The most simple and cost-effective solution to minimize employee absenteeism and turnover.

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Want to cut employee turnover and absenteeism and save $$$? Need to create a healthier, more productive and positive work environment? Here’s the most simple and cost-effective solution ever.

Job stress is estimated to cost American companies more than $300 billion a year in health costs, absenteeism and poor performance according to study by Umas Lowell.

The American Institute of Stress shares these statistic:

  • 25% view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives

  • 40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful

  • 75% of employees believe that workers have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago

  • 29% of workers felt quite a bit or extremely stressed at work

  • 26% of workers said they were “often or very often burned out or stressed by their work”

  • Job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems

Some companies invest in expensive stress management and wellness programs. The solution can also be a very simple mindset shift in culture and employee behavior. Welcome the basic hug! It’s a win win that reduces stress by stimulating the release of oxytocin.

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OXYTOCIN: Teams that caused or encouraged oxytocin release in each other were more productive and innovative, and enjoyed the tasks they were doing more, than those whose brains did not connect to their teammates. (Research by Paul J. Zak: )

The feel good factor is contagious and will impact your personal performance, your culture, your customers and of course your bottom line. The fact is, the majority of humans need, desire and enjoy a good old hug.

During a recent book signing, following a keynote presentation for approximately 800 attendees, I was surprised at the amount of people who wanted and initiated a hug. Each hug caused a positive ripple effect, inspiring connection. Corporate America is missing out on the power of hugs.

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HORMONAL BENEFITS OF A HUG: When we hug someone, oxytocin is released into our bodies via the pituitary gland. That hormone release lowers our cortisol levels (hormone responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease).

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  • Hugs lower our heart rates

  • Hugs enhance relationships

  • Hugs can increase your self-esteem

  • Hugs can lower stress 

  • Hugs can lower the risk of heart disease 

  • Hugs can boost immunity

In addition, hugging makes us more approachable, relatable and trust worthy. Research shows that when we trust somebody, more oxytocin is released, adding to the existing amount. The hug makes the other person not only feel good about us, but feel good about themselves. WIN WIN.

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Bring back the hug in the workplace. As humans we thrive when strong meaningful connections are made. Modern society has potentially become too politically correct and hugging (physical contact) has become “inappropriate”. As adults we are aware and responsible enough to understand and set our personal boundaries. If a hug is creepy or inappropriate, just say so to that person… communicate clearly and effectively; I’m aware it’s more complex than that, however Corporate America should not miss out on happiness and overall wellness because of a few people are adding a blurred boundary to fundamental H2H connection.

THANK YOU,

Vital Germaine

President ENGAGE.


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How doing that little extra changes everything in business and life.

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Some brands stand out for the wrong reasons. Other’s are memorable for the right reasons. Why is that?

As a keynote speaker and corporate trainer, I travel a lot and am exposed to an array of brands along the way. Like most customers, I am loyal to the brands that make the customer experience positive and memorable. Like most customers I share those opinions in some form across social networks.

The Ritz Carlton SF knows how to deliver elevated customer experiences. Beyond the incredible location, the staff take the time and have the passion and training to do the simple things in an extraordinary way.

Doing that little extra also includes for yourself, your family and friends. It’s a win win for all involved. One of the key factors of Ritz Carlton success is that they are consistent in their services. They deliver on their brand promise. If one employee fails to deliver, the brand suffers.

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On a pure business level, inspire and empower your employees to do that little extra. The ROI is PRICELESS!

Investing in your culture and providing your internal customers with the right tools and a clearly defined road map on how to deliver extraordinary customer experiences leads to brand loyalty and rave reviews. The modern consumer is spoilt for choice. Short term benefits and features only generates short term sales, but not loyalty. Make the customer feel great and they will come back again and again and again. 

If passion, innovation, caring and employee development aren't a part of your culture, it might be time to re-evaluate your core values. If your team is trained to deliver consistently, your brand value will suffer as will your bottom line.

Sincerely, Vital Germaine

TOP SELLING AUTHOR, KEYNOTE SPEAKER and PRESIDENT OF ENGAGE


BOOK VITAL TODAY.

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Did curiosity really kill the cat?

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How many times as a kid did you hear, “no, you can’t do that,” “no that’s wrong”… no, no, no, no, no!

“Don’t look into Pandora’s box, children.”

“Curiosity killed the cat,” they said.

Curiosity didn’t kill the cat. Curiosity made the cat wiser and empowered. 

  • Curiosity leads to exploration

  • Exploration inspires discovery

  • Discovery drives innovation

  • Innovation sustains relevance

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“The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” - Albert Einstein.

One of the many amazing things I learned during my 5 years working with Cirque du Soleil as an acrobat and team captain is the value of their sandbox approach to business and employee development. They are big kids at heart, building elevators with no ceilings, continually attempting to learn new ways. Their lens is wide-angled and made of the purest diamond that refracts light in all possible directions and beyond. A kaleidoscope of promise and optimism. 

Your inner child is that wide-angled lens. Your inner child is your superpower. It’s the inner genius many forget to feed. Reconnect to that source and your imagination will indeed ‘take you everywhere,’ both at home and in the workplace.

Kids create amazing worlds in their malleable minds. Enchanted domains filled with friends, foes, and fearless fantasies, fueled by enthusiasm and inventiveness. With wings fully spanned, they are flying without a net to wondrous realms that adults have long forgotten and since abandoned. It’s a great shame that all these amazing, innocent possibilities become dulled in the murky quicksand of adulthood. 

Society programs us to let go of that childlike spirit for the sake of becoming responsible adults. Letting go of your inner child stifles the imagination and the capacity to innovate. That superpower fades and withers at each time a child hears “no you can’t,” or “that’s not possible,” or “that’s silly” from jaded, narrow-minded adults. Unfortunately those same “no’s” echo in our boardroom meetings. Those same “no’s” infect our corporate cultures.

As executives, leaders or influencers reignite your inner child. Stimulate your own curiosity. Be the catalyst for innovation through your behavior approach and mindset. Invite and inspire your employees/people/tribe to be more curious, to question and disrupt the status quo. Be curious to know what they have to say. Be curious to see what they see. Be curious to know what they think. Be curious enough and care enough to listen and actually consider their ideas. As an added bonus, they will become more engaged, more productive and more efficient.

Empower them to explore within the confines of your cultural values, your SOP’s, established systems and your existing bureaucratic protocol. Challenge if not dare them to discover, share and create new, different and innovated strategies, services or products. Set them free to roam in ways that honor and respect your values.

Setting them free is not about opening a door to anarchy or chaos. The freedom I refer to still requires structure and process. But minimize the red tape. Streamline communication channels so that ideas can be shared, heard and debated with an open mind. The intent of ideas is to innovate. Be approachable and open-minded in your leadership style. Step back, get out of the way. Let your “kids” connect with their inner child so they can play, fall, scrape their knees and figure out how to turn lego blocks into unimagined business creations that separate you… your differentiator.

Imagination and the ability to innovate is not reserved for the elite or for famous innovators and theatrical geniuses within Cirque du Soleil, Amazon, Apple or other successful forward-thinking companies. It’s in all of us if are curious enough to explore and find out.


Be curious.


Sincerely, Vital Germaine


Read IMAGINATION WILL TAKE YOU EVERYWHERE and find out how you can inspire collaboration and drive a mindset of innovation within your culture.


THE BOOK HAS BEEN CALLED: 

- A must-have for your leadership library!!

- Interesting and entertaining, genius and genuine

- Brilliant

- Oh my, the stuff I learned in this book!- Inspiring and Instructive

"I can proudly promise that by the end of this book you will possess at least 1 actionable tool, but probably several, that promote a more adaptive, expansive and encompassing mindset, that will allow you to reach higher, overcome obstacles and achieve more on all levels of life." 

The book also includes interviews with thought leaders from different industries:

  • Tim Sanders - New York Times Best-selling author and former executive with Yahoo.

  • Randy Sutton - Author, former police detective and TV News Contributor.

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How to be your best self in 5 simple steps

Preparation is a fundamental key to succeed. As leaders, managers and employees, how often do we take the time to get into the right mindset before a meeting, a work shift, a presentation, or prior to addressing a customer?


"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." - Benjamin Franklin


Mental, physical and emotional preparation will empower you to spread your wings and fly without a net. You will communicate and execute with confidence, enthusiasm, conviction, focus and clarity. 


1. POSITIVE ENERGY: Your energy is the first thing people connect with on a subconscious level. Audiences and customers are engaged and sold on passion, authenticity and positive energy. Make a great first impression with your upbeat energy, positive body language, energized facial expressions, and a confident and welcoming tone of voice.


2. INTENTION: 
As a keynote speaker I need to define what my objectives are and how I'm going to achieve them. My intention is to optimize the value I bring to my audience. I want to hit a home run. Be specific when you set your intention. 

3. EFFECTIVE PROCESS: In the 5 years that I performed in Cirque du Soleil, preparation for a show was a multi-leveled process that transformed me from daily pedestrian, to a gravity-defying performer that brought the element of surprise and delight. My personal process at Cirque began by checking all needed equipment (costume and props), followed by make-up; each dab masking the ordinary, inviting me to change into something bigger than myself. I'd then warm up an my body by stretching, lifting light weights and some form of cardio to get my blood circulating. An oxygen rich brain is alert and focused. Today, my prep is different, though still needed and implemented. Create your ritual. Ready, set... SHOWTIME!


4. CLARITY: The final transformation was a mental decision to shift into "SHOWTIME" mode and fly without a net. Offstage, I can be a "victim" of life and all the challenges and burdens that weigh us down: company bureaucracy, bills, arguments with significant others or friends, disappointments and un-met expectations. Life happens. Once I stepped on stage, my mindset negated all personal problems, focused on ONE thing... to be my best self. The audience didn't pay to experience my issues. That personal baggage has no home during showtime. I respect my audience. I want to be at my best for them, because it's clearly all about them.


5. BE CONSISTENT: Establish rituals or habits that prepare you. Consistent behavior drives success and achievement. Create your own personal "pre-showtime" warm up that will elevate your game. When you're having a bad day and don't have the energy or stamina to prepare and perform your "show," those are the days that you need the preparation more than ever.  Commit to a short, physical warm up and mental and emotional "meditation" or other cerebral activity to elevate your game before heading out to the sales floor, a meeting, a presentation or prior to any form of customer interaction and establish your "showtime" mindset.

Sincerely, Vital Germaine

Top-Selling Author... Buy the books!

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7 business lessons learned from Cirque du Soleil's process

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Since auditioning and performing as a team captain and acrobat in over 2,000 shows for the world's most famous and innovative circus of our generation, I obtained endless lessons and tools that optimize business relevance, brand strength, leadership and corporate cultures. I'm honored and excited to share my TOP 7 CIRQUE TAKE AWAYS that I deliver during keynotes, executive workshops and employee trainings for Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies.

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1. OPEN-MINDEDNESS: The fear of tomorrow and change can be challenging (both personally and in regards to company culture). Logically, we all understand that change is inevitable, in particular when it comes to business relevance and market significance. Emotionally, we resist... we push back. Be open-minded and remain open minded to what could come next.

The priceless behavioral trait of open-mindedness encompasses diversity, adaptability, risk-taking and the welcoming of failure as a stepping stone to success. Not to mention, open-minded people tend to create paths that lead to new and more profitable horizons. Open minds have a positive impact on all those they encounter and influence because they listen, they consider, they explore, try, and experiment... they are curious, they learn and adapt... they change into better versions of themselves that positively influences cultures and business outcomes.


"Remain open-minded as to the possibility of what could come next."


Open-mindedness, like optimism is contagious. Embrace different perspectives, consider alternative options and have the courage to entertain that which scares you or makes you feel uncomfortable... yes, STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. Don't just say it, actually do it. 

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2. ATTITUDE: Attitude is sometimes the only fuel we have left in the tank when the road has been too rough and unforgiving. We can become emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted to remain optimistic. We can become blind to the need for transformation across company systems, corporate processes or SOP's (Standard Operating Procedures).  
The world is currently changing faster than at any other time in human history. We can often feel left behind and unable to adapt or reinvent ourselves. Organizations have no choice but to adapt if they wish to remain relevant. It's all about mindset. It's all about influencing those that work within your organization. Influence them to see and believe in growth and change. Innovation is a mindset.

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3. DARING TO BE DIFFERENT:  When I auditioned for Cirque du Soleil back in 1993 in Manhattan (Battery Park), the first thing I noticed was how different (weird) they were. Who were these "strange" circus folk? What were they thinking and what planet were they from? Why was I even here auditioning for a circus that didn't have animals. "That's not a circus,"  I thought when arriving at the Big Top located down at Batter Park (1993). "No animals? That's silly!"
It takes courage to be "silly" and disrupt norms, standards and the status quo. It takes conviction to stick to your values when the world is heading in a different direction busy following trends and relying on metrics and stats and analytics designed to predict growth and profits.

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4. CREATING A BLUE OCEAN: Being different is one thing, have a strategy and defined reason behind it is what brings value. In retrospect, Cirque du Soleil was not silly. They were innovative. They redefined an industry with their new and different approach. They were in the process of creating a "Blue Ocean." It's a term coined in the book, Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgnie. In a nutshell, markets become over-saturated and create a feeding frenzy in which the waters become bloody (red). Through innovation a company creates unchartered waters that are fresh and blue.


"That's not a circus... that's silly!"


Cirque's blue ocean was established through a courageous and forward-thinking mindset that "bled" through the veins of their founders into the ether of their culture. It is apparent in everything they did  and everything they were. It started from leadership downwards and back up from the front-line acrobatic warriors who organically gave the culture it's wings and heartbeat.
If your corporate warriors don't buy into the values that inspire and drive the change you need and desire, good luck. Blue oceans are built on authenticity, purpose and passion.

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5. EMPOWERING AND INSPIRING: During the cirque audition, choreographer, Debbie Brown said something that blew my mind.

She said, "Show me YOUR jump, Vital."

"Show you MY jump? Really?" I thought. I'd always been shown or taught the jump the choreographer wants me to replicate.  This made no sense." I initially resisted out of fear and lack of understanding.


"Yes, I want to see YOU. I want to know what you have to say, share and express. What does your body language say about you as a unique individual and performer. We don't want to see what you've been taught."

She can't be serious I thought."Who are these crazy Canadien circus people? 

"Let go fo conformity. Don't count, just feel. Be free. Be YOU,” Debbie added as i explored and experimented in finding my jump. 
Up until that moment, no previous teacher, employer or choreographer had ever asked me such a question. Most bosses tell their employees what to do and how to do it without empowering or inspiring their tribe to suggest and contribute. Perhaps those bosses didn't care enough about individuals. Perhaps they are only preoccupied with employees as puppets and worker bees. Not very inspiring.

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6. SETTING YOUR PEOPLE FREE: Debbie had eliminated all shackles. "Be YOU!" she had declared. That would enable me to transform and achieve my own goals too. 

In pursuing business goals, it pays when leaders and employers have enough emotional intelligence to understand what motivates their teams. Through listening and collaboration companies will increase and optimize employee engagement while driving innovation. Invite your "performers" to show them your jump. Allow them to be free. 


Furthermore, through listening and encouraging idea-sharing and expression (as was the case in the Cirque audition) leadership enables personal growth, which in turn helps employees to achieve personal goals. Challenge your team to be authentic and free to be seen, heard and understood. 

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7. EXPRESSION and COLLABORATION: Debbie went down the line of other dancers during the audition. She invited us all to be uninhibited and express. Each performer came up with interesting and ridiculous interpretations, all of which seemed less embarrassing than mine. Each expression offered Cirque another option, a new platform of opportunity and innovation. 
Expression and collaboration are the corner stone of innovation and relevance. When employees are literally and metaphorically invited to the dance and are an integral part of its choreography, they become vested in a project. They take ownership. They will stick around and see it through. They will be more loyal, more engaged and more affective. 


Cirque made us feel significant through this process.  One of my favorite leadership quotes is by John Quincy Adams (6th President of the U.S) - "If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more, learn more and become more, you are a leader."

We gave more and became more. Thank you Cirque du Soleil.

BOOK VITAL TODAY FOR YOUR NEXT CONFERENCE

Read IMAGINATION WILL TAKE YOU EVERYWHERE and find out how you can inspire collaboration and drive a mindset of innovation within your culture.

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THE BOOK HAS BEEN CALLED: 

- A must-have for your leadership library!!

- Interesting and entertaining, genius and genuine

- Brilliant

- Oh my, the stuff I learned in this book!- Inspiring and Instructive

"I can proudly promise that by the end of this book you will possess at least 1 actionable tool, but probably several, that promote a more adaptive, expansive and encompassing mindset, that will allow you to reach higher, overcome obstacles and achieve more on all levels of life." 

The book also includes interviews with thought leaders from different industries:

  • Tim Sanders - New York Times Best-selling author and former executive with Yahoo.

  • Randy Sutton - Author, former police detective and TV News Contributor.


Sincerely, Vital Germaine

PRESIDENT ENGAGE

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What are the basic human needs that drive happiness and performance?

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When love and all other primordial emotional needs are denied or they lack, it can fuel resentment, hate, anger and evil. Without love and all that the word encompasses (respect, compassion, empathy, belonging/connection... ), life gets dark, ugly and painful. Hurt people, hurt people. This happens in our personal lives and at work. Our emotional deficits compromise our performance.

We now live in a world that is so emotionally disconnected. Suicide is on the up. Sadness and aloneness are increasing. There are more cases of mental and emotional disorders than ever before. There is simply too much hate and not enough love, respect, compassion and empathy.

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There is a Southern African tribe called, The Babembe, who have a wonderful practice to resolve the issue of a person doing wrong or evil. They believe that those who do wrong are hurt souls and lack the fundamental emotional needs that drive good human behavior. They gather as a village and place the "bad person" in the center and spend days telling that person of all the wonderful and good things they are and have done. They share LOVE because an act of evil is considered to be a cry for help. This world needs help and it's crying out loud!

Answering that cry for help starts with ourselves. We can all be a little kinder, share a little more appreciation and respect, and demonstrate more empathy. The thing is, beyond giving all these things, we all need them too. Giving is a win win.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” - John Quincy Adams.

Love, respect and empathy always empower and inspire enhanced performance at home and at work.

Sincerely, Vital Germaine

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Avoid doing this if you desire innovation.

“If you don't change you can become extinct." Spencer Johnson, Who Moved  My Cheese.

How many times as kids did you hear, no, you can’t do that, no that’s wrong… no, no no no no?

“Don’t look into Pandora’s box children,” they said.

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The average child hears 432 negative comments or no’s per day? This negative programming has an adverse impact on our adult psyche. How many times are you thinking or saying no to yourself and others a day? How many times a day is your internal dialogue limiting your potential through doubt and the words no or can’t. How many times a day are you not reaching higher because you’ve built a glass ceiling built on the word no? Each time we say or think no, we are building a confining box and a ceiling that is too low.


The same happens in the work place. We say the equivalent of no when we shut down other people’s ideas. We say, great idea, but! Have you ever heard that in a meeting? More importantly, have you ever said that in a meeting (and be honest with yourself)? We've all said it.  

Negating or ignoring ideas that are shared and expressed stifles innovation. Further more, your team will become disengaged if their ideas are not heard, considered or entertained. They will shut off. Employees feel like insignificant pawns when their ideas are shut down, not considered or ignored. Don’t murder innovation before it’s had the chance to be planted and watered by saying, "Great idea... BUT!


Invite and encourage idea sharing, debate and collaboration. Give your team a free pass to explore the secrets of Pandora's box. Invite them to more curious. Allow them to be tempted to explore and take risks. Have them dive into Pandora’s box with reckless abandon. Empower them to have fun with the content as your organization experiments, discovers and makes mistakes.  Your employees must feel confident that mistakes will not be punished. This does not mean a free for all and chaos. It’s the simple fact that without risk and failure, there can no growth. The more you explore and “fail” the more you will learn. Eliminate the word or concepts of “no” and “can’t” in your board-rooms and your culture.

The Steve Jobs, the Henry Fords, the Elon Musks of this world are not limited by can’t and no. They are empowered by the mindset of yes, why not and let’s reach higher. They create cultures designed to say YES... AND. The phrase and mindset of yes and is the foundation of your lego-block approach to building the magnificent, the unthought of, the new and the different. The great innovators create cultures and organizations designed to disrupt the status quo. Cultures and mindsets inspired and empowered to disrupt the thought process.

Dare to disrupt your process and your culture. Disrupt your mindset. Be more childlike in your thinking. Dare to innovate and dream of the impossible.

To experience a deeper dive into the topic of innovation and how to access your inner genius to accelerate success, read my new book IMAGINATION WILL TAKE YOU EVERYWHERE

Thank you,

Vital Germaine

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