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, coaching, Learning, motivation, Relationships, training

More than just a helping hand…

I was delighted last week to meet Natalie Miller the Co Captain of the England indoor netball team otherwise known as Nets.

We met at Natalie’s place of work Seaford College where she is a sports coach.  The school are very supportive of her latest adventure.  Natalie will be travelling to the Nets World Cup in South Africa in August to represent England and she could not be more proud or excited.

Nets is a completely netted indoor netball court, so you literally zip in and zip out.  The enclosed area means that the ball is never out of play, so the game is very fast and relentless.  There are only three courts available in England, (Birmingham/Bristol/Derby), so Natalie trains in Birmingham.

When Natalie was selected for the team there was the initial jubilation and then the reality of the expense.  Fundraising alongside your training can be exhausting and mentally and physically draining.

Natalie reached out using LinkedIn and found several companies interested in sponsoring her journey.  The one that felt right was Ben Hanny at The Furniture Union.  The two don’t seem the most obvious link, however Natalie recognised in Ben the same passion to be successful.  Her overall feeling was that Ben and the company would be supportive.

The two are coming together on Friday for a presentation of the cheque for Natalie’s sponsorship.  The evening is going to reflect the shared values of both and will be a mutually beneficial journey together.

Passion

Natalie’s drive is to be the best person you can be

The Furniture Union is passionate about providing the best design solutions

Determination

Natalie found it really hard to find the sponsorship however the determination was built on the fact her success and effectiveness depended on it.

The Furniture Union are determined to support Natalie’s journey to the World Cup in the same way they do with their clients

Team player

There are 12 in the Nets team.   Natalie is the Co-Captain a shared responsibility due to the gruelling nature of the tournament.  The team are away for 2 weeks and training and playing everyday.  The two Captains compliment each other and support each other.

The Furniture Union operate as one team, although they have many different skills, so it is imperative that they work together to achieve the best design solution.

Leader 

Natalie leads by example, always works really hard and never gives up.  She has a really positive disposition and is a good motivator.

Bella & Ben the Leaders at The Furniture Union work hard and never give up on the right solution for a client and it is their job to motivate the team.

Sponsorship is so much more than just a helping hand, you need to connect the two entities and share values and working practices. There is so much to be learnt by both and we intend at nuggets to work with Natalie and the The Furniture Union to bring the shared learning together.

 

 

 

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

Duck herding & Leadership

I was really lucky to facilitate a team build which used “duck herding” as the light hearted fun activity to kick off the day.

The parallels for leadership were great and really good scene setting for the day that lay ahead.

The sheep dog was totally focused on the ducks and incredibly obedient.  The ducks were “runner ducks” as the name suggests their basic instinct is to move, predominately to where they think is safe.  They are not afraid of the dog as there is a comfortable distance.  Too near and they would be worried and too far they would be able to head for water.  The ducks have no leader, they are one group.

When the herding begins it is a balancing act of space and movement. The Dog called Tip never got distracted once, however if the shepherd asked him to “lie down” the ducks could go off, but using the “lie down” command gave the ducks a chance to relax.

Tip was a Collie very common in sheep dogs as they are very bright and need constant mental stimulation. It takes two years to train a sheepdog.

After the shepherd had demonstrated the task it was the turn of the team (minus the dog).  As Leaders they had to herd the ducks in groups of three, just as people.  The trick was to learn from the dog in creating space and gently move them forward.  There was a lot of laughs and one rogue duck who just did not want to join in.  He was cajoled back into the group, but incurred lots of delay.

What can we learn from a Leadership perspective?:-

  • Our you as a Leader totally focused do you know where you want your team to go and end up
  • Do your team have an instinct to keep moving eg. being innovative
  • Do you provide a safe place for your team somewhere they can relax and be off-duty
  • What is a comfortable distance between a Leader and their team.  Do you give the right level of autonomy
  • What are the distractions to you as a Leader, how can you ensure that you stay on track with your team and their journey
  • As a Leader are you constantly mentally stimulated
  • There is often a rogue duck in any organisation, someone who wants to go their own way, as a Leader they cannot be ignored
  • There is no time limit on when you reach great leadership, you may have to work with several teams

Please do get in touch for a workshop on Leadership bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk and for organising your own duck herding event contact http://www.dogandduckshow.co.uk

 

 

Posted in coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Goals, Learning, Relationships

The difference between coaching & mentoring…

Coaching is … a process that enables learning and development to occur by the coach asking powerful questions which leads to different thinking and ultimately different performance.  The coach requires a variety of styles and skills and techniques that are appropriate for each session.

Mentoring is… helping an individual to make significant changes in their work or thinking. This can often be done remotely or face to face.  Mentors look at the big picture and with no vested interest and can make bold suggestions.

Coaches can have first hand experience of the line of work or they can be a qualified coach from outside bringing new thinking in.

Mentors are normally more experienced or skilled in the field of work they are advising on.

Line Managers can use coaching techniques whereas the best mentors often have no prior relationship with the mentee.

Coaches ask powerful questions and don’t give advice, and the mentor provides direction and advice.

Mentors and coaches provide a neutral sounding board and total confidentiality, they are both invested in assisting an individual to reach their goals.

Coaching is about learning rather than “teaching” it is much more ask than tell.  The insight gained by working with a coach will lead to enhanced effectiveness.  Mentoring is helping individuals to develop their career by drawing on their own experiences.

Working with a coach and mentor can lead to new thinking and an enhanced performance.

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Leadership, Learning, Management, training

Colourful learning…

When I set up nuggets I wanted to create a “wow” factor the moment people entered the room.  I wanted to show that I had made an effort.  If you came to a party at my house I would ensure that my house looked fabulous.  You are the host to an amazing experience it is not “just a training course”. My heart always sank if I entered a workshop and there was the biro on a lined pad.

The brain needs to be alive the moment the course begins and you can do that by bringing as much colour to the room as possible. As the Facilitator I always wear colour and I ensure that I display flip charts around the room with lots of colour.  This can only happen by using “Mr Sketch” markers you need more than black, blue, red and green. Post-its and even fiddling toys provide the colour and texture needed to get the brain ticking.

Colourful learning is not just about the colour, you need minds to come alive and think in a colourful way.  The brain always has to answer a question and needs space time and input from others to help.  Creating exercises where the group can move around room working together gets them to think differently.  Colourful thinking is creative thinking, when you have new answers to existing situations.

nuggets works on modules, bearing in mind that the concentration rate on average is only 45 minutes.  The preferred route is weekly or monthly interventions of 90 minute workshops.  This provides an entrance on a topic where you have created a “Disturb” of the delegate wanting to learn more and action more.

The residential Management programmes are costly to companies and do they give the return on investment.  Learning that is practical and applicable with less time away from the desk is where the training future is.

Please do get in touch with bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk for leadership and management workshops covering many topics.

We are currently promoting “Making email work for you…”

 

 

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

Hexagon mapping…

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Becoming clear on a decision, and thinking as a group should be fun and challenging.  A lot will depend on the structure put in place to ensure everyone feels confident with the process.  Brain storming can often feel brain draining if you do not have a right brain orientation.  Traditionally left brain thinkers prefer structure, digital and organised data.  It can be a very distinct turn off to be asked for arbitrary ideas to be displayed on coloured post-its.

Hexagon mapping appeals to right and left brain thinkers.  The colour and general similarity to brain storming engages the right and the left like the mathematical structure the hexagons provide once displayed.

The system was devised by Anthony Hodgson in the 70’s his aim was better decision making through holistic thinking.

  • The process begins with a really good trigger question that all participants can engage with.
  • The second stage is to capture every single idea on separate hexagons.
  • The group should be asked for ideas individually in the same order each time until everyone has no ideas left.
  • The team should stand back from the hexagons and them cluster them if they are saying the same thing.

The process is fast and effective and appeals to all.

Please do get in touch if your team would benefit from hexagon mapping bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Creating a value based culture…

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In Summary 

Working with a property company for 10 years to create a value based culture. Estate Agents have a notorious reputation and the company was determined to create a brand and an ethos “That was not like other Agents…”.

The core value was to “upserve”, constantly add value internally and externally. The team became trusted advisors and followed a blue print in each area of the business.

In a nutshell:-

  • Brand integrity – strong guidelines
  • Brand story – ethos to follow
  • What Vs How – not what you do it is how you do it?
  • Upserve internally and externally
  • Trusted Advisor
  • Blue print – process for each area of the business
  • Long term view
  • Intangible learning that became tangible
  • What leads to how – and the how had to be practical

How? – a series of team workshops

  • Working across barriers – process mapped tasks by departments
  • How to be proactive? – used the 5 a day principle and employees kept logs of when they had been proactive.
  • What does your business look like? – Visited other agents and used a mystery shopper to give the company feedback. This workshop used a lot of the techniques from the very successful programme “Mary Queen of Shops”
  • How to live and work by your values? – the team described what would be happening at the office and in the afternoon took part in a volunteering project, creating planters for schools.
  • What motivates each team member? – Using the Strength Deployment Inventory profiling tool.
  • Park thinking – Workshop comparing the impact on the business to visitors (using the Disney philosophy of “Park Thinking”)
  • Qualification of applicants – looking at the hard and soft facts and getting the right property match
  • Process mapping – systems lead to goals. As a team deciding on what they wanted to achieve and working out how.
  • Negotiating – the right language required when agreeing deposits. The interest behind the position.

As well as the team workshops:- 

  • Follow ups individually to all learning initiatives
  • Coaching key members of the team
  • Group recruitment & selection workshop – introduction exercise, assessment tools and speed interviewing – 7.00am – 8.30am
  • Designed and delivered formal Induction workshop – with one month follow up (new starters have the best ideas and initiatives)

What? – key to this approach

  • Long term relationship
  • Monthly workshops – valid and relevant
  • Learning and development that is strategic for the business
  • 1:1 follow ups to workshops

A value based culture does not happen overnight and you need the leadership team involved and championing every intervention.  They need to attend the workshops with their team members they need to be actively be part of the change.  Identifying their own behavioural change and sharing vulnerability can be so encouraging for a team moving forward with a very clear vision.

Please do contact bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Head Bev 1