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The Unspoken Reality of Hybrid Work: A Leader’s Guide to Navigating the New Normal

October 4, 2023 SHIFT



Let's cut to the chase. We're all navigating this brave new world of hybrid work, and honestly, it's not all sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. At 3 conferences in the past 2 weeks (All-in Summit, MastermindTalks, and Tony Hsieh Day.) I’ve talked to literally hundreds of CEOs who are grappling with the same questions you are. 

The Million-Dollar Question 

You're sitting there, staring at your screen, and you’re thinking: "How much work is actually getting done when we're not in the office?" 

It's like a riddle wrapped in an enigma, sprinkled with a dash of "WTF." 🤔

The Productivity Paradox: The Elephant in the Zoom Room

 Microsoft's data is a wake-up call for all of us. Only 12% of executives believe their teams are productive, while a staggering 87% of employees believe they're nailing it.This isn't just a gap; it's a chasm wide enough to swallow any well-intentioned corporate culture. Perception can be reality; and this perception is disjointed at best.

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At the mastermind group last week an executive shared a jaw-dropping story. His CTO had been moonlighting—working full-time jobs at two different companies for six months. This is the kind of stuff that erodes trust and makes you question everything. Right?

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The Speed Bump: The Tortoise, The Hare and The Snail

Did you know that you can get a PhD in Organizational Development and Change or Industrial-Organizational Psychology? Most of us have no idea that there is an entire academic track and history for managing change and studying human behaviors within organizations.

"What does the yellow light mean"

We've all been there. Projects that used to sprint are now crawling. But let's not forget, humans are wired to avoid change unless the pain of staying the same becomes unbearable. Management guru John Kotler revealed that a whopping 70% of change programs crash and burn due to a lack of urgency. 

Everything is moving faster but feels like it is taking longer.
At the All-In Conference, last week, Elon Musk said one of his management philosophies is to ask: what can happen in only half the time?

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The Unspoken Truths: The Taboos We Need To Shatter

In my first book, Grow Regardless, I talked about the disconnect between authority and application in making good decisions. Those with power and authority tend to be the furthest distance from the information and action. Therefore, decision making shouldn’t be kept at the top. 

My second book, Shift the Work, emphasized the wisdom of those without authority. At Cartier, new leaders are advised to keep mum for the first six months because, they believe, true strength comes from not wielding it.

But employees also have their share of biases and blind spots. The downside of admitting you're not working hard enough is career suicide, but if we don’t create safe spaces for honest conversation, it’s essentially organizational homicide

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Did you catch the recent news about Leo Messi?

I'm referring to Messi's groundbreaking deal that could potentially revolutionize the concept of equity in the workplace. Messi turned down a staggering $1.6 billion offer to play for Saudi Arabia.Instead, signing with Inter Miami in Major League Soccer.  But what's truly remarkable is the creative approach Miami took to bring him on board. They couldn't compete head-to-head with upfront cash, so Miami partnered with Apple, Adidas, and MLS to offer Messi something truly unprecedented. Apple gave him a share of the streaming revenue for MLS, a move never seen before in sports.

Adidas also provided him a profit share on all merchandise sales in the MLS. And as a bonus, he even received a call option on a future expansion team. This deal created an uncapped upside for Messi, similar to the groundbreaking deal Doloris Jordan made with Nike for her son, Michael Jordan.  You might remember the movie "Air" that tells their story. We call this a "class 5 experience" – a win, win, win, win, win situation. Messi wins. Miami and MLS get the greatest player of all time. Apple and Adidas win without front loading excessive capital.  And every professional athlete who creates immense value beyond their capture wins.

Now, what does this have to do with the workplace?

Imagine if every member of your team had a stake in the outcome, an opportunity to contribute and express their innate genius. 

Stop trying to get everyone to sing the same tune, simply embrace the harmony.

The word "harmony" comes from the Greek "harmonia," meaning "joint, agreement, concord." In psychology, cognitive harmony is achieved when all elements of a problem are integrated into a coherent whole.

Just like a symphony, your team needs harmony, not just agreement.  It's about embracing the tension, the dissonance, and turning it into a masterpiece.

The Hybrid Health Index 🎯

Enough with the preamble. Let's get to the main event. 

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We'll give you the lowdown on what’s harmonious and what needs a tune-up in your hybrid work model. And remember, even Zoom is rethinking their strategy. If they can pivot, so can you.

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1. A free webinar to decode your results and learn about what other companies are doing to make hybrid work…work really well.
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TOPICS: Workplace Innovation, leadership, stories that shift