Self Help

I Don't Just Work Here - Felicia Joy

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Matheus Puppe

· 30 min read

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  • The book uses an analogy of boat tours along the Chicago River to explain how the authors’ unique perspectives and backgrounds inform the book’s content.

  • The Chicago Architecture Center offers boat tours where each guide has a specialized area of expertise and crafts a unique tour focused on that perspective (e.g. fashion, engineering). This is compared to how the authors bring their own lived experiences.

  • The authors are business school professors and Fortune 500 advisors who focus on workplace culture. They bring perspectives from academic and corporate settings.

  • Their viewpoints are shaped by their multifaceted identities, experiences before and beyond their current work, and what they’ve encountered since the onset of COVID-19.

  • Felicia is a young Black woman from the American South with a background in politics, non-profits and business. Elena is a young white woman from the American Midwest with experience in non-profits and business school.

  • They met while working at the global PR firm Edelman and have since partnered to write this book applying their specialized perspectives.

  • The authors, Felicia and Elena, met while working at a global communications consulting firm where their professional interests overlapped. They began collaborating on client assignments related to corporate affairs and business transformation.

  • With Felicia’s background in behavioral science and Elena’s interest in the people side of business, they developed a strong portfolio of clients seeking guidance on defining and embedding unique workplace cultures. This was aimed at giving employees a sense of purpose and boosting company performance.

  • The business world has changed significantly since they started partnering professionally. Organizations have had to navigate issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, racial justice protests, reputational damage, supply chain issues, inflation, environmental disasters and political divisions.

  • Companies now face expectations around purpose, boundaries/mental health, and leading social change. Leading people well in this environment requires intentionality and specialized skills that aren’t widely taught.

  • The book aims to provide managers and leaders the mindset and toolkit to meet new workplace expectations. It covers the changed expectations of employees, what successful culture management looks like, and seven key skills and frameworks for building culture with stories from leaders in action.

  • The book is intended for managers, rising leaders, and also addresses the C-suite and boards, recognizing their role in supporting effective culture leadership at different levels.

  • Belonging and being part of a group is an important human instinct for survival. Feeling recognized, included and safe in a group helps humans survive threats.

  • Traditional social and systemic norms allowed racial, ethnic, gender and class supremacy to become entrenched. This is now being challenged as people desire equality and supremacy of any kind to be dismantled.

  • Employees now crave the opportunity to discuss and take action on social issues at work, whereas in the past this was forbidden. They expect employers to be actively involved in cultural debates.

  • People are now showing up to work as “whole humans” rather than just “working humans.” They want their personal interests and outlooks embraced at work, not compartmentalized.

  • Workplace culture is shifting to caring for whole people by creating trust, belonging and community through embracing diversity and inclusiveness. This leads to higher employee commitment, performance and retention.

  • Factors like increased education, geographic stability, diversity, social issue awareness, and the millennial generation have contributed to employees viewing work as a place to find community and pursue social purpose as whole people.

  • The average person now spends about one-third of their life working, even if working remotely from home. Work takes up a substantial portion of people’s lives.

  • Historically in the US, there was an expectation at work to “check your feelings at the door” and avoid discussing political, social or cultural issues that could cause division. This stemmed from the Protestant work ethic where the focus was solely on business.

  • However, the COVID-19 pandemic altered how many view the purpose of work. People want their work to have more purpose beyond just making money. Employees expect employers to care about their well-being and values.

  • Consumer and investor expectations have also changed - they want companies to address social issues. Most employees now choose employers based on alignment with their beliefs and values. They expect companies to take a stand on issues.

  • Managing “whole humans” at work, not just “working humans,” requires more advanced interpersonal skills like cultural competence, empathy and handling tough conversations about health or current events. This can be challenging for some managers used to only discussing business topics.

  • But meeting these new expectations is important for attracting and retaining top talent. A sense of belonging at work due to shared values increases job performance and reduces turnover. Exclusion can cause real pain. So companies need to evolve their workplace cultures.

