The difference between being successful and effective is knowing how you got there. Success can be luck, it was incredible, however upon reflection there was not necessarily a process to get there. Being effective has longevity and can lead you to success multiple times.
Taking time out to analyse your process can lead to even greater results. A good example was the process of cash machines. When they were first introduced the Banks found that they had high costs on lost cards. The process they had mapped out, was as follows:-
- Insert card
- Enter PIN
- Request cash
- Collect cash
- Retrieve card
The initial process involved getting the cash out of the machine before the card was returned. Most people were focussed on the money, so, once they had the notes in their hand, they turned away, leaving their card still in the cash machine. Simply by reversing the order of two steps solved the problem – people had to remove their card before they got their money. This small change in the process saved the banks money and also was a more effective process for the customer.
We can process map anything, your morning routine, invoicing, sales, customer returns and setting up a new system.
The most effective way to conduct a process mapping session is as follows:-
- Map the process – use magic whiteboards or a roll of brown paper, then use post-it notes to log every step of the process
- Analyse the process – step back and decide whether there is anything missing and who has ownership at certain points of the process
- Redesign the process – if there are obvious points where the process gets held up, look to redesign
- Implement & communicate – Follow the process and document it (infographic) share with as many team members as possible
- Review – after 90 days review with the original process mapping team
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We find it very easy to shower every morning and clean our teeth, however in work we are sometimes at a loss to know where to start.
In work we need rituals and habits that make it easier for our brain to hit the ground running. Remember when you learnt to ride a bike how hard your conscious mind was focusing on all the obstacles in your path and now you cycle looking at the view.
There are times when we require new thinking so it is good to challenge our brain however ritualising some of the daily or weekly tasks could free the mind when you want it to really work hard.
Think about habits and routine items within your business:-
- Posting on social media, set a time each day where you go in and have the same system, of the platforms you visit, so that the tour becomes familiar and easy.
- Set aside time in the week when you read the relevant articles for your business. Accumulate them each day so when you hit that weekly reading spot you can get in the zone.
- Allocate a specific time to email and touch base with your clients, have it as an appointment in your diary so that it happens.
- Have some daily disciplines in place, write down what you want to achieve each day and check your work in progress schedule.
- Think about your daily habits, when do you open your email, when do you start project work and most importantly when do you eat.
- Connect with friends and colleagues by booking coffees and lunches, ensure you have a pipeline at all times of connections, business and pleasure.
- Review your day so that you can constantly improve your systems and processes.
Please do get in touch if we can help at nuggets to create some new rituals for you and your business firstname.lastname@example.org
Liv Boeree a famous Poker player and her excellent TED talk explained how we quantify our thinking which gives us more precise language.
We use estimate words rather than defining what we actually mean. I will “probably” meet you for a drink. Instead we could talk in numbers “There is a 60% chance I will meet you for a drink”.
We often talk about a “gut” instinct however the reality is that you need slow careful analysis. Your gut does not park your car or end your marriage. Behind your gut is slow careful analysis as to whether it is doable based on size or financial implications, all about numbers.
When we are successful we might say we were lucky however if we go into the next project with just luck, we would fail. We have strategic edge based upon our skill level which will be calculated by the number of times you have practised deploying that skill, again all about numbers.
As a poker player Liv Boeree leaves us with three summaries:-
- Your gut is your friend and so is a cost benefit analysis
- Success is sweetest when you achieve it across a large sample size
- The future is unknown but you can dam well estimate it
Coaching is … a process that enables learning and development to occur by the coach asking powerful questions which leads to different thinking and ultimately different performance. The coach requires a variety of styles and skills and techniques that are appropriate for each session.
Mentoring is… helping an individual to make significant changes in their work or thinking. This can often be done remotely or face to face. Mentors look at the big picture and with no vested interest and can make bold suggestions.
Coaches can have first hand experience of the line of work or they can be a qualified coach from outside bringing new thinking in.
Mentors are normally more experienced or skilled in the field of work they are advising on.
Line Managers can use coaching techniques whereas the best mentors often have no prior relationship with the mentee.
Coaches ask powerful questions and don’t give advice, and the mentor provides direction and advice.
Mentors and coaches provide a neutral sounding board and total confidentiality, they are both invested in assisting an individual to reach their goals.
Coaching is about learning rather than “teaching” it is much more ask than tell. The insight gained by working with a coach will lead to enhanced effectiveness. Mentoring is helping individuals to develop their career by drawing on their own experiences.
Working with a coach and mentor can lead to new thinking and an enhanced performance.
We all have a brand whether you are consciously aware or unaware it is there. The more aware you are that it is there the more you can make it work for you.
At the very heart of our personality are things that we value in life. This is often the very reason “Why” we do what we do. Simon Sinek’s brilliant book “Start with Why” says it is not what we do or how we do it, the best start is the “why”. This is the very core of your brand, why you get up in the morning and why you wear that particular jacket.
If we internally know the route of our decisions in life we start to form a frame of reference, for people to associate with. These are not just external indicators as to whether you are smart or casual in your dress sense, but the more fundamental character traits, are you reliable and honest. Leading brands are very clever at having clear frames of reference, what do they want to be known for e.g. are they a family product, healthy, original taste etc…
People will make assumptions within seconds of meeting us. So how do we ensure we project our personal brand. We need to sit down initially and think why do we do what we do and what does that tell us about our frame of reference. The two combined give you an idea of what packaging/clothing compliments that brand.
Personal branding is not just when you meet some-one face to face. Our brand now extends to our social media, so if you want to be taken seriously having a beach shot on your LinkedIn profile will not match your brand. Look at your working environment an extension of your brand, how does it look? Is it efficient, a word you had in your frame of reference, no-one would really like a perception of messy.
The word “professional” is very over used and what we really are trying to define is an effective personal brand. Think about the memory you leave in people’s minds – “What shadow do you cast?” and remember it is not just the first time you meet them, you will leave that memory/shadow it is all the time.
If anyone tells you to do anything you want to resist. Recently some-one told me to do something and I was in a volunteering capacity and I was incredibly resistant. Asking for help and support always gets a better response.
A potential Client was explaining a team member’s response to attending a team meeting. The employee had called a colleague and said they would not bother coming back to the office to come to the weekly meeting. The Manager was obviously irritated and asked the colleague to phone them straight back and tell them they had to attend.
I asked why as the Manager they had not made the call. They could have asked
“Why do you think that your attendance at the meeting would not add value?”
The brain always has to answer a question, and questioning the value they would bring to a meeting is far harder to excuse yourself.
Ask not tell leadership style is much more empowering. Whenever a team member comes to you with a problem the best approach is to always ask them what they would do first rather than offer out a solution.
Another example is a request for holiday during a busy period, instead of an immediate no, ask how they think the company will survive with their absence. Asking is all about pushing responsibility and getting the brain to work for itself.
Telling some-one not to be late, will make the serial offender repeat their actions. Asking them what they think they can do to ensure they are on time, makes them do the thinking.
Ask not tell is more empowering to you as leader and to the recipient.
It is so easy to focus on the here and now and not have those big conversations that can change the direction you are currently focusing on.
To ensure that the discussion is effective you have to set the scene and provide a framework:-
- Meeting booked in the diary well in advance
- A theme agreed being long term discussion on growth, business improvement, expansion anything in the future…
- One to five year time line
- Everyone given time to prepare
- Suspend judgement during the meeting to ensure that there is free thinking
- Discuss points in agreement and ones in disagreement
- Use structure by using the boxes below to guide the discussion and to create a strategy
Use a facilitator to ensure that you stay on track and that you have the tools and resources that will ensure open discussion.