Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Leadership, Management, motivation, Relationships, training

It’s good to share, talk and listen…

Without contriving and formalising how can you encourage your team members to share more. Developing good listening skills and providing space physically and mentally where they can talk.

However is the starting point with their own confidence, do they believe they have anything to share. What is their story do they believe they have a relevancy and ideas to contribute. Every team member needs to feel valued and appreciated and then they will believe they have a platform to speak.

The first myth to blow is that information shared needs to be knowledge based. The difference between knowledge and wisdom goes some of the way to demonstrating we all have something to share.

  • Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit
  • Wisdom is knowing not to add the tomato to a fruit salad

Everyone has some wisdom or an experience worth sharing, more often than not, learnt from a failing. Some-one else’s failure could be the key to several others learning. Creating a culture where “wisdom of mistakes” becomes the buzz will lead to a transparent and open culture.

Stepping out of comfort zones, will blow away layers of hierarchy. Peer to peer sharing and in addition reverse sharing, the most junior sharing with Senior Leads.

Several companies have tried to formalise how they share knowledge, such as Estee Lauder creating “Dream Space” knowledge sharing portal. The success is creating an online platform, however the space might not lead to meaningful relationships.

The secret is to create an informal environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing, however some clever set up that it becomes natural and evolving.

Mentoring schemes in organisations are formalised and structured, however they take administration to set up. The sense of belonging to the organisation’s existing culture might inhibit and deter the people you want to encourage to share, the voices that don’t get heard.

Just as you ask some-one “How are you?” the response will be “fine thank you”.

You want something more than “fine”, you desire and crave a community of people who are sharing their skills, expertise, knowledge and ideas that are so much more than just fine.

Get personal you want to talk, listen and share. If a work community is going to grow together it has to be a common currency and the norm where you listen, talk and share. There will be a phase where it feels contrived however you are striving for an environment where it feels normal and acceptable that you have a coffee and a catch up with the CEO whatever your level.

Imagine your company is a coffee shop where the tables are always full and you circulate around.

It’s good to share, talk and listen – please do get in touch for a virtual coffee with bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

http://www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Why do you need a “great” process…?

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Mark Twain

When cash machines were launched the process was not full proof, you got your cash before you retrieved your card. Everyone was so keen to get their money that they forgot their cards. Banks found that the process was flawed, they just needed to change one part of the process. Retrieve your card and then get your cash.

Have you recently come across a process that was straightforward and that you felt was clear and carried you through with good signalling.

I recently donated some clothes to charity using an on-line system. I ordered bags online, received them/filled them, and then I followed a process of how to return the bags. The top of the website page told you where you were in the process. The visual indicators were excellent even an icon of the bag gave me confidence that I was progressing and I knew where I was at any part of the process.

Thinking about your own business, do your Clients know the process they are entering into and do your team follow the same process.

Focusing on a good system can save time and can be more effective. James Clear the author of Atomic Habits says that our systems are more important than our goals. If we get a system, process or ritual ingrained it becomes unconscious competence.

The first stage is to map out your process, with as much detail as possible. Think about the intangibles as much as the tangibles. When facilitating a session we use a pizza as an example, you need the dough first then the tomato base, cheese and various toppings. However when we think in business it is more complex than just toppings, what questions do you need to ask, how do you present the service you are offering, and how do you convert a conversation to a sale. Using a length of brown paper (easier and more modern to now use strips of magic whiteboards) and post-its map out each stage of the customer journey.

The next part of the process is to analyse the process, where is there overlap, who is responsible at certain points, put initials on your map.

Do you need to redesign the process, change a couple of steps. Think about timings that go with the process, is it 2 weeks to reconnect with a client or 4, make a system.

Start using the new process straight away, and communicate all the time as team as to how the process feels, as you still may need to tweak even at this stage.

Finally set up a review meeting when the process has been operating for 3 months, decide what has gone well, what could be done differently and what could you stop doing.

  • Map the process
  • Analyse the process
  • Redesign the process
  • Implement and communicate
  • Review

Please do get in touch if you would like nuggets to work with you on your processes.

http://www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Learning, Management

Think again…

When was the last time that you stopped what you were doing and thought I will rethink that task. We get locked into behavioural patterns which are driven by our values and beliefs.

Adam Grant the author of Think again, says we create an overconfident cycle:-

  • We form an opinion that feels right
  • Seek information to support that opinion
  • Feel validated
  • Proudly express our opinions

The cycles strengthens every time we preach, prosecute or politick. What do each of these three modes look like?

Preaching – you have a belief and the more you preach the more you are 100% certain, you ignore data to the contrary as it does not support the belief you are holding onto. Examples: belief in a political party, an investment, a way of working, new software etc…

Prosecuting – we prosecute an individual’s idea we dismiss their views on other areas as we do not hold their initial belief. Examples: political views, charities they support, way of working etc…

Politicking – we adopt others view points as we want to be liked and accepted by them. Examples: political parties adopt policies that will attract supporters, you may support your Managers opinion in order to get promotion etc…

If you imagine all of these three areas compound our overconfident cycle and we become blinkered to rethinking.

Adam Grant asked the scientist Daniel Kahneman what he does when he finds flaws in his research. Kahneman’s reply was “Its wonderful, I get a chance to be less wrong”. We all need to “Think like a Scientist”. The whole makeup of a Scientist is that they see ideas and beliefs as hunches that need to be tested.

We can start by thinking like a Scientist by using The Rethinking cycle:-

  • Doubt (acknowledge it)
  • Curiosity (of other ideas, opinions, beliefs)
  • Discovery (explore options)
  • Confident humility (admit your way was not necessarily the best)

One way to begin this new mode of thinking is to write down two headings:-

  • Things I don’t know
  • Things I have learnt recently

Humility has always needed to be a leadership characteristic, however the ability to rethink and have a confident humility is something we can all look at now in a very uncertain world.

Make this blog practical by challenging your own beliefs this week, if you have a doubt about a meeting being at 9.00am rethink it. The project is not going to run on the software selected by yourself, put your hand up and express doubt. The new hire you have made might not be the right for the culture, be open with your team, have confident humility.

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

http://www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Book a place on Developing YOU – Thursday 29th April 2021 @ 10.00am – 90 minute workshop £40 per delegate

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Leadership, Management, Relationships

Do you have a User Manual…?

When you pick up your shiny new car, it has a user manual, you know where the gears and levers are. Every warning light is understood as the user manual gives helpful pictures. As team members do we provide a user manual to our line managers.

As an individual you want to give your best to the organisation, however you also want to ensure that they understand what you want and what you offer. These are the elements of the psychological contract you have entered with the company. They gave you a contract with the tangible items they wanted and offered, however what about everything that was unsaid by both parties. Did you really want fun at the office and what did that look like?

A user manual could be a tool that could tease out the information.

People have different responses to feedback, some love it and want bucketfuls others just want a thimble very seldom. Working environments can be really conducive to some if they are quiet and others crave a buzz of peripheral noise and activity.

This is a great time to work with your team members to understand their user manual. We have all been working remotely for so long have we created a working day that now works for us, which means we have not worked a traditional 9 to 5.

There is always the unknown gifts that we have not shared with our leaders, you may well have discovered new hidden talents during this lockdown. Unless we use a tool like the “User manual” will we ever uncover the stars.

Back to the car analogy, this is a really good time to assess where you are, consider this your MOT. Please do get in touch if you would like one to one coaching bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Leadership, Management, Stress management

Thinking about your Welcome…

Last week with the children returning to school it was interesting to see the contrasts of how they welcomed them back.

My daughter was thrust straight back into academia with an A’level mock the first day back, and yet my son also in 6th Form had a day of focusing on their well being culminating with a beer round a fire pit. I know which Welcome I would have preferred!!

