The difference between being successful and effective is knowing how you got there. Success can be luck, it was incredible, however upon reflection there was not necessarily a process to get there. Being effective has longevity and can lead you to success multiple times.
Taking time out to analyse your process can lead to even greater results. A good example was the process of cash machines. When they were first introduced the Banks found that they had high costs on lost cards. The process they had mapped out, was as follows:-
- Insert card
- Enter PIN
- Request cash
- Collect cash
- Retrieve card
The initial process involved getting the cash out of the machine before the card was returned. Most people were focussed on the money, so, once they had the notes in their hand, they turned away, leaving their card still in the cash machine. Simply by reversing the order of two steps solved the problem – people had to remove their card before they got their money. This small change in the process saved the banks money and also was a more effective process for the customer.
We can process map anything, your morning routine, invoicing, sales, customer returns and setting up a new system.
The most effective way to conduct a process mapping session is as follows:-
- Map the process – use magic whiteboards or a roll of brown paper, then use post-it notes to log every step of the process
- Analyse the process – step back and decide whether there is anything missing and who has ownership at certain points of the process
- Redesign the process – if there are obvious points where the process gets held up, look to redesign
- Implement & communicate – Follow the process and document it (infographic) share with as many team members as possible
- Review – after 90 days review with the original process mapping team
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We find it very easy to shower every morning and clean our teeth, however in work we are sometimes at a loss to know where to start.
In work we need rituals and habits that make it easier for our brain to hit the ground running. Remember when you learnt to ride a bike how hard your conscious mind was focusing on all the obstacles in your path and now you cycle looking at the view.
There are times when we require new thinking so it is good to challenge our brain however ritualising some of the daily or weekly tasks could free the mind when you want it to really work hard.
Think about habits and routine items within your business:-
- Posting on social media, set a time each day where you go in and have the same system, of the platforms you visit, so that the tour becomes familiar and easy.
- Set aside time in the week when you read the relevant articles for your business. Accumulate them each day so when you hit that weekly reading spot you can get in the zone.
- Allocate a specific time to email and touch base with your clients, have it as an appointment in your diary so that it happens.
- Have some daily disciplines in place, write down what you want to achieve each day and check your work in progress schedule.
- Think about your daily habits, when do you open your email, when do you start project work and most importantly when do you eat.
- Connect with friends and colleagues by booking coffees and lunches, ensure you have a pipeline at all times of connections, business and pleasure.
- Review your day so that you can constantly improve your systems and processes.
Please do get in touch if we can help at nuggets to create some new rituals for you and your business firstname.lastname@example.org
Liv Boeree a famous Poker player and her excellent TED talk explained how we quantify our thinking which gives us more precise language.
We use estimate words rather than defining what we actually mean. I will “probably” meet you for a drink. Instead we could talk in numbers “There is a 60% chance I will meet you for a drink”.
We often talk about a “gut” instinct however the reality is that you need slow careful analysis. Your gut does not park your car or end your marriage. Behind your gut is slow careful analysis as to whether it is doable based on size or financial implications, all about numbers.
When we are successful we might say we were lucky however if we go into the next project with just luck, we would fail. We have strategic edge based upon our skill level which will be calculated by the number of times you have practised deploying that skill, again all about numbers.
As a poker player Liv Boeree leaves us with three summaries:-
- Your gut is your friend and so is a cost benefit analysis
- Success is sweetest when you achieve it across a large sample size
- The future is unknown but you can dam well estimate it
It is so easy to focus on the here and now and not have those big conversations that can change the direction you are currently focusing on.
To ensure that the discussion is effective you have to set the scene and provide a framework:-
- Meeting booked in the diary well in advance
- A theme agreed being long term discussion on growth, business improvement, expansion anything in the future…
- One to five year time line
- Everyone given time to prepare
- Suspend judgement during the meeting to ensure that there is free thinking
- Discuss points in agreement and ones in disagreement
- Use structure by using the boxes below to guide the discussion and to create a strategy
Use a facilitator to ensure that you stay on track and that you have the tools and resources that will ensure open discussion.
Facilitating a meeting is to take a complex situation and make it easy for a team to see it simplistically.
True definition of facilitation is as simple as “To make easy”.
It starts with a good brief, clarity on what the purpose of the meeting is and expected outcomes. From this initial discussion the Facilitator can then design an event using tools and exercises that will fit around the objectives.
The structure and tools are designed to create collaborative contributions. They must be varied and interactive and to anticipate different energy levels.
The tools and techniques can range from an initial ice breaker to set the tone and rapport of the day. Flip charts around the room to ensure movement, card sorts and post-its bringing colour and vibrancy to content.
The Facilitator will ensure that the day is kept on track from a time and agenda perspective.
There must be ample opportunities for joint problem solving and lots of discussion. To ensure that items are always relevant it is wise to create a car park flip chart so that you can say:- “That is really good point however can we cover it separately and therefore put on the car park”.
Neutrality is really important and is often best achieved if the Facilitator comes from outside of the company.
The Facilitator is there to make sure that you get the most out of your team members and have relevant actions and outcomes.
Please do get in touch for nuggets to facilitate your next meeting. email@example.com
Recently found a fantastic mnemonic for sales:-
S – solve problems
A – ask lots of questions
L – listen more than you talk
E – empathise
S – share knowledge
Sadly a poor selling technique is to go straight to sharing the knowledge, particularly when talking about a service. Telling your client what it says on their website is the classic “Value snoozer”, why do I want to know something I know already.
The stage that is above the mnemonic and the most important is the rapport building. How do you make somebody feel really comfortable that they want to buy from you, as they have made you feel valued.
You initially find out the service or requirement they are looking for which is the problem and then when you reach the asking lots of questions, split them into two categories.
There are hard facts that anyone and everyone can give you but the soft facts go into identifying the personal requirement.
Working with property managers you can see the divide easily:-
- Where do you live currently?
- Where have you viewed already?
- What attracted you to the area you are currently living in?
- What did you dislike about the properties you have viewed already?
If you only collated the hard facts you would be providing them with the same properties they have already seen or rejected.
The balance of questions and listening should always be on the buyers side, remember the 80:20 principle. Ask an open question and listen empathetically for the detailed response.
Empathy is always understanding that person’s position at that moment in time, please don’t sympathise with them or make it about you.
Finally when you have collated enough data you can give a knowledgeable response about what service or product you have available.
Please do contact nuggets to explore behaviours around service firstname.lastname@example.org
We have believed for a long time that stress makes you sick and that stress is definitely the enemy.
Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal blows this myth for us by her illuminating TED talk. She explains that “If you believe stress is harmful to your health it will be”. If we think and act differently when stress occurs different things begin to happen.
We know that when our anxiety rises our heart beat gets faster and then our blood vessels contract. This leads to less oxygen in the brain and we feel the stress which has a direct impact on our health and our biology.
Upon entering a stressful situation we could think and act differently to alter the responses. If we feel the heart beat increase is our body feeling energised then our blood vessels relax and whilst we still have an increase heart rate we will not restrict the oxygen to the brain. Your body can rise to the challenge this is the biology of courage.
There is statistical evidence to support the way we think and act around stress can have noticeable differences. We should make life choices around what matters most not around whether there is more stress involved. So when making your next career choice you must decide whether the new position gives more meaning to your life and you will cope with added stress levels.
Please do get in touch to book a workshop on Managing Pressure with nuggets of learning. email@example.com