Posted in Bite size learning, motivation, personal impact, Relationships

“How to get the best out of Appraisals…?”

Appraisals can’t just be an end of year exercise, performance development is continuous throughout the year. However they serve as a marker and a time for an employee to shine and a time for a Manager to show appreciation and gratitude for work during the year.

A key to the success of the meeting is about building a relationship, finding common ground and developing rapport. Making the team member feel comfortable and using the knowledge you already have to create a warm atmosphere where the discussion can be open and developmental.

The conversation is central to a good appraisal, it is not about being led by the paperwork. Asking the right questions and listening to the answers without interrupting and remembering whose agenda the meeting belongs to. Keep in mind the 80:20 rule, and use techniques to keep the person talking, this is their appraisal not yours as a Manager.

Limit the paperwork, you only really need one form at the most. The employee to complete something before the meeting to give structure. The Manager to make notes during the conversation, however not to fill in the form as this will definitely break the magic.

“Show Off” as an employee this is your time to shine. Bring examples of work that you are proud of and time where you worked well with team members. Owning your own self development and knowing where you want to go with your career.

Feedback is vital from both parties. Acknowledging what has gone well and acknowledging projects that could have been tackled differently. Good idea to use a framework whether it be positive or constructive, look at the elements you want to talk about. We call it an SBI:-

Situation – what happened and when?

Behaviour – how did you respond and react?

Impact – was it positive or could you have done it differently?

The appraisal is not just about the years performance you can also talk about career development. The future is incredibly inspiring and it would be limiting to just talk about where the employee was now. Hopes and dreams are in the future.

The appraisal is a motivational exercise and the employee should leave on a high with a clear idea of where their future is heading.

Please do get in touch if you would like a workshop on “How to get the best out of Appraisals…?” bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, personal impact, Relationships

How to never eat alone…?

Keith Ferrazzi wrote the book “Never eat alone” back in 2005 it laid out the steps and the inner mindset he uses to reach out to colleagues, friends and the thousands of people who have helped him. Originally the books was going to be called “You can’t get there alone”

Ferrazzi was the son of a steelworker and a cleaner who wanted him to have the best start. He was able to advance to Yale, Harvard and several top executive posts. The most remarkable part of his achievements was the network he created from Washington to Hollywood.

His form of connecting was based on the generosity of helping friends connect with other friends. He distinguishes this as genuine relationship building not the crude glad-handing associated with networking.

These are just some of his thoughts and tips:-

  • No-one can achieve their goals without others
  • To build relationships over a lifetime – you will need intimacy, generosity, candour and accountability.
  • You can’t get very far alone.
  • Treat your life as one big event, relationship building (not networking)
  • Give before you receive
  • Follow up quickly within 12 or 24 hours of that initial meeting
  • Be you
  • Be of service – “how can I help you…?”

The book is divided into four sections which give you a great compass as to how to get to the level of relationship building of Ferrazzi.

  • The mind-set
  • The skill-set
  • Turning connections into compatriots
  • Trading up and giving back

To understand more about the book, please do come to the nuggets book club this week, for more details please get in touch bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in coaching, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, personal impact, Relationships, Stress management

Speaking to yourself as you would to a friend…

I recently reviewed the book “The Kindness Method” by Shahroo Izadi who explains how harsh we are on ourselves. She says you would not be that fierce with a friend so why are we with ourselves. This morning I came across this story which completely reinforces her theory.

In his book, Feeling Great, Dr. David Burns recounts a conversation with a carpenter, Frank, who was painting his house. One day, upon returning home, Dr. Burns noticed a change in Frank’s usually sunny disposition and asked if he was feeling alright.

“I’m getting old,” he confessed, fighting back tears. “My body won’t be able to keep up the same pace for much longer. I’m worried that I might not have enough money to support my wife and me when I retire. “I’ve never accomplished anything meaningful or significant in my life.”

Feeling bad for Frank, Dr. Burns asked if he could try something helpful called the double standard technique.

Here’s how he describes it,

“When we’re upset or fall short of our goals, we tend to beat up on ourselves with harsh criticisms. But if we were talking to a dear friend with the same exact problem, we’d do so in a far more compassionate, supportive, and realistic way. Once you’re aware of this, you can ask yourself if you’d be willing to talk to yourself in the same compassionate way you’d talk to a dear friend.”

After asking what he would say to a friend in his position, Frank replied that he would remind that friend that he and his wife would have a decent retirement and be fine even if he decided to retire someday. Moreover, he would assure his friend that he had never once received a complaint about his work, not even once, nor had he ever cheated anyone—and that’s as meaningful as it is significant.

Much to Frank’s surprise, his sadness wasn’t caused by his age, nor his fear of financial hardship come retirement, but rather, his negative thoughts.

The story resonates for the times we are in at the moment we all need to be kind to each other and give more feedback than usual. We need to give authentic praise that has true value within it. Say what the person has done well, but substantiate with evidence and make it specific to that individual. Most importantly try giving yourself some value based praise, we all need a boost.

Please do get in touch with nuggets for a short workshop or coaching by contacting bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, personal impact, Relationships

Spinning “role” plates…

Do you know how many roles and titles you have in life? If you imagine some spinning plates with all of them labelled with your roles in life you would get a sense of your life. We invest time in certain roles and then sadly as we over invest on certain plates others may wobble and some may sadly crash to the floor.

We have to carefully keep them all spinning with a steady and calm momentum in order to help our own mental well being.

The starting point is to work out what roles we have:-

  • Mother
  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Friend
  • Work colleague
  • Line Manager

You will notice that I have included your work roles as well as our life roles. We all put on a certain demeanour depending on the role we are playing and therefore we need to see the full extent of our plates. By including all your roles you get a sense of scale and the emotional investment you are going to need.

It is hard work to keep it all spinning, but life is better if the rotations are calm and steady. I have these last few days only been spinning one and I find that I have lost touch with who I am. Just focusing on that one role has in a way left me slightly disarmed as to who I am.

My spinning will begin again this week and luckily none of my plates were totally neglected so I will not be sweeping up crockery, however it has been a wake up call as to who I am and my many roles.

Please do get in touch with identifying your roles in life bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, personal impact

Key takeaways from Dare to Lead

Brené Brown’s book “Dare to Lead” leads on perfectly from Daring Greatly to explain how vulnerability can be a strength in leadership and develop much healthier cultures.

She identified within organisations unhealthy behaviours and cultures.

  • Avoidance of tough conversations
  • Polite culture (not really addressing issues)
  • Passive aggressive
  • Too much time managing difficult behaviours
  • Diminishing trust
  • Too much shame and blame
  • Values not being lived
  • Perfectionism

When she asked participants to identify brave leadership they struggled and were not sure whether courage was a skill or a trait. She also needed to address the myths attached to vulnerability eg. its not a weakness it is a strength. Her studies showed that you cannot get to courage without rumbling with vulnerability.

When speaking to the Special Forces she asked did you feel vulnerable at a time of high risk and uncertainty and emotional exposure, one guy put up his hand and said he had been on three tours and felt that every time. This gave Brown her best example of courage sitting alongside vulnerability.

Vulnerability is not winning or losing it is all about the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome. To love someone is the ultimate example of vulnerability.

Everyone needs a square squad the group of people who love you for all your imperfections and your vulnerability. They are called the square squad as you write their names on a square piece of paper one inch by one inch, and carry them with you.

Clear is kind and Unclear is unkind. You want to give some-one feedback however you are reticent so you “fudge it” and end up talking to others rather than being clear and direct. Tough conversations are never easy but they are much kinder when they are clear.

Tips for your meetings to demonstrate bravery, use Brown’s technique of permission slips, what behaviour or intent do you want to bring to a meeting. For example I would like permission to listen with passion and I want to stay open minded. As a group writing down your intentions is powerful and a shared experience.

“Turn and learn” another technique for your team, when you experience unrealistic time lines or very different views on budgets. Brown’s team use the methodology of “Turn and Learn” when a timeline has to be agreed, they all write their prediction on a post-it note and on the count of 3, they all reveal at the same time. This prevents everyone following the crowd and original thought.

Guiding us through leadership and life should be our values which we need to live into. Brown says that we should only have 2 core values, and whilst this seems harsh you find that once they are recognised they do fit with decisions, behaviours and every aspect of your life. The 2 that she lives her life by are faith and courage.

It is tricky to know what comes first being vulnerable or trusting another person:-

How do I know if I can trust some-one enough to be vulnerable…?

How to build trust without ever risking being vulnerable.

The book uses the mnemonic of BRAVING as a tool to use with your team on developing trust.

B = Boundaries

R = Reliability

A = Accountability

V = Vault

I = Integrity

N = Non-judgemental

G = Gratitude

If you were to use the inventory on yourself, it might well read something like this.

Did I respect my boundaries, did I rely on my self or my self talk, did I not share anything inappropriate, did I choose courage over discomfort, did I ask for help when I needed and was I generous to myself”

The final part of the book is the ability to learn to rise, therefore learning how to fall before you jump. The first lessons that sky divers learn is how to fall without a harding landing. We must rise from failure and be experienced with falling and rising.

The last word has to go to Brown “Choose courage over comfort, choose whole hearts over armour and choose the great adventure of being brave and afraid at the same time.”

Please do get in touch for any nugget workshops or colourful coaching bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Change management, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Goals, mindfulness, motivation, personal impact

My week with the – The Kindness Method

Last week the nuggets book club reviewed “The Kindness Method” by Shahroo Izadi. As I prepared for the event on the Friday I undertook the exercises myself so that I felt the content had landed and that I understood how to implement the theory.

The author Shahroo Izadi studied psychological sciences and then psychology becoming an assistant psychologist at an NHS substance misuse centre. However the most relevant fact about Shahroo is her battle over her weight which lasted for two decades. It was not until she implemented the Kindness Method on herself that she lost 8 stone and most importantly she has kept it off ever since.

My own journey last week started with the “Snapshot Letter” this is the first exercise where you asked to right a letter to yourself explaining what is going on now. My own personal perspective was around the discipline of work, being healthy and not being overwhelmed by worries around my family.

The main tool that the book draws on is mapping thoughts. You put the central theme in the middle and populate the map with everything that comes to mind.

  1. Ways I’m Happy to be – the first map which you fill with characteristics of yourself, the book provides suggestions, and the advice is go for quantity. Here are a few of mine:-
    • Warm
    • Creative
    • Loving
    • Positive
  2. What I’m Proud of – things that you have achieved from any size, some of mine were the nuggets brand to staying positive through lockdown.
  3. When I’m in the zone – this map should be filled with all the times you have been truly “on it” where were you, what were you doing, why did everything feel so right? On the back of this map answer these 2 questions:-
    • Do these situations you have put on your map have anything in common? If so what are they?
    • Based on what you have written down to create your perfect conditions what would you have to alter about your normal routine now?

These 3 maps put you in a great positive mindset and they are your starting point of change.

4. What hasn’t worked – This map is beginning to identify your resistance, my two big AHA moments were brave and thinking BIG

5. Conversations about me – This is a hard one to write. What have you heard said about you, what have you said about yourself, what do you think about yourself? We are really cruel and this is where you can write it down and hopefully leaves your head landing on the paper. Here are two of mine:-

  • I am not bold or brave enough to change the business
  • I am not focused enough

6. Some-one I love – What would you say to some-one you love? Of course it will look nothing like the cruel dialogue we say to ourselves. I chose my daughter who has just turned 18 years old and I filled the map with all the things I wish for her now and dream of for her. It was the easiest map to complete!

7. This is not a map but key questions to try and get you to focus in a nutshell what it is you need to work on or change:-

I want to do more of…

I want to less of …

I want to be more…

I want to be less…

I want to start…

I want to stop….

In a nutshell – in one sentence say what all the answers are saying:-

I will think big about the business, learning and developing new material all the time by delivering more workshops and coaching.

8. What’s the Harm? – if you don’t change what will happen. The business will look the same next year and the year after.

9. Why haven’t I changed already? – most of my answers had the word “small” in them which again kept leading me to this overall change in thinking. Think Big and talk Big.

