The stories that can ruin your business (part 1)

The stories that can ruin your business (part 1)

2 years ago 0 0 636

I was presenting on culture and leadership at a recent conference (#100millionimpacts, for B1G1), and whilst facilitating a panel discussion, a common theme that emerged was the importance of the stories in business. In response to many questions after the session, here are a few thoughts on stories in business to extend that discussion further: Stories are powerful means of communication. Often, people believe that storytelling ends when the kids grow up. However, there are stories being told within your business – and about your business – that can either take it to new heights of success or lead it to ruin. What stories are being told about your business? People communicate through stories. As people communicate, they engage each other through analogy (this is like that), metaphor (the army of sales reps) and stories. Humans are always using these processes to engage their listeners, develop shared meaning and convey

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snap out of it! – your workplace trance is stifling your performance

2 years ago 0 0 564

We can’t help it – we all get hypnotised by our circumstances. The quality of your performance and culture is often a direct result of the workplace ‘trance’ that you and your teams are in. So many people seem to get stuck in low quality ‘trances’, where poor performance is the only practical outcome. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. We can consciously choose a higher quality trance and then achieve so much more. Hypnosis works by placing people into trance. Whilst there are lots of scary ideas about hypnosis and trance, world experts in the field define trance quite pragmatically: Trance is a simply a state of focused attention. Consider when you are absorbed in a great book or TV show. People can walk in and out of the room, and you may not even notice them. You can be absorbed in the story, and instead of

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Understanding the ‘Trumpnado’ – the social psychology of Donald Trump

2 years ago 1 0 982

After it started as seemingly a bit of a joke, Donald Trump has catapulted into front-runner status for the Republican nomination for President in the United States. His extreme actions and language are completely at odds with the traditional political playbook. However, it seems to be working. Whilst it may seem completely illogical, there are compelling social psychology reasons why his approach is working – and there is a dangerous historical precedent. Where did the supporters come from? Donald Trump has drawn a large and passionate supporter base. Whilst Ted Cruz and Mark Rubio have fashioned messages to speak to a conservative mindset, Trump has spoken across classic voter categories. His supporter base was probably not even aware that they were Trump supporters, but his campaign has activated them. First to get on board were more extreme elements, but over time his activation has reached deeper and deeper into the

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Do you trust your intuition or use logical decision making?

2 years ago 0 0 987

When you make a decision, how confident are you that you make it logically? Most people will say that they make most of their decisions using logic, weighing up the facts and figures and coming up with a reasoned, logical outcome. However, in reality, our brain is designed to short-circuit logical decision making and make emotional, non-rational decisions. We often call this ‘intuition’ or instinct. These instinctive decisions are critical to survival when there is little time. However, the benefit gained through the speed of response is traded off for accuracy. An experiment in thinking: Try these two tasks: Task one: What comes next? Apple, Orange, Banana …… Task two: without calculator or paper and pencil, find 23 x 17. • Which task was easier? • Which task was faster? • Which task has a ‘known’ answer, and which one did you create? • Can you explain why you gave

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12 steps to tactful communication

2 years ago 0 4196

“What we have here is a failure to communicate” –Cool Hand Luke. (Paul Newman) How often is performance derailed by a failure to communicate? We lead and work through others, collaborate and seek to influence beliefs and behaviours. These all take quality communication to achieve. However, communication is perhaps the greatest single opportunity for increased efficiency and effectiveness in any business, organisation or system. It simply does not work well enough, often enough – because although we are taught to talk, we are rarely truly taught to communicate. Communication, at its heart, is about ‘transmitting’ a message of some kind to one or more recipients, in such a way that the message they understand is equivalent to the message that was transmitted. This transmission requires pre-processing by the communicator (translation) and post-processing by the receiver (reception and decoding). The transmission is conducted through a medium using known symbols (language, hand

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Do they trust you? (part 1)

3 years ago 0 0 686

A number of recent experiences remind me how important trust is in business – and how little it is really understood. In this two part series, we will take a look at what trust really means, what value and costs it has, how to build it, how it is lost – and what we can learn from these elements to better utilise trust in business. Consider some recent conversations I have had helping individuals, teams and organisations enhance their performance: • A sales team struggle to connect into a market where ‘companies like theirs’ have broken trust in the past. • A marketing manager is frustrated because he works for a CEO he just doesn’t ‘trust’. • A company wants to be seen as the ‘trusted partner’ in their industry, and believe this offers a competitive advantage. • A team faces performance issues and the trust established over a year

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Giving feedback to enhance performance

3 years ago 0 0 873

There is a lot of commentary about the value of formalised performance reviews. Unsurprisingly, when only 37% of employees in a major survey reported that they had never received valuable feedback from their employer or manager, the majority of comment seems to suggest that feedback processes are a waste of time. Feedback is imperative to enhancing performance, however giving and receiving feedback is fraught with problems, often institutionalised in such workplace processes. Understanding the true nature of feedback, and how to use it successfully to enhance performance is a critical leadership skill. Feedback on our performance comes in many forms – from what we see happening as an outcome of what we do, how we personally feel about what we do, and what other people observe, interpret and communicate to us. Feedback is important for developing performance at an individual, team and organisational level. Without feedback, we would perform a

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Pitch perfect – get your audience to yes

3 years ago 0 0 1226

The role of the ‘pitch’ has been magnified through such TV shows as ‘Shark Tank’ or ‘Lion’s Den’. These shows put a pitch in the spotlight, with an assessment and investment depending upon the quality of the presentation as well as the product idea. They can often make the process seem as a ‘one shot for glory’. However, if we view a pitch as this, then it can lead to unnecessary stress and worry, and can negatively impact how we pitch. If, on the other hand, we considered a pitch as simply an opportunity to open a discussion and negotiation, to present our position and influence buy in, then we can use the pitch in powerful ways to create successful uptake of our ideas and secure the support that we seek. Everyone has to pitch – maybe not for a major investment, but politicians pitch their policies for your vote,

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Great leaders ask great questions

3 years ago 0 0 1005

Too often we look to leaders and managers to ‘tell’ the staff what to do, or how to do it. This is a habit of management and leadership left over from the ‘command and control’ model of management that we left behind last century. It assumes that all of the knowledge resides in the leader or manager, and ignores what the staff member knows. It also fails to account for the collaborative potential of what may be discovered or created during a quality conversation. If we believe that individuals can bring motivation, intellect, experience and innovation to the business, then rather than simply ‘telling’ them what to do we may engage them in appropriate conversations on the topic. This allows the leader to realise the inherent potential of the person or people they are leading, and enhance overall performance. The best way to encourage such quality conversations is for the

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Are you a ‘self-centred’ or a ‘selfish’ leader?

3 years ago 0 0 980

Instead of asking ‘how do I become a great leader’, sometimes it is useful, and extremely powerful, to step back and ask ‘why is it important to me?’ Being a purpose-driven leader provides such a powerful framework for becoming (and remaining) a great leader.  Without a true purpose, leadership becomes a material thing, just a title or a comparative score which sets the leader up for failure, burnout, or both.  Leaders without a quality purpose are difficult for others to follow. I see significant numbers of senior executives in coaching interactions with depression and anxiety running beneath the facade of their leadership bravado, because rather than being driven by a clear purpose which motivates them and pulls them forward, they are driven by fear of failure, or they simply don’t know what they really want in their lives.  By helping them discover and define their purpose, their whole leadership approach

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