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An Unexpected Reminder of the Power in Genuine Appreciation
An Unexpected Reminder of the Power in Genuine Appreciation 1024 512 Jason Lauritsen

This week, while staying in Chicago for work, I ventured out to find a nearby sports bar to watch a basketball game and grab some dinner.

In fairness, this wasn’t just any basketball game. I was planning to watch my beloved Duke Blue Devils play. And, I was appropriately dressed in Duke gear to show my allegiance.

The bar I chose based on Yelp reviews was called Theory. When I arrived, I found a spot at the bar in front of a TV with the game and settled in.

My initial impressions of Theory were positive. The bar staff was friendly and helped me choose a good local IPA and a sandwich to enjoy.

At some point early in the game, I heard a voice behind me say, “Thanks so much for coming in to watch the game. Are you a Duke grad?” It was a man a bit younger than me dressed in a gold, Iowa Hawkeye hoodie and a cap whose bill was angled a bit off center. He was the owner.

We chatted for the next few minutes about how I was a life long Duke fan. He shared with me how he went to high school with one of the Duke assistant coaches (and a former player) and how that had made him a fan of the team.

At the end of our conversation, he said “Thank you for your business, I really appreciate that you came in to watch the game tonight.” And he was off.

I watched him work the entire bar over the next couple hours, going out of his way to thank every person who came in for choosing his bar. And the thing that struck me about this was how genuine he seemed to be in his gratitude and appreciation.

He stopped by to check in with me at least two more times while I was there, each time thanking me for being there. And, while I recognize that this may sound excessive as you read it, it didn’t feel that way. It felt like being a guest in the home of someone who is a thoughtful host.

On my way out of the bar, we met one last time and shook hands. He thanked me again for my business and I thanked him for the experience. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever felt more appreciated leaving a dining experience.

It felt surprisingly good.

I will be back to Theory any time I’m nearby. And I’ll recommend it whenever I have the chance.

As I thought about the experience on my walk back to the hotel, it struck me that this was a lesson in the power of genuine expressions of gratitude and appreciation.

The food at Theory is good. The craft beer selection is also quite good. The bartenders were attentive and friendly. There are a lot of good things about this place. But that could be said about a lot of places.

It was the brief interactions with the owner, a stranger, that set this experience apart from others. A few words and a few minutes of time made the difference between a forgettable meal at a random sports bar and writing a blog post about the experience.

Here’s what I’d invite you to consider.

What if managers and leaders took the same care at work to make every person feel seen, acknowledged, and appreciated?

What if employees left work each day feeling the way I did leaving Theory, as if my presence there actually mattered to someone?

It’s not complicated. A few minutes and a few genuine words of gratitude is all it takes.

I think we can do this.

A “Non-Obvious” Conversation about Employee Engagement with Jamie Notter
A “Non-Obvious” Conversation about Employee Engagement with Jamie Notter 1024 512 Jason Lauritsen

Today, I’m doing something a little different on the blog. My longtime friends Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant have just published a new book titled “The Non-Obvious Guide to Employee Engagement.” They present a unique perspective that I think you’ll find interesting.

What follows is a short interview I did with Jamie over email to give you a flavor of what’s in the book. My questions are in bold. The rest are Jamie’s words. More details about the book and how to find Jamie and Maddie are at the bottom of the post. Enjoy.


Your new book is about employee engagement. In my opinion, one of the foundation issues in most work on this topic is a lack of clear definition of employee engagement. As you also note in your book, there are nearly as many definitions of engagement as there are consultants and technology firms who claim to have the answer.

So, let’s start there. How do you define employee engagement? And what makes your definition more credible and valuable than the countless others out there?

Here’s our definition of engagement:

Employee engagement is the level of emotional connection and commitment employees have to an organization, which is driven by how successful they are at work, both personally and organizationally.

The first half of the definition is really our summary of all the other definitions out there. They all focus on the internal emotional connection/commitment. And that’s a huge problem because if that is what engagement is, then there’s nothing managers can do to improve it. That’s internal to the employee, so it’s not something I can get my hands on.

And that also defines engagement in terms of the result (level of commitment), but says NOTHING about the cause, and that’s where I think we are adding value here. The cause of engagement is fundamentally success. When people are deeply successful at work, then they have that level of commitment/connection. When you start messing with their success–THAT’s when they start to phone it in.

I’m not sure how clear we make it in the book, but we see three levels of success that will impact engagement–personal, role, and enterprise. The personal part is: am I being successful as I define it related to my life goals and destiny. This, by the way, is why I think entrepreneurs are 100% engaged–most of them were born to do it. They just can’t work for other people. So if you stick someone in a job that is not aligned with their values and life goals, they’ll be less engaged.

Role is about being successful in my specific job. If you put me in sales, but your org is so siloed that no one will give me leads, then I can’t be successful in sales and engagement drops. Enterprise is about my work actually contributing to the success of the organization. Imagine working for Kodak as they missed the digital camera revolution. I might be successful in my film processing, but I know it’s a sinking ship.

You align your organization with deep success like that, and you’ll get engagement.

Traditionally, engagement has been seen as the path to results (usually described as discretionary effort). The argument says that when engagement increases, employee output increases. In other words, more engagement leads to more success. Your definition seems to reverse the order making engagement an outcome. A cynic might argue then, why are we even talking about engagement if it’s simply a product of successful performance? I’m guessing there’s more to it than that. Can you explain?

Okay, so while I do think there is “more to it than that” (and I’ll explain in a minute), first I want to say that the cynic might have a point here. A lot of the literature on engagement cites statistics showing all the increased profits, revenue, and productivity that organizations get when they have higher engagement. They specifically imply that if you can somehow get more engagement, you’ll get those great results of profits, revenue, etc.

This really frustrates me, because I don’t think I’ve seen ANY proof of causation in those statistics–it’s simply correlation. Engagement and profits correlate. Fine. So what’s our mental model here? Is it (a) if we cajole people into being engaged, we’ll get more profit? Or (b) if we figure out how to be consistently profitable, people might actually like working here more? B honestly seems more sensible to me.

But, as you say, there’s more to it than that. Part of the bigger picture is what I said in the previous email–I think engagement is a function of DEEP success, which includes the enterprise level, but also role and personal levels. Creating a culture where everyone has success at all those levels goes way beyond simply being profitable. It’s about creating a system that is focused on those different levels of success simultaneously.

But most organizations, frankly, don’t have systems like that. They have cobbled together a culture that manages to generate some enterprise success (or they’d be out of business), but often at the expense of success at the other two levels. We finish the year in the black, but people are frustrated at the red-tape they have to go through just to get resources, or at the missed opportunities for innovation because one department won’t talk to the other.

Most companies today are focused on actions that increase engagement as a means to greater success. You argue for a different approach in the book. What do you believe organizations should do instead if they want to create a more engaging work experience for employees?  

If companies want engagement, then they should focus on finding and fixing the patterns inside their culture that are getting in the way of deep success. Get under the surface to find the patterns in the way you do things that are having the biggest impact on success, and then fix them (or reinforce them if it’s a positive impact).

Don’t just tell me whether or not your people think the organization is good at collaboration (which is what an engagement survey might say). Show me that while people as individuals are keen to help each other out in this culture, we haven’t invested in processes and systems to support the collaboration, so it ends up being ad hoc. And at the end of the year, we can always point back to a long list of missed opportunities to deliver value to the client because we weren’t proactively collaborating. And then suggest to me some new processes or technologies you can employ that will change that pattern.

You start doing that and engagement will increase–without you having to run ONE engagement survey.


For more great insights and practical guidance for how to manage your culture to fuel success and engagement, order a copy of the new book or visit his website.  

Reading Between the Lines on the 4-Day Work Week
Reading Between the Lines on the 4-Day Work Week 1024 512 Jason Lauritsen

Last week, Quartz published a piece about a New Zealand company that has implemented a 4-day work week policy.

This company offered the shortened work week without any reduction in pay or other benefits. They tested it and then implemented it broadly when they found that it didn’t cause any decrease in overall performance for the organization.

The owner of the company, Andrew Barnes, is bullish about these results and wants every company to try it. But, he offers some words of caution not to talk about this effort in terms of employee well-being. Instead, he advised that you talk about it in terms of productivity.

Here’s a quote from Barnes about how they rolled this out:

“We sat down with each team and we said, ‘Right, let’s agree what is the base of productivity that you’re delivering now,’” he says. “And then the deal was, provided you delivered on the productivity goals, you would be gifted a day off a week.”

This is a cool story. It highlights what is possible when organizations think differently about work.

Is this really about a 4-day week?

While I think it’s awesome that this company is proving that some of our assumptions about work (i.e. the 5-day work week) are limiting, I think the article is misleading for anyone who might want to pursue something similar in their own organization.

The 4-day work week is the kind of gimmicky silver-bullet we love to read about and debate. The gimmick is a distraction.

If you read between the lines, here’s what you find echoed in this article.

  • This company found that employees could produce the same amount of output in 4 days that they had been producing in 5.
  • When given this challenge (or opportunity) to work more effectively, employees stepped up. When surveying employees before and after the 4-day week trial, they “found that 78% of staff felt able to manage work and other commitments after the trial, compared to 54% before.”
  • The policy is less about a 4-day week than it is about autonomy and flexibility. The leaders essentially told employees that if they can get their work done in less hours, they could have those extra hours back.
  • And please don’t say this effort is about employee well-being if you want to be taken seriously because nobody (particularly leaders) cares about that. (Forgive my sarcasm, but this seems to be what they chose to lead with).
  • The key to making this transition happen swiftly is an owner or CEO who gets it or has a eureka moment.

My Take

Conversations about a shortened work week are colored by how we think about work. It highlights a fundamental conflict in management philosophy. The practice of management was born during the industrial revolution where the objective was primarily to maximize the productivity of employees per hour. A majority of organizations today are still rooted in this belief.

The objective of work processes is to motivate and/or coerce the maximum amount of productivity out of each hour the employee works. 

In this model, the number of hours the employee spends working is viewed as vital to achieving performance expectations. Your role as an employee is less about achieving specific outputs as it is about seeing how much you can contribute. The manager’s role is to get the maximum amount of value out of the employee.

This way of thinking is prevalent among leaders. It’s this way of thinking that makes the “discretionary effort” model of employee engagement so attractive. It’s oriented towards getting more and more out of the same investment in people–to maximize productivity for the benefit of the organization.

An alternative way of thinking about work is that employees are hired to fulfill specific roles with clear expectations for the value they contribute to the organization’s success. This role clarity drives compensation, management evaluation, and other work processes. This way of thinking about work might be summarized this way:

The objective of work processes is to ensure that employees are clear about the expectations of their role and that they have everything they need to succeed.  

In this way of thinking, a manager’s role isn’t to get the maximum about of productivity out of each employee. Instead, it’s about ensuring that each employee is crystal clear about what is expected of them and then supporting them in achieving those goals successfully.

If an employee can complete their work in less than 40 hours per week, good for her. She’s met her expectations, so what she does with those extra hours is up to her. If she’s able to do her work in 25 hours/week, then that likely means she’s either due for a more challenging role or the role she’s in is poorly designed. Or, maybe she’s just super efficient at her job and everyone’s happy.

These two very different ways of thinking about work are really what the discussion about the 4-day work week is truly about. If your leaders believe that their mandate is to create a workplace that extracts the maximum amount of productivity from employees, then you are dead in the water before you start.

I suspect that’s why the article led with the insight to talk about this effort as “productivity” and not well-being. The implication seems to be that perhaps you can trick your leaders into the 4-day work week. But, if you don’t address the underlying belief that the goal is to maximize employee output, how long do you think it will take before your leaders realize that if employees can be 20% more productive in four days a week, imagine the productivity if they get back that fifth day?

Instead of trying to trick your leaders into this experiment, focus instead on building a better system of performance management that clearly defines expectations and creates systems of measurement and feedback to help managers effectively manage to those expectations. Once your organization and its leaders are more clearly oriented around thinking of roles in terms of defined performance expectations, the conversation about greater autonomy and flexibility will become much easier.

P.S. This has everything to do with employee well-being, even if your leaders aren’t ready to invest in it yet.

 

Open Offices Suck, Annual Engagement Surveys are Dead, and other Lies
Open Offices Suck, Annual Engagement Surveys are Dead, and other Lies 1024 512 Jason Lauritsen

I love CBS Sunday Morning.

