Team Culture – When we think of team culture, we sometimes think it’s about how many free lunches we have together, or that time we did “team building” and went bowling. Culture is a difficult concept to nail down but at its core are the values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors shared by the people on a team. It’s not the “what” we do together, it’s the “how” we do it. Team cultures are influenced by the overarching organizational culture, but it’s the smaller groups that most impact each person positively, or negatively. In a nutshell, culture is created by people. Sometimes culture isn’t really noticed until times get tough, then suddenly we notice something’s missing.
In this new normal we’re navigating, people are no closer than six feet and you can only see their eyes, or they appear on a flat digital device. This makes our culture more important than ever. That invisible connection between people on a team is what will keep them engaged from a distance. There are three important aspects to culture: mission and values, relationships built on trust, and communication.
Neural Networks – We are spending an inordinate amount of time in front of our screens and devices lately and I’ve found it fascinating to notice time shrinking and expanding in different ways. For instance, sitting down to write Tuesday’s Tips should only take me about two hours. However, if I have my phone in front of me, my email on screen, my messenger app and calendars up, invariably it will take me two days to write. Why? Because our brains are wired to focus on one thing at a time. We have been fooled into thinking that we can multi-task and what happens instead is that time shrinks. For example, I begin a stream of thought and then my email notifies me Gary just sent me something, so I switch screens to check it out. Oh, just an update for our meeting later, nothing I need to do. Okay, now where was I again? I reread my paragraph to get back in flow and out of the corner of my eye my phone blinks with a text from my mom. She’s letting me know her dog food delivery arrived. Okay… Let’s see, where was I? I begin writing again and maybe get two sentences in and my office phone rings. I turn to see who the caller ID is and realize it’s AARP calling again to remind me I now qualify. For Pete’s sake, it’s been 30 minutes and I have one paragraph written. In neuropsychological terms these are “task switching costs” and can add up to a loss of 40% of your daily productivity.
The refund to this high price is focusing on one thing at a time. David Allen helped me look at my work differently years ago with his book “Getting Things Done,” but I have struggled recently spending so much time in the office. I turned back to what I know to be true about the human brain, it needs distraction free zones to be at its best. So, I turn off all notifications, shut down email, messenger, calendars, turn the office phone volume off, and turn Do Not Disturb on my cell phone – it’s exhausting just writing out all those distractions. Now, I can get into my writing flow and feel time beginning to expand! I was able to write extra Tuesday Tips material in two hours that I can keep for next time. I’m even further ahead than I expected. It’s almost magical. AND when I turn email back on, it only takes me 15 minutes to respond. Wait a minute, I have spent whole days chasing email, how can it be that I completed that in 15 minutes? Distraction free time expansion, that’s how.
I encourage you to just try it once in the next two weeks and let us know how it worked for you. I’m going to bet you’ll be surprised at how much your brain will reward you for it.
Your Biweekly Does of Upliftment – Our very own Phil Incorvia has begun creating some short tips via video segment so we are debuting his work here this week with a tip to try different methods of structuring our days.
Also, this joy-filled musical number by Jimmy Fallon, Roots and the cast of Hamilton will put a kick in your step. The movie version is coming out July 3 (on Disney +) if you haven’t had the opportunity to see it on Broadway. EXCITING!
Please let us know if you find any of these to be helpful and share how you put them into practice. Also, if you have a tip to offer, let us know and we will include it in a future email or video.
We wish for you to find your special ways to thrive through this unprecedented time.
May You Be Well –
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