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

Back to school…

Using “Back to school” as a metaphor for business what does it mean for us…

New Uniform

We might well be staying the same, as per working from home, therefore do we need a new uniform. It is not just about the clothes we wear it is the mindset we put on every morning. Do you feel positive about the future and do you believe that you are still developing and growing. Every morning you wake up you choose the attitude you decide to put on. Susan Jeffers quoted in her book “Feel the Fear and do it anyway” if you wake up in “pain” you will stay in “pain” all day. Whereas if we decide to pop “power” on, we will have a very different day. Think about what you need to look good inside and outside and remember you make the choices.

New Timetable

September is a good time to change your schedule, the days are changing it is already getting darker earlier, therefore do you start the day earlier? What new routines and rituals are you going to factor into your week. Map out the month of September and decide what will be a weekly or a daily discipline. Most importantly remember to write it down.

New Teachers

Who are you going to work with in September? Reach out to new Clients and new businesses that you have never reached out to before. Try different sectors and industries, be open minded about who you want to work with.

New Subjects

What new skills and development do you want to start? Think about mind/body and soul, develop your whole self. Set yourself a monthly goal to ensure that you remember to focus on it. James Clear the writer of “Atomic Habits’ says remember it is important to start, it is better to run for 10 minutes than to not run at all. Get started and you will then begin to embody the identity of the habit you wish to develop.

New Friends

Existing colleagues and new colleagues, reach out of your comfort zone and attend new webinars, virtual workshops and new meetings. See if you can meet a new person each week or month, set it up as a challenge.

Please do contact me if you would like to attend the nuggets book club starting this Friday at 10.00am when we will be reviewing the book “Eat that Frog”.

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Getting to know your Chimp…

The excellent book by Dr. Steve Peters “The Chimp Paradox” explains the principal of mind management.

In essence Peters explains how we have three areas of the mind:-

  • The Human
  • The Chimp
  • The Computer

The Human brain is the area of the Prefrontal where logic can be applied and rational thinking . The limbic part of the brain is where your Chimp lives. The Human and Chimp have very different minds.

The Chimp is a Chimp, it can be good and it can be bad it thinks independently, it is an emotional machine and you have to learn how to manage it.

Brain scans can show us where blood supply goes in certain situations and you can see from these scans who is in control. If you are highly anxious the blood supply goes to the limbic brain where your Chimp is. Feeling calm and rational you will see the blood supply in the prefrontal part of the brain.

The Chimp is a bit like owning a dog you are responsible for its behaviour but not for its nature. The secret is to learn how to live with it and manage it.

The Computer is the balance of the two minds, it is where experiences are stored and the memories are saved. This is extremely helpful for both the Chimp and Human to remember what worked and what didn’t work.

The Human has a personality centre where you work with facts and truths. The Chimp has a jungle centre where it works with emotions and feelings. The Chimp Paradox is the fact that your Chimp can be your best friend or your worst enemy, you have to live with it and manage it.

Posted in Bite size learning, Goals, Learning, motivation, training

Make learning stick… why does it matter?

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught” – Churchill

Make learning stick, why does it matter, if you can learn something in your short term memory and ace a test is that all that matters.  Why does learning something long term really matter? 

As in the Churchill quote we can all recall a bad learning experience, the teacher spoke at you and your brain drifted with the result none of the information was retained.

My own experience of learning can possibly explain why it matters and why I try so hard to make learning stick for others.

I did not learn to read until I was 10 years old, it just did not stick.  The concept did not seem fun and no-one really explained what it would give me.  There is an assumption that you understand what reading will give you, however at infant school age, painting a picture or diving into the dressing up box seemed to me far more enticing.

I started on the Peter and Jane books and then seem to spend an eternity on some Pirate books.  I am not even sure to this day why the Pirates were used and if I am honest I don’t think I even knew fully what a Pirate was.  

We were encouraged to take the book home and practice with our parents, there was no diary to monitor whether this happened and therefore no structure.  As you can imagine those Pirate books stayed in my bag and were only read at school.

Once you have hindered your own development you get labelled very quickly.  My lack of reading made all my other subjects harder and before I knew it I was in the “Learning difficulties group”.  I can now laugh at the title, but at the time they used to call that title out openly in the class “All those for the Learning Difficulties Group follow Miss Webster…”).  

Over a period of time you then develop a fixed mindset around your experience.  I was the third daughter “the creative one”, I did not need to be the clever one, so it was OK not to be fantastic in class.  Professor Carol Dweck’s brilliant book on Mindset explains that it is easier not to stretch yourself if that is the role you are fulfilling.  Whereas some-one with a growth mindset will constantly put themselves at stretch and reach out for new opportunities and risks. 

The reasons I was not mastering reading could be summarised as follows:-

  • The benefits were not understood 
  • The concept was not fun 
  • The resource (books) were of no interest
  • Fixed mindset around reading 
  • No structured practices 

I guess you are now all wondering whether I am still on the Pirate books and how I turned it around.

I was very lucky as there was that one teacher who made it her mission to get me to read.  Instead of sending the “Learning difficulty group” out of the class she focused on them within the class.  We all had times with her where we read out loud whilst the others were working with a gentle hum, therefore no public humiliation.  She set up the right space and comfort level to make it happen.

With me specifically she commented on how expressive I was, and how good I was at reading out loud.  She had spotted a talent within the confusion of interpreting the words.   She also selected books specific to each child or encouraged us to bring books into school.

The book that made it all happen ironically was “George don’t do that…” by Joyce Grenfell.  It was funny and was littered with illustrations and somehow just clicked, it was the first book I read on my own.  

I now understood what reading could give me and I have never been without a book a testament to the struggle to get there.

What was it that finally made the learning stick?

  • Being encouraged and identifying a talent other than reading
  • The right environment, making learning comfortable
  • Being given choices and making it relevant to me (individualised) 
  • Regular practice and a routine that became normal and comfortable
  • Developing a growth mindset (where would reading take me) 

Making learning stick is all about the experience, the memory and the relevance.

Posted in Bite size learning, Leadership, Learning, motivation, personal impact, Relationships, training

The nuggets book club

When lockdown started, I decided to run a book club every Friday for FREE to share my favourite business books and why they make a difference. Every book I selected had a relevance to the period we were in.

To be true to my nuggets style I wanted the sessions to be interactive which is no mean feat on Zoom. I would start each session with some exercise that had a connection to the topic or book and would make everyone relax and laugh.

The sessions were only 30 minutes as I was conscious to peak interest in the book and leave attendees wanting more from nuggets or a desire to read the book.

My summary was structured around the book framework eg. using chapter headings to say what each part of the book was covering. They were very comprehensive so no attendee felt isolated if they had not read the book or even heard of the author.

Before each event I would explain in a few lines what the book was about and if possible direct them to TED talk by the author.

After the summary was delivered I would ask three questions to understand from attendees how some of the content had resonated. We always had amazing responses and very honest and open at some situations which must have been very personal.

In true nuggets style we finished with the key nuggets as takeaways as to what the book meant from a practical perspective.

The books we covered are listed below:-

  • Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson – understanding change and our responses
  • When by Dan Pink – understanding the science behind time
  • Mindset by Carol S Dweck – determining whether you have a fixed or growth mindset
  • Start With Why by Simon Sinek – your overall purpose “not what you do its Why you do it”
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear – creating habits and rituals that are sustainable
  • The Present by Dr Spencer Johnson – Learning from the past and looking to the future and enjoying the Present
  • Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed – Understanding how much that can be learnt from failure
  • Daring Greatly by Brene Brown – Vulnerability is not weakness
  • Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono – providing a framework for your thinking in group and individual situations that will save you time

Please do get in touch if you would like any of the book summaries delivered to your team. The session is 30 minutes with no cap on attendees and the cost is £100 per session or £150 for two.

Please do get in touch to find out more bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Not yet…

You didn’t fail you just have “not yet” achieved what you wanted to achieve.  “Not yet” is so much better than the message you have failed.

We are currently facing many new challenges and we have to keep saying its “not yet” how I want it to be, but I am going to keep working hard until it is how I want it.

This power of thinking comes from Professor Carol S Dweck who wrote the book Mindset.

She explains how children approached some difficult puzzles she set up for them.  A group of them came out with statements:-

  • “I love a challenge”
  • “I was hoping this was going to be informative” 

She was impressed by the understanding that the harder they worked the more their mind would grow.

However other children gave up and did not want to fail so it was easier not to attempt harder puzzles.

This is the basis of the book, adopting a Growth Mindset or having a Fixed Mindset.

Students either find the power of yet or are locked by the tyranny of now.  If you have a fixed mindset and you don’t do very well you may well:-

  • Decide to cheat rather than study
  • Find some-one with a worse grade than yourself
  • Run from the difficulty

Therefore if we are to grow the next generation we need to talk to them about yet instead of now.  We must not just focus on the grades they have now, we must talk to them about the bigger picture, the possibilities that they have yet to get to.

Evidence shows already that young workers often look for constant reward.  To prevent this in organisations we need to be praising the process, focus and perseverance they have demonstrated not just the result.   Research shows that if we do praise talent and intelligence in isolation we can actually make the individual vulnerable.  We limit their stretch, they do not want to risk their reputation by putting themselves in areas where they do not know stuff.

If we learn something new and study really hard, pictures of the brain show that we actually create stronger neurones.

We need to transform the view of effort and difficulty, we should be praising individuals for exposing their lack of skill.

From a very personal experience I found reading very hard and it was easier to not look stupid than to work at it.  Eventually at the age of 10 years old I had a teacher who made me read out loud just to her and gave me the confidence I needed.  She rewarded my effort by giving me key roles in the classroom.  Suddenly the pain and difficulty of reading seemed possible and the doors that it opened were endless.

Please do join me on Friday for the nuggets business book review and summary club where we will be discussing Mindset by Carol S Dweck.

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Apr 17, 2020 10:00 AM London

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://zoom.us/meeting/register/upQtcumtpj0vZkeFvOhZeBQsHYDOjE1XUw

 

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, Learning, personal impact, training

Do you sound “Charming”…?

To get your message across on email, do you sound “Charming?”

Will the person reading your mail want to meet you if they have not already?  Do you get across your personality?  Do you convey a message assertively with feeling and the right level of humility.

The definition of the word “Charming” is very pleasant or attractive.  Who would not want their email to convey that.

The fundamentals to bear in mind, is that it is not what you say but how you say it.  You might work for an amazing brand however your written communication could be letting the brand integrity down.  Your voice in email should reflect the culture of the organisation.

The tone of voice has to be a “can do” attitude a positive and confident tone.

Before you even start writing think about key ingredients:-

  • What does the reader need to know?
  • How do you want them to feel?
  • What do you want them to do?

Be specific, ensure your message is not empty, for example:-

  • How are you?
  • Hope you are well?

Better alternatives:-

  • How was your weekend?
  • Hope you are enjoying the warm weather?

Charming is about the personal touch with specifics – How are you or Hope you are well? can be just vague and have the opposite affect of appearing uncaring a perfunctory statement.   The personal touch is about sincerity with confidence.

Readers always remember the last thing they read, so ensure you summarise your key points.  If you had to write a Tweet of your key points, it would have to be 280 characters.

Please do get in touch if you would like a workshop on “Making email work for you” or if you would like a copy of our book, please head to the website www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Learning, motivation, personal impact

Habits give you freedom…

In 1898 a psychologist named Edward Thorndike conducted an experiment with cats.  Each cat was put inside a puzzle box, which was designed so that the cat could escape either by stepping on a platform, pulling a loop, pressing a lever etc…  The other side of the door would be food.  Thorndike monitored the activity and after 20 or 30 trials the behaviour became so automatic.  The cats learned to associate the action of pressing a lever with the reward of escape and food.  Thorndike described the learning process “behaviours followed by satisfying consequences tend to be repeated and those that produce unpleasant consequences are less likely to be repeated”

A habit is a behaviour that has been repeated enough times that it becomes automatic.  Habits normally occur through trial and error.  Neurological ativity is high in the brain when you are working out what to do.  This is the feedback loop behind all human behaviour: try fail, learn and try differently.  Habits occur when you know what to do so you skip trial and error and create a mental rule.

Habits do not restrict freedom they create it. By making fundamentals within life easier you can create mental space needed for thinking and creativity.

Building a habit can be broken into fours steps:-

  1. Cue
  2. Craving
  3. Response
  4. Reward

The first step Cue, triggers the brain to identify whether there is a reward.  Cravings are the motivational force behind every habit.  It is not the motivation of cleaning your teeth it is being motivated by the feeling of a clean and fresh mouth.  The response is the action you take “the habit” you adopt. The reward is the final stage of the loop, they satisfy us and they teach us.  The satisfaction is obvious, the learning is the shortcut that the brain can hard wire to repeat the habit.

The ultimate purpose of habits is to solve problems with as little energy and effort as possible.

The four steps can be split into two phases:-

Problem Phase 

  1. Cue
  2. Craving

Solution Phase

  1. Response
  2. Reward

Whenever you want to change your behaviour, and create a good habit, you can simply ask yourself:-

  1. Cue – How can I make it obvious?
  2. Craving – How can I make it attractive?
  3. Response – How can I make it easy?
  4. Reward – How can I make it satisfying?

The reverse if you wish to break a bad habit, follow these steps:-

  1. Cue – Make it invisible
  2. Craving – Make it unattractive
  3. Response – Make it difficult
  4. Reward – Make it unsatisfying

To explore more around habits, read James Clear’s book Atomic Habits.

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

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.