Stress is inevitable – how you respond to it is not

3 years ago 0 0 1191

Stress is inevitable, but can it enhance performance or does it always harm us? Stress is reported as one of the significant ‘modern diseases’. People are reporting feeling so ’stressed’ from their work and private lives that it making them physically and psychologically ill. When you consider performance, stress plays a massive role in dragging people out of their peak performance states into less resourceful ones. Stress is almost contagious, with people being influenced by stress that others experience to become stressed themselves. Have we created a world where stress is inevitable, and we are all just victims of our circumstance – or is there more to stress, and can we do more than just manage it? What is stress? Stress is the body’s response to being forced to operate outside its comfort zone. When we are in our comfort zone, we have the belief and expectation that we can

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Do you trust your intuition or use logical decision making?

3 years ago 0 2 1661

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

3 years ago 0 4780

“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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How the status quo is quietly killing your change efforts

3 years ago 0 0 854

Working on many change projects, you often see highly motivated people, with brilliant change plans and clear benefits to all. And yet these best laid plans simply fail. The time, investment and effort put in counts for nothing, and somehow the organisation manages to veer back to its old habits and its established status quo. There are several key factors that ensure that your change process will succeed. The most overlooked one is hidden within the culture and fabric of your business – the human systems that have developed over time. Your business is actually full of these human ‘systems’, which actively work to derail any change efforts you seek to make. A business full of human systems A system is any group of interactions between individuals or groups. Most businesses have many overlapping ‘systems’, which each develop their own rules, structures and processes, becoming more and more closed to

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Mindfulness – The business performance secret

4 years ago 1 0 932

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?

4 years ago 0 0 816

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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Leadership in the dark – leading in tough times

4 years ago 0 0 1572

When things are going well, leadership can be a joy. The conversation is mostly about enhancing performance, how to build people into their capacity and drive success. We see those we lead reach for their potential and grow personally and professionally. No wonder people aspire to leadership. But it is not always like that. There are times of crisis, tragedy and difficulty which require outstanding leadership to manage. Leadership will stop being fun, but it never stops being critically important. In leadership programs the focus is heavily upon how an individual can be a great leader, and creating extraordinary success. Often the ‘dark side’ of leadership is either glossed over or simply ignored. It is not fun, or sexy, to lead at such times, and the importance of it is rarely reflected upon. Sometimes the best that leadership can offer is just to help others cope, to get them through

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Leading tribes: Leadership secrets you need to know

4 years ago 0 0 1645

How do you ‘define’ yourself?  If you were to list five things that describe you, what would they be? It is human nature to want to be in tribes, and to define ourselves by the tribes that we belong to, the ones we aspire to, and the ones that we want to distance ourselves from. “I would not dream of belonging to a club that is willing to have me as a member” [Goucho Marx] Knowing the social psychology of how we behave in tribes can help us really understand aspects of our culture, behaviour and even how we can be better leaders.  It can help us understand what drives extremism, group think, innovation and fads.  We all belong to many tribes and this act of belonging can influence us in powerful ways. Understanding human tribal behaviour is critical for businesses to understand their customers, for leaders to understand their

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Engaging four people for success

4 years ago 0 0 790

There are only four people in your business. Regardless of the type of business that you have, your business only contains four people. That’s right – only four. Well, it really contains only four TYPES of people: Leaders, Employees, Customers and Community. To be successful, a business has to engage each of these four types of people. The Leadership needs to be engaged with the purpose of the business, to make the critical decisions that take the business forward in a thoughtful and purposeful way.  Leaders who are engaged with WHY the business exists make purposeful decisions that drive the organisation to be better.  Leaders that are disengaged from the bigger purpose will make short term and self-centred decisions, which often leads the organisation into problems (even crisis). The employees need to be engaged to drive high performance.  The literature is clear that an engaged workforce increases performance above and

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you get what you deserve

Leading Customer Service Excellence

5 years ago 0 0 2186

Leading Customer Excellence Sometimes common themes emerge which run through the work you are doing.  At the moment, there seems to be a deep need for engagement, for resilience and excellence in customer service. Perhaps they all stem from the same place – the environment that business exists in is tough – there are competitors, the customer has high expectations and the landscape is often changing through technology, regulatory change or economic pressure. We know that customers have access to unlimited information, often an overwhelming range of options and know their ‘power’ in dealing with organisations.  This makes the point of customer interface critical – we have to provide an excellence in experience which allows them to remain engaged and want to be our customer. How do we, as leaders, help our front line people consistently deliver great customer service?  This is one of the things I have been working

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