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

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Leadership, motivation, Relationships

Strong culture…

The way we do things around here… is the best definition of a culture.  The sum of values, habits and rituals coming together to form a way of being together.

Why is a strong culture so important?

There is a direct correlation between performance, retention and recruitment.  John Kotter and John Heskett collated statistics to prove the strength of culture.

  • Revenue is 4 x faster
  • Job creation 7 x higher
  • Profit performance 750% higher

The culture needs to be able to move, when there are changes to leadership, or mergers and acquisitions and there could even be sudden growth.  Any changes can lead to an old management structure creating sub cultures, which can be very unhealthy for the overall culture.

Sticking with your culture and values takes guts and it is about everyone have a conviction of a core ideology.

The story that makes this seem so simplistic is the Olympic rowing 8 who simply coined the phrase and ideology “Will it make the boat go faster”.   All behaviours were accountable to that one sentence.

Sustaining the culture 

Commit to regularly communicating at team meetings and having visuals around the office that support the core ideology.  Ensure that you hire to fit your culture, within the recruitment and selection include questions that explain how things get done around here.   Promote your culture by rewarding members who support it, this will embed the habits and rituals you want to see.

Cultural fit will make life easier.

Please do get in touch for a workshop on “Understanding culture” – bev@nuggetsoflearnign.co.uk

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Leadership, mindfulness, personal impact

Different types of unconscious bias…

Basic survival when you are young is about trusting familiar and not trusting unfamiliar.   A baby trusts that its mother will care for them and a stranger will make them cry as they do understand or trust what they will bring.  The brain sorts familiar and unfamiliar and then starts to create memories that get locked down into biases.

We rarely perceive things objectively as our unconscious bias will step in and fill any blanks.  We often think we can make a decision visually alone as we have enough knowledge from previous experiences to know that it is right.

We need to be conscious of our bias, otherwise we will limit our choices in life and we will limit potential in others.

The data we have on what’s familiar can be limiting and thus give us too many shortcuts as to what is good or bad.

There are different types of unconscious bias to be aware of:-

  • Like me
  • Confirmation
  • Anchor

The like me bias is when we have an affinity with another so therefore they will be OK in the role or job, because they are like me.

Confirmation bias is when you have heard something in your past that therefore confirms that bias.  An example “Left handed people are more creative…”

Anchor bias is when you make a decision based on the first information you see.  This can be very damaging in recruitment, candidates can be decided based on their salary as this might be the first information you see.

Being aware of bias and slowing down are all good ways to ensure that your unconscious bias does not lead you.

Try making one small change on a regular basis, ask another person to lead a meeting, seek advice from new people alter your preferences to which newspaper you read or to which programmes you watch.

When you next open your email, have fresh eyes on the subjects and the sender, do not let your unconscious bias lead which one you open first.

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

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Leadership, motivation, personal impact, Relationships

Trust Vs Performance…

Simon Sinek talks about the balance of trust and performance.  He gives the scenario of working with the Navy Seals.

There are two levels of trust as far as they are concerned:-

  • “On the battlefield would you trust some-one with your life” – therefore saying their performance was very high
  • “Off the battlefield would you trust that person with your wife” – do they have high performance levels but very low trust levels

If you look at the table below where would you place the members of your team.

Screenshot 2019-12-02 at 16.34.28.png

  • High Performer/High Trust – might seem ideal, however they will possibly want to explore new challenges and will be hard to keep
  • Low Performer/Low Trust – might not be worth the investment of your time to develop, it will take lots of time and emotional energy
  • The most interesting column is the High Trust, you can develop Performance, with skills training and you already have a committed member of the team
  • The Low Trust column you should fear, especially the High Performer with Low Trust, how did they get there?

Reward performance on its own is creating an environment of toxicity where everyone just thinks for themselves and not others.

High Trust is a harmonious atmosphere where skills can be developed in a safe comfortable environment.

As a leader you can develop both, and it is worth categorising your team to identify the approach.

  • Performance – upskilling from a technical perspective – tends to be hard skills
  • Trust – every relationship is underpinned by Trust, so taking time out to really get to know your team members.  Invest in harnessing rapport and understanding them.

Please do contact nuggets for a workshop on working with your team as a leader bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk