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, Change management, Decision Making, Leadership, Problem solving

Black box thinking culture…

Matthew Syed’s book “Black box thinking” seems very relevant for now, as we are all trying new ways of working and  we need to ensure we our creating new initiatives.

It starts with your culture do you have a growth mindset where you and your team practice hard work and learn from trial and error.  Failure is not hidden and you all work through how to make it better going forward.

If you are working in a culture of a fixed mindset you think talent is dominant, might be your people or even the product or service.  You think when mistakes happen it is just one of those things.  Before Covid 19 “our service was brilliant it must just be a – one off”.

The aviation industry has famously the “black box”, when a near miss happens or tragically a fatal crash, the black box is recovered.   There are two in reality one the technical recordings of the mechanics and electrics and the other the conversations in the cockpit.  The boxes are also bright orange so that they can be located easily.  These boxes give the answers as to what happened and provide valuable data to make changes going forward.

We might not have boxes to record our failure however in organisations we can encourage our teams to speak up and share when something is not working.  We also want them to be honest about a failure and then as a group it can be analysed.

Syed talks about a hospital in America where they realised two drug bottles were too similar in colour and labelling.  It was only until a patient was given a dose of the wrong medication that the changes were made to the bottles.  Open your eyes to the processes you have now and ask yourself are they working.

The right culture creates success and every time you are honest with each other you are fostering psychological gain. Whilst working remotely speak to your teams about new ideas and encourage Q and A sessions.  We are in an unknown arena for working everyones ideas are good and everyone should be listened to.

On Friday the nuggets book club will be reviewing and summarising “Black Box Thinking” please do join us the invitation is below:-

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: May 22, 2020 10:00 AM London

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUpceigpjooE9bDP6ARia8WvMSCOziC6S2K

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, motivation, Problem solving

Be disruptive…

We often get stifled by organisational thinking, the systems in place and the overhead costs of new ideas, put the lid on fresh thinking.  We have a great new product or service but it gets costed out and is rejected before it is even tried.

We need to dream big and start small these are the words of Elvin Turner author of the upcoming book “Be less Zombie”.

In a recent TED talk he explained how a surfer wanted to film himself and literally stuck a camera with tape to his arm to record his surfing.  The implementation of his idea was very low tech and cost very little.  The Go-Pro was in place and as an individual he had dreamed big but started small.

In organisations we don’t take any risks there is awkwardness, and lack of sharing of ideas which leads to creative constipation.  Obviously the stats work against  with 9 out of 10 new initiatives failing.  However are they counted as failure on paper before any initiative is taken.  We create a hierarchy of assumptions in our head as to why something would not work, rather than just trying.

We must challenge our thinking as we now have many new companies who have done just that. Amazon, Uber and AirBnB have all been a disruptive influence on traditional ways of trading.

Think this week of a new way of doing a task, focus on being disruptive, look at everything with fresh eyes.  Dream big and start small.

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Goals, Problem solving, training

Process Mapping…

The difference between being successful and effective is knowing how you got there.  Success can be luck, it was incredible, however upon reflection there was not necessarily a process to get there.  Being effective has longevity and can lead you to success multiple times.

Taking time out to analyse your process can lead to even greater results.  A good example was the process of cash machines.  When they were first introduced the Banks found that they had high costs on lost cards.  The process they had mapped out, was as follows:-

  • Insert card
  • Enter PIN
  • Request cash
  • Collect cash
  • Retrieve card
  • End

The initial process involved getting the cash out of the machine before the card was returned. Most people were focussed on the money, so, once they had the notes in their hand, they turned away, leaving their card still in the cash machine. Simply by reversing the order of two steps solved the problem – people had to remove their card before they got their money. This small change in the process saved the banks money and also was a more effective process for the customer.

We can process map anything, your morning routine, invoicing, sales, customer returns and setting up a new system.

The most effective way to conduct a process mapping session is as follows:-

  • Map the process – use magic whiteboards or a roll of brown paper, then use post-it notes to log every step of the process
  • Analyse the process – step back and decide whether there is anything missing and who has ownership at certain points of the process
  • Redesign the process – if there are obvious points where the process gets held up, look to redesign
  • Implement & communicate – Follow the process and document it (infographic) share with as many team members as possible
  • Review – after 90 days review with the original process mapping team

Please contact bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk for more details

 

Posted in Decision Making, Goals, Leadership, Management, Problem solving

Complexity to simplicity…

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. bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Problem solving, Relationships

What is behind a sale…?

Recently found a fantastic mnemonic for sales:-

S – solve problems

A – ask lots of questions

L – listen more than you talk

E – empathise

S – share knowledge

Sadly a poor selling technique is to go straight to sharing the knowledge, particularly when talking about a service.  Telling your client what it says on their website is the classic “Value snoozer”, why do I want to know something I know already.

The stage that is above the mnemonic and the most important is the rapport building.  How do you make somebody feel really comfortable that they want to buy from you, as they have made you feel valued.

You initially find out the service or requirement they are looking for which is the problem and then when you reach the asking lots of questions, split them into two categories.

There are hard facts that anyone and everyone can give you but the soft facts go into identifying the personal requirement.

Working with property managers you can see the divide easily:-

Hard facts

  • Where do you live currently?
  • Where have you viewed already?

Soft facts

  • What attracted you to the area you are currently living in?
  • What did you dislike about the properties you have viewed already?

If you only collated the hard facts you would be providing them with the same properties they have already seen or rejected.

The balance of questions and listening should always be on the buyers side, remember the 80:20 principle.  Ask an open question and listen empathetically for the detailed response.

Empathy is always understanding that person’s position at that moment in time, please don’t sympathise with them or make it about you.

Finally when you have collated enough data you can give a knowledgeable response about what service or product you have available.

Please do contact nuggets to explore behaviours around service bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

 

Posted in coaching, Goals, Leadership, motivation, Problem solving

Highlights and Lowlights…

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We often use review tools when we are facilitating a team or strategy day and one of our favourites is Highlights and Lowlights.

Delivering a course that has been effective for a long period of time and gives a good return is a Highlight but might not necessarily be a surprise.

However a module within a workshop on email led to writing a book “Making email work for you” this was a Highlight and a huge surprise.

We can all identify with the time that Brexit is taking and that comes as a Lowlight but really no surprise.

The Lowlights that are surprise are those ideas that are brilliant in your head, however when they get executed they are not quite as effective as you thought.  Famous examples might be the Dyson washing machine.

Reviewing anything and everything is a leadership quality.  We can use the four boxes to review:-

  • Life
  • Work
  • Health
  • Diet

You will be surprised with the data you get from a review and importantly what you go onto do with the knowledge.

Please do get in touch bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in coaching, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, Problem solving, Stress management

Writing your way to calm…

On Saturday I went on a two-hour writing for well-being workshop.  I had no expectation and went with an open mind.

The facilitator a former English teacher set the scene by explaining the bulk of her work was with children who had been excluded from school.  She told a story which led to the work she does.

A mother and boy arrived for a session and were asked to tell their story.  The mother somewhat overpowering led the conversation.  When the child was left alone he was asked to tell his story and he proclaimed “Mum just told you”.  The facilitator said you tell it again and we will write it down.  As the process began the boy spotted many embellishments and facts that over time his mother had added to the story.  The process of writing made the story become his and his words.  After several alterations he had his story and his physicality and social interaction totally changed.

Writing is all about telling stories and we all have a story.

This concept of writing for well-being is well researched at the University of Texas and there are several books around the power of journalling.

The first exercise we did as a group was to write non-stop for 6 minutes.  Initially I went into work mode thinking about what subject and how to structure it.  However when you know that there are no boundaries your other senses become very apparent and I found that I was able to write about what I could see and hear.  It is very important to go back to basics and have a pen and paper and even that exercise in your hands felt strangely familiar and alien all at the same time.

