Positive stress is, after all, stress. Making everyone step into their ‘bigness’

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Positive stress is, after all, stress.

Today’s guest blog post is from Ruth Brännvall, advisor at Celpax:

I am a big fan of Ashoka and their relentless work to make everyone a “changemaker”.

I was recently invited to their welcoming and induction of new fellows in Scandinavia.

The guest speaker, Henry De Sio, is the former COO of Barak Obama’s America campaign.

If anyone would really know something about how to get everyone on board and aligned, then organising hundreds of employees as well as thousands of volunteers – while scaling up within months – that would be him.

When he had just over 100 people reporting to him, he realized that he had to manage them differently.

Instead of defining each and everyone’s task he asked people to start defining themselves as people who would be part of something big, who could be part of a winning team if they ‘stepped into their bigness’.



Working towards one common goal

Everyone had to believe in themselves and that the task to scale up the organisation was only achievable if everyone took their own responsibility for working toward that one common goal – in this case the re-election of Obama. Henry De Sio thinks this is what any leader in any organisation could do.

I think his message from Henry De Sio about first making staff define themselves in relation to the purpose of the organisation is an interesting one, but I wonder how that would work in an organisation that does not have such clear ‘start’ and ‘stop’, as a political campaign.

Have you ever felt that your managers expected you to deliver great things? Not just more revenues, better results, but also great things as an outcome of all of that?



What have you learnt today?

In one company I did.

It was a very brand driven company where part of the induction was to define what their brand values meant to me personally and how I could deliver on them, live the values. Personal development was part of my performance targets.

We had no annual employee surveys in that company. Instead, the reoccurring question from our managers was – what have you learnt today?

Related: Transparent leadership and effective communication strategies



Positive stress is, after all… stress

Our business was defined by constant change in a very competitive landscape.

We did not lack inspiration, motivation and constant learning.

One of the biggest management risks was instead that people were so enthusiastic and motivated that they worked too hard, too many hours.

And the sad truth is that many got burnt out.

Positive stress is, after all, stress.

Make everyone step into their ‘bigness’ is a great message – but over time do keep a close eye on how people are feeling too.


Ruth Bränvall, Celpax Engagement SolutionsRuth Brännvall is co-founder and CEO at Impact Invest Scandinavia and runs Njord Consulting, a boutique management consultancy which supports organisations that invest in developing social innovation and sustainability. She is also a highly appreciated advisor at Celpax!

Positive stress is, after all, stress. Measure employee morale real time.

A positive stress test!

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