Posted in Bite size learning, motivation, training

Giving you insight to classic titles…nuggets bookclub is returning

Do you find that you don’t have enough time to keep up to date with your reading?

When lockdown started in March, nuggets set up a bookclub which ran every Friday for several weeks. The commitment was 30 minutes every Friday and classic business titles were covered.

The format of the sessions were:-

  • Welcome with an interactive exercise related to the book content
  • Book summary – structured around the key themes from the chapters
  • 3 key questions
  • nuggets – key takeaways from the book to be applied to life

We are going to start again in September, with the same format and new titles that will still be classics and chosen specifically for the times we are living through.

There is never any pressure to read the book, as nuggets is saving you time by giving you an insight as to what the book is covering and most importantly practical tips as to how you can apply the content.

The sessions take place over Zoom and where possible they are as interactive as they can be. The feedback from the first series was great:-

Really liked the synopsis at the start of the sessions to explain the principles of the book”

“The colourful diagrams diagrams helped to visualise the content of the book”

“The simple-ness of the concept and being Friday morning”

“Every session had an exercise to engage the attendees”

“Bite size chunks worked well”

To get you ready for our next series these are the books we will be reviewing:-

  • Friday 4th September 2020 – “Eat that Frog” by Brian Tracy
  • Friday 11th September 2020 – “Chimp Paradox” by Dr Steve Peters
  • Friday 18th September 2020 – “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R Covey
  • Friday 25th September 2020 – “Kindness Method” by Shahroo Izadi
  • Friday 2nd October 2020 – “To Sell is Human” by Dan Pink
  • Friday 9th October 2020 – “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown

Please do get in touch if you would like more details bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Goals

Better & Better decisions…

“Thinking in bets” is the book by Annie Duke a professional poker player. The exercise of decision making under conditions of uncertainty aligns with the game of Poker where you make decisions under conditions of uncertainty.

High quality decisions are like investments in life.

View every decision as a bet and you become more open minded.

“Are you certain you will enjoy the book?” – some-one wants to bet with you that you won’t. You then begin to challenge your beliefs, what information do I need or what am I missing? What does this person know about the book that I don’t?

Suddenly you are more open minded as you have so much more information about the book, favourable and unfavourable. You have lost your bias and you have made yourself more open to new information.

This approach to decisions, beginning to look at them like bets, means we embrace objectivity and we make better decisions.

Duke’s other principle is to think about expected value. Calculate the expected reward and the outcome. Is it worth watching the film for 2 hours or meeting a friend for coffee for 1 hour and then exercising for the other hour. Think about the time, money and attention and committ with confidence if the expected value works for you at that moment in time. Assess your decision by how much you are investing Vs expected value.

We get better decisions if we evaluate their success and their failure. We could make a terrible decision and get good results by being lucky. However if we have just haphazardly got lucky this would not be a good pattern to follow.

We should evaluate the positive and the negative, so if you make a decision and get a good result, think what two mistakes you made. This creates the mindset of process focused rather than results focused.

“What makes a decision great is not that it has a great outcome. A great decision is the result of a good process” Annie Duke

We are making decisions in uncertain times so what can we apply from Duke’s theory:-

  • Make a decision imagining it is a bet – ignore your bias and be open minded
  • Weigh up the expected value with how much time or money you are investing
  • Evaluate all decisions – it is the process not the result

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

What next…?

There is no new normal as everything is new, so therefore what next…?

We have developed new habits and even new skills to adapt to our new working environment and changes to our business. We have reinvented products and services to fit the climate we are in. Following successful brands we have evolved and adapted to the new compass and the new direction we have been forced to follow.

Going forward there are three main areas that will keep us on track:-

  1. Pivot to customer
  2. Agile
  3. Trust & transparency

1. Pivot to the customer has been a buzz on blogs and social media, however what does it actually mean. We have to put the customer at the centre of everything and we literally move around them (pivoting) to every need demand they desire. My own example would be, my coaching sessions reduced to one hour and were conducted over Zoom, as this is what worked for the customer. nuggets workshops are also only one hour over Zoom and the customer chooses the time of day.

We also pivot by being innovative with our products and service. You cannot deliver in this climate the same service you did before so you adapt it. My workshops used to be highly interactive with flip charts and lots of colour. The changes I have made are colourful PowerPoint slides and interaction of a verbal kind using very imaginative exercises.

The expression pivot also has a financial connotation, how quickly can you alter your fees. Your expenses might be less in this climate so therefore you can optimise what you have and make it a financially attractive. This is smart pricing, you get a lot for your money but it is at a fair rate.

A customer centric business is personal you foster loyalty by sharing how you have made the business accessible to them and affordable. You make it very clear that you are there for them whatever the situation globally.

2. Agile everything…the principles of agile are not exclusive to software development and can be applied to any business. There are 12 principles of Agile that fall into three main categories:-

  1. Clarity and transparency delivery – the system of work
  2. Learning and leaning – improve and optimise performance
  3. People focus – autonomous and engaged culture

Part one the clarity and transparency is all about having regular milestones and measurements which align with a vision and goals. There must be clear intent and direction so that you always understand what is valuable to your customer.

At nuggets I have a white board in the office which clearly shows how many coaching sessions, workshops happen each month. The overall vision of nuggets is to “Help people think and work differently…”. After every workshop or coaching session individuals send their nuggets (key learnings) so that I know that I am on track with my vision and I have added value to the customer.

The second part of Agile is learning and leaning. We have to look deep into our processes and systems to minimise waste. Repeat tasks to spot if you can make any incremental changes. Review all the work you do as quickly as possible so that you have a very short feedback loop.

The third and final phase of Agile is the people focus. Ensure you recognise effort and you have collective ownership over tasks and projects. Empower your team to improve together and collaborate regularly. Drive processes through as much communication as possible.

3. Trust and Transparency finally on the journey of what next..? Trust underpins every relationship you have, you may have deep foundations of trust with some and very weak ones with others. In the current situation we are in, they need to be solid and robust. Take time to build relationships, it is as important as the job itself. Without people you have no business and people are human.

Transparency is how are business is conducted, we operate fairly with no hidden costs or hidden agendas. We share our vision and our products and services and how we want to work with our customers.

In summary the “What next…?” will be intelligent agility, retaining excellence and above all taking time to understand our customers.

Posted in Bite size learning, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, motivation, Relationships

Self motivation…

The force that drives you to get stuff done… The definition sounds easy enough however to get the drive and the force to keep going is hard.

We have all had to self motivate, we don’t even have the discipline of a commute the deadline of travel.

Self motivation is the driver but you need the passenger of self discipline sitting alongside and encouraging you with a rigour and a structure.

Motivation is intrinsic and extrinsic and we need both working together to push us forward. Intrinsic comes from within us as to what we want to achieve and is the most fulfilling as we have set our own targets. Extrinsic is the external rewards, such as money and status.

A key component of emotional intelligence is self motivation, knowing what gets you out of bed in the morning. Daniel Goleman the author of numerous books on the subject says it has four components:-

  1. Achievement
  2. Commitment to your goals
  3. Initiative to seek out new opportunities
  4. Optimism that you will achieve

We are more likely to be motivated if we have set our own personal standards, we can follow other peoples standards however the motivation level will be low.

Scott Geller, psychologist says ask yourself three questions:-

  1. Can you do it?
  2. Will it work?
  3. Is it worth it?

The first question asks for self efficacy (your belief in capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments).

The second question is your ability to way up the consequences, positive and negative and still not be deterred.

The final question weighs up everything, achievement, effort, consequences and result.

Geller also says you can evaluate against the 4 C’s:-

  • Consequences
  • Competence
  • Choice (level of autonomy)
  • Commuity (support from others)

So in order to be self motivated we need to set our own personal standards and be able to evaluate ourselves. To gain deep fulfilment we need to evoke passion find the drive within ourselves and not wait for others to give it to us.

The skills needed to self motivate:-

  1. Set personal goals and targets
  2. Introduce an element of risk – put the goals at stretch so you grow
  3. Seek feedback so that you improve
  4. Be committed to them – be disciplined
  5. Seek out new opportunities
  6. Manage setbacks and obstacles – do not get demotivated for long

The next step is to maintain your self motivation which can be the hardest part of the change you wish to make. Ironically today I watch the TED Talk on “Master Procrastinator” before writing a blog on self motivation.

Maintaining self motivation:-

  1. Continuous learning
  2. Surround yourself with motivated and supportive people
  3. Positive mindset and a growth mindset
  4. Harness your strengths
  5. Beat the procrastination
  6. Ask for help when you need it

Working from home has pushed us into self motivation at a deeper level and employers have trusted us far more than ever before. To continue to have the flexibility of working from home we will now have to share our personal standards on self motivation and self discipline.

There is no time like the present to talk with your line manager about the structuring of your day and the future goals you wish to attain.

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

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