Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Leadership, Management

Reducing Noise…

Wherever there is human judgement, there is noise, this comes from the book “Noise” by Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Sibony & Cass R Sunstein.

There has been a lot of research and talk about bias but the book explains the impact of noise. If you go to a meeting and the first speaker offers an opinion the second speaker might disagree but upon hearing the first lacks the confidence to speak up. Quickly you have a rapid conversion due to the noise. Anyone in the room who feels slightly humbled or deferential can quickly be converted and squash their opinion due to the noise attached to a stronger speaker. Noise can determine direction of judgements and suppress counter arguments or different noise.

Noise is not just what you hear, we can have noise in our heads. We make decisions when often we are not in a good state of mind. We have low energy and we hear a voice or a noise that will create a bias and noise that will sway our judgement.

The first practical step to prevent noise and having an influence is identifying situations where noise may occur.

  • Recruitment & Selection
  • Meetings
  • Team work allocation
  • Team roles
  • Promotions
  • Appraisals/Reviews

The list is by no means complete, noise is everywhere…Even ordering your food at restaurant the first person who selects may influence you as it is the first noise you hear.

After identifying that noise will happen, work through the 7 steps below to try and prevent it having an impact:-

  1. Look at the bigger picture – What patterns have occurred before what else do you need to consider contextually? Holistically look at what has happened in the past and now, think about what it would look like in the future and look at it objectively.
  2. Multiple judgements – seek out people with different judgements, ask people from other teams to help with the decision who will not have the baggage of your own team members. Fresh eyes, people that are new to your organisation think of many different angles.
  3. Judge independently – Come to your own opinion, before you go to a meeting. Think about what you understand and your own feelings before sharing with others.
  4. Seek at least two opinions – Listen to other voices, and be open minded
  5. Don’t depend on intuition – It is not sensible to just listen to your gut, as this has been influenced by noise, how you have been feeling that day mentally and physically. This is not a good judgment tool.
  6. Adopt the principles of decision making hygiene – If a Doctor examines you, they wash their hands first and after the examination. Adopt a process of how you make decisions so that there is a system and it can eliminate the noise influencers.
  7. Remind decision makers of their purpose of deciding – The purpose is often lacking at meetings why am I here to decide/to inform/to present/to educate. This is the same around decisions, what are you actually deciding and focus on the decision not the noise around it.

Noise is an obstacle to fair judgement, use the 7 steps above to try and prevent its hold on you and others.

Please do get in touch for 90 minute workshops over Zoom or Coaching one to one for an hour.

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Creating rapport…

Recently on a workshop a delegate asked me to explain what I meant by rapport.

Dictionary definition:- a friendly, harmonious relationship especially : a relationship characterised by agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy.

Rapport starts with that lovely small talk that puts some-one at ease, and they step into your world and feel comfortable. For some it is the most natural thing in the world and yet for others it can feel contrived and clumsy.

A colleague once described it to me as creating “limbic soup” which has stuck with me as a perfect explanation of what is happening mentally and physically. If you are interacting with another person and you feel immediately comfortable, you feel safe because the emotional part of the brain the limbic mode relaxes. We also know that oxytocin’s are released, another chemical to help you relax into the conversation, creating a connection and lovely soup.

Insights from the book “How to Talk to Anyone” by Leil Lowndes gives some actual tools and techniques. She describes conversations as being similar to a game of ping pong. You serve and you expect a return and then you may have to return again.

The serve is the hardest how do you start a chat by not using the usual opening gambits which can often have the reverse affect of shutting some-one down. She suggests an acronym “WIT”- We, It & They:-

We – using we brings people closer together – we are in this together

Example: “I hear she’s a great speaker, we are in for a treat”

It – Have an “it” up your sleeve – is there a current news story that everyone is talking about

Example: “What do you think about (insert your It)?

They – Know something before you meet up, what hobbies/interests do they have

Example: They – “Bob told me you support Liverpool”

Most of us are lazy with our interactions and go for standard questions:-

“How are you?”

“What do you do?”

The first is far too wide, and you never know what is going on in anyone’s world, and chances are you will get the standard response of “fine” which is extremely hard to interpret and does not give you anything to work on.

What do you do? – is another stock question which is more often answered by talking about work, which may not be their true passion. Much better opening is:-

“How do you like to spend most of your time?”

The brain has to think about the answer it does not have a standard response and you will get a lovely insight into the person you have just met. To keep the conversation going and making it more about them, just repeat their words back to them. The last word they say with a question, just nods and provide really good positive non verbal indicators that you are interested.

Rapport is a skill and when deployed effectively can make anyone feel fabulous, be more artful in thinking about how you want a person to feel. Try different openers and really listen and make it all about them.

Please do get in touch for a communication workshop bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Emotional Intelligence, Goals, motivation, Relationships, Stress management

Employee centric culture…

“It’s not about being easy on your employees or expecting less from them. High-trust companies hold people accountable but without micromanaging them. They treat people like responsible adults” – Paul J Zak – Neuro science of Trust

The quote above gives the foundation of an employee centric culture it must come from a layer of trust. Zak outlines in his article the eight behaviours he believes create a high trust culture:-

  1. Recognise excellence – this works best when it is tangible, unexpected, personal and publicly recognised
  2. Induce “challenge stress” – a goal that is achievable, with a stretch element and you can chart progress
  3. Give people discretion in how they do their work – autonomy
  4. Enable job crafting – don’t confine people by job titles
  5. Share information broadly – no informations creates uncertainty and breaks trust
  6. Intentionally build relationships – focus on people rather than tasks
  7. Facilitate the whole person growth – adopt a growth mindset and look beyond where they are now
  8. Show vulnerability – as a Leader demonstrate humility

Zak’s work involved measuring levels of oxytocin, which gives an indication of trustworthiness. In a small rodent brain oxytocin is released if it is safe for another rodent to approach. If the animal was scared it inhibits the release of oxytocin. His studies on humans proved that stress inhibits oxytocin and the antidote is empathy. The basis of empathy is a “damn good listening to”, going beyond just actively listening to empathetically listening. This means absorbing the content intellectually and emotionally.

Brene Brown also advocates that trust is a foundation from her book Dare to Lead. She states very clearly that you can’t have courage without vulnerability. In order to run or rumble with vulnerability you have to have tough conversations, which are best placed if there is a layer of trust. Employees should live into their own values and the values of the organisation. She uses a mnemonic of BRAVING as detailed below:-

Boundaries: You respect my boundaries, and when you’re not clear about what’s okay and not okay, you ask. You’re willing to say no. 

Reliability: You do what you say you’ll do. At work, this means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so you don’t overpromise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities. 

Accountability: You own your mistakes, apologise, and make amends. 

Vault: You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share. 

Integrity: You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them. 

Nonjudgment: I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment. We can ask each other for help without judgment. 

Generosity: You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others. Generosity is closely related to judgment and is in fact the opposite. 

In summary Brene Brown says that organisations need to cultivate a culture of brave work and tough conversations.

Think about how you are embracing trust within your culture and put your employees first.

Please do get in touch for a workshop on the content above, called “It’s good to share, talk and listen…” bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Leadership, Time management

Have to…or get to…!

I am delivering a Time management workshop later today and it always strikes me how much we think Time has power over us. Time is a non-spatial continuum it does not really exist and yet we think it is a “Thing”.

We have to have the right mindset and language as to how we look at Time. It must not lead us we must be able to make choices and lead our own time.

“I have to…!”

We can feel so much more empowered if that report we have to finish we say in our heads “I am choosing to work on that report this morning”, rather than “I have to…!”

If this feels a bridge too far then try “I will get to that report this morning”. This gives you momentum and moves you towards the task.

Feeling that time is controlling you, will overwhelm you and the increments of time will slip away. If you know during the waking hours what you want to achieve and split the day up you will feel so much better. Achievement underpins motivation and you will be in control.

I read a recent article that said rather than viewing a day as wasted divide the day into 3 sections. What did you get done in the morning, mid afternoon and evening? If the morning becomes a very reactive time and you do not feel you have achieved what you wanted to, make sure you pick up in the evening and then focus on the positive outcomes in stages. Never right off a whole day, in a part of it there will have been an accomplishment.

Working in teams listen to other people’s language, and see how much people believe that time has control. As a leader say to your team members when are you going to “get to that …” rather than “You have to …” pass on power.

Think about how you feel about time today? Lead it and enjoy it, we all know how quickly it passes.

Please do get in touch if you would like a Time Management workshop bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

Am I ready to be coached…?

Will you benefit from working with a coach do you understand what you need to do in order to be ready? Clients come to me sometimes as they have identified their own readiness and the other route is from their leadership group. My role as the coach is to manage their expectations and get them ready for the experience.

Coaching can help you achieve a higher performance and greater personal satisfaction at work. You may be aware that you need to make changes in behaviour and mindset in order to advance in your career. To gain the benefit of coaching you must fully engage in the process, this will mean an investment of time and effort. The work happens between the coaching sessions not necessarily in them.

How can we determine whether some-one is “match fit” ready for coaching:-

  • Discomfort – Coaching is all about embracing new ways of perceiving and acting. In making the changes you will feel fear and anxiety, leading to new realisations and realities. Being able to endure these periods of discomfort will help you grow.
  • Experimentation – Once you have agreed to that feeling or level of discomfort you can begin experimenting with new behaviours. This will possibly involve taking risks and being prepared for things not to go right initially. Trying out new ideas and exploring new options will mean having an open mind.
  • Emotional responses – Behaviour is not rational, as there is always an emotion behind it. Working with a coach is about being prepared to talk about the emotional responses anger, fear, pride and happiness, by sharing them and putting them into context can you identify what you want to change.
  • Responsibility – Knowing that you can shape your future and working with a coach to grab a hold of it, and take control and responsibility. Accepting you are accountable for your progress.
  • Forgiveness – Being ready to channel your energy into your current or future progress. A coach cannot work with a victim and cannot solve the past.
  • Discipline – Once you have identified new behaviours and new ways of working, being disciplined that you stick to your new ways. Having a coach as an accountability partner will help, however you have to be ready to self regulate yourself.
  • Support – Are you ready for others to support you not just the coach? Once you begin a coaching journey you have to be ready to listen with curiosity and be prepared for constructive feedback from everyone around you.

If you think you are ready to be coached, then get in touch bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Problem solving

Critical Thinking…

The definition of critical thinking is to deliberately analyse information. By making it an intent we can make better decisions and have a better judgement of a situation.

We need to take time to step back and analyse a situation be the Judge and the Jury. By asking the right questions we need to evaluate arguments and evidence. Ironically we need to be open minded and not critical, to be open to being creative, reflective and adaptable.

Critical thinking in essence is about filtering and discovering. We must have a clear mind and not be influenced by a higher order of thinking.

Think about situations that require you to apply critical thinking:-

  • Interview preparation
  • Buying a house
  • Choosing a school/college or University
  • Time management

We have to be rigorous in our wish to apply critical thinking we have start with looking at scepticism (why are we doubting the truth) and we have to take a more neutral stance and be objective “fresh eyes”.

The starting point is “What do I know?” and “How do I know this?” this can dispel any deep routed opinions of others or even yourself.

In 1968 Dick Fosbury won the gold medal for the high jump in the Olympics, it is one of the best examples of critical thinking. Up until 1968 high jumpers believed that you had to land on your feet. Fosbury decided to ask the question “How else could I get over the bar?”. By throwing himself head first over the bar he lowered his centre of gravity and reduced his chances of hitting the bar. We are now all familiar with the Fosbury Flop but it all started by applying critical thinking.

Tom Chatfield wrote a book on Critical Thinking and created the 10 commandments of how to do it:-

  1. Slow down – take time to understand what you know already
  2. Conserve mental energy – stay focused (don’t have anything else on the go at the time)
  3. If in doubt wait – only get back to some-one until you are sure
  4. Know your limits – don’t pretend to know what you don’t know (read more and find out more)
  5. Beware of costs – don’t hold on to an idea, just because you have invested time and money
  6. Be strategic – judge the strategy not just short term results
  7. Look to long term – you might have a success then fail however the right way is the mean
  8. Seek out diverse opinion – re-examine
  9. Look beyond a frame of reference
  10. Is their a choice outside the frame

Critical thinking is about a better way of looking at the world. Please do get in touch if you would like nuggets to deliver a workshop bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Problem solving, training

Inside the box…

The expression think outside the box is the soundbite we all use to think creatively. It often scares the logical thinkers as the randomness of having no stucture or parameters and literally no box can be very intimidating.

