Julian Treasure’s TED talk is all about the quality of listening or the lack of it.
On average retention of listening is only 25%, as we make our own interpretation. We make up patterns from the sound. We also subconsciously apply filters as to what we want to listen to.
Treasure suggests we partake in a listening workout, train ourselves to pay attention:-
- Sit in silence for 3 minutes a day.
- Apply a mixer, how many channels can you hear, what are the different sounds around you.
- Savouring and enjoying some of the mundane sounds, the tumble dryer is a hidden choir that we don’t appreciate or truly listen to.
- Think about your positioning when you listen, are you being respectful to the person you are listening to. Do you appear attentive and active in your physicality or are you too relaxed and therefore appear to only be passively listening.
- He says we should apply the following formula:-
Treasure says “we live to listen, listening is the gateway to understanding”
Listening is a skill like any other and we need to practise and develop continuously.
Please do get in touch for a workshop on communication skills firstname.lastname@example.org
To get your message across on email, do you sound “Charming?”
Will the person reading your mail want to meet you if they have not already? Do you get across your personality? Do you convey a message assertively with feeling and the right level of humility.
The definition of the word “Charming” is very pleasant or attractive. Who would not want their email to convey that.
The fundamentals to bear in mind, is that it is not what you say but how you say it. You might work for an amazing brand however your written communication could be letting the brand integrity down. Your voice in email should reflect the culture of the organisation.
The tone of voice has to be a “can do” attitude a positive and confident tone.
Before you even start writing think about key ingredients:-
- What does the reader need to know?
- How do you want them to feel?
- What do you want them to do?
Be specific, ensure your message is not empty, for example:-
- How are you?
- Hope you are well?
- How was your weekend?
- Hope you are enjoying the warm weather?
Charming is about the personal touch with specifics – How are you or Hope you are well? can be just vague and have the opposite affect of appearing uncaring a perfunctory statement. The personal touch is about sincerity with confidence.
Readers always remember the last thing they read, so ensure you summarise your key points. If you had to write a Tweet of your key points, it would have to be 280 characters.
Please do get in touch if you would like a workshop on “Making email work for you” or if you would like a copy of our book, please head to the website www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk
Organisations create values at team builds or a leadership team impose them on employees. The most effective are the ones designed by key members of an organisation, it is not an HR initiative or purely Director level. A selection of people at all levels with the view to reaching a consensus will give you a good standpoint of your culture.
If the group work with a structure the Values can reflect the heart of your culture if you take the time to think where they are positioned.
- Core – select a core value that is the cornerstone of your culture. For instance “the HP way…” or Apple’s “Think different…” A key message that gets across all you want to achieve but has a core value message within it. This may well be the fact you support an environmental issue or education for others.
- Aspirational – to choose something that you wish everyone to aspire to and will lead the company in a new direction. Examples “we are innovative” or “dedicated to our clients and our service”
- Permission to play – a value that reflects how you work with each other, the minimal behavioural standards you expect. Integrity is possibly the most common.
- Accidental – you can often fall upon a value in the way the culture of your company has evolved. This can be unique to how you all work with each other and can reflect a personality of the business. “Cool”, “Warm”, “Exciting” or “Iluminating”. It may well have been identified from client feedback.
To reflect your values ensure that they are authentic that you style them out. A common value is “professionalism” this might mean not a frivolous culture, an organisation to be taken seriously. Therefore professionalism means acting it out all the time, good dress code, no eating at desks and being on time.
To embed your values is not about having them on mugs in the kitchen, it is about making them come to life at recruitment, induction and regular one to one meetings. Customer satisfaction should be measured against your values. Whilst the mugs and visuals keep them fresh in peoples minds it should be played out on a daily basis.
Please do get in touch for a workshop to put values in place email@example.com
In 1898 a psychologist named Edward Thorndike conducted an experiment with cats. Each cat was put inside a puzzle box, which was designed so that the cat could escape either by stepping on a platform, pulling a loop, pressing a lever etc… The other side of the door would be food. Thorndike monitored the activity and after 20 or 30 trials the behaviour became so automatic. The cats learned to associate the action of pressing a lever with the reward of escape and food. Thorndike described the learning process “behaviours followed by satisfying consequences tend to be repeated and those that produce unpleasant consequences are less likely to be repeated”
A habit is a behaviour that has been repeated enough times that it becomes automatic. Habits normally occur through trial and error. Neurological ativity is high in the brain when you are working out what to do. This is the feedback loop behind all human behaviour: try fail, learn and try differently. Habits occur when you know what to do so you skip trial and error and create a mental rule.
Habits do not restrict freedom they create it. By making fundamentals within life easier you can create mental space needed for thinking and creativity.
Building a habit can be broken into fours steps:-
The first step Cue, triggers the brain to identify whether there is a reward. Cravings are the motivational force behind every habit. It is not the motivation of cleaning your teeth it is being motivated by the feeling of a clean and fresh mouth. The response is the action you take “the habit” you adopt. The reward is the final stage of the loop, they satisfy us and they teach us. The satisfaction is obvious, the learning is the shortcut that the brain can hard wire to repeat the habit.
The ultimate purpose of habits is to solve problems with as little energy and effort as possible.
The four steps can be split into two phases:-
Whenever you want to change your behaviour, and create a good habit, you can simply ask yourself:-
- Cue – How can I make it obvious?
- Craving – How can I make it attractive?
- Response – How can I make it easy?
- Reward – How can I make it satisfying?
The reverse if you wish to break a bad habit, follow these steps:-
- Cue – Make it invisible
- Craving – Make it unattractive
- Response – Make it difficult
- Reward – Make it unsatisfying
To explore more around habits, read James Clear’s book Atomic Habits.
Please get in touch for a workshop on habits firstname.lastname@example.org
Basic survival when you are young is about trusting familiar and not trusting unfamiliar. A baby trusts that its mother will care for them and a stranger will make them cry as they do understand or trust what they will bring. The brain sorts familiar and unfamiliar and then starts to create memories that get locked down into biases.
We rarely perceive things objectively as our unconscious bias will step in and fill any blanks. We often think we can make a decision visually alone as we have enough knowledge from previous experiences to know that it is right.
We need to be conscious of our bias, otherwise we will limit our choices in life and we will limit potential in others.
The data we have on what’s familiar can be limiting and thus give us too many shortcuts as to what is good or bad.
There are different types of unconscious bias to be aware of:-
- Like me
The like me bias is when we have an affinity with another so therefore they will be OK in the role or job, because they are like me.
Confirmation bias is when you have heard something in your past that therefore confirms that bias. An example “Left handed people are more creative…”
Anchor bias is when you make a decision based on the first information you see. This can be very damaging in recruitment, candidates can be decided based on their salary as this might be the first information you see.
Being aware of bias and slowing down are all good ways to ensure that your unconscious bias does not lead you.
Try making one small change on a regular basis, ask another person to lead a meeting, seek advice from new people alter your preferences to which newspaper you read or to which programmes you watch.
When you next open your email, have fresh eyes on the subjects and the sender, do not let your unconscious bias lead which one you open first.
Please do get in touch for a workshop on unconscious bias email@example.com
Simon Sinek talks about the balance of trust and performance. He gives the scenario of working with the Navy Seals.
There are two levels of trust as far as they are concerned:-
- “On the battlefield would you trust some-one with your life” – therefore saying their performance was very high
- “Off the battlefield would you trust that person with your wife” – do they have high performance levels but very low trust levels
If you look at the table below where would you place the members of your team.
- High Performer/High Trust – might seem ideal, however they will possibly want to explore new challenges and will be hard to keep
- Low Performer/Low Trust – might not be worth the investment of your time to develop, it will take lots of time and emotional energy
- The most interesting column is the High Trust, you can develop Performance, with skills training and you already have a committed member of the team
- The Low Trust column you should fear, especially the High Performer with Low Trust, how did they get there?
Reward performance on its own is creating an environment of toxicity where everyone just thinks for themselves and not others.
High Trust is a harmonious atmosphere where skills can be developed in a safe comfortable environment.
As a leader you can develop both, and it is worth categorising your team to identify the approach.
- Performance – upskilling from a technical perspective – tends to be hard skills
- Trust – every relationship is underpinned by Trust, so taking time out to really get to know your team members. Invest in harnessing rapport and understanding them.
Please do contact nuggets for a workshop on working with your team as a leader firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com