NetSpeed Learning Solutions March 2017
Brain Science at Work
"The feeling of connection stabilizes and propels a person. It promotes growth. Without the invigoration of connection, the brain shrivels and life sags."
"In the absence of connection, fear usually rules."
These two thoughts from Edward Hallowell's book, Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from your People, inspired me to write this newsletter today.
In our fast-paced, technology-fueled workplace, it can be all too easy to overlook the power of connection with everyone on our team. Researchers have confirmed in studies over the years that social isolation and the lack of personal connections result in poor health and early death. As more organizations move toward flexible work schedules, home-based offices, and virtual teams, it is essential that our employees' need for connection be attended to. 
If you are a virtual team leader, one of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is, "How do I build the sense of connection for everyone on my team today?" At the heart of productive work relationships in virtual environments are those moments when we get to know others more personally and more deeply. Most of us want to be seen, celebrated, and understood by the people we work with, whether we see our co-workers every day, once a month, or just once a year.
Our connections with others can be strengthened with quick check-in calls or texts, not just long, deep conversations. A simple message, "How are you doing?" texted to a colleague after a challenging week can open the door to a stronger, more trusting work relationship. Taking the time to listen and empathize with someone when she is frustrated or annoyed strengthens connection. Contributing to an online social network builds bonds with others. Sending a hand-written card communicates caring and concern. Working out a disagreement or misunderstanding with someone else strengthens that work relationship.
Managers who rule by fear may find that the short-term gains they achieve don't last, and instead result in long-term disengagement and disconnection. Employees shut down in a culture of fear. When a virtual worker feels disconnected and unappreciated, productivity and happiness suffers.
Think of the brain's need for connection as a brain-based management practice that drives deeper engagement, heightened employee satisfaction, and positive action at work. Now stop for a moment and think about one idea to connect with someone on your team. Then take action now to build that connection.
If you would like to know more about brain science and learning, plan to attend our next one-hour, complimentary webinar, Brain-based Learning in the Virtual Classroom, on Wednesday, March 15 (1:00 pm ET / 10:00 am PT).
Download our latest infographic on these brain-based learning principles.

Cynthia Clay signature
Cynthia Clay
Virtual Trainer Tips:
Why Do We Do What We Do?
Cynthia Clay
This week we held our company's annual Virtual Team Retreat. We reviewed our 2016 accomplishments and identified goals for 2017.
In preparation for our time together, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about my purpose, why I do what I do. In a normal week, I may deliver a web workshop, write an article or blog post, present a sales demo for a prospective client, create an infographic, and prepare for a speaking engagement. Those are activities I love! I also might analyze financial reports, negotiate a contract with a vendor, manage our cash flow, book a flight, and problem-solve an unexpected glitch with our telephone bridge. These are tasks that I'm less interested in, though they are certainly important.
How do we benefit from understanding our underlying motivational drivers? I know that I am motivated by communicating and connecting with others. I love thinking creatively and strategically about our company's future. I also know that I love to help people discover what they are capable of and develop to their highest potential. It's a theme I see in my parenting, my training and speaking, my work with our clients, and my work with my team. Because I know what my deeper purpose is, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that NetSpeed Learning Solutions succeeds. Even the grunt work has meaning when it serves a higher purpose.
At our retreat, we celebrated our successes and discussed the positive client feedback that we received. We also connected what gives us pride about our client work to our underlying motivation and purpose. With that context, we set our goals for 2017. Goals come to life when we understand why we do what we do. With that deeper sense of purpose, it's easier to persevere when challenges arise.
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