Also in the press I saw one school put up balloons festooning the entrance and the classrooms, albeit a primary school, however who does not want to feel special.

How will you welcome your team back?

Welcome in itself is written as a smile, having the word as prominently on show as you can will be a nice touch.

We can also start to send welcome letters now or even welcome packs, any form of teaser campaign and above all an acknowledgement of how excited you are to see them face to face.

Top Tips to consider with your Welcome:-

  • Be understanding, there will be anxiety of what to expect which is why it is good to start talking now
  • Have some well being workshops talks in place to manage any uncertainties
  • Keep everyone informed of which Government guidelines have been implemented and what the office might look like on their return
  • Set up rotas if your space is too small and you can’t all be in the office at the same time
  • Engage now – the next few months have the conversation before employees return
  • Be flexible with how it will work and give people choice
  • Reflect and review as it will keep changing

For more ideas on the easing out of lockdown please do get in touch bev@nuggetsofleanring.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, motivation, Problem solving, Relationships

Having a Zoom one to one …

Working with Clients at the moment I get asked how to make one to ones as effective as possible now they are over Zoom.

  • Do I need to have them more often?
  • Can I do them over the phone instead of Zoom?
  • Do I prepare the agenda?
  • Do I need to give a summary?

With most people working from home, one to ones need to be more often. You possibly followed a best practice guideline of one hour once a month, however in this climate, fortnightly will be better with a timing of 30 minutes.

Zoom is a great tool for one to ones as the intensity of just two faces does give you a clear insight as to how the person is feeling. They might well convey some leakage in their body language which you would not spot on the phone. However with Zoom fatigue being the current buzz phrase it is perfectly understandable that many may have had enough of the video conferencing. As a leader suggest a combination of one by phone and one by Zoom.

The one to one session should always belong to your team member so therefore it is their agenda. However it is good to provide a template that gives them an idea of what to prepare. Currently we will have items in there that would not normally have been in there before, such as well being of working from home. The template can be really simple with some headings as below:-

  • Current workload
  • Up and coming projects
  • Well being of working from home
  • Achievements and wins

It can even be as simple as Past/Present/Future, the most important thing is that they steer the meeting and that they come prepared.

Your job is to summarise what was covered, in simple bullet points, so that you can track their performance. You also have shown that you have listened and demonstrated support.

As a leader don’t committ any of the following common mistakes:-

  • Cancelling the one to one
  • Allowing interruptions
  • Setting the agenda and owning the one to one
  • Doing most of the talking
  • Taking the problem away from some-one
  • Not inquiring about feelings
  • Delivering unclear messages, unclear coaching and unclear instructions
  • Running out of time
  • Assuming your one to ones are effective

Embrace getting to know your team better and Zoom is a great for intensity, intimacy and confidentiality. During this time you can get to know your team really well.

Please do get in touch if you would like one to one coaching with nuggets bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Leadership, Management, mindfulness, motivation, Stress management

The “New” Normal…

The “new” normal for me is now normal and will be for a very long time. My challenge now is how to make it work for me.

Looking at how my home office, do I need to invest in some new equipment.

In order to help me work my “normal” I researched some statistics on how a group in the UK have been adapting.

The statistics are UK findings based on 1,016 respondents working full-time remotely.

• 59% of UK employees working different hours than they used to

This statistic came as no surprise as you are working around your home life and you have no commuting. The positive that can be taken from this figure is that you can work when it is your prime time, when you can work to your optimum and get the best out of yourself.

The negative to this figure, we are all available and at home so we have been contacted at odd times of the day. If you are going to continue to work from home, then set some boundaries as a team as to when to communicate and when not to communicate. Having consensus on some core hours will not single out any individuals and also won’t lead to competitive behaviour.

• 62% rely on workplace tech to stay connected

This might be an investment area for many. How good is your Broadband is it time to source a new provider. Is it worth investing in Zoom so that meetings can be longer than 40 minutes or as a team is it better to be with Microsoft Teams.

• 36% are having fewer meetings

Although this seems like a statistic we should be applauding we need to ensure that this is not a breakdown of communications. Ensure that all your team members feel as connected as possible. Although we are all suffering from several video conferencing meetings, check whether a simple phone call works. Going forward as your normal make sure your meetings are no longer than an hour and you have an agenda or purpose for all the ones you attend.

• 30% say they are starting their working day earlier

• 27% are working later in the evening

For me going forward I am more than happy to start the day earlier, as my brain and energy are so much better in the morning and I don’t have a commute currently or a school run. The second percentage I am only going to let happen occasionally with a specific deadline, it will not become a habit.

• 31% say they are working from a desk 

• 35% from a dining/kitchen table

• 20% from their sofa 

• 5% work from their bed

The environment and set up you work in, can have a direct correlation to how effective you are. Your office set up needs to work for you and also needs to inspire you. Simple top tips, put your desk in the window or sit somewhere with a view.

Most importantly have a good desk/table and chair. One Client I work with has had to visit a chiropractor due to bad posture, incurred from more sitting down in their career than ever before.

My action is to paint my office – freshen it up (will work wonders for me psychologically). I can’t get out to Clients so make my space work for me.

• 45% challenges from enforced remote working are self-discipline 

Set deadlines for yourself and book appointments for certain tasks. Committ to yourself and follow a realistic daily to-do list.

•23% “feeling like I can’t switch off” 

When it is your own business it is hard to walk away, mentally and physically. The only way with my “normal” is to book time off. Companies will be encouraging everyone to take holiday now. When you have your time off do something completely different to your day job.

I am signing off now to book my holiday and paint the office.

Please do get in touch to book a workshop – bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

The “new” Normal – one hour over Zoom for £100

Posted in Bite size learning, Management, mindfulness, motivation, Stress management

Zoom fatigue, how to combat it…?

Zoom fatigue is a new saying in our new world of working. For the first time we are forced to focus more intently on each other. In a conference room we can whisper to a colleague, day dream and look out the window. On Zoom we are there on the screen absorbing information and looking out front. This constant gaze does not allow or accommodate peripheral vision.

We have all see the Zoomers who can’t do it, they fidget whilst on the call, their eyes are drifting to their phones or they are checking their emails. Everyone can see their straying eye contact and their lack of focus and can be as exhausting to watch as you demonstrate exemplary focus.

The secret is to relax and enjoy the conversation, make eye contact with the person speaking and forget you are on video. The more consciously you are aware of the video and focus on yourself the more you will lose the flow of the chat.

Make notes, this is not rude it shows you are engaged and genuinely interested in what the person is saying and it helps with your concentration levels. Paper and pen is better so that there is no clicking or other screen involved.

Everyone has had a play with the fun backgrounds, however this is extra visual stimuli. The plainer your background the more concentration you will get from your Zoomers.

Be comfortable with each other, make a consensus all screens/no screens so that everyone is in the same boat. We are in it together.

Social events on Zoom can be exhausting if they are a mass free for all. By having a facilitator or some fun exercises does give the call a little more structure. We all might be quizzed out, however they are more successful than a free for all.

Overall if you are totally Zoomed out, why not go back to using the phone for the odd piece of communication, it might be just as effective.

Top tips for Zooming

  • Don’t multi task
  • Put your phone out of sight
  • Turn off the tabs on your computer so the only screen visible is Zoom
  • Have a clear desk – your eyes will drift
  • Make all Zoom calls one hour maximum
  • Agree as a group to have screens on or off – consensus
  • Encourage simple backgrounds or all go for the same one
  • Decide whether the call needs Zoom
  • Ensure that socials have some form of structure
  • Make notes
  • Relax and enjoy
  • Make eye contact with person speaking
  • Forget about the video

Please do get in touch for workshops with your team or coaching for yourself bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Emotional Intelligence, Management, mindfulness, motivation

Sharing your office at home…

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 bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Leadership, Management, motivation, Relationships

Reflect your culture…?

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 bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk