WHEN’S THE LAST TIME YOU HAD A CLIENT SAY, “I LOVE YOU”?

DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs.

The strangest thing happened in a recent project meeting with an important client we’ve been creating organizational culture change with. As we’ve always done each of the last seven months, we listened to her ups and downs, shared in her triumphs and frustrations, and then strategized creatively about how to better bring about the needed change. We selected action items and set our course for the next month. Seemed like the same meeting we always had with our clients. Yet, it ended completely differently than I ever remember in all my twenty-five years as an organizational psychologist and consultant.  

We had just finished acknowledging her in very specific ways, calling attention to the power of her optimism, her belief in her people and their ability to change, and the significant impact of her relentless focus. She beamed widely and shyly thanked us. Then, as Lisa and I turned to go, she said, “I sure love you guys.” It caught us both by surprise, but it was easy to reciprocate: “Love you back.” That’s how the meeting ended – and it was several days later before I began to realize the significance of what had happened. 

I was thinking about how rapidly change had come to this client’s culture, and the seeming miracles that were unfolding. Where turnover had once been high, now retention was up. Absenteeism, which had been troublesome, was down. Grievances were diminishing. Employees who once blamed their leaders now were trying to work alongside them to solve problems. Millennials who had seemed ambivalent about work were now showing excitement, and energizing others around them. In fact, the most adversarial employee of all was now enthusiastically preparing for a managerial role, wanting to make a real difference. He truly had made a complete one-hundred-eighty-degree turn around: from blame and disengagement to powerful purposeful contribution. He seemed to embody the culture change that was sweeping across the organization.

It got me thinking. What might happen if everyone truly loved their clients, their bosses, and their coworkers? What possibilities would we create together if we did? What problems would we solve, and how would business be different? More importantly, how would people be different if love was given room to be part of the work equation? 

For some, thinking about bringing love to business may seem ridiculous and soft. Yet, the hard evidence keeps suggesting that it is anything but soft. Have you ever seen disengagement improve without real caring? Have you ever seen people work hard to change in the absence of feeling the safety of genuine love? Will demanding more of people, or threatening them without compassion ever inspire them to work harder? I doubt it.

I guess the real question to ask then, is, “what if the answer to the complex challenges facing business today is to bring just a little more love? Wouldn’t it be amazing if it were just that simple? 

Then again, maybe it is that simple.


Written by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs, who lead the People Acuity Thought Leader team and are the authors of the book Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living. They are also the creators of a validated people culture measurement tool evaluating Work Joy, Team Connection, Confident Vulnerability™ and Proactivity. Between them they have worked in nearly 60% of the Fortune 500 and Global 1000 firms and collectively hold over one hundred certifications and international and national recognitions. To book one of them as a speaker at your next event, or to learn more about rising to the new Human Economy standards, contact info@peopleacuity.com

Are You A Difference-Maker In This New Human Economy, Or Are You Being Left Behind?

DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs.

The Human Economy is here!! Before you dismiss this as irrelevant, remember that when the world flipped into the Information Economy, people like Bill Gates saw it ahead of its time, and the entire world is different today because of it! By the way, he benefited just a little bit, too. You can also benefit and influence others in significant ways, not to mention make your world profoundly different if you can see and adjust to the new economy. You can also be ahead of the curve if you want to – or wait, and then pedal like crazy to catch up to the competition in a few years.

Check out this video to discover how this is more crucial to your life and your future, not to mention that of your organization, than you may have considered.

Becoming a Difference-Maker in the New Human Economy: Why You Should Care

Bill Gates saw the Information Economy coming ahead of its time and the whole world is different because he did (by the way, he also benefited just a little from it!) The Human Economy is in its infancy and those who recognize and adjust to its new standards will be the real winners at this crucial juncture in the world's history. The future will be guided and influenced by those people, just as our lives are influenced by Bill Gates. The real question is, "will you be one of them?" Your answer matters! You never know how many people's lives might be different because of you.

Posted by People Acuity, a Strengths Strategy Company on Thursday, March 14, 2019

The world is waiting for you to see where it’s heading, to be aware of what’s happening, and to be part of shaping it’s future. It’s time for all of us to find a shared language, and a Human Economy-oriented way of being that can release the untapped potential around us. Steve Jobs used to say, “Those who are crazy enough to believe they can change the world they’re the ones who do.” Will you be crazy enough ? Will you be one of those that help to co-create this new Human Economy, or will you be sitting on the sidelines watching it pass you by? 

A lot is riding on your answer! So, choose it carefully. By the way, Bill Gates had no idea of his future impact at the beginning either.


Written by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs, who lead the People Acuity Thought Leader team and are the authors of the book Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living. They are also the creators of a validated people culture measurement tool evaluating Work Joy, Team Connection, Confident Vulnerability™ and Proactivity. Between them they have worked in nearly 60% of the Fortune 500 and Global 1000 firms and collectively hold over one hundred certifications and international and national recognitions. To book one of them as a speaker at your next event, or to learn more about rising to the new Human Economy standards, contact info@peopleacuity.com

WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS SELF-IMPOSED “TAX” IS KILLING YOU

DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs.

In the United States, no one looks forward to April 15, the dreaded Tax Day. Yet, you may be experiencing a version of it every day, suffering under the burden of an added 36% “tax” whether you realize it or not. It likely has more of a devastating impact on your life than you may have calculated. This tax we’re referring to is not a tax you see deducted from your paycheck, although it does take a huge chunk out of your mental, financial, and physical resources. It also kills your performance and energy, and it sucks the life right out of your relationships. The worst part about it? You are bringing it upon yourself every single time you get caught in the blame-game.

In a 2018 global People Acuity study of 1,800 people, 50% identified their organization as having the highest possible blame score, and another 33% were at moderate blame. Interestingly, individuals who experience high blame are 95% more likely to have low Work Joy, engagement, and productivity, and 97% more likely to be part of a dysfunctional team.   Additionally, when blame is high individual performance is 36% lower. Hence, the 36% “tax” that takes the wind out of your sails and can even derail your career. It certainly did for U.S. President Richard Nixon, whose aides suggested that his propensity to blame was behind the entire Watergate scandal and brought down his entire administration. 

You might wonder why anyone would stay in the kind of self-destruct cycle created by blame when they could stop it any time they wanted to. You might even want to but may not know how, nor feel motivated to shift your situation. That is normal, by the way, given that when you are in a high-blame experience, the statistical likelihood of proactively trying to mitigate or change the situation is less than 5%. It can be done, though, if you’re willing to pay the price and make the needed changes. 

I had a front row seat just last week as I watched it happen. A woman in a miserable place in her career confided in me that she was preparing to quit her job, despite a fifteen-year track record with her company. The blame-game was alive and well in her work life and had progressed to the point that she had stopped talking to everyone she was frustrated with, except to send cryptic, angry emails. Obviously, these got her nowhere and she sadly told me she felt “invisible” – even though her only efforts to resolve her problem were these vague indirect emails. She was caught paying the self-imposed “tax” on her energy and performance, recently resulting in severe, stress-related health issues that caused her a lot of pain and time away from work. 

By this point, we had spent two days together, along with her boss whom she had not spoken to in over two months. We had been discovering strategies for breaking the blame barrier and shifting the organization’s people culture to be better aligned with the new Human Economy. With her pending resignation as her only other viable option, she decided she had nothing to lose by trying out one of the tools she had learned for re-setting a frustrated relationship. She got bold and invited her boss into an unconditionally curious conversation, designed to create understanding and proactive agreements to strengthen the relationship.

Two hours later, she emerged from her boss’ office smiling, thanking her repeatedly as she bounded down the hall. When I saw her again three days later, she seemed to be thirty pounds lighter and ten years younger. Her eyes were sparkling and there was a spring her step. “I haven’t felt like this for years,” she told me. “I’m so glad to find a way out of the blame-game!” 

So, what about you?  How do you feel about getting out of the blame-game? There’s a price to pay whether you stay in blame or you find your way out of it: the pain of surrendering your ego and finding a new way to respond, or the pain of paying that 36% performance tax.  Which one is greater? That is the real question, at least if you’re deep in blame.

To learn more about how to reduce or eliminate this tax altogether, contact us at info@peopleacuity.com or select “Free Resources” at the top of this page to learn more.


Written by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs, who lead the People Acuity Thought Leader team and are the authors of the book Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living. They are also the creators of a validated people culture measurement tool evaluating Work Joy, Team Connection, Confident Vulnerability™ and Proactivity. Between them they have worked in nearly 60% of the Fortune 500 and Global 1000 firms and collectively hold over one hundred certifications and international and national recognitions. To book one of them as a speaker at your next event, or to learn more about rising to the new Human Economy standards, contact info@peopleacuity.com

THREE SURE SIGNS YOU’RE SURROUNDED BY BLAME-GAMERS

DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs.

Blame is the number one toxic behavior inside of organizations – at least according to a 2018 research study completed by People Acuity’s psychometrics team. Over 1,800 employees and leaders across the globe participated, and surprisingly 50% of them scored their organization with the highest possible blame score.  Conversely, only 17% scored their organization as low-blame.  When blame is high there are some telling patterns that you may (or may not) be aware of, including three sure-fire signs that will leave you running for the nearest exit sign, hoping for a better job, if they are present.

The first thing that won’t surprise you is that you can kiss your Work Joy goodbye if you’re in a high-blame environment.  In fact, if blame-gamers surround you, you can expect less than a 4% chance of experiencing high Work Joy. This means you won’t feel ignited by your work and will likely dread it most days.  It also translates to high stress, low employee engagement, and a strong likelihood that you feel disempowered and unfulfilled.

As if that is not enough, the pain of low Work Joy is compounded by the absence of any real authentic relationships at work.  When blame is high the chances that you will have strong feelings of belonging and a feeling of connection to your team are less than 3%. You’ll feel alone.  Your work experience will be characterized by emptiness, frustration, and often sadness – and your team performance will be severely compromised.  Given that 75% of all organizational work happens in teams, and the fact that you were born to belong and connect, this one factor might hurt most of all.

The final sure-fire sign that you live and work in a blame-gaming environment is the nearly-complete absence of proactivity.  Just imagine what happens when every single day is filled with fire-fighting reactivity.  You get caught up dealing with one crisis, only to have another creep in even before you’ve solved the first one.  You realize that if you are in a blame-gaming system that the chances you would have high proactivity are only 5%?  Stephen Covey would be quick to tell you that if you’re not proactive you have no hope of being effective, given that the choice to Be Proactive is the foundational habit of all effective people.

While these signs are as sure as the sunrise, you can’t blame the blame-gamers.  That only puts you right smack in the middle of the Blamers Anonymous Club, and it reduces your power to change the very things you want to change.  Check out our brief video today about blame (found here) – and consider what you can do to take yourself out of the very behaviors that rob you of Work Joy, authentic Team Connection, and the Proactivity you need to become the creator of your life – rather than just surviving it.

Your mother may have told you to not be a quitter, but this is one time when quitting is just the right thing to do. 


Written by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs, who lead the People Acuity Thought Leader team and are the authors of the book Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living. They are also the creators of a validated people culture measurement tool evaluating Work Joy, Team Connection, Confident Vulnerability™ and Proactivity. Between them they have worked in nearly 60% of the Fortune 500 and Global 1000 firms and collectively hold over one hundred certifications and international and national recognitions. To book one of them as a speaker at your next event, or to learn more about rising to the new Human Economy standards, contact info@peopleacuity.com