Transcript: Hybrid Workplace Series: Navigating Challenges and Embracing Change in the Hybrid Workplace
[The CSPS logo appears onscreen alongside text that reads "Webcast".]
[The screen fades to Monique Ramdhan in a video chat panel.]
Monique Ramdhan: Hello and welcome, everyone! Welcome, everyone! My name is Monique Ramdhan and I'm the Director General for Executive Learning here at the Canada School of Public Service. I'll be your host this afternoon, and I'd like to thank you for joining us.
I'll be your host this afternoon, and thank you for joining us. I'm very excited to have the chance to speak with out guest today, because she'll be sharing with us a number of tools to help us transition to a hybrid workplace.
I'm very excited to be here today to speak to our speaker. She'll share with us a number of tools to help us as we continue to transition to our hybrid workplace. Before we get started, I'd like to acknowledge that today I'm joining you from Ottawa, Ontario, the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe People. For some of you joining us today, you may be in different parts of the country and therefore, I encourage you to take a moment to recognize and acknowledge the territory that you're occupying, and to seek to understand the longstanding history of that territory.
So, throughout today's session, please feel free to ask questions by clicking the raised hand icon on the top of your screen, where you'll be able to submit your questions. We'll try to get to as many as time will permit, and we encourage you to participate in the language of your choice. Today's event will also be interactive, and we'll be using the Wooclap platform to engage throughout the session. Please join us at www.wooclap.com. The code is "CHANGE23", so all in caps C-H-A-N-G-E 23.
[Meg Nimigon appears in a separate video chat panel.]
So, I'm now pleased to introduce our speaker, Meg Nimigon. Meg is a Team Synergy coach who works with remote and hybrid teams to build team culture. She leverages her background as a mindset coach, an online learning designer, and an applied theatre practitioner to create dynamic and highly transformative engagement processes, but moves teams from feeling overwhelmed and discouraged in the new world of work to feeling connected and powered to work at your best. Through her Team Synergy program and her one-on-one coaching practice, she helps remote and hybrid teams overcome the challenges they face and co-create solutions together. Today's fifth event under the Hybrid Work Series is timely, as the Government of Canada continues to implement a new common hybrid workplace model for all public servants. This transition may be tough for some of us, and many are looking for vital support.
So, I'm excited today to be talking with Meg as she provides an opportunity to reflect on the shift currently underway, and the experience of transitioning to a hybrid work environment that is new for many of us. Meg will explore with us how to navigate this transition and how to integrate this change into our daily working lives. So, without further delay, Meg, over to you.
Megan Nimigon: Thank you, Monique. Hello, everyone, and welcome. We are here. I don't know if all of you know this, but this event was actually, has been rescheduled two different times. So, the first time was in April and we had that sort of out of the blue lightning storm that shut things down for just the day. And the second one was for the strike. And so, how fitting is it that we get to sit down together today and talk about the topic of change and who we want to be in the face of it? And so, just welcome to today's session entitled, "Who Do You Want to Be In the Face of Change? Navigating Challenges and Embracing Change in the Hybrid Workplace." Slide.
As was mentioned, my name is Meg Nimigon, and I am a Team Synergy Coach. I help remote and hybrid teams navigate team culture in this new world of work that we all find ourselves in, right? I want to appreciate the land acknowledgment that was already given, and I want to add that I am joining from Nogojiwanong, also known as Peterborough, Ontario, and I want to acknowledge that I live and work here as a settler on the traditional territory of the Mississauga Anishinaabeg. I also want to take a quick moment to thank the Canada School of Public Service for hosting me today, to all of the support people who made this happen through rescheduling two different times, and to our interpreters today who are helping us offer this in both French and English. So, thank you. Thank you. Slide.
So, who do you want to be in the face of change? This is really the question we're here to talk about today, and I think we can all agree that we've all been through a lot of change over the last couple of years, maybe even months, maybe even weeks, or even days. And as we look to the future, change continues to be upon us, right? Change is a part of who we are as humans. It's how we evolve, it's how we adapt, it's how we innovate. But as humans, we're actually not all that good at it, and here's why. Slide.
Our brains are designed to seek pleasure, to avoid pain, and to conserve energy. It's called the Motivational Triad. These three motivations have helped to keep us alive as a species throughout history. I want you to take yourself back a little bit, when you think about the history of humankind for a moment. And in order to survive, we needed to seek pleasure to procreate. We needed to avoid pain to stay healthy and able, right? We needed to conserve our energy in order to maintain our livelihood and be ready for any threats that might come our way. And so, the brain has gotten very good and very efficient at keeping us safe and keeping us in the familiar. And so, when we apply that conditioning to change, anything that is new, or unknown, untested, or unfamiliar, or unexpected, or anything that might mean that we're going to hit bumps along the way, maybe do things wrong, maybe make mistakes, maybe have to rethink, and reorganize, and replan ourselves, the brain is just not up for it. It doesn't align with the brain's mission to keep us alive, to keep us safe. And so, when we're hit with change, and we tend to spiral with it, and we feel a lot of resistance to it, I want you to know that nothing's gone wrong. Your brain is simply just doing its job.
Now, with that being said, this brain of ours also has the ability to create any experience that we want for ourselves. And when we learn to question the thoughts we're having about the change we're experiencing and decide whether that's the experience that we want or not, then we get to take our power back over how we feel rather than just accepting this default thinking that is programed to us to keep us safe, from a long, long time ago. And so today, what we're going to do is we're going to take a look at our thoughts around change, see what it's creating for us, and then decide whether that's the experience we want for ourselves or not. And so, I want you to be ready to engage with me. As was mentioned, we've got Wooclap going, so get on there because we're going to be doing some interactive activities here. I want you to open up a notebook later in the session and we're going to be jotting down some notes, so be ready. And my last invitation to you is to come to this conversation today with a beginner's mindset. Keep an open mind, and a learning mind, and be open to, what might be in this for me? What might I let go of in order to be fully present today? You ready? So, the way we've all been taught to think is that it's the circumstances in our lives, the things that happen outside of us, what people do, what they say, announcements that get made, the weather, all of these things have the ability to make us feel a certain way. We get a promotion, we feel accomplished. Our boss yells at us, we feel hurt. Someone compliments us, we feel proud, right? This is what we're taught. But what we're going to look at today is it's not actually the thing outside of us that's making us feel this way. What it is, is it's actually the thoughts that we're having about the thing. Slide.
[A slide appears with an image of a peach next to the text "FACT VS. STORY".]
I want you to think about a peach for a moment. So, we've got this peach. It's orange in colour, it's fuzzy, it's got a pit. We can all agree on what this peach is. This peach in our example is a fact, okay? It's something that we can all agree on to be true. But one person will look at this peach and think, "Mmm, I love peaches, like when I was growing up, my grandparents had this beautiful peach tree and I just have all these memories of going there and just eating peaches, and they were just so juicy and so delicious, and when I think about peaches, it just brings up so much joy for me." And another person will look at that exact same peach and they'll think, "Ugh, I hate peaches, when I was young, I had this... I ate a peach and my mouth got really itchy and it was just disgusting, and ever since then, whenever I think about peaches, I just feel actually repulsed." So, we have this peach, this fact, this circumstance that we have in our life, just what is. And depending on the person and the thoughts that they have about it, they're going to have a very different story about that same peach, and therefore they'll have a very different experience of it. It's the same in life. We all have a number of circumstances or facts that happen in our lives, but it's the stories we create around that fact that affects how we experience it and how we feel about it, and ultimately, what we do about it.
So today, we're going to take ourselves back a little bit to a circumstance that you all share, and this move from working fully remotely to being mandated into a hybrid model. We're going to take ourselves to the moment right before you found out, and we're going to play and explore and examine how you thought about it, how it made you feel, and ultimately what that created for you. My hope in doing this is not to tell you how you should or should not think about this - that is ultimately and always your choice - but instead to open a doorway that perhaps you may not have even known was there, that gives you the chance to step into a position of power and control over your experience rather than feeling victim to it or helpless to it. So, let's give it a go. Slide, please.
So, we have our circumstance. As of March 31st, hybrid workplaces are being implemented for all federal employees who will now be required to work on site a minimum of 40 to 60% of their schedule. Sound familiar? This is our fact. It's our peach. It's our circumstance. We can all agree that this is true. Now, I want you to go back to right before you heard this announcement. I want you to imagine yourself at your desk. Maybe you were at home. I want you to see yourself opening up your e-mail and you see the words on the screen, "As of March 31st, hybrid workplaces are being implemented." Now, without thinking too much about it, I want you to take notice of how you feel. Slide.
I want you to think about, when you opened this e-mail, how did you feel? And in Wooclap, I want you to share the emotion that comes up for you when you think of that memory.
[The Wooclap webpage is shown with the question "In one word, how does this make you feel?" in English and French. An infographic shows the most commonly submitted answers.]
You're sitting at your desk, open your e-mail, first feeling you get is: "angry", "dread", "discrimination", "content", "annoyed", "betrayed", "confused", "powerless", "inconvenienced", "apprehensive", "uncertain", "sad", yeah. I'd love to just take a moment here and just, if you put your hands on your heart instead of your keyboard and just have a pause for that. That's a lot of feelings, right? Can we go to the next slide, please?
When I go through that exercise, I feel frustrated. Now, if we go back to the teaching from earlier, slide, we think we're feeling frustrated because of the mandate, because of the e-mail. But what's actually happening, slide, is we're feeling that way because of the thoughts we're having about the mandate. Now, how do we know this to be true? Well, I want you to imagine yourself again opening that e-mail, feeling that emotion that you just shared with the group, and now ask yourself the question, why? Why do I feel that way? What is the first sentence that comes up for you? I invite you to share that in Wooclap as well. So, you've gotten your email. Can we have the Wooclap, please? Okay, our Wooclap's not working, so that's okay, we'll move forward. I want you to go through that exercise, though.
[The Wooclap webpage is shown with the prompt "Share one sentence for why you feel that way." in English and French. A long list of varying answers from participants is generated below.]
So, you've sat at your desk, you've opened the e-mail, here we go, and you felt this emotion, right? You felt frustrated, you felt inconvenienced, you felt powerless. For me, I felt frustrated. What is the sentence that comes to mind when you ask yourself, why? Why was I feeling that way? These are all emotions coming up now, and I want you to write a sentence. Here we go, seeing some sentences come through. "I was working great already at home." "I feel concerned about the financial impact." "This doesn't make sense." "I knew this was coming." Look at all of this, it's beautiful. Thank you. "I feel like I've been inconvenienced." "This doesn't change anything." "There's no logical reasoning." So, here are all the sentences that are going on in our brains that are creating this very heavy emotion for us. So, we can see here on the screen there are so many. There's such a wide spectrum of sentences. And so, we can see that we have our one announcement, our fact, our circumstance, what is, and then we have all this different thinking and experience based on the thoughts in our heads. So, can you go back to the slides, please?
And so, I want you to remember, it's not the announcement that's creating that feeling, because otherwise, we would have all written the same feeling, we would have all had the same sentence, right? It's actually the thought about it that you just shared with us over Wooclap. And I know what a lot of your brains are probably doing right now in this moment. They're probably just arguing back, right? Like, this is not real, like this is not true. It is unfair. This is frustrating. It doesn't make sense, right? Like, it feels really true. But that is why we need to remind ourselves to separate our fact from our story. "It is unfair" can't be a fact because not everyone in the world would agree on that to be true. There would be some people who would open that e-mail and they would think, "This is incredible, I've missed being downtown," and feel excited to go. One person could be like, I think I actually saw this on the screen, "I saw that one coming, I'm not surprised," and just feel neutral. Somebody new to the workforce might be like, "Two days at home, what a great deal," and feel grateful, right? So, I want to dive a little bit deeper with you here. So, if you can go to the next slide, please.
So, I want to introduce you to a tool called the Model. This is a mindset tool that was created by a woman named Brooke Castillo who founded the Life Coach School, and it's a beautiful tool to help us take all of this complexity and messiness that happens inside all of our brains and simplify it so that we can understand what it's creating for us, right? This is going to be your why. Why does this matter to me? I just want to be mad. Let me be mad. This is your why. So, the model. We've got our circumstance, right? Our circumstances are the things that happen in the world that we cannot control. Circumstances happen, we have thoughts about them. The thoughts are our sentences that happen in our minds. When we think a sentence, it generates a feeling in us, and our feeling is just a one-word description of the sensations that are caused, that are going on in our body, caused by our thoughts, not by our circumstances. What we feel is what ends up sparking all of our action. So, actions are just behaviours. They're what we do or we don't do in the world. They're all driven by our feelings. And all of these actions that we go out and do in the world creates a result for us. And results are just what we see in the world. What we see in our lives is an effect of how we act. The result will always be evidence of our original thought. And so, to demonstrate this today, I want to take you through the model using this shared circumstance of moving to hybrid work. Slide, please.
So, we have our circumstance, as of March 31st, hybrid workplaces are being implemented. Slide. We have a thought about it. So, when I go through this example for myself and I put myself in that situation, the first thought that I had was I'm not trusted, like they don't trust me. Slide. When I think the thought, "I'm not trusted," I feel frustrated. It creates frustration in my body. Slide. When I feel frustrated because I'm thinking the thought, "I'm not trusted," I want you to think to yourself, what actions would I take from that place? Like, you see me at my desk, I'm frustrated, I'm thinking I'm not trusted. How would the rest of my day play out? When I do this exercise, here's what comes up for me. I would call and complain to a friend. I would go into a negative thought spiral about the government. I would struggle to focus on my work. I would scan job sites. I would not be present in my meetings. I would complain to my partner after work. I would start thinking about the inconvenience that this is going to cause me, and imagining all of those scenarios in my head playing out. I wouldn't be spending much time considering the benefits. I wouldn't give my boss the benefit of the doubt. I don't reply to e-mails that day. I don't accomplish my goals for the day. And so, with that set of actions, the result I create for myself is I'm not trustworthy. My thought comes true. Slide. Our thoughts create our results every time. Slide.
So, I want to pause here because I've given you a lot. And I want to allow it to percolate, process. We're going to open it up for some questions. So, I'd love to hear from you. What are some "a-ha"s you might be having? What resistance is showing up for you? What needs clarification? Happy to hear anything about what's going on with you at this point. Monique, maybe you can help me with that.
Monique Ramdhan: Absolutely. I'm just looking to see when the questions start coming in. But that's really interesting, right? Our feelings create our actions and then that results in results. And so, it's a circular kind of a situation. And I guess it takes you back to mindsets and how we approach the different scenarios that we are faced with.
Megan Nimigon: That's right.
Monique Ramdhan: So, just to remind folks that if you have any questions, please feel free to raise... in the top right-hand corner, you can see the raised hand icon. That allows you to add your questions. And so, I'm happy to start asking Meg some of your questions. So, please feel free to send them in. But maybe what I'll do is I'll just take a quick skim to see if any questions are coming in while we wait. But Meg, can you provide some examples of how you... as you were speaking about hybrid work and the types of feelings that one might have, what occurred to me was the feeling of excitement, of connecting with my colleagues and my team members. I was part of a hybrid work team before and one of the things that we did often was that connection piece. Can you talk a little bit about how connection might play out in a hybrid space and how you build those relationships and connections?
Megan Nimigon: Yeah, sure. And I think if we want to bring it to this talk, I think the starting place is really what you mentioned, this excitement energy that actually has you looking forward to it. So, I think the first thing is really checking what are we even thinking about hybrid, or what assumptions am I bringing in? Because often, there are a lot of low-hanging fruit and solutions that exist in order to create connections in remote and hybrid work. But sometimes we're actually blindsided to them because our mind is telling us that it's not possible. It's like, well, we need to be in the office in order for this to work, or there's no way to build connections, right? So, we always just want to just check our thinking, do a bit of a gut check, and say, well, what am I even thinking about the ability to connect with my colleagues in a hybrid workplace, right? And if we're coming from that, to that brainstorm with a mindset of openness, of excitement, of collaboration, then I know that you're going to have a lot more great ideas percolate amongst the team, whereas if we're kind of coming at it from a place of, we can't, we can't, we can't, then you just know if our thoughts create our results, that we're going to create a situation where we don't connect, or we can't connect. So, I think a mindset is always the first piece, right? Like, just kind of gut checking, what am I thinking about it and how is that affecting the way that I'm making decisions, or how I would actually go to solve this problem. Because often, a lot of the time, teams have the solutions. They're just not actually seeing them for... seeing as easy as it can be.
Monique Ramdhan: Right, and sorry to cut you off, I see we have a question here kind of building off of that. Can you provide some examples of how you stay connected in a hybrid workplace?
Megan Nimigon: Yeah. So, what I was actually just going to get into is that when you are in that mindset of problem solving, I really... the way that I work is often believing the answer exists within the team, right? So, you want to kind of look at, well, what are we doing right now, maybe taking stock of where are we feeling connected, what's working. Always start there. And what are we longing for, like what might be missing? There's a really nice thing that I use a lot in terms of helping to build connection with remote and hybrid teams, and that's building rituals. So, if you feel like you're really missing connection, get specific. Like, where are we missing connection? Is it just sort of in everyday life or is it around particular projects, it feels like it's kind of our projects don't have a beginning, middle, and an end, we don't feel like we're all part of the same team. Is it around feedback? Is it around celebrations? Where are we missing the connection and where can we maybe create a ritual together that helps bring us together around those times? That's one way. But again, I think once you open your mind to the fact that, hey, this exists, we actually... what would it be like if it was true that we can actually connect so much more effectively in hybrid? There's lots of examples of that as well.
Monique Ramdhan: For sure, that makes a lot of sense. And so, as you were speaking earlier, and we saw the mixed emotions, the range of emotions people felt, so how would you help teams? So, one person feels frustrated and another person is excited, and the two extremes, and everything in between. How do you then get to a common ground where we could start building that excitement or be on the same page of being able to transition into that hybrid space where we're all working together and working to the same results?
Meg Nimigon: Yeah, well, I think you really want to go... this is where some of the work with teams that can be really important is really connecting back into your shared purpose, your shared values, doing some of that realignment, reconnection work. Because we all need to be moving in the same direction, right? Like, if we all have the same goal, we all want to be serving the mission that we're all doing, depending on what that team looks like. What is our shared purpose? What is our shared vision? What is our shared values? And how can we bring in each member of the team to bolster that up as much as possible? And so, I think we want to honour where people are at and we want to make space for it, but part of this training and something I want you to take away from it as an individual is how do you want to show up for your team, right? Like, if we think of a shared goal or a shared purpose, how do I want to show up to those meetings, how do I want to feel, and we're going to go into that in the next part of this talk, is actually getting really intentional about what kind of person I am in a team and how I want to show up.
But I do think there is work to be done on realigning when we move to hybrid or remote. Sometimes we can kind of feel disjointed or distributed, and we lose sight of our of our shared common goals. And so, any work you can do on bringing people together and really building a lot of clarity, really building a lot of excitement and energy around the values, around the purpose so we're all moving in the same direction. And then together, how do we find, as you... I think you used the words "common ground," is a really good one. Like, one thing I do a lot is when we're talking about different people's work preferences, we want to honour and learn about the people we work with so that we can make sure we're working in a way that makes sense for them and can be productive. And how do we then take everybody's... the way that everybody works and find common ground and come up with some rules and values that the team holds, that we all buy into?
Monique Ramdhan: Right.
Megan Nimigon: This is asynchronous, this is synchronous. This is our flexible time, this is our collaboration time, right? So, it's like holding the two, having that love and respect and space for people's individual preferences, but then also like, what is the common goal we're working towards? How do we find that common ground? And really, it comes down to collaboration with that one, right? Like, you don't want to come from the top-down and just tell people, but you do kind of want to collaborate around that, would be my advice.
Monique Ramdhan: Yeah, I think the two things that I heard or jumped out for me, it's the why you do what you do, like why are we here, and why are we delivering this service or program or what have you, in the public service? But also then, it's that team charter that we work together to build and how we work together and what works for us as a team, and what works for my team might work differently for another team. And so, it's working together to develop those tools.
Megan Nimigon: Yeah, and one thing I'll add to that is just to revisit it because we're always, as people, changing, the team is changing, and sometimes we are in hybrid or remote. Things can be changing somewhere and we're not even aware of it. And so, how can we come together, maybe quarterly, or like, that's where I come to rituals, where it's like what rituals might need to exist for us to have this embedded in the culture where we're just always re-examining, we're always opening up conversation. What's inflating the culture, what's deflating the culture, that sort of thing. So, I'll let you continue, but I think that's important to say.
Monique Ramdhan: Absolutely, that makes a lot of sense to me. It's an ongoing, evolving, evergreen thing that you as a team... because as a team, we're a living organism. And so, I just want to just highlight one question here, maybe. So, this is an interesting model, and I'm having problems reading it, and it brings up a lot of emotions. How can we apply the model when we are reacting emotionally at the same time?
Megan Nimigon: Beautiful. So, one thing I want... I'm going to do something right now, I'm going to say banana. And I'm guessing that all of you out there just pictured a banana, right? Like, I didn't tell you, okay, go ahead and picture a banana. You just did it. And the reason... so, we don't actually have control of our thoughts in the moment, right? It's just happening to us. And so, in the moment, we are just going to do our best, right? We're going to do our best. This tool is a beautiful tool to reflect and also to plan forward with. And so, I think it's talking about rationalizing something that has many emotions. So, that is good. So, a practice with this would be to just, first of all, let it happen. This is something that you would want to maybe do on your own in a reflection period. So, maybe get your journal out and actually allow yourself to go there. Just write down all of the thoughts that are coming up, all of the good, all of the bad. You can burn it after, right? Like, this is like we want to get all the ugly thinking out too, just all the angry, the hate, like all of it onto paper so that you can see it. Because something we don't do often is separate ourselves from our thoughts. We just think we are our thoughts. You don't have that connection, disconnection. So, when you have it on paper, you'll be able to see it a little bit from a different angle. And one thing I want to note is, you don't want to bypass your emotions, right?
So, we're teaching this tool today rather quickly, but if you're feeling a heavy emotion about something, then that's okay. All emotions are welcome. And it's really about taking time, feeling that, like looking at your list thinking, what is really... like, if I were to granulate this down, like what is really bothering me here, what's the thought, what's the emotion. And you can sit with it, and you can get curious with it, and you can spend time with it. And that's often where coaching comes in, holding space for that type of reflection. And then, when you feel ready, I would again, as I said, distill it down. Like, what is the thing that's really bothering me, or what's the result I'm creating right now that I really don't like, and going through... I'm going to go through the model with you next, we're going to go through this all together, and going through a model with it. So, say, okay, well, what is the thought, how am I feeling, and we'll go through it. What actions am I creating and what result is that creating, and do I like that? And then you can decide from that place whether you want to continue to think that thought... which you can always choose. You can always choose to think that way. It's up to you. But having the choice really gives you that other avenue where you're like, maybe I want to feel differently, or maybe if I want to create a different result, I need to change my thinking. So, it's not a quick... it's a tool that can be used quickly once you kind of get practice at it, but it's also just not a way to bypass feelings. Like, all the feelings are welcome but it is a tool to take some empowerment over how you're feeling. And a lot of the thinking, as I said, comes from our default survival thinking. So, sometimes when we get it on paper, we're like, I don't think that, like those are just thoughts that are coming from me, like I don't want those thoughts, I don't need those thoughts, they don't serve me here, I actually need to choose a different set of thoughts here. So, sometimes it can be easy and sometimes it will require deeper work, right?
Monique Ramdhan: Well, that's so cool and it's the importance of acknowledging your thinking and your thoughts, I think we often hear in coaching. So, with that, maybe I'll turn it back over to you to take us through the model.
Megan Nimigon: Absolutely, yeah. And thank you for these questions, and I'm seeing some more come through. So, hopefully we'll have time at the end as well.
Okay, so we've created this beautiful awareness, right? We've gone through one way, kind of our default thinking that happened when we got this news. And this is going to be something you can apply to anything in your life. As I said, change is always coming. So, we've created this awareness. This is our default thinking, the way our brain is working. And it was called... that was called an unintentional model that we just went through. It's the thoughts that are just flowing freely every single day, unquestioned and unmanaged, right? We have over 60,000 thoughts every single day. And these thoughts, I want you to know, are neither good nor bad. But when we know that our thoughts create our results in this world, can you see how important it might be to be aware of them and then to decide whether or not we want to feel that way and whether or not those are the results we want to create for ourselves, kind of what I was just speaking to in that last question? See, most of us were never taught that we had a choice, right? So, that's one big thing to sort of take away from today. So, for me, if we think of my last example, if I resent the idea of not being trusted, I certainly do not want to show up in a way that is not trustworthy, right? And so, in my case, I do want to create a different experience for myself at work. And that is when we take this beautiful awareness and we move from an unintentional model, this default thinking, and we create an intentional model, one that we choose for ourselves. And I want to do this part together.
And so, I want you now to take out your notebook, take out your piece of paper, and along the side I want you to write what you see on the screen: C, T, F, A, R. C is for circumstance, T is for thought, F is for feeling, A is for actions, and R is for result. And in your C line, I want you to write your circumstance. You don't have to write this whole thing, you can just write, "hybrid work", "the e-mail". We'll know what you're talking about. So, write your circumstance at the top. Now, I want you to ask yourself a very different question this time. How do I want to feel about this circumstance? Like, in an ideal world, if all emotions were available to you, how might you want to feel about this fact that has happened in your life? I want you to write that in your F line. So, beside the F, what emotion are you going to choose to feel about this circumstance? What do you want to feel in an ideal world? Slide, please. For me, when I go through that exercise, I would want to feel open. I would love if you'd take a moment to share in Wooclap what you chose.
[00:37:21 The Wooclap webpage is shown with the question "What emotion did you choose?" in English and French. A long list of varying answers from participants is generated below.]
"Travel", maybe you just want to take a trip and not do this, "excited", "enthusiasm", "acceptance", "happy", "hopeful", "in control", we're getting some hearts on hopeful, "optimistic", "peace", "uncertain", "excited", "positive", "ready", "curious", "calm", "joy", "content", "safe". Beautiful. So, these are the emotions that we want to feel in this moment. Slide, please.
Now, in order for you to feel truly that emotion, so in order for me to feel truly open, what thought would I have to believe to generate that feeling? Because remember, our thoughts create how we feel, not our circumstance. So, what thought would you have to believe to generate that feeling that you just shared with us? And I want to actually make a quick caveat here before you choose that sentence. So, when you choose your thought, it has to be true to you. So, I'm sure some of you have heard of affirmations, those sentences that we repeat to ourselves that we don't always believe to be true but we kind of aspire to believe them. This is not that. So, in order to generate an emotion in your body, the thought actually has to be true for you. So, for me to feel open, I couldn't choose the sentence, "This is going to be great!", right? Because I don't really believe that yet. I might not be there yet. That's too much of a leap. So, it's not about faking it, it's not about picking a thought that you think you should have, because that's just going to go ahead and create a different model altogether. You're going to create a different feeling and different actions from that place. So, when you think about your thought, think about a thought that you would genuinely believe, that would create that feeling of open, or calm, or curious, or whatever you chose there, and put that in the T line. So, for me, what I would choose to feel open is, "It's possible there could be benefits to this." Like, when I think that, I actually feel really open. It's possible there could be benefits to this. I feel open. So, what is that thought for you? Take a moment here, and when you've written it in your notebook, I'd also love for you to share it in Wooclap with us.
[The Wooclap webpage is shown with the question "What thought did you choose?" in English and French. A long list of varying answers from participants is generated below.]
What thought would you have to believe to generate that emotion? "Let's give it a shot." "I'm excited about this." "It will be nice to see people in person." "This is worth a try." "I can do this." "There are ways to work with this." There's so many good ones, they just come up so fast. I'm trying to catch them here. "I will be able to bike to work", I think I saw. Beautiful. So, keep those coming, and go to the next slide, please.
Okay, actually, can you go back a slide? We'll just take that away for right now. Okay, so, you've gotten the e-mail. You've chosen your thought. It's generated a feeling for you. Now, from that place, if I were a fly on the wall, how would the rest of your day play out? So, I want you to take a few moments now in your notebook to write down all of the actions that you would take or not take from this place of being open or being calm or being content, the emotion you chose. Put it in your A line. So, I'm feeling open because I'm thinking there's possibilities, it's possible there could be benefits to this. If I was thinking that and feeling that, what actions would show up for me? Take a moment to write that now in your notebook. Alright, slide please.
Here's what came up for me. I would go out for a walk to digest the news. I would remind myself of the places I used to love eating lunch at. I would look forward to seeing some of my colleagues in person. I would chat with my manager or staff to learn more and get more information. I would start to map out what the implications would be and how I could plan ahead for those. I wouldn't waste time in gossip. I would focus on the work I wanted to accomplish that day. I would think about the clothes I could buy now that I'll be leaving the house. And I would allow myself just to see how it all unfolds.
And what I'd create with that set of actions, slide, is I see the benefits to this, right? My thought comes true. What did you create? Write it now in your R line. I want you to take a moment now to just sit in the difference of the two experiences that we played out today. I want you to sit in the power that you do hold over how you feel and the possibilities that might exist from that place. And so, as we close, right now, you're all faced with this circumstance, all of you, something that is out of your control. And depending on who you are and what you think about it, you're all going to have a very different experience of that. And despite how anyone else chooses to think about it and despite all of your initial reactions to it, you have the power to decide what you want to make of it from today forward. And how you choose to think of that will have a direct impact on how you feel at work, but also how you feel outside of work, how you show up with your family, with your friends, with your colleagues, how you spend your time, where you put your energy, what you put your attention towards, and ultimately, as we saw today, what you create in this life that you have. And so, as I started by saying, change is just going to keep on coming, I urge you to ask yourself, slide, who do I want to be in the face of change? Thank you. I'd love to take some more questions.
Monique Ramdhan: Thanks, Meg. And just to remind folks, please feel free to ask your questions. Just go at the top right-hand corner, you have the raised hand, and you can add your questions. And I'm just seeing some questions from before, so Meg, maybe I can ask you a couple of those while we wait for some additional questions. And thank you so much for the tool. As you say, change keeps coming. It's going to be more and more complex as we move forward. But so, one question from earlier is, as a manager, how can I help my staff change the negative thoughts to the positive thoughts? And you just gave us some tools, but what are the tools that the role of a manager in supporting your teams?
Megan Nimigon: What a good question. So, I think when it comes to managing, we actually want to ask a lot more questions than we want to tell somebody how to feel, right? And even with this speech, you can see that I'm very intentional in leaving it up to you to decide. And so, I think from a manager's perspective, you want to be really curious, right? Like, when we have this understanding of mindset, we understand that everybody's coming to something with some kind of story, and that story is what's creating the feeling. And so, I think as a manager, your job is really to listen, to listen deeply, to ask questions that you can almost help the other person maybe uncover exactly what it is that's getting them to this state that they're in, and what support from you might look like for them. And so, I think my main advice would be to... when we start to understand the way that mindset works, it can also be a great empathy building tool, because we do understand that we're all these human beings that are walking around with these brains who are giving us 60,000 thoughts a day, and they're wired for survival, right? So, we all... a big thing I say with remote work is assume positive intent. So, always just assume the best of people because we also know that there's a lot going on in everybody's minds and in their lives. So, as a manager, take time to listen. I think if you're in a remote or hybrid setting, my recommendation is always to have a one-on-one with your team, with each member of your team on at least a weekly or bi-weekly basis, build that rapport, and from a management perspective, really be careful about labeling emotions as bad, but listening, really having compassion, and asking a lot of questions. And what might often happen through that, and what happens a lot in coaching, is people already kind of can solve their own problem most of the time, they just sometimes needed to vent or hear it out loud. And so, that's one tip that I would give, is really just move from this mindset of telling, and to a place of more compassionate listening, and see what comes of it.
Monique Ramdhan: That's great. And just building off that, the next question is linked. And so, I'll just read it for you. You're emphasizing the need to create common purpose, common values. How do I do that as an employee with no management responsibilities?
Megan Nimigon: Yeah, what a good question. So, two things come to mind. Number one is, take the time. If it's something that you're interested in longing for, come up with your own values and get really clear on what do I stand for, what's important to me, and does that align with this organization, this company that I'm working for. And number two is use your voice to talk to your manager about it, right? Like, this is something that people... sometimes our managers or our leaders, they are thinking about other things, right? And so, it might be a blind spot for them. They're worried about the next deadline or, we don't know. And so, if that's something that you think would be really valuable, and you think the team is kind of missing, like we're all moving in all of these different directions and it's becoming really hard to make decisions, right? Sometimes a clear indicator that we don't know our values is when it's really hard to make decisions, because we don't really know how to make a decision because we don't know what we value, right? So, I would really recommend... again, that's where relationship building is really important. And so, if we have that type of conversation with our manager where we can bring things forward like, hey, I've noticed this, and this might be a good idea, then I think you might have some traction there, but I think using your voice. And again, if you start to use the model like we went through today, you can really decide, how do I want to feel going into this conversation? Like, you can practice going into these conversations, feeling really confident, feeling really driven, and see what kind of influence you can have, and maybe you'll end up... if this is the way that you're thinking, maybe you'll end up in a leadership role or a management position if that's what you long for. So, I would say take the initiative, bring it forward, and give your reasoning why you think it's important.
Monique Ramdhan: I 100% agree, and here at the School, we believe in leadership at all levels. And so, this is a great opportunity for the participant to develop that leadership muscle. So, thank you for that. And so, I see another question here. How can we build connection when it does not seem to be a priority for many of the team members? So, you're on a team, you'd like to build connections, everyone's going around, running around, they're busy, they're doing stuff. How do you be deliberate about making those connections?
Megan Nimigon: So, my coach brain would first ask, how do you know. How do you know that they don't want connections, right? Because something that comes up in remote and hybrid work a lot is we're all creating these stories based on very small amounts of data. So, we'll see somebody on a meeting or we'll get an e-mail or we'll see somebody at the office even, if you're doing hybrid, right? And we'll just kind of make a snapshot decision. And because we're not always in an office together or always crossing paths, that story can just continue. And when our brain believes something, it just looks for all the evidence to back us up. We love being right. So, if we have a thought, nobody really wants to connect, then you're going to look for all the evidence to prove that to be true. So, the first question I would ask is, is that true? How do you know? Maybe everybody wants to connect, right? So, mindset. What would it be like if everybody actually did and I was just the person that took the first step? A second piece to that is, if it's something that's really important to you, then again, step up and do it, right? Like, I have been starting to reach out to just old people within my network to set up coffee chats. And that seems really scary at first. But every time I have them, we're both so grateful, right? So, it's something that you don't always think to make time for but can be hugely beneficial. So, I think, A is just check that assumption. My guess is people would love to connect with you. And number two is, just put it on the calendar. Maybe you just make a goal for yourself. Like if it's not... I think it should become a team priority, personally, but even if you want to start making the first steps, put a coffee in the calendar, a Zoom coffee. They're super easy, 20 minutes. Ask if you can do like a fun get to know you exercise at your next meeting. Like, just do things to kind of shake it up, and get people kind of out of that hustle, hustle, head down energy, because that is a really hard place to build relationships and trust from. So, I think you're onto it. I think it's beautiful that you have that intention, so follow that and be the change, yeah.
Monique Ramdhan: Absolutely, and I was just reminded of one team that I was part of. We had a virtual water cooler every Thursday and that was led by someone on the team. So, that was a great opportunity. And with the tools that we have now available to us, it's just so easy to do these things. Just mindful of the time, I think we might have space for one more question. Do you have any insight for bringing the team together - and I'm just trying to navigate - where some work in hybrid, others work via telework for accommodations reasons on the team. So, I guess the question is, people are working in different ways, how do you bring the team together to start building those connections?
Megan Nimigon: I think if everyone is doing an activity together, it's helpful to be remote first. So, that would mean that everybody has their own computer and we could all be in the same level playing field. Because I'm not sure about you, but when I'm in a meeting situation where some of us are online and there's people in like a boardroom having conversation that you can't really hear, it can feel very disconnected. And so, I think sometimes there's a time and place for that, like for quick meetings or things where it's maybe not... the number one priority isn't building connection. But I think if you want to build connection, making it as an equitable experience for everyone is key. Like, I'm doing a team session on Thursday where most of the team is in person, but for my workshop, we're all going online because we're going to be using Mural, I want to be able to use breakout rooms, like we want everybody to have the same experience. So, it might feel kind of funny, but it would be my recommendation, because you don't want to risk, especially if you're trying to build connections, making anyone feel like there's no point in them speaking up, like why bother, what did they say, I missed that, that sort of thing. So, I would say remote first. Especially take a look at your goals. If a goal is around connection and making sure everybody's voice is heard, things like that, remote first. Again, if it's a meeting where it's just a quick check-in and maybe it's not necessary to do that, then use your own guidance there. But yeah, make everybody feel included.
Monique Ramdhan: I love that. Thank you so much. And so, with that, I see that we're at time. Meg, I'd like to thank you so much for joining us today, for your remarks, for providing us with this tool to explore and to help us as we navigate our hybrid space. So, on behalf of the School, I'd like to thank you for being part of today's events from coast to coast. I'd also like to thank you, Meg, for joining us today, and I hope everyone enjoyed today's event as much as I did. The School has more amazing events to offer, and I encourage you to visit our website to keep up to date and to register for different learning opportunities. Also, please continue to check our Hybrid Workspace Series for future events on the topic, and I encourage you also to look at other resources on the School's website. So, for example, one of my favorites is a virtual toolkit which has a number of different tools to help you navigate being on virtual, as well as the Thrive Series which is a series for leaders at all levels that explores the theme of change, resiliency, employee engagement, empowering yourself and others, and a human-centered workplace. As always, your feedback is so important for us, so I encourage you to complete the electronic evaluation you'll receive by e-mail in the coming days. So, with that, this wraps up our event today, and thank you so much for joining us and I look forward to seeing you again another time.