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An Employee Every Boss Needs Right Now: The Intrapreneur

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“The events of 2020 remind us: Employee engagement is the lifeblood of an organization. What your team thinks, feels, and believes about your organization, and their own work, drives their behavior — and their behavior is what determines your success or failure. Leaders seeking to ignite creativity and drive exponential effort must go upstream, using their time with their teams to build belief in the organizational purpose, the intrinsic value of the employees’ work, and the impact the teams have on customers, and each other.” HBR: Financial Targets Don’t Motivate Employees.

Recent conversations with coaching clients have reinforced the importance of an active and engaged organization. The currency of work, for many of us, is meaning and the necessary questions that meaning engenders. Are my strengths, skills, and talents valued? Do I have opportunities to deliver meaningful results, accelerate my professional growth and contribute to a purpose/mission greater than myself? How am I positively shaping the arc of my career to achieve what matters most to me?

Leaders are looking for fresh ways and creative ideas to spark motivation to transform (or at the very least) maintain engagement with their teams and colleagues. In the first article, Financial Targets Don’t Motivate Employees, the authors provide a useful framework and practical considerations to do just that. In the second article, WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg offers his perspective on how to sustain engagement in the context of a fully distributed, global workforce.

In addition, I have included a variety of reading and listening content, encompassing a range of perspectives on a diverse set of topics. I will make quick plugs for J.R. Ball’s excellent photography of many of our national parks, the far-ranging and thought-provoking podcast with Brene Brown, Tim Ferriss, and Dax Shepard, Paul Graham’s insights on good versus bad procrastination, and the immersive and visually stunning van Gogh exhibit making its way across the country.

As always, happy reading and listening! And for those raising a glass or three on Wednesday, a very merry (and safe) St. Patrick’s Day to you!

Be well and take good care of your families and community,
-kj

Articles

Financial Targets Don’t Motivate Employees. “As we face a future of potential uncertainty and unrest, it’s crucial for leaders to help their teams stay engaged. You can improve your team’s performance (and their emotional well-being) by making sure your airtime, your metrics, and your language communicate one simple message: Your work matters.”

Matt Mullenweg of WordPress: How a Fully Distributed Company Keeps Its Team Engaged “‘It can work for everyone,’ says WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg, who oversees 1,100 employees in 77 cities.”

Executive Presence Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All. Here’s How to Develop Yours. “…A strong or effective executive presence might look different from one individual, situation, or culture to the next. So she encourages people to think of the pieces that make up these components as dials on an instrument panel. Depending on the circumstance, you can turn some dials up and others down.”

WFH Is Corroding Our Trust in Each Other. “While employees were willing to give one another some latitude earlier in the pandemic, now, almost a year in, their trust is wearing thin, and some find themselves wondering whether their remote employees are actually working at home. Companies that fail to address this crisis are likely to see lower morale, increased attrition, lower productivity, and stalled innovation.”

Black Tech Employees Rebel Against ‘Diversity Theater.’ “Companies pledged money and support for people of color. But some say they still face a hostile work environment for speaking out or simply doing their jobs.”

Why this manager put workers in charge of their own raises, career development, and reviews. “Author Matt Casey calls his approach ‘lazy management’ and says changing the job, instead of the manager, is the best solution.”

How to Help (Without Micromanaging). “Extensive research shows that when employees get hands-on managerial support, they perform better than when they’re left to their own devices, but unnecessary or unwanted help can be demoralizing and counterproductive. So how do you intervene constructively?”

An Employee Every Boss Needs Right Now: The Intrapreneur. “During trying times, intrapreneurs are your allies—nay, the aces up your sleeve—for devising creative solutions to tough challenges. Harness the skills of these superstars by learning how to identify and nurture them.”

Book

Wild Year (J.R. Ball): “This is the true story of how I used a dead-end job-with an unrelenting travel schedule-as the perfect alibi to secretly spend a year exploring America’s national parks. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure captures the spirit of a country rediscovering nature in record numbers amid the pandemic.

THE PHOTOGRAPHS: Over 150 high-resolution, color photos paint a vivid portrait of the unspoiled, protected lands across the contiguous U.S.-from our most beloved natural landmarks to remote vistas and prairies. From coast-to-coast, nearly every type of topography is recorded in rich detail; from rugged mountains and arid deserts to ancient forests and thundering waterfalls.”

Podcasts

HBR’s Coaching Real Leaders: Building Influence Without Authority. “An emerging leader must learn how to increase her influence in a cross-functional role.”

Unlocking Us with Brené Brown. “Brené with Tim Ferriss and Dax Shepard on Podcasting, Daily Practices, and the Long and Winding Path to Healin‪g.”

Blog Posts

Paul Graham: Good and Bad Procrastination. “I think the way to ‘solve’ the problem of procrastination is to let delight pull you instead of making a to-do list push you. Work on an ambitious project you really enjoy, and sail as close to the wind as you can, and you’ll leave the right things undone.”

Seth’s Blog: Practical Elegance. “Practical elegance is something that is available to all of us. If we choose, it can become the cornerstone of our work.”

Arts, Music & Culture Corner

This stunning immersive exhibit explores van Gogh’s art in a whole new way. “40 laser projectors turn the Dutch painter’s masterworks—and tortured life—into an experience that surrounds you.”

Sing Street: “A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes.” [KJ – An excellent film with an outstanding soundtrack. Lots of fun!]

Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day weekend, prompting selfies and cheering: ‘It’s a little bit of normalcy.’

Reflections

“A life making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing at all.” ― George Bernard Shaw “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan a senior advisor for Consultants Collective. He is an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor, mentor and facilitator to executive leadership teams and private clients to achieve peak performance and agility resulting in sustained engagement and value. Drawing upon a career as a leader and consultant, Kevin is able to work with clients on personal and professional development, relationship optimization and team and leader dynamics. He has deep expertise and experience developing and realizing strategic vision through a relentless focus on optimized business operations. He is also skilled at building sustainable culture and workforce engagement through the power of people and organizational partnership, as well as delivering results and value with high performing teams during periods of intense change.

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