10. Developing new strategies – studying the map of “Why I haven’t changed already?” makes you realise that it is you and only you that can make the change. My realisation that my lifestyle and childcare made it very easy to think small. I am aware that everything is comfortable and entering a world of discomfort has been putting me off.

11. Journalling – Take responsibility for what is happening in your life by recording the days events. What are you grateful for? What tested you? How would you respond in the future? This has been my morning ritual for over a month and it pays dividends in a sense of calm and well being, an observer of you and all that you are grateful for.

12. Worry snapshots – capture those tiny little niggles even say them into your phone, once you say them out loud they have gone…

13 What will test me – back to the maps, what will really test your resolve

14 How it’s most important for me to be? – This is a summary of how important this is from a strangers perspective or your family, or even an imaginary film star playing you… I chose to hear what my family would say in 6 months. This was the turning point of the week, I got really excited about what I wanted them to see and hear from me. It really mattered and I really wanted it to start now!

15. Life if I don’t make the changes – dated (6 months time)

16. Life if I do make the changes – (6 months time) – don’t just write the opposite think about what you want it to look like. My big is not about the size on monetary aspect of the business my big is about the depth – meaningful work, making a difference and understanding that is a huge selling point and enormously rewarding (BIG language)!!!

17. Affirmations – that support your change, and saying them out loud everyday

  • My business is thriving
  • I am kind to myself and others
  • I will challenge myself to think BIG all the time

18. The Plan – What are you committing to, capture and log a review date of 3 weeks time.

19. No more excuses – another map to recognise some of your inner dialogue that has been trying to stop you

  • Covid
  • The business is OK – why change
  • Energy/Age

20. Testing myself on purpose – we all have those habits that we know are going to derail so be ready for them and put yourself in the frame to test yourself.

In summary my week of living with The Kindness Method made me feel good about myself and my business. At times it felt very indulgent however the mindset and outcomes are superb. The Plan started on Thursday and nuggets and I are thriving.

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

Please do watch the video of the book review: – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2PGtK9Kijs&t=19s

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, personal impact, Relationships

The essence of the 7 Habits

Many know the best selling business title “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R Covey. People live by the habits and can name them easily, although how many remember the first part of the book the very essence.

Covey could see that much had been written about Personality Ethic in self help books, how to improve time management, communication and other outside skills. He believed that you needed to start from the inside, you needed to change your character first.

The book starts with him describing him and his wife worrying about their son. They can see that he is not doing well academically or on the sporting field. They realise after a long period that there is nothing wrong with their son, it is their perception and other people’s perceptions. They need to work on their own characters to see their son differently. It took a long time of understanding that they were looking at the measure of success for parenting shared by others and themselves and not loving their son’s uniqueness.

Real change comes from the inside out. Trying to master external techniques without altering your thinking and yourself as a person, will not bring many fruits.

Other examples of working on the inside out approach are:-

  • To create a happier marriage, be the person who creates the positive energy needed to create a happier marriage instead of empowering negative energy
  • If you want to have a more cooperative and pleasing teenager, be a more understanding, empathic and loving parent.
  • If you want people to trust you more, be more trustworthy to people.

The inside-out approach says that it is futile to try to accomplish better relationships (something external) without having changed the internal (your character).

The character ethic is based on the idea that there are fundamental principles to live your life by eg. 10 commandments. Values are more personal and also define your character.

An example:-

  • Thou shall not steal – (principle)
  • Honesty (value)

We can work on our attitudes and behaviours, however Covey says far better to look at paradigms “perceptions, assumptions our frame of reference”. Another way to look at paradigms is to see them as maps. They can be split into two categories “The way things really are “Reality”…and “The way things should be …”Values”.

We see our own paradigms not as it is but as we are. What we see is highly interwoven as to who we are. Being is seeing. We can’t go very far to change our seeing without simultaneously changing our being.

In order to improve ourselves we look within and work on our character and our paradigms. To make a major change we may need a paradigm shift. If the paradigm is the lens through which we see the world the shift might be instant or it maybe slow and deliberate process.

Examples of paradigms shifts:-

  • email replacing the way we communicated before
  • Photographic film to digital

The book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is about a principle centred, character based “inside out” approach to personal and interpersonal effectiveness. “Inside out” means to start with self, your paradigms, your character and your values. It is futile to put personality ahead of character, you will never improve a relationship unless you improve yourself first.

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, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, personal impact, Relationships

Vulnerability is not a weakness…

Vulnerability fuels our daily lives, it is the one thing that can measure how courageous we are. In order to talk about vulnerability we have to have the conversation about “Shame”.

Dr Brene Brown the author of Daring Greatly says that Shame was the one that brought you to the party and goes hand in hand with vulnerability. Shame is the focus on ourselves which is not the same as Guilt which is a focus on our behaviour. The Gremlin or the voice inside all of us “You are not enough” is the Shame voice – The Gremlin. Shame grows at a rapid rate if you are silent, secretive or judgmental. The survival package for Shame is empathy, the less you talk about Shame the more you have it.

Examples of Shame:-

  • Shame is shouting at my children
  • Shame is being made redundant
  • Shame is being called out by my Manager in front of a Client

To get back to each other and be connected we have to embrace each others vulnerabilities and share them. If we put ourselves in a position of vulnerability we put ourselves into the arena of life and we are seen by others. We have to believe we are enough as it starts with ourselves first and then we start listening to others.

From Dr Brown’s research there emerged a theme that people who have a deep sense of worthiness or in her words our whole hearted embrace their vulnerability. They are not necessarily comfortable with it, however they see it as necessary.

There are three main themes that a whole hearted person has:-

  1. Courage – to be imperfect
  2. Compassion – kind to self first and then to others
  3. Connection – As a result of authenticity

In summary you have to be seen and love with all your heart, practice gratitude and joy and believe that you are enough.

Put yourself out there and Dare Greatly…

Please do attend the nuggets book club on Friday where will be reviewing Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Please send me an email bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Leadership, personal impact, Relationships

Coming out of Lockdown…

I am not alone in feeling slightly overwhelmed with working out the conundrum of how we ease out of lockdown.

We can only focus on the things we can influence which helps ease the pressure in your mind and makes you feel calmer.  Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People explains the difference of proactive and reactive thinking.  If you draw two circles one labelled Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence, when you have filled the Circle of Concern focus on the items within that circle that you can influence, these are items you can personally action.  If you cannot, they are beyond your influence and you need to take them out of the circle and effectively take them out of your head.

Another resource that helps us focus on life after lockdown is the follow up to “Who moved my cheese…” a book called “Out of the maze…” both written by Spencer Johnson.

Rather appropriately there is a quote early on in the book from a character called Hope:-

“I don’t think things ever go back to how they were, here’s my thought though.  Maybe they can turn out better than they were” 

Beliefs we have of how we worked before lockdown might be holding us back, after all “A belief is a thought that you trust is true”.  Some of us believed we could never work from home.  The book encourages us to believe that some beliefs can lift you up.  Look at how well we have coped and what we have achieved already in lockdown.

You can change your mind, you can choose new beliefs, which is what we will have to do when our organisations explain how we will return to our offices.

Suggestions already are:-

  • Staggered working hours
  • No face to face meetings
  • No canteen
  • Working from home more

You are not held prisoner by a belief and remember you are the person who chooses your beliefs.  What would you do if you believed everything was possible.  There are no limits to what you can believe.  We often have to believe something is going to work before we can see it working.  It will be important for Leaders to work with them teams in creating a positive mindset and this will be reinforcing an existing strong culture or resetting the culture.

There will be so many unknowns that we have to let go of beliefs in the past which means losing old baggage and applying new thinking and an open mind.  We might get some initiatives wrong,  however if we all hold out on the belief that is possible we will all be more responsive to the change.

We need to find joy in exploring the impossible together and remember we are not changing who we are, because as we have a new belief or new thinking.   There is not a limit on what you can believe, can do, experience and above all enjoy.

Please do get in touch for coaching over Zoom, virtual workshops or look out for our nuggets bookclub.  We are very much still here to support individuals and business “To help people think and work differently…” bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk