Inspired by Black History Month, we have chosen to read The Business of Race: How to Create and Sustain an Antiracist Workplace and Why It’s Actually Good for Business by Gina Greenlee and Margaret H. Greenberg.

Gina is a Black business leader with more than thirty years of experience in organizational development, project management, communications, and training. Margaret is a White executive coach and president of The Greenberg Group, a consulting firm that coaches executives and their teams to lead large-scale organizational change. Together, they have pooled their vast amount of knowledge of business and psychology to create a practical guide for employers and employees about how to address race in the workplace.

The core message of this book is that you can’t solve what you can’t talk about, and there is a power in the fact that the book is able to examine the delicate nature of talking about race from both a Black and a White person’s perspective, resulting in an honest and necessary read that really digs deep into the topic.

There has long been a taboo around talking about race at work, and in their book, Gina and Margaret highlight that organizations must be readying themselves on an individual and enterprise level before diving headfirst into such an important conversation. The individual work includes raising our awareness and creating new ways of being, and the enterprise work focuses on how employers must develop and implement strategies, policies, and initiatives to reimagine a racially equitable workplace. But these things are not ‘programs’ that can just be completed swiftly … they are journeys.

This book acts as a guide for starting this journey. It offers a number of practical ways that businesses – regardless of their size – can make positive, sustainable changes that will help to bring more racial diversity, inclusion, and equity into the workplace.

The reader is offered a range of tools to help them start these conversations, comprising a mix of new learning tools such as fostering a growth mindset, with more familiar tools such as strategic planning and project management. Woven amongst these are interviews from more than two-dozen business professionals across diverse industries, fields and organizational levels that bring voices to the challenges and opportunities businesses face every day.

And while this book offers accessible routes into discussing racial inequity at work, it is also honest about the fact that accessibility should not be confused with ease … this is hard work. But with the right set of tools, alongside strategic support from your HR team, employers can start having important conversations about race in the workplace.

If you would like to discuss the services that OrgShakers can offer with helping fuel your diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, please get in touch with us here.

And to get your hands on a copy of The Business of Race, head over here for the US and here for the UK.

What is the office actually for?

What was once seen as a logical and efficient way of working has now been brought into question by the sudden and mass shift to remote and hybrid work.

So, to work out where we’re going – we first need to rewind.

The ‘office’ has always been in a shifting state, all the way back to its conception in the 15th century, where medieval monks created ‘scriptoriums’ to copy manuscripts. From that point onwards these proto-offices slowly evolved as the introduction of artificial light, telephones, typewriters, elevators, and computers eventually spawned sky-scraping office buildings which defined the urban landscape.  

Then BOOM! Lockdown. And everything changed.

What had been a slow and gradual evolution was jolted in a radically different direction. Those that could, worked from home. And for many of these individuals, working life became more productive, and more rewarding, to the point where today nine in ten jobseekers say hybrid work is now as important as financial benefits.

These new expectations mean that employers now need to be considering how they can most effectively use their office space to optimize the productivity of their people when they are in work – while also meeting their wellbeing needs when they are working remotely.

The best way to do this? By focusing on policy, place, and purposeful leaders:

Policy – Clarity is key when it comes to creating policies for hybrid and remote work, and so is the consideration of time. Your policies will outline when you expect people to be in, and when they are permitted the freedom to choose whether they use the office or work from home.

How flexible are your working hours? Are there core working hours that everyone needs to be available for? Being clear about what your policies are and why you have chosen them is important when it comes to building trust and loyalty with your staff, as well as lending to your attractiveness as a company.

Place – Different people are going to want/need to use the office for different reasons. For some, they may want to be in everyday as they cannot find a quiet space to focus at home. For others, they may only want to come in once a week, as they can do their individual work from home but enjoy face-to-face contact for more collaborative tasks. The point of this is that you have to be able to offer a place that can accommodate for both.

Will you have a Superdesk in one area to encourage collaboration and cubicle spaces for those who need to concentrate? Or will you try and adopt a more creative approach, with nap pods and sofas scattered about?

There is no ‘best way’ to do it – a recent study found that actively trying to make creative office spaces could be stifling creativity, whilst another discovered that changing from cubicles to open-plan saw a 70% drop in face-to-face interactions.

