VAMOS!

We are all looking for ways to be more efficient in the workplace and unfortunately it seems to be about rationalising or cuts however what if you get an extra 23 % productivity with out cuts?

Interested?

Well there was a study by Bath university around discretionary effort of 700 people and they realised through the study that 3 things would help this Ability, Motivation and opportunity. However I have recently noticed in organisations going through change that employees need more that these 3.

VAMOS the Spanish for to go

V= vision and I am not taking about the interchangeable, sometimes unmemorable cliches that I have seen, what I am talking about is what the manager sees as the future of the team,department etc. Talking about what they picture as a positive future, in turbulent working environment employee need to know that their boss is guiding them to a better place.

A = ability when asking employees to do more, due to changes in the workplace, have you as there manager talked to them about development or a skills gap and empowering them to get the development they need.

M= motivation… There are many theories on this and I have blogged about a few, however, the easiest way to find out what motivates them is ask them, many managers make assumptions about their employees, this can have the opposite of the desired effect.

O= opportunity; whether it is outdated processes, systems, IT or employees getting dragged into other duties that distract them from doing what they are employed to do. It’s your duty as a leader to cut through these distractions to allow the employee to do what they do best.

S= Specific outcomes. Setting expectations / targets whatever you want to call them mean that employee know exactly what they have to do to be a success. Sounds simple however you would be amazed the amount of employees I meet that find it difficult articulate what a good day looks like or their boss changes the goal posts so often that they don’t know what good looks like.

Hope you had a great weekend

Martin

Vampires attack on change

Vampires attack on change – a leadership express halloween special

‘its not that people don’t like change they don’t like uncertainty’…. Vampires in your orgainisation will drain the life out of your change process using the fangs of uncertainty.

Below is some things to think about with your Stakeholders to beat the Vampires!

V- Vision, have a clear vision of what it will be like after the change and talk about this often

A- Acknowledge the past -What was right and what is wrong

M- Mediums of communication – Leaders and managers need to have many ways of communication e.g. face to face,in groups, regular 1:1’s, listening sessions. It has to be two way and actions must be taking on the back of this;then communicated. N.B. Vamps love change emails so use them sparingly

P- Process of change – ensure you communicate why it is happening, what will happen,when it will happen, how it will happen, who needs to do what, where it will happen

I- Increments of change – break down the change into small chunks then it won’t feel so scary

R- Recognition of the efforts of colleagues in the change process as you go along

E- Energy – leaders and managers should ensure that their energy and drive for the change is positive and help things to keep moving

Strength Based Development for Managers

Strengths based development is nothing new in sports coaching and development; you don’t train someone with a talent for sprinting, how to be a marathon runner. You identify what someone is good at then in the case of a sprinter you develop and coach them to get better in order to get quicker.

Yet as leaders in business, we have possibly all been managed by someone who will look at a development plan as an instrument to develop weaknesses! This flies in the face of research that shows that when you manage people who are using their strengths they will be up to 23% more productive, they are more likely to stay with the company and be true advocates for that company. If they are more productive and engaged they are less likely to be absent from work. All of these things have the potential to add to your bottom line.

If you don’t believe me, simply reflect on what percentage of your strengths you use at your work then think about what you could do at work if you used more of your strengths.

Ok, you say thats great in theory, but how do you do it?

Get to know your team

1. Use a Type indicator e.g. MBTI, DISC etc. They give an indication of how people like to communicate with the world, what energises them. They aren’t about skills you say, and you would be right, however, it will help you and your team enhance how you understand and communicate with each other, but also what gives them energy and energy at work is golddust!

2. Find out what their values are, not the companies. People are more and more looking at the purpose of their / their companies role over and above the ‘widgets’ they produce. This is especially true of Gen Y and they are if they are not already the future of your company. Help them link their values to working in your team.

3. Get everyone to do a SWOT analysis and do one for the team. Strengths, Weaknesses (what they are not good at but can do) Opportunities (strengths they haven’t as yet been able to utlise in the team) Threats (things they don’t like doing, arent that great at doing and developing these skills will be a waste of everybodies time)

4. Development plans – Concentrate on developing Strengths and Opportunities. Only develop anything under the other two headings if they are crucial to the role.

5. If you can allocate work according to strengths then do so in a fair way.

6. Review, reflect,give and receive feedback on a regular basis about how it is working.

It would be great to hear your thoughts on Strength based development, so feel free to comment.

Hope you have a fantastic weekend

Finally, as a tradition on my site I like to add a TED video.

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?”  His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers

If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.” (Simon Sinek)

15 Tips for building better resilience

Everbody encounters times in their lives when stress starts having a strain on our health (mental & physical). I have noted 15 tips to help you get through the feeling of striving to thriving.

1. Recognise when you are starting to feeling the strain in your life and identify what are the route causes of this strain.

2. After identifying the causes list the ones that you can influence and change and accept what you can’t at this time, change.

3. Re-evaluate your values and purpose in life, we can all lose sight of these due to the pressures of life. Be yourself everyone else is taken.

4. Re- train your brain to step back and look for the positives in situations. I remember someone drawing a black dot on a flipchart and putting their head up to the dot then stepping back. They went on to say that the flipchart was life and when we are under lots of pressure, all we can see is the black hole or all the things that are wrong, we need to step back to see that there are lots of things that are good in our lifes.

5. If you are finding that you can’t cope then you owe it to yourself to ask for help; there are professionals and charities that are confidential and are there to help people.

6. Learn to laugh again, many people with serious illnesses regularly talk about the release that having a laugh has, sometimes about the darker side of their situation

7. Once you have analysed the root cause of the strain make a plan and take small steps to changing things. Lots of small changes are easier and add up to larger change in the long run.

8. Start to look at mistakes or preceived failures as learning opportunities. Nobody is perfect, in fact many successful business people have had ‘failures’, however, they have gone on to be successful again. WD40 was named because there was 39 versions before that weren’t right.

9. Start looking after yourself. Our bodies are like machines and if you don’t get enough of the right food,exercise and rest the body and mind will start to breakdown. Start slowly with things like having a healthy breakfast, go for a walk at lunchtime, make time for just you even if its half an hour to read a book, get some sleep.

10. Accept that things in life will change, most people don’t like change, however if you look back on your life you will see that you survived an enormous amount of change.

11. Learn to say no sometimes. Trying to please everyone is a sure way to take on too much.

12. Look at challenging situations with the problem solving part of your mind; using logic can decrease the emotional / irrational aspects of stress. Rarely does anyone make a 100% perfect decision or plan, so don’t put off decisions until something is perfect, many leaders report making decisions on 70 – 80% probability of success.

13. Keep a journal – writing down or typing your thoughts can help you stop continually mulling over them, especially when you are trying to sleep

14. Build or re-build your support network e.g. friends, family and trusted colleagues. It is easily to lose contact if we are extremely busy,however, this speeds up the process of losing objectivity in our situation and being able to release some of the pressure by talking about it, no matter how hard. The old saying a problem shared is a problem halved still stands.

15. Do something everyday that moves yourself forward no matter how small you regard it to be or when going home reflect on 3 things that went well in your day, you will be amazed at what has.

If you have any techniques or experiences you would like to share please leave a comment I would love to hear from you.

http://www.samaritans.org/?gclid=CJunzey14a8CFaYJtAod5nWbDQ

Top 10 characteristics in a great boss?

I have been lucky enough to have some great managers in the last 21 years and I thought that I would capture what made them great bosses in a top 10, because by understanding what makes a great leader for me will ultimately help me be a better leader.

1. Took the time to get to know me and my motivations and aspirations and linked these to work I was asked to do

2. Treated people in the orgainisation as peers; everybodies job was important and contributed to the success as a whole from cleaners to CEO’s

3. Set down clear expectation around my role and targets and then gave me the autonomy and trust to go and do it, however, they were there if I needed support

4. Introduced me to their network. They always looked to work across departments in a collaborative way rather than view them as competition.

5. Encouraged discussion, feedback and new ideas

6. Forgive and forget – if I made a geniune mistake I received support to fix it and it was never cast up again.

7. They had my back and had little toleration for disfunctional behaviour against a member of their team

8. Encouraged me to develop myself

9. Helped me see the positive in situations and the value of positive thought in life

10. Let me know the big picture and what was my part in it

How do you rate yourself against this top 10?

What would you add to this list?

What would you take out?

I would love to hear your comments, hope you have a great day

Change Implimentation – A New Hope

Change is a massive part of our business lives and I wanted to take a light hearted look at Kotter’s 8 Stage model.

Note to any true Star Wars fans, I have used some poetic license so please don’t take offence.

Establishing a Sense of Urgency

  • Examine market and competitive realities, and identify and discuss crises, potential crises, or major opportunities

Princess Leia learns about the Death Star being built and sets out to tell other people of the coming threat.

What would have happened if Leia had decided to ignore the construction of the Death Star, all this new technology is just a passing trend, it won’t be popular, and there is nothing we can do about it.

How many businesses ignore the threats of new technology or competitors?

Creating the Guiding Coalition

  • Assemble a group with enough power to lead the change effort, and encourage the group to work as a team

Ok so Leia got captured by Darth Vader, however she already had started the process of creating a guiding coalition by bring Obi Wan into the mix as she knew that he could help and had the power to make a difference.

In business terms when we are going through change we get a group together, however we need people who can make decisions and have other important contacts that have experience and knowledge that can help with the transition.

Developing a Change Vision

  • Create a vision to help direct the change effort, and develop strategies for achieving that vision

Now this is where I probably get into trouble with star wars fans…

Obi wan Kenobi upon learning about the death star helps Luke see what could be and formulates a plan to change the situation. He uses language that talks about what was and what could be. He engages people’s values and gives hope.

Ok so he doesn’t have a business vision statement so here’s what Kotter’s says about visions

  • Imaginable: They convey a clear picture of what the future will look like.
  • Desirable: They appeal to the long-term interest of employees, customers, shareholders, and others who have a stake in the enterprise.
  • Feasible: They contain realistic and attainable goals.
  • Focused: They are clear enough to provide guidance in decision making.
  • Flexible: They allow individual initiative and alternative responses in light of changing conditions.
  • Communicable: They are easy to communicate and can be explained quickly.

Communicating the Vision for Buy-in

  • Use every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies, and teach new behaviours by the example of the Guiding Coalition

The rebel alliance didn’t just send out a boring inter galactic email! Everyone involved was talking to other members of the alliance, person appearances, and rousing monologues

Here’s what Kotter says

In communicating the vision for the transformation, there are some things to keep in mind. The vision should be:

  • Simple: No techno babble or jargon.
  • Vivid: A verbal picture is worth a thousand words – use metaphor, analogy, and example.
  • Repeatable: Ideas should be able to be spread by anyone to anyone.
  • Invitational: Two-way communication is always more powerful than one-way communication.

In pursuit of simplicity, fewer words are better

Empowering Broad-based Action

  • Remove obstacles to change, change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision, and encourage risk-taking and non-traditional ideas, activities, and actions

When they reach the Death Star Obi Wan left Luke, Han and Chewbacca to rescue Leia rather than micro manage and tell them what to do as he knew that they could do it and he was better placed to shut down the shields. They then had to think creatively to do this, take risks but they had the authority to take action for themselves.

Kotter talks about

Removing as many barriers as possible and unleashing people to do their best work

Typically, empowering employees involves addressing four major obstacles: structures, skills, systems, and supervisors

Generating Short-term Wins

  • Plan for visible performance improvements, create those improvements, recognize and reward employees involved in the improvements

The hero’s in star wars didn’t just fly to the death star and blow it up; they became motivated and bonded through short term wins. These were communicated throughout the alliance to raise moral and give hope that things will turn out ok.

Kotter talks about

For leaders in the middle of a long-term change effort, short-term wins are essential. Running a change effort without attention to short-term performance is extremely risky. The Guiding Coalition becomes a critical force in identifying significant improvements than can happen between 6 and 18 months. Getting these wins helps ensure the overall change initiative’s success. Research shows that companies that experience significant short-term wins by fourteen and twenty-six months after the change initiative begins are much more likely to complete the transformation.

Never Letting Up

  • Use increased credibility to change systems, structures, and policies that don’t fit the vision, also hire, promote, and develop employees who can implement the vision, and finally reinvigorate the process with new projects, themes, and change agents

Blowing up the Death Star was not the end of the Empire after celebrating success the alliance had to re-group, re assess what this meant for their vision, and recruit new members to the alliance.

In a successful major change initiative, by stage 7 you will begin to see:

  • More projects being added
  • Additional people being brought in to help with the changes
  • Senior leadership focused on giving clarity to an aligned vision and shared purpose
  • Employees empowered at all levels to lead projects
  • Reduced interdependencies between areas
  • Constant effort to keep urgency high
  • Consistent show of proof that the new way is working

Incorporating Changes into the Culture

  • Articulate the connections between the new behaviours and organizational success, and develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession

So after the destruction of the Death Star, the alliance celebrated and some people were given promotion, acknowledged the losses, Luke went off to Yoda for further development

This is why cultural change comes in Step 8, not Step 1. Some general rules about cultural change include:

  • Cultural change comes last, not first
  • You must be able to prove that the new way is superior to the old
  • The success must be visible and well communicated
  • You will lose some people in the process
  • You must reinforce new norms and values with incentives and rewards – including promotions
  • Reinforce the culture with every new employee

Tradition is a powerful force. We keep change in place by creating a new, supportive and sufficiently strong organizational culture. A Guiding Coalition alone cannot root change in place no matter how strong they are. It takes the majority of the organization truly embracing the new culture for there to be any chance of success in the long term.

If you would like more information on Kotter

http://www.kotterinternational.com/kotterprinciples/changesteps

Oh if you want to know more about Star Wars http://lucasfilm.com/

Remember this was a galaxy, a long time ago, so I am not advocating, storming your competitors’ premises and dispatching them with light sabres and blasters!

Please use the comment box, I would love to hear about experiences of change or if you have any questions

Sunday Reflections

I always find sunday’s are good for reflection which I believe is an important part of being a leader as it allows us to take stock before we move on.

The above Modified Aristotle Bancale Venn Diagram By Dorothy Shapland was posted on Toforius facebook page. Wonderred what you thought?

 

Tofurious has a great facebook page and blog. He is a photographer however there is alot of business crossover and he is very knowledgable about using social media

http://www.tofurious.com/blog/

Dorothy’s blog

http://askmsdorothy.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/reflecting-on-what-i-do.html

Hope your weekend is going well

Raising your profile with Social Media

In these tough economic times we need to use every advantage we can get to raise  our profiles whether we are a business or employed, however when networking the traditional way I have noticed that many people are not using social media to raise their brand awareness…professional or business

When I meet leaders I always have a look at their Linkedin profile, website and if they have a blog because 1. I am genuiely interested in people and what they do 2. If / when I meet them again I can have a more informed chat with them 3. Steve Jobs always reccommended looking outside your own industry for inspiration 4. I am nosey!

Some trends have struck me

  • Linkedin – No photo or sometimes worse a horrendous one (I am a photographer as well, so I always unintentionally critique photos),or the profile hasn’t been updated in ages with what they are doing, skills, description, no recommendation’s etc. A Linkedin profile is like a CV – one that the world can see!
  • Websites – They take too long to load (you have between 3 – 5 secs before someone will give up on your website). Bland, uninteresting or hard to navigate. If you had trouble getting into a store and couldn’t find anything, would you go back? Lack of pictures, I am a visual learner so pictures are a must for me
  • No Blog – If your website is your virtual market place, then your blog is the voice of your business. People buy from People… always. Your blog gives you a virtual personality.
  • Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc People tell me I don’t have time for all these, well if you set up your blog correctly it will update some of these automatically. Imagine for a moment that most people on Facebook have between 20 – 500 ‘friends’ if they like your facebook post then think how many people that could reach. It costs nothing, but a little time

If you are currently employed you maybe thinking, I don’t have a business, this doesn’t affect me, well something to consider is

  • Most recruiters will search on the web for applicants, if a recruiter searched for you what would they find…
  • Research has shown that potential recruiters are actually suspicious of people who don’t have a web identity
  • How safe are anyone’s job these days, it better to be ahead of the competition

As part of a stand alone package or as part of a coaching package I will help you increase and enhance your social media profile; please see my page http://mcdougalldevelopment.com/social-media-raising-your-professional-business-brand/

email me at mcdougallmartin@aol.com

Still need convincing watch this youtube video

http://youtu.be/1aconjR6uH4

Oh in the spirit of this post, please feel free to contact me on Linkedin, Like my Facebook page at the bottom of the home page, tweet, wordpress – like / press this or share in any other way! ;)

Linkedin hints & tips

http://www.informationweek.com/thebrainyard/news/social_networking_consumer/231900330

Let me know what you think about using social media

Entering the matrix

 

The world of business is changing rapidly with more and more companies

  • Cutting back on travel
  • Manager’s having ‘virtual teams’
  • Training  conducted by webinar or YouTube style training video
  • The rise of teleconference and video conferencing

All of this makes sense in the tough economic times we live in; however, how often are people receiving training not only on the technical side but the behavioural side of using virtual meeting technologies?

