We hosted a Strategy Breakfast with Michelle Y. Bess and twenty-five Chicago leaders had an intimate and collaborative experience engaging on the important topic of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). From her depth of experience, Michelle helped lay the foundation for how we go about initiating more honest and authentic conversations in the workplace and in our lives.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve had a front row seat to the growth and transformation of the Chicago business community, and in particular the tech and entrepreneurial scene that’s emerged. During this exciting time, I've been fortunate to witness this transformation both as an investor and founder of several fast-growth startups. I’ve come to love the people, companies and trends that influence our business ecosystem: a focus on revenue & sustainability, gritty midwestern values, and hard work and resiliency. Characteristics that are reinforced by withstanding brutal winters and demanding investors.
But as I look forward to the next 10 years, it’s become clear to me that the only way we’ll continue this growth is if we invest in creating a more conscious, diverse and inclusive business community.
Vulnerability is not always the most popular topic for leaders, but on Tuesday, the Ignite community jumped into the deep end. Member Karrie Miner kicked things off by sharing a recent experience where her vulnerability led to an encouraging new professional relationship. Then Ignite co-founder Ryan Jeffery interviewed our guests, Sonya Jackson and Ujjwal Gupta. Here were some of the best quotes and insights from our time together.
This is one of our favorite leadership videos. In three minutes, Colin Powell uses humor and storytelling to distill the essence of leadership down to the core element of trust. Watch it for some quick inspiration and then consider joining us on our July Coaching Corner on Building Trust where we’ll dive deeper into how trust can enhance your relationships at work and beyond
This move towards more purpose at work is not simply a millennial trend or an idea unique to socially conscious companies, it is a powerful force that is redefining the corporate landscape as we know it...and keeping many leaders awake at night. So what does a purpose-driven company look like, and what role do leaders have in this new world?
The gig economy and technological advances are reshaping the workplace in ways that have significant ramifications for human capital and talent management. The companies that embrace and proactively respond to this emerging reality will have the competitive advantage as they execute on strategies that will enable them to win the talent war, enhance employee productivity and elevate brand equity.
Linkedin's 2018 Workplace Learning Report highlights the challenges of developing our people to reach their highest potential...which can result in success from purpose to profit.
The study provides key data from their survey of talent developers, people managers, employees and executives. Below I'll highlight a few of the key insights and some related survey results from Ignite for Chief People Officers, Heads of L&D and those of us who partner with them.
Ignite’s value proposition to our corporate partners is increased employee engagement, productivity and retention. We’ve orchestrated powerful journeys for 10 years, designed to connect, inspire and transform, while helping companies build a thriving and diverse culture. Our experiences cultivate emotionally intelligent leaders capable of driving critical business outcomes, and a nontraditional approach is core to our success.
Chicago has been my home for 22 years. It’s the place I started my first company, met my best friends, and dove deeply into my own diversity and inclusion journey. I love this city for its incredible skyline and lakefront, its array of cultures and unique neighborhoods, and its midwestern yet progressive values. For two decades, this city has shaped me, my ideas, my work. The people here have informed my purpose and passion, and they’ve challenged my privilege and politics. My development as a person and my growth as a leader are significantly tied to this place...and that is why I am so excited that Ignite is launching a leadership experience right here in Chicago.
Recent studies and insights show that a big piece of the puzzle to unleash employee potential lies in providing what they are already asking for - experiences. In particular, providing immersive learning experiences are a proven way to both recognize and develop your employees. By capitalizing on the science which links immersive travel experiences to happiness and productivity, leaders across the C-Suite and human resource departments can unlock the untapped potential of their employees.
Our next installment in our blog series - "Igniting Insights: Interviews on Profession & Purpose.” Our journeys are filled with diverse and inspiring travelers from around the country. In this series, we sit down with entrepreneurs, experts and creatives who have joined our journeys and get insider insights. In this installment, Lindsay Weickert chats about how recruiting and talent development go hand-in-hand.
