Posted in Decision Making, Leadership, mindfulness, motivation

Being a Washington Correspondent…

The St Catherines School auditorium was packed with political enthusiasts waiting for the interview with the BBC Washington correspondent Gary O’Donoghue.

We were only two minutes in before President Trump was mentioned. The special relationship between the UK and the US in Trump’s eyes was helped with us leaving the EU. Although Gary did say it is very hard explaining to everyone in the US that we haven’t actually left yet…

The next term or election in the US will be key to the political landscape. Names to be aware of are Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and of course Trump himself. The encumbancy carries force although there is a feeling that Trump may simply get bored.

How serious is the Muller investigation for Trump, and the answer was not necessarily the Russian collusion, but more importantly the obstruction of justice by firing the Head of the FBI.

The constant turnaround of Advisors and the ability to second guess Trump’s thinking makes for constant instability.

Understanding the gun culture in the US and the 2Nd amendment is hard for us in the UK.   The beliefs for the right to own a gun are engrained. A constitutional amendment will not happen. However awareness since the Las Vegas mass shooting rose to 40% and then more recently with Florida to 50%. There have been and will be more changes around gun control.

“Black lives matter” has been amplified by social media however statistically there is much disparity with length of life still in the US.

The US is polarised on so many fronts, whether it be north/south, black/white, Democrats/Republicans…the list goes on.

Gary was asked how he coped with his blindness in regard to his job. He admitted to falling off 3 train platforms but was still here to tell the tale. He wore down many girlfriends in the early days by getting them to read press cuttings out loud. He is now very liberated by the use of his iPhone.

He explained how he started as a freelancer for the BBC through a friend of his fathers. Commitment and new ideas are the ingredients to being a successful journalist.

How does living as a blind person in the US compare to the UK. In the US you can plug in headphones to cashpoints in the UK you rely on honesty and kindness. Gary showed his notepad which he described as his 2nd right arm.

Cane or Guide Dog is evidently like the marmite question to a blind person. Gary favours cane at this stage in his life, with his job and travel.

Before we led into the numerous questions – Gary introduced the charity for the retiring fund – Clear Vision. The books are for sighted and unsighted individuals so the joy of reading can be shared by both at the same moment in time.

Gary said that politicians in general aim to “simplify and exaggerate” and he certainly as a journalist demystified for the audience the US, The White House, Washington and being blind. It was a privilege to be a member of the audience.

 

 

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Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Goals, Leadership

Big Picture Thinking…

We all need to have a view internally and externally of an organisation to gauge new opportunities and threats from competitors.

On a nugget workshop we conduct an exercise called “Being Savvy” the idea being that you can understand where areas of growth might be and how to communicate to your team.

There are three areas of being “Savvy” and when they connect – you have your eyes wide open.

See the diagram below:-

Savvy

The delegates fill each of the circles – e.g.:-

  • Organisationally savvy
    • Understand all internal policies
    • Know the right people within the company who make this happen
    • As an individual match the culture of the organisation
    • Embody the values and therefore are a really good role model
  • Business savvy
    • Know the results and revenue details of the company
    • Aware of main competitors
    • Clear view of everyones objectives
    • Sponsors new product and services
  • Contextually savvy
    • Aware of the impact of new legislation
    • Understand the political landscape and the effect on the company
    • World events awareness to ensure that the organisation supports or champions the right causes
    • UK culture, society trends that may impact the business

This is a good start to get your employees adopting “Big Picture Thinking” – there is a world out there so we need to understand the impact on us inside and outside.

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

 

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

Redefine failure…

“If we wish to fulfil our potential as individuals and organisations, we must redefine failure” – Matthew Syed author of Black Box Thinking.

At school they used to say mistakes were learning opportunities and all too often you would raise your eyes incredulous at the platitude.

However now we can see that effective cultures are the companies that have an environment that is open to mistakes.  Organisations that provide an open forum to talk about challenges and errors, means they are open to new ways of working.

In the book “Black Box Thinking” the culture of the aviation industry is compared to the NHS.  The safety record of aviation is phenomenal with every incident being thoroughly investigated with the help of the Black Box.  The NHS culture is still incredibly hierarchical with a fear of admitting mistakes.  We are now in a world far more litigious where there is a threat of liability hanging over people’s heads.

To implement Black Box Thinking into your organisation here are some tips:-

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

Please do get in touch if you would like a 90 minute workshop on Black Box Thinking.

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Goals, Leadership, Management, Relationships

Keeping stars…

The old saying was “People leave People not jobs” therefore we must treat are star employees like people.

Invest in a relationship with them, understand their values, what do they get out of bed for in the morning.  Some people say work is work, however there is always something behind their motives.  Work is a need to fulfil all other areas of life.

Therefore when we are in work how can you ensure they stay on the journey with you:-

1. Get to know your employees.  

Meet with them for 1:1 meetings once a fortnight.  Take time within those meeting to go beyond current workload.

2. Make it fun

Look for opportunities to build enjoyment into their role.  The brain absorbs more when it is relaxed and having fun.  Laughter releases endorphins, all the ingredients of creating the right atmosphere for work.

3. Meaningful interactions

Employees who understand the big picture and feel connected to the purpose of the business, foster more loyalty.  Get your team members to connect with clients make them feel a part of the whole thing.

4. Harness strengths

Identify the strengths of your employees and make sure they are exaggerated.  Leveraging what some-one is good at, could be a better investment than developing an area of weakness.  The opportunities within their strengths can lead to new areas of expertise.

5. Invest 

Invest your time and money in your employees.  Pay for them to be developed and give them your time to understand the future they see for themselves.

Please do contact bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk for a workshop on Career Development

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Goals, mindfulness

Life and a mobile phone…

This weekend my phone suddenly switched off, and my daughter said “It’s too cold”.  Suddenly the phone did not seem that dissimilar to us as humans.  The functioning capacity was directly affected by adverse weather.

Therefore taking the mobile phone as a metaphor how similar is it to the life you live.

  • It often recharges at night, as we do with a decent 8 hours if we are lucky.
  • When we are lost it is very good at getting us to where we need to get to.  Having goals and a clear direction in life often means you find the path you have chosen.
  • If we have too many Apps/windows open at one time it drains the battery.  This can be compared with too much going on in your mind and losing the ability to make good decisions.
  • Phones can be unpredictable, switching themselves off and always running out of battery when you least expect it.  We often have mood swings which can be triggered by something personal or as simple as a change in our working environment.
  • The immediacy of a phone for communication is good and bad, it is always there.  We are the same with our powers of conversation, we can speak at any moment in time, however the skill of choosing the right time and when to be silent.
  • When a phone is in Airplane mode we can use the functions, but we are not in contact with the outside world.  Should we be in Airplane mode when with our family, we are functioning but not being disturbed by the outside world.
  • Rarely do we go for the full shut down on the phone.  This could be the time when we are on holiday, there is no signal on the beach so why not put yourself into total shut down.

Just like mobile phones we do have the ability to control the choices we make in life, we are the operator of our lives.

Please do contact bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk for 1:1 coaching or a workshop on communication.

Posted in Bite size learning, Leadership, Learning, Management, training

Colourful learning…

When I set up nuggets I wanted to create a “wow” factor the moment people entered the room.  I wanted to show that I had made an effort.  If you came to a party at my house I would ensure that my house looked fabulous.  You are the host to an amazing experience it is not “just a training course”. My heart always sank if I entered a workshop and there was the biro on a lined pad.

The brain needs to be alive the moment the course begins and you can do that by bringing as much colour to the room as possible. As the Facilitator I always wear colour and I ensure that I display flip charts around the room with lots of colour.  This can only happen by using “Mr Sketch” markers you need more than black, blue, red and green. Post-its and even fiddling toys provide the colour and texture needed to get the brain ticking.

Colourful learning is not just about the colour, you need minds to come alive and think in a colourful way.  The brain always has to answer a question and needs space time and input from others to help.  Creating exercises where the group can move around room working together gets them to think differently.  Colourful thinking is creative thinking, when you have new answers to existing situations.

nuggets works on modules, bearing in mind that the concentration rate on average is only 45 minutes.  The preferred route is weekly or monthly interventions of 90 minute workshops.  This provides an entrance on a topic where you have created a “Disturb” of the delegate wanting to learn more and action more.

The residential Management programmes are costly to companies and do they give the return on investment.  Learning that is practical and applicable with less time away from the desk is where the training future is.

Please do get in touch with bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk for leadership and management workshops covering many topics.

We are currently promoting “Making email work for you…”

 

 

Posted in Leadership, Management, Relationships

Team briefings…

Organisations often change their strategic direction, sometimes due to external factors or to their own internal changes.

External could be a price reduction due to competitor or the overall economic landscape.  Internally you might have lost several key skilled workers which means reallocation of tasks.

Communicating to your team strategic changes is vital and you should have in place regular team briefings or meetings.

Preparation is key to delivering announcements to your team.

You must be able to deliver the key points in a consistent and professional manner and be able to handle general questions and answers effectively and confidently.

When you have briefed your team you need to clarify their understanding of the message and the next steps.

As a checklist see below:-

  • Effectively covered opening statement points.  Got to the point quickly but sensitively.  Positioned the local picture in the wider context.
  • Showed respect and empathy whilst maintaining focus and formality.
  • Responded to questions effectively and listened actively.
  • Show understanding & handle any emotional reactions effectively.
  • Check for understanding and give helpful and factual explanations.
  • Give a personal commitment to support the team.
  • Make sure you write up action points and that you circulate.

To summarise the things to include:-

  1. Introductory statement & purpose
  2. Content and context of announcement
  3. Explanations
  4. Q & A
  5. Review & close

Please do contact bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk for a workshop on conducting team briefings.