Running your own business and being based at home means we are ready for this phase of home working, but will it be the same?
At the moment I have a lovely office all to myself, I fear the invasion will begin with husband and children wanting to be in that space. There will be no more lighting candles and having the radio on while I work.
My husband’s phone calls are so loud, the High Street will know the deal he is working on. The 15 year old cannot work without food constantly being consumed. The 17 year old is quite messy (she will hate me for saying that). The clear desk policy will be hard to implement.
My ideas for making it work will be rota or finding new areas to work where we can all be happy with our own rituals.
Everyone in these crazy times has to be resourceful and as family we will work the desk and office space.
Top tips for working from home:-
- Start the day by writing down what you want to achieve
- Work out your best time for working
- Clear the office of any distractions
- Create the environment you want to work in – make it comfortable
- Work in blocks – use the pommodoro technique
- Reward yourself at the breaks with coffee…
- Socialise with who is in the house at the same time – water cooler moments
- Take a lunch hour – go outside (you would at the office)
- Be disciplined about when you stop work (without a commute you might be inclined to work longer)
- Keep work in a separate area to where you relax (no laptop on your lap while watching TV)
Please do get in touch if you would like any help or advice on home working firstname.lastname@example.org
Being a visitor too many different offices you can very easily see from the working environment what sort of culture the organisation has.
Some are very obvious, projecting their product and services with a bit of fun around the team. The harder to identify are the big corporates, which may well have their values on display, however they don’t give much away as to what is like to work there.
Waiting for meetings in a reception area or if you are lucky a social area you can see team members come and go. Watching the interaction of colleagues and the general vibe as to whether they make you feel welcome says a lot about the company.
Waiting in a fun social area with a pool table and darts board with fruit and every drink imaginable you feel relaxed. Team members come and go taking breaks and a screen flashes up photos of their people with quirky facts about them. I got to see the face of several people I was about to meet before I met them in the flesh.
In contrast waiting in a very beige waiting area with an empty perspex magazine holder and no pictures, reflects a culture that has given up on its people.
Another example is the slick reception desk with a vast atrium and the team all in identical outfits does not show what lies beyond.
Think about your welcome area being the gateway to your business and your team. What do you want to share?
Top Tips to reflect your culture:-
- Welcome sign
- Company name
- Photos of the team (fun facts)
- Colourful and well lit area
- Papers/Magazines that are current or relevant to your business
- Drinks/fruit available
- Ensure that every member of the team who passes a visitor acknowledges them
First impressions of people happen in 7 seconds so exactly the same assessment is being about your company and your people. Take time to get it right and work for you and your people.
Please do get in touch for a workshop on culture email@example.com
The definition of unconscious bias is unsupported judgements.
We have the conscious mind where we apply logic and make rational decisions. The unconscious mind has a vaster volume of information and we tend to use it to make snap decisions, which are not often right.
The information in the unconscious mind is made up of shortcuts, personal experiences, our own background and cultural background. We create filters with this information and they often formulate from visual cues.
The cues can be gender, height, similarity or even their name. I once met some-one who said they had never met a Bev they had liked before (an outspoken open bias). More often as the bias is unconscious nothing will be said and you may not even be aware that you are making a judgement.
This instinctive use of our mind is not based on any analysis and therefore creates many categories of bias. We often favour our own groups, this is known as affinity bias. We have an affinity with a team member and we may support them with positive micro behaviours. Praise after a meeting and the occasional coffee as you enjoy their company. If we don’t have an affinity we may use negative micro behaviours, picking up on every detail within an email and not supporting them within meetings.
We cannot stop unconscious bias however we can become aware of it and begin to challenge it and address it.
- Slow decision making down
- Reconsider the reasons of your first initial reaction or response
- Question any cultural stereotypes
- Monitor each other and call it out, if you think there is a bias
We can address unconscious bias by greater self awareness. Please do get in touch for a workshop on the topic firstname.lastname@example.org
Business development is relentless and often it can be hard to think of a new approach. Most of your new business will come from existing clients so we need to focus on which ones have the most potential to grow your business, and also be enjoyable to work with.
The first step is to create three categories:-
- Existing clients
- Prospective clients (warm leads not yet converted)
We can then divide the existing clients into a further three areas:-
Really analyse your clients and decide which ones are Gold. You may need to take some time to think about the criteria for being Gold. We often make the mistake of focusing our time on clients who pay a high premium fee, however they demand double the time. Other clients pay a constant fee which gives you guaranteed income and need very little time.
Therefore ask some questions to create the Gold criteria:-
- What is the current fee structure?
- How much time do you spend on the Client account?
- Do you enjoy working with them?
- How much resource is required to service that account?
- How long have they been a Client?
- Have they given you more work?
- Have they recommended you to other Clients?
Make the exercise visual by having your Gold clients on display in your office.
“What you focus on becomes reality”.
Prospective Clients will need to be touched regularly as now to get to a point of sale you will need at least eight touch points if not more. Keep a tracker and make sure it is on display to all the team.
Wish seems a bit far reaching, however again the genius of audacity you just never know. It is a great exercise to focus on who your dream client would be as it helps with the categorisation of the Gold existing clients.
Please do get in touch if you would like nuggets to facilitate a management meeting email@example.com
The New Year is the time when you start to think about new team members. The interview is the first view of your company and should be a memorable occasion.
Working with a company a few years ago we decided to turn the recruitment and selection process into more of an assessment day with the emphasis on “fun”.
The day started at 7.30am with breakfast in the kitchen area. The candidates had a fun icebreaker relevant to the company. We then had three exercises so we split the group accordingly. The activities were as follows:-
- Speed interviewing – Just 3 questions asked in rotation by 3 people
- Sending an email – testing their communication skills
- Spelling and Grammar test
We then brought the group back together for Q & A on the company and to enjoy the leftovers of the croissants. We received really good feedback how it was so much more refreshing than a normal interview.
However if you are going down the more traditional route have a look at some Dos and Don’ts I have compiled:-
||No comfort or welcome
|Explain Agenda and timings
||No time scale
|Job spec – clear outline of position
||No job spec
|Brief overview of Company (must be brief) 80:20 rule
||No company info
|Behavioural interview questions
Skills questions that are relevant to the job
Questions about CV
|Template to write answers to questions – for each candidate
|The same format and interview for every candidate
||No structure or format – different with every candidate
|Appitude test eg.
Send an email
Spot spelling and grammar errors
|No basic testing
|Introduce candidate to the team
|Another member of the team to take to the exit – “Ask how they managed interview today?”
||Meet the same person throughout interview
||No follow up
Please do get in touch if you would like nuggets to provide Behavioural interview training or just simply to design something fun for your recruitment process.
Our ability to sell correlates to our revenue, and yet it is hard to sell especially when in most cases it is yourself.
We must believe in what we are selling and therefore a good starting point is to decide what result the Client will get if they buy your service. Write down 3 results they will get if they buy from you:-
- By attending a nugget workshop you will think differently about the way you work
- You will look at your team with “fresh eyes”
- Practical actions from relevant training in a shorter period of time
By focusing on results you are giving them the WIFM factor (Whats in it for me?) and you have created a strategy of being customer centric.
Work out how many people you need to see each month to convert into a sale. The ratio will be high so make sure you book as many appointments or in my case coffee and catch ups. It might be 8:1, whatever the number keep a track of your conversion rate as it will help predict your cashflow.
When you get to meet them think of the flow of the conversation:-
- Build rapport
- Questioning – understand their world – empathy
- Reflect what you have heard
- Give examples
- Tell them how you can help them…
To build rapport really get to know them and remember the things that they value (holidays, family and health) very rarely is it their job.
Think of 3 key questions to follow the rapport:-
- What sort of training have you had recently?
- Who have you worked with before?
- What outcomes were you looking for from the workshops?
Reflect back answers – using case studies “From what I hear is…we have recently worked with …”
If it is not the right fit, don’t be afraid to walk away, it is not right to sell a Rolls Royce when they were in the market for a Mini.
We can appeal at three levels:-
- Aspirational – “other companies are buying our workshops”
- Emotional – “you will feel so much better having attended”
- Fear of missing out – “we only have three places left on the workshop”
Plan your new business meetings and most importantly enjoy them so that people want to work with you.
If anyone tells you to do anything you want to resist. Recently some-one told me to do something and I was in a volunteering capacity and I was incredibly resistant. Asking for help and support always gets a better response.
A potential Client was explaining a team member’s response to attending a team meeting. The employee had called a colleague and said they would not bother coming back to the office to come to the weekly meeting. The Manager was obviously irritated and asked the colleague to phone them straight back and tell them they had to attend.
I asked why as the Manager they had not made the call. They could have asked
“Why do you think that your attendance at the meeting would not add value?”
The brain always has to answer a question, and questioning the value they would bring to a meeting is far harder to excuse yourself.
Ask not tell leadership style is much more empowering. Whenever a team member comes to you with a problem the best approach is to always ask them what they would do first rather than offer out a solution.
Another example is a request for holiday during a busy period, instead of an immediate no, ask how they think the company will survive with their absence. Asking is all about pushing responsibility and getting the brain to work for itself.
Telling some-one not to be late, will make the serial offender repeat their actions. Asking them what they think they can do to ensure they are on time, makes them do the thinking.
Ask not tell is more empowering to you as leader and to the recipient.