Back to office or back to the future?

1 month ago 0 0 115

Summary: Return to workplace scenarios following COVID are loaded with challenges. Staff have new expectations, experiences and capabilities after being forced to work from home over the past 12 months A leader would benefit from taking a considered approach to getting staff back to the office, and use the opportunity to redefine the way work is performed. Opportunities also exist to build culture, enhance relationships and deepen staff commitment by doing it right. In Australia, we have done an outstanding job of suppressing the Coronavirus, allowing us to contemplate shifting to a post-pandemic footing. One of the big questions that is challenging businesses and business leaders is that of getting the staff back to the office after mandatory work-from-home scenarios. What should a leader consider as they make this assessment for their business?  Should back to the office be simply a return to the past, or should something more valuable

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Are you insane in your approach to success?

2 months ago 0 0 181

I once sat in a training seminar where they ‘challenged’ the group with a (pretend) statistic: “Less than 10 percent of you will implement this fully, and less than 5% will be successful”.  They were obviously trying some reverse motivation – but without realising it, they were clearly identifying the biggest issue with what they were doing.  They were asking their ‘students’ to be insane in their approach to success. The definition of insanity: Einstein has been credited with saying ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. How does this apply to people and organisations trying to generate sustained success? The answer is simple: you are insane if you think doing what someone else has done will make you successful. It doesn’t seem to make sense – it is insane to do keep doing the same things and expect different

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Making meaning

4 months ago 0 0 151

A parent and child walk through a shopping centre and both see a man dressed in a red suit, with a white beard, sitting in a sleigh. It is mid December, and carols are pumping out of the speakers nearby. Both parent and child are exposed to the same stimuli, yet they make such different meaning from what they perceive. The child is filled with excitement and wonder and have thoughts and beliefs that are vastly different to the parent. The parent may know something different and interpret the scene in a completely different way. Neither is right or wrong – they are simply making meaning. We all attempt to make meaning from what we encounter. It helps understanding, decrease uncertainty and provide the ability to use such meaning to help predict things like this when they happen again.  Everyone starts their meaning making from what they already know –

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The leadership decision ‘speed trap’

4 years ago 1 0 1231

Leaders need to know the difference between haste and speed, particularly when it comes to their thinking. In modern business, we seem to be in the habit of needing to be ‘fast’ to just keep up. However, going too fast can get leaders stuck in a ‘speed trap’ that can get you and your business into trouble. Feeling pressured to make fast decisions – and even feeling that you have to make decisions for others when they can make them for themselves – can be critical leadership errors that can impact upon your leadership (and whole organisation) performance. Decision making requires an appropriate amount of thinking. What we have learned through behavioural economics and psychology, is that there are common errors inherent in thinking. These errors, although well documented, are routinely made by almost everyone. Leaders, under pressure to take decisions, often fall foul of these errors, sometimes with catastrophic

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The stories that can ruin your business (part 1)

4 years ago 0 0 1039

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

4 years ago 0 0 882

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

5 years ago 1 0 1426

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?

5 years ago 0 2 4969

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

5 years ago 0 5610

“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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Beyond logic to effective communication

5 years ago 0 0 1113

Have you ever noticed that sometimes- even when there is no logical reason for it- your staff or your customers simply won’t take actions that are clearly in their best interests? They have made their minds up about what is happening before you have had a chance to explain it, or they agree with what you propose, but just don’t seem capable of taking action. Regardless of the best intentions, our brains have a ‘fast’ decision circuit that leaps to conclusions before we can logically process information. If we don’t help our customers or staff to make the right ‘leaps’ and conclusions, their cognitive processing will often make a decision to avoid change, and therefore to not take the action which would be in their benefit. Beneath all of the logical processing that occurs in our minds runs a much deeper, almost primitive evaluation system. It is this system which

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