Seeing Risk and Burnout in a New Light

On the second day of Fusion 2.0, new speakers and attendees continued to fuel the conversations about humanity in the workplace. The appetite for learning and taking in information subtly shifted to connecting the dots between all of the rich content being openly shared. Many people said they felt like they found their people at Fusion.

Not surprising feedback given Fusion is two years in the making and born of intentional invites from Dr. Rosie Ward and Jon Robison, conference co-founders and Salveo Partners co-founders. They invited people they knew could offer a human, connected perspective in different disciplines including c-suite, risk and safety managers, human resources, wellbeing experts, psychologists and researchers. The invitees pretty much all showed up despite the winter in November in Minnesota factor.

Robert Kegan, An Everyone Culture

The first keynote to show up Thursday morning was Bob Kegan, a research professor at Harvard University and author of An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, his most recent award-winning book. Bob calls out corporate America, drawing our attention to the fact that nearly everyone is doing a second job no one is paying them for—namely, covering their weaknesses, trying to look their best, and managing other people’s impressions of them. It’s so exhausting.

He asked attendees to turn to their neighbor and share how they lean when given identifiers of arrogant or insecure. He cited examples of using these identifiers, employee errors and vulnerabilities to help organizations and their people realize their full potential. He noted that a cultural shift to a growth mindset of practicing not perfection has benefits that include chipping away at burnout. Post-keynote many were buzzing about the burnout definition Bob planted for us: Burnout isn’t about having too much to do; rather, it’s about being stuck on the same developmental level and not growing.

Morning Sessions and Labs

Twelve morning breakout sessions and learning labs covered all of the six program tracks and included Culture is the New Currency with Tamien Dysart and Vaney Hariri of Think 3D Solutions to Am I Hungry? with Michelle May; and Pulling the Future Forward with Jennifer Reecy of N2Growth to An Outward Mindset with Mitch Warner of Arbinger Institute.

Culture is the New Currency

Tamien and Vaney, co-authors of Think 3D: A Radically New Approach to Maximizing the Potential of Your Team, kicked of their session with a philosophy: A culture will emerge whether intended or not, but if it’s not one you invest in, it will certainly be the one that you pay for.

To illustrate the importance and impact of employee engagement, Think 3D Solutions co-founders Tamien and Vaney walked us through a continuum of employee engagement from 10% (passive listening), 50% (mutual dialogue), 75% (ideas into action), to 90%+ (people teach others). We also defined toxic and non-toxic work environments and how you might get to the 90%+ level of engagement. They challenged us to fill out a work pie chart demonstrating how many waking hours are devoted to work and all things work-related. Lesson observed: a toxic workday takes a long-term toll.

Make Empathy Your Super Power

The team at Adaptive Momentum – Shannon White, Charlie White and Kathy Sisson – framed their session around design thinking and focused on one specific tool, Personas. Based on audience feedback during the session we created a Persona named Mansure, a 24YO millennial whose superpower is omniscience. We detailed Mansure’s demographics, preferences and quirks so we could describe him like we’d describe a character in a novel or movie. Armed with this Persona, the session went deeper into ways this insight could create more empathy and employee engagement.

Innovator Series: NatureWorks

Feeling empowered after morning sessions, another mindful lunch and Happiness PopUps with Experience Happiness, attendees headed to their Innovator Series session of choice.

In Sarah Morari of NatureWork’s session: Fostering the Meaning of Work: How NatureWorks Energized and Aligned Its People, we got a glimpse into organization vision and values done right even while simultaneously going through a CEO transition. Sarah shared the company’s 1989 founding Persona (see Adaptive Momentum) of scrappy pioneer and how they’ve grown to be totally okay with being obsessed about science. They brought in Tim Foss of More Belief, coincidently Fusion’s Creative Director and Illustrator, to capture vision and values discussions, and worked with a linguist to keep their word choices on point.

Innovator Series: Sportech

Billy Sanderson (Sportech) and Brandyn Negri (Live Your Yes)’s session: Differentiating through Development: How Sportech Created a Thriving Culture via Their Leadership Academy, walked us through the academy’s six-year history, learning and impact. At the concept’s core is the vision of considering their role with 400 employees as transformational, not just transactional. They shared a video, their culture of attraction and their 12-month Sportech Leadership Academy (SLA), which culminates with an SLA letter jacket, a 390-page binder created in-house by Sportech and a launch pad to leadership.

Tony Horton, Creating a Safe, Resilient and Risk-competent Organization

Following afternoon sessions, Fusion attendees gathered in the Pavilion at The Depot for the keynote by Tony Horton of Real Safety and N2Growth, Creating a Safe, Resilient and Risk-competent Organization. As an Aussie with several species rising to takeover humans in his homeland (sharks, kangas, etc), Tony embraces risk and certainly isn’t sitting behind a desk in a relatively safe organization managing risk. He’s 2.4 miles underground in “The South Deep Experience,” working with 95% humidity and violence as part of the daily equation as he moves the company to zero deaths in two years.

He talked about trains, hazards, autos from ABS to seat belts, and the challenge of creating safety to the positive degree where you actually see it influencing to the negative. For example, drivers now equipped with seat belts and ABS brakes compensate for these enhanced safety features by driving faster or paying less attention. Not the desired effect we want when improving safety. 

Tony posed the idea of companies and employees operating like a jaywalker in their thinking and behavior -- stealthily looking both ways, crouching down to move quickly and safely across the street – but really existing in the safer pedestrian crosswalk with safety measures in place. He closed on the note that companies can’t address risk by talking statistics.

They have to see risk in order to manage it. Then safety becomes an outcome of risk competency. If you’re not seeing it [risk], just consider it switched off.

-- The Fusion 2.0 Conference, November 7-9, a revolution to re-humanize the workplace, delivers the practical knowledge, skills, and inspiration to lead positive change in the workplace. It’s a multi-disciplinary experience where like-minded professionals who care deeply about wellbeing create an action plan and design the support necessary to effect positive change.

-- This event recap is not inclusive of every session during the day on November 8, 2018, It’s intended to give attendees and anyone interested some of the highlights and flavor of the day.