All posts by Sue Falcone

About Sue Falcone

Sue Falcone is the Founder and CEO of the newly re-branded Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau. The Stress-free Way to Find a Speaker! Compelling storytellers. Motivational masters. Best selling authors and award-winning entertainers — we have gathered together the speakers that’ll make your events Remarkable. Those We Serve Include: ● Fortune 500 Companies ● Professional Business Associations ● Major TV Networks ● Non-Profit Organizations ● Major Universities "Trusted by America’s Top Meeting and Event Planners" Dean Waye- Global Techical Sales Manager Contact us at 888-766-3155 and see how we earn the right to be the first phone call for the top event planners around the world!

How Story Helps People Deal With Risk

Someone asked me a brilliant question on LinkedIn, and I thought I’d share my answer in case you are struggling with the same thing. I’m in a hurry, so I just cut and pasted my answer. Excuse any typos or grammatical errors. It was just too long to do this as a post. 🙂

Question: I’m sitting in your virtual storytelling session and the way you talk about framing your stories for buy in resonates! I work with CEO’s and boards driving who are worried about the risk of new strategies – buy in is essential. How do you find storytelling helps people deal with risk ?

My Answer: Hi! Glad you found value in the session. It really only scratches the surface of what story can do to raise one’s level of influence and persuasion. This would be a great topic for a podcast or an article. But let me see if I can answer your question here in a succinct way.  First of all, I’m hearing you say that getting buy in is critical, and can be hard especially when there is risk involved in what you’re “selling” to your employee/market/etc. 

Let me first begin by saying that getting buy-in is about finding a way to go from telling someone what they need to do – to make them actually WANT to do it. This is done by tapping into what their specific pains and desires are and the emotions attached to them. This is why the story works so well because data isn’t emotional.  Your story can mirror their situation (and what’s in this for them) in a way that is non-threatening and allows them to come to their own conclusions.  So first step in using Story is understanding why and how it works. Most people just know it’s important, and they can’t figure out why they aren’t using strategic storytelling well. 

So to recap so far: Story helps you get buy in by creating an emotional connection between teller and listener, and illustrating the problem THEY have and how your solution will help with their pain/desire and the emotion you have strategically illustrated in the story.

Now let’s move on to the risk factor.  When you’re selling this idea/vision that has high risk, you would obviously tell them why this risk is worth taking, and illustrate the pay off while minimizing the consequences.  The answer to this is your data, story is the illustration of that data. Both work together when you persuade. So you would find a story that simply illustrates how someone used your vision (product, solution, etc.) and it had a positive pay off. The point to remember is that the story is simply a tool to illustrate the data – and its beauty is that it makes it emotional. Story makes them care about what you care about, because it relates to what they care about. And story makes YOU, the “seller” of this vision, human to them, which is also important if your “buyer” doesn’t really trust you. Selling (and we’re always selling when we persuade) is about getting someone to like you, trust you, believe you, and feel like they know you.  Story SHOWS who you are without having to tell them. Facts tell. Stories sell.

The last point I want to make is that often risk can be equated to change. People are afraid of the unknown – and new ideas and innovation is just that, creating something nobody has ever seen before.  When it comes to change, we often mistakenly assume that everybody is afraid of it. When in truth, it’s not change they are afraid of, but being unprepared for it. Story allows them to walk through this change, test drive the new idea, so they feel more prepared. It’s kind of like how we take our five year old to school the day before school, and walk him through the “story” of what the day will look and feel like, to lessen the anxiety.

I hope this answers your question in a way that adds value to what you are trying to accomplish. The story is a complicated (or rather content-rich) subject. You can’t sit in a class and expect to walk out knowing how to use it. I have spent my LIFE studying it, and am still amazed at new discoveries.  

Kelly Swanson is a motivational keynote business speaker who makes people laugh, reminds them of their value, teaches them how to use humor to see beyond the obstacles in the workplace, and shows them how to be unforgettable because people don’t buy from people they don’t remember. In addition to her role as a funny motivational speaker, Kelly teaches people how she does it by sharing what she has learned about connecting and engaging to have more influence in business, through the use of one tool – strategic storytelling! To Book Kelly for your next virtual, In-person or Hybrid contact us today at 888-766-3155 or https://bit.ly/3y8ZJjD

Why is it So Hard to be Happy?

You want to be happy. You want to be less stressed. You want the good times to outweigh the bad. So why is it so hard to be happy, even when you want it?

For many of us, we’re going about happiness the wrong way. Thanks to our culture, the media, and just plain misunderstanding, we’re looking for happiness in all the wrong places. (And I want to be clear, here: if you struggle with mental health challenges like depression and anxiety, it’s not your fault. You aren’t depressed because you’re looking for happiness incorrectly. For you, it’s hard to be happy because of the chemicals in your brain, not because of your behavior. Keep reading if you want to, or bookmark this for later, but know I’m not talking to you).

But for most of us, a better path to happiness is possible. It just requires a few behavior shifts.

The Bad Stuff Really Does Outweigh the Good

Your brain isn’t your best friend when it comes to happiness. Your brain is wired to be much more sensitive to bad news and threats than it is to good things That makes sense when you think about your caveman ancestors, who needed to be ready to run if they caught even the smallest glimpse of a predator. It’s called negativity bias, and it’s a system that evolved to keep you safe from threats. But in today’s world, you don’t need to run from predators quite so often, yet your brain still pays more attention to negative experiences versus positive ones.

Scientists say it takes 5 positive experiences to outweigh 1 negative experience. But the real key isn’t to just have 5 positive experiences, you have to notice that you’re having them! So as you go about your day, take note of the good things that happen. Did someone let you merge on the highway instead of being a jerk? Did your colleague praise your work? Did your kid say “I love you” without being prompted? If you force yourself to pay attention to the good stuff, too, you’ll find it easier to outbalance the bad stuff 5 to 1.

The Happy Social Media Effect

Social media has its good points. It can help us feel more connected to our networks, which is a strategy that can build happiness. But many people feel more dis-connected when they spend time on social media. The online world allows us to glimpse all the fun, happy times other people are having, and we naturally compare our own lives to what we see on the screen.

I love the Anne Lamott quote “Never compare your insides to somebody else’s outsides.” But that’s exactly what we do on social media! We see the bright shiny image that the person on the other side wants us to see, and that’s all. And then we compare that to our own internal worries, doubts, and struggles, and we come up short in comparison. But the person posting on social media has worries, doubts, and struggles, too! They just aren’t posting those moments. If you need to take a social media break, do it. Or at least hide the people who make you feel less-than. Make social media work for you, not the other way around.

You Can’t Chase Happiness

If you want to be happy, it makes sense that pursuing happiness should be a priority. But that’s the exact wrong way to go about it. In fact, research suggests that pursuing happiness can lead to decreased happiness. Especially in the US, our cultural expectations for pursuing happiness can lead us down the wrong paths, like expecting a big work promotion to make us satisfied.

Instead of chasing happiness, it’s more important to chase “meaning.” Meaning is the idea that we know our purpose and are fulfilling our purpose. Meaning isn’t as in-the-moment joyful as happiness might be, but meaning provides the long-term satisfaction and contentment that lasts. To start chasing meaning instead of happiness, think about the moments when you feel like you come alive. Think about serving the greater good. Think about what drives you to keep going. When you tie all those concepts together, you’ll be on the road to finding your meaning. And meaning makes your heart glow for a lifetime, while happiness can be fleeting.

It’s not easy to be happy. But it IS possible, if you pay attention to the things that truly matter.

Courtney Clark is the luckiest unlucky person in the world! At age 26, she beat cancer. But five years later, doctors told her that a routine scan of her brain showed an aneurysm that was about to rupture! What would you do? Courtney realized as she laid in bed that she had a choice to make on how to move forward! Now she teaches others how to make that same choice too, no matter the situation! Call 888-766-3155 to book Courtney for your next virtual or in-person event.

4 C’s to an ICONIC Mindset; How to Thrive in 2021 and Beyond

Without question 2020 was an unforgettable year of challenges, unsuspected turns, and sudden surprises. American Professor of Mathematics at Temple University, John Allen Paulos said, “Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” The fact is a lot of the things happening around us are outside of our control, but despite that, you can maintain an ICONIC Mindset.

A person’s ability to thrive in times of uncertainty is how well they can shift their mindset, remain adaptable and flexible and learn how to apply some practical survival techniques. During this podcast episode, John and Calvin discuss the 4 C’s of an ICONIC Mindset. Listen and learn how you can apply these 4 C’s to your daily life and thrive during 2021 and beyond.

  • 0:00:58 – Intro: 4 C’s of an ICONIC Mindset
  • 0:09:32 – Celebrate Innovation
  • 0:15:37 – Commit to Curiosity
  • 0:20:21 – Cultivate Connections
  • 0:28:23 – Choose Optimism
  • 0:35:23 – ICONIC Points

To learn more about John Avola and Calvin Stovall, visit iconicpresentations.net. All The ICONIC Mindset episodes can be downloaded at theiconicmindset.com. If you enjoyed listening to this episode, please subscribe to our show.  Remember to select a star rating and/or write a review for The ICONIC Mindset podcast.

Calvin Stovall, Keynote Speaker, specializes in delivering high-energy, customized keynote presentations for organizations that desire to reach or maintain ICONIC status. He focuses on delivering the perfect blend of business concepts, story-telling, and music themes to bring home an impactful message that touches both the heads and hearts of his audiences. To Book Calvin for your next virtual or hybrid event call 888-766-3155.

Fear of Moving On!

This isn’t your Grandma’s FOMO
We’re not talking about “Fear Of Missing Out” but rather…
FEAR OF MOVING ON

The time hasn’t come to “go back” to work, but the time has come to move on with life.

We’re getting closer to a solution that enables us to gather together safely.

We’re getting closer to a time where offices won’t be empty.

And that’s scaring some people!

So what’s to blame for this new FOMO – FOMO 2.0?
🔹 The same culprit that sabotages your change efforts at work.
🔹 The same culture that said “work from home will never work for us” prior to this pandemic.

The Three Deadly C’s:
🚫 COMPARISON
🚫 CONTROL
🚫 COMPLACENCY

So if you’re feeling a pang of anxiety when approaching change, here are three strategies to try:
👍🏼 Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Strive to be better than THAT person.
👍🏼 Instead of trying to control the situation, focus on how you can control your response. That’s ALWAYS within your control.
👍🏼 Make peace with the fact that life is constant improvement. Biologists call it evolution. “Trying to maintain is a fool’s game”

Go be the change you want to see in the world my friends! 😍

Gregory Offner is the “Man with a Million Dollar Voice!” He is an expert at Disruption having recently spent over 2 months in total silence as a result of 14 surgeries needed to repair and rebuild his vocal cords. That was the critical spark needed for Greg to know how to help individuals and organizations identify the one change that can change everything! To book Gregory for your next virtual or hybrid event contact us today at 888-766-3155.

THESE 7 TIME-MANAGEMENT SKILLS WILL GET YOU TO THE SUCCESS THAT YOU WANT

Effective time management is about being the master of your time rather than a slave to time-wasting. Knowing how to manage time is critical to success on any level- personal, professional, and organizational. Get this:

  • Up to 80% of the average working day is spent on activities that do not promote you
  • Only 17% of Americans track their time
  • 46% of stress reported among employees in the US is caused by poor time management and getting overwhelmed as a result
  • 87% of students could achieve better grades if they had better time management skills.

Here are 7 tips for you, so that you can be the master of your time rather than a slave to it:

TIP #1: SET GOALS. NO GOALS= NO DIRECTION.

Think of goal setting as if you are the captain of a ship. You have just looked into the GPS of the ship and said: “What am I putting into the GPS of the ship of my life?” If you fail to program the GPS, you don’t set your goals. You just drift in the sea. You’ll end up somewhere, doing something, living somehow. However, you need to be able to determine for yourself what to program into that GPS. Where are you going?

To manage your time, you need to ask yourself: “What am I managing it for? What are my goals?”

Write down your goals and keep your goal list short, including no more than three. What are you looking to accomplish today? What are you going to accomplish this year? What are you putting in the GPS of the ship of your life?

TIP #2: LEARN TO BE QUICK AND HARSH WITH PRIORITIZING

We are bombarded with many tasks and so many other things that we want to do. We tend to multitask throughout our day and overextend ourselves. When the day ends, we ask ourselves: “What did I accomplish today? I ran around all day, but what did I actually accomplish?”

That’s because we tend to spend major time on minor things. The things that matter less tend to take most of our day.

Prioritize by making 2-second decisions on what matters the most to you, and just get out of your own head and give yourself a number. How much does this matter right now? How important is it, between 0 and 10 If you have certain things today that you assess as a “10” for you, you decide that no matter what, those are the things that you are going to focus on. The twos, the ones, the threes they can wait for later.

TIP #3: GET ORGANIZED. NOW.

The mess has to stop because the mess is eating up your energy and wasting your day.  If your household or your desk is chaotic, you’re going to find yourself spending a lot of time looking for things and information, trying to reorganize as you are going through the day.

Start each day with your inbox and your desk is organized and your household in a decent state.  you will find that you’re having an easier time managing your day. You wouldn’t be running around looking for things and trying to figure out where everything is and what to do. When you can find something that you really need, it gives you a clearer mindset.

TIP # 4: PLAN YOUR DAY

Stop starting your day without planning it because before you know it the day will run you- you will not run the day. Planning the day is about answering this one question: what must happen today? And then you write it down. You never, ever start your day without answering that question. How important is this? How important is that? Get out of your own head and give it a number, 0-10. Stop spending your day on your 2s and 3s. Plan ahead and focus on your 9s and 10s. That’s how you run the day.

TIP #5: DELEGATE. EVERYONE AROUND YOU CAN DO SOMETHING.

Stop being superwoman or superman. There is no trophy for you at the end of the road. Everyone around you is capable of doing something. And the only reason they are not doing it, is that you never told them to. Yes, I know that in an ideal world people could read your mind. Well, they don’t. And for that reason, you have to tell them. If you delegate- your life will improve instantly. If you don’t- you can blame no one but yourself.

TIP #6: CHOOSE TO MANAGE YOUR STRESS (OR YOUR STRESS WILL MANAGE YOU)

Stress is a choice. So is calm. Stop getting worked up. This is a behavior pattern that you can change- if you choose to. It doesn’t matter how you choose to manage your stress- walks, baths, yoga, talking to a friend- you know what works for you, so make the conscious choice to do it. You can also choose not to manage your stress or to manage it very poorly. That’s a choice that you can make. The result comes with a high price tag, though- poor thinking, poor health, and complete misery. Doesn’t a bubble bath or a walk sound much better?

TIP #7:  SET BOUNDARIES. SAY NO.

Why are you doing such a poor job at setting boundaries? Are you scared not to be liked? Are you pleasing others at the expense of yourself? Are you too tired and worn out because you didn’t set boundaries and now you just continue not to set them, just to become more tired and more worn out?

Can you just prioritize yourself for once? For heaven’s sake, and for the love of you- just say NO.

Run the Day- or the Day will Run You!

Managing time is managing yourself. We are talking about managing your life and everything that matters to you. Are you a leader or a follower? Are you going to run the day or let the day run you? Only you decide. And you, only, will pay the price or earn the reward.

Dr. Michelle Rozen, International Keynote Speaker, Change Expert and Author, is a highly influential Social Media Expert, and featured on NBC, ABC, CNN, FOX News and many other media outlets discussing change, motivation and how the human mind works to become exceptional in every area of our lives, professionally and personally. Dr. Michelle Rozen is one of the most sought after International and National Keynote Speakers!  Book Dr. Michelle today: https://bit.ly/34QbHPv

Catalyzing Creativity Through Observation!

Imagine you are walking into your office and it’s set up as you normally have it but … there’s a harmless martian sitting on top of your desk. Two heads, five eyes and a random amount of limbs – and this is a creature you have never seen before.

What would you do?

Most of us, knowing the martian is harmless, would go straight towards this uninvited guest with probing eyes ready to observe and interact with it. We would walk right past the lamp, the desk chair and the stapler. Am I right?

You are fixated with the martian because of its novelty. But what if the martian is no longer there. Would you enter your office the same intense feeling about your stapler or desk chair?

Why? Why not? Because of the distinction between recognizing versus observing. The other objects in your space have lost their high level of novelty. You already know them. No need to observe them. You’ve moved on. But now it’s time to ‘move on back’ to the mundane.

It’s time to unleash the sleeping giant of observation.

Opening your senses and finding the beauty in the basics
is the beginning of observation.

Recognizing Versus Observing

Let’s highlight the distinction between recognizing and observing things all around you.

Recognizing is defined by identifying things because you’ve encountered it before and you acknowledge its existence. You see it’s there, you know it’s there but there isn’t an intense connection to the object, person, or the concept.

But an observation is an intense ‘paying attention to’ and noticing the details and subtle elements of an object, person, concept or situation.

Everyday we mindlessly walk past creative inspiration because we’re merely ‘recognizing’ items without truly ‘observing’ them. Therefore we miss beautiful experiences and critical information we could have otherwise utilized in our creative process. We do this often, especially in nature, which has so many innovative messages to give us.

Genein Letford, M.Ed is a Global Intercultural Creativity™ High Energy Motivational Keynote Speaker, TEDx Speaker, Corporate Trainer, Best-selling Author, and founder of CAFFE Strategies. She is the 2019 LA Lakers “Business Woman of the Year”, People Magazine “Teacher of the Year” finalist, and “National Teacher of the Year” finalist. Genein knows creativity is in all of us and a skill that can be intentionally developed. Using her “16 Diamonds Tools of Creativity”, Genein jumpstarts her audiences through engaging and thought provoking exercises.  Call us today at 888-766-3155 and book Genein to create a FUN “Diamond” experience for your event!   

4 Crisis-Tempering Leadership Qualities

The COVID-19 crisis has turned our world upside-down and is forcing us all to assess our personal and professional lives. In response, I found great comfort in re-reading a great book about leadership during crisis. The book: Endurance, Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing chronicles Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated trans-arctic expedition of 1914. While reading about this expedition, I considered the incredible leadership qualities of not only Shackleton, but also of the many leaders with whom I have worked. Below are four leadership qualities vital for dealing with seemingly insurmountable crises.

1) Be Present and Available … Communicate!
The worst leaders disappear during crises. The reason? Fear. For most, they fear not having answers to solve whatever problem the team faces. Their fear of not appearing to be in control drives their decision to hunker down … to vanish. The best leaders get into the field (virtually, these days) to gather information, share ideas, and let people know they are present by:
• Contacting customers, patients, clients to let them know they’re available. They
communicate creatively, fully taking advantage of telephones, Zoom meetings or
FaceTime sessions. The current reality of social distancing isn’t an excuse to shut down interaction.
• Reaching out to employees, staff, colleagues. The constant exchange of ideas, strategies, next steps, (and concerns!) is both comforting and can lead to solutions.

2) Fuel Creativity with Optimism and Honesty:
Sugar-coating a tragedy is not the answer. Yet, the best leaders look for opportunities despite the barriers. Regular meetings with stakeholders (clients, employees, etc.) to assess only the challenges can be depressing. Leaders who can share even the smallest successes (perhaps derived from what they learned from getting into the field) build optimism, and optimism fuels creativity.

3) Embrace What They Can Control:
Instead of falling into the helpless victim-state and complaining about everything that has changed, great leaders maintain a laser-focus on factors they can control. Prime examples of this are the first two topics listed above (Communicate and Fuel Creativity).

4) Create Stability from Chaos:
Great leaders know the value of structure and predictability even when chaos reigns. From a personal resilience strategy of looking forward to their daily walk, cup of tea, or meditation session, they plan their day. Vitally important is to weave in some fun or recreation activities. And they encourage their employees to do the same. Bottom line: They take control and lead by example.

Doug Lipp is on a crusade to help your audience strengthen their corporate culture, boost business performance, and unapologetically, have fun while doing it. As an International Keynote Speaker, Best-selling Author of “Disney U”, Former Head of Disney University Training Team, Doug is one of the most trusted and respected business speakers in the world! Doug leaves his audiences with a blueprint for creating and perpetuating a culture of significance unique to their organization. To hire Doug for your next Virtual or In-person Hybrid Event click here: https://bit.ly/3okRdYF

Five Keys to Protecting Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset: Its People

Your company’s most precious cargo is its people. Each day that you walk into your office, establishment or organization, you are responsible for cultivating the culture. You are responsible for fostering a workplace culture that is one based on commitment and trust. As you nurture and grow the culture of your workplace, it is imperative you realize that your most valuable resource – your most precious cargo, as they say in the aviation business – is your people.

As you look to understand what you can do each and every day to impact your company culture, you need to look at the ways you can best take care of your teams. The foundation of taking care of your people is creating and cultivating a culture of trust. It is only when you cultivate cultures of trust and commitment that you can truly begin to support your company’s most valuable resource: the people within it.

A simple way you can create the professional environment you want is to implement a model, the C.A.R.G.O. model, designed to create and nurture the workplace ecosystem that thrives on commitment and trust.

When the right tools, training and resources are provided, people know they have all they need to succeed. Shown here is chain saw safety training led by Donny Coffey, CTSP, and funded by an Arborist Safety Training Institute (ASTI) grant. Photo by Max Babe.

C: Creativity to address challenges

As you look to take care of your people, it is essential that opportunities are provided that allow for creativity. This creativity is useful for many things – primarily in addressing the many challenges that present themselves constantly in the workplace. When you trust and empower your people to harness their creativity to address and solve problems, it accomplishes many things across the many levels of your organization. Freedom to be creative instills a sense of intrinsic trust and helps reinforce an employee’s innate abilities and talents. Creativity to address challenges strengthens the case as to why you hired them to work in your organization in the first place.

A: Access to tools and resources

When the right tools and resources are provided, people know they have all they need to succeed. Too often there is an expectation of the people in an organization that cannot be fulfilled due to a lack of resources or support. Effective leaders must be prepared to properly equip their teams with the right people in addition to the right tools and resources to set them up for success. Access to the appropriate tools and assets is imperative to creating and building a company culture that is rooted in trust.

R: Responsibilities

It is essential that team members are empowered to own their unique responsibilities in an organization. When team members truly own their piece of the daily duties, tasks and projects, it reinforces the reality that their work really matters. When your team members are aware of their value to the entire operation and that others are counting on them, just like a combat aircrew, they will step up and perform to their best abilities. Empowerment of staff , ensuring that the training and processes clearly define and delineate their responsibilities, will lead to an empowered organization. This empowered organization will be full of team members who know what they are responsible for and are ready to tackle the tasks at hand.

G: Goals and objectives

Goals and objectives of your team(s) and organization have to be plain and clear and articulated in a way the team members can understand and appreciate. The best leaders must share the goals and objectives with the team. Your team needs to know its leaders are fully invested. In turn, it’s necessary for members of your team to share their individual goals and objectives with each other and the leadership. This ensures that everyone holds each other accountable. Beyond holding one another accountable, knowing each other’s goals and objectives allows you to know that everyone is committed, in some shape, form and fashion, for the greater good of the organization and each other.

Goals and objectives of your team(s) and organization have to be plain and clear and articulated in a way the team members can understand and appreciate. The best leaders must share the goals and objectives with the team. Your team needs to know its leaders are fully invested. Photo courtesy of Chippers, inc.

O: Opportunities for success

As a leader, you must provide the opportunities for your people to succeed. These successes exist as large and small opportunities. When provided with incremental chances to succeed and win, team members will stay engaged and continue to be committed to the organization and the team. Consider opportunities for team members to succeed in the simplest ways, ways that lead to team wins, that lead to organizational wins. Everyone loves to win. Everyone loves to be on a winning team!

The most precious resource in your organization, the most precious cargo in your aircraft, are your people. As you conduct business each and every day, are you and the leadership team equipping your people to sustain themselves and your organization through the inevitable turbulence they will encounter en route to accomplish their mission? When you provide your people with the right C.A.R.G.O., you will create, promote and cultivate a workplace culture of trust that is bound for success!

Jason Harris is a motivational speaker, consultant, and certified character coach who values dedication, service and excellence. As a decorated combat veteran, Jason brings unique perspectives gained from his battlefield experience to your organization, empowering you to unleash the untapped potential of your employees. Using real-world examples, Jason sheds light on how the invaluable talent each person brings to your organization can positively impact your mission. He teaches you to Trust Your People Like Your Business Depends on it, because it does! To book Jason: https://bit.ly/3rcqRu9

3 STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE COMPANY CULTURE IN A VIRTUAL WORLD

One of my favorite clients works in the manufacturing space, and lucky for them, 2020 was a great year. Despite the pandemic, they grew, added more staff, and increased profits by 32%.

Working together, we spent most of the early months of the pandemic navigating the consistent increase in demand. We spent our time helping over three-quarters of their staff learn to work remotely and the other one-third adjust to the new regulations and protocols to ensure a safe working environment.

For the first few months, company culture was the last thing on anyone’s mind. The team was engaged. Most of their employees were grateful to have a job, others driven by the urgent need to help their customers and team members. Pretty much everyone was willing to do whatever it took to keep the company growing.

Now we find ourselves 10-months into this crisis, and the tide is shifting. Team members are getting burned out and starting to disengage. They suffer from ‘Zoom fatigue.’ They struggle to achieve work-life balance, and they are getting frustrated.

For the first time since this pandemic began, the leadership team is wrestling with how long will this go on? How do we keep our team engaged? And how do we maintain and enhance our company culture in a virtual world?

Those are great questions that many leaders are challenged with today because building a culture and leading a team in a remote environment is different. It requires new strategies and a new set of ideas.

3 Strategies to Enhance Company Culture In A Virtual World

Before we jump in and start discussing the strategies you need to build and maintain your company culture, let’s talk about what culture is and why it matters, even more so in a virtual world.

Culture is the set of values and beliefs a company has. When your culture is strong, your employees not only understand those values and beliefs; they use them to drive their attitude, their behavior, and the experience they create for team members and customers. With a strong culture, you get a more engaged team, a more productive work environment, and more satisfied customers.

Now culture matters because employees are more engaged, more productive, and tend to stay longer when they work for a company whose values and beliefs are aligned with theirs. Let’s look at the facts: companies with winning organizational cultures have 72% higher employee engagement ratings. 65% of employees say their company culture is a deciding factor in whether they stay long-term or not, and 77% of employees believe a strong culture enables them to produce higher levels of work.

So, culture matters, and in a world where employees can work from anywhere and for anyone, giving them something to believe in, be a part of, and contribute to is one of the best tools you have to keep top talent.

There is so much value in investing in your company culture, so how do you get it right in a virtual world and working with a remote team?

1. Overly Communicate:

Very few leaders communicate enough and far fewer communicate enough in a virtual world. You have to realize the moment your team started working from their homes, they felt disconnected, shut off, and isolated. They are unsure of how your company is doing, what challenges you’re facing, what you are focused on for 2021, and how they can best contribute.

You need to be answering their questions, and much more. You need to ensure that you communicate with your team often and provide opportunities for them to communicate with you. Communication is a two-way street, and if you want to drive culture, you need to ensure your team is talking to you as much as you are talking to them.

BEST PRACTICES: Here are some of the best ideas we see successful leaders today putting into place.

Weekly kick-off video – the CEO starts each week with a video that lets the team know where the focus needs to be, what she expects of them, and then rewards and recognizes individual contributions.

Town Halls – monthly or quarterly, town halls with the CEO and/or leadership team allow employees to get relevant updates and, more importantly, ask questions, get first-hand information, and heard on significant challenges.

Monthly Financial Updates – humanizing the business model by allowing employees to learn from the CFO how the company makes money, what they can impact, and how their contribution directly connects to the bottom line. This does more than any other strategy we have seen to decrease expenses and drive revenue.

2. Create Connection:

Gone are the opportunities to grab lunch with a co-worker, tell a joke before the meeting starts, or participate in the monthly birthday celebration. What remote work has given us in productivity and efficiency has cost us in the areas of communication and relationship building.

People spend so much time at work, even if that work is remote. To be successful; they want to feel like they are connected to their co-workers, know their boss, and feel heard and understood by the people they work with. In a virtual world, you have to be more innovative to create that, and you have to build on those opportunities proactively.

BEST PRACTICES: Here are some of the best ideas we see successful leaders putting into place

TECH MATTERS – just like you invested in your office space, you need to invest in technology. If you want people to feel connected, they need to have the tools. Video is critical, strong audio is a requirement, and the right software and tools make it so much easier to engage.

CREATE SPACE – allow people to connect just like you did at work. Instead of the monthly pot luck dinner, create personal channels on your SLACK, TRELLO, or intranet accounts. Start rooms where team members can talk about their pets, taking care of aging parents, or what it is like to homeschool your kids in the age of COVID.

DONUT MEETINGS – beak the silos and communication issues by building relationships between departments and leaders you need to work together. Donut meetings are meetings set up between two and three team members who don’t interact regularly but need a better connection to work more effectively together.

3. Bind with Purpose:

At the end of the day, in a traditional or remote work environment, people want to do work that matters, and they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

If you want your team to engage, then you need to give them something to engage in. That something is a purpose, who you are, what you stand for, and the impact you are making.

BEST PRACTICES: Here are some of the best ideas we see successful leaders putting into place

BEGIN EVERY MEETING – and end every meeting reminding your team members of your purpose, and how what they are doing matters, the impact they are making.

REWARD/RECOGNIZE – team members and situations that underscore the importance of your purpose. Tell stories and develop case studies that detail how the company’s purpose is to create change and help people.

NORTH STAR – use your purpose and core values as your litmus test, your north star in deciding whom to promote, whom to hire, and what new initiatives to implement in your company. You show your team just how important the core values and purpose are and why they matter to the company’s success.

Your Culture Is Your Best Investment:

Yes, investing in building culture in a work environment can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. It is also one of the best investments you can make. One of the few advantages you have left in this constantly shifting and highly competitive marketplace is your team’s engagement level. Invest in your culture, and your team will invest in you.

Meridith Elliott Powell, Keynote Speaker, Best-selling Author, and One of the Top 100 Sales Experts on LinkedIn is an award-winning leadership and sales expert. Meridith’s cutting-edge message, rooted in real-life examples and real-world knowledge will make your audience laugh and learn as she walks you through the sales and leadership strategies you need to succeed. Meridith Powell is one of the most sought after Sales Strategist and Leadership Experts! Book Meridith Powell today: https://bit.ly/2Vvm4XG

How to Find Inspiration in Nature

Most of us would admit to finding a sunset somewhat moving and possibly inspirational. Few of us can walk past a beautifully red and purple sky without stopping to take a look and probably upload a picture to Instagram. The same can be said of star-filled skies and crashing waves.

But what is it about nature that we find so beautiful and so inspirational? Why are poets, artists, and musicians drawn to these scenes? And how can you use this to encourage more creativity in your own life?

Why We Find Nature Beautiful

It’s a mistake to say that we find nature beautiful, in particular. In fact, we can just as easily experience a sense of awe looking at man-made things. Try climbing to the top of a high building and looking out over the skyline of a city and see how you feel. Likewise, many of us would express a sense of awe looking at the pyramids.

We feel awe, reverence, and wonder when we see things we find hard to fathom and that we can’t quite take in all at once. Things incredibly intricate, incredibly beautiful, or incredibly vast all create a sense of being small in a universe full of incredible possibilities. Research shows that this is a universal feeling, even shared by some animals, and that it appears to be beneficial for any species as a whole as it encourages altruism and community. Researchers often call these moments ‘peak experiences’.

Where the Inspiration Comes In

So why does this lead to inspiration?

The key thing to recognize is that peak experiences involve novelty and scale. They light up lots of areas of our brain as we struggle to comprehend the entirety of what we’re seeing. This lighting up of the brain results in lots of memories, ideas, and thoughts flowing all at once and this is often said to be the perfect condition for ideas to emerge.

At the same time, beautiful scenes and majestic sights trigger the release of neurotransmitters that make us feel relaxed and exhilarated at the same time. Again, this puts us in a state that is conducive to creative thought and mental experimentation.

How to Harness Peak Experiences

So how do you harness these peak experiences to trigger more innovation and creativity in your life? One way to do this is to subject yourself to more beauty. Go on walks, travel the world, even spend some time on Google images! Another is to try and appreciate the majesty in even your smallest moments. When you see a flower bloom for the first time, or when you see a swarm of bees, stop to think of all that it represents and of the intricate beauty therein. The greatest poets are those who can see inspiration in all they survey.

Judi Moreo is an International Award-winning Motivational Speaker, Best-selling Author, Corporate Trainer and Executive Coach. Known as “The Charismatic Communicator” Judi is one of the most in-demand speakers on motivation, communication skills, and personal development in the world. She is the author of newly revised You Are More Than Enough and is the publisher of both the Life Choices book series and Choices magazine as well as the host of the popular Life Choices with Judi Moreo  on the Golden Network on ROKU! To book Judi Moreo click here: https://bit.ly/2Orosec