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.
It is so easy to focus on the here and now and not have those big conversations that can change the direction you are currently focusing on.
To ensure that the discussion is effective you have to set the scene and provide a framework:-
- Meeting booked in the diary well in advance
- A theme agreed being long term discussion on growth, business improvement, expansion anything in the future…
- One to five year time line
- Everyone given time to prepare
- Suspend judgement during the meeting to ensure that there is free thinking
- Discuss points in agreement and ones in disagreement
- Use structure by using the boxes below to guide the discussion and to create a strategy
Use a facilitator to ensure that you stay on track and that you have the tools and resources that will ensure open discussion.
Facilitating a meeting is to take a complex situation and make it easy for a team to see it simplistically.
True definition of facilitation is as simple as “To make easy”.
It starts with a good brief, clarity on what the purpose of the meeting is and expected outcomes. From this initial discussion the Facilitator can then design an event using tools and exercises that will fit around the objectives.
The structure and tools are designed to create collaborative contributions. They must be varied and interactive and to anticipate different energy levels.
The tools and techniques can range from an initial ice breaker to set the tone and rapport of the day. Flip charts around the room to ensure movement, card sorts and post-its bringing colour and vibrancy to content.
The Facilitator will ensure that the day is kept on track from a time and agenda perspective.
There must be ample opportunities for joint problem solving and lots of discussion. To ensure that items are always relevant it is wise to create a car park flip chart so that you can say:- “That is really good point however can we cover it separately and therefore put on the car park”.
Neutrality is really important and is often best achieved if the Facilitator comes from outside of the company.
The Facilitator is there to make sure that you get the most out of your team members and have relevant actions and outcomes.
Please do get in touch for nuggets to facilitate your next meeting. firstname.lastname@example.org
The principles of Agile can be applied to any team they are not exclusive to software development.
The Agile manifesto with its 12 principles was created back in 2001. Underpinning the concept is creating a learning culture which came out of the Toyota Production System. This was the Lean principle one of the foundations of Agile.
All of the 12 principles can be put into 3 main categories:-
- Clarity & Transparency Delivery – approaches to improve how teams understand their system of work
- Learning & Leaning – Approaches to improve and optimise team processes
- People focus – Approached to creating an autonomous and engaged culture
The set of principles increases the awareness of the team to different approaches that lead to improvement over time.
Clarity & Transparency Delivery
- Regular measurements & milestones
- Clear intent & continuing prioritisation – vision and goals
- Understand what is valuable – to the customer
- Visualised work – white boards
Learning & Leaning
- Minimise waste
- Repeating tasks to spot incremental changes
- Limit work in progress
- Short feedback loop
- Team effort and collective ownership
- Empowered to improve as a team
- Collaborative learning
- Driving process through people interaction
“If we wish to fulfil our potential as individuals and organisations, we must redefine failure” – Matthew Syed author of Black Box Thinking.
At school they used to say mistakes were learning opportunities and all too often you would raise your eyes incredulous at the platitude.
However now we can see that effective cultures are the companies that have an environment that is open to mistakes. Organisations that provide an open forum to talk about challenges and errors, means they are open to new ways of working.
In the book “Black Box Thinking” the culture of the aviation industry is compared to the NHS. The safety record of aviation is phenomenal with every incident being thoroughly investigated with the help of the Black Box. The NHS culture is still incredibly hierarchical with a fear of admitting mistakes. We are now in a world far more litigious where there is a threat of liability hanging over people’s heads.
To implement Black Box Thinking into your organisation here are some tips:-
- Create a progressive attitude to failure – confront mistakes
- Team meetings and team briefings where everyone has a voice
- Empower everyone to speak – create linear management structure
- Break down a big problem into small parts and rigorously establish what works and what doesn’t
- Ensure that blame language is not used or individuals targeted – group responsibility
- Create systems like the Black Box investigations where you review success and failure in the same way every time
- Apply creative thinking to resolve problems
- Be open to change when analysing and during problem solving – do not focus on just one part or one error
- Explain the benefits of learning from failure – reduce costs, advocating practising, as it is better to fail within the company than to the Client
- Wash up meetings and reviews should be common place and enjoyable leading to effectiveness and ultimately success
Please do get in touch if you would like a 90 minute workshop on Black Box Thinking.