Category: Uncategorized

Leadership Lessons: The Right Way to Respond to a Mental Health Day Request

Leadership Lessons: The Right Way to Respond to a Mental Health Day Request

Have you ever taken a sick day because you were stressed, burnt-out, had some difficult personal issue arise, or just needed a mental respite? Likely you have, but you probably told your manager that you were feeling ill or a bit under the weather, instead of mentioning what it was really about. According to a report by the American Psychological Association, roughly one-third of employees report feeling chronically stressed by their jobs. Yet despite this fact, there’s still a palpable stigma around taking mental health days. The problem is two-fold – employees don’t feel safe enough to say they need a mental health day and often HR doesn’t

Flash Organizations: The Age of Crowd Sourced Pop-Up Companies

There are so many factors that go into creating a successful, long-lasting organization — and so much work involved — that it can be somewhat strange to think of a company that is actually designed to be temporary. Yet that is exactly what is happening with more and more frequency these days. The thing is, this concept isn’t new. These types organizations have existed for decades, chief among them being the groups that join together to put together Hollywood movies. These hyper-focused, project oriented groups bring together people with a myriad of skill sets to create one main product: a motion picture. Then they are disbanded and the employees move on to their next ventures. Two Stanford

Leadership Lessons: The New Programmer Who Deleted His Company’s Database

Leadership Lessons The New Programmer Who Deleted His Company Database

We all remember our first professional job out of college. Likely we shared a mixture of excitement and nerves – eager to make a good impression and to not do anything stupid.  Assuredly, these were the same things going through a young developer’s mind with the Reddit handle cscareerthrowaway567  – that was until the young programmer accidentally deleted his company’s entire production database and that nervous excitement turned into panic and terror. You can read the details of his error on Reddit, here.  In a nutshell, the young developer had to create his own test database, but in the onboarding materials, the login credentials to the

Annual Employee Satisfaction Surveys: Why You Should Be Checking In With Your Workers

There are many traditional ways that companies measure performance and they’re most often tied to the bottom line or some other financial or output indicator. While these measurements are, of course, important, a more difficult to measure, but oft overlooked component of performance is employee satisfaction and engagement. It’s not a coincidence that some of the top performing companies in the world often show up on “best places to work” lists. Employee engagement is actually a more comprehensive way of describing what is most important for companies to measure, in that, beyond general satisfaction, it indicates a commitment to the company and to co-workers, plus an enhanced sense of well-being. Often employee engagement is said to include

The Rise of Corporate Universities

the rise of corporate universities

As more and more companies are recognizing the benefits of investing in ongoing professional development, there has been a surge in the creation of corporate universities (or academies as they’re more commonly known in Europe and Asia). While the definition of what makes for a corporate university can be a bit fuzzy, the Boston Consulting Group found that the number of these universities doubled from 1000 to 2000 between 1997 and 2007, and then doubled again between 2007 and 2011 to 4000. What that means in terms of spending on corporate training is profound, with a 2012 estimate of around $400 billion for

The Importance of Psychological Safety in the Workplace and How To Achieve It

Psychological safety at work

Have you ever had a job where you were too terrified of the boss to ask questions? I think most of us have. I remember a job I had wherein my boss assigned me a project focused on using a new technology on a very tight deadline – when I expressed my concern about being able to both learn and produce the end product on time and in a quality way, his flush-faced response was essentially, damn it, what am I paying you for? This is your responsibility to figure out! Not exactly a reassuring response to a fresh-faced college

Corporate Culture, Creativity, and Rule-Bending: How Team Building Can Be a Revealing Exercise

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, team building activities can be an excellent forum for practicing group behaviors and establishing group norms. The activity itself can act as a sort of microcosm in which behaviors can be viewed in full relief and addressed accordingly. One interesting phenomenon that crops up from time to time, are groups that seem to have a loose relationship with the rules. While a little rule bending now and then might not be cause for concern, amidst the rash of recent – and very public – ethical failings in companies such as Uber, VW, and Zenefits,

Top Reasons Why Team Building is Important

A lot of managers wonder to themselves about the actual benefits of team building. Barring a few misconceptions about team building, most know that it will be a fun time, but is there something more? If you haven’t participated in a professionally facilitated program, it makes sense that you might be a bit skeptical — and honestly, in this metrics-driven world, it’s tempting to think of the merits of team building activities in measurable ROI. However, I’d ask you to suspend this mentality for a moment and instead think of things that are less tangible but still beneficial: heightened goodwill,

Why You Should Question Assumptions with Your Team

Assumptions are a natural part of life. Despite the negative connotation they often convey — like stereotypes — their purpose is to provide a shortcut to understanding. This can actually be a good thing in many cases, especially when we need to rapidly assimilate information. However, as you probably well know, there can be downsides. Assumptions that are never questioned can lead to serious dysfunction. Organizations often run on a slew of different assumptions that end up being passed down from one employee to another, either explicitly or more indirectly. You’d think more people would ask, “Wait, why do we

Maintenance is Critical for Your Team’s Professional Development

What do fitness bootcamps and Tony Robbins-esque motivational weekends both have in common? Besides, of course, the fact that both give you a metaphorical high – leaving you eager and enthusiastic to change yourself – it’s the fact that their effects can quickly wear off. Kind of like the luster of our New Year’s resolutions, which are lucky to survive all thirty-one days of January. (P.S. – Only 8% of resolutions are kept.) Look, it’s not anyone’s fault, it’s something endemic with to the human species. If we don’t make things a regular practice, they’re bound to fade to the

Get Your Team Outside for a Multitude of Benefits

get your team outside for many benefits

Thoreau may have been onto something with his classic treatise on outdoor life, Walden: getting outdoors is good for us! Here at Adventure Associates, we’ve long known and seen the benefits of facilitating programs in nature. It can do wonders for the mind and for the collective energy of a group. It’s for this very reason that we offer so many outdoor team building options. But while we might anecdotally “feel” like the great outdoors are is good for us, is there any harder evidence for this? As a matter of fact, there is. Increased Creativity Studies like this one

Using Team Building to Explore Design Thinking

In our last post, we discussed one of business’s current buzzwords, design thinking. This is a process of problem-solving developed in the design world which takes an approach focusing on the end-user, with an emphasis on prototyping and testing. It’s a really effective way of looking at problems and devising solutions that might have otherwise been outside of your realm of thinking. Undertaking a new process for anything in business can feel like a risky proposition. When we are dealing with real-world deadlines and the pressures of keeping clients, both internal and external, happy, it can be hard to experiment

What is Design Thinking?

There are a lot of big, hairy problems out there in the world, and for folks in business, it’s often your job to figure out a solution. But is your process for coming up with this solution an effective one? Do you even have a process? If you’re like many of us, you don’t actually have a set procedure for figuring out solutions to difficult problems. For the most part, we just sit down with some peers and try to come up with a few ideas—perhaps by having a brainstorming session. Eventually, we try to get to some sort of

The Leader’s Role in Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development

Last week we examined Tuckman’s highly influential Stages of Group Development, which include Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Each stage marks a progression within the group – the way group members interact and function as a whole. Below you’ll find basic explanations of the stages (for more detailed descriptions, check out this post): Forming: The group is coming together for the first time and members are being polite, while also sizing each other up. There’s little unity and potentially limited buy-in to the group’s goals. Storming: Members reveal their true opinions and conflict arises between members and leadership. Norming: People

Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development

Only in the movies do groups come together and magically coalesce as if they were long lost soulmates, destined to come together for the greater good. In reality, things are often a bit less smooth. In most cases, teams go through a definable set of stages—something that Psychologist and professor Bruce Tuckman identified and developed a model for back in 1963. Tuckman’s “stages of group development” (sometimes referred to as “team” development) progress through the following phases: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Understanding the steps along the way can be helpful in speeding up the process since you’ll know what