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You’re Not The Only One Struggling To Lead Your Hybrid Team

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Here’s something you might not know about me: I’ve been leading hybrid teams since long before the pandemic made it necessary.

Are you a manager? A team lead? An entrepreneur?

If so, then I know you’ve also been making this transition. And that it probably hasn’t been that easy.

Remember back to March 2020? We were told we were gonna be inside for 2 weeks. So we all went home, took a deep breath, and collectively said “it’ll be hard, but we can do this for 2 weeks!”. And then it was 2 weeks more. And then 2 months. And now we’re here. 2 years later.

And you know what happened? Because we originally thought this was all temporary, we didn’t think too intentionally about how our practices would need to change in a remote and hybrid world. We had plenty of other things to deal with. And we figured we’d be back to “normal” soon enough, so why spend time and effort (that we didn’t have in big supply) to optimize for the hybrid world?

As a result, as I just read yesterday, the number of meetings has increased by 250% (!) since before the pandemic. (It’s no surprise, then, that my “Making Meetings Better” workshop has been one of the most popular in the past year, and that all of my clients are excited when we do a “meeting audit” of their calendars! But I digress.)

Suffice it to say, leading in a hybrid world is something I’ve been thinking about A LOT, as I’ve helped leaders through this transition to a hybrid world over the past couple of years. Time management isn’t just about managing your own time! And with more and more companies staying fully remote, or moving to a permanent hybrid solution, it’s time to be a bit more intentional about how we do things.

So, if you’re a leader, or an aspiring one, trying to get it right and help your hybrid team be happy, productive and engaged, here are the things you’ll want to consider (or reconsider):

  • What are the challenges that you’ve seen arise with this hybrid model of work? And what are the benefits?
    • When you ask these questions, you can pinpoint what’s not working, so that you can experiment with targeted solutions until you find what works. And you can also double down on what’s working super well and share those wins with others, to them them succeed as well.
  • How psychologically safe is your team?
    • Has this changed since we went remote? Do folks feel comfortable asking questions, making mistakes, and showing up as their true selves?
  • Has not seeing your team, in the flesh, turned you into a bit of a micromanager?
    • Do you constantly check up on people? Are you worried they might be wasting time? (Be honest!) No one likes to think of themselves as a micromanager, but let’s face it, when you are no longer seeing all your employees in person, it can be a natural instinct to want tighter control.  But that doesn’t mean this practice is without consequence. When people feel micromanaged, their engagement, morale and productivity go down. The exact opposite of what you want!
  • How is communication going on your team?  Are communication breakdowns more frequent these days?
    • I think most people have found that it’s trickier than expected to communicate while remote.  Unfortunately, we can’t just move from “Room to Zoom” and assume that we’ll be understood. We no longer get communication through the osmosis of overhearing others’ conversations. But the good news is that we’ve never had access to more tools and strategies to help us streamline our communications while keeping everyone in the loop.
  • And what about collaboration?
    • Do your Zoom brainstorming sessions instill dread in everyone, as you all talk over each other, or try to get noticed to get a word in?  What tools can you use to ease collaboration without increasing the number of meetings?
  • Are remote and onsite employees being treated equitably? 
    • I’m sure you’ve heard that remote employees are sometimes feeling as though they are treated as second-class citizens and not getting the same opportunities for recognition and advancement as those who get more in-person face time with leadership.  Are you sure that’s not happening on your team? What practices, or doublechecks, will you use to make sure that employees are treated fairly, regardless of their location?
  • Sick of those Zoom happy hours yet? Culture building is hard even when we’re all together in a room.
    • But it’s harder, and requires more intentionality when you’re hybrid. What are you doing to build a cohesive company culture, with a diverse and distributed population. How do remote new hires, who you’ve never met in person, become a part of the group? How are you ensuring that each employee is a “culture add” (while rooting out the dangerously discriminatory idea of “culture fit”)?
  • And lastly, how does performance management need to change for your hybrid team?
    • Have you been guilty of giving constructive feedback over Slack? Or not at all!?Performance management can be difficult in the best of circumstances. And something this important, and fraught, needs to be retooled in a hybrid world.

Now, if you’ve just read the above and are thinking “Well, Alexis, you’ve just given me a whole lot to think about, but you didn’t really give me any answers”, never fear!

I’m excited to share with you that my brand new online course, Hybrid Leadership: Essential Skills to Lead From Anywhere, was just released. And you can enroll right now.

Are you struggling to transition to leading your hybrid team?  Or do you simply want to beef up your management skills for the hybrid future?  Or maybe you’re not a leader yet, but you want to be ready when the time comes. 

If so, this course is for you!

Whether you’re in the midst of transitioning to a hybrid model of work, or you’ve already transitioned, but you’d like to improve your skills, this course is designed to address, and provide actionable solutions and techniques, for the challenges you may face when you “go hybrid”.

But you don’t have to take my word for it! Here’s what some of the early reviews are saying:

”This course provided straightforward and concise steps to manage in a hybrid environment. Alexis covered not only items in a hybrid environment but clarified and explained management styles that help in any environment. I recommend this course.”

