How to Harness Grit to Get Through this Pandemic

Angela Duckworth, the bestselling author of “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” talked to Harvard Business Review recently during their HBR Quarantine podcast about how we can best stay positive and productive as we cope with Covid-19.

Understanding our Bodies Response to Stress

When you experience adversity, defined as a challenge that’s threatening and new, and that could do you harm, our bodies have a partly physical response. We all feel stress: your sleep is disrupted; you may feel muscular tension; you may have an elevated heart rate; your mind gets focused on threats, and you keep thinking about them.

Duckworth explains how psychological science can help us understand those feelings; this is not an inadequate response to adversity. It’s part of resilience and grit, actually to have all of those reactions. Duckworth says what’s important is how do you manage them, “In a way, how do you optimize them? How do you make sure that you learn something in all of this? That’s the big lesson, and if you don’t learn something in this crisis, then you aren’t paying attention.”

It’s exhausting having all of those emotions, especially Duckworth says if you have this secondary response, which is, “Oh my gosh, I shouldn’t have those emotions.” or “I don’t want to feel these emotions.” You double the work when you lay upon your stress response like a meta response that you’re not supposed to have a stress response. Duckworth emphasizes that you are supposed to be stressed right now.

“If you are not even slightly stressed during this global pandemic, then you are not alive,” Duckworth added.

While we’ve been given the green light to feel stress while navigating Covid-19, Duckworth says this is an opportunity to think about the stories you want to tell about the pandemic of 2020 and how you managed it.

“You might wish to at; first say, ‘I was just totally sideswiped, I couldn’t get my life together all my routines fell out the window, I wasn’t myself. I’m not proud of that, but here’s what I’m proud of how I responded and how I learned and grew through these weeks.'”

One of the significant ways we achieve meaning in life is our response to adversity. And Duckworth says that turns this narrative into an opportunity to demonstrate and develop character.

How do you discuss resilience and grit with your team remotely? Or create a culture where an institution collectively has grit, drive, and perseverance. 

When you look at a gritty individual, they have a very aerodynamic hierarchy of goals. What they do during the day, these low-level goals match up nicely with mid-level goals and the ultimate top-level goals. All the goals align in a hierarchy that tells you, ‘this is who I am.’

That’s also true at the macro level when you think of an organization. A great organization, whether it’s a private sector company, a non-profit, or a government, they have clarity about what their mission is. And this is why companies have mission statements, and then they have strategic plans to get you to fulfill that mission using tactile objectives like KPIs, etc. As a leader, if you want to maintain or build that kind of clarity during a crisis, like Covid-19, in addition to being a great role model and having a clear mission, that vision needs to be consistently communicated.

“Motivation for an organization is like a half-filled helium balloon; you gotta keep batting it back up in the air. Don’t be so naive to think that, well, you had the annual meeting, or you even had the weekly Zoom call. I think people need constant reminding of how their part fits into the greater whole.”

Do you want to see your level of grit? Take Duckworth’s Grit Scale quiz here.

All of us at INNOVA People hope you are staying well during this trying time.


Simon Sinek Interview Tips

Simon Sinek, the inspiring, life-changing, bestselling author of “Leaders Eat Last” and “Together Is Better” recently launched a live book club Q&A to discuss his first bestseller, “Starts with Why.”


Here’s a little backstory if you’re not familiar with Sinek’s work: 


In 2009 Sinek started a movement to help people become more inspired at work and, in turn, inspire their colleagues and customers. Since then, millions have been touched by the power of his ideas, including more than 40 million who’ve watched his TED Talk based on “Start with Why” – the third most popular TED video of all time.


During Start With Why: Part 2 Book Club with Simon, Sinek offered some valuable interview tips to help determine a good culture fit, how well a candidate or company knows their why, and how you can help to uncover yours.   


During an interview, Sinek says he always asks the interviewer these questions:


What’s the company’s cause? 

What do you stand for? 

Do you love your job? 

What are you hoping to build that’s bigger than the money you make?

What’s the vision of the company? 


If you ask multiple people within the same company these questions, do you get the same answer? If not, Sinek says the “why” of that organization may not be clearly defined or practiced. 


If you’re the interviewer, Sinek says the same rules apply. “Tell me what you stand for. Tell me what you hope to advance in your life more significant than the money you make.” And see if people can articulate that. Their answers are a key indicator of a potential good culture fit.


Sinek’s favorite interview question is less about tangible results and more about showcasing your passion, “Tell me a story of something you did in your career that you absolutely loved being a part of whether it was commercially successful or not.” Sinek says the story that somebody proceeds to tell is going to be something that is emotional and uses the word love and is based on their why, and you’re going to find out a lot about them from that response about who they are not just what they can do.


It’s also essential to keep in mind when you interview that you’re not working for a company you are working for people. And it’s more important to work for a great leader than it is to work for a great company.


“I’ve worked for some okay companies, but I had some fantastic leaders early in my career. I remember when I was junior in my career and some HR person interviewing me would ask, ‘What are you looking for?’ I would say, ‘What I’m looking for is a lot like looking for love, but I’m looking for a mentor.’ I kept looking for a boss that I believed in and who got a kick out of me and wanted to help foster my career,” Sinek said.


And in case you were wondering Sinek, says you can’t have two whys, one for your professional life and one for your personal life. You are who you are. “The reason your friends love you is the same reason your colleagues, your clients, and your customers love you. If you are acting differently in one of those two places, then on one of those two places, you’re lying.” The opportunity is bringing your why to life personally and professionally while keeping in mind it’s not about what you do, it’s why you do it.  


You only have one why, and it never changes your whole life regardless of the role you play. The opportunity your life affords you is all the choices you make to bring your why to life. So the question is, is what you’re doing and why you’re doing it consistently. Because only when why, how, and what are in perfect balance do we “know who we are.”


Just like a company, our why is our origin story. It’s where we come from; it’s who we are; it’s how we were raised, and the rest of our lives are an opportunity to live our lives in balance or not. 


Photo Credit: Simon Sinek.com


Five Best Practices for Remote Management in an Uncertain World

Remote management has always had its own set of unique distance-related challenges, and with its recent surge during these uncertain times due to COVID-19, there are some added complexities as well.

Here are five tips for managers from Psychology Today on how to lead, manage, and inspire remotely:

  1. Communicate.  The more, the better. As our new norm has become an unchartered environment where employees, contractors, and just about everyone else needs reassurance, have questions, and understandable uncertainty about the future, it only amplifies the need to communicate even more.
  2. Positive Attitude.  Employees want management they can look up to and trust regardless if there’s a global pandemic happening or an economic boom. Leaders who project confidence and a calm, positive outlook are attributes that are now more valuable than ever. People want to feel safe and naturally respond to that.
  3. Credibility.  A fundamental during uncertainty, credibility is at the top of the list. A positive attitude not tempered by realism lacks all credibility and trust. Leaving you and your employees with very little room for growth.
  4. Set Clear Expectations.  In a period when so much is unclear, the value of managerial clarity is immeasurable. Thus, clear management expectations, both formal (the actual performance results expected) and informal (the everyday actions and behaviors desired), will likely be both necessary and appreciated.
  5. Stay Connected.  Keeping remote workers and teams connected is an increasingly vital skill as the workforce has dispersed, and large numbers of people have become suddenly disconnected and cut off from normal social interactions. Regardless of the method used to connect (phone, video conferencing, text, email, etc.) so long as people feel in touch with one another consistently.

Strong management is often about consistency. In these times, it can help restore predictability in our currently unpredictable world. Contact us today if you are in need of a strong leader.

5 Ways to Boost your Immunity During the Coronavirus Outbreak

In the current climate, health is on everyone’s mind. 

We are washing our hands incessantly, wiping down surfaces, standing six feet away from each other, and running a mile when someone coughs.


 Dr. Kaite Deming, Radiation Oncologist, offers five tips for anyone looking for ways to give your immune system a little boost. 




Sleep plays a vital role in immune function. Studies show that a lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep can increase your risk of getting sick after exposure to a virus. For most adults, aim for seven to eight hours per night.


If you’re having trouble falling asleep, Dr. Deming suggests minimizing blue light from electronics in the evening. Set your phone to ‘dark mode’ at sunset and make sure to turn off all electronics at least one hour before bed. 




It’s not surprising that physical activity is a great way to lower stress. Still, it also facilitates the transportation of infection-fighting white blood cells from the blood into the tissues of the body. 


That doesn’t mean you need to run out and buy equipment for a home gym. Walking is an excellent form of activity and provides the perfect excuse to get outside. If the weather keeps you from getting your steps in, try free apps like FitOn or Nike Training Club for more structured workouts.


Aim for 30 minutes a day.




There are fundamental principles of nutrition that will help your body fight infections.


Deficiencies in micronutrients such as zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E can alter the immune response. You are likely to get all the micronutrients and minerals needed if you eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits (1.5 – 2 cups per day) and vegetables (2-3 cups per day). If not, consider adding a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement to your diet.


Social Connection

Social Distancing is a proven vital strategy against COVID-19. However, it’s essential to try and stay connected to friends, family, and coworkers. Isolation can cause significant stress and other health problems. 


Find some time to digitally connect via FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangout, or other online video conferencing platforms. 


If you are sheltering in place with your family, holding hands and hugging can be therapeutic. (of course, after proper handwashing)


Stress Reduction

It’s crucial to find healthy ways of managing stress in your life. When we are stressed, it reduces our immune system’s ability to fight off antigens, making us more susceptible to infections. Dr. Deming says the stress hormone corticosteroid can lower the number of infection-fighting white blood cells. 


Use some of the tips above to help reduce stress; exercise, connection, sleep, and diet. Here’s another resource for more stress management tips. 


We hope these tips will help keep you and your family healthy. 

Virtual Recruiting During COVID-19

We are all facing an unprecedented challenge amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Organizations are working hard to protect their staff as employees are adjusting to working from home while dealing with school closures. Job seekers wonder if they’ll be able to find a new position, and employers have to change the way they hire.

First and foremost, INNOVA People hope that you remain healthy, and you are following all the necessary recommendations to stop the spread of this virus. We’re here to help. Our team is on call if you’re looking for guidance while transitioning to a “socially distant” recruiting model.

Here are some resources and best practices for virtual recruiting.


HR managers are quickly adjusting recruitment strategies. The time is now to move to a virtual recruitment plan — one that protects both employees and candidates and eliminates risk while continuing to drive hiring efforts.

While virtual interviewing can be different, experts say it’s not an obstacle and doesn’t take away from the interviewing experience. Joel Slenning, President of Strategic Talent Acquisition at INNOVA People, says, “Virtual interviewing can be a beneficial and thorough way of conducting the interview process. I recommend having an interactive experience by sharing screens and having candidates show their work, showcase their capabilities right on the screen with a challenge question, or coding example, etc..”

Save-time to hire

Video functionality lets you quickly schedule interviews with in-demand candidates who are in the final stages of a competing offer, live out of town, have limited availability to come in for an in-person interview, or require an interview team with demanding schedules. You will lose most of the candidates who are in high demand during the late stages of your recruitment process if your hiring process is slow.

Keep it Simple

If you aren’t sure what video conferencing tools to use, start by keeping it simple, consider what tools are already in place: GoToMeeting, Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, etc. can all be triaged into adequate video interviewing tools. If you need to think about solutions geared towards recruitment (so they’ll be more agreeable with your ATS, are built with compliance in mind, and more comfortable to schedule out of, etc.), there are a lot of options.

Get Familiar with your Video Conferencing Tools

Become familiar with the video conferencing tools and practice using them before the interview to avoid any day-of technical glitches.

Choose the Right Location

You may be in a makeshift home office but take some time to scout out the perfect location in your home to conduct a video call—preferably one that is well-lit with natural light and quiet.

Give Candidates a Heads-up

Give candidates a heads-up via an email from your ATS or a personalized email from your recruiter. Let them know that you are trying out or adopting video interviewing and why. Explain the benefits: convenience, reduction in travel needs, health/safety (in this current Coronavirus environment).

Dress as You Would at the Office

While it’s tempting to stay in sweats when you’re working from home, interviewers and candidates should make an effort to look professional. We recommend dressing as you would for an in-person interview.

For more tips and information to help see your business through the new virtual working landscape, contact us today.





Why Taking Too Long to Hire is Big Mistake

Still, trying to staff that open position? Did you lose out on your top candidate to a competitor? You may be taking too long to make a hiring decision. Dragging your feet to present a job offer can turn candidates off. Here’s what candidates have to say about a lengthy recruitment process, according to a recent survey. Contact us for help landing the right skilled candidate for your team.


What’s the most frustrating part of the job search process?

54% of job seekers say it’s the long wait after the interview to hear back. Candidates want a clear timeline and regular updates during the hiring process. 


How long are you willing to wait after the interview to hear back?

23% of candidates will wait for just one week. 


How long is too long for the hiring process?

34% of job candidates say 7-14 days is too long.


What happens if the hiring process is too long?

57% of job-seekers lose interest in the job. 


You will lose most of the candidates who are in high demand during the late stages of your recruitment process if your hiring process is slow. When currently employed top performers decide to enter the job market; they are likely to be quickly inundated with recruiting requests and offers, which means that often they will only be on the job market for a matter of days. 


The speed of hire is most important when you are competing against other firms for currently employed “in-high-demand” top talent. If you wait too long the competition will take this top talent off the market before you have the time to make a hiring decision.