This past Sunday, Faith Salie shared an op-ed monologue about how much she dislikes open offices. I’ve embedded the video at the bottom of the post for you to check out. She makes a pretty compelling argument.

Just a few years ago, open offices were THE ANSWER to the future of workplace design promising more communication, more innovation, and more productivity. Not to mention they are less expensive for the organization (more people in smaller spaces).

But, now a backlash has started. Lately, it’s become more en vogue to make the point that open offices are, as Faith argues, THE WORST.

Which is it? Are open offices THE ANSWER or are they THE WORST?

Arguments like these are everywhere when it comes to what’s best in the workplace.

  • Is performance management good or bad?
  • Is the annual engagement survey critical or dead?
  • Are front line supervisors the problem or the victims of a bad system?
  • Are best friends at work vital or ridiculous?

These arguments between binary choices are assinine at best and harmful at worst.

We’ve become so enamored by best practices that promise THE ANSWER to our problems, we’ve lost sight of the complexity of this work. Our fixation on finding the right choice between two polar opposite choices is causing us to ignore a harder reality.

THE ANSWER is an illusion. No, it’s a lie.

There are never just two answers. And, there are almost always several different right answers.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about open office space designs. If you’ve ever worked in this type of environment, you probably do too. I like the energy of being in open space around other people working. I like that accessibility that it creates. But, I strongly dislike the lack of privacy and constant distractions.

The organizations using workplace design to drive employee engagement have embraced that different people and different kinds of work require different types of workspaces. They recognize that private offices and open office space can be both good and bad depending on the context.

Those leaders not trapped in binary and best practice thinking are creating innovative spaces for work designed to provide options and flexibility. An example that I wrote about in my book is Hudl, whose new headquarters includes a mix of different spaces designed for different types of preferences and needs. Most employees at Hudl don’t have an assigned desk. Instead, they choose their workspace based on their needs that day.

Thinking in binary terms (i.e. Is this is good or bad?) is crippling our ability to innovate and move forward. It’s hard to resist this thinking since it’s everywhere. In politics, you are either with me or against me. In pop culture, a movie is great or it sucks. When we encounter someone, they either agree with us or they are an idiot.

We must resist this thinking. We need to break free of the “this or that” trap.

The path to growth and innovation lives in the messy grey area in the middle. Because here’s the reality, open offices are both great and terrible at the same time. Performance management can be both good and bad.

The choices are false. THE ANSWER is a lie.

Our mandate is to embrace the complexity of working with humans. Each one of us is different and unique. That means that any group of us is almost infinitely complex. There are many right answers. There are many effective solutions. Never just one.

Do the work to find what’s best for your organization and your people. Ask more questions. See all angles. Push back on arbitrary options and dig in.

Not only will you end up having a much greater impact, but you will learn a lot more along the way.

Not sure what questions you should ask? We should talk.

 

 

Before the Resolutions, Work on your Purpose
Before the Resolutions, Work on your Purpose 300 168 Jason Lauritsen

Yesterday, as I was climbing onto the treadmill to start undoing the damage I’d done to my body over the holiday, I noted how few people were at the gym.

Then I thought, “Next week is going to be different.”

It’s resolution time of year. Next week, the gym will be full of new people and those who haven’t been in a while. All of them full of New Year’s inspired resolve.

For someone who goes to the gym regularly, it’s an inconvenience to have so many people packing the gym. But I know it won’t last.  It never does.

Within a month, things will return to normal. New Year’s resolve gone.

Setting resolutions and goals alone is typically not enough to drive the sustainable behavior change needed to see meaningful results. Getting in shape, for example, is really hard. It means changing your diet and giving up foods you probably love. It means doing workouts that you are not good at that leave you feeling the next day as if you got run over by a truck.

It’s hard. And because it’s hard, you are likely to quit.

Unless.

If you want to keep more of your resolutions and meet more of your goals, start by first getting crystal clear on why they are important.

Why do you want to get in better shape? What consequence will it have in your life when you succeed (or fail)?

Is it to feel better and have more energy to play with your kids or spend time with friends?  Is it to avoid suffering from some serious health conditions that could take everything away?

When you are clear on your “why,” it’s harder to quit.

The workouts might suck, but you aren’t quitting on the workouts, you are quitting on your kids (or your future, etc.). Being clear on the purpose behind your goals is where real resolve comes from.

This the same reason that so many projects and goals fall short at work as well.

Organizations often commit themselves to improve employee engagement in the same way we set resolutions to get in better shape. It seems like the right thing to do and it seems like everyone else is doing it.

So we survey our employees. And despite the fact that our leaders think everything is fine, we discover that it’s not so great for the employees. And, making the needed changes is going to be hard.

You will probably quit. Mainly because you (and everyone else) aren’t sure exactly why any of this really matters.

If you want to make an impact at work towards creating a better work experience for your employees, start with purpose. Before you set any goals or make any plans, get really clear on why it matters.

Is it to improve your employees’ lives? Is it to improve organizational performance? Is it to save your organization from going out of business?

There’s a lot of reasons why you can and should care about employees’ experience at work. The important step is to uncover and articulate why it matters for your organization.

Because doing this work, like getting in better shape, is hard work.  And when you (or your leaders) want to quit, you need to remember that you aren’t quitting on a survey or an HR project. You are quitting on the organization or your employees’ future.

Before you start writing out resolutions or making plans for next year, invest some time in thinking about why any of it matters. Goals and intentions built on a solid foundation of purpose are far more powerful and effective.

Make 2019 your best ever by starting with clarity about what really matters.

Happy New Year!

8 Future of Work Trends to Prepare for NOW
8 Future of Work Trends to Prepare for NOW 600 300 Jason Lauritsen

It’s gotten pretty popular to write about the future of work recently. It’s fun to think about the future and what might happen.

Usually, much of what’s written is speculation based on hunches and educated guesses. Because the future is yet to be written, writing about it encourages you to be creative in your predictions.

The problem, of course, is that when we are creating strategic plans and making investments in our organizations, our decisions about the future have real consequences. We need something better than a creative writing exercise to guide our thinking

Fortunately, there are better ways to inform our thinking about the future.

As my Futurist mentor, Rebecca Ryan, has taught me, thinking about the future can and should be grounded in the information we already know from the present. Particularly when thinking about the near future that impacts your organization over the next several years, there’s a lot of data available that paints a picture of what’s most likely to happen.

Over the past two months, I’ve been writing a series of posts for PeopleDoc outlining eight trends that are heavily influencing the (near) future of work and how you can be preparing your organization for them.

I’m also doing a webinar with PeopleDoc tomorrow, Tuesday, December 11, to discuss the eight trends. Register here.

Here are the eight trends and links to each post.

  1. Declining Trust
  2. Growth of the “Gig” Economy
  3. The increasing demand for instant gratification
  4. The increase in mobile technology
  5. Career experiences are replacing career paths
  6. Increasing life expectancies
  7. Automation through artificial intelligence
  8. Increasingly Diverse Workforce

Each post is based on real trends that don’t show any signs of changing. If you employ people, these trends are and will continue to affect you in small and, possibly, large ways over the next several years. Ignore them at your own peril.

As you plan for 2019 and beyond, take some time to step back and look at the story that these (and other) trends are telling you. The future of work is revealing itself to you if you know where to look.

Vulnerability is a Barrier to Employee Engagement
Vulnerability is a Barrier to Employee Engagement 680 678 Jason Lauritsen

When you start to understand work as a relationship, it starts to raise some interesting questions that you may not have asked before. For example, how does our comfort with being vulnerable impact how willing or able we are to “engage?”

When I reflect on the relationships in my life and all of the stories I’ve heard from friends about their own relationships, a common barrier I notice to a healthy relationship is the fear of getting hurt.

People can be careless in their relationships with others. When someone close hurts you, it leaves an emotional scar. When a lover breaks your heart, or worse, a parent hurts you in any way, the damage can run deep and be lasting.

If your past is full of relationships that ended in hurt and disappointment, it’s natural that you’d start trying to protect yourself. You’d play defense, not letting yourself get too exposed or too invested in any particular relationship.  After all, the less invested you are, the less likely you are to be devastated if that person lets you down or leaves you.

Looking in the mirror, I recognize a weird contradiction. Perhaps because I’ve been very fortunate, I’ve always been able to be open and vulnerable in personal relationships. With romantic relationships or friendships, I seem to have always been comfortable going all in quickly. As a result, today I have an amazing life partner in Angie and so many who I consider to be great friends.

