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, Change management, coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, motivation

Being resilient…

“Self-esteem is as important to our well-being as legs are to a table.  It is essential for physical and mental health and for happiness” – Louise Hart

The definition of the word resilient:-

(of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.
(of a substance or object) able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.
Understanding that resilience is all about bouncing back, we need to know how it is made up, what are the ingredients of resilience and can it be measured.

If we were to take the metaphor of the table we can explain what each table leg represents an element of resilience and the table top pulls all the components together.

The Resilience Table

Leg One – Mental toughness, how robust are you at staying in the role of decision maker.  Using all your logical thinking skills to way up pros and cons and be aware of problem and solutions as they arise.

Leg Two – Physical energy, staying strong and being able to attend continuous meetings still with a smile and bringing energy to every event.

Leg Three – Emotional balance, being measured in reponses to others and demonstrating empathy.  A support for others with a balanced view and the appropriate emotional response.

Leg Four – Social skills – naturally adept at making everyone feel comfortable in your space.  Being your own person and not being swept into negative behaviours, managing your own self esteem and confidence about who you are.

Table Top – Sense of purpose, a meaning to what you are doing, the core of who you are.  This holds the legs and is the most important place to start when thinking about your resilient levels.

The table top is where we need to ask ourselves “Why do we do what we do? this will uncover your meaningful purpose will help create strong table legs.

Give yourself a score out of 10 for each of the table legs and constantly monitor why one might be high and one low.  You will have to nurture and look after each leg and ensure that they are totally connected to the table top.

At nuggets we have designed a workshop on Being Resilient here are the objectives and what you will gain.

Being Resilient 

Programme Objectives 

  • Understanding how to monitor your resilience levels
  • Exploring the theory of Mindset by Professor Carol Dweck
  • Making the five pillars of resilience practical and applicable
  • Applying the kindness method to creating new habits and rituals

What will you gain?

  • Recognising how to switch from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset
  • Identifying which of the five pillars of resilience needs to be developed
  • Adopting new habits and rituals
  • Practical action plan

Please do get in touch if you are interested bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

(can be one person or a small group) over Zoom at the cost of £100

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Leadership

Leading change out of lockdown…

On Sunday we will receive advice from the Government as to whether there is any easing of the lockdown.  When we do eventually return to work you need to be able to lead changes in working practices and support your team.  It is essential that you focus and support the emotions and behaviours.

I have designed a one hour workshop that is detailed below to support leaders, business owners and team members.  It can be delivered just to one person or a small group, at the cost of £100.  The workshop is very practical using theory as a framework, however ensuring that it is relevant and specific for every organisation.  It will be delivered virtually over Zoom, with notes and actions captured.

Leading Change out of Lockdown

 “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future” John F Kennedy

What is it about?

One hour workshop on how to lead your team out of lockdown by using the principles from John Kotter’s book “Our iceberg is melting…” Providing tools and techniques to help your people think and work differently.

Overview

  • Creating a plan for change
  • Identifying the emotions and behaviours we go through during change
  • Recognising the difference between concerns and influences

What will I get out of it?

  • Using Kotter’s steps to create a practical plan for change
  • Managing your emotions and behaviours throughout change
  • Clear understanding of what you can and cannot influence
  • Practical steps

Workshop outline in more detail:-

Creating a Plan

Change is inevitable coming out of lockdown. Teams will embrace the change, however there will be a feeling of loss, and major uncertainty.  It can be minor to major, however the emotional reaction can be managed with a clear formula.

John Kotter’s book “Our iceberg is melting” tells the tale of a colony of penguins and their need to move as their iceberg is melting.

Returning to your offices will feel like a new move, and you will need to ensure that your culture is robust to withstand the changes.

The steps below come from Kotter’s book and can be applied to how you ease out of lockdown:-

  • Create a sense of urgency – help others to see the need for the change – you can’t work the way you worked before
  • Pull together a leading/guiding team to provide guidance for everyone
  • Decide what to do – create a vision or strategy so everyone understands, sell it positively create a picture in peoples minds
  • Make it happen – communicate for understanding and buy in, host online Q&A sessions
  • Empower others to act – create Change Ambassadors who are good role models for the new way of working
  • Acknowledge short term wins – celebrate the small stuff and make it inclusive
  • Make it stick – ensure this is a cultural change so you are ready for the next change.  This is a great time to bond together as a team and to know that if a new way of working happened in the future you would all be able to adapt

Creating a culture of change is more sustainable than just managing reactively.  Your team will feel more secure and more adept towards change if they have a plan and a process as Kotter’s book demonstrates.

Emotions and Behaviours

Using the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross change curve to explain the journey of emotions and behaviours everyone will feel with the changes.  The curve can be used as a road map and a census check at team meetings.

Circle of Concern/Circle of Influence

Practical tool to identify any concerns your team have around the new working practises.  Everyone creates their own concerns on post-its and they are either identified as something that can be actioned or influenced or they have to be parked as bigger than the organisation and therefore should not be a concern.

Key learnings “nuggets”

The workshop will have lots of takeaways and practical application to help leaders get their teams back to work safely.

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Leadership, personal impact, Relationships

Coming out of Lockdown…

I am not alone in feeling slightly overwhelmed with working out the conundrum of how we ease out of lockdown.

We can only focus on the things we can influence which helps ease the pressure in your mind and makes you feel calmer.  Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People explains the difference of proactive and reactive thinking.  If you draw two circles one labelled Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence, when you have filled the Circle of Concern focus on the items within that circle that you can influence, these are items you can personally action.  If you cannot, they are beyond your influence and you need to take them out of the circle and effectively take them out of your head.

Another resource that helps us focus on life after lockdown is the follow up to “Who moved my cheese…” a book called “Out of the maze…” both written by Spencer Johnson.

Rather appropriately there is a quote early on in the book from a character called Hope:-

“I don’t think things ever go back to how they were, here’s my thought though.  Maybe they can turn out better than they were” 

Beliefs we have of how we worked before lockdown might be holding us back, after all “A belief is a thought that you trust is true”.  Some of us believed we could never work from home.  The book encourages us to believe that some beliefs can lift you up.  Look at how well we have coped and what we have achieved already in lockdown.

You can change your mind, you can choose new beliefs, which is what we will have to do when our organisations explain how we will return to our offices.

Suggestions already are:-

  • Staggered working hours
  • No face to face meetings
  • No canteen
  • Working from home more

You are not held prisoner by a belief and remember you are the person who chooses your beliefs.  What would you do if you believed everything was possible.  There are no limits to what you can believe.  We often have to believe something is going to work before we can see it working.  It will be important for Leaders to work with them teams in creating a positive mindset and this will be reinforcing an existing strong culture or resetting the culture.

There will be so many unknowns that we have to let go of beliefs in the past which means losing old baggage and applying new thinking and an open mind.  We might get some initiatives wrong,  however if we all hold out on the belief that is possible we will all be more responsive to the change.

We need to find joy in exploring the impossible together and remember we are not changing who we are, because as we have a new belief or new thinking.   There is not a limit on what you can believe, can do, experience and above all enjoy.

Please do get in touch for coaching over Zoom, virtual workshops or look out for our nuggets bookclub.  We are very much still here to support individuals and business “To help people think and work differently…” bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk 

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, motivation

Building your team’s resilience…

We need to get to know our team better than ever during these uncertain and unknown times.  There are three main resilience factors to gauge:-

  1. Measure their levels of confidence
  2. Understand and ensure that they have disciplined routines of work
  3. Check in on how much family and social support they have

These factors then can create a resilience dashboard where you can check-in with each direct report and know how you need to top them up in certain areas.

The new challenges can shake individuals confidence and as a leader your job is to praise and acknowledge good decisions they are making.  Actively convey faith in them and give them more responsibility and recognise mistakes as tools for improvement.  Chat about how comfortable they feel with the video conferencing and share tips on making it work, and encourage telephone calls as well as video.

Understand how your team are working with new routines and ensure they have a good set up.  Respect new working hours around home schooling and provide resources to make their job as easy as it can be in the circumstances.

The greatest gift you can give your team at present is empathy.  Fully support and understand their family circumstances and be there as a listener.

Studies show that one of the best ways to foster resilience is through coaching.

COVID-19 has narrowed our ability to see the future, however studies show that the more you look at the long view the more resilient you are.  Admiral Jim Stockdale who was held captive in the Vietnam war said the optimists who thought they would be rescued immediately died of broken hearts.  The other prisoners who worked hard at being in captivity somehow made it work.  There fore don’t be afraid to ask your team “What plans do you have in place for working remotely for longer…?”  They might not like this question initially however the more comfortable and open you make the discussion the better initiatives will be put in place.

Look at talents you have within your team, can they share learning.  Externally see what is on offer for your team with learning providers.  Apply “Black box thinking” to mistakes  encourage team members to review their failures and see them as learning opportunities.

The most resilient teams will be the one that improvise and they will emerge stronger as people and as a team.

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

Please do also join the nuggets bookclub which runs every Friday @ 10.00am this week we will be reviewing “The Present” by Spencer Johnson.

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

Start with Why…?

The title of Simon Sinek’s bestselling book first published in 2009.  It is coming up to its 10th Anniversary and Sinek is running a live book club every Friday for people to ask questions around the content.  As it is the 10th anniversary he is also going to update the book.

Start with why seems very real and pertinent when we are all in lock down.  We have time to answer a lot of Whys?

  • Why do we do the job we do?
  • Why did we do that long commute day after day?
  • Why is working from home such challenge?

The emphasis of the book is not what you do or how you do it but why you do it?

The why is within all of us we just need to find it.

At this time when we are worried about the stability of our mental health we need to look at how the brain works in conjunction with our Why?

What we do is a neocortex function, practical and easy to understand, you do what you do without much challenge or feeling.  How you do things and why you do them is connected to our limbic brain where all our emotional responses come from.

Think about your line manager do you believe what he or she believes? Do you work together because of what you do or is it because of why you do it.

Please take a look at the Why questions if you are working and if you are not working and you have been furloughed still take time to answer the questions:-

  • Why does your company exist?
  • Why do you get out of bed in the morning?
  • Why should anyone care?

Why is your purpose whether it be a company or an individual.  At the moment people our getting out of bed to home school or they might be providing a service for their company (do they know why it matters).

Please do join me this Friday for nuggets business book review club where we will be discussing “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Apr 24, 2020 10:00 AM London

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIrcOygpjsvGtNJgr81klMybc3VxM5CwqPL

There is no need to have read the book and as a refresher or those that our new to the concept have a look at his original TED talk https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Learning, motivation

Not yet…

You didn’t fail you just have “not yet” achieved what you wanted to achieve.  “Not yet” is so much better than the message you have failed.

We are currently facing many new challenges and we have to keep saying its “not yet” how I want it to be, but I am going to keep working hard until it is how I want it.

This power of thinking comes from Professor Carol S Dweck who wrote the book Mindset.

She explains how children approached some difficult puzzles she set up for them.  A group of them came out with statements:-

  • “I love a challenge”
  • “I was hoping this was going to be informative” 

She was impressed by the understanding that the harder they worked the more their mind would grow.

However other children gave up and did not want to fail so it was easier not to attempt harder puzzles.

This is the basis of the book, adopting a Growth Mindset or having a Fixed Mindset.

Students either find the power of yet or are locked by the tyranny of now.  If you have a fixed mindset and you don’t do very well you may well:-

  • Decide to cheat rather than study
  • Find some-one with a worse grade than yourself
  • Run from the difficulty

Therefore if we are to grow the next generation we need to talk to them about yet instead of now.  We must not just focus on the grades they have now, we must talk to them about the bigger picture, the possibilities that they have yet to get to.

Evidence shows already that young workers often look for constant reward.  To prevent this in organisations we need to be praising the process, focus and perseverance they have demonstrated not just the result.   Research shows that if we do praise talent and intelligence in isolation we can actually make the individual vulnerable.  We limit their stretch, they do not want to risk their reputation by putting themselves in areas where they do not know stuff.

If we learn something new and study really hard, pictures of the brain show that we actually create stronger neurones.

We need to transform the view of effort and difficulty, we should be praising individuals for exposing their lack of skill.

From a very personal experience I found reading very hard and it was easier to not look stupid than to work at it.  Eventually at the age of 10 years old I had a teacher who made me read out loud just to her and gave me the confidence I needed.  She rewarded my effort by giving me key roles in the classroom.  Suddenly the pain and difficulty of reading seemed possible and the doors that it opened were endless.

Please do join me on Friday for the nuggets business book review and summary club where we will be discussing Mindset by Carol S Dweck.

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Apr 17, 2020 10:00 AM London

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://zoom.us/meeting/register/upQtcumtpj0vZkeFvOhZeBQsHYDOjE1XUw

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, personal impact, Relationships, Stress management

Focus on what you can control…

We can easily overwhelm ourselves by thinking what we can solve.  There is currently so much to think about, we must break it down and work out what is within our control.

Stephen Covey in his book the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” uses the Circle of Concern and the Circle of Influence.  There are things we are concerned about and we need to work out whether we can influence them.  If we can do something eg. some form of influence it leaves your Circle of Concern.  It is like a mental in and out box.  What we have to be really careful of, is not letting things fester in a Circle of Concern that we cannot influence and thus making us feel mentally unstable.

My current examples:-

  • Currently I cannot see my Mum therefore I cannot spend everyday worrying about it, however I can see her every evening on House Party with my sisters. An example of a concern moved to influence.
  • I cannot come up with a vaccine for Covid 19 therefore I cannot let it sit in my Circle of Concern that needs to go outside my head into an area of No Concern.  I still care but if I can’t influence it will affect my mental well being.
  • My sons GCSE results are now outside mine or his influence so we have put them to one side in the areas of No Concern.

Amy Morin the author of “Insights from 13 things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” says if we focus on what we can offer others we will stop:-

  • feeling sorry for ourselves
  • resenting other peoples success
  • feeling like we are owed something

Mentally strong people shift their focus to people in need, they look for ways to help others.  If we are busy doing good things we will stop focusing on a victim like mentality.

Within our own households we can focus on how we can make the time as pleasant as possible for them.  We can also reach out to our friends and family remotely still giving support.  In work we can adapt our services, reduce fees and be readily available.

She suggests getting a piece of paper and drawing a line down the middle.  Writing all the things above the line that you can’t control and below the line all the things you can control.  After you have finished the list, rip off the top of the paper and throw it away.

Even when you have your list of the things you can control, she says you must remember that people are a factor that you cannot completely control, so remember the following points:-

  • Stop dwelling on the past, a situation with a particular person
  • Stop wasting energy on the things you cannot control within that relationship
  • Stop giving people your power  (don’t let their opinions steer your direction)
  • Stop trying to please everyone

Uncertainty can be managed by focusing on what you can control.  Grab that piece of paper today whether you do the line down the middle or Covey’s circles, focus on what you have influence and control over.

Take care and stay safe and well, please do contact me at bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Goals, Learning, Time management

Timing is not an art its a science…

“We all know that timing is everything. Trouble is, we don’t know much about timing itself.” – Dan Pink

When is the worst time of the day?

The book written by Dan Pink uncovers some of the mysteries around time by using scientific evidence.  Here are some questions used in one of his recent talks about the book to give you the idea of “When” is the right time.

  • When should a CEO make an earnings call to investors?

We should all avoid the time between 2.00pm – 4.00pm and especially the unproductive time in the middle 2.55pm. This period Pink refers to as the “Trough”.  The studies show that CEOs are more likely to make mistakes on an earnings call in the afternoon.

  • When is a good time to ask for a pay rise?

Studies show that if your line Manager is returning just after a break they will be refreshed enough to make a more positive decision.  Pink based this on analysis of parole board decisions, prisoners repeatedly got a more favourable decision just after lunch than just before lunch as the peak of the morning wore off.

  • When should you start a new diet or exercise regime?

We use a temporal landmark this is a point in time that we naturally think of as an opportunity for a fresh start. These come in two forms: social temporal landmarks, dates that are seen as a fresh start by many people collectively (your birthday, anniversary etc) or New Year’s, or the other landmark is the start of a month, the start of a week, etc.  Pink describe it as  mental accounting of when to start your spreadsheet.

  • When are you most likely to run a marathon?

Our life is planned out in episodes and this pattern leads to endings and beginnings.  We are more likely to run a marathon at 29, 39, or 49 before we hit the big number.  We want to achieve something at the end of that chapter or episode.

Please do get in touch for further insights on timing bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management

What is everyone doing…

It has been a fascinating week to discover how people are adjusting to working from home and also the support they receive from their organisations.

Some of the gestures can be small and some so generous they restore your faith in the commercial world.

A company that has a “Freebie Friday” which is free chocolate and treats to all on Friday, sent every single team member bars of chocolate to their home address to say we are still together albeit remote.

Another company has given a grant to everyone to set up their home office.  They want to ensure that everyone is working comfortably.

Communication has been good with daily team meetings all with video links so at least everyone can see everyone.  This has led to sharing of photos of each others home office with the emphasis on funny.

One Director has sourced local food businesses encouraging employees who live near to support them.

These are all great positives and I am sure we will learn of more as the weeks continue, please do share with me at nuggets.

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk