Category Archives: Executive Coaching
Ilanz, Graubuenden, Switzerland

Have-Done-Diaries are a great tool to boost your productivity. It is the opposite of the To-Do-List and was promoted by my coach educator Boudewijn Vermeulen. Like me, Boudewijn used to work in a consultancy company, and he also coached a lot of lawyers. He knew about our ridiculous hours and how we were always trying to multitask to get more done in a shorter time frame, but you probably have experienced this situation yourself.

It’s 6.05 AM, and you are just getting out of the shower… Your hair is toweled up, and you light two candles. You get into your meditation pose and close your eyes. Then you realize that you have not set your alarm. So you get up and get your phone from the bathroom where you were reading an interesting article about the entrepreneur scene in Europe. Then you see that you have three new messages on WhatsApp…

At 8 AM, you realize that you’re late, and you hardly remember to take your train ticket, your badge, your purse and sunglasses, and whoosh – you’re out of the door. You remember the candles, open the door again, blow them out, and while you run to catch the train, you think: “Didn’t I plan to meditate?” Sounds familiar?

We have so many distractions nowadays (ugh! … I overcooked the pasta while writing this) that I often wonder how people get any work done. Have you ever caught yourself in the last 24 hours thinking, “What am I doing right now?”. We have programs and routines that do not seem to require the same brain activity as real challenges. 

Often we are just keeping busy, but our output is not that relevant.

I saw several people walking on their Sunday stroll the other day, and they all talked to someone on the phone via a headset. They did not just get a call. They planned to use their walking hour to speak to someone. I sometimes combine routine activities with other activities too. For example, I would watch a video or listen to a podcast while ironing. It works very well to combine such activities.

However, it does not help me to create. I prefer to mono-task and give my full attention to the task, even if it seems mundane. I want to give my brain time to reflect and digest the input, it receives during the week (and believe me, there’s a lot of input). My creative side suffers when I don’t give my brain time to digest, reflect and organize. 

Unfortunately, with Social Media, I have such a love-hate relationship that I really need to discipline myself to get off them.

If you constantly feel that you are not getting enough relevant work done, I urge you to try the Have-Done-Diary.

1) Write down how you spend your time by using a “Have-Done-Diary”

I find the easiest way to do this is by having a notebook (I mean, the old-school paper version) next to my laptop or computer, which only serves this purpose (and other creative ideas running through my head). You can add everything and anything you have done during that day, even this: “Sat down on a bench and enjoyed the sunshine on my face.”

If you want to improve your productivity you can also add the Pomodoro method to this productivity hack and write down what you worked on for each Pomodoro.

2) Join our RockMeRetreat

After the RockMeRetreat, you will apply practices such as the weekly reflection exercise. Invest only fifteen minutes per week, and you will be amazed at how much more you achieved than you thought possible. The thing is, if I don’t gently encourage you to do this, you’d rather spend those fifteen minutes watching cat videos. 

If you are feeling in a rat race or stuck in the same recurring story as if you are in “Groundhog Day”, you will profit from joining our RockMeRetreat.

Please share this post with all your lab rat and corporate clone friends. They will thank you for the productivity tips! Now, go get that notebook so you can start trying this method. 

Then call Angie to discuss your participation in the RockMeRetreat and TADAAA! Now you can write down “Had a talk with Angie about the RockMeRetreat and registered for the retreat in November – Sounds like this is going to be so fun AND useful”!! It’s that easy! 😉

This year we will offer the RockMeRetreat from 17 to 23 November 2022 again at Haus der Begegnung which belongs to the monastery in Ilanz. I hope you will join us there. The atmosphere in the mountains is rather stimulating and at the same time emanates peace.

I will be happy to set up a meeting with you to discuss your participation and goals for the RockMeRetreat.  

Kind regards,

Angie Weinberger

Back to School – Seven Virtues for Purpose, Performance, and Productivity

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/my-favourite-productivity-hacks-seven-tips-to-claim-back-your-diary/

Immersive Experience

Richard Harvell, a Bestselling Author and Publisher, and Diccon Bewes, the very famous author of “SwissWatching” and other books about living in Switzerland as a foreigner contacted us to announce this great pilot project they are conducting. They will hold an all-inclusive cultural integration retreat weekend in Bellinzona on 17-19 June and thought we might have the most suitable candidates to benefit from this exciting experience!

Cultural integration has been proven crucial to the success of an expat’s assignment, but it has often been overlooked. This kind of crash course (it’s not a course really, rather a touristy weekend where you also learn lots!) allows the participants to learn about their new setting in an informal and enjoyable way. This transition period (from the moment you decide to accept the assignment, to the preparation, to settling in your new place and job) is stressful enough; this weekend is designed to help you ease in and be ready to bounce back. Employers will also benefit from this retreat: having better integrated and less stressed employees prepared to become more efficient faster can only be positive. Switzerland has long struggled with this challenge, and Richard and Diccon are here to make change happen!

Registration is now open here.

Mountain View

As I have mentioned in this post, my mother could not find yeast during the early days of the pandemic. Her village in Southern Germany had a yeast shortage. We didn’t have a shortage of anything here in Zurich, neither toilet paper nor yeast, even though demand for both was higher than in “normal” times. My mother likes baking, but I felt she needed to bake even more during these times. 

I went to SPAR and bought five packets of dry yeast. The man at the post office laughed when I told him what was in the small parcel—my second delivery since the beginning of our lockdown. The price of the stamps was higher than the value of the goods, but hey, this was the only thing I could do for my family from here. I was so happy that I could help them with a small gesture. This year, I did not order anything online for Easter: I used my social media skills to locate the flower shop in my mother’s village, and we actually talked on the phone (I know, bizarre…). Once she understood my relationship with the village’s eldest woman (my grandma), I think she completely trusted me, and I trusted her. We agreed to her delivering flowers that I would pay via bank transfer. No credit card, no contract, just trust, and five minutes of small talk. She understood that this gesture was important to me. I only live about two hours away from my family, but I might as well live in Cochin or Costa Rica.

I’m an accidental “expat.” I didn’t really think of myself as an expat since I’ve lived the closest to home for the last 11 years. Coronavirus “expatriated” me. I’ve worked with expats most of my professional life, lived abroad, and been on international assignments. I’m an expert in Global Mobility, but it took a virus to make it hard to return to my passport country. 

I feel your pain and your stress. We are all experiencing varying levels of emotional and mental turmoil. There is no solution to the root causes of that anxiety, but we need to maintain our mental health like we do our physical. The World Health Organization, correctly anticipating that the longer the pandemic lasts, the more it would impact mental health, has spent the last couple of years publishing support and guides for people to follow. I have been following them, and they have proven helpful in centering me and giving me better control of my mental health.

Pause. Breathe. Reflect.

Take some slow breaths, inhaling through your nose, then slowly exhaling through your mouth. 

Slow breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress because it signals to your brain to relax your body.

Connect with others

Keep in regular contact with people close to you and talk to them. Talking to people you trust can help. Tell them how you are feeling and share any concerns, or discuss everyday things.

Keep to a healthy routine

The emphasis here is on both healthy and routine. That means not using alcohol and drugs to deal with fear, anxiety, boredom, and social isolation.

Instead, focus on establishing consistent sleeping patterns, maintaining personal hygiene, eating regularly and having healthy food, and improving time management to include exercise, work, and personal time.

One thing that works for me is to take regular breaks from on-screen activities and go offline.

Be kind to yourself and others

We are human and thus not immune to doubt and anxiety. Don’t expect too much of yourself on days that are more difficult than others. Instead, accept that some days, you may be more productive than others.

One way to practice self-kindness is to reduce how much you watch, read or listen to news that makes you feel anxious or distressed, especially news from your home country. Limit news to fixed times in the day and listen only to trusted sources. 

If you can help yourself and have the capacity for it, helping others can be good for you too. If you can, offer support to people in the expat community who may need it. Because as expats, we have learned to be resilient, we have survived previous crises, and we have managed to turn our lives around in the oddest situations. But now, we are not so sure anymore. When will this pandemic end? And how will we live when we get out of it? Which part of the world still feels safe? Will our children ever be able to catch up on the school lessons they have missed? 

I miss having offline workshops and what I love about this retreat is that we can be offline most of the time and connect with our inner creators again. We can work on our relationships with people who are important to us. We can build a community of people who help each other (irrespective of their cultural or religious background but based on shared values and deep love for people).

Like we need yeast to bake bread, we need energy and love to work and live with people around us. We might think that we can just stay at home and send our avatars to work, but who would we then be? 

We need to get dressed in nice clothes, have a commute to work and a distance between “work” and “leisure.” Otherwise, we lose our fire and inspiration, and lose touch with our inner creator. I look forward to hearing from you!

I wish all of us to support each other in communities, and I’m convinced that an OFFLINE RETREAT will most certainly create miracles despite the wonders of technology. Because of the travel situation and insecurities around the world, I have decided to offer the RockMeRetreat in Switzerland at the Ilanz monastery. I have been on a retreat there before, and it’s a humble, yet quiet and comfortable place, and the sisters are extremely warmhearted and welcoming, and the mountain view is just amazing.

We will offer the RockMeRetreat from 17 to 23 November 2022.

I hope you will join us in Ilanz. I will be happy to set up a meeting with you to discuss your participation. 

Richard Harvell, a Bestselling Author and Publisher and Diccon Bewes, also very famous author of “SwissWatching” and other books about living in Switzerland as a foreigner contacted us to announce this great pilot project they are conducting. They will hold an all-inclusive cultural integration retreat weekend in Bellinzona on 17-19 June and thought Global People Transitions might have exactly the right candidates to benefit from this exciting experience!

Cultural integration has been proven crucial to the success of an expat’s assignment, but it has often been overlooked. This kind of crash course (it’s not a course really, rather a touristy weekend where you also learn lots!) allows the participants to learn about their new setting in an informal and enjoyable way. This transition period (from the moment you decide to accept the assignment, to the preparation, to settling in your new place and job) is stressful enough; this weekend is designed to help you ease in and be ready to bounce back. Employers will also benefit from this retreat: having better integrated and less stressed employees, prepared to become more efficient faster can only be positive. Switzerland has long struggled with this challenge, and Richard and Diccon are here to make change happen!

Registration is now open here.

https://www.immerse-swiss.com/bellinzona

The Expert Guide to Your Life in Switzerland (trailer)

Resources and further readings

NewInZurich

Looking at the whole family in the expatriation process

Our epic blog posts

Global TV Talk Show with Ed Cohen:

Interview with Ed Cohen on Minority Expats

Guest Post by Nabeha Latif, Social Media Guru

About YouTube

If you’ve got all your social media covered, why leave out YouTube? If you haven’t gotten around to capitalising on the video platform’s huge audience, now is better than ever! When it comes to numbers, YouTube is hitting it out of the park! With around 500 hours worth of video content uploaded every minute no wonder it ranks No. 2 for global and domestic web traffic globally.

The current era of media consumption and content consumption, whether its education, entertainment or news updates, YouTube has a vast variety for it all. With the whole social trend gradually moving towards video based content on almost all platforms, YouTube is in the spotlight. Surely you’re familiar with the homepage for your own video consumption on the site, however there’s a lot more that goes into a video from the backend to market and get your content out to the right audience. Here’s all you need to know to get your business running on YouTube.

YouTube for business

Although you can view videos without having to sign in, but for uploading and interacting, as with any other site, you’ll need to sign-up/register your Company/Business to get started. Here’s the quick rundown of the process.

  • Sign-Up with your Business: If you use Gmail for your business email, you’ll use the same username and password for your YouTube account that you use for Gmail. Alternatively, you can create a new Google account that you use solely for YouTube business purposes.
  • Enter the Homepage: Here you can double check if you’re in the company account or your personal one.
  • Open your profile (click on the avatar): You’ll find this in the top right corner. It’s a small circle containing your picture, logo or a default letter.
  • Select your channel: Click your avatar and select the channel from the dropdown menu.
  • Select Business or Other name: You’ll need to select this option to get started with a business YouTube account. You can then enter your company’s name.
  • And click create: Done! That’s all you needed to do.

Once completed, head back to your homepage to get on with the setup. On the top left you’ll see three thin lines, which drop down a menu when clicked. This contains a host of options such as homepage, trending videos, your library and your subscriptions.

On the other side, on the top right, you have a lot more going on. You’ll see four buttons, a camera that lets you upload your next video, a set of mini squares that open up YouTube apps, a bubble shaped icon for messages and a bell icon for all your account notifications. The account photo or avatar as mentioned will guide you to your account information and settings.

Channel Customization

That’s all the basic setup you need to start pushing out videos, but not necessarily the best way it can be done! Make your channel, your very own by customising according to your brand theme to get the most out of your content and brand image.

Here are a few things you’ll need to shine the creative light on:

  • Channel Art: Channel art mainly refers to the top banner, similar to that of Facebook and Twitter. A solid place to add a quick tagline and logo for your brand. And on the topic of similarities between Facebook and Twitter, the YouTube icon is similar to that of a profile picture, so uploading your logo is the best bet!

    Here are the dimensions for both:
    Banner: 2560 x 1440 pixels (For mobile devices and a safer bet 1546 x 423 pixels)
    Icon: 800 x 800 pixels (displays as 98 x 98)
  • Business Info: It’s essential to share data about your business, its offerings, etc. You can do this in the About segment of your YouTube account while adding your website along with your company’s slogan.

Begin with your About segment’s channel description. Keep it short and sweet: You simply need a compact statement of purpose with all things considered three links and a minor source of inspiration. Then, at that point, look down to the “email for business requests” box and put the fitting email address there.

In the last segment, you can add anything links you need: your business website, your other online media pages, and some other web pages to which you need to coordinate your watchers. The more links you have, the higher your possibilities directing people to your business website and drawing in your YouTube watchers. The maximum is 30!

  • Channel Trailer: While optional, a channel trailer is a brief video that introduces viewers to the content they’ll find on your YouTube channel. It is an excellent customization option to increase YouTube viewer engagement. Once you add this trailer, it will appear on your account’s homepage when viewers visit, helping to reel them in and acquaint them with your brand.
  • Engaging with users

After all YouTube is a social platform so its best to keep updated on your content consumers, here are the options you can choose from:

  • Comments: You can boost your video’s engagement traffic by responding to users who comment on your videos.You can sort them by newest/oldest or most popular.
  • Likes: Optional to showcase on your channel, but a more public and passive form of response from the audience.
  • Subscriptions: To help get your content out to the users so they stay up to date. Every time you upload a new video, your subscribers receive a push notification. You should constantly encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel, as it improves your engagement traffic and increases the number of views.
  • Sharing: The site’s social widget allows users to share videos on other social media networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Blogger, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
  • Messages: Respond to your friends and queries, You can also share private videos and messages with friends and contacts on YouTube.
  • Playlists: You can organize related content together using the site’s playlist feature. This is another way to organize your own content on your channel and help users watch content of a similar type in an easy click.
  • Verification

Let your audience know your channel is the real deal from the sea of accounts and users. Much like other platforms, you’ll see a small checkbox, which indicates a verification badge next to the channel’s name. To apply for verification, your channel must have 100,000 subscribers. However contacting Google if you’re a business helps them verify its you before the milestone requirement.

Going Live!

All social platforms like Facebook and Instagram have the option to stream live content to talk to or just showcase a trailer for example. Similarly, YouTube works all the same. Your account does need to be verified for live videos on YouTube though.

Once your account is ready, then going live has 4 ways on YouTube.The first, which is the quickest, is the Stream Now option. The second is through the Events tab, which gives you more control, because you can preview your stream ahead of time. The third option is found on the site’s mobile app; if you use this, the stream will later be archived on your channel. Lastly, you can stream from your computer’s webcam. 

Trending Content/Videos

Certain content on the rise? Perhaps a new type of challenge, maybe even a meme or even a worldwide breaking news! So hop on the bandwagon to get your content out to popular searches being looked for globally. YouTube users are interacting with at very high rates. Often, these videos were uploaded within the last couple days. You can view the current trending videos under the Trending tab on the YouTube homepage even if you’re not logged in or don’t have an account.

For brands, the goal of creating trending content isn’t necessary. It could be a shoot-for-the-stars goal, because if one of your videos goes viral, it could end up on the trending page and thus create significant exposure for your company. Trending videos on YouTube are the videos currently getting the most engagement. Going viral is a nice goal, but not necessarily the ultimate marker of success, depending on your channel’s audience and tone.

Influencers/Youtubers

Famous people and channels which gain a substantial amount of traction and views with each upload, mostly and primarily found pushing video content out on the platform. With each market and genre, you’ll have a host of content creators for the big, the small and even very particular hybrid niches!

Many YouTubers have corporate sponsorships. These sponsors send YouTubers their products to mention or use in their videos. Often, YouTubers will verbally mention the sponsor company and how awesome its product is.

Connecting with influencers to establish partnership deals can elevate your brand on YouTube, helping you reach more viewers and legitimizing your channel.

Advertising

And now we come to a more direct form of content marketing, advertising your videos out to your desired audience to grab and hook them to your channel! Although most YouTubers and channels have gained success from the free atmosphere of the platform, companies and organizations can get their ads in! Since the site is based on video content, companies are encouraged to add a call-to-action link directing viewers to their website following the video.

There are 4 options when it comes to YouTube ads and placements:

  1. In-stream ads, which play before, during or after other videos which can be skipped after 5 seconds. You’ll be charged when 30 seconds of the video is watched.
  2. Discovery ads, which appear when a user is searching or browsing content on YouTube or across the web. This content has no limit! You’ll be charged based on clicks.
  3. Bumper ads are six seconds or less, and users can’t skip these. Ads like these can appear throughout the video. You’ll be charged for these ads based on cost per thousand impressions, or vCPM.
  4. Paid advertisements on YouTube can help you monetize your video content by giving your audience an easy way to buy your products and services.

YouTube Premium

YouTube Premium or previously called YouTube Red, is a paid subscription version of YouTube, which starts from $11.99 ($12 realistically). This allows for a seamless experience with extra perks such as no ads whatsoever and the ability to download videos for offline play.

Also remember that videos are ad-free with this subscription. At the end of the day, though, YouTube Premium could hurt your business, because the premium services take users away from in-stream advertisements.

Tips

Now that you’re familiar with YouTube and how you can promote your business, here are a few extra tips to keep you above the crowd:

  • Ask and motivate your users to subscribe to your channel, no harm in asking (nicely)!
  • Get the traffic from other platforms onto your video, by sharing it with more of the crowd.
  • Use of keywords, hashtags and trending phrases to stand out with SEO.
  • Get social and mingle with similar content creators to learn and also attract more relevant people!
  • Make custom playlists for your channel, especially if you have a series going.
  • Regular and timely uploads!
  • Use links to more of your content, and links within your videos.
  • Work with trending and high profile YouTubers for product placements, reviews and collabs.
  • YouTube really is inspired from other platforms, so get onto YouTube stories as well.
  • To get the crowd going, how about arranging a giveaway or a contest to get the “hype train” going.

From The Facebook to Facebook to Meta

Facebook has changed considerably since we initially logged in in 2008. Back then, Facebook was still called “The Facebook.” Facebook has advanced dangerously fast since then, and it’ll continue to adapt and improve at a quick speed however long it exists. Multiple updates and new features are rolling out regularly, but the core concept and workings have not changed essentially. It’s a place where you can connect and network. Being an expat, you can find like minded people and even make friends via Facebook groups.

It is now going to turn into a metaverse wherein we can interact in virtual worlds focused on social connections. Metaverse is however still in its introductory phase so we will see if it will be able to replace Facebook in the near future. 