The passage discusses executives and senior leaders who prefer to maintain the status quo of traditional workplace culture rather than change or adapt. It describes how some leaders want to keep the focus solely on productivity and the “working human” rather than the “whole human” or purpose.

It cites examples like Kodak, Blockbuster, Motorola and Blackberry to show how failing to accept change and adapt business models and culture can lead to irrelevance or failure. Kodak is highlighted for inventing digital photography in the 1970s but resisting change, allowing competitors to surpass them.

The passage then discusses a case where a tire company faced employee dissatisfaction over long work hours and pay cuts. When negotiations stalled, workers went on strike for years. Defective tires were produced during this period and had to be recalled at massive cost after safety issues emerged. Studies later linked the labor disputes to reduced product quality.

In contrast, it mentions Delta Air Lines evolving from crop dusting to passenger flights by accepting changing needs, avoiding potential obsolescence. The passage warns leaders resisting change today similarly risk irrelevance, as employees increasingly demand purpose-driven cultures where they can bring their whole selves to work. Silence or dismissing changes will not stop them, it argues, and following the path of adaption is safer for business success.

  • The passage discusses the need for managers to develop new skills as community leaders, in order to properly support employees’ whole well-being and sense of community at work.

  • Research shows that most employee engagement is influenced by daily interactions with their direct team and manager. Managers thus play a key role in shaping workplace culture and building trust.

  • Developing a community leader-like approach requires a mindset shift for managers, prioritizing employee well-being over just business results.

  • It also involves cultivating seven key skills: conversing, listening, empathizing, decision-making, representing others, persuading, and forgiving.

  • With this approach, managers can better understand employees, create engagement and purpose, and build the mutual trust necessary for high performance in modern workplaces. The data shows prioritizing well-being does not undermine results, but rather directly correlates with employee willingness to extend trust to leaders.

In summary, the passage advocates for managers to evolve their role to that of community leaders, in order to effectively support today’s workforce needs through relationship-building, trust and a well-being focused mindset and skillset.

  • A survey found that employees had low trust in their organizations, with only 27% trusting their CEO and 43% trusting their direct manager.

  • Adopting a “people-first” mindset where employee well-being is the priority can help increase employee trust and motivation to work harder. Focusing on people leads to improved productivity.

  • Managing employees now requires skills like conversing, listening, decision-making, representing others, persuading, forgiving, and empathizing. Traditional business education and training lacks a focus on these skills, especially in the context of workplace culture.

  • Several top business schools are introducing new programs focused on topics like the role of business in society, addressing this gap. However, changes to business education will take time to impact corporate leadership.

  • Creating an inclusive workplace culture is not just the work of the HR department. While job descriptions may not explicitly state it, managers are now expected to demonstrate behaviors that support employee well-being, engagement, and trust as part of their daily responsibilities.

This scenario describes an established healthcare company facing challenges with employee burnout and turnover after the initial surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new CEO, Dave, recognizes the need to prioritize workplace culture in order to address these issues and improve financial performance.

Dave works with the new Chief People Officer to take ownership of employee engagement and lead cultural change initiatives. They establish flexible work policies, implement regular in-person employee meetings, develop mental health resources, and train people managers. Dave relentlessly promotes these programs and makes culture a top priority across the C-suite.

The scenario outlines how different roles, including the CEO, CPO, CSO, C-suite, people managers and a local university, can work together to shared responsibility for cultural change. It emphasizes the CEO’s leadership role in driving consensus and accountability for prioritizing employee well-being.

  • Dee, the Chief People Officer, wants to ensure there is support for middle managers as they implement the new focus on mental health and culture. She recognizes managers need guidance on how to handle specific situations.

  • Dee is concerned about each department coming up with their own plans without coordination. She wants to form a working group to oversee a consistent strategy.

