Creating an emotionally healthy and successful work environment isn’t merely the antidote to burnout, it also is the key to unlocking high-performing teams. In fact, with all the changes the pandemic ushered in 18 months ago, workplaces look, feel, and operate much differently than they did previously. And while humans remain very much the same, the way we interact with our work environment has evolved, not only physically — but emotionally, too.
No one knows this better than Kedren Crosby, President of Work Wisdom, LLC. Kedren has devoted her 25-year career to writing and presenting on workplace issues ranging from burnout to work-life integration, conflict management to communication best practices, and everything and anything in between.
To Kedren, workplace culture isn’t a plaque on the wall or words on a document somewhere. No, it’s much deeper and more nuanced than that. In fact, she realizes culture is more about how we actually get things done than how we say we get things done.
In this episode, we dive into the factors fueling burnout (hint: it’s not what you think) and The Great Resignation, as well as what thriving workplaces and individuals truly look and feel like, given not only the current landscape — but the one to come as we look to a post-pandemic way of integrating both work and life.
Steve: What do you think is a common myth you hear from organizations about culture or employee well-being?
Kedren: This one always makes me laugh. That it’s about fun. So, I was talking to someone yesterday and they said, “Well, we do have a Director of Fun.” And I was like, “What does that mean?” So you’ve got a ping pong table. That has nothing to do with culture. I mean, I guess there’s this sort of idea that if we get a ping pong table we’ll have a good culture, but that is not really the way it works. So that is the myth. A ping pong table — it’s not going to work. It’s not about happy hours.
Steve: What piece of advice have you been given that sticks with you still today?
Kedren: There’s something a Harvard business school professor said that I screwed up in my mind and told myself so many times that I thought it was her advice. And then when I went back to look, I just messed up her quote… The version that I told myself was that “Every success looks like a failure in the middle.” That’s not what she said, but that’s what I thought she said…. But I think the advice that has helped me is this idea that every success, it looks like a failure in the middle. So, if you’re just looking in the middle, it’s like, “Oh, this feels like we’re failing.” So you just have to keep going to get to the other side and then it becomes a success.
Steve: What’s one book or article a must-read for people who are interested in either culture or employee well-being?
Kedren: No Rules Rules by Reed Hastings, which is about culture shaping at Netflix. And Nine Lies About Work by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall. It’s my favorite, and I love it as an audiobook because they’re both British and they’re really funny.
President, Work Wisdom, LLC
Kedren holds a Master’s degree in Policy Science from The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in addition to an extensive graduate-level coursework portfolio. Kedren has written and presented extensively on burnout, work-life integration, authentic leadership, organizational culture, organizational conflict management, and communication best practices throughout her 25 years of experience in all three sectors (for-profit, non-profit, and government).
As the President of Gravity Group, Steve is passionate about helping brands reach their goals through honest, creative marketing and powerful brand stories.
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