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

Critical Thinking…

The definition of critical thinking is to deliberately analyse information. By making it an intent we can make better decisions and have a better judgement of a situation.

We need to take time to step back and analyse a situation be the Judge and the Jury. By asking the right questions we need to evaluate arguments and evidence. Ironically we need to be open minded and not critical, to be open to being creative, reflective and adaptable.

Critical thinking in essence is about filtering and discovering. We must have a clear mind and not be influenced by a higher order of thinking.

Think about situations that require you to apply critical thinking:-

  • Interview preparation
  • Buying a house
  • Choosing a school/college or University
  • Time management

We have to be rigorous in our wish to apply critical thinking we have start with looking at scepticism (why are we doubting the truth) and we have to take a more neutral stance and be objective “fresh eyes”.

The starting point is “What do I know?” and “How do I know this?” this can dispel any deep routed opinions of others or even yourself.

In 1968 Dick Fosbury won the gold medal for the high jump in the Olympics, it is one of the best examples of critical thinking. Up until 1968 high jumpers believed that you had to land on your feet. Fosbury decided to ask the question “How else could I get over the bar?”. By throwing himself head first over the bar he lowered his centre of gravity and reduced his chances of hitting the bar. We are now all familiar with the Fosbury Flop but it all started by applying critical thinking.

Tom Chatfield wrote a book on Critical Thinking and created the 10 commandments of how to do it:-

  1. Slow down – take time to understand what you know already
  2. Conserve mental energy – stay focused (don’t have anything else on the go at the time)
  3. If in doubt wait – only get back to some-one until you are sure
  4. Know your limits – don’t pretend to know what you don’t know (read more and find out more)
  5. Beware of costs – don’t hold on to an idea, just because you have invested time and money
  6. Be strategic – judge the strategy not just short term results
  7. Look to long term – you might have a success then fail however the right way is the mean
  8. Seek out diverse opinion – re-examine
  9. Look beyond a frame of reference
  10. Is their a choice outside the frame

Critical thinking is about a better way of looking at the world. Please do get in touch if you would like nuggets to deliver a workshop bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Goals, motivation, personal impact, Time management

Effortless & Enjoyable

Diving into a task and visualising it as being effortless and enjoyable is hard. I often practice the approach from Brian Tracey’s bestseller “Eat that Frog” that if you had to eat a live frog you would want to eat it as quickly as possible. However my procrastination kicks in, and I am often overwhelmed by the frog. I look at it for a long time and have no idea where to start.

There is another approach that comes from the book “Effortless” by Greg McKeown. He uses a acronym to put us in the right frame of mind for a project.

D.D.O.G.G.

Done – What does done look like?

McKeown says take 60 seconds to visual the moment of completion. What is the final action? Pressing the send button on an email, pressing upload on YouTube or closing your window on the Zoom meeting, or is it plate of food you have created.

Delete – What steps can I delete it?

Start looking at the piece of work from 0 and thinking what steps do you need to carry out. Minimise the steps by deleting and combining, fancy recipes often have ingredients you don’t have and the taste might not be affected. A project or task on paper looks a lot less scary than in your head.

Obvious – What is the obvious first action?

Once you have the momentum of starting you relax into the project or task. The need to identify the first step is crucial, you may have done this by mapping out your tasks. In the book McKeown gives an example of some-one needing bookshelves and the first task would be to measure the walls. It materialises the reason the task has never moved forward is the individual did not own a tape measure – the obvious first task would be to buy or borrow a tape measure.

Gradual – What gradual pace can I sustain?

Establish a rate of progress that you can sustain and will enjoy. If you have to walk 30 miles, visualising a mile a day for 30 days is sustainable, 2 walks at 15 miles might overwhelm you. To quote McKeown “Do not do more today than you can completely recover from by tomorrow”.

Grateful – What can I be grateful for?

If you were to run a marathon and only focus on the aches and pains, you would feel every step. You need to focus on what you are grateful for. You will be grateful to the support you are receiving the progress you are making. Think of every time you complain replace it with something you are grateful for, and your step will be lighter.

In summary if you enter an:-

Effortless State – believing you can achieve the task and you will enjoy it.

Effortless Action – your gradual progress at the right pace for you

Effortless Results – focusing on the gratitude

Please do get in touch for a bitesize workshop with nuggets or a colourful coaching session bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

http://www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Why do you need a “great” process…?

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Mark Twain

When cash machines were launched the process was not full proof, you got your cash before you retrieved your card. Everyone was so keen to get their money that they forgot their cards. Banks found that the process was flawed, they just needed to change one part of the process. Retrieve your card and then get your cash.

Have you recently come across a process that was straightforward and that you felt was clear and carried you through with good signalling.

I recently donated some clothes to charity using an on-line system. I ordered bags online, received them/filled them, and then I followed a process of how to return the bags. The top of the website page told you where you were in the process. The visual indicators were excellent even an icon of the bag gave me confidence that I was progressing and I knew where I was at any part of the process.

Thinking about your own business, do your Clients know the process they are entering into and do your team follow the same process.

Focusing on a good system can save time and can be more effective. James Clear the author of Atomic Habits says that our systems are more important than our goals. If we get a system, process or ritual ingrained it becomes unconscious competence.

The first stage is to map out your process, with as much detail as possible. Think about the intangibles as much as the tangibles. When facilitating a session we use a pizza as an example, you need the dough first then the tomato base, cheese and various toppings. However when we think in business it is more complex than just toppings, what questions do you need to ask, how do you present the service you are offering, and how do you convert a conversation to a sale. Using a length of brown paper (easier and more modern to now use strips of magic whiteboards) and post-its map out each stage of the customer journey.

The next part of the process is to analyse the process, where is there overlap, who is responsible at certain points, put initials on your map.

Do you need to redesign the process, change a couple of steps. Think about timings that go with the process, is it 2 weeks to reconnect with a client or 4, make a system.

Start using the new process straight away, and communicate all the time as team as to how the process feels, as you still may need to tweak even at this stage.

Finally set up a review meeting when the process has been operating for 3 months, decide what has gone well, what could be done differently and what could you stop doing.

  • Map the process
  • Analyse the process
  • Redesign the process
  • Implement and communicate
  • Review

Please do get in touch if you would like nuggets to work with you on your processes.

http://www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Learning, Management

Think again…

When was the last time that you stopped what you were doing and thought I will rethink that task. We get locked into behavioural patterns which are driven by our values and beliefs.

Adam Grant the author of Think again, says we create an overconfident cycle:-

  • We form an opinion that feels right
  • Seek information to support that opinion
  • Feel validated
  • Proudly express our opinions

The cycles strengthens every time we preach, prosecute or politick. What do each of these three modes look like?

Preaching – you have a belief and the more you preach the more you are 100% certain, you ignore data to the contrary as it does not support the belief you are holding onto. Examples: belief in a political party, an investment, a way of working, new software etc…

Prosecuting – we prosecute an individual’s idea we dismiss their views on other areas as we do not hold their initial belief. Examples: political views, charities they support, way of working etc…

Politicking – we adopt others view points as we want to be liked and accepted by them. Examples: political parties adopt policies that will attract supporters, you may support your Managers opinion in order to get promotion etc…

If you imagine all of these three areas compound our overconfident cycle and we become blinkered to rethinking.

Adam Grant asked the scientist Daniel Kahneman what he does when he finds flaws in his research. Kahneman’s reply was “Its wonderful, I get a chance to be less wrong”. We all need to “Think like a Scientist”. The whole makeup of a Scientist is that they see ideas and beliefs as hunches that need to be tested.

We can start by thinking like a Scientist by using The Rethinking cycle:-

  • Doubt (acknowledge it)
  • Curiosity (of other ideas, opinions, beliefs)
  • Discovery (explore options)
  • Confident humility (admit your way was not necessarily the best)

One way to begin this new mode of thinking is to write down two headings:-

  • Things I don’t know
  • Things I have learnt recently

Humility has always needed to be a leadership characteristic, however the ability to rethink and have a confident humility is something we can all look at now in a very uncertain world.

Make this blog practical by challenging your own beliefs this week, if you have a doubt about a meeting being at 9.00am rethink it. The project is not going to run on the software selected by yourself, put your hand up and express doubt. The new hire you have made might not be the right for the culture, be open with your team, have confident humility.

Please do get in touch for a workshop around rethinking bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

http://www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Book a place on Developing YOU – Thursday 29th April 2021 @ 10.00am – 90 minute workshop £40 per delegate

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Leadership, motivation, personal impact

nuggets – Start with Why?

Simon Sinek’s TED talk, asks us to look at our businesses and Start with why? Why do you do what you do? People will do business with you because of why you do it not because of what you do.

Why do you get out of your bed in the morning. I love my business and understanding why I do what I do is the easy part.

The test is the “celery test” do you do your Why everyday. Sinek says that if you want to start eating healthily then celery must be in your shopping trolley. So if you have the clarity of Why do you put it to the test everyday. The Why is made up of a contribution and an impact. At nuggets the Why is “Helping people to think and work differently (the contribution) so that they can enjoy their best life (impact). The celery test is making sure that I do this everyday.

The discipline of How is often that unique thing that your business does that sets you apart from your competitors. Mine is colourful learning, the most comments I get from delegates is the colourful materials and often the colourful clothing of “me”. The discipline which sounds an odd word to use, is all about the continuity. When I am tired and think do I need a flip chart or heaven forbid I decide to just wear black, that is when I am not being true to the How?

What we do? the really dull part and in a nutshell either your job title or the transactional side of the business. However successful businesses ensure that the What is consistent. So the processes and practises in place mean that any interaction with your business does look and feel the same. If you attend a coaching session with nuggets does it feel the same as a workshop.

Start with Why? is all about finding not creating. Your why is deep routed within you and is totally intrinsic to who you are.

It is harder to find the Why in larger organisations, however certainly not impossible and so good for teams. The Why gives you followers and motivates, inspires and meaning to their day to day jobs. In his workbook Finding your Why, Sinek says you can have several Whys within an organisation, described as nesting. Different departments have their own nests and there is an accumulation however somehow they all factor into the main contributions and impact of the company.

As an individual take time to think about Why you are getting out of bed. Start by thinking of verbs (doing words) something that is the contribution:-

  • Thinking
  • Provoking
  • Building
  • Learning
  • Sharing

Then think about what the impact of that contribution has on people you come into contact with throughout the day. This will be the celery test as to whether you are making difference and whether you really feel your Why?

We are running an open workshop over Zoom on Thursday 29th April at 10.00am GMT – Developing Emotional Intelligence the cost is £40 per delegate. Please do get in touch if you wish to secure a place by emailing bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Experiential space…

With the schools going back today, people are beginning to contemplate a return to the office. Leaders need to ask the right questions and begin to think how they want to use their space.

We want team members to have an experience and engage with the place in a new way. Do you have to associate the place with sitting at a desk. Will it be a social hub, with facilities that you need to host drinks, buffets and any form of get together. This new area could be a conference facility, spaces bigger for social distancing and large rooms without desks.

Social areas in offices are nothing new, however the change will be leaders will actively encourage time spent in them. Table football, pool and darts chances for individuals from different departments who may not have seen each other for a whole year to meet up.

The fixed desk might be old fashioned and the need to reconnect might mean switching every month.

Flexible working has worked and must be a pattern that everyone has the choice to continue with. The core hours of 9.00am to 5.30pm will be altered with people arriving at lunchtime and working in the evening, likewise the breakfast club could be the liveliest time of the day it will all depend on your culture.

The space can be used for well being events, encourage everyone to down tools and meditate, practise yoga or do a full on cardiac workout (air fresheners at the ready)!!! Lunch and learn can be so much more fun than a PowerPoint presentation, get departments to create board games of what they do, treasure hunts, book summaries the more imaginative the better.

We have been starved of opportunities to collaborate and connect spontaneously, so make this happen in the new world. Coffee and connect throughout the day, and with a new mix of people. Encourage this by providing creative tools such as white boards, post-its and most importantly good coffee.

Before everyone returns look at your space with “fresh eyes”, what would make the area more attractive and inviting. Watch the old classic “9 to 5” film with Dolly Parton where they reinvent the office space. If this is what you are aiming for ask employees to bring in house plants, photos and encourage a home from home atmosphere.

Theme your meeting rooms around your product or service, making spaces fun and connecting with your brand.

The place to start preparing is for Leaders to ask the key questions now…:-

  • How do you want to use the space?
  • How do you want to engage with it?
  • What are the multiple purposes of this space?
  • What rituals can you set up to make as many experiences as possible…?
  • When do you want to visit?

What will be sad is if the opening of office is dictated by leadership without buy-in from team members. This is an exciting time to reconnect and for your business to operate like it never has before, don’t be led by numbers or safe guarding, create an experiential new space.

For more ideas or for nuggets to facilitate a new space ideas session please get in touch with bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk.

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Decision Making, Leadership, Problem solving

Staying true and staying in touch…

A client last week shared a brilliant story about why they go to one Fish and Chip shop rather than another that is cheaper and closer to their home. It is all about their brand integrity and the product/service. The Fish and Chip shop only uses fresh fish never frozen, they are not the cheapest, however they have queues outside the shop. It made me think about what defines everyones business “quality of fish” and also how you engage with your customers during lockdown. This restaurant undoubtedly has returning customers due to the quality of their product, this ensures they have people returning.

