As Pandemic Fatigue Sets In at Work, Employers Try to Help

People are tired. Between a global pandemic, economic crisis, social unrest, & political upheaval, the past year has been physically and emotionally draining for just about everyone, and perhaps most for essential workers.

Across industries, workers struggling with pandemic fatigue are facing burnout more than ever. For leaders, keeping these employees engaged and motivated is a challenge in itself. While some leaders are turning to incentives like gift cards and cash to help support employees, others are taking a softer approach, investing in relationships and focusing on workplace communication.

Money Talks

When the pandemic began, the hospitality industry fell off a cliff, says Liz Neumark, founder and CEO of Great Performances, a catering company in New York City. She knew keeping everyone employed would be difficult until her business could find another source of revenue apart from events, which eventually came in the form of preparing meals for essential workers and people unable to quarantine at home. While some of her employees, such as those in sales or event production, saw salary reductions, chefs, kitchen staff, and other employees making food for essential workers kept their full salaries and got help with transportation as well.  

The founders of P. Terry’s, an Austin, Texas-based fast-food restaurant chain, give employees gift cards and cash to help pay for groceries and offer them interest-free loans. They also incentivize employees to participate in community and civic causes, including paying hourly wages for volunteer work.

Justin Spannuth, chief operating officer of Unique Snacks, a sixth-generation, family-operated hard pretzel maker in Reading, Pennsylvania, increased hourly wages by $2 for all 85 of his employees. The company also hired additional temporary employees to provide a backup workforce. Spannuth says the move helped persuade employees with possible symptoms to stay at home by easing the guilt that employees can have about not coming in and potentially increasing the workload on their colleagues. 

“The last thing we wanted our employees to do was get worn out from working too many hours and then have their immune system compromised because of it,” says Spannuth.

Helping Employees Connect

Andrea Ahern, vice president of Mid Florida Material Handling, a material handling company in Orlando, Florida, says it was difficult to keep morale up when the business was clearly struggling; employees were uncertain about the company’s future, and their own. To help ease the stress, the company held a wide array of picnic-style meals in the company’s parking lot. It was a light distraction that still followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Now, she says, morale has started to rise.

“With the release of the vaccine and the so-called ‘light at the end of the tunnel,’ we’re starting to see the industry get a lift in activity, and associates feel good when they know their jobs aren’t at risk. However, it wasn’t always this way.”

These kinds of events can, of course, also take place virtually. Company leaders across industries are encouraging staff to treat Zoom as a virtual water cooler. But while casual online gatherings after work can help colleagues maintain friendly relationships, they can also contribute to “Zoom fatigue”–the drained feeling that comes after a long day of video calls, which often require more concentration than in-person meetings.

Matt McCambridge, co-founder and CEO of Eden Health, a primary/collaborative care practice based in New York, says while his teams hold regular virtual water coolers, they switch it up. For example, the company hosted an interactive “dueling pianos” virtual event over the holidays, as well as a magic show. 

Better Communication From the Top

Communicating support work-life balance at a time when many people are remote and facing trauma is critical. Neumark notes that when her catering company was pivoting and in the process of providing hundreds, if not thousands, of meals, the team was relying mostly on sheer adrenaline. Months later, now that the novelty is gone and fatigue has fully set in, the boundaries she set are crucial.

One rule, for example, is weekends off, unless there’s an urgent, unavoidable request. “The weeks are still so intense, and people need their private time right now,” says Neumark.

It’s essential that leaders understand the issues their employees may be facing and not try to gloss over them, says Dr. Benjamin F. Miller, a psychologist and chief strategy officer of Well Being Trust, a foundation aimed at advancing mental and social health. “When your boss is pretending that everything is OK, it doesn’t create a conducive work environment for someone to talk about having a bad day,” says Miller. That’s one reason virtual water coolers often fail, he notes. While they’re great at getting people together, there’s little benefit if people can’t speak openly and honestly.

It’s also OK to tell employees that you, as a leader, are not having an easy time. Showing vulnerability doesn’t show weakness, Miller adds. You’re setting an example that shows that it’s OK to be honest and acknowledge that not everyone is not having the best time. If you aren’t aware that someone is in a crisis, he says, you may lose the opportunity to reach out to that person and help.

By Brit Morse@britnmorse

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ZDoggMD

Cases rising, news orgs banging the drums of doom, yet Americans seem to be throwing up their hands. Here’s what’s up with #pandemicfatigue​, LIVE. Transcript, audio podcast, and more: https://zdoggmd.com/pandemic-fatigue-…​ Your support keeps this content independent and awesome, so join the Supporter Tribe to get exclusive videos, live discussions, and other crazy perks: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/zdoggmd/…​ Facebook: http://facebook.com/becomesupporter/z…​ Patreon: http://patreon.com/zdoggmd​ PayPal: https://www.paypal.me/zdoggmd​ Merch! https://supportertribe4lyfe.com/​ (Facebook and YouTube supporters get 25% off) Website: https://ZDoggMD.com​ Podcast: https://ZDoggMD.com/podcasts​ Facebook: http://facebook.com/zdoggmd​ Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gD8_D1​ Twitter: http://twitter.com/zdoggmd​ Instagram: http://instagram.com/zdoggmd

COVID19 Vaccines – Not For Wealthy Countries Only theiddoc.net – February 6[…] The collision of COVID19 fatigue, substantial economic losses from lockdowns and more transmissible variants creates a perfect storm […]5

Hospitals will soon not be able to handle serious COVID-19 cases — NCDC DG, Chikwe Ihekweazu http://www.lindaikejisblog.com – January 12[…] workers will be forced to make tough decisions We need to protect our more vulnerable citizens #COVID19 fatigue  While we may all be tired & fed up,the virus is taking advantage of our fatigue & gaining momentum […]0

COVID-19: FG To Roll Out Rapid Diagnostic Test-Kits In Abuja nigerianewspapersonline.net – January 12[…] Speaking on COVID19 fatigue, he said that while Nigerians may all be tired and fed up, the virus was taking advantage of th […]0

A blog about your mental health and developing your human potential http://www.drrodolfoatrivisonno.com – December 29, 2020[…] y da consejos para prevenir la infeccion This post explains the current psychological phenomenon of COVID19 fatigue and gives you information as to how to cope with it Este articulo explica que es el narcisismo […]3

Thread by @elleprovocateur on Thread Reader App – Thread Reader App threadreaderapp.com – December 6, 2020[…] org/wp-content/upl…] “”#Covid19 #fatigue” is real” [Face masks serve as an inescapable reminder – ensuring no one can move on or forget […]N/A

My head In a Cloud Though the Sky Is Blue psychologicalnaturist.wordpress.com – December 4, 2020[…] At a loss, I am left with the only thought that maybe I am suffering Covid19 fatigue […]0

Fiona Agombar – Yoga for Peace and Vitality http://www.fionaagombar.co.uk – November 20, 2020[…] This includes CFS/ME, exhaustion from stress and post-Covid19 fatigue […] are suitable for all abilities including those with fatigue conditions such as CFS/ME and post-Covid19 fatigue […]   The live online yoga classes are ideal for people experiencing post-Covid19 fatigue as they provide gentle yoga which works specifically with the breath to support recovery fro […]13

COVID-19 Fatigue is Real and Spreading http://www.livetradingnews.com – October 27, 2020#COVID19 #fatigue “What are your plans for 4 November, when COVID-19 will be officially over in the media, and w […]N/A

Coronavirus ‘fatigue’ is real, but we can’t give up: WHO – National | Globalnews.ca globalnews.ca – October 26, 2020[…] milestones with friends and family or not being there to mourn loved ones – it’s tough and the #COVID19 fatigue is real […]2

Online: How to Conduct a Yoga Therapy Session Online themindedinstitute.com – September 3, 2020[…] in teaching yoga for all fatigue conditions, including CFS/ME, exhaustion from stress and post-Covid19 fatigue […]2

Gupta Program For ME, CFS, Fibromyalgia & MCS – The Hidden Post-Covid-19 Pandemic of Chronic Illness | Facebook http://www.facebook.com – August 14, 2020[…] com/chronic-post-covid19-fatigue-…/0

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Mind Brain Ed Think Tanks+ – By teachers, for teachers. http://www.mindbrained.org – May 6, 2020[…] But probably all of us are experiencing Covid19 Fatigue […]

3 Key Steps to Make Your Business More Efficient and More Profitable

The Covid-19 pandemic has arguably imposed more challenges to the way companies have done business than any other single event in living memory, if not longer. Whilst the external pressures on a business have increased, many enterprises are still handicapping themselves by not building-in even the most basic system efficiencies. By effectively managing and prioritizing your business’ inputs, most particularly the labor-hours of you and your senior team, you can release greater outputs and ultimately revenue.

Related: Manage Your Company More Efficiently with This 22-Course Project Management Training

Here are three key principles for optimising efficiency, to release your business from self-imposed constraints, in 2021.

1. You are not a manager, you are a leader

Leadership and Management are both the same, right? Wrong, couldn’t be more wrong – stop it! Warren Bennis, Professor of Business Administration and an Organisational Consultant is quoted as an opening: “The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it

Even this simple change of mindset will release you from one of the most pervasive inefficiencies in business. If you see yourself as a manager you are strategically no better than a caretaker, taking what you have and merely preserving it. Entrepreneurship rests on the foundation of leadership: identifying a business’s strengths and weaknesses, implementing positive change whilst taking others on the journey with you. Use the ‘Plan’ ‘Do’ ‘See’ ‘Act’ system. Develop an efficientcy idea, trial it, review and then roll it out for system-wide effectiveness

True leadership has a compounding effect on efficiency. If you identify yourself as a leader you will improve your business through efficiencies. If you teach your team that they are leaders too, then they will identify efficiencies upon efficiencies at every level in your business.

Related: 10 Awesome Tips for Being a Better Leader

2. Get lean

Taiichi Ohno, founder of the Toyota Production System which gave rise to ‘Lean’ working said when asked about Lean thinking: “All we are doing is looking at the timeline, from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing the timeline by reducing the non-value adding wastes”

The key question here is ‘What are the things you are doing that people won’t pay for, and why are you still doing them?’. (1) Identify what your client wants, (2) identify what workflows are required to bring about the client’s goals and (3) automate the ‘system pull’ so that (1) naturally flows, without bottlenecks, from (2). Waste can arise from a range of sources including over-processing, unnecessary motion of goods and staff, and simple erroneous thinking within system design. Cut it out, because no one is paying you for it, but be careful not to inadvertently devalue your brand by dehumanizing your process

Related: How to Apply Lean Principles to Your Startup’s Productivity and Time Management

3. Invest in real business efficiency review

Kevin Zhang, the eCommerce entrepreneur behind HEMPX clothing brand and the Branded Niche eCommerce (‘BNE’) approach, has a unique way to ensure business efficiency is at the heart of his business. Every month, Kevin spends one-week logging everything that he did that week, hour by hour, and then closely examines any inefficiencies. Kevin looks at his schedule and determines which activities are high value-add and which can be automated through hiring new talent.

The difference between a successful start-up and a scaled-up business is the development of systems to build growth on the foundation of a verified concept. The University of Oxford identifies scalable infrastructure as one of the three key requirements for a business to move to the next level, alongside strong leadership and appropriate marketing. This includes IT systems and production or manufacturing systems, as well as office space and workforce arrangements. If a business owner is spending all of their time in the weeds of their business rather than constantly thinking about growth, then, of course, their business is not going to grow.

Related: 7 Key Steps to a Growth Strategy That Works Immediately

A focus and commitment to removing inefficiency is like removing shackles from a business’s potential. It requires courageous leadership, and ability to identify what your client needs and supply that in the most streamlined fashion, and a willingness to stop and take stock to ensure you are using your time effectively to guide your business in the right direction.

By: Samuel leach / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor Director of Samuel & Co Trading

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TakingTheBiz

In this revision tutorial for A level Business students we examine how to improve the efficiency of a business by improving its labour productivity. Efficiency and labour productivity are topics on the new A level Business specifications for Edexcel, AQA and OCR. TakingTheBiz is a channel dedicated to A level Business revision. See more of our videos: http://www.youtube.com/c/TakingTheBiz…​ Stay in touch with TakingTheBiz via social media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TakingTheBiz/​ Twitter: https://twitter.com/TakingTheBiz​ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/takingthebiz/

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How To Stand Out As a Leader In a Saturated Online Market

Fit in, or stand out? Serve existing markets, or serve those in untapped markets? As the online marketplace becomes increasingly saturated for entrepreneurs, and the amount of information available to us online leaves us feeling increasingly overwhelmed, we reach a point where we have no choice but to pull back and reassess what is important to us.

What is commonly referred to as the red or blue ocean strategy, business owners can create an offer so unique and differentiated that they can stand out in the market instead of drowning in a blood-stained red ocean. 

Here are 3 ways you can stand out in a saturated market online, more so from a humane level rather than a strategic level.

Realize what is true for you, not what is true for others

It is easy for people to follow the cookie-cutter strategies of how things have always been done. But as the world, society, and humans evolve, so does the way we do business.

Many find this challenging because they lack a deep level of awareness and trust in themselves. They’re afraid that if they tapped into their own intuition and deep inner-knowing, it might not bring them the success they see everyone else achieving.

Long-lasting and sustainable success in business comes from doing what feels good to you, every step of the way. While you can achieve success following other strategies, if it doesn’t feel good to you, it will leave you feeling uninspired and unfulfilled.

Related: Go WIth Your Gut: How To Use Your Intuition To Succeed In Business

Challenge the status quo of business

As humanity evolves into heightened levels of awareness and consciousness, we naturally begin to create a new paradigm of business.

Challenging the status quo is not a common desire amongst leaders. According to Harvard Business Review, 72 percent of leaders say they rarely, or never or rarely challenge their status quo in business.

Leading and serving from the inside out means we learn to know ourselves first and foremost. This can be a fulfilling journey of self-discovery for many, finding their own purpose and truth, which can become largely suppressed when we work in a typical traditional job that isn’t aligned with our highest desires. 

To challenge the status quo of business comes with making one fearless and courageous decision at a time.

Related: Is Your Status Quo Killing Your Business?

Find your “Zone of Genius”

Gay Hendricks identifies 4 different zones of genius in his book, The Big Leap.

In the “zone of genius,” we can zone in on and capitalize on our innate gifts and abilities that come naturally to us. In this zone, we become in flow and realize what we are uniquely gifted at, often finding ourselves skilled in a specific area more so than others. 

In Hendricks’ book, he prompts you to ask yourself what you do you do that doesn’t seem like work, and what brings you ultimate joy, satisfaction, and abundance at the same time.

Related: 8 Reasons To Find Joy In Your Job

Ultimately, standing out in a saturated market online is about identifying what comes naturally to you and capitalizing on that unique gift and skill. We often attempt to do things that come naturally to other people, mimicking their steps and strategies while ignoring or denying our truest and inner-most skills and gifts. 

To live a whole and fulfilling life, we must enjoy what we do, including how we run our business on a day-to-day basis. By focusing on what feels good to you (and not others), we can ultimately achieve the levels of joy and freedom we are all seeking. 

Kelly Wing Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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Customer-Centric Leadership is The New Growth Indicator: Zendesk & ESG

  • The new report, CX Champions: How CX Leaders Who Improve Their Game Are Driving Business Success , surveyed more than 1,000 CX managers and leaders in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America to better understand their investments in CX.

Zendesk today released new research in partnership with Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) showing how companies investing in customer experience (CX) are reaping the benefits.

The global study found that there is a clear link between organizations with more mature customer experience capabilities and greater business success in areas such as market share, increased customer spend, and dynamic processes over the past six months.

The research also found that, as companies around the world adapt to new forms of remote work and constant uncertainty in 2020, more than three-quarters of medium-sized and enterprise companies (78%) and almost two Thirds of small businesses (65%) said that customer-centric agility has increased in importance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Organizations are under increasing pressure to outperform the competition and grow their businesses – that’s an even greater challenge as companies adjust to the impact of a global pandemic and associated uncertainty ahead,” he said. Colleen Berube, CIO and senior vice president of operations at Zendesk.

“By working with ESG, we set out to confirm the link between an organization’s ability to deliver a high-quality experience and better business results. The relationship is clear. We hope that these insights into the connection between a focus on customer experience and business success can help companies learn from those ahead of the CX scale, “he added.

The new report, CX Champions: How CX Leaders Who Improve Their Game Are Driving Business Success , surveyed more than 1,000 CX managers and leaders in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America to better understand their investments in CX. Based on the research, ESG developed a CX Maturity Scale that segments organizations into three levels of customer service maturity, based on seven key characteristics that cover how organizations use their support teams, technology and data to drive better performance. Next, ESG classified the companies into three maturity categories: Starters : showing from zero to three of the seven characteristics; Risers (Advanced): they have four to five of the characteristics; and Champions (Expert 🙂 that meet at least six of the characteristics.

Some key findings from the report show that companies that invest in CX reap significant benefits, including:

  • Faster growth: Even during the pandemic, midsize and business Champions were found to be 8.7 times more likely than beginners to have significantly increased customer spending. For the Small Business Champions, this figure increases to 9.2 times.
  • Increased market share: Medium-sized and enterprise Champions were 3.3 times more likely to have increased their customer base in the past six months. Small Business Champions experienced similar growth, 3.6 times more likely to have increased their customer base in the same period.
  • High-level support: Champions also ensured increased investment and support from high-level leaders within their organization. For example, senior Champions leaders of midsize companies and enterprises were 3.8 times more likely to see customer service as a differentiator.

“Our research identified a clear connection between CX excellence and business growth. Not only are companies in the Champion stage of scale seeing better results in traditional service metrics such as time to resolution and CSAT, they are also experiencing positive business results in customer spend, retention, and CX board-level support as a business priority, ”said Adam DeMattia, director of personalized research at ESG.

By: Entrepreneur en Español

Jennifer Bridges, PMP, shows how customer-centric leadership can help your business. Try our award-winning PM software for free: https://www.projectmanager.com/?utm_s… The customer is king, but unfortunately they aren’t always treated as such. See how customer-centric leadership can help your business with real-life case studies from successful companies such as Apple, Amazon and Virgin Airlines.

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6 Ways to Come Back From the Pandemic With a Stronger Team

The future of work arrived out of nowhere, on the back of a once-in-a-century pandemic. Team dynamics got challenged as members dealt with illness, trauma, and crisis. We’ve all been forced to rapidly and radically adapt to new working norms. The Ferrazzi Greenlight Research Institute has spent more than 15 years studying high-performing teams, but I’ve never seen entrepreneurs rise to the occasion as they have this year.

When the crisis subsides, the temptation will be to turn back that progress and retreat into old behaviors. But entrepreneurs need to shift from overload to shared load, and to practices that can transform team performance to find unexpected growth–and lower unsuspected risk. Let’s not go back to work; let’s go forward.

We’ve been examining great remote teams since well before the pandemic. The most effective ones, we’ve discovered, were committed to going beyond collaboration to what I call co-elevation. This is a “we will go higher together” attitude toward the mission and with one another, matched by distinct co-elevating practices that enhance performance. As I describe in my new book, Leading Without Authority, the work of a true leader is to promote a shared sense of responsibility among the team.

The pandemic has exposed lots of work norms that weren’t serving us. Our surveys consistently show that seven out of 10 team members don’t get value from being part of a team, and 74 percent feel like they cannot speak up in a group of their peers. That failure is on us as leaders to fix. It’s time to stomp out conflict-avoidance and embrace bold steps to move everyone forward.

The shift to virtual teams doesn’t make this work any harder, and may, in fact, make some aspects of change easier. Let’s look at the co-elevating traits that underpin great teams, along with some high-return practices to sustain these traits.

Agility

People have been talking about agile techniques for a while, but the massive shift to virtual has made them hugely valuable to practice. Agile management replaces annual planning and long, painful meetings with weekly or monthly sprints. In these sprints, teams focus on one or two projects at a time.

Every critical functional area of the business knows what the outcomes are for the week. Every team does daily standups called scrums, in which everyone answers three questions: What have I done? What are the challenges I need help with? What am I doing next? Quick, effective decision-making becomes the norm, just as it has become the norm during the pandemic. Let’s make sure it sticks.

A high-return practice: Adopt weekly or monthly sprints. Agree as a team what to prioritize, and assess as a team if things are off track. Shift the focus from process to delivering on customer value. The right decisions are the ones made at the level where things get done.

Co-Creation

Necessity has forced us to cut across silos and draw from the combined wisdom that ignites innovation. The teams I’ve worked with over the years have discovered how remote working can drive even greater collaboration. Using the psychological safety of Zoom breakout rooms, leaders can foster more risk-taking to replace monotonous report-outs.

Too many big discussions about process innovation or identifying new markets become one-way affairs, with leaders asking and answering all the questions. Don’t think of yourself as the center of your team. Your job is to ask the smart questions, and to break the team into smaller groups so everyone’s voice can be heard and their insights extracted into breakthrough innovation.

A high-return practice: Move all meetings toward collaborative problem-solving. Make heavy use of video breakout rooms, because people are conflict-averse and won’t share openly in a big room. Commit at least 50 percent of your time to collaborative problem-solving.

Empathy

It has become harder to maintain our professional faces after so many hours peering into our colleagues’ homes, watching kids crawling across laps, and hearing one another’s struggles. Academics such as Brené Brown at the University of Houston have long advocated the power of vulnerability and empathy. Finally, the whole world is accepting it.

A high-return practice: Avoid diving into meetings transactionally, as you might have done before. Start with a conversation that gets people relaxed and empathetic to one another, going deeper than that superficial small talk you’d normally make in the hallway. Have everyone do a “personal-professional check-in” or “sweet-and-sour,” to share something they are struggling with.

‍Accountability

The first question many leaders ask me is, “How do I make sure remote workers are being productive?” What they’re really asking is, “How do I know they’re not in the other room on a yoga break?” Being a great leader means establishing clear outcomes and a vision for what winning looks like. If you’ve given your people clear outcomes and set them up with project sprints and they’re meeting their goals, who gives a damn whether they’re doing yoga in the afternoon?

Another great way to ensure teams are engaged is to elevate accountability among peers. No one wants to let their teammates down. Peer accountability might start to feel punitive or like micro­managing, but I keep going back to this principle of co-elevation, helping one another get across the finish line. If you elevate peer-to-peer accountability above the individual, then somebody who’s ahead on their timeline this week will run back and help a colleague get across the finish line.

A high-return practice: After team members share their plans or reports in a meeting, break them up into small groups to “bulletproof” one another’s work by pointing out one risk that the individual might guard against, one innovative idea to consider, and one act of generosity that the group could offer by way of help. If you make space for people to be of service to one another, you get more risk-taking and more crazy ideas that lead to innovation.

‍Generosity

“How can I help?” I have heard those words more than ever during the pandemic. There’s a real commitment to taking care of people and helping with their projects and ideas. This is crucial to driving higher employee engagement. In our research, remote teams who are left unattended suffer a roughly 50 percent reduction in productivity.

A high-return practice: Leaders can embed generosity as a behavioral norm by routinely asking whoever makes a report or does a presentation, “What can any of us do to be of service?” This kind of help is best offered during the bulletproofing process in the breakout rooms. In the big room, it would fall flat.There’s a real commitment to taking care of people and helping with their projects and ideas. This is crucial to driving higher employee engagement.

Candor

Elon Musk has said that his friends tell him how good things are, while “my best friends tell me what sucks.” I get why: Entrepreneurs are strongly opinionated and often shut down candor from their team. That’s wrongheaded. Fear of honest talk leads to longer cycle times and slower decision-making.

A high-return practice: Candor breaks are the best way to discover what’s being held back. Pause the meeting when it feels right and ask the team, “What’s not being said?” Or, again, divide into small-group sessions midway to ask that same question.

Disruptive technologies and disrupted markets have been pushing us to behave and work differently. But for too long, too many of us have kept playing by the old rules. There is a community of business leaders at GoForwardtoWork.com who are dedicated to gathering and sharing the best ideas in the new world of work. Join us.

By Keith Ferrazzi, Founder and chairman, Ferrazzi Greenlight

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