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Ever potty train a toddler? So much to unpack there. And I’ll never eat another M&M. But today’s not about the tactics. Coast is clear.

Remember in those early days when they were just learning? They’d be playing – so very focused on the crayons or cars or dinosaurs – and you’d be on standby waiting to take them to the potty at first ask. You’d wait and wait and then eventually you’d spot the puddle beneath them.

There were signals, of course. They just weren’t loud enough to compete with the dinosaurs and crayons. And so, as observers, all we have is the puddle to let us know what’s happened. Toddlers need to be interrupted. To be asked – do you need to go now?

This occurs in the workplace all the time. Mostly not the puddles. But the missing of early signals. And the professional version of puddles – employee burnout, disengagement, talent attrition – are much more difficult to clean up.

Our teams are so busy – running, meeting, delivering – they, and we, miss the signals. They need to be interrupted. To be asked. How are you? What do you need right now?

You know I’m a big believer in the power of our Pulse Checks – which, really, are just open asking and listening sessions. They are dialog designed to highlight the blips.

When we ask questions about people’s ability to Deliver, Develop, Connect, and Thrive, we grant ourselves windows into warnings like…

  • Struggles to prioritize, to map meetings and activities to purpose, early signs of overwhelm or overwork
  • Signs of “boreout” (burnout due to boredom); the lack of coaching or growth or challenge
  • Feelings of loneliness or lack or context or missed opportunities to drive a sense of community and belonging
  • People feeling unappreciated, unbalanced, unwell

When we ask before the fire is raging, when we create safe spaces and we listen well, our teams will guide us. They will tell us what they need, what we can course correct. They say the action plan. We just need to capture and implement.

Baby steps. One at a time.

Whether you’re ready to run your own Pulse Check or you’d like a little support and hand-holding (really, this is our superpower), please reach on out. Whether we can offer some guidance on how to construct and run your session, or we can talk about running it for you – we’re here to be your partner.

Either way, know the Pulse Check is the beginning, not the end. It’s the opening of a dialog that will continue. This is how we keep a finger on the pulse. And keep those puddles at bay.