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Bouncing back is what we do

Navigating through life is about taking stock of lessons learned along the way. When faced with a substantial altering event whether be at work or at home, we thrust ourselves into facing the adversity that strikes us. Looking back over the last year, in particular 2020 that forced most of the world into defying the odds, all the procrastination in the workforce leading up to 2020, took shape in less than 12 months. Although there was undeniable upheavals, let’s focus on the untapped potential that lies within our ability to optimize the tools and resources to reach the destiny we design for ourselves.

Achieve

New businesses launched. Bloomberg reported in this article, new businesses were formed in 2020 more than ever before.

Ideas

We leaned heavily on technology to connect and ideate. A few years earlier McKinsey & Company forecasted the skill development needs of the future. This article Automation and the future of the workforce highlights areas that will take a profound shift in the years to come but we leveraged them exponentially to bring brainstorming sessions to life across borders using platforms that were created to improve our lives and ease up on travel.

Support

Vulnerability is realized–it’s okay not to be okay. It would be hard to imagine that there is not one person who was not personally transformed in some way because of the forces of nature in various forms that impacted the world. As life unfolds, people are reprioritizing and redefining their path forward. HBR sheds light on the fact that we are all human, regardless of position in society, and being brave enough to share emotions is transformational to draw in support to help each other cope.

Together

It doesn’t matter where you work in corporate America because the environment does not define the strategy nor bring it to life–people do. There’s been developments over the years in technology to weave in a dynamic agile workforce, but the launch of Microsoft’s together mode, is absolutely brilliant. If we set aside individual opinions, understand the agile workforce, the ability to adapt will be less frictionless than we think.

“Given the velocity of change in organizations, we look to our people to quickly embrace and make the changes a reality. For us to be agile, we need to focus on unlearning the old and learning the new,” said Emily Lundi-Mallett, executive director of talent and organization development at Ingram Micro, a 30,000-employee tech company headquartered in Irvine, Calif. “This means that we need to focus on our employees’ mindsets, which will determine the pace at which the change takes place.” 

Source: SHRM Article Viewpoint: How to Develop an Agile Workforce

Overcoming resistance is no easy feet and most often change plans are derailed because fear of the unknown holds a lot of people back from shifting gears. This is where transparent communication is pivotal in reshaping and course correcting the future. Regardless of our role at home or in the workplace, we can all be leaders to promote humanity and gratitude that infuses our ability to draw upon our strengths to build an inclusive society for all to have the opportunity to bounce back better than ever because that’s what we do!

Beneath it all

Discovering the elements in life that inspire a fulfilling legacy can be obscured when forces of nature draw us in a different direction. This can range from our inner circle to the environment we are living in. So many factors play an integral role in the direction of our lives but it is time to disrupt the pattern–break it down to peel back the layers.

When we choose to surround ourselves with others who are unique from our own characteristics, we can begin to change the narrative and perceptions that have molded our future. Sometimes our authentic self is hidden beneath the layers depending where we are and who we are interacting with. But representing what we really stand for will help unleash our dreams and passion. However, the confidence and courage to being human in our professional lives has not always been easy because of the existing social pressures when people feel like they have to separate their identities from home to the work environment. Mike Robbins helps put this into perspective in his Forbes interview with Henna Inam:

Bringing our whole selves to work means showing up authentically, leading with humility, and remembering that we’re all vulnerable, imperfect human beings doing the best we can. It’s also about having the courage to take risks, speak up, ask for help, connect with others in a genuine way, and allow ourselves to be truly seen. It’s not always easy for us to show up this way, especially at work. And it takes commitment, intention, and courage for leaders and organizations to create environments that are conducive to this type of authenticity and humanity. ~ Mike Robbins

Source: Forbes “Bring Your Whole Self To Work”

Rising to the peak of our destiny will undoubtedly come with challenges and roadblocks. There is no playbook or manual that demonstrates smooth sailing to the top but riding out the waves with genuine intent will not only build a renowned legacy but your network, village or tribe will paddle along. This may mean compromises in bringing everyone along the journey regardless of differentiating opinions or ideas–this is okay. Because embracing the success of others and adversaries versus tearing them down solidifies that we are human and reveals that we are guided by our internal compass not the social pressures that heavily weigh us down.

Being comfortable with who we are will shine the light on what we stand for and ultimately encourage everyone to bring their authentic self to the top layer not beneath it all. Designing our destiny with this in mind will build a solid foundation and alliance no matter where the path ahead unfolds.

Motivation

There are different areas and levels of motivation that drive us personally and professionally–the Motivation Code gives an in-depth look at what taps into the behaviors that draw us to succeed. When we are aligned to the profession and/or environment that brings ultimate satisfaction, there’s less pressure and anxiety because the daily actions taken naturally unfold.

But the research and statistics reveal that most children follow in their parent’s footsteps because of the influence on their future. This article, The Jobs You’re Most Likely to Inherit From Your Mother and Father, published by the New York Times, provides an analysis on son’s and daughter’s likelihood of which job they pursue based on their father or mother’s occupation.

Then some children feel like they have no choice and the pressure from their parents leads them to a career path that does not play upon their unique personality. But on the other hand, some find it as a way to help them decide because they find themselves at the end of their high school year with no direction. Understanding the effect, is important because our future impacts not only the course of the relationship with our parents but also the freedom to choose.

And of course, what deemed to be the most prevalent jobs 10 or 20 years ago, may not be what will fuel innovation and growth in the centuries to come. According to science, we are living in a new geological age, which can propel the children of the future to choose an environmental or scientific career path because they want to help advocate for climate change. According to Robert Half, artificial intelligence and analytics will prove to be areas of demand no matter the industry with the focus on digital transformation. Where to start? There’s a never ending list of occupations within the U.S. job sectors that can help guide the decision and the dreamer, story teller, designer or creative artist has an expanded array of tools and resources at their fingertips to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.

When we design the future of choice, we discover the elements in life that uncover what we are passionate about and showcase not only our talents but also unleash the force behind our motivation. Thus leads us to build a foundation that fulfills our destiny versus slamming into dead ends.

Thrive together to survive the pressure

There’s no one size fits all scenario for growing up and facing the world. We all navigate with risk or guidance from parents and elders who are invested in molding a positive path forward in our well-being–there’s no rule book or online wiki to follow. However, we can’t always believe what we hear or read and need to fall back on our internal compass or gut instinct. And sometimes common sense will prevail if it is too good to be true!

Failing forward sometimes helps us find our way and learn the life lessons that prevent us from recreating a mistake or taking a wrong turn in our destiny. But leaders are not always at liberty to test the waters when it comes to empowering and motivating their colleagues. Taking the time to learn the various personality types that drives them to exceed expectations is critical to maintain morale, achieve goals and foster innovation. The book Fish Can’t See Water, outlines a model for leaders to understand the invisible impact culture has on the success of the business. Thus hiring people with diverse backgrounds cultivates the beliefs and behaviors that defines a company. Taking this into consideration, no matter the difference in opinions extraverts or introverts have, the workforce comes together when there’s a call for the collective power to brainstorm ideas, transform processes, develop products or reshape the strategy.

However, the environment that surrounds the workforce is pivotal in allowing the unique behavior types to be able to flourish. As we all know extraverts need to be around people to fuel their energy while introverts find it draining. This article published by Fast Company, identifies why working remotely takes the pressure off of introverts because the open office structure is designed for extroverts to thrive.

While conversations and articles have pointed out that zoom fatigue evolved during the shift in remote work in 2020, it opened the door to think differently in how to form a hybrid office model that will level out some of the challenges that gripped the world. And leaders have come to realize that some jobs can be performed remotely with the same or better results than in the office–virtual assistant roles increased.

“Anything that can be done on a phone or computer can be done by a virtual assistant,” says Robert Nickell, CEO of Rocket Station, a company that provides virtual services to companies. Source: Forbes “Why Every Virtual Office Needs A Virtual Assistant”

The Forbes article points out the significant rise in virtual assistant demand, it missed highlighting that organizations can leverage their executive assistant at full capacity [if not more] virtually.

But setting personalities aside and different job types, no matter the environment, the struggle that has always triggered fatigue and exhaustion, is the way in which we work. It’s time to upend the office stereotype, and rethink where and how work is done.

“Even before the pandemic, even before remote work, people complained about having too many meetings, but the problem is dramatically exacerbated when those meetings go online,” Source: PC Mag “It’s Time to Digital Detox: How to Put 6 Feet Between You and Your Tech”

While technology definitely feeds into productivity, the complexity of an individual’s life factors into creating a healthy balance. For the extroverts who are looking forward to working in the office, there’s a fraction of society who find themselves losing time in lengthy commutes. And the introverts who thrive in a safe space at home, their anxiety will tip back-up if the choice to work remotely is not an option.

