Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, coaching, Decision Making, Goals, Leadership, Relationships, Time management

Getting the best out of working from home…

We strive to be effective and efficient and we have to create our own routine.

Initially we went racing into the lockdown, it was powered up productivity, we did not know we would still be working from home, three months later. Some of us have now burned out and don’t have the initial excitement and enthusiasm of being at home.

Just as you change gear in your car to alter your performance, we are now at that stage as people we need a boost a new gear change.

Start the week with a plan of what you are doing and ensure that you break it into a daily task list of what can be achieved. Having a rolling to do list for the week is not as motivational as looking at what you have done each day. Ensure that you review at the end of the day what you have completed and even add to the list of tasks the things you have completed that weren’t on the list. Highlighting or ticking them as complete seems childish however the acknowledgement of your achievements and the reflection of how you spent your time is all good inputs for the list for the next day.

There is no escape to see colleagues and a chance to loiter in the kitchen. We need breaks and working from home you need to book them in. Sadly they are not as spontaneous as at an office, but if you have other people in your home, schedule a coffee and meet up with them. Most importantly have a change of scene move away from desk and if possible take the break in another room.

For some having no set hours is scary, managing the day, week and the whole calendar seems to big and endless. We need to start thinking like a leader who operate from a framework of freedom. Leadership thinking is having a clear purpose or vision that every thing you do everyday factors into that vision and overall purpose as to who you are. This umbrella view of everything then gives you an idea of what needs to completed each quarter/monthly and then at a micro level daily. Ideally having on display your purpose can be motivational and a guide as to whether you are on track.

nuggets overall vision is to “Help people think and work differently…” do I do something everyday to make that happen.

We have had to fit life into work as never seen before, parents home schooling and attending zoom meetings. Dogs being walked, houses cleaned and endless meals being prepared. We have to treat life with as much importance as work, you need to plan it and schedule it. You must not squeeze life in around work. Map out when is a good time to walk the dog or to exercise yourself, ensure it is in the diary everyday. Plan and write up your meals, so the thinking and uncertainty of what to eat does not fill your head. Your hours don’t have to be as they were and they don’t have to be the same everyday, however for your own mental health know when you start the day and when you are going to stop the day.

Accountability has to be robust, more evidence to justify what you have achieved, therefore have we slipped into a more results driven culture. The balance of how much you are trusted and the measurement of your performance from a far. If you are more trusted is the performance more guaranteed. We cannot rely on our Leaders to simply trust us we have to communicate with them regularly to ensure they do trust us. Trust underpins any relationship we have and it is built on a foundation of knowledge of the other person. Remember the name of some-ones dog on a Zoom call could be a motivational gift and that simple insight could increase productivity.

Working from home is what we make it and what choices we make around how to set it up and it is now the time to review:-

  • What has gone well? – you have enjoyed?
  • What has not been so good?
  • What can you do differently?

Please do get in touch for a workshop on “Making the most of working from home…”

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, motivation, Problem solving, Relationships

Having a Zoom one to one …

Working with Clients at the moment I get asked how to make one to ones as effective as possible now they are over Zoom.

  • Do I need to have them more often?
  • Can I do them over the phone instead of Zoom?
  • Do I prepare the agenda?
  • Do I need to give a summary?

With most people working from home, one to ones need to be more often. You possibly followed a best practice guideline of one hour once a month, however in this climate, fortnightly will be better with a timing of 30 minutes.

Zoom is a great tool for one to ones as the intensity of just two faces does give you a clear insight as to how the person is feeling. They might well convey some leakage in their body language which you would not spot on the phone. However with Zoom fatigue being the current buzz phrase it is perfectly understandable that many may have had enough of the video conferencing. As a leader suggest a combination of one by phone and one by Zoom.

The one to one session should always belong to your team member so therefore it is their agenda. However it is good to provide a template that gives them an idea of what to prepare. Currently we will have items in there that would not normally have been in there before, such as well being of working from home. The template can be really simple with some headings as below:-

  • Current workload
  • Up and coming projects
  • Well being of working from home
  • Achievements and wins

It can even be as simple as Past/Present/Future, the most important thing is that they steer the meeting and that they come prepared.

Your job is to summarise what was covered, in simple bullet points, so that you can track their performance. You also have shown that you have listened and demonstrated support.

As a leader don’t committ any of the following common mistakes:-

  • Cancelling the one to one
  • Allowing interruptions
  • Setting the agenda and owning the one to one
  • Doing most of the talking
  • Taking the problem away from some-one
  • Not inquiring about feelings
  • Delivering unclear messages, unclear coaching and unclear instructions
  • Running out of time
  • Assuming your one to ones are effective

Embrace getting to know your team better and Zoom is a great for intensity, intimacy and confidentiality. During this time you can get to know your team really well.

Please do get in touch if you would like one to one coaching with nuggets bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Leadership, Management, mindfulness, motivation, Stress management

The “New” Normal…

The “new” normal for me is now normal and will be for a very long time. My challenge now is how to make it work for me.

Looking at how my home office, do I need to invest in some new equipment.

In order to help me work my “normal” I researched some statistics on how a group in the UK have been adapting.

The statistics are UK findings based on 1,016 respondents working full-time remotely.

• 59% of UK employees working different hours than they used to

This statistic came as no surprise as you are working around your home life and you have no commuting. The positive that can be taken from this figure is that you can work when it is your prime time, when you can work to your optimum and get the best out of yourself.

The negative to this figure, we are all available and at home so we have been contacted at odd times of the day. If you are going to continue to work from home, then set some boundaries as a team as to when to communicate and when not to communicate. Having consensus on some core hours will not single out any individuals and also won’t lead to competitive behaviour.

• 62% rely on workplace tech to stay connected

This might be an investment area for many. How good is your Broadband is it time to source a new provider. Is it worth investing in Zoom so that meetings can be longer than 40 minutes or as a team is it better to be with Microsoft Teams.

• 36% are having fewer meetings

Although this seems like a statistic we should be applauding we need to ensure that this is not a breakdown of communications. Ensure that all your team members feel as connected as possible. Although we are all suffering from several video conferencing meetings, check whether a simple phone call works. Going forward as your normal make sure your meetings are no longer than an hour and you have an agenda or purpose for all the ones you attend.

• 30% say they are starting their working day earlier

• 27% are working later in the evening

For me going forward I am more than happy to start the day earlier, as my brain and energy are so much better in the morning and I don’t have a commute currently or a school run. The second percentage I am only going to let happen occasionally with a specific deadline, it will not become a habit.

• 31% say they are working from a desk 

• 35% from a dining/kitchen table

• 20% from their sofa 

• 5% work from their bed

The environment and set up you work in, can have a direct correlation to how effective you are. Your office set up needs to work for you and also needs to inspire you. Simple top tips, put your desk in the window or sit somewhere with a view.

Most importantly have a good desk/table and chair. One Client I work with has had to visit a chiropractor due to bad posture, incurred from more sitting down in their career than ever before.

My action is to paint my office – freshen it up (will work wonders for me psychologically). I can’t get out to Clients so make my space work for me.

• 45% challenges from enforced remote working are self-discipline 

Set deadlines for yourself and book appointments for certain tasks. Committ to yourself and follow a realistic daily to-do list.

•23% “feeling like I can’t switch off” 

When it is your own business it is hard to walk away, mentally and physically. The only way with my “normal” is to book time off. Companies will be encouraging everyone to take holiday now. When you have your time off do something completely different to your day job.

I am signing off now to book my holiday and paint the office.

Please do get in touch to book a workshop – bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

The “new” Normal – one hour over Zoom for £100

Posted in Bite size learning, Leadership, Learning, motivation, personal impact, Relationships, training

The nuggets book club

When lockdown started, I decided to run a book club every Friday for FREE to share my favourite business books and why they make a difference. Every book I selected had a relevance to the period we were in.

To be true to my nuggets style I wanted the sessions to be interactive which is no mean feat on Zoom. I would start each session with some exercise that had a connection to the topic or book and would make everyone relax and laugh.

The sessions were only 30 minutes as I was conscious to peak interest in the book and leave attendees wanting more from nuggets or a desire to read the book.

My summary was structured around the book framework eg. using chapter headings to say what each part of the book was covering. They were very comprehensive so no attendee felt isolated if they had not read the book or even heard of the author.

Before each event I would explain in a few lines what the book was about and if possible direct them to TED talk by the author.

After the summary was delivered I would ask three questions to understand from attendees how some of the content had resonated. We always had amazing responses and very honest and open at some situations which must have been very personal.

In true nuggets style we finished with the key nuggets as takeaways as to what the book meant from a practical perspective.