What is Facebook
Facebook is a social media network that interfaces individuals through an online platform. By sharing content like messages, status, posts, images, videos, and outside joins like blog entries, Facebook clients can contribute thoughts and discuss with others who share something similar or various interests. As well as sharing their thoughts, clients can draw in with the content others share on Facebook by responding to it with a like, a laugh, anger, surprise, and care reaction. Facebook is a great tool to gather feedback on your product/service and also to promote special offers to your target audience.

Organizations can utilize their Facebook Pages to stay in contact with their customers, target new ones, and offer direct customer support. To completely comprehend Facebook and how it functions, you’ll need to get comfortable with common terms utilized on the platform. Here is a rundown of key Facebook terms and what they mean.

What is Facebook Business
A Facebook Business or Facebook Page is open to all public accounts from Facebook that brands can set up based on their own theme and branding. It may also be used as a social page for Public Figures, artists, and people alike. These pages or Business accounts allow users to share contact information, post updates, share content, promote events and releases, and stay linked with their audience.
These pages can easily be integrated with profiles and Facebook shops to offer a broader package for businesses.

Create a Business Page

Before you can sign up for your Facebook Business Page, you have to log into your own Facebook account. You don’t need to worry: the data from your personal account won’t become public on your business page.

This is a relevant question because business pages often have more than one-page manager. The moderators are individuals with each their own individual Facebook accounts. Your personal account works like the way to give you access to your new business page. If you have partners assisting you with your business page, their own accounts will have equal access to the business as an admin account.

Along these lines, in case you’re not currently logged into your own account, log in now; otherwise, click on Sign Up to get started.

Setup Your Personal Account

To sign up for a Facebook account, follow these three easy steps.

  1. First name
  2. Last name
  3. Mobile number or email
  4. New password
  5. Birthday
  6. Gender.

Click Sign Up.

After you’ve signed up for a Facebook account, you can adjust your privacy settings to control who can see your profile and information. Follow these four simple steps to change your privacy settings.

  1. Click the arrow (downward-pointing blue triangle) on the top right corner of any Facebook page.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Select Privacy from the sidebar.
  4. Set who is allowed to see your posts and how people can contact you.

Set Up a Business Page

To create a page for your business, follow these steps.

Visit the Facebook website and Open your Facebook profile.

Basic Setup:

  1. At the top of the homepage, select Create and choose Page.
  2. Name your page, and make sure to spell your business name out correctly.
  3. Add a category to describe your pages, such as a marketing agency or restaurant.
  4. Enter business information, such as address and contact information; the more detailed, the better!
  5. Select Continue.

Page Setup:

  1. You can add a profile photo to your page, then add a photo or business logo and click next.
  2. You can add a cover photo to your page. Similarly, add a cover or banner and click next.
  3. You may skip either of the pictures if you desire.
  4. Select Next to go to your new page when you have completed the steps.

Extra Setup:

  1. Link your website.
  2. Add a bio or about section for your business.
  3. Add as many helpful images as possible (menus for restaurants).
  4. Connect to Whatsapp Business (if any).
  5. Connect to Instagram Account (if any).
  6. Vanity URL (create a username in settings).
  7. Add business details (working hours, location, holiday timings, etc.).

Now Post! Ready, Set, Post!


The primary motivation behind Facebook is to help friends and family interface with one another. You can stay on top of your contacts’ minds by refreshing your status once in a while. To share a Facebook status, go to the text box at the highest point of your news feed page or on your profile page.



Types of posts:

  1. Feeling/Activity/Update
  2. Check In
  3. Tag Friends/Followers
  4. Tag Event
  5. Ask for Recommendations
  6. Poll
  7. Support Nonprofit
  8. Answer a Question
  9. Lists
  10. Facebook Stories

Open and Facilitate a Group


The Groups page on Facebook will show you which groups you oversee and those you are a member of. Likewise, you can find groups to join depending on Facebook’s ideas and a huge load of different factors.

To get to the Groups page, tap the Home button, and afterward, on the left sidebar, you’ll see the Explore segment, where you can click Groups.

Facebook Groups address an organic chance to contact many individuals keen on particular themes, yet without paying for ads. Joining and presenting on a pertinent Group as your Facebook Page helps individuals interested in your posts navigate your business page rather than your own profile. 

This feature gives Facebook a major advantage over Linkedin and is a great way of building community.


Page Insights


The more data you have about your audience, the more targeted your content becomes and the better you can fulfill their necessities.

Facebook Page Insights makes it simple to assemble information regarding how your fans communicate with your Page and the content you share. To get to Page Insights, click Insights in the Manage Page menu.

Insights give you data about your Page’s general execution, remembering a few information for audience demographics and engagement. You can see measurements on your posts so you can see the number of individuals you’re coming to.

You’ll likewise perceive the number of remarks and responses are acquired from explicit posts-information that assists you with arranging future content.

Connect and Like Other Pages


Since Facebook is, all things considered, a social media platform-based organization, it’s really smart to involve your Page to construct a community for your business.

One method for building a community is to associate with other pages pertinent to your business (but not competitors).

For instance, assuming that you run a shop in a famous shopping region or shopping center, you could interface with different shops in your area. For example, consider this an internet-based adaptation of your neighborhood business improvement affiliation or office of trade.

Assuming you have a virtual business, you could associate with different companies in your industry that could offer extra benefits for your customers without contending with your offerings.

Look Into These Useful Features

  1. Events:
    The Events page on Facebook will show you any forthcoming occasions popular with your Facebook friends or have been set up by the groups you take part in. Likewise, you can observe events dependent on their date, area, and class.
  2. Marketplace:
    Facebook competes with Netflix in the streaming business; they also rival eBay in the commercial industry. With Facebook Marketplace, you can peruse for a wide range of items, join groups to trade items with individuals in your space or who share comparative interests, search for items sold from various shops, shop by category, and sell your own items.
  3. Pinned Posts:
    Is there important data you need all guests to your Page to see? An advancement you don’t want them to miss? A top-performing piece of content you need to flaunt? Put it in a pinned post.

A pinned post sits at the highest point of your Facebook Business Page, right under your cover picture. It’s an incredible spot to put something eye-catching that will attract your guests and make them want to stay close by.

About the Author 

Nabeha Latif is a Digital Media/Branding Consultant specializing in leveraging online marketing channels to achieve desired goals. Since her majors in digital marketing, she has collaborated with names like UN, Ali Baba Inc, Uber, UNESCO, UNDP, etc., to name just a few. She is also actively involved in providing business development services related to marketing.

NABEHA LATIF
Social Media Consultant

Since the beginning of this pandemic in the spring of 2020, numbers of teams have become virtual, on and off, depending on the surges of the virus and the decisions of their respective companies and governments. Virtual teams, of course, already existed before that, but they have now become a common practice. And now that this phenomenon has become routine, many have focused on this new problem: fostering psychological safety, particularly in remote teams, because it is quite challenging to do so in such a context. Discussions on diversity and inclusivity have been all the rage in recent years (and still are, of course, as we have yet to achieve a perfectly diverse and inclusive world), but psychological safety has become a subject of interest, fueled by the unusual circumstances of this pandemic.

But what is psychological safety, exactly? It is the belief that team members have when they are comfortable enough to ask questions or contribute ideas without fear of being judged, punished (in more extreme cases losing their job), or humiliated for not knowing something or making mistakes. Wondering what the difference is between trust and psychological safety? It’s rather subtle: trust is an essential component of psychological safety, as it is defined as “the extent to which we hold expectations of others in the face of uncertainty about their motives, and yet are willing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable’ (Geraghty, 2020). It is how you view other people and how you find them predictable and how you think you can rely on them whereas psychological safety is about how others view you or rather how you think they view you.

Hirsch, Wendy: Five Questions About Psychological Safety, Answered. Science for Work, 9 October 2017, https://scienceforwork.com/blog/psychological-safety/.

But let’s get back to psychological safety. When you eliminate the fear of judgment, your team members can not only be themselves, but they will be their best selves, as they will be allowed to be innovative, creative, and agile, and most importantly, ask for help when needed. Diversity of thought is a great advantage for success (Page, 2008), and this is where psychological safety comes in: “Without behaviors that create and maintain a level of psychological safety in a group, people do not fully contribute — and when they don’t, the power of cognitive diversity is left unrealized” (Reynolds and Lewis, 2018). 

Psychological safety doesn’t happen from one day to the next, though. It needs work, it requires everyone’s participation, and a profound culture change. Everyone needs to go through four stages to feel safe. According to Timothy Clark, these are inclusion safety, learner safety, contributor safety, and challenger safety (Clark, 2020). Psychological safety needs work, a change of attitude and a change of culture.

Increase mistake tolerance

Based on the belief that nobody’s perfect and we all make mistakes, even if we work hard and try our best, the idea here is to change our mindset and stop viewing failures only as such but as learning opportunities. Teams with better psychological safety will not correct others for a mistake they made to put them down, they will tell them to help them. Amy Edmondson published a study in 1999 in which she coined the term “Psychological Safety.” In it, she reported conversations she had with employees she interviewed for her study. In one of those conversations, a lady told her that before her team decided to offer a better psychologically safe environment, when someone would point out a mistake she made, she would take it as a reproach and would then be on the lookout for a mistake that person would make to be able to blame her in return. After the team made psychological safety a priority and had worked on it for a while, it totally changed her perception and in turn, that changed her behavior. She reported that she viewed it then as a learning opportunity because her colleague would do it purely to help her and help the team make better products (Edmondson, 1999, p.371). Some companies have even created special events to discuss this so that not only the employee making the mistake learns from it, but the whole team (or even a larger circle) does too.

Exercise 1: Hold an Anxiety Party. 

The Google Ventures team decided to implement this because when they were created, they had a rather flat hierarchy and although they appreciated all the advantages and liberties that brought, the team found they lacked critical feedback. They came up with the idea of an Anxiety Party: they hold this type of meeting a couple of times per year, where all team members have to write a list of everything that causes them anxiety. Then, everyone shares and the other team members have to rate the level from the most to the least worrying (5 – you really need to improve in this area to 0 – I didn’t even realize this was an issue). They realized most of the time, people worried for nothing. The score generally makes people feel relieved and stop worrying about non-issues and focus on what actually needs improvement (the 5s and 4s to start with). This is a great psychological safety exercise since the issues are brought up by the people who have them and feedback is then easier to accept.

Keep your biases in check, remember Hanlon’s Razor to adopt a more positive mindset

Hanlon’s razor principle is the assumption that when something goes wrong, it is more likely accidental rather than the result of ill will, or as Hanlon wrote: “Never attribute to malice, that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Ok, well, stupidity may not be the most probable cause, since hopefully, your team is not stupid, but let’s say humans can sometimes be absent-minded, tired, distracted, overworked, etc. Simply put, when someone makes a mistake, one shouldn’t assume it was intentional. This rule of thumb will help cultivate understanding, compassion, forgiveness, and trust in your team.

Take the case of an email that gives the impression that a colleague was rude or too blunt; you can probably rightly assume that this is purely a miscommunication problem (maybe English is not their mother tongue, or the author is from a culture where things are said in a direct manner, but it isn’t meant to be offensive, or maybe you just misinterpreted things). When in doubt, clarify things in person or on a video call. The use of emojis might also help avoid tone misreadings when you are the one sending a message. Some might not be comfortable using them in a professional setting, but they really can help prevent certain types of misunderstandings. Modifying your biases and assuming good intentions in people can go a long way!

Exercise 2: Ask powerful questions. 

When you doubt someone of the wrongdoing, ask these powerful questions (From Douglas W. Hubbard, 2009, cited in Vinita Bansal, no date):

  • Why do I feel this way?
  • What data do I have to justify that the other person acted out of bad intention?
  • Are there other instances where they acted this way?
  • Have I spoken to them about it?
  • What is the probability that I am incorrect?
  • Could I be biased at the moment?
  • What other possible reasons could make them behave this way?

Make it a Habit for Everyone to Speak Up and Participate

First, team leaders need to prioritize psychological safety explicitly. Ground rules must be laid down and applied. Leaders, alongside their team, need to establish how failure is handled (no punishment for failure despite efforts, reasonable risks taken, and good faith). They should make failure an opportunity to learn and, above all, to share collectively the lessons learned thanks to failure (which will be not only a learning opportunity but also one to create a safe space for others to know that we can all admit our failures, contributing to this safe space). Finally, teams need to learn how to accept and adopt productive conflict. That is to say, having constructive discussions, allowing questioning, and accepting contesting can be done, by following certain ground rules, such as respect, listening, honesty and kindness, for everyone to feel safe doing it. Even when there is no conflict, nothing delicate to discuss, making sure every team member has to participate should become a habit. It is the leader’s responsibility to ensure everyone speaks. To do so, they might use different methods to ensure everyone gets the chance to speak. For example, one can give each a turn to speak, or when with a bigger group, use break rooms to facilitate everyone having time to speak up. Speaking up in smaller groups is also easier, less intimidating. The team must try different methods to ensure everyone gets turns speaking up.

Exercise 3: Create a space for idea sharing. 

Try creating a particular space for ideas (new, crazy, or maybe even bad ideas), whether during meetings or on a specifically dedicated Slack channel, for example. That way, people know there is at least this time or space where they are not only allowed but purposefully encouraged to brainstorm, share and contribute whatever they have on their mind, knowing this frame is meant for it and is a safe space to do so.  

Exercise 4:  Accept Silence to Give Time to Reflect. 

For everyone to have a chance to speak, people need to learn to be more comfortable with silence. For example, during Zoom meetings, participants tend to be uncomfortable when silence arises and tend to want to fill it (or hope someone else will). Doing so can prevent others in your team from speaking up. Sometimes, people simply need more time to reflect before answering or formulating their ideas before communicating them, especially non-native speakers. Some are just shy or new in the company or in that position, and don’t have the confidence yet to speak.  We all need that extra few seconds to muster up our courage to share that original idea or important concern, sometimes. Leaders have to remember that reflective silence is valuable and to purposely give time for everyone to have a chance to speak-up, even if that means letting an uncomfortable silence last longer (it’s not thaaaat painful, is it… and something might come out of it!). To avoid experiencing a more detached type of silence, you can let your team members know in advance what kind of input you are expecting from them at the next meeting a bit in advance.

Exercise 5: Value diverse perspectives. 

Diversity of ideas and perspectives is a major factor in creative and innovative thinking. It is one of the important factors to success (Page, 2017, 2:45). To encourage this, ask everyone to play the devil’s advocate alternately. That way, people have to think differently, and it takes away the risk (real or perceived) that the rest of the team will judge them for having different, crazy, or “negative” ideas or points of view, a point of view that could help your team solve problems and even foresee them, before they become one. This strategy using a cooperative approach instead of a competitive one, will be more effective to advance the reflection on the problem discussed (e.g. your product has a bug and you need to find a solution) and will help develop respectful debate habits simultaneously (Menzies, 2018).

Exercise 6: Promote courageous conversations. 

Sometimes a product or a project is just not as good as it could be. But team members don’t always dare say so, even if they can put the finger on what the problem might be. You can pave the road to openness by having sessions, specifically for any critiques or frustrations anyone may have with a product/project, without fear of negative consequences. Everyone must listen without interrupting. After this, everyone has to offer solutions to the problem

Exercise 7: Hold a blameless post-mortem.  

Another way to promote difficult conversations is having blameless post-mortems. The goal here is not to find out who made mistakes but what could be changed in the processes to avoid those mistakes being made in the future and improve performance. This method prompts team collaboration. If you are looking for more exercises and methods to promote courageous conversations or support psychological safety in other ways, have a look at this great article from Fearless Culture.

Exercise 8: Apply the method of “liberating structures”. 

This method was developed by Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless to enable everyone’s participation in large groups. During a meeting, to ensure everyone’s input on a specific matter, first ask everyone to reflect and take notes on the question/problem at hand for one minute. Then, everyone must regroup in pairs and discuss for two minutes, then for four minutes in groups of four (matching previously existing pairs), before finally discussing the matter with the whole group. The advantage here is that all have a chance to offer their ideas. It is less intimidating to do in small groups. Also, while still in smaller groups of 2 and 4, ideas can already be compared, reflected upon, the best can be chosen to be discussed at the next level, before they are brought up in front of the whole group. There is admittedly a very limited time for feedback, but an idea can be discussed further if it wasn’t bad enough to be eliminated at the end of a round. It nonetheless enables the improvement of the ideas before they are discussed at a higher level. This type of structure also helps avoid control or influence of the boss on the discussion, leading to a more restricted discussion and what is practical and effective, is that this structure drives the discussion to convergence.

Exercise 9Encourage impromptu conversations to build trust. 

Needless to say, in a virtual team, psychological safety is even more of a challenge to uphold.  Because trust is usually established through time and interactions, virtual teams do not have many interactions outside the scheduled meetings. Those team members don’t have the opportunity to have spontaneous, “non-business” conversations. This is why it is vital for those teams to create opportunities for such social contact. These casual conversations can foster better bonding and better relationships, which in turn facilitate communication and improve psychological safety.

For example, some might want to have different types of calls or communications, namely having a “good morning” call or (message for the whole team on a Slack channel) to start the day with a more casual conversation. Bigger organizations might want to have a dedicated video call open for anyone to drop in and chat as if they were on their coffee break. 

Exercise 10: Read body language and facial expressions.

One might think that virtual teams are at a disadvantage because it is so much more challenging to establish trust with so little contact and through a screen, and it is not entirely false, but there can be some advantages too. Online social contacts through video calls can be an opportunity to really try to understand the person talking on the screen and read their tone, body language, and facial expressions to feel what they might be feeling. It also might be easier for some people to intently look at their colleagues through a screen as they usually (hear in person) wouldn’t dare or be comfortable doing it so attentively. Indeed, as Altman underlined, “[i]n many cultures, it can be awkward to stare at someone for 30 seconds or certainly minutes at a time. But on Zoom, no one knows who you’re looking at, and your ability to apply your emotional intelligence can sometimes be enhanced.” Not only can it be helpful for employees who grew up in a culture where one can’t look directly in someone’s eyes for too long, but also for some neuroatypical people who are not comfortable doing it either. 

Take your time!

One might think that virtual teams are at a disadvantage because it is so much more challenging to establish trust with so little contact and through a screen, and it is not entirely false, but there can be some advantages too. Online social contacts through video calls can be an opportunity to really try to understand the person talking on the screen and read their tone, body language, and facial expressions to feel what they might be feeling. It also might be easier for some people to intently look at their colleagues through a screen as they usually (hear in person) wouldn’t dare or be comfortable doing it so attentively. Indeed, as Altman underlined, “[i]n many cultures, it can be awkward to stare at someone for 30 seconds or certainly minutes at a time. But on Zoom, no one knows who you’re looking at, and your ability to apply your emotional intelligence can sometimes be enhanced.” Not only can it be helpful for employees who grew up in a culture where one can’t look directly in someone’s eyes for too long, but also for some neuroatypical people who are not comfortable doing it either.

Psychological safety is not something that is built overnight. Actually, “build” is not quite the right idea here, as psychological safety is not something you can ever 100% achieve and be done with. There will always be new people joining the team, setbacks, phases so that it will always remain a work in progress. It has to be the object of constant attention and perpetual efforts. All of this seems like a lot of work, and it is. But shifting your mindset to a more understanding and caring attitude is half the job. And since psychological safety was proven to make employees happier and perform better, it’s probably one of the most profitable changes you can bring to your work. It’s a win-win!

About the Author

Anne-Kristelle Carrier has an MA in International Politics. She has been living in Switzerland since 2010 and works as a Content Editor for Global People Transitions Ltd. in Zurich. When she is not working, bringing her kids to all their activities, or trying to cook something that they will eat (that doesn’t start with “chicken” and ends with “nuggets”), she enjoys everything Switzerland has to offer to residents and tourists alike, like ski slopes, Wanderwege, and museums.

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https://rework.withgoogle.com/blog/creating-a-high-trust-performance-culture/

Paul J. Zak is the author of Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies.