Essential Skills are Soft Skills in Action

The skills most in demand in the area of work are conflict management, critical thinking, dependability, priority management, problem solving, or creative thinking. Employers need people who communicate that means answering emails and messages, and who are able to think outside of the issue that means able to use their creativity to solve a problem or a situation.

Employers also need people who have a high degree of emotional intelligence that means the maturity to address and manage a situation staying present to the circumstance and staying calm. Along with maturity being approachable, flexible, and able to work within a team environment harmoniously are also part of the essential skills package. Mastery of these skills enables a person to engage and influence others. 

The people who have these essential soft skills are able to lead with confidence. They know when to take action and when to slow things down until the timing for a change or process is more fully aligned.

Essential skills include a willingness to learn and engage in business behavior that mirrors truthfulness.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Business Consultant – Change & Transition, info@effectiveplacement.com.

Managing Distractions – Allows for Fulfillment

Maybe distraction is a symptom and not the issue itself. What causes a person to use technology i.e. their smart phone to check their Social Media accounts 10 times or more during a day? The likely causes are related to fear, anxiety, stress, or some other trigger that has an individual want to escape from the discomfort being felt.

When I am feeling uncomfortable, I tend to find a way to distract myself from what is really going on for me. I may not want to devote the time to finish writing an article or a report. I may be worried the material is not good enough so I start surfing You Tube videos or get lost in Instagram posts.

Identifying internal triggers such as boredom, stress or worry is the first step to ensuring you remain focused the tasks at hand. It also means that you need to find ways to make those tasks workable. Stay at what you really do not like for a period of 10 minutes. That leads to a longer time frame.

When I address the feeling behind the distraction, I am able to become focused again. It also means that that I have regular breaks from my phone, email, and social media.  What methods do you use to address distraction?

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com

Addressing Mental Health

The emphasis is on the individual to maintain her or his own mental health. In this era of working remotely from home the cost to the well being of individuals has been high. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Canada did collaborate on a survey back in May 2020 focusing on the impact of working alone and in isolation was having on individuals.

More than 20 % of respondents indicated feelings of loneliness and anxiety. Over 24 % of respondents indicated that their consumption of alcohol had increased significantly. A further 20 % indicated they were feeling depressed.

The survey results are almost 5 months old now. With increasing media attention on the uncertainty of the future it would be interesting to have a follow-up study to determine the changes to the indicators at this point in time.

Tips on CAMH website for well being include breathing, exercising and being kind.

The question to be asked is what steps are employers taking to assist workers with feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or depression?

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant – Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com.

Building Trust – A Stress Preventive Measure

For many of the people the constant stress and turmoil over the past several months is starting to show up in the erosion of relationships with others. Those others may be co-workers, family, friends, spouses, business partners, in short anyone that as an individual you are interacting with.

To counteract additional stress factors of loss of trust in those relationships that are important to you it is essential to begin to address personal behaviour and note where integrity or congruence are beginning to erode. An example may be who are you avoiding because you no longer feel they are trustworthy.

Having identified the who and the behaviour it is then time to begin the process of rebuilding that trust. Begin being open to learning form others. Clearly communicate your position or belief and indicate that it may change based on new information that comes to you. Demonstrate respect for the opinions of others. Your behaviour and words matter. Be prepared to apologize when necessary. We are going to make mistakes – own it and indicate your desire to move forward.

What actions have you taken to maintain trust in your relationships as a stress prevention measure?

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transitioning Change – info@effectiveplacement.com

Endurance when Navigating Uncertainty

A definition of endurance – is the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions. This period of uncertainty is currently challenging the economic and social frameworks that most people, whatever their line of work, are familiar with.

At this juncture many companies are in the process of streamlining their operational activities. That includes closures of facilities including another round of workers receiving lay off notices or reduced hours of work. The salaries of workers are also being cut.

As the present situation continues to unfold – endurance is an absolute necessity. Now is the time to continue to preserve through the adverse conditions.

 It is the time when staying power is required to sort through the remnants of what remains as building blocks for what is emerging and has yet to become apparent. It is the time when individuals and the general society in which we live must gather our collective strength and continue despite the fatigue, stress, and ever-present uncertainty.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transitioning Change – info@effectiveplacement.com

Addressing Burnout & Maintaining Mental Health

Awhile ago I posted about burnout indicating some of the symptoms of what is now officially noted as a disease. I have added to the piece by noting that the same self care aspects apply to maintaining strong mental health. Research indicates that the treatment recovery period for burnout and stress factors leading to a mental health concerns take anywhere from 6 weeks to 2 years with the average period being 6 to 9 months.

Following is a short list of strategies that address the conditions and promote well being:

  • Develop a list of self-care processes that may include journaling, meditation, massage, yoga, reading, music, mindfulness, stretching, tai chi, dancing, and breath techniques.
  • Assess weekly where you are at in following through on the strategies you have chosen.
  • Adjust your list as needed for the upcoming week.
  • Detect early signs of deteriorating health then do something about it.
  • Make a point of identifying what burnout looks like for you (anger, frustration, exhaustion, etc.).
  • When you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help, delegate tasks, or reset priorities.

What other approaches do you know of to recover?

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant – Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com.

Business & Personal Volatility

Economic Volatility – Changes in the patterns of conducting business, the impact of less travel, the changes to the retail and small business landscape are just some of the dynamics that point to a critical adjustment in economic terms within Canada and the world. The old rules no longer apply and the new rules if any are not clear.

Expectations for Stellar Performance from Employees – Employees and managers alike are expected to be plugged in and tuned into work for far longer than the standard workday.  Add to the mix childcare and the dynamics of both parents working from home – the stress levels have increased significantly. Concern over what work will look like in the short term while managing constant change are mounting.

Conflict between Work and Personal Time – The boundary between work and personal time is blurry at best. Today there may be even fewer distinctions than before.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, People & Business Change, info@effectiveplacement.com.

We are in a paradigm shift such that all of our systems and values are being examined. As such it is imperative that as individual’s we find ways to stay happy, healthy, productive, and focused in what is for the most part largely uncharted territory.

Change Consultants & Engagement

With the level of uncertainty that is currently present defining what will serve a business and provide a level of consistency is the task at hand. The current marketplace conditions for many businesses could be described as stagnant.

The time is ripe for questioning assumptions, behaviors, beliefs and processes. Finding a way to engage and re-structure is imperative. Suggestions to focus the discussion and begin the change process follow.

  1. Address what is actual in the operation of the business.
  2. Bring measurement tools to the forefront.
  3. Work within the sphere of influence you have and focus on attainable daily tasks.
  4. Ensure your communication is understandably at every level of the organization.
  5. Circle back and clarify as often as is necessary ensuring everyone is on the same wavelength.

Changes occur with action. Keep the momentum moving. Build on your wins and take the time to celebrate each of your successes along the way.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Consultant – Change & Transition, info@effectiveplacement.com

Uncertainty Creates Potential for Countless Breakthroughs

For many of the 4 billion people around the globe who are now working from home, or practicing personal distancing and having contact only with the people they live with or those who are providing essential services it has been a period of 4 – 6 weeks.

Having had the breakdown – it is time to embrace having multiple breakthroughs. Some businesses have done this in retooling manufacturing lines to produce various products including hand sanitizers, masks, ventilators to name a few items.

The question becomes what breakthroughs are waiting to come forth in terms of new dynamics in work and life?  Now I am referring to a breakthrough by the definition of overcoming something and having an achievement.

One area of breakthroughs will involve food services. Another will involve bricks and mortar offices and retail areas. Travel and tourism industries will be revised. Trucking and railway transportation of goods for import and export will be different. Growth and distribution of food stuffs will be impacted. Greater emphasis on local will become prevalent. The list goes on.

What areas has your business model looked at in terms of causing a breakthrough? 

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transitioning Change – info@effectiveplacement.com

Endurance is Necessary Navigating Uncertainty

A definition of endurance – is the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions. This period of uncertainty is currently challenging the economic and social frameworks that most people, whatever their line of work, are familiar with.

At this juncture many companies are in the process of streamlining their operational activities. That includes temporary closures of facilities including another round of workers receiving lay off notices or reduced hours of work. The salaries of workers are also being cut.

Governments have stepped in are providing assistance that is being rolled out as quickly as possible. As the present situation continues to unfold – endurance is an absolute necessity. Now is the time to continue to preserve through the adverse conditions.

 It is the time when staying power is required to sort through the remnants of what remains as building blocks for what is emerging and has yet to become apparent. It is the time when individuals and the general society in which we live must gather our collective strength and continue despite the fatigue, stress, and ever-present uncertainty.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transitioning Change – info@effectiveplacement.com