Author: LMJA Blog

Pivoting To A New Way Of Business

For the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many workplaces to upend traditional office environments and pivot to a new way of doing business. These changes looked different across various industries, but one thing is certain: work life will never be the same again.  Many of the workplace changes that became necessary because of the pandemic will likely impact the way we work for the long-term. This month and next, we’ll look at a few of the workplace trends you can expect to see. Here’s a look at 3 of the biggest:

  1. Continuation of remote work or moving towards a hybrid model: According to surveys from the IBM Institute of Business Value, 83% of people want to continue working from home in some capacity. Many organizations have seen the light and have determined that some degree of remote work can be a win-win for everyone. It’s a retention tool for present employees, as well as a recruitment perk for future talent.
  2. Bigger focus on employee wellbeing: The pandemic has required organizations to rethink what it means to have a healthy and safe workplace. Many are improving benefits related to employee mental and physical health, childcare and paid time off. Workspaces will be reimagined to maximize both safety and employee collaboration.
  3. Improving schedule flexibility: Prior to the pandemic, flexibility was seen as a perk. For many, it’s now a necessity. Employers are finally understanding the need to accommodate families who have school-aged children at home, particularly those who will continue with some form of online learning. After a year of working from home, many employees have grown accustomed to more flexible working hours and are going to be resistant to going back to more rigid hours. Now is the time to look at present policies and implementing changes to accommodate your team members.

Have you started thinking about how your workplace will look moving forward? Now is the time to rethink your old systems and habits and create a better environment for your team. Leah M. Joppy and Associates can help you take a look at your old ways of doing business and where you can make improvements – all while continuing to maximize productivity. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.

Re-imagining How Work Is Done

When we think about how our lives have changed over the past year, our work life is probably one area where we’ve felt the greatest impact. The pandemic forced many offices to adopt new ways of working in order to protect the safety and wellbeing of employees – and they had to do it virtually overnight. For many people, it meant working from home exclusively and the numbers prove it. According to a Gallup Poll, the percentage of Americans working in some form from home jumped from around 25% to more than 60% during the height of the pandemic. As more people are fully vaccinated and life begins to return to some sense of normalcy, many employees have started to return to the office. However, the future of traditional work life and workspace will likely be impacted for the foreseeable future.

Some employees are eager to return to the office and have face-to-face contact with others and enjoy post-work happy hours. Others have adjusted to working from home and don’t miss their long commute. Companies are realizing that there are advantages to both work from home and office time. That’s why the hybrid model where employees can work at least a few days from home may likely become the new norm. It’s one of several workplace trends that we’ll discuss in the next article.

There are a lot of questions businesses must answer about the role of the office moving forward. It differs across industries and there is no one-size-fits all approach. However, there are some universal steps organizations need to take to re-imagine how work is done:

  • Decide how and where people work: Can some workers be fully remote? Does a hybrid remote model make more sense? Or does work need to take place on site?
  • Redesign the workplace to correspond with company priorities: Looking at spacing issues between desks, meeting space, the airflow of the office and upgrading technology to collaborate with people working from home are just a few areas to consider.
  • Look at the footprint of the office and resize creatively: Now is the time to take a fresh look at how much space is required and the location.

Across industries, leaders will use the lessons learned from the pandemic to reimagine how and where work gets done. Employees will demand it. Organizations must use this time to break from the old habits of the past and reinvent what a collaborative and productive work environment looks like moving forward. Creative and bold organizations will be the ones that meet the challenge and retain and attract employees.

Is your organization poised to make challenging workplace decisions that will create a better experience for your employees? Leah M Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

Who’s In Charge of Your Coaching?

Think about it: how likely are you to take someone’s “advice” when they’re essentially telling you what to do? Are you more likely to act on an idea if you’ve come up with it on your own and feel that it’s YOUR decision?

For most people,asking for advice sounds more appealing. The difference comes down to “asking for advice” versus “telling you what to do.” Often, they both seek to accomplish the same thing, but the methods and results can differ dramatically.

We don’t often think about the differences between asking and telling and the effects of both. When you ask someone to do something, you’re creating a dialogue. However, telling someone what do to is a monologue. Here’s a further breakdown of the differences:

 

 

Telling You What To Do:

  • Controls the information
  • Doesn’t engage the other person in the decision making process
  • Keeps you in the role of the ‘knowledgeable person’
  • Makes people reliant on you for advice or information

Asking For Advice:

  • Empowers others
  • Encourages decision making
  • Engages people in the thought process
  • Encourages people to be less reliant on your “expertise”

We experience “asking” versus “telling” in so many areas of our lives: work, home and relationships with family and friends. One area where asking for permission is so vital is during the coaching process. People often work with coaches because they’re ready to make meaningful change and approach life with a new and fresh way of thinking. This type of change is only going to be sustainable if a person comes up with ideas and perspectives on their own terms.

Many people feel a little nervous when they start working with a coach. After all, you’re delving into the most personal of territories: your life. You’re bearing your soul about what’s working and what you’d like to do differently. You’re there with the goal of making changes, but change can make you feel vulnerable. All of these feelings are completely natural. That’s why it’s so important that the coaching relationship is participant-driven and you’re in the driver’s seat. It sets a collaborative tone and uncovers tools for success in the future.

When we reflect on the biggest changes we’ve made in our lives, most likely they’ve happened because we’ve made decisions and come to conclusions on our own terms. Advice or the unpopular “you should do this” method is rarely helpful. If you’re looking for coaching where you’re in charge, Leah M Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

Permission-Based Coaching

Sometimes it feels like we live in a society that thrives on giving unsolicited advice and loves to “tell” instead of “ask”. “You should do [insert task here] this way.” “You need to handle [insert situation here] by doing this.” After a while, we can feel like we’re losing our sense of autonomy or worse, start to doubt our ability to make decisions on our own. However, one place where you should never feel like you’re being “told” instead of “asked” is when you’re working with a coach. That’s why “permission coaching” is such a vital part of the process. By asking permission when having a discussion, it helps people feel like they’re in the driver’s seat and their feelings are respected. It also establishes trust in the coaching relationship. Here are a few approaches that are permission-based:

  • “I’d like to discuss some more about this matter. Would this be okay with you?”
  • “Is this a good time to talk and explore this topic a little more?”
  • “Can we spend a few minutes brainstorming some ideas about this?”
  • “I’m getting the sense you have more to say about this topic. Could I ask some more in-depth questions?”

Some people get so used to being “told” what to do that it becomes a comfortable pattern. It’s easier to be led and rely on someone else than make autonomous decisions. On the other hand, other people who live or work in an environment where they’re consistently being told what to do may become defensive and resentful. Both personalities benefit from “permission coaching” because it gives them a chance to explore their own thoughts and insights independent from being told what to think or feel.

This isn’t always an easy process and it takes work, particularly if you’re accustomed to being told how to handle things under the guise of “advice”.  If you’re interested in learning more about how working with a coach can help you explore your thoughts and reach new insights on YOUR terms, Leah M. Joppy and Associates can help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.

COACHING OUR WAY THROUGH ANXIETY

AnxietyThe past year has brought so many anxiety-producing unknowns into our lives that it’s becoming difficult to remember when we weren’t dealing with these stressors. And now we’re adding a new one to the list: when and how can we get the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s like we can see some light at the end of the tunnel and can finally begin to get a sense of normalcy into our lives, but we still have an uphill battle ahead of us. For many, it’s causing frustration and confusion and adding to an already anxious situation.

By now, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “you can’t control events, but you can control how you respond to them.” Easier said than done, right? How do you get started when you’re already feeling overwhelmed? Working with a coach helps you build strategies to deal with the stressors of whatever life is throwing at you right now, whether it’s anxiety over waiting for the vaccine, job challenges or uncertainty about the future. Here are some examples of what a coach can teach you:

  • How to increase your emotional resilience.
  • How to shift yourself out of anxiety and into a more proactive mental state.
  • How to effectively handle situations that are out of your control.
  • How to deal with both the mental and physical reactions of anxiety.

Often, having a strong listener on your side and ready to help can make a huge difference. A coach can provide you with mental exercises to turn to during stressful events, help you track your progress, hold you accountable for your goals and provide needed social support.

Anxiety focuses on what can go wrong, while hope focuses on what can go right and opportunities despite present circumstances. If you’re looking for someone to help with your anxiety during this difficult time, Leah M Joppy and Associates is ready to help. You don’t have to deal with this this alone. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

 

COACHING OUR WAY THROUGH ANXIETY – WAYS TO HELP

anxiety waysPerhaps you’ve seen the famous quote from Erma Bombeck: “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but never gets you anywhere.” This has never been put to the test more than in the past year. So many of us are dealing with anxiety about the world right now. Add to it the stress of waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine for us and our loved ones and our thoughts can feel almost crippling. What steps can we take to lessen our burden and start to break the anxiety cycle?

When we’re anxious, our brains start coming up with all kinds of ideas, many of which are unlikely to happen and unrealistic. That only builds on an already anxious state. Often, stepping back and challenging your thoughts can have a powerful outcome. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What evidence do I have that my worry will come true?
  • Do I have evidence that my fear is false?
  • How will I handle it if my fear comes true?
  • Does it benefit me to think this way?
  • What are the costs of thinking this way?
  • Is there anything I can learn from this situation and use in the future?

One of the worst things you can do when feeling anxious is to sit around and obsess about how you feel. We’ve all been doing a lot more of this since the pandemic began and thinking about worst-case scenarios. Break the cycle and focus your attention on a goal-directed activity and doing what needs to get done. Accomplishing a goal, no matter how small and “getting out of your head” often makes you feel better and more empowered.

When you’re feeling anxious, you might feel stuck and caught in a cycle of “what-ifs”. That’s where a coach can help by providing tools and techniques to manage anxiety effectively. Leah M Joppy and Associates is ready to share healthy ways to cope. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.

In These Times, Can We Even Plan Ahead?

Between the pandemic changing the way we work and a new administration, it can seem like your agency or association is in a constant state of flux. Without the aid of a crystal ball, it may seem like planning for the future is an exercise in futility. Organizations may be tempted to wait and see what happens during times of uncertainty. But all of these unknowns shouldn’t keep you from looking ahead. In fact, failing to plan is a huge mistake for so many reasons.

In uncertain times, it’s the most resilient organizations that succeed. Part of that resilience is looking ahead as best you can and planning no matter what the future may hold. Here are a few important questions to consider as you develop a strategic plan:

  • What do we know about the current environment in which we’re working?
  • What hasn’t changed? What can we predict with some level of certainty?
  • What do we need to prepare or plan for ‘just in case’?
  • Has anything about the current environment caused us to reconsider or change our mission and/or values?
  • What is our action plan for the next year? What are our objectives, timelines, budget to work with, etc?

Of course, the key to navigating times of uncertainty is developing a strategy with flexibility. But instead of hoping for the best, you at least have a plan that gives you and your team some sense of a forward-moving mission.

No matter what direction your agency or association takes in the months ahead, everyone has areas that can be strengthened with a little help, probing and encouragement. That’s where Leah M Joppy and Associates can help. We help you take control of your future by developing an action plan that positions you to succeed, no matter what the coming months may bring. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

Write Your Own Story

So many of us are weary from the events of 2020. Whether it’s a job loss, difficulties maneuvering the work from home/family life balance or the disappointment and loneliness that have accompanied the pandemic, we each have our own story about how this time has affected us. By now, everyone has a list of things they once took for granted but now miss or things they’ve grown to love during this period of staying at home.

According to a survey conducted by the National Research Group, approximately 90% of Americans say that the pandemic “is a good time to reflect on what’s important to them.” There’s also a renewed appreciation for “chatting” with our family and friends, as roughly 72% say the pandemic will have a positive impact on how we communicate in the future. And there’s newfound respect for a sometimes overlooked and underappreciated workforce in our country: grocery store workers, health care professionals, emergency responders, etc.

These are not small things, but rather a huge shift in how we view what’s important to us and how we spend our time. Perhaps family dinners and new traditions have become an area of focus. Others may have started a new health and wellness routine they’ve been putting off for years. And some people may have reduced the amount of material possessions in their homes, developed a new hobby or worked on learning a new professional skill. Whatever your story, these new priorities and insights truly matter!

When the virus is no longer a threat, will you return to your old ways? Will you again focus on working crazy hours, money, material things or other areas of your life that were lacking in fulfillment? The big question is, what do you do with this appreciation of what really matters in life and make sure it continues after the world returns to “normal-ish”. Working with a coach is an ideal way to develop a plan with attainable goals, as well as have someone who will hold you accountable and keep you on track. Think of a coach as a partner for your future!

This past year has been far from easy. There’s been irritability, frustration, anger, and a major dose of cabin fever. But perhaps years from now, we’ll look back on it as an unexpected opportunity to really tune into what matters most in our lives and use that knowledge to create meaningful change. Whether these goals are personal or career-related, Leah M Joppy and Associates can work with you to bring them to fruition. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

A NEW MINDSET FOR 2021

Typically at the start of a new year, we think about big goals and resolutions. But this year feels a little different. While we’re all grateful for a fresh start, we’re probably feeling a little tired and overwhelmed as we come off of 2020. If the past year taught us anything, it’s that:

  • We thought we were ready for anything, but it turns out that our resilience and fortitude were put to the test.
  • We thought we had everything planned (or at least attempted to), but the last year tested all of those plans.
  • We thought we had a positive mindset, but learned that when that mindset is challenged, problems may seem bigger than they really are.

So yes, we’ve had some hurdles thrown at us. How do we navigate the coming months with a refreshed mindset and add more doses of positivity in our lives? Here are a few basics to start you through the process:

  1. Start your morning with a consistent, positive routine that will set the tone for the rest of the day.
  2. Focus on the good things happening throughout your day, however small they may be.
  3. Surround yourself with positive friends and mentors.
  4. Become aware of self-sabotaging behavior and negative self-talk.
  5. Focus on the present because we can’t change the past and we can’t predict the future.
  6. Try to find humor, no matter how challenging it may be!

No matter how much you want to hit the refresh button, it can feel challenging to make changes on your own. The past year has been isolating for so many of us and it can feel like we’re stuck on autopilot waiting for the world to return to some sense of normalcy. But you don’t have to go through this journey alone. Working with a coach will help you build the core skills and habits to propel you forward – not just through the coming months, but well beyond.

There are still many things that may still feel up in the air as we’re entering the New Year, but we do still have power and influence within our own lives.  What will 2021 hold for you?   Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help you move forward with renewed energy and focus. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com.

Re-focusing On What Matters

So many of us go through the motions when it comes to our day-to-day work, but 2020 truly changed all of that. The way we work, the way we manage, and the way we interact are just a few of the areas that were turned upside down for so many of us. It tested our resilience, our patience and most likely, our mindset. Usually the New Year is a time to hit the reset button with refreshed energy. However, after the events of the past year, you and your team are probably feeling burned out and overwhelmed. This can lead to a negative mindset that doesn’t help any department move forward.

How can you help your employees start the New Year with a fresh, focused mindset when everyone is still reeling from the challenges of 2020? If there’s one area you should focus on in 2021, it’s relationships. Employees need connection, support, and guidance from management and peers in order to feel engaged and valued. Here are a few commitments you can make in the coming months to refocus and improve mindset:

Reconnect with your team. To effectively manage your team, it’s important to understand their values, interests and strengths. Make it a goal this year to get to know them better and develop a plan to have team members connect with each other more effectively going forward.

Make goal creation a shared task. We’ve all dealt with feelings of isolation during the past year, so including team members in the goal creation process makes them feel included, valued, and part of the organization. It gives everyone a chance to reflect on what worked last year, what didn’t, and how to move forward with renewed energy.

Share more performance information. No one wants to feel like they’re being kept in the dark. Team members are much more likely to be engaged and focused when they receive clear feedback. If this is an area that you neglected over the past months, now is the time to start reengaging with team members.

The past year has challenged us all, but if there’s one lesson we can take from all of this, it’s the importance of strong relationships for building a positive team mindset. This year, commit to enhancing employee relationships through observing, listening, and guiding. Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help you start the New Year off strong by offering coaching seminars that focus on developing a productive, postive mindset. For more information, contact us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.