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I Hear You with the Compassion, Wellbeing, and Flexibility, but Where’s the Productivity?!

The AROSE Group - corporate and individual consulting and guidance

I have a dirty little secret. I have an insatiable drive. I am a workaholic, and I have been my entire adult life. And even more, I like this quality in others. It’s energizing. I like that restlessness that comes from always striving for more. I like the expansive vision and curious nature of people with this drive, many of whom are – or become – leaders. It’s why I pursued a path of leadership. It’s also why I chose to specialize in leadership development, organizational change, and culture work. Because organizations that lack drive and intensity, what I refer to as “Passion at Work,” lack soul.

I chose this path in life – sparking “Passion at Work” – partly because I learned the hard way that drive has a shadow side that needs our attention.

We work until we get sick. We work through sickness and physical pain.

We work until we burn out ourselves and the people around us.

We work until we have very little energy and attention left for the people and causes that matter most to us.

We get so busy that we don’t always notice our real impact – the incremental wins, the lessons, and the needs of others.

And if left to our own devices, we would work until we dropped dead at our desks. I know, now I’ve taken it too far…but it’s not that far from the truth.

AROSE Group was built on my own self-work. It was built from two decades of experience developing leaders and being accountable for talent solutions that deliver results, not just ideas. And it was built on the knowledge that:

  • Going slow to go fast is hard.

  • Noticing yourself, your wellbeing, and others’ needs is hard for the hard-charging.

  • No one has extra time, which is why you can’t mess around with strategies, training programs, and HR programs that don’t work.

While we at AROSE believe that, just like a person, each organization is unique, there are some patterns emerging from our client work that highlight what works and what doesn’t to drive productivity WITH wellbeing, flexibility, and compassion.

1. You can’t drive productivity safely without keeping the shadow side in check. There is no bypassing the self-work. It’s what really drives compassionate leadership. We all have our self-work to do as leaders. It is not just for us though. It Is for the people we lead and for the business growth we want our organizations to achieve.

Solution: Get personal. Give leaders 1:1 coaching alongside more scalable leadership development training and group work. This approach is essential and more efficient. You can’t do just one or the other if you want to develop leaders at scale. Note: You can do executive coaching in isolation for one-off leader development needs.

2. Only 1 in 10 people has the natural ability to lead others. So basically, most of us have no clue what we are doing! At AROSE, we don’t believe in merely learning through doing. It’s helpful, but insufficient and inefficient. Get curious about how you can be teaching leadership skills to everyone who leads and everyone who desires to lead. Our take on leadership skills is that they hinge on understanding human needs vs. trying to fix or control people and their challenges.

Solution: Design talent programs and processes grounded in a belief in people and an understanding of Human Needs. Employees will choose to perform and will be enabled to be wildly productive.

3. Figure out who your organization REALLY wants to be. Don’t fake it. The reason Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), ping pong tables, yoga classes on rooftops, hybrid office schedules, and higher paying jobs haven’t demonstrated increases in productivity is that they don’t work in isolation. They are like a fresh coat of paint on a cracking wall.

Solution: You need what we call a “Renovation Project.” You pick what you like about who you are as an organization, what you want to keep. And you choose what needs to evolve and change. It takes two inputs: 1) Who is your organization really? and 2) Who do you really want it to be? These are not superficial questions. They require trained interviewers, organizational designers, and architects. We ask the people who matter to you – your employees, leaders, stakeholders, customers, and desired candidates – who you really are. Then, with that insight, we help you get really honest and specific about who you want your organization to be. Because you are not for everyone. You make choices and tradeoffs so you can be a better version of you! That’s the Renovation Project.

So, my driven, restless friends, are you ready for real productivity, the kind you can feel proud of? If yes, let’s make your organization the kind business schools will be writing about and other organizations will be following. The playing field is wide open right now. It’s yours to win.


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