As a group we reviewed what we had just done and similar experiences to my own occurred:-

  • Tuned into your surroundings
  • Aware of other senses
  • Mindfulness – in the present

The 6 minutes is crucial as it is the tipping point before your sub conscious kicks in, so the writing does not go to deep.

The second exercise we had a choice, there was the “12 Stepping Stones” or “Two characteristics”.

The stepping stones was to identify 12 times in your life that were pivotal and then just choose one to write about.

Lot of the group struggled to know what to put in and leave out with the 12 stones.  However the most impactful story was one lady chose a stone that was about a visit to Thailand to see her cousin and she said writing about it made her remember that person who she was at that moment.  She was confident and brave and she was excited to have found her again.

The two characteristics exercise was writing in the third person and creating actual characters but the two characteristics belong to you.  By giving the two characters names it meant the removal of you, even though it’s about you.  It was a subtle way of getting to know yourself and the relationship was just between you and the paper.

The facilitator never asked us to share our work as it was all about the process of writing not the content.  This helped enormously, that you had no fear of “show and tell”.

We rounded up the two hours with a final exercise only 10 minutes of writing and I was delighted how calm and happy I felt at the end of the two hours.

I always advocate “What gets written gets done” however now with my coaching sessions, I will encourage my clients to journal their thoughts.

Please do let me know if you are interested in the Writing for Well-Being and we will pass on your details. bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Leadership, Management, Problem solving

Redefine failure…

“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:-

  1. Create a progressive attitude to failure – confront mistakes
  2. Team meetings and team briefings where everyone has a voice
  3. Empower everyone to speak – create linear management structure
  4. Break down a big problem into small parts and rigorously establish what works and what doesn’t
  5. Ensure that blame language is not used or individuals targeted – group responsibility
  6. Create systems like the Black Box investigations where you review success and failure in the same way every time
  7. Apply creative thinking to resolve problems
  8. Be open to change when analysing and during problem solving – do not focus on just one part or one error
  9. Explain the benefits of learning from failure – reduce costs, advocating practising, as it is better to fail within the company than to the Client
  10. 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.

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, Problem solving, Relationships

Fundamentals of caring…

nuggets_logo_black_gold

The film the “Fundamentals of Caring” begins with a character completing his training as a carer with a list of fundamentals to underpin the role of the carer.  The do’s and don’ts before they begin working with clients.

In business how often do we take time to explain a role from the perspective of fundamentals.  As the definition below state, you could define the central importance of the job and attach principles and behaviours that are central to effectiveness and to your organisation.

Defining the word fundamental

  • adjective:- forming a necessary base or core; of central importance.
  • noun:- a central or primary rule or principle on which something is based.

I have been working a lot on organisational culture and a lot of teams could do with the “fundamentals of caring”:-

  • How are we going to demonstrate respect to each other?
  • How are we going to value each others work?
  • How will we connect with each other each day/week/month?
  • How will we show that we care about the companies success?

At the very core of culture are values and in essences the fundamentals of how you want your team to behave.

Outlining why they matter means they don’t come across as a do and don’t list.

  • Looking smart and professional when you are being paid to look after some-ones  money it demonstrates you care.
  • Being on time for meetings when you sell software for project planning.
  • No eating at your desk when you work for a property management business as you would never eat in their property, it shows respect and care.

It is not just our jobs that need fundamentals to provide a compass or a steer.  There are many areas of life where we need structure and fundamentals to underpin what we are about.

Fundamentals of being a Mother

  • To nurture and care for her off spring
  • To be a Cheerleader at all times – triumph and disaster
  • To listen at any moment and time however awkward
  • To provide guidance on every area of life
  • To be the best taxi driver

List the roles that you have in life and what do you have to lay as foundation to those  hats that you wear.

Underpin the whole week with the “Fundamentals of caring”

Please do stay in touch and comment on the blog bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk 

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