Transitioning

with Trust, Touch and Tolerance

The ramifications of our recent global experiences have shown that we need to be very clear about what our goals are from this point forwards – for our lives, communities, businesses, and of course the planet.

 

We also need to be re-building and reinforcing trust and tolerance with our people, so that they feel safe and supported. And we need to focus on ways to connect more fully when many of us are still unable to physically reach out and touch others.

 

The focus of this month’s ‘Cadence – Life & Work in Motion’ is on three things that will help to make our Transitions run more smoothly. They are Trust, Tolerance and Touch.

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Transition

``Anything real begins with a fiction of what it could be. Imagination therefore is the most potent force in the universe and a skill you can get better at. It’s the one skill in life, that benefits from ignoring what everyone else knows.``

Kevin Kelly

To celebrate his 68th birthday a few months ago, Kevin Kelly wrote a blog post about 68 life learnings. It quickly went viral.

 

Kevin, a futurist, writer, conservationist and the original founder of Wired Magazine, gets to elaborate on these learnings in a fab Freakonomics podcast interview. His thoughts on the potency of imagination particularly caught my eye.

 

Our situation has offered up an unexpected gift. We’ve been given the opportunity to start anew, to clear the deck, to begin with a fresh canvas, if we so choose.

 

We don’t have to go back to the way things were. So will we take the chance and create new and better ways to live and work? To figure out what can come next, we need to be able to imagine the world we WANT to be in.

Passion, Perseverance and the Courage to Let Go,  so we can Go On

 

To let our imagination fly, we need to be willing to let go of the constraints of what we already know, and to be open to things that haven’t yet been proved.

 

We also need the grit, courage, passion and perseverance to embark on these new explorations and see them through to become real outcomes.

 

Angela Duckworth’s book “Grit” was a helpful guide on my road to recovery from burnout a few years ago. It helped me realise that I had it within me to make it through a very rough period.

 

Her lovely, gem-packed interview with Chase Jarvis is a timely reminder that we have the necessary abilities within us.  We can develop the skills, habits, behaviours and imagination we need, to help us adjust well during this transition. It starts with making a choice to be invested in making change.

 

As Angela says in the podcast, when it comes to persevering with courage, we’re not choosing the path because it’s easy or comfortable, but never the less we’re choosing it.

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Tolerance

``We have an opportunity to get curious about our ‘isms’ rather than feel ashamed by them, address them. To keep momentum, even when it gets tough, and use our privilege in whatever form it comes, to create a tidal wave of change.``

Nova Reid

Apart from the pandemic, we’ve had plenty of other life-changing events take place over the past few months. So the flux we’ve experienced has multiple layers of complexity and an unfortunate by-product of these experiences is trauma.

 

During this time, I’ve benefitted from attending a wonderful, inspiring series of online gatherings called “This Human Moment”. They share tools and stories to help business people activate the resilience, calm and creativity we all need to help make a new future. It’s been a powerful and nurturing experience for me.

 

I recommend you look at the tools and events on their site – This Human Moment.

 

 

Going Round In Circles

 

Just because we’re coming out of Covid, doesn’t mean things are easier. We’re all having to navigate crises within crises of some sort – whether it’s health, safety, financial security, climate, relationships, and/ or racism.

 

We have the emotional, moral and ethical impacts of these things to deal with as part of moving on. There’s a lot to unpack, untangle and unravel, as part of building trust and helping to transition our societies into more tolerant, accepting and loving places.

 

We all have a role to play in making the change we need to make. However, as we work our way though, it’s easy to say the wrong thing, even when we’re trying to do the right thing.

 

If you’re committed to improving how you handle crises and uncomfortable situations, then consider using the Ring Model to help you respond appropriately.

 

Ring Theory, as it’s also known, was devised by clinical psychologist Susan Silk several years ago to help people deal with trauma. It was referenced during a session of This Human Moment (mentioned above). I’ve since found it extremely helpful to assess and improve my own responses to current events.

 

How The Ring Model Works

 

Draw a series of rings which sit one inside the other. Consider which ring you sit within, in relation to the crisis or problem at hand. Are you in the centre, or further out? Is it all about you, or are there others more directly affected by what is happening?

 

If you’re further out, how can you give support to those closest to the present challenge? It’s natural to want to vent about your experiences of a stressful or painful situation, but avoid doing so to the people at the centre of that situation.  They are experiencing the worst of it, so don’t add to their stress load, when what they really need is your comfort. When you’re not in the centre, send support inwards, and instead vent outwards, to those in the circles beyond yours.

 

We need to do the work to understand our place in these varying circles of experience. To say and do the right thing, we need to also understand how our own bias might affect how we interpret events and how we respond.

 

This isn’t a quick fix. We’re on a life-long journey of amending inherent behaviours and bias, so buckle up and let’s learn to fly.

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Trust

Whether you’re supporting a fully remote team, you’re all heading back into the office, or something in between, pre-Covid business norms no longer apply.

 

Our new “Unbound Workplaces”, as they’re becoming known, present new challenges for organisational strategy.

``Employees will now have a new set of individual needs surrounding their purpose, personal growth and sense of belonging.``

Craig Murray - TSK

How can you ensure that the specific needs of the individuals in your teams are woven into your business strategy, culture and values? You need to do this to help build trust. There are two types of trust you can work with and both are important.

 

 

Trusting with both the Head and the Heart

 

Affective Trust relates to how people feel. It’s emotional and relational. It’s WHO you are at work. It’s about building trust through rapport and sociability. This trust often has to develop first.

 

Cognitive Trust is about what we think. It stems from reliability and competence. This is very much connected to training, skill and delivery. It’s how people perceive HOW you do what you do at work.

 

Resources below. In particular, check out the Know Your Team article for more detailed instructions on fostering these two types of trust in your transitioning workplace.

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Touch

At this point in time, it’s been about 4 months since I’ve touched another human being. That’s at least 120 days without as much as a hug, and I’m certainly feeling it!

 

Our skin is our largest sensory organ and touch is the first sense that we develop. Research shows that the benefits of physical contact are massive. Touch helps us feel safe, calm, connected and loved. It also helps with healing and stress reduction and can boost our immune system. All things we definitely need right about now.

 

When we don’t have access to touch in these ways, it gives rise to “Skin Hunger”, a term psychologists use to describe a deep longing for the feel-good benefits of physical touch.

Hugs and Handshakes Are Shortcuts To Deeper Meaning

 

Although many of you are venturing back into a world where you are now permitted to make physical contact with those you don’t live with, there are many of us who are still unable to do that.

 

And even when we can, our conventional ways of meeting and greeting will most likely change because of the legacy of Covid-19. The desire for safety may create boundaries to traditional etiquette and set new standards for what is acceptable and trusted in business and social environments.

 

Greetings are an emotional shorthand that can convey a lot of meaning through simple actions. We may have to substitute the typical implicit emotional meanings of our usual touch, with more explicit verbal and physical gestures. We may have to do it for lengthier times too, to compensate for being unable to touch as much.

 

For example: “When you shake hands, it’s equal to three hours of face-to-face interaction. If you don’t shake hands, it takes about three hours to get to the same level of rapport.” Patti Wood – Body Language & Human Behaviour Expert

 

 

Other ways to get our fix

 

The good news is that even if we aren’t able to get or give a hug, we can still support our health and wellbeing and fulfil our deep need for physical touch.

 

The answer lies in moving our skin.

``As long as the skin is being activated by exercise, stretching or even a prolonged scrub in the shower, you’re stimulating the skin’s pressure receptors, and activating therapeutic responses within the body that induce relaxation and reduce depression, anxiety and heart rate.``

Dr. Tiffany Field - Director of Touch Research Institute

So, there’s a lot of work to do for us to transition with tolerance, build trust with transparency, and touch  hearts and minds.

 

 

If this feels scary, please know you’re not alone.

 

But we can control how we respond to the fear. As George Mumford says, we can take off our “fear glasses” and open ourselves up to something new. We can get through this, one little imaginative step at a time.

 

Here’s a wonderful, calming meditation to help you manage your fear, as we work to get from here to there.

 

Ten Percent Happier: Antidote to Fear Meditation – with George Mumford

 

Sending virtual hugs to you. x

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