Be an Innovator, use Empathy.

I have tried to embrace a new favorite color but no matter how hard I try I always go back to orange. Even if I try to like a new color, it’s really just a second runner up . It is simply the very best color. Now, enter in YOU, what’s your favorite color? It’s the best color right???

Your favorite color is your filter, you will pick things out in that color and not even notice that your entire living room and walls are all orange. One day you will wake up in your orange room with your orange t-shirt on and finally notice you have painted your world orange. In fact even your dog may be a red head, close enough. Our favorite colors are a great example of how our filters work, we are often totally unaware that our inherent filters are auto sorting the information streaming in around us. Our filters are constantly informing the decisions we make, influencing and compelling our actions, behaviors, thoughts, opinions, and point of view. Evolutionary IDEO designer Jane Fulton Suri captures the concept of unconscious behavior in her book Thoughtless Acts. The pictures on her website are fun to look at. Just look at all the things we do without even thinking about it, putting our coat on a chair to save out spot, mindlessly walking along a line in the road, using a pencil to hold up our hair. The way we interact and engage with the world can be totally ‘thoughtless’. Our inherent filters are acting in much the same way, stealthily shaping our interactions with the world. Auto filtration is necessary so we can think fast, solve feverishly and form opinions, however it can also stunt our ability to bring the most impactful solutions, ideas and approaches to our work and personal lives. We are happy victims of our own inherent filters.

As creatures of habit and routine we like what we like. How can we think outside of our own inherent filters? How can we get inside someone else’s mind for a while, and think ‘inside out’?

 Let’s leave the filters to our coffee pots.

Many companies are using a concept called “Design Thinking” to insert empathy into their problem solving processes, this is done with the intention of creating better solutions. Gaining empathy is just one part of the full DT process but, it is the most important step to disable our filters and enable open minds.

Design thinking is a technique to discover new opportunities , it doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur, a dog walker or a ballerina, anyone can use design thinking to unlock new levels of success.  It involves the following :

1) Defining a problem that customers/employees/families/insert-any-group-here are experiencing,

2) Gathering insight on that problem from their perspective using empathy ( put yourself in their shoes) and observation (watching the user experience).

3) Ideating on possible ways to solve these identified problems based on the collected insights that you gathered. This is the time to go big or go home.

4)Prototyping your solutions,this parts fun!

5) Testing and iterating your solutions with the group, add salt and pepper to taste, adjust as needed.

This process sounds really fancy but its not, it can be applied to basically any situation, and anyone can do it. Teachers have used DT to redesign classrooms so students can learn in a more stimulating environment. Kindergarteners have used it to design homes for owl babies. The OXO vegetable peeler was created using it, designed to ensure comfort for consumers with arthritis because the founder’s wife had arthritis and it limited her ability to cook, which she loved to do.

Opportunities to use Design Thinking are all around us. Empathy doesn’t mean feeling sorry for someone by the way, thats sympathy. Empathy is about understanding another perspective.

In a DT workshop I took last year we were asked to go through this Gift Giving Exercise . Its fun and you should try it. This sort of exercise is just one teeny tiny example of one tiny step in the full DT thinking methodology. You can learn the full process by checking out all the free resources from the Stanford Design School.

Most of us have been taught to think our way through a problem but to be a true innovator, not just create a one time innovation, we need to think from the inside out.  Inserting empathy consciously allows us to do this, it helps slow our automatic filtration system from kicking in too fast. The Designing Thinking School at Stanford provides three key methods to help us gain empathy.

  • Immerse: Become the user, live their experiences. A day in the life of a mom trying to balance a kids busy sports schedule, a patient visiting the ER, an employee going through a performance discussion with their manager,  a commuter braving bay area traffic at peak time. Gain direct insight into how the user feels when engaging in the activity.
  • Observe: Observe users in the context of their lives to understand how they experience and interact with the world, what is important to them. The intangible insights you gather will expand perspective on challenges in their daily life they may themselves not notice.
  • Engage: Get people to tell you stories about their experience. This is different than validating a solution or an idea with a group of people we think need that solution ( like a focus group).  Engaging with others and listening to stories will help us understand their values and beliefs, which allow us to design compelling solutions with emotional appeal.

While we are not necessarily all designers, we are all human. Our filters make up an important part of our self identity and anchor us to our personal beliefs and values. For all the great they bring us, filters can also dilute the full flavor of our experiences. Be bold, take on new experiences, be a perpetual student and employ empathy, it’s free and its fun.

Cheers,

Bianca E. McCann, MHRIR

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Family Portrait

 

Pants Not Included

Working from home, ahhh you’ve arrived, one heck of a short commute, no lines for coffee, no awkward exchanges with Steve in accounting, and best of all, no pants. You know what I mean, don’t even pretend you don’t. There you are, running the world from your kitchen with furry slippers and no pants. It happens, I mean not to me, *ahem* but it does happen.  Here’s the deal, you should wear pants, honestly its scary that you aren’t wearing any pants. What’s the matter with you?  Don’t worry; Sparkle Out Loud is here to help.  First of all since we are all imperfect persons, it means we only take some advice some of the time but, no matter how much advice we choose to take, at the end of the day we all put our pants on one leg at a time…hopefully.

You have to be really disciplined and well organized to be a successful all-home-all-the time employee.  Working from home isn’t for everyone. I will admit that going from being in the office every day to commuting to your kitchen is an exciting change but it’s not easy. I work 100% from home, and I want to share a few tips that have really worked for me. I also want to share a few pointers for staying present at work even when they can’t physically see you.

Take a Shower: First of all, get in the shower right away; seriously if you can do this you are already ten steps ahead of the pack. If you cannot get in the shower right away then DO NOT put socks on, you want your feet to slowly grow cold so you have no choice but to shower. Your feet will become a built in “ its time to shower alarm” , I assure you this works.

Wear Some PantsYou don’t need to roll into your 2nd bedroom/office in a three piece suit,  however  you have got to up the ante and step away from the workout sweats. Seriously. You slept in those, that’s not good. Put a load of laundry on if it makes you feel better. The sweatpants can go somewhere but they can’t stay here. If you can dress like your going to work for real that is great, if not pretend it’s a Saturday afternoon. In my case I also put shoes on, it helps me feel like I have somewhere to be…. like work.

Get a Room Have a real workspace that’s dedicated just to work, you know, what’s that thing called….  oh yes…. an office. Working from home successfully requires a proper office set up, sitting on the living room floor or working at your breakfast nook simply is not going to cut it. If you can’t take a webcam call without a bed or a breakfast plate showing in the background then it’s time to make a change. Also, it’s really important that you have all the tools of the trade, like a really great chair and a headset that has a mute button.  Your coworkers may already be a bit jealous of your work from home status, so the last thing you want is to have your dog barking or the train whistle blaring in the middle of the conference call so they can’t help but remember you had zero commute while they sat in traffic for 40 minutes. The goal is to help people envision you in a real workplace, free from dog barks and couch pillows. You want your listeners on the other line to know you are professional and ready to bring the brainpower.

 Schedule-(k)ingGet on a schedule with a clear start time, designated breaks, and whatever else is your natural rhythm for getting through the day. Make sure to set boundaries for yourself because no one else will do it for you.  The more you work the more work there will be.  Its critical that you remember to take care of yourself when you work from home as its very easy to blink and have not moved from your chair in 6 or more hours, no bathroom breaks or food. Don’t be that person.  You are not your own hostage.  Block your calendar so you can make sure to follow through and stick to your schedule.  In addition it’s critical that you hydrate so keep some water on your desk at all times, and a few snacks too. This keeps you healthy and will help you from gravitating towards distractions, like getting up constantly for water or a bite to eat. Also, check email at set times.  Yes I know this is very hard to do. You can set the times to meet your needs: every other hour, every 45 minutes, whatever works for you, but having set times where you DO and DO NOT check each email will prevent you from checking each individual email when it comes in. This is a time management tip that most people miss out on using. Its extremely important for work from home folks to steer clear of checking every email each time we hear the outlook “ding!”. Without other humans around we will tend to find distractions to help fill the void of engagement we miss out on, don’t let that be email, as it will begin to affect your productivity. One of the advantages of working from home is the fact that you can get more done, having discipline to not let email be the distraction will pay off in the end. Don’t let your home court advantage slip away.

Call me Maybe: Don’t fade into the background.  To be a successful virtual worker you have to make sure your voice is heard and you have to be extremely good at networking, both virtually and in person. First of all, visit the office occasionally; your co-workers miss your face. If you are even remotely near an office  ( no pun intended) then commit a day a month to heading in and saying hello, try and plan a coffee get together to take full advantage of your trip to socialize. If you can’t make it to the office maybe a martini can convince you?  If there is a happy hour or holiday party its critically important that you make the effort to show up.  This cannot be emphasized enough and work from home’ers should factor this in as part of their job.  It is very important to build relationships with your coworkers. Beyond the in person stuff, we also have a responsibility to network virtually. For example there is this thing called the phone that other people also have and you can hear their voice through it. You need to actually use your phone to call people from work to get work done, try to replace a few emails a week with a phone call. You will be surprised how easy this is once you start doing it, plus you get the added perk of learning about Steve in accounting’s inter office romance with Tina from payroll. Hellooooo Tina.

InterWebs to Stay Connected: Don’t forget that the wonderful World Wide Web is at your fingertips and you have something unique to offer the interconnected world even from the confines of your kitchen. Try and carve out just 20 minutes a week to engage with professional Linked In group’s , through direct responses to chats, questions and articles. It’s important that you don’t lose your edge after weeks of sweatshirts and fuzzy slippers.  Engaging with a community of like minded professionals and sharing your unique view points will help you to feel connected to a community.  Sounds silly but it really works and it’s a good way to keep a pulse on what’s hot in your professional area.

Can you promise to do at least two of these things? please?

Working from home is one of the most wonderful, and also difficult things to do really well.  Its hugely important to have a lot of presence and visibility even if people cannot physically see you, and managing your time will let you have space for connecting with colleagues by phone and in person. With a few small adjustments and a bit of discipline instead of saying WTF you will be saying, I heart WFH (work from home). Now pick up those pants and wiggle them on because its time to take your case of the Mondays and show it who’s boss. 

Cheers,

Bianca E. McCann, MHRIR

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Day 25 - Legs

Don’t Hate, Appreciate

Reality TV doesn’t hold a candle to the front row drama that can unfold at work and in our personal lives when we encounter jealousy. Turning a tinge green when we see our coworker get (“what was supposed to be”) our promotion, or our neighbor pull up with a shiny new car and park it right next to our dusty old beater is not unusual, these kind of things happen all the time.  We have all been there and lets face it, green is SO not our color here at Sparkle Out Loud!

Jealousy can be a vicious emotion that eats away at us and puts nasty thought bubbles in our minds. It can make us feel like we have been treated unfairly and at its most nasty of all nastiness it makes us feel resentful.  This is not a good look , believe me , its not. On the other hand, may I introduce you to something in a lighter shade of green ? Let me introduce, Envy. Oh now envy , this little number right here can be a very compelling emotion which can motivate us to fan the fire in the belly and take it from a spark to a inferno. If we choose to let it be a positive and motivating emotion then it will be, if we don’t then it won’t be. Let’s talk about how to use it for good and not evil, shall we?

Many people say jealousy and envy are synonymous, but I dare us to think differently.  In the world of Sparkle Out Loud they are considered two very different things. Take the promotion example shared earlier (the one that “was supposed to be ours”) this is a prime example of jealousy. Jealousy is the emotion we experience when we feel like someone took something that was ours,  because we were next, or we earned it, we are better than they are, or it was ours first, or INSERT ANY OTHER REASON WHY WE ARE SO MUCH MORE DESERVING HERE. See, that’s pretty nasty right? We have all had these thoughts, don’t lie.  You know its true.

Now, take the example about the shiny new car, unless our neighbor won it in the community church raffle, then this is a prime example of envy. Envy is a feeling we experience when someone has something that we want. Just about anything can bring on a fit of envy, from objects and possessions, to career success , or a fulfilling personal life. Envy is not rooted in resentment , mostly because we don’t see ourselves having been in the position to get whatever we are envious of just yet,  envy is rooted in desire. Jealousy on the other hand is rooted in resentment and fear and lots of other unfortunate feelings, all because we think someone took something that was ours.

If we assume envy, in its simplest form, simply means:  I want “Z”,  and we allow this to take root as a positive catalyst instead of a caustic nasty substance,  then it means we each have the power to turn envy into…There are no pop quizzes here Sparkle-rswe would have the power to turn envy into a goal, an aspiration, and ultimately a challenge to go out and  absolutely freaking conquer. Warning: Laser sharp focus is a known side effect from a strong case of the envies.

If you are experiencing a case of the envies , hang on to that emotion for a moment and ask your self a few questions:

  1. Why do I want Z, what sort of value will it bring to my life/ well being?
  2. Why don’t I have Z today, ask yourself very honestly what has prevented you from getting Z so far in life?
  3. What do I have to do to make Z happen?
  4. How long will it reasonably take to make Z happen ?

Answering these questions will do the following:

  • Help you understand how motivated you are to go after Z ,so you can prioritize it against other goals.
  • Give you clarity on what is standing between you and Z ,so you can pinpoint exactly what obstacle you need to blow up.
  • Help you identify the specific actions, investments and steps you need to take, so you can bring the obstacle down.  Sparkle Tip: The more clear you are on this one the more successful you will be in achieving Z. Think carefully about what it is that you need more of to make Z happen : is it more money, time, passion, skill, confidence, willpower?
  • Provide you with a working timeframe for getting Z accomplished,  due dates are great motivators to get ‘er done. In business and in our personal lives what gets measures gets done.

Now, for readers who are wondering what to do about jealous moments, I’ve got your back. The next time someone gets “your” promotion and you are feeling jealous take a moment (deep breath first and if you want to cry a little its okay with me, I understand) and think about WHY that person got the promotion you should have gotten.  Instead of resentment, try to view it as a chance to learn what you could have done differently, what did this person do that you didn’t? We all know that smarts are only part of the promotion battle at work, did they have a better network than you? A fabulous personal brand? More relevant experience?

Before you get down on yourself remember that we all have things to learn , and sometimes the best learning opportunities present themselves in very unique ways.   In addition, you need to take that pity party to the nearest garbage can and just dump it because you are awesome,  you just are. All of us have something that we do better than anyone we know. Take a moment to remember what makes you great, what you do really really well and say a silent “so there” to your cube mate.

Cheers,

Bianca E. McCann, MHRIR

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Envy is a littleness of soul, which cannot see beyond a certain point, and if it does not occupy the whole space feels itself excluded. ~William Hazlitt

Work-A-Frolic

I must take a break from dancing through the hallways to tell you about a 4 minute TED talk I randomly stumbled upon last week called “8 Secrets of Success” by a guy I had never heard of named Richard St. John, check out the video at the end of this post. He says he’s an average guy who found success by simply doing what he loved, he says he is a “workafrolic” A workawhatic?

Richard, I think I love you.

A workafrolic is someone who works extremely hard because they are driven by an inner passion for the work they are doing. They aren’t addicted to work like a workaholic , but instead they are addicted to the purpose of the work they are doing. Hmmmmmm the possibility of replacing eye-burning-shoulder-tired-stress-filled workdays with exciting-dance-party-worthy-work-marathons , seems like something that’s right in line with Sparkling Out Loud. Okay, I’m listening… and also reaching for my work appropriate dance party shoes.

Lets get this party started by taking a look at the “8 secrets of success”

  1. Passion – Love what you do
  2. Work– Work hard , and have fun, lots of fun, be a workafrolic
  3. Good– Be damn good at what you do,
  4. Focus– Master one thing better than anyone else
  5. Push–  Push yourself to be your best, push your confidence up and self-doubt to the side
  6. Serve– Serve others something of value
  7. Ideas– Have great ideas and follow them
  8. Persist– Persist through everything that stands in your way, especially C.R.A.P.– Criticism , Rejection, A**holes, and Pressure

Let’s do a quick exercise.  First, pretend that the issue of money has simply disappeared,  you don’t need it and achieving wealth is irrelevant. I will give you a minute to get this picture in your mind (it feels good doesn’t it?! ). Okay, now that money is no longer in the picture ask yourself two key questions:

1) What is the purpose of your work and why do you do it?

For example here is mine:  I help people become even better than they already are , and I help companies leverage these awesome talents for the purpose of achieving greater organizational success.

2) Would you do this work for free/do you do this work for free?

For me , it’s a yes and a yes.I absolutely love helping people find their inner greatness, and I would do work like this no matter what.  Upon closer inspection,  I discovered that I also do this work for free all the time. I do it when I meet someone on the train who strikes up a conversation,  or when I help a coworkers new college grad navigate career planning , or help an executive find the right way to motivate their leadership  or I answer an HR question on Linked In, or even as I work on this blog in my free time. It isn’t work to me, it’s also my hobby and it’s simply what I love to do.

When I was younger I had no idea I would end up going into HR but when I look back there were so many signs that I am not sure how I missed them.  Junior year of college I worked in the Career Center as a Peer Career Advisor , I helped peers find awesome internships ,  write resumes , and find career paths that fit their interests. Sophomore year I worked at a battered women’s shelter because I wanted to help women understand that they deserved more, that they mattered. Freshman year I was the president of 4 of the dorms because I wanted to find a way to support and improve student life.  These were a few of the early signs of my natural passions , and it actually took someone else pointing them out to me before I even noticed and went on to get my Masters in HR.  It was one of my bar patrons, Clint Sidle from Cornell University, who pointed this out to me when I was a senior in college. He literally told me to go into HR, I had no idea what that even meant at the time. Clint, if you ever read this , thanks for that, it truly changed my life.

If the exercise above left you baffled, or if you answered the second question with a big fat “no”, I would encourage you to think about the early signs in your own life. What are the things that you do/have done simply because you feel drawn to the work and compelled to do it?

While I think everyone can achieve some level of “workafrolic” I also realize that many people have a job that they might not love but frankly it pays the bills.  On this note I would actually like to hope that there is a little bit of “work to live” in all of us. There  is something to be said about living for what is outside of the 9-5.

Whether you “work to live” or “live to work” ,  either camp can find their inner workafrolic. It is  never to late to find something you love about your job, if you answered “no” to the second question, challenge yourself to identify the value in what you do , and identify the important role you play in the context of the bigger picture. Think about the parts of work that you do enjoy and go get some more of that ( going to lunch does not count), also think about how you can change the parts of your job that you don’t like, and do what it takes to make the changes happen.

About 40% of our lives are spent working which means work has a huge impact on our overall happiness.  It’s incredibly important to our overall well-being that we set ourselves up for success at home and at work, especially as these two worlds continue to blend together.   Success does not have to mean making lots of money. It can mean different things to different people, and Richard St. John has given us a simple framework with 8 simple things that all of us have the power to do. To me success means happiness, health, good relationships, the time to pursue our passions, being able to have the experiences we want to have with the people we want to have them with, and giving back in a way that gives us purpose.  Discovering what drives you and locating your inner workafrolic may sound silly but we can’t deny that when we love our job life is better. Dont you think it’s time to love work again?

Cheers,

Bianca E. McCann, MHRIR

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October 6th 2008 - Rock 'N' Roll Ain't Pretty

Bear Hug Change, It’s Your Friend

Recently one of my favorite perfumes was discontinued, but I sniffed out a new one. While I wasn’t too happy to learn that my old standby had gone away for good, in the end I found something new that I love even more than the original ( I know you are dying to know which fabulous one I chose, I went with Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche ) .

It turns out that change is inevitable and all of us go through it regularly in our personal and professional lives. Change in the workplace is more of a norm than a surprise these days. Whether it’s a change to an internal process, a business strategy, to our leadership, or even just a plain-old-deliverable we constantly have change upon us in the workplace.

Let’s face it the pace of business today requires us to be teflon coated at times.This is why resilience to change is such a critical skill to develop. Resilience to change can take on many forms, for our purposes I have defined it as the ability to successfully adapt to change and become even better because of it. To get ahead of the change curve we must outrun it or, if you aren’t much of a runner, then at least learn how to embrace the possibility that change brings. Where there is change there is action, and with action comes the potential for undiscovered upside. We cannot know what we do not try, let your curiosity drive you and instead of asking yourself “why now?” ask yourself “what if ….?”

As an HR Director at a market-leading-global-technology company change is a constant part of my life , our business demands that we provide leading edge products and solutions for our customers.  As a result I regularly encounter employees who are resilient and ready to rally behind change . They are inspired by what lies ahead and how they can be a part of it. They recognize that change fuels innovation and that , in the tech world , innovation is our bread&butter. Everyone loves bread and butter.

Here are a few tips on how you can begin to embrace change and put it in a great-big-bear-hug:

  • Get Immersed: Immerse yourself in the change, the better you understand the “what and why” and the “where do I fit”, the faster you can bring your unique talents to the table and really shine. Everyone comes to work with the intent to absolutely rock their results, and getting immersed in the change means you can rock on!
  • Get in on the Action: Jump in feet first and get in on the action, find out what you can do to help deliver on objectives alongside your peers and colleagues. All of us are in-it-to-win-it, use the window of change to get in on the action and pave the path to success together. When we are all in, we all win
  • Get Excited: Be a change champion by openly embracing the excitement that change brings and share your excitement with others. Aspire to make your excitement as contagious as a smile, or even a yawn for all of you brain science experts out there. People will follow your lead, so take it and make it a positive journey. If you are a people manager leading a change, make sure you find those employees who are your natural change champions and let them spread the excitement.

Feel that? That’s the awesome feeling of being poised and ready to bask in all the possibility that change brings. Be bold, be better,  and bring on the bear hugs.

Cheers,

Bianca E. McCann, MHRIR

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/hippydelia/4432788862/

bear hugs -medium_4432788862

Costco Road Rager Lessons

Today I was threatened by a road rager in the Costco parking lot.  It’s the first time I have seen true road rage, now I totally get those 20/20 specials. The road rager did not want anyone braking ,  he wanted me keep going straight even though a massive SUV was blocking my way , as well as the entire sun. Sure, I like a good T-bone. He definitely did not like the car next to me stopping to let someone back out of a parking spot, that sent him into fits of swearing, screaming, rolling down the window and shaking his car tires back and forth with steady manipulation of his frantic road raging from inside the car. The fun didn’t stop there, oh no. The mans wife then threatened me once I entered Costco, again screaming at me that I should have continued a steady straight line drive into the SUV in front of me. Then a strange thing happened. I started to physically shake and could barely control my voice, I thought I would burst into tears.  me? what! How could this be upsetting me? screw these crazy people!

I had been ambushed by this psychotic family in the Costco parking lot , and that was horrible, but to have it continue inside and up close was an entirely different situation. Security came to my rescue and they were exceptional! The experience with security was great, they walked with me so I would be safe in the store and walked me all the way to my car when I was done shopping, it had not even occurred to me that I could be followed.

During our time together the security supervisor shared that they recently had to adjust their protocols because of the insanity of Costco customers. Okay, he didn’t use those exact words but he did share that people are getting crazier every year. I couldn’t believe how insane this experience was, and for some reason it made me think  about employees who feel threatened by a boss at work, or even a family member threatening them while they are at work. There is something about the setting that makes the ambush even more jarring  , I expected to be safe in the store, but then I wasn’t and it shocked me. Our employees count on us to keep them safe at work, but do we really have a clear plan on how to do this? I think we can learn a few things from the Costco security team:

  1. Act fast: the situation was noticed by store personnel right away, and they acted swiftly to get the right person to the scene
  2. Have a game plan: the store personnel knew to call the security supervisor, who also knew exactly what to do.
  3. Make people feel heard: he spent time calming me down, listening to what I had to say and he also explained what was happening throughout the situation.

I think these are the three things that worked so well today , and I had to share my experience because if the world is getting crazier in the Costco parking lot it  has to be getting crazier in the workplace too.  Having a game plan  , a clear approach, and acting quickly is crucial in conflict situations . The workplace should be free from fear and threat, and we must have a swift way to address issues that are escalating. This isn’t just HR’s job, this is everyones accountability and it’s critical that everyone knows what to look for and what to do in situations of conflict.

I guess a roasted chicken isn’t all I got from Costco today, life lessons were free with purchase.

Cheers,
Bianca E. McCann, MHRIR

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angry man

Sparkle Tears

My friend Betsy recently taught me the term “Sparkle Tears” . I had never heard that term in my life and you may not be familiar. Just in case I will share what I think constitutes sparkle tears , to me this is the moment when our eyes have a happy glim-merry glisten of tears, a sheen of joy and surprise, that touching point in time where you are both happy and joyful and surprised enough where these glimmer of tears just happen on their own.  We have all had a case of sparkle tears at some point,  for example when watching The Notebook,  seeing Oprah heal the world one child at a time, or finding out that we just won a free trip to Fiji (I am still waiting for this). It got me thinking about the feelings I have when caught in a Sparkle Tear moment, all good things – joy-surprise-happiness, and then it got me thinking, have I ever experienced a true Sparkle Tear moment at work? I am racking my brain on this one, maybe this a new measure of success for me to add to the list… “must have at least one Sparkle Tear moment per quarter”, I don’t know, but I do think there is something to be said about taking employees by complete surprise in a good way, all too often we blindside them with the negative and maybe we need to turn that frown upside down.

Creating a sparkle tear moment has to be easier than it looks I mean its a pretty basic formula and it essentially costs nothing. First you have to really know your employees and be able to identify what makes them special, what they bring to the team that no one else brings. Second you have to be able to pull that special ness out for the world to see and shhhhhhh dont tell them you are planning to showcase their awesomeness, we need an element of surprise here. Third you have to make it public so that it feels surprising, sending an award via email with a link to the goodies catalogue just doesnt evoke sparkle tears.

Creating tears of joy in the workplace is not something I have seen on any HR agenda, maybe this is what we have been missing all these years. Just think about the power of connecting on an emotional level with our employees , it just so happens that this emotional connection is one of the key ingredients to persuading and exerting positive influence over an organization. But the power of persuasion and using it for good, not evil is a whole other post….. coming soon.

Cheers,

Bianca E. McCann, MHRIR

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Who Says Brown Eyes Are Ugly?