Transforming Anxiety into Creative Energy

Fast-paced enviroment, calendars max-out with meetings, full inbox, and 4pm calls leave us with very little time for strategic activities. Even the best jobs and the best teams experience this pressure in one form or another. The harder you work and the more motivated you are to succeed, the easier we feel we have no time to accomplish what is important to us and also to the organization advance. A week goes too fast and too furious.

Time constraints can get the better of you, and this anxiety bleeds over into how we interact with people. We want to inspire our team, but we literally don’t have the time.  How can we find the precious balance, be a good leader and still get things done? The answer maybe a bit hidden in between of meetings and dayly routine.

Small moments, big opportunities

Every day is a combination of smaller moments. So if we take those moments apart,  into smaller, more manageable situations we can make more sense of our busy schedule. With this deconstruction process we can take any situation apart and then assemble it back together in new and unexpected ways (my partner specializes in fashion pattern deconstruction and was the inspiration for this idea). Elements on a situation may have been intermingled and the way you deal with one will impact on other parts of the problem. 

How we use the small moments and brief interaction in our day? Small gestures and invisible situations can bring out the best leadership inspiration. We cannot fix everything, but we can make a difference. It makes me think of the small pebble creating big ripples in the water. I dont think even the pebble knows what is creating behind. Leading and inspiring is something you get better with practice and its done in step by step.

The first thing is to identify what these small moments in our everyday conversations and interactions at work, and even at home. We are too busy to take time but with little attention you’ll see them very clear as Neo sees the ‘Matrix’. You can seize a small moment into a learning opportunity.

Finding the ‘smaller parts’ can be a challenge, but once you identify this, everything becomes much easier and more productive.

Making space in our busy schedule is a challenge, but this terraforming creates an opportunity to growt and a vibrant playground for talent to make better products and services. Creativity is an energy and whether you realize it or not, you emit and receive energy. We have an electromagnetic field in which creative energy flows naturally, but when the polarity is disrupted our team creative energy system is affected. Is vital to pay attention, because is subtle but escalate quickly.

Become a power converter that change anxiety into creative energy

One of our focus, besides deadlines, meetings and product development is to motivate team members to grow, encourage intelligent dialogue, infuse confidence, and empowering the reach their best of their skills.Everything we do is fueled by it and foster creative energy is vital to the team and the work.  

Find quick opportunities to grow a creative playground

  • Don’t try to solve the problem, listen first.

  • Create a space for dialogue and growth.

  • Give specific, constructive feedback.

  • Take time to know people.

Don’t try to solve the problem…first listen: When someone comes to you for help, we rush giving people suggestions when they ask for help. Ask them what they think would be a good solution and then create a space to implement it or try it out. By this, the team member can develop ownership of the solution, as they learn how to seize the opportunity and make a change.

Create space for dialogue and growth: People are afraid to admit a mistake because of the consequences, understandable. But when someone comes and says, “I think I made a mistake.” Don’t jump at it with all your artillery. Create an environment for growth and show them you trust them, even when there’s a mistake in the middle. We all make mistakes, remember. Think about the time you screwed-up and how you’d liked to be treated. This is a critical moment, especially in the process of innovation where failure is essential to the exploration process.

Give specific, constructive feedback: Concentrate on positive and specific suggestions on the situation and behavior. Not the person. Kindness and accuracy are important. Finally, what was the impact of the conflict or situation? Feedback is not criticism or praise, it is about observation. It’s timely and specific. It describes but doesn’t judge, and brings an understanding of the situation or issue. It’s one of the simplest yet most effective ways to develop others, creating a pattern of learning and growth.

Take time to know people: teams are made of people, personalities and attitudes. Recognize the diffences and look for ways to connect similar interest. A quick ”How are you, how’s everything? can open up a dialogue. Kindness is never out of fashion, and a bit of empathy can overcome frustrations and give you understanding on and how to offer support. It’s about build connections to inspire growth. Especially with creative teams, artists, designers, developers, well…everyone. Strive for authenticity, not perfection. Remember that conversation is with people, not to people.

Photo by Curtis MacNewton on Unsplash

Creating a team identity.

Creating a team identity beyond language.

Audiences and markets have become globalized and teams have grown to an amazing ecosystem of culturally diverse talents, inspiring brands across the globe with unlimited growth opportunity and fresh perspectives. We have offshore teams with copywriters and designers in London, development & QC in Buenos Aires, software engineers in Chennai and marketing teams in NYC. Maybe your campus in Prague has members from different nationalities.

Inspiring and managing teams is a wonderful challenge, and with team members from different countries and different cultural backgrounds and languages, it requires also a fresh and diverse perspective as their teams itself. Wherever your team is in one office or globally dispersed, they are expected to deliver their best performance, creativity, and unique point of view into the game. So, how do we leverage, support and inspire such a diverse workforce?

Language and cultural differences.

One of the key components of every collaborative relationship is trust, and open communication among team members is key. Language proficiency is a challenge and can undermine trust between its members. Colleagues with different levels of proficiency could be perceived as less communicative or reliable, undermining healthy trust-building in each other’s abilities and skills. It is crucial to find ways to transform these differences, into creative energy. It’s important to explore those differences so we know how to interact and grow as a group.

A way to encourage this understanding of diversity is to create unstructured moments, not necessarily 'a meeting'- where everyone can share their cultural background and expectations about communication and working style. The team gets to learn more about each other by listening, sharing and asking questions and sharing about their backgrounds, even to learn what kind of food they like, or learn a traditional recipe from your home. It's amazing when teams discover that we are not that different after all.

Teams experience a lot of pressure, and members of multi-language teams frequently relieve stress by switching into their native tongue, inadvertently excluding other teammates from their conversations. We need to reverse language barriers and communication anxiety by encouraging open dialogue in teams as a whole, creating a "team identity" equipped with amazing different strengths and unique backgrounds, united in one vision. Like a team of superheroes.

Reducing language gap

The success and strength of every multi-national team reside in one basic -but rather complex- aspect: communicationHow can you measure the degree of language connection among team members? When people come from similar nationalities, the level of 'language distance' is usually low. Even if they come from different backgrounds, people can interact formally and informally, align, and build trust. They arrive at a common understanding of what certain behaviors mean, and they feel close and congenial, which fosters good teamwork.

Coworkers who are geographically separated, or come from different countries and cultures, could experience some kind of language anxiety that could prevent interactions. This originates from the inability to communicate, missing information and/or negative evaluation. This negative dynamics reduce team performance, and especially for creatives, artist, and designers, where creative energy, collaborative expression, and multi-team interaction is vital.

Creating a team identity

In a team, is important that everyone gets enough speaking time, and that everyone knows what they’re working toward. What’s our vision and why we are doing what we do. Bringing everyone around common goals and a unified vision is key. I can not stress this more! as evident it may seem, this is poorly done, and team members spot it quickly when is fake. Is has to be an honest take, not a speech. That's why you need to know the brand, the clients, the team, the story. You need to be the first one to believe it to be able to inspire it. Highlighting the importance of each diverse skill in your team will level up the group dynamics, and also how much value the team is contributing to the success of the service, product or brand. Be open about the unique appreciation for everyone’s input and encourage meta-communication. Each particular story amounts to create a more solid, trustworthy and collaborative team.

Bringing everyone around a unified vision is key. Its has to be an honest take, not a speech. That's why you need to know the brand, the clients, the team, the story. You need to be the first one to believe it to be able to inspire it.

Break down your common goal into actionable steps and outline each individual’s role and responsibilities. This reduces the chance of misunderstandings and lets everyone know that their contribution matters. Clarity of each team member’s contribution also makes it easier to address team performance as a whole. It sets expectations for what needs to be done, by who and when.

Building a team identity also entails finding common things between team members. Make space in your working day to promote team interactions, to get to appreciate each other team members. Perhaps there are teammates who share the same taste in movies, music or TV shows. Some may bond over hobbies or share information about their families, etc. Personal connections within the team make it easier to work together, trust and have a solid team identity.

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To be continued…

 


EXPERIENCIAS EDUCATIVAS ON-DEMAND

La innovación en materia de tecnología educativa han impactado en cómo los alumnos y profesionales quieren aprender. Aulas virtuales, dispositivos móviles, lectores digitales, VOD, video games y contenidos en “la nube” alimentan a un mercado ‘hambriento’ de innovación.

Un factor clave para la innovación es la tasa de adopción de nuevas tecnologías por parte de la comunidad joven. Los millennials que buscan insertarse en el mercado laboral, traen un conjunto de expectativas acerca de cómo aprender y colaborar. Más aún, ellos nos enseñan que el aprendizaje se logra mejor en incrementos continuos, en función de la demanda/necesidad de aprendizaje y capacitación de los alumnos.

Gracias a la evolución de la tecnología y la aparición de múltiples dispositivos y diversos medios de comunicación, una de las claves para hacer que el aprendizaje sea eficiente y eficaz es la velocidad, disponibilidad y accesibilidad de los contenidos. Los empresarios y compañías reconocen la oportunidad de aprovechar el mercado de educación “adulto”, no solo aumentando la inversión en estos productos sino también en el desarrollo de contenidos y experiencias de aprendizaje “on-demand”.

Esta tendencia no es una moda a corto plazo, relacionada con una plataforma de moda, sino más bien, un cambio de paradigma que tendrán un impacto profundo en el mercado del futuro.

La inversión en tecnologías educativas acompaña la capacidad y necesidad del alumno de consumir contenido rápido, cuándo quiere y donde quiera. Herramientas para desarrollo y capacitación, entrega de contenidos, lectores digitales, bibliotecas virtuales, juegos y sistemas de administración basados en la nube han impulsado un alto nivel de innovación educativa.

