January 12, 2020


The 8020Info Water Cooler

  Highlights from the latest information
  for managers, leaders & entrepreneurs



In this 8020Info Water Cooler we focus on professional goals, common team dysfunctions, social media trends, avoiding corporate culture crises, and a productivity checklist to help you be extraordinary in 2020. Enjoy!


1.  Setting Professional Goals

With the start of a new decade, it’s a good time to take a look at your career and update your professional goals. Consultant Laura Petrolino says the place to begin is by asking:

  • What do I want to learn?
  • What do I want to create?
  • What do I want to affect?
  • Where do I need to improve?

Don’t try to accomplish five million things, she writes on the Spin Sucks blog:

“The best way to set a manageable [number] of goals is to acknowledge that every ‘yes’ is also a ‘no.’ This means if you say ‘yes’ to one thing, you need to accept that you are, by default, saying no to something else.”

She recommends establishing annual goals and breaking those down into quarterly milestones. When you approach a new quarter, you might decide to add another milestone goal. Then break the milestone goals into weekly efforts. This will keep you focused, on track, and accountable.

For each quarter, she finds it crucial to consider what she needs to do to set herself up for success.

“This might include things such as having the right resources, prioritizing my time (and properly delegating certain tasks in order to do so), rearranging certain items on my schedule, or setting up an effective accountability system,” she says.

“It might also mean working on your mindset, which is often 90 per cent of the process to achieve the goal. You can’t run a race without the right shoes.”


2. Avoiding A Corporate Culture Crisis

Consultant Sarah Clayton says that, if not for the corporate malfeasance of 2008, last year might well be dubbed the Year of Corporate Misconduct.

Certainly it was a bad year, with one survey showing one in five employees experienced a “cultural crisis” — a troubling incident of workplace behaviour — in the last year or two.

In Harvard Business Review, she outlines six signs your corporate culture might be a liability:

  • Inadequate investment in people:  This is the most predictive factor of cultural risk. “When employees perceive that their employers aren’t living up to their end of the deal, they’re less inclined to live up to theirs, often becoming disengaged, displaying passive-aggressive behavior or letting work quality slip,” she notes.
  • Lack of accountability:  When employees believe there are no consequences for misconduct, or consequences are applied unevenly, they may use it to justify not reporting poor behaviour or as a reason to be less careful about their own actions.
  • Lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion:  The media is filled with stories of companies that failed to prevent discrimination, sexual harassment or other indignities to employees. Lack of diversity in the workplace is often associated with these risks in the corporate culture.
  • Poor behaviour at the top:  Employees take their cues from how senior managers act.
  • High-pressure environments:  37% of employees in her survey say their companies are not always vigilant about managing pressures in the work environment, with profit coming at the expense of values and ethics.
  • Unclear ethical standards: Too often there are no standards.

That’s a handy checklist for evaluating your own cultural risk.


3. Social Media Trends For 2020 And Beyond

As social media plays a greater role in our marketing, it’s worth looking at these trends identified by the Influencer Marketing Hub.

  • Instagram Stories will grow:  Short, engaging content that appears for only a brief time before disappearing will be more attractive in a world of fleeting attention spans. Instagram Stories, in which people share part of their day, fits the bill, and many marketers are using this channel.
  • Video content will dominate:  “Whether it is short-form videos like those popular on TikTok or Stories, or long-form content on YouTube, videos are the future of social media content,” the report states.
  • Influencer marketing will soar:  The report says a whole new marketing approach has arisen with influencers — people who have followers who trust them, and give their nod to brands. “Investing in influencers is much cheaper than running paid ad campaigns and yet it delivers good results.”
  • Customer service through social media will increase:  As customers reach out to companies and institutions on social media, it will become a valuable customer service channel.


4. Are You Learning?

Learning and development professional Charlie Buckland always ends his one-on-one meetings with team members by asking: “[Have you] learned anything new?”

They often discover they were learning but didn’t notice.

He says on Medium you don’t have to go away to a four-day residential course to learn:

“I really believe in getting your team to realize they’re learning every time they try something new, do something differently, or speak to someone they didn’t know.”

Every day, he feels, should be (and feel like) a school day.


5. Zingers

  • Take More Lunches:  Thrive Global reporter Alexandra Hayes urges you to take one more lunch break each week this year. For example, if you only pause for lunch once a week, increase that to two. (Source: ThriveGlobal)
  • Action Decisions Improve Sense-Making: Consultant Nilofer Merchant advises you to take notes when in a meeting, conference, or reading a book. But just as importantly, every few months review them and ask, “How will I act on this idea or item?” She says ideas make more sense as you decide how to apply them. (Source: NiloferMerchant.com)
  • Trends Predicted For 2020:  The top consumer trend of 2020 will be “Green Pressure”, Trendwatching.com predicts. We’ll see a shift from eco-status (people showing superiority by being sustainable) to eco-shame (in which they try to embarrass laggards). Another trend will be brands rushing in to help people dealing with burnout.  (Source: TrendWatching.com)
  • A 30-30-30 Rule For Free Time: Consultant Sean Glaze says you can be more productive during time free of professional obligations by investing 30% of it developing yourself with a mentor, 30% serving as a mentor, and 30% as a connector, nurturing relationships with people on your team and at your current level of accomplishment. Spend the remaining 10% of your free time alone with yourself. (Source: GreatResultsTeamBuilding.net)
  • Understand Yourself:  Blogger James Clear says: “Some people need more focus. Others need to broaden their perspective. Some people need to try harder. Others need to stress less. Some people need to care more. Others need to let it go. The secret is you are both people. The key is to know which one you are in this moment.” (Source: JamesClear.com)


6. The Model:
    The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team

Consultant and best-selling author Patrick Lencioni says there are five dysfunctions that hobble a team. How many apply to your team?

  • Absence of trust:  An unwillingness to be vulnerable in a group.
  • Fear of conflict:  Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in productive debate of ideas for fear of disrupting group harmony.
  • Lack of commitment:  Without having aired their opinions in open debate, team members are unlikely to buy into and commit to the decisions, although they may feign agreement during meetings.
  • Avoidance of accountability:  Not having totally committed to the plan, the team members will hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviours that seem counterproductive to the good of the team.
  • Inattention to team results:  When accountability is lacking, and also without a team spirit and agreement on goals, team members put their own individual needs above the collective success of the group.

From: The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team.


7. Around Our Water Cooler:
   Transforming “Normal” to Extraordinary

Taped to our office white board is a quote from branding strategist Sally Hogshead“If your goals are comfortable, they’re not big enough.”

It’s a theme that tends to fit with the ambitious atmosphere of a new year.

Anthony Moore, a Medium.com author on productivity, recently shared his checklist for transforming “normal” and “average” into extraordinary. Here it is in summary:

  • Prioritize Education Over Entertainment:  Moore notes that choosing to learn instead of being entertained is a trademark characteristic of successful people. If you choose to read books, attend conferences, and learn humbly from mentors in 2020, you’ll set yourself up for true, lasting success.
  • The Obstacle is the Way:  Learn to be grateful for tough challenges, using them as opportunities to improve and become more patient, clever, and resourceful. Realize the obstacle is the way. Difficulties and problems are merely opportunities for us to grow.
  • Give Up “Normal” Routines:  Most people who live normal lives have the same problems as everyone else. Don’t go with the crowd. If you want to become extraordinary, you need to give up “normal” practices. If you do what everyone else is doing, you’ll end up where everyone else is going.
  • Long-term Consistency Beats Short-term Intensity:  Develop new habits for the long haul, supported with powerful but sustainable commitments.
  • Everyone’s First Draft Sucks:  Everything is hard before it’s easy. Don’t worry if you fail and mess up a ton at the beginning. That’s how it works. Everyone’s first try almost always isn’t that good. This is where most people quit.
  • You Can Become Anything If You’re Willing to Pay the Price: In the words of author Benjamin Hardy: “You can learn, have, or be anything if you are willing to pay the price.” If you’re willing to give the time, energy, money, focus, and discipline, you can have whatever you want.
  • You Need to Say “No” More:  Most people say yes to whatever decent opportunity falls into their lap, but merely “good” opportunities prevent you from taking on the “great” ones that will become your legacy. If you want to become extraordinary, you need to say “no” to almost everything.


All the best for an extraordinary 2020!


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8020Info helps senior leadership teams and boards clarify, develop and build consensus behind strategic priorities. Our services support research/stakeholder consultations, strategic planning processes, marketing communications and managing change. We would be pleased to discuss your needs.


8. Closing Thought 

“Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.”

— George Claude Lorimer