Posted in coaching, Bite size learning, Relationships, Stress management, motivation

What is Burnout…?

You lack energy and empathy towards others and even yourself and overall you feel unfulfilled. These ingredients lead to a cynicism towards colleagues, the company and your work. The solution is to identify why you have been left feeling this way and identify where there is a disconnect.

Ironically life might be good on paper, but there is an intersection where life and work have run into obstacles at the same time.

There are 6 factors that can give cause to burnout based on discrepancies:-

  1. Workload
  2. Control
  3. Reward
  4. Community
  5. Fairness
  6. Values

Workload – You feel overworked, is this an organisational problem or a line manager allocating too much or is it that you yourself have taken on too much. The solution would be to set boundaries as to what is acceptable to reset the discrepancy.

Reward – You feel that you are not rewarded in a comparable way to others. Clear criteria can redress this imbalance.

Community – Workplace does not provide opportunities to connect or you suffer from social anxiety. The balance of connecting and isolation which works for the workplace and the individual.

Fairness – effort vs yield, if you perceive another colleague is doing less work but being paid more, then we will become cynical towards the organisation as the effort Vs yield is not fair.

Values – people want to be challenged and valued, if this falls short and there is a discrepancy. Your values do not align eg. A Doctor cares for a patient and whilst hospital management will be focused on costs.

Use the 6 factors to identify where the discrepancy is, this is a way to move forward and out of the burnout.

Burnout is very much work or an occupational problem it is important to acknowledge that it is not depression. With burnout the hormones tend to stay neutral where as depression you carry with you and is physiological with hormones running high.

Another solution to burnout is to think about your life purpose, take time to be introspective and ask the right questions to find out what gets you out of bed in the morning.

Please do get in touch for one to one coaching or 90 minute workshops bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Learning, Time management, training

Prioritisation…

“The activity that arranges items…”

It sounds so easy so why do we find it so hard. Even this morning starting to write this blog I was distracted and was not giving it the priority it deserved.

Brian Tracy the author of “Eat that Frog” has the simple principle to avoid procrastinating imagine you had to eat a live frog, you would want to do it as quickly as possible. His ethos therefore is to get your worst job done as quickly as possible. Eat that Frog!!

There is also science to support when is the best time to have ultimate focus. Dan Pink the author of When says there are three main time periods in the working day. Peak, Trough and Recovery. The Peak period is in the morning and we are best tackling the analytical tasks that may need attention to detail. The Trough just after lunch is a good time to catch up on admin, tasks that will need less brain power. We then have another period called Recovery when it is a great time to do creative thinking and this could be late afternoon into the evening.

The most well known Prioritisation exercise is the matrix by Stephen Covey. In its simplest form is to ask the question is this task important or urgent. He challenges the fact that sometimes urgency is generated by others and if we identify important tasks they often prevent items even becoming urgent. Spending too much time on important and urgent together can feel very reactive whereas tasks that are important and not urgent are proactive and preventative.

Knowing that nothing has been lost or forgotten is also good for your peace of mind, so David Allen author of Getting Things Done, recommends using the metaphor of buckets. Allen suggests having a Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annual & a Projects bucket, this way nothing is lost.

Prioritising is a discipline or practise that with the right personal planning tools can become effective. Look at your to-do list this morning and simply identify the “Frogs” and go for a very simple A, B, and C system. The “Frogs” are As they have to be done today, the Bs maybe this afternoon and the Cs are unlikely to be tackled today but they are safe in your daily bucket for now.

Please do get in touch for a 90 minute workshop on Prioritisation bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Understanding the Service Profit Chain…

Harvard Business School wrote an article on the service profit chain back in 2008 however the relevance of the article is even more prevalent now post Covid.

Back in the 70s and 80s businesses focused on profit goals in isolation with the work hard ethic driving growth.

Today economics of services consider the factors that drive profitability, investment in people, technology, revamping recruitment practises, training and compensation that is linked to performance or effort not just results.

The shift in thinking means that employees are just as important as customers.

The hard value of profit is now being measured by soft measures, for example the profit of the business can be measured alongside the satisfaction of an employee.

To understand the service profit chain see it as journey as follows:-

  1. Internal Quality – Drives Employee Satisfaction (working environment, relationships with their colleagues, customers and their role)
  2. Employee Satisfaction – Drives Loyalty (look after your employees and they will stay)
  3. Employee Loyalty – Drives Productivity – (retaining employees means no breaks in productivity)
  4. Employee Productivity – Drives Value – (delivering your service above and beyond)
  5. Value – Drives Customer Satisfaction – (customers value the result and the services encompassed in the price)
  6. Customer Satisfaction – Drives Customer Loyalty (a good experience will make you return)
  7. Customer Loyalty – Drives Profitability and Growth (quality, satisfaction, loyalty, productivity, value as an equation equal profitability)
  8. Profitability & Growth

The right Leadership underpins the journey and the success of the service profit chain.

The steps form a continuous pattern, and to ensure that you are on top of all the areas involved. You will need to conduct a Service Profit Chain Audit, asking key questions:-

  • How do we define loyal customers?
  • Do measurements of customer profitability include profits from referrals?
  • What proportion of business development expenditures and incentives are directed to the retention of existing customers?
  • Why do our customers leave?
  • Is customer satisfaction data gathered in an objective, consistent and periodic fashion?
  • When are you listening to your customers and when are you getting feedback from your customers and employees?
  • How is information concerning customer satisfaction used to solve customer problems?
  • How do you measure service value?
  • To what extent are measures taken of differences between customers perceptions of quality delivered and their expectations before delivery?
  • How do you measure employee productivity?
  • How do you create employee loyalty?
  • What is the right level of employee retention?
  • Is employee satisfaction measured in a similar way to customer satisfaction?
  • Employee selection criteria is geared to what customers want as well as Managers?
  • How much do you correlate customer satisfaction, quality of service & loyalty to rewarding employees?
  • Do employees know who their customers are?
  • Are employees satisfied with the technological and personal support they receive?
  • Do employees believe they have the right quality of work life?

The measures have to be connected to create a comprehensive picture so that the service profit chain provides a strong foundation for profit and growth.

Please do get in touch for one to one coaching or 90 minute workshops bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Learning, Relationships, training

Psychological Safety

A team climate characterised by interpersonal trust and mutual respect, in which people are comfortable being themselves” – Amy Edmondson

Edmondson is a Harvard Business School professor and the author of “The Fearless Organisation”. Psychological safety is about your voice being heard, it is not about being nice, its about being able to be candid and honest about what you see and hear. It is also not about avoiding conflict or license to whine it is about having a voice and being able to speak up.

The research for the book focused on hospitals, Edmondson studied the rate of reported errors, versus patient outcomes, across surgical teams. The research found that the teams with the highest number of mistakes, seemed to have the best patient outcomes. Their success was down to an attitude of honesty, transparency and learning, it was psychological safety in action.

Google wanted to explore why some teams were great and some teams not so great. The study took five years and was called Project Aristotle. The outcome was that you can’t simply bring people together who are the most qualified and expect a great team. Instead the team has to have the right characteristics. The researchers discovered what really mattered was how the team worked together not who they were. Top of the list was psychological safety.

  1. Psychological Safety – team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other
  2. Dependability – team members get things done on time and meet the high standards of the team
  3. Structure & Clarity – team members have clear roles, plans and goals
  4. Meaning – Work is personally important to team members
  5. Impact – team members think their work matters and fits with the wider team goals

Edmondson was delighted that Googles research supported her own findings. We are in a knowledge economy and without safety of speaking up, new innovations could be missed. Leaders need to ask for forgiveness if they have not provided a safe enough environment for voices to be heard. Ask your team is it easy to come to me with mistakes or new ideas.

Psychological safety is not only important in established teams but also in what Edmondson defines as “Teaming”. This is when people need to work together interdependently to get a result. An example would be an Accident & Emergency department, sometimes you don’t know who you are working with and you have different expertise but you need to work together in the moment. In order for that teaming experience to be effective everyone needs to feel psychologically safe.

The goal is not psychological safety it is the means to your goals.

In summary what is it?

  • If you make a mistake in the team, team members are supportive, and it is not held against you
  • It is easy for members to feel comfortable and ask other team members for help
  • Members of a team are able to bring up problems and tough issues 
  • It is safe to take a risk as a team
  • People accept others for being different in the team
  • No one in the team would deliberately act in a way that undermines any individual efforts or ideas
Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Goals, Learning, mindfulness, motivation, personal impact, Relationships, Stress management

Practical ways to be resilient…

When you wake up in the morning decide where you are on a scale, if pain was one end and power the other end – where would you want to be?

The answer is that most of us want to be the power end. Life events can drain our batteries, so keeping a metric of where you are and working out what it tells you can be a practical step to measuring your resilience levels. For a month keep a pain to power tracker and see what patterns emerge.

We can also think about what Mindset do we wish to adopt. Professor Carol S Dweck says that people either have a Fixed Mindset or Growth Mindset. The power of being able to say “not yet” is the Growth Mindset.

Growth Mindset Fixed Mindset
I can learn anything I wantI am either good at it, or I am not
I want to challenge myselfI don’t like to be challenged
When I fail, I learn When I fail, I am no good
Tell me I try hardTell me I am smart & have natural ability

By adopting a Growth Mindset we have the elasticity to be resilient and bounce back.

Recognising our sign symptoms of when we feel our resilience levels are low can also be a very practical tool. We can do this by using five main areas:-

  1. Sense of purpose – reason or focus for your work
  2. Mental toughness – the ability to make decisions
  3. Physical energy – tired constantly
  4. Emotional balance – the ability to regulate our emotions
  5. Social skills – make others feel comfortable

Ask yourself have you noticed any of these areas being harder than normal, these may be indications that your resilience levels are low.

Susan Kobasa a leading psychologist says that there are 3 key elements of a resilient individual:-

Challenge – view any difficulty as a challenge

Commitment – committed to their lives and goals

Personal Control – spend time and energy on stuff they have control over

The last statement aligns with Stephen Covey’s Circle of Concern/Circle of Influence. We should only focus on the concerns that we can influence if not we should let them sit outside our heads and make them a “no concern”.

Finally in summary what key things can you be doing to develop your resilience:-

1.Learn to relax

2.Practice thought awareness

3.Edit your outlook

4.Learn from mistakes and failures 

5.Choose your response

6.Maintain perspective

7.Set yourself some goals 

8.Build your self confidence 

9.Develop strong relationships 

10.Be flexible 

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

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Goals, Learning, Stress management, Time management

Top tips to stop procrastinating…

Set the Table

Setting yourself up for the day, what can you realistically achieve today, be ruthless in only listing the tasks you will achieve. Have an opening ceremony which means you are ready to begin the day. I light a candle on my desk and say that nuggets is now open for business!!

Look at the week

On Friday plan the week ahead, look at your meetings and diary commitments and plan in project time. Book time with yourself to do specific pieces of work.

Consequences

This is the 10/10/10 rule. Ask yourself how will I feel in 10 hours if I have not achieved what I set out to achieve. How will I feel in 10 days time if I still have not achieved what I set out to achieve. The final 10 is what will I feel in 10 weeks time when some-one else has been given the task I was asked to achieve.

Prioritise

If you have a long to do list it is hard to identify what to do first and what is a priority. Use a very simple system of A/B/C/D/E. A tasks are your top priority and have to be done today. B can slip into tomorrow and C are nice to do when there is time. D is to be delegated and E is to be deleted from the list. Realistically we only really use the A, B and C.

Key Results

Identifying your A tasks will also give you focus on what will give you the greatest return. What tasks will generate the key results you are looking for.

Ritualise time management

By having an opening and closing ceremony each day you are acknowledging your achievements and you are focused for the next day.

Do the most difficult task first

Always tackle the task you have been overthinking first. It will be blocking your bandwidth in your head. Once you start it is never as bad as it seems.

Chunks of time

Think of small chunks of time, don’t look at the whole day as one piece of work. Try the pomodoro technique by Francesco Cirillo, work on a task for 25 minutes (pomodoro) and then take 5 minute break. Work to four pomodoros and then you are able to take a longer break of 30 minutes.

Set Deadlines

Impose deadlines on yourself, I have to finish by lunchtime or by the end of the week. Adrenaline helps us enter a flow state and forces us into action.

Please do get in touch for a workshop on “Procrastinating” bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Towards or away from…

Take stock and think about what you do want and what you don’t want. We are all programmed slightly differently.

Some of us have a very clear idea of what we want now in the present and in the future. However there is another approach of knowing what you don’t want and using that as your steer.

Using the headings of health/wealth and happiness and see the different thinking patterns that will drive motivations in very different ways:-

Health – Towards

Purchasing toothpaste that will make my teeth look white today and in the future

Health – Away from

Buying toothpaste that has its lead line on preventing tooth decay

Wealth – Towards

You know what you want to earn today and tomorrow, next month and next quarter

Wealth – Away from

Knowing you don’t want to be poor in your old age and being prudent with your investments and lots of insurance policies

Happiness – Towards

Immediate and delayed happiness come easily

Happiness – Away from

Hard to be happy in the present if you only focus on what you don’t want

Think about the situations you face in life and try another approach if you think it may lead to a better outcome. We don’t need to lead our whole lives by being towards or away from, think which approach would suit the situation.

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

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, mindfulness, Problem solving, Stress management

The curse of overthinking…

Many of us have become over thinkers because it gives us the illusion that we’re doing something about the problem we’re overthinking about” – Nick Trenton

We all have moments where we have so much in our heads that our bandwidth is stretched to capacity. We then decide to focus on just one problem and overthink it so that it becomes a really huge problem. The bigger it gets the more you lose the ability to see any clarity, make any decisions or to feel calm.

Nick Trenton the author of Stop Overthinking says the first mistake is to think that you can think your way out of overthinking. Understanding that you can’t think and feel at the same time is liberating. When you are too emotional and in feelings you need to move away from whatever is triggering the anxiety and move into thinking, and likewise too much in your head you need to feel instead of think.

Trenton suggests the 5,4,3,2,1 approach, using all five senses to reset. Imagine sitting at your desk overthinking. Stop and take a moment to :-

5 – look at 5 things in your office – really stare and visualise them, lamp on your desk, tree outside, the sky, pen you have been using, a chair opposite you

4 – hear 4 things and really hear them – the fan on your computer, your breathing, car outside, ticking of a clock

3 – feel 3 sensations, your hands on the desk, the fabric of your shirt, warmth of mug on your desk

2 – smells you can detect in the room – your own perfume/aftershave, the aroma in the room

1 – taste sensation, the coffee, or just your own taste in your mouth

This method gives you the control back.

Behind every overthinking episode is a deliberating belief, Trenton describes this second method as “counter belief experiment”.

You are about to present to a large audience and you are overthinking and you believe you are not prepared enough. He says take the following steps to challenge that anxiety belief:-

  1. What must I believe about myself, or the future to justify my anxiety?
  2. Invert the belief to form a counter belief – if you believe you are not prepared for the presentation – the counter belief – I am fully prepared for the presentation
  3. Spend a least a minute in the counter belief – you are full prepared – what does that feel like?
  4. Look for evidence to support this new belief – you are fully prepared

Finding evidence to support your counter belief, helps you dispel the original belief, this will lower the anxiety and stop you overthinking.

The final method Trenton suggests is worry postponement. When the overthinking starts, book a worry appointment for later. The delay often takes away the anxiety. The worry just wants to be acknowledged and that maybe all it needs as often when you revisit the problem it is not a problem.

To book a workshop on “How to stop Overthinking…?” please do get in touch bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Decision Making, Leadership, Learning, Relationships

Infinite mindset…

The difference between a finite game and infinite game is the context of Simon Sinek’s book. Finite game you know the goal to achieve and you know the players and everyone understands their role. There are fixed rules and there is a clear beginning and end. An infinite game is played by known and unknown players – there are no rules, and the players can operate however they want, they can change how they play the game at any time and for any reason. As there is no end there is no such thing as winning 

There are finite goals within life such as school but ultimately life is infinite.  There is no such thing as coming in first in marriage or friendship, the same with global politics and there is no declaration of being a winner.

When we lead with a finite mindset it will lead to all sorts of problems the decline in trust. Infinite mindset we create high levels of trust co-operation collaboration innovation.

The game of business has no finishing line you want to build organisations that are strong enough and healthy enough to stay in the game for many generations to come.

Five principles of an Infinite mindset:-

  1. Advance a just cause – vision of a future state that does not yet exist – people are willing to make sacrifices to help advance forward to follow you. An example of a finite just cause:-  Fighting against poverty – makes it appear we can win – however if we said instead “We fought for the right for every human to provide for their own family” it is positioned as a cause that you want to be a part of. The first offers a problem to solve the second offers a vision of possibility and dignity. 

2. Build trusting teams – a current buzz term is psychological safety if your employees feel safe then they will trust you more. Creating an environment where failure is embraced and the team/organisation believe in a growth mindset.

3. Study your worthy rivals – In the book Sinek uses the tennis players Chris Everett-Lloyd and Martina Navratilova as examples of worthy rivals. They respected each other off the court and to that end they wanted to improve to be a worthy rival. Everett Lloyd particularly altered how she played from being a baseline player to coming into the net, she learnt from her rival and improved her game.

4. Prepare for existential flexibility – Be prepared to flex your business be aware of your just cause being limiting. The US railroad was about improving rail roads and with the decline of train travel they have been left behind. Imagine if they had invested in “just moving people” they could have invested in other forms of transport. Other examples are Blockbusters did not move the business from video rental and got squeezed out by Netflix who worked on a subscription model.

5. Demonstrate the courage to lead – making decisions that are bold and brave. The example of CVS Caremark in February 2014 taking the decision not to sell cigarettes as it was not in line with the healthy just cause they wanted to follow. Shareholders were not happy about the downturn in revenue but it is about having the courage to lead your team and the organisation to follow your cause. Consumers did not leave and in fact some shopped there to follow the cause and data showed a small decline in smokers in localised stats near their stores.

Please do reach out if you would like a workshop on the Infinite Mindset bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, personal impact

Giving the “right” feedback…

Feedback is a gift and the more we get used to giving and receiving the more we will be working in teams with high trust.

Kim Scott’s book “Radical Candor” uses a very simple and powerful framework to explain how to land feedback that resonates. In a talk she gives to accompany the book she tells the story of her own boss at the time Sheryl Sandberg giving her feedback and it not being received. Sandberg commented on the fact that she said “um” after every third word when she presented. Scott waved a hand as if to sweep the feedback away. Sandberg persisted and said a presentation coach might be an idea. Still the message was not getting through and eventually Sandberg got straight to the point. “By saying um after every third word there maybe a perception that you are stupid and insecure” . Scott immediately listened.

The only reason this feedback could land was their existing relationship and the confidence that Scott had that Sandberg was being tough because she cared. The model has two axis – how much you care for the personality and how direct you want to be.

Being direct can often be misconstrued as being cruel but the reality of a clear message is that it is much kinder. Bréne Brown is quoted as saying “Clear is Kind and Unclear is Unkind”.

Radical candour within a team needs to be frequent, candid and flow up and down and even sideways. This high trust environment provides psychological safety for all members.

If we don’t care about the person and we are not direct we are using passive aggressive behaviour where on the surface we flatter some-one but behind their back we criticise. Scott calls this “Manipulative Insincerity”.

Caring for a person too much can weaken are ability to be direct and we can give feedback that maybe helpful short-term but we are not addressing possibly big flaws. On the model this is known as “Ruinous Empathy”.

Finally if we are too direct and we don’t care for the person we are aggressive and just have the label of “Obnoxious Aggression”.

Please do get in touch if you would like nuggets to deliver a workshop on Feedback bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk