Strengthening the Workplace with Social Fun

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Creating social connections in the workplace isn’t a bad idea, especially now that employees are spending more time at the office. Having a friend at work can boost productivity levels, inspire collaboration, and offer an extra helping hand for coffee runs. When you think about it, company referral programs allow many people to earn jobs as a result of friendships. No matter how someone lands a new position, people appreciate feeling like they’re part of a family – even if it’s at work.

Our annual Fools-only retreat called “Foolapalooza” serves as the perfect opportunity to spark new friendships. The full day of business meetings (that we still keep Foolish, by the way) ended with a celebration at a local restaurant this year. Fools were able to mingle, meet new hires, and celebrate everyone’s accomplishments together.

If you’re looking for new ways to engage your employees, consider planning a social outing. The event can even be at your office – we keep cornhole sets and other games handy during the summer for impromptu gatherings. Giving employees an outlet to socialize after-hours can pull more benefits back into your workplace. Plus, doesn’t it make for a more comfortable professional environment when you know your coworkers’ names?

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Foolish Innovation Wins

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Since Innovation is one of our Core Values, Fools looked forward to DCFemTech’s recent reveal of this year’s “Most Powerful Programmers.” Another reason to embrace the excitement? Because not one but TWO Fools were recognized by fellow females in the DC tech scene for impressive achievements in their field.

DCFemTech, a group that supports females in tech organizations, received a total of 79 nominations. Winners were chosen based on the impact they’ve had on their company; the complexity of their coding; and the impression they’ve had on their community. The final list of winners – 30 ladies in all – can be found here.

Congratulations to Fools Lisa Chung and Emily Williamson! Thanks for dedicating your talents to Foolish innovation, both at FoolHQ and in our local community.

The Foolish Way for April Fool’s Day

Though Fools always strive to educate, amuse, and enrich, the amuse part is clutch on April Fool’s Day. In fact, it’s celebrated throughout our office – and on Fool.com. The Motley Fool deemed April 1 a Foolish holiday long ago, and we’re happy to report that the fun is still in full force. But as there’s always a method to madness, we do have a meaning behind our practical jokes.

Fool.com advertised a Kiddie Credit Card, which offered plastic that would charge children an interest rate of 7% plus their age. While its promo video got some laughs, our sincere thought was to inform readers of conniving credit card tricks and unwitting fees. Our team also shared helpful ideas about introducing finance to youngsters, along with tips on building budgets and good credit. If you’re interested in learning more about chatting money with teens, here’s a good start.

Speaking of Foolishness, you may have noticed our “urgent” job posting for Senior VP, Meeting Resolutions. Well…that position doesn’t exactly exist BUT there are plenty of other Foolish jobs just waiting to be filled. We want to discover the best talent – which might be you, falling for our April Fool’s Day joke! In all seriousness, be sure to check out this site frequently for active – and real – job postings.

Since one of our core values is fun, we ended this April Fool’s Day with a party. And Nerf Guns were involved…naturally.

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Oh! And a sword swallower… #Foolish

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Foolish Career Opportunity – Act Now!

Update: Even though we’re a few days late, Happy April Fool’s! This day is always a big Foolish celebration and our recruiters wanted to join in on the fun. We encourage you to check our real open positions here.

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In a growing workplace, the need to spare every free minute is crucial. Meetings are frequent and we want Fools to spend more time doing their best work. Too often these meetings get sidetracked, agendas get muddled, and attendees are left drooling, staring at the ceiling, or peeping cat videos on their phone under the table. The Motley Fool seeks a dedicated, compassionate, and commanding individual to be our full-time Senior VP, Meeting Resolutions. Meetings are a great way to brainstorm, collaborate, and revel in the knowledge and wit of colleagues and friends, and the person to fill this role will know precisely the moment when productivity is abandoned and meaningful contributions have ceased.

So what are our Foolish Recruiters looking for? Here are a few responsibilities and objectives of our Senior VP, Meeting Resolutions :

  • Save Fools’ precious time so they can focus on important projects
  • Recognize the difference between valuable contributions and clap-trap, yammer, and yadda yadda yadda
  • Command attention, regardless of who is speaking, and conclude the meeting with your patented Shut It Down move
  • Review meeting agendas to determine if the meeting even needs to happen
  • Attend meetings of all sizes and levels of importance, from the full-team hullabaloo to the two-person cowfee talk
  • Coach and develop the most egregious violators of meeting etiquette

We hope you’re still interested! A few more details that you may find helpful:

Core Competencies:

  • Great listener
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Perceiver of the unperceived
  • Trusted, credible, and beloved
  • Feared when the time is right
  • Unwilling to tolerate the following meeting no-no’s: pen-clicking, nail clipping, violent foot shaking, bullying, open-mouth chewing, arguing for arguing’s sake, glory-stealing, indecisive leadership, close talking, loud talking, personal space violations, gum snapping, bubble blowing, throwing an absent colleague under the bus, carrying on about last night’s reality TV shows (unless it’s The Bachelor… every Fool loves our weekly Bachelor recaps)

Preferred Qualities:

  • Current colleagues unequivocally trust your instincts
  • Comfortable with combative behavior
  • You first learned how to tactfully interrupt people in pre-school
  • You have mastered the Dikembe Mutombo “No, no, no” finger-wag
  • Unafraid to use squirt guns, Nerf darts, swift kicks under the table, or other Foolish weaponry
  • Handy with the phrase, “Oh no you didn’t!” if confronted with cheekiness
  • Comfortable leading with both charisma and fear

Education and Training:

-An M.S. in B.S.

-Extensive facilitation skills

-Training in Crucial Conversations

Wondering what to do next? Apply! We’re hiring quickly for the Senior VP, Meeting Resolutions position, so don’t let this opportunity go to waste. Click for the job application here!

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A Foolish Favorite Tool – Trello

The Motley Fool’s People Team works hard to keep Fools happy, informed, and productive every day. Comprised of Recruiting Fools, Communication Fools, Learning and Development Fools, Foolish Coaches, Office Operations Fools, and Project Managers like myself, it’s crucial for such a large team like ours to keep on the same page. To fulfill our group’s ultimate purpose, we use a variety of tools to stay on top of this fast-paced Foolish workplace.

Since The Motley Fool is a project-based organization, Fools are encouraged to bring any and all ideas to the table. A favorite tool of many Fools is Trello –  a fantastic online organizational system that allows users to create, share, and arrange ideas in a collaborative way.

Trello reached out to chat about how Fools use their product. I shared not only a few of the People Team’s most-used boards, but also a bit about our fun (yet still business-focused) culture. Find the full interview here!

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March Madness is a Workplace Win

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It’s that time of year again – March Madness is back! Although this month signals an exciting time for sports fans, most companies aren’t as enthused. Research shows that March Madness can be distracting to employees, plus decreased productivity is estimated to cost American companies nearly $2 billion dollars in 2015.

Perhaps the real madness lies behind employers banning the tournament from workplaces. That’s right – just hear us out. Our own Sam Cicotello said to The Washington Post, “”If employers lock things down, what that ends up doing is putting the employee in a very bad spot, where they have to lie and can’t do something they enjoy.”

Like The Motley Fool, more organizations are starting to view March Madness in a positive light. If the tournament is embraced, it can be the perfect opportunity to foster collaboration and build employee relationships.

Still not convinced? Sam Cicotello shared a few more Foolish thoughts on March Madness in The Washington Post’s feature – click here to read on!

3 Books For Your Reading List

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Last week was a big week for us here at The Motley Fool! We celebrated FoolFest, our annual member event, with over 300 Fools that traveled far and wide. In addition to breakout sessions, panel discussions, and fun meet and greet opportunities, we were also lucky to hear from some dynamic speakers.

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FoolFest introduced us to the bestselling authors behind interesting ideas like the science of habit; rethinking situations that cause financial stress; and six commonalities of entrepreneurial success. So what exactly are these books and who are their authors?

1. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

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Charles Duhigg, award-winning New York Times reporter, explores scientific discoveries behind why habits exist and how they can be broken in The Power of Habit.To overcome habits, Duhigg says that you must understand the cues that trigger it; the routine that fulfills it; and the rewards – or feelings – that you receive from it. Duhigg explained the cycle with his own example of eating a cookie every afternoon. By learning to analyze this daily action, he realized that it wasn’t the actual chocolate chips he craved – it was the social interactions in the cafeteria. A certain time in the late afternoon was his cue and, once he understood this habit, Duhigg set out to reconstruct it. Instead of heading to the cafeteria, he now finds colleagues to chat with around his desk. With his new routine, Duhigg hasn’t had a cookie in over 6 months.

Though habits are certainly personal, businesses also use the science of habit to influence what consumers buy. They collect data based on where customers live, household incomes, marital status, and whether or not a shopper has children. Stores like Target can then predict times that will most influence these customers to use coupons or see advertisements.

Do you think you could change your habits? Duhigg argues, “The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.” This book offers a helpful perspective if you’re curious to reform your routine.

2. The Creator’s Code by Amy Wilkinson

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It took five years for Amy Wilkinson – strategic advisor, entrepreneur, and lecturer at Stanford University – to write her first published book. In The Creator’s Code, Wilkinson shares academic research along with six essential skills that have turned small concepts into big companies. Over 200 interviews and examples from corporations including PayPal, Airbnb, Tesla Motors, and Dropbox support Wilkinson’s list of traits that lead to great entrepreneurship .

What’s Wilkinson’s bottom line? Anyone can attain entrepreneurial success but it takes hard work. One of the skills that Wilkinson focused on during her FoolFest interview was “Failing Wisely.” She’s passionate about the importance of placing small bets to test ideas and build resilience. She said to the audience, “The people who can be very comfortable about experimenting and testing through are the ones who will succeed.” Whether it’s on our marketing team or among Member Service Fools, we’re constantly testing ideas at The Motley Fool. We, too, believe in consistent testing to find big wins among little mistakes.

3. The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money by Carl Richards

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Emotions are easy to relate to finance. Debt causes stress for a lot of people, as do major financial decisions like buying a home or paying college expenses. Carl Richards argues that emotion interferes with making smart financial decisions, and he defines “the behavior gap” as the phenomenon between what we should do and what we actually do.

One of the best takeaways from Richards’ presentation was the importance of timing. Should you really be talking about finances with your partner first thing when you get home from work? Probably not. Why? Because you’re tired. Make financial decisions a discussion when you’re energized and clear-minded, or else you’re not setting the situation up for the smartest results.

 

Have you read these picks? Let us know by tweeting @FoolCulture!

Be a More Productive Fool

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The road to productivity can get bumpy sometimes. Distractions are hard to avoid, as are other blockers like office traffic and social websites. A smoother work ethic becomes easier to achieve with clear priorities, deadlines, and roadmaps. These tips, which were recently shared at a productivity conference, could also be helpful in your routine:

1. Define Goals to Achieve in the Next 3 Months.

It’s not uncommon for an idea to be tweaked during the implementation process. Every quarter, take a look at your personal or company roadmap. Are there new goals that should be defined or do certain items need to change? Making the necessary adjustments could leave you with a more positive end result.

2. Keep Track of Raw Ideas.

Though our brains are at work 24/7, it’s difficult (or nearly impossible) to keep track of every single thought. Consider keeping a notebook for writing random ideas as they come, whether it’s during an intentional brainstorming session or not. When it comes time to set new goals, returning to this notebook can generate inspiration.

3. Review Your Week.

At the end of your week, write a few sentences about the last 7 days. Do you feel like you’re crushing the productivity scale? Adapting to the mundane doesn’t boost motivation, so it might be worth revisiting your current goal and ironing out the tasks needed to accomplish it.

 

Are there any Foolish productivity tips you’d like to share? Tell us below or tweet it @FoolCulture!

 

Tips from our Foolish Financial Health Day

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In addition to physical and mental wellness, we strive to keep Fools’ financial health on the upswing. Thanks to our Foolish Learning and Development team, Fools recently celebrated “Financial Health Day” by budgeting their workdays to learn more about our employee benefits, attend educational workshops, and participate in office hours with Foolish financial planners.

Classes on the agenda were all Fool-taught and included How to Buy a Home, Couples & Cash, Foolish Family Finances, and Estate Planning: Wills, Trusts, and Health Care Powers of Attorney – Oh, My! One of the most popular classes was Living Cheap, which was hosted by Rule Your Retirement advisor Robert Brokamp.

Here are 3 tips from this session that can help you, too, cut your expenses:

1. Monitor your spending every day. One Foolish reader wrote, “If you do this for 30 days, it can change your life. Also, that feeling of being in complete control of your finances is a real self-confidence boost.”

2. Food is one of your biggest expenses. Make a master list of what you absolutely need every week, and try not to stray from it when you’re shopping. A wise Fool told us during the class, “It’s not a value if half of it goes bad.”

3. “Use Stuff You No Longer Want to Buy Something You Covet.” Take a look around your house and make note of what you don’t use anymore. Consider selling an item on Craiglist or to a friend, then put the profit toward purchasing something you need.

It could be difficult to host a similar event at your own organization, especially if you don’t work in the finance industry. However, a few of the quick challenges that were introduced throughout our day would be easy to recreate. Tasks that were completed in exchange for raffle tickets included signing into your 401K account and confirming or adjusting the contribution; accessing your free credit score; developing a strategy to get out of debt; downloading our expense system’s app; and confirming correct personal information in our HR platform.

Learning more about your HR tools will help employees understand all of the benefits your company has to offer. Encouraging a dialogue about personal finance – whether it’s providing helpful website links or hosting a full-fledged Financial Health Day like us – will only profit your employees’ well-beings.

Attending Conscious Capitalism 2015

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Together we create our future reality, so we should do so consciously, collaboratively, and responsibly. – from “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business”

Conscious Capitalism applies to businesses that support the interests of all major stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, communities, suppliers, and the environment. Forbes.com called this revolutionary business model “the defining way to make money in the future,” and it’s practiced by leaders like John Mackey of Whole Foods Market; The Container Store’s Kip Tindell; and our very own Tom and David Gardner of The Motley Fool. In fact, Tom Gardner chatted with Professor R. Edward Freeman of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business back in 2013 about how The Fool engages in Conscious Capitalism.

Are you part of a leadership team, or perhaps an executive or entrepreneur that wants to learn more about Conscious Capitalism? Check out Conscious Capitalism 2015, an upcoming opportunity to connect with other participants, build relationships, and learn how to incorporate this practice into your organization. You’ll hear keynotes from dynamic speakers like Tony Schwartz, CEO & Founder of The Energy Project; Raj Sisodia, Co-Author of the above noted book; and Melissa Reiff, President and COO of The Container Store. Educational practicums like Creating Conscious Engagement, The Power of Purpose, and Accelerating The Journey to Conscious Capitalism are also on the schedule.

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Conscious Capitalism 2015 is slated for Tuesday, April 7 – Thursday, April 9 at the JW Marriott Chicago in Chicago, IL. You can save $200 off of the registration fee if you purchase your tickets before 3/1/15!

To learn more about this event, click here. Just want to start with the basics? Find an introduction to Conscious Capitalism with articles, news, and educational videos right this way.