Have You Got Your Emotional Support Peacock?!!

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

‘Emotional support peacock’ turned away from United Airlines flight.  An eye catching headline this week!

A passenger was turned away from boarding a United Airlines flight with her “emotional support peacock” (called Dexter) over health and safety concerns this week.  It appears that ’emotional support animals’ have become a thing, United Airlines told the BBC that the number of support pet requests has risen by 75% in the past year.  Following this surge airlines have had to tighten the rules as the increase in animals poses a safety risk, and have now banned a number of animals including hedgehogs, ferrets, insects, rodents, snakes, spiders, reptiles and “non-household birds.” !!

There’s nothing wrong with loving our animals, but the idea of using an emotional crutch is interesting. Do we use them, and do we really need to?
We are all softies at heart, we know from our own research that 88% of us agree “I have times when I doubt myself”, our favourite (and more usual) external confidence strategy is recognition with 56% using it as a primary confidence builder, followed by control & planning (25%) and support from others (19%).

But over 90% of us don’t look within ourselves for the answers.

A study of 500 employees and 500 senior decision makers, previously reported in HR Magazine, found that 59% of workers would prefer a job at a company that provided them with regular recognition rather than one with a higher salary. Almost two-thirds (72%) of workers reported that motivation and morale would improve if managers thanked them more and noticed their good work.
Forbes has also reported that there is a $64 billion market for employee recognition.


Talk about relying on others to feel good!




Should we be replacing these recognition programmes with positive belief programmes? Helping employees find internal confidence strategies rather than relying on external strategies, crutches & peacocks.
Building confidence and self-belief from within means it’s in our control, it increases resilience, and is a strategy that can last.  We choose to manage ourselves that way.
Take control of your wellbeing!
The challenge is that for most of us, we have forgotten that the choice exists.  We don’t consciously manage our emotional reactions, we let our emotions impact negatively on others, and underneath it all, doubt ourselves.   We constantly give our power away, lack emotional strength and are not consciously aware of ourselves – and need to rely on our emotional peacock.
At Courageous Success we know that the best person that you can be is yourself, and if you choose to think more constructively and positively about situations, you will build inner strength, belief and resilience.
Our clients tell us that knowing who they really are – their true iAM Values – and using our mind tactics tools – impacts on their ability to manage their emotional response by 84%.Do you feel confident? Do you show and feel strength? Do you fully engage?
Keep your power by not letting what’s happening outside of you, wobble you.
Leave the past behind, don’t waste time and energy on what might have been, but look forward positively and take action.Imagine if we all brought this version of us to work every day?

Don’t rely on a peacock for your emotional support, positively support yourself:

  • Write down what makes you good at your job and keep them front of mind, using the positive energy to fuel your confidence.
  • At the end of each day, list three things that went really well because of you.
  • Don’t rely on knowledge and data totally to do your job, trust yourself too.
  • Recognise your strengths and play to them.
  • Be kind to yourself and others.
  • Believe in and see the best in others, and yourself.
Use your heart as your crutch, your kind actions, to support your self-esteem and know that the very best person you can be is yourself.




We All Represent Diversity – Are You Making The Most of Yours?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

‘’Employees who are able to bring their whole selves to work are 42% less likely to say they intend to leave their job within a year.’’  HBR 2017

The world of business is awash with a drive for Diversity & Inclusion.  Whoop Whoop we cheer!  For over a decade we have been encouraging society and people at work to be themselves.  We are all so different – although often forget this as we conform to workplace persona and mould ourselves to fit.

This new age gives all of us permission to get out there in all of our glory (clothes on please!).  Look at what these companies are saying about Diversity & Inclusion;

PWC:   “Creating value through diversity. Be yourself”.
Accenture: “We put inclusion and diversity at the very heart of the way we work, think, and run our business because we believe that only if you bring your true self to work will Accenture benefit from the best you can be”.
Ikea:  ”Everyone plays a part in making IKEA a great place to work, which means that you can be yourself and contribute…’’
Johnson & Johnson:  ”Be yourself, change the world. … Diversity & Inclusion at Johnson & Johnson is not just a commitment — it is the reality of how we live and work…’’

Being yourself at work is true diversity and brings inclusion as you disarm those around you.  I love this excerpt from a Finextra series of articles Imaging Workplace 2020 (from 2014),  ‘’Imagine a world one step further, with metaphorical mirrors held up for people to understand better how they land in certain situations, and to learn from that. A world where it is normal to talk about the impact people have on you, where it’s OK to call something out and discuss alternative means of delivering the same message. And where the person being challenged has space to respond, reflect and effectively challenge back. This sort of world embodies true diversity, equality and inclusion. It fosters potential for creativity, innovation, engagement and commitment – key ingredients for business success as well as attracting and retaining talent and staying ahead of the competition.’’
HBR article in Jan ‘18
There is even research this year that self-awareness can help leaders more than an MBA can.  So your business may have the policies, the awareness training but are you really encouraging people to be themselves, how do you do this and as individuals do you know who you are – after all if you are going to be yourself – you have to know who that is!

Some tips to find out and really nail your diversity at work;

  • You are not your profile (pigeon holing), label you’ve been given (job role) or category (division or skill).  You can’t be categorised so don’t hang on to this stuff.
  • You are also not your religion, gender, nationality, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
  • All of us have the real us inside.  When you ask people who they are they say – my name, my role, my history, my perspectives – this is all in your head.  Who you really are is in your heart and you’ll feel the same in essence as you do now, when you are in your 90’s!

So who are you?
Here are some questions to get you thinking, or talk to us about iAM or joining one of our free Experience days.

  • Who is the inner you that you show to your friends and family, what is this person like?  Are you this person to work – especially when things get tricky?
  • Be conscious of dampening the natural you and conforming in meetings. Do you change when you enter the building at work?  What would you be like if you didn’t?
  • If someone really knew the real you, what is it they would know about you? Have you shared this with your work colleagues?
  • When you are ‘in flow’ at work and loving it, how would you describe the energy that’s making it feel so great?
  • When you think about your perfect day, what does it tell you about who you are at heart?

Are you being this person, bringing the whole you, everywhere?

The only unique, clean values tool, giving powerful personal insight like never before.
The real me at the heart of my success.
The first Diversity and Inclusion product.

Click here for more details

”Is “Murder by Machine Learning” the New “Death by PowerPoint”?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

This headline in Harvard Business Review caught my eye this week. The article discusses the unintended consequences of so called ‘smart’ AI and Software in business. 

The fact that we can end up being slaves to the algorithm, or software that we are collectively unaware of.  Think of the reported risk of inherent bias in recruitment software, the pigeon holing profiling tools.  Worryingly the article hints that the value of the human touch can be deliberately discounted by data-driven decisions. We see that constantly as business aims for speed, ease and saving money.
This article chimes with other debates in the news around technology.  Chamath Palihapitiya, the former Facebook executive, now expresses regret for his part in building tools that destroy ‘the social fabric of how society works’.

Similarly the debate about how computers within driverless cars would make ‘moral’ split second decisions if faced with an emergency e.g. hit a wall or hit a child?



I am often asked when discussing iAM, ‘how does the algorithm work’, even several times in one sitting.  In business award interviews and meetings with fellow business people and investors I frequently get asked, “Why don’t you change iAM to be totally online to reduce the cost and make you a load of money?”.  This really really annoys me!  It is precisely because iAM doesn’t rely on an algorithm, but includes powerful human expertise, that it is such a powerful tool at accurately identifying heart based values, our unique selves.  Changing lives, leadership and business. We’ve seen the lavish stands at exhibitions, illustrating that on line learning is a good money spinner, but I’d rather make a difference than simply make money.

What we have gained in technology in recent years is undoubtedly amazing, it has revolutionised the way we work, and used wisely and well, it really helps us.   However are we in danger of being so enthralled at “smart software” and the cost savings, that we underestimate the power of being human?  Could the over emphasis of technology in learning & development de-humanise the workplace?  How often to you consider your latest pigeon holed personality or algorithm – our research says not often!  Similarly how many of us live at work through email vs. a conversation.  Gallup’s most recent ‘state of the Global workplace report’ emphasises the priority and need for the development of ‘human capital’ to enable global economic growth.   ”The benefits of maximising human capital are clear from the macroeconomic level down to the lives of each citizen or employee.’’  Businesses have a role to   ”…..make the most of their human capital by creating workplace cultures that maximise performance development and allow individuals to make the best use of their time and talents.’’  What we would call ‘Humanising the Workplace’!

A business is not just its clever technology but also a group of human beings – all with a soft center – who want to be the best of themselves and therefore do what they do best.




How human is your workplace?
Here are some hints and tips to help you to remain balanced in our human world;

  • Remember that where you work is actually a group of human beings that service others in some way.  Not an entity separate from those who are part of it.
  • Ask yourself if you are maximising your human power and the power of those who work with or for you?  Intuition, reading between the lines, problem solving, creating, imagining, listening…
  • Be yourself, not who you think you should be.  Work to drop self-consciousness and be you.  Accept the uniqueness in others.  See the real them.
  • Inclusion means exactly that.  Consciously bring together the individual strengths of those around you to combine your talents and create work that’s magical – breakthrough even.
  • Question the price of tech vs. human.  Are you counting the long term cost – and not just the financials?  What could you miss or regret with the tech?  What does the tech bring that the human can’t?

Controversial I know, but in today’s open equality agenda, the dangers of a purely tech approach may be felt at work by all of us.

Is Your Working Not Working?!

From Courageous Success Inspiration

During a particularly busy week, on an early morning train, I was working through my ‘to do on the train list’, (whilst my peppermint tea was getting cold), when a nagging feeling of ‘not wanting to be doing what I was currently doing’ came over me.

I ignored it of-course, I was too busy!  However the feeling didn’t go away.  After the nagging continued I chose to tune in and listen to it, I stopped working for 5 minutes to finish my tea (before it became stone cold), and stared out of the window. I then resumed my work – and felt much better for it! The nag was gone!
This week, research released by The Chartered Management Institute (CMI), has shown that in the UK Managers are working an extra 44 days a year over and above their contracted hours, which works out to an extra day per week, or 43.8 days per year, an annual increase of 4 days since 2015.
UK working hours remain higher than many other countries, however productivity lags behind, and engagement at work is low.  I don’t see much different in Australia or the US!
Is some of this contradiction, between working hours and productivity, about being stuck in ‘old’ ways of doing and being, working the way we think we should, or how we think we are expected to, rather than listening to what our personal energy and productivity is telling us?  Old habits that get us stuck, such as getting in before the boss, not leaving before them, never taking a lunch break.

I find that rigid and out of date cultures, working practices and management views maintain and compound this kind of behaviour.



In the same week as the CMI research, a BBC news article featured a London company, Normally Design, whose employees work a four-day week but are paid as if they were doing the traditional five days, and this is seen by its founder as ‘‘… key to the company’s success – they can be just as profitable in fewer hours, as employees work more efficiently. ”
The Independent has shared an enlightening story of working hour’s vs productivity from WW2:  a munitions factory that was working 78 hour per week had the working hours cut by 10 hours per week as the Government desperately needed greater production. The change led to an increase in output per hour, and in overall factory output.
Many of us don’t have the freedom to choose to work whenever or wherever we please, however how many of us are stuck in bad habits of working that mean our working days are longer and less productive than they need to be?  Presenteeism anyone? 

What habits are keeping your work not working?

  • How in touch are you with when you are most productive – are you a morning person or a night owl?  Schedule your work to fit in with your natural rhythms.
  • Do you make time for you, to rest and re-energise?  Diarise breaks into your working day or be conscious of just having a moment of pause.
  • Are you thinking about yourself too much – is there a ‘what’s in it for me?’ malaise hampering your business and personal growth?
  • If you are a manager, are you being a role model for others around efficient working and maintaining balance?  Or are you openly stressed or pretty loose and appear to do very little (ouch!).
  • Are you a slave to your ‘to do’ list and then feel you never accomplish anything – step back and focus on what you are really trying to achieve, where are you really adding value?
  • Is your email controlling you?
    Do you allow it to interrupt you when you are ‘in flow’ on another task (warning klaxon here – switch off email alerts!) and end up most of your day working through them?   What bold step can you take to control your email – eg ignore all you are cc’d on, only check emails at set times per day etc. have an email free day and encourage others to do the same.
  • Consider:  what is my personal impact on others and my business? Am I adding value and making an impact?  Create a personal mantra for what you want to achieve.
  • We’ve talked in a previous blog (The Price of Just Being in it For the Money!) about how having a purpose at work is linked to improved productivity and health;
  • Ask yourself, what is meaningful in what I do? And then focus on this more.
  • Identify what difference you really want to make in your role, in the company.  Make this happen.  Regularly review how you’re doing to get that positive feedback loop.
  • Create a purpose of being. How do I want to be as a co-worker, team member, and leader?

Choose to make the most of everyday, wherever you are, not just for yourself but for others too.

Be a Wild Haired Chick at Work for 2018!

From Courageous Success Inspiration

70% of survey respondents admit to forgetting what they had been taught within 24 hours of learning.
(Bridge survey of 1,000 U.S. employees measuring employee retention and forgetfulness from training).

The web and social media are full of ‘trends’ for 2018, ‘Social Learning’, ‘AI’, ‘Generation Z’.
In our experience the huge majority of us remain reliant on external knowledge and ‘trends’ to follow, beat or keep up with, to appear ‘with it’ and either ahead or part of the competent crowd. 
So, if subject matter experts are the ‘new rainmakers’ (Forbes – really?!), then here are the Courageous Success top tips for you in 2018, to set your own personal trends for success.  Use these tips to create your own learning and maybe you won’t forget it!

1. Embrace who you are, know that you are different and embrace your uniqueness.

2. Be the same person at work and at home.  
The benefits of authenticity at work, reported by HBR, is significantly higher job satisfaction and engagement, greater happiness at work, stronger sense of community, more inspiration and lower job stress.  We gravitate to, and tend to like people who are authentic. 

3. Care about others and see the best in them.
US brain neuroimaging research, quoted in Psychology Today (The Neurobiology of Giving Versus Receiving Support), found that giving ultimately had greater brain benefits than receiving – that our brains are wired to feel rewarded more for magnanimity and selflessness than for meanness and selfishness.  It’s also good for business, perfecting customer experience, according to research by McKinsey, can grow business revenue by 5 – 10% and cost 15 – 20% less, over a span of 3 years.

4. Explore out of your comfort zone.
Avoid the trap of being stuck on a treadmill of transactional doing. Switch off the autopilot! Stir things up.  Take a new route to work.  Regularly speak to people you wouldn’t normally.  Draw ideas on a blank piece of paper. Embrace challenge!
Taking on new opportunities will give you the chance to learn and grow. Learning helps the brain evolve new pathways which will literally change your mind. Set yourself a daily or weekly challenge to inspire.

5. Enjoy being you, work on you being one of the best people that you know.
 Be yourself, not who you think you should be, be the real you, humanising the workplace. As a leader or manager – connect regularly with your team, and show your human side; admit mistakes and show vulnerability.  Live your iAM Values at work. Smile, enjoy what you are doing, and do it in a way that reflects the very best of what you are good at, and truly reflects you at heart.

6. Believe in yourself, aim to achieve what you set your mind to.
Promote your skills and what you are capable of.  Many of us are worried that putting ourselves forward could be seen as arrogant, so much so that we simply don’t do it.  As a result, we restrict our skills and selves. Think about how you can help people, drive more performance, make a difference in your business.

7. Don’t get affected by the mood of others.
Keep your power, don’t let other people affect your mood or equilibrium. Avoid negativity and negative people.

8. Be persistent in your options and courageousness, don’t give up.
It took over 5000 attempts before James Dyson perfected his revolutionary bagless vacuum cleaner, and famously JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was famously rejected 12 times and she was told ‘not to quit her day job’ before it was published.  Make the choice – decide not to give up. The simple act of making a pact with yourself, a promise, is simply a choice – but a powerful one. Create a plan and talk about it. Once you verbalise and personalise a goal, persistence becomes the fuel of creativity.

9. Stop moulding and adapting, don’t conform to be liked.
We often think of work as having to be professional and formal. None of us have ‘professional’ written on our hearts!  Be informal and normal – be you.

10. Build a strong relationship with yourself.
Create a positive dialogue with yourself and use your positive beliefs. Researchers estimate that much of happiness is “under personal control.’’  Our clients report an improvement of 88% in their positivity and happiness when working with us. This isn’t a magic happiness pill that we hand out at induction – it’s about creating a mind-set that we can all experience.  One of the reasons we have such an impact is that we put your power back in your hands, influencing the relationship you have with yourself and the world around you. Creating happiness from the inside and not relying or hoping about what happens outside.  Creating a strong relationship with yourself is part of an inside out happiness plan.  

For 2018 take responsibility for your mood and experience so that you can deliver and live at your optimum.


Living Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Work in 2018

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

It would be fantastic if 2018 was the year that there was a major shift upwards in the statistics for equality, diversity and inclusion at work.

We can all do something to bring about change.

According to research it takes just seconds to judge people on their appearance. We all make quick judgements and thin-slice all of the data we take in (with non-verbal taking up a big percentage) and filter it through our values and belief system.  Familiar and similar ‘fits’ more quickly.  However this filtering, that we all do unconsciously, has a huge role in how we view and interact with those different to ourselves.  The implications are enormous to our own growth, the growth of those around us, especially if we are a manager of people, how we recruit (often in our own image) and business growth – ”racially diverse companies outperform industry norms by 35%” (Forbes).
Equality and diversity is under the spotlight for 2018. In the UK April, is the deadline for qualifying companies to make public their gender pay gap data.  Although, as reported in HR Magazine, 1/10 firms may not make the deadline, a survey of managers within middle-market businesses found that ”’78% said that the reporting obligations would help reduce the size of the gender pay gap.”  
And it’s not just pay that needs addressing, last year Fortune reported that the number of female CEO’s of the Fortune 500 companies had fallen to 4.2%.  It has been reported in the past by the New York Times that ”Fewer large companies are run by women than by men named John…’’.  We often see similar statistics for racial diversity in the workplace too.
Forbes has previously reported a SHRM report that 41% of managers are “too busy” to implement diversity initiatives, BUT we can all make this change by collectively being more conscious of our own judgements and bias about others.

Make 2018 the year of being fully open minded and

really living diversity, equality, and inclusion.



We can all choose to include people, encourage contribution, be kind and make others feel special;

  • Assume positive intent of others – all of us are good at heart.
  • Value others and value kindness at work.
  • Be conscious of your thoughts when interacting with others, silence your judgement and listen.
  • Encourage ideas, debate and questions to allow full contribution and creativity.
  • When with others switch off your inner critic (we all have one) and switch on your insightful awareness and openness.
  • Ask questions, to really get to know others.
  • Ask yourself what you sense about another person when you interact with them rather than what you think about them.
  • Don’t get drawn into office gossip and conversations that are at the expense of others – be positive about others.

Bring the best you to work every day and positively encourage others to do the same.

Put You at the heart of your success.
Talk to us about iAM – discovering you and your team’s heart based values.  iAM crosses cultures and is loved by users as giving powerful self- awareness, rated at 90% impact.

The Price of Just Being in it For The Money!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

Only 21% of employees are driven by their career!!
A recent finding, reported in HR Magazine this week, of a survey of 2000 employees.

What is this all about?  In the same report only 11% of respondents over 40 said they were passionate about their job and 72% of us only go to work to pay the bills.
Are we all just mindlessly going through our working days and life – and therefore missing out on really living and enjoying it?
How many times at work do you find the day went quickly in a blur and at the end of it, wondering what you have actually accomplished?  Busy doing lots of things, but not feeling like you’ve actually achieved what you needed to?
An article earlier this year in the Harvard Business Review shared that ‘…. mindlessly performing tasks ….is a recipe for inefficiency, disengagement, and even poor health.’  The article goes on to talk about how finding ‘a clear sense of purpose’ in day to day tasks can have massive benefits to efficiency, productivity and even health.  In a study of Japanese workers at a large IT company ”….a higher sense of purpose as well as a sense of interdependence with co-workers was correlated with lower inflammation as well as a higher viral resistance in the bodies of the workers.’’
Research has also shown a connection between a sense of purpose in our personal lives, and good health such as reduced risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, and even increased longevity.


What stops us being our most productive,
connected selves? 



Letting ourselves be distracted, allowing ourselves to be dragged into meetings we may not need to be at, being on autopilot, spending too much time bouncing emails – bouncing the work around without it actually moving forward, robotically ticking off tasks and not being truly engaged.

Having a purpose stops us being as distracted- but it does more than that, it galvanises our energy, it unlocks our courageousness.
Questions for you;
Do you know what your purpose is in your working life?
How would you score yourself, out of 10, against it at this moment in time?

Hints & Tips on Finding Your Working Purpose

  • Create your purpose, what fuels you, is it changing the world or enjoying something?
  • Identify and list your mission purpose, e.g. being a force for good, changing the world, tangible success, money, helping others, beating the competition?
  • Identify your mainstream purpose e.g. financial security, enjoyment through activity, learning, feeling useful.
  • Choose your main primary purposes and begin to integrate them into your daily consciousness.  Use them when you are creating your daily goals and reflecting on what a difference you have made.
  • Ask yourself, what is meaningful in what you do? Focus on this more.
  • Identify what difference you really want to make in your role, in the company.  Make this happen.  Regularly review how you’re doing to get that positive feedback loop.
  • Create a purpose of being. How do I want to be as a co-worker, team member, leader?
  • Are you making enough effort to make a difference?
  • Choose to make the most of everyday, wherever you are, not just for yourself but for others too.
  • Choose not to coast.

Unlock your courageousness instead.

Shocking Customer Service and Your Leadership Style!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

$1.6 trillion. This is the estimated cost of customers switching due to poor service. 
(Accenture 2017)     

Having had two weeks of travel to Australia and around the UK, I have had plenty of chances to experience ‘customer service’. And some of it has been shocking!
As I went from flight to flight, taxi and restaurant, I observed a clear pattern. Those who delivered great customer service did so based on one core approach, which those who lacked in service clearly ignored.
They didn’t make it about themselves.
Instead, they put their ideas, thoughts, moans, attitudes and needs aside and focused totally on the other person, and making them happy. The result – specialness.
Making people feel special disarms them and opens up realness!  Our walls seem to come down and the real us shines through.
People often say to me that they feel really connected to me, that I stand out, what is this?
It’s simple. 
When I meet you, whether for a meeting, a 1:1, a workshop or in day to day life. I put myself to one side and focus totally on you.
At work, this approach builds strong relationships by making people feel happy.
When the focus is on others rather than yourself, you do a number of things naturally:

  1. You ask the questions.
    So the other person feels valued and can talk about themselves and where they work. You are appreciating them and their presence.
  2. You become genuine.
    Your sincerity shows that you care. Your gates open and so their guards come down, and you show that you’re interested. This connects you both. You step into the moment together. 

Perfecting customer experience, according to research by McKinsey, can grow business revenue by 5 – 10% and cost 15 – 20% less, over a span of 3 years.
It’s also good for us!  Psychology Today quotes research from a US study  (The Neurobiology of Giving Versus Receiving Support: The Role of Stress-Related and Social Reward-Related Neural Activity) in which fMRI neuroimaging tests were used to explore how specific brain areas were affected by giving versus receiving social support.  The research found that giving ultimately had greater brain benefits than receiving – that our brains are wired to feel rewarded more for magnanimity and selflessness than for meanness and selfishness. 
In this moment, when it is all about them, specialness through these two points is experienced.

Our tips to make it about others at work and in life: 

  • Practice giving people your full attention and remain focused in their conversation and not yours.
  • Remember that where you work is actually a group of human beings that service others in some way – all wanting to do their best.   
  • As a leader or manager – connect regularly with your team, and show your human side; admit mistakes and show vulnerability.
  • Choose to be positive, good, kind and caring every single day.
  • Smile, enjoy what you are doing, and do it in a way that reflects the very best of what you are good at, and truly reflects you at heart.
  • Consider: what is my personal impact on others? What am I radiating to others?
    Create a personal mantra for your way of being, and then express it to make others feel special.
 Helpfulness and focussing on others shows others that you like them, driving acceptance, motivation and engagement – and ultimately not only a happier workplace but also a more productive one. 

It’s Not All About You!

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

Developing, growing and ‘improving’ ourselves is important but it’s not all about you!

What is also important is what you think of other people, especially in your relationships at work. Thinking positively about others and building relationships and trust is important, it makes us feel connected and ourselves. Research shows there is also a clear link between putting you aside, building positive relationships with trust and business performance.

Paul J Zak has spent years researching this link and has found, (as reported in HBR): ’’Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout.’’

His research has also found that when we start to trust someone, oxytocin is released in the brain. So called a ‘sociable’ chemical, it increases empathy, a useful trait when trying to work with others. It has an impact on motivation, energy and positive culture.

Instead of asking ourselves ‘how can I improve?’
Maybe we should ask ourselves: ‘how can I see the best in others, show people I like them and build trust?’

From our own research we know that 80% of our clients have a personal value around kindness, so building trust amongst co-workers should be easy? Experiments around the world have shown that humans are naturally inclined to trust others, but don’t always.

What stops us?

Our habitual ways of experiencing and processing information can really get in the way:
Malcom Gladwell in his book ‘Blink’, talks about how we ‘thin slice’ and make judgements and decisions on small amounts of data and experience. We filter the world based on our point of view – does it fit with my beliefs and values or not?  If the answer is not – we can dismiss it – making us judgemental of others stopping us being truly open.

Then there is how we communicate, now more often than not, by email. Without all of the nuances of verbal and non-verbal communication, we can interpret the tone of emails differently to how they were intended and according to Psychology Today, we tend towards the negative.

”If the message is ambiguous, many people will automatically read the most negative emotions and intentions into it.”  



We also make inferences about people and their intentions when our emails don’t get a response.
Stress can inhibit that sociable chemical oxytocin, this explains why often when we are stressed we can avoid interaction with others.

So – how can we be more open to others and build trust?
  • Practise being open, remove your gates and guards, and let people in.
  • Be less defensive about your own ideas and opinions; ask others how to make them even better.
  • Share information about yourself. A google study found that managers who “express interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being” outperform others in the quality and quantity of their work.
  • Embrace difference.  Remember that we are all unique and others are not like you so stop expecting them to be!
  • Be curious, what can I learn from this situation or others’ ideas?
  • Get out of your comfort zone. Try new things, maybe one per week e.g. listen to a different style of music, read a different source of news, broaden your experience.
  • Manage your emotional response and take accountability for your mood – don’t give your power away.

Be yourself.
The minute you are the heart-based, real you, you’ll automatically be less self-conscious and will naturally maximise your focus on others.