The best return to work plan

The best return to work plan

It’s the million-dollar question lately: what new policy should we set regarding remote work for our employees coming out of the pandemic?

You know I have a lot of thoughts to share on the topic when I just can’t keep the “two-minute tip” to two minutes. I hope you can stick with me for 3.5+ minutes on this one—there’s interesting statistic toward the end that you won’t want to miss.

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Boosting employee ownership

Boosting employee ownership

Have you seen “Yes Day” yet, the new Netflix movie? It’s the driver behind this week’s Two-Minute Tip.

Every leader’s dream is to have a team full of employees who take extreme ownership of their work and the team’s success. But how do you do it?

As usual, I learn my best leadership lessons through parenting. Here’s a glimpse into our family’s recent “Yes Day” experience and how it boosted my girls’ sense of ownership and responsibility. 

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Share the stories

Share the stories

We may clock in each day to earn a paycheck, but the amount of energy we choose to exert during those work hours is influenced by much more than a salary. One of the biggest drivers of performance and engagement is the ability to know and see the impact of our efforts. 

Let’s test this on your team. Can your employees readily answer the question below? 

“I know how my work influences people (or places, processes, etc.) for the better.” 

And do they frequently hear customer stories that illustrate the impact of their efforts? If not, you have an opportunity to leverage a powerful force that will boost employee motivation and commitment. 

Watch the video to learn from an example of how sharing customer stories dramatically impacted performance and results at a university fundraising call center. Plus, as usual, you’ll hear a personal example from me as well.

P.S. Have you experienced great service recently? If so, tell them! Share your story with the business, the service provider, or their manager. 

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5 activities to make Zoom meetings fun again

5 activities to make Zoom meetings fun again

Zoom fatigue is real. Can I get an amen?! Connecting through screens is beginning to wear on us, and yet it’s often the only way to connect. 

Do you dread team meetings right now? If so, it’s time to inject some fun—time to creatively build team connection. Without thoughtful connection, team dynamics become transactional, not relational. Let’s ensure you’re creating space for employees to connect.

Here are five simple activities guaranteed to make your virtual meetings fun again. They don’t take long—simply devote the first 10-15 minutes of your meeting to facilitate one. I promise, people will be more engaged and productive in the ‘business part’ of your meeting after participating in one of these activities. Joy and connection breed productivity.

#1 // NEVER HAVE I EVER

All you need to play this game in your hand! Each person holds up five fingers. One person at a time shares something they have never actually done (i.e., “Never have I ever gone skydiving…”). If a team member has done that thing, they put a finger down. Take turns sharing until someone has all five fingers down. You decide if that means they’re the winner or loser. I personally prefer “winner”—let’s celebrate their adventurous side.

#2 // TEAM TRIVIA

This one takes a little prework, but it’s worth it. Solicit an interesting fact from each team member before the meeting. Read each fact and have folks write down their guesses. It’s like a quiz…the fun kind, though. The person who gets the most right wins. Perhaps the winner should receive an Uber Eats gift card or something similar? 

#3 // GUESS WHO

Ask each team member to email you a childhood picture. Hopefully you get a good blend of cute ones and the awkward ones that we all have stuffed away. Complile the pictures on a slide and, just like Team Trivia, have team members guess who is who. If you need some inspiration, check out the amazing side-by-sides used to introduce team members on the Stoltz Marketing Group website. Best team bio page ever. Don’t you just feel connected to them already? I already have a lot of love for Stolz, but their team page takes it to a new level. 

#4 // TRUTH OR FIB

I learned this one from my Next Level Women Leaders cofounder, Stacy Ennis. Team members take turns sharing a statement about themselves. It could be a true statement or a fib. After a person shares, the facilitator counts down “3, 2, 1” and everyone simultaneously guesses if it was true or false—votes can be submitted through chat or using thumbs up/down buttons. Then, of course, the person fesses up. Prepare for laughs, gasps, and ‘tell me more’ moments.

#5 // PAIR & SHARE

This activity can be used in every meeting for the rest of your life. Bonus, it actively engages every team member. Some people shy away from speaking up in a full group setting, but they light up in one-on-one conversations—this is for them. Using the breakout room feature, send pairs into randomly selected breakout rooms with a prescribed prompt for 90 second increments. Let me explain.

    1. Share a prompt with the full team (see suggestions below).
    2. Send pairs to breakout rooms for 90 seconds.
    3. Bring everyone back to the main room and have a few people share what they learned.
    4. Give a new prompt.
    5. Send pairs to new breakout rooms with different partners for 90 seconds.
    6. Bring everyone back to the main room and have a few people share what they learned.
    7. Repeat as many times as you’d like. Three times is my go-to.

Here are a few of my favorite prompts.

Please steal them shamelessly.

    • If you had to sing karaoke, what song would you sing and why?
    • What is the best meal you’ve ever had?
    • If you could bring back any fashion trend, what would it be and why?
    • What was your very first job?
    • You’re a professional wrestler. What’s your entrance theme song?
    • If you had one superpower, what would it be and why?
    • What’s your favorite season and why?
    • What was your least favorite food as a child? How do you feel about it now?
    • You’re a talk show host. Who do you invite as your first guest and why?
    • What is one vacation spot on your bucket list?
    • If you had to delete all but three apps on your phone, what would you keep and why?
    • As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
    • If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
    • Who was an influential person in your life as a child? How did they impact you?
    • What is your favorite holiday tradition?
    • What is your least favorite holiday tradition?
    • If you could be on a reality TV show, which one would you choose and why?
    • What is the best dish you can cook?
    • Who was your favorite teacher and why?
    • If you could change your name, what would you pick?

Other suggestions? Please share them in the comments! And after you spice up a team meeting with one of these activities, would you let me know? I’d love to hear about it!

Cheers to making virtual meetings fun again…

 

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