Gran parte de la inversión proviene de empresas que tradicionalmente han invertido educación post-secundaria, pero ahora están cambiando su enfoque hacia la capacitación laboral. La razón principal de este cambio está directamente ligada a la manera de consumir contenidos, ya que la capacidad y accesibilidad de contenidos y conocimientos trasciende los niveles de edad, alcanzando el mercado de la educación de adultos y la formación corporativa.

ESTUDIANTES EN LAS NUBES.

con la llegada de los dispositivos móviles y la modalidad de contenidos por demanda, las bibliotecas virtuales han crecido rápidamente. Este rápido crecimiento significa que los alumnos tienen acceso a prácticamente cualquier tipo de contenido de aprendizaje que deseen en cualquier momento que quieran -y en cualquier dispositivo- ya sea un celular o una tablet, y no están más limitados a una computadora de escritorio o un aula física. La abundancia de información  puede ser algo positivo para los estudiantes, pero en el caso de la capacitación profesionales debe tener una estrategia que garantice a los alumnos un contenido diseñado especialmente para sus necesidades de trabajo y objetivos de capacitación.

PERSONALIZAR LA EXPERIENCIA DE APRENDIZAJE.

Aprendizaje adaptativo es acerca de la personalización de la experiencia de aprendizaje. Mediante el uso de técnicas de aprendizaje adaptativas, podemos reducir el tiempo que toma a los alumnos para que dominen, eliminando la necesidad de cubrir contenidos obsoletos o ya conocidos. Esto mejora la efectividad de los programas, ya que el alumno sólo se centra en lo que es necesario.

Los enfoques tradicionales de desarrollo de contenidos se focalizan en un ‘talle unico’ en vez de adaptar el contenido a las necesidades del alumno. La experiencia de  capacitación busca la personalización del contenido, pero para ello, la plataforma debe poder replicar esta experiencia ajustando la información en base a elecciones o respuestas anteriores del alumno. El éxito futuro de aprendizaje adaptativo es no está sólo en el diseño de la tecnología, sino en el diseño del contenido. El contenido debe ser acortado y modificado en los objetos de aprendizaje, consumida según las necesidades del alumno.

LA EXPERIENCIA DE APRENDIZAJE: MENTORÍAS

La ciencia del aprendizaje nos ha revela que una de las técnicas más eficaces para aumentar la retención y la aplicación de un contenido es ampliando la experiencia de aprendizaje a pre y post-capacitación. El lugar de estudio y trabajo sigue evolucionando con la aparición de nuevas generaciones y nuevas tecnologías, desarrollando una cultura de aprendizaje más inclusiva.

Las empresas valoran el desarrollo interno de líderes para el futuro, y el conocimiento institucional se transmite a nuevos talentos. Una de las maneras más eficaces para transferir conocimiento propio es a través de mentoring y coaching. Y el viejo dicho es cierto, la mejor manera de aprender algo nuevo es enseñándolo. La tutoría no sólo desarrolla los alumnos, sino que también es una forma de desarrollar talento actual del que enseña.

EVOLUCIÓN DE LAS MECÁNICAS DE JUEGO

Enseñanza a través de medrosos lúdicos mejora la motivación, el compromiso y la retención de conocimientos. La pronta ejecución de los juegos se centró en la sustitución de la experiencia en el aula con un juego. El siguiente paso evolutivo en el mundo de los videojuegos nos permitió aprender a incorporar mecánicas de juego en programas de aprendizaje. El corazón un juego atractivo (video-games) es una buena historia que atrae a los jugadores, apelando a sus motivaciones y emociones. La evolución de la teoría de juegos ha encontrado que utilizando el principio de la narración y la participación conecta las emociones del alumno mientras aumenta su participación y asimilación.

CLASES PEQUEÑAS, GRANDES RESULTADOS.

Con la popularidad  de las plataformas virtuales y programas de formación en línea los modelos de aulas tradicionales van evolucionando. La razón de una clase con muchos alumnos era para amortizar los costos fijos asociados con un instructor y el aula. Ahora las necesidades del negocio y las necesidades de los alumnos están alineadas. La formación de profesionales está conectada directamente con las necesidades del mercado laboral, y con la comprensión de esta necesidad, podemos mejorar el rendimiento académico del alumno.El desafío es poder desarrollar contenidos que se adapten a las necesidades del alumno.

La experiencia educativa necesita prepararse para el futuro del aprendizaje, quizás no sabemos cuál será la tecnología de aquí a un par de años, quizás sea una tableta holografía de VR, no lo se. Pero el futuro está en conectado con la experiencia colaborativa y social. Las escuelas del futuro quizas tengan clases online con estudiantes ubicados en diferentes o incluso diferentes países. La tecnología no debe ser una barrera para la enseñanza, o reducida a un dispositivo o una plataforma, sino como un viaje cambio, crecimiento y evolución social.