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Creating the Ideal Workplace Culture

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Nonprofit Day 2017 - Keynote
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Creating the Ideal Workplace Culture

  1. Creating the Ideal Workplace Culture Beth Kanter November 7, 2017
  2. @kanter Beth Kanter: Master Trainer, Speaker, Author and Nonprofit Thought Leader
  3. • Ability to practice these skills at work Topics OUTCOMES • Mutual Support & Learning • Fun • Micro Learning FRAMING Opener/Icebreaker Owner’s Manual Giving/Receiving Feedback Creating Workplace Norms Avoiding Collaborative Overload Closing Agenda
  4. Social Styles Analytical Need to Be Right Thinking Withdraws Driving Results Action Takes Charge Amiable Personal Security Relationships Goes Along Expressive Approval Spontaneity Confronts Asks Tells Controls Emotes
  5. Source:
  6. Listening Techniques and Empowering Questions
  7. • What is your social style? • When do you like people to approach you and how? • What do you value? • How do you like people to communicate with you? • How do you make decisions? • How can people help you? • What will you not tolerate in others?
  8. Opening Circle: Icebreaker • Name • Job Title • Social Style • Just 1-3 words that summarize your owner’s manual
  9. Think and Read: Owner’s Manuals Jot down your ideas on sticky notes, one idea per sticky note • What are some common themes? • What are some potential points of tension? • What do you need to keep in mind to be productive and happy working together?
  10. Giving and Receiving Feedback Our co-workers will sometimes offer hard-to-hear truths about our behavior or performance. And that can trigger a flood of fear and negative emotion that blots out the positive opportunities that the feedback offers.
  11. Reframe: Feedback is a chance to …. • Gather perspective other than your own on how you are doing • Course-correct before it is too late • Create a plan to succeed
  12. How do you handle feedback? • Feedback is a personal attack • Reject, react with anger or blame • Don’t hold yourself accountable Bristler • Feedback destroys you • Crumble, cry, apologize • Feel ashamed of mistake, self-blame Wallower • Feedback is a sign that you were misunderstood • Shut down, don’t engage, avoid • Dismiss outside perspectives, isolate Stonewaller
  13. Role Play: Accepting Feedback • Acknowledge: Thank you so much for your feedback. That is an important point. • Can you say more about that? • Clarifying questions • Show people their opinions matter and foster closeness by hearing them out
  14. Giving Feedback: Avoid The Sandwich
  15. Example: Internal Person A is the team leader and Person B is the team member. Person B is responsible for doing research interviews, summarizing the findings, and providing it to Person A before an agreed upon deadline. Person B waited until the last minute to complete the task, did a sloppy job, and missed the deadline. Person A needs to provide some negative feedback to Person B so the performance can be improved in the future.
  16. Example: Internal 1: Start with One of these Openers Explain why you are giving feedback “I’m giving you this feedback on the report project because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them. “ Take yourself off the pedestal “I’ve benefited a lot from people giving me feedback, and I’m trying to pay that forward.” “I’ve been studying great managers, and I’ve noticed that they spend a lot of time giving feedback. I’m working on doing more of that.” “Now that we’ve been working together for a while, I think it would be great if we gave each other suggestions for how we can be more effective.” Ask if they want feedback “I noticed a couple things and wondered if you’re interested in some feedback.” 2: Give Feedback Focus on the situation Share specific examples of the what needs to be improved Provide steps or tips on how to improve or suggest a personal goal Coach to help them follow through
  17. Example: External Stakeholder Let’s brainstorm some common situations
  18. Role Play Exercise: Giving Feedback • Explain why you are giving feedback • Take yourself off the pedestal • Ask if they want feedback • Person A: Give Feedback • Person B: Receive Feedback • Debrief • Switch Roles/Partners • Person A: Receive Feedback Person B: Give Feedback • Debrief
  19. Creating Workplace Cultural Norms
  20. Rules of meeting engagement or “meeting norms” are stated standards that refer to processes, preparation and communication practices which can apply to any meeting.
  21. Examples of Norms For All Types of Meetings PROCESS PREPARATION COMMUNICATION Respect everyone’s time by starting and ending on time. Only one conversation at one time. Refrain from side-talk. Capture off topic items in a ‘parking lot’ and agree to discuss them later at a more appropriate time. Be present with the people you are meeting with. Use of technology. Take bio breaks as needed. Everyone is responsible for helping to stay on topic. Speak up if you feel like we’re getting off track. Challenge past assumptions and sacred cows. Address conflict head on. Look ahead to positive action. Aim for GETGO – good enough to go, not perfection. Everyone is responsible for upholding the norms. Acknowledge if you notice we are not doing so. Be prepared and come ready to engage. Read the agenda and do any pre-work ahead of time. Come empowered to make commitments for your area or function. Put aside other topics and work so you are ready to focus on the discussion at hand. Meeting material and agenda should be sent 24 hours before a meeting. Ask questions for clarification to help avoid making assumptions. Make sure everyone’s voice is heard. Balance your participation – speak and listen. Compute your airtime Listen actively to teammates without interrupting others. Clarify when you are advocating vs offering an idea. Say it now, in the room. Avoid waiting till later to raise an issue. All voices count. All opinions are valid, but offer reasoning behind your thinking.
  22. Examples of Norms Specific For Types of Conversations BRAINSTORMING CHECK-INS/STAFF MEETING DECISION-MAKING All ideas are good ideas. Build on the ideas of others. Use “Yes, and…”; avoid “No, but…” Defer judgment of ideas during brainstorming. Keep resource constraints in mind. Be concise and to the point. Be open to feedback. Share only new information, not a repeat of old information. Be sure your information is accurate. Acknowledge when you don’t have an answer but will provide it after the meeting. Share celebrations and challenges alike. We will use [consensus, consultative, majority rule, voting] as our decision making process. Each person is responsible for ensuring they understand the options and arguments before making the decision. Be willing to support a team consensus even if you initially do not agree with it. Do not push you ideas on the team after a decision has been made. Acknowledge when you are playing “devil’s advocate” to help test a decision or idea. Separate your own personal feelings from what’s best for the team / organization.
  23. Rose Bud Thorn What makes our meetings effective and productive? What is it about our meetings that makes me feel we accomplished something? What are some practices we are not doing at meetings that could make them more effective? What makes our meetings frustrating or gets in the way or being productive? What is it about our meetings that makes me feel like I’ve wasted my time? Meeting Reflection: Rose, Bud, Thorn
  24. Meeting Reflection: Wrap Up • Based on our discussion, each person should write down their top three meeting norms, one per sticky note. • Cluster • Sticky dot vote • Reflection
  25. Avoiding Collaborative Overload
  26. Is this familiar? • Long work week • Come home to realize you didn’t get stuff done • You start doing solo work in evenings and weekends • You don’t do it because you are too exhausted Sarah Cooper
  27. ● 15% of organization time is spent in meetings ● Four hours a week for status update meetings ● 11 million meetings a day ● More than $37 billion year in unproductive meetings Source: NY Times, “Meeting is Murder” 2/28/16 Fuze Infographic on Meetings
  28. The Four P’s Planning People Priorities Present
  29. Tips to Improve Planning ● Use Look-Ahead Rituals and Make Them Visible
  30. Tips to Improve Planning ● Clearly Define Workflow for Online Collaboration Platforms and Training ● Adopt Formal Practices Around Team Emails
  31. Tips to Improve People ● Set a Statute of Limitations on People Frustrations ● Say NO, But Enforce Boundaries With Grace
  32. Tips to Improve People ● Write emails that are precise ● Create a remote working charter for your team Subjects w/Keywords [ACTION] [SIGN] [DECISION] [CORD] [INFO] Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) Fewer Words Link to Attachments
  33. Tips to Improve Priorities ● Do A Trend-Line View Reflection with Your Team ● Rethink Status Updates Meetings
  34. Tips to Improve Priorities ● Don’t schedule hour meetings by default
  35. Tips to Improve Being Present ● Team wide analysis of most productive times during day ● Have explicit team or organization policy about white space or maker time or quiet time
  36. Tips to Improve Present ● Device free zones in your workplace ● Meeting policy about use of devices to avoid “technoference”
  37. Intentional Focus on Culture Change
  38. Collaborative Overload: Wrap Up • Based on our discussion, each person should write down a Quarterly Reflection/Focus Question related to an area to improve. • Cluster • Sticky dot vote • What are some ways that you can reflect on this over the next quarter?
  39. Closing Circle: Reflection • What insight did you gain? • What will you commit to practicing in the coming months?