Posted in Bite size learning, Emotional Intelligence, Goals, Leadership, motivation, personal impact

Entrepreneurial Spirit…

Many organisations are now looking for that edge, employees who although part of a company have independent thinking.  The group operate as entrepreneurs, thinking their department is a business and being open to new thinking and new ways of working.

In Sahar Hashemi’s book “Switched On” she gives a route as to how to engage with your entrepreneurial spirit.

  • Believe anyone can do it – use the skills of everyday life in your life at work.
  • Put yourself in your customers’s shoes – Jeff Bezos famously has an empty chair at every meeting for the client
  • Get out of the office – Engage with the wide world – leave the office and know what is going on around you
  • Become clueless – Forgetting how you do things – dump the baggage or the language “we have always done it this way”
  • Prototype – What does your product or service look and feel like? – gain insight from something tangible
  • Notch up Nos – Change your attitude to a “no” – try harder and see a “no” as a challenge
  • Bootstrap – Get things done with limited resources, work really hard and then harder
  • Take 100% of yourself to work – 100% effort + 100% personality = being you

 

Each of these tips are new habits that you need to work into your diary so that they become rituals and disciplines that you adopt.

Involve your team with the ideas and initiatives you will then be a group of entrepreneurs totally switched on.

For a workshop on creative thinking please contact bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk 

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Posted in Change management, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, personal impact

Manager to Leader…

Promotion to management is initially great, business is good, new trips, making big decisions and learning a lot. Team are performing well and results being achieved, so much so that you take your eye off their performance.

You try really hard to still be one of the team, you want them to like you, so that they want to work for you. You attend dinner and drinks and even share with the team some of the issues you are facing.

You even comment on Senior Management, saying that they could do a better job.

The economy changes and results are harder to achieve and the performance issues you ignored are now becoming a problem.

You work longer hours to cover the performance issues and your team are unhappy and the results reflect this.

You seek help outside from a business mentor.

The first thing the mentor does is reassure you that you are not alone. Making the transition from Manager to Leader is hard and often being liked has to be put to one side, and instead being respected for the right reasons.

“If you want to be extraordinary you have to stop being ordinary”.

Your team needs to like you for the right reasons, being fair, consistent, empathetic and positive. If they like you for the free drinks and the dinners and the gossip on Senior management, you are in the wrong position. Making tough decisions will get harder if they are your friends.

Remember when you first learnt to drive, naturally you were excited and confidently proclaimed you would be the best driver ever. Sadly that over confident attitude led to an accident, no-one was injured but why did it happen?

It was the difference in responsibilities between being the driver and being a passenger.

Passengers are free to do a lot of things the driver can’t do. As a driver your focus needs to be on the road and not on the distractions. As a driver you no longer have the right to mess around, playing with the radio, texting and eating snacks.

The same principle applies when you become a leader. You are no longer a passenger you are the driver. Even though your responsibilities increase when you become a leader, you lose some of the rights or freedoms you may have enjoyed in the past.

If you want to be successful you cannot join criticisms of Senior Management. You lose the right to blame others for a problem in your department, you are now responsible for everything. You even lose the right to some of your time because you are responsible for other peoples time as well as your own.

The opposite of accepting responsibility is to find some-one or something to blame for the issues you are facing. There is always some-one or something to blame, but a real leader spends his time fixing the problem instead of finding who to blame.

“What happens when you place blame is that you focus on the past. When you accept responsibility you focus on the future and you can create actions to achieve your objectives.”

Be a Driver:

  • Until you accept total responsibility – no matter what – you will not be able to put actions in place to achieve your objectives.
  • Transitioning from Manager to Leader requires that you make different decisions.
Posted in Change management, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, motivation, personal impact, Stress management

The right attitude…

Last Monday I was fortunate enough to attend a talk by James Shone from the charity

“I Can and I Am”.

James has an amazing story from being a House Master to applying to be a Head and in his words landing the “dream” job.  Part of the selection process was a medical, where James discovered he had a brain tumour.  Surgery and a journey of recovery began with the “dream” job disappearing, James found a new purpose.

He set up the charity, “I Can and I Am” to inspire confidence in secondary school children through inspirational talks.

He started on Monday by sharing his own story and then talking to us as parents about how we can work with our children to give them the confidence to believe they can do anything.

His first top tip UFO Vs DBI, the abbreviations stand for Up, Forward and Out and Down, Back and In.  If we always look up and forward and out, we can see the big sky with all the possibilities.  Down back and in, begins that self limiting inner dialogue and where we over analyse events.

As a teacher he was keen for us to understand the progress made by teaching being evaluated by outside influence e.g. Ofsted.  However we are still focusing very much on a funnel all the good stuff goes in, however the system only focuses on that very tight tube at the end of the funnel, academic results.

Teenagers today are spending so much time on their phones which as we know releases the addictive Dopamine in our brain.  We need to unlock other passions and all of this can start at 14 years of age.

As parents we can look to a 3B continuum:-

  • Between – controlling (when they are young and dependent)
  • Beside – journey with them (understanding their life and the gradual steps of independence)
  • Behind – I am here if you need me – the ultimate interdependence

Every child needs a confidence boost and James used the example of an ordinary balloon.  We can either choose to inflate their confidence or deflate, knocking their self worth.  If they are constantly deflated it is like driving a car with a flat tyre, progress is slow and damaging.

There are four things we can ensure:-

  1. Belong – do they feel part of something, do they have a role
  2. Valued – embedding a growth mindset (Carol Dweck) “I can’t do it” should become “I can’t do it yet…”
  3. Good at something – look at the multiple intelligences by Professor Howard Gardner.  We all have strengths in areas that need to be uncovered by the people around us
  4. Future secure – setbacks are viewed as a springboard.  We may fall down but how quickly do we get back up and focus on the future.

We must give our teenagers authentic praise by ensuring we say:-

  • “I noticed…
  • “I heard…
  • “I saw…

Firsthand commentary of what they are doing well and it is our job to build those affirmations in their heads.

We have responsibility to demonstrate our own love of life be the role model with the right attitude.

We might not have a story as big as James Shone, however we can ensure that we smile and dance when we put the dishwasher on.  Talk about your work with passion and share your life with your teenagers.  Behaviour is contagious lets get them talking and off the screen.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, personal impact, Relationships, Stress management

Resilient Pink…

The media is awash since the Harvey Weinstein of abuse cases and how do you determine the line that people cross.

My own experiences has measured my thoughts around appropriate and inappropriate.

In my early 20’s I went for an interview to work with a very well successful businessman.  With hindsight this first introduction to him should have been a warning of what was to come, the level of control.  I was asked to wipe off my lipstick (my trademark bright pink).  This felt very odd, and I had lots of time to reflect on this instruction as I was left in a room for a very long period to wait for the “big man”.  Looking back I think I was being watched and the whole situation was a test.

I got the job without the lipstick which I was still advised to hold back on.

The prestige of working for the company and the man himself let me initially enjoy the situation.  It became apparent that it was not business as normal.  Five secretaries to one PA, could easily tell you that we were just ever slightly over manned.

We would be rewarded with money for carrying a brief case, however in the process the wandering hands went too far.  Sex toys would be placed on our desks to see our reaction, and I was particularly naive.

I left after  6 months and the first thing I did was make sure my lipstick was brighter than ever.  The resilient pink continues and I know where the line is for me.

I ask myself would I want my daughter to be humiliated and lose confidence due to an individual who believed fame and money would protect him.

Arriving at meeting last week there was lots of banter about whether we could greet each other with hug.  I laughed with the group, however I was delighted that there is now thinking around personal space.  My own example is somewhat extreme, however there are levels within everything and there is always a line to cross or not to cross.

We can create a better place and be resilient with or without pink lipstick.

Posted in Bite size learning, Leadership, Management, personal impact, Stress management

Effective email management

“We must lead emails rather than them leading us…”  Bev Wilkinson

Being effective with email management is how you behave around emails rather than the simple processing. We need to set ground rules and set up rituals and habits that fit with our lives. We can control it rather than it control us.

Dan Pink’s book – “To Sell is Human”, listed the number of emails he received in two weeks:-

  • 722 emails

To improve organisational effectiveness is not too focus on the number or volume. The attention should be on clear guidelines as to how you manage your in-box.

There is no easy way and the whole idea of personal productivity means that it is personal to you. Systems need to be tweaked and adapted to work. Sharing ideas with team members can give you new ways of interacting with the screen.

If you look at an email 5 minutes before you go into a meeting you take that email into the meeting. Checking your email before you go to bed means that you will take that email to bed with you.

We can be effective by making choices that work for our lives, book an appointment with your emails as you would any other contact.

The book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen suggests setting up sub folders that sit at the top of your other folders. This can easily be achieved by putting a # in front of the title:-

#Action

#Waiting for

#Read review

To be effective think about the rhythm of your day and decide when you want to manage your email. Relax that you don’t have to know everything all the time.

Being effective is the right processes for you.

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

Does your dress code match your email…?

More and more companies are moving towards a casual dress code.  We often wear the right clothes to do the right job.  You would never garden in your high heels, the trusted wellington boot is the footwear of choice.

If we are not wearing the right dress does it mean that our tone becomes more relaxed.

  • Do we mind if the team use emojis in their emails?
  • Use Hi instead of Dear
  • Sign off with thanks or cheers
  • Go straight into the email
  • Put the content of the email in the subject box
  • Use comic sans as a font

When dress codes change they often get misinterpreted, what is casual in my eyes might not be in some-one else’s eyes.  There is an adjustment phase, some team members intentionally push the boundaries. Our clothes are very much a part of the image and the culture we belong in.  They are easy to spot and give feedback on.

The tonality and content of your team emails are harder to spot.

Introduce guidelines of the tonality you expect and the look and appearance of your emails.  They are often and the first contact with your company, ensure that it is the right image.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Management, personal impact, training

Making email work for everyone…

“People don’t read emails” or is it “People don’t read emails properly“.

How do you get your message across and how do you get noticed.  We want to get attention for the right reasons.

I was recently asked to design and deliver a workshop on how to make email work for you.  The client has had messages go out with “Hi” in the subject box.

Their brand and culture was very traditional and they felt their team did not reflect it in the way emails were worded and displayed.  They wanted messages to match their culture and look and sound like the brand in essence the right voice.  Overall their mantra was to sound “charming”.

The workshop was highly interactive with flip charts asking the questions what does good, bad and ugly look like from an email perspective.  From the delegates answers you could ascertain how the company could change their email practices to have consistency and portray the right image.

The right voice is not just about the look of an email the tonality is key.  We asked delegates to right email responses to common Client queries and looked at the language that was appropriate and inappropriate.  The level of directness that is an assertive voice and the tipping point to aggression.

Practically we need to lead email rather than it lead us.  The last part of the workshop explored how to manage it effectively.

When email entered the business world very few of us ever had training as to how to use it and very few companies provide guidelines.  The standard signature template is as far as it goes.  Think further are you happy for employees to use “Hi” or “Thanks” would you rather it was a “Kind regards”.

We have made a difference by working with organisations to get them to think about how much damage one email can do.  With this one workshop “Making email work for you” we have given companies their brand back through email.

Please do get in touch to book a workshop on “Making email work for everyone…”

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk