Building Trust in Your Organization

“Trust is the most precious of the golden threads that connect us with others. Without it, there can be no ‘WE.’ With trust, growth, change, and transformation are possible.”

Judith Glaser

Trust is the foundation for engaging with others. When you build trust, you can truly inspire and empower others. Leaders build trust one conversation at a time. When there is trust in relationships, everything goes smoother and faster with candid and clear communication that gets better results. 

We know this to be true in our own lives, but data backs it up. Gallup research shows that employees who trust their employers experience 74% less stress and 40% less burnout. One third of employees shared they’d stay longer with an organization if leaders kept their promises; furthermore, companies with high trust levels outperform companies with low trust levels by a resounding 186%. 

Where does trust live in an organization?

Have you ever said to a colleague or employee, “Just trust me!” and felt that was sufficient for gaining trust? Of course not. Trust in an organization lives and breathes through the individuals that make up that organization. 

We can create trust, but we have to understand first where it lives with us, as individuals. 

Harnessing conversation neurochemistry

Understanding and utilizing the neurochemistry of conversations enables us to achieve profound transformational results and revolutionizes the way we interact as human beings—whether we’re working with individuals, teams, or entire organizations. 

Humans are wired to connect; but we’re also programmed to distrust first. Distrust lives in the most primitive regions of our brains, which are hardwired to protect us.

diagram of brain neurochemistry during conversations

Heart Brain

  • Enables connection all internal systems and others
  • When we are in sync with our heart brain, we move towards each other as friends; when we don’t sync we move away and feel others are foe

Limbic Brain

  • Stores history of all emotional experiences
  • The limbic brain says, “Where do I fit in?”
  • Reads social context, looks for inclusion and exclusion
  • Move towards or away from each other

Neocortex

  • Hardwired for language, storing info, basic thinking, reasoning and cognitive skills
  • Holds our internal “scripts,” including working memory and stored memory
  • Newer researcher says right brain is change brain and left brain is steady-state brain

Gut Brain

  • Link between digestion, mood and health and the way we think
  • Stress correlated to lack of biodiversity in gut flora
  • Keep track of social cues and allows us to alter behavior accordingly 

Prefrontal Cortex – newest part of the brain

  • Higher level coordination of the whole brain
  • Envision future and create scenarios, step into shoes of others – empathy, mirror neurons, make judgments, live in trust and have integrity
  • Advanced capabilities – judging, dreaming, possibility

Awareness shapes our environment for trust

We need to be more intentional in shaping the environment for trust—this opens up the prefrontal cortex, where we can best make choices without an automatic response. 

Think about our primitive brain states as an uphill climb—everything is primed for survival and is an uphill battle for us to communicate. 

Think about our prefrontal cortex as strolling on a country lane—moving forward is possible in conversation and there is a noticeable flow. 

Awareness of what we’re saying as we’re having conversations and building trust connects us with the most advanced parts of the newest brain, which can even be thought of as the “executive brain.” 

Knowing the brain research and neuroscience principles that underlie the words and actions that build (or erode) trust is the key to increasing a leader’s self-awareness and the ability to engage and inspire others more naturally and logically. 

Trust is a pivotal element in the future of remote work

74% of professionals expect remote work to become standard. This opinion is also shared by 76% of entrepreneurs—and tech organizations specifically will be leading the charge on this new normal. 

To create meaningful work across teams in-office, you need trust; but trust in an organization is more important than ever with remote work. Flexibility in work schedules and work locations are key to retaining talent—but make communication even more important. 

Regulating and understanding TRUST

Creating trust in an organization can be as simple as TRUST

Transparency

Relationship

Understanding

Shared Success

Test Assumptions 

When we use this model as a roadmap, we can be aware of our mindset, intentions and impact. As we know, this puts us in our prefrontal cortex where we’re best suited to make the decisions and connections that move our companies forward. 

Stay tuned for the next in our Organizational Trust series, where we’ll dive deep into Transparency. 

Does your organization need a trust assessment? 

Contact us to learn more. 

 

leader looks into ocean

Increasing ROI through a proven leadership framework 

leader looks into ocean

Making our businesses efficient and effective are a key part of our everyday lives. And so increasing ROI should always be top of mind—but there’s only so many new skills and operations tactics that can help, in the long run. 

Where we see a lot of companies finding success in that gap between where they are today and greater ROI is with their leadership teams; both on an individual and organization level. 

The proven leadership framework of Conscious Leadership can be the gamechanger. 

How the 4A’s of Conscious Leadership impact effectiveness

Awareness 

Awareness is the first of ORCA’s 4 A’s of Conscious Leadership. Why? Because if an organization is aware of the issues that are impacting its overall effectiveness, then they can actually do something about it. 

Like individuals, organizations are often not aware of the things that are having the impact on their effectiveness. By illuminating and bringing awareness to your organization’s effectiveness, it allows you the element of choice. “How do I raise awareness around what my leadership culture and strengths are?” is an important question. 

Calibrate against external benchmarks; how does your organization compare with the best of leadership in other organizations in research-based assessments? The next benchmark to set would be where you are vs. where you could be. Top quartile? Bottom quartile? It gives you a relative place to start with. Assess what our future desired state is based on what we have to execute as an organization? What is the strategy we need to deliver? You can see where the gap is. 

That’s going to have the biggest impact in terms of your competitive advantage because your business cannot be more effective than its sum total of the leadership. 

Acknowledgement 

Once you are aware, which ones will have the most impact? What are we going to take ownership of to move forward? 

What would be most important to focus on that can have the greatest impact? Correlations between variables between leadership competencies and behaviors have the actual greatest impact on effectiveness and therefore ROI. This process can be accomplished when looking at an individual’s growth or an organization’s. 

Action 

What action are you going to take? You can have wonderful assessments and take ownership of the results, but if you do nothing, nothing will change. 

Is there the will to change? For example, if I have a very large gap between where I am today and where I need to be, there’s going to be a lot more work to get there. Be honest with yourself and your organization about if you’re ready to really put the effort into it. 

Adaptation 

If you put an action plan into place, you then have to revisit that and say, “Is this action plan having the desired effect or having effects we didn’t even think it would have?” Look to see if your action plan is having the right effect. 

Similar to design thinking, you can use this phase as a series of experiments. Seeing the impact of the things you’ve implemented allows you further choices: if they are not having the right impact, how do you modify those to have the right impact? 

Much like life, adaptation isn’t a linear thing; as you start taking action on some things, you may become aware of other things having an impact. Continual adaptation will allow you to grow, change, and maximize your ROI. 

Navigating complexity and major change initiatives

As an organization either picks up speed and/or becomes more global and complex, it often goes from trying to put some structure on itself on how it can grow further. Sometimes you have a little bit of chaos between putting that structure in place, so what happens is in order to deal with the complexity, the leaders have to be able to develop themselves to deal with the complexity. 

The complexity isn’t going to go away, but they may have to shift their own internal operating system in order to deal with that complexity. If it’s not developed enough to deal with that complexity it will be challenging for those leaders to scale up. Looking at the internal aspect of leadership and how that impacts the external outcome of leadership competencies is important to increase ROI. 

Skills won’t get you to the next level

You have to know where you are before you know where you need to go—skills won’t be the answer. There’s a lot of time spent on actually looking at putting in a development program without understanding where we are now as an organization and what impact that development program will have. 

Take a holistic approach; if you don’t have awareness or insight, then the actions you may take may not be the right ones or get the desired results. 

Most leadership frameworks only work on the outer game of leadership, which is the direct competencies or skills needed to be a leader. But it’s more than simply building skill. It goes much deeper—it’s also about changing the mindset or internal operating system of the leaders and or the organization.

Conscious leadership is for lasting change

Conscious leadership involves looking at both what we call the ‘internal game’ and ‘outer game’ of leadership, so looking at both the consciousness of those leaders and the competencies of that leadership. Bringing those two things together is what can create lasting change and effectiveness. 

If the internal operating system is out of sync with the complexity that someone is dealing with, you can give them a lot of competencies, but it may not have the desired impact. The individual’s mindset or internal operating system may need to change to deal with that complexity. 

Ready to take the next step in increasing ROI through conscious leadership? Contact us. 

Stories we tell ourselves (and how to change the narrative)

One of the areas that has always interested me in working with leaders is how we get stuck into the stories that we tell ourselves.

When I first started my own business, I remember sitting at home wondering whether I was good enough. It was really strange to be sitting around after sending proposals to people you may know, trying to market your business, and then “waiting for the phone to ring”. When it took longer than I’d hoped, the first thought that would come into my head was, “I’m not good enough! They must not want to work with me.” 

There are many stories we could choose. Are you choosing the same again and again?

There are so many reasons why the” phone may not ring”. Maybe they’re busy. Maybe this offer isn’t a priority for them right now. You begin to realize, when you become aware of these other stories, that the issue may have nothing to do with me—but making about me was my default. It took me some time to work through my own stories – actually it is a continuous journey, however realizing that I can choose other than the one which was “holding me hostage” was a perspective that was  powerful and freeing.

What stories have you chosen that have been holding you hostage?

These stories can be limiting in terms of our development as leaders. An example could be “I’m not good at this” or “this is something I’m not able to do.” These stories start early on in life and are built up around some perception or story that we’ve chosen to tell about ourselves.

Some people may experience this as imposter syndrome where it’s as experienced as “I’m never good enough, no matter what I do. I’ll never be good enough.” I’ve definitely experienced this one myself. Our greatest defense in this case is to be our own strongest critic, for the fear of anyone telling us so.

Do you often find there’s a story that you tell yourself that limits who you can be? As I work with many leaders, I often find that some of them have just one story that they’ve connected themselves to. This one story can drive everything in how they show up as a leader. These stories may have gotten them this far, but might not be serving the next iteration of their leadership journey. I invite you to ask yourself: What are the stories that you identify with and What other stories could you tell? 

Do you hide parts of yourself and cover up your vulnerability to personify a more put-together leader? Sometimes admitting your own vulnerability or needing help can be a story we tell ourselves that gets in the way. If you’re someone who has been very successful in your career and you get to a place where you’re struggling, you may look to the past and say, “I’ve always figured this out on my own before. I don’t need anyone’s help.” This could just be a part of leadership growth; you could be experiencing new challenges that need to be reframed.

Changing the narrative can be uncomfortable

It’s going to feel uncomfortable at first to change any story. You’ve reinforced that story for a long time. That discomfort with change is a very normal emotion—and one that doesn’t need to be pushed away. A key lesson in the Conscious Leadership framework is learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. 

As we’ve all experienced, stepping outside of your comfort zone is definitely easier said than done. That’s why awareness is the first step.

Be curious and release judgment

Awareness is the first step of Conscious Leadership for a reason; how can you be an effective leader if you’ve never explored the stories, beliefs, internal assumptions, fears and triggers that impact you each and every day?

It’s easy to fall back into old habits, which is why it’s important to look at why we’re telling this story versus another. We become aware by noticing or being curious first, before making any changes. We want to get out of the judgment here and just observe. What stories are you telling about yourself that are holding you hostage to who you could be versus staying where you are?

Working with an Executive Coach can help change the narrative. Contact us for more support.

Acknowledging change as a CHRO in 2022

It’s human nature to resist change. With every day comes news of something ‘unprecedented,’ and often not in the ways we want to see change happening. As much as this impacts our personal lives, it also—of course—impacts the workplace. 

What’s a CHRO to do as 2022 marches on?

Navigating ever-changing—and stagnant—COVID-19 mitigations

For offices that are choosing to go back to in-person facilities, return-to-work is in full swing. Making sure it’s a positive experience for everyone is a big task on CHROs’ shoulders; not to mention 74% of professionals think remote work will become standard, according to a study from Growmotely. 

Whether your organizations’ workforce is in-person, remote, or hybrid, there’s an important step you may be missing. 

Acknowledgement is the shift CHROs need

The second ‘A’ of the Four A’s of Conscious Leadership is Acknowledgement. Acknowledgement is all about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable—and what have the past few years been but uncomfortable? 

Awareness is the shift from “I don’t know that I don’t know something” to “I know that I don’t know something,” thus creating an opportunity for choice to acknowledge.

By acknowledging changes and frustrations, you can empower your organizations’ leaders to: 

  • Shift from a fixed to growth mindset 
  • Embrace the challenge of learning and change
  • Apply emotional intelligence in everyday situations 

We all know it’s important for leaders to understand how their mindset may impact their perspective of how the team functions. So for CHROs, acknowledging change and navigating with flexibility can create a seismic shift in your organization. 

The top CHROs across the nation are focusing on individual wellness

Considering all we’ve been through in the past two years, it makes sense that HRO World lists supporting individual wellness as a top concern for CHROs. The ongoing pandemic has elevated the role of the CHRO even further—often visibly helping CEOs manage and lead their organizations into the future. 

This makes acknowledgement of present issues, day to day with an eye on the future, even more important.

A holistic approach builds upon acknowledgement

While taking into account individual employee wellness and leadership’s emotional intelligence, you need a holistic approach. 

That’s why we’ve integrated our 4As of Conscious Leadership into our customized solutions for organizations like yours. 

Acknowledging change can be difficult. We’re here to partner with you to create holistic solutions that transform the consciousness and capabilities of leaders for whole-organization success. Contact us today. 

Activating Leadership Through 10 Self-Awareness Activities

Is one of your goals this year to become a more impactful leader? Awareness is the gateway to more effective, conscious leadership. In fact it’s the first step in ORCA’s Four A’s of Conscious Leadership.

Yet many of our clients ask, “Where do I begin?”

We’ve put together a list of 10 activities to do to increase your self-awareness every day. Remember, awareness is a continual process of learning. Our team at ORCA uses these techniques to further grow and develop. 

1. Meditate and practice mindfulness.

One company’s study showed consistent employee meditation increased productivity by 120%. With meditation rising to the same level of popularity as yoga in the U.S. alone, it’s easy to find resources to help with this critical tool for self-awareness and success.  

  • Set a timer for 5 minutes, close your eyes and notice what comes up.
  • Headspace and Calm are great tools to use for guided meditations.
  • These mindfulness tips may seem easy enough, but in practice self-awareness is a process of constant learning. Therefore, ORCA and WithPause have put together a detailed guidebook that you can use throughout your day for self-inquiry: 7 Daily Micro-Practices to Shift Your Experience. 

2. Learn something new.

From a physiological perspective, learning something new is good for you. When you learn something new, you are exercising your brain—helping to improve cognitive functions such as concentration, attention to detail, memory recall and problem solving.

  • Find an interest that you enjoy, ideally something that brings you joy and gets you out of your comfort zone. Through trying something new, you’ll gain greater self-awareness and confidence. 

3. Use self-assessment instruments.

Understanding behavioral style and preferences to environmental factors impact how you lead and work as a team. 

  • These can include assessments such as DISC and EQ to learn more about yourself and increase your awareness. Get your free DISC Engagement Report here.
  • You can also use CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthsFinder) to dive deeper into what are your strengths and how to capitalize on them. Contact us to learn more. 

4. Journal.

Journaling is one of the most accessible tools available to increase your self-awareness—especially as patterns in thought can appear when you journal over a span of time. All you need is a pen and paper (or blank document on your laptop). 

  • Consistency is key here. Notice what thoughts you have when you first wake up and write them down. Use the prompts below to guide your journal entries.

5. Create a personal values statement.

A personal values statement shows you what’s most important, which is incredibly effective in prioritizing your time and goals. 

  • What is important to you? What guides your actions?

6. Challenge your fixed mindset.

A growth mindset thrives on challenge, unlike a fixed mindset, which assumes we can’t change in a meaningful way. 

  • Example: Instead of “I need to control.” (a fixed quality that feels unchangeable) try “I am learning how to let go be a better listener and allow others to take the lead.” (this creates a path forward)
  • Kristin Neff’s 5-minute Self Compassion Break is a great tool to guide you forward when you feel stuck in your fixed mindset.

7. Identify the sensations in your body in connection with your emotion.

Recognizing how our mind and body react to situations and emotions—whether in tandem or separately—can illuminate areas we want to alleviate tension. 

  • Notice what situations or stimuli trigger you and cause you to have certain reactions or feelings. Example: What is happening in your body when you feel angry? 
  • Set a reminder on your phone that says “Name 3 emotions you are experiencing right now.” Set it to repeat at a specific time every day. 

8. Examine and poke holes in your own level of thinking.

As leaders, we know that making assumptions isn’t the best practice. Your own thinking is no different. 

