3 Factor – Employee Engagement

engagement

3 Factor – Employee Engagement

I recently attended a talk by Sir Harry Burns the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland around his study around early intervention with young people in order to empower them to turn their lives into something more positive. He is a fantastic presenter and the evidence he has collected around brain development and what can positively or negatively affect it is fascinating and made me think about how leaders could adopt this to enrich the life’s of their employees.

I love simplifying things and what I took away was 3 things that help empower people are

Control – having a real sense of control over their working lives, the how, what, when etc

Sense of Purpose – knowing that you are making a difference or heading towards a worthwhile goal

Community- seeing that you are part of the team, company,organisation etc

So how do you do this, well you can hold back on  the fancy questionnaires and start having conversations with your staff around these 3 pillars and really listening to them and empowering them. As Sir Harry Burns talked about, this is not about doing things to people it’s about enabling them to do it for themselves.

Here’s a crazy idea, you could do it in 30 days. Here’s a Ted talk about just that

Let me know what you think about employee engagement in the comments section below and if you would like to read more about how to build the 3 factors into your working life.

The 3 R’s to stop you being overwhelmed

Everyone at times can feel as if we have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Many people will grin and bare it, work extra hours and hope that things will get better.

We start saying things like ‘ I wish I had more time in the day’

Sometimes we get through this and sometimes it can have an effect on our home life and health.

The 3R’s is a technique to help.

Relax – Easier said than done, however, putting more and more pressure on yourself is not going to solve anything. Someone once said to me when I was stressing about getting everything done before going on holiday ‘Is anybody going to be physically hurt? Will the department grind to a halt? Is a week away from your desk going to matter?Who can support you when you are away?’. They got me to be more rational about the situation and for me to start seeing who could help.

Ultimately, if you don’t relax and look for support you will burn out and who does that help?

Taking emoition out the equation helps with the next stage.

Review – Take time to review what you have to do

What can you control? Break down everything that you think you have to do using the matrix below. In order to feel more in control and more calm, break down that weight from your shoulders into smaller chunks. What is urgent and what is important. NB. if home life is important to you it should be in the High Importance and Urgent box!

What can you influence? – This is about getting support. We cannot be all things to all people, think about

  • Can I get extensions on timescales?
  • Am I the right person for this task?
  • Am I taking on things because I want to please people around me?
  • Can I delegate some of this work?
  • Is my ego and preference for being in control stopping me from asking for support?

What is outside my control? – Sometimes we put ourselves under pressure by worrying about stuff that is outside our control and influence. It’s a waste of your energy and time. Accept that it is outside your control and concentrate on what you can change.

Re-boot

Just as wehave to re-boot computers when they have taken on new updates or are working inefficiently we should re-boot ourselves after the above.

Think about your

Focus – Stick to what you have planned. Don’t fall back into dealing with box 4

Openness – Be open to other peoples offers of support and advice. Be flexible, tasks will move around the box

Energy - take breaks even if it is just for a few minutes to get your energy back up. Imagine what it will feel like to tackle what you have prioritised.

I haven’t had a TED video on my posts for a wee while so enjoy this one. Funny and helps to look at our perception

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Motivation in the workplace

Traditionally, many managers use the carrot and stick motivational techniques

‘do better or I’ll get someone else’

‘sell / do more and you’ll make a bonus’

Research has shown that incentive type rewards will only work in ‘mechanical’ type jobs as soon as rudimentry cognative processes are required monetary rewards actually get in the way.

If you want to help motivate people then you need to find out what really motivates them outwith monetary reward or benefits. Hetzberg referred to them as satisfiers.

So when you are having 1:1′s or team days take time to ask your team what these are and ask them about how you can help bring these into their work life.

Or if you are de-motivated at the moment do the exercise yourself and talk to your boss about how you can do this.

For a slightly different slant on motivation

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

For apple users (or if you fancy a change from the normal TED presentation) who can’t see TED videos on my blog try here on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

Let me know your thoughts on motivation, hope you have a great weekend 

 

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

Rework your development

I love reading books that inspire me and my most recent is rework. This book is aimed at businesses, however I wanted to write about how some of the controversial ideas could be adapted for your leadership development

The book has essentially 7 chapters (I am only going to look at a few in this post)

  1. Ignore the real world
  2. Planning is guessing
  3. Start making something
  4. Embrace constraints
  5. Make tiny decisions
  6. Underdo your competition
  7. Build an audience

Ignore the real world

Many of us unfortunately work in enviroments where the atmosphere is less than positive and new ideas are greeted with ‘that wont work in the real world’, however, if you look at the truly innovative ideas and products of the last 20 years they probably met with the same response.

Routine will severley damage you as a creative, thought leader. If you make the same noises at work as everyone else then be prepared to be seen as part of the group not a leader and individual

Planning is guessing

Now the book controversially advises against long term business plan and as a executive coach you may be surprised that I kind of agree when it comes to development. I have met people that have 5 year plans and that works out for them but it isn’t for everyone.

To test the theory ask yourself, am I where I wanted to be after the last 5 years? Has the business stuck to its long term plan?

Have a Vision of where you want to be eventually, however concentrate on what needs to be done now take action to meet to immediate needs, stay flexible so that you are open to unexpected opportunities.

We all change as people as we get older we should acknowledge this and change our plan as appropriate.

Start making something

Leaders hate problems and love solutions… so if your call to arms to change something in the workplace falls on deaf ears it is because you aren’t presenting solutions.

Start making the solution, this could be a short presentation, run a pilot using your ideas, putting an unofficial mentoring programme in place etc.

Then when you have the facts and can show success then people will be more open to your ideas. I am always amazed when there is a success then people start talking about how they were involved, when they weren’t that interested in the first place.

Embrace Constraints

Learning& development budgets are currently been slashed in spite of recent research showing that companies that spend on development have better productivity, but rather than dwell on this it is time to be more creative.

Development that costs nothing but a little time

  • Coaching, mentoring and shadowing – eitheir ask for it or put yourself forward to help other people
  • Challenge people to get involved in projects outwith their job role
  • Introduce ‘stretch’ concept into 1:1′s, talk about the added value you bring or challenge people to bring added value to their role
  • Access to the internet – you be amazed how much free stuff is on here e.g. follow a leadership blog! ;)
  • Give groups of employees time to work on anything apart from their existing role to come up with ideas that will increase efficiency, productivity,reduce costs,increase employee engagement etc (it worked at google)

Make Tiny Decisions

Sometimes wholesale change in your life can be overwhelming and it allows our inner critic to step in an scupper our motivation. Also if things go wrong on what you see as a massive goal it can become a source of embarassment, the critics in our reality have won.

So, make small changes in your life and stick to them and once it has become the norm add another before long you will have made a massive change.

Another tip is not to talk to much about the changes as it may lessen the energy of the idea, just keep doing it and you will start to hear people commenting on your positive change.

You can find more on rework here (I am in no way related to the authors or publishers, I just liked the book)

http://changethis.com/manifesto/68.01.37Signals/pdf/68.01.37Signals.pdf

http://www.amazon.co.uk/ReWork-Change-Way-Work-Forever/dp/0091929784

Please let me know what you think for or against this book

If your are thinking about buying a new book, here is a link to someone who read 200 and his thoughts.

http://inoveryourhead.net/lessons-i-learned-reading-over-200-books/

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

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

The Sisyphus Trap

‘In Greek mythology was a king punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this throughout eternity.’

‘In experiments that test how workers respond when the meaning of their task is diminished, the test condition is referred to as the Sisyphusian condition. The two main conclusions of the experiment are that people work harder when their work seems more meaningful, and that people underestimate the relationship between meaning and motivation’

Sometimes as individuals and leaders we fall into this trap, we tried to change things and it didn’t work, this caused us to be fearful so we resolved not to let that happen again and took the safe route. We make compromises with our values, we start saying things like ‘another day another dollar’ (or equivalent currency), ‘I wish I had a job that I enjoyed’

I wish means: wouldn’t it be nice if … If you always make the right decision, the safe decision, the one most people make, you will be the same as everyone else. Always wishing life was different. (just like Sisphus) Paul Arden

In fact our brain is hardwired to seek stability and not change as it takes more energy to build new synapsis that are required to retain new information and ways of doing things. Don’t believe me, then think back to when you had to study some new process or qualification, did you feel tired?

To start avoiding the Sisyphus Trap you need to consider

Values & Beliefs Attitude Behaviour

Your values and beliefs influence your attitude and these manifests in your behaviour to yourself and others. When you compromise these too much your attitude will become less positive and this will affect your behaviour.

So step 1 is for you to identify your values e.g. honesty, being creative, team player, recognition, autonomy etc.

Then look at how many you have given up in your current work / home environment. Then plan how you can start to overcome barriers to being ‘valued’ in your life and work. Start with small steps e.g. talking with your boss about other opportunities to be more creative or greater autonomy. When you start planning solutions on how to create links from what you do to your values, you will notice your attitude and behaviour will start to change.

If you are a leader and you notice that your teams attitude, behaviour and motivation is not where it should be then it maybe down to their values being overly compromised. Find out their individual values and help them to see links to what they do. I have run a values exercise with leadership teams many times and it is amazing what sharing values in a safe environment can do.

Summary to escape the Sisyphus Trap

  1. Re-identify your values
  2. Make a plan to connect your values to what you do and take action
  3. Bring meaning and purpose back into what you do in your life through your values
  4. Recognise and appreciate that people’s values are different
  5. Be tenacious and recognise the successes you make

Please use the comment box if you have any questions or have experience of this happening in your working world.

If you would like to talk to me about coaching or team development please contact me at mcdougallmartin@aol.com

It’s Better to Regret What You Have Done Than What You Haven’t

I wanted to leave you with this great Ted video

Tony Robbins discusses the “invisible forces” that motivate everyone’s actions

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