Posted in coaching, Bite size learning, Relationships, Stress management, motivation

What is Burnout…?

You lack energy and empathy towards others and even yourself and overall you feel unfulfilled. These ingredients lead to a cynicism towards colleagues, the company and your work. The solution is to identify why you have been left feeling this way and identify where there is a disconnect.

Ironically life might be good on paper, but there is an intersection where life and work have run into obstacles at the same time.

There are 6 factors that can give cause to burnout based on discrepancies:-

  1. Workload
  2. Control
  3. Reward
  4. Community
  5. Fairness
  6. Values

Workload – You feel overworked, is this an organisational problem or a line manager allocating too much or is it that you yourself have taken on too much. The solution would be to set boundaries as to what is acceptable to reset the discrepancy.

Reward – You feel that you are not rewarded in a comparable way to others. Clear criteria can redress this imbalance.

Community – Workplace does not provide opportunities to connect or you suffer from social anxiety. The balance of connecting and isolation which works for the workplace and the individual.

Fairness – effort vs yield, if you perceive another colleague is doing less work but being paid more, then we will become cynical towards the organisation as the effort Vs yield is not fair.

Values – people want to be challenged and valued, if this falls short and there is a discrepancy. Your values do not align eg. A Doctor cares for a patient and whilst hospital management will be focused on costs.

Use the 6 factors to identify where the discrepancy is, this is a way to move forward and out of the burnout.

Burnout is very much work or an occupational problem it is important to acknowledge that it is not depression. With burnout the hormones tend to stay neutral where as depression you carry with you and is physiological with hormones running high.

Another solution to burnout is to think about your life purpose, take time to be introspective and ask the right questions to find out what gets you out of bed in the morning.

Please do get in touch for one to one coaching or 90 minute workshops bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Decision Making, Goals, Leadership, Learning, motivation, Relationships

Understanding the Service Profit Chain…

Harvard Business School wrote an article on the service profit chain back in 2008 however the relevance of the article is even more prevalent now post Covid.

Back in the 70s and 80s businesses focused on profit goals in isolation with the work hard ethic driving growth.

Today economics of services consider the factors that drive profitability, investment in people, technology, revamping recruitment practises, training and compensation that is linked to performance or effort not just results.

The shift in thinking means that employees are just as important as customers.

The hard value of profit is now being measured by soft measures, for example the profit of the business can be measured alongside the satisfaction of an employee.

To understand the service profit chain see it as journey as follows:-

  1. Internal Quality – Drives Employee Satisfaction (working environment, relationships with their colleagues, customers and their role)
  2. Employee Satisfaction – Drives Loyalty (look after your employees and they will stay)
  3. Employee Loyalty – Drives Productivity – (retaining employees means no breaks in productivity)
  4. Employee Productivity – Drives Value – (delivering your service above and beyond)
  5. Value – Drives Customer Satisfaction – (customers value the result and the services encompassed in the price)
  6. Customer Satisfaction – Drives Customer Loyalty (a good experience will make you return)
  7. Customer Loyalty – Drives Profitability and Growth (quality, satisfaction, loyalty, productivity, value as an equation equal profitability)
  8. Profitability & Growth

The right Leadership underpins the journey and the success of the service profit chain.

The steps form a continuous pattern, and to ensure that you are on top of all the areas involved. You will need to conduct a Service Profit Chain Audit, asking key questions:-

  • How do we define loyal customers?
  • Do measurements of customer profitability include profits from referrals?
  • What proportion of business development expenditures and incentives are directed to the retention of existing customers?
  • Why do our customers leave?
  • Is customer satisfaction data gathered in an objective, consistent and periodic fashion?
  • When are you listening to your customers and when are you getting feedback from your customers and employees?
  • How is information concerning customer satisfaction used to solve customer problems?
  • How do you measure service value?
  • To what extent are measures taken of differences between customers perceptions of quality delivered and their expectations before delivery?
  • How do you measure employee productivity?
  • How do you create employee loyalty?
  • What is the right level of employee retention?
  • Is employee satisfaction measured in a similar way to customer satisfaction?
  • Employee selection criteria is geared to what customers want as well as Managers?
  • How much do you correlate customer satisfaction, quality of service & loyalty to rewarding employees?
  • Do employees know who their customers are?
  • Are employees satisfied with the technological and personal support they receive?
  • Do employees believe they have the right quality of work life?

The measures have to be connected to create a comprehensive picture so that the service profit chain provides a strong foundation for profit and growth.

Please do get in touch for one to one coaching or 90 minute workshops bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Learning, Relationships, training

Psychological Safety

A team climate characterised by interpersonal trust and mutual respect, in which people are comfortable being themselves” – Amy Edmondson

Edmondson is a Harvard Business School professor and the author of “The Fearless Organisation”. Psychological safety is about your voice being heard, it is not about being nice, its about being able to be candid and honest about what you see and hear. It is also not about avoiding conflict or license to whine it is about having a voice and being able to speak up.

The research for the book focused on hospitals, Edmondson studied the rate of reported errors, versus patient outcomes, across surgical teams. The research found that the teams with the highest number of mistakes, seemed to have the best patient outcomes. Their success was down to an attitude of honesty, transparency and learning, it was psychological safety in action.

Google wanted to explore why some teams were great and some teams not so great. The study took five years and was called Project Aristotle. The outcome was that you can’t simply bring people together who are the most qualified and expect a great team. Instead the team has to have the right characteristics. The researchers discovered what really mattered was how the team worked together not who they were. Top of the list was psychological safety.

  1. Psychological Safety – team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other
  2. Dependability – team members get things done on time and meet the high standards of the team
  3. Structure & Clarity – team members have clear roles, plans and goals
  4. Meaning – Work is personally important to team members
  5. Impact – team members think their work matters and fits with the wider team goals

Edmondson was delighted that Googles research supported her own findings. We are in a knowledge economy and without safety of speaking up, new innovations could be missed. Leaders need to ask for forgiveness if they have not provided a safe enough environment for voices to be heard. Ask your team is it easy to come to me with mistakes or new ideas.

Psychological safety is not only important in established teams but also in what Edmondson defines as “Teaming”. This is when people need to work together interdependently to get a result. An example would be an Accident & Emergency department, sometimes you don’t know who you are working with and you have different expertise but you need to work together in the moment. In order for that teaming experience to be effective everyone needs to feel psychologically safe.

The goal is not psychological safety it is the means to your goals.

In summary what is it?

  • If you make a mistake in the team, team members are supportive, and it is not held against you
  • It is easy for members to feel comfortable and ask other team members for help
  • Members of a team are able to bring up problems and tough issues 
  • It is safe to take a risk as a team
  • People accept others for being different in the team
  • No one in the team would deliberately act in a way that undermines any individual efforts or ideas
Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Goals, Learning, mindfulness, motivation, personal impact, Relationships, Stress management

Practical ways to be resilient…

When you wake up in the morning decide where you are on a scale, if pain was one end and power the other end – where would you want to be?

The answer is that most of us want to be the power end. Life events can drain our batteries, so keeping a metric of where you are and working out what it tells you can be a practical step to measuring your resilience levels. For a month keep a pain to power tracker and see what patterns emerge.

We can also think about what Mindset do we wish to adopt. Professor Carol S Dweck says that people either have a Fixed Mindset or Growth Mindset. The power of being able to say “not yet” is the Growth Mindset.

Growth Mindset Fixed Mindset
I can learn anything I wantI am either good at it, or I am not
I want to challenge myselfI don’t like to be challenged
When I fail, I learn When I fail, I am no good
Tell me I try hardTell me I am smart & have natural ability

By adopting a Growth Mindset we have the elasticity to be resilient and bounce back.

Recognising our sign symptoms of when we feel our resilience levels are low can also be a very practical tool. We can do this by using five main areas:-

  1. Sense of purpose – reason or focus for your work
  2. Mental toughness – the ability to make decisions
  3. Physical energy – tired constantly
  4. Emotional balance – the ability to regulate our emotions
  5. Social skills – make others feel comfortable

Ask yourself have you noticed any of these areas being harder than normal, these may be indications that your resilience levels are low.

Susan Kobasa a leading psychologist says that there are 3 key elements of a resilient individual:-

Challenge – view any difficulty as a challenge

Commitment – committed to their lives and goals

Personal Control – spend time and energy on stuff they have control over

The last statement aligns with Stephen Covey’s Circle of Concern/Circle of Influence. We should only focus on the concerns that we can influence if not we should let them sit outside our heads and make them a “no concern”.

Finally in summary what key things can you be doing to develop your resilience:-

1.Learn to relax

2.Practice thought awareness

3.Edit your outlook

4.Learn from mistakes and failures 

5.Choose your response

6.Maintain perspective

7.Set yourself some goals 

8.Build your self confidence 

9.Develop strong relationships 

10.Be flexible 

Please do get in touch for a workshop on Resilience – bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Decision Making, Leadership, Learning, Relationships

Infinite mindset…

The difference between a finite game and infinite game is the context of Simon Sinek’s book. Finite game you know the goal to achieve and you know the players and everyone understands their role. There are fixed rules and there is a clear beginning and end. An infinite game is played by known and unknown players – there are no rules, and the players can operate however they want, they can change how they play the game at any time and for any reason. As there is no end there is no such thing as winning 

There are finite goals within life such as school but ultimately life is infinite.  There is no such thing as coming in first in marriage or friendship, the same with global politics and there is no declaration of being a winner.

When we lead with a finite mindset it will lead to all sorts of problems the decline in trust. Infinite mindset we create high levels of trust co-operation collaboration innovation.

The game of business has no finishing line you want to build organisations that are strong enough and healthy enough to stay in the game for many generations to come.

Five principles of an Infinite mindset:-

  1. Advance a just cause – vision of a future state that does not yet exist – people are willing to make sacrifices to help advance forward to follow you. An example of a finite just cause:-  Fighting against poverty – makes it appear we can win – however if we said instead “We fought for the right for every human to provide for their own family” it is positioned as a cause that you want to be a part of. The first offers a problem to solve the second offers a vision of possibility and dignity. 

2. Build trusting teams – a current buzz term is psychological safety if your employees feel safe then they will trust you more. Creating an environment where failure is embraced and the team/organisation believe in a growth mindset.

3. Study your worthy rivals – In the book Sinek uses the tennis players Chris Everett-Lloyd and Martina Navratilova as examples of worthy rivals. They respected each other off the court and to that end they wanted to improve to be a worthy rival. Everett Lloyd particularly altered how she played from being a baseline player to coming into the net, she learnt from her rival and improved her game.

4. Prepare for existential flexibility – Be prepared to flex your business be aware of your just cause being limiting. The US railroad was about improving rail roads and with the decline of train travel they have been left behind. Imagine if they had invested in “just moving people” they could have invested in other forms of transport. Other examples are Blockbusters did not move the business from video rental and got squeezed out by Netflix who worked on a subscription model.

5. Demonstrate the courage to lead – making decisions that are bold and brave. The example of CVS Caremark in February 2014 taking the decision not to sell cigarettes as it was not in line with the healthy just cause they wanted to follow. Shareholders were not happy about the downturn in revenue but it is about having the courage to lead your team and the organisation to follow your cause. Consumers did not leave and in fact some shopped there to follow the cause and data showed a small decline in smokers in localised stats near their stores.

Please do reach out if you would like a workshop on the Infinite Mindset bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Empathy…

Empathy is an emotional skill and as with any skill you have to keep practising to gain mastery.

It is about our ability to understand what some-one is experiencing and to reflect back our understanding.

The attributes of empathy by Theresa Wiseman:-

  • Perspective taking – what is the experience like for you?
  • Staying out of judgment – just listen don’t evaluate
  • Recognising emotion
  • Communicating our understanding
  • Practising mindfulness – feeling the emotion and moving through it

Empathy is a tool of compassion, we only truly experience it if we are present for some-one else’s pain. If we are not willing to be fully present then it’s not real empathy.

Brené Brown writes in Atlas of the Heart “We need to dispel the myth that empathy is walking in someone else’s shoes. Rather than walking in your shoes, I need to learn how to listen to the story you tell about what it’s like in your shoes and believe you even when it doesn’t match my experiences”

Empathy misses:-

  • Sympathy – “I feel so sorry for you” – empathy is not feeling sorry for some-one
  • Judgement – The gasp from your friend is not empathy – over reaction will make the person feel shame
  • Disappointment – “You’ve let me down” – if they are looking for you to be exemplary all the time is not relating to you
  • Comparing/Competing – “If you think that’s bad” – not about you, must be their agenda
  • Problem solving – “I can fix it” – just listen don’t go into fixer mode
  • Avoid – “Let’s make this go away” – sit with the discomfort and connect in a meaningful way

We need to truly listen and be present for the person feeling what they are feeling to even begin to master empathy.

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

Disappointment

It can range from mild discomfort to deep hurt. Disappointment is unmet expectations. The more significant the expectation the more significant the disappointment.

We feel disappointment as we have not examined or expressed our expectations, and yet we have a clear picture in our heads of what we want to see. The movie in our mind is perfect. Why don’t we share what is going on in our heads? It is often as the conversation will expose our vulnerability and that may well be tough and awkward. When we share what we want we our putting ourselves first which again is not something we do very often and it takes bravery to value our own expectations.

In Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown uses the expression “Painting Done”. She fully briefs colleagues on her expectations and then says “Painting Done”.

We have to also manage how we handle unchecked and unexpressed expectation, as an example “She will love her gift?” – we don’t know whether she will love her gift this is an unchecked expectation. If you have no control over the response you will be disappointed and damage your self worth.

Even when we are intentional and thoughtful about expressing our expectations it can still lead to disappointment and we are left feeling vulnerable. However you cannot be vulnerable without being courageous, so better to have tried.

Some people don’t even enter the arena, by deciding to use a numbing technique to never experience disappointment “I am not going to get excited as I will only be disappointed”.

Go forward and be courageous and partner up with your expectations, “What do you want the weekend to look like…?” – “How do you see the project completed…” Be bold, brave and put your expectations out there.

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Emotional Intelligence, Learning, personal impact, Relationships

Everything has changed, but nothing has changed…

I am back at the desk of nuggets HQ having taking a temporary leave of absence for a month. As the title says “everything has changed, but nothing has changed”.

The last month I have been caring for my Mum alongside my sisters and Step Dad, and very sadly she died on the 25th April 2022. My whole world will never look the same again without the person who created me in it. However the world keeps spinning and less you hold on you get left behind.

In grief you find the normal things like making a bed really calming as there is little emotional input and the procedural aspect of the task gives you perspective. The times you feel derailed when you can see no end in sight for the person in pain and you have no capacity to change the trajectory of the outcome.

Throughout my absence I have been reading “The Atlas of the Heart” by Brene Brown and the comfort of unpicking emotions and experiences has also given me an amazing sense of my self. Understanding that meaningful connection only happens if you talk about your emotions.

I remember reading that Gill Hicks who survived the 7/7 bombing in London, returned to her desk and tipped the in box that the team had kept untouched straight in the bin. Her view that nothing mattered but everything mattered, after what she had just been through.

I think of the many books I have read in the nature of my job and many will help me now forge ahead with maybe a slight change of heart or mind.

  • The Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown
  • Feel the Fear and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers
  • Start with Why by Simon Sinek
  • Who moved my cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson

Everything has changed means a new view of my work, perhaps a boldness that was lacking before, however to be sure the things that have not changed are being true to my values.

“Helping people to think differently” by making a difference

“Achievement” my anchor value of progression which will move me forward ensuring that things do change.

I will shortly be starting a bookclub for The Atlas of the Heart if you would like to attend please do get in touch bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Leadership, Management, motivation, Relationships, training

One to ones matter…

Meeting with your team members on a regular basis fosters a meaningful relationship. As a Manager they are the most important productivity tool you can have and to your team member.

For transparency and consistency you should offer every team member the same access to you, whether it be one hour fortnightly or one hour once a month. Book them into your diary as recurring meetings and think long and hard about the timing. This is a motivational tool so think about when the team member will feel at their best and yourself.

As a Line Manager you wear many hats and be careful which one you are wearing as to whether it is appropriate. Fundamentally you are their coach, you are invested in their performance and can pass judgment. You are not a counsellor although sometimes you may drift into this area, remember there are experts in this field. Mentoring is often what the future holds so you can dip a toe in this area however it is hard when you have a vested interest, you may not be as bold with your advice.

One to ones need to be relaxed with good rapport, but not so relaxed they have no structure or focus. You must also be weary that they are not all about work in progress. The time is about progression with a focus on what you are doing and also how you are doing it. There is a bigger conversation about motivation, dreams and desires.

Feedback is part of the catching up, whether it be positive or constructive. The best way to deliver is to have structure, see the mnemonic (“SBI”) below:-

S Situation

B Behaviour

I Impact

An SBI can be used for positive or constructive, see examples below:-

At the meeting last week…Situation

You were so articulate and clear on the project to the client...Behaviour

The client was enthusiastic and keen to start the work now…Impact

Or

At the meeting last week…Situation

You were very quiet and withdrawn…Behaviour

The impact was the Client lost confidence in our offer – Impact

The responsibility of a line manager is to check in on a team members well being. As an organisation there is the need to provide psychological safety, however be aware of what you can and cannot influence. Stephen Covey’s Circle of Concern/Circle of Influence is a good test to see whether you should provide support. They are concerned about a deadline, this is something you can influence. They are concerned about the weather, this is not something you can influence. A number of things can be influenced, but if not explain to the team member they need to stop letting them feel such a big concern.

If you look like you are enjoying a one to one session so will your team member. Getting the most out of a one is all about the preparation and what you put into it and the input of your team member.

Please do get in touch to book a workshop “Getting the most out of one to ones” – bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Language is our portal for meaning…

So excited Brene Brown’s new book Atlas of the Heart is now in print. There is so much to unpick, but a good starter is using the right language to explain our experiences and label the emotions involved.

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s quote “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”.

Fifteen years ago, Brown asked participants on her shame resilience research to list all the emotions they could recognise and to name them. This took five years and involved seven thousand people. The average number of emotions named across the surveys was three, and they were happy, sad and angry.

Brown obviously found this very disheartening when the vastness of human emotion is not about mad, sad or glad. There are so many despair, shame, wonder, awe… that in their richness make us human.

Language is the portal to meaning, making connections, healing, learning and self awareness. When we don’t have the language we lose our ability to explain what is really going on.

In Atlas of the Heart there are eighty seven emotions and experiences that are defined and brought to life so that we can increase our vocabulary.

The next time you say the following:-

  • “I am really pissed off”
  • “I am so mad”

What are you feeling? Naming it accurately what is really going on. Vocabulary should be as expansive as our experience. Better responses might be..:-

  • “I am so overwhelmed with all I am experiencing”
  • “I am feeling disappointed”

Yesterday my son failed his driving test and it was pure anger, and it was limiting to his growth. He was not labelling it as disappointment, and his rage directed at the Driving Examiner whom he will never see again, is sadly not constructive.

Articulate what is going on in your world this week, and I would welcome comments and discussion.

Please do reach out bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk