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 email@example.com
Often on a Time Management workshop I will ask delegates what they would do with an extra hour. The answer they most want to give is sleep, however once we have refused that as an option they become far more creative.
This year 2020 is a Leap Year so this Saturday 29th February we will get an extra day, therefore we have 366 days instead of 365 days, however will we make the most of this opportunity.
Very old fashioned concept was that this was the only day women could propose marriage, however as this can happen at anytime during the year, what can be unique about your extra day.
Values drive our behaviour so if we want it to really count think about what matters most in your world. This may well start with the people that matter most in your life. Don’t stop there, we could do what we always do with them or we could think what else do we value and what do we want to do with their time.
Identify core values and then think about what activity you can do on Saturday that connects with those. Only select 3 from the list below, be realistic and think about who you want to be with (the list is limited so add your own ideas for core values):-
Examples of how values can lead to activities:-
- Happiness – going back to somewhere that made you feel really happy
- Wisdom – visiting something cultural and learning new facts
- Change – meeting new people, going somewhere different
Have a great Saturday and let me know what you did with your extra day?
Please do get in touch for a workshop on any management or leadership topic firstname.lastname@example.org
Unconscious bias the deep seated prejudices we all carry around that can affect how we treat people. We use them automatically, unintentionally and unconsciously.
For a recent workshop I created the following two case studies which I am sure everyone can relate to.
Line Manager conducts regular one to one sessions with his team members. He has different approaches to different people, and a lot of the team are beginning to feel uncomfortable with his style.
They have been talking at break and have heard that some individuals are asked to share their diary scheduling of work. He wants very detailed analysis of how they work and what they work on.
Other individuals he just asks for the end result and seems delighted with the progress.
- What will you do as a team?
- What will you do as an individual?
- What bias is the Manager demonstrating?
- Has this ever happened to you and how did you deal with it?
You are in a Client meeting and you find it hard to contribute, there are very vocal characters and your voice does not seem to be heard.
Recently a decision was made based on a consensus around the table, which you know is not the right way to move forward. You have evidence to share as to why the approach would be wrong however you feel uncomfortable sharing with such a strong group.
- What are you going to do?
- Is this a situation you can relate to?
- What bias is being demonstrated at this meeting?
- What as an organisation can you do, to improve the format of meetings?
Please do share your thoughts with me email@example.com
Being a visitor too many different offices you can very easily see from the working environment what sort of culture the organisation has.
Some are very obvious, projecting their product and services with a bit of fun around the team. The harder to identify are the big corporates, which may well have their values on display, however they don’t give much away as to what is like to work there.
Waiting for meetings in a reception area or if you are lucky a social area you can see team members come and go. Watching the interaction of colleagues and the general vibe as to whether they make you feel welcome says a lot about the company.
Waiting in a fun social area with a pool table and darts board with fruit and every drink imaginable you feel relaxed. Team members come and go taking breaks and a screen flashes up photos of their people with quirky facts about them. I got to see the face of several people I was about to meet before I met them in the flesh.
In contrast waiting in a very beige waiting area with an empty perspex magazine holder and no pictures, reflects a culture that has given up on its people.
Another example is the slick reception desk with a vast atrium and the team all in identical outfits does not show what lies beyond.
Think about your welcome area being the gateway to your business and your team. What do you want to share?
Top Tips to reflect your culture:-
- Welcome sign
- Company name
- Photos of the team (fun facts)
- Colourful and well lit area
- Papers/Magazines that are current or relevant to your business
- Drinks/fruit available
- Ensure that every member of the team who passes a visitor acknowledges them
First impressions of people happen in 7 seconds so exactly the same assessment is being about your company and your people. Take time to get it right and work for you and your people.
Please do get in touch for a workshop on culture firstname.lastname@example.org
The way we do things around here… is the best definition of a culture. The sum of values, habits and rituals coming together to form a way of being together.
Why is a strong culture so important?
There is a direct correlation between performance, retention and recruitment. John Kotter and John Heskett collated statistics to prove the strength of culture.
- Revenue is 4 x faster
- Job creation 7 x higher
- Profit performance 750% higher
The culture needs to be able to move, when there are changes to leadership, or mergers and acquisitions and there could even be sudden growth. Any changes can lead to an old management structure creating sub cultures, which can be very unhealthy for the overall culture.
Sticking with your culture and values takes guts and it is about everyone have a conviction of a core ideology.
The story that makes this seem so simplistic is the Olympic rowing 8 who simply coined the phrase and ideology “Will it make the boat go faster”. All behaviours were accountable to that one sentence.
Sustaining the culture
Commit to regularly communicating at team meetings and having visuals around the office that support the core ideology. Ensure that you hire to fit your culture, within the recruitment and selection include questions that explain how things get done around here. Promote your culture by rewarding members who support it, this will embed the habits and rituals you want to see.
Cultural fit will make life easier.
Please do get in touch for a workshop on “Understanding culture” – 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
My daughter and I have collected for period poverty for a year. We have learnt a lot about reaching out to charities and the generosity of friends.
It all started with an advert on the television for sanitary towels. There was a statistic on period poverty and I have to say in my “Surrey bubble” it was not something I was aware of. Sitting with my daughter we talked about the reality of not being able to afford what we accept as essentials. We recoiled at the indignity and the circumstances that as woman you could find yourself in.
The next day I researched further and was shocked at some of the statements and facts:-
- Period poverty has forced more than a quarter of females to miss work or school
- 1 in 10 cannot afford products
- 1 in 7 borrow products
- If you have 450 periods in a lifetime and on average the cost is £128 a year
- Every time you have a period an average cost could be £11.00
- The average cost for a packet of 20 pads or tampons is £2.37
The first charity I found was “Bloody Good Period” which officially at the time had not received charitable status subsequently they have now with the rise in media coverage. I reached out to them to set myself up as a collector of products. They were predominantly covering London, however they gave me a contact to liaise with.
Bloody Good Period focus heavily on Asylum seekers, who only receive £37.75 per week. This amount does not reach very far, and the main priority for that money would be food.
We decided to host a coffee morning with friends and ask them to bring products to donate. The joy is receiving products and not getting involved with money with your friends. I was amazed at how keen everyone was to get involved and the scale of the first collection.
After the success of the coffee morning we needed to find appropriate places to donate. Our first drop was to Asylum seekers at Elmbridge. Over the year we provided three donations to them, however it was an hours drive and the charity were not overwhelmingly welcoming, which again is an eye opener. In my naivety I stereo typed anyone that worked in charity must be so warm and welcoming. Instead you can meet reserve and a slight weariness about who you are.
My next stage was to reach out to the Guildford MP Anne Milton. Whatever your view of politics there are some really hard working MPs who believe in giving back to their constituents. Anne gave us the name of a more local charity, Guildford Action. Initially hard to get in touch with, you have to persevere and be persistent. We now have a good system and they are very happy with the donations and even posted a picture of us on their Facebook page.
The church support Asylum seekers and we have found the Guildford diocese very welcoming. St Saviours in the centre of Guildford support 5 or 6 Syrian families.
Half way through the year we received an email from Anne Milton’s office letting us know that Nadhim Zahawi MP, Children and Families Minister, that the Government will provide free sanitary products to all girls in England’s primary schools from early next year. This builds on a previous announcement that the Government will do the same for all girls in England’s secondary schools and colleges.
We send a stock sheet to Bloody Good Period after every collection, this can be time consuming sitting on the floor counting pads and naming brands. My family are now quite used to every couple of months a hallway full of sanitary towels.
As we reached our anniversary we compiled our statistics to share with our very generous friends. Seeing the figures on a chart was very rewarding for my daughter and I.
Giving back is not straightforward, and you have to work at the systems that will work for you. It needs to be an easy process and work with people who value you what you are doing. Share your journey with the people that donate and make sure you have a partner involved as there are highs and lows and great to have a supporter at all times.
Ultimately we know that our collections have brought self respect back to a lot of women and we will continue in 2020.