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, 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, 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

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

Black box thinking culture…

Matthew Syed’s book “Black box thinking” seems very relevant for now, as we are all trying new ways of working and  we need to ensure we our creating new initiatives.

It starts with your culture do you have a growth mindset where you and your team practice hard work and learn from trial and error.  Failure is not hidden and you all work through how to make it better going forward.

If you are working in a culture of a fixed mindset you think talent is dominant, might be your people or even the product or service.  You think when mistakes happen it is just one of those things.  Before Covid 19 “our service was brilliant it must just be a – one off”.

The aviation industry has famously the “black box”, when a near miss happens or tragically a fatal crash, the black box is recovered.   There are two in reality one the technical recordings of the mechanics and electrics and the other the conversations in the cockpit.  The boxes are also bright orange so that they can be located easily.  These boxes give the answers as to what happened and provide valuable data to make changes going forward.

We might not have boxes to record our failure however in organisations we can encourage our teams to speak up and share when something is not working.  We also want them to be honest about a failure and then as a group it can be analysed.

Syed talks about a hospital in America where they realised two drug bottles were too similar in colour and labelling.  It was only until a patient was given a dose of the wrong medication that the changes were made to the bottles.  Open your eyes to the processes you have now and ask yourself are they working.

The right culture creates success and every time you are honest with each other you are fostering psychological gain. Whilst working remotely speak to your teams about new ideas and encourage Q and A sessions.  We are in an unknown arena for working everyones ideas are good and everyone should be listened to.

On Friday the nuggets book club will be reviewing and summarising “Black Box Thinking” please do join us the invitation is below:-

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: May 22, 2020 10:00 AM London

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUpceigpjooE9bDP6ARia8WvMSCOziC6S2K

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

 

 

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

Being resilient…

“Self-esteem is as important to our well-being as legs are to a table.  It is essential for physical and mental health and for happiness” – Louise Hart

The definition of the word resilient:-

(of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.
(of a substance or object) able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.
Understanding that resilience is all about bouncing back, we need to know how it is made up, what are the ingredients of resilience and can it be measured.

If we were to take the metaphor of the table we can explain what each table leg represents an element of resilience and the table top pulls all the components together.

The Resilience Table

Leg One – Mental toughness, how robust are you at staying in the role of decision maker.  Using all your logical thinking skills to way up pros and cons and be aware of problem and solutions as they arise.

Leg Two – Physical energy, staying strong and being able to attend continuous meetings still with a smile and bringing energy to every event.

Leg Three – Emotional balance, being measured in reponses to others and demonstrating empathy.  A support for others with a balanced view and the appropriate emotional response.

Leg Four – Social skills – naturally adept at making everyone feel comfortable in your space.  Being your own person and not being swept into negative behaviours, managing your own self esteem and confidence about who you are.

Table Top – Sense of purpose, a meaning to what you are doing, the core of who you are.  This holds the legs and is the most important place to start when thinking about your resilient levels.

The table top is where we need to ask ourselves “Why do we do what we do? this will uncover your meaningful purpose will help create strong table legs.

Give yourself a score out of 10 for each of the table legs and constantly monitor why one might be high and one low.  You will have to nurture and look after each leg and ensure that they are totally connected to the table top.

At nuggets we have designed a workshop on Being Resilient here are the objectives and what you will gain.

Being Resilient 

Programme Objectives 

  • Understanding how to monitor your resilience levels
  • Exploring the theory of Mindset by Professor Carol Dweck
  • Making the five pillars of resilience practical and applicable
  • Applying the kindness method to creating new habits and rituals

What will you gain?

  • Recognising how to switch from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset
  • Identifying which of the five pillars of resilience needs to be developed
  • Adopting new habits and rituals
  • Practical action plan

Please do get in touch if you are interested bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

(can be one person or a small group) over Zoom at the cost of £100

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, personal impact, Relationships, Stress management

Focus on what you can control…

We can easily overwhelm ourselves by thinking what we can solve.  There is currently so much to think about, we must break it down and work out what is within our control.

Stephen Covey in his book the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” uses the Circle of Concern and the Circle of Influence.  There are things we are concerned about and we need to work out whether we can influence them.  If we can do something eg. some form of influence it leaves your Circle of Concern.  It is like a mental in and out box.  What we have to be really careful of, is not letting things fester in a Circle of Concern that we cannot influence and thus making us feel mentally unstable.

My current examples:-

  • Currently I cannot see my Mum therefore I cannot spend everyday worrying about it, however I can see her every evening on House Party with my sisters. An example of a concern moved to influence.
  • I cannot come up with a vaccine for Covid 19 therefore I cannot let it sit in my Circle of Concern that needs to go outside my head into an area of No Concern.  I still care but if I can’t influence it will affect my mental well being.
  • My sons GCSE results are now outside mine or his influence so we have put them to one side in the areas of No Concern.

Amy Morin the author of “Insights from 13 things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” says if we focus on what we can offer others we will stop:-

  • feeling sorry for ourselves
  • resenting other peoples success
  • feeling like we are owed something

Mentally strong people shift their focus to people in need, they look for ways to help others.  If we are busy doing good things we will stop focusing on a victim like mentality.

Within our own households we can focus on how we can make the time as pleasant as possible for them.  We can also reach out to our friends and family remotely still giving support.  In work we can adapt our services, reduce fees and be readily available.

She suggests getting a piece of paper and drawing a line down the middle.  Writing all the things above the line that you can’t control and below the line all the things you can control.  After you have finished the list, rip off the top of the paper and throw it away.

Even when you have your list of the things you can control, she says you must remember that people are a factor that you cannot completely control, so remember the following points:-

  • Stop dwelling on the past, a situation with a particular person
  • Stop wasting energy on the things you cannot control within that relationship
  • Stop giving people your power  (don’t let their opinions steer your direction)
  • Stop trying to please everyone

Uncertainty can be managed by focusing on what you can control.  Grab that piece of paper today whether you do the line down the middle or Covey’s circles, focus on what you have influence and control over.

Take care and stay safe and well, please do contact me at bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Goals, Learning, Time management

Timing is not an art its a science…

“We all know that timing is everything. Trouble is, we don’t know much about timing itself.” – Dan Pink

When is the worst time of the day?

The book written by Dan Pink uncovers some of the mysteries around time by using scientific evidence.  Here are some questions used in one of his recent talks about the book to give you the idea of “When” is the right time.

  • When should a CEO make an earnings call to investors?

We should all avoid the time between 2.00pm – 4.00pm and especially the unproductive time in the middle 2.55pm. This period Pink refers to as the “Trough”.  The studies show that CEOs are more likely to make mistakes on an earnings call in the afternoon.

  • When is a good time to ask for a pay rise?

Studies show that if your line Manager is returning just after a break they will be refreshed enough to make a more positive decision.  Pink based this on analysis of parole board decisions, prisoners repeatedly got a more favourable decision just after lunch than just before lunch as the peak of the morning wore off.

  • When should you start a new diet or exercise regime?

We use a temporal landmark this is a point in time that we naturally think of as an opportunity for a fresh start. These come in two forms: social temporal landmarks, dates that are seen as a fresh start by many people collectively (your birthday, anniversary etc) or New Year’s, or the other landmark is the start of a month, the start of a week, etc.  Pink describe it as  mental accounting of when to start your spreadsheet.

  • When are you most likely to run a marathon?

Our life is planned out in episodes and this pattern leads to endings and beginnings.  We are more likely to run a marathon at 29, 39, or 49 before we hit the big number.  We want to achieve something at the end of that chapter or episode.

Please do get in touch for further insights on timing bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Relationships

Thinking about unconscious bias…

Unconscious bias the deep seated prejudices we all carry around that can affect how we treat people.  We use them automatically, unintentionally and unconsciously.

For a recent workshop I created the following two case studies which I am sure everyone can relate to.

Scenario 1

Line Manager conducts regular one to one sessions with his team members. He has different approaches to different people, and a lot of the team are beginning to feel uncomfortable with his style.

They have been talking at break and have heard that some individuals are asked to share their diary scheduling of work.  He wants very detailed analysis of how they work and what they work on.

Other individuals he just asks for the end result and seems delighted with the progress.

  • What will you do as a team?
  • What will you do as an individual?
  • What bias is the Manager demonstrating?
  • Has this ever happened to you and how did you deal with it?

Scenario 2

You are in a Client meeting and you find it hard to contribute, there are very vocal characters and your voice does not seem to be heard.

Recently a decision was made based on a consensus around the table, which you know is not the right way to move forward.  You have evidence to share as to why the approach would be wrong however you feel uncomfortable sharing with such a strong group.

  • What are you going to do?
  • Is this a situation you can relate to?
  • What bias is being demonstrated at this meeting?
  • What as an organisation can you do, to improve the format of meetings?

Please do share your thoughts with me bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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