  • Play your own devil’s advocate.
  • Be open to asking those around you what I am missing in my thinking about this problem.

9. Know your strengths and weaknesses/growth edge.

SWOT analysis may be second nature for your business, but knowing your own strengths, weaknesses, and growth edge present an opportunity for greater self-awareness and direction. 

  • In what areas would you like to improve? What things come naturally and easily to you? What is something you would like to do, but are afraid to try?

10. Pay attention to your intuition.

Paying attention to your intuition—and trusting where it leads—can bring self-recognition and information you can then act on. 

  • Where do you feel naturally inclined to go? Be curious and listen beyond what your rational mind might be telling you. 

Looking Back to Look Ahead: An End of Year Letter from CEO Paul O’Beirne

This time of year can fly by with more events than usual; it’s normal to feel the pressure to celebrate and soak in every last moment as the year comes to a close. It’s also a time for reflection and looking to the future with intentionality. It’s important to look back so we can see how we would like to move forward. As I reflect back on my Conscious Leadership journey this year, I encourage you to do the same. 

Vulnerability is an essential part of the Conscious Leadership Journey

This year, I stepped in front of the camera and shared more of myself with you. I’ll tell you, making my first video was both a weird and anxious experience. It felt like I was talking to myself. I had a thought of “are you staring at a screen or really talking to people?” It felt vulnerable and challenging, pushing me even further as a leader and I shared more of my own journey than ever before. Over time I was able to become a little more comfortable making videos. 

I believe what we have to say is important, especially in these times when most of us are being challenged by everything. The world is shifting and we are entering a new era of work. My mission and our mission at ORCA is to help people become more conscious and take ownership of things that are going to help them be more effective in navigating change. This mission is more important than any fear I have of being in front of the camera. 

I didn’t have any expectations about what might happen, but I gained so much from the experience. New connections, deeper connections with my network and more confidence in myself. I felt really vulnerable sharing my journey publicly and ultimately had to trust that my sharing could help someone. In the end, it resonated with some, and I had people reach out to me to thank me for sharing and some even shared how it helped them in their own journey. 

The challenge of leading a company through uncertainty

In the beginning of the year, lots of projects were still on hold as clients didn’t know what to expect in the coming months. As the year progressed, things started picking up and there was more predictability around how we would move forward. Everything wasn’t completely worked out, but we had a general direction. In 2020 we really had to get comfortable moving everything to the virtual space, and this year we were able to go back to having some in-person meetings. 

The biggest challenge we faced was the uncertainty that comes with growing and sustaining a business. Figuring out how to keep generating revenue, maintaining profitability, controlling costs and overhead, and figuring out cash flow. 

Personally, I was challenged to work on my business versus in my business and really embody the role of CEO. (You might remember my balcony and the dance floor video.) It was important to look at how to scale a business beyond just me and the relationships. I needed to personally spend more time on the balcony. 

Defining what success means at ORCA

It’s important to know your “why.” It’s crucial to how you measure your success as a leader. When I think about ORCA’s success, I ask myself two key questions:

  1. Have we assisted our customers in having a transformational experience? 
  2. Have the individuals and teams with whom we work taken away something that makes them and those around them better? 

This year I really tried to prioritize sharing our wins. I adopted a habit of doing this every week in what I called “our wins and priorities.”  We are still a work in progress, but are continuing to get clear on where we can add the most value and focusing on developing our niche. Currently we are transitioning to a more holistic approach and integrating the different assets we have to bring greater value while focusing on where we have the most experience, which is working with technology organizations. 

Looking to the future

As another year comes to a close, I’m going to continue to use connection as my roadmap. My goal is to continue to establish and build long-term sustainable relationships with our clients and partners. It’s not about selling a product or a new lifestyle. It’s about raising awareness and encouraging people to continue to grow and transform and for you to do the same for your people; in this way, we propel to new levels of success. 

We are working on integrated offerings that can be customized to different clients based on their needs. The Four A’s of Conscious Leadership will continue to be a focus, and we’re excited to dive deeper into that framework with you in 2022. 

We are so grateful for our clients, our partners, and our community at large. I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Holiday and a wonderful end to 2021, and we look forward to connecting with you next year. 

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