But on the employment side, it’s been quite the opposite. And now that I reflect on it, it’s probably warranted. I’ve written a lot about the progression of bad jobs I had on my journey. In nearly every case, I felt hurt and harmed in some way in the end.

I can only remember one time in my career when I feel I was fully engaged. And then at the peak of my engagement, the company was sold. I spent the next twenty months watching the organization I loved being torn apart. It was, for me, a soul-crushing twenty months.

Along the way, I learned to play defense. Don’t get too attached because sooner or later, something bad is going to happen and I’ll be on my way to the next thing. Every time it happened, I became harder to engage at work. I became the equivalent of a serial dater in the employment world.

We don’t talk about this side of the employee engagement equation enough. How does your employees’ past work relationships affect the degree to which they are even willing to engage with you?

Most employers are still not very good at creating an engaging work experience. And there are A LOT of bad managers out there. That means that most of the people you employ have a history of bad work relationships.

They know if they get too vulnerable and attached, that will only lead to being hurt. So, they play defense. They give only what is required. They stay guarded.

If you have ever been in a relationship with someone like this, who’s been hurt in the past, you know that to break through takes time. You can’t force someone to let their guard down and be more vulnerable. They must make that choice. And they will only make that choice once they know it’s safe.

When they know they can trust you.

This is why trust is so important to employee engagement. A good, healthy relationship of any type is built on trust. There is no substitute.

One of the best and most direct ways to build trust is to first extend it.

If you are a manager, how do you show your employees that you trust them? Do you give your employees autonomy and flexibility to do their work?  Or do you justify following up frequently about progress and micromanaging their time? If you’ve had employees let you down in the past, you are probably playing defense in your current relationships with employees. That’s likely holding your employees back from fully engaging with and for you.

If you are an HR leader, take a look at your policies and processes. Do they convey to employees that you trust them?  In most cases, HR policies are written to protect the company from employee behavior and choices. That’s the organization playing defense in the relationship (“We’ve been hurt by employees in the past, so we are going to make sure you can’t hurt us.”). That’s not a great invitation to a healthy, long-term relationship.

When an employee lets you down, forgive them. Give them a second chance. And don’t hold it against all future employees.

Trust first. Trust often.

Words of Gratitude (#18) for Joe Gerstandt
Words of Gratitude (#18) for Joe Gerstandt 612 612 Jason Lauritsen

Note: I have been writing a note of gratitude on the blog each day in November leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. My hope is that these posts will inspire you to do the same. Write an email, Facebook post, or a text to tell people they have made an impact on you. Gratitude is contagious. Do it now. 


When I started this series, I wrote about how we frequently overlook expressing gratitude to those who are closest to us.  My kids, for example, rarely thank me for everything I do for them as a parent.  And, despite my best efforts, I know I fall short of thanking my wife for everything she does for me and our family.

It’s easy to take the people closest to us for granted. Particularly when they’ve been in your life for a long time. It’s not just our spouse or families who fall into this category, it’s often our closest friends.

One of those people for me is my wingman, Joe Gerstandt.

Unless you and I just met recently, you know Joe’s name. He and I co-wrote Social Gravity together and we’ve been speaking together as the Talent Anarchy team for nearly a decade.

Long before we started doing work together, we were friends. Our friendship dates back to 1999 when the universe brought us together to suffer through working at a terrible little company.

In the past two decades, we’ve been through divorces and marriages. We’ve traveled from single to married to family life. We’ve navigated through starting a couple non-profits and a business together. We’ve each had some major ups and downs.

I refer to Joe as my wingman very intentionally. Yes, in our single days, we played that role for each other (thankfully those days are long past). But more significantly, we’ve done it for each other professionally as well. We both did a tour in corporate America where neither of us really fit. During that time, we’d have breakfast together once a week where we’d remind each other that “you aren’t the crazy one, you are in a crazy system.”

Joe single-handedly kept me sane and kept me going for those many years when I was a cultural misfit trying to do the work that really mattered in the face of significant resistance. Without him, I don’t know that I could have made it through that gauntlet. He’s continued to be a great wingman in my transition to self-employment.

Aside from my wife, Joe knows me better than anyone. He’s seen the good, bad and ugly and there’s room for all of it in our friendship. He’s always showed up for me and he’s always forgiven me quickly when I have made mistakes.

It’s such an amazing gift to have a friend like this in my life. And, it’s an even bigger gift that we also share a common passion that allows us to do work together. That’s what luck looks like.

Joe, I don’t say it nearly often enough, but thank you. Thank you for being my friend, wingman, co-conspirator, and journey partner. My love for you runs deep. I’m thankful that Jeff Miller created that terrible little place to work so that we could find each other. I’m so grateful for you. 

 

Words of Gratitude (#17) for Steve Boese
Words of Gratitude (#17) for Steve Boese 1080 1080 Jason Lauritsen

Note: I’m writing a note of gratitude on the blog each day in November leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. My hope is that these posts will inspire you to do the same. Write an email, Facebook post, or a text to tell people they have made an impact on you. Gratitude is contagious. 


Sometimes when you reflect on the past, you notice people who come through for you. They offer support. They provide resources. They show up when you need them.

One of those people in my career is Steve Boese.

Steve and I originally met at the HRevolution event I mentioned in my post to Trish McFarlane. Steve was one of the organizers with Trish.  He’s a prolific blogger and a co-host of the biggest podcast in the HR space (with Trish McFarlane), HR Happy Hour.  Steve is also the chair of the HR Technology Conference.

When I left Quantum Workplace a little over two years ago, I didn’t realize how important the HR Tech community would become in my career. A lot of my most interesting work today is being done with my clients in the HR Tech space.

A few years ago, Steve asked me and my partner-in-crime Joe Gerstandt to help create a more interactive hackathon experience at HR Tech. This work led to being more visible and engaged in the event and, by extension, the industry. My work at HR Tech each year has become incredibly important to my business and Steve is one of the people who opened that door for me.

Steve (and Trish) have also been incredibly generous with me through the HR Happy Hour Show and platform. They helped me launch a podcast and recently, allowed me to spread the word about my new book.

The support I’ve been given by Steve is invaluable. And I’m incredibly grateful for it.

And, as a bonus, Steve is a really good guy who I am thankful to call a friend. Any time we have the opportunity to hang out will be filled with great conversation and a lot of laughs.

Steve, I’m grateful for you. Thank you for your friendship and support, it’s made a huge difference for me. I appreciate all that you do.  

Words of Gratitude (#16) for Ryan Picarella and Sara Martin Rauch
Words of Gratitude (#16) for Ryan Picarella and Sara Martin Rauch 150 150 Jason Lauritsen

Note: I’m writing a note of gratitude on the blog each day in November leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. My hope is that these posts will inspire you to do the same. Write an email, Facebook post, or a text to tell people they have made an impact on you. Gratitude is contagious. 


Today’s gratitude post is a twofer because the story of these two people for me is hard to separate.

If you’ve been following my work over the past year, you have noticed a number of references to WELCOA, the Wellness Council of America. It’s an organization devoted to the advancement of workplace wellness practice.

WELCOA’s headquarters is about ten miles from my home. Yet, until about two years ago, I couldn’t have told you much about them.

It was two years ago that, through a fortuitous introduction, I had the opportunity to meet Ryan Picarella and Sara Martin Rauch. The sparks started to fly immediately.

What I found in Ryan and Sara were two people as passionately committed to making work better for employees as I am. From our first conversation, we start planning and dreaming about how we might be able to do some work together to accelerate progress. Common purpose is a powerful thing.

Over the past year, they have allowed me into the WELCOA tribe and invited me to help them as they work to evolve the practice of wellness as a driver of employee engagement, performance, and wellbeing. This work has been incredibly fulfilling and important to me. I’m grateful they let me in.

But beyond the work, Ryan and Sara have both become great friends. They are amazing, caring people who practice what they preach. They truly and deeply care about people at work and beyond.

I feel incredibly lucky that WELCOA happens to be in Omaha to bring Ryan and Sara here as well. It was kismet that we meet.

Ryan and Sara, I’m so thankful to know you both. I have gotten so much out of our time together over the past two years and I’m excited to see what we can accomplish together in the future. You are both great friends and I’m so grateful for our relationship. The world of work is and will be a better place because of you.