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, 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, 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, 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 

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Goals, Leadership

Quick review of your business…

There are many detailed business review techniques however if you want to build a quick picture and show the current landscape, here is a quick tool.

Create some cards with the following headings:-

  • Core activities
  • Business efficiency
  • Financial position
  • Clients
  • Competitors

Instructions for completing cards:-

Core activities

Your core services (please use a separate card for each activity eg. sales, products, etc…).  Explain briefly during the last six months what has happened in this service area.

Business efficiency

The mechanics and processes behind your business. See suggested list below, however  add anything that is relevant to the workings and effectiveness of your business.  Please use separate cards for each new area.

  • Premises/facilities/IT
  • Team & skills
  • Procedures eg. gas safety…

Financial position

Assesing revenue streams (separate card for the different areas)

Clients

Over the last six months, which Clients have you been working with.

Competitors

Are there any highs or lows that you would like to record in regard to competitor activity.  A new service or way of doing business that has a positive or negative effect on your business.

Once you have completed your cards in all the areas, you can then sort them into the following headings:-

  • High
  • No change
  • Low

To make the exercise into a team activity you can post the cards into buckets with the headings above and then review them as a group.

Please do get in touch for nuggets to facilitate a review of your business bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk 

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Goals

Habits shape your identity…

Habits always start with a good intention, go to the gym, lose weight, eat healthily and then for some reason they become hassle.

We often go straight to what we want to achieve rather than looking at the process that leads there, or more importantly who we will be once we have made the habit permanent.

In James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits” he explains there are three layers:-

  • Changing your outcomes – the result eg. losing weight
  • Changing your processes – the systems and habit that lead you to losing weight
  • Changing your identity – this is changing your view of your self

Outcomes are about what you get, processes about what you do and identity is about what you believe.

A good example is someone trying to quit smoking and being offered a cigarette:-

  1. “No thanks I’m trying to quit”
  2. “No thanks I’m not a smoker”

The identity change of not being a smoker is far more powerful than the response of trying to get there.

The ultimate form of intrinsic motivation is when a habit becomes part of your identity.   It is one thing to say I am the type of person who wants this.  It is something very different to say I am the type of person who is this.

Examples:-

  • The goal is not to read a book, the goal is to become a reader
  • The goal is not to run 10k the goal is to become a runner
  • The goal is not learn an instrument the goal is to become a musician

The reason habits are so hard to reverse is we have created beliefs around our identities and unless we challenge them they become the pathway.  Carol Dweck describes this as the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

  • I am terrible at Maths
  • I am terrible with directions
  • I am not good with technology

The habits we follow embody our identity.  So already you make your bed each morning therefore you have the identity of an organised person.  The more you repeat the behaviour the more you reinforce that identity.

  • Each time you write you are a writer
  • Each time you practice a musical instrument you are a musician
  • Each time you encourage your team you are a leader

The starting point is to decide the person you want to be and prove it to yourself with small wins.  What do you want to stand for? What are your principles and values? Who do you wish to become?

Think about who is the type of person that could get the outcome you want?

  • I am a team leader who stands up for the team
  • I am a Doctor who gives each patient the time and empathy they need
  • I am the person who can be relied upon to be on time

Once you have identified the person you want to be you can ask your desired identity:-

  • “Would a healthy person catch a cab or walk?”
  • “Would a healthy person choose a salad or sandwich?”

In summary the most effective way to change a habit is focus not on what you want to achieve but on who you wish to become.  Your identity emerges through your habits and each small action is a move in the direction of who you want to be.  The  real reason habits matter is not because they can get you better results, but because they can change your beliefs about yourself.

Please do get in touch for a workshop on habits or coaching bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Goals, Leadership, motivation

Turn your event into a World Cup event…

Last Friday The Furniture Union hosted an event to present Natalie Miller the Co-Captain of Nets (indoor netball team) with her sponsorship cheque.  This August Natalie will compete in the Nets World Cup.

The team at the Furniture Union could have easily just laid on some drinks and stopped there.  However they wanted to replicate Natalie’s values and turn it into a World Cup event.

The values they followed:-

Determination

The Furniture Union were determined to launch their new website on the same night and their new brochure.  Anyone involved in website/brochure design will know the pitfalls and hurdles you have to overcome.  One of the team was still finalising the right images in the earlier hours of the day before.  The dedication to get it all right, paid off as the brochure and website present the products and services beautifully and take the business to a new level.  https://thefurnitureunion.com 

Team player

Each member of the team had a different role on the night.  Some organised the look of the Showroom (which was stunning) others created display boards.  Everyone was involved and felt connected to the goal.

Passion 

In order to sell a product or service you have to believe in it and be proud of it.  The team now connect with pride and passion due to their hard work of putting together a consistent message and approach of what they are selling.

Leaders

Natalie’s words embody what all the team aspired to be on that night.

“Be the best person you can be at anytime”

Ben who initiated the sponsorship, spoke about what it means to the team and how the values will be shared between The Furniture Union and Natalie.

Resilience

After an event there is often a low after working so hard to pull off something so fabulous.  The team now need to be resilient and remember it is not always a World Cup you need to be constantly in training for the next big event.  This can be relentless and you need to be resilient to keep something in reserve and recall all the skills you used on that amazing night.

Please do get in touch for a workshop on living your values bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Goals, motivation

Get better systems…

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 bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Further reading – Atomic Habits by James Clear

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Goals, Leadership, motivation

Shared values…

Natalie Miller the Co-Captain of England Indoor Netball (England Nets) has a great story that demonstrates determination, resilience and commitment.

With many athletes their dreams get blighted by injury or lack of funding.  They don’t just have to think like a sports person about their training they need to think commercially about what is viable.  If they are lucky they find a sponsor, which immediately takes away the financial anxiety.

However what does the sponsor learn from such a unique relationship, and how do they work with the athlete.

The Furniture Union is sponsoring Natalie Miller on her journey to the World Cup August 2019.  In order for the relationship to work the two must have shared values:-

  • Determination
  • Resilience
  • Committment

Natalie’s story easily demonstrates all three.  In 2015 she was selected for the Ladies team for the Indoor World Cup in New Zealand.  The process for this World Cup was difficult one as she had to self-fund her journey.   The team exceeded expectation and finished the tournament as gold medal winners and Natalie is now a World Champion.

Fast forward to 2018, preparation for 2019 World Cup started.   Sadly her world got turned upside down on 7th January 2018. Whilst playing national league netball game for Sussex Thunder she fully ruptured her right achilles tendon. A journey to A&E and a broken heart later, she was  told that her recovery time for this injury would be at least a year.

On March 1st 2018 Natalie had an operation to reconstruct the tendon, rehab started immediately and she was determined to be travelling once again to the World Cup.

The journey has not be an easy one, it has taken countless hours of determination and going the extra mile. On her last tour the challenge not only was the hours of training but the time and energy spent to try and find sponsorship.

The Furniture Union equally demonstrate the three core values that Natalie has needed.  With over 25 years in the design industry, The Furniture Union has a first class reputation for providing their clients with creative and practical solutions across the whole spectrum of residential property.  Their services range from one-off furnishings to complete full interior service, making them a one stop shop for all requirements.

Their projects can be challenging and they need at all times to be confident in their design choices.  They are always determined to provide the best design solution, and they often have to be resilient with the many challenges of the buildings they are working with.  The Furniture Union show amazing commitment and loyalty working with clients for over 20 years.

Natalie and The Furniture Union are now both connected as they both work to the same values.

This is the beginning of a joint story and as a coach to one of the Leaders at The Furniture Union I look forward to hearing the challenges and shared learning of the partnership.

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, coaching, Goals

Creating good habits

You need to embody the habit, before you have even begun working on it.  So think about what the habit gives you and what your new identity will be if you have been successful and disciplined at applying that habit.

If you want to start running, take on the identity of a runner and think of what a runner does and all the routines attached to it and how they might speak and act. Begin with the end in mind and start by writing what the habit will give you.

You are far more likely to be successful if you track your habits progress.  The journey to a habit gives you a great template for the tracker:-

  • Cue – What has prompted you to want to make a change and create a new habit
  • Craving – Which identity do you want to embody, what will the habit give you
  • Response – The actions/rituals/routines you need to put in place
  • Reward – When you have achieved the habit change acknowledge the result

Example:-

To increase readership of your blog

  • Cue – statistics on your blog
  • Craving – to be read by a wider audience
  • Response – publicise on more sites
  • Reward – business leads from the blog

This blog was inspired by the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.

Please do get in touch for nugget workshops or for coaching bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk