Monday, September 14, 2020

Research Shows That Individual Purpose is Critical

These are uncertain times for many people, including employees.

Will they have a job next week? Will they work from home next month or will they be called back into the office? Will continuing to work remotely hurt their careers? Will they be given pay raises this year or be able to take time off? Do they even want to do what they're doing anymore?

A new report by McKinsey & Co. stresses that during these uncertain times, it's important that employees have a sense of individual purpose "that helps people face up to uncertainties and navigate them better, and thus mitigate the damaging effects of long-term stress. People who have a strong sense of purpose tend to be more resilient and exhibit better recovery from negative events."

One of the suggestions from the report includes leaders talking to employees individually to help workers better understand their own purpose (most people have a tough time articulating their own purpose).

Once that purpose is understood (helping the poor, saving the planet, alleviating suffering, etc.), then the leader can help the employee see how his or her contribution to the organization can also serve their purpose. Sometimes that alignment isn't always perfect, or not at all. In that case, leaders may need to re-think how they hire or how employees are placed in certain jobs to ensure that there is better alignment for all workers, McKinsey researchers say.

"The pandemic has been a cruel reminder for companies everywhere of how important it is to never take healthy or motivated employees for granted. Since individual purpose directly affects both health and motivation, forward-looking companies will be focusing on purpose as part of a broader effort to ensure that talent is given the primacy it deserves," researchers write.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

8 Ways to Make Sure Your Great Idea Isn't Ignored

Ever had a good idea shot down at work?

Most of us have been through it at least once. The reasons may vary, but the result is the same. You feel frustrated, or angry -- even depressed. Why can't your boss/colleagues recognize a great idea?

Your frustration may prompt you to think about leaving your current job and go find another company that will appreciate your innovative thoughts.

But here's the problem: If you don't learn to do a better job of presenting your ideas, chances are good the same thing will happen over and over, no matter where you work.

Here's some ways to deal with the obstacles getting in the way of your great ideas:

1. Change or die. The coronavirus has shown that companies that fail to continually innovate are left behind. Big retailers that didn't move to ecommerce years ago have seen their business suffer, while retailers like Wayfair, WalMart and Target have thrived.  When someone questions why there is a need to alter a course that has worked in the past, just point to such examples.

2. Innovation grows companies. When your idea is dismissed because it doesn't generate a lot of revenue, point out that it's new ideas -- like those from Amazon and Apple -- that are what build great organizations and lead to more revenue.

3. It solves a problem. While others might think your idea is "trivial," point out that it's not "trivial" to the people who are helped by it.

4. It's a first step. If someone says your idea isn't "big enough," comment that it's a step in the right direction and will get the company moving toward that bigger idea.

5. It's unique. Sometimes your idea gets shot down because it's not being done anywhere else. Remember to stress that there's a first time for everything and your idea offers a unique opportunity.

6. Failure leads to success. Shooting down your idea by saying it's been done before is a common tactic — whether it's true or not. Just say, "That was then. Conditions change and what we're talking about probably wasn't done in this way."

7. Delay, delay, delay. You may be told that now isn't the "right" time for your idea, and it should be put off until something else happens, or changes. Don't be fooled by the person pretending to like your idea, only to try and squelch it. Say something like, "The best time is when people are excited and committed to make something happen. That time is now."

8. It's too much work. That's a genuine concern because most people in the workplace today really are overworked and underpaid. To battle that argument, respond with "Hard can be good. New, viable ideas can energize and motivate us."