Put Inspiration to Work

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On Monday, a colleague sent a personal message to our team that read You may already know but just in case, today is New Student Convocation in the Greek Theatre, 5pm-6pm (doors open at 4pm). If you need a little positive spirit, I’d highly recommend coming to this event! It really brings that excitement ceremony of a “new year” on a college campus and also shows our students we are one big community!” What he was talking about, in work culture terms, was ‘inspiration’. Inspiring is defined by Great Place to Work® as helping people understand the value of their efforts and the meaning behind their work. Great companies create a sight line to the goals of the organization that help individuals recognize and apply the value they bring to the organization. This builds pride.

On August 18th, members of our Learning and Development team attended the Culture Summit 2016 in San Francisco and learned about The Energy Project, an organization of energy champions who help create workplaces that are healthier, happier, and higher performing. In partnership with the Harvard Business Review, The Energy Project deployed The Quality of Life @ Work study of 20,000 employees around the world to assess factors that most influence how people feel at work, and how they perform as a result. The survey confirmed that leaders set the tone for the energy of their team and are critical role models for positive practices. However, only 20% of employees reported having a leader who communicates a vision that is clear, consistent, and inspiring. “Those that did reported being 70% more satisfied with their jobs, 56% more engaged, and 100% more likely to stay with their organizations.”

So how do we expand and renew a sense of meaning and purpose in our work?

Here are a few inspiring practices from inspiring leaders:

  • Niki Lustig, leader of the Learning and Organizational Development team at Twitter facilitated a process to help managers define the unique purposes of their teams by drafting team purpose statements. She started by creating a 10 minute, 9 question “Purpose Pre-Work Survey. She then led teams through a process of consolidation into a concise statement that was“inspirational and aspirational” and that fit closely within the organizational context. To learn more about this process, read ‘Can Higher Purpose Help Your Team Survive and Thrive?’ by Brad Wolfe.
  • James Carroll, Assistant Director, Residential Education at UC Berkeley facilitated participation of all ResEd professional staff in the Berkeley Staff Experience Certificate Program. The program, designed by Resident Director, Marney Randle, serves to engage employees in activities that connect them closer to the mission and purpose of the University. ResEd staff completed activities in four engagement areas: self care, professional development, the Berkeley experience, and the student experience to earn program certification. A few examples included attending New Student Convocation and celebrating on Sproul Plaza during Admissions Decision Day. This effort demonstrated leadership commitment to campus engagement that connects and inspires staff.

What is your inspiring practice?

Erin Wixson, Senior Organizational Consultant

Photo credit: © 2016 www.knowyourwhy.com

 

 

Can You Listen to Me Now?

According to Great Place to Work, one of the nine practice areas where leaders and managers create an environment of trust and achieve organizational goals is listening. Often times, when employees say they want their voices heard, they are really saying they want leaders who will not just hear them, but really listen to them.  Conscious listening creates greater understanding. Leaders and managers who listen create trustworthy relationships that are transparent and yield loyalty.  

While listening is one of the most important skills a leader and manager can
have, impacting job effectiveness and relationship quality, many of us are not great at it. In fact, resimages-1earch suggests that we remember only 25 to 50 percent of what we hear. So when we
talk with our colleagues, we pay attention to less than half of the conversation. Listening is becoming even more challenging as our world is increasingly fast paced, loud, and distracting.  S
ound expert Julian Treasure asserts, “We are losing our listening.” In
his short, 7 minute talk, Treasure shares five ways we can re-tune our ears for conscious listening to others and the world around us. 

Watch the Following TED Talk – Julian Treasure: 5 Ways to Listen Better https://www.ted.com/talks/julian_treasure_5_ways_to_listen_better?language=e

Here are Five exercises from Julian you Can Practice Today to Improve Your Conscious Listening:

  1. Silence: Take 3 minutes/day to reset your ears in silence to hear quiet again.
  2. The Mixer: Take a moment and try to distinguish all of the channels of noise you are hearing at once. This action will help you identify the many sounds you are missing.
  3. Savoring: Enjoy interesting and mundane sounds.
  4. Listening Positions: Move your listening position to what’s appropriate -active/passive or critical/sympathetic. This helps you become conscious of barriers/filters to listening.
  5. RASA: Practice active listening with this acronym that stands for Receive, Appreciate, Summary, Ask.

Erin Wixson, Senior Organizational Consultant

Toss Some Confetti in the Air

Recently, the Student Affairs executive team sent out an email message to the division celebrating ‘A Year of Student Affairs Achievement’! We also received an invitation to our 6th annual Student Affairs Thanks to You Celebration which is scheduled on Friday August 12th, 2016 from 11:30am-2:30pm.  

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It’s critical to take time to celebrate our workplace accomplishments—both big and small. Celebration can get easily overlooked as unimportant or unproductive in the face of existing pressures and deadlines, but it is imperative.

