Category Archives: Culture

Small Idea, Big Movement

bohsw-zcuaavuieI love great ideas! Especially the ones that start out small but then revolutionize an industry. In 2007, a like-minded group of individuals, including Pam Warhurst and Mary Clear, wanted to find a way in which everyone could help improve their own community. Their solution: They taught their local residents to take control of their community through gardening and eating.

“The answer was food,” said Warhurst in her TED Talk. “Everyone understands food. Food gets people talking; even better, it inspires people to take action.” They started with small herb gardens and community plots in a Northern England town called Todmorden. Then they planted corn in front of a police station, fruit trees on the sides of roads, vegetables in front of the senior center, and even planted gardens in the cemetery, where “things grow really well because the soil is really good!” Read more after the jump…

It’s Pretty Negative Out There. Here Are 5 Things That Make Me Thankful.

Facebook? More like Political-Argument-Book, am I right?

I’m told the best way to manage negativity is to focus on the positive, so here are five things that – as a person who works day in and day out on social platforms – I’m thankful for right now:

  • The new iOS Update – Sure, they messed with the ordering of our email threads and I had to restore my touch-to-open home button functionality…but it’s all worth it when you can send GIF messages to your friends. Something I never knew I needed, but now I can’t imagine living without.
  • The forthcoming link/tags on Instagram – They’re not available to everyone just yet, but even the thought of finally being able to link to a website within your Instagram posts literally makes me smile.
  • My Mophie – I’m traveling as I write this, and this may sound trivial, but I’m truly thankful to not be sitting on an airport carpet next to what is shockingly the only power outlet within five gates.
  • Free Wi-Fi – Sometimes it’s the obvious things. Take one minute and think about what we’d all do without Wi-Fi. We’d still have real time news to keep up with, endless work demands via email and hilarious dog videos to watch…but we wouldn’t be able to access any of it without an Ethernet connection or an all-too-often sketchy cellular signal. Thank you for that quick “Dogs are Amazing” video download, Wi-Fi.
  • A Crazy Smart and Amazing Team – If you didn’t hear, GFM/CenterTable made the Top 5 of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work list for the fourth straight year. Work is infinitely more fulfilling, less stressful and straight up fantastically fun when you’re surrounded by great people and great clients.

Take a minute and practice some gratitude this week (and the next, and the following…), even if it only has to do with the percentage of battery you have left on your phone.

My Favorite HR Lesson: The Two-Drink Theorem

My favorite HR lesson came from a soon-to-be-retired lawyer at a Fortune 200 technology company. Tasked with giving an annual reminder to managers about appropriate behavior at our company’s various holiday parties, he decided to condense a 60-minute training down to about five minutes – and it largely centered around his “Two-drink Theorem.”

The theory held that sexual harassment allegations would overwhelmingly be the problem that arose from our company’s parties. And his rules of thumb were:

  1. Someone accused of sexual harassment who has consumed one drink or less will be determined not to have committed sexual harassment (although their behavior may still be loutish).
  2. Someone accused of sexual harassment who has consumed three or more drinks will be determined to have committed sexual harassment.
  3. It is the person who has consumed two drinks that causes the most problems when trying to assess guilt.

His primary takeaway? Only let people have a single drink at holiday parties. Or give them three so his legal staff could just immediately settle claims rather than wasting their time investigating them first. I think he was kidding about that part.

I was reminded of this theory recently when I saw that staffing firm Robert Half has released a

Read more after the jump…

Sabbatical in the Rearview Mirror

It’s no surprise to those of us who work here that GFM is the No. 1 place to work in America, according to OUTSIDE Magazine. From unlimited “trusted time off” to an annual teambuilding offsite with Outward Bound, not to mention an onsite treadmill desk (my favorite!) and Beer Club every Thursday afternoon, we’re truly lucky to be part of the GFM culture!

Carissa McCabe takes a photo while waiting to cross the second ferry to whale watching in the Bay of Fundy while on sabbatical from GroundFloor Media.

Carissa McCabe takes a photo while waiting to cross the second ferry to whale watching in the Bay of Fundy.

That’s why several of our team members have been with 15-year-old GFM for at least 10 years – a milestone that earns employees a four-week, paid sabbatical to take some time off to reflect, rejuvenate and reconnect. In August, I became the fourth GFM team member to enjoy sabbatical and I divided my time between home and two weeks visiting family in Nova Scotia, Canada. Whether you’re lucky enough to have an employer who offers a sabbatical program or whether you’re simply able to slip away from the office for a short vacation, I compiled a few reflections that I hope provide some inspiration to take with you on your trip – or to simply plug into everyday life! Read more after the jump…

Colorado Companies – What We Learned at The Wright

The 2016 Wright finalists on stage with Governor Hickenlooper

The 2016 Wright finalists on stage with Governor Hickenlooper.

Last week marked the fourth straight year that GroundFloor Media/CenterTable has sponsored The Wright – a Shark Tank–esque event focusing on Colorado companies who work in the outdoor/lifestyle industries, and love to give back to their respective communities. Companies are nominated, finalists are required to produce a short video about their business, a panel of judges narrows the list to three finalists at a live event and then questions those companies before selecting the winning contestant.

Some of these companies are big, some are small, some are new and some are more established. The common theme is that they’re all amazing Colorado-based companies who have great entrepreneurial spirit. It’s truly one of my favorite events each year – and one where everyone can learn a thing or two from the contestants. Here are a couple of things we took away from, or were reminded during the 2016 Wright: Read more after the jump…

Keep Denver Unique

scfd_logo_c_hWhen it comes to business, Denver is a bit of a ‘tweener. We’re not as big as New York, L.A. or Chicago, of course. But we also aren’t as big as Minneapolis, Dallas or Atlanta. When it comes to the business world, we continue to occupy a level beneath all of those cities.

But in many ways, we rank better than those larger cities. For example, we have teams in all four major sports leagues – the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. And our cultural facilities are better than you might expect in a city our size. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Denver Zoo all regularly present exhibits and programs that rival those in nearly all other major cities.

And that is no accident. Nearly 30 years ago, Denver-area voters stepped up and approved the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a taxing organization that ensured organizations both large and small would be funded with tax dollars to ensure they could provide the kind of cultural experiences that would enrich Denver and make it even more attractive to local residents and visitors alike.

This year, voters are being asked to approve Issue 4B to extend the SCFD another 12 years. The initiative would maintain a tax of one penny on every $10 spent to continue to fund our vibrant arts and culture facilities. This is one of the best investments Denver voters can make, and I hope everyone will vote to support Issue 4B.

The SCFD is one of the unique things that has contributed to Denver being one of the best places to live in the country, and we owe it to ourselves and our children to continue that innovative approach to supporting culture and the arts in our region.

Three Tips to have a Fun, Creative Brainstorm with a Structural Thinker

Some of the newer folks at GroundFloor Media (GFM) recently took the Emergenetics assessment to learn about our thinking and behavioral preferences. Based on answers to a set of specific questions, Emergenetics evaluated our thinking preferences (structural, analytical, conceptual and social) and our behavioral preferences (expressiveness, assertiveness and flexibility).

emergenetics

It was absolutely no surprise to me that the majority of my thinking preference falls under the structural category (I’ve never met a list I don’t like). According to Emergenetics, this means that I am a “practical thinker that likes guidelines, is cautious of new ideas, is predictable and learns by doing.” No surprise to me, my least favorite thinking preference falls under the conceptual way of thinking. This means that my comfort zone does not lie in being “imaginative, intuitive about ideas, visionary, or learning by experimenting.”

Read more after the jump…

Happiness is… Work

When work gets busy and life gets busy (often at the same time), staying happy at work can be a challenge. Happiness in general is a very loaded term that can’t be addressed in one blog post. That said, I’m always eager to learn what other people do to achieve happiness in the work place.

One aspect of work that can sometimes be overwhelming is very simple: Mondays. Monday can be daunting – it’s the start of the week and the start of a long to-do list. At a recent all-staff meeting, our team discussed strategies for preparing for a stress-free Monday. Here are some of the helpful tips our team shared:

  • Be Schedule-Aware – Check the schedule to make sure you’re fully aware of all meetings scheduled for the early part of the week.
  • Go to Bed Early – Get a good night sleep on Sunday night.
  • Don’t Fall Behind – Stay up-to-date on e-mails throughout the weekend so they don’t pile-up. Don’t necessarily respond, but scan so there are no surprises on Monday morning.
  • Keep it Free – Avoid post work plans on Monday night so you can rest after work.
  • Write it Again – Rewrite your to-do list on a fresh piece of paper so you feel organized.

Read more after the jump…

New Insights Into Employee Engagement

OB2015Not long ago, I posted a blog about what I believe really matters when it comes to company culture. One aspect I didn’t really delve into in that post was employee engagement. I recently came across Cone Communications’ 2016 Employee Engagement Study and wanted to share some interesting insights that I think absolutely relate back to creating a strong company culture where employees look forward to coming to work and want to stick around long-term.

Read more after the jump…

Finding Your Own Work/Life Blend

Credit: TALMADGEBOYD

Credit: TALMADGEBOYD

At GFM we often say that we practice and encourage a work/life blend, rather than balance. In today’s plugged in and always on world of business, parenting and relationships, trying to achieve balance will almost always result in disappointment. Sometimes work trumps a personal commitment while other times personal plans or to-dos outweigh non-urgent deadlines. That is reality.

Personally, I take a lot of pride in the blend that I’ve created and prioritize each week. Most days I am up before the sun, my family and most coworkers and clients, for a workout. This creates space for completely unplugged me time without sacrificing work or family. From there I am able to be a part of my toddler’s morning routine before his day at daycare. I then aim to be in the office by 8:30 a.m. at the latest in order to dive into the day, choosing to eat lunch at my desk, unless I have a professional engagement, so that I do not have too much guilt about having to leave the office by 5:15 p.m. for daycare pickup.

None of this would be possible without a strong network at home, and an even stronger base of support – starting with leadership – about the “blend” being critical to our overall success as an agency.

GFM has a generous four-week sabbatical policy after 10 years of employment and our president Ramonna Robinson recently returned from an enriching, disconnected leave with stops for a yoga retreat in Croatia and relaxation in Italy. Following her return she wrote a fantastic blog post about her “a ha” moments. But even more valuable have been the work/life blend professional development articles she has made the time to share internally. Each of these articles validate and in a way, provides permission for us to hold each other accountable in critical ways—work product, responsibility, health and wellness and much more.

This week Ramonna re-circulated a powerful 2010 Business Insider piece from The Energy Coach about the importance of disconnecting in order to be more valuable at work and at home when you do reconnect. The week before she praised the GFM team members who schedule walking meetings or shout out around the office throughout the day for quick walking breaks around the block—based on a New York Times article about the dangers of long, uninterrupted periods of physical lethargy.

Summer is a great time to take a step back as an organization, family and individual to evaluate your blend. Are you unplugging on vacation or like Carol in The Energy Project story, addicted to checking in on emails because of its emotional pull about being important and needed? Unfortunately, I am guilty as charged in this respect.

Are you enjoying the extra hours of sunlight with a dog walk or backyard gardening? Or are you trained to get back online as soon as the dinner dishes are done?

Are you giving your team permission to disconnect by modeling the behavior yourself, or creating a cycle of 24/7 communication that no one is brave enough to break?

How is your blend?