning the age-old method of top-down pressure for performance and results becomes largely unnecessary.

“Without organisational purpose, your employees are simply putting in time. Their minds might be engaged, but their hearts will not be”

In an individual sense, leaders who understand their personal purpose are more likely to be focused, efficient, and productive, and less likely to experience distress and worry. They are also more likely to be confident in their capabilities and more resilient in the face of complex tasks and problems. In the long term, people with purpose experience increased vitality, optimism and job satisfaction. In the majority of cases, they also retire later in life than those without purpose.

Finding your purpose
Finding your purpose begins with the task of identifying one’s values. Start with highlighting what is most important to you, both in the context of home and the workplace. The simple task of identifying values effectively prioritises life’s commitments and requirements, resulting in a grounding sense of perspective from which purpose emerges.

You can do this by landing on your Ikigai, a Japanese concept that can be understood as your reason for being. Ikigai calls you to draw on your passions, talents and skills to identify your role and meaning within society.

Finding your Ikigai leads to a clearer sense of purpose and increased positivity, which is reflected in your attitudes, behaviour and overall wellbeing. Ultimately, these benefits also have an impact on one’s work life, with people who have identified their Ikigai reporting higher levels of productivity, efficiency and better decision-making skills.

To find your Ikigai, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you love?
  • What are you good at?
  • What does the world need?
  • What can you be paid for?

“When a business establishes a collective purpose it loses the need for a hard-line approach on productivity and innovation”

How to drive organisational purpose
As relates to business, most organisations have a mission or vision statement that communicates what the business is and what it stands for. The problem is that most organisations treat this as a tickbox exercise, rather than a valuable tool that can be used to drive comradery and communicate purpose.

To drive organisational purpose, try integrating the following steps:

  1. Lead from the top. Creating a purposeful workplace requires commitment and action from all levels of an organisation. In order to enable staff to find their purpose, leaders must first strive to find and articulate theirs.
  2. Communicate purpose often. Communicating organisational purpose, encourages employees to come on board. This includes the genuine desire to improve the working lives of employees.
  3. Anchor your decision making to purpose. In every decision you make, ask yourself, “is this decision in line with organisational purpose?”
  4. Get employee buy-in. Ask employees what is important to them and try to integrate their feedback into the overall organisational purpose.

It is easy to disregard the concept of purpose as superfluous, particularly in the context of the workplace, however, it is purpose that separates an average business from one that is successful, healthy and fast-growing. An understanding and appreciation of one’s purpose are what drives workers to go above-and-beyond, sustaining them in their wellbeing, and in turn, sustaining the organisation well into the future.

Image source: Depositphotos

Inside HR

Making Sure Your Stress Isn’t Contagious

Making Sure Your Stress Isn’t Contagious

Stress doesn’t feel good to have, nor does it feel good to be around. Eighty percent of Americans say they feel stress during their day. In many organizations, stress feels baked into the work culture, even as everyone wonders what to do about it.

Like a contagion, stress spreads. We literally catch the stress of others. Simply watching someone else tense up can trigger the release of the stress hormone cortisol in our own bodies. When I conduct interviews as part of my coaching work, I hear stressed-out colleagues described this way:

  • When he gets stressed, I try to avoid him.
  • Everyone knows when she’s having a bad day. It’s all over her face.
  • When he gets spun up, he gets everyone else spun up. It’s exhausting.
  • I’m seriously worried about her health.

Most of us think about the damage that stress causes us. Yet, few consider the negative impact of their stress on others. And it’s most certainly negatively affecting others, especially if you’re a manager. In fact, a leader’s stress is felt acutely as it impacts the emotion of an entire group.

People avoid stressed-out colleagues for their own psychic protection. If people don’t want to be around you, if they don’t find you energizing or rewarding to work with, you will be far less effective. After all, who wouldn’tprefer to collaborate with people who seem sturdy and resilient?

To stop your stress from impacting others (and wearing you down), consider these steps to better manage it.

Pinpoint your true stressors

When people talk about what stresses them, they tend to describe generalities like “my job” or “unrealistic deadlines” or “the new boss.” We don’t typically dive deeply into the triggers, because we’d rather not wallow there. However, we can’t solve what we don’t truly understand.

Try this: keep a stress journal for one month. At the end of each day, jot down when you felt stressed, including details about the specific situation and what was happening at the time. Reflect on these questions: What conditions caused me to feel stressed today? What about the situation felt important at the time? How was the situation meaningful to me?

One consulting client who tried this strategy learned that her hands-off management approach — which was meant to reduce her workload — was actually worsening her stress because she lost visibility into how projects were progressing. Worried that she’d end up in a fire drill at the last minute if the work wasn’t correct, she spent lots of time running through possible scenarios. She was still feeling the stress even if she wasn’t doing the work.

By uncovering what’s causing you stress, you can develop workable solutions to address the sources and not just the symptoms.

Change your reaction first and the workload second

Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson describe in their book It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work how excessive workloads are touted as badges of honor in many organizations, even as employees complain about how overwork is detrimental to their well-being.

In fact, the top goal of many of my stressed clients is to get a handle on their workload by finding strategies that reduce the amount of work, such as better delegation or expectation setting. It’s not that this isn’t helpful, it’s just rarely enough. You can make adjustments, but there will always be more work.

You’ve probably seen how the very same job, with the very same workload, will stress one person while not bothering another. A salesperson I worked with marveled at how her colleague, Raj, never took rejection from clients personally. Rather, he’d say it was “part of the game.” She ended up adopting Raj’s mantra when she found herself agonizing over what more she could have done. Her work didn’t change, but her attitude toward it did.

Create pockets of sanity

Every job has busy periods when the best strategy is to hunker down and look for the light at the end of the tunnel. But this becomes soul-crushing when your work never lets up.

If your job doesn’t have natural breaks, create recovery periods for yourself. These can be organized around common stressors like business travel or key meetings, or spaced at regular intervals. Be as vigilant (and guilt-free) at scheduling activities that relax you as those that are work-related.

One client who felt drained from excessive business travel restructured his time to build in rewards. He selected hotels with spa services and booked massages during his stay — something he never found time to do at home. When possible, he extended his trip an extra evening to visit friends in the area and committed to not working during the flight home. He also made sure to keep the first day back relatively free from meetings so he could catch up.

You don’t have to make big moves to create space for yourself. Setting aside one half-day a month for reflection time can help to redefine priorities and reduce stress. Even micro-moments of sanity, like taking a walk to lunch, can offer a needed break.

Don’t just say you’re stressed; share how you’re working to manage it

Because stress is so prevalent at work, we talk about it — a lot. While sharing our stress can make us feel better momentarily, we’re actually contributing to a stressful culture because emotion spreads. In short, saying “I’m so stressed” increases stress for other people. Plus, what we focus on gets stronger, so we can even increase our own stress by talking about it.

This doesn’t mean that you should be inauthentic. A more helpful approach is to share that, while work is stressful, you’re trying to manage yourself so it has less of an impact. By sharing strategies you’re employing, you model for others that it’s acceptable to push back against stress instead of accepting it.  As a bonus, if you state what you’re doing out loud, you’re more likely to follow through on your commitments.

When Daphne, a leader of a lobbying group in a tumultuous industry, announced to her team that she was trying to stay off email over the weekend to get a break, she found that others were relieved of the pressure to respond. Her entire team exercised more caution about sending emails on the weekend, clearly marking what was truly urgent, and people started showing up to work more refreshed on Monday.

Plan for stress by planning around it

While most of us have accepted the idea of stress at work, we still feel surprisingly besieged by it. We can even have meta-stress — where we stress about having stress. Perhaps a better solution is to consider it the norm and plan for it. Jobs are stressful, industries are turbulent, and there are rarely enough resources or time. If that’s the case, how can you keep from adding to the churn and swirl? What are ways you can sustain your own energy and that of others?

We’re not as helpless as we might think. By exercising your own sense of agency, you can reduce your own stress and show others how to do the same. You might just shift the culture. Because while stress may be contagious, so is calm.

Harvard Business Review

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Waking Up at 4 A.M. Every Day Is the Key to Success. Or to Getting a Cold

Waking Up at 4 A.M. Every Day Is the Key to Success. Or to Getting a Cold

Lots of prominent people like to highlight how early they rise, but is it really something to brag about?

Tim Cookthe C.E.O. of Apple, rises a little before 4 a.m. every day. President Trump wrote in his 2004 book that he only needs four hours of sleep a night. David Cush, the former Virgin America C.E.O., has said that he wakes up at 4:15. And Jennifer Aniston wakes up at around 4:30 to meditate, as does Kris Jenner, the same time that Michelle Obama is hitting the gym.

Recently, Steve Harvey declared: “Rich people don’t sleep eight hours a day.”

Is the key to success emulating high-profile achievers who are hacking their bodies to increase productivity? Even if capitalism favors early wake-up times, at least as a badge of honor, there is no data that shows that successful people get less sleep.

Americans sleep, on average, less than seven hours a night, which means that many of us get less sleep than the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends.

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“This trend goes back a fair bit further than our recent tech C.E.O.s,” said Douglas B. Kirsch, a neurologist and the president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Thomas Edison used to say the same thing: Four hours are good enough for me. What he left out of the picture is he was a pretty prolific napper as well.”

Dr. Kirsch said that this early-rising trend propagated by entertainers and entrepreneurs is deeply troubling. And while some people seem to need less sleep than others, we can’t game our body clocks.

In a 2003 study, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Medical School found that reaction times and performance on cognitive tasks plummet for those getting four hours of sleep and those getting six hours of sleep.

In the study, 48 healthy adults, aged 21 to 38, had their sleep chronically restricted. Those who slept less than six hours a night “produced cognitive performance deficits equivalent to up to 2 nights of total sleep deprivation.”

In 1999, researchers at the University of Chicago monitored a group who slept only four hours a night — a common amount for those who wake up very early — for six days in a row. That group quickly developed higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, higher blood pressure and produced half the usual amount of antibodies to a flu vaccine.

Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, calls early rising a “performance killer,” because, he says, regularly getting four hours of sleep is the equivalent of the mental impairment of being up for 24 hours.

Robert Stickgold, a Harvard professor and the director of the Center for Sleep and Cognition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said missing just one night of sleep impairs memory.

Even worse, it “biases your behavior,” he said, referring to a recent study that monitored 65 healthy people between the ages of 18 and 30, which showed that an impaired mind focuses “on negative information when making decisions.”

Maybe. No matter how much sleep you get, if you’re not wired for rising at the hour of the wolf, and most of us aren’t, according to many sleep specialists, messing with that normal rhythm is still detrimental.

Even if you think missing out on just a few minutes — say, getting up just a half-hour earlier — isn’t significant, think again. In March, researchers at the University of South Florida and Pennsylvania State University reported that losing out on as little as 16 minutes a night could have serious negative impacts on job performance.

When we delay or speed up our internal body clock, it can have the same consequences as not getting enough sleep, a phenomenon known as advanced sleep-wake phase disorder.

“The reason is that our circadian rhythm tells our brain when to produce melatonin, our sleep hormone, so if you try to wake while your brain is still producing melatonin, you could feel excessive daytime sleepiness, low energy, decline in mood and cognitive impact,” said Lisa Medalie, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at the University of Chicago Sleep Disorders Center.

“There are a handful of people who can function adequately on a shorter sleep duration than the average person, but it’s very, very rare,” Dr. Medalie said.

Missing even two hours here, an hour there, then having a wildly different sleep pattern over the weekend, is the gateway drug to chronic sleep deprivation. Fatigue, irritability and overall mental confusion are the dangers and symptoms of such deprivation.

But you may be able to adjust your schedule. “If you are not a morning lark but want to be one, you would need to wake at that 5 a.m. every day, including weekends, and expose yourself to bright light, ideally blue light, for 15 to 20 minutes upon waking,” Dr. Medalie said.

The trouble is, you have to stick that new schedule or you’ll just get sucked back into the rabbit hole.

Sleep can boost immunity. In a study published in 2015, researchers found that shorter sleep duration was connected to an increased risk of getting a cold.

Sleep may be connected to weight gain. If you get less than seven hours a night, you can put on weight, since sleep loss can adversely impact energy intake and expenditure. That’s because, in part, the chemical that makes you feel full, leptin, is reduced, while ghrelin, the hunger hormone, increases.

In 2008, professors at the University of Chicago, including Eve Van Cauter, the director of the Sleep, Metabolism and Health Center, found a link between sleep loss and an increased risk for obesity and diabetes. A decade later, the university advanced those studies to find that chronic sleep loss can increase the amount of free fatty acids in the blood.

That means a metabolism disruption that reduces the body’s ability to use insulin to regulate blood sugar.

Additionally, there is a connection between sleep and mood. The less you get, the worse you may feel. People with sleep issues may also be at higher risk for depression and anxiety, while those disorders can also interfere with sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends sticking to a sleep schedule. It won’t happen right away, and you’ll have to build and buy back your debt. But that recovery may take only weeks or months.

One way to start: Set a goal and regular bedtime, and turn your bedroom into a comfortable, dark, sleep-friendly area. That could mean blackout curtains, maybe a sleeping mask or earplugs.

Exercise helps. So does cutting heavy foods or alcohol before bed. And let your body wake you up, a key to regaining natural circadian rhythm. Reading before bed, something Bill Gates and Arianna Huffington swear by, relaxes the mind — and don’t do it on your phone. Better yet, turn off your phone or place it in the other room until morning.

“We look at sleep as an obstacle to our productivity and performance rather than as a means,” said Terry Cralle, a registered nurse and sleep specialist who is the co-author of a book on the topic. “The message should be about getting sufficient sleep. Many of us see it as lack of work ethic and willpower. Why do we attribute that to sleep when we don’t do it to other biologic needs, like thirst?”

Want additional sleep tips? Read our guide on how to get a better night’s sleep.

 

The New-York Times 

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Libramont Regenerative Alliance : Messages from the Woods

Libramont Regenerative Alliance : Messages from the Woods

The Resilience Institute Europe had the honour to participate in a unique event reuniting more than 100 business leaders, philosophers, scientists and experts in the woods of Bertrix in Belgium.

Surrounded by a beautiful and old forest, we brainstormed and exchanged ideas to rethink our economic and entrepreneurial model and move towards a regenerative economy. We were all truly inspired by speakers among which Nicolas Hulot, Frédéric Lenoir, Bertrand Piccard, Gauthier Chapelle and other experts, and by leaders of large and small companies showing us that change is possible. It led to very rich dialogues and insights. I personally went home with 5 main messages.

1-The need for change is super urgent.

We all know that climate change is an undeniable threat to the planet. Even though we know this, the facts, trends and evolutions as exposed by the experts were truly chocking. We need to hear these messages much more. Yes, Greta, we need to panic!

2-Communication does matter.

While panic and fear are good to wake us up, we need to find inspiring and positive ways to communicate, uniting everyone behind this project. People will only take actions if they are touched in the heart, if they feel inspired and guided by a purpose. We need leaders, in all areas of society, who can guide us and inspire us, even if the path is not clear and no one has “the” solution. Events like Regenerative Alliance, initiatives as Sign for my future, organizations as B-Corp are very hopeful signals. We need more of those initiatives and courageous people who are willing to stand up and take the lead.

3-Nature can inspire solutions

Biomimicry seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. As an example, in the late 90’s Japanese engineers modeled a bullet train after a kingfisher, to solve the loud booming sound when the train was exiting typical train tunnels. Janine Benuys said: “When we look at what is truly sustainable, the only real model that has worked over long periods of time is the natural world.” We do have huge room for improvement in that area, reconnecting ourselves much more systematically with Nature as a source of inspiration for seeking new solutions. We need to change our mindset, become humbler and understand that every species, including humans has a reason for fitting in this world. Isn’t it time that we open up, go beyond analytical thinking and trust our intuitive brain much more? 

4-Start with Self

“Be the change that you want to see in the world”. The challenge that we face is so big that we cannot solve it using the same old paradigm as the one that brought us to this urgency state. We need to enable all of our dimensions – body, heart, mind and spirit – to be ready. This is at the very core of our work at The Resilience Institute Europe. After these two days, I am even more convinced that resilience is an accelerator for the change that we seek. Science shows us that we can all learn the skills to become resilient; it requires reflection, awareness and daily practice. Personal transformation will facilitate collective transformation. As the Dalai Lama stated in a funny way: “if you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito”. 

5-Politicians, Scientists, Entrepreneurs, Business leaders: unite!

Building on personal transformation, collective transformation will emerge faster. This requires all actors in society to collaborate and roll up their sleeves together.

The Regenerative Alliance was the best proof that that once you bring people together, it broadens the mind and opens the heart. It is of course easier to do this with people who are already convinced. Convincing the rest of the population is an enormous and complex challenge, with many consequences for all. How to do this without social chaos? Innovative and courageous leaders might well show us a path… 

 

Article by : Katrien Audenaert, Partner The Resilience Institute Europe

6 Stupid Things Managers Do To Kill Morale

6 Stupid Things Managers Do To Kill Morale

It’s pretty incredible how often you hear managers complaining about their best employees leaving, and they really do have something to complain about—few things are as costly and disruptive as good people walking out the door.

But managers tend to blame their turnover problems on everything under the sun while ignoring the crux of the matter: people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers.

Bad management does not discriminate based on salary or job title. A Fortune 500 executive team can experience more dissatisfaction and turnover than the baristas at a local coffee shop. The more demanding your job is and the less control you have over what you do, the more likely you are to suffer. A study by the American Psychological Association found that people whose work meets both these criteria are more likely to experience exhaustion, poor sleep, anxiety, and depression.

The sad thing is that this suffering can easily be avoided. All that’s required is a new perspective and some extra effort on the manager’s part to give employees autonomy and make their work feel less demanding. To get there, managers must understand what they’re doing to kill morale. The following practices are the worst offenders, and they must be abolished if you’re going to hang on to good employees.

Withholding praise. It’s easy to underestimate the power of a pat on the back, especially with top performers who are intrinsically motivated. Everyone likes kudos, none more so than those who work hard and give their all. Managers need to communicate with their people to find out what makes them feel good (for some, it’s a raise; for others, it’s public recognition) and then to reward them for a job well done. With top performers, this will happen often if you’re doing it right. This doesn’t mean that managers need to praise people for showing up on time or working an eight-hour day—these things are the price of entry—but a boss who does not give praise to dedicated employees erodes their commitment to the job.

Forbes – Travis Bradberry 

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