  • Dee meets with Corey, the Chief Operating Officer, because operational routines and policies also need to support the cultural changes, not just new trainings and resources from HR.

  • Dee proposes they audit operations together to identify:

    • What operational issues could discourage conversations about mental health? Like lack of private spaces or tech problems for remote teams.
    • What operational processes take up excessive time from managers, preventing them from focusing on their teams?
  • Corey is initially skeptical but finds the idea of examining overly labor-intensive processes compelling, as it has long been a complaint in the organization.

  • The summary focuses on Dee seeking partnership from operations to ensure cultural changes are supported at both the strategic level with resources, but also practically through work routines and policies.

Here is a summary of the key points from the conversation:

  • Anjuli explained that in the past, the organization had launched a “Culture Week” initiative that focused more on giving promotional items to employees rather than meaningful cultural changes. This left a negative impression that the new culture priorities may just be superficial.

  • It will be important to convince employees that this time, the focus on culture will have real impact and not just be another botched initiative. Lessons can be learned from the past Culture Week experience.

  • Anjuli appreciated receiving mental health training but requested it also be provided to remote employees. Since some of her team members who manage vendors work remotely, they should receive the same support and learning opportunities.

  • Engaging frontline managers like Anjuli will be critical for executing the cultural changes. She understood the priorities and provided valuable employee perspective and recommendations to consider when implementing new initiatives.

The key takeaways are around learning from past failures, ensuring remote employees feel included, and the importance of partnering with frontline managers in cultural change efforts. Anjuli demonstrated understanding of the goals and offered constructive feedback to help achieve them.

  • Chana is the CEO of a startup focused on creating recycled paper fabric for outerwear. She co-founded the company with Jamie and Lane.

  • They have been trying to hire a fourth generalist role for three months but keep losing candidates late in the process.

  • Chana interviewed two past candidates who said they found the competitive work environment off-putting and inconsistent with their view of a social impact company.

  • Chana realized they need to clearly define their unique culture that combines social impact and competition. This will help attract the right candidates and employees.

  • She plans a 3-hour workshop with the team to clarify their purpose, values and behaviors. The goals are to define their stance on social impact/competition and how to communicate this internally and externally.

  • Chana will facilitate the meeting and get the team to agree on a purpose statement, 3 values and 3 behaviors by the end of it to guide their culture and talent strategy going forward.

  • The company held a workshop to define its purpose, values, and behaviors. This would help set cultural expectations for employees.

  • As COO, Jamie saw this as an opportunity to clarify the expectations for an open generalist role that had been difficult to fill. She updated the job posting with the new cultural messaging.

  • A candidate, Leon, questioned how the “not dwelling on feelings” value would apply. This prompted discussion on how to encourage discussions of social issues without slowing their fast pace.

  • As CFO, Lane initially viewed culture work as unnecessary. But when she saw its impact on hiring, she wanted to discuss culture in investor meetings to show how it drove business performance.

  • In summary, clearly defining company culture helped the leadership roles better communicate expectations for employees and showcase culture’s link to business goals in fundraising. This would allow them to find strong cultural fits and emphasize culture’s role in operations and financial results.

The passage discusses the evolving role and importance of managers in today’s corporations. It argues that managing people now requires developing a strong sense of personal purpose.

Key points:

  • Culture work is critical for companies and helps drive business strategy. Managers play a key role in shaping workplace culture.

  • Corporations are shifting focus from shareholder value to stakeholder value, distributing power throughout organizations. The workplace has become more like a community space.

  • Managers have significant influence over employees and can help support their growth and connection. Poor social connections pose risks to individuals’ well-being.

  • To be effective, managers must understand both business and people. Their job requires cultural competency, emotional intelligence, and balancing confidence with humility.

  • Employees particularly seek purpose and community at work. Managers should ensure they want to develop people and are committed to building strong leadership skills for shaping culture.

