April 28, 2020

“The Care and Feeding of Teams” Community Conversation Takeaways

How do institutions continue to maintain a strong culture during this current time and into our “new tomorrow”? Dr. Jackie Ogden explored this important topic with an audience of over 60 in the fourth installment of our Community Conversations webinar series.

Try implementing the ideas and advice discussed below and add your thoughts in the comments field as we crowdsource how best to navigate the crisis for ourselves and our teams currently and into the future.

  • How are you caring for yourself? (a.k.a., put your mask on first before helping others)

    • Via physical exercise—dog walking, Qiqong (like Tai Chi)

    • Via mind exercise—physical puzzles and virtual “Magic Puzzles” app

    • Via silliness—wearing costumes when you walk your dog or during Zoom meetings

  • How are you leading your teamin a caring way?

    • With empathy. We know everybody is weary. There’s a need for empathy and going to where your team is, rather than where you want them to be.

    • By spending time with them, either in person (via social distancing), via phone/Zoom, or via chat groups and WhatsApp

      • By scheduling daily update meetings via Zoom

      • By scheduling updates with all staff via Zoom when there is a change or new information

      • By encouraging use of the video option to add a visual level of connection

      • By hosting contests and games to maintain your community and shift the focus away from the crisis, such as starting a “Biggest Loser” weight management contest, daily “guess the photo” contest, or “bird trivia” via Zoom

      • By remaining connected with staff and volunteers at home by sending funny videos, pictures, sharing personal artwork, or sending gift cards

      • By recognizing current non-COVID news of importance, both positive (e.g., birthdays) and negative (e.g., the crisis of an animal death)

      • By feeding them with pizza parties provided by donors or supporters or bringing in food trucks

    • By being honest and authentic with people about business challenges, including acknowledging that you don’t know everything but will let them know when you do

      • By maintaining a balance between realism and optimism. I.e., the Stockdale Paradox, named for General Stockdale who survived a Vietnam POW camp. He shared that those who were most traditionally “optimistic” were less likely to survive as they continually believed that they would be released on the next big milestone (e.g., Christmas, birthday, Easter) and then fell into deep depressions when that did not occur, vs. those that were confident of their survival but didn’t focus on specific milestone-related release dates. This is an important lesson to remember during this time when the national and local focus is so heavily concentrated on dates.

    • By modeling appropriate behavior including listening, regular communication, safety, etc.

      • Including confirming that all staff and volunteers at all levels are educated and empowered to ensure others are demonstrating proper social distancing

      • How do you react when your CEO/leader isn’t modeling these behaviors? Suggestions include sending these takeaways to see if they recognize themselves, and confronting them directly but professionally.

    • By providing research and/or assessment resources that provide insight on the impact of the crisis on your staff. E.g., Emplify provides a free employee well-being assessment: https://emplify.com/wellbeing/

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