My Learning from ‘We are LimITless’

Who is Elvis

The ones who shine a bit brighter, the ones who are maverick, the ones with lots of energy and charisma. 

Felt good to be part of a program “We are LimITless,” that aimed to drive a positive work culture and run by  Upping Your Elvis, who have taken inspiration from Bono’s “Drop the Debt” campaign. The program consisted of a series of experiments spread over 5 weeks and aimed at creating a great workplace environment, by revisiting our beliefs, behaviours and actions through small, weekly experiments. At the start of each week, we were guided through a topic, by the trainers. During the week, we experimented around a topic. By the end of the week, the team shared stories on what we tried, what worked and what value it created.

Why experiments? “Disney’s chief imagineer brings in a real tiger and gets the boards approval to launch Animal Kingdom. You cannot engage in a culture journey by reading books. You need to try it yourself. Experimenting every week. Engaging in a more visual way at work. We can’t just change behaviour. We need to help change people’s beliefs. That will drive the behaviour change. Where do our beliefs come from? They come from experiences. If that was a positive belief, it will drive the behaviour. Negative beliefs will lead us to avoid those experiences. To create positive experiences, it is important for managers to role model it and lead it visibly.”

What will make these experiments work: 

  • Positivity
  • Have fun doing
  • Best strategy for survival is be part of a tribe. Chances are that you ll get support everyday. Our tribe is the people we work with everyday. We should belong.

Why are we doing this? “Our culture isn’t broken, or bad, we just want to make sure it’s the best it can be. We want our people to jump out of bed loving what they do and loving who they are. We want them to be energised and excited about the impact they create, we want them to use their unique talents on what really counts and we want them to enjoy the ride. To make such a transformation happen we can’t just tell people what to do, we need them to try things out and see what works for them, and to do that at scale they need to be simple to do and adopt. We need your help to make them live and breathe within your teams.” 

Here is the summary of my learning:

Culture Experiment 1  – TIME

How to use your time better? Saying NO to certain things and FOCUS on what counts. 

Start your day clear on your ‘Big Thing’ – What’s important? What’s your priority for the day?

We spend most part of our lives on auto-pilot. i.e using habits and routines to steer our behaviour. How do I spend my time today on the most important thing that’s going to create most important impact in my life? Simple way is to make sure we start your day with clarity. Clarity with “What is your big thing?” Singular focus on one thing, that when you achieve that day, then you can call it a meaningful day.

  • Big thing could be an email you have to write, a project deliverable, a conversation
  • Can we have 10 big things? No. Focus on one that will have a meaningful impact.
  • When you wake up and before you turn on any tech, when the mind is pure, identify your big thing,
  • What is my big thing for today? Coffee, walking, journaling.
  • Before you get to work and the busyness takes over, have clarity on what your big thing is?
  • We only have 90-120 mins of deep focus. If we get our big thing then we can focus

Zone your day to use your energy. Identify your ‘Sweet Spot’ to optimise energy and focus – the moment in the day that you are at your best for the task.

Manage your time and create space for your big thing. Practice saying one polite ‘No’ a day

If we say yes to too many things, we cant make space for what is important. We need to get better at saying No

What are the reasons people say yes, when you shouldn’t? Ex: People pleasing, easier to accept than to question, fear of missing out, trying to be aware of the pulse of the business, hierarchy…etc.

If invited for meetings where you are not clear on the purpose/agenda or feel you won’t be required there, challenge respectfully like those in the examples below:

  • Please can you help me understand the meeting objectives, so I can understand if I’m the best person to support progress on this initiative?
  • Once you’ve got clarification on the agenda, if appropriate try something like ‘You’ve already got XX from my team in the meeting, who can cover that topic and update me later’
  • I’m experimenting with how I manage my meetings. Can I ask what is expected of me at the meeting so I can come prepared?
  • Based on the agenda, I am not sure that I will add any value by attending this meeting, please let me know if you feel differently or if there are other ways I can support
  • I think we could approach this in a different way, other than a meeting (For example: Why don’t I send a quick video summary of my thoughts)

Culture Experiment 2  – How to make our meetings count

What % of your week is spent in meetings? 75% on an average. It’s a lot of time. What % of those meetings fill your soul with joy?

Take time to get the Set-up right

  • Get clarity on the Why?
  • What is the purpose of this meeting?
  • What does success look like?
  • How do you want people to be?
  • Do you want to be positive and suspend judgement?
  • Do you want it to be more quiet?
  • Do you want it to be more analytical?
  • Do you want to get rid of tech distraction?

Meetings should be:

  • Energetic
  • Collaborative
  • Creative
  • Impactful
  • Enjoyable

How can we make meetings better?

  • Bring energy. Energy is everything in meetings. At the the start of the meeting you have the perfect opportunity to reset. It could be a physical activity. It could just be an opening question.
  • Positivity will take you to somewhere new and different
  • Have fun
  • Create a relaxed environment
  • Connect with each other
  • Break the ice instead of a serious atmosphere

If we get the start of the meeting working well, then we are getting people lined up to do brilliant work.

Good meetings

  • Set-up – Get it right
  • Time – start promptly. Allow breaks between meetings. Ex. Schedule for 20 or 25 mins rather than 30 mins. 
  • Facilitator – great meetings have facilitators. Mix facilitators up.
  • Size – small is beautiful. Consider your meeting size.
  • Don’t sit silently in bad meetings.

Create space by playing with meeting times. We experimented with shrinking the 30 mins meeting to 20 mins and it worked. Most meetings in the org are now scheduled for 20 or 25 mins leaving some break time in case the participants have another meetings to attend. We experimented with advising virtual participants to be on the camera and their focus/attention improved a lot.

Culture Experiment 3 – Feedback and Growth

How do you demand feedback, so that you can learn and grow beautifully everyday?

How to make sure the feedback you receive is useful? Ask for (& give) structured feedback any time you try something new or different:

  1. FACTS – What are the facts / what did they observe?
  2. THINK – How did they interpret what you did / what did it make them think?
  3. FEEL – How did it make them feel?

 Make feedback part of your everyday:

  • Get feedback in the moment
  • Ask for it directly: Face-to-face, video or phone, not email
  • Ask people what was great? (don’t go straight to what we can improve)
  • Ask what can I/we do even better?
  • Make sure the feedback is useful by using Facts/Think/Feel
  • For an added bonus, land some compliments & positive comments.
  • The best leaders are always asking what  they do brilliantly and what they can do even better

In the breakout sessions, we played “Getting the energy right” exercise. Love bombs: tell breakout partner what you love / appreciate / value about them 🙂

PS:

  • This week, start each day with that singular focus, what is the most important thing today?
  • Zone your day so that the big thing is in the right space.
  • Say no to some things so as to create space for the important.
  • Do something you are passionate about daily.
  • First impressions go a long way.
  • Be the person who radiates positivity.
  • Focus with your team – learn together and support each other.
  • If we want our team to embrace change, we need to help them with their confidence. What do they do brilliantly? “So, just to illustrate, when I was writing the book called Wake up, we challenged the people through a psychological magazine: Grab one person per day in the pub, and tell them what you love about them. This is the best thing that happened this year. If you are nice to people they are nice to you. In a pub if you are looking for bad things, you can find a lot, like people stealing steaks, drinking on the job. But when you start to look for the good, it is equally abundant. When you spot the good, you behave as if people are good, they feel it and they elevate their performance. Virtuous cycle. Everybody gets better everyday. Just spend some time appreciating people around you. People will be Primed to see more rainbows.”
  • Where do you get the best ideas? In bed, walking, exercising, casual chats.  If we want to learn well, we need the thinking from the conscious brain and also the feeling from the subconscious brian. Walk and talk about your experiments. As you walk and talk you get clearer insights from your subconscious. We used https://www.talkitout.app/
  • Appreciations and love bombs are warm-ups.
  • Move to a place where you are looking at you own growth and development and the only way to do that is by demanding feedback of yourself.
  • Be a curious. Be bold. Be a champion for positive change. 
  • Experiment. And most of all have fun along the way.
  • Be more agile, collaborative and inclusive.
  • Better energy, better impact. When you get the energy right, life is easy and fun,
  • Find your own inner Elvis, be the best version of you. We can all be that person 🙂

NB: Much of my learnings shared here can be found on Upping Your Elvis and their blog. Knowledge shared is knowledge squared. I intend no infringement on their work or copyright. Thanks to my organisation for such initiatives that enable it to be a great place to work.

References & more readings:

Upping Your Elvis 

https://uppingyourelvis.thinkific.com

Compressing your team’s work days to six hours could be possible with a little prioritizing, cutting, automating, and testing.

The Case for the 6-Hour Workday 

Meeting Overload Is a Fixable Problem

How to (politely) turn down requests for things that aren’t worth your time:

9 Ways to Say No to Busywork and Unrealistic Deadlines 

Impact of Meetings on our Brains

The Most Powerful Productivity Tool 

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s