The world was thrown into the unknown but the fundamental way in doing business didn’t pivot like it did in the retail business. Shopper’s went from buying in-store to buying online but office automation did’t experience a dramatic shift–scheduling meetings remain the same.

“The companies that have navigated this the best are the ones that have figured out what’s urgent and how can we plan to make sure that fewer things are urgent,” Slack’s Rayl said. Source: Vox “From AI to Zoom”

Bottom line, if we can solve for the way we organize our work, plan ahead and optimize technology for the task at hand, then we will start to create a space for everyone to thrive together to survive the pressure.

Stir up a new sauce

There’s numerous life lessons that pass us by but if anything has been unearthed this last year in 2020 apart from the pandemic, is living with intention. With a number of outlets shutdown or operating under compressed hours, we found ourselves discovering new ways to be active.

Recent studies published by Pew Research, reveal more people are working from home and statistics shared by SHRM reflect that productivity was not adversely impacted. And the jobs that do not offer teleworking flexibility gave pause to people to circumvent their choice of job they want to be in if they no longer felt comfortable in the public environment due to the risks associated with the pandemic.

When you tap into your innermost being and determine what is of value in life, then you can chip away at what is really working and what is not–living with intention is different from purpose. Many struggle with trying to find their true self and how to fit into society, but what really matters is learning how to be confident in bringing your whole being to light.

When people have a real sense of legacy, a sense of mattering, a sense of contribution, it seems to tap into the deepest part of their heart and soul. It brings out the best and subordinates the rest.” ~ Stephen R. Covey

We hear numerous statements online, in the news and at work, that we will be returning back to normal soon. But what does normal look like? Last year, normal was facing long days of commuting, working, learning or simply struggling to get through one day at a time. We are navigating through a time of change and redefining who we are that propels us into surfacing a new sauce to stir up. Finding the sweet spot in between, maybe the recipe that blends life’s elements together, rather than boiled over into burn out—a normal no one desires to be part of.

By restricting access to toxicity and misinformation, the world around us will become less obscure of negativity because bad news tends to linger in our minds longer than good news. Take action and step into a new normal of living with intention to bring a fresh outlook not only in your job but also at home too. When you create your own story with a dazzle of sunshine, others will want to know what’s in your secret sauce because radiant energy is more captivating than one that carries no beam at all!

Master People Builder

What comes to mind when you give thought to what a master people builder is?

Every position in any organization has a set of job requirements and/or a talent profile that outline a set of criteria and identifies what is needed for a person to be successful in the role. However, there’s one role that does not entirely depict the skills that are critical to meeting expectations of the position–Executive Assistant [EA].

The EA job description gives a glimpse into calendar management, travel planning, expense processing and administrative organization, inclusive but not limited to catering, concierge, communications, event coordinator, facilities and move planning, public relations, recruiter, social media posting, supply chain, tech agent or teleconference specialist. This is a shortlist of areas that most EAs, at some point in time, have been asked to carry out a task to fulfill a critical need to move operations forward.

In the broader scope of career planning, the EA occupation typically falls under business management and administration. Furthermore, there are tasks within the EA position that encompass a number of fields and occupations but do not receive the level of credit or respect because the classification of the role does not reflect as such.

Now taking into consideration that it is impossible to include everything in the scope of all jobs, but there must be differentiated factors identified that tie to the trajectory of any given position. For the career minded and seasoned EA, there is typically no pathway recognized in the organization. But as we progress into the workforce of the future, the perceptions need to be course corrected to allow for the EA occupation to grow and reflect an expanded career pathway–the role has developed a long way from just answering phones and pushing paper. Executives have shifted to lean on their EA to not only run the office in their absence but also trust them to make critical business decisions.

The EA who embodies an administrative aptitude and exceptional business acumen will flourish at the C-level ranks because their focus on building, helping, partnering and uplifting will drive operations to help manage-up the people in the organization–a master people builder at its finest! While this term may not be applicable to all EAs but for those who have endured, delivered and performed in making the most unimaginable task take flight [or who bear witness], will understand that there’s more than meets the eye in the hands that rock the profession.

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