In Brief: Preparing Like Iggy Pop; Implementing Workplace Wellness

November 2019
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What Iggy Pop Can Teach Us About Preparation

Punk-rock legend Iggy Pop is known for his exciting, unpredictable, stage diving-filled concerts. But while Pop’s live show offers many lessons for communicators in self-confidence and the importance of effort, it’s his pre-gig ritual that can really teach us something.

According to communication theorist Nick Morgan, Pop believes strongly in the power of preparation. He starts getting ready for a concert 8-9 hours before it even starts, beginning with a silent coffee in bed. Leading up to the show, he also deep breathes while lying on the floor, does martial arts and sits silently for two hours backstage before showtime. 

Though communicators obviously don’t have to fill their pre-presentation space with as much rigorous preparation as Pop, Morgan says it’s important to use your time before a big public speaking moment constructively.  

“It’s distracting — and not in a good way — to look at social media, or your inbox, but it’s also hard to stand there and do nothing while you’re waiting for your moment to begin,” he says. “So instead you need to have an ironclad prep routine that takes you right up to the moment you walk onstage.”

How to Ease Tensions With a Hostile Employer

If your boss dislikes you, don’t lament your woes to co-work­ers, a recent CNN article advises.

“Be careful not to gossip or spread the story that the boss is out to get you,” says Steve Arneson, author of the book “What Your Boss Really Wants from You.” Complaining to peers hurts your image and could reach your employer.  

To ease the tension with a boss, “adjust to what they need and the type of person they are,” suggests Dana Brownlee, author of “The Unwritten Rules of Managing Up.” Task-focused people, for example, prefer to skip the chit-chat and get straight to work, while relationship-oriented people like to make small talk. As the employee, “You need to take more responsibility for the relationship than they do,” Arneson says.

Brownlee also recommends trying to bond over things you have in common; even such minor similarities as having a shared hobby or rooting for the same sports team can be a bridge to smoother collaboration. “People gravitate to people who have the same enthusiasm about things they care about,” she says. 

Study: Investors Prefer Companies With More Women in the Workforce

According to a new academic study reported on by NPR, investors prefer to bet on tech and finance companies that employ more women than the average firm. 

For Jennifer Dannals, a Dartmouth researcher on the study, this preference is connected to assessments about a company’s vision. If an organization values staff diversity, she says, investors are more likely to also view that company as innovative, creative and concerned with their social and political perception. 

But for Sundiatu Dixon-Fyle, an inclusion expert at consulting firm McKinsey & Co., investors also seek out companies that aren’t dominated by white, male employees for a simpler reason: Diversity often boosts a company’s bottom line. A study from Boston Consulting Group found that companies with more diverse management teams produce 19 percent more revenue. 

“We are not claiming that [adding] more women to your executive team will automatically increase your financial performance,” Dixon-Fyle said. “But what we are observing is that there is a statistically significant correlation.”

The Importance of Workplace Wellness Programs

Achieving a proper work-life balance takes more than just occasional vacations and routine mental health days off. 

In a Fast Company blogpost, Virginia-based CEO James R. Schenck writes that the onus falls on company leaders to create helpful workplace wellness programs that improve employee outlook. After all, research from the University of California and Washington University found that participating in wellness programs increases worker productivity by an average of more than 5 percent — roughly equivalent to an extra day of productive work per month.

Examples of wellness activities can be as simple as a free, lunch-hour meditation class or as elaborate as what Airbnb offers — giving employees a stipend to stay at an Airbnb anywhere in the world. 

The point is to let employees know that their health and well-being matter, says Schenck. “Everyone should be able to say when they go to sleep at night, ‘That was a good day. I bettered myself. I bettered my company. I took time for my health. What I did today mattered.’” 

photo credit: @iggypopofficial

Return to Current Issue Leadership | November 2019
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