The stories that can ruin your business (part 1)

2 years ago 0 0 595

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 0 535

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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12 steps to tactful communication

2 years ago 0 3864

“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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5 steps to achieving your goals in 2016

2 years ago 0 0 999

So, it is that time of year to plan for 2016 – perhaps to set some goals for the year ahead to be the foundation of your success. There are many reasons people set goals. We are encouraged to set goals to work out what we want to achieve, what we want to prioritise, and to build action plans that we can follow. We also create goals because we have to or are expected to. We may be asked by the board to set some specific targets and goals for the business, or we may even have a coach that pushes us to set ‘big hairy audacious goals’. Goals are important. They provide targets, benchmarks and measurable steps to achieve something of value. They allow review and learning, coordination and ongoing development. Regardless why your goals are set, there is every likelihood that they are simply set to fail. Just

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Mindfulness – The business performance secret

3 years ago 1 0 798

Do you want to be more effective, efficient – and at the same time enjoy everything more? Are you being overwhelmed, diverted and unable to achieve what you want? Too often high performance is derailed by over-load, multi-tasking and lack of focus on what matters. Sometimes our minds are so full – we are ‘mind-full’ – that we have no time or space to really think. Perhaps it’s time to become mindlessly mindful –that is, to stop being ‘mind-full’ and start being truly mindful. It is a skill which is critical to high performance but can be difficult to realise in the hustle and bustle of modern business life. The myth of multitasking Have you ever noticed how you can be here, and not here? Whilst you are ‘listening’ to someone on your team, you are thinking about the next meeting? As you are working on an important project, your

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Are you flexible enough?

3 years ago 0 0 645

Leaders often describe a desire to have ‘better leadership flexibility’ – or they want to see it throughout their organisation. Understanding leadership flexibility and how to create it is critical in business – and it is not as hard as most people think! Leadership flexibility can be described as “The ability to lead and manage others in a non-rigid way”. The definition is important, because too often people want leadership ‘flexibility’ to mean only using a more negotiated, discussion and consensus based approach. That is, they want to rigidly adopt a more consensual decision and leadership style. The underlying belief is that this is the “best” leadership style for a leader to have. Perhaps derived from a view that such a style demonstrates high Emotional Intelligence, and therefore must be good. This, however, is faulty. Leadership flexibility is about being able to utilise a full range of leadership styles, from

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Creating Creativity – what you can do (part 2)

3 years ago 0 0 750

In part one of this series, we explored the elements of individuals and teams that limit creativity and innovation. In the second part of the series, we will explore what organisations can do about it.  By creating a culture of innovation, designing your thinking and taking true innovative leadership in your organisation, you can move beyond the things which impede creativity, and really create something special. Create the culture for innovation For innovation and design to be a reality in an organisation, it has to move from being a peripheral activity to a culturally accepted process, central to the business. This means the culture has to be accepting of the time and effort that creativity can take, and reward ‘exploration’ rather than outcomes. Peter Murphy, design instructor in Melbourne suggests that creativity is a difficult process, and to be truly innovative, they must “roll their sleeves up, say goodbye to

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Creating creativity- overcoming the corporate blocks to innovation

3 years ago 0 0 1138

In a two part series, Phil Owens explores the concept of creativity in organisations.  In part one, Phil looks at what makes innovation and creativity difficult, and in part two proposes some new ways to approach creativity to make it a core part of your differentiation and success strategy. Creating creativity:  Part 1 – what gets in the way? Why do organisations struggle with creativity? How often do you attend meetings that have lofty ambitions to reach agreement, but simply fail?  How many ‘innovation’ or ‘creativity’ sessions have you been a part of, only to walk out with the same ideas that always seem to come up? Creativity is such a vital asset for business.  Peter Murphy, design instructor in Melbourne points out “Apple is a classic example – they put design at the centre of their business rather than the periphery.   As you build an organisational culture around creativity,

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Organising behaviour – learning from Zappos shift to holacracy

3 years ago 0 0 1233

We create structure and process in a business for only one purpose – to organise behaviour so as to create efficient and effective ways of getting things done. With Zappo’s in the news for instituting a ‘holacracy’ model of organisation, it raises some interesting questions about how we can – and should – organise behaviour. How well does it work when you tell someone with depression to “Be Happy”? The paradox implied in the instruction “Be spontaneous” should be clear – how is spontaneity spontaneous if you have ordered it? This has never been better demonstrated in the corporate world than is currently happening at Zappos: “You will become a holacracy”! Forcing the organisation to become self-organising has an ironic paradox buried at its heart. However, as the organisation pursues this idealised structure, it will provide a fascinating case study over time. With it reported that one in seven employees

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Giving feedback to enhance performance

3 years ago 0 0 853

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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