The books we covered are listed below:-

  • Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson – understanding change and our responses
  • When by Dan Pink – understanding the science behind time
  • Mindset by Carol S Dweck – determining whether you have a fixed or growth mindset
  • Start With Why by Simon Sinek – your overall purpose “not what you do its Why you do it”
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear – creating habits and rituals that are sustainable
  • The Present by Dr Spencer Johnson – Learning from the past and looking to the future and enjoying the Present
  • Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed – Understanding how much that can be learnt from failure
  • Daring Greatly by Brene Brown – Vulnerability is not weakness
  • Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono – providing a framework for your thinking in group and individual situations that will save you time

Please do get in touch if you would like any of the book summaries delivered to your team. The session is 30 minutes with no cap on attendees and the cost is £100 per session or £150 for two.

Please do get in touch to find out more bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Management, mindfulness, motivation, Stress management

Zoom fatigue, how to combat it…?

Zoom fatigue is a new saying in our new world of working. For the first time we are forced to focus more intently on each other. In a conference room we can whisper to a colleague, day dream and look out the window. On Zoom we are there on the screen absorbing information and looking out front. This constant gaze does not allow or accommodate peripheral vision.

We have all see the Zoomers who can’t do it, they fidget whilst on the call, their eyes are drifting to their phones or they are checking their emails. Everyone can see their straying eye contact and their lack of focus and can be as exhausting to watch as you demonstrate exemplary focus.

The secret is to relax and enjoy the conversation, make eye contact with the person speaking and forget you are on video. The more consciously you are aware of the video and focus on yourself the more you will lose the flow of the chat.

Make notes, this is not rude it shows you are engaged and genuinely interested in what the person is saying and it helps with your concentration levels. Paper and pen is better so that there is no clicking or other screen involved.

Everyone has had a play with the fun backgrounds, however this is extra visual stimuli. The plainer your background the more concentration you will get from your Zoomers.

Be comfortable with each other, make a consensus all screens/no screens so that everyone is in the same boat. We are in it together.

Social events on Zoom can be exhausting if they are a mass free for all. By having a facilitator or some fun exercises does give the call a little more structure. We all might be quizzed out, however they are more successful than a free for all.

Overall if you are totally Zoomed out, why not go back to using the phone for the odd piece of communication, it might be just as effective.

Top tips for Zooming

  • Don’t multi task
  • Put your phone out of sight
  • Turn off the tabs on your computer so the only screen visible is Zoom
  • Have a clear desk – your eyes will drift
  • Make all Zoom calls one hour maximum
  • Agree as a group to have screens on or off – consensus
  • Encourage simple backgrounds or all go for the same one
  • Decide whether the call needs Zoom
  • Ensure that socials have some form of structure
  • Make notes
  • Relax and enjoy
  • Make eye contact with person speaking
  • Forget about the video

Please do get in touch for workshops with your team or coaching for yourself bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, personal impact, Relationships

Vulnerability is not a weakness…

Vulnerability fuels our daily lives, it is the one thing that can measure how courageous we are. In order to talk about vulnerability we have to have the conversation about “Shame”.

Dr Brene Brown the author of Daring Greatly says that Shame was the one that brought you to the party and goes hand in hand with vulnerability. Shame is the focus on ourselves which is not the same as Guilt which is a focus on our behaviour. The Gremlin or the voice inside all of us “You are not enough” is the Shame voice – The Gremlin. Shame grows at a rapid rate if you are silent, secretive or judgmental. The survival package for Shame is empathy, the less you talk about Shame the more you have it.

Examples of Shame:-

  • Shame is shouting at my children
  • Shame is being made redundant
  • Shame is being called out by my Manager in front of a Client

To get back to each other and be connected we have to embrace each others vulnerabilities and share them. If we put ourselves in a position of vulnerability we put ourselves into the arena of life and we are seen by others. We have to believe we are enough as it starts with ourselves first and then we start listening to others.

From Dr Brown’s research there emerged a theme that people who have a deep sense of worthiness or in her words our whole hearted embrace their vulnerability. They are not necessarily comfortable with it, however they see it as necessary.

There are three main themes that a whole hearted person has:-

  1. Courage – to be imperfect
  2. Compassion – kind to self first and then to others
  3. Connection – As a result of authenticity

In summary you have to be seen and love with all your heart, practice gratitude and joy and believe that you are enough.

Put yourself out there and Dare Greatly…

Please do attend the nuggets book club on Friday where will be reviewing Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Please send me an email bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Decision Making, Leadership, Problem solving

Black box thinking culture…

Matthew Syed’s book “Black box thinking” seems very relevant for now, as we are all trying new ways of working and  we need to ensure we our creating new initiatives.

It starts with your culture do you have a growth mindset where you and your team practice hard work and learn from trial and error.  Failure is not hidden and you all work through how to make it better going forward.

If you are working in a culture of a fixed mindset you think talent is dominant, might be your people or even the product or service.  You think when mistakes happen it is just one of those things.  Before Covid 19 “our service was brilliant it must just be a – one off”.

The aviation industry has famously the “black box”, when a near miss happens or tragically a fatal crash, the black box is recovered.   There are two in reality one the technical recordings of the mechanics and electrics and the other the conversations in the cockpit.  The boxes are also bright orange so that they can be located easily.  These boxes give the answers as to what happened and provide valuable data to make changes going forward.

We might not have boxes to record our failure however in organisations we can encourage our teams to speak up and share when something is not working.  We also want them to be honest about a failure and then as a group it can be analysed.

Syed talks about a hospital in America where they realised two drug bottles were too similar in colour and labelling.  It was only until a patient was given a dose of the wrong medication that the changes were made to the bottles.  Open your eyes to the processes you have now and ask yourself are they working.

The right culture creates success and every time you are honest with each other you are fostering psychological gain. Whilst working remotely speak to your teams about new ideas and encourage Q and A sessions.  We are in an unknown arena for working everyones ideas are good and everyone should be listened to.

On Friday the nuggets book club will be reviewing and summarising “Black Box Thinking” please do join us the invitation is below:-

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: May 22, 2020 10:00 AM London

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUpceigpjooE9bDP6ARia8WvMSCOziC6S2K

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, motivation

Being resilient…

“Self-esteem is as important to our well-being as legs are to a table.  It is essential for physical and mental health and for happiness” – Louise Hart

The definition of the word resilient:-

(of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.
(of a substance or object) able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.
Understanding that resilience is all about bouncing back, we need to know how it is made up, what are the ingredients of resilience and can it be measured.

If we were to take the metaphor of the table we can explain what each table leg represents an element of resilience and the table top pulls all the components together.

The Resilience Table

Leg One – Mental toughness, how robust are you at staying in the role of decision maker.  Using all your logical thinking skills to way up pros and cons and be aware of problem and solutions as they arise.

Leg Two – Physical energy, staying strong and being able to attend continuous meetings still with a smile and bringing energy to every event.

Leg Three – Emotional balance, being measured in reponses to others and demonstrating empathy.  A support for others with a balanced view and the appropriate emotional response.

Leg Four – Social skills – naturally adept at making everyone feel comfortable in your space.  Being your own person and not being swept into negative behaviours, managing your own self esteem and confidence about who you are.

Table Top – Sense of purpose, a meaning to what you are doing, the core of who you are.  This holds the legs and is the most important place to start when thinking about your resilient levels.

The table top is where we need to ask ourselves “Why do we do what we do? this will uncover your meaningful purpose will help create strong table legs.

Give yourself a score out of 10 for each of the table legs and constantly monitor why one might be high and one low.  You will have to nurture and look after each leg and ensure that they are totally connected to the table top.

At nuggets we have designed a workshop on Being Resilient here are the objectives and what you will gain.

Being Resilient 

Programme Objectives 

  • Understanding how to monitor your resilience levels
  • Exploring the theory of Mindset by Professor Carol Dweck
  • Making the five pillars of resilience practical and applicable
  • Applying the kindness method to creating new habits and rituals

What will you gain?

  • Recognising how to switch from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset
  • Identifying which of the five pillars of resilience needs to be developed
  • Adopting new habits and rituals
  • Practical action plan

Please do get in touch if you are interested bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

(can be one person or a small group) over Zoom at the cost of £100

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Leadership

Leading change out of lockdown…

On Sunday we will receive advice from the Government as to whether there is any easing of the lockdown.  When we do eventually return to work you need to be able to lead changes in working practices and support your team.  It is essential that you focus and support the emotions and behaviours.

I have designed a one hour workshop that is detailed below to support leaders, business owners and team members.  It can be delivered just to one person or a small group, at the cost of £100.  The workshop is very practical using theory as a framework, however ensuring that it is relevant and specific for every organisation.  It will be delivered virtually over Zoom, with notes and actions captured.

Leading Change out of Lockdown

 “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future” John F Kennedy

What is it about?

One hour workshop on how to lead your team out of lockdown by using the principles from John Kotter’s book “Our iceberg is melting…” Providing tools and techniques to help your people think and work differently.

Overview

  • Creating a plan for change
  • Identifying the emotions and behaviours we go through during change
  • Recognising the difference between concerns and influences

What will I get out of it?

  • Using Kotter’s steps to create a practical plan for change
  • Managing your emotions and behaviours throughout change
  • Clear understanding of what you can and cannot influence
  • Practical steps

Workshop outline in more detail:-

Creating a Plan

Change is inevitable coming out of lockdown. Teams will embrace the change, however there will be a feeling of loss, and major uncertainty.  It can be minor to major, however the emotional reaction can be managed with a clear formula.

John Kotter’s book “Our iceberg is melting” tells the tale of a colony of penguins and their need to move as their iceberg is melting.

Returning to your offices will feel like a new move, and you will need to ensure that your culture is robust to withstand the changes.

The steps below come from Kotter’s book and can be applied to how you ease out of lockdown:-

  • Create a sense of urgency – help others to see the need for the change – you can’t work the way you worked before
  • Pull together a leading/guiding team to provide guidance for everyone
  • Decide what to do – create a vision or strategy so everyone understands, sell it positively create a picture in peoples minds
  • Make it happen – communicate for understanding and buy in, host online Q&A sessions
  • Empower others to act – create Change Ambassadors who are good role models for the new way of working
  • Acknowledge short term wins – celebrate the small stuff and make it inclusive
  • Make it stick – ensure this is a cultural change so you are ready for the next change.  This is a great time to bond together as a team and to know that if a new way of working happened in the future you would all be able to adapt

Creating a culture of change is more sustainable than just managing reactively.  Your team will feel more secure and more adept towards change if they have a plan and a process as Kotter’s book demonstrates.

Emotions and Behaviours

Using the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross change curve to explain the journey of emotions and behaviours everyone will feel with the changes.  The curve can be used as a road map and a census check at team meetings.

Circle of Concern/Circle of Influence

Practical tool to identify any concerns your team have around the new working practises.  Everyone creates their own concerns on post-its and they are either identified as something that can be actioned or influenced or they have to be parked as bigger than the organisation and therefore should not be a concern.

Key learnings “nuggets”

The workshop will have lots of takeaways and practical application to help leaders get their teams back to work safely.

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Leadership, personal impact, Relationships

Coming out of Lockdown…

I am not alone in feeling slightly overwhelmed with working out the conundrum of how we ease out of lockdown.

We can only focus on the things we can influence which helps ease the pressure in your mind and makes you feel calmer.  Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People explains the difference of proactive and reactive thinking.  If you draw two circles one labelled Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence, when you have filled the Circle of Concern focus on the items within that circle that you can influence, these are items you can personally action.  If you cannot, they are beyond your influence and you need to take them out of the circle and effectively take them out of your head.

Another resource that helps us focus on life after lockdown is the follow up to “Who moved my cheese…” a book called “Out of the maze…” both written by Spencer Johnson.

Rather appropriately there is a quote early on in the book from a character called Hope:-

“I don’t think things ever go back to how they were, here’s my thought though.  Maybe they can turn out better than they were” 

Beliefs we have of how we worked before lockdown might be holding us back, after all “A belief is a thought that you trust is true”.  Some of us believed we could never work from home.  The book encourages us to believe that some beliefs can lift you up.  Look at how well we have coped and what we have achieved already in lockdown.

You can change your mind, you can choose new beliefs, which is what we will have to do when our organisations explain how we will return to our offices.

Suggestions already are:-

  • Staggered working hours
  • No face to face meetings
  • No canteen
  • Working from home more

You are not held prisoner by a belief and remember you are the person who chooses your beliefs.  What would you do if you believed everything was possible.  There are no limits to what you can believe.  We often have to believe something is going to work before we can see it working.  It will be important for Leaders to work with them teams in creating a positive mindset and this will be reinforcing an existing strong culture or resetting the culture.

There will be so many unknowns that we have to let go of beliefs in the past which means losing old baggage and applying new thinking and an open mind.  We might get some initiatives wrong,  however if we all hold out on the belief that is possible we will all be more responsive to the change.

We need to find joy in exploring the impossible together and remember we are not changing who we are, because as we have a new belief or new thinking.   There is not a limit on what you can believe, can do, experience and above all enjoy.

Please do get in touch for coaching over Zoom, virtual workshops or look out for our nuggets bookclub.  We are very much still here to support individuals and business “To help people think and work differently…” bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk