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

Not everything has to be so hard…

This is just a taster of the content of the book Effortless by Greg McKeown.

Not everything has to be so hard – Burnout is not a badge of honour. Often we create self-imposed pressure by striving for perfection. 

We can change the dialogue in our heads:-

 Exhausting Effortless 
ThinkAnything worth doing takes effortThe most essential things can be the easiest 
DoOvercomplicate, overengineer & overthink Find the easier path
Get Burnout – no results The right results and no burnout 

Quote by George Eliot “What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other” 

Imagine your brain is a supercomputer – it might not perform optimally, computers slow down if their hard drive is too full they need to be decluttered. This is the same in our heads we may well be walking around with outdated assumptions, negative emotions, toxic thought patterns, this will slow down our mental energy and we will think everything is too much effort.

When everything does feel so hard?  Have a warm meal, hot shower and a good night’s sleep and you feel less heavy. Ask the question, what if this could be easy…? As a society we think trivial things are easy – important things are hard. We use language to support this, it has to “Hard earned” or “It will take blood, sweat & tears“.

We then distrust if something is to easy, we may say “easy money”.

Think this week is there something you have been putting off, try asking the question “What if this could be easy?”

Please do get in touch for a workshop on “Effortless” bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Leadership, personal impact

Doing the right things…

Designing a course with this title and the 90 minutes I have to deliver it does not really do it justice. Doing the right things now as Leader encompasses so much. There are the basics but what about your character and how you interact and engage with your team.

  • Conducting regular one to ones
  • Being a coach and using Ask not Tell language
  • Being their cheer leader and their critic
  • Being empathetic
  • Being visionary
  • Motivating them to move forward

Doing the right things at the right time is also crucial, no-one welcomes the constructive feedback a week after the situation. A continuous conversation and a relationship built on trust not just the performance will benefit both you and the team member.

A good starting point is to think about a great Manager/Leader you had, what was it they did. When people do this as an exercise one of the key things that comes out is communication. They had regular and consistent interaction with this person.

Transparency and consistency are the two key words when you map out how you want to speak to your team members. Sharing key information with every team member and ensuring it happens regularly avoids other rogue voices filling in the gaps.

Fair and reasonable also good validating tools. Think about your behaviour was I fair and reasonable and how would I feel if some-one asked that of me.

Doing the right things is tangible eg. regular one to ones however the memory of how you did them will last longer than just doing them. Doing the right things is about embodying and playing out being the Leader you want to be.

For more details please do not hesitate to get in touch bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Decoding Greatness…

The book by Ron Friedman explains that we can find our own greatness not just from leveraging talent or practising more than anyone else, there is a third way.

We can reverse engineer and find our own code to greatness.

The first step is to Collect greatness, whether it be books as a writer, records if a musician or cookbooks as a chef. David Bowie had a massive record collection and Van Gogh despite his poverty state had more than a 1000 Japanese prints. Award winning chef Michelle Bernstein encourages aspiring chefs to spend what money they have on eating in fabulous restaurants.

Create your greatness library, whatever your niche. By consumings as many examples as possible it begins to give you an underlying structure, you detect patterns as to how things work. This form of learning is implicit, you are not consciously learning, but you are understanding greatness in your field.

The second step is to decode what is happening which you can do by copyworking. Write something word for word, or recreate a piece of work from memory. If you are an athlete copy and mimic the training patterns of your hero. You will begin to notice patterns and rhythms as to how they get to their greatness.

Reverse outlining is the third step. Work back from a finished piece of work and create the outline. Watch one of your favourite TED Talks if you are an aspiring speaker, identify the structure. Did they have a theme/anecdotes/main story/conclusion? Work out the % of time spent on each of the areas.

Contrasting is another way of analysing greatness. Take a piece of work from your greatness collection that is great and another of piece of work that is not so great. What is the difference? What makes one piece of work great and another not?

All this takes time and is still not your greatness, so the final step is to evolve your own style. Look outside for more inspiration, work with different people and ensure you have a broad range of experiences in your life, not necessarily connected to the thing you want to achieve greatness in.

Decoding greatness by using reverse engineering gives you a formula and steps to work with, here they are in summary:-

  • Collect – create a greatness collection
  • Decode – understand why greatness ocurred by –
    • copyworking
    • reverse outline
    • contrasting
  • Evolve – create your own greatness

Please do get in touch for one to one coaching or a 90 minute workshop bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

The Main Thing…

“Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing” from the book Monday Morning Leadership by David Cottrell.

The Main Thing is people’s purpose and priorities. People have different perceptions of what the Main Thing is. If as a Leader you are not clear on The Main Thing, people will leave. People quit people before they quit companies.

Simon Sinek says “Start with Why” ask your team members “Why do you come to work? what is your driver. His argument it is not what you do? but most importantly why you do it? To create a culture of trust there needs to be harmony as to how you do it? This is where you establish core values of working together. These three areas Why/How/What create Simon Sinek’s golden circle, but always starting with Why.

To identify the Main Thing break it down by using the language of strategy:-

Vision – defining where you want to be in the future

Mission – The purpose of your business (The Why and the Main Thing)

Strategy – The direction of each department eg. Finance/Marketing/Operations – that leads you to mission & vision.

Objectives – Team and individual objectives that fit into the strategy

Tasks – things that you do everyday that lead to the objectives

Values– guiding principles of how you want to work with each other

When you define each of the areas think about companies you want to replicate and companies that you are opposed to being. Love and hate elicit powerful reactions and help position where you do want to be.

A simple team exercise is to ask every team member “What is the Main Thing…? the response to the blank space will be very varied and your role as a Leader is to get clarity.

Please do get in touch we are running the “Main Thing” workshop on Thursday 26th August 2021 @ 10.00am (90 minutes) at a cost of £40 per delegate. bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, coaching, Leadership, Management, motivation

Key ingredients for a coach…

Right Mindset

Sport is an obvious setting for a coach and very easy to understand their role, they are helping the athlete reach their full potential. The results are tangible and the competitive environment of achievement makes it a very conducive to getting in the right mindset. In business the same willingness is required of a coach to identify with the client their talents so that they can achieve extraordinary results. The goals might be less obvious but it is the role of the coach to empower and inspire the client to achieve. The coach must have the right mindset of believing in the development of the individual.

Listening in the moment

During the pandemic it has been really important to have a coach with the speed of the transformation of work. Understanding the levels of adaptability and working with other life commitments. The coach listens and understands what is important to you at that moment in time.

Empowering

Coaching definitely empowers employees to do their own thinking, by providing space and time. The coach is always listening and never uses any “tell” language, they are inquisitive and encouraging. They never judge and clear their own minds ready to listen without prejudice. Empowerment drives engagement, and subsequently self direction which is a driver to innovation. Studies show that engaged employees make companies more profitable, so therefore engagement drives performance.

Empathy

Empathy is the cornerstone of good coaching, “It is not about you!!!”. Understanding the persons perspective at that moment in time is what it is all about.

Energy

The coach must be like a battery pack, of giving the client a boost, a belief in their talents and capabilities. Their energy levels can be conveyed through their language and the levels of encouragement they give the client.

Accountability

The most important ingredient is to be there as a coach, check-in on their actions and ideas, hold them accountable to what they discussed the last time. Understand why they have not made the change and how they feel if they have made a change. This can be tangible actions and tasks, however it may well be a behavioural change which is where the Coach can play their most pivotal role.

Coaching is transformative and if you put in the right ingredients in and believe in the ability to evoke a change in anyone you will be amazing.

Please do get in touch to book your first coaching session bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Leadership, Management

Reducing Noise…

Wherever there is human judgement, there is noise, this comes from the book “Noise” by Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Sibony & Cass R Sunstein.

There has been a lot of research and talk about bias but the book explains the impact of noise. If you go to a meeting and the first speaker offers an opinion the second speaker might disagree but upon hearing the first lacks the confidence to speak up. Quickly you have a rapid conversion due to the noise. Anyone in the room who feels slightly humbled or deferential can quickly be converted and squash their opinion due to the noise attached to a stronger speaker. Noise can determine direction of judgements and suppress counter arguments or different noise.

Noise is not just what you hear, we can have noise in our heads. We make decisions when often we are not in a good state of mind. We have low energy and we hear a voice or a noise that will create a bias and noise that will sway our judgement.

The first practical step to prevent noise and having an influence is identifying situations where noise may occur.

  • Recruitment & Selection
  • Meetings
  • Team work allocation
  • Team roles
  • Promotions
  • Appraisals/Reviews

The list is by no means complete, noise is everywhere…Even ordering your food at restaurant the first person who selects may influence you as it is the first noise you hear.

After identifying that noise will happen, work through the 7 steps below to try and prevent it having an impact:-

  1. Look at the bigger picture – What patterns have occurred before what else do you need to consider contextually? Holistically look at what has happened in the past and now, think about what it would look like in the future and look at it objectively.
  2. Multiple judgements – seek out people with different judgements, ask people from other teams to help with the decision who will not have the baggage of your own team members. Fresh eyes, people that are new to your organisation think of many different angles.
  3. Judge independently – Come to your own opinion, before you go to a meeting. Think about what you understand and your own feelings before sharing with others.
  4. Seek at least two opinions – Listen to other voices, and be open minded
  5. Don’t depend on intuition – It is not sensible to just listen to your gut, as this has been influenced by noise, how you have been feeling that day mentally and physically. This is not a good judgment tool.
  6. Adopt the principles of decision making hygiene – If a Doctor examines you, they wash their hands first and after the examination. Adopt a process of how you make decisions so that there is a system and it can eliminate the noise influencers.
  7. Remind decision makers of their purpose of deciding – The purpose is often lacking at meetings why am I here to decide/to inform/to present/to educate. This is the same around decisions, what are you actually deciding and focus on the decision not the noise around it.

Noise is an obstacle to fair judgement, use the 7 steps above to try and prevent its hold on you and others.

Please do get in touch for 90 minute workshops over Zoom or Coaching one to one for an hour.

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, mindfulness, Relationships

Creating rapport…

Recently on a workshop a delegate asked me to explain what I meant by rapport.

Dictionary definition:- a friendly, harmonious relationship especially : a relationship characterised by agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy.

Rapport starts with that lovely small talk that puts some-one at ease, and they step into your world and feel comfortable. For some it is the most natural thing in the world and yet for others it can feel contrived and clumsy.

A colleague once described it to me as creating “limbic soup” which has stuck with me as a perfect explanation of what is happening mentally and physically. If you are interacting with another person and you feel immediately comfortable, you feel safe because the emotional part of the brain the limbic mode relaxes. We also know that oxytocin’s are released, another chemical to help you relax into the conversation, creating a connection and lovely soup.

Insights from the book “How to Talk to Anyone” by Leil Lowndes gives some actual tools and techniques. She describes conversations as being similar to a game of ping pong. You serve and you expect a return and then you may have to return again.

The serve is the hardest how do you start a chat by not using the usual opening gambits which can often have the reverse affect of shutting some-one down. She suggests an acronym “WIT”- We, It & They:-

We – using we brings people closer together – we are in this together

Example: “I hear she’s a great speaker, we are in for a treat”

It – Have an “it” up your sleeve – is there a current news story that everyone is talking about

Example: “What do you think about (insert your It)?

They – Know something before you meet up, what hobbies/interests do they have

Example: They – “Bob told me you support Liverpool”

Most of us are lazy with our interactions and go for standard questions:-

“How are you?”

“What do you do?”

The first is far too wide, and you never know what is going on in anyone’s world, and chances are you will get the standard response of “fine” which is extremely hard to interpret and does not give you anything to work on.

What do you do? – is another stock question which is more often answered by talking about work, which may not be their true passion. Much better opening is:-

“How do you like to spend most of your time?”

The brain has to think about the answer it does not have a standard response and you will get a lovely insight into the person you have just met. To keep the conversation going and making it more about them, just repeat their words back to them. The last word they say with a question, just nods and provide really good positive non verbal indicators that you are interested.

Rapport is a skill and when deployed effectively can make anyone feel fabulous, be more artful in thinking about how you want a person to feel. Try different openers and really listen and make it all about them.

Please do get in touch for a communication workshop bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Leadership, Time management

Have to…or get to…!

I am delivering a Time management workshop later today and it always strikes me how much we think Time has power over us. Time is a non-spatial continuum it does not really exist and yet we think it is a “Thing”.

We have to have the right mindset and language as to how we look at Time. It must not lead us we must be able to make choices and lead our own time.

“I have to…!”

We can feel so much more empowered if that report we have to finish we say in our heads “I am choosing to work on that report this morning”, rather than “I have to…!”

If this feels a bridge too far then try “I will get to that report this morning”. This gives you momentum and moves you towards the task.

Feeling that time is controlling you, will overwhelm you and the increments of time will slip away. If you know during the waking hours what you want to achieve and split the day up you will feel so much better. Achievement underpins motivation and you will be in control.

I read a recent article that said rather than viewing a day as wasted divide the day into 3 sections. What did you get done in the morning, mid afternoon and evening? If the morning becomes a very reactive time and you do not feel you have achieved what you wanted to, make sure you pick up in the evening and then focus on the positive outcomes in stages. Never right off a whole day, in a part of it there will have been an accomplishment.

Working in teams listen to other people’s language, and see how much people believe that time has control. As a leader say to your team members when are you going to “get to that …” rather than “You have to …” pass on power.

Think about how you feel about time today? Lead it and enjoy it, we all know how quickly it passes.

Please do get in touch if you would like a Time Management workshop bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Am I ready to be coached…?

Will you benefit from working with a coach do you understand what you need to do in order to be ready? Clients come to me sometimes as they have identified their own readiness and the other route is from their leadership group. My role as the coach is to manage their expectations and get them ready for the experience.

Coaching can help you achieve a higher performance and greater personal satisfaction at work. You may be aware that you need to make changes in behaviour and mindset in order to advance in your career. To gain the benefit of coaching you must fully engage in the process, this will mean an investment of time and effort. The work happens between the coaching sessions not necessarily in them.

How can we determine whether some-one is “match fit” ready for coaching:-

  • Discomfort – Coaching is all about embracing new ways of perceiving and acting. In making the changes you will feel fear and anxiety, leading to new realisations and realities. Being able to endure these periods of discomfort will help you grow.
  • Experimentation – Once you have agreed to that feeling or level of discomfort you can begin experimenting with new behaviours. This will possibly involve taking risks and being prepared for things not to go right initially. Trying out new ideas and exploring new options will mean having an open mind.
  • Emotional responses – Behaviour is not rational, as there is always an emotion behind it. Working with a coach is about being prepared to talk about the emotional responses anger, fear, pride and happiness, by sharing them and putting them into context can you identify what you want to change.
  • Responsibility – Knowing that you can shape your future and working with a coach to grab a hold of it, and take control and responsibility. Accepting you are accountable for your progress.
  • Forgiveness – Being ready to channel your energy into your current or future progress. A coach cannot work with a victim and cannot solve the past.
  • Discipline – Once you have identified new behaviours and new ways of working, being disciplined that you stick to your new ways. Having a coach as an accountability partner will help, however you have to be ready to self regulate yourself.
  • Support – Are you ready for others to support you not just the coach? Once you begin a coaching journey you have to be ready to listen with curiosity and be prepared for constructive feedback from everyone around you.

If you think you are ready to be coached, then get in touch bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Problem solving

Critical Thinking…

The definition of critical thinking is to deliberately analyse information. By making it an intent we can make better decisions and have a better judgement of a situation.

We need to take time to step back and analyse a situation be the Judge and the Jury. By asking the right questions we need to evaluate arguments and evidence. Ironically we need to be open minded and not critical, to be open to being creative, reflective and adaptable.

Critical thinking in essence is about filtering and discovering. We must have a clear mind and not be influenced by a higher order of thinking.

Think about situations that require you to apply critical thinking:-

  • Interview preparation
  • Buying a house
  • Choosing a school/college or University
  • Time management

We have to be rigorous in our wish to apply critical thinking we have start with looking at scepticism (why are we doubting the truth) and we have to take a more neutral stance and be objective “fresh eyes”.

The starting point is “What do I know?” and “How do I know this?” this can dispel any deep routed opinions of others or even yourself.

In 1968 Dick Fosbury won the gold medal for the high jump in the Olympics, it is one of the best examples of critical thinking. Up until 1968 high jumpers believed that you had to land on your feet. Fosbury decided to ask the question “How else could I get over the bar?”. By throwing himself head first over the bar he lowered his centre of gravity and reduced his chances of hitting the bar. We are now all familiar with the Fosbury Flop but it all started by applying critical thinking.

Tom Chatfield wrote a book on Critical Thinking and created the 10 commandments of how to do it:-

  1. Slow down – take time to understand what you know already
  2. Conserve mental energy – stay focused (don’t have anything else on the go at the time)
  3. If in doubt wait – only get back to some-one until you are sure
  4. Know your limits – don’t pretend to know what you don’t know (read more and find out more)
  5. Beware of costs – don’t hold on to an idea, just because you have invested time and money
  6. Be strategic – judge the strategy not just short term results
  7. Look to long term – you might have a success then fail however the right way is the mean
  8. Seek out diverse opinion – re-examine
  9. Look beyond a frame of reference
  10. Is their a choice outside the frame

Critical thinking is about a better way of looking at the world. Please do get in touch if you would like nuggets to deliver a workshop bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk