Disability Doesn’t Mean Inability– Ethan

28 Apr

I saw this video today on Mashable. According to them, this young man, who is six, is on the autism spectrum. In spite of (because of) his disability, Ethan is a remarkable pianist. Yet another example of what I’ve been saying for years– disability doesn’t mean inability. In Ethan’s case, his talent is quite obvious, where for other folks with disabilities their gifts, and talents may be more subtle.

But they have them. As you enjoy Ethan’s gift, think about what you can do to identify and nurture the talents of someone like Ethan.


Nobody Goes It Alone– The Case for Wellbeing at Work

27 Apr

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.

~ Andrew Carnegie

What is wellbeing? One definition says wellbeing is the “state of being happy, healthy or prosperous”. All of us would like to be happier, healthier or more prosperous, right? In our work we’ve seen employees at all kinds of organizations work together to improve wellbeing—this can truly happen.

Improving our wellbeing is more important now than ever before. As “advanced” as we have become in things like information technology or medical science, the truth is that wellbeing for many of us is headed in the wrong direction:

  • As a nation, we are more obese than ever before, which is a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.
  • The rate of how much we save has gone down, and more of us face financial challenges such as bankruptcy or losing our homes than ever before.
  • The percent of employees who dislike their jobs, who are “disengaged”, is disturbingly high.
  • In spite of all the ways we can be connected, many of us feel more alone, in some ways more isolated, than ever before.
  • Happiness in the United States, as measured by surveys, has not increased in decades.

We can do better. We have to do better. Addressing these problems by increasing our wellbeing may be the most important challenge of our time.

How do we do that–how do we increase our wellbeing?


We think our wellbeing matters. We believe we can work together to improve wellbeing, and the workplace is an excellent place for this to happen.

You might be asking yourself—isn’t “our wellbeing” a contradiction in terms? Isn’t wellbeing something I have to do for myself? Isn’t that my responsibility, not my employer’s?

To be sure, wellbeing is about what each of us decides to do. No one is holding a gun to our heads as we chow down on a greasy, cholesterol-laden bacon cheeseburger. No one is forcing us to sit on the couch watching yet another rerun of our favorite sit-com instead of exercising. No one is telling us to spend money on an item we can’t really afford and probably don’t need. And though some of us may feel “locked” into a job (even one we hate and is not a good use of our unique talents) career changes are possible.

Those are choices we make.

But you might be surprised at how much our wellbeing is impacted by those around us—our family, people we meet in school, people we associate with in community groups, and folks with whom we work:

  • When we tell someone about a personal goal we have set for ourselves, the chances we will achieve that goal increase dramatically.
  • Our friends, at work and elsewhere, can have a profound impact on our health, such as if we smoke or are overweight.
  • If a coworker we are close to is unhappy and talks to us about leaving her/his job, we are more likely to leave our job.
  • Seniors who have weak social ties are more likely to die than those who have strong relationships and social networks.
  • Most of us will find a new job by leveraging our current network of friends and their contacts.

As the musician Bruce Springsteen sings, “nobody goes it alone”.

Every now and then we have one of those rare moments when everybody can win if we all work together toward a common goal, when, as they say, all boats rise with the tide. In the case of increasing wellbeing in our places of employment, working together, deciding to not “go it alone”, can be a “win-win”. If each of us increases our wellbeing, we’ll likely experience more happiness and health and joy. And we’ll also likely be far more engaged and productive at work, so our employer will be happy—everybody wins!

We know of numerous examples of where improving wellbeing in the workplace has specific, measurable returns. It’s already clear that investing in wellbeing activities can reduce health care costs and improve employee engagement and retention.

Let’s work on wellbeing– together.

Alberto Cairo– Helping the Disabled Find Dignity

15 Feb

So very much worth a few minutes of your time to watch this TED video. Alberto is helping people find meaning and dignity in their life. Inspiring.

Everyone is a Genius…

13 Feb

Source: luxefinds.com via LuxeFinds.com on Pinterest

Yes, we all have a genius hiding inside. Sadly, the world-of-work often does a very poor job of helping people discover and develop their talents, their genius. In an employee engagement survey we often conduct we find too many people who disagree with the statement “my job allows me to utilize my strengths”. In one company we surveyed late last year almost forty percent of employees disagreed. Right now millions of people are just like the fish who is trying to climb a tree– truly a fish out of water.

What a waste of natural talent. Of genius.

One company we profiled in Re-Engage had all their employees update their resumes, and in doing so found that many of their employees had experience and talents in areas that were untapped. They were able to fill some critical jobs and retain talented employees who may have gone to the competition.

Tapping into the genius, that’s what they did.

For some folks, that genius may be more difficult to discern.

Like the disabled, for example. We often see the disability, but we don’t see ability. That’s a damn shame, because if we took a bit more time to learn and understand and appreciate we might see more genius inside.

Let’s go help someone tap into their genius, help them stop trying to climb trees if that’s not their gift.

Let’s discover some genius.

The biggest mistake…

11 Feb

Shameless Promotional Plug for “Social Gravity”

6 Feb

I’m pleased to share the good news about Social Gravity, the newly released book by Joe Gerstandt and Jason Lauritsen.

These guys are smart. They are articulate. And, importantly, they are passionate about anything they focus their gray matter towards. To our benefit their first (and certainly not last) book explores the importance of establishing, developing and nurturing relationships, creating what they call “social gravity”.

Mother Nature did her snow thing and left me home bound this weekend, and reading Social Gravity was just the ticket for the winter doldrums. Social Gravity is 150 packed pages of good stuff about what social capital is and how you can become more inter-personally effective. At the end of most chapters they give you some questions to ponder, which were helpful in validating that, in some cases I’m doing pretty well but in other situations I need to do better in my gravity efforts.

What I like most about this book is what is isn’t– a “how-do” manual that gives glib, trite tactics to manipulate others to fall in love with you. They challenge you to do this important work with authenticity. What they are asking us to do is much more difficult and requires more thinking  and elbow grease on our part, but will pay far more dividends in initiating and nurturing authentic relationships.

So buy the book, and also check out the always interesting, provocative ongoing conversation at www.talentanarchy.com.

P.S. Part of the social gravity case is built on research Jason and Joe conducted in collaboration with my pals at www.quantumworkplace.com— kudos to them for supporting this effort.

Recognition Goes Mobile

30 Jan

“There’s an app for that” has become a running joke in our family. My wife will register a complaint about something or express some unmet need, and my frequent response has been to check the App Store to see if there’s any help.

And when it comes to recognizing employees, mobile apps may help meet a significant need.

I’ m sure there are a number of these out there, but here are two examples I’ve found. The first is from AstraZeneca, who has developed an app folks at their company can use.

But another, from www.biworldwide.com , is open to the public and free for all of us to use. It has plenty of standard options for sending a note of thanks or appreciation, and you can also create your own. I already have one executive using the app where he works, as he has employees across the country but who can be easily reached via their mobile device.

To be sure, no app will solve the problem that too many good employees go unrecognized and unappreciated, and that our business performance suffers as a result. But these handy tools will make it easier for folks to catch employees making a difference and contributing in meaningful ways.