Research shows that celebration shapes culture and that celebrating as a group is important because it:

  • bestows a sense of belonging and fulfillment
  • allows us to relax, rewind, and have our stresses fall behind
  • reminds us of the purpose of our work and the power of our relationships
  • improves our productivity, loyalty, motivation, and job satisfaction
  • keeps us happy and energetic
  • reaffirms our belief that we are all one big community
  • helps us forge deeper relationships
  • reinforces desired behaviors

There are many events worth celebrating as well as methods of celebration.

Events to celebrate: completing something the team sacrificed for, achieving a key metric, individual awards, office changes, retirements, project kick-offs, milestones, completions, the beginning of or end of a busy season, an employee, team, and/or organizational achievement, etc.

Methods of celebration: gifts, parties, decorating cubicles, fun games or contests, a traveling trophy, plan a “Friday surprise”, etc.


Here are three things you can start doing today to celebrate successfully:

  1. Brainstorm a list of what you can celebrate with your team
  2. Determine how to celebrate by asking the team what they value
  3. Take the Frequent Recognition and Encouragement (FRE) Manager Self-Assessment from the book ‘Profit from the Positive’ to determine how much you use recognition and encouragement today to help keep your team engaged

Erin Wixson, Senior Organizational Consultant

 

 

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Need a Daily Dose of Goodness? Practice Gratitude.

In the spirit of recent staff appreciation celebrations, today’s blog post is about gratitude.

What is gratitude? Gratitude is recognition of goodness outside of ourselves that inspires appreciation and  reciprocation. Jeremy Adam Smith, editor of the Greater Good Magazine, in an article titled Six Habits of Highly Grateful People, asserts thatGratitude (and its sibling, appreciation) is the mental tool we use to remind ourselves of the good stuff. It’s a lens that helps us to see the things that don’t make it onto our lists of problems to be solved. It’s a spotlight that we shine on the people who give us the good things in life. It’s a bright red paintbrush we apply to otherwise-invisible blessings, like clean streets or health or enough food to eat.

How often do we stop, during the workday, to appreciate the goodness around us? On noodle.com, the question was asked, What are the top 3 reasons someone should attend University of California-Berkeley? The following are just a few of the responses: “the diversity of our campus is incredible,”  “the sense of community and pride that comes with being a golden bear,” “lovely weather,” “the #1 public institution in the world,” “world-renowned university with top faculty, academic departments, and research activities,” “ the incredible food around here,” “it’s filled with awesome, intellectual, interesting people,” “the students, faculty, and all staff work hard to make this institution absolutely wonderful and a home”….and the list goes on. What good things, good moments and/or good people do you appreciate each day at Berkeley?  

Why practice gratitude? Gratitude is good for us! Scientific research points to innumerable benefits of practicing gratitude. It makes us happier, strengthens our relationships and our emotional status, reduces anxiety and stress, improves social ties, increases our sense of self worth, makes us more resilient through hard times, etc.

 

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So how do we do it? Some of us are better than others at gratitude – but it’s good for all of us. We must practice to reap the benefits.  It is easy to find ourselves stuck in moments, at work, where it is hard to see the good, the possible. This is when we need gratitude the most to lessen anxiety and open us up to new possibilities.

Here are three things we can start doing today to practice gratitude:

  1. Over the next few days, make a mental note of grateful moments. This makes the moments more meaningful and prompts us to look for more.
  2. Express thankfulness for the hard stuff. Think about what the challenges have taught you. What can you be grateful for? What do you now know about yourself?  How have the hardships served you?
  3. Focus your gratitude on people at work for whom you are thankful and include them directly into your expression of gratitude.

By Erin Wixson, Senior Organizational Consultant

Focusing on Our Local Community to GO BIG

The GO BIG movement and efforts to create a great workplace for all staff in Student Affairs have been a part of our culture for the past 2+ years. Throughout this process, we have been intentional to practice our engagement principles to widen the circle, create communities of action, connect people to each other, and promote fairness. In order to know what was needed for SA staff to have pride in the work they do, trust the people they work with, and feel a sense of community, it was necessary to bring a collective perspective and discover our shared values of communication, honesty/integrity and respect. We are proud of the work and efforts done thus far. These conversations, interactions, and practices have grounded us and provided a north star, even during the challenging times.

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Moving forward, we are “going local” within our various Student Affairs teams and communities by partnering with leaders and managers in individual units. Student Affairs Learning & Development, with support from the GO BIG Staff Initiative team, will help and consult with in tact work teams to create effective actions for staff based on needs, as well as apply our shared SA values and aspirational goals specific to their work environment.

Checking in on Our Communities

On Friday, May 13, we hosted a Community Check-In with colleagues from across Student Affairs. Folks came together in a facilitated safe space to share their concerns about the impact our current budget situation has on our division, and ways to work together.

We know that individual teams and communities have varying experiences in the workplace. L&D and the GO BIG team want to continue to support and meet the needs of our managers and staff; we invite you to reach out to us.

Here are a couple of things that you can do starting today to focus in on your local SA community:

  • If you are a manager or supervisor, ask your staff how the team can continue to practice our values of communication, honesty/integrity, and/or respect in the daily practice of how to successfully get work done. For example, how can we improve communication to gain clarity of tasks and roles? How do we treat colleagues with respect on collaborative projects? How do you best practice honest conversations, while still maintaining positive relationships with one another?

Inspiration to Action: Building a Campus Community Through Stay Day

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. marks the 7th Annual Stay Day: The Student Experience Conference. Student Affairs is proud to host another dynamic conference that brings together student services professionals, administrators, and faculty who are committed in enhancing the student experience. 18 registration spots are still available; if you have not registered, here’s your chance! Check out the draft of the program schedule and workshop descriptions here.

Stay Day Logo

The Stay Day Conference launched in 2009, during the last economic recession. Vice Chancellor Harry Le Grande was committed to bring the campus together and provide continued professional development during a time when conference travel was placed on hold due to the budget. Additionally, he wanted the focus to be on the student experience at Cal; presenters would be from UC Berkeley who were experts in their field. After all–who better to learn from, than from those who work day in and day out with our students?

Fast forward seven years, and the conference has continued to grow and become even more dynamic. What started out as a conference of 150 attendees has now grown to over 400! Here is a snapshot of the 2015 Stay Day Conference:

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Here are some new facts about the 2016 Stay Day Conference:

  • Pecha Kucha will serve as the opening session, with four out of the six speakers being from Student Affairs! Pecha Kucha is a series of short presentations of 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide. Each presenter will share a story about what inspires them to action. We are proud of our SA colleagues who will take the mic that morning:
    • Alfred Day, Office of the Dean of Students
    • Don MacGregor, Residential and Student Service Programs
    • Chrissy Roth-Francis, New Student Services
    • Kun Yang, Learning & Development
  • For the first time, we will host Stay Day at the new ASUC Student Union
  • 17 of our presenters and half of our attendees are from the Division of Student Affairs!

Don’t miss out on being a part of one of the largest campus community building events dedicated to our students. We’ll see you on June 8th!

Top 5 Nuggets from the Great Place to Work Conference

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Last month, some of the GO BIG team members attended the annual “Great Place to Work” Conference (GPTW) that was held in San Diego. The entire event was inspiring and highlighted best practices and philosophies from some of the top companies and organizations from around the world. How were their leaders creating a great workplace that continued to innovate, collaborate, transform and maintain a high-trust culture?

The team attended various sessions throughout the three days, and were impressed by the passion and knowledge shared. There were diverse types of organizations represented  from various industries; yet, the commonality that each focused on was the employee experience–and by doing so, they were a great place to work. Here are some of the Top 5 practices we learned about:

Quick videos to share information: At the company SAS, they regularly produce 30 second to 2 minute videos that touch upon complex issues in order for their employees to understand what is happening at the company.

Retention interviews as a form of feedback: OnBase by Hyland conducts 1:1 interviews with top performers and encourages them to share their team’s strengths and opportunities. Leaders are then asked to commit to low hanging fruit and long term initiatives. OnBase’s philosophy is that if continual feedback is acted upon, this will help retain top staff.   

SPARK as a means for challenging times: CEO Sharon Price John, of the Build-A- Bear Workshop company came into a challenging time when profits were down. She stated that change never ends; you’re in the process forever. However, she shared the acronym of “SPARK” to explain how she rallied and inspired all employees during that time:

  • See it: clearly describe the future if things were to remain the same; what will happen if we don’t change?
  • Plan it: describe an inspiring vision as alternative; “we can be more”
  • Action it: link it back to profitability and success
  • Repeat it: repeat the mission and own it. “We’re doing this because we can be more”
  • Keep the faith: you must believe; remind others that future is bright.

Create simple rules of engagement to connect staff to one another: Atlassin  commits to 3 rules for every company event:

  1. Create a memory that lasts a lifetime
  2. Get people out of comfort zone
  3. Connect people with others they do not know.

Strive to be a dynamic team: Cisco has spent time studying their high performing teams. One example of what they do is host weekly team meetings that are based on the future of their work. Additionally, they use check-in questions such as “How does the best of you show up in the work that you’re doing?” and “Here’s what I need from my leader.” The trust that develops among the group allows for them to be a dynamic vs. a traditional team.

While Student Affairs is certainly not a corporation, there are some practices like the top 5 above that we can learn from and try to incorporate in our environment. Some of us are already doing similar efforts to make a great place to work for each other–what’s one thing that you can commit to today?