Posted in Leadership, Bite size learning, Relationships, Management, Decision Making, motivation

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, Decision Making, Leadership, Management, personal impact

Unconscious bias…

The definition of unconscious bias is unsupported judgements.

We have the conscious mind where we apply logic and make rational decisions.  The unconscious mind has a vaster volume of information and we tend to use it to make snap decisions, which are not often right.

The information in the unconscious mind is made up of shortcuts, personal experiences, our own background and cultural background.  We create filters with this information and they often formulate from visual cues.

The cues can be gender, height, similarity or even their name.   I once met some-one who said they had never met a Bev they had liked before (an outspoken open bias).  More often as the bias is unconscious nothing will be said and you may not even be aware that you are making a judgement.

This instinctive use of our mind is not based on any analysis and therefore creates many categories of bias.  We often favour our own groups, this is known as affinity bias.  We have an affinity with a team member and we may support them with positive micro behaviours.  Praise after a meeting and the occasional coffee as you enjoy their company.  If we don’t have an affinity we may use negative micro behaviours, picking up on every detail within an email and not supporting them within meetings.

We cannot stop unconscious bias however we can become aware of it and begin to challenge it and address it.

  • Slow decision making down
  • Reconsider the reasons of your first initial reaction or response
  • Question any cultural stereotypes
  • Monitor each other and call it out, if you think there is a bias

We can address unconscious bias by greater self awareness.  Please do get in touch for a workshop on the topic bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk 

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Learning, Relationships

Giving back…

My daughter and I have collected for period poverty for a year.  We have learnt a lot about reaching out to charities and the generosity of friends.

It all started with an advert on the television for sanitary towels.  There was a statistic on period poverty and I have to say in my “Surrey bubble” it was not something I was aware of.  Sitting with my daughter we talked about the reality of not being able to afford what we accept as essentials.  We recoiled at the indignity and the circumstances that as woman you could find yourself in.

The next day I researched further and was shocked at some of the statements and facts:-

  • Period poverty has forced more than a quarter of females to miss work or school
  • 1 in 10 cannot afford products
  • 1 in 7 borrow products
  • If you have 450 periods in a lifetime and on average the cost is £128 a year
  • Every time you have a period an average cost could be £11.00
  • The average cost for a packet of 20 pads or tampons is £2.37

The first charity I found was “Bloody Good Period” which officially at the time had not received charitable status subsequently they have now with the rise in media coverage.  I reached out to them to set myself up as a collector of products.  They were predominantly covering London, however they gave me a contact to liaise with.

Bloody Good Period focus heavily on Asylum seekers, who only receive £37.75 per week. This amount does not reach very far, and the main priority for that money would be food.

We decided to host a coffee morning with friends and ask them to bring products to donate.  The joy is receiving products and not getting involved with money with your friends.  I was amazed at how keen everyone was to get involved and the scale of the first collection.

After the success of the coffee morning we needed to find  appropriate places to donate.  Our first drop was to Asylum seekers at Elmbridge.  Over the year we provided three donations to them, however it was an hours drive and the charity were not overwhelmingly welcoming, which again is an eye opener.  In my naivety I stereo typed anyone that worked in charity must be so warm and welcoming.  Instead you can meet reserve and a slight weariness about who you are.

My next stage was to reach out to the Guildford MP Anne Milton.  Whatever your view of politics there are some really hard working MPs who believe in giving back to their constituents.  Anne gave us the name of a more local charity, Guildford Action.  Initially hard to get in touch with, you have to persevere and be persistent.  We now have a good system and they are very happy with the donations and even posted a picture of us on their Facebook page.

The church support Asylum seekers and we have found the Guildford diocese very welcoming.  St Saviours in the centre of Guildford support 5 or 6 Syrian families.

Half way through the year we received an email from Anne Milton’s office letting us know that Nadhim Zahawi MP, Children and Families Minister, that the Government will provide free sanitary products to all girls in England’s primary schools from early next year. This builds on a previous announcement that the Government will do the same for all girls in England’s secondary schools and colleges.

We send a stock sheet to Bloody Good Period after every collection, this can be time consuming sitting on the floor counting pads and naming brands.  My family are now quite used to every couple of months a hallway full of sanitary towels.

 

As we reached our anniversary we compiled our statistics to share with our very generous friends.  Seeing the figures on a chart was very rewarding for my daughter and I.

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Giving back is not straightforward, and you have to work at the systems that will work for you.  It needs to be an easy process and work with people who value you what you are doing.  Share your journey with the people that donate and make sure you have a partner involved as there are highs and lows and great to have a supporter at all times.

Ultimately we know that  our collections have brought self respect back to a lot of women and we will continue in 2020.

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Goals, Leadership, Management, motivation, Relationships

Gold clients…

Business development is relentless and often it can be hard to think of a new approach.  Most of your new business will come from existing clients so we need to focus on which ones have the most potential to grow your business, and also be enjoyable to work with.

The first step is to create three categories:-

  1. Existing clients
  2. Prospective clients (warm leads not yet converted)
  3. Wish

We can then divide the existing clients into a further three areas:-

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Bronze

Really analyse your clients and decide which ones are Gold.  You may need to take some time to think about the criteria for being Gold.  We often make the mistake of focusing our time on clients who pay a high premium fee, however they demand double the time. Other clients pay a constant fee which gives you guaranteed income and need very little time.

Therefore ask some questions to create the Gold criteria:-

  • What is the current fee structure?
  • How much time do you spend on the Client account?
  • Do you enjoy working with them?
  • How much resource is required to service that account?
  • How long have they been a Client?
  • Have they given you more work?
  • Have they recommended you to other Clients?

Make the exercise visual by having your Gold clients on display in your office.

“What you focus on becomes reality”. 

Prospective Clients will need to be touched regularly as now to get to a point of sale you will need at least eight touch points if not more.  Keep a tracker and make sure it is on display to all the team.

Wish seems a bit far reaching, however again the genius of audacity you just never know.  It is a great exercise to focus on who your dream client would be as it helps with the categorisation of the Gold existing clients.

Please do get in touch if you would like nuggets to facilitate a management meeting bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk