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Mindful : October 2014
October 2014 mindful 67 Michael Carroll and Jae Ellard mindfully answer your workplace questions Engage Uncertainty; Concentrate on Quality Q My employer is downsizing. I’ve star ted a job search, but I go to work every morning not knowing if today is the day—it’s a toxic environment. How can I cope? Being laid off is a com- mon experience and over 1,000 Americans lose their job ever y hour—many, if not most workers, were doing their jobs quite well. Such prospects can keep us feeling unsettled. Yet, the reality we face at work is straight- for ward: Our jobs are not guaranteed and work cannot offer us security in a constantly changing world. Dealing with this uncer tainty is not a matter of “coping”— hoping to sur vive by keeping your head down. Rather, engaging uncer tainty—whether at work or in life in general—is about expressing our natural sense of daring which takes t wo forms: power and confidence. Expressing power is a subtle ar t where we seek to shape circumstances to maximize our advantage. Here we dare to be skillful: Negotiating deals, anticipating conflicts, building alliances, probing dilemmas, sharing resources, and much more. Such conventional power rests on one simple principle: having options. So, being pow- er ful in our careers requires that we develop choices, whether it’s a job lead elsewhere, a savings account that can sup- por t a transition, an influential mentor, or a “par t time gig” waiting in the wings. Daring to have options gives us real and psychological power in the face of uncer tainty at work. Confidence is daring to express our natural resource- fulness—daring to engage work agilely rather than trying to secure ourselves. When we dare to express confidence at work, we recognize the futility of our hopes for security and fears of disaster, and instead trust ourselves completely. Such wisdom is not wishful thinking, of course, but an unmistakable familiarity with being comfor t- able with our humanity. Michael Carroll is the author of Fearless at Work. Q I’m a sales manager and management has decided that all account managers must cut back on customer face-to- face time and travel. How can my team keep our customers engaged without being “in person?” It is hard to replace the type of connec- tion that comes from face-to-face meetings with your customers. So don’t try to replace it, make it count that much more when you do have it. Explore your customer engage- ment cycle and consider when the most impactful time to visit with customers face-to-face is, and define what you want that engagement to look and feel like for both. Then create an experience that will be as meaningful as possible for that point in the cycle to deepen the business connection. For some that might involve hosting a tour, giving a demo, facilitating mind mapping or brainstorm- ing, having consulting focused conversations or simply enjoy- ing a meal together. From that point, you can work to develop a strategy to maintain the connection, rather than replacing it. It’s possible that ongoing connection points might be different for each customer, which could end-up creating deeper engagement because it will feel more cus- tomized. For some customers you might use two-way com- munication video conferencing tools like Skype or WebEx, other’s might want meaningful content sent to them that is relevant to their work and key business challenges and some customers want to go retro and schedule phone conversations to keep the connection going. Bottom line: Focus on the concept of quality time spent face-to-face over quantity of direct contact. ● Jae Ellard in the president of WLB Consulting Group in Seattle. Over 1,000 Americans lose their job every hour—many, if not most, were doing their jobs quite well. A A in practice at work