Making small improvements on a daily basis will lead you to greater effectiveness and ultimately success. Too often we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action.
Making a choice that is 1% better or doing something that is 1% worse can make a significant difference over time. The choices you make around your daily habits will be more transformative than a once in a lifetime change.
If you think about gains and losses in life and the impact they have, these questions that you battle through will define your future self.
- Are you spending less than you earn each month?
- Are you making it to the gym each week?
- Are you reading books and learning something new each day?
The difference between a goal and system:-
If you are a musician, your goal might be to play a new piece. Your system is how often you practice, how you break down and tackle difficult parts and your method for receiving feedback from your tutor.
Goals are good for setting a direction but systems give you the progress. Problems arise when you spend too much time thinking about your goals and not enough time designing the systems.
Achieving a goal only changes your life for a moment, whereas systems are long term. You hear the classic line “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy” you can’t attach happiness to the goal, you need the continuity of rituals and systems.
In summary getting 1% better everyday counts in the long run. If you want better results then forget about setting goals, focus on your system instead. You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.
Please do get in touch for a workshop on designing systems email@example.com
Further reading – Atomic Habits by James Clear
A study in the British Journal of Health Psychology claimed there was a significant reduction in stress and anxiety when people wrote about their positive emotions.
Previous studies have shown that writing about negative emotions is also good for your mental well being getting stuff “off your chest”. However not much has been written about the positive emotions.
Writing about positive experiences for 20 minutes a day for 3 consecutive days improved people’s mood and led to fewer visits to the Doctor. Even writing as little as 2 minutes a day was a positive experience and reduced stress levels.
For the study the 20 minutes of writing covered areas where people had been moved by a good book, painting, a piece of music or just a good interaction.
There were 71 healthy participants, aged 19 to 77 and randomly allocated into two groups. The first group was asked to write about the most wonderful experiences (as described above) of their life for 20 minutes for 3 consecutive days. The other group just covered neutral topics, such as their plans for the rest of the day etc..
At the end of the study the groups answered questionnaires to measure their levels of anxiety and the group that had documented the positive emotions were in much better place than the neutral group.
Write your happy thoughts down to reduce your anxiety levels, get into a routine of reviewing the day ensuring you highlight the positive.
Please do get in touch for a workshop on positivity firstname.lastname@example.org
In Denmark mattering is part of the school curriculum. During a weekly hour called Klassen Time, students come together to discuss problems and help one another. Danish children do this every week from age six until they leave senior school. To make the ordeal easier a different student each week brings cake. When the children present their problems they feel they are listened to and the others who provide guidance feel they are making a difference.
The children learn empathy by hearing other perspectives and reflecting on how their behaviour affects those around them. The emphasis is “how do others feel? and how do my actions make them feel?”
I am often saying the strongest leadership skill you can have is listening. People feel valued if they are given a “damn good listening to”.
People who listen then understand your situation and you feel that you matter.
Make time for those around you, whether it be at work or home and ensure that they feel that they matter. Look after yourself and also find some-one who will listen to you as remember “you matter”.
Please do get in touch email@example.com
The world of offshore oil rigs is male dominated and a unique working environment. Two rigs in the Gulf of Mexico decided to change how they worked.
The workforce on the rigs was 90% male, and they lived and worked together offshore for two weeks at time doing twenty hour shifts and on call twenty four hours a day.
The company was keen to improve safety and performance and in order to do this they decided to shift the focus from individual performance to long term goals. They wanted to change the culture moving away from colleagues competing with each other to working with each other.
The first step was on the safety issue. Workers were asked to shut down the platform at the first sight of a potentially dangerous situation, and there would be no blame attached if they had misjudged the danger, even though shut downs were costly. They were also encouraged to intervene if colleagues breached safety rules. By sharing information instead of hiding mistakes they started to be open about them and begin to analyse them as a way to learn.
The other unexpected outcome was that the workers stop hiding their emotions, and started talking about the toll of their job on their family.
Slowly the culture changed and the workers who cared about other workers and were good listeners and willing to learn rose to senior levels. The accident rate fell by 84% and productivity, efficiency and reliability improved.
We can work with your business to change your culture please do get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
Forgive the indulgence, the blog is of a very personal nature this week.
One of my “Best” friends died five days ago and it puts everything into perspective. What is the definition of “Best”. The dictionary says exceptional or outstanding which I think is perfect to define what you get from a really brilliant friendship.
The list is endless:-
- Best listener
- Best times to be had and full of laughter
- Best walker – with knowledge of all the Surrey Hills
- Best organiser – parties, events and fund raiser
- Best at giving an honest opinion
- Best advice – on parenting and life
- Best in giving – whether it be plants, time and numerous coffees
The synopsis stills feels inadequate in terms of the void it leaves. Think about what are the best things about you that you give your friends. Your self worth will grow knowing what your best attributes are and what you give others.
Cherish the best in friends and family as you may well be robbed without ever telling them what the best was.
What does “press the button” actually mean?
In classic experiments on stress, people performed tasks that required concentration, like solving puzzles, whilst being blasted at random intervals with uncomfortably loud sounds. The individuals started sweating and their heart rates and blood pressure climbed. They struggled to concentrate and made mistakes and many just gave up. Searching for a way to reduce the anxiety, researchers gave the participants an escape. If the noise became too unpleasant they could press a button and make the noise stop. The button allowed them to stay calmer and make fewer mistakes. The most surprising result was that no-one pressed the button. Knowing they could stop the noise gave them a sense of control and allowed them to endure the stress.
This story comes from the book Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. In the book they put the button into another context. Grant a lecturer sadly had a student who committed suicide and he regretted he had not spotted the signs of stress earlier. He struggled for a long time to overcome any guilt. To move forward he started every lecture by ensuring his mobile number was clearly displayed in the class, in effect this was the button.
Do you provide a button to your team, do they know that support is there. Think how you can instigate the button within your organisation. Coaching and mentoring being formalised could provide buttons. Buddy schemes for new recruits, and always ensuring your team members have a line manager who conducts regular 1:1 meetings. Larger organisations have well being help lines and by ensuring the number is displayed provides the button security.
At home we now all have our mobile numbers, however do we provide a “button’ service in other ways. How often do you sit around a table and ensure you really listen to each other? This is the best “button” you can ever provide.
Please do get in touch for a workshop on Resilience email@example.com
Is the environment you work in demonstrating a good balance.
Balance could include gender, skills, and experience. The first stage is to look at your existing culture, do you welcome balance by having the right set of values.
If you are focusing purely on results then you might not be attracting the right employees. Everyone wants to be part of something successful, however if they realise that there is nothing underneath the figures and they will feel unsupported and they will not care for the organisation.
Values have to come to life, with rituals and habits attached to them. If you promote collaboration what does it look like? Cross functional teams working together and meeting on a regular basis.
The balance of giving back to your team and your team giving back to others. You have the people you want to work with and you are proud to work with others.
The Swedish football team Ostersunds believed in giving its team members so much more than just football skills. They wanted to open their minds to theatre, art and literature. These experiences were shared and putting them in unfamiliar situations grew their minds and enabled them to think differently. The team have written book, created art and worked with local refugee centres and put on a stage show of Swan Lake. They are now in the top league and won the Swedish cup in 2017.
Balance does not have to be seen through the lens of automatically assuming that means a gender match. We have many layers to our personalities that need to be uncovered whether we are male or female. The answer is fostering the environment that means you are able to be truly authentic.
An open atmosphere where there is no blame and mistakes are learnt from.
Creating balance is about identifying the things that matter most to you as team and investing together to make them come to life.
Please do get in touch for a workshop on balance for better firstname.lastname@example.org