“Alexis’s course provides thoughtful, bite-sized lessons for successfully managing a hybrid team. I really appreciate the simple scripts and templates she provides for conversation openers.”

“I appreciate how Alexis communicates complex workplace dynamics in an easy, straightforward manner. I see particular benefit if multiple team members watch the course, as the language Alexis shares can provide an anchor for team discussions around workplace variability.”

Enroll today, and pass this link to anyone you think might benefit!

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Food Is Medicine And What We Eat Is Important

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Your mental state is a critical component of your physical health. And when you’re under a lot of stress, you might not be eating the healthy food that provides nutrients for fighting anxiety and depression. So when we examine what we’ve been eating, most of us discover that the decisions we’ve been making in the name of simplicity, convenience, or saving time have been damaging to our total health – body, mind, and spirit.

A person’s diet is a direct reflection of their health. When a person does not eat the right foods, their body breaks down. This can lead to an overall decrease in quality of life and many other diseases linked to improper nutrition. In North America, our current diet mainly consists of an excess of grain, sugar, fried and fatty foods. As a result, disorders including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and certain malignancies are becoming increasingly widespread.

The science of food has always been discussed; however, with recent technological innovations in food processing and agriculture, people have enjoyed more convenient foods that are less expensive than ever before. Unfortunately, with every convenience comes a trade-off. Smart foods are often packed with sugar, salt, and calories, leading to poor health in some individuals. 

To understand what a person is putting into their body, it’s essential to realize that the small molecules in food are responsible for allowing our bodies to function. These small molecules are called nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and enzymes. A nutrient is not a value unless absorbed by the body through a specific pathway. For example, if you absorb calcium without vitamin D, your body will not use that calcium. 

Eating a balanced diet keeps you healthy, but it helps reduce your stress. For example, eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants because they help augment your immune response and prevent toxins from damaging your cells. Vitamins A, C, and E serve as antioxidants that fight off free radicals in the body. Free radicals are toxic products of metabolism that cause damage to your cells. Experts claim that they are responsible for the aging process. Good sources of these vitamins are deeply-colored vegetables- green leafy, yellow, and orange vegetables, such as squash, broccoli, kale, spinach, and carrots.

Iron is one of the most abundant minerals in the body, and it mainly functions to deliver oxygen to your cells. Hence, an iron deficiency, medically termed Iron-deficiency anemia, is associated with weakness, easy fatigability, and pale skin. Tea, coffee, red wine, grapes, and berries are rich in antioxidants that function the same as your vitamins A, C, and E. 
You need a diet that’s healthy and balanced – and one that can fit comfortably into your busy lifestyle.

Here are some of the recommended dietary guidelines.

Eat a diet high in fresh vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. 

Exercise every other day to release endorphins, feel good, get the blood flowing, and reduce stress levels. 

Eat salt only when you need it, but not too much as your body does not need it. Many people with anxiety are hypothyroid or have low magnesium. When your body needs more sodium, it can indicate that you are not producing enough cortisol or are dehydrated. If you experience chronic anxiety, I recommend working with a physician to run tests on cortisol levels and then take salt supplements as needed. Use spices like turmeric, ginger, curry, and aromatic herbs like parsley, rosemary, sage, and basil.
Eat low-fat meals because they will cause a minor spike in blood sugar levels: think lean meats, eggs, vegetables, and nuts; avoid dairy if it makes you feel anxious. 

Drink lots of water — keep hydrated all day — ideally at least half a gallon if possible — your brain needs water to function optimally! 

Avoid foods that you know will make you feel bad, such as dairy, even with low-fat content. You can cut out dairy and not worry about it! 

Avoid sugar, caffeine, processed foods, alcohol, and any other substance that makes you feel bad or increases anxiety levels. Also, avoid coffee — drinking more than one cup a day can cause anxiety in some people. Coffee is also dehydrating and inhibits the absorption of minerals from food/water/supplements — try caffeinated water as a substitute for coffee if you like the caffeine kick. 

Find a natural health professional that you can talk to or work with to quickly get the results you want. 

Healthy foods and nutrition can help you stay fit, but they can also assist you in treating disease. When you nurture your body physically with these nutrient-dense foods, your mental capacities improve, as does your spiritual welfare. Moreover, because your spiritual health is at its best, it will radiate to the exterior world, causing others to notice you’re happier and more relaxed, and your stress levels have decreased dramatically.

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The Points of Light Civic Circle Offers Real Ways You Can Change the World 

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Sixty-six percent of Americans don’t believe they can make a big impact in the world. 

That figure is according to Points of Light’s research on civic engagement. But what if I told you there are actually many ways to drive change? 

Today’s political climate can feel divided or even stagnant, but the truth is, you really can make things better, starting with your own community, one act of kindness at a time. And those aren’t just words. I’m here to share real, practical ways for you to make a difference. 

The Points of Light Civic Circle helps people connect to opportunities and understand that doing good comes in many forms. It is a framework that represents your power to lead, lend support and take action for causes you care about and live your best civic life. 

The Civic Circle provides actionable examples of all the ways you can change your community to reflect the world you want to see around you. In fact, you’re probably doing some of these things already. Are you helping a neighbor by picking up groceries or chaperoning on your child’s class field trip? You’re volunteering. Did you vote in the last election or help others get to the polls so they could vote? Those acts of civic duty illustrate the “vote” element. When you buy a product, do you choose to support companies that reflect your values or advance a social cause? That’s called “purchase power.” There are nine elements of the Civic Circle, and countless ways to bring each one to life. 

This blog is the first in a five-part series that will help you find real and manageable ways to activate the Civic Circle through apps, documentaries, podcasts and books. 

We also offer other resources to help you connect with all the ways you can become empowered to be the change you want to see in the world. Check out our videos that provide an in-depth look at each element of the Civic Circle. And don’t miss Civic Life Today, our digital magazine series. Each issue takes a deep dive and provides materials, ideas and inspiration so that you can become civically engaged.  Get started today, and launch your own civic engagement journey with these tools. 

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Are you an Amateur or a Pro? 30 Differences to Help You Decide…

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My client, Sebastian, thinks he’s behind on “life”.

He thinks he missed the memo the rest of us received on how to live a happy life.

I know better.

Sebastian hasn’t fallen behind and there is no such memo.

We’re all just trying to figure it out.

Unless we’re not. And there are a lot of people who simply are not trying to figure it out.

My friend and Professional Coach, Elaine Taylor-Klaus, calls them Status quo-ers — as opposed to Growers.

Anyone who makes a serious commitment to working with a Professional Coach is by definition a “Grower” and Sebastian is no exception.

Growers want to know, feel and live more. They push every boundary and sometimes fall off cliffs. They say “yes” to way too many things and often feel overwhelmed and over committed. They have a congenital distaste of the status quo and will sabotage any situation if it feels like “settling” to them. They’re insatiable and often don’t know what exactly will assuage their hunger.

Growers often appear to the world as troubled, frustrated and critical.

Inside they feel unfulfilled and misunderstood.

The truth is that they can’t help but be driven by Oscar Wilde’s belief that,

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.”

Growers will break every piece in the china shop when they find themselves just existing and not living as they see fit. And they suffer for it.

That is… until they turn pro and transform their life!

Steven Pressfield famously states in his book, Turning Pro

“Becoming a pro, in the end, is nothing grander than growing up.”

Sebastian thinks he’s falling behind because he’s still living life as an amateur at 34.

To put the above into context, I didn’t turn pro till well into my 40’s!

Best move I ever made! 

So what’s the difference between living life as an amateur vs. a pro?

Although there is no one size fits all manifesto on “how to turn pro”, here are thirty distinctions I’ve learned which apply to ANY Grower who is truly committed to living a life of purpose, fulfillment and ease.

  1. Amateurs look for hacks and shortcuts — Pros do the work.
  2. Amateurs speed up — Pros slow down.
  3. Amateurs are busy — Pros are focused.
  4. Amateurs sell first — Pros serve first.
  5. Amateurs think it’s about them — Pros know it’s never personal.
  6. Amateurs think life is short — Pros know life is actually really freakin’ long.
  7. Amateurs are reactive — Pros are responsive.
  8. Amateurs live with constant misunderstandings — Pros take the time to get clear.
  9. Amateurs don’t know what success looks like (to them) — Pros  know their definition of success and aren’t afraid to change it.
  10. Amateurs don’t know their core life values — Pros do.
  11. Amateurs want to feel happy — Pros want to feel alive!
  12. Amateurs play to “not lose” — Pros play to win.
  13. Amateurs are harsh — Pros are fierce.
  14. Amateurs secretly enjoy being in the “Victim Mindset” — Pros are a “Hell No” to that!
  15. Amateurs wonder what people say about them when they leave the room — Pros know.
  16. Amateurs have false and limiting beliefs around money — Pros don’t.
  17. Amateurs are constantly searching for life balance — Pros are living an integrated life.
  18. Amateurs think everything matters — Pros know what few things actually do matter (for them).
  19. Amateurs set boundaries defensively — Pros simply honor their “operating system”.
  20. Amateurs think help is a four letter word — Pros actively seek opportunities to help and be helped.
  21. Amateurs don’t have a relationship with their “Future Self” — Pros are best friends with their “Future Self”.
  22. Amateurs confuse knowing with doing — Pros receive knowledge and apply it (EVERY moment of EVERY day).
  23. Amateurs love information — Pros love insights.
  24. Amateurs have intentions — Pros have commitments.
  25. Amateurs have expectations — Pros have agreements.
  26. Amateurs compare — Pros create.
  27. Amateurs live from probability — Pros live from possibility.
  28. Amateurs are focused only on the “Goal Line” — Pros are focused on both the “Goal Line” and the “Soul Line”.
  29. Amateurs set goals with contingencies — Pros know contingencies are just excuses and NOW is the time!
  30. Amateurs create from the past — Pros create from the future.

Now that you are aware of the 30 differences between an amateur and a pro, where do you see yourself?

And I’d love to know why. Get in touch with your answer.

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