There is an alternative “Inside the box” a book by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg, they give a framework for how you can do creativity with what you have. New ideas are normally a combination of old ideas and the key is to how sort what you have.

Boyd and Goldenberg give three techniques:-

  1. Divide and rearrange
  2. Subtract and replace
  3. Multiply and revise

Divide and rearrange is to look at the components you have and literally divide and rearrange. One of the best examples of this is lego, the bricks are the physical parts that once divided up or rearranged can create many different things. The same principle can be applied with a service, write all the stages of the process on post-its and then stand back and decide whether you can divide or rearrange any of the parts.

This is the journey of promoting and selling a workshop – lets divide and rearrange a few elements. No reason why the Blog cannot move to the end as key learnings for the delegates.

The second idea from the book is Subtract and replace, the best example of this is Apple with the iPod Touch. Initially they did away with buttons and replaced with a wheel. They also went to a further stage and took away the screen.

With the workshop journey, no-one enjoys a death by PowerPoint, how many slides can be replaced with discussion or exercises even though it is an online workshop.

The third idea of Inside the box is Multiply and revise. The example is back in 1971 Gillette introduced the razor with two blades, they did not just double the blades they made the angle different a revision that led to a smoother shave. With the journey of the workshop I need to double the times that I post the workshop to social media with a revision of how I promote it, what is the key angle.

Try and use the technique on a service or a product to see if you can look at it differently, it compliments process mapping technique perfectly.

Please do get in touch for further ideas and for a workshop on creativity or process mapping bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

It’s good to share, talk and listen…

Without contriving and formalising how can you encourage your team members to share more. Developing good listening skills and providing space physically and mentally where they can talk.

However is the starting point with their own confidence, do they believe they have anything to share. What is their story do they believe they have a relevancy and ideas to contribute. Every team member needs to feel valued and appreciated and then they will believe they have a platform to speak.

The first myth to blow is that information shared needs to be knowledge based. The difference between knowledge and wisdom goes some of the way to demonstrating we all have something to share.

  • Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit
  • Wisdom is knowing not to add the tomato to a fruit salad

Everyone has some wisdom or an experience worth sharing, more often than not, learnt from a failing. Some-one else’s failure could be the key to several others learning. Creating a culture where “wisdom of mistakes” becomes the buzz will lead to a transparent and open culture.

Stepping out of comfort zones, will blow away layers of hierarchy. Peer to peer sharing and in addition reverse sharing, the most junior sharing with Senior Leads.

Several companies have tried to formalise how they share knowledge, such as Estee Lauder creating “Dream Space” knowledge sharing portal. The success is creating an online platform, however the space might not lead to meaningful relationships.

The secret is to create an informal environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing, however some clever set up that it becomes natural and evolving.

Mentoring schemes in organisations are formalised and structured, however they take administration to set up. The sense of belonging to the organisation’s existing culture might inhibit and deter the people you want to encourage to share, the voices that don’t get heard.

Just as you ask some-one “How are you?” the response will be “fine thank you”.

You want something more than “fine”, you desire and crave a community of people who are sharing their skills, expertise, knowledge and ideas that are so much more than just fine.

Get personal you want to talk, listen and share. If a work community is going to grow together it has to be a common currency and the norm where you listen, talk and share. There will be a phase where it feels contrived however you are striving for an environment where it feels normal and acceptable that you have a coffee and a catch up with the CEO whatever your level.

Imagine your company is a coffee shop where the tables are always full and you circulate around.

It’s good to share, talk and listen – please do get in touch for a virtual coffee with bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

http://www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Goals, motivation, personal impact, Time management

Effortless & Enjoyable

Diving into a task and visualising it as being effortless and enjoyable is hard. I often practice the approach from Brian Tracey’s bestseller “Eat that Frog” that if you had to eat a live frog you would want to eat it as quickly as possible. However my procrastination kicks in, and I am often overwhelmed by the frog. I look at it for a long time and have no idea where to start.

There is another approach that comes from the book “Effortless” by Greg McKeown. He uses a acronym to put us in the right frame of mind for a project.

D.D.O.G.G.

Done – What does done look like?

McKeown says take 60 seconds to visual the moment of completion. What is the final action? Pressing the send button on an email, pressing upload on YouTube or closing your window on the Zoom meeting, or is it plate of food you have created.

Delete – What steps can I delete it?

Start looking at the piece of work from 0 and thinking what steps do you need to carry out. Minimise the steps by deleting and combining, fancy recipes often have ingredients you don’t have and the taste might not be affected. A project or task on paper looks a lot less scary than in your head.

Obvious – What is the obvious first action?

Once you have the momentum of starting you relax into the project or task. The need to identify the first step is crucial, you may have done this by mapping out your tasks. In the book McKeown gives an example of some-one needing bookshelves and the first task would be to measure the walls. It materialises the reason the task has never moved forward is the individual did not own a tape measure – the obvious first task would be to buy or borrow a tape measure.

Gradual – What gradual pace can I sustain?

Establish a rate of progress that you can sustain and will enjoy. If you have to walk 30 miles, visualising a mile a day for 30 days is sustainable, 2 walks at 15 miles might overwhelm you. To quote McKeown “Do not do more today than you can completely recover from by tomorrow”.

Grateful – What can I be grateful for?

If you were to run a marathon and only focus on the aches and pains, you would feel every step. You need to focus on what you are grateful for. You will be grateful to the support you are receiving the progress you are making. Think of every time you complain replace it with something you are grateful for, and your step will be lighter.

In summary if you enter an:-

Effortless State – believing you can achieve the task and you will enjoy it.

Effortless Action – your gradual progress at the right pace for you

Effortless Results – focusing on the gratitude

Please do get in touch for a bitesize workshop with nuggets or a colourful coaching session bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

http://www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, coaching, Decision Making, Leadership, Management

Why do you need a “great” process…?

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Mark Twain

When cash machines were launched the process was not full proof, you got your cash before you retrieved your card. Everyone was so keen to get their money that they forgot their cards. Banks found that the process was flawed, they just needed to change one part of the process. Retrieve your card and then get your cash.

Have you recently come across a process that was straightforward and that you felt was clear and carried you through with good signalling.

I recently donated some clothes to charity using an on-line system. I ordered bags online, received them/filled them, and then I followed a process of how to return the bags. The top of the website page told you where you were in the process. The visual indicators were excellent even an icon of the bag gave me confidence that I was progressing and I knew where I was at any part of the process.

Thinking about your own business, do your Clients know the process they are entering into and do your team follow the same process.

Focusing on a good system can save time and can be more effective. James Clear the author of Atomic Habits says that our systems are more important than our goals. If we get a system, process or ritual ingrained it becomes unconscious competence.

The first stage is to map out your process, with as much detail as possible. Think about the intangibles as much as the tangibles. When facilitating a session we use a pizza as an example, you need the dough first then the tomato base, cheese and various toppings. However when we think in business it is more complex than just toppings, what questions do you need to ask, how do you present the service you are offering, and how do you convert a conversation to a sale. Using a length of brown paper (easier and more modern to now use strips of magic whiteboards) and post-its map out each stage of the customer journey.

The next part of the process is to analyse the process, where is there overlap, who is responsible at certain points, put initials on your map.

Do you need to redesign the process, change a couple of steps. Think about timings that go with the process, is it 2 weeks to reconnect with a client or 4, make a system.

Start using the new process straight away, and communicate all the time as team as to how the process feels, as you still may need to tweak even at this stage.

Finally set up a review meeting when the process has been operating for 3 months, decide what has gone well, what could be done differently and what could you stop doing.

  • Map the process
  • Analyse the process
  • Redesign the process
  • Implement and communicate
  • Review

Please do get in touch if you would like nuggets to work with you on your processes.

http://www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk