Posted in Bite size learning, Learning, personal impact, training

Do you sound “Charming”…?

To get your message across on email, do you sound “Charming?”

Will the person reading your mail want to meet you if they have not already?  Do you get across your personality?  Do you convey a message assertively with feeling and the right level of humility.

The definition of the word “Charming” is very pleasant or attractive.  Who would not want their email to convey that.

The fundamentals to bear in mind, is that it is not what you say but how you say it.  You might work for an amazing brand however your written communication could be letting the brand integrity down.  Your voice in email should reflect the culture of the organisation.

The tone of voice has to be a “can do” attitude a positive and confident tone.

Before you even start writing think about key ingredients:-

  • What does the reader need to know?
  • How do you want them to feel?
  • What do you want them to do?

Be specific, ensure your message is not empty, for example:-

  • How are you?
  • Hope you are well?

Better alternatives:-

  • How was your weekend?
  • Hope you are enjoying the warm weather?

Charming is about the personal touch with specifics – How are you or Hope you are well? can be just vague and have the opposite affect of appearing uncaring a perfunctory statement.   The personal touch is about sincerity with confidence.

Readers always remember the last thing they read, so ensure you summarise your key points.  If you had to write a Tweet of your key points, it would have to be 280 characters.

Please do get in touch if you would like a workshop on “Making email work for you” or if you would like a copy of our book, please head to the website www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Emotional Intelligence, motivation, personal impact

Shaping your values…

Organisations create values at team builds or a leadership team impose them on employees.  The most effective are the ones designed by key members of an organisation, it is not an HR initiative or purely Director level.  A selection of people at all levels with the view to reaching a consensus will give you a good standpoint of your culture.

If the group work with a structure the Values can reflect the heart of your culture if you take the time to think where they are positioned.

  • Core – select a core value that is the cornerstone of your culture.  For instance “the HP way…”   or Apple’s “Think different…” A key message that gets across all you want to achieve but has a core value message within it.  This may well be the fact you support an environmental issue or education for others.
  • Aspirational – to choose something that you wish everyone to aspire to and will lead the company in a new direction.  Examples “we are innovative” or “dedicated to our clients and our service”
  • Permission to play – a value that reflects how you work with each other, the minimal behavioural standards you expect.  Integrity is possibly the most common.
  • Accidental – you can often fall upon a value in the way the culture of your company has evolved.  This can be unique to how you all work with each other and can reflect a personality of the business.  “Cool”, “Warm”, “Exciting” or “Iluminating”. It may well have been identified from client feedback.

To reflect your values ensure that they are authentic that you style them out.   A common value is “professionalism” this might mean not a frivolous culture, an organisation to be taken seriously.  Therefore professionalism means acting it out all the time, good dress code, no eating at desks and being on time.

To embed your values is not about having them on mugs in the kitchen, it is about making them come to life at recruitment, induction and regular one to one meetings.  Customer satisfaction should be measured against your values.  Whilst the mugs and visuals keep them fresh in peoples minds it should be played out on a daily basis.

Please do get in touch for a workshop to put values in place bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Relationships

Thinking about unconscious bias…

Unconscious bias the deep seated prejudices we all carry around that can affect how we treat people.  We use them automatically, unintentionally and unconsciously.

For a recent workshop I created the following two case studies which I am sure everyone can relate to.

Scenario 1

Line Manager conducts regular one to one sessions with his team members. He has different approaches to different people, and a lot of the team are beginning to feel uncomfortable with his style.

They have been talking at break and have heard that some individuals are asked to share their diary scheduling of work.  He wants very detailed analysis of how they work and what they work on.

Other individuals he just asks for the end result and seems delighted with the progress.

  • What will you do as a team?
  • What will you do as an individual?
  • What bias is the Manager demonstrating?
  • Has this ever happened to you and how did you deal with it?

Scenario 2

You are in a Client meeting and you find it hard to contribute, there are very vocal characters and your voice does not seem to be heard.

Recently a decision was made based on a consensus around the table, which you know is not the right way to move forward.  You have evidence to share as to why the approach would be wrong however you feel uncomfortable sharing with such a strong group.

  • What are you going to do?
  • Is this a situation you can relate to?
  • What bias is being demonstrated at this meeting?
  • What as an organisation can you do, to improve the format of meetings?

Please do share your thoughts with me bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Leadership, Management, motivation, Relationships

Reflect your culture…?

Being a visitor too many different offices you can very easily see from the working environment what sort of culture the organisation has.

Some are very obvious, projecting their product and services with a bit of fun around the team.  The harder to identify are the big corporates, which may well have their values on display, however they don’t give much away as to what is like to work there.

Waiting for meetings in a reception area or if you are lucky a social area you can see team members come and go.  Watching the interaction of colleagues and the general vibe  as to whether they make you feel welcome says a lot about the company.

Waiting in a fun social area with a pool table and darts board with fruit and every drink imaginable you feel relaxed.  Team members come and go taking breaks and a screen flashes up photos of their people with quirky facts about them.  I got to see the face of several people I was about to meet before I met them in the flesh.

In contrast waiting in a very beige waiting area with an empty perspex magazine holder and no pictures, reflects a culture that has given up on its people.

Another example is the slick reception desk with a vast atrium and the team all in identical outfits does not show what lies beyond.

Think about your welcome area being the gateway to your business and your team.  What do you want to share?

Top Tips to reflect your culture:-

  • Welcome sign
  • Company name
  • Photos of the team (fun facts)
  • Colourful and well lit area
  • Papers/Magazines that are current or relevant to your business
  • Drinks/fruit available
  • Ensure that every member of the team who passes a visitor acknowledges them

First impressions of people happen in 7 seconds so exactly the same assessment is being about your company and your people.  Take time to get it right and work for you and your people.

Please do get in touch for a workshop on culture bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Time management

Top Tips for Time Management…

Time is non spatial it is not a product that we can buy off the shelf.  We have to learn how to manage it by altering our own behaviour.  We have to work at habits that enable us to manage time in our own way.

10 Top Tips 

  1. Clear distractions – clear your desk, peripheral vision, you can easily be distracted by other papers on your desk.
  2. Email – take your email alert off
  3. Identify prime time – scientifically we all have one hour in the day that is our best hour to get stuff done.  Ensure you protect that hour by not having meetings during that time.
  4. Buckets of time – Be realistic about what you are going to achieve each day.  Allocate tasks to buckets of time:-
      • Daily
      • Weekly
      • Monthly
      • Annually
      • Projects
  5. Patterns of the day – understand when to get your best work done according to the patterns of the day:-
      • Peak (in the morning) – analytical work
      • Trough (after lunch) – administrative tasks
      • Recovery (late afternoon/early evening) – creative thinking
  6. Procrastinating – Get your hardest job out the way as quickly as possible.  The term is “Eat that Frog” – if you had to eat a live frog you would want to do it as quickly as possible.
  7. Decisions – make quick decisions, can I do it now? can I delegate? can I delete it?
  8. Pomodoro – Breakdown work into intervals, the pomodoro technique is that you work for 25 minutes (a pomodoro)  and then you have a 5/10 minute break.  Once you have completed 4 pomodoros you can have a 30 minute break.
  9. Transformational – Review your day at the end of the day and write what you want to achieve the next day.  Be realistic and allocate some tasks to other buckets.
  10. Power of 3 – Identify the 3 things that will make the greatest difference to your day

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Learning, motivation, personal impact

Habits give you freedom…

In 1898 a psychologist named Edward Thorndike conducted an experiment with cats.  Each cat was put inside a puzzle box, which was designed so that the cat could escape either by stepping on a platform, pulling a loop, pressing a lever etc…  The other side of the door would be food.  Thorndike monitored the activity and after 20 or 30 trials the behaviour became so automatic.  The cats learned to associate the action of pressing a lever with the reward of escape and food.  Thorndike described the learning process “behaviours followed by satisfying consequences tend to be repeated and those that produce unpleasant consequences are less likely to be repeated”

A habit is a behaviour that has been repeated enough times that it becomes automatic.  Habits normally occur through trial and error.  Neurological ativity is high in the brain when you are working out what to do.  This is the feedback loop behind all human behaviour: try fail, learn and try differently.  Habits occur when you know what to do so you skip trial and error and create a mental rule.

Habits do not restrict freedom they create it. By making fundamentals within life easier you can create mental space needed for thinking and creativity.

Building a habit can be broken into fours steps:-

  1. Cue
  2. Craving
  3. Response
  4. Reward

The first step Cue, triggers the brain to identify whether there is a reward.  Cravings are the motivational force behind every habit.  It is not the motivation of cleaning your teeth it is being motivated by the feeling of a clean and fresh mouth.  The response is the action you take “the habit” you adopt. The reward is the final stage of the loop, they satisfy us and they teach us.  The satisfaction is obvious, the learning is the shortcut that the brain can hard wire to repeat the habit.

The ultimate purpose of habits is to solve problems with as little energy and effort as possible.

The four steps can be split into two phases:-

Problem Phase 

  1. Cue
  2. Craving

Solution Phase

  1. Response
  2. Reward

Whenever you want to change your behaviour, and create a good habit, you can simply ask yourself:-

  1. Cue – How can I make it obvious?
  2. Craving – How can I make it attractive?
  3. Response – How can I make it easy?
  4. Reward – How can I make it satisfying?

The reverse if you wish to break a bad habit, follow these steps:-

  1. Cue – Make it invisible
  2. Craving – Make it unattractive
  3. Response – Make it difficult
  4. Reward – Make it unsatisfying

To explore more around habits, read James Clear’s book Atomic Habits.

Please get in touch for a workshop on habits bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk 

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

Focus on habits…

This year focus on your habits and rituals don’t get fixated on goals and outcomes.

James Clear author of Atomic Habits says

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems” 

Whilst we set a desired outcome it is our daily habits that lead us to it.

Make sure you do not let an identity from last year or even further back restrict your progress.

  • I’m terrible at strategy
  • I don’t speak up at meetings
  • I am disorganised

Take on a Growth Mindset (Carol Dweck)

  • I will think strategically
  • My voice will be heard in meetings
  • I will have a clear desk every night

Megan Hellerer career coach to high flying women in the US, talks about the approach of being Destinational or Directional.

She describes Destinational – I want to be CEO (very clear goal and outcome).  The route to this  might be copied by others who have done it before eg. a very well known path, however somewhere along that route you loose control.  You take on the habits of others and you don’t allow for deviation.  You reach the desired destination but is it what you wanted or desired.

The Directional approach allows for changes and deviations you have total control, you make your own decisions and create your systems to compliment your route to your goal.  You know that the world is not static and you move with the times.

Hellerer uses a road trip as a metaphor, Destinational follow a set road trip, they follow the guide exactly and might have a great trip, however they have not made the trip their own.

Directional co-create the trip depending on the weather and circumstances, they make their own decisions.

To summarise a quote from F.M. Alexander:-

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures..”

Please do get in touch for a workshop on Habits and Rituals bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk