Do Ritual!

We are 11 days into the New Year and I like many of you I just finished the first full work week. Last week I shared with you a challenge I was given and also talked about some new behaviors I am incorporating into my life. I am consciously designing my daily experience. This got me thinking about ritual.

Late last spring, I was meeting with someone in Chelsea. In an effort to waste some time I went into a store called Ritual. At first I wasn’t sure what type of store it was, but what had caught my eye were some clothes. I walked into a store that was calm, beautiful and comfortable--an oasis from the hustle and bustle moving outside on the street. After making a small purchase I left. The experience lingered with me and when asked what I wanted for Christmas, I mentioned Ritual.

I received a beautiful “deluxe” box of their products. Products of Ritual.

The concept of ritual got me thinking. More often than not we all are extremely busy. Each of having many demands on us simultaneously. We get caught up in doing. We lose a sense of being grounded, often feeling untethered to ourselves. In fact, I've just had a day like that myself--energetically disconnected with my body, mind and spirit.

What if we spent a few minutes throughout the day tuning into ourselves? Checking in to see if we are grounded in that moment. By grounded I mean are we actually in touch with all of ourselves, our bodies in particular. Each of us has the ability to create a simple ritual which can make all the difference in our lives.

Those of you who have read my white paper, know that self-care is one of the four elements essential to transforming a person’s effectiveness, experience and happiness at work. I have come to appreciate more deeply the fact that creating little rituals throughout the day is a wonderful way to keep oneself in the present. It can be as simple as having an aroma candle lit while you do deep some pondering on an issue, or setting an alarm every few hours to remind yourself to take 5 deep breaths or get up from your chair and gaze out the window. I know it sounds a bit corny but it does work. If you are interested in learning more about the four elements mentioned above, reach out to me on my Contact Us page to receive you own copy.

Remembering

Today is the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Prior to September 11th, 2001, this was the day of the most deaths of Americans on our own soil. An official day of remembering, we honor lives lost and families who lost loved ones. This week the country also mourns the death of our 41st president, George H.W. Bush. The news of his death was broadcast late last Friday evening, and the entire weekend and past week was subsequently characterized by reflection, looking back on his life and legacy. Not a political “junkie,” this past week I learned a lot about “41” as I heard all about his life of service, his accomplishments and the values that shaped his legacy and our country.

While we all may not agree with many of President Bush’s policies, we can look back on a leader who cared deeply about his country, and understood the importance of compromise, coalition-building and respect. Some of the words and phrases that stand out for me during this week’s coverage, include: Youngest pilot in the Navy; Flew 58 combat missions; Shot down and rescued by a submarine; Married 73 years; Lost a daughter, Robin at age 3 to leukemia. President Bush experienced many losses--runs for Senate, the presidential nomination in 1980, and a second term as President in 1992. A class act, his niceness was interpreted by many as weakness.Yet he was a man of toughness, fiber, courage, prudence, character and faith. He simply was not afraid to show tears or tenderness. The last of the “greatest generation,” he served the country with ideals, and he strove for a kinder, gentler nation.

It’s the holiday season. For Catholics, it is Advent, a time of darkness and anticipation of the coming of our Saviour’s birth. A new year on the liturgical calendar. It is a time of watching, waiting and preparation; quite different from the frenzy of shopping, gift giving and partying. It is a time to prepare for what is to come.

I may be going out on a limb here, but I’ve decided to use remembering as the backdrop, to ask you to reflect on your own new year, your values and behavior. How do you live each day? How do you go about managing your employees? Are you teaching your children values in your actions as well as your words? How will you be remembered? Please ponder and reflect on these questions and If you feel comfortable enough, please share with me.

The Key to Conflict-Free...

Thanksgiving is upon us—a time for giving thanks and a time for family gatherings. As we get ready to gather ‘round the table, lets pause and see that we can indeed have a nice, relaxing and conflict-free holiday.

Think of it like this… Do you realize how your actions impact those around you? Or perhaps how it is that you are impacted by the actions of others?

We’re all guilty at least sometimes—of just sort of doing our own thing and not realizing the impact we may be having on our colleagues, our friends and even on our family. But what if we did realize it…

Realizing it, being aware of ourselves and our behavior, and our impact on others—that’s all a part of your emotional intelligence. And this is just the tip of the EI iceberg.

Not only can emotional intelligence help you enjoy a conflict-free holiday but it will also help you be more successful in meeting your goals, bringing in more revenue and improving your standing in business overall.

Being vs. Doing

It sure seems as though many Americans heeded the call to exercise their right to vote this week. As election results continue to roll in, we see that as a people we are indeed getting in touch with ourselves, who we are and what it is we stand for. So many brave individuals around our country have stood up, put themselves on the line and their name on the ballot, at every level of government. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel very proud to be a part of this deep-rooted foundational process of American life. I also feel a strong inner sense of having just taken control of my life and my place in our collective American life. How about you?

It is easy to fall into a regular state of doing-ness rather than being-ness. In other words, going about your daily work and social/family responsibilities without giving much thought to what you are doing and what those around you are doing and feeling. For many, the elections gave us pause. We were forced to consider the interplay of issues, change, demographics, people, money, health care, etc. Much to ponder and so much to consider. Forced to reflect, we found ourselves in a state of BEing.

I have a suggestion... Why not take this concept of BEing-ness, and taking pause and carry it into your daily routines. Today’s corporations and workplaces really could use more managers and workers who can marry the two—doing and being as a continuum. Give it a try. See if you can get yourself out of a constant state of doing and infuse a state of being. You’ll be glad you did in the end, and so will your business.

By the way, Bova Enterprises can help you with this.

Take some time this weekend to think about how much you are making conscious choices and being in the present vs. being in that state of doing. Let me know how you make out.

VOTE

It’s time. The mid-term elections are firmly upon us now, and early voting has begun in many states. In last week’s blog, I talked about how it is we come to making our decisions, and now here we all are—faced with some very big decision-making.

Voting.

I hope you are planning to vote. The fate of our democracy depends on it. It depends on your vote, on my vote, on everyone’s vote. As citizens of this great country, it is our civic obligation to figure out who we are, what we believe in and what we stand for. Then it is our more important obligation to cast our votes accordingly. To creatively paraphrase Winston Churchill, a country's greatest asset is an informed citizenry.

Sadly there are millions of people around the world who would die for the right to vote, yet we here in the United States seem to almost take the opportunity for granted. Year in and year out, our elections result in low voter turnout.

Just like in a strong business, democracy thrives with greater participation. When your business’ staff is actively engaged they share ideas, they solve problems, they succeed. Then, what are you left with? A thriving business. Simillarly, when citizens thoughtfully and actively participate and let their voices be known, what have we got? A true and flourishing democracy.

So please, whatever it is you stand for and wherever you may fall on the political spectrum, I sincerely hope you take some time out of your busy schedule to make your big decisions and cast your vote.

What’s Stifling Your Innovation?

I think we can all agree that innovation is vitally important to the success of most any business, especially now with so many disruptions in business.

Keeping up with changing times, a changing market and keeping fresh ideas flowing—all are necessary, and all are not always so easy. Yet if a business is not doing these things, it can’t really succeed.

First and foremost, what exactly is innovation? Innovation is the actual process of bringing those fresh, new ideas to fruition. This simple sentence almost makes it seem easy. So what could it be that is stifling you and your business?

Perhaps you have what has been a successful business over the years. Or, maybe you manage one. What do you need to be sure your company remains innovative? Sure, you need ideas, but you also need a solid team to come up with those ideas, to work through those ideas, to execute those ideas. You get the… Idea.

The truth is there can be many reasons why your innovation seems to be stifled. However, one of the first places to look for your answer should be with your team. Start by asking yourself some questions…

  • Are you empowering your team?

  • Do you trust your team?

  • Do you consent for your team to delve into new ideas and be creative?

  • Are you inspiring your team?

  • Are you open and transparent with your team?

Do you allow for change—with your market, with your product, most importantly with your team? Let me know what you come up with. Bova Enterprises can help.

Have any of my comments evoked something in you? What is your thinking on this topic? Sharing your reflections helps all of us to grow and expand our thinking. Comments can be left here or on the Contact Rosemary page.

Is There Ever a Wrong Time?

There’s this one question I am asked quite often—When is the right time to hire a consultant or a coach to help me in getting my company from point A to point B?

I hear this from executives of large, well-established firms, small business owners and even from those just getting started. My very short answer is, while the answer may be a bit different for different sized organizations, there’s really never a wrong time. But obviously there’s a lot more detail behind all this.

Whether you’re working within a large, multifaceted organization or a small business, you have the same bottom line goals in mind—success and profit. However, getting from point A to point B differs greatly. Therefore the help and expertise an organization needs differs greatly as well.

Large companies tend to be complex and with lots of working parts. Often, large companies have expertise in-house but often appreciate augmenting such with a very different point of view, with someone not steeped in the particular workplace. Sometimes, in-house experts and staff are too closely embroiled in the issues at stake and the only true solution is hiring an outside, unbiased expert who’ll bring fresh innovation to the table.

Smaller organizations generally don’t have in-house expertise on hand and are more likely to require outside guidance to help fuel and/or sustain progress. Often during periods of growth, such companies need significant work done around workplace culture, group and individual mindsets, vision, etc. All of this is necessary when trying to achieve alignment across your organization. And of course, alignment is necessary when trying to achieve growth and success.

Even smaller companies—the one or two man/woman show or the start-up—often seek us out as a coach and sounding board to help be effective in their endeavors, to set a solid foundation for growth and to avoid pitfalls down the road.

At Bova Enterprises, we customize our approach to meet the specific needs of our clients. One size certainly does not, nor should not fit all. We work both long- and short-term depending on the issues at hand. And many times, we become a regular advisor (akin to legal or financial advisors) and really get to dig in deep in an on-going fashion. Of course depending on the type of client or service needed, we also bring a richness and depth of expertise via a wide cadre of senior associates to solve problems, identify solutions and much more.

Reach out and see how Bova Enterprises can bring you from point A to point B, and then some.

Unearthing Trust

Deadly workplace shootings, natural disasters with massive human suffering, food contamination scares making people gravely ill, shark attacks—once rare and nearly unheard, all of these events are now pretty commonplace for most of us. All the while we also find ourselves wondering which public leaders are truly fit to serve us, and who can we trust to lead our country and our communities.

I don’t know about you, but I find this to be a lot to think about. I also find that all of this leads me to think about the concept of trust, and how very fundamentally important it is to individual wellbeing.

We, both as individuals and as communities and as a nation are suffering the effects living with a general lack of trust, and more so with a more global loss of trust in our business relationships, our governing bodies, our financial, religious and other global institutions and even our personal relationships. Of course some of my previous blogs have addressed the diminishing lack of trust workers have for their employers. Workplace trust has long been an issue in need of addressing.

The issues confronting the world are monumental. Meanwhile the chasm between words/actions and deeds is widening.

So what is the answer to all of this?

The answer has to lie within each one of us. Perhaps if we each take responsibility for trust, we can get to the important task of identifying some much needed solutions.

We need to spend time unearthing who we are. All too often I've noticed that a disconnect exists between who people believe they are, and how they actually behave. People are running as fast as they can to keep up with life, and they don't realize they are losing their soul in the process. Can they truly trust who they are? Taking the time to slow down and reflect on our own behavior is essential. We need to account for our own actions and begin to develop a trusting outlook for ourselves. We need to then bring this attitude and associated behaviors into our relationships and into our workplace.

Individually, we need to do our part in addressing the issues before us. If we all do our own little (or big!) part, perhaps we can once again trust in ourselves, trust in others, trust in our institutions and governing bodies and finally ignite the spirit of the American Dream.

Holding On & Letting Go

Out of the roughly 326 million people in US, 128 million are now under 18 years. This means that they were not born when the terror attacks occurred. While there is no question we must continue to remember and honor that tragic day, it is also important that we do not get weighed down and stuck in morbidity about it. The new memorial park in Shanksville, PA where Flight 93 went down honors the spot as sacred ground with a tower and wind chimes, sending beautiful sound vibrations across the meadows and hills. Indeed it is important and vastly meaningful to feel and acknowledge. Yet, no matter how difficult, it is also critical that we don't get stuck in those feelings.

Fear is a powerful feeling.

Many people live in fear on a daily basis. And I don't necessarily mean fear related to September 11th or such horrific events. Rather, people far too regularly fear such matters as conflict at work, losing their job, being passed over for that big promotion, not saving enough for retirement, the list could go on and on.

How can you work around these fears? More so, how can you overcome them? Give me a call--I can help.

The Proof is in the Pudding

Recently, I had one of those luxurious catch-up conversations with a colleague with whom I hadn’t spoken in about a year. The last time we had spoken, he informed me he was leaving the consulting world to embark on a totally different business venture with his wife. The combination of a new empty nest and burn out from heavy travel prompted this lifestyle change.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I received an email from him saying the business was no more, and he was available for limited client work. Obviously my curiosity was aroused so I gave him a call to catch up.

Sure enough, the proof I came away with substantiated a belief I have held for a long time…

Work, either employed or self-generated like entrepreneurial ventures or working as an independent contractor, is an essential part of one’s life. As human beings we naturally work to realize goals. Work is the process of applying know-how to realize specific outcomes (aka goals). The wide-ranging situations involved in one’s employment consist of applying knowledge, skill, experience and applied capability to assigned tasks to be completed by a targeted completion time. When mismatched to our work--being over-qualified, underutilized and/or not having the knowledge, skills, experience and capacity to do the tasks assigned--our overall well-being is impacted.

In my colleague’s case it was a situation of over qualification. Having spent his career providing services to executives in corporations, he bought a small business providing services to average Janes and Joes. He was now chief cook and bottle washer providing services to the public, whereas before he was consulting to senior executives. Very different roles, requiring very different expertise, knowledge, know how and capability. The hours were exhausting, the labor more physical than mental; and before long, mental fatigue and physical exhaustion set in. A trip to the doctor and a battery of medical tests demonstrated the impact of stress on his psyche and overall health. The recommendation was cut your losses and get out of the business. He was told that continuing this could kill him.

Stress associated with being mismatched to a role is carried into your home and shows up, for example as being short-tempered with loved ones, drinking or doing drugs to numb the pain (physical and emotional), and a myriad of other symptoms both obvious and subtle. Unlike my colleague, not everyone is in the position to “suck it up” and cut one’s losses. Most people need sufficient income to care for themselves and their families.

So what can you do? Doing nothing is not the answer. Doing nothing will likely result in a serious blow-up, illness and or mental breakdown. Who will be there to care for family and loved ones?

One suggestion I have (and I have many) is to have a conversation with your boss. Muster up the courage to let her/him know that something is off with you and the work. Begin by saying you are determined to make a contribution to the unit/company/organization, and you need some guidance. Always try to avoid blame. Focus on the fact you want to add value. You’ll be surprised what a conversation like this can bring out into the open. Express your willingness and desire to do a good job. Depending on the situation, from here there are different paths the conversation can take, and these paths can indeed be positive.

Have any of my comments evoked something in you? What is your thinking on this topic? Sharing your reflections helps all of us to grow and expand our thinking. Comments can be left on the Contact Rosemary page. If you have found the information of value, please forward it to colleagues, associates and friends.

And fiinally... Shanah Tovah! Wishing a good new year to all!

Don't Just Rest & Relax This Labor Day

Many people seem to be taking time out to relax during these waning days of summer, especially with the long Labor Day weekend upon us. We here at Bova Enterprises are doing so as well. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t reach out as I’ve done in years past, to give Labor Day its due.

Each year at this time I find myself thinking about labor…about work…and of course, about how I can help make it all better. This is a true passion of mine, and has been since college when I majored in labor economics.

It would behoove each of us to take a bit of time this long holiday weekend for thoughts of our own work. Sure, it’s important to get away, to escape work, to take a break. Hear me out for a second… Think about it…

Are you happy with the work you do everyday?

What sort of changes can you make to improve even just one aspect of your work?

Is your organization efficient in its processes?

Are you an effective manager?

How can you insure your communication with workers and colleagues is ever improving?

What can your organization do to improve outcomes?

These questions are really just the tip of the iceberg…

Do you think you and your organization might benefit from some guidance with the work you are doing, with how you can improve your staff morale, output or even how you can increase your bottom line?

I’ll be back at it in full force first thing Tuesday afternoon. Reach out anytime at info@bovaenterprises.com / 212 685 0870. Or, click below to learn more... right now.

Have any of my comments evoked something in you? What is your thinking on this topic? Sharing your reflections helps all of us to grow and expand our thinking. Comments can be left on the Contact Rosemary page.

Wisdom Repackaged

Recently, I came across a blog by John Mattone who at one time coached Steve Jobs. In it he wrote about the importance of inner core work which he defined as a person’s "soul" (self-concept, character, values, thinking patterns, emotions). I refer to this as self-awareness or knowing oneself. Think back to Socrates, or perhaps the Oracle at Delphi thousands of years ago who said, Know Thyself.

Self-awareness is one of four foundational elements to individual and organization transformation about which I am passionate. I am in the process of finalizing writing on the crisis undermining America’s workforce known in HR circles as disengagement. It emerged over many years and is the result of an emphasis on short-term problem solving, lack of critical thinking, and meeting arbitrary Wall Street goals. It's now known by its most prevalent symptom-- the lack of employees engaged in work. This is a critical issue for our society.

The problem of employee disengagement is significant in American culture. Not only does it affect the productivity of individual companies but it also ripples over into the core of the American psyche.

Here a few thoughts about disengagement that most people are unaware of...

Disengagement means not being connected to or involved with something. It is the experience of being turned-off at work, and not caring about the product or service you deliver. Characterized as malaise, in the most serious cases, workers will purposely undermine company initiatives or even products. Malaise is a result of discontent. When people don't speak about this at work, one of two things can happen--They may turn the frustration inward causing disease or they could explode from the stress somewhere in or outside of the workplace (perhaps at home with family or in the car in the form of road rage, for example).

According to a recent Gallup poll, roughly 17% admit to undermining their employer. A high visibility example you may recall was the disgruntled Tesla employee who tampered with the company’s manufacturing operations software causing significant problems and cost overruns.

I’d appreciate hearing stories you’ve experienced or heard about. Please take a moment and send them along.

Have any of my comments evoked something in you? What is your thinking on these topics? Sharing your reflections helps all of us to grow and expand our thinking. If you have found the information of value, please forward it to colleagues, associates and friends.

Also, if you are interested in reading more, click here for the link to John Mattone’s blog.

Time for Learning

I’m proud to call myself a life long learner. In the past I’ve had colleagues ask me why I’m interested in so many different areas of study, why I always seem so interested in discovering new things about myself.

That second question is an easy one to answer. As a consultant and advisor I am the instrument of learning and change with which my clients interact. I consider role modeling when building engaged organizations to be essential. Think about it. How can I ask workers to do anything that I have not done myself? People tend to take stock more in a person’s behavior than in what they say. If the two are incongruous a red flag is likely to be raised, and an unexplained sense of caution could very well prevail.

What do you think? Are you open to learning at this stage of the game? I hope your answer is yes. It’s important to keep an open mind—even when you think you know all there is on a particular subject, or what a person means when they make a statement or comment. 

Let’s look at a quick example. What if your colleague remarks to you about a particular issue on a project you both are working? And what if you think you know what s/he means but in reality you’re not entirely certain? It’s prudent to paraphrase or simply ask to be sure your assumption is correct. I’ve been teaching this basic of all communication skills for more than 25 years now, and I am still fascinated how infrequently people do this.

Here is a challenge for you to consider. Make an agreement with yourself to learn something new each day. It could be as simple as learning a new word, its definition and using it in a sentence each day. Another suggestion is to read an article or chapter in a book each day. Others of you might pair up with co-workers at break or lunchtime to have a conversation about innovations in your workplace or what can be done to improve work conditions.

Your own time, work and focus are important, but so too is learning. We should all make even a small amount of time to learn. During these dog days of August I ask you to open yourself to learning. I promise, this will improve your work as well as your life overall.

Have any of my comments evoked something in you? What is your thinking on this topic? Sharing your reflections helps all of us to grow and expand our thinking. 

If you have found the information of value, please forward it to colleagues, associates and friends. I'm always available by email at info@bovaenterprises.com or phone 212 685 0870.

Thanks!
Scatter joy, and be kind to others particularly at work,
Rosemary 

When Humanity Speaks

For the last two weeks the world watched with bated breath as an international team of highly skilled rescuers and volunteers numbering close to a thousand, first located 12 missing boys and their coach in a flooded cave in northern Thailand. They then devised a highly complex plan to extract them which went off without a hitch and in record time. 

How does this happen?

Humanity spoke! Every person on earth could identify with being trapped deep underground in total darkness, with no food and surrounded by water which they knew would likely rise with the monsoon season upon them. Add to this the fact all but one were children. These universal emotional touchpoints magnetized people all over the globe to come forth. Within days an international team of rescuers formed, translators showed up and this group who speak different languages, pull off an impossible feat. They developed a comprehensive, albeit highly dangerous and complex plan to extricate the children and their coach. Millions of people prayed using their own religious traditions, creating an energetic safety net for this plan. Sadly, one diver did die before the extraction got underway.

What if you could create that degree of focus and commitment in your company? How might that impact your business?

There is a phenomenon called the vortex. According to Esther and Jerry Hicks, it is an energetic field of positive vibrational energy. It took a few days for the vortex to be created. When people heard of 12 young boys and their coach missing in a flooded cave, millions of positive thoughts and prayers traveled over the airwaves in hope they’d be found. Once found, the ante was upped--how do we get them out?

We’ve all heard stories of groups of bystanders lifting a car to save someone pinned under it. It’s more than just an adrenal rush. Here are a few of my thoughts.

  • A common goal people understand the whys and wherefores of speaks volumes to them
  • When people recognize their efforts, and ideas are valued and appreciated people become engaged
  • When people recognize that the goal is bigger than they are and that the goal has a greater purpose, they rise to the occasion

I invite you to think of three steps you might take within the next few days to transform your organization. Here’s a first step: Talk about this with your people; listen closely to their thoughts.

Have any of my comments evoked something in you? What is your thinking on these topics? Sharing your reflections helps all of us to grow and expand our thinking. Comments can be left at the BE website, on the Contact Rosemary page.

If you have found the information in this blog of value, please forward it to colleagues, associates and friends.

I'm always available by email at info@bovaenterprises.com or phone 212 685 0870.

Thanks!

Scatter joy, and be kind to others particularly at work,

Rosemary