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Ron Carucci: Important Considerations for Returning to Work (Ep. #20)

The BetterManager Team
Building Better Managers Podcast Episode 20 - Ron Carucci

Building Better Managers Podcast Episode #20: Important Consideration for Returning to Work

We are in an unprecedented time. There is no guide, no Standard Operating Procedure or historical perspective. Today's special guest, Ron Carucci, and I will discuss what individuals and organizations can do to create new models and opportunities regarding workplaces and remote work to make it through and potentially thrive in these new times.

In this episode:

Meet Ron Carucci

  • Bio & Background

Trends Since March 2020

  • People are inventing their way through the current situation. Businesses really had no playbook for this.
  • And whether it's how they set up remote work, how they help employees with technology, how they meet, make decisions, give feedback and coach people, we're all spending way too much time on screens these days, which is causing our brains to be exhausted.
  • There are no more boundaries - it seems to be one big 16 hour workday. People are actually working more and fewer of them are taking a break. And so the natural boundaries of the end of a work day or a weekend are gone.
  • So we're all having to reinvent this thing called work, how we participate in the world, and how we contribute in the world.
  • For some, it's exposing new levels of resilience, strength, excitement, and providing fresh opportunities, but for others, it's exposing boredom and frustration and levels of disengagement.

The Importance of Communication

  • One of the most important things organizations can do is provide reliable information.
  • Have a mechanism of keeping people informed about what's going on, about what you're doing - even if you haven't gotten answers to all the questions, keeping people engaged and informed and aligned is probably the greatest gift you can give people right now.
  • Letting them make up stories in their heads is going to send them over the rails; it's not going to help your workplace, and it's not gonna help their productivity.

How the Brain Is Adapting to New Normals

  • Our brains are misers. Our brains are lazy. They want to do the minimal amount of processing as possible. And so we create shortcuts. It's why you can drive to work without know how you got there.
  • Coming home to work in dining rooms, creating offices in basements, turning our kitchens into classrooms, we made that up as we went and it was it was kind of exciting. We sort of conquered it.
  • But when we go back to the office, our brains are going to start reaching for the Old Normal. Where you park, where your cubicle is, which coffee mug is yours.
  • And our brains are gonna be short circuiting all day long dealing with new things in old places: having your temperature taken, forgetting your mask, starting at a different time. And that's exhausting.
  • Our brains are efficient, they'll create new shortcuts for the six feet apart in the break room, and suddenly the world will change again.
  • A good metaphor is: when you bring your cell phone into the forest, and you watch the battery just go down because I'm looking for a tower. That's what's happening to our brains on Zoom calls - we're all looking at each other, each other's dirty laundry, each of us backgrounds ourselves to make sure there's no spinach in our teeth. Every email notification that comes up, or we check again or we're asking so much of our minds these days, that mental health becomes really important.
  • Mental rest becomes critical. It's not just a "nice to have," it's become a must have.
  • You're using the frontal lobe of your brain in ways it was never intended to be used, or at the extent and intensity level with which we're using it. If you don't take care of it.
  • That's going to happen to our brains because of Zoom Fatigue, but it's just really fatigue period - if we don't learn to recharge, and take care of it with more than just caffeine.

How to Prepare Yourself for a Return to the Workplace

  • Monitor your anxiety
  • Stock up on patience and flexibility
  • Manage expectations
  • Be a source of joy
  • Stay focused on the Bigger Story

Downloads & Resources

Follow Ron on LinkedIn here.

Subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast platform!

Check out our blog articles on Leadership here.

Ron Carucci

Ron has a thirty-year track record helping executives tackle challenges of strategy, organization, and leadership — from start-ups to Fortune 10s, non-profits to heads-of-state, turn-arounds to new markets and strategies, overhauling leadership and culture to re-designing for growth. With experience in more than 25 countries on 4 continents, he helps organizations articulate strategies that lead to accelerated growth, and then designs programs to execute those strategies.

The best-selling author of eight books, including the recent Amazon #1 Rising to Power, Ron is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, where Navalent’s work on leadership was named one of 2016’s management ideas that mattered most. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes, and a two-time TEDx speaker. Ron is proud to be a member of the Marshall Goldsmith MG100 coaches community. His work’s been featured in Fortune, CEO Magazine, Inc., BusinessInsider, MSNBC, Business Week, and Smart Business.

Episode Transcript
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