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Shedding Rigidity

When I started in HR during the 90s, dress code policies were still a big deal. At my corporate job, we dressed up for work in formal business attire. I remember our policy distinctly said that employees could not show their tattoos and, if they happened to have a ring/stud anywhere but in their earlobes, they had to remove them for work.

Flash forward a decade and a half where I’m setting up the HR function from scratch. I wrote a dress code policy where I said employees could dress “business casual” but should cover their tattoos at work. Boy, was I ever wrong! Between the 90s and the end of the aughts, a huge percentage of the population got tattoos. The CEO of the business I worked at told me to remove the “covering up the tattoo” requirement since it was pointless.

10 years later I was in my final HR role and, again, writing a dress code policy. No “formal business” or “business casual” with the accompanying list of what was/wasn’t included. I just said, “Dress appropriately” in homage to Mary Barra, the former head of HR and now CEO of GM, who revised their ridiculous 10-page dress code policy to these two words.

What changed?

While HR rules grow greater every year – new or revised legislation, changing cultural mores – I grew less willing to hold them rigidly. I saw how maintaining the rules made me lose connection to the purpose behind them. The compliance needs of HR had taken precedence over the human needs of the employees.

Rigidity

Rigidity lives in formalized structures that care more about process and how things appear to others.  I found myself becoming rigid when I wouldn’t accept applications for job openings after the closing date. I was rigid when I followed each step of a Performance Improvement Plan instead of sitting down and having a heart-to-heart discussion on the behaviours that led to the employee being on a PIP.

In short, I lost the “human” in human resources. The cost of rigidity was seeing humans as “resources.”

Fluidity

The opposite of rigidity is fluidity. I decided to focus on building connection instead of maintaining structures.

Think of that final HR dress code policy. Dress appropriately. Implicit in that statement is trust. I trust my employees are adults who know how to dress themselves. They don’t need me policing their appearance.

In the land of fluidity, I take things in context. I am here primarily to connect to another human not to parent them with rules and regulations. I picture myself as Simone Biles on the balance beam with rigidity on one end and fluidity on the other.

Shedding rigidity means getting rid of what doesn’t serve you anymore. It feels great to remove the weight of rigidity. Removing the weight of rigidity brings you closer to balance.

Shedding your rigidity

Look at your balance beam and observe its weighting both at work and at home. Are you tilted more toward rigidity than fluidity?  Bringing yourself into balance starts with recognizing when you’re not.

Consider the consequence of that rigidity. You may find one answer revolves around unsatisfying relationships due to decreased connection.

I’ve gotta tell ya, once I removed the rigidity, there was no going back. There’s no such thing as human resources only people and culture.

Connection is where it’s at.

These days, I like the balance beam. Thank you, Simone.

You have to be open minded in order to grow. The coaching that Laura gave me opened my eyes to what and how I was doing things and allowed me to see the bigger picture. I am not done yet but I already see the changes in my everyday life.

MM

I think coaching is a great way to help you clear your mind when you get stuck with overwhelming situations or when stepping into changes in your life.

MO

Coaching is life changing. It pushes you outside your comfort zone and challenges your perspectives.  It is highly motivating and the exercises and techniques used are both fun and informative.  I think the main benefits of coaching are to see yourself, others and the world more clearly.  I think coaching is valuable to anyone regardless of where you are in your life or career.

LE

I honestly never thought I’d need a coach. I thought coaching was for CEOs and industry VIPs. I didn’t think it was for the “little guys” (i.e. me). Now, I’m of the belief that everyone – yes, EVERYONE – needs a coach. Coaching has really benefitted me and I’m so grateful to have had that time with Laura. It’s changed my life!

VB

Laura is very patient. She took the time to understand what was causing me to be stuck where I am today and help me build a better vision so I can continue to grow.

MM

I think Laura’s coaching was what I had been waiting for. Laura was so approachable, kind, and open. Her willingness to help and support made a difference for me. I found in her coaching new strategies, ideas, and perspectives that I could incorporate into my goals and objectives that I didn’t see before.

MO

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LE

Laura is a natural coach. Her probing and compassionate questions helped me learn about myself: my value system, interests, goals and strengths.

LM

Coaching sessions with Laura gave me new perspectives on how to process specific feelings and situations in life.  She showed me how to sit with my emotions, acknowledge them, and then use visualization strategies to move through them.  I now feel more confident and in control of how I choose to walk through life.

CP

From the beginning, Laura put me at ease, creating a safe, open space for me to talk and share freely without fear of judgement. I loved the variety of approaches she used depending on the topic we were working on and it was fun being able to try out things I wouldn’t have considered before! With Laura’s coaching, I substantially grew my confidence in the workplace, overcame fears, dealt with issues I’d been carrying around for many years and, most importantly, learned to value myself and define a path forward into the future.

AG

Laura’s coaching was a breath of fresh air and EXACTLY what I needed at that point of my life. I didn’t realize how impactful coaching was going to be, but by the end of the sessions together, I left feeling refreshed, inspired and genuinely curious about what my future held for me. Because of Laura and her coaching, I believe I became a better person – someone who is more open-minded, someone with a clearer focus, and someone who is willing to explore opportunities and possibilities far more than I ever did before.

VB

I engaged Laura for coaching as I took on an expanded role leading an asset management company in Canada. As a female, I knew I would be a role model and had high expectations of myself. I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

In our first few coaching sessions we worked through exercises that allowed me to reflect on my purpose, leadership style and what mattered most to me. I continue to be grounded by the clarity I achieve in my coaching sessions – allowing me to be resilient and confident when challenges came my way.

OS