Our next installment in our blog series - "Igniting Insights: Interviews on Profession & Purpose.” Our journeys are filled with diverse and inspiring travelers from around the country. In this series, we sit down with entrepreneurs, experts and creatives who have joined our journeys and get insider insights. In this installment, Sonya Jackson chats about leadership and creativity in both corporate America and beyond.
In the 25+ years I spent working in HR for both fortune 500 companies and small fast growing startups, we developed countless initiatives to engage and inspire our employees. Each time, however, we were unable to gain the momentum we’d hoped for. That’s why, when I heard of a company called Ignite that claimed to engage and inspire employees through international immersion trips, I was skeptical. Could these “purposeful journeys” (as they call them) really be the answer to the purpose gap that exists in the workplace?
Employees are a company’s greatest asset. Our people are critical to the success of our businesses. Forbes named 2018 the year of the employee experience, highlighting the importance of employee engagement, and yet effective strategies and solutions to this challenge can be rare and elusive. We recently asked corporate executives and HR leaders across a wide range of industries to share their most successful strategies and ideas for investing in employees.
Why defining your mission & values upfront provides employees' purpose & meaning in their work - we all want to contribute to the “Grand Human Drama.” When employees are connected to a company’s purpose and have meaning in their work, they perform better. Positive-psychology theorists suggest that a sense of purpose is a key indicator in understanding why some people thrive and others do not. This sense of purpose connects them more easily to others in the workplace, a major contributor to employee happiness.
Our journeys are filled with diverse and inspiring travelers from around the country. In our "Igniting Insights: Interviews on Profession & Purpose” series, we'll sit down with entrepreneurs, experts and creatives who have joined our journeys and get insider insights. First up? Entrepreneur Kara Walsh shares marketing, partnership and travel advice she has gained from the launch of her company - No Small Plan.
Regardless of whether you are a small tech start-up or a fortune 500 company, addressing diversity and inclusion has become a necessity. Initially fueled by shifting demographics in the workforce, today most companies realize that creating a diverse team and an inclusive culture drives business results. Creating a more inclusive culture requires facilitating experiences that allow your people to take meaningful steps forward on this journey.
Travel has long been associated with enhanced creativity, improved intelligence, better health, and connection across cultures. For companies, it can also build the employer brand and support recruiting, reduce burnout, enhance productivity and build cultural fluency. Given the benefits of travel to employers and the enthusiasm from employees for continued global engagement, there is a clear ROI for companies to integrate travel into their employee experience.
"Connection. It was, and still is, what gives my life meaning. But what is it that makes these connections authentic and meaningful?" -- Some thoughts on the transformational power of openness and empathy.
The current advice surrounding how to engage employees complicates things. It makes it feel like there is some complex formula that goes into it - as if employees are some other life form that we can’t understand. What the advice seems to miss is the understanding that employees are simply human beings. They are people that have desires and needs beyond just being an ‘employee’. A job is simply part of the human experience, and a company’s role in this is to provide opportunities for people to thrive. That will never happen if we don’t start thinking of employees as more than numbers on a spreadsheet or an otherworldly life form needing to be ‘engaged’.
At Ignite, we believe offering people the chance to learn and grow on an experience packed with cultural immersion and community engagement is a powerful way to effect positive change. But what goes into planning a meaningful and authentic experience? Here are some tips to keep in mind as you plan your next impactful adventure.
As leaders today, we have the opportunity to unleash the potential of the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. But, in our rush to be disruptors and to re-invent the wheel for Millennials, we should be careful not to overlook the fundamentals of traditional development initiatives that will serve this generation well. Millennials have grown up with face to face interactions and interpersonal connections replaced by technology and platforms that, while efficient and often effective, cannot replace the powerful and rewarding experience of a mentoring relationship.
"I am humbled and excited to introduce you to a new company - a company that understands that the power of a shared experience can not only transform a life and a community, it can make our world a more connected, equitable and compassionate place."