It all depends on your people’s needs; let them guide how your office space takes shape, and this way, it will ensure the optimization of their productivity.

Purposeful Leaders – Your leaders will play a huge role in bringing these policies to life –  as well as ensuring that the office space you have is delivering a return on your real estate investment.

If you decide that you want all employees to come in once a week, then it falls to team leaders and line-managers to highlight why people should adhere to this. If you force your staff to come in only for them to do the quiet, concentrated, individual work they can, and would most likely prefer to, do from home, then you are not optimizing the space around you. These days should be dedicated to collaborative tasks, to nourishing the company culture and strengthening the relationships between colleagues. If this is done correctly, people will stop viewing coming into the office as a chore and actually start wanting to be there, but your policies can only be as good as your managerial facilitation.

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Employers need to accept that hybrid and remote work is, for the majority of workers, desirable and beneficial, and begin leveraging this opportunity to optimize productivity rather than seeing it as an obstacle standing in the way of ‘the old way of work’.

The purpose of the office is changing, so now it’s a matter of leading this change rather than being led by it. And this is where we can help – we can assist in optimizing your organizational effectiveness when it comes to hybrid work, helping to craft policies and coach leaders to ensure that your company’s individual needs are met, and simultaneously align with the needs of your workforce.

To continue this conversation, you can either head over to our contact page, or reach out to me directly at andy@orgshakers.com

As we counted down to the new year in December, we adopted the theme of looking forwards. What are the essential topics of focus for employers to be considering in 2024?

Well, in case you missed any of them, here’s a summary of our essentials:

  • The Disability Pay Gap – an analysis from the Trades Union Congress discovered that disabled workers effectively work for free for the last 47 days of the year due to the sizable pay gap between disabled and non-disabled workers. With 17.8% of England’s population being disabled, working towards closing this gap should be a priority for organizations so to attract new, diverse talent and to plug talent shortages that continue to effect employers – read the full piece here.
  • Decision Intelligence – for our monthly reading recommendation, we recommended a book that all employers should get their hands on: Decision Intelligence by Thorsten Heilig and Ilhan Scheer. It acts as a practical and comprehensible guide for professionals who are navigating the decision-making and AI landscape by exploring the intersection of behavioral science, data science, and technological innovation. Check out our full summary here!
  • Weaving AI into Learning and Development – Access Partnership’s survey found that 93% of employers expect to be using generative AI in the workplace in the next five years. It has therefore become an essential point of focus for employers to be weaving AI-centric learning and development (L&D) opportunities into their L&D strategies – read the full piece here.
  • Leadership Legacy – with the average turnover rate for leadership roles at an unprecedented 18%, now is the best time for leaders to take a step back from thinking about where they are going next and, instead, take a moment to consider what it is they will be leaving in their wake. The impression that they leave, and the legacy of their practices, can make a big difference to the health of a company – so how do they want to be remembered? Read the full piece here.
  • The HR Fundamentals – Our Founder David Fairhurst identified four key areas of focus that he believes are essential for HR and employers to be preparing for in order to ensure organization sustainability:
    • The Workforce Cliff – the first is the Workforce Cliff, which predicted that around this time, we would start to have more jobs than we had people to fill them. To avoid the cliff’s looming edge, employers must be expanding their search and tapping into all pools of talent…read the full piece here.
    • Humans and Technology – The second point of focus will be the relationship between humans and technology. As organizations begin to introduce generative AI into their workplaces, HR will play a pivotal role in supporting these new technological co-worker relationships in order to successfully optimize its capabilities. Read more here!
    • Redefining Place and Time – With the mass adoption of remote and hybrid working styles, we are seeing the previous boundaries of time differences and geographical distances evaporate, opening companies up to a new, global pool of talent…and to embracing the concept of asynchronous work. Read on for the full piece.
    • The End of Jobs – in order to successfully respond to the rapid increase in the pace of organizational change, employers will begin to recognize that a more flexible and responsive methodology is needed to keep up. This will take shape in the form of adopting a skills-based approach to managing work and workers – read the full piece here.

If you would like to discuss the services we offer in regards to these essentials – or wider areas of HR – please get in touch with us.

With the average turnover rate for leadership roles at an unprecedented 18%, now is the time when these new leaders should briefly step back from thinking about where they are going next and, instead, take a moment to consider what they will be leaving behind.

What leadership impression will you be leaving in your wake? Are you creating policies, practices, and a work environment that will persevere … or will your time as leader be a flash in the pan that moves the organization from A to B rather than A to Z?

Think of it as leaving a footprint. Is your goal to leave a footprint set in stone, that will remain long after you have left … or do you plan to leave a footprint in the sand that will wash away with the tide to make way for a new leader?

It may sound strange to advise a leader who has just started in their role to be preparing for when they exit. However, if you have a good understanding of what you want to achieve and what legacy you would like to leave behind, you can significantly increase your chances of success by being intentional from day one.

So it’s important to ask yourself: How do I want to be remembered?

Inspirational and effective leaders create a roadmap of what they would like to achieve and what they plan to leave behind. You don’t have to know when you might leave, but by adopting this mindset you can consistently work towards a set of goals that guide you in achieving the intended results. 

This awareness also influences your leadership style. Leaders who can understand and forward-think enough to craft the impression they leave often harness highly effective people management skills. For example, being intentionally vulnerable and honest with your team, where appropriate, minimizes miscommunication and encourages teammates to work together.

Think back to the last time you had an off day (as we all do!). First, assume you did not communicate this to your team; your reactions could send ripples through the company, derailing the efforts you already made to build a well-functioning team. You could be remembered for your temper, abrasive style, or withdrawal from the team. Then imagine an off day where you clued-in your colleagues and direct reports. They knew from the beginning that if you were acting somewhat out of character, it was you and not them. They were not to blame for your behavior, and your honest vulnerability could instantly minimize the risk of negative ripples through the team and company. In this scenario, you could be remembered for your integrity, teamwork, and courage when under pressure.

The bottom line is that it is your decision how you want to be perceived and remembered. One effective way to start is to imagine how you would perceive yourself if you were an employee reporting to you – would you be happy with yourself as a leader? What would you remember about your leadership style?

In every leadership class I have facilitated, participating leaders turn the conversation to a discussion about ineffective or toxic bosses. A significant disruptive force of turnover comes from a leader who leaves a cracked or broken team in their wake. Leaders can avoid this outcome and, instead, be remembered for something beneficial or inspirational by being intentional from the get-go.

If you would like to discuss the coaching we offer to help you plan your legacy roadmap from day one, please get in touch with me at amanda@orgshakers.com

For this month’s reading recommendation, we picked up a copy of Thorsten Heilig and Ilhan Scheer’s new book, Decision Intelligence: Transform Your Team and Organization with AI-Driven Decision-Making.

Thorsten is the Co-Founder and CEO of Paretos, a company with access to cutting-edge AI technologies that use Decision Intelligence to equip organizations to independently tackle complex challenges and gain a significant competitive advantage without needing any prior knowledge on data science.

Co-author Ilhan is a Managing Director at Accenture, a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud, and security.

Together, they have authored a book which offers a practical and comprehensible guide for professionals who are navigating the decision-making landscape. Thorsten and Ilhan expertly explore the intersection of behavioral science, data science, and technological innovation and present the latest technologies and methodologies that are shaping these dynamic fields, highlighting how they can play vital roles when making business decisions.

As AI continues to become increasingly popular as a business tool, this book perfectly captures just how instrumental data and AI are in making informed future decisions by harmonizing human and business considerations across its five key points of coverage:

  • An exploration into the inner workings of AI models, and how to optimize these to tackle business challenges and unlock novel opportunities.
  • A business-centric introduction to decision intelligence, exploring why traditional decision-making strategies have become obsolete and how to transition effectively into decision-intelligence.
  • The evolutionary journey of Decision Intelligence, tracing its roots from analytics to modern techniques like process mining and robotic process automation.
  • An examination of decision intelligence at an organizational level, encompassing agile transformation, transparent organizational culture, and the pivotal role of psychological safety in facilitating innovative decision-making within modern companies.  
  • An overview of why – and where – AI still needs human expertise and how to incorporate this topic into daily planning and decision making.

In the age of working smart, organizations who are able to effectively integrate AI into the fabric of their company are the ones who are going to be able to best optimize its use. As the corporate world becomes increasingly digital, this book is a great way of keeping in stride with these sweeping technological changes.

To grab a copy of Decision Intelligence, head over here if you’re in the US and here if you’re in the UK.

And if you would like to discuss how we can help shape your HR strategy to seize the opportunities presented by AI technologies, please get in touch with us!

A lot of the time (but not always!), skepticism is construed as managing risk.

Personally, I believe that skepticism has become a mindset that has gained major footing in American culture. It’s like a screen that colors our daily sentiment.  We are weighed down by it, and a lot of the time will approach a new situation with a level of negative skepticism as a defence mechanism so to avoid meaningful change.

But I think what’s key to note here is that it’s fine to be skeptical on a topic. Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “Great intellects are skeptical,”.  However, it can be detrimental to be a skeptical person. This mindset will only hold someone back from their potential, their ability to grow, and their ability to be their best self.

Whilst middle managers may lean ever so slightly towards the skepticism end of the risk management scale while they develop broader situational development, executives should be in risk management mode to best lead the organization and their teams.

This is about incorporating a healthy dose of risk management when making decisions and strategizing to push the company to a new level. It’s about understanding how to navigate compliance and regulatory, protecting company assets, understanding economic outcomes, and communicating plausible scenarios. It’s not about apprehension to change, distrust in the new perspectives, reluctance to evaluate new opportunities, and being suspicious of the unknown. Managing risk versus skepticism is often the difference in making inclusive decisions and creating a culture for broad, needed change.

If we were to apply this to a chief financial officer’s (CFO) role, being seen as skeptical will mean that the most creative and innovative ideas will go around them. It is likely that they won’t be brought into the decision-making process if their lens is always a skeptical and pessimistic one; they will be pushed away from the decision table. To be a good partner to these potential innovations, they have to have a healthy sense of risk management. This means covering potential blind spots without stunting innovative growth opportunities.

However, just like being too far on the skeptical side of this scale can hold you back, being too far on the optimistic side can also have drawbacks – most notably, making decisions without considering the risks at all.

Finding a balance between these two will make for an executive who is managing risk while also taking risks, as without any risk there is no reward.

If you would like to discuss how we can help coach an effective risk management strategy to your executive team, please get in touch with me at ken.merritt@orgshakers.com

Stories of ghosts, ghouls, spirits, and paranormal activity are not hard to come by in the modern world. The media is inundated with gothic movies, tv shows, and literature, and for many people a good ghost story gets their spine tingling.

However, while the idea of ghosts may be entertainment for some, for others, the concept of apparitions, hauntings, and possessions are very real. According to a 2019 IPSOS poll, 46% of Americans believe in ghosts (a percentage that has increased by 14% since 2005). That’s almost half of the entire country.

So I pose you this scenario: what do you do, as an HR professional, if someone in the company believes the workplace is haunted?

Belief is a very powerful force; whether you believe in ghosts or not, for someone that does believe in them, you have to accept that as their reality. This means that while their fear may be intangible, the psychological effects that their fear will have on them are very real.

And there are many instances of hauntings causing chaos in the workplace to prove this. In Orlando, a Japanese restaurateur backed out of his lease because they heard that the premises were allegedly haunted by ghosts and apparitions. The landlord even offered to exorcise the building, but they still refused, and this resulted in a messy court case.

In another occurrence at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington D.C., many workers reported instances of seeing a woman’s face in a third-floor window. They would also hear a female voice call out their name, followed by footsteps running down the hall – on one occasion they even found a co-workers visiting child talking to an invisible woman in the third-floor conference room. One worker had to quit his job because of this alleged supernatural torment, as he kept finding the photos from his office walls neatly arranged on the floor every morning.

There was even one case of a law firm’s office building being haunted, which lead them to move to a newer building where the unexplained phenomena (keyboards typing by themselves, files shuffling in cabinets in empty rooms) finally ceased.

Whether these hauntings were truly paranormal or not, the effects of them are undeniably real: legal issues, lowered engagement and productivity, loss of staff, and the costs of relocation. These are all big red flags in the corporate world, and so regardless of what has caused them, HR is responsible for managing them accordingly.

What we’re trying to get at here is that whether they believe it or not, an employer has to take these things seriously in order to manager the very real effects that these beliefs have. In countries that are less westernized, the belief of ghosts and spirits is much more prevalent, and so having to deal with a haunted workplace may be much more commonplace somewhere like China, where they still celebrate their Hungry Ghost Festival to avoid the wrath of ghosts. Similarly in Mexico, they celebrate el Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), where families will welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives.

Belief and superstition can run deep – ever find yourself knocking on wood or crossing your fingers? – and so it is important that these instances are taken seriously and handled expertly so to avoid any of the disruptions that were listed above.

And if that means having to be a Ghostbuster, then grab your overalls.

After recently gaining my Prism Certification from SurePeople, I was struck by this thought: how do leaders who are particularly motivated by external validation bring their best?

Being recognized for one’s efforts is something that a lot of us enjoy, regardless of our position in a company. Not only is it nice to be validated, but when someone recognizes and rewards our efforts, our brains actually release dopamine which makes us feel happiness and satisfaction.

When a leader thrives from external affirmation, however, recognition can become a bit trickier. As a society, we expect leaders to offer recognition and rewards to their team rather than receive them. Leadership is often lonely, and for those leaders who are extrinsically motivated, this can be an even harder challenge to face. The natural energy derived from recognition may no longer be available.

This begs the question, is being an externally motivated leader a good thing? Let’s take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of this leadership aspect:

Pros

  • When a leader is validated by the team’s success, they are likely to focus on unique retention strategies to maintain the team they have. Being externally validated could mean they will make the effort to know their team members on an individual level, which can be a positive cycle that improves retention rates.
  • When a leader is motivated extrinsically, it could mean they will constantly strive to achieve things that allow them to continue receiving praise in their desired form (whether this be materially or socially). This mindset can promote consistent innovation and productivity and could become hardwired into teams so they constantly push the limits of creativity.

Cons

  • When a leader seeks validation through the team’s approval, this can result in imbalanced decision making. There may be times where the leader makes a decision based on what they believe the team wants the outcome to be rather than the interests of the organization. While this approach can supply immediate validation and motivation, it can also have negative knock-on effects later down the line.
  • A leader who is always striving to do more, achieve more, and be better is a great thing, but there is a balance to be struck. Pushing themselves and their team too hard to satisfy these extrinsic motivational needs can result in burnout and plummeting employee morale and productivity levels.
  • External affirmation can sometimes be transactional. For example, a leader may put more effort into employees who offer affirmation and validation. This can lead to some staff members perceiving the leader has favorites, potentially fracturing team relationships.

It’s a fine line to walk. On the one hand, if you are a leader who is motivated by affirmation, you may be a driver for innovation and have fantastic interpersonal relationships with your team. There are organic boundaries, however, that must exist between leaders and their direct reports to maintain an effective level of professionalism and ensure all members of the team feel evenly valued and included. Sometimes, needing this affirmation can blind a leader and result in some of the drawbacks outlined above.

If you feel that you are a leader who is extrinsically motivated, I think the most important strategy to enhance effectiveness is to establish balance. There are plenty of ways to feel validated and recognised for your contributions – whether this be through your team excelling, through getting your name published externally, or receiving recognition from stakeholders – but as a leader, you also need to have a sense of self-affirmation.

Working with a coach is a great way to find this balance. They can help identify what energizes you and how to effectively “recharge.” This allows you to maintain healthy boundaries with your team while still being approachable and considerate.

If you would like to discover your motivators and discuss how to best leverage them to improve your effectiveness as a leader, please get in touch with me at amanda@orgshakers.com

Currently, many HR buzzwords and phrases originate from the same place: TikTok.

First we saw the rise of ‘quiet quitting’ take TikTok – and then the wider internet – by storm. And now we are seeing a new trend with over 5 million views: ‘Managing Up’.

Managing Up is when employees work out how to best manage their manager; determining their manager’s working style and then adjusting their own approach to engaging with the manager to make both their jobs easier and more productive.

There are some great benefits that could emerge from this growing trend. For one thing, this counters the outdated idea that the relationship between manager and employee is a one-way (downward!) street.

Managing Up aims to cultivate a connection that is rooted in optimized, two-way communication.

By recalibrating this traditional hierarchical model of the manager and ‘the managed’, Managing Up allows for mutual understanding and respect to be built. This results in a more dynamic relationship between colleagues that allows them to work more cohesively and productively.

The accepted wisdom is that when a company hires someone, there is a relationship to be fostered between the hiring manager and candidate. Well, Managing Up highlights that there is a relationship to be fostered in the other direction as well.

If staff know the best ways of engaging with their managers, this will create a culture of openness where managers become more approachable regarding concerns that may not have initially been brought to their attention. This gives managers the ability to address issues that, traditionally, would not have been ‘on their radar’ which, in turn, will help create a higher-performing team.

However, a potential barrier to Managing Up taking root in an organization is team members not being able to successfully identify their manager’s working style. If they assume they know it and run with these false assumptions, what should be a respectful exchange can quickly break down.

This is where a psychometric profiling would be a great investment. OrgShakers’ technology partner SurePeople offer the robust and affordable online psychometric tools organizations need to create detailed profiles of managers and their teams along with practical advice on how those individuals can work together to optimize relationships, build trust – and accelerate performance.

In short, to deliver the promise of Managing Up.

If you would like to discuss how embedding online psychometric tools into your business can boost individual and team performance, please get in touch with us via our contact page.

Last year, Ketanji Brown Jackson made history as she became the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court. And while her experience, expertise, and skill all warrant her place there, none of this would have even truly been taken into consideration if President Biden hadn’t nominated her.

It can be somewhat bittersweet, as it plays into this ‘white savior’ narrative that without a public endorsement from a powerful White figure, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson would not have achieved this feat. However, the fact is that disparity still runs rampant, so while the battle against systemic racism continues on, it is so important for those White people who are in positions of power to wield this power responsibly.

The same idea is also true for the corporate world. On many occasions, I have noticed managers or executives taking certain members of staff under their wing. This “sponsorship” gives those staff members who have been selected by the executive access to more opportunities and more chances to climb the corporate ladder in comparison to their other colleagues.

Now the issue with this informal sponsorship is that it is riddled with disparities. Typically, it’s the same type of people who are being offered this advantage, but this trend goes relatively unnoticed. Employers identifying strong candidates and wanting to help them grow their career isn’t a bad thing, but there needs to be more diversity. Different types of people need to be given these opportunities to grow and accelerate their careers, not just from a social perspective, but from a business perspective as well.

Racially diverse companies have been proven to be 35% more likely to outperform other organizations. Having a C-suite that is comprised of the same type of people, with the same ideas and perspectives, will halt any opportunity for innovation to take place. Alternatively, being intentional about sponsoring different employees at entry-level and helping accelerate them to managerial roles will make all the difference to this. New ideas will be considered, new perspectives will be heard, and new markets will become accessible.

But much like Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s story, what we’re seeing in the world of work isn’t a lack of qualified professionals, it’s a lack of access. In the UK, Black employees hold just 1.5% of top management roles in the private sector, while in the US, Black workers make up 7.8% of management positions – compared to 83.6% of White workers. This highlights the importance of those that are in executive positions in a company, as they are the ones who are responsible for ensuring that their C-suites and boards are diverse and accessible to all, which directly links to the sustainability of their business.

As it stands, we have a way to go before opportunities are truly equal and accessible to all. So until then, it is crucial that those who have power are using it to make these opportunities more attainable. Much like President Biden using his platform to endorse Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, recognizing the power of diverse talent is step one; paving the path for this talent to thrive is the next step. On Black Leaders Awareness Day, this message is more important than ever to remember. If you would like to discuss how to start embedding diversity, equity and inclusion strategies into the fabric of your business, please get in touch with me at marty@orgshakers.com

Hybrid and remote work have been the talk of the town the last few years. This highly successful alternative work style is a fantastic demonstration of corporate perseverance, resilience, and adaptability.

And yet, while many businesses have been operating like this since 2020, a recent study from Microsoft found 85% of leaders said the shift to hybrid work has made it hard to be confident that employees are being productive. Even though 87% of workers report performing better at home, only 12% of employers have full confidence their team is being productive.  

Subsequently dubbed ‘productivity paranoia’, it’s clear a large proportion of leaders may be struggling (even though employee satisfaction for hybrid work is extremely high, and from an economic perspective businesses have become arguably more profitable).

Why are some employers plagued by this paranoia, and how can they begin to mitigate their concerns?

It’s not uncommon for managers to encounter paranoia in one form or another during their career.  Important to note is that while hybrid and remote work has proven effective, the way it came to be was not traditional. Companies felt pressured to adopt this way of life due to COVID-19. When change feels forced it can be much more difficult to work through any accompanying negative feelings. For example, a person’s supervisory routine might be intensely disrupted, and suddenly they must learn what it means to supervise a group of people who are no longer physically around them.

It can be challenging to modify engrained work habits, especially when the need to address them comes as an urgent surprise. In addition, the concept of presenteeism has been rooted in corporate culture for decades, which makes it a hard habit to change even though we now know it is inherently flawed: being able to physically see someone does not guarantee they are more productive than when they can’t be seen.   

For leaders who are experiencing productivity concerns related to hybrid or remote work options, it may be time to step back, dig deep, and honestly explore what truly disturbs them about this situation. The answer could reveal a lack of trust in the team, reluctance to embrace change, or singular focus on the performance of one team member.

To help identify the root cause of why a leader or manager might push back on hybrid or remote work solutions, HR professionals can suggest they complete a Johari Window, or an Immunity Map Worksheet. These steps can help managers focus their thoughts and address specific concerns.

It is also key for HR to determine whether this is a potential coaching or organizational culture matter. For example, managers may develop productivity paranoia based on the inequitable nature of remote work within a company. Companies frequently have a variety of positions, some of which are able to work remotely and others that cannot. This may lead to divisiveness in the workplace and a manager may be resistant not because of the remote work itself, but rather the rising contention and its echoing effects on the harmony of the company.

HR plays a key role in helping employers manage productivity paranoia. Whether it be from a leader optimization or a culture cohesion perspective, we are integral to helping leaders unlock the people power in their organizations.

To discuss how OrgShakers can help you do this, please get in touch with me at amanda@orgshakers.com

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) plays a pivotal role for their organization – they are typically seen as the second most important person in a company, and oftentimes find themselves having to juggle enterprise transformational dynamics, lead functional business partner teams, as well as pursue their own personal goals.

The problem that many companies end up facing, however, is that when they hire or internally promote a leader to CFO, there is an expectation that this person will already know how to do everything that is required of them. However, in reality, while their technical knowledge is no doubt there, having the skills to actually be a strategic transformational executive do not just appear overnight.

My consulting research has found that the average tenure of a CFO is only 4.4 years, which is alarmingly low. And a reason for this is because over 60% of CFOs are first-timers, with nearly two-thirds of those being internally promoted. What this suggests is that a lot of those entering into a strategic CFO role are doing so for the first time, and with limited day-to-day thought partnering. In order to ensure their success and foster the organization’s strategic objectives, companies need to be investing in them from the offset and continuously.

Organizations need to create formal support strategies that are aimed at professionally developing their CFOs. By having structured support for those first-timers, the overwhelm and eventual plight of becoming a strategic CFO will be mitigated significantly. This will make the executive better at their job in a faster manner, and increase the likelihood of retention in the future.

The fact is, gaining an in-depth understanding of the company’s priorities, its investors, external stakeholders, fellow senior leaders, and their team – as well as proactively building relationships with all these parties – can be a lot for someone who hasn’t before navigated the complexities of the CFO experience. Employers need to let go of this predisposition that being promoted to an executive automatically means someone knows how to be a successful strategic CFO– there is a gap between the two, and the way of bridging this gap is specialized advisory support.

And this doesn’t just mean generalized support on leadership skills, but rather specified advisory being provided by someone who understands the intricacies of a CFO role. Someone who has a grasp of the dynamics and challenges that will be faced on a day-to-day basis.

Finding the perfect CFO for your company is an important decision, so when you do find that person, be sure to take the time to invest in them to ensure the success of them and of your business. This will lead to a stronger leadership team with a confident and successful CFO who will go on to do great things – companies just need to be creating that foundation for them to build on.

If you would like to discuss the CFO Success advisory support services we can offer for your CFO, please get in contact with me at ken.merritt@orgshakers.com

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