  • By creating an inclusive culture, managers can help address societal challenges and work towards a better world. Their role has evolved to developing future leaders through mentorship.

Here is a summary of the key points in this section:

  • Effective communication is important for managing workplace culture but many managers have poor communication skills.

  • Communication needs have evolved from clarity/compliance issues to those around identity/values as employees seek purpose and self-expression.

  • Clarity/compliance issues stem from lack of understanding work, processes, policies, expectations, etc. Identity/values issues arise when people feel threatened or injured in their identity or values.

  • Addressing clarity/compliance issues involves reviewing feedback for confusion, misunderstanding, conflicting information, priorities, etc. and providing clear guidance, set priorities, graduated deadlines.

  • Identity/values issues require more advanced communication skills to create safe, inclusive spaces for diverse identities and opinions to be expressed. Managers must validate different perspectives are acceptable.

  • Addressing both types of issues is important for developing a high-impact culture responsive to current workplace expectations. Communication needs to be improved throughout organizations.

So in summary, it outlines the changing nature of communication needs, how to identify and address clarity/compliance versus identity/values issues, and the importance of communication skills for managing modern workplace culture.

The passage suggests some ways to improve communications around identity and values issues in the workplace. It recommends managers identify such issues by conducting informal surveys or conversations with employees to get their perspectives.

To address identified issues, managers could establish new policies, rules, or behavioral norms and ensure effective communication of these changes. However, it notes that fully solving deeper societal or systemic problems may not be possible. The focus should be on acknowledging employees’ perspectives while scoping the problem to something actionable.

Key barriers to communicating on these topics include various anxieties felt by both managers and employees. It recommends developing skills like conversational and feedback receptiveness to help overcome anxieties. Teams can practice these skills through low-stakes discussions to build trust before tackling more sensitive issues.

A framework called “Conversations That Matter” is presented for structuring productive discussions. It involves clarifying the topic, exploring options, and committing to specific actions. Regular practice of skills like active listening, asking open questions, and following up on agreements can help teams have more constructive conversations around challenging identity and values issues. The goal is acknowledging different perspectives respectfully while still making progress.

The passage discusses the importance of listening styles and adapting one’s listening approach based on the situation. It draws parallels between Craig Wortmann’s teachings on effectively networking at cocktail parties and balancing work goals with enjoyment, and adapting one’s listening style for maximum effectiveness and understanding.

Four main listening styles are defined: analytical, which focuses on problem-solving; relational, aimed at building relationships and showing empathy; critical, which evaluates both content and the speaker; and task-focused, prioritizing efficient communication. The key is diagnosing which style fits the situation best.

To actually listen well, the passage recommends paying close attention by eliminating distractions, making eye contact, paraphrasing to confirm understanding, and refocusing the mind when it starts to wander.

Finally, it discusses common “bad listening” pitfalls like being too opinionated, grouchy, distracted, dominant or deferential. Managers should avoid leading questions and strive for neutral engagement. The overall message is that listening, like networking, requires an adaptive approach tailored to the context and intended outcomes. Effectively diagnosing and applying the right style supports clear understanding and productive discussions.

Here is a summary of the key points about empathy from the passage:

  • There are three types of empathy: emotional empathy, cognitive empathy, and empathic concern. Having all three leads to the most effective empathy.

  • Emotional empathy involves understanding how others are feeling. Cognitive empathy involves taking their perspective and imagining how they see a situation. Empathic concern involves taking action to show you care and support them.

  • Some managers worry empathy will make teams weak or that they’ll have to constantly support people emotionally. But empathy can be built as a skill, not just a personality trait.

  • Even tough organizations like the US Marines value principles related to empathy, like justice, courage, loyalty, which involve connecting with and supporting others.

  • The style of expressing empathy depends on organizational culture, but the mindset of empathy can be applied in any organization. Empathy and strength are not opposites.

  • People are more capable of empathy when they believe in their ability to empathize and see it as a strength rather than a weakness. Developing all three types of empathy leads to the most effective expression of it.

Here is a summary of the key points about enacting empathy from the passage:

  • Get to know each person on your team by asking questions about their career goals, motivation, interests, likes/dislikes about their work, etc. This helps build understanding of their perspective.

  • Create an empathy-inducing environment where people don’t feel criticized or competitive with each other. An environment of trust, support and collaboration better promotes empathy.

  • Give honest and frequent feedback. Providing constructive feedback, even if critical, shows you care about people improving. Withholding feedback hurts empathy and development. Fear of giving feedback should not stop leaders from helping teams grow.

  • Empathy is affected not just by individual people but the larger environment/culture. Leaders must pay attention to how their actions and company policies/norms impact empathy levels among employees. An apathetic or cynical culture can undermine empathy.

So in summary, the key is getting to know people individually, establishing a supportive team culture, and communicating openly through feedback to help others improve - all of which require understanding different perspectives to enact empathy in an organization.

  • The chapter discusses decision-making in challenging situations, using Allstate CEO Tom Wilson’s approach as an example.

  • When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Wilson created a “Societal Engagement Framework” using Allstate’s core values to determine if/how they should respond.

  • The framework includes 5 filters: 1) Will this help customers? 2) Do we know about the issue? 3) Can we effect change? 4) Potential employee impacts? 5) Potential reputation impacts?

  • Applying the framework, Wilson explained why climate change was an issue Allstate would lead on, while Roe v. Wade was more of an internal employee issue.

  • The chapter argues managers need decision frameworks to make values-driven, transparent choices and justify them if needed. Having core values and a scoring system helps evaluate various factors objectively and subjectively.

  • Good judgment, clear communication, and fairness are important for managerial decisions that often lack objectively right answers but require reasonable justification. Decision frameworks provide a tool for decision-making and explaining choices to employees.

Here are the key points made in the summary:

  • The class is a 3-day continuing education program on negotiation skills. Students have come from various professions like law, real estate, etc. that involve dealmaking.

  • One student described her job as a “general people manager.” When asked what negotiations she had to do, she was caught off guard by the professor’s question.

  • As a people manager, she has to negotiate things like priorities with her team, decisions around organizational changes, resource allocation, performance reviews, conflict resolution, etc.

  • While these may not seem like traditional “negotiations,” they do require influence, compromise and problem solving - core skills taught in negotiation courses.

  • She had to advocate for her own perspective and negotiate acceptable outcomes with various stakeholders, making negotiation skills relevant for her role.

  • The professor seemed initially doubtful of how negotiation skills applied to a general manager role, not seeing people management as involving negotiations.

  • However, the student explained her experiences persuasively, changing the professor’s view that the course could benefit people managers as well through practical scenarios.

So in summary, it highlights how negotiation skills are relevant not just for traditional dealmaking roles but also people management, and how the student effectively persuaded the professor of this through sharing her experiences.

The passage discusses the importance of negotiation and persuasion skills in managing workplace culture and relationships. While negotiation involves compromise between two parties, persuasion is about convincing others to do what you want. Both skills are needed in managing internal colleagues and cultural issues.

It recommends developing persuasion tactics through increasing likability, as research shows people are more easily persuaded by those they like. Specific tactics mentioned are giving frequent sincere compliments to colleagues. When persuading others on cultural topics, it’s important to tie suggestions back to business goals and company values to make the argument more compelling.

Compromise is also advocated for as an important leadership skill when dealing with potentially polarizing cultural changes. Not all employee demands can or should be met immediately, so finding middle ground that still makes progress is preferable to refusing to negotiate. Overall, the passage emphasizes soft social and relationship skills like likability, compliments, finding common ground and compromise as being key to effectively managing workplace culture discussions.

The passage discusses the importance of forgiveness in the workplace given increasing diversity. It defines forgiveness as letting go of ill feelings toward someone who has harmed you, regardless of whether they deserve it. Forgiveness is both an emotional and behavioral shift - mentally deciding to forget or reposition the offense as irrelevant, which naturally changes interactions.

Unforgiveness can be stifling, leading to negative health, anxiety, conflicts and losses. But organizations with leaders who model forgiveness can benefit from a more peaceful culture.

The REACH model is presented as a way to forgive - Recall the hurt, Empathize with the other, see Altruism as a gift, Commit to forgiveness, and Hold onto forgiveness. This involves reflecting on what hurt you, understanding the other perspective, remembering times you were forgiven, repeatedly committing to letting go of anger, and revisiting the process if negative feelings resurface. Forgiveness takes practice but becomes easier.

  • The chapter profiles two leaders who exemplify the skills needed for today’s workplace: a pastor/nonprofit founder named James and a leader named Sarah from an interfaith education organization.

  • Pastor James founded a community nonprofit and leads a local church. He is determined, builds coalitions across different groups, and combines religious focus with business skills. He is an effective fundraiser, advocate, and networker who gets things done in his neighborhood and city.

  • Pastor James learned his leadership skills through his faith-based training and work. He is quoted Scripture and complements his religious focus with business skills. His interactions with various groups show his skills in conversing, listening, empathizing, deciding, representing, persuading, and forgiving.

  • Sarah leads an interfaith education organization. She is quoted explaining how her work fosters understanding between different faiths through open discussions. Her organization’s programs indicate training in conversing across differences, finding common ground, building trust, and resolving tensions - all important workplace skills.

  • Both Pastor James and Sarah exemplify the new skills needed for today’s collaborative workplaces. Their fields of faith-based work and interfaith education explicitly train people in skills like conversation, empathy, decision-making and resolving conflicts.

Here is a summary of the key skills and insights shared by Pastor James and Luisa:

  • Pastor James learned to converse by being put in uncomfortable social situations as a child, where he had to strike up conversations with strangers. He refined this skill in seminary where he was often the only Black student. He sees these “forced interactions” as formative experiences.

  • Pastor James is a strong listener because he believes you can’t make a good argument without listening to the other side first. For him, listening is about gathering information to strengthen his own position.

  • When making decisions, Pastor James takes a methodical approach, ensuring he hears all arguments before acting. He waits at least 24 hours before making a decision to avoid rushing.

  • To represent others effectively, Pastor James quotes them directly rather than paraphrasing. He also finds common ground to unite different groups.

  • Pastor James is most persuasive one-on-one or in large groups, as these settings allow for direct addressing of concerns or being inspired by collective energy.

  • Pastor James believes in thoroughly forgetting hurts or resentments from the past in order to truly forgive others.

  • Luisa is measured and prepares carefully for conversations by planning introductory remarks or questions. She acts as a facilitator rather than focusing solely on providing information.

  • Luisa listens for the true intention behind what others are saying rather than just their surface words. She analyzes conversations like a radiologist examining an X-ray.

  • Both emphasize the importance of listening to understand different perspectives, taking time for thoughtful decision-making, finding unity among diverse groups, and moving past hurts to enable forgiveness and productive relationships.

  • Daniel and Karine are business leaders who work for large, global corporations. They were interviewed about learning the 7 skills advocated in the book.

  • Unlike Pastor James and Luisa, Daniel and Karine did not receive formal education on these skills as they typically work in environments that previously focused solely on work.

  • However, their employees now expect to balance work with discussion of societal, political, and personal issues. So Daniel and Karine have had to adjust their management styles.

  • The article profiles how Daniel and Karine are in the process of learning the new skills. It provides examples of corporate leaders adapting to changing expectations, even without initial training in these skills.

  • The purpose is to demonstrate that learning the skills is an ongoing process, not something that is instantly mastered. Seeing leaders learn helps readers understand they too can develop these abilities over time through practice and experience.

The key point is the article humanizes the process by showing respected business leaders still learning and adapting, rather than positioning the skills as something only attained experts possess. This makes the skills seem more approachable and achievable for the intended manager audience.

  • Daniel started his career in politics and is now a leader in consulting overseeing a large team. He recognizes the personal challenges team members face.

  • Daniel is direct, confident, and always responds quickly. He draws on data to guide decisions and finds time to listen to others despite his busy schedule.

  • Reflecting on the pandemic, Daniel said he was transformed by prioritizing work-life balance over always being available for work. This included making dinner with his family a firm commitment.

  • Daniel believes the workplace encourages more civil discourse compared to the polarized external world. He sees the office as a “safe space” for respectful debates.

  • Daniel emphasizes the importance of listening over talking based on his mother’s advice. He sees listening as valuable for understanding others’ perspectives.

  • Daniel consults a small group of trusted advisors when making decisions to understand different viewpoints and gauge the appropriate response.

  • Daniel values short, impromptu conversations as much as longer scheduled meetings to genuinely connect with and represent his team.

  • Daniel is open to discussions on challenging topics but recognizes his own limitations. He supports leadership trainings to facilitate understanding.

Daniel and Karine discuss important leadership skills for effectively influencing and representing others.

Daniel emphasizes the importance of personal integrity for building trust and being persuasive. He cautions against overreliance on data and performance metrics, which can vary over time. Instead, he focuses on his reputation for high integrity, which provides a more stable foundation for challenging conversations.

Both Daniel and Karine stress the importance of forgiveness. Daniel notes society struggles with forgiveness, which hinders problem solving. Karine emphasizes containing competitiveness, making gestures of reconciliation, and moving forward productively.

Karine discusses the need for open conversations to set an inclusive tone at work. As a leader, issuing statements against intolerance is important to invite discussion. She also stresses active listening to understand each person’s perspective on diversity and bring authenticity to the workplace.

Representing views different than one’s own requires compartmentalization of personal and professional identities. Empathy is key to advocating for others’ positions persuasively and ensuring diverse views are heard. Integrity, forgiveness, conversation, listening and advocacy are leadership skills that help influence stakeholders and represent the interests of all.

Here are the key points made in the counterpoint and response:

  • Counterpoint: A finance professional named Joe argues that these types of conversations about social and political issues should be kept outside of work because there is no time for them at work. People are at work to get their jobs done, not have discussions that could be distracting or divisive.

  • Response: While getting work done is important, avoiding these topics completely is no longer a viable option. Silence can be interpreted as taking a stance. However, openly allowing any type of discussion could be risky without proper training.

  • The response advocates for skill development to have these conversations constructively. Training people on how to discuss controversial issues respectfully and productively can help mitigate risks, rather than avoiding the topics altogether.

  • Leadership development is especially important, as leaders serve as models for the expected behaviors and culture of an organization. Guiding leaders to have wise, diplomatic discussions sets the tone for how everyone can engage with these topics at work in a low-risk manner.

The key takeaway emphasizes that risk mitigation, through skills training rather than policies or avoidance, allows companies to have necessary conversations about social and political issues while minimizing potential challenges like distraction, division or legal issues that could arise from them. Both viewpoints raise valid considerations for organizations to thoughtfully manage.

  • The passage discusses the importance of finding a partner to help navigate new workplace culture expectations and develop leadership skills.

  • An effective partner is someone to openly discuss progress, mistakes, and challenges with. They can co-facilitate difficult conversations, provide candid feedback, and push or advise on new policies/procedures.

  • The key is finding someone who views the work as a shared (“our”) responsibility rather than an individual (“your”) responsibility.

  • Tackling hard tasks can feel more possible with a partner to do it alongside. The podcast Partners examines the power of professional partnerships in achieving things that may seem too difficult alone.

  • In closing, having an accountability partner is recommended to truly practice and master the new leadership capabilities needed for today’s evolving workplace culture.

