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Well-Being Matters

Well-Being Matters

Have you ever thought about the connection between well-being and belonging? The idea of well-being as a workplace matter has been gaining ground well before the pandemic even began.  

 More recently, the idea of well-being has moved from a “nice to have” to a “need to have” as we have all adjusted to develop strategies for managing the challenges of working from home, hybrid work, and working onsite under new conditions. Organizations often have programs to support well-being, but what does this term really mean?

There are numerous definitions of well-being, and a common understanding is that it embodies a sense that things are going well in life—it encompasses an attention to the connections between mind, body, heart, and spirit. Well-being practices include fostering resilience and work-life balance, as well as physical and mental health. Leading a life of purpose and meaning has been shown to increase well-being.

What does well-being look like for someone who doesn’t have a sense of belonging in an organization? If a person feels that they cannot bring their whole self to work, both their sense of belonging and their well-being are at risk. These things go hand in hand. The emotional labor of carefully crafting a work persona that is different from one’s true self is exhausting.

As your organization works to support equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging, consider the role of well-being and how it intersects with each of these practices, particularly belonging.

Inclusion is an invitation to the table, belonging involves working to remove any barriers and champion participation. Well-being is the resulting positive moods and emotions that come from feeling like you belong.

Everyone in an organization has a part to play in supporting well-being and belonging. To explore how you are experiencing and supporting well-being and belonging in the workplace, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How am I ensuring that my colleagues’ voices are heard?
  • Who isn’t at the table to voice their opinion and why are they excluded?
  • What assumptions might I be making about my colleagues? About their identity? About their feelings? About their priorities?
  • Am I able to bring my whole self to work, or is there a part of my identity that I feel I need to hide?
  • How am I showing respect for my colleagues?
  • How am I demonstrating to my co-workers that I support their bringing their full selves to work?
  • What social support does my organization offer to support the well-being of employees?

What will you do today to support your own well-being and belonging at work, as well as those around you?

Conscient Strategies was founded with the idea that every organization is capable of thriving through change. With a focus on strategy development, program implementation, workplace dynamics, and leadership development, Conscient Strategies equips leaders with the tools necessary to continuously navigate the constancy of change in ways that not only benefit their team, but, equally as important, their business outcomes as well. From mergers to c-suite changes to sudden or explosive growth, organizations turn to Conscient Strategies when change is threatening their financial health and cultural wellbeing.

Based in Washington, D.C., Conscient Strategies is comprised of a talented group of consultants, executive coaches, strategists, and account executives. The team has worked with organizations of all sizes in the private, federal, and non-profit sectors across the United States and Internationally.

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Deal Makers Interview Series: Christine Jones

Deal Makers Interview Series: Christine Jones

We interview Christine Jones, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Blue Highway Capital, a US-based investment firm growing small middle-market companies nationally, focusing on the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

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Well-Being Matters

Well-Being Matters

Organizations often have programs to support well-being, but what does this term really mean? Is there a connection between well-being and belonging?

read more

Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

Contact us to get started.

12 + 10 =

The Future of Your Work Part 3: The Future is Now

The Future of Your Work Part 3: The Future is Now

We started the Future of Work series at the peak of global, COVID-catalyzed workforce disruption. Over a year later, the disruption remains, and in many ways, the future of work is no longer in the future at all… 

The future is now, and in this new and unfamiliar context, leadership is more important than ever. It is the responsive leader and their high-performing teams that will thrive today and propel their organization into the future. 

But what is a responsive leader?  

In part 3 of our series, we unpack the concept of nuanced, human-centered leadership, and reveal the five qualities that all responsive leaders share.

Enter your email address below to download the full playbook.

You may also be interested in:

Well-Being Matters

Well-Being Matters

Organizations often have programs to support well-being, but what does this term really mean? Is there a connection between well-being and belonging?

read more

Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

Contact us to get started.

7 + 4 =

Lessons from the Playground for the Hybrid Workplace

Lessons from the Playground for the Hybrid Workplace

Not long ago I was with my 7-year old daughter at a playground.  Also at the playground were a brother (7) and sister (6).  The kids quickly started interacting with each other, and soon they were actively playing together.  The two 7-year olds used their imagination to cook up a game that involved pretending they were in a distant kingdom fighting dragons and dodging hot lava, etc.  

The two older kids were fully engaged playing the game when after a while the younger girl said with a crestfallen look, “I don’t want to play with you guys anymore.  I’m never involved.”  When I heard these words, I felt a jolt of sadness come over me. I also had an insight related to the challenges in many Diversity & Inclusion programs.  

D&I programs work hard to ensure that diverse people are represented in the organization and included on teams.  But it’s up to the teams collectively to help each member feels truly involved; involved in the nitty-gritty challenges, involved in the moments of fun and play, and involved in the overall social fabric of the team.  

I guess that’s where the “Belonging” in DEIB comes to life. You can be on the playground, ostensibly playing the same game as the rest of the team, but if you don’t really feel “involved” then you will not have a sense of belonging.  As a result, you will feel like that 6-year old girl did: sad, disappointed, and disengaged.

Considering the story above, what can you as a team leader and team member do to make sure everyone on your team feels like they are truly involved in the team’s work?  For one thing, you can invite everyone to have a say in developing the “rules of the game” (group norms).  Next, you can check in with people and ask open questions like: “What’s it like for you to be a member of this team?” and “What aspect of being on this team keeps you from participating fully?”

In today’s hybrid workplace, it’s up to team leaders and team members alike to keep an eye on each other to make sure that no one “falls through the cracks.” Some people like to be checked on more often than others, so it’s important to inquire about the unique preferences of each individual.  Once you know another’s preferences, you can adapt your leadership/membership style to be optimally responsive to another’s needs.  

The modern workplace is demanding and stressful, but it can also be inspiring and uplifting. Are you doing your part to make sure each member of your team feels involved and included in both the ups and the downs of organizational life? 

Conscient Strategies was founded with the idea that every organization is capable of thriving through change. With a focus on strategy development, program implementation, workplace dynamics, and leadership development, Conscient Strategies equips leaders with the tools necessary to continuously navigate the constancy of change in ways that not only benefit their team, but, equally as important, their business outcomes as well. From mergers to c-suite changes to sudden or explosive growth, organizations turn to Conscient Strategies when change is threatening their financial health and cultural wellbeing.

Based in Washington, D.C., Conscient Strategies is comprised of a talented group of consultants, executive coaches, strategists, and account executives. The team has worked with organizations of all sizes in the private, federal, and non-profit sectors across the United States and Internationally.

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Deal Makers Interview Series: Christine Jones

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We interview Christine Jones, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Blue Highway Capital, a US-based investment firm growing small middle-market companies nationally, focusing on the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

read more
Well-Being Matters

Well-Being Matters

Organizations often have programs to support well-being, but what does this term really mean? Is there a connection between well-being and belonging?

read more

Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

Contact us to get started.

14 + 2 =

How to Develop Leadership & Culture to Optimize Value

How to Develop Leadership & Culture to Optimize Value

In acquisitions, both sellers and buyers spend great effort in financial and operational due diligence, yet far too many transactions fail. Why?

Leadership and culture are critical to a successful acquisition, but frequently they’re ignored. For sellers, recognizing that leadership and culture are linked to enterprise value helps them mitigate risk and drive value in preparation for sale. For buyers, leadership and culture play a critical role in ensuring a smooth post-transaction integration.

Key Learnings:

Leverage real-life examples to learn why the evaluation of leadership and culture matter leading up to a transaction.

Understand what a pre-transaction leadership and cultural assessment looks like.

Learn how addressing these types of risks can drive value for sellers and buyers.

About Value Scout:

Value Scout is the first value creation platform. It enables entrepreneurs to pinpoint their business value today, create and drive a plan to create the value they’ll need tomorrow, and exit on their terms. Value Scout enables entrepreneurs to take a deliberate, proactive approach to value creation. Business leaders and their advisors use it to identify, plan for, and drive all their value creation activities – from growing revenue and increasing efficiencies to improving cash flows and strengthening leadership teams. Learn more at getvaluescout.com.

You may also be interested in:

Well-Being Matters

Well-Being Matters

Organizations often have programs to support well-being, but what does this term really mean? Is there a connection between well-being and belonging?

read more

Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

Contact us to get started.

11 + 15 =

The Future of Your Work Part 2: From Survival to Strategy

The Future of Your Work Part 2: From Survival to Strategy

There’s no going back. It is abundantly clear that the global pandemic fueled an unprecedented level of workforce disruption.

The reality is that change is constant, but last year reminded the world that change is also often unpredictable, rapid, and able to irreversibly disrupt the way we work.

Whether leaders recognize it or not, your organization has changed, your workforce has been disrupted, and your team has adopted a culture that may or may not serve the organization going forward.

This playbook outlines four steps leaders can take to move their organization forward from survival to strategy.

Enter your email address below to download the full playbook.

You may also be interested in:

Well-Being Matters

Well-Being Matters

Organizations often have programs to support well-being, but what does this term really mean? Is there a connection between well-being and belonging?

read more

Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

Contact us to get started.

11 + 5 =

The Dirty Little Secret of Change

The Dirty Little Secret of Change

Large organizations by definition require a certain level of bureaucracy with the intent of generating consistency and predictability for employees and outcomes alike. As an executive coach working with leaders in federal organizations, I have noticed that federal leaders often face challenges specific to the public sector. One of these challenges being how to implement positive change in traditional “command and control” style bureaucracies.

Federal bureaucracies have very prescribed systems for managing people. They also often have unusually burdensome regulatory structures, and heavy regulatory structures often result in a “zero-defect” mentality. What is the result? Leaders have little incentive to – and are afraid to – innovate and try new things. Worse than that, the fear leaders feel permeates down to their teams and stifles creativity. Also, leaders often end up micromanaging several levels down in order to avoid having to answer tough questions from their superiors up the chain.

For example, a leader that I work with in the federal sector tried to empower his team by adopting a coach approach. He asked more questions of his team members in an attempt to get them to take additional responsibility and develop their problem-solving skills. When he attempted to implement this new leadership style, he began to detect strong feelings of discomfort as his direct reports pushed back on this non-standard approach. Even his bosses began asking him questions indicating their skepticism of his leadership style. As a result of the discomfort and the pressure from above, he abandoned the new approach before it ever had a chance to succeed.

What can leaders do to effect positive cultural change in these types of organizations? First, they can start by facing their own vulnerability with open eyes. Researcher Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, defines vulnerability as showing up and taking action even when we can’t control or predict the outcome. Vulnerability is exactly what leaders in the federal sector need to learn. By definition, there is no innovation, creativity, or positive cultural  change possible without the willingness of leaders to be vulnerable.

In the example described above, the leader needed to make himself vulnerable long enough to see positive results. Like this leader, most of us are unwilling to try new things when the outcomes are uncertain and we face resistance. Yet, the dirty little secret of change means that any leader will have to lean into vulnerability, discomfort, and personal development to generate real change.

The next step in shifting cultures in hierarchical organizations is to recognize that we are going to have to tolerate the feeling of discomfort. If we know that the discomfort is coming, we can be ready for it.

We can also communicate, to our teams and to our bosses, our intention to try something new in order to get buy-in. We can set the expectation that there will be discomfort and normalize the discomfort ahead of time. In that way, we have a chance of generating curiosity and reducing resistance.  

A final key to creating change in a system is to realize change must happen on the personal level first. Growing innovation and achieving new outcomes cannot occur if leaders are not also doing their own personal development work. Leaders have to become aware of and attend to their own subconscious coping mechanisms. These coping mechanisms, while developed keep us comfortable, tend to in fact keep us stuck in old mindsets and behaviors.

We encourage leaders to explore and uncover the beliefs behind their coping mechanisms. We also work hand in hand to begin the process of replacing these self limiting beliefs with a mindset that supports success through change. We work to move leaders, and thus their organizations, from seeing change as a threat to embracing the constancy of change and opportunities it brings. Once leaders evolve their mindset through greater self-awareness, they are in a position to withstand the discomfort of trying out new actions and behaviors and achieving more impactful organizational outcomes. 

Elias Ursitti is a leadership development facilitator and credentialed leadership coach.  His professional mission is to help leaders raise their level of consciousness in order to take skilled, wise, and compassionate action. Elias utilizes an adaptive coaching approach in order to best serve leaders and their teams in a range of challenging contexts.

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Well-Being Matters

Well-Being Matters

Organizations often have programs to support well-being, but what does this term really mean? Is there a connection between well-being and belonging?

read more

Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

Contact us to get started.

15 + 11 =

The Future of Your Work: Part 1

The Future of Your Work: Part 1

COVID-19 sent lasting shockwaves around the world, disrupting everyday life, pushing businesses to pivot for survival, and transforming the way we work.

As a result, we find no shortage of exploratory pieces that muse over what the future of work might look like, and there is no lack of literature reminding leaders to “adapt and pivot” to survive.

But hacking the future of work is more than just figuring out how long your team stays virtual or if you should upgrade your Zoom membership. Today’s leader needs a practical guide to reimagining the future—and the future of work—within and for their organization.

This playbook outlines four steps that any organization can undertake today to begin designing a “future of work” strategy.

Enter your email address below to download the full playbook.

You may also be interested in:

Well-Being Matters

Well-Being Matters

Organizations often have programs to support well-being, but what does this term really mean? Is there a connection between well-being and belonging?

read more

Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

Contact us to get started.

8 + 8 =

How do you move your organization from conversation to action? It might look different than you think.

How do you move your organization from conversation to action? It might look different than you think.

As the national conversation surrounding diversity and inclusion continues to gain momentum, a simple yet powerful truth resonates: depending on their identity, employees experience the workplace in vastly different ways.

With an energized workforce and an intensified spotlight on leadership, the time is ripe for action. But how? How do you move your organization from conversation to action?

For starters, look beyond the happy.

Workplace culture is often misconstrued for happiness—“are my employees happy?” But “happy” is just a bi-product of culture, not the definition of it. 

If you’re serious about promoting a culture that values diversity, equity, and belonging, here are some questions to ask beyond “are my employees happy?”

  1. Do all employees feel heard and feel comfortable being themselves?
  2. Do women, BIPOC, LGBTQ, etc, have higher turnover rates?
  3. Are employees in the same position being paid equally?
  4. Is there true representation at senior levels?
  5. What corporate goals, metrics, and incentive programs align with desired behaviors?

Next, take a look in the mirror.

Ultimately, workplace culture starts with its leadership. A leader’s decisions, what and how they communicate with others, the policies they create—all of this and more—set the foundation for culture. Leaders are the first stewards of an organization’s values and they must lead by example, personally practicing and reinforcing the behaviors and beliefs that they want to define their organizational culture.

Every member of a team has the potential to contribute to the culture of an organization as well. Each brings their own personality, perspectives, and realities to the table. But, it’s up to leaders to create an environment that enables them to do so (both a physical and psychological environment).  

Finally, shift intentionally

Cultures that are left on “autopilot” are likely to stray from an organization’s core values, and worse, allow unacceptable or toxic behaviors to become the norm. This can ripple outward, endangering everything from morale to the bottom line. 

An ideal culture is formed with intention and informed by clearly defined values. Start the shift by:

  1. Talking one-on-one with employees. Remember that as a leader, you do not have a monopoly on “the right way” of doing things. It is important to listen to employees’ ideas and concerns. 
  2. Re-evaluating your organizational value statement. Does it incorporate DEI values?
  3. Infusing your values into process, evaluations, and promotions. 
  4. Establishing D&I working groups and giving them a seat at all key leadership discussions.

Always remember that integrating diversity and inclusion values into your culture is not a linear process with a stationary endpoint. It involves ongoing evaluation, iteration, communication, and growth. Just as the conversation in our nation continues to evolve, so will your organization. It’s important to check in often, and push the cultural narrative forward with humility and intention.

Conscient Strategies was founded with the idea that every organization is capable of thriving through change. With a focus on strategy development, program implementation, workplace dynamics, and leadership development, Conscient Strategies equips leaders with the tools necessary to continuously navigate the constancy of change in ways that not only benefit their team, but, equally as important, their business outcomes as well. From mergers to c-suite changes to sudden or explosive growth, organizations turn to Conscient Strategies when change is threatening their financial health and cultural wellbeing.

Based in Washington, D.C., Conscient Strategies is comprised of a talented group of consultants, executive coaches, strategists, and account executives. The team has worked with organizations of all sizes in the private, federal, and non-profit sectors across the United States and Internationally.

 

You may also be interested in:

Well-Being Matters

Well-Being Matters

Organizations often have programs to support well-being, but what does this term really mean? Is there a connection between well-being and belonging?

read more

Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

Contact us to get started.

9 + 1 =

Law Firm Culture and Strategy

Whitepaper

Law Firm Culture and Strategy

Last year, we launched a benchmark study of regional and mid-sized U.S. law firms to understand what role firm culture played in long-term success and sustainability. Little did we know what lay ahead.

Our first paper in this series provides an overview of 4 common pain points that firms experience, and how culture-first leadership alleviates them. Subsequent papers will take a deeper dive into each issue, and provide insights into how our findings can be applied to some of the unique circumstances firms are facing in today’s rapidly changing environment. 

Agile Strategy During Crisis

Agile Strategy During Crisis

During times of crisis, leaders need to focus on the countless urgent needs of the business. You need to make quick, and sometimes painful, decisions. Taking risks with an eye to the future might feel contrary to the desire to be protective of your operations. An agile approach to strategy can help you lead your team and take actions that help you to shift in crisis while positioning your organization to emerge from crisis successfully.

Your strategy should enable you to adapt, not hold you back, during times of chaos and uncertainty. The COVID-19 crisis is an extreme situation, exacerbating and highlighting the constant change and disruption that have characterized the environment over the past few years. During these uncertain times, your strategy provides guardrails for decision making.

 

 

Agility involves evaluating a rapidly evolving business environment, testing ideas, and continuously iterating on a living strategic plan.  Your strategy tells you who you are and what you are known for, things that are important to hold on to, even now. If you don’t have a living strategy, we recommend you set aside time to rapidly clarify  the defining elements of your organization. Does everyone on your team know your values, mission, and unique market proposition? What are the non-negotiable aspects of your culture? Once that critical, strategic first step to navigating successfully through this period is complete, you will have a better sense of how best to maneuver through this ever changing landscape.

Click here for more on agile strategic planning.

You may also be interested in:

Well-Being Matters

Well-Being Matters

Organizations often have programs to support well-being, but what does this term really mean? Is there a connection between well-being and belonging?

read more

Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

Contact us to get started.

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