Is your Scrum Master playing the right role?

6 days ago 0 0 33

The Rugby World Cup was on in Japan recently. It was a fabulous tournament with the South African team triumphing in the end. Rugby is renowned for its teamwork and tough play, and the idea of the ‘scrum’ in the world of agile working was taken as an analogy from Rugby Union. As such, it is interesting to reflect on what we can learn from the real game of Rugby to make scrums in your business work better. Summary: The analogy that created ‘scrum’ can teach us much about the roles of those involved. Scrum master is a role that does not exist on the rugby pitch. Its closest analogy is the ‘referee’. Understanding how a referee controls and manages the scrum can inform best practice for ‘Scrum Masters’ in the agile workplace, and help Scrum masters help their teams play better games. As I was watching the matches of

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Is it time to fight your biggest enemies?

6 months ago 0 0 346

Sometimes they feel like your closest friends. They seem to want to keep you safe, keep you comfortable. But these two ‘false friends’ are your worst enemies if you want to succeed in business or in life. These old friends are fear and habit. They are insidious. They don’t walk around bold as brass. Most often they hide themselves away and ‘whisper’ into your ear. They sprinkle just enough of their magic on what you do to keep you stuck, keep you scared and keep you small. Have you ever sat in a meeting where someone says “yes, but we don’t do it that way!”. Or someone might find a way to get their point across with something like “But what if we don’t do it!” These are simply versions of your false friends speaking up to keep you stuck. There is some sort of comfort in not changing, not

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Multi-tasking: the myth that is costing you.

8 months ago 0 0 293

How many times do you hear about ‘multitasking’? It seems to be a concept associated with modern times, with everyone under pressure to achieve so much, all at the same time. People are on their phones, sending mails, checