Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sliding Up Or Down the Slippery Slope – Workplace Stress

Stress can and does make people behave poorly. Chances are high that most people do not start out that way. Unresolved issues, fatigue, family concerns, illness, job dissatisfaction and poor stress management skills are some of the things that create a slippery slope of bad behaviour.

In the workplace, this leads to a variety of concerns which eat into company profits and productivity. High absenteeism, unmet targets, low morale, lack of cooperation, diminished problem-solving skills and increasing short-term and long-term disability costs are just some of the reported issues of a stressed-out workforce.

What can you do to improve the situation? Train employees throughout the company in techniques from The Institute of HeartMath, brought to you by yours truly, of Change of Heart Stress Solutions. The results are there: Reductions: Anxiety - 60%, Exhaustion - 45%, Intent to Quit - 41%. Improvements: Listening Ability - 25%, Ability to Focus - 24%, Home & Work Conflict Resolution - 17%.

Some employers are "naturals" at showing appreciation; Luis Rodrigues of has this to say on the subject: "It's amazing to me how far a word of thanks can go. Just saying, 'Hey, thanks for doing..., I appreciated it,' goes a long way to creating employee goodwill. Some gesture of thanks on an occasional basis, helps to back that up.

At work, I think 'quality time' has a different context -- in that employees value the ability to do early getaways on weekends, etc. So, as a boss, my way of showing appreciation is to have days when we send people home with, 'Hey, thanks for staying late the other days for Project Y, why don't you take the afternoon off as my way of thanking you.'

These days we give out gas cards and restaurant gift certificates as thanks - and we certainly hear about how much employees appreciated getting them."

Luis is using the power of his heart to show his employees that their efforts are noticed and appreciated.

Change the direction of the slide and move up the slope easily to effect positive changes in your work climate by implementing a short, targeted employee programme.

HeartMath is a registered trademark of the Institute of HeartMath.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Funnel of Life

Big Hole or Small Hole?

I've been having lots of fun noticing the coincidences that pop up in my life. This can be attributed to the fact that I'm far less stressed. When we transform our stress it's the equivalent of looking through the narrow end of a funnel; the view becomes much broader.

One coincidence I've noticed over the past few weeks is the number of conversations I've had with people from the U.K., both face to face and through cyber-space.

Nigel Morgan of Morgan PR (@Nigel_Morgan) left very enthusiastic & engaging comments on LinkedIn and also on this blog, in an earlier post.

I've also had a bit of a fun cyber chat with Stephen Baker - a life adventurer who is about to set out on his mortorcycle "Three Tea Tour" to South America. He is stopping at 4 p.m. each day to share "3 cuppas" with a local who agrees to be filmed as they drink the obligatory 3 cups. To quote Steve, "Cup one is an introduction, cup two is sharing understanding and cup three is friendship." Love the ring of that, don't you?

Locally, there's Kathrin Hardie (@coffee_offline)who is a business "chameleon", & marketer extraordinaire, which makes her the ideal person to call to step in when you are away from your business or if you wish to step onto the world's stage.

Earlier in the week at Wolfe Langley Mazda I had an interesting conversation about British murder mysteries with an ex-pat Scottish fellow.

Finally, there's my vicarious travels with the famous Micheal Palin, who exhibits such a spirit of adventure, regardless where he may find himself. (This one doesn't actually count as having had a conversation, but it would be fun if I did ever meet him. Suffice to say he "talks to me" and how ever many other viewers each wk. on t.v.!)

What this means is not yet apparent, but if it's a trip to the U.K., I'm ready to pack my bags! Or, to quote my niece, "Oh boy! Let's go!"

My point is that if you pick up a funnel and look through the big hole your view is narrow in scope. Living in chronic stress will restrict your vision just as looking through the broad end of the funnel does. I know that I don't want to miss those wonderful, serendipitous (Nigel's favourite word!) opportunities now that they are becoming a regular part of my life.

The great news is that you can easily turn your funnel around to look through the small hole, just as you can easily learn to turn your stress around.

Just like hotel rooms, life is better with a view!

Big thanks for the photo to: Klikk

Monday, September 1, 2008

Right Place - Right Time

Score. Contract. Date.

Have you ever been at the right place at the right time? Was it serendipity, intuition or was a greater force at work?

Did you listen to a little voice that told you to do a specific thing? Were you even aware of the events, thoughts, images that preceded your decision to take action?

Once we begin to pay full attention to what we're engaged in, we are able to listen to our inner voice (intuition) and then act accordingly. This allows us to seize (& see) the moments as they arise. One of the best ways to do this is to activate the power of our heart by learning some effective techniques that are enhanced with the use of powerful educational technology.

This is one of my "right place, right time" stories: "Anne" stopped at my booth at a trade show and was very interested in going through my coaching program to help her deal with the stress of a car accident. She took my card and left me her number. When I later tried to call her the number was not in service.

Several weeks later, I decided to go to the grocery store at what would be an unusual time of day for me, and was surprised to see Anne walking down the sidewalk. I pulled over into a parking lot and called to her. Her first comment was, "Gee, I was just thinking about you and wondering where I put your card."

I invite you to share your "right place, right time" stories.

Photo: Benjamin Earwicker