We will recognise companies that have been imaginative during this time, changing their product or service and making it more accessible. Restaurants like Wagamama sharing their recipes and setting up an online cookery school. ASOS adapting their stock to accommodate the demand for casual clothing, this repositioning of their offering shows they understood the customers need.

Communication is key, the right level of messaging and the right tone. Even on shop windows the positivity of a simple message “opening soon” or the longer ones thanking everyone for their loyalty. Speaking to the hearts and minds of who you want to stay in touch with.

During the time out the companies who have made their products and services even better or adapted their offers will be recognised. I was predominately a learning and development business, with a coaching offering. nuggets is now an online coaching service with workshops. Recognising the need for learning and development to be more intimate and more immediate has lent itself far more to coaching, therefore I have adapted my services.

The lockdown has made it necessary for firms to engage with their customers in new innovative ways and prioritise their happiness. Loyalty schemes need to be personalised therefore even more data capturing and more artificial intelligence to understand what really will make their hearts sing.

The road ahead is still going to be long, however the more we take the time to stay true to our brand integrity eg. quality and communicate with our customers the more secure our businesses will be.

Please do get in touch if you would like nuggets to facilitate a brainstorming session on your key offerings and how you are communicating with your clients. bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

http://www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Out of which maze…

Dr. Spencer Johnson wrote the follow up to “Who moved my cheese…?” and called it “Out of the maze” he delivered it to his publishers shortly before he died in July 2017. Very poignantly the book includes a letter he wrote to his own tumour. The belief he attached to the tumour was fear until he realised that if he loved the tumour, he would become far more appreciative of the life he had left and ultimately more loving to his family and friends.

For those of you who have not read the bestseller “Who moved my cheese…?’ the theme is that cheese is a metaphor for what you want to have in life and the maze is where you look for what you want.  The book emphasises the need to adapt to change and move with the cheese.

“Out of the maze” picks up with one of the characters who was left in the maze Hem, and the book asks the question what if you don’t know where to begin.

The central character (Hem) is locked by the fact change has happened and the belief that things will never be the same.  However he meets the character “Hope” who says “Maybe they can turn out better than they were…”

We have beliefs that we get locked into and they can hold you prisoner in a mindset.  A belief is a thought that you trust is true, which can be either hold you down or lift you up.  Therefore you can change your mind if you choose a new belief.   You must not become the belief, you are the person who chooses your beliefs.

The book “Out of the maze…” goes even further by saying – there are no limits to what you can believe.   You can simply change your mind by having new beliefs.

Sometime we have to believe before we can see the result so that we get into the right frame of mind.

An example:- believe you can sell your business before you have put it on the market and then you will do all that is necessary to get it ready to sell

On the journey to get out of the maze the character had to lose old baggage which is a metaphor for old thinking and beliefs.   We often on the journey have to seek out the very things we have always avoided.  Explore what has until now always seemed impossible.

The reflections at the end of the book, put it very succinctly “The Maze I need to get out of? is my own thinking”

Please do get in touch  bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Tough Calls

Tough calls by Allan Leighton was written in 2011 however the book is so timely now and could really do with a update to help decisions people have been making during the pandemic.

Leighton starts the book, with his own personal tough call, as to whether to take a position with Asda after 18 years with Mars.

As a leader it is almost always the difficult decisions that end up on your desk. If everything is ticking along nicely most people don’t need to bother the Leader. It is only when things get choppy that people turn for help and that generally happens at 3.30pm on a Friday afternoon.

Leighton explains how decisions can be broken into categories:-

Radical decision – when things within an organisation’s control have gone badly wrong and urgently need addressing

Crisis decision – external factors takeover and you are hit by a challenge or a disaster

Opportunity decision – there is a potential takeover or merger

Progress decision – smaller scale decisions that businesses face everyday

These categories of decisions form the basis of part one of the book. The second section is all about “road testing a tough call”. Testing the vision, and deciding whether leadership Vs consensus is the right approach. Most importantly as a leader the moment when it is right to change your mind.

Part three of the book, is “Seeing it Through”. Have you got the right people on board and have you won hearts and minds. Finally are you communicating on message.

We all make decisions everyday. Most of them are pretty straightforward, but every so often there are some really tough calls. In business the choices that executives make can make the difference between success and ongoing prosperity or failure and financial disaster.

We will be reviewing Tough Calls at nuggets book club this Friday at 10.00am. Please do send me an email if you wish to attend 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