How to Reduce Tech-Related Stress for Customers and Employees

How to Reduce Tech-Related Stress for Customers and Employees

Your ability to become a successful company of the future depends on developing a cultural mindset that is focused on creating value for the people inside and outside the organization. The myth that technology drives digital transformation has been an ongoing fairy tale because while technology is an important factor, there is another element to the equation that creates a strong dependency on the first — the people.

Technology in most ways has a positive effect on business operations, especially in the automation of admin processes that come with communication with customers. While artificial intelligence is getting to know your customers by analyzing their wants and needs, it also means collecting huge amounts of customer insights. Some other digital tools such as chatbots are being used to interact with customers instead of a customer service agent and in some exceptional cases, this works just fine.

The belief that these digital tools can improve customer engagement like a miracle is just an illusion however, despite offering an effective and efficient way to speak to large audiences. The reality is that these technologies are greatly designed to replicate some sort of friendliness but are simply not able to offer the much-needed level of human connection customers need.

Covid-19 has been a wake-up call for businesses and has aggressively fast forwarded digital adoptions in working practices that most companies were not ready to take on. They were forced to send employees home who had to deal with the implementation and usage of new digital tools, something that should have progressively happened years ago.

According to research carried out by Mckinsey, it would have taken businesses more than a year to implement the level of remote working that was enforced as a result of the crisis. Despite the advantages of the nature of these digital technologies, the sudden change led to huge gaps of acceptance among the workforce and this is because employees have different needs, challenges and technical proficiency.

Employees and customers are often slow to adapt to new ways of doing things so now it’s time to ask yourself: What can I do to reduce the tech stress of my customers and employees and make their lives easier? I suggest two main things to consider:

1. Focus on the people.

Digitalization has many different positive aspects, but the more digital your business becomes the less human touch it can provide. Customers today expect more human interactions and less automated interactions. The role of new tech should make the life of your employees easier and ultimately highly complement their tasks so that they can focus on the emotional side of customer relationships.

The rush for easily monetizable consumer automated interactions makes it clear for customers that a brand is not authentically engaging with them. A Harvard Business Review study shows that companies are becoming increasingly impersonal by automating as many customer touchpoints as possible. In a highly digitalised world the human factor in customer experience gives your business a distinct competitive edge. The latest technology gets prioritised too often over authentic customer engagement.

First and foremost you should create an authentic and trusted customer relationship and then with the consent of your customers, use the technology available (predictive analytics and machine learning) to personalise the interactions with them. Not the other way around.

2. Reassess your digital initiatives.

As you’ve been experimenting with a huge number of virtual operations and interactions since before the pandemic started, you now have the opportunity to assess which technologies are extremely needed and which are not. The world of business is changing, some things will go back to previous ways, while others will remain changed forever.

You might think that using many different business tools to automate and improve processes will skyrocket productivity. However, switching between too many apps has some side effects such as lower productivity, higher costs and lack of collaboration in teams, to name a few. Developing a digital state of mind requires you to engage, educate and provide continuous support to your employees.

Low employee stress levels and making sure their experience remains positive throughout are as important as deciding which new technology to adopt. Digital transformation should have your people at the core because your people will be those who will make a successful transformation happen.

As I’m writing my book on customer-centricity, I find it imperative that companies find the right balance between the use of technology and human interactions. The challenge of the future is not whether artificial intelligence will replace people’s jobs but rather how to create a business culture in which technology and employees are able to walk hand-in-hand to provide human-driven customer experiences.

Ilenia Vidili

 

By: Ilenia Vidili / Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

 

Source: How to Reduce Tech-Related Stress for Customers and Employees

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6 Natural Remedies for When You’re Stressed About Work or Life

Let’s be honest: This is a tough time to be a business owner. Since March, the world has turned upside down. Your office is likely closed, revenue is disrupted if not massively down, business travel is mostly non-existent, keeping workers on staff is an issue, the future is uncertain — and let’s not even get started with the SBA Payroll Protection Program and other stimulus measures.

If stress is getting the best of you, here are six natural remedies that might help. As always, do your research and talk to your doctors about introducing supplements. 

1. Rhodiola Rosea

You may not have heard about this herb, but rhodiola rosea has been used by people in Scandinavia, Russia and China for years as a way to reduce fatigue and boost energy. Research has shown that among its other effects, rhodiola rosea boosts the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that slows down our mental and physical processes. 

For most people who use it, this herb helps combat anxiety nicely. But it isn’t for everyone; some people actually report the opposite effect, with it increasing anxiety and irritability.When you give it a try, monitor your moods closely and ask those you live with to do the same. 

2. L-Theanine

One reason that some people drink tea is because it reportedly gives a boost without the buzz and anxiety that sometimes comes with drinking coffee. They can thank L-theanine for that, a compound in many teas that promotes focus and calmness. Studies have shown that L-theanine does more than just reduce anxiety, too; it seems to improve verbal fluency, executive function and sleep.

Tea is a common way to get a little L-theanine in your diet to reduce stress. But if you’re not a tea drinker — or like a bit too much sugar in your tea like me — you also can get this compound in supplement form.

3. CBD oil

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is getting a lot of attention lately. Part of that attention comes from the fact that CBD is a natural extract from cannabis, the same plant that produces marijuana. Most of the attention, however, comes from the fact that this non-hallucinogenic part of the cannabis plant has a load of health benefits — including anxiety relief.

CBD targets the endocannabinoid system, the part of the body that is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and exhilaration after a strenuous workout. So just like a runner’s high, CBD brings a sustained calmness and focus that can be a major counterbalance to stress.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Best yet, you can get this stress reliever in gummy bear form. “We sell CBD oil in a variety of forms, but the gummy bears might be the most popular,” laughs David Levitt, co-founder of CBD gummy maker bioMD+.

4.Omega-3 fatty acids

Your brain is very susceptible to inflammation, which causes anxiety and stress. One of the main drivers of inflammation are omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in cheap vegetable oils and refined carbs. A natural way to offset this is by consuming omega-3 fatty acids, which act as an anti-inflammatory agent in your brain and counteract the effects of omega-6 fatty acids. 

Omega-3s are naturally present in fish oil, so if you need a break from the stress of running a business right now, consider upping the amount of mackerel, salmon, herring or oysters you consume. If you want to avoid fish breath, consider adding omega-3 oil as a supplement. Make sure you get omega-3 supplements that come from fish oil, however, not vegetable sources. Although vegetable-based omega-3 supplements do work and are an option for vegetarians and vegans, a Harvard study showed that they aren’t nearly as effective as the fish-based variety.

5. Essential oils

Because you’re likely now working from home, another method to try for reducing anxiety is the use of essential oils while you work. There’s an entire industry built around using aromas and essential oils to relax and cut down on stress.

If you’re overwhelmed by the selection of oils out there, focus on lavender, chamomile and cedar wood, all of which are known to reduce heart rate, ease tension in the body, promote relaxation and improve sleep. You can smell these oils, burn them, diffuse them or even dab them on your skin when your stress levels start to feel like they’re getting a bit high.

6. Vitamin D

D is for de-stressing. As humans, we’ve evolved to expect a lot of sunlight. But when we work inside, we often suffer from a vitamin D deficiency that can lead to anxiety and stress. Turns out the stress you’ve been feeling the past few months might have to do with spending too much time indoors, not just the current state of the world. 

Vitamin D supplements can help, but there is some research that suggests they might not work as well as you think. A better way to get more vitamin D is the old-fashioned habit of going outside and taking a walk. You not only get a little exercise, which helps with anxiety, but also exposure to those valuable sun rays that naturally give you the vitamin D your body craves. 

You can’t really get rid of the stress from running a business during these times, but you can manage your anxiety with natural remedies. So carry on, but don’t forget to handle your stress.

Jt Ripton Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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The Perseverance Of Resilient Leadership: Sustaining Impact On The Road To Thrive

A few months ago, we imagined “thriving” as leading our organizations to a better normal after the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet our responsibilities as leaders now are further compounded by concurrent challenges of racial injustices, climate change, and economic uncertainties. Getting to “Thrive” appears more arduous and lengthier than many of us imagined… or hoped for.

The first wave and recurrences of COVID-19 continue to plague many parts of the world. Seventy-six percent of companies and many geographies in our most recent analysis are still in the Respond and Recover phases of the crisis[i]. Even companies and geographies that have entered the Thrive phase realize that we are all in this long journey together, because our prospects are inextricably linked.

The future of each of our organizations, though, is not preordained. As resilient leaders, one of our most critical roles right now is to sustain: to sustain our people, many of whom are experiencing not only fatigue but more stresses than they ever have; to sustain our organizations in continuing to create value for all stakeholders; and to sustain society as it experiences multiple existential threats. But just as important, we must also sustain our own ability to lead so that we can continue to serve over the long journey ahead.

Sustaining our people

Our people are undergoing unprecedented levels of stress and uncertainty: workers who have suffered deep personal losses from COVID-19 and/or racial injustices; parents stretching to navigate childcare and major uncertainties over schooling responsibilities while still meeting work commitments; even the loss of basic grandchild-grandparent physical connections. It requires both empathy and courage on our part to lead them forward.

As leaders, we need to empathize with and acknowledge the myriad challenges our people are currently coping with, including feelings of ambiguous loss and toxic stress.

With both ambiguous loss and toxic stress, the better definition of an endpoint and a reduction in uncertainty are important ways we can support our teams. For example, Deloitte has hosted Zoom-based workshops where a cross-section of our people helped to inform return-to-the workplace programs—giving them a greater sense of control. Likewise, sponsoring projects that have a defined endpoint and outcome—where teams can declare that they are “done”—also helps to counter both ambiguous loss and toxic stress.

Additionally, having courageous conversations is at the heart of taking decisive, bold leadership actions, which are even more critical now to sustaining our people. Such conversations enable us to deliver truthful messages and real-time feedback amid the crisis, and require courage:

  • To address difficult situations such as business closures, layoffs, and furloughs rather than ignoring them and hoping they go away
  •  To decide and implement a course of action, even when unpopular
  • To speak the truth about the situation, why each decision was made, and acknowledge the implications

Sustaining our organizations

In the Respond phase of the crisis, most organizations’ leaders found they needed to play defense: keeping their values, their people, their customers, and their business at the forefront. But to thrive in the next normal, we will have to play both defense and offense, working to protect our people and our business, but also taking the longer view. We need to lean into the wind and make contrarian moves now so we can come out of the crisis with momentum and a competitive edge. Many companies will play defense, not offense. Winners will do both[ii].

Crises typically prompt major opportunities such as accelerating innovations, expanding ecosystem relationships, anticipating changing market structures, and creating new business models. Many of us watched silos crumble almost overnight in the rush to respond to COVID-19: Teams became more cross-functional, while ideas, experiences, resources, and expertise were quickly shared in ways that enabled organizations to take more informed, holistic actions. Leaders should consider which of those barriers can be permanently removed.

Sustaining society

Sustaining society requires us as resilient leaders to take an even more active role in influencing social systems and structures for the greater good. Leadership for the greater good requires followership, and followership is engendered by trust.

Within society more broadly, trust is needed now more urgently than ever, particularly amid the uncertainties of social disruption and the changing role of institutions. As we consider the organizational and institutional changes in systems and structures, building trust will be essential to successfully guiding society.

Additionally, influence is one of the most impactful and lasting contributions. Where there is racial or economic injustice, it is often ossified systems and entrenched institutions that perpetuate the unfair status quo. Given each of our organizations’ vast web of relationships—with customers, vendors, ecosystem partners, governments, communities—how do we connect and leverage the full potential of these networks to reform social systems and structures?

Sustaining our ability to lead

We owe it to our people, our organizations, and society to be personally fit in mind, body, and purpose to serve them over the long haul. Facing what may be the most extraordinary leadership challenge in our lifetimes, the risk is that we will cross the depletion point before we recognize it. We must not only sustain others—we must sustain ourselves.

None of us know how long the COVID-19 crisis will last or the path the virus will take. Likewise, the major disruptions stemming from racial injustices, social inequality, climate change, and economic stress may further lengthen the path to a “better” normal. As CEOs, we are called upon to sustain through the crisis.

These sustaining responsibilities are akin to a stone dropped in a pond: The stone drops deep into the water, sustaining our ability to lead by looking inward; the ripples reach out to sustain our employees by walking alongside them, our organizations by courageously refining the strategy and playing offense, and society by investing in trust to make positive social change in institutions and systems.

To learn more about what it takes to be a resilient leader on the road to Thrive, please click here.

[i] Based on survey of Deloitte client service leaders, July 16–20, 2020.

[ii] The tension between defense and offense is similar to the tension within “ambidexterity” between optimization and exploration in Benjamin Finzi, Vincent Firth, and Mark Lipton’s Ambidextrous leadership: Keystone of the undisruptable CEO, Deloitte Insights, October 18, 2018.

Punit Renjen

Punit Renjen

Punit is in his 33rd year with Deloitte and became CEO of Deloitte Global in June 2015. Deloitte operates in more than 150 countries, with approximately 300,000 professionals. Punit is also a member of the Deloitte Global Board of Directors.

As Deloitte Global CEO, Punit set in motion a global strategy to achieve undisputed leadership in professional services. In his first term, he led efforts that resulted in double-digit aggregate revenue growth globally, with Deloitte becoming the largest of the professional services organizations. Currently Deloitte is recognized as the strongest and most valuable commercial services brand. Also, during his tenure, Deloitte advanced audit quality through significant investments and focus.

As a tangible expression of Deloitte’s commitment to its purpose of making an impact that matters, Punit launched Deloitte’s signature corporate responsibility program, WorldClass, to empower 50 million people to succeed in a rapidly changing global economy. Punit is also committed to advancing diversity and inclusion at Deloitte, including through measurable actions toward gender balance across Deloitte and within its leadership ranks.

In June 2019, he started serving his second elected term.

Punit has held several leadership roles within Deloitte, including serving as the chairman of Deloitte LLP (US) from 2011-2015 and before that, as CEO of Deloitte Consulting LLP (US). During his tenure as CEO of Deloitte Consulting, the practice experienced tremendous growth despite an ongoing recession, helping it become one of the largest consulting organizations according to leading analysts’ rankings.

Outside of Deloitte, Punit is a member of The Business Roundtable, The International Business Council of the World Economic Forum, and serves as the member of several not for profit boards including at the United Way Worldwide (chairman) and the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum (vice chairman). He was named an honoree to the 2012, 2013 and 2014 National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) “Directorship 100.”

Punit was born and raised in India. He moved to the United States after receiving a Rotary Foundation Scholarship to Willamette University. He has served on the board of trustees of Willamette University and was named among the 100 most influential business leaders who have graduated from schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. In the spring of 2019, Willamette University conferred upon Punit an honorary doctorate. He is married and has a son.

Implementing These 2 Strategies Can Help Entrepreneurs Reduce Financial Stress

When you think about the sheer number of components it takes to build a business, your mind starts to race. There are the structural elements, such as the type of business, products and services, the marketing, client fulfillment and more.

As an entrepreneur, your focus might tend to be on what you need the most right now. An informal poll of entrepreneurs would probably point toward a discussion of prospecting and closing new business. It would center around getting more sales and the filling of pipelines. 

While the here-and-now are essential, successful entrepreneurs think strategically. They focus on long-term moves they can make, because they understand that’s the most powerful way to scale a business.

Related: 5 Personal-Finance Habits of Wealthy Entrepreneurs

Improve your relationship with money.

Too many of us start our adult life having to figure it out when it comes to money and wealth creation. The beginning years of adulthood tend to leave marks, and we carry those into entrepreneurship. This can mean pricing what we offer lower than the value we provide. It often manifests in taking on clients that an entrepreneur knows will not be a good fit, or failing to think about money as something that provides freedom. 

Finances don’t have to be a constant source of stress if you understand their purpose. You don’t have to compromise on what you offer for consumers that aren’t your ideal client. The stats tell us that there were 4.3 billion internet users, 5.1 billion mobile users, 3.4 billion social media users daily, according to We Are Social. That means we don’t lack opportunities to get new clients and build our business in this hyper-connected digital information age. The issue becomes how you show your ideal target client that you can help them.

Working on and creating a healthier relationship with money will reduce stress, beat fear and allow your mind to focus on what will bring in more revenue. Some things you can do are:

  • Educate yourself about finances through books, courses, videos and other forms of available content. 
  • Hire professionals who can help you organize your finances right now and plan for the future. 

Related: 5 Personal-Finance Mistakes That Kill Promising Companies

2. Plan for more than right now.

Many entrepreneurs choose this lifestyle because we would do what we love, even if it were for free. That is great, but it also sets us up to work in our business and not run it as a CEO. It creates a familiar situation where entrepreneurs aren’t planning for the future. 

You may want to work until your body and mind can no longer handle it, but you should have a financial plan in place that takes care of you and your family, whether or not you’re running your business. 

Financial planning for retirement is not a popular topic with entrepreneurs, but it’s one that needs to be addressed. Building a legacy is about more than accolades — it’s creating financial security through a business that aligns with your values.

Successful entrepreneurs plan strategically. Part of that planning includes setting aside money for emergencies, and using funds to build the kind of wealth that allows an entrepreneur to retire in comfort. This includes investments, assets, savings, and other financial management strategies. 

You don’t have to go through life feeling stressed, worried or unsure of finances and their impact on your business. You can create wealth that allows you the freedom to work, whether you want to or now. 

This starts with acknowledging your current beliefs around money and doing the work to make any necessary changes. We live in the information age, which means many solid resources that can bring clarity, help you plan and beat any fear. 

Plan for all possibilities and take control of your financial future. 

Beau Henderson

By: Beau Henderson – Entrepreneur Leadership Network / Writer CEO of RichLife Advisors

Need Help Managing The End Of The Year Stress?

It’s both an exciting time of the year with holidays approaching and a stressful time of the year with all you are trying to accomplish. Add on some crazy weather issues and that further complicates things. So, how can you better manage everything and keep your sanity?

Reality Check. First, recognize that you won’t get it all done exactly as you imagined, and let yourself say “that’s okay.” We often have extremely high expectations for what we think we can accomplish during this time of the year. Perhaps we need to make our goals a little more realistic. That doesn’t mean you have to drop your enthusiasm; just do a reality check. See how much time is left and what is actually manageable. Readjust your goals to be more realistic.

Change others’ expectations. In addition to altering your own expectations, talk to your colleagues or supervisors to see if you can make some changes in their expectations for what can be accomplished at the end of the year. Chances are they are feeling just as stressed. Do you really need all those meetings at this time? Can the timelines for some projects be extended? Even if you are only able to change a few things, this can have a powerful impact on reducing your stress and maybe even theirs.

Chunk it into bits. One of the biggest stressors we face is the size of what we have to accomplish – whether it is finishing up work projects, getting all of our presents ready in advance, or cleaning our entire house for holiday company. Sometimes just viewing these massive lists we have created can be overwhelming.

If possible, break those large projects into smaller ones. Sometimes we only have 30 minutes here or there and we think we can’t get our big project done then. Which is true – we can’t. But, if we can break it into parts, we might get some of the smaller parts done during those shorter time periods. That can still help us feel a sense of accomplishment, and that we are not being overwhelmed.

Don’t forget your own self-care. We have the tendency to put all of our projects and others ahead of us during the end of the year mad rush to get it all done. Don’t do this. Make sure you still find time to exercise, get plenty of sleep, and engage in some activities for your own sanity (e.g., mindfulness, meditation, prayer, etc.). You need to keep up your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well being during this time, probably more than at any other time of the year.  Try to do something fun each day – this gives you added joy.

Take advantage of forced slow times. Maybe you are stuck in traffic on the highway or circling a parking lot to find a spot at the shopping mall or waiting in a long line at a store, or on hold on the phone. These are forced slow downs imposed on you. Instead of giving in to the temptation to get angry and frustrated, use these opportunities to do other things.

Each year, we know these things are going to occur, and yet we always seem surprised and frustrated by their existence (as if they just popped up). Be prepared. Bring other things to do while waiting in line or on the phone or as you are circling the parking lot. Maybe listening to relaxing music is just the thing that can keep your blood pressure from rising even higher.

Volunteer. It may seem counterintuitive to volunteer when we have so much on our own plates. But, this is the season to volunteer and help those less fortunate than us. While we may be very busy, sometimes just taking a little time to give back to others helps us to put things into perspective and remember how much we do have. It also helps us to remember the “reason for the season.”

The end of the year comes with celebrating various holidays and welcoming in a brand new year. It should be a time of joy and yet; it often comes with the stress of having too much to do and not enough time to get it all done. Following some of these tips might just help you get your energy back and enjoy this holiday time and ringing in the New Year!

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I am the Helen and William O’Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business (VSB), and serve as the chief executive, academic and fiscal officer. VSB has more than 150 faculty and staff and 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in VSB’s top-ranked programs. I am a licensed industrial and organizational psychologist with more than 25 years of experience consulting with private- and public-sector organizations. I wrote a weekly career coach column and answered reader questions in a monthly online chat for The Washington Post. I have served as an executive coach for several decades and developed the Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Programs for UMD’s Executive M.B.A. program and the Executive M.B.A. at the University of Tennessee. I earned my Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Akron, Ohio and my B.A. in psychology from Loyola University in Maryland.

Source: Need Help Managing The End Of The Year Stress?

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Bonus miles

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Sign up for our WellCast newsletter for more of the love, lolz and happy! http://goo.gl/GTLhb Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A.? Most people have experienced mild workplace stress at some point in their careers, and it’s not doing them any favors. Stress contributes to higher blood pressure and lower self esteem. This week we’ve got a three-step system to combating office stress and keeping you healthy and sane. Check out some other awesome episodes of WellCast: 1. Coming Out http://goo.gl/amysN 2. Coping With Grief http://goo.gl/aD4OH 3. How to Break the Ice http://goo.gl/CmS8O 4. Dealing With Rejection http://goo.gl/f3Pw5 5. Party Survival Guide for Introverts http://goo.gl/WYZVe ABOUT WELLCAST: In this twice-a-week show, we explore the physical, mental and emotional paths to wellness. With an emphasis on education, the show addresses both the latest trends and long-standing practices of wellness—everything from the efficacy of the gratitude experiment to the importance of sunshine and vitamin D. Follow along as your host, Kate, guides you through a bi-weekly journaling exercises that helps you apply what you’ve learned. The ultimate goal: one year, one show, one journal, one collective journey to wellness. Like us on Facebook! http://goo.gl/0DHVJ Follow us on Twitter! http://goo.gl/Ylcv6 Find us on Google+ http://goo.gl/ylCVT Follow us on Tumblr! http://goo.gl/Ds3TB Follow us on Instagram! http://goo.gl/q3IUC Follow us on Pinterest! http://goo.gl/lNhu2

4 Tips on How to Make Board Meetings Less Stressful and More Productive, From an Actual Board Member and CEO

For far too many CEOs, board meetings are a cause of stress. They send their teams in a frenzy pulling together materials, there are late-night fire drills of prep sessions, and the meetings feel like one big show-and-tell.

We can all agree that boards are incredibly important: According to a 2019 survey, 94 percent of private companies report increased revenue after putting a board in place. In my experience–both leading meetings as a CEO and attending as a board member and investor–your time together is a tremendous opportunity to dig into your toughest problems as a business.

Here are my top learnings on how to make your board meetings as productive as possible.

1. Have the right people around the table.

The outcome of any meeting is based on who’s in the room. Just like choosing investors, you should think of your board members as serious, long-term partners. You need to vet them and ensure that the people around the table have meaningful and diverse perspectives. For example, my board at LearnVest included a fintech visionary who built and sold his company for almost a billion dollars and a seasoned investor who’s backed internet changing companies like Facebook.

Having board members with directly applicable experience matters. As I always say, if you were going to hike Kilimanjaro, you’d want to talk to people who have been-there, done-that. You’d ask them when to go, what to pack, and their best advice for getting to the top.

As you assemble your board, make sure that you’re building a diverse team–the typical board has a median of only 1.5 women. Ensure diversity in all ways–gender, age, experience, expertise, and beyond. Doing so enables a mix of perspectives that will make for better discussions and smarter business decisions.

Ultimately, your board is an extension of your core team. Get to know them the way you would any senior leader at your company.

2. Focus 95 percent of the time on the tough stuff.

Plain and simple, start the meeting with your worst problems. Dive right into whatever challenge is truly keeping you up at night, and do so at the top of the meeting while everyone is fresh.

Remember: A “good” meeting doesn’t mean you make yourself and your company look like everything is working perfectly. In a growing company, that’ll never be the case. That said, a board meeting is also not the time to unveil surprises. If the problems are especially difficult, be sure to communicate with everyone in advance, giving ample time to process the issues, and then use the meeting for problem-solving. The more transparent you are as a leader, the more your board will trust you. That may mean revealing that a new product launch didn’t go as planned, or that your new senior hire is creating tension. When you treat them like they’re in the weeds with you, they’ll be that much more helpful in getting the work done.

At the end of the day, the board is there to work for you. They’re also owners in the company and want you and the business to succeed.

3. Be prepared and prepare others.

Your time together in a board meeting is limited, so your prep work counts. There are a few simple things that I consider must-dos:

  • First, establish your board meeting dates at the beginning of the year. This ensures that the meetings get on everyone’s (very busy) calendars far in advance and increases the likelihood of everyone attending in person.
  • Second, share these board dates with your senior leadership team. Regardless of whether they’ll actually be in the room presenting, you’ll likely tap them to put briefing materials together. Advance warning will help them carve out enough time to do so.
  • Third, send briefing materials to the entire board a few days in advance of the meeting. Give everyone time to digest and sit with the information. Set the expectation that the board comes to the table ready to roll up their sleeves and work–not to simply watch the CEO present each slide. This is crucial to avoiding blindsiding the board.

4. Assign homework.

The board is there to support the CEO and help the company. So leverage them. Give the board meaningful tasks: Can they make a helpful intro? Close an important hire? I’ve been asked to do all sorts of things, like going with a CEO to scout the company’s next location before they signed a new lease.

Your board should help you throughout the entire year. Company challenges will never align perfectly to your scheduled board meetings. Ask for that extra white-boarding session, and whenever you send an update over email, highlight your clear asks in yellow. It’s simple, but it works.

Here’s to board meetings that make your company that much stronger, more productive, and sustainable.

By: Alexa von Tobel Founder and managing partner, Inspired Capital@alexavontobel

Source: 4 Tips on How to Make Board Meetings Less Stressful and More Productive, From an Actual Board Member and CEO

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Being a Board member in a community or condo association is hard work. Listening and working with residents to help resolve their issues or present their ideas can also be stressful. Our guest coach this episode is Board Certified psychiatrist, Dr. Mehra, who will coach us on how to deal with stressful and difficult board meetings and conversations. Have an issue or question for the Condo Coaches? Email us at help@thecondocoaches.com, or visit us at http://thecondocoaches.com. The Condo Coaches is hosted by a team of volunteers across the State of Florida with legal, educational, and informational resources that assist board members and residents living under a condominium or homeowner’s association. The goal of the program is to help associations run effectively, efficiently, and on budget while helping residents who live in these communities address common concerns and resolve any issues with the Board of Directors. Each week The Condo Coaches offer helpful tips and advice on everyday problems, electing volunteer board members and learning the do’s and don’ts of living in a community association. Website: TheCondoCoaches.com Email: help@thecondocoaches.com Phone: 813.331.5415 Facebook: facebook.com/thecondocoaches

The Importance of Working For A Boss Who Supports You

Employers seek loyalty and dedication from their employees but sometimes fail to return their half of the equation, leaving millennial workers feeling left behind and unsupported. Professional relationships are built on trust and commitment, and working for a boss that supports you is vital to professional and company success.

Employees who believe their company cares for them perform better. What value does an employer place on you as an employee? Are you there to get the job done and go home? Are you paid fairly, well-trained and confident in your job security? Do you work under good job conditions? Do you receive constructive feedback, or do you feel demeaned or invisible?

When millennial employees feel supported by their boss, their happiness on the job soars — and so does company success. Building a healthy relationship involves the efforts of both parties — boss and employee — and the result not only improves company success, but also the quality of policies, feedback and work culture.

Investing In A Relationship With Your Boss

When you’re first hired, you should get to know your company’s culture and closely watch your boss as you learn the ropes. It’s best to clarify any questions you have instead of going rogue on a project and ending up with a failed proposal for a valuable client.

Regardless of your boss’s communication style, speaking up on timely matters before consequences are out of your control builds trust and establishes healthy communication. Getting to know your boss begins with knowing how they move through the business day, including their moods, how they prefer to communicate and their style of leadership:

  • Mood: Perhaps your boss needs their cup of coffee to start the day. If you see other employees scurry away before the boss drains that cup of coffee, bide your time, too.
  • Communication: The boss’s communication style is also influenced by their mood. Don’t wait too late to break important news. In-depth topics may be scheduled for a meeting through a phone call or email to check in and show you respect your boss’s time. In return, your time will be respected, too.

Some professionals are more emotionally reinforcing that others. Some might appear cold, but in reality, prefer to use hard data to solidify the endpoint as an analytical style. If you’re more focused on interpersonal relationships, that’s your strength, but you must also learn and respect your boss’s communication style.

  • Leadership: What kind of leader is the boss? Various communication styles best fit an organization depending on its goals and culture, but provide both advantages and disadvantages. Autocratic leaders assume total authority on decision-making without input or challenge from others. Participative leaders value the democratic input of team members, but final decisions remain with the boss.

Autocratic leaders may be best equipped to handle emergency decisions over participative leaders, depending on the situation and information received.

While the boss wields a position of power over employees, it’s important that leaders don’t hold that over their employees’ heads. In the case of dissatisfaction at work, millennial employees don’t carry the sole blame. Respect is mutually earned, and ultimately a healthy relationship between leaders and employees betters the company and the budding careers of millennials.

A Healthy Relationship With Leaders Betters The Company

A Gallup report reveals that millennial career happiness is down while disengagement at work climbs — 71% of millennials aren’t engaged on the job and half of all employed plan on leaving within a year. What is the cause? Bosses carry the responsibility for 70% of employee engagement variances. Meanwhile, engaged bosses are 59% more prone to having and retaining engaged employees.

The supportive behaviors of these managers to engage their employees included being accessible for discussion, motivating by strengths over weaknesses and helping to set goals. According to the Gallup report, the primary determiner of employee retention and engagement are those in leadership positions. The boss is poised to affect employee happiness, satisfaction, productivity and performance directly.

The same report reveals that only 21% of millennial employees meet weekly with their boss and 17% receive meaningful feedback. The most positive engagement booster was in managers who focused on employee strengths. In the end, one out of every two employees will leave a job to get away from their boss when unsupported.

Millennials are taking the workforce by storm — one-third of those employed are millennials, and soon those numbers will take the lead. Millennials are important to companies as technology continues to shift and grow, and they are passionate about offering their talents to their employers. It’s vital that millennials have access to bosses who offer support and engage their staff through meaningful feedback, accessibility and help with goal-setting.

In return, millennial happiness and job satisfaction soar, positively impacting productivity, performance, policy and work culture. A healthy relationship between boss and employee is vital to company success and the growth of millennial careers as the workforce continues to age. Bosses shouldn’t be the reason that millennial employees leave. They should be the reason millennials stay and thrive in the workplace, pushing it toward greater success.

I am a digital marketing specialist, freelance writer and the founder of Punched Clocks, a career advice blog that focuses on happiness and creating a career you love. I graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in 2014 with majors in Marketing and Economics and a focus in psychology. After graduating, I began my career and started writing on the side after studying the psychology of happiness.

Source: The Importance of Working For A Boss Who Supports You

 

 

 

Best Stress Medication? This Doctor Says It’s RediCalm Doctor Formulated

The Biological Cause of Anxiety

Scientists have identified why it can be so difficult to escape the cycle of negative behavior.Your mood is strongly influenced by two key neurotransmitters, GABA and serotonin. When levels are low, anxious thoughts fill your mind and you don’t you feel like yourself.

But promoting healthy levels of GABA and serotonin helps restore your mind to a state of calm. More importantly, this feeling is maintained even when you are faced with a stressful situation.

Prescription medication is often considered the only treatment for anxiety. However, a new group of doctors are advocating for a more natural approach.

“Our Research Confirms a Natural Approach Is Best”

Dr. Hoffman reveals new clinical evidence supporting the use of natural remedies for anxiety relief.

Ronald Hoffman, MD, has been practicing for over 30 years in New York City and is an internationally recognized expert in integrative medicine. He and his team of researchers have been investigating the most effective alternative remedies to boost levels of GABA and serotonin naturally.

“After months of research and testing, we arrived at a formula of 5 natural ingredients that outperformed all others in terms of safety and effectiveness,” Dr. Hoffman states. “Following the results of the placebo-controlled clinical study, we decided to release the formula to the public.”

Ashwagandha

Passion Flower

L-Theanine

Lemon Balm

5-HTP:

The Clinical Study

  • More than 2 out of 3 participants experienced anxiety relief within just 30 minutes of taking RediCalm.
  • More than 95% of participants felt improvement in their overall anxiety level over the course of 30 days.
  • None of the participants reported any negative side effects.
  • Every participant said that they would recommend RediCalm to a friend or relative.

Each of the ingredients in the RediCalm formula has a long-standing history of safety and effectiveness.

RediCalm can be taken with most prescription and over-the-counter medications. When taken as directed, RediCalm is safe, poses no short-term or long-term health risks, and is not addictive or habit-forming.

As with any dietary supplement, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor or healthcare provider before taking RediCalm. Please visit our Safety Facts page for more information about contraindications and possible side effects.

* For more details, click here to view the complete results of the study.

Source: Clinically Proven Natural Stress Relief

8 Simple Steps to Relieve Stress

Stress is never good for you or your health. But with almost 54% of the Americans, stress has become part of their lives. It can be stress from work, family or could be of dealing with financial issues. Whatever the cause of stress, it isn’t good for your health.

Here are 8 simple steps to relieve stress from your everyday life.

Understand the Source of Stress

When it comes to stress, it’s surprising that most people don’t even realize they are stressed. Common indications of stress include tense muscles, clenched jaws, and hands or a feeling of cramps in your stomach. Other telling symptoms are frustrations and anger.

Whenever you feel stressed, find out the reason for your stress. One of the most common stress factors includes financial problems. Enlist help. Talk to a financial advisor. They will help you guide you out of your financial situation. For instance, they will guide you on how to deal with debt collectors effectively.

Other sources of stress could be your workplace or family issues. Find out how you can deal with them. Don’t leave everything to time. Try to find solutions for your issues. This will help you use your energy is a positive way, which can also be a great stress buster.

Practice Deep Breathing Techniques

When you are stressed, your body starts releasing stress hormones. When you feel an increase in heart beat and your breathing get quicker, sit down and practice deep breathing. Deep breathing activates your nervous system which in turn will help your body to relax.

Start by focusing on your breathing. Take a deep breath. Breathe through your nose. Fill up your lungs with air. Slowly release the breath through your mouth. Practice for 10x times. Bring down your breathing rate. Feel your body relaxing.

Exercise

One reason for the increase in stress for many people is the decrease in physical activity. Your body needs physical stress, to give the brain some rest to relieve itself of all the mental stress.

When you exercise, your body releases hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are natural pain killers and help your body in combating stress. The release of these hormones also improves your sleep quality, thus improving mood and reducing stress.

Some forms of exercise you can try out are walking, running, yoga, dancing, swimming etc.

Use Your Senses

Sensory experience can help you deal with stress is an effective manner. When you employ the use of your five senses, you become more aware of your surroundings which help you relieve stress in a calming manner. Here’s how you can employ the use each of each sense to relieve stress:

Sight: Close your eyes and imagine your happy place. It could be your childhood home or just a beautiful place you went to recently. Another way to use your sight is to go outdoors. Go to a park or a scenic place. Talk a walk around. You can also put flowers in your home to enlighten it.

Hearing: Listen to some calming, good music. You can also turn on some background classical music to help you relax.

Smell: Light candles or burn essential oils. Some good calming scents you can try are Lavender, Germanium, Neroli, Rose, and Sandalwood.

Touch: Relax your muscles and body with a good massage. Get a professional masseur to unknot the tensions in your muscles. Give your spouse or partner a good kiss. Hug your children closely. Taking a warm bath or resting under a warm blanket will also do the trick.

Taste: Mindless eating can add inches to your waistline. That can also be a source of constant stress for most people. Whenever you eat, enjoy the entire experience. Take small bites and savor the flavor with each bite. Enjoy your favorite snack or meal. Give it time. Some stress relieving foods you can try out are dark chocolate, citrus foods and foods containing omega 3 fatty acids. You can also try drinking calming, herbal teas.

Unplug from the World

When most people feel stressed, they turn to media. They watch TV or scroll through their cell phones mindlessly. The idea is to switch off the stress by focusing on something else. But research concludes that the use of media including smart phones actually increases stress levels.

Unplug from the world and media. Even if you don’t feel stressed on a particular day, don’t let media entertain you. Turn off the TV for the rest of the day. Go without using the Wi-Fi on your cell phone for a day. Turn off your cell phone when you get home. If you can’t do it daily, do it at least three or four times in a week.

Get Together with Family and Friends

The right way to forget about your stress is by spending time with family and friends. Plan an outdoor picnic together. Laugh and smile together. Discuss your problems. Be each other’s support system. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

When you spend time with your loved ones, your body releases oxytocin. Oxytocin is a natural stress reliever. This is especially true for women and children.

Source: 8 Simple Steps to Relieve Stress

The misery is real: A third of the world is stressed, worried and in pain, Gallup report finds

Image result for STRESSED PEOPLE

About a third of people worldwide were stressed, worried and in pain last year, and more than half of Americans feel pressure and strain. That’s according to the 2019 Global Emotions Report, Gallup’s annual snapshot of the world’s emotional state.

Chad, a North African country beset by violence, was the most negative country in the world last year, the report found, and Paraguay and Panama led a host of Latin American countries atop the list of most positive countries.

The USA? Well, we’re more stressed than almost anybody.

Most Americans (55%) recall feeling stressed during much of the day in 2018. That’s more than all but three other countries, including top-ranking Greece (59%), which has led the world in stress since 2012.

Nearly half of Americans felt worried (45%) and more than a fifth (22%) felt angry, they told Gallup – both up from 2017. Americans’ stress increased, too, topping the global average by 20 percentage points.

“Even as their economy roared, more Americans were stressed, angry and worried last year than they have been at most points during the past decade,” Julie Ray, a Gallup editor, wrote in a summary report.

A country where 66% feel pain

Americans were more stressed than residents of Chad, the world’s saddest and most pain-stricken population. Fifty-one percent of Chadians report stress last year, along with 54% reporting sadness. Two-thirds there felt worried, and 66% felt physical pain.

“The country’s overall score at least partly reflects the violence, displacement and the collapse of basic services in parts of Chad that have affected thousands of families,” Gallup says in an analysis, noting seven out of 10 residents struggled to afford food that year.

West African nations of Niger and Sierra Leone follow Chad in Gallup’s report, which ranks each nation based on resident responses to phone and face-to-face interviews with about 1,000 adults worldwide. Iraq and Iran follow, respectively, in the top five.

A vaccine drive in the village of Agang in the Ouaddai highlands region of eastern Chad, bordering west Sudan on March 25, 2019.

Latin American countries are the most positive. But why?

A train of Latin American countries leads the most-positive list. Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador follow top-ranked Paraguay and Panama in a tie. All of the top 10 most-positive nations are Latin American save one: Indonesia.

“I think it’s not a coincidence,” says Ricardo Ainslie, a Mexican-born psychologist and a director at the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas-Austin. “Latin Americans tend to be so family-focused that I think that provides a sense of ‘Whatever happens, I’ve always got this. (Family) is always my bedrock.’ ”

Indeed, Gallup notes its scores strongly relate, in part, the presence of social networks, and Latin American nations prevail on its positive list “year after year.”

The Gutierrez family, diplaced by floods, prepare for breakfast in a temporary shelter in Asuncion, Paraguay, Friday, April 5, 2019.

Gallup posed questions to residents of more than 140 countries for the lists, asking about the positive (“Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?”) and the negative (“How about sadness?”).

A family focus in top-ranked Paraguay bleeds into day-to-day culture, says Barbara Ganson, a Florida Atlantic University professor and editor of “Contemporary Paraguay: Politics, Society, and the Environment.”

Paraguayans typically work from 7 to 11 a.m., she says, before returning home for lunch and relaxation with family. They finish work from 3 to 7 p.m.

“Family-work balance is very different from what we experience here in the United States and in many other countries,” Ganson says.

Follow Josh Hafner on Twitter: @joshhafner

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The misery is real: A third of the world is stressed, worried and in pain, Gallup report finds

Source: The misery is real: A third of the world is stressed, worried and in pain, Gallup report finds

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