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How to S-P-A-R-K Meaningful Connections at Work

How to S-P-A-R-K Meaningful Connections at Work


  • Why leaders should take time for self-reflection
  • Why we should avoid having a “Superman” or “Superwoman” complex at work
  • How to run an effective and uplifting meeting

Dr. Julie Rosenberg is a physician, keynote speaker, leadership coach, avid yogi, and author of Beyond the Mat. Her passion is helping people embrace healthy lifestyles and enhance personal leadership skills in order to thrive. She recently joined Louis Carter, founder and CEO of Best Practice Institute and author of In Great Company, for a conversation on the ways we can all be better leaders.

This conversation has been edited and condensed.

Julie: What are the key messages of In Great Company?

Lou: I started my research by talking to about 150 top-level executives over the phone. I called them up and asked one simple question: “What would it take for you to want to perform more in your company?” At first, they said, “Well, don’t you want to know my dark side first?” I had to amend my question, starting with, “What makes you want to perform less for your company?”

They said, “When my ideas aren’t heard, when I’m told I did something wrong, and when I’m given feedback in a critical manner, rather than [constructive] advice for the future.” So, conversely, I then knew what would make them want to perform more—which all boiled down to five different areas.

SPARK is my anagram for defining emotional connectedness, the factor that makes leaders want to perform better. Psychological safety is an important piece of this—you feel that spark and sense of connectedness. So that’s what the book is about—it gets to those five areas. S-P-A-R-K stands for Systemic collaboration, Positive future, Alignment of values, Respect, and Killer outcomes. When you get clear on those in yourself and others, it makes the journey a lot easier.

It sparks connection between individuals and yourself about what you want now, and what you want later. What you’re doing is defining your future—you’re saying, “This is how I want to collaborate. This is how I want to be respected. These are my values and how they align to the company. These are the outcomes I want to achieve in life and with the organization.”

“In order to perform and succeed, we have to get help from others.”

Julie: It’s so important for leaders to take moments of pause for self-reflection. What we bring to the table as leaders is so important, and so many people don’t really understand themselves. They don’t have the level of insight and self-awareness that’s required to really perform at the highest level.

Lou: I had a coaching call today with an individual who is under the gun to get better at sales for a company. He was so overburdened and stressed that the only thing he could do on the call was blame his coach for not doing things, rather than take personal responsibility to get better. He was not in a mindset to accept help. When you’re not in a mindset to accept help—or even ask for help when you clearly need it—it’s super hard to succeed. In order to perform and succeed, we have to get help from others. Many of us have this Superman or Superwoman complex where we say, “We can do it alone.” But that’s not possible—you need others to help you.

Julie: Do you think it’s possible to create a world where employees are so deeply engaged that they love doing their job every single day?

Lou: Not without practice, daily practice. Every single week, I have a meeting with an accountability partner, somebody who helps me achieve my goals. They say, “How are you doing on this? How are you doing that?” That’s part of creating emotional connectedness.

Also, every meeting should be designed toward some goal, and you should involve people in your meetings to achieve that goal. Every team meeting should have a specific focus, because otherwise you’ll have people who challenge too much, support too much, merit too much, or move too much. It really has to be about air-time, accepting and knowing how people are talking during the meetings. There’s a lot of different things to do—which I write about—in order to create a world of work where everybody wins.

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