#037 – Does Your Leadership and Life Need a Reset? (with Dr. Steven MacGregor)

Podcast Summary

Welcome to The Working Well Podcast, the show that explores the rapidly changing landscape of work and wellbeing. Each episode, we dive into the hottest topics of leadership, employee wellbeing, and the future of work. I’m your host, Tim Borys.

For episode 37, I’m honored to be joined by the venerable Dr. Steven McGregor. We’re going to look at how design thinking, athletics, and even engineering impact organizational wellbeing and the performance of people in companies. To whet your appetite, here’s a bit about Steven.

Steven is a global pioneer and one of the world’s top experts on health, leadership, and wellbeing in the work environment. He’s a guest professor at several of the world’s leading business schools, a coach, and a consultant who has helped tens of thousands of leaders around the world bring their whole selves to the workplace. Dr. McGregor is the author of six books, including Sustaining Executive Performance, Chief Wellbeing Officer, and The Daily Reset: 366 Nudges to Move Your Life Forward.

Oh, and just in case you thought he was all about academics, research and writing books, Stephen is also a former international level duathlete and current outdoor enthusiast.

Bonus Resources

Connect with Steven on:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/spmacg/ 

Website: https://www.thelabcn.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/spmacg 

Grab a copy of Steven’s Books:

The Daily Reset: 366 Nudges to Move Your Life Forward. https://www.dailyreset.me/

Sustaining Executive Performance: https://www.thelabcn.com/sep#sustaining-executive-performance

Chief Wellbeing Officer: https://www.thelabcn.com/cwo

Other books by Dr. Steven MacGregor: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steven-P.-MacGregor/e/B00J02SVGE/

Podcast Transcript

Tim: Steven, it’s wonderful to have you on The Working Well Podcast. Thank you so much for joining me.

Steven: Looking forward to this conversation

Tim: Yes. You mentioned you’re tuning in from Barcelona.

Steven: Oh yes.

Tim: How are things going there?

Steven: It’s great. I mean, you can tell by my accent, right? , almost 20 years in Spain. I came out 2003 to do my PostDoc trying to escape, I’m from Glasgow originally, so I was trying to escape the Scottish climate, and I ended up in the Basque country in Spain, which is the same weather as Scotland. And I thought I’ve blew it, I’ve blown this. So let’s go to the Mediterranean. And it’s been Barcelona since, or Catalonia at least Gerona also, which is a lovely city north, a hundred kilometers north of Barcelona, and closer to the French border.

But it’s been, Yes, 19 years in Catalonia. Some good times. Yes.

Tim: It’s a beautiful area of the world. I’ve traveled there a few times and love it. Between the beaches and the mountains and even the interior is just spectacular.

Dr. Steve MacGregor – from Engineer to a Global Workplace Expert

Tim: Now you’re someone who has a lot going on. Looking at your profile between professorship at universities and entrepreneurial ventures and writing books. You’re an engineer by trade, so talk a little bit about how you went from being an engineer to a global workplace wellbeing expert. Y

Steven: Yes, it’s interesting. I don’t seem to have a, permanent home as you highlighted. And I think that comes from a couple of things. I think one is the fact that I work in this field of wellbeing that I think lends itself to having this very explorative way of advancing thinking and acting in that, in that area. And I can touch on that again more deeply in a second, but my specialization in engineering terms is design. And I think that design, also Design Thinking is a very broad-based exploratory field of study. And so, I did a Master’s Degree in Engineering and Product Design, and then I did a PhD in Engineering Management with a focus on Virtual Design Teams. And really so a deep study, seven – eight years in Design Thinking and learning about what that meant.

And for me, in a nutshell, it’s about human needs and uncovering often some very basic human needs that are right in front of our faces but we don’t tend to satisfy them. And for me, workplace wellbeing essentially was a huge example of that, that we have these organizations that are compromising some of the most basic human needs. And then we are wondering why we don’t perform as an organization, why we have high turnover, and why we have low motivation. And so for me, it was applying in the first instance the tools of Design Thinking, which is about understanding human needs to try to look at addressing those through better workplace wellbeing.

So that for me was the connection, which I hope, at least for your listeners, sounds nice and tidy and logical now, but obviously, that took several years or more to unfold through my very winding career path.

Tim: Absolutely. And it makes perfect sense to me and I think it makes a lot more sense to more people globally now, but 8-10 years ago, It was probably very out there for a lot of people you were talking to.

Steven: I mean, I was trying to sell, talk to clients going back to 2005. I started the company in 2003. A lot of that initial year or two was just looking at what kind of references or people who have done it before. And for me, at the time, finding Corporate Athlete Methodology from Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr was very useful and inspiring.

And I even remember a cold email that I sent to Tony Schwartz back in 2003, and he replied to that, and it really gave me nice energy at the time. And of course, he subsequently went on to do, the energy project. And I got in touch with Jim Loehr recently as well. So, it was always great just to go back and say, I just said thank you. Right? That’s all I said. I said, look, you inspired me at the beginning of my journey and it’s been almost 20 years now working in this field of wellbeing and I needed that to hang onto.

So they got The Corporate Athlete was one, and another one was the work of Juliette and Michael McGannon, mostly at Insead Business School. Fit for the Fast Track, and looking at executive fitness for performance and things like that. And I was doing a lot of my work subsequently at IESE Business School here in Barcelona, which in the last several years has been ranked number one for executive education.

So that gave me, , I had the academic background and Ph.D. in Design Thinking, but I just felt that there was a greater need within this field of health for senior leaders. And so with those two references, as you quite rightly point out, teaching on executive programs, it was going back now 2008 on the importance of sleep and all they’re used to in terms of content is strategy and even innovation was kind of very radical for some of these programs, right?

I’m turning up talking about sleep and they’re just looking at what’s going on here, but it just flew as content because they needed it so much. And so, I might have otherwise been chopped because of that approach within the business school. But just the success of the program really kept me going and led on to further development with other clients.

The Corporate Athlete and Wellbeing Mindsets

Tim: Absolutely. And, you’re obviously coming at the corporate athlete mindset as an athlete yourself and in you’re an international due athlete, if I read correctly.

Steven: Yes, a triathlon for bad swimmers. Tim, that’s how you,

Tim: I get that. My first ever Olympic triathlon, my first ever 1500 meter swim. It was ugly. I was the last one out of the water. The good thing is when you go into transition, yours is the only bike there, so you don’t have to….

Steven: Sport over the years has been very, even during my academic university days, I felt that I was thinking better when I was training. I was thinking better when I wasn’t sleep-deprived. I was thinking better when I wasn’t following the kinda student lifestyle and overdoing it on the beer. And so all of these things for me was, it was the business case for cognitive performance, right? So that helped me greatly and even just the value set that you get with competitive sport I just learned so much traveling and the discipline of training and competition and execution, all of these different things. So, I’m getting on about now, but I’m just recovering from the Valencia marathon that I ran on Sunday.

This is what we normally do, right? You get older you get slower, so you just up the distance and you tend to kind of keep going for a while longer. So, I still like to think that I’ve got progress. Cause I think progress is such a hugely important concept for us as human beings and I think that ties in greatly into terms of wellbeing and the journeys that we are on. So I still feel that I’ve got some progress left in the marathon.

Tim: Well, and we all do. It’s Yes, we may not be competing at the level that we were in our twenties. And that’s okay. There’s a different mindset of approaching it and I believe there’s so much that leaders and businesses can learn from the athlete mindset, at least the good things. There’s some downsides to the athlete mindset. That we need to work with athletes on. But yes, there are some things we can learn absolutely in terms of the performance aspect. I came into workplace wellbeing from the fitness industry, and before that the athletics industry as an athlete myself, and still 30-something years later, blown away by how people are still, the mindset in many organizations is drive yourself into the ground. Work, work, work, and until people burn out and then just hire someone new.

You’d think we’d be past that now, but I know you collaborated with Rory Simpson on the Chief Wellbeing Officer book, and that’s a role that there have been some out there for quite a while, but it’s still that mindset of wellbeing at the C-suite still hasn’t taken hold like I thought it would. And it’s still a very hard sell. What can you say about that?

Steven: It’s legitimizing recovery and taking a step back. I think. I think business and especially even the senior leaders, I mean. It’s a generational thing as well. I think a lot of the C-suite nowadays, they’ve kind of grown up and they did the hard yards, let’s say. So they suffered greatly in many respects through their career. And if there is any change now, we want to kind of mainstream within business in terms of less hierarchy, better balance, or recognizing that we have to put as much into life as we do into work, because then you get the best out of yourself and work as well. Right?

A lot of these positive changes that may try and get started, they can sometimes, I think, be stopped advertlessly because a lot of the senior people, they have their own experience of greater suffering through the way that they follow business, that orthodoxy of being busy all the time and multitasking and just kind of grinding through.

And I think it’s just realizing that a lot of this athlete’s mindset, and it’s not exclusively the athlete’s mindset as you point out, but, certain things that we can take, legitimizing recovery as one of those big ones, as I said. That means that you get better business results, but it does take a leap of faith. It Is a complex picture, right? I think it is just recognizing that you can’t just be a hundred miles an hour all the time. You do burn out, and then you have to then get someone else.

I think there are changes, Tim. I think there is a realization, especially with the technology world that we are living in now, that potentially there is no stop to work whereas in the past we had that natural break when we went home. And now, you’ve got tech and then you’ve got post-pandemic, which means that work is always on, potentially. So I think there has to be much more of that organic oscillation recognizing that it’s not always on like a machine. And even some things that I’ve talked about recently, it’s, it’s recognizing, we kind of hold on to that old model of how we follow business in terms of the 24 hour day, right? We had the triple eight model and some of my books have written about this in terms of the case of the new Lanark Mills in Central Scotland with Robert Owen. A lot of his work then was mainstream with Ford Motor Company in terms of cutting workers’ hours and seeing the productivity rise.

So, we’re looking at work being in areas that were traditionally only for rest or leisure and sleep, but we still don’t forgive ourselves. And I think it often starts with ourselves, not just the leaders or the culture and organization. When we are at work, we think, oh, I can only work, right? We are not bringing in elements of rest or leisure into that first trench of eight or 10 hours in our office day, but we accept that work will come into these other areas that are traditionally not work.

So I think often it is realizing ourselves what is the mindset that we are bringing to the workplace, right? And I think it often does start with ourselves. And then we try and build alliances of like-minded folks around us to try and build that culture step by step.

The Daily Reset: 366 Nudges to Move Your Life Forward

Tim: Absolutely, and you make a great point about the work creeping into the other parts of our life, but not having the other stuff creep into work and a lot of people found that with the pandemic/. Working from home, they were able to between meetings, get a load of laundry done, and do some things like that, and they found that that eased the burden on the rest of the day and allowed them to find, while taking the commute out, allowed them to enjoy some extra leisure time, time with their family and time with their kids. And so people that managed that well were able to see great benefits.

And I think that’s why so many people don’t want to go back to the office now, at least people that don’t have to go back to the office. And there are still a lot of industries and roles that need to be in-person but it’s interesting to see the changes. Some of that comes from your new book, The Daily Reset. Can you talk a little bit about how The Daily Reset fits in with that?

Steven: Yes. I think, what I’m picking up from your comments here is the flexibility that we all realize we could take advantage of during the pandemic. And I know a lot of people found the stress as well, and I think that personality is a big part of it. But in many ways, we have to be proactive in kind of redesigning our own rituals and habits, and routines. We were on this hamster wheel of business life for over many years and that had a very standard model, but you wake up normally early in the morning and you commute to work. You work further your career at the office, and then you come back, and you may be still connected through technology, but we followed that, and maybe there’s a high degree of efficiency in that. But maybe it wasn’t in our best interest either.

So as you said, we have this upon us during the pandemic in terms of working from home, and then all of a sudden we need to kind of work out how to do it right? Are we going to work from the kitchen table or do we have an office, what happens when the kid bursts in? And so we are building up new ways of living and integrating life with work. So I thought we needed a guide to help with that.

So The Daily Reset was just a little kind of nudge for every day of the year. And it was recognizing that wellbeing, I think, in all the years that I’ve looked at it, epiphanies are important in life. I think we all maybe have a realization or a key moment that takes us down one path or another. But in many ways, sustainable behavior change often comes just from these little light touches, but having it top of mind and having it consistent.

And so for me over the years, it was all about recognizing, changing people’s behavior in terms of wellbeing is not just about giving them a deep dive for one week and then they’re maybe excited and then they forget about it, but it’s about just keeping that light touch presence. And so The Daily Reset is one page a day for every day of the year within 12 different themes, Tim, that I think are the most important themes in wellbeing. So the traditional ones like sleep and nutrition, and movement, and exercise, and mindfulness, and other things like purpose and leadership and, and December being community and the importance of social and societal wellbeing.

I’ve been delighted with that. I’m really proud of that as a work. In many ways, it was a kind of synthesis of all the things that I’ve learned in 20 years in wellbeing and trying to really package that into something that’s very accessible for people. So even if they’re very new to the field and they’re very, very busy people, then they maybe have a coffee in the morning, they spend a couple of minutes reflecting on the nudge, the nudge for that day, hopefully, it moves them to action. They write in the book as well because we want it to not just be something to read, but a journal and something to write in and something to own.

And look, not everyone follows that. If you’re in November and it’s leadership but you really need help with sleep, which is March’s theme, by all means, go to March. And the other thing is if people have been buying the book or different book signings and it’s maybe July or August, and it’s quite a different concept, just picking up a new book and saying, well, don’t actually start at page one, just start in the very middle of the book, right?

So depending on certain things, but it’s been a lot of fun. I loved writing it, a lot of personal stories in there, and I have great feedback this year. It’s just a year. It was released a year yesterday. So that’s its first birthday and hopefully, there’s many more.

Building Habits That Elevate Wellbeing

Tim: Yes. That’s awesome. And I love the fact that you said about the light touch and for me, that’s in my coaching philosophy, we have the Four Pillars of Performance – mindset, habits, movement, and fuel. And people think building habits is really challenging but it’s not actually when you can understand why it’s important and then have that consistency. And, we even do like a mobility minute every morning with clients because it’s, it’s like, do that for two weeks and tell me how you’re feeling. It’s like if you do one minute a day,

Steven: Totally. I mean, you build up momentum. You build those new neuropathways in your brain, and it just goes against that whole culture in business and life that you have a big attempt at something you’re really all very capable and intelligent people but we try something very ambitious, and then we tend to leave it there and move on to something else. It’s kind of wasted energy. I think there just has to be more efficient use of our limited time and energy. And what we do every day, it matters more, much more than what we do now and then. And I think the more people that realize that is the whole consistency over intensity trade off then I think, we’ll all be much better off for it.

Tim: Absolutely. And you’ve preached into the choir here for sure, As far as leadership and organizational performance, how do you work these daily nudges into your consulting and your work with, leaders and companies?

Steven: I guess it depends on where is the sweet spot, where is the entry point? I think over the years, clients have come to us and they’ve had different needs, and I’ve liked to think that the key need in all of it is a better approach to wellbeing and a more strategic approach to wellbeing, let’s say. And, even in the previous book, Chief Wellbeing Officer, which then we tried to develop into a platform and a brand, that was the tagline that was elevating wellbeing as a more strategic concern. And so over the years, clients have come and said, look we want to just make our culture more positive, or we want to try and look at how leaders can be more inspiring, or we want to try and think about employee retention or loyalty.

A lot of the content that we subsequently deliver didn’t vary so much but the entry point is different. So I think language is key. I think over the years, as I said, culture is important, and talking about even culture design and how you look at discreet behaviors as a means of moving culture forward. And then positive leadership, I think, is another big one in the whole aspect of positive performance. Because what I always try and highlight with clients is that organizations shouldn’t be scared of wellbeing because traditionally, I think it’s changing. The kind of traditional view of it was about doing less work, right? It’s about more time off. It’s not about results. But I think a lot of leadership work is about that positive performance, right? You’re performing at a high level, but you’re doing it in a better way, in a more human fashion.

Tim: And in a sustainable way as well.

Sustainability Over Performance 

Steven: Exactly. And that was the next one that I was going to say. The third one that we mostly talked about over the years is sustainable performance. And that was the first book that I wrote in the area, which was then coming off the back of The Corporate Athlete Methodology. And, what that gave rise to, as you well know, Tim, is that the whole industry of peak performance, which is very important, right?

The whole peak performance industry can sometimes go too far in terms of just looking at performance cases all the time. And, people can, if they’re highly engaged, they can also burn out as well. I looked at that whole aspect of sustainability more than the performance case. And again, it comes back to the athlete’s mindset, right? If you wanna keep going in the longer term, you’re going to have to think about what do you do to keep that performance at a high level? And there’s a lot of execution recoveries in there and learning mindset as well, breaking it down, what didn’t work this season that you’re going to change or next race, and that even that learning culture within an organization is about taking a step back. Because often companies are so busy when they finish one project, they’re immediately going onto the next one and there’s no pause to see, okay, well how did we do here? Even post-project learning, right? Even something as simple as that. I’m taking a day or half a day and just saying, you’ve been working fully on this thing for a month or two. How can we just let what happened and let’s take some time before we then put the foot to the gas again. 

Measuring the ROI of Wellbeing

Tim: I was just having a conversation with a larger corporate client a couple of weeks ago and we were reviewing what they had done over the past couple of years for learning and development and they’re like, oh, we’ve attended this and we’ve had this speaker and we’ve done, like listed a laundry list of things. And I was like, okay, awesome. How has that changed the organization? And there was this like, silence. Well, we did this and we did this. I’m like, okay, what changes were made due to that new information? When this person went to this event? How did they transmit that knowledge to their team, and what impact did it have on the day-to-day operations of the business? And there was this blank, blank, blank and they didn’t have an answer. And I’m like, you were investing hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars into learning and development, and yet putting the rubber to the road after the traction on change isn’t there. In your experience, what needs to be in place for that to happen?

Steven: I mean, the whole measurement case and even ROI on wellbeing, I think I’ve got this article here actually in the back wall, the blue one is measuring the ROI of wellbeing. And look, there’s no answers. There’s some thoughts that I think are insights into that. It’s not an easy one. In terms of L and D, I think it’s on a basic level, right? And, by no means I said, do I have the answer. And I’m not exclusively an L and D expert. But I think a big one is just having those continual touchpoints and I think even a lot of my background in Design Thinking highlighted the importance of that for me. So looking at the experience journey for a customer or for the target that you want to innovate for or redesign for. And look at, okay, that full experience could be also outside of your own control as a provider, and how else is this experience being impacted by other external factors?

Because I was always a big believer even at the beginning of doing a lot of keynotes in wellbeing, especially when it was a kind of a novelty for clients, it was like, okay, it was like entertainment, Tim. It was like, okay, come and talk about sleep and tell a few jokes and that was it. And, I thought, no, I wanna know. I wanna know if is there any change. Let’s do longer journeys. And that could be coaching you, as you do, and it could be online. And it’s just saying, okay, so what is the impact of this? And it can be sometimes simple questions, but what have you done differently? It could be a very simple question as a result of this program. Six months passed. Get them to write a letter to themselves, all these different things, and just not just have this one intervention that maybe they have a good time and laughing and inspired, but let’s see. Let’s track that a little bit better.

I’ll tell you one kind of anecdote in that line is that with a big client of ours weekly programs with a norm and very expensive and it won’t be often the case that they’re offsite and then they would go back to the company, like in a mothership, let’s see. And there was always this line that they’d say, stay away from this guy Monday and probably Tuesday, because you’ll still be telling all the stories and all of the impact that he’s heard from last week’s program. By Wednesday, you’re safe. By Wednesday, the organization has normalized him again. He’s forgotten about everything that he was inspired by last week and he is back to normal. Right? That tells you the challenges that we have within the big organization. You take people off-site, and they have a great time, but you’re putting them back into the lines then, and it is very hard to scale up that change. So just, can you keep in touch? Can you have a light touch mechanism?

The Daily Reset was an attempt at that as well, that something is always there and it’s a physical artifact as well, but even culturally and even in program design, how do you just extend that journey and that experience? That’s just a couple of reflections, I think.

Wellbeing Is a Constant Journey

Tim: Well, and that maybe is the next Daily Reset book for you to write is the leadership daily reset for teams and organizations. . It’s like, what can I do? Yes.

Steven: Yes, because I think people have been asking, especially since it’s been out for a year now and people got in touch, said, look, I read the full thing, what do I do next? As if I’m going to come out with another 365, come on, gimme a break. , I had about 50 extra actually, but even at the beginning, I thought I’m never going to get to 365. I went to 366 actually for the leap year, 29th of February. But it was surprising, it was easier than I thought, but it was an interesting process to try and get that amount.

Tim: Yes, well, especially when you break it into 12 categories and there’s an unlimited amount of content and potential in those categories, so I love it. And yes, people just need to buy it again next year and repeat it every year because, by the time you go through it, you’re probably not going to remember what you did on January 1st.

Steven: Look, I mean, I was inspired and I talk about this in the introduction. I was inspired, it was in my head for a bit, but then a friend gave me a copy of the Daily Stoic, and especially during the pandemic, that whole area of stoicism, I felt was very valuable. And look, I’ve had that Daily Stoic for a couple of years, and you’re always missing things. And you read it again and it’s new because you’re a new person. Right? And I think wellbeing is that as well. Wellbeing isn’t an answer to a problem that you find one time. It’s not acquiring knowledge and then you’re done. It’s a constant journey. It’s constantly in play because our lives change, the context changes, and so the answer has to change every time. And so I was firm of the belief that, I want people to write in it, just destroy it. And that’s your Daily Reset for whatever, 2022. For 2023, even though it was the same content, unless I come to something else, it’s still a new book because you’re a new person, right? So I firmly believe in that.

Tim: Yes, I love that. And, and I think people forget, it’s like when you watch a movie, you take something else. You read your favorite book again. Speaking of well, Paolo Coelho, I read The Alchemist I think probably a dozen times in the last 30 years, and every time I read it, something new, something new comes out.

Steven: And that, it’s such a short book, but there’s so many layers of meaning in it, right? Yes, absolutely couldn’t agree more.

Tim: Who I was when I was backpacking the first time I read it versus now as a father of two kids and business owner. And it’s like, it’s a very different phase of life, very different mindset, different person I look forward to it. I’ve got it on my Kindle and I’m going to be writing it in my journal. That’s something I’m looking forward to diving into this year.

Advice for Leaders Who Want to Create Change

Tim: So I know you, it’s Friday night for you and you’ve got your son waiting and your family. And so before we wrap up, a lot of people listening are leaders, mid-level managers, and they’re trying to create change in their organization. And so, what is your word of advice or words of advice to help them create that change in a meaningful way in their organization.

Steven: I think there’s a couple of things. I think other people need to see evidence of change in a way. And so for the leader or the person who’s responsible for driving that change, they have to be very careful with their own behavior as well, right? So role modeling is hugely important. Because I think, and I’ve said there’s many times over the years, it often doesn’t matter what the policy is within an organization. Many organizations spend a lot of time designing policy, but then a lot of the senior folks are not really the best examples of that, let’s say.

Right. So, if it is wellbeing centric, if it is driving positive change and progressive change within an organization, and a better way of working, then the person driving that change should be very aware of their own behaviors as a role model. And then also thinking about their peers, right? And, thinking about, is there a way that they can talk to their peers, other people in the C-suite or at their level and to say, let’s try and drive a movement here.

I think you don’t do it alone either. So I think, having champions at different levels of the organization. I think people might often think with an eye roll, here’s another initiative for change coming from my boss. But then if someone in their team or someone even in another function that’s even below them in terms of seniority is going for it as well, then, I think that’s a different story. So I think picking different people to champion that, and it doesn’t need to be by seniority. It could just be that they are good networkers within the organization and well-connected.

And the third and final piece, just the top three that are in my head. The third one is seeing a kind of physical change. And I know that’s maybe about counter to a lot of the world, the work that we’re living in just now, when we’re working from home, but just to see something in the office space. And if no one is in the office, just think about some physical artifact. I think when we are living our lives more and more in the virtual world, physical artifacts matter. I’m looking around my desk now, and I’m seeing, even for me working from here, I need things that remind me of the journey. And this is here, this is the the mascot for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

So when it was the Olympics in Barcelona, I was like 15 years old. And I remember these iconic images of diving with the city behind. And I thought, wow, what an amazing city. And then, I come and live here, and I just cycled past that diving pool this morning when I was out on my bike.

So physical artifacts are hugely important, and this doesn’t mean filling the office with ping-pong tables or gimmicks and all these different things. It could just be, if previously it was all kinda siloed and kind of cubicles that you open it out or you have options for people. So people want to do focus work. They can have a private space, but they can have a collaborative space as well, right? When we are going back to the office, we don’t want people maybe thinking, oh, I don’t wanna really be here now. They do zooms anyway, right? If you’re going to go to the office now, you wanna work, you wanna collaborate, you wanna brainstorm, so you wanna make that place a creative place with atmosphere that people are happy to go to, right? And, still it matters if you’re just doing a lot of virtual work and working from home, how can you keep that connection with organization?

I remember talking to a client a couple years ago during the pandemic, ,something that Google did, just to tell me very quickly.

I thought it was really interesting. In fact and a lot of Google is, they haven’t liked traditionally people not being in the office. And then what they found when people were working from home, a lot of the kind of, even just the brand awareness was lacking. So they looked at how can we have a physical artifact that’s going to remind people that you’re a Googler, right? If they needed that in any case.

And so, they did master classes to take the pressure off for people, and they did like a barista class to teach people how to make coffee at home because they were used to being in the Google offices getting free, fantastic coffee. They’re at home and they’re grumbling because they have crap coffee, right? So they’ve got a barista master class but what they did, they didn’t just do the virtual class, they sent out a pack. It was mailed out to the people beforehand so that they could go along and they had the pack, and part of the pack, was at the top they had a template that was the Google G, so that at the end that you put the foam on and then you had like the chocolate topping or whatever, and then you put the template and then you took that off and you had the cool coffee and the Google G on the top, right? So, people can be cynical and say, just branding and corporate, but physical artifacts. I’m just, I’m fascinated by that as a designer. And I think that’s the third and final piece that I would say people just do something that people can see and people can feel and touch.

Change Starts with YOU!

Steven: I think the final part on that is just because it’s not easy for leaders, right? So when we are just on the camera all the time, if you think about it and getting back to this aspect of the experience. Traditionally, you go to the office and your experience of your day is the commute, who you talk to at the coffee machine, what you bought for lunch, what the weather was like, all these different things. If we’re working from home, great flexibility, but often the experience for work is who you’re talking to through this camera, right? And that often puts the pressure on the manager, who is exhausted enough because they have kind of headcounts and being empathetic and coaching mindset and all these different things.

So I think some of these things that I’ve just mentioned that it’s about taking the pressure off for a manager as well because leading a change and wellbeing, they have to think about their own wellbeing first. I think that’s critical.

Tim: Yes. Well that’s a great point. Yes. So many managers and leaders are stressed and burnt out right now. And it’s impacting their ability to lead which in turn impacts the health and wellbeing of their teams in the organization. A lot of the coaching I’ve been doing recently is working with managers and leaders to things like the daily nudges. Go back to the basics. Let’s take care of you, mindset, habits, movement, fuel, work through those pillars, and all of a sudden they’re sleeping better, their mood’s improved, and now they’re becoming better leaders because of that, because they’ve taken their physical, mental, emotional stress more off the table or at least have a good handle on it.

Steven: Absolutely. Yes.

Tim: Yes. Well, that’s a great point. Yes. So many managers and leaders are stressed and burnt out right now. And it’s impacting their ability to lead which in turn impacts the health and wellbeing of their teams in the organization. A lot of the coaching I’ve been doing recently is working with managers and leaders on things like the daily nudges. Go back to the basics. Let’s take care of you, mindset, habits, movement, fuel, work through those pillars, and all of a sudden they’re sleeping better, their mood’s improved, and now they’re becoming better leaders because of that because they’ve taken their physical, mental, emotional stress more off the table or at least have a good handle on it.

Steven: Absolutely. Yes.

Tim: Well, thank you so much for your insights, Stephen. It’s been great to chat and I look forward to seeing, we didn’t get the chance to talk about your stellar startup. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens out of that. But yes, I’ll be in touch again, and thank you again for your insights.

Steven: Pleasure, Tim. Great talking to you today. Thank you.

That wraps up another episode of the Working Well Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, please rate, review and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Now, which guests or topics would you like to see featured on the show? Message me through LinkedIn or on the contact page of TimBorys.com with your ideas. Thanks for tuning in. I’m Tim Borys with Fresh Wellness Group and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode.

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