Being competent in using the software isn’t enough e.g. PowerPoint was launched in 1990… nearly 22 years ago, how often do you see really good presentations using PowerPoint?

Running an effective meeting face to face is a skill and requires real leadership to keep people engaged, feel comfortable to speak up and share ideas, ultimately reach the objectives of the meeting and leave motivated.

So I thought I would share some tips for virtual meetings

  • Start with a small team in the company and give them the support and development to become really effective at using the software and the identifying the behavioural aspects that really work; then let it go viral in your workplace
  • Have short, concise objectives for the meeting and display these throughout so that the attendees know what’s next and how much progress you have made. Send these out before hand to allow time for preparation
  • People’s attention will waiver after slide 3 on a webinar so make it interactive with polls, questions, whiteboard etc.
  • The chairperson should be there 15 minutes before the start and know how to mute and unmute
  • Facilitate discussion by using open questions followed by people’s names
  • Be aware when some delegates are one room together and the rest are virtual e.g. the whispered side chat in the room is distracting and can create them and us mentality. If there is silence in the room full of people narrate what is going on
  • Set expectations or ground rules if its the first time everyone has got together using this medium e.g. everyone gets a chance to speak, participation,use your name when joining the discussion (webinar / teleconference)
  • Be aware of background noise
  • Stay out of emails and turn mobiles of, unless you would normally do this in a normal face to face meeting?

These are only a selection of tips, please feel free to add any amusing anecdotes, pet peeves or tips in the comment section

Listen your way to success

You are probably thinking that I have lost my marbles with the title of this post, however stay with me.

We put so much emphasis on clever pitches, presentations and influencing people (all important) in meetings or waxing lyrical to our partners and family about our day that we tend not to consider our listening skills.

Are we truly listening or are we just waiting for our chance to put across our point of view that matches our agenda / objective, maybe even satisfying our ego?

Test yourself; do you do any of these in

Important meetings

  • Think about the amount of work you have already on your desk
  • Think about the previous meeting that didn’t go so well
  • Check your blackberry etc.?
  • Concentrate solely on what you want or your ideas
  • On telephone conferences put yourself on mute and work your way through emails
  • Take copious amounts of notes

At home

  • Talk about your day in front of the telly, computer or whilst doing something else

If you have mentally ticked yes to any of these then you may not be ‘living in the moment’ and truly listening and have the potential to miss important chances to communicate or influence someone in the most effective way. You may be treating symptoms not the root cause and so they are less likely to see the merits in your solution. Switch off any ‘interference’ that can affect your listening.

‘I have so much work and so many meetings that I need to multi-task’ is a common objection to this, however this is more about saying yes rather than no which I will cover in future post.

Listening effectively will help time management as you will not have to cover the same ground again; you have closed the sale or articulated your point or feelings in a persuasive way.

Stephen covey said ‘seek to understand before being understood’ – 7 Habits of Highly Effective people. https://www.stephencovey.com/ (his new 8th habit is great too)

He talks about listening with your ears, eyes and heart

5 levels of listening

5. Empathetic – as active however, you are putting yourself in their shoes, noting body language, tone, pace and volume of speech

4. Active – Verbal and non-verbal nods, asking pertinent questions, recapping offering relevant insights or challenges

3. Selective – Hearing what you want to hear

2. Pretending – Nodding dog syndrome

1. Ignoring – off in your own wee world – lights are on but nobody is home

Ok so sometimes I am in the zones of 1 – 3 (clothes shopping springs to mind!) I am not perfect. It does take hard work and effort to listen well

If you have an important meeting then you need to be in zone 5 as sometimes… what is not being said is as important as what is.

Ever heard someone say ‘I dont need solutions or help I just want someone to listen’

So my challenge is to practice empathetic listening at least once a day and record how you get on. You might want to start with family members or friends, remove any distractions TV etc. sit down and ask them about their day and stay in zone 5!

Feel free to post results in the comments box. Hope you are having a great week