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Secure Your Future by “Leading Human”

Woman sitting at computer working with laundry basket on the desk next to her

Building a Positive Workplace that Deals Effectively with Today’s Stresses

Caroline slumps in her chair, stares out her kitchen window, and wonders how it came to this. She looks down at the e-mail from her boss and shakes her head thinking, “She doesn’t understand.”  

The kids are arguing in the background… something about whose turn it was to take out the dog. Looking around the kitchen, she notices that the dishes from last night’s dinner are still in the sink, unwashed. In fact, the whole house is a mess, clothes lying where the kids dropped them, the half-done puzzle pieces litter the table, dirt tracks from the dog across the floor, mail is strewn about the countertop, unopened. The only part of the house that is reasonably orderly, she realizes, is the part right behind her, the part that is seen in the background of her Zoom calls.

She frowns. 

Caroline looks back at the e-mail and reads it again, “Caroline, Hi! Can you give me a call this morning before 11:00? I just got the sales reports in and I need to talk to you about your numbers. ~ Ramona.”  

She sighs; her mind is racing, “I know my numbers are off this quarter, but damnit, things are chaotic right now. How can she expect me to keep up the same pace that we had before?”  Caroline’s heart is racing, and her stomach is twisted into knots. She hasn’t slept well for the past few months and wakes up wondering, “What happens if I lose this job? How will we make it?”   

She takes a deep breath and starts to reach for the phone but stops, and just stares blankly out the window, leaving the phone untouched on the table…    

Handling this new workplace and the stress it puts on your employees requires a new approach to leadership. It requires Leading Human™.

What does it mean to Lead Human?

Leading Human means leading with humility, self-awareness, and a desire for purposeful growth. We are in a time of unprecedented change and transition in business.  

Employees who feel happy and purposeful at work demonstrate higher productivity, increased motivation, and greater feelings of organizational alignment. In the past, we might have perceived the costs of a non-inclusive leader as negligible; in the wake of a global pandemic and unprecedented lifestyle impacts, we have seen firsthand the real difference thoughtful leadership makes, not just in the short term, but also for the reputation and performance of the company in the long term. 

Even during times of crisis, organizations need to be productive and motivated, or output will suffer. It is humans who develop and produce vaccines, who diagnose and treat diseases, who debug the software we rely on to communicate virtually. 

Leading Human helps leaders who manage teams understand how to generate the behaviors that lead to higher productivity, increased motivation, and loyalty. It brings the tools, knowledge, and skills necessary for you to implement a more human-centered workplace that can drive improved performance and employee satisfaction – all backed by the latest insights from behavioral science. 

Ok… so how do I lead Human?

Luckily, we created a playbook for that very purpose, we hope to empower you as a leader and enable you to channel your best, most authentic leadership —a key step in the new workplace environment to optimize your team’s well-being and success

The Leading Human Playbook is an 84-page comprehensive guide to building a positive workplace that deals effectively with today’s anxieties and stresses. The companion Leading Human Workbook takes the science-backed insights detailed within the playbook and allows today’s forward-thinking leaders and organizations to turn those insights into action.

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Grab your copy of the Leading Human Playbook and Workbook today!

Backed by leading experts in the fields of Behavioral Science and Behavioral Economics, Leading Human was created in response to the wholesale changes and disruptions we have all experienced this past year. This roadmap outlines the key steps organizations and leaders must take in order to come back to work successfully and compete in the new world.

Leading Human™ goes beyond just the re-entry from the pandemic and impacts the core of how work will happen in the future. These changes mean that we need to shift the way we lead. Thus, we need to not only understand the stress and emotional factors that our employees face, but we also need to address those factors head-on, creating a more welcoming and safer workplace, develop leadership routines that account for employee emotions, and enhance our leadership communication skills.

Our work with experts in human dynamics and our own expertise in this field allowed us to gather key behavioral insights into an actionable toolkit for managers. Leading Human™ focuses on four key areas that leaders can work on to help drive a successful transition. Our work has shown that Creating Psychological Safety, Building a Team Charter, Implementing Human-Centered Routines, and Charting a Clear Path Forward can make a significant difference in employees’ emotional connection to the company and successful re-entry. The book guides managers through specific rationale on each of those key areas and gives them specific tools to implement some of the ideas.

A collective 40+ years of working with organizations to apply behavioral science for increased performance went into creating these resources. Don’t get left behind in today’s hyper-competitive world –grab your copy here.

Back to In-person Work Requires a New Type of Leadership

Cover page of the leading human playbook and workbook. Woman looking forward and smiling with graphics and text
The Leading Human Package is Today’s Essential Guide to Help Leaders Navigate the Next Year

At the time of this writing we’re hovering around a 50% vaccination rate for adults in the US. 

As the progress continues, companies are looking forward to the time when they can start bringing more of their employees back into the office.  This forward-thinking has focused a lot on the physical building design and safety protocols but is often missing a key aspect of the return to work: their employees’ emotional wellbeing.  

While many companies have started to bring people back slowly, there has not been a rush except for aside from essential businesses where it has been required. The new normal will probably look nothing like the old normal.   

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Returning to Work is More Emotional Than We Might Think

Distressed employee looking at his computer with his head in his hand
Companies that fail to address return to work concerns will see large rates of employee attrition

We are in a unique time right now in the US.

With vaccines readily available and cases of COVID-19 falling, companies are looking to bring people back into the office or install a hybrid model of work that allows flexibility. 

This shift brings with it a lot of opportunity but also exposes some larger potential downsides.

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A Home Run for IC Directors

Man sitting back in office chair with his hands behind his head looking satisfied
Create a Great IC Program AND Make Sure it is Understood

Incentive compensation professionals work hard at developing incentive plans that drive employee motivation while also meeting their company’s strategic objectives.

In the past, this has been achieved by using rules of thumb and stringent financial analysis. Yet, hard work is not enough in today’s turbulent times.  

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Want to earn more and win more awards? Ask for better communication.

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Make sure you have the tools to climb to the top

It’s no secret that as a salesperson you want to win.

You want to sell, to be on top, to surpass your target, and to join that award trip. You want to be rewarded for the hard work and sales that you bring in. 

But that can be hard to do if your company isn’t telling you what you need to do to win. Companies often spend significant time and energy designing those metrics and fall short when it comes to communicating them to you. This puts you in a tough position between your intentions and the outcomes of the plan.  

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The Key to a Great Company: Great Culture

Have you ever experienced a company with a culture so powerful that you notice it immediately? There is a positive tone in the conversation, a joyful way in which people interact, a different feeling that you get walking through the door.    

Those companies are rare.   

It is more likely you’ve experienced a company with a culture that is toxic. One where the tone of the conversation is so negative that it instantly brings you down, were the interactions between employees seem hostile, and where you would like to run out the door shortly after entering.   

Luckily, those companies are also rare.  

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The Top 5 Reasons Businesses Need Behavioral Science

By Kurt Nelson, Ph.D. & Ben Granlund

hands coming together over desk with text overlay
Behavioral science can be the key to organizational success

Imagine getting the chance to earn $2 for doing absolutely nothing. Would you turn this down?  

Most people say no, yet study after study shows that people often refuse the $2 payout, sometimes more. Why is this?

Cartoon of two people talking, one offering money and the other turning it down

This strange behavior comes down to how we perceive fairness and retribution and can be observed in a simulation behavioral scientists call “the Ultimatum Game.”

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Behavioral Grooves

Back in September,  I partnered with Tim Houlihan to start “a monthly gathering of curious minds” which we called Behavioral Grooves.  We thought it would be interesting to get like-minded people together to talk about applying behavioral science to life and work.

We had no idea if others would be interested in this…

We announced the meetup and were hoping to get at least a few of the friends that we had contacted to show up.  We ended up with 24 people for that first session where we talked about habits – how they are formed and what people can do to improve them.

We were thrilled!

From there, it took off.  We have over 180 members signed up to our meetup group and it is growing fast.  We have had three monthly sessions as of early January 2018 and our fourth is lined up for two weeks from today.  We have over 20 people who have made it to two or more of the sessions.

I guess we struck a nerve.

For our second session, we invited Professor James Heyman to speak and thought, hey, since he’s here, why don’t we interview him and make a podcast out of it.  Thus, our Behavioral Grooves podcast was born.  Tim and I both loved that so much that we decided that we didn’t want to wait for the next Behavioral Grooves session to record our next one – so we started to invite people and interview them – both live and over the internet.

To date, we have seven interviews recorded and three more in the works.  These podcasts mirror the Behavioral Grooves sessions in that they are conversational in nature where we geek out over behavioral science and how we can apply behavioral science insights into our daily work and lives.

They have been a blast!

In reflecting on this, it appears to me that these two outlets provide us with a way of both learning and sharing.  We want to be advocates for good, ethical use of behavioral science.  We believe that there is much to learn and we can improve our work and lives by understanding and by applying these principles in a thoughtful and deliberate manner.

We also realized that we love the community that this is creating.  A community of curious minds who are interested in science and the application of that science.  A community of people that we can bounce ideas off of.  A community of people that can push us to think about things from new perspectives.

This is ultimately what we have been building and hope that it grows and provides a place and outlet for others, as well as ourselves.

If you are ever in Minneapolis on the third Thursday of the month – please come and join us at our meetup (find out more info here) and if you can’t make that, please listen in to our podcasts (click here to find the latest).

Come and join our community of curious minds!

Thanks!

Kurt

5 Tips to HR on Effective Communication

Employee Communication

At the IPMI Institute HR conference in Miami we sat down with 10 HR executives from various industries and exchanged insights. We discussed what  was going on in their world and how behavioral science can help the HR community.

We noticed three overarching themes:

  • Organizations are finding cultural change hard
  • Organizations have not had significant success at engaging their employees
  • Organizations don’t have the bandwidth to prioritize employee communications—although they know doing so is important 

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Cognitive Load – What it is & Why it Matters

Back in January we introduced you to the concept of integrating Behavioral Science into Graphic Design. If you did not have a chance to read it, or for a recap, click here

Today we will expand a bit more on the idea of “cognitive load”.
Not only is cognitive load a valuable resource to utilize in graphic design; but it is also extremely valuable in communications, speaking engagements, presentation’s and an all-around useful tool for increasing the understanding of any subject.

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