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Gayle A. Gregory, Workplace Evolution, Common Sense for Uncommon Times

Gayle A. Gregory

About the Author

Gayle Gregory is the author of the award-winning business management and leadership book, Workplace Evolution: Common Sense for Uncommon Times, and co-author of The Grand Experiment, an Expedition of Self Discovery. She is a former senior manager with two Fortune 500 companies and the co-founder of Workplace Evolution (WE). Workplace Evolution’s speakers as well as their coaching and facilitation services create a shift from ‘me to we’ in the workplace that allows businesses to thrive in any climate. Gayle is a highly-motivating coach, a veteran of radio talk shows, and an inspirational and humorous, take-no-prisoners speaker.

Book Synopsis

Uncommon times necessitate a reexamination of business-as-usual attitudes in service of a better way to do business, one that’s sustainable and capable of boosting compassion as well as the bottom-line. Current events demonstrate our undeniable interrelationship, prescribing a new business model embedded with wisdom and foresight of consequences. Opportunity lies in grasping the inherent limitations of the current individual success model and shifting gears to access our shared potential. Workplace Evolution addresses that opportunity. Workplace Evolution provides original and straight-forward, yet practical solutions that breathe new life into ethics, community and sustainable profitability.” Jackie Barretta, CIO Con-way

Behind the Book

In 1997, disillusioned and depressed by the state of business, I left my high-paying career and jumped aboard Phantasm, my sailboat, checking out of a socially desired lifestyle into one less admired. My heart ached to contribute, to be fully engaged in whatever I did. I was tired of the politics and gamesmanship. I no longer wanted to go to work, do the accepted things to fill the little check-boxes and look good rather than being good. Good wasn’t about what was best for humanity at that time, although that too changed. Good was about making a difference, seeing the results of my effort, and being able to look myself in the mirror knowing I had done my best. I was disengaged, disheartened, and rather than stay and retire in place as many did, if I was to continue breathing I knew I had to leave.

I wasn’t that different from many in today’s workforce. Statistics are staggering. According to the Herman Trend Alert, only 29 percent of employees are fully engaged. EDGE 2009 revealed that 45 percent of employees plan to change jobs, careers, or industries when the economy recovers. When people are planning to leave their heart is not in their work, let alone their head. That is a huge loss for business.

On my 18 month voyage I discovered a missing link that lies at the core of employee well-being and engagement. It is also a surprising solution for innovative and inspired performance, and as evidenced by the alarming number of employees who are disengaged, this linkage continues to elude the best and brightest organizational minds. It is overlooked and underappreciated because it is antithetical to left-brain business thinking.

Workplace Evolution, Common Sense for Uncommon Times, my insights into the missing link, came to life when I could no longer say no to it. I knew I would write the book, even before I had written my first, The Grand Experiment, an Expedition of Self Discovery. Experiment was necessary first because it birthed the seven myths, based on fear, doubt and programmed thinking. I had seen the myths on my voyage and needed to get to know that intimately before I could access their counterparts – the Eight Enlightened Logics in Workplace Evolution.

I co-founded Workplace Evolution (WE) during the writing of the book. Many of the insights in the book came as a result of the challenges we faced creating an evolutionary model for ourselves. After several painful iterations, Workplace Evolution now facilitates conversations through speaker engagements and group meetings, including deliberate dialogues for leadership teams. If organizations truly want to move towards a more caring model of doing business we work with them. If they still believe in the individual-centric business model and merely want to hedge their bets, or are not open sufficiently to consider wholly new ways of doing business, we generally hand them off to more traditional consultants. Dabbling in compassionate honesty and integrity without real commitment further dampens employee engagement and rips what’s left of the heart right out of the organization.

We hold ruggedly honest conversations and help senior teams examine processes, practices, policies and behaviors with the practiced eye of compassionate wisdom. Our understanding of the dynamics of employee engagement helps organizations determine the best form and structures for their workplace. We don’t use a standardized checklist or approach each organization in the same manner. We help each organization examine what truly is working for them and what really isn’t. They gain the insights and understanding to make success sustainable.

If I was to share the one thing I did right, by the way it is also the best advice I never got, it would be finally learning to trust the way my life is unfolding and to meet it with unqualified curiosity. I quit arguing with it and became amused at best, interested at the least, with its twists and turns, and enriched by its lessons. Each of us, our lives exactly as they are, has so much to offer. When we trust what is within us, honed by the paths we have walked and the lessons we have learned, have the keys to our world’s biggest challenges.

Our blog offers articles and insights to workplace engagement. The latest post is an article I co-wrote with the medical director of Mental Health Systems called, “A Competitive Advantage for our Stress-Filled World.” We respond to questions and comments and invite interaction.

Our website was originally professionally designed and updated using Dreamweaver but the inflexibility caused us to rethink our strategy. We are now using a free template from www.1and1.com and are very happy that any of us can update the site. We like the site’s simple look and feel. We decided that simple is better. People don’t have time to read tomes. They want quick bits of information so they can decide if they want to find out more. That is what we provided with the redesign. You know instantly what we do and get a sense of how we do it.

We do our own marketing. Doing it right provides a steep learning curve. I prefer PR to pay-for marketing. Write good articles. Connect with media sources and provide value and the media will pick up your message and help you get it out into the world. We have had great success with HARO, having been quoted in dozens of articles.

I’m still a novice on Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter although I do imbibe. I would love to find an intern with social media skills. I find the time required too extensive and so I’m hit and miss, not a very good social media strategy. I do enjoy it when I make myself sit down and expend the energy, but time is such a precious commodity and I am fairly certain that social media is not the best use of my time. I prefer the face-to-face real connections. I would rather pick up a telephone than send an email. I’m people focused. I want to see your eyes and watch your energy. A healthy, real connection is far more productive than 100 emails.

Connection is what we all want whether we realize it or not. It accurately initiates authentic engagement. Most of how we do business today in our rush for success actually disconnects us. A key to success in today’s business world is that if we slow down we can actually speed up. A deliberate, informed slow-down is one of the many counter-logical insights in the book. If you want to thrive during this economy, it’s time for new thinking. Our old thinking will not be able to make the leap that’s necessary for success today.

Gayle A. Gregory, Workplace Evolution, Common Sense for Uncommon Times, www.workplaceevolution.com

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