How to become a “thought leader” in 12 easy steps

Apr 17, 20140 comments

Cogito ergo sum – I think therefore I am.

Need to earn credibility for your business or brand? Become an expert in your field.

In this presentation, David Zinger of the Employee Engagement Network offers 12 tips to best learn a topic, and build a solid reputation as a go-to expert.

8 ways to improve your leadership skills—starting NOW

Apr 15, 2014by Alex Somos0 comments

What does it take to be a good—even great—leader?Leadership Development - Juice Inc.

Much of it is based on how well managers, directors and executives understand, interact with and speak to their employees.

Here are eight ways leaders can strengthen their own leadership skills, increasing the likelihood of a higher performing workforce.

  1. Good leaders take initiative to get the answers they need
    An effective leader simply cannot sit back passively and let things work themselves out. Instead, people must step into the tension, ask questions, and get to the heart of the matter.
    Related post: How do I cut the crap at work?
     
  2. Good leaders know how to set the pace
    The key to successful organizational change hinges on employee buy-in. Leaders searching for the “next big thing” must refrain from quickly abandoning one initiative to endorse another—lest having the opposite desired effect on employees.
    Related post: Why “corporate A.D.D.” is bad leadership
     
  3. Good leaders understand the value of fun
    Workplaces that create a fun-friendly environment will see employees give more effort and be more innovative. The challenge for leaders, however, is ensuring they understand what is considered “fun” to their employees.
    Related post: Making fun: why fun should be part of every employee engagement strategy
     
  4. Good leaders make their team feel special and important
    There are countless ways leaders can show their appreciation—for example, by taking time frequently to recognize the positive impact their employees have on the organization.
    Related post: Making fun: why fun should be part of every employee engagement strategy
     
  5. Good leaders create a compelling picture of a future state for the team
    Leading into and throughout a project, people need inspiration. Good leaders prepare employees by providing context—a mental picture of what “success” will eventually look like.
    Related post: Prepare for impact: leadership tips for successful teams
     
  6. Good leaders understand the reality for improvisation and flexibility
    Regardless of how firmly plans are in place, projects will often go astray for any number of reasons. Good leaders can easily rebound to kinks in the system, and quickly find solutions to those problems.
    Related post: Prepare for impact: leadership tips for successful teams
     
  7. Good leaders create ease in the system
    Getting the best out of employees sometimes requires a leader’s guidance or facilitation. Good leaders can find effective, confidence-building ways to increase people’s overall performance.
    Related post: Prepare for impact: leadership tips for successful teams
     
  8. Good leaders create meaning for people
    A higher-performing work environment can be achieved when people feel a stronger sense of purpose in their work. Good leaders are able to articulate that purpose—and personalize it to each individual employee.
    Related post: Beyond tunnel vision: how building hope leads to better results

Learn about Juice’s leadership development program!

Join the Juice revolution: make every conversation count. Sign up for your Juice account for FREE access to case studies, ebooks, videos, webinars and other resources to help you significantly enhance communication across your entire organization. Reap the rewards: get your FREE Juice account today.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Climb every mountain: gamification for goal attainment

Apr 10, 20140 comments

For many of us, the image of a treadmill is symbolic of monotony and the same old boring routine.

But not for David Zinger.

David recently applied innovative gamification practices to his fitness routine. Here’s how he used gamification to successfully climb Mount Everest (well, kind of!).

Get innovating: 10 quotes to inspire you

Apr 8, 2014by Rick Boersma0 comments


Every once in a while, we all need a little lift: something that inspires us to see things differently and take positive action.

Here are our top 10 favourite quotes about innovation in the workplace—thoughts from prominent experts that reflect our own beliefs at Juice, and drive what we do.

  1. Innovation accelerates and compounds. Each point in front of you is bigger than anything that ever happened.
    — Marc Andreessen, entrepreneur and founder of Netscape
     
  2. Do you know what my favorite renewable fuel is? An ecosystem for innovation.
    — Thomas Friedman, journalist and Pulitzer Prize winning author
     
  3. For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.
    — Margaret Heffernan, entrepreneur, CEO, keynote speaker and writer
     
  4. If you look at history, innovation doesn't come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.
    — Steven Johnson, writer and website creator
     
  5. While leaders spend considerable time and effort trying to envision markets and pushing out innovation, empathy can often generate simple, yet breakthrough ideas.
    — John Gerzema, writer and corporate consultant
     
  6. The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.
    — Dr. Linus Pauling, Nobel Prize winner, chemist/biochemist, peace activist
     
  7. The things we fear most in organizations—fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances—are the primary sources of creativity.
    — Margaret J. Wheatley, organizational behaviour expert
     
  8. You have to train people how to be business innovators. If you don't train them, the quality of the ideas that you get in an innovation marketplace is not likely to be high.
    — Gary Hamel, business strategy expert
     
  9. Innovation and best practices can be sown throughout an organization - but only when they fall on fertile ground.
    — Marcus Buckingham, author, researcher, speaker, consultant
     
  10. Exploration is the engine that drives innovation. Innovation drives economic growth. So let's all go exploring.
    — Edith Widder, oceanographer, marine biologist, CEO

What are some of your favourite innovation quotes?

Interested in more innovation information?  Join our FREE webinar on Thursday April 17th.  For more information or to register - click here.

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

Juice expands to the U.S.

Mar 31, 2014by Alex Somos0 comments

Juice expansion into the USJuice is abuzz with excited energy these days—more so than usual.

Why? Not only have we hired a few new faces: we also just opened our first office in the United States!

And we’re doing it at just the right time too.

The (sad) state of today’s workplace

In fact, a recent global Deloitte report tells us:

  • Two out of three employees feel “overwhelmed” in their jobs
  • 86% of business and HR leaders believe they do not have an adequate leadership pipeline
  • 79% believe they have a significant retention and engagement problem

And to boot: 77% do not feel they have the right human resources skills to address these issues.

That’s a lot of companies—and people—in need of help...and fast.

We believe that we have the solution with our Beyond Engagement process: a self-fuelling, managers-burden-lifting, employee-enhancing and empowering experience!

Humanizing the employee experience

Juice has always had clients in the United States—but with this move, we hope to add a refreshing new (and louder) voice to all the experts calling for significant changes in the workplace.

We know that businesses can have it all: a great employee experience, a great customer experience, and great business results. However, it’s the employee experience that really drives the other two.

That’s why we urge companies to create more “humanized” environments for their employees: environments that energize people to be innovative and do their best work.

Juice: not just a business, but a cause

Our new permanent office in Claremont, California, will be run by Michael Torrie.

Although he’s our newest recruit, Michael is certainly no stranger to Juice. We know that he not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. He lives, breathes and believes in the Juice philosophy.

All of this makes our expansion even more exciting: because, like us, Michael sees Juice not just as a business, but a cause.

All of us at Juice anticipate a hectic but extremely fulfilling next few months as we—with Michael at the helm—grow our footprint in the U.S.

Stay tuned!

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

What people are really saying about Juice Inc.

Mar 27, 20140 comments

We at Juice are a pretty modest bunch. As a result, we don’t often toot our own horns.

But that doesn’t mean we’re not proud of our accomplishments. We very much are.

In fact, since 2003, we’ve helped countless organizations develop better leaders, improve communication, increase employee engagement, and create cultures of innovation.

Today, we’re letting our customers do the boasting for us. Here’s what they’ve had to say about Juice Inc.:

“[The] Beyond Engagement [program] gave us the tools and skills to help us describe how we feel about things—particularly things getting in the way of our energy levels and engagement....Before, we didn’t know how to put this stuff into words. Beyond Engagement has given us that language.” – The Co-operators Life

“We’ve improved work processes, reduced stress and friction, increased personal energy levels, enhanced accountability, and secured our ability to continue delivering high-quality care to our patients. I think it’s safe to say that our work with Juice was just what the doctor ordered.”Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance

“We are seeing a lot of positive energy when people are working together....The i5 [innovation] process is changing how people are working and thinking. The team is looking more closely at customer goals and asking, ‘Is this really what customers want?’”D&D Automation

“Juice confirmed that most of our sales people push, rather than pull. The training gave us some new language, and we were able to recognize where we could make improvements and apply the skills immediately.”PHH Arval

“Immediately following [sales training], there was this huge amount of energy. It felt great! There was that immediate connection between us and Juice.” – Northeast Mental Health Centre

“If you want your life changed, if you want your organizational life improved, then treat yourself and work with Juice.”City of Mississauga

Sales go up, [and] interactions are more meaningful....It’s been a very beneficial relationship for Bayer....we continue to learn new things from Juice every time they work with our organization.”Bayer Healthcare, Animal Health

“I think the greatest impact Juice has made in our workplace is teaching us how to have really healthy dialogue....The quality of the kind of conversations we’re having leads to better strategies, better integration, better liaising with my staff...and then we raise more money.”UNICEF Canada

“After working with Juice, everybody on our team improved, from our lowest to our highest performer. Juice helps people communicate much more effectively in any arena of life—not just sales.”Genzyme Canada

Learn more about our work with these organizations!

Sign up for your Juice account for FREE access to customer case studies, ebooks, videos, webinars and other resources to help you significantly enhance communication across your entire organization. Reap the rewards: get your FREE Juice account today.

Employee engagement: are your measurement efforts missing the mark?

Mar 25, 20140 comments

David Zinger Engagement If you don’t measure engagement, can you still manage it effectively?

Many experts would respond with a resounding “No!”—but David Zinger of the Employee Engagement Network believes otherwise. Check out his thought-provoking opinion piece on measurement.

Meanwhile, you may also want to read this Juice blog article from last year, when our own Brady Wilson touted the benefits of “energy checks” versus annual engagement surveys.

Stepping out: understanding other people’s reality

Mar 20, 2014by Brady Wilson0 comments

To say your neighbour Maria is a rose fanatic might be an understatement.

Why? Maria talks, thinks and spends all her time, money and energy…on roses.

You’re not against flowers. But inwardly, you believe Maria is a little over the edge with her rose obsession!

One day you’re having a conversation over the hedge and Maria is gushing about how beautiful her roses are. Not wanting to get drawn into a lengthy account of the latest flower show, you shut the conversation down and walk away wondering to yourself, “What is it about these roses that has her so captivated?”

A simple question

A while later, you are looking out your kitchen window. You see the back side of a few rose bushes as you peer through Maria’s hedge and again wonder, “What’s so special about those roses?”

You decide it’s time to find out.

You leave your house and make the trek to Maria’s door. You knock, wondering what you may be getting yourself into.

“Maria, I know you’re passionate about roses—but I’ve never taken the time to ask why. I’d really like to know now. Why do you love them so much?”

Entering someone else’s world

Maria instantly feels deeply honoured, and smiles.

“There are several reasons, but let me show you the main one.”

Maria leads you to her large kitchen window, which overlooks the most amazing rose garden you have ever seen—where the sights and smells hit you with equal force.

While your eyes and nostrils take in the riot of colour and fragrance, Maria begins to tell you about her earliest memories helping her mother in her rose garden back in Yugoslavia. Her mother has since passed on, and that makes those childhood memories all the more poignant.

What you’ve learned is this: Maria’s fondest memories of her entire life are infused with those lush moments in her mother’s rose garden.

Making sense of others

Now that you see and feel Maria’s reality the way she sees it, her rose obsession makes sense to you.

Your views about how she spends her time and what she talks about have undergone a big shift as a result of your newfound understanding.

But what did it take to gain this understanding?

Understanding involves effort

Before you asked Maria about her rose fascination, there were several actions you first had to take:

  1. Leave your house
  2. Walk out your driveway
  3. Walk down the sidewalk toward Maria’s house
  4. Walk up her driveway
  5. Climb her steps
  6. Knock on her door
  7. Ask if you could come in
  8. Walk into her house

Stepping out, stepping in

All the actions above—to see and feel Maria’s reality—boil down to two main ones:

  1. Step out of your world.
  2. Step into Maria’s world.

When you step into Maria’s world, it is relatively easy to see her reality the way she sees it.

However, to effectively step into another person’s world, you must first step out of your own. 

For most people, leaving our own world is brutally difficult. Why? We’re used to the feeling of security, comfort and safety.

But consider what you’re missing.

Smell the roses

Look for an opportunity to step out of your own world and into someone else’s—a colleague, an employee, one of your children, a spouse or a friend.

You’ll not only walk away with a profoundly deeper understanding of that person, but a deeper relationship with them—because you took the time to show you cared.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Ranting against employee engagement “evangelists”

Mar 13, 2014by Alex Somos0 comments

In the employee engagement field, there are many folks out there who refer to themselves as “evangelists.”

In this article, David Zinger of the Employee Engagement Network criticizes this naming convention, instead encouraging leaders to prove they can make a difference.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

A must-have for any employee engagement advocate: 580 FREE videos

Mar 11, 2014by Brady Wilson0 comments

Looking for educational, informative and entertaining videos on employee engagement?

Look no further.

The Employee Engagement Network recently created a list of almost 600 videos in its viewing library. Simply access the list for free here, scan the titles, and click on whatever appeals to you.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Not quite fully engaged: free cartoons to brighten your day

Mar 6, 2014by Brady Wilson0 comments

Not Quite Fully Engaged by John Junson

Working in employee engagement can be difficult and frustrating—but it certainly offers some laughable moments.

For a limited time, John Junson—resident designer of the Employee Engagement Network—is offering a dozen creative cartoons that you can use in your work or communications.

Did we mention that they’re free to use?

Check out this fun booklet—and let us know which cartoon is your favourite!

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Juice: what makes us different from the “other guys”

Mar 4, 2014by Alex Somos0 comments

At Juice, we know we’re a rather different breed in the business community.

But why?

Our business has never just been about business: since 2003, we have always been focused on bringing fresh and innovative perspectives to the business community—and at the same time, trying to enhance people’s working experiences.

Here’s what we do—and don’t do—that makes us different from the rest.

We DON’T talk to leaders or
employees about…

Instead, we DO talk about…

Doing more with less.

Identifying interference to create more energy and capacity in people.

Working harder.

Finding ways to create more ease and simplicity in their business.

Improving their engagement scores.

Improving people’s lived work experience, in order to create more energy and momentum among employees.

How to have Fierce, Courageous or even Crucial conversations.

Making the everyday conversations better. We encourage people to have preventative vs. repairing conversations.

How to wring out more “discretionary effort” from their people.

Creating the conditions where it feels good to work—and where it is easier to get results.

How to play political games.

Bringing a level of reality and honesty to the workplace that people find refreshing and energizing—even when the facts are hard.

Buzzwords or the newest, latest and
greatest flavor of the month.

How we need to “show up” to be more successful in life.

Being more competitive.

Giving organizations the will, skill and tools to be more successful.

Canned prescriptive outcomes.

The need for leaders to step into the everyday tensions and release inherent energy in a positive way.

How to manage people better.

The need to create partnering relationships: where the right things happen for the right reasons.

How to brainstorm new ideas that
don’t go anywhere.

An innovation process to generate and implement new and innovative solutions that solve problems and create value.

There are many voices out there, calling for change to humanize our working experiences.

I want to add Juice’s voice to that roster.

At Juice, we believe in the need to create a sustainable environment that will actually create change in organizations: where the possibility exists to get better results and have people flourish. It is the only way we are going to be able to sew together the generational chasms that exist; and the only way we can reduce cynicism and apathy.

Will you join the Juice revolution?

Join the Juice revolution: make every conversation count.
Sign up for your Juice account for FREE access to case studies, ebooks, videos, webinars and other resources to help you significantly enhance communication across your entire organization. Reap the rewards: get your FREE Juice account today.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Keep your most talented employees: build a moat around them!

Feb 25, 2014by Alex Somos0 comments

Juice Conversation QuotationsAre you worried about losing your best employees?

Some time ago, the CEO of a hospital in the U.S. came to us with that very concern.

Feeling threatened by two shiny new hospitals being built nearby, the CEO asked Juice to “build a moat around my people”—or, in other words, to keep employees from leaving the organization.

Juice immediately went to work to identify people’s intent to leave, surveying them using the Juice Check, and conducting interviews and focus groups to create a plan to retain the hospital’s top talent.

What did we find? According to employees, the most common stumbling blocks in their workplace involved conversation, connection and closing the communication loop.

Building the moat
Over the next year we worked with the hospital’s senior team, managers and supervisors—giving them the necessary skills and tools to:

  • communicate more effectively,
  • reduce friction,
  • avoid having repair conversations and
  • learn to connect with people in a more “human” way using our 5 Drivers of Engagement (now evolved into Juice’s 6 Drivers of Energy).

The following year, employees rated communication as 12% improved—and their intent to leave dropped by a whopping 22%!

Conversation…an investment that really works!
When surveys or focus groups cite “communication” as a needed improvement, we sometimes get “eye-rolling” from leaders—or the ever-popular “I have tried everything; there is nothing we can do about it” comment.

But I can tell you with certainty that if you improve communication—particularly conversation—it can have a positive and powerful domino effect that impacts many Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) including innovation, customer experience and systemic issues.

Simply put, retaining your best talent requires an investment in conversation: one that improves communication and understanding between leaders and teams.

In return, you will see your people not only flourish and want to stay with the organization, but aim to consistently improve business results.      

Join the Juice revolution: make every conversation count.
Sign up for your Juice account for FREE access to case studies, ebooks, videos, webinars and other resources to help you significantly enhance communication across your entire organization. Reap the rewards: get your FREE Juice account today.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Need to lower absenteeism? Try a little tenderness

Feb 18, 2014by Alex Somos0 comments

At Juice, we are constantly talking about “love at work”—that is, how leaders can use emotional engagement techniques to create a high-performing, profitable organization.

So imagine my delight when I saw this article in the Wall Street Journal!

A recent University of Pennsylvania study proves exactly what we’ve been saying all along: that “compassionate love” can help businesses lower employee absenteeism and increase employee satisfaction.

Through small acts of kindness—even something as simple as bringing a cup of coffee to an employee who has been working late—leaders can cultivate a warm and caring environment where employees are inspired to do their absolute best work.

Studies like this only serve to reinforce what we at Juice have firmly believed for more than a decade: that tapping into people’s emotional needs is the key to energizing them, and reaping all kinds of business benefits.

Get your FREE copy of Love At Work!

February is Love Month at Juice Inc.! Create an online account with Juice through the end of February, and receive your own FREE web version of Brady Wilson’s Love At Work: Why Passion Drives Performance In The Feelings Economy. This free offer is a value of $23.95. This offer is only available until February 28: get your copy today!

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Why is there no “I” in Employee Engagement?

Feb 13, 2014by Alex Somos0 comments

Employee engagement is about every single person taking responsibility and accountability for his or her actions.

So why is there no “I” in “employee engagement”?

In this article, David Zinger of the Employee Engagement Network shares just how important the “I” is to ensuring a positive, happy and productive workplace.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Viral emotions: they’re good for you!

Feb 11, 2014by Brady Wilson0 comments

Juice_The_Power_of_ConversationImagine your friend comes to you, lauding the amazing results she’s getting from a wonder drug she takes every morning.

She used to have difficulty connecting with people. Now, she establishes an easy rapport within minutes; and receives people’s trust, information and commitment without question.

Do such wonder drugs exist? Yes—but not in pill form.

In fact, they’re already stored inside your body.

All of us come equipped with hormones that—when triggered and released—have a remarkable effect on our ability to create trust in and fascinate people.

The limbic system of your brain—also known as the emotional centre—is an open-loop system. What does this mean? Emotions can be contagious.

Think about it: someone’s tears or a smile can trigger an involuntary sympathetic reaction in you. Similarly:

  • One team member’s strong, buoyant mood may affect one person after another, until the whole team is feeling upbeat; or
  • Another member’s critical, negative mood can equally infect an entire team in destructive ways.

Face-to-face conversation

The book Primal Leadership discusses this “open-loop phenomenon”—specifically, how emotions spread between people when they communicate face-to-face.

Interestingly, studies show that during a good conversation, the heart rates of two people can actually begin to mirror each other.

What does this mean? If you want to regulate another person’s emotions, speak to them face-to-face.














Of course, today’s business world doesn’t always allow for in-person communications. Stay tuned for a future post, when I will offer tips on how to compensate for lack of face-to-face communication—and still reap the benefits.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Your morning laugh: how professions disengage

Feb 6, 2014by Alex Somos0 comments

Cooks who can’t stand the heat. Florists who fail to bloom. Photographers who lose their focus.

No single industry is immune to employee disengagement—which provides opportunities for some great word-play activities.

Check out this fun list from David Zinger of the Employee Engagement Network. Got anything to add? (We would like to mention writers who are blocked.) Share with us!

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Lightning Lesson: Partner with your employees—don’t parent!

Feb 4, 2014by Brady Wilson0 comments

Why do managers treat their employees like children—and what impact do their actions have on the day-to-day actions of those employees?

Without even realizing it, business leaders often exhibit one of two “parenting” approaches: being overbearing and authoritative, or taking the load off other people’s shoulders. But neither approach works—not when employees desire challenge and a sense of accomplishment. As a result, those employees simply won’t be able to do their best work.

In this Lightning Lesson, David Zinger and I discuss how managers can stop parenting and instead focus on partnering with their employees—and reap the business benefits of doing so.

To access Lightning Lessons, create a FREE Juice account.  You will also gain access to other resources, including white papers, webinars, ebooks and more!
 

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

19 antiquated employee engagement approaches

Jan 30, 2014by Brady Wilson0 comments

My 2 Cents - David Zinger The approach to employee engagement has evolved over the last few decades, yet some organizations continue to cling to and rely on antiquated concepts and tools.

David Zinger of the Employee Engagement Network lists 19 outdated approaches that simply no longer work—and makes a solid argument for changing our mindset where engagement is concerned.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

People don’t do things to you, they do things for themselves

Jan 28, 2014by Alex Somos0 comments

Years ago, my childhood friend’s mother Pauline Steinbach said one of the wisest thing I’ve ever heard.

My friend came home in tears one day to tell his mother he had been bullied. He explained it to her as “they did X, Y and Z to me.”

His mother gave him a hug, and then comforted him, calmed him down and then said these words: “Honey, people don’t do things to you. They doJuice - The 5 Driving Needs things for themselves.”

Pauline was so right. When a person acts out on another, it’s got less to do with the target and more to do with themselves dealing with their own unfulfilled needs—things they want, but are unable to attain. And so, they act out using unskillful expressions such as bullying and backstabbing.

Whenever I find myself in a situation where I feel I’m being judged or blamed, I often think of Pauline’s words of wisdom and ask myself:

  • What is it that this person is really looking for?
  • What is it that they need?
  • What are they looking to fill?

It may not always be possible to uncover another person’s unmet needs. But by taking Pauline’s words to heart, we can lessen the unnecessary blame or onus we often place on ourselves as targets—and reduce the level of interference affecting our self-image and productivity.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Looking for inspiration?  7 ways to get your creative juices flowing.

Jan 21, 2014by Rick Boersma0 comments

Have you ever hit a major mental block?Metamorph_Rick_Boersma_2014

Don’t be too hard on yourself: nobody can be creative or innovative all the time. And the good news is that inspiration will eventually come. Sometimes, all your brain needs is a jumpstart.

Today I’m sharing a few techniques I personally use to get my creative juices flowing. Got any others to add? Tell me in the comments below!

Remove stress

1.  Secure some down time. It’s difficult to be innovative when you’re constantly on the go. Secure some “incubation time” for yourself, to make time for mental relaxation. Can’t get away from it all? Make the shower your incubator—lock the door, spend a few extra minutes in there, and let the ideas flow! In fact, you can purchase various note-taking solutions for in the shower: just Google “shower whiteboards.”

2.  Sleep! Yes, it sounds simple. But proper sleep is critical to our ability to be creative. Not only that: studies show that sleeping on a problem actually helps people find better solutions. Makes a nice argument for installing a nap room in the workplace, don’t you think?

Manage your time differently

3.  Use the Pomodoro technique. It’s hard to stay focused on a particular task, let alone trying to be creative when you’re only thinking about getting something done! I like to use the Pomodoro technique, which gives my brain a bit of a rest/creative boost inbetween 25-minute periods of work. You can learn more about the technique here.

Do stuff!

4.  Read. Reading helps us see the world differently. You don’t have to read about innovation to be innovative (or about creativity to be creative). Read fiction, non-fiction, articles, reports, and blogs. See what your friends, colleagues and industry gurus are sharing on social media. You just may read something that sparks an idea in you.

5.  Get physical. Research shows that regular exercisers do better on creativity tests than their more sedentary peers. Personally, I enjoy swimming and cross-country skiing—not only is it good for me physically, but it also has meditative qualities that allow me to move my thoughts away from the usual stresses of life.

6.  Listen to (or play) music. It’s not just classical music that’s good for the brain: strangely enough, listening to bubblegum pop music (like Miley Cyrus!) also seems to have a positive influence on our ability to be creative.

7.  Doodle. A blank page can be frightening! I cope by doing random mindless doodles for a few minutes. Often, I begin to see a pattern in the doodles, and will then morph that doodle into an actual drawing — allowing me to access the more creative side of my brain. The doodle usually has nothing to do with what I’m working on; I do it to shift my mind from task-mode to creative-mode.

Happy innovating!

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

How to be understood in half the time

Jan 14, 2014by Brady Wilson0 comments

Emotional Tank - How to be understood in half the timeTwenty years ago, someone gave me and my wife a gift that shaped the destiny of our children. 

It was a book that contained one simple principle we've been using for the past two decades: every child has an emotional tank. When their tank is full, children have a great capacity for being happy, understanding you and obedient. But when their tank is low, they tend to be unhappy, find it difficult to understand, and are inclined to disobey.

But how does this apply to business?

Every adult has an emotional tank too. And when adults’ emotional needs are met, they seem to understand things much more quickly.

I first discovered this myself when I was learning a new procedure:

  • When I felt respected and understood by others, my capacity to understand shot through the roof; but
  • When I felt put down and patronized, it was almost as if a dark curtain was drawn over my eyes. I just couldn't get it!

Then, I realized it wasn't my fault.

As I double-checked myself, I recognized that I was bringing an eager desire to learn, an open mind and a willingness to understand.

But it wasn’t about me—I eventually saw that others were also having difficulties understanding the same “teachers” I was struggling with.

The problem lay with the messenger.

Fill that tank!

If you are trying to communicate something with the objective of getting a task done, there are four tank-filling steps you can do to produce quick understanding.

  1. Connection
    Connection is a hard commodity to analyze, but it's made up of a mixture of credibility, openness, empathy and genuine caring for people.

    You know when you feel it, and you know when you don't—and others sure know when you're connecting with them. In my work as a professional trainer, I spend a lot of upfront time getting inside the frame of reference of the people I'm going to be presenting to. Somehow, knowing and feeling what they're dealing with and going through helps me create a quick spark of connection.
     
  2. Framing
    Frame your message in a way that appeals to your people’s interests. For example:

    “I was sitting at my desk the other day, Gail, and I was thinking about you. I was remembering how busy you usually are, how many urgent last minute phone calls you get, how many responsibilities you have to juggle from day to day and all of a sudden I got an idea that I think would save you a lot of time. Would you like to hear about it?”

    If I was Gail, I'd be pretty open to understanding what this idea was all about. You framed your proposal in the context of my daily reality. That makes you a little bit credible—and a little bit of trust starts to flow.
     
  3. Word pictures and stories
    A senior executive once invited me and two others to a meeting, and began introducing us to each other.

    “Marilyn is here because she is a coach who's had a proven history of coaching senior executives in our organization. Bill is a long-time friend who brings extensive expertise in the areas of strategic planning and dealing with executives. And Brady? Well, I don't really know Brady, but he's here because we connected for five minutes in my office one day, and then he wrote this funky story about me that told me he really got it. Besides that, Carol recommended him—and when Carol recommends someone you take notice.”

    The story I had written was about a female knight who chose to fight without armor. It told of her wisdom of getting her fellow knights on board without creating needless resistance. The story caught the executive’s attention because it captured some of the real-world struggle she was facing. I took time to put myself in her frame of reference and write the story—and I believe it filled her tank a bit. I think it created some understanding about my philosophy and values in a very short time-span.
     
  4. Inquire into others’ conclusions
    My credo is that “people will tolerate your conclusions, and act on their own.” 

    When you are seeking to be understood quickly, it is tempting to dump the whole load without stopping to see how you and your message are being perceived.

    One simple question can help you sidestep unnecessary resistance: “how does this sit with you so far?” Asking this tells the other person something important: that you care what they think, and you're willing to stop and let them catch up.

Don’t skip a step!

Remember: when you feel resistance, do not try to bulldoze ahead. Why? It will take you twice as long to achieve understanding.

The next time you need to get understanding across quickly to a listener, connect with them, frame your message to appeal to their interests, use word pictures and stories, and inquire into their conclusions. If there is resistance, reflect back the essence of the feeling in your own words.

Doing this will help you become understood in half the time—and let you get back to your work.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Employee engagement: you are needed

Jan 7, 2014by Alex Somos0 comments


Do you employees know that they are an integral part of your team or business—that is, that they are needed?

In this article, David Zinger of the Employee Engagement Network explains how doing something so basic—simply letting people know their value to your organization—can be a powerful motivator, and even improve engagement.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

What’s a four-letter word for “work”?

Jan 2, 2014by Alex Somos0 comments

My colleague Rick Boersma discussed our knowledge partner David Zinger’s innovative approach to crowdsourcing.

Here is an example of what David often does when he asks for feedback from his more than 6,000 followers: he creates an ebook.

So what’s your four-letter word for work? Mine would be Ease.  I believe that if we can create more ease in our environments and our systems, people would have more capacity and energy to get the important work done.

Join the Employee Engagement Network! Get FREE access to videos, forums, discussion groups, articles and ebooks written and contributed to by engagement experts worldwide. More than 6,000 experts are members—join now to get in on the conversation!

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Award winners!

Dec 19, 2013by Alex Somos0 comments

Employee Engagement Network Award 2013We are very proud to announce that Juice has received the 2013 Special Engagement Recognition Award from the Employee Engagement Network.

Juice has been recognized for contributing to initiating and fostering knowledge partnership in employee engagement, and supporting the ongoing development and growth of the network.

As the EEN’s first knowledge partner, we have helped to recruit new members to the network, published blog posts and initiated dialogue with a 50-word case study, and offered “Lightning Lessons” to professionals interested in employee engagement.

According to the awards announcement, “Because of Juice’s support, the network will be moving forward into being a top education and recognition site for engagement in 2014.”

Sounds good to us! Thanks to David Zinger of the EEN for this special honour.

For a list of other award recipients, click here.


 

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Happy holidays!

Dec 18, 2013by Alex Somos0 comments

Christmas 2013 Juice Inc.It’s here again: the bustling, beautiful, blessings-filled holiday season.

This is always a favourite time of year for many—myself included! It’s a time of goodwill, sharing with others, and giving thanks for the many amazing things we experienced and people we came to know over the last year.

As much as possible, the Juice team tries to “do good” in the local and larger-world community. We decided this year that, in lieu of sending holiday cards to clients, we will share our own blessings by donating money to the following two charities:

  • Kiva: An international non-profit micro-financing organization that connects lenders with borrowers, with the objective of alleviating poverty.
  • Guelph Vineyard: Over the last eight years, my local church has been going down to Mexico—supported by many other churches and volunteers who not only donate their time, but also pay their own way! Through people’s generosity of time and finances, we have built 16 homes, three school buildings and one pre-school! Juice’s donation will go toward the future building of a school or home in Baja, Mexico.

    On behalf of Juice, I want to send all our best wishes for this festive period and, more importantly, for the New Year.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Lightning Lesson: Don’t run away from business tension - step into it!

Dec 17, 2013by Brady Wilson0 comments

Juice & EEN: Lightning Lessons on Work - TensionTension in the workplace can be scary, frustrating and stressful. No wonder so many managers avoid it!

But within tension hides a latent treasure that many people are unaware of—and that treasure is energy.

In this Lightning Lesson, David Zinger and I explain how tension can be a good thing, and how managers can actually use and adapt it to improving business practices and relationships.

To access Lightning Lessons, create a FREE Juice account.  You will also gain access to other resources, including white papers, webinars, ebooks and more!
 

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Employee engagement 2.0: what’s next?

Dec 12, 2013by Brady Wilson0 comments

Half a century ago, organizations thought it was important to measure employee satisfaction. Then retention became the rage. Then businesses shifted their gaze to engagement.

As you know, we at Juice believe that employees can be engaged but not energized. That’s why we focus on energy—and why we see Beyond Engagement as the “next generation” of employee engagement.

But we’re not the only ones predicting what’s next. Check out this article by global employee engagement expert David Zinger, to see where others in the industry see the trend going.

Join the Employee Engagement Network! Get FREE access to videos, forums, discussion groups, articles and ebooks written and contributed to by engagement experts worldwide. More than 6,000 experts are members—join now to get in on the conversation!

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

How to engage the project team (in 50 words or less)

Dec 10, 2013by Alex Somos0 comments

A few weeks ago, Rick Boersma told you about an innovative crowdsourcing activity, in which our own Brady Wilson posted the following “conundrum” on the Employee Engagement Network:

The Case: Engaging the Project Team

Bethany, the team leader, felt the diffuse and daily corrosive tension. Ron, her project sponsor, was fretting about the numbers, Sally and Danica were locked in constant conflict, and Andy’s mind was more on coaching his son’s team than work. How can Bethany engage a team with this much tension?

Check out the just-released ebook (it’s free!), which incorporates the “best of the best” responses from professionals working and interested in employee engagement issues.

Join the Employee Engagement Network! Get FREE access to videos, forums, discussion groups, articles and ebooks written and contributed to by engagement experts worldwide. More than 6,000 experts are members—join now to get in on the conversation!

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Happy 10th anniversary, Juice Inc.!

Dec 5, 2013by Alex Somos10 comments

What could you possibly invest 87,600 hours into, which leaves not just you but thousands of others feeling energized?

How about an amazing company?

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Juice Inc. And as I consider the last decade, I can honestly say those 10 years (or 87,600 hours) have been some of the most difficult times in my life—but also some of the absolute richest.

As I let the last decade sift through my fingers, I reflect on all the amazing people Juice has had the privilege of working with. We discovered over the years that there is one common trait among just about all of our customers. It’s not common industries or market segments or the size or age of the company, nor of the individuals: it is something more profound, and ultimately this characteristic gives me hope.

The one shared trait is this: they want to make a difference!

The folks we have worked with are passionately committed to the betterment of their people and their organizations. They know that nothing great is ever achieved without significant effort. They believe they can achieve great business results and create energized work environments. They choose to stand in the tension of those competing priorities in order to create something meaningful and empowering. Many times, they have been able to challenge “Corporate ADD” and sound the trumpet charge towards a healthier, happier and more productive culture.

The Juice team is extremely driven to support change agents. We receive cards, emails and calls from some of our clients and workshop participants, which fuel our burning passion to continue to be better every day. We never forget the success stories people tell us of their personal and professional lives: we hold those up as the masterpieces that we have had the privilege to help paint!

In the last 10 years, Juice has printed over 10,000 copies of our books. That is 10,000 lives potentially impacted by our work. But in reality, the number may be closer to 30,000 (!) when you think of all the events and learning sessions, keynotes and conferences that we have attended where books were not even distributed.

When Brady Wilson and I founded Juice, it was with a deep belief and conviction that we needed to do this, to help our world be a better place; and to champion the skills, knowledge and heart required to move people and businesses from where they are to where they need or want to go.

Very few organizations in our field share Juice’s vision, which is to sit amidst the tension to see employees achieve great business results and go home at the end of the day with more energy to contribute to their families, significant others and community. Sometimes I think we are crazy: we want to eat our cake, but we don’t want to get fat!

And now, I earnestly believe we are at the cusp of a new chapter for Juice: a coming of age, if you will. I have a sense of anticipation about what the future looks like for us, and I continue to hold the longing and anticipation of making a greater contribution in the next 87,600 hours!

Again, to those who have journeyed with us over the last decade: I give you my heartfelt gratitude and challenge you to not falter but be stronger and better!

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Lightning Lesson: interference, flow and work

Dec 3, 2013by Brady Wilson0 comments

We at Juice are so excited to be the inaugural knowledge partner with the Employee Engagement Network. EEN founder David Zinger’s Lightning Lessons on Work are short, to-the-point and informative interviews about engagement that you can integrate into your daily work life.  We are thrilled to participate in these Lightning Lessons and hope you will have some “a-ha!” learning moments as we take you through them. 

Today's Lightning Lesson is about interference, flow and work.

Things like bullying, too much bureaucracy or too many distractions can interfere with employees’ ability to give all they have. How can managers create the conditions where such interferences are lessened, giving employees a chance to be more productive and successful?

In this Lightning Lesson, I share how managers can build environments that encourage “state of flow,” allowing people to do their best work.

To access Lightning Lessons, create a FREE Juice account.  You will also gain access to other resources, including white papers, webinars, ebooks and more!

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

An innovative way to crowdsource

Nov 28, 2013by Rick Boersma0 comments

Employee Enagement NetworkAs Juice’s innovation practice leader I’m always looking for new ideas—particularly new ways of doing things.

So, I was extremely impressed when Juice co-founder Brady Wilson paired with our knowledge partner David Zinger of the Employee Engagement Network, to ask forum members for engagement-related case studies...in  50 words or less.

If you’ve read case studies, you know that they are NEVER 50 words or less. But this is an exception.

Taking innovation even further, David also frequently gathers feedback stemming from these types of crowdsourcing questions, and creates ebooks reflecting their insights.

Take a look at the conversation that Brady got going—the final ebook will be posted December 9th!

Join the Employee Engagement Network! Get FREE access to videos, forums, discussion groups, articles and ebooks written and contributed to by engagement experts worldwide. More than 6,000 experts are members—join now to get in on the conversation!

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

“Yeah, but…”

Nov 26, 2013by Alex Somos0 comments

Yeah, but...Are you a naysayer?

I’m talking about people who immediately poke holes in any great idea, rather than first consider the idea’s potential for greatness.

I was recently at a conference where naysayers were in abundance: business leaders struggling to improve employee engagement, but who wouldn’t embrace the options and strategies presented to help solve their problems.

Part of their issue may have been them feeling like something was being done to them, or that they were “change-fatigued” and could not embrace the opportunity. All that said, we all do have a choice…

Among their arguments to the presenters:

“Yeah, but you don’t have so-and-so to deal with...”

“Yeah, but you don’t work where I do...”

“Yeah, but...”

It was a frustrating exercise in futility.

Rather than being open and truly examining possibility, the majority of attending leaders instantly closed themselves off—instead accepting impossibility from the get-go.

How can change and innovation ever happen when the people in charge only look at reasons not to?

Instead, “unguarded openness” is what leaders must aspire to: an open mind that allows for new ideas to flourish and positive change to occur (such as dramatically improving employee engagement).

The next time your gut reaction to an idea is “Yeah, but...,” stop yourself and take time to truly consider it. You may eventually decide it’s not the best option; but at least you approached it with an open mind and heart.

And who knows: by changing your attitude to look at things with unguarded openness, you just may stumble across something amazing someday—something that will make a significant difference in the evolution of your organization.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Juice and the Employee Engagement Network: partners!

Nov 21, 2013by Brady Wilson0 comments

Juice Knowledge Partner - Employee Engagement Network
David Zinger and I recently recorded a conversation for all EEN members. We discussed how Juice is the EEN’s inaugural knowledge partner, and David gave me an opportunity to introduce Juice as an “energy company” to engagement employee experts worldwide.

Check out this video to learn more about Juice, the organizations we’ve been privileged to help, and my (unscripted!) comments about how each Juice team member affects my own energy.

Join the Employee Engagement Network! Get FREE access to videos, forums, discussion groups, articles and ebooks written and contributed to by engagement experts worldwide. More than 6,000 experts are members—join now to get in on the conversation!

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Beyond Engagement #10: Orchestrate integration

Nov 19, 2013by Brady Wilson0 comments

This is it: the final tenet of the Beyond Engagement philosophy!Juice Inc - Conversation

Since April, I’ve shared many reasons why organizations must begin looking beyond traditional engagement efforts—as well as how people can begin to make that critical mind shift.

But now, you may be thinking, “How the heck can I fit all these (fabulous) ideas into my already jam-packed day?”

Breathe! Beyond Engagement is simply an “operating system” (O/S) to create ease in every single people-managing activity.

And that operating system is conversation.

How so? Conversation drives every “app” in your workplace: sales, customer service, innovation and problem-solving, to name a few—all powerful apps that can quickly unravel if conversation isn’t operating properly.

This is where all the ideas from previous Beyond Engagement articles (see below for a list!) begin to converge to make your life easier.

Simply put, by applying tenets 1 through 9 (and now 10) to performance evaluations, coaching, mentoring and the like—that is, engagement initiatives you are already doing—you can effectively deepen relationships, produce better results, and create more energy in your work environment.

Join the conversation!

Of course, we’ve only scratched the surface of all things Beyond Engagement. I encourage you to join in on the conversation below, share your thoughts and experiences, and learn more about the program.

Juice has helped many organizations large and small move beyond engagement toward cultures brimming with sustainable energy. Could yours be next?

Missed any of the exciting Beyond Engagement blog series?

Bookmark this page for future reference!

#1: Manage energy, not engagement

#2: Minimize surveys; maximize energy checks

#3: Switch from parenting to partnering

#4: Move toward tension

#5: Tap into what matters most

#6: Remove interference

#7: Create felt support

#8: Unlock emotional engagement

#9: Release innovation 

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Put your best (innovation) foot forward: begin with filter criteria

Nov 12, 2013by Rick Boersma0 comments

Juice Innovation - Identification
As I’ve discussed in previous blog articles, the Juice i5 Process is a strategic five-stage process and toolkit that fuels innovative thinking.

That process begins with the first “i” – the Identification of problems and needs, reframing them as opportunities to achieve maximum potential.

But wait! Before your group gets excited coming up with ideas, it is critical that everyone agrees on something first:  what will eventually constitute the “best” innovation possible. (or, “how will we know which idea is the best?”)

And that is where filter criteria come in.

Happy housing hunting

Think of it this way: if you and your spouse are buying a house, you must be on the same page as to what makes the best house—or, the home that will make you most happy.

For example, your top criteria may be cost, acreage, and whether there is a finished basement.

But to ensure all parties are content with the eventual purchase decision, everyone needs to be applying the same filter criteria. Why? Because:

  • Doing so helps to narrow your focus in the search for a home (or coming up with an idea); and
  • When faced with several options, agreed-upon criteria will help evaluate the better ones...and, eventually, the best one.

Innovation criteria

The same philosophy applies to innovation. Before your organization begins coming up with ideas, you need to ensure everyone is doing so based on the same agreed-upon criteria.

Such standards may include:

  • Cost—to build a prototype and/or implement an idea
  • Originality—of an idea to help distinguish from the competition
  • Ease of execution
  • Scope
  • Customer centricity
  • Impact
  • Ability to build and/or implement the innovation internally; and/or
  • Alignment with strategic priorities

Establishing and agreeing upon criteria from the very beginning has two very important business benefits:

Getting started: prioritizing criteria

Bear in mind that some people may place more importance on certain criteria than others. For example, one person may perceive “cost” as more critical than “impact” in determining a successful innovation.

This is where prioritization and open discussion come in.

Bring all parties together and give them five Post-it notes each. Ask every person to individually write down one criterion on
each piece of paper (totalling five criteria). Then, ask them to stick their ideas on a wall.

Each criterion serves as a discussion point for establishing your top criteria. Talk candidly with your team about what is most important in determining a successful innovation. Then, arrange your top three (or more) in order of priority.

Congratulations! You’ve now got a list of criteria to work from—and revisit, again and again throughout the entire innovation process.

Happy innovating!

Want to know more about innovation? Sign up (for FREE) for Rick Boersma's Graphic Innovation Guide.  Receive chapters as they are produced until the book is complete. In exchange, we seek your feedback to make the final product the best it can be. Click here for more information about the Graphic Innovation Guide.

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

Beyond Engagement #9: Release innovation

Nov 5, 2013by Brady Wilson3 comments

RU Smarter Survey, Juice Inc - Beyond Engagement, Releasing InnovationIf you’re like the majority, you (and your employees) are probably “smarter” around some people than around others.

At Juice, we’ve asked clients why this is so—and what others do to “dumb them down.” Here are the most common responses we’ve heard:

  • “They shoot me down before I can develop my thoughts”
  • “They dismiss or discount my point of view”
  • “They interrupt or talk over me”
  • “They check out and disengage while I’m talking”

Another question we’ve asked clients is “If the people who make you feel smart get 100% of you, what percentage do the people get who dumb you down?” In most cases, respondents estimate between 30% and 60%.  (To participate in the "R U Smarter Survey?", click here.)

What does that mean? 40% to 70% of their brain power is being left on the table.

When it comes to innovation, that’s a problem. Why? Because it’s that unused brain power that fuels people’s ability not only to come up with breakthrough ideas, but to implement them.

Innovative effort

Consider what happens when a customer complains:

  • The satisfied employee will meet the customer’s need.
  • The engaged employee will meet the need, uncover the root cause, identify the inadequacies of the process, and share them with the manager.
  • The energized employee will do all of the above—then come up with an innovation that gets to the root cause of the issue, and use their influence skills to get the innovation implemented.

It’s energy—innovative effort—that transforms ideas into results, by unlocking and implementing breakthrough ideas.

But the only way you can achieve that is by creating the conditions in which people feel smart.

Interest, openness, understanding

Managers can set the tone for an “I.O.U.” culture in their team by showing employees intense Interest, unguarded Openness, and deep Understanding.

Such a culture can have a profound effect on people for two reasons:

  • It can eliminate the threat out of conversations—removing interference that shuts people down.
  • It can unlock the feel-good hormones that make people smarter—including dopamine and serotonin.

In short, when your team sits around the meeting room table, are comfortable, stress-free and focus-filled, it’s not a stretch to believe that innovation, collaboration and breakthrough solutions will easily flow.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Don’t wait for motivation: go get it!

Oct 29, 2013by Alex Somos2 comments

In a previous blog article, I wrote about looking at unfulfillment as a motivator.

But what if you’re the type of person who waits for motivation to just...happen?

Reality check: unlike what they say, good things don’t generally come to those who wait.

When you’re in a vacuum, it’s hard to feel motivated. But the only way to leave that vacuum is to take a step out of it, and do something.

Big or small, that metaphorical step is a positive move forward. Why? Because it creates a sense of momentum which, compounded with a surge in energy, can go on indefinitely.

If you’re feeling stuck, unproductive and lacking in that motivational energy, consider doing one or both of the following things:

  1. Create a to-do list
    It may sound incredibly simple...because it is! Creating and updating your own to-do list is a great way to give you a sense of accomplishment. With each item you cross out, you not only get things done: you consequently become more optimistic about the likelihood of things going your way (versus waiting for things to happen). And that is a powerful motivator.
  2. Begin managing your time differently
    At the beginning of the year and for three months, I began documenting in 15-minute increments the things I was spending my time on. This wasn’t a make-work project: I simply wanted to prioritize my responsibilities and ensure my time was reflecting my personal values (such as giving back to my community locally and internationally).When I looked at the results, I felt a sense of accomplishment, alignment and also identified opportunities to manage my time more efficiently, thereby becoming more effective.
  3. Create a group or find an accountability partner
    To move forward purposely, I find it invaluable to work with an accountability partner who can encourage and keep me motivated.
  4. Find a professional coach
    It may cost you some money, but timely support and advice will help you identify the way forward and you get there faster.

Motivational quotes about…motivation

Still feeling stuck? I’ll leave the last word to some of the experts: successful people and organizations that never waited for motivation to just “hit” them:

Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.—William B. Sprague

Get going. Move forward. Aim High. Plan a takeoff. Don't just sit on the runway and hope someone will come along and push the airplane. It simply won't happen. Change your attitude and gain some altitude. Believe me, you'll love it up here.—Donald Trump

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.—Walt Disney Company

You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.—Henry Ford

Little by little, one walks far.—Peruvian proverb

Now, get moving!

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Without implementation, there is no innovation

Oct 22, 2013by Rick Boersma0 comments

Are you the type of person that sees something through to the very end?

That is, are you an implementer?

If not, don’t feel too bad: most people aren’t natural project managers.

And that’s become very clear to us as Juice has worked with companies seeking to be more innovative, as they go through the i5 Innovation Process. Organizations often embrace and dive right into the first four steps of the i5 with vigor. It’s just that last step—Implementation—that continues to be the runt of the litter, so to speak.

As a result, we’ve seen organizations have great ideas eroded for reasons including:

  • Lack of support, because a business case for the solution hasn’t been made properly;
  • Not aligning the resources required for implementation;
  • Getting mired in the paralysis of conventional project planning; and/or
  • Failing to achieve (and demonstrate) incremental progress. 

In other words, without the ability to set your project into motion—that is, to implement it—your great idea can’t go anywhere.

But here’s the good news: you don’t have to be a savvy project manager to get things done. In fact, there are many easy-to-use and effective tools that can help real teams bring their innovations to fruition—provided someone owns and takes responsibility for that last step of the innovation process.

Let’s explore each of those tools, shall we?

  1. Van Gundy’s implementation checklist. This classic logical checklist identifies all the obstacles you are likely to face as your team begins implementation—things including policies, financial constraints, personnel, technological weaknesses and the like.
     
  2. Strategic Gameplan. To have your innovation Floworks - Strategic Gameplan Innovation Toolrealized, you’re going to need support. The Strategic Gameplan is a large graphical template that helps you create and present a high-level business case to stakeholders. It allows you to address:
    1. Your solution, and the problem that it will solve
    2. Measurement—that is, how you will measure and track success
    3. Resources needed
    4. Steps for implementation – in other words, how you’re going to get it done.
       
  3. Scrum. No, I’m not talking about the daily Q&A media sessions at Parliament Hill!  Scrum is an agile software tool that breaks down large projects into small “bursts.” The software is “agile” in that it can address and adapt to unpredictable challenges throughout the course of an implementation. It’s also useful because it feeds team momentum, and concretely shows success.
     
  4. Prototyping. There are various types of prototypes, and here we’re specifically talking about “rapid prototyping.”This is a tool for testing out ideas and learning from low-cost failures. In concert with the Strategic Gameplan and Scrum, prototyping allows you to not only gain support and move your idea forward, but to improve it in the process.

Don’t spend all that time and effort on an innovation, only to hit a dead-end once implementation time rolls around. Take control of implementation—and reap the rewards of your breakthrough idea.

Happy innovating!

Want to know more about innovation? Sign up (for FREE) for Rick Boersma's Graphic Innovation Guide.  Receive chapters as they are produced until the book is complete. In exchange, we seek your feedback to make the final product the best it can be. Click here for more information about the Graphic Innovation Guide.

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

Beyond Engagement #8: Unlock emotional engagement

Oct 15, 2013by Brady Wilson0 comments

Welcome to the Feelings Economy: where emotions—not rational thoughts—are linked to employee performance.

Science shows us that people make decisions based on their emotions (and then often justify them with rational thinking). Consequently, our behaviours can best be understood as an attempt to get our emotional needs met.

Therefore, the most important thing leaders in the workplace can do is create an environment that fulfils their employees’ driving needs.

But how can leaders build these conditions, let alone understand what those driving needs are?

The answer is simple: ask them.

Unlocking needs through quick conversations

I
f you had 60 discretionary minutes you weren’t counting on, what would you do with them?

That one-hour timeframe could be used to engage six employees in simple, systematic engagement conversations—essentially, six 10-minute discussions where you can ask them “What do you need to feel energized in your role?” (Note: this isn’t quite the same as an energy check, but a less structured way to check-in with your employees.)

Unfortunately, I see far too many managers use their time unwisely. Many would use that one-hour timeframe to dive into the pile on their desk and/or do something that would make them 10% more productive.

Conversely, by conducting those six 10-minute chats, you could make each employee 10% more productive for the day.

Managers need to stop defining themselves by how much stuff they can clear off their desk—and focus more on building the conditions that release the energy of their employees. In other words, leaders need to turn the corner from individual contributor to one who contributes through others.

And a short chat to ask employees about their driving needs is just one way to do it.

The employee experience

Keep in mind: it doesn’t matter to employees whether their organization is making a meaningful contribution, achieving great results, or taking efforts to value its workers.

What matters to employees is their own experience: that is, whether they themselves are making a meaningful contribution, achieving great results, and/or being valued.

We call this the employee experience—and it’s what fuels everything that makes your organization sustainable including the customer experience, breakthrough innovations, quality of products and services, and financial health.

By engaging employees on an emotional level—that is, simply asking them what motivates and drives them—you are effectively energizing them to make better decisions and behaviours that produce great results.

Want to learn more about Beyond Engagement? Check out this video.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Conversation: a “soft skill”?

Oct 10, 2013by Alex Somos6 comments

Communication is the most important skill in life. We spend most of our waking hours communicating.—Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Throughout our entire lives, communication—or more specifically, conversation—is essential to getting our point across to others:  whether it’s asking for another cookie (as children), a test re-write (as students), a promotion (as employees); or making a big business transaction (as leaders).

Yet, despite its importance, people generally refer to communication and conversation as “soft skills” in the workplace—undermining its rank below “hard skills” related to monetary gain like project management, computer skills and accounting.

Granted, the link between conversation and profit isn’t quite as clear or tangible. Moreover, conversation—as well as people’s actions—is about feelings, which may also contribute to it being viewed as a soft skill.

But feelings have great—even dire—consequences in the business world, depending on how they are managed through conversation.

Not everyone has the ability to effectively communicate what matters most to them, nor to understand or appropriately respond to other people’s needs and thoughts. And this lack of skill—on the part of employees and leaders—can lead to an unenergized, less innovative and productive workplace.

Leaders need to understand the need to pay attention to and help employees walk through their feelings, because feelings draw conclusions: oftentimes, the wrong conclusions. Why? Because feelings create a filter through which we see events and make choices, thereby driving results.

This case study is positive proof of the true power of conversation on the bottom line. By honing conversational skills to effectively draw information out of employees and see others’ points of view, a financial organization saw a 90% improvement, leading to an increase of:

  • 4% in management performance
  • 4% in internal recognition
  • 5% in employee engagement

As leaders, we need to pay more attention to understanding how people are driven, how their emotions play a part in that, and how to respond to it appropriately. Consequently, we can learn to truly energize them to get their best stuff, and positively impact the bottom line.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Unfulfillment as motivator?

Oct 1, 2013by Alex Somos0 comments

Source: Dictionary.com

The word “unfulfilled” isn’t a pretty one: it can speak to an internal emptiness, or an itch that just cannot be scratched. In other words, it’s often looked at as something negative.

But, if you think about it in a more positive light, you could also look at being unfulfilled as an intense and powerful motivator.

Here’s what I mean. If you are at all in touch with your feelings and aware of a longing inside of you, being unfulfilled can actually drive you to:

  • look around you,
  • take stock of your situation, and
  • measure yourself against whatever you wish to accomplish, but haven’t (yet).

You may be wondering: “How can feeling unfulfilled do anything but overwhelm me and bring me down?”

The trick is to balance any feelings of unfulfillment with appreciation and gratitude: to contextualize yourself inside a larger story, see what you have already done, and consider what you have already accomplished.

If you are wise, you can sit in middle of the tension between unfulfillment and gratitude, and marshal the energy of both feelings towards your greater good.

I have found in my life that as I lean into the word and feeling of being unfulfilled, many positive changes have occurred—both personal and professional.

As an example, we have just reached a milestone at Juice: our 10-year anniversary! And as I thought about that, I realized that I was feeling unfulfilled with the scope and magnitude of the impact I had hoped we could have had on the world.

That said, we are insanely passionate about our mission and vision at Juice. I recognized that our dream is a big dream, one that cannot be easily attained. I then began to think about the real-life impact we have had on people—and I was filled with a sense of gratitude for the privilege it has been to see those personal and business transformations.

I am now more motivated than before to reach again for that dream, and over the next ten years make it more of a reality.

The next time you feel powerless to attain your dreams, look at your feelings not as a deterrent, but a powerful force to drive you there.

Who knows: by turning negative emotions on their head, you just may be able to change the very definition of unfulfilled!

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Creating a culture of innovation

Sep 24, 2013by Rick Boersma0 comments

What if the ability to build an innovative ethos was as easy as 1, 2, 3?

Okay, it’s not necessarily that simple...but there are three steps you can take to begin moving your organization in that direction.

Check out this article I wrote, recently published in the Institute of Professional Management’s quarterly newsletter.

Live in the Toronto area?  Want to know more about how to create a culture brimming with breakthrough ideas? I’m speaking at an IPM full-day event on November 5, 2013 about this very topic. Learn more here about it here—and I hope to see you there.

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

CSTD - Learn @ Work Week 2013

Sep 23, 2013by Lara Hall0 comments

Canadian Society of Training and Development

Celebrate Workplace Learning with the Nation! September 23-27, 2013

Juice is a proud supporter of Learn @ Work Week 2013 and a committed connector and partner of people.

Learn @ Work Week is an annual celebration recognizing the value of workplace learning and development in Canada.

Workplace learning has a positive impact on employee performance and productivity and is crucial to a healthy Canadian economy. Join Canada’s workforce as it engages in learning activities and professional development events this September 23-27, 2013 and power up your workplace!

Click to view all Learn @ Work Week supporters.

About the Author

Beyond Engagement #7: Create felt support

Sep 17, 2013by Brady Wilson4 comments

felt supportAs humans, we can be incredibly compassionate toward others.

We can say and do things to make people know we’re thinking of them, to help them feel better, and to let them know we care.

But when it comes to how others perceive the support we’re offering, that’s a different story.

Consider this story about how a Juice client invested time and lots of money into a hockey game outing, to recognize employees for a job well done. Despite the manager’s intentions to show his appreciation, the support he was trying to communicate was not really felt by his individual team members.

Welcome to the “feelings economy,” where what’s felt counts. It’s not enough to declare support verbally: in today’s workplace, the only way to truly offer support is if your employees can feel it.

What matters most to each person?

“Drew” is a senior leader Juice worked with over several years, who had to learn to transform his support from declared to felt. His director “Celeste” was experiencing stress at home. Every time they met, Drew would suggest offloading some of her work. But the conversations felt unfulfilling and always devolved into an exercise in frustration.

Drew decided to take a different tack: he began asking her what mattered most to her. And what he discovered shocked him: Celeste didn’t want things taken off her plate...she wanted more challenges. She needed to feel productive at work, particularly because she didn’t feel so productive at home.

By stepping into Celeste’s world and partnering instead of parenting, Drew went from offering declared support to producing felt support. As a result, he released energy in three intelligent ways:

  • Celeste’s productivity increased;
  • Drew’s mind-space was not wasted delegating her tasks to others; and
  • Celeste’s co-workers weren’t unnecessarily saddled with extra work.

Using felt support to address engagement issues

The skill of stepping into your employees’ worlds and seeing through their eyes can also help you better respond to organizational engagement scores.

Generally speaking, organizations that respond to survey results without understanding the back-story behind the data tend to produce fixes that come across as declared rather than felt support.

If engagement survey data is not translated into conversations, attempts to fix problems will most often result in a lower response rate next time, and more eye rolls from cynical employees.

Conversation and understanding what matters most to your employees is an incredibly effective way to show your compassion and support for others. This is how we move Beyond Engagement.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Five hundred ideas in one day!

Sep 10, 2013by Rick Boersma0 comments

Municipal World Magazine - August 2013That’s what the City of Mississauga came up with at its annual City Managers Leadership Conference in 2009

Since then, the City has consistently used a structured process as part of its innovation approach—and has never looked back.

I wrote about this success story for Municipal World over the summer. Check out the article to learn more about the City of Mississauga and how it turned itself into a hub of innovative thinking. Who knows—you may even be inspired!

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

The Employee Engagement Network: expand your horizons

Sep 3, 2013by Jean-Francois (JF) Hivon0 comments

Got employee engagement on the brain?Employee Engagement Network Knowledge Partner

If so, you’re not alone—in fact, far from it.

At this very moment, there are about 6,000 other folks like you—people from all over the world—participating in an online community dedicated to the very topic of employee engagement.

It’s called the Employee Engagement Network. And Juice Inc. is proud to announce that we are the EEN’s inaugural knowledge partner.

Created and moderated by global employee engagement expert David Zinger, the EEN is a free online resource for anyone interested in this fascinating business management concept.

David calls the EEN “employee engagement for all”—in other words, it’s an inclusive network for thousands of:

  • Directors, managers and executives in human resources
  • HR-related companies or consultancies like Juice Inc.
  • Managers and employees in non-HR related departments and organizations

In other words, it doesn’t matter whether you work in human resources or not: if you want to expand your knowledge and awareness of employee engagement via a global network of peers (versus a commercial network), you can become an EEN member.

And did we mention it’s FREE to join?

Here are all the engagement resources you get access to when you become a member:

  • More than 540 videos—many of which cannot be found elsewhere online
  • Forums to discuss anything and everything related to engagement
  • Location- and topic-specific discussion groups
  • Original blog articles and ebooks written and contributed to by engagement experts from around the world
  • Global listings of upcoming employee engagement events

Over time, you’ll see more and more content on the EEN from Juice Inc. We want you to be part of this exciting growing community committed to improving employee engagement!

Become a member of the EEN today...and then let us know what you think in the comments below.

About the Author

Jean-Francois (JF) Hivon

Jean-Francois (JF) Hivon

Jean-François (JF) Hivon is a bilingual member of the Juice team who is passionate about creating results through rigorous management processes, authentic relationships, and strategic thinking. Previously, he led the business development and training practice for a successful Canadian Training Company.

Why you can’t rush innovation

Aug 14, 2013by Rick Boersma0 comments

What is an idea?

Well, the definition depends on where you are in the innovation lifecycle—or, as we at Juice Inc. call it, the i5 process.

Essentially, an idea can be a goal, a product or a catalyst:

  • born in response to problems and opportunities (identification);
  • articulated through analysis (investigation);
  • developed, strengthened and tweaked through prototyping (ideation);
  • evaluated and chosen for development (impact); and
  • delivered to your customers (implementation).

If you’ve been following my blog articles for the last little while (and hopefully you have), you will know that being innovative isn’t just about coming up with ideas: there are many, many steps one must take in order to produce real results.

Unfortunately, many organizations are often so harried—pulled away constantly and distracted by the latest crisis—that even when innovation does get prioritized, it can play out something like this:

Unfortunately, a few hours is extremely unlikely to result in your next business breakthrough. In fact, research shows that it takes about 3,000 raw ideas to generate just one breakthrough solution!

This 3000:1 ratio is not an absolute, but it does hint at a lesson with more than a few grains of truth.

Innovation—true innovation—doesn’t occur without some real work. Moreover, it’s not just about brainstorming (or ideation)—without a plan to implement, for example, your ideas are just that: ideas with no place to go.

Ultimately, innovation should be approached as an ongoing business commitment. Organizations must integrate a structured innovation process into their overall corporate strategies, and then ensure employees have time to be innovative—not just once in a while, but on a regular basis.

Happy innovating!

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

Keeping it real…and getting results

Aug 6, 2013by Alex Somos1 comment

authenticity imageOne of the things people long for these days is authenticity in others.

That longing exists in every area of life: especially the business world.

In our conversations with hundreds of organizations, we at Juice Inc. know firsthand that employees want their leaders to be authentic. That means leaders must demonstrate their corporate values not only in front of the customer, but within the office environment as well.

At one organization we recently worked with, we learned by talking with employees and stakeholders that they felt authenticity was lacking internally across its leadership. For example, during town hall meetings, they felt presentations were too “slick,” as though they were being “marketed to.”

Employees aren’t dumb. They know a carefully orchestrated message designed to look like a tailored suit when they see it. And this can lead to mistrust, ultimately having the opposite effect of what leaders are looking for: results.

Authenticity is about having direct—and oftentimes difficult—conversations. It’s not always easy. But employees appreciate it, even if you don’t come across as “perfect.

The reality is that when leaders address issues in a real, authentic way, it can actually give employees a sense of optimism for the future.

And that optimism is what you need to fuel energy, improve engagement, and get outstanding results.

My encouragement to any leader is to take the risk and be their real and authentic self. People will connect with that in a much more meaningful way that builds trust—and ultimately it can positively impact your business results.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Beyond Engagement strategy #6: Remove interference

Jul 30, 2013by Brady Wilson1 comment

Juice Inc.:  The Performance Equation

Are your best hires—that is, the most talented, knowledgeable and experienced of your employees—not applying enough effort to their work?

Here’s a little secret: their behaviour is likely not about lack of effort. There’s something else in the way.

And it’s called interference.

The biggest forms of employee interference at work are psychological, including but not limited to:

  • working in a state of fear, due to the threat of being bullied,
  • self-doubt stemming from feeling judged or evaluated, and
  • unresolved conflict and team tension.

The amount of human energy depleted by interference is difficult to calculate, but one thing is certain: it’s not small.

Ultimately, interference leads people to work below capacity.

It doesn’t matter how amazing your employee usually is: when interference hits, they cannot do what they normally can do, or be what they normally can be. In this state, he or she is unable to access their knowledge, experience, skills or strengths.

Remove interference, release energy

But by meeting the needs of employees, leaders can remove interference and bring people back to their ability to operate at capacity—equal to the task, function at their actual ability to perform, and able to access all of their knowledge, experience, skills and strengths.

That said, there’s no need to stop “at capacity.”

There are also methods to motivate your team members to operate beyond capacity: at a level beyond what they ever believed was possible—tapping into their unrealized, latent, inherent abilities. This state is practically magical!

There is a name for the place just beyond what an employee believes he or she can achieve: the state of flow.

At Juice, we help managers and leaders partner with employees to co-create the conditions of flow. Such an environment is:

  • challenge-healthy,
  • goal-fuelled,
  • distraction-free,
  • rich in feedback, and
  • infused with meaning.

Every one of these elements uses the tension of unmet needs to multiply energy.  Learn more by watching this short video clip.  What can you do today to remove interference and multiply energy?

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Why employees love to go A.B.C.D. (Above and Beyond the Call of Duty)

Jul 23, 2013by Brady Wilson0 comments

My neighbour Jim invests many hours a month sweeping the sidewalk in front of his house, keeping it immaculate.

And he’s always smiling!

But why does he do it? After all, the sidewalk doesn’t belong to him—yet he keeps it in pristine condition, never expecting a dime from the city for his efforts.

In other words, why does Jim go A.B.C.D. (Above and Beyond the Call of Duty)?

It’s all about psychological ownership: in Jim’s mind, the sidewalk is his.

The transfer of ownership from the city to Jim occurred not because of any contractual arrangement; it was triggered because of Jim’s driving (or “felt”) needs for significance and belonging.

Felt needs cannot be created. People come fully equipped with them. Take Jim as an example:

  • Need for significance: Jim receives respect and comments of admiration from the rest of us because of how he keeps his yard and his sidewalk.
  • Need for belonging: Jim doesn’t want to be “that guy”—like Bob, the neighbour everybody else looks down upon because of the way his yard tarnishes the street’s reputation.

So, while Jim doesn’t receive a financial reward for his work, he does get an emotional one from his neighbours.

Felt needs and ownership

As a leader, it’s critical to understand this linkage between felt needs and ownership. And here’s why: the discretionary effort of your employees is unlocked through emotional ownership—and emotional ownership is triggered by felt needs.

In fact, meeting other people’s felt needs unlocks 400% more discretionary effort than rational engagement!

In short, your employees go A.B.C.D. to build the success of your company because they feel they own it. They own the success of your company because doing so meets their felt needs for belonging, significance or meaning.

Remember, energizing employees is an inside job that focuses first on the inner architecture of felt needs (or, the emotional payoffs that cause employees to own the success of your company).

These intrinsic motivators have been and always will be what drives extraordinary effort:  people going A.B.C.D.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Structured randomness: not just an oxymoron

Jul 16, 2013by Rick Boersma0 comments

Looking for an innovative solution to a big problem?

Stimulus response is one way to come up with fabulous, innovative, fresh ideas. That said, this type of brainstorming tool typically appeals to people who are comfortable with less structure.

Today, we’re going to focus on an ideation tool for folks who are more comfortable with a more linear, structured approach.

It’s called value chain analysis.

Value chain analysis is a four-step process that allows you to think through the ways in which you deliver value to your customers.

It allows you to take a big problem (or opportunity), and slice it into bite-sized, manageable pieces.

Take a look at the accompanying graphic. You’ll see that value chain analysis is:

  • User-centric:  it looks at each element of the problem or opportunity from the customer’s perspective
  • Brainstorming-friendly:  using related and random stimulus to get your creative juices flowing
  • An investigative and an impact evaluation tool:  to help you assess your current reality and your solutions
  • Structured:  it’s got steps, rows, and columns - linear attributes that nevertheless facilitate free-range ideation and stimulus response.

As such, “value chaining” is a tool that anyone—or everyone—can use, because it works for a wide range of thinking preferences.

Consider a big problem or opportunity in your work environment, and use the graphic example as a guide for coming up with your own solution (or solutions).

Happy innovating!

Want to know more about innovation? Sign up (for FREE) for Rick Boersma's Graphic Innovation Guide.  Receive chapters as they are produced until the book is complete. In exchange, we seek your feedback to make the final product the best it can be. Click here for more information about the Graphic Innovation Guide.

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

Beyond Engagement strategy #5: Tap into what matters most

Jul 9, 2013by Brady Wilson0 comments

Let’s backtrack a little.

Over the last few weeks on this blog, we’ve learned three very important things:

  1. Workplace tension is often the result of competing needs;
  2. Employees are driven by five needs of varying importance to them; and
  3. When those needs are unmet, employees will act out using “unskillful expressions.”

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at each of those needs: because by understanding what matters most to your employees, you are one step closer to creating sustainable energy in your organization.

The 5 Driving NeedsThe five driving (or “felt”) needs

At Juice, we believe there are five driving needs that are like oxygen to employees: if deprived of any of them, people will act out swiftly and decisively.

Do you recognize any of these needs in your workplace, amongst your workforce?

Belonging

Research shows that a sense of belonging in strong social relationships is a greater predictor of one’s physical health than whether they smoke, how much their exercise, or the quality of their diet. In other words, isolation and loneliness will kill you faster than cigarettes.

Employees seeking a sense of belonging want acceptance and inclusion, identification and “insiderness,” relatedness and intimacy, and/or a connection or “fit” with others.

Security

Every human being has a need to feel secure. When we feel threatened, our brain instantly switches off complex thought processes and sends us into protection mode.

In the workplace, a “need for security” may also refer to one’s need for safety and protection, predictability and control, consistency and clarity, and/or order and structure.

Freedom

Consider freedom in the context of the uprisings we have seen in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. You can only suppress people’s freedom for so long before they will take unbelievable risks.

In a work environment, employees need autonomy and independence, mind-space and psychological “space,” decision latitude and support, and variety and change.

Significance

Every person needs to feel a sense of significance—that is, to feel respected and valued; to be affirmed and acknowledged; to feel success and achievement, and challenge and growth; to experience efficiency and productivity, and power and status.

Meaning

Likewise, employees need to feel a sense of meaning. They want to have purpose in their jobs and feel they are making a difference. They need to understand and connect the dots. They need a just and fair environment.

What’s the unmet need?

How do you know which needs drive your employees, and whether or not those needs are being met?

  • A good gauge is to look at scores on an engagement survey (or energy check).
  • Or take a different perspective when you consider people’s behaviours. Is the micro-manager doing so because she is so buttoned down and organized? Or is it because she has a legitimate human need for security?
  • When people “act out” using unskilled expressions, ask yourself “What’s the unmet need?”

What matters most?

By having a stronger sense of what matters most to your employees, you should be able to have better, more fruitful and effective conversation—helping improve the environment in which you work, and ultimately leading to better business results.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

How to be like an inquisitive toddler—and get breakthrough results

Jul 2, 2013by Rick Boersma0 comments

5 Whys Graphic Innovation Guide by Rick Boersma“Why can’t I stay up late?”

“Why can’t I have another cookie?”

“Why are you leaving me at Grandma’s for a week?”


From the moment we learn to ask “why,” we are all investigators.

Investigation—or, more simply put, asking questions—is a critical component in the innovation process. It helps us to:

  • understand the context of a situation,
  • take time to analyze, step back, and think things through; and
  • drill down to root cause.

Essentially, investigation is about looking at the big-picture trends and underlying root causes of a problem; and considering all the factors—political, economic, environmental, social, technological and otherwise—at play.


All about the questions

The first step in Investigation is not about generating answers, but identifying the right questions.

Why are questions important in innovation? Because there is plenty of information out there that we know we don’t know (including stuff we don’t know that we don’t know...I know, it’s confusing!).

Investigation tools help you slow down, think, and organize your thoughts. In doing so, you can actually increase the range, originality and impact of your questions.

And those breakthrough questions may eventually lead to breakthrough answers.

Investigation tools

There are many tools out there to assist you in with investigation—each one structured differently to appeal to different thinking preferences.

One such tool is The 5 Whys, which basically allows you to act like an inquisitive toddler. The way to get started: simply ask “why?”

The graphic provides a step-by-step rundown of The 5 Whys—using an example of a hotel where staff turnover is high.

Don’t skip investigation!

Insights and eureka moments don’t occur in a vacuum, but are the product of research and hard work.

In a rush to “find a solution now!,” many organizations skip investigation when faced with a problem. As a result, their good intentions may result in only band-aid solutions.

If you take time to investigate, you greatly improve the chances of coming up with something truly innovative.

Happy innovating!

Want to know more about innovation? Sign up (for FREE) for Rick Boersma's Graphic Innovation Guide.  Receive chapters as they are produced until the book is complete. In exchange, we seek your feedback to make the final product the best it can be. Click here for more information about the Graphic Innovation Guide.

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

“How do I cut the crap at work?”

Jun 25, 2013by Alex Somos0 comments

The question of “how do I cut the crap at work?” is a sentiment expressed to us over and over by employees (sometimes worded even more forcefully).

Time and again, Juice clients turn to us to help eliminate the inter-office negativity that permeates—and infects—their work environment.

When they approach us, business leaders are fed up with all the inter-personal friction in their workplace.

They don’t want a culture where people talk behind each other’s backs. They want people to get along and focus on their work.

But despite leaders’ efforts, silos and cliques prevail.

Unskillful expressions

When people or groups are at odds with each other, it is often because they feel their needs are not being met.

At Juice, we refer to this behaviour as an “unskillful expression of an unmet or driving need.”

In the work environment, people are driven by five needs: for security, belonging, freedom, significance, and purpose.

Not every one of these needs is of equal importance to every person. As a result, these kinds of competing needs can create powerful tensions.

For example, people may use an unskillful expression such as forming cliques, excluding others and gossiping to acquire acceptance or a sense of belonging.

Don’t play the game

If you are trying to “cut the crap at work”, leaders as well as employees need to observe what’s really going on, and be willing to step into potentially difficult conversations.

Rather than be the silent third party, you must be willing to speak up. For example, if someone is trashing a co-worker behind their back, you may say something along the lines of:

  • “You know what? I think this conversation would be better with the person you’re talking about than with me. Could I ask you to have that conversation?” or
  • “I recognize this is a difficult issue for you; but the best person for you to deal with this is the person who created it.”

In the workplace, every conversation matters. Our ability to step into those tension-filled moments is critical.

Uncover unmet needs

If employees’ needs are met, energy is released inside of us—and that can be critical to the success of your organization.

Now, it’s all about uncovering those unmet needs.

Good leaders take the initiative to get the answers they need, versus being passive.

Take this example: Recently a client talked to us about an employee he inherited, who had an absenteeism problem. When the manager approached the conversation and stepped into the tension without judgement or criticism, he discovered that the employee’s stress was not caused by work/life balance issues as originally believed: what surfaced was that she felt unsupported and not valued as a person. There had been some conflict with others in the department, and her previous managers had not supported the resolution of the problem.

The next time you hear whisperings or experience office politics, don’t grit your teeth or plot revenge:  take time to learn and understand what those people’s unmet needs are.

It just may be the key to unlocking a much improved, shiny and new culture.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Beyond Engagement strategy #4: Move toward tension

Jun 18, 2013by Brady Wilson0 comments

Tension

No matter the industry, tension can reign supreme in the workplace.

Essentially, epic tension arises over the things that matter most to people. It exists between departments, between people and tasks, and between budgets and deadlines.

To make matters worse, if you add in remote teams, diverse cultural/generational views and a need for speed, you’ve got a recipe for ongoing conflict—and extreme emotional strain—throughout your entire workforce.

It’s up to leaders to deal with tension. But unfortunately, one of the most common leadership responses to tension is to avoid it.

Let’s get real here: tension cannot sort itself out on its own. In fact, left to fester, it will often turn into an emergent situation.

That’s why it’s critical that leaders take measures to step into those uncomfortable tension-filled conversations—not just once, but on a regular basis.

Turning tension around

No doubt about it: tension can be scary. But believe it or not, there is treasure in the tension.

And that treasure is energy.

As a leader, you get to decide whether the tension will be destructive or creative energy (by the way: you want creative energy!).

The challenge is to move not away from tension, but toward it.

And here’s why: when you approach tension strategically as a source of creative energy, it can actually become a driver of opportunity, innovation and personal connection.

Fight, flight and partner mode

The key is in the ability to step into tension-filled moments in a skillful way.

Tension can provoke your flight/fight wiring:

  • If your default is “fight,” you go into push mode—and employees feel the only options before them are “now or never” or “all or nothing.”
  • If your default pattern is flight, you go into comply mode—over-empathizing and accommodating employees’ concerns, often at the expense of the business.

Neither of these approaches is effective. Luckily, there is one other option: partner mode.

Leaders can achieve partner mode by employing a few proven emotional intelligence skills that allow them to stand in the middle of tension, harmonize the competing needs of each party, and draw out a solution that serves the employee experience as well as the global goals of the business.

When employees see their managers bravely stepping into tension, they begin to model that same behaviour.

Imagine all the benefits of a tension-less work environment: less time worrying about the small stuff, and more time to focus on all the real things related to the business.

Approach tension differently. Don’t run away from it: move toward tension—and reap the rewards.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Walk the talk: why leaders must model the behaviour they want

Jun 11, 2013by Alex Somos0 comments

Leadership - Good Corporate Will

One of the most difficult things a leader must do is to model the behaviour they ask of their employees. But it’s necessary.

If employees don’t see their leaders stand up and lead by example, they will feel less engaged—and be less willing to do their best work.

At Juice, we often hear the same complaint from organizational leaders we work with: “My team needs to be more teamwork-oriented.” But at least half the time, we find it’s the leaders—not the employees—who create the challenges and barriers to having a stronger team.

In fact, when Juice does training sessions, employees often ask us if the senior team is going to receive training as well—because “they really need it.”

What’s the corporate will?

When Juice first meets with organizations, we always ask them the same question—“what’s the corporate will?”

In other words, we want to know the overall willingness of leaders to:

  • model the behaviours they want,
  • humble themselves to go through training,
  • display some vulnerability to others, and
  • practice and apply what they’ve learned to their everyday jobs.

No cherry-picking

An organization open to leading by example is willing to do all the bullets listed above. That means no cherry-picking.

As an example: Juice was once hired to offer GREAT Coaching training to an organization. During session planning, the VP of Human Resources assured us that corporate will was high, and the CEO himself would attend the training along with employees.

The CEO did attend—which was fantastic! Unfortunately, he sat at the back of the room, doing paperwork and checking his BlackBerry the entire time. You can imagine what kind of silent message he sent to his workforce about the importance of coaching and training.

When I asked the CEO for his impressions of the importance of coaching his leaders, he told me that he was “not paid to coach, and neither are my VPs.”

Unbeknownst to him, many of his direct reports had highly recommended the CEO do the training: they felt he had a blind spot that could be mended if he could just take the time to open himself up to it.

In other words, it’s not enough to just pay lip service to corporate will. If you don’t want to change—or put the effort into it—nobody else will either.

Perfection not necessary

Leaders are often fearful of walking the talk, simply because they are afraid of looking less leader-like. But the great thing is that you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to try.

When people see you trying to model the behaviour you ask of them, they will give you points for your intent and effort.

The fact that you initiate a change in your own behaviour, reflect on it and show some vulnerability to your team will create a sense of “we’re trying to be better together.”

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Is Problem Solving the same as Innovation?

Jun 4, 2013by Rick Boersma0 comments

Graphic Innovation Guide - Chapter 4 ImageThe ability to problem solve is critical to success in today’s business world.

But to stay ahead of the competition, innovation is equally—if not more—important.

Not everybody recognizes the difference between problem solving and innovation. In business-speak, many people interchange one term with the other.

But in reality, these two approaches to thinking are quite different.

Problem solving is more about reacting to a specific situation, such as a crisis. Its goal is to make up lost ground and restore the status quo.

In contrast, innovation is about being proactive, focusing on new opportunities, improving performance, raising the bar…and breaking through the status quo.



Reframing the question

Let’s say you work for a mid-range hotel that is experiencing 100% high turnover of frontline staff.

If you’re trying to solve the problem, you might ask yourself: How do we decrease turnover? This question narrows your focus and seems to address the immediate concern.

If you want to be innovative, you might reframe the question as an opportunity. Consider taking a more positive approach, such as: How do we increase retention?

Rewritten a few other ways, you may come up with:

  • How do we create a great workplace?
  • How do we become an employer of choice?
  • How do we become the best hotel to work at in the city?

Essentially, by reframing a problem so it focuses on opportunities, you can:

  • drive different responses;
  • think more expansively;
  • increase the number, range and originality of your ideas; and
  • be more innovative.

Happy innovating!

Want to know more about innovation? Sign up (for FREE) for Rick Boersma's Graphic Innovation Guide.  Receive chapters as they are produced until the book is complete. In exchange, we seek your feedback to make the final product the best it can be. Click here for more information about the Graphic Innovation Guide.

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

Beyond Engagement strategy #3: Switch from parenting to partnering

May 28, 2013by Brady Wilson0 comments

This post is an updated version of Brady's article posted in January 2013.

Partnering vs Parenting

Do your employees feel like engagement is something done to them, rather than done with them?

If so, it may be that your organization’s leadership has unwittingly slipped into the role of “parent” to create engagement.

This slippage fails to recognize two elemental realities: that leaders and employees are in a partnership; and partnering is the respectful way to engage employees.

The perils of parenting

Caught between “improve results” and “reduce expenses”, managers need employees to engage and give more than they ever have before.

As a result—and even though it’s not their intention—managers may assume the one mindset that will sink any engagement initiative: parenting.

These managers resort to classic strategies that get the job done, such as:

  • offering incentives to people for simply doing the right thing;
  • creating recognition programs that devolve into what have wryly become known as “TYFDYJ” (“Thank You For Doing Your Job”);
  • using subtle forms of psychological control, like dropping a comment that pits one employee against another in the quest for the manager’s affirmation or favor; and/or
  • using motivational messages that come across as “selling” the benefits of engagement.

But all of these strategies leave a toxic residue. They come across as paternalistic, and communicate an underlying meaning to employees: there’s something you’re missing that I need you supply.

Under these conditions, why would any employee want to offer their discretionary effort?

Power partnering

Employees already have what “parenting” leaders think is missing: the desire to make a difference; the pride of doing a great job; and their own forms of self-determinism including work ethic, values, and character.

Managers who partner do just that:  they partner with their employees to help create the conditions that allow them to flourish, so they feel energized to fuel great customer experiences and better business results.

In this light, the manager’s job is not to get people to go the extra mile, but to build the conditions in which the employee could naturally, instinctively do so.

It’s all about shifting focus from trying to engage people, to helping them feel energized. In the process, you unlock the one strange attractor that drives business success: innovation.

When managers engage employees as partners, co-creating the conditions for each other’s success, you will see your organization brim with vigour, intensity, optimism, passion and creativity.

Making the shift

So, how do you upload an ethos of partnering in your organization?

It’s all about helping employees see that, above anything else, their primary identity is that of a partner, standing for the highest good of their co-workers and manager by giving a rich stream of feedback: affirming what works, and nudging what doesn’t.

With an elegantly simple coaching tool, anybody can coach anybody, anywhere in the organization. Uploading this one partnering capability is the only way a high-performance, high-energy culture can be sustained.

The ability of partnership to solve engagement issues is the very thing that lifts the manager’s burden—freeing them from their unsustainable parenting roles. In doing so, energy at work will undoubtedly surge.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Making fun: why fun should be part of every employee engagement strategy

May 21, 2013by Alex Somos2 comments

Fun is one of the things most, if not all employees wish they could have more of in a job. I define fun as having enjoyable human moments.

And here’s the upshot: there’s a pretty big payoff for organizations that take time to inject fun into the workplace.

In fact, we have seen employees give more effort, work harder, and come up with more innovative ideas when they are in such an environment.

Good leaders understand the value of fun. That said, leaders need to also understand that not all fun is regarded equally.

We recently learned of a young leader who decided to reward his team for their hard work by taking them to a hockey game.

Sounds nice, right? It was—but not for the employees. Most of them were women of various ethnic backgrounds who had no interest in hockey. When Juice chatted with the women later, we learned they would have much preferred going to dinner and a play. And so, rather than coming back to work energized, the employees returned feeling like the reward was less about them and more about making the manager feel good.

The young leader’s intentions were honourable, but his actions demonstrated that he didn’t really know his team members.

The lesson is this: when trying to infuse fun into the workplace, ensure it is an appropriate reward based on who your employees are.

That said, bringing fun into the workplace doesn’t have to be about spending a lot of money or holding events. Small “human moments” are equally important.

For example, at Juice, we have impromptu Thankfulness Thursdays when the team is around. We get together at the end of the day to talk about all the good and meaningful things that happened in the week. We discuss the impact we’ve had on customers, and generally appreciate everybody’s contributions that week. We leave feeling energized, appreciated, and with a bit of a lighter step.

Good leaders have the ability to make their team feel special and important. By creating an environment that is a combination of appropriate fun and human moments, you do just that.

In return, you increase the likelihood your employees will go back to work energized, with clearer focus, and a much higher motivation.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

When “brainstorming” turns into “storming”

May 14, 2013by Rick Boersma0 comments


In my last article, I offered tips to help you build your own innovation “dream team.”

But remember: there’s still a “me” in “team.” Every individual brings with them a different way of looking at things.

As a result, even the most well-intentioned teams can experience conflict.

But don’t despair: conflict is a part of life that will always be there. The trick is in dealing with it so that you energize—instead of deplete—your team.

When building and bringing your team together, consider applying the I.O.U. filter. It helps teams:

  • reap the benefits of an innovation dialogue, and
  • avoid the arguments and emotional tension that can be an unanticipated by-product of diversity.

This diagram shows how the I.O.U. (which stands for Interest, Openness, Understanding) filter works. Print it out and keep it on hand when your team meets to brainstorm!

Happy innovating!

Want to know more about innovation? Sign up (for FREE) for Rick Boersma's Graphic Innovation Guide.Receive chapters as they are produced until the book is complete. In exchange, we seek your feedback to make the final product the best it can be. Click here for more information about the guide.

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

Beyond Engagement strategy #2:  Minimize surveys; maximize energy-checks

May 7, 2013by Brady Wilson0 comments

“This job is killing me.”

“My manager plays favourites.”

“My spouse tells me I should quit.”

Over 20 years of reading employee engagement reports, I have never gotten used to reading thousands of comments like these.

When organizations ask their employees to fill out an engagement survey, there is an:

  • implicit understanding that the organization cares about the well-being of its workforce, and
  • expectation that the organization will make changes based on survey results.

And so, employees pour out their lived work experience in poignant language—some of it optimistic, but much of it devastatingly painful.

So imagine the deeper pain these people feel when they don’t see their concerns addressed.

The hard truth

Here’s the hard truth: employees don’t care about engagement scores. They care about their “lived work experience,” namely whether:

  • Things are fair,
  • They can find meaning at work,
  • They can take pride in what they do, and
  • They have enough energy left over at the end of the day for “life.”

The problem is that leaders don’t often step into business tensions and address ongoing concerns that arise from engagement surveys.

If employees don’t see visible, concrete actions that impact their day-to-day energy level, doing yet another engagement survey will only produce deep cynicism inside them—and lead them to believe that their employer’s so-called “engagement” efforts are something of a con game.

How to get Beyond Engagement

Beyond Engagement is all about approaching engagement differently. When it comes to surveys, the strategy is to do the following two things:

  1. Survey less
    Only do organization-wide surveys at a rate that matches your ability to take meaningful action. For the first few years of your engagement journey, that could be annually, but after four to five years, move to an every other year approach. Why? It takes 18-24 months to implement organization-wide energy strategies and demonstrate concrete, visible action to employees. So spend less of your resources surveying engagement and more responding in ways that are concrete and meaningful to your employees.
  2. Do energy-checks
    In-between surveys, do simple energy-checks with your workforce. The energy-check is essentially a conversation tool, designed to quickly and simply measure individual and team energy levels, and pinpoint the issues that need to be addressed.

The upshot of all of this is simple but powerful: managers and employees manage energy as partners, jointing caring for the ecosystem in the only way that is truly sustainable.

Learn more about energy-checks!

Want to learn more about Beyond Engagement?  Check out this video.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Why your training efforts are falling flat

Apr 30, 2013by Alex Somos0 comments

What is a great training experience?

As we at Juice have learned from clients, the answer depends on whom you ask:

  • Buyers—that is, people who sponsor training—define a great training experience as one that aims to improve efficiencies, customer service and/or employee performance.
  • But participants/users (generally speaking, employees) define “great training” as meaningful and relevant to their abilities, capabilities and growth—not only within the organization, but also in their personal lives.

Unfortunately, most organizations’ training programs put much more emphasis on meeting business objectives than participants’ needs.

As a result, participants:

  • attend training not because they want to, but because they have to; and
  • are unlikely to adopt the behaviours and changes that organizations wish to implement.

Shifting focus to participants

Here are three things to help increase the likelihood that your training will effect actual change:

  1. Create meaning for people
    Your training initiatives should cover topics that are meaningful to the individual—not just to the organization. These topics may include time management, project management, and/or interpersonal skills (yes, these are business topics that can also help you meet your overall business objectives!).

    The trick is to contextualize the information so the employee knows how to apply it—and apply it easily—to work, as well as to their personal lives. After training, the end result will be people feeling confident and excited about what they’ve learned.
  2. Give it heart
    Research shows that people aren’t changed by what you say or the information you share; they change based on how you make them feel.

    Training is often perceived as a ton of content shared within a short period of time. After a day or two of training, most people don’t feel anything but overwhelmed!

    In other words, training is generally geared toward the head. But to be effective, training must also reach participants in an emotional way. Learn more about emotional engagement here.
  3. Make participants feel special and important
    To create momentum for your training, organizations must first do their due diligence to understand what participants’ lives are really like.

    Juice worked with a hospital where upper management’s objectives were to improve morale, reduce complaints in the system, and decrease patient errors. But when we talked to nursing staff, we realized something critical: as important as the corporate objectives were, they weren’t what employees wanted or needed at that time. Employees felt overwhelmed, being asked to do too much with too little. There was no way they could work toward those business objectives without the hospital first addressing the stress they felt.

    This understanding allowed Juice to create training that both addressed the needs of upper management (reduced errors and friction) and the needs of the nursing staff (more ease in their world). Our training was framed carefully so it spoke to employees. We talked about how to create more ease in their lives, and created understanding so they could see the value of using the skills we taught them.

The lesson here is: never assume you know the people you are training. Find ways to understand the needs of your participants, and then craft your content around those needs. Until you address those basic needs, you can’t address your own business objectives.

Striking a balance

Of course, in addressing the needs of participants, we can’t simply forget about the needs of the organization.

The secret to effecting actual change is simply in shifting the focus of the training so it’s appropriately balanced between the needs of the organization and its participants.

A small shift can make a huge difference. Try it—and share your success stories in the comments below!

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Creating “group genius”

Apr 23, 2013by Rick Boersma0 comments

Need to come up with a breakthrough idea for your organization?

Don’t go it alone. Be collaborative.

Why? Because flying solo can limit the number, range and originality of ideas generated, as opposed to working in a group.

In other words, you’re not doing yourself any favours by brainstorming alone.

2 (or more) heads are better than 1

According to the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking, not all people are created equal when it comes to innovation.

We as humans are diverse: not only in appearance, age, gender and the like, but in the way we think. And the way we think drives how we communicate, make decisions, solve problems...and innovate.

Moreover, people generally find it difficult to “think outside the box.”  That’s because they’ve spent a lifetime operating, getting comfortable and being effective in their own box.

So imagine if you bring a bunch of different thinkers together—and everyone is asked to think outside of their box.

Each person’s idea has the potential to “springboard” someone else’s thinking.

Suddenly, you’ve got a huge number and range of original ideas.

And one of those ideas could lead to the promise of a breakthrough innovation.

That is the power of collaboration.

Build your dream innovation team!

Building a “dream team” is one way to help people think outside of their boxes.

To be successful, the team should have a diverse profile, but members must also share key character traits: 

  1. A diversity of styles 
    Include people who are logical thinkers, others who think creatively; and people who are process-oriented as well as people-oriented.
  2. Varied levels of experience
    Of course, you want people who are experts in their field. But don’t forget the rookies—less experienced, oftentimes younger folks can bring a fresh perspective to the innovation process.
  3. Shared character traits
    You want your team to feel comfortable with each other. So, ensure each team member has similar character traits including trustworthiness as well as an ability to trust, open-mindedness, and passion for the task at hand.

There is collective strength in collaboration. By working in a team, you can create “group genius.”

Stay tuned for my next post, when I’ll share how you can reduce friction on your dream team.

Want to know more about innovation? Sign up (for FREE) for Rick Boersma's Graphic Innovation Guide. Receive chapters as they are produced until the book is complete. In exchange, we seek your feedback to make the final product the best it can be. Click here for more information about the guide.

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

Mexico: My final thoughts on the Vicente Guerrero school building project

Apr 18, 2013by Alex Somos0 comments

One of the beautiful things about time is this: what was once future becomes the present, and then moves into the past.

Forty-two of us now have the gift of hindsight and reflection as we bask in the glow of accomplishment:

  • the building of three large school rooms for grades 2 to 6; and
  • helping to provide better education for these children, instilling hope, and creating a renewed sense of purpose for the community.

This endeavour was by far our largest and most aggressive yet, and in some of the toughest conditions I have ever encountered.

Mexico ChildrenPutting up 22-foot long walls and roof panels was an all-hands-on-deck event! The first three days, we had a very strong wind that whipped up the sandy dry earth. At the end of those days, we all looked like raccoons, our faces outlined by the red earth—except for where we wore our sunglasses, or smiled (we did a lot of that!).

Despite the challenges, we could not have hoped for a better build team. From the moment we arrived at the airport until our return, our team was marked by servanthood, humour and affection, with no complaining or arguing. I am also particularly proud of the youth team, which rose to the occasion in a very significant way!

When we were not building, our group also headed into impoverished areas to do outreach and give away clothing and food staples. Many team members were touched by what they saw; and some are haunted (in a good way) still by the memory of one camp in particular.

At that camp, I saw a man sitting with his blanket-wrapped baby in front of a 12-by-12-foot room where he, his spouse and three children live. This man had grit! He gets up at 4 a.m. every day and works until sundown, earning a very small salary of about $9 a day. He told me that once he had entered the US illegally because he could not find work—and walked for five days through Arizona, eventually finding his way to Oregon, all to care for his family.

Stories like this create indelible marks on your heart: marks that motivate you to do more and care more; and that enlarge your heart and make you big*.

Whether it was time, energy, prayer or money, all were needed to do this build! I look back on the generosity of all the people who invested in this venture, and I am so thankful.

Until the next build…!

*Definition: What makes you big? from Brady Wilson's book, Love at Work (pg 52) "M. Scott Peck unpacks the concept of human enlargement in his book The Road Less Traveled. Peck writes of the psychological concept called cathexis: 'When we are attracted to, invest in and commit to an object outside ourselves' we actually cathect it. That is, 'we psychologically incorporate a representation of that object into ourselves.' In the process of cathexis, we extend the boundaries of our personhood by stretching out toward the object of our love, 'whose growth we wish to nurture.'

Those of us who are parents have experienced this first-hand. For example, I am not just a man: I am a man with children and grandchildren living inside me. Through cathexis—being attracted to, investing in, and committing to the objects of my love—I have become a bigger person.")

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Why ‘corporate A.D.D.’ is bad leadership

Apr 16, 2013by Alex Somos0 comments

There’s nothing wrong with introducing employees to the “next big thing.”

After all, a new business strategy, program or technology can make organizations more competitive, high performing and profitable.

But if your leaders are the type to quickly abandon and endorse one initiative over another—that is, they have “corporate A.D.D.”—this strategy can have the exact opposite effect of positive change on your workforce.

That’s because the success of your organizational change initiatives hinges on employee buy-in.

And, unfortunately, corporate A.D.D. is not conducive to securing employee endorsement.

More, more, more!

Leaders with corporate A.D.D. believe that the more changes they make, the more high performing their employees will be.

But employees can only take so much of back-to-back (or concurrent) initiatives like:

  • implementing new software enterprise-wide;
  • making customer service the number-one corporate priority; and/or
  • executing a new employee performance management system.

If your organization tends to jump from one “latest, greatest thing” to another, your employees will react negatively.

Why? Because, after a while, employees will dismiss everything you do as the newest flavour-of-the-month. Rather than fully embracing it, they will give your initiative lip service.

Some may even take on behaviours to sabotage its success.

In other words, corporate A.D.D. doesn’t lead to a higher-performing business, but to wasted resources and a jaded workforce.

Combat corporate A.D.D.

Here are some things leaders can do to combat corporate A.D.D.—and increase the likelihood of getting employees on board with their initiatives.

  • Make your strategy relevant. Leaders need to tie each initiative to the day-to-day world of their employees. They simply will not get support if employees cannot understand how an initiative—be it a new technology, strategy or process—relates to their job. It’s not enough to tie the initiative to the overall objectives of the organization: leaders must find a way to make it meaningful to everyone.
  • Demonstrate “corporate will.” Good leaders model the behaviour they desire. If they want their employees to embrace a new initiative for the long-term, upper management cannot “jump ship” whenever a new trend comes along. This makes it more difficult to get buy-in of the next initiative. Leaders also need to make time in their busy schedules to support the initiative, and recognize and positively reward the changes in behaviour that they want.
  • Stay the course. Most initiatives take longer than you expect. Contrary to popular belief, change takes time—particularly if you are asking for behavioural change.
  • Over-communicate. Business environments are full of information and competing messages. If you want people to fully “get” what it is you want, you must be incredibly intentional and repeat the message in multiple forms at multiple times.

Good leaders know how to set the pace and can resist the gravitational pull of “the next new thing”. Ensure that next big organizational initiative is the right one and avoid the pitfalls of corporate A.D.D. Doing so will go a long way toward positive change.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Introducing: the Innovation in a Box Graphic Guide

Apr 9, 2013by Rick Boersma1 comment

I’m about to go all “meta” on you.

At Juice Inc., my job is to be innovative about innovation (or, find new ways to talk to people about ideation, product development, creativity and creative problem solving).

So, when I wanted to write a training book to help organizations be more innovative, I realized the regular format of a book wasn’t innovative in and of itself.

That’s when I decided to create something that people had never seen before: the Innovation-in-a-Box Graphic Guide.  I have been working on this book, chapter by chapter and I’m on the home stretch.

Based on Juice’s Innovation-in-a-Box program, I have designed this graphic guide as a hybrid:

  • comic book,
  • textbook, and
  • workbook.

Ultimately, the intent of the graphic guide is to help organizations be more innovative by:

  • making learning about business-innovation engaging,
  • providing organizations with innovation training tools to energize their employees, and
  • dramatically improving the team brainstorming process.

Over the next several weeks, I’m going to blog about several strategic concepts explored in the graphic guide. Keep your eye out for more posts.

 

Get your free graphic guide!

 

I already have six chapters drafted, and four more to go.

And I’m offering them all to you—free.

All I ask is that you provide me feedbackto help me make this guide the best it can be.

Call this crowd-sourcing...or simply being innovative about the editing process.

And, for your participation, you’ll also get the final e-version of the book—free.

Want a sneak peek?  Check it out.

How to get the Innovation in a Box Graphic Guide, sign up here!

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

Mexico: School Build 2013 - Day 3

Apr 4, 2013by Alex Somosby Cheryl Rayfield0 comments














Day 3 Highlights
The finished product is in site!  Continue to follow the Mexico School Build 2013: https://www.facebook.com/groups/514957461876730/?fref=ts

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Cheryl Rayfield

Cheryl Rayfield

With a passion for unleashing the best in others, Cheryl Rayfield has spent her career making individuals, teams and organizations believe in what’s possible.

Mexico: School Build 2013 - Day 2

Apr 3, 2013by Alex Somosby Cheryl Rayfield0 comments

Mexico School Build 2013 - Day 2Mexico School Build 2013 - Day 2

 

 

 

 

 

 




Day 2 Highlights
For more pictures and to follow the progress:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/514957461876730/?ref=ts&fref=ts

 

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Cheryl Rayfield

Cheryl Rayfield

With a passion for unleashing the best in others, Cheryl Rayfield has spent her career making individuals, teams and organizations believe in what’s possible.

R U Smarter Survey

Apr 3, 2013by Brady Wilson0 comments

Q: Are you smarter around some people than you are around others?

Take 1 minute to answer the survey - yes, only 1 minute!
A: Click here to do the survey!
All participants (that include an email address) will receive a report of the findings!

We need your help!  We are looking for 1000 responses to this survey, so please forward to your friends and colleagues!

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Mexico: School Build 2013 - Day 1

Apr 2, 2013by Alex Somosby Cheryl Rayfield0 comments

Mexico School Build 2013 - Day 1












Day 1 Highlights
Continue to follow the progress:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/514957461876730/?ref=ts&fref=ts

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Cheryl Rayfield

Cheryl Rayfield

With a passion for unleashing the best in others, Cheryl Rayfield has spent her career making individuals, teams and organizations believe in what’s possible.

Beyond Engagement strategy #1:  Manage Energy—not Engagement

Apr 2, 2013by Brady Wilson0 comments

Managing Energy Not Engagement ImageHere’s the brutal truth: in today’s competitive business world, an engaged workforce is no longer enough.

But it’s hard to think beyond engagement when it’s what we’ve always focused on.

Half a century ago, organizations thought it was important to measure employee satisfaction. Then retention became the rage. Then we shifted our gaze to engagement.

And look where we are now.

For years, I have met countless senior leaders all at a similar crossroads: staring at their hundred-page engagement reports and asking themselves “What now?”

They tell us, “The first year was easy—we just addressed the ‘low-hanging fruit’ issues and our employees were thrilled.”

But, each additional year, responding with visible, concrete action has become more difficult for these companies. At some point, employee engagement scores hit a plateau—and leaders begin to see growing cynicism in the workplace.

Sound familiar?

We’re still evolving

Employees don’t care about engagement scores—they care about their lived experience. They want what makes work enjoyable: connection, laughing, creativity, moments of fun and joy…all the products of energy.

In other words, employees want an environment in which they can flourish and thrive, be passionate, innovative, and have purpose.

So, as organizational culture evolves, so too must its leaders.

Doing so requires a bit of a mind shift from the “old ways” of doing things. But it’s not as hard as it sounds.

What leaders need to do now is move away from managing engagement—and move toward managing energy.

So…where do you start?

Energy already exists in your organization
Your work environment probably has a few superstar employees who appear to have limitless energy. Wouldn’t it be great if you could clone them?

You can.

And here’s why: an engaged but un-energized team still has energy within them!

You may see occasional glimpses of it. For example, you may be sitting in a meeting, and someone makes a comment that seems to hold the germ of a viable idea. As the team begins to nudge and coax it—leap-frogging off each other’s ideas—an innovation emerges within 30 minutes.

An innovation that could be the promise of a breakthrough for your organization.

In the space of a half-hour, you’ve seen your employees go from being engaged to being energized—and if the innovation is big enough, that energy can surge for days.

Harnessing sustainable energy from the unenergized

But the reality is you don’t need 30 minutes to elicit the occasional burst of energy from your employees.

Take another look around. Do certain managers have more than their fair share of those desirable energized superstars?

If so, you should ask yourself what they’re doing differently. Or, more specifically: “Has this leader figured out how to build the conditions where most employees can be highly energized?”

Going beyond engagement necessitates the ongoing nurturing of other peoples’ energy through simple things like:

  • Recognizing a coworker’s contribution in a way that makes a lasting imprint
  • Taking time to show interest in someone’s personal life
  • Launching an employee into a new project that’s a perfect fit for her passions
  • Asking the powerful questions that help a colleague rediscover meaning at work

So, while figuring out how to harness and maintain energy may sound daunting, the reality is actually much more accessible.

Build a legacy

By shifting from managing engagement to a culture that nurtures energy, you can make a monumental difference in the lives of your employees.

Imagine employees who reflect back on the years they worked with you and say, “Those were the best years of my life. I became a better person by working there.”

That might just be the biggest reason to look for something beyond engagement.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Mexico: School Build 2013

Apr 1, 2013by Alex Somos0 comments



Follow our journey this week through the Facebook group - Mexico School Build 2013 https://www.facebook.com/groups/514957461876730/?ref=ts&fref=ts


 

(This was the final project from the 2012 build.)

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Prepare for impact: leadership tips for successful teams

Mar 26, 2013by Alex Somos0 comments

During my time in Mexico building homes and schools for the needy, I’ve heard many stories from locals about similar construction projects gone wrong.

I even heard of a team that, not long after arriving in Mexico, threw in the towel and left a house half-built.

It’s made me contemplate what has made my own construction team—or any team in the business world—successful, while other well-intentioned groups have failed.

And I’ve come to this conclusion: the key is not only preparation, but self-confidence.

Put another way, if team members feel mentally and physically prepared for the task at hand, their confidence is elevated (in themselves, as well as the project)—and that significantly increases the odds that the impact will be a successful one.

Obviously, leaders play a major role in the ultimate outcome of their teams. Here are three ways leaders can ensure team members are prepared for any project

1.  Good leaders create a compelling picture of a future state for their team.

Before travelling to Mexico, my team always holds pre-meetings to discuss what the project will mean to the community. We also give team members a visual of what they can expect, by sharing videos of our previous work.

It’s all about creating meaning for your team. Give them glimpses of what “success” looks like—for example, by explaining who benefits from your initiative, and what it means to them. Inspiration can go a long way toward energizing your team and raising their level of confidence. Now, they have an end-picture in mind.

2.  Good leaders understand the reality for improvisation and flexibility.

In Mexico, we work long, oftentimes grueling days in the heat.  Many times we have to improvise or wait as the systems and processes there beat to their own drum. It may not sound like a big deal, but it can be extremely frustrating to a group who is trying to get the job done.

Good leaders prepare teams in advance by listing examples of things that may go awry during the project. This helps to:

  • decrease the shock factor;
  • pave the way for your team to develop contingencies on the fly; and
  • retain your team’s confidence in the project—their belief in all their work will not be shaken as hard if they are mentally prepared for the occasional unplanned issue.

3.  Good leaders create ease in the system.

Many people who come with us to Mexico are not handy—in fact, many have never even swung a hammer. To help them prepare, we show them how different pieces of equipment work. We’ll let them use  a table saw, show them how to pry apart a nail from a piece of wood—essentially, show them what simple construction looks like. That way, when they get to Mexico, they will have some sense of confidence to do the job at hand.

In the business world, leaders simply cannot get the best out of their team if members aren’t confident in their own abilities. One way to build confidence is to ensure they have the skills they need—and make the complex (or what appears to be complex) simple.

Invest in preparation

In the hyperactive business world, it is often the preparation and planning that goes out the window when there is pressure to get a job done. It can take time and planning to ensure teams are fully prepared prior to the launch of a project. I have learned by experience that if you want to go fast, you have to be willing to be slow at the beginning and not forgo or underestimate the power of preparing your team to win!

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Guelph is a World Leader in Agri-Technology and Innovation!

Mar 21, 20130 comments



Read The Globe and Mail Perspective Insert - March 2013 http://www.perspective.ca/publication/2013/3/15/Guelph%202013/index.html

Thank you Innovation Guelph!

Stumped for ideas? Look at a banana.

Mar 19, 2013by Rick Boersma2 comments

Is your workplace completely out of fresh, innovative ideas?

If so, you’re probably not the only one who dreads brainstorming sessions.

After all, when people are stressed out and completely unenergized, it’s difficult to “think harder.”

Did you ever consider, though, that the problem might not be the people doing the brainstorming, but the brainstorming process itself?

Here’s why.

Put simple, the human brain is not a blank slate: it comes pre-loaded with data, experiences and emotions.

So, to be truly innovative, it’s not enough to rely on the usual brainstorming methods (which generally involve sitting around a conference table and waiting for inspiration to just happen).

What you need is something to jump-start the brain and make people see a problem—or, put more positively, an opportunity—in a completely different light.

And that can be done with related and unrelated stimuli.

How to integrate stimuli into your brainstorming process
Let’s say your workplace has a problem with a specific business process.

For example, your customers aren’t paying their invoices as quickly as you’d like—which means employees aren’t getting paid on time.

1.  Look at the problem from afar

Start by looking at the problem in broad terms. How can you improve the customer invoicing process, to ensure your business gets paid more promptly? You may come up with ideas like:

  • calling your customers at the end of every month; or
  • creating a marketing-communications campaign to remind them of the importance of paying on time; or
  • threatening to sue (just kidding).

But these aren’t innovative ideas—they’re not specific objectives, and they don’t really push the boundaries at all. 

2.  Push your idea further...with related stimuli

Related stimuli are related to your problem. Consider interesting features of things you’ve heard or seen about:

  • invoicing best practices in your industry; or
  • stories of other companies with highly successful invoicing programs; or
  • invoices you’ve received yourself, which have caught your attention.

What is novel about these best practices or programs? Does anything stand out to you, that you could integrate into and help improve your own business invoicing processes?

3.  Now, push your idea even further...with unrelated stimuli

Here’s where the fun really starts.

Look around you for a random object completely unrelated to your problem.

Let’s say you’re at your desk, and you notice that banana you set aside for mid-afternoon snack. Consider, and then list, the characteristics of that banana, such as:

  • Yellow
  • Biodegradable
  • Edible
  • Curved
  • Slippery (the peel, that is)

The challenge now is to use some of those attributes as prompts to brainstorm new, innovative ideas.

Remember: you need customers to pay their invoices more promptly. Here are a couple examples where you could apply the banana’s attributes to that problem:

  • Make your invoicing process more “slippery”—or, help invoices move through the system faster. An idea may be to take your current process and convert it into a Google Doc that everyone (your business and customers alike) can access simultaneously, regardless of location.
  • Make your invoice “yellow”—well, not necessarily yellow, but make it jump out more visually. Consider different colours, formatting, and other ways to make it more vibrant and fun. If you can make your invoice stand out among all the others your customer receives, you may be able to make payment more front-of-mind.

I cannot overemphasize how important related and unrelated stimuli are to coming up with innovative ideas for your business.

And not only is it a practical method—but it can be a lot of fun too!

Want to know more about innovation? Sign up now for Rick Boersma's Graphic Innovation Guide. We will send you a FREE chapter every month until the book is complete. In exchange, we will ask for your feedback to make the final product the best it can be!

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

Beyond Engagement: why energized employees get better results

Mar 10, 2013by Brady Wilson1 comment

For many years, “employee engagement” has been touted as the go-to solution for improving business results.

After all, logic dictates that an engaged employee is a more effective employee...right?

Not necessarily.

Senior leaders tell us they are seeing troubling signs: increasing numbers of employees and managers who are engaged, but not energized. They are committed and loyal, come to work regularly, don’t complain, stay many years, and consistently strive to do a good job.

But—despite being engaged in their organization—these employees aren’t being innovative. They’re overwhelmed by having to do “less with less.” As a result, they’re not coming forward with new ideas. They’re not going above and beyond the call of duty. They’re not passionate about their work.

And that’s a problem.

To that end, organizations now face a new challenge: how to move employees beyond engagement to a culture where their workforce can release bottled-up innovative thinking, and consistently create breakthrough business results.

The key lies in energy.

At Juice, we believe the personal energy level of your people is the leading indicator of success.

I’m not referring so much to physical energy as to what scientists call “state of flow”—the ability to focus one’s attention on the value-adding aspects of their day, such as:

  • Prioritizing, planning and strategizing
  • Enlisting people and aligning their actions toward a common purpose
  • Having difficult conversations when a project begins to falter
  • Bringing things through to a logical conclusion, to see a project fully completed

Creating a culture that harnesses and fosters sustainable organizational energy is not easy—but it is possible.

That’s where our new program, Beyond Engagement, comes in.

Beyond Engagement is exactly as it sounds: it’s all about transforming your engaged employees into more consistently productive, passionate, innovative contributors—and reaping the business benefits of a higher-performing work environment.

Over the next several blog posts, I will discuss the benefits of making a shift from managing engagement to managing energy, and offer strategic advice to help you:

  • identify the elements of engagement that are currently working,
  • get you a provocative glimpse of something beyond engagement, and
  • build the conditions to ignite sustainable energy in your employees.

I hope you will join me on this exciting journey as we explore the transformative power of Beyond Engagement. Follow the journey!

How much Juice does your organization have? Try out the Juice Check Employee Energy Tool!"

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Beyond tunnel vision: how building hope leads to better results

Mar 5, 2013by Alex Somos0 comments

Where there is no vision, there is no hope. – George Washington Carver

In a previous blog post, I wrote about my experiences while building schools and homes for the poor in Vincente Guerrero, Mexico.

During my time there, I learned that life in poverty is solely about survival. Many of the  locals don’t have time to dream or aspire to greater things - not when their main concerns centre around where and how to get their next meal. They don’t have the luxury to act, let alone think, beyond the day-to-day. Many of them feel hopeless because they cannot see a different future for themselves and their families.

You can actually see this lack of hope in how they care for their home space or in the demeanour of their children. You can have two homes exactly the same in size and location and one looks well tended and neat (even when it is made with scraps of things) and the other is disorderly and worn from a lack of care.

Tunnel vision in the business world

But this inability to “look beyond” isn’t limited to just one pocket of the world. It’s also prevalent in business.Think about it: employees bogged down by work are often so focused on the day-to-day rigamarole that they:

  • lose perspective of the bigger picture, and
  • forget how their role fits into the organization’s overall purpose and growth, or vision.

Without a sense of purpose, employees have no reason to be emotionally invested in your organization. So, while they may be present in body, this may not be the case in mind or spirit.

Ultimately, this is detrimental to running a successful business. And here’s why: because when employees only have tunnel vision, it’s impossible to draw the best out of them.

Building hope

In Vincente Guerrero, I saw first-hand that building a school or home isn’t just about providing a physical structure - it’s also about providing hope.

The very existence of a new school - something the community had never had before - gave locals something to aspire to. They saw all the potential outcomes of having a school: for example, education, jobs, and being able to afford better shelter and food.

With a vision of what the future could be, that school will help the locals look beyond the survival of day-to-day.

Motivated by hope, the community has begun to transform itself. One of my fondest memories was on day two of the school build when many of the mothers came to the lot we were building on, each brought one or two plants. They put the plants in the area that was the school border, marking its dimensions. I realized in that moment that they where making it theirs, adding their touch, bringing more life to the school. The plants spoke loudly of their hope for their community by beautifying it. (The picture above is the first row of plants for the school.)

Good leaders create meaning for people

Similarly, in the corporate world, generating hope can reap all sorts of rewards for business including:

More simply put, hope within an organization can lead to a much higher-performing work environment.  Good leaders can achieve this by creating meaning for their employees. This entails:  

  • communicating a compelling picture of what the future could be,
  • ensuring employees understand their role in it, and
  • helping employees establish a deeper sense of connection within the organization.

Armed with a stronger sense of purpose, people are able to see not only the end of the tunnel, but far beyond it.

It just takes the right leadership to get things going.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Mexico School 2013

Feb 26, 2013by Alex Somos0 comments

Last September we went to Vincente Guerrero, Mexico and built a pre-school for the kids in a needy neighbourhood. I have built many houses for families in that area and as wonderful as that is, impacting a community and those beautiful children was just something to relish. Check out the video...



We want to do more! During the first week of April, I am joining a team of volunteers from Guelph Ont. headed for Vicente Guerrero, to build a school for 63 children who currently are all under one roof. The existing school is 18 ft x 25 ft equaling 450 sq ft. in size and has just a tarp roof, cardboard walls and the desert dust filtering in on the children's heads. You can imagine just how difficult it is for the students to really focus and apply themselves. We want to build them 3 buildings sized 22ft x 24ft or 1584 sq ft. No more dirt floors, windows they can open, doors they can close, a real roof over their heads! Can you tell I'm excited? and a bit nervous! We have never undertaken anything this large and only a week to do it in. Stay tuned for updates....

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Choice of Conflict

Feb 20, 20130 comments

What is life without conflict? Is it really living?

Every story or Hollywood movie has conflict at its core. Remember in English class where we learned there are three kinds of conflict? Man against man, man against himself and man against nature? We live in a world meant for tension which challenges and forces us to grow.

There are two choices when we are confronted with conflict: step in or walk away. How often are we seduced by a lame reason to jump in when we shouldn’t?  And how much more often do we walk away when the called-for action is to articulate need, speak truth or voice thinking?

Navigating what we’re called to do requires intention. What outcome do you seek? Your current way of getting there is probably based on how you learned conflict in your upbringing. How did the adults in your life deal with conflict? With outrageous quarrels, or painful silence? How did you handle conflict with your siblings? Did you take control or acquiesce? Do you still use some of these practices today, with your spouse or kids?

I once read that you can never truly love another until you understand their grief.  A simple concept, but one I’ve found to be true. From grief comes sadness and fear, and from those, reactive behaviors that protect one’s own spirit, and sometimes hurt another’s.

Without trying to understand where someone is coming from, and what they carry in their baggage, it can be easy to assume that other people’s actions and behaviors are a direct assault on you. Sometimes – often - it really is about them, and their need to get love, lose fear or work out their own inner turmoil. Making it about you personalizes the situation, and only makes it worse. But isn’t this what we do? And instead of defaulting to compassion for the other person, we get ticked off!

We can have disagreements about opinions, ideas or ways of doing things – this is called substantive conflict and serves a purpose in creating growth and moving things forward.  By introducing diverse views, opinions, beliefs or experiences, we gain the benefit of creativity and innovation, as long as we remain open. It’s when we introduce emotion, feelings and perceived character assassinations that substantive conflict becomes personalized, creating heightened tension and reduced capacity to solve problems.  The bad news about personalized conflict is that it’s often our own thinking or meaning we attach to others’ words or behaviors that create the conflict. The good news about personalized conflict is that it’s often our own thinking or meaning we attach to others’ words or behaviors that create the conflict – which means it is within our own control to stop it! Is the other person truly acting with cruel intent? If you perceive they are, what could be causing this behavior? Sometimes you may not know. Whatever you do, get curious. Asking internal questions about the situation will trigger the rational side of your brain, allowing you to stay more “emotionally intelligent” and protecting you from personalizing the situation.

Hearing what we want - until we hear what we need

Feb 12, 20130 comments

Sometimes, things just need to be repeated until they are heard and received. We are perfectly clear with delivering our message, but for some reason, the message doesn't get through.

As parents, don’t we tell our kids they can dream big and do anything they want?  We highlight their talents, comfort them when they’ve been shot down, and help them see how their gifts fit into the world. But for whatever reason, what we say just doesn’t sink in.

I often tell my kids our family is a team. We support one another and face the world together, celebrating our wins, and help each other when we feel a loss in some way. I believe they all understand the analogy, because they all play sports and love the camaraderie that comes with playing on a team.

Fast forward to a typical sibling fight over the last cookie, time on the computer or shotgun in the car. “Hey! Let’s figure this out together!” I scream. “We’re all on the same team!!” The bickering stops long enough for eyes to roll, and for them to think, “Mom’s a dork,” and then they go right back at it.

This week, we had a little breakthrough thanks to a little 9 year-old named Robby Novak, also known as, “Kid President” http://kidpresident.com/. ; He has a whole series of videos, but it’s his one known as “Pep Talk” that has gone viral thanks to his ability to connect with young and old. He opens up with a message that says, “The world needs you to stop being boring…” My youngest reminds me that I’ve told him that before. Kid President talks about dreaming big, helping the world, taking the road less traveled and working as a team. “Hey mom, haven’t you said that before?”

And there they heard it. In that moment, the things I’ve been patiently repeating (okay, maybe impatiently), suddenly began to make sense because they were ready to receive these great big messages from another kid, who happened to make them laugh.

I’m reminded of the times people have tried to tell me things at work, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t ready, willing or able to hear their true intent. Is there someone in your life or work trying to communicate something you’re not able to receive? Are there emotional barriers that make you hear only what you want to hear? Would it help if someone else delivered the message? Check out Kid President and then consider what kind of pep talk you need.

Tech Job Hunt Handbook

Feb 5, 20130 comments

Kevin W. Grossman, a supporter of Juice from the beginning, is releasing his first book, Tech Job Hunt Handbook, on January 24th. We’d like to congratulate Kevin and encourage you to check it out. Readers will find tools, practical guidance, and recommendations on how to find the best new tech jobs, how to get noticed, how to ace interviews and get hired, and how to keep those new jobs—until it’s time for a better one. Learning how to assess and then invest in career management skills leads to long-term competitive advantage and a happier working life. Read more here.

Taking Innovation to the Front Lines

Jan 29, 2013by Rick Boersma0 comments

IdeasThe Torrance Test of Creative Thinking measures different dimensions of creativity including the Number, Range and Originality of ideas. According to this test – not all people are created equal when it comes to innovation, yet innovation is crucial to the success of every organization – regardless of its business.

While it’s almost cliché to say, “we need to be more innovative”, leaders often don’t know how to translate that need into action at a grassroots level where everyone contributes. Innovation is an interplay between thinking preferences, emotional intelligence, openness, and idea generation. To think “out of the box”, we need to understand which box we naturally think and operate inside of, and then access tools to help us think outside of that box.

How many times has your organization “cherry-picked” the creative types to form “dream teams” to help solve business problems. This is exactly what top innovation consultancies do - they hire the best people they can find to innovate. But this needn’t be an either-or proposition. Forming a dream team is only one approach to innovation. You can also outsource innovation, bring in facilitators, create an internal innovation skunk works, train a core of internal innovation coaches or ninjas (think six-sigma black belts) and, despite many beliefs, train people to become better innovators.  Given the range of needs in organizations, this last option is actually the best - especially if your ultimate goal is to create a culture of innovation.

Each of us has different thinking preferences. We have a bias towards investigation, ideation, impact, or implementation. For some reason, when people think innovation, they tend to focus on ideation. To build a real dream team, we need to include all of these thinking preferences.

If you understand the need for innovation, but you’re not quite sure how to do it, check out this video - how the i5 Process can help you - Taming the Innovation Hairball.

About the Author

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

Energy – The Sex of 2013

Jan 22, 2013by Brady Wilson0 comments

Brady Wilson was a guest author in the 11th Annual Hospital News - Professional Development & Education Supplement. The title? Energy – The Sex of 2013. Do we have your attention? They say it sells…

Brady talks about the energy it takes to step into uncomfortable conversations, innovation, and follow through on the important details of a project. Every important thing you do requires energy. If your energy stores are low, you can have all the time in the world and you will dither it away, but if your energy level is high, you can face tight timeframes, and crank out amazing results.

Energy is not just raw physical drive, although it does have a physical element to it. It’s actually a blend of several elements that, working together, allow you to be a remarkable person. In fact, it is energy that deploys all of your strengths.

Brady walks through five practical things you can do to manage your personal energy level:

  1. Navigate your hot buttons
  2. Harmonize your needs
  3. Align your beliefs
  4. Focus your mind
  5. Recover your body

Click here to the read Brady's article or click here to read the entire Professional Development & Education Supplement.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Love at Work: Brady Wilson & Rick Boersma at TEDxGuelphU 2012

Jan 7, 2013by Brady Wilsonby Rick Boersma0 comments

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Rick Boersma

Rick Boersma

A creative thinker, risk-taker and leader by nature, Rick Boersma epitomizes what it means to be innovative.

What Building Homes for the Poor Has Taught Me About Leadership

Dec 20, 2012by Alex Somos0 comments

In the next couple of blogs I want to share some observations about leadership, through my experiences on the mission field, in Baja, Mexico.

My most recent trip was vastly different from any of the other six. We didn’t go to build a house; instead, we went to build a school for the JK and Kindergarten classes in this community.

The project was double the size of anything we had ever done. We had half the time to raise twice the funds, and we had half the number of people for the build, with only five days to do so! Below is one of my favourite pictures of the kids leaning on the wall of their new school.

Before I share what happened, and the lessons from that experience, let me first tell you how it came about…

It’s common for people in this poor farming community to ask for things - money, food, building materials, and even the jacket you’re wearing. Experience has taught us that you don’t always believe everything you hear because you never know if people are telling you the truth, or if they want to take advantage of you. Poverty can do that.

While building the last house in Mexico, a “stranger” walked on to the job site. He said he was a teacher who had 60 kids enrolled in his school. He asked if we could help build a roof for his school, because currently, he only had a tarp as a roof.

Our team was in full swing, working on our house project. It was crunch time.  Our team was really busy, it was late afternoon of the third day, and we were all tired, hot and dusty. I was asked to speak to this guy because I speak Spanish. I begrudgingly left my teammate, and my job of framing a window.

I listened above the din of construction. My first response was to politely nod and try and quickly send him off.  He sounded a bit sketchy, and I had people waiting for me. It was really busy.

In hindsight, it was one of many moments of truth we face every day, as leaders. I could either be present and open with this gentleman, or give in to my internal demands to get things done and be overcome by my biases and preconceived notions of who this man was, and shuffle him off.

This story illustrates the pressures we face as leaders.  We battle busy-ness, the need to move things forward, looming deadlines, the need to deliver on client expectations, people’s need for support and direction, and the constraints of limited resources and less than ideal working conditions with potentially old and antiquated tools and methods. Sound like your world?

How do you as a leader deal with these pressures and focus on what is in front of you?

I don’t pretend to be a “leadership expert”.  What I know has been learned in the trenches of success and failure. In this instance, I did what I have been trained to do. I took a deep breath and got curious about the person standing in front of me. I did not grit my teeth and pretend or will myself to focus. I just got curious. And naturally, I began to Pull in my conversation. The interference in the environment began to fade, and I found at my disposal, the tools I needed in that moment. In the midst, I learned that leaders who are curious, are often rewarded with unexpected ideas and opportunities.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

A Cultural Advantage

Nov 27, 2012by Alex Somos0 comments

Great employee experience and great results!

After being recently interviewed for an article in the Toronto Star, I was thinking about the powerful impact culture can have on results.

Outstanding leaders pay as much attention to their culture as to their results. They know that great results come from creating a great customer experience and a great customer experience is driven by a great employee experience.

A lot of leaders don’t understand the impact of a great culture. It is often seen as soft and fuzzy, and a nice-to-have.

Culture is not a program or an initiative - it is the perceived reality in which employees live. Culture can help people flourish, or it can deplete them. Once you have a clear sense of what your culture should look like and feel like from your employees’ perspective, work with your leadership team to create the conditions to create that environment. It may mean you need to create or modify processes and programs. However, it all starts with one thing – conversation.

An energized culture marked by great outcomes is a culture where employees get their emotional needs met. There are five needs that matter more than anything else, to an employee’s energy and engagement. An employee needs to feel they fit, they need to be clear, they need to feel supported, valued and inspired.

One of our healthcare clients reduced their nurses’ intent to leave by 22 percent in one year by paying attention to these five drivers. If retaining talent is important to your organization, then understand that engaging employees’ hearts at an emotional level is 4X more powerful than simply engaging their minds.

Does your culture allow results to flow easily, and does it feel good to work at your organization? Here are some indicators to help you evaluate the current state of your culture:

  • We vs. Us and Them. If a silo mentality exists, identify the causes and deal with them.
  • Ease of communication. Does it happen across and between all levels?
  • Transparency. Critical information is accessible to everyone and it isn’t distorted as it goes up or down the chain.
  • Client Focus. The whole organization has a keen interest in serving those who serve the customer.
  • Energized Employees. A sense of purpose and optimism, and the removal of interference that hinders performance are indicators that employees are energized.
  • Innovation. Ideas freely flow because there is a sense of curiosity and openness to try new things.
  • Feedback. Coaching, mentoring, and course correction happen in a timely way.

Conversations are at the core of each of the above indicators. Conversations matter because they are the operating system in your organization that drives results. A productive culture is a competitive advantage.  You may have heard it said before, "Culture will eat strategy for lunch every time.” I disagree! You don’t have to choose - you can have them both - great people and great results!

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Building a School in Mexico

Sep 20, 20120 comments

Founding Juice Inc. partner, Alex Somos, is in Mexico helping to build a school for an impoverished village. We thought you’d enjoy some of these photos from his experience…



The Before Shot: The current school with tarps for the roof and siding. 



 



Here are some of the children inside their school.


The walls are up and the team is filled with joy and anticipation!  The weather is hotter than Alex ever remembers! 




Stay tuned...

Taming the Innovation Hairball

Sep 6, 20120 comments

Innovation. Everyone talks about it. Perspectives on how to do it and measure outcomes are tricky.

Most of us work in teams. To innovate together, we need to think differently. With difference, comes misunderstanding and we need to change the nature of our conversations. We also need the tools that help create structure and capture results. Here's how we tame the innovation hairball.*

 

*A hairball is an entangled pattern of behavior. It's bureaucracy, which doesn't allow much space for original thinking and creativity. It's the corporate tendency to rely on past policies, decisions, and processes as a formula for future success. Inspired from the late Gordon Mackenzie's "Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace".

 

 

Values, Passion and Desires - The Issue Behind the Issue

Aug 1, 2012by Sue Krautkramer0 comments

Do you have a “stuck” topic in any of your relationships?  You know, where you try to have an objective, calm, practical discussion about a complaint but you don’t seem to make much progress – the challenge, problem, or complaint remains. Talking about it more isn’t helpful and quite frankly isn’t fun! You are stuck and at an impasse.

Resting beneath most of our behaviors are emotions that drive behaviors.  For example, Ellie is hyper-vigilant about the house being neat.  There have been numerous discussions and arguments about how anal she is and how inconsiderate her family is, for not keeping it tidy.  Ellie was not consciously aware of it but, at the root of her behavior was a fear of being embarrassed, and a desire for her family to feel a sense of freedom. Ellie grew up in a house full of clutter and chaos. She often felt humiliated – going to school with mismatched clothes and missing schoolwork or books because of the chaos.  She would never invite friends over and her world felt out of control.

We all have emotional drivers and most of them are unconscious (90% of what is running around in our brain is at an unconscious level).  Whether we’re aware of it or not, these emotional drivers effect how we behave and make decisions.

All of us have values or principles by which we live life, even if we’re not consciously aware of them. Observe what happens when someone cuts into a line – the value of justice and what’s fair will flair, while others value of compassion becomes obvious. We tenaciously defend our values even if we don’t realize it.

Likewise, we all have desires, and things we long for.  This could include material things, but more often we defend desires that affect our sense of purpose, possibilities, or expressions of who we are.  And, where we have passion we can be persistent in wanting our way.

In situations where there is an impasse, our focus usually defaults to the other person’s behavior.  What would happen if we paused in the argument and looked below the surface?  What value, desire or passion might be at risk for this person?  Uncovering the driving concern can help bring the deeper issue to the conscious mind, offering a new perspective to discuss.

Once Ellie’s family stopped arguing and started listening for values, desires and passions, they were able to understand that in her mind, her behavior was out of a desire to serve them and help them.  This has enabled a different kind of conversation.

Learning to listen for values, desires and passions is a skill that works! It’s quite easy to build, but it does require practice.  So, I’m offering you a choice today. You can continue to stay stuck in your conversation, or you can “learn to listen for something new.”   Pick a touchy topic in your world.  Stop having the same old conversation and start listening for the driver beneath the behavior!

Sue Krautkramer is a Juice partner and author of the blog, You Have Choice.

About the Author

Sue Krautkramer

Sue brings a powerful package of expertise to her role including practical business experience in management and sales, 16 years of facilitating for Fortune 500 companies, program design and development, coaching, mentoring and counselling.  After focusing on the corporate business world for 20 years, Sue ventured into private practice as a counsellor and trainer.

Casting Call - We Need Actors!

Jul 23, 20120 comments

Juice is producing some training videos and we need actors to help us out! We're seeking three women and three men between the ages of 25-60. We're shooting on August 7th and 8th from 10 am to 4 pm in the Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo area. You would only be required to perform on one of those days.

We are paying a $150/day honorarium and looking for non-unionized professional or amateur actors and actresses.

Interested? Please submit your head-shot and a resume to Maria Dawkins at mdawkins at juice inc dot com by Wednesday, July 25th. Successful applicants will be contacted for an audition being held Friday, July  27th or Monday, July 30th. Details of location and time to follow.

Thanks for your interest and please feel free to pass this along to others!

Lessons in Honesty - Catalyzing Intelligent Energy

Jul 18, 2012by Alex Somos0 comments

 “I can always find someone

To say they sympathize.

If I wear my heart out on my sleeve.

But I don’t want a pretty face

To tell me pretty lies.

All I want is someone to believe.

Honesty is such a lonely word.”

~ Billy Joel

 

 

 

 

Billy Joel was right - honesty is a lonely word. The word honesty within a business context comes loaded with meaning and some hard questions for most people. How honest should someone be? Is it better to say the right thing, or the honest thing? In certain business areas such as sales or management, this discussion can become a minefield.

Corporate policies, cultural norms, modeled behavior, mere survival, career success, fear and our own set of values create a scenario of competing needs that are not easily or neatly answered about how honest one should be.

The absence of truth is equally frustrating for most people. Have you ever been in a situation where there is a performance issue and it doesn’t get dealt with? We often encounter stories of executives, managers and supervisors going to HR because they believe they need to terminate a poorly performing employee. During my thirty years in business, I would guess that fifty percent of the time, the employee in question is not aware of their performance issues because they have never been discussed or dealt with. Often, the leader is overwhelmed, inundated with more pressing business issues or simply lacks the skill and the will to have an effective performance conversation.

Whatever the motive of the leader for not dealing with the issue (omission or commission), the consequences are always the same: interference is created in the system. Interference can zap people’s energy and that leads to lower productivity, workarounds, cliques, turnover and absenteeism.

And then there is “confu-speak” where messages get buried in carefully crafted generic corporate speak. A lot of organizations communicate this way to their employees. Sometimes it’s difficult to understand exactly what is being said or not said. Worse, it creates a vacuum of information where people fill in the blanks with the worst-case scenario. That too injects interference into the system.

A great piece of wisdom I have learned during my years in the corporate world, is the importance and value of being honest. When honesty walks into the room possibility almost always follows. Honesty removes interference from the system and creates clarity, making it easier to make the right decisions. Honesty impacts people, relationships, projects, innovation, products and sales. It may surprise you, but you can always feel it happening.

About the Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others' has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.

Cody’s Lawn - A Tribute to Great Dads

Jun 15, 2012by Brady Wilson0 comments

This post was written by Brady several years ago. It continues to be a reminder of how to see things through the eyes of a child. It is also a celebration of great dads. Happy Father’s Day!  

Cody’s Lawn

I once trained members of a large manufacturing company in the southern United States in how to reach their goals by understanding one another. Their goals had for some time eluded them, as departments bickered, wasted time and created roadblocks.

After I had worked with the company for about two months, Rick, one of the machinists, told me a story of how the training had saved him from blowing it with his son, Cody.

Like many of the other machinists, Rick had been skeptical about this touchy-feely conversation stuff. He was a nuts-and-bolts, give-me-results- now kind of guy. He had neither the time nor the stomach for sitting around and yakking.

But the Pull Conversation concept stuck with him and followed him home.

One weekend, Rick’s eight-year-old son Cody cut the lawn by himself for the first time. It was a hot day. Through the window Rick could see Cody pushing hard, sweat trickling off his chin, the dust and grass flying around him.

Forty minutes later, Cody burst through the door, stopped abruptly as he remembered to take off his grassy shoes, then ran down the hallway.

“Dad, Dad!” he called, “Dad! Come and see. I finished it. Come and see the lawn!”

Rick grinned at his son’s glistening, grimy face as they headed outside.

But once they were in the yard, Rick was shocked by what he saw. All across the lawn, straggly uncut grass marked Cody’s wayward path. The lawn was going to have to be mowed again. Rick was annoyed. Didn’t Cody know better than this?

Just before Rick was about to lay into his son for doing such a shoddy job, a small memory pulled at him. It was a story that I had told about stepping into my son’s world to pull out his reality, to see and feel a situation the way he saw and felt it.

Rick’s instinct was to push a good piece of his mind on Cody, but to his credit, he turned toward his son and chose to first pull out his reality. He tried his best to step into his son’s world, looking at the lawn through an eight-year-old’s eyes. What he saw through those eyes was a great job. He also got in touch with Cody’s need to feel approved and valued.

“Good job, Cody,” he said, giving him a big hug.

There would be plenty of future opportunities to coach Cody on the subtleties of mowing. For now, Rick’s split-second insight had transformed the possibility of alienation into the actuality of celebration.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

You Need Bad News. Do you Get it from Others?

May 15, 2012by Brady Wilson0 comments

During re-entry of the Columbia shuttle on February 1, 2003, the craft disintegrated, killing all seven crew members on board. It was later discovered that warnings and concerns about potential damage were suppressed, resulting in this stinging statement in a follow-up report: “NASA’s organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as the foam did.” Investigators said the culture was characterized by “barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion.”

The Columbia disaster is only one example highlighted in a Harvard Management Communication article, How to Get the Bad News You Need.  It states that few executives actively engage in suppressing the flow of information, but the absence of policies and procedures to encourage employees to speak up, actually encourages them to keep vital information to themselves. The threat of embarrassment, humiliation or career damage is a silencer that can be overcome using some of the following strategies:

  1. Promise not to kill the messenger, then don’t. Let people know they won’t get into trouble for revealing bad news, by standing behind them.
  2. Be aware of your own emotional response to bad news. If you pound your fist on your desk, let the messenger know your anger is directed at the situation, not the person.
  3. Respond. Not responding to bad news, or simply remaining silent may discourage the messenger from coming forward in the future.
  4. Avoid interrupting or patronizing the person, or changing the subject while they deliver bad news. These actions demonstrate disrespect.
  5. Demonstrate trust in employees by sharing numbers or plans, and be willing to acknowledge your own mistakes.
  6. Create “events” where honesty is expected and demonstrate that “honesty” behaviour is okay.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Charitable Interpretation -The Art of Virtual Conversations

Apr 17, 2012by Brady Wilson3 comments

Juice - Virtual Pull ConversationThere seems to be some debate on how much of our messages are communicated non-verbally. The range is often quoted between 60 and 93 per cent. There’s a 7% - 38% - 55% rule that circulates, saying seven per cent of our communication is based on the words, 38 percent is based on our tone and vocal cues, and 55 per cent is on our body language.

Despite the breakdown of the numbers, when you don’t go face-to-face in communication, you lose the chemical benefits we talked about in our post about sparking fascination and trust in conversations. In a phone conversation, you have the advantage of using vocal cues, but an email relies completely on the words. If the above formula is true, there is a 7 % chance of conveying what you need to, based on words alone. Add a camera to the call, and you have some of the advantages of face-to-face, but you still lack that chemical connection of being present with one another, in the same room.

Charitable Interpretation, where you interpret the other person’s meaning and intent with goodwill, and attach the most favorable perspective to their words, is a tool you can use in any conversation – virtual or otherwise.

Phone & Teleconference Conversations

•Take a few minutes at the start of your conversation for up-front connection and bonding. Be intentional and authentic, while respecting the need for others on the call, to get on with the business of the call.

•Smile. Even though the other party may not be able to see it, your smile comes through in your voice and enhances connection.

•Demonstrate respect to engage your virtual audience – give your undivided focus. Don’t give in to the urge of answering your email while the other person Is talking. Remember, hearing is more acute in a phone call and the other party may hear the tapping of a keyboard.

•Reflect implications: reflect back the essence of the speaker’s message, and the implications of what that may mean inside their world. This sends a clear signal to them that you deeply understand their message as well as where they are coming from. People tend to trust someone who understands them.

•Use word pictures and stories to intrigue the listener and help them understand your world.

Email Conversations

•Before composing an email, step into the other person’s world and ask yourself whether this is the best way to send the message, or if a phone call or a face-to-face conversation is best. If it is an emotional, personal or sensitive issue, email is not the vehicle to use.

•Consider the language that most appeal to this person. Are they technical or non-technical, formal or informal, expressive or succinct? Frame your message in the language that will make it easy for them to read and relate to.

• When you read something ambiguous in an email and it strikes you the “wrong way”, pick up the phone and ask clarifying questions with the intent of understanding, rather than being accusatory. Get curious. If it’s impossible for you to go voice to voice, then send an email asking for clarification: “I wanted to check with you on your email earlier today. Your comment on me being like ‘a dog with a bone’ could be interpreted as either admiring my perseverance or being annoyed at my stubbornness. I wanted to make sure I understood your intent. Can you say more?” Do not allow your uneasiness to go unvoiced, otherwise your heightened sensitivity may be mis-read in subsequent communication.

What has worked for you in your virtual conversations? Share your ideas here – we want to hear your suggestions!

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Innovation - Don’t rely on the leap of faith!

Apr 5, 20120 comments

 

This morning I did a google search for “Think Outside the Box” and received 17,800,000 results. As I scanned the results, it became apparent that there is no shortage of tools, tips and advice on how to “think outside the box”. So, what’s the problem?

Innovation In A Box - Graphic Innovation Guide

 

Simplistic is right! I sat back and wondered, what does it actually mean to “think outside the box”? What exactly, are we asking people to do?

Innovation In A Box - Graphic Innovation Guide

 

Take a leap of faith… that sounds nice but the reason I want to innovate is to drive better results. And taking a “leap of faith” feels a little uncomfortable if not downright risky when,  really, I’m accountable for improving quality, efficieny and sales. If I was sure that taking a leap of faith was all it took to create breakthrough solutions that would be one thing, but…

Innovation In A Box - Graphic Innovation Guide

 

Fortunately, there are tried and true innovation best practices that are available to anyone.

Innovation does not have to be complex. There are simple, practical “back-of-the-napkin” tools you can use to create innovative solutions to both everyday problems and your most important strategic challenges.

In the coming weeks, we’ll explore some of these tools, and  in the process help you (and us) become more innovative and achieve the results we all want. 

Are you spreading optimism or pessimism?

Apr 2, 2012by Brady Wilson0 comments

Are you spreading optimism or pessimism?Imagine a good friend telling you about a pill she takes every morning that produces amazing results for her in the area of her interpersonal relationships. This is a friend who used to have difficulty connecting with people. Now, she establishes an easy rapport within minutes. Building trust with people had always been difficult for her, but now people offer their trust, information and commitment spontaneously. People used to tune out when she talked. Now her conversations fascinate her listeners. 

Do such wonder drugs exist? Yes, but not in tablet form, they’re stored inside you. All of us come equipped with hormones that, when triggered and released, have a remarkable effect on our ability to connect, create trust and fascinate people. These hormones produce a relational chemistry we have with some people and completely miss with others.

Let’s explore the simple science of how human beings ‘synch’ with each other. The limbic system of your brain (the emotional center) is an open-loop system, meaning emotions can be contagious. Someone’s tears, or their smile can trigger an involuntary sympathetic reaction in you.

In their book Primal Leadership, Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee discuss this open-loop phenomenon and describe how emotions spread between people.They cite studies in which scientists measure the heart rate of two people as they have a good conversation. At the beginning of the conversation, their bodies are functioning at different rhythms, but fifteen minutes later their physiological profiles look remarkably similar – a phenomenon called mirroring.

Scientists describe [the limbic loop] as “interpersonal limbic regulation,” whereby one person transmits signals that can alter hormone levels, cardiovascular function, sleep rhythms, and even immune function inside the body of another…The open-loop design of the limbic system means that other people can change our very physiology – and so our emotions.

Put us together in face-to-face conversations and we regulate one another’s emotions. You’ve probably experienced this yourself. One team member’s strong, buoyant mood affects one person after another until the whole team is feeling upbeat. Another member’s critical, negative mood can equally infect an entire team in destructive ways. These authors go on to say:

This circuitry also attunes our own biology to the dominant range of feelings of the person we are with, so that our emotional states tend to converge. One term scientist’s use for this neural attunement is limbic resonance, ‘a symphony of mutual exchange and internal adaptation’ whereby two people harmonize their emotional state.

Recent discoveries in neuroscience confirm there are steps you can take to increase your chemistry in the relationships that are most important to you. In the coming weeks we’ll share how you can create connections, increase trust and spark fascination in your conversations – both face-to-face and virtually.

About the Author

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson is, undisputedly, the embodiment of focused energy. As co-founder of Juice Inc., Brady’s vision is to create a world where businesses pulsate with creative energy. An animated and intensely pragmatic keynote speaker, Brady shares practical tools and the know-how to help business leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions: creating an audience experience that moves concepts from theory to application.

Employee Engagement - A Manager’s Burden?

Dec 15, 2011by Cheryl Rayfield0 comments

In our work with current and prospective clients around engagement, the discussion will typically start with a question: “How do we get our employees …”.

You may have heard the saying: "People don't leave organizations, they leave people.” (In particular, their direct manager.).  A lot of work has been done to try to "fix" managers.   I am not suggesting that developing managers is a bad thing, in fact it is imperative that managers continue to learn and grow to become the type of leaders everyone wants to follow.  However, when speaking about engaging employees, the burden has fallen again on the shoulders of managers which I would argue is not only unfair, but is also doomed to fail or get little traction.  A manager’s role in engagement is to create the conditions in which employees’ needs (including their own), can be met through mutual accountability.

Engagement and the culture of the organization is as much the responsibility of the employee as it is for their leaders.  Otherwise  the organization is setting itself up to have employees with entitlement issues, constantly waiting for their managers to make them feel better or to give them what they need. Managers are people just like anyone else.  They wake up in the morning with the best intentions in the world to support and recognize their people, and to ensure the organization is successful.  But they are human—not mind readers.  From Juice's research on engagement, we have created a short-cut to understanding engagement from both a rational, and an emotional level, through 5 statements:

I Fit.  I'm Clear.  I'm Supported.  I'm Valued.  I'm Inspired.

The degree to which an employee can make these 5 statements with emphasis will uncover how engaged and energized they are, and directly relates to the amount of discretionary effort and energy they can offer to the organization. These are not simply "employee" statements; they apply from the janitor up to the CEO, and typically a manager (unless highly tuned-in and skilled in the art of leadership) will not distinguish  which of these are most important to their direct reports.   Nor will they recognize what their employee is lacking or needing in order to assist them in moving towards higher levels of engagement.

The manager needs to create the conditions and develop the skills where:

  • honest, authentic conversations can emerge and employees feel comfortable asking questions if they are not clear;
  • they can discuss their fit and how they would like to advance in the organization;
  • they can point out areas where they need support;
  • they can express the areas in which value and inspiration are not present for them
  • they can be a part of the solution: committed partners for the success of the individual needs, the team needs, the organizational needs and the needs of the client.

About the Author

Cheryl Rayfield

Cheryl Rayfield

With a passion for unleashing the best in others, Cheryl Rayfield has spent her career making individuals, teams and organizations believe in what’s possible.

Bullying: At Work & School

Dec 14, 20110 comments

During the past few weeks, strong anti-bullying messages have been circulating in an effort to end some of the the tragedies of student taking their own lives. Jonah is a 13-year-old boy with a disarming story. He tells his painful and often hard-to-watch journey in this video:

Perhaps I should have been stronger in my warning. As a parent of a child this age, Jonah’s plea is hard to watch. As a parent of a child who has been bullied, it is hard to watch. As a parent, I am just as lost as other parents about what to do to support a child when this happens. This insidious behavior can often leave our kids speechless - lacking the words to articulate and express what is going on. It may be their emotional, irritable or acting-out behavior that signals a problem. Thanks, Jonah, for putting words to what our kids are feeling.

As adults, we are just as perplexed about what to do when bullying happens in the workplace. The government introduced anti-bullying legislation in the workplace in Ontario 18 months ago and it has increased awareness about the problem, yet people are still unsure what to do if it happens to them, or if they see it happening to others. Bullying, in its simplest form, is one person being mean to another. It is an expression of an unmet need based in fear and characterized by threatening behavior.

I tell my kids that if they feel bullied, or if they witness behavior that appears to be bullying, they need to Speak Up, Speak Out and Speak Loud. They need to speak up to an adult or person of authority about the issue, speak out to the person mistreating them by creating boundaries around acceptable behaviors, and speak loud until they truly feel like they have been heard and the issue is being addressed by someone who can help. This isn’t always possible if children don’t feel safe in their school environment, and it isn’t possible if employees don’t feel safe in their work environment.

In addition to holding bullying behaviors to account, it is essential to understand what is at the core of the "bully’s" unmet need. This requires effective conversation and inquiry, which few of us have been trained to do. It is especially difficult when you are the parent of one of the children involved because it is such an emotional issue – staying calm and rational is not easy!

How have you navigated bullying behavior – either in your workplace or with your children? This is an issue that requires more conversation and an exchange of ideas. We’d like to hear yours… As parents, it is our responsibility to model impeccable behavior and perhaps we can do that by talking more about the issue.

Whose responsibility should engagement be: management or the employee?

Oct 12, 20111 comment

I received a query from a magazine editor - whose responsibility should engagement be: management or the employee?

This is not a fence-sitting response - effective employee engagement relies on both employees and management.  Employee engagement is not a "broad program" you can enforce upon all. What engages each employee is as unique as that person. It is up to that individual to communicate what it is that he or she needs to feel like they fit, they're clear, what support they need, and what makes them feel valued/inspiredand rewarded.  If, as an employee I can't or don't communicate my goals and objectives, seek challenges and build a good rapport with my peers and managers, I will have a difficult time becoming engaged no matter what I do. The manager/leader's role is to ensure there is the type of environment that fosters these kinds of conversations so employees can flourish. There also needs to be "corporate will" from the top that management/leaders are committed to creating this kind of environment and putting into place, the kinds of reward and compensation structures that reward company values, positive behavior, a supportive, challenging environment, new ideas AND results.