Posted in Bite size learning, Learning, Time management, training

Prioritisation…

“The activity that arranges items…”

It sounds so easy so why do we find it so hard. Even this morning starting to write this blog I was distracted and was not giving it the priority it deserved.

Brian Tracy the author of “Eat that Frog” has the simple principle to avoid procrastinating imagine you had to eat a live frog, you would want to do it as quickly as possible. His ethos therefore is to get your worst job done as quickly as possible. Eat that Frog!!

There is also science to support when is the best time to have ultimate focus. Dan Pink the author of When says there are three main time periods in the working day. Peak, Trough and Recovery. The Peak period is in the morning and we are best tackling the analytical tasks that may need attention to detail. The Trough just after lunch is a good time to catch up on admin, tasks that will need less brain power. We then have another period called Recovery when it is a great time to do creative thinking and this could be late afternoon into the evening.

The most well known Prioritisation exercise is the matrix by Stephen Covey. In its simplest form is to ask the question is this task important or urgent. He challenges the fact that sometimes urgency is generated by others and if we identify important tasks they often prevent items even becoming urgent. Spending too much time on important and urgent together can feel very reactive whereas tasks that are important and not urgent are proactive and preventative.

Knowing that nothing has been lost or forgotten is also good for your peace of mind, so David Allen author of Getting Things Done, recommends using the metaphor of buckets. Allen suggests having a Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annual & a Projects bucket, this way nothing is lost.

Prioritising is a discipline or practise that with the right personal planning tools can become effective. Look at your to-do list this morning and simply identify the “Frogs” and go for a very simple A, B, and C system. The “Frogs” are As they have to be done today, the Bs maybe this afternoon and the Cs are unlikely to be tackled today but they are safe in your daily bucket for now.

Please do get in touch for a 90 minute workshop on Prioritisation bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Decision Making, Goals, Leadership, Learning, motivation, Relationships

Understanding the Service Profit Chain…

Harvard Business School wrote an article on the service profit chain back in 2008 however the relevance of the article is even more prevalent now post Covid.

Back in the 70s and 80s businesses focused on profit goals in isolation with the work hard ethic driving growth.

Today economics of services consider the factors that drive profitability, investment in people, technology, revamping recruitment practises, training and compensation that is linked to performance or effort not just results.

The shift in thinking means that employees are just as important as customers.

The hard value of profit is now being measured by soft measures, for example the profit of the business can be measured alongside the satisfaction of an employee.

To understand the service profit chain see it as journey as follows:-

  1. Internal Quality – Drives Employee Satisfaction (working environment, relationships with their colleagues, customers and their role)
  2. Employee Satisfaction – Drives Loyalty (look after your employees and they will stay)
  3. Employee Loyalty – Drives Productivity – (retaining employees means no breaks in productivity)
  4. Employee Productivity – Drives Value – (delivering your service above and beyond)
  5. Value – Drives Customer Satisfaction – (customers value the result and the services encompassed in the price)
  6. Customer Satisfaction – Drives Customer Loyalty (a good experience will make you return)
  7. Customer Loyalty – Drives Profitability and Growth (quality, satisfaction, loyalty, productivity, value as an equation equal profitability)
  8. Profitability & Growth

The right Leadership underpins the journey and the success of the service profit chain.

The steps form a continuous pattern, and to ensure that you are on top of all the areas involved. You will need to conduct a Service Profit Chain Audit, asking key questions:-

  • How do we define loyal customers?
  • Do measurements of customer profitability include profits from referrals?
  • What proportion of business development expenditures and incentives are directed to the retention of existing customers?
  • Why do our customers leave?
  • Is customer satisfaction data gathered in an objective, consistent and periodic fashion?
  • When are you listening to your customers and when are you getting feedback from your customers and employees?
  • How is information concerning customer satisfaction used to solve customer problems?
  • How do you measure service value?
  • To what extent are measures taken of differences between customers perceptions of quality delivered and their expectations before delivery?
  • How do you measure employee productivity?
  • How do you create employee loyalty?
  • What is the right level of employee retention?
  • Is employee satisfaction measured in a similar way to customer satisfaction?
  • Employee selection criteria is geared to what customers want as well as Managers?
  • How much do you correlate customer satisfaction, quality of service & loyalty to rewarding employees?
  • Do employees know who their customers are?
  • Are employees satisfied with the technological and personal support they receive?
  • Do employees believe they have the right quality of work life?

The measures have to be connected to create a comprehensive picture so that the service profit chain provides a strong foundation for profit and growth.

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

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Learning, Relationships, training

Psychological Safety

A team climate characterised by interpersonal trust and mutual respect, in which people are comfortable being themselves” – Amy Edmondson

Edmondson is a Harvard Business School professor and the author of “The Fearless Organisation”. Psychological safety is about your voice being heard, it is not about being nice, its about being able to be candid and honest about what you see and hear. It is also not about avoiding conflict or license to whine it is about having a voice and being able to speak up.

The research for the book focused on hospitals, Edmondson studied the rate of reported errors, versus patient outcomes, across surgical teams. The research found that the teams with the highest number of mistakes, seemed to have the best patient outcomes. Their success was down to an attitude of honesty, transparency and learning, it was psychological safety in action.

Google wanted to explore why some teams were great and some teams not so great. The study took five years and was called Project Aristotle. The outcome was that you can’t simply bring people together who are the most qualified and expect a great team. Instead the team has to have the right characteristics. The researchers discovered what really mattered was how the team worked together not who they were. Top of the list was psychological safety.

  1. Psychological Safety – team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other
  2. Dependability – team members get things done on time and meet the high standards of the team
  3. Structure & Clarity – team members have clear roles, plans and goals
  4. Meaning – Work is personally important to team members
  5. Impact – team members think their work matters and fits with the wider team goals

Edmondson was delighted that Googles research supported her own findings. We are in a knowledge economy and without safety of speaking up, new innovations could be missed. Leaders need to ask for forgiveness if they have not provided a safe enough environment for voices to be heard. Ask your team is it easy to come to me with mistakes or new ideas.

Psychological safety is not only important in established teams but also in what Edmondson defines as “Teaming”. This is when people need to work together interdependently to get a result. An example would be an Accident & Emergency department, sometimes you don’t know who you are working with and you have different expertise but you need to work together in the moment. In order for that teaming experience to be effective everyone needs to feel psychologically safe.

The goal is not psychological safety it is the means to your goals.

In summary what is it?

  • If you make a mistake in the team, team members are supportive, and it is not held against you
  • It is easy for members to feel comfortable and ask other team members for help
  • Members of a team are able to bring up problems and tough issues 
  • It is safe to take a risk as a team
  • People accept others for being different in the team
  • No one in the team would deliberately act in a way that undermines any individual efforts or ideas
Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Goals, Learning, mindfulness, motivation, personal impact, Relationships, Stress management

Practical ways to be resilient…

When you wake up in the morning decide where you are on a scale, if pain was one end and power the other end – where would you want to be?

The answer is that most of us want to be the power end. Life events can drain our batteries, so keeping a metric of where you are and working out what it tells you can be a practical step to measuring your resilience levels. For a month keep a pain to power tracker and see what patterns emerge.

We can also think about what Mindset do we wish to adopt. Professor Carol S Dweck says that people either have a Fixed Mindset or Growth Mindset. The power of being able to say “not yet” is the Growth Mindset.

Growth Mindset Fixed Mindset
I can learn anything I wantI am either good at it, or I am not
I want to challenge myselfI don’t like to be challenged
When I fail, I learn When I fail, I am no good
Tell me I try hardTell me I am smart & have natural ability

By adopting a Growth Mindset we have the elasticity to be resilient and bounce back.

Recognising our sign symptoms of when we feel our resilience levels are low can also be a very practical tool. We can do this by using five main areas:-

  1. Sense of purpose – reason or focus for your work
  2. Mental toughness – the ability to make decisions
  3. Physical energy – tired constantly
  4. Emotional balance – the ability to regulate our emotions
  5. Social skills – make others feel comfortable

Ask yourself have you noticed any of these areas being harder than normal, these may be indications that your resilience levels are low.

Susan Kobasa a leading psychologist says that there are 3 key elements of a resilient individual:-

Challenge – view any difficulty as a challenge

Commitment – committed to their lives and goals

Personal Control – spend time and energy on stuff they have control over

The last statement aligns with Stephen Covey’s Circle of Concern/Circle of Influence. We should only focus on the concerns that we can influence if not we should let them sit outside our heads and make them a “no concern”.

Finally in summary what key things can you be doing to develop your resilience:-

1.Learn to relax

2.Practice thought awareness

3.Edit your outlook

4.Learn from mistakes and failures 

5.Choose your response

6.Maintain perspective

7.Set yourself some goals 

8.Build your self confidence 

9.Develop strong relationships 

10.Be flexible 

Please do get in touch for a workshop on Resilience – bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Goals, Learning, Stress management, Time management

Top tips to stop procrastinating…

Set the Table

Setting yourself up for the day, what can you realistically achieve today, be ruthless in only listing the tasks you will achieve. Have an opening ceremony which means you are ready to begin the day. I light a candle on my desk and say that nuggets is now open for business!!

Look at the week

On Friday plan the week ahead, look at your meetings and diary commitments and plan in project time. Book time with yourself to do specific pieces of work.

Consequences

This is the 10/10/10 rule. Ask yourself how will I feel in 10 hours if I have not achieved what I set out to achieve. How will I feel in 10 days time if I still have not achieved what I set out to achieve. The final 10 is what will I feel in 10 weeks time when some-one else has been given the task I was asked to achieve.

Prioritise

If you have a long to do list it is hard to identify what to do first and what is a priority. Use a very simple system of A/B/C/D/E. A tasks are your top priority and have to be done today. B can slip into tomorrow and C are nice to do when there is time. D is to be delegated and E is to be deleted from the list. Realistically we only really use the A, B and C.

Key Results

Identifying your A tasks will also give you focus on what will give you the greatest return. What tasks will generate the key results you are looking for.

Ritualise time management

By having an opening and closing ceremony each day you are acknowledging your achievements and you are focused for the next day.

Do the most difficult task first

Always tackle the task you have been overthinking first. It will be blocking your bandwidth in your head. Once you start it is never as bad as it seems.

Chunks of time

Think of small chunks of time, don’t look at the whole day as one piece of work. Try the pomodoro technique by Francesco Cirillo, work on a task for 25 minutes (pomodoro) and then take 5 minute break. Work to four pomodoros and then you are able to take a longer break of 30 minutes.

Set Deadlines

Impose deadlines on yourself, I have to finish by lunchtime or by the end of the week. Adrenaline helps us enter a flow state and forces us into action.

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

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Decision Making, Leadership, Learning, Relationships

Infinite mindset…

The difference between a finite game and infinite game is the context of Simon Sinek’s book. Finite game you know the goal to achieve and you know the players and everyone understands their role. There are fixed rules and there is a clear beginning and end. An infinite game is played by known and unknown players – there are no rules, and the players can operate however they want, they can change how they play the game at any time and for any reason. As there is no end there is no such thing as winning 

There are finite goals within life such as school but ultimately life is infinite.  There is no such thing as coming in first in marriage or friendship, the same with global politics and there is no declaration of being a winner.

When we lead with a finite mindset it will lead to all sorts of problems the decline in trust. Infinite mindset we create high levels of trust co-operation collaboration innovation.

The game of business has no finishing line you want to build organisations that are strong enough and healthy enough to stay in the game for many generations to come.

Five principles of an Infinite mindset:-

  1. Advance a just cause – vision of a future state that does not yet exist – people are willing to make sacrifices to help advance forward to follow you. An example of a finite just cause:-  Fighting against poverty – makes it appear we can win – however if we said instead “We fought for the right for every human to provide for their own family” it is positioned as a cause that you want to be a part of. The first offers a problem to solve the second offers a vision of possibility and dignity. 

2. Build trusting teams – a current buzz term is psychological safety if your employees feel safe then they will trust you more. Creating an environment where failure is embraced and the team/organisation believe in a growth mindset.

3. Study your worthy rivals – In the book Sinek uses the tennis players Chris Everett-Lloyd and Martina Navratilova as examples of worthy rivals. They respected each other off the court and to that end they wanted to improve to be a worthy rival. Everett Lloyd particularly altered how she played from being a baseline player to coming into the net, she learnt from her rival and improved her game.

4. Prepare for existential flexibility – Be prepared to flex your business be aware of your just cause being limiting. The US railroad was about improving rail roads and with the decline of train travel they have been left behind. Imagine if they had invested in “just moving people” they could have invested in other forms of transport. Other examples are Blockbusters did not move the business from video rental and got squeezed out by Netflix who worked on a subscription model.

5. Demonstrate the courage to lead – making decisions that are bold and brave. The example of CVS Caremark in February 2014 taking the decision not to sell cigarettes as it was not in line with the healthy just cause they wanted to follow. Shareholders were not happy about the downturn in revenue but it is about having the courage to lead your team and the organisation to follow your cause. Consumers did not leave and in fact some shopped there to follow the cause and data showed a small decline in smokers in localised stats near their stores.

Please do reach out if you would like a workshop on the Infinite Mindset bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Learning, motivation, personal impact, Stress management, Time management

Why does everything feel so hard…?

The dialogue we have with ourselves is all wrong, we say this going to be hard. We even speculate that it will take so much time and therefore it must be hard. Greg McKeown in his book “Effortless” says the first thing we should say is “What if this could be easy?” Already your mindset alters with possibilities and even enthusiasm.

Getting to an Effortless State is the first step to believing the task will not be hard. We can look at the following steps and what to say in our heads to move us forward:-

  • “What if this could be easy?’
  • “What if this could be fun?”
  • Let go of old memories of the task being hard
  • Be realistic as to how you work on the task factoring in breaks
  • Who is there for you?

Once we have the belief that the task is going to be easy we also need to have an Effortless action plan. McKeown says another reason why we often don’t move into action as we have not determined the obvious steps to get there. This is his Effortless Action Plan:-

D – Done – What does done look like?

D – Delete – What steps could you delete or combine?

O – Obvious – What is the obvious first step?

G – Gradual – What does gradual progression look like?

G – Grateful – What are you grateful for whilst working on this task?

Staying with an Effortless mindset and action plan, can lead to Effortless Results. McKeown says look at how many things can be automated going forward. Trusting others to perform tasks and also what steps can you take to prevent things becoming too much like hard work.

To explore the book much more, please do come to nuggets bookclub this Friday 17th June 2022 at 10.00am the link to register is here:-

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nuggets-bookclub-tickets-333571209467

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Leadership, Learning, Management, motivation

nuggets book club

By popular demand the book club is back. We will be covering some great titles:-

  • 27th May 2022 – The Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown
  • 10th June 2022 – Part II – The Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown
  • 17th June 2022 – Effortless by Greg McKeown
  • 24th June 2022 – Your first 100 days by Niamh O’Keeffe
  • 1st July 2022 – The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek
  • 8th July 2022 – The Power of Regret by Dan Pink
  • 15th July 2022 – Essentialism by Greg McKeown
  • 22nd July 2022 – Our iceberg is melting by John Kotter
  • 29th July 2022 – Think again by Adam Grant

Each session will be one hour costing a nominal fee of £10 per session. Please dip in and out of the choices and share with friends and colleagues.

I will present a book summary and ask questions around the book to create discussion. There is no pressure to read the books, however hopefully the club will entice you to rush out and buy some of the titles.

The sessions are fun and interactive, with a practical learning element.

Please do follow the Eventbrite link to book your place:- https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/x/nuggets-bookclub-tickets-333571179377

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

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Emotional Intelligence, Learning, personal impact, Relationships

Everything has changed, but nothing has changed…

I am back at the desk of nuggets HQ having taking a temporary leave of absence for a month. As the title says “everything has changed, but nothing has changed”.

The last month I have been caring for my Mum alongside my sisters and Step Dad, and very sadly she died on the 25th April 2022. My whole world will never look the same again without the person who created me in it. However the world keeps spinning and less you hold on you get left behind.

In grief you find the normal things like making a bed really calming as there is little emotional input and the procedural aspect of the task gives you perspective. The times you feel derailed when you can see no end in sight for the person in pain and you have no capacity to change the trajectory of the outcome.

Throughout my absence I have been reading “The Atlas of the Heart” by Brene Brown and the comfort of unpicking emotions and experiences has also given me an amazing sense of my self. Understanding that meaningful connection only happens if you talk about your emotions.

I remember reading that Gill Hicks who survived the 7/7 bombing in London, returned to her desk and tipped the in box that the team had kept untouched straight in the bin. Her view that nothing mattered but everything mattered, after what she had just been through.

I think of the many books I have read in the nature of my job and many will help me now forge ahead with maybe a slight change of heart or mind.

  • The Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown
  • Feel the Fear and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers
  • Start with Why by Simon Sinek
  • Who moved my cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson

Everything has changed means a new view of my work, perhaps a boldness that was lacking before, however to be sure the things that have not changed are being true to my values.

“Helping people to think differently” by making a difference

“Achievement” my anchor value of progression which will move me forward ensuring that things do change.

I will shortly be starting a bookclub for The Atlas of the Heart if you would like to attend please do get in touch bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Learning, personal impact, Relationships

Language is our portal for meaning…

So excited Brene Brown’s new book Atlas of the Heart is now in print. There is so much to unpick, but a good starter is using the right language to explain our experiences and label the emotions involved.

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s quote “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”.

Fifteen years ago, Brown asked participants on her shame resilience research to list all the emotions they could recognise and to name them. This took five years and involved seven thousand people. The average number of emotions named across the surveys was three, and they were happy, sad and angry.

Brown obviously found this very disheartening when the vastness of human emotion is not about mad, sad or glad. There are so many despair, shame, wonder, awe… that in their richness make us human.

Language is the portal to meaning, making connections, healing, learning and self awareness. When we don’t have the language we lose our ability to explain what is really going on.

In Atlas of the Heart there are eighty seven emotions and experiences that are defined and brought to life so that we can increase our vocabulary.

The next time you say the following:-

  • “I am really pissed off”
  • “I am so mad”

What are you feeling? Naming it accurately what is really going on. Vocabulary should be as expansive as our experience. Better responses might be..:-

  • “I am so overwhelmed with all I am experiencing”
  • “I am feeling disappointed”

Yesterday my son failed his driving test and it was pure anger, and it was limiting to his growth. He was not labelling it as disappointment, and his rage directed at the Driving Examiner whom he will never see again, is sadly not constructive.

Articulate what is going on in your world this week, and I would welcome comments and discussion.

Please do reach out bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk