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Ice Storm Reading

Is it fiercely ice-storming here (yes, in mid-April), and it currently sounds like a very determined swarm of bees is hurling themselves at our windows. Our lights keep flickering. There’s nothing left to say about this except that I am so, so tired of wearing my winter coat that I may burn it whenever (or if) Spring finally gets here.

In the meantime, I’m preparing for a busy week: I’m speaking at InnovateWorkTO on Monday night about the need for different thinking about workplace sexual harassment in the wake of #MeToo, then I head straight to HR Leader’s Summit West in Vancouver on Tuesday to join an excellent panel about remote work, and finally head to Whistler for a site visit as we finish planning Actionable’s upcoming Consulting Partner Summit.

Hence, this week’s post is a round-up rather than a new blog, but it’s packed with great stuff:

Recommended Reading:

#SHRM18 Speaker: Jane Watson, Secrets to Making “Remote Work” Work – Janelle Rodriguez, ResilientHR

Janelle, an HR pro and blogger based in South Florida interviewed me about my upcoming SHRM Annual Conference session on Remote Work. This post is the result. Janelle is part of the SHRM 2018 blogger team, but we already met at WorkHuman last week! I love meeting people I’ve connected with on Twitter in real life, and this was no exception. Check out her blog  ResilientHR

Tell This Bot About Your Experience of Harassment. It Might Actually Help – Elizabeth Weingarten, Slate

This is the latest article (and a very good one) profiling recent tech solutions aimed at helping targets of harassment, abuse, or discrimination with resources, advice, or a confidential reporting channel. I’m very interested in this topic and have been working (slowly) on a post of my own about it.

These tools seem to be one possible solution to help tackle the widespread under-reporting of harassment in organizations, in part by addressing the fear of retaliation, doubt, and judgement that research suggest contributes to a hesitancy to make a complaint. Could these tools augment the traditional avenues HR has used to receive these reports? I think maybe…what do you think?

“Shaw [Founder of Talk to Spot] is part of a larger group of entrepreneurs who have launched harassment and discrimination specific platforms over the last year to empower victims and to capitalize on many HR departments’ ineptitude. Although many entrepreneurs like Shaw characterize their products as complementary to people in HR, these tools still raise big questions: How much can tech replace humans? And even if it can, should tech replace humans in these tasks?”

“In the meantime, Ladd [Founder of Callisto] suggests that the influx of new tools and resources on the market will help guide us towards that augmented future. “By giving victims a sense of what options are out there other than going to HR, HR will suddenly have to exist in a competitive market,” she says. “It will face economic and social pressure to improve.”

The If/Then Plan – James Elfer, More Than Now blog

I love this post from James Elfer discussing the underestimated power of If/Then plans for change. This falls squarely into the center of my personal super-geek Venn diagram (in which the three circles are organizations, habits, and science).

I first became interested in habits, and by extension if/then statements, when they helped me quit a heavy smoking habit over a decade ago, on my first try. They seem so simple, but they are really powerful! It’s so interesting to see James link them to much more complex endeavors like supporting gender equality:

“An IF/THEN Plan doesn’t guarantee you’re going to achieve your goals but then neither will anything else. Behavioural science is all about probability and seen through that lens, this simple technique does seem to have significant potential in comparison with more traditional and resource-intensive change initiatives. It’s been a subject of psychological study for 25 years and over that time, it has been explored empirically across a range of behaviours…”

120,000 Intentional Acts: Correcting a Culture of Disrespect – Lesley Diaz, Actionable blog

This post is a great illustration of James Elfer’s point about If/Then plans. Lesley, one of our exceptional Actionable Consulting Partners, writes about a three-year change initiative she worked on at a large residential summer camp which was intended to tackle endemic bullying among campers. After the initial change plan felt overwhelming to camp counselors, she broke it down to a simple commitment for the first year: if a counselor saw unkind behavior, then they would say something.

“In this case, the initial momentum for change was achieved, not by complex or sophisticated strategic programs imposed by leadership, but by the universal and willing commitment to one simple intentional act of courage by large numbers of people throughout the organization.

Once this new habit had taken root, people were more confident that they could be successful when confronting bigger challenges, and were therefore more open to learning the new habits and skills they would need to effect change.

At the risk of belaboring the point, if you were to engage in one intentional act every work day for a whole year, you would have repeated that one thing 250 times. As a leader, that could be 250 warm “Hello’s”; or 250 genuine “Thank You’s” to build a friendlier, more inclusive organization. It could be 250 reminders about the company’s Wildly Important Goals or 250 opportunities to reinforce a key organizational value. For individuals, that could be 250 opportunities to practice being on time for the daily huddle, identify a safety concern, reach out to thank your most important customers, or 250 actions to support another member of your team.”

Be Courageous, Be Human, #WorkHuman  – Mervyn Dinnen, T-Recs

More fabulous take-aways from the WorkHuman conference. Mervyn picks out some great insights, including these from Simon Sinek’s keynote:

““You can’t incentivise performance. You can only incentivise/reward/encourage behaviour

Simon Sinek has spoken before of how the way to influence human behaviour is to inspire it rather than trying to manipulate it. In his keynote session at Workhuman he was looking at business being an ‘infinite game’. He drew the parallel between sport – which is a finite game with a beginning, an end, and rules – and business which is infinite.

Winning and losing is the wrong language in business. It works in sports because you are playing a finite game, but business is an infinite one. Companies that last aren’t the ones that play to win, they’re the ones that play to keep playing”.

What Else I’m Reading:

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


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