Author: Michelle Jones (Page 1 of 43)

Srini’s Tech Tip: Excel Sequence Function – Excel 365 and 2021

Traditionally, people have either manually typed row numbers or used AutoFill function. Autofill is a great tool to use if you have already data or if you have a small number of rows to autofill manually.

Imagine a circumstance where you don’t already have data, and you want to Autofill a large number of rows, perhaps in the hundreds or even in the thousands.  Even Autofill would be a cumbersome.

Scenario:

In our example, there are 38 data rows that need to be entered.  (Again, this technique can be used to enter a much larger sequence of numbers, even if you don’t have data ahead of time).  The SEQUENCE function in Excel 365/2021 can be used to enter the sequence of numbers, without manually Autofilling down a column.  The starting cell is A2.

Syntax:  =SEQUENCE(rows,[Columns],[start],[step])

The arguments in the square brackets [ ] are optional, and may be omitted if you are doing just a count from 1, increasing just by 1.  If you want the numbering to start from different number other than 1 or incrementing by a larger number like 5s or 10s, you may use the last [step] argument (i.e. like counting by 5s or 10s).

 

 

 

 

Some data sets are very large, and numbering the rows is very valuable in retaining or returning to the original sequence of the data, when a person is sorting by multiple columns.  Simple and complex sorting is very essential in tracking data when performing analysis.  Complex sorting is used when sorting by multiple columns but also choosing which columns have priority.  Complex sorting is taught in Excel Level 2 Intermediate course at L&OD.

Overcoming the Lingering Challenges of Hybrid Work

Hybrid work is here to stay for many organizations—and it comes with some pain points. Managers struggling to implement hybrid work policies confront three key challenges: scheduling, culture, and productivity. Research into companies allowing employees to be both remote and in-person suggest these obstacles can be overcome.

Aligning schedules. Several organizations have settled on a set combination of remote and onsite work, such as three in-office days, say Tuesday to Thursday, and two work-from-home days, say Monday and Friday. However, employees don’t always adhere to those guidelines. Rather than establishing fixed in-office days, focus on critical times for in-person presence, such as onboarding, busy periods, and key meetings or projects. Clearly communicate why these moments are important so employees understand the reasoning and accept the policy.

Building a strong culture. Many leaders worry about the difficulty of building and sustaining corporate culture when employees are physically together less often, meeting mostly virtually, and often multitasking rather than fully engaging in those get-togethers. Sustaining corporate culture with less in-person time is difficult. Reframe your approach by appealing to employees’ desire to help others. Highlight how their presence supports their coworkers, customers, and clients. Make in-person time more valuable by fostering meaningful interactions and connections through mentorship programs and client meetings.

Ensuring productivity. Some supervisors are concerned by their lack of insight into what exactly employees are doing when working remotely. While some roles (e.g., sales) have clear performance metrics, others don’t, and while workers may feel equally or more productive at home versus the office, there is no hard evidence to back them up. Favor supportive, transparent check-ins over micromanagement and surveillance. Tie employees’ roles closely to specific deliverables and provide regular feedback.

And don’t overlook your own development: Take advantage of training opportunities your company offers and get together with your peers to share best practices and discuss challenges. Such conversations can help organizations determine what practices should be reconsidered and reimagined in order to attract, motivate, and retain employees.

For additional tips on managing a hybrid team, consider taking a class from Duke Learning & Organization Development. “Raising Accountability while Managing a Hybrid Team” is offered on July 18th and just might fit the bill. You can register HERE.

 

References:
Harvard Business Review (2024, May 30) Mark C. Bolino and Corey Phelps: 3 Challenges to Hybrid Work – and How to Overcome Them

Transform Your Organization’s Culture with These Bold Moves

The data shows that, now more than ever, people need to feel like they belong at work. In McKinsey’s 2023 State of Organizations research, 20 percent of the more than 2,500 people polled said they were concerned about the lack of community in their organizations, and among the top reasons employees gave for leaving a job were that they did not feel they were truly valued and appreciated, and they didn’t feel a sense of belonging.

In a world of hybrid and remote work, both on- and off-site employees are looking for more connectivity, more purpose, and a sense of how and where they fit into a company’s long-term talent strategy. When workers don’t find those things in an organization, they disengage, retention takes a hit, and performance and productivity can suffer.

Culture transformation needs to start with four actions:

  1. Fostering understanding and conviction
  2. Reinforcing changes through formal mechanisms
  3. Developing talent and skills
  4. Role modeling

These four factors are critical for changing and then sustaining the mindsets and behaviors that allow for high performance. They are the building blocks. But within this influence model, there are five power moves that leaders can take to reinforce their transformation plans and drive a culture movement in their organizations:

Don’t just tell – show. It’s difficult for everyone involved in culture transformations—leaders, middle managers, and frontline workers alike—to look beyond what they know toward future possibilities. Senior leaders need to actively expose individuals to ideas and best practices they might not have previously considered, encouraging them to take lessons from wherever it makes the most sense.

Don’t assign – enroll. In any sort of transformation initiative, there can be a sense among employees that change is happening to them rather than by or for them. This can be especially true in culture transformations. Large-scale change requires everyone to step up on their own and contribute to the cause of their own free will. Without such voluntary enrollment, the odds of a successful transformation will decline.

Shake it up – all of it. For a variety of cognitive and behavioral reasons, it can be hard for employees to let go of what’s entrenched. For a culture transformation to succeed, senior leaders need to shake things up—and not just incrementally. For a transformation to take hold, leaders should introduce and embed new rituals into the workplace and continually revisit and refine employees’ roles, mindsets, and behaviors.

Connect the dots. Every organization has hidden influencers who can have an outsize impact on their colleagues’ actions and behaviors. Particularly in a cultural transformation, it’s important to bring these individuals out of the shadows. Leaders should provide these individuals—some of whom may be the mavericks in an organization—with the tools and information they need and turn them into change agents.

Remember, it’s personal. It’s difficult for people to drop long-established ways of working, take up new roles, and otherwise change the way they think and operate. Business leaders therefore need to attend to employees’ minds, bodies, and spirits during a transformation. They should reiterate the connections between the company’s culture and its role in helping employees achieve peak performance.

Organizations can launch a culture movement using the transformation principles discussed here—five moves that can help set the foundation for greater employee engagement, increased productivity and performance, and a lasting competitive advantage. Being bold in this approach can have lasting effects that set the organization up for success.

 

References:
McKinsey (2024, May 17) Brooke Weddle, John Parsons, Wyman Howard, Andy Voelker: Five Bold Moves to Quickly Transform Your Organization’s Culture

Get to the Bottom of Your Burnout

It’s no secret that managers and employees have been suffering from burnout for quite some time. It’s typically not any single cause, but usually the convergence of a number of elements that, when unaddressed or unmanaged over time, ultimately lead to burnout. It’s more than simply feeling tired or spent.

The World Health Organization characterizes burnout as comprising three key dimensions.  The specific drivers within each of these three aspects of burnout will be different for each person.

  1. Sustained feelings of exhaustion
  2. Feelings of personal inefficacy
  3. Increased mental distance from one’s job (typically involving feelings of negativity or cynicism)

Below are some reflective questions to ask yourself so that you can pinpoint your own primary drivers within each facet of burnout. While the answers to the questions below may be clear (either immediately or after some reflection), they likely don’t represent a quick fix, so consider them as a starting point. And depending on what these drivers are, you may or may not have control over some of them. Nonetheless, identifying them is a first essential step.

Sustained Feelings of Exhaustion. If you’re feeling a sense of depletion or fatigue from being overextended for a prolonged period of time, ask:

  • What one or two things have been most exhausting or stressful for me?
  • What has been stopping me from getting adequate rest or taking regular breaks?
  • What energizes me that has been missing from my work or my life?

Personal Inefficacy. If you’re perpetually lacking a sense of accomplishment, struggling to feel productive, or feeling like your work isn’t meaningful, ask:

  • Where do I feel the most ineffective?
  • What is most frustrating to me or getting in my way?
  • What is taking significantly more energy than it should?

Increased Mental Distance. If you find yourself disengaged and mentally withdrawn from your job, ask:

  • What is making me feel negative or cynical?
  • What did I previously enjoy about work that I no longer do?
  • When did this shift occur and what prompted it?

Ultimately, asking yourself all nine questions will help you to uncover core issues to diagnose what’s causing your burnout. It’s likely a combination of factors, requiring a number of changes over time to fully address it, and not something a one-off vacation can reverse right away. It’s one thing to not be burned out. It’s another thing to feel re-energized and re-engaged. Nonetheless, this exercise can inform steps you can take to address your burnout and possibly prevent it from happening again in the future.

 

References:
Harvard Business Review (2024, June 6) Rebecca Zucker: 9 Questions to Help You Figure Out Why You’re Burned Out

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