#WorkHuman 2017 Day 1: Bring Your Whole Self to Work

by Jennifer Miller on May 30, 2017

in Human Resources, Leadership

It’s Day 1 of Globoforce’s WorkHuman 2017 conference. As I mentioned in this post, I’m covering several tracks as a “live blogger” for the Globforce team. So here’s how my time in Phoenix has shaped up so far . . .

My WorkHuman Experience actually started the day before the conference. Because it was my first time in Arizona, I flew in early to take advantage of the very gracious hospitality of  friends who live here full time.  (As it so happens, my tour guides are former work team leaders of mine; they were doing WorkHuman way before it was a thing. They are two of my most revered mentors. Thanks, Mary and Sarah.)

We did a day trip to Sedona.


My new boyfriend Smokey. Especially appropriate – there was a brush fire burning 30 miles east of this ranger’s station.


And then Tuesday dawned, bright and sunny. Forecast of a balmy 100 degrees. But no worries, we’re at WorkHuman! And all was well, as we checked in and started to peruse the many activities available to us. That’s the great thing about the WorkHuman events – it is SO much more than just fantastic learning sessions.

Check it out: there is a Gratitude Wall, a book store, the chance to get your own rock (more on that later), yoga and meditation sessions. I even created a customized WorkHuman tee shirt.

In the afternoon, I covered the “Your Whole Self” track, which feature three amazing speakers – two of whom I heard last year . . .and ASKED to see again this year. The third, well . . .she’s a force to be reckoned with and she rocked the room. Here are some quick reactions, just a mere minutes after their presentations. More (much more!) in depth blog posts to follow.

In order of appearance:

Christine Porath, “Mastering Civility: How it Benefits You and Your Organization”

On leadership and the connection to civility in the workforce: Porath says that “it’s the small interactions  of civility that set the table” and allows leaders to connect meaningfully with those they lead.  When leaders are civil with those around them, it builds goodwill. Porath also noted that these daily interactions create the basis for a relationship that can withstand the occasional tough discussion. This was an encore presentation from last year, and Porath’s savvy presentation of the materials was a intriguing the second time around as the first.

Favorite quote: “Incivility hijacks focus and limits recall. It robs people of their focus.”

Rasmus Hougaard, “Mindfulness and Compassion: Core Business Strategies for 21st Century Leaders”

Last year, Rasmus wowed us with his deep knowledge of mindfulness, which he has been teaching to corporate audiences for nearly a decade. This year, he kicked it up a notch, adding two more elements to his leadership presentation: selflessness and compassion. Together, these three traits (mindfulness, selflessness and compassion) form a triumvirate of leadership capability. These three elements, which Rasmus’s company The Potential Project has tested with hundreds of companies across North America (with research partner Harvard Business Review) has resulted in a new assessment that measures a leader’s skill in these three areas.

Favorite quote: “Leadership must start in the mind of the leader.”

Cy Wakeman, “Reality-Based Leadership: Ditching the Drama and Turning Excuses into Results”

You’d better fasten your seat belts when Cy Wakeman takes the stage. This dynamic, take-no prisoners presenter promised to blow our minds. And she delivered for this audience member. Wakeman is a former therapist and corporate manager who now works with leaders to help them bring “reality” into their workplaces. She shared real-life stories of how companies have bent over backwards in the name of “engaging” employees, only to have it back fire. She also had an intriguing take on change management initiatives. She asked us, “Is change hard? Or is it only hard for the unready?” Her point was that leaders are doing a disservice to employees if they hand-hold them through change initiatives. They should instead focus on building employees’ skills every day so they are change-ready.

Favorite quote: “Your circumstances aren’t why you can’t succeed. This is the reality in which you must learn to succeed.”

Check back each day for more of “live blogging” from the WorkHuman conference in Phoenix. Follow #WorkHuman on social media.


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