This section shares the origin story of chef and cookbook author Samin Nosrat’s bestselling cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Nosrat did not initially want to write the book because she felt that “that book won’t have beautiful photos.” However, her writing mentor Michael Pollan encouraged her to write it based on the strengths of the concept.

Nosrat wrote the book after finding the right partner in illustrator Wendy MacNaughton. MacNaughton’s illustrations were seen as core to the book, just as important as the recipes.

The authors draw a parallel to their own writing partnership. Just as Nosrat may have convinced herself not to write without beautiful photos, author Elena is described as formal and apprehensive, reluctant to take on projects without being sure of success. Meanwhile, author Felicia is said to push them to consider projects confident that challenges can be overcome.

Their contrasting skills allow them to take on challenging work and do their best work together. They advocate that all managers find a partner to take on managing new workplace culture initiatives, as it is asking a lot and should not be a solo venture. A partnership can help flag reasons to move forward when one is focused on reasons not to.

Here is a summary of the key points from the article on mental health in the workplace:

  • Mental health issues are becoming more prevalent and affecting employees and workplaces. An estimated 1 in 5 adults in the US experience mental illness each year.

  • Left unaddressed, mental health issues can negatively impact employee engagement, productivity, absenteeism and turnover. They also increase healthcare costs.

  • Many employers are increasing mental health resources like EAP programs, on-site counseling, mental health days. Some are addressing underlying workplace factors that can contribute to stress.

  • Integrating mental health support is becoming an important part of employee well-being, benefits offerings and culture initiatives. It improves workplace culture, recruitment and retention.

  • Remote and hybrid work during the pandemic placed additional strain on work-life balance and mental health. Employers had to adapt resources and policies accordingly.

  • Going forward, mental health is expected to move from a peripheral issue to a strategic priority for businesses. An integrated, holistic approach addressing both individual and systemic causes will be key.

The article discusses the growing recognition in workplaces of the importance of mental health and wellness, and how employers are responding by expanding resources and emphasizing mental health as part of a positive culture and high employee engagement/retention. The impact of the pandemic on work models and mental health is also covered.

Here is a summary of the key points from the 2021 Porter Novelli Business & Social Justice Study:

  • There is growing pressure on businesses from consumers, employees and investors to take stances and actions on important social and political issues. More expect companies to represent their values through both words and actions.

  • Younger generations, especially Gen Z and millennials, are most interested in companies that share their values and will consider values alignment in their purchasing and career decisions.

  • Taking public stances on issues can be risky for companies but not taking a stance is also becoming riskier. Companies are under pressure to thoughtfully consider their positions.

  • Internal company culture is as important as external actions. Employees want to feel their values are represented by company leadership and policies. Diversity, inclusion and belonging are high priorities.

  • Listening to diverse viewpoints internally and being willing to have difficult conversations is important for understanding different perspectives. Companies should thoughtfully consider all stakeholder views.

  • Leadership on social issues requires consistency between words and actions over time. Stances must be backed by real programs, policies and investments to be credible. Performative actions are not enough.

  • Successful navigation of social issues demands bringing together business, legal/compliance and communications teams to thoughtfully consider risks and opportunities. A united, thoughtful approach is best.

The passage discusses managing people or “whole humans” in the workplace. It talks about the benefits and challenges of managing whole humans and considering their well-being, not just performance. There has been a shift in the purpose of work and what employees value, prompting a metamorphosis in workplace culture.

New workplace cultures focus more on work as part of life and balancing work with other priorities like community and family. They also emphasize aligning different work teams and listening to employees. This represents a change from previous norms where employees were viewed more like working machines than whole humans.

Managing whole humans requires a different approach focused on work-life balance, employees’ value systems, and having tough but important conversations. The passage suggests the responsible parties are managers and the workplace culture/environment itself. There has been an operational and cultural change driving a new purpose for work and expectations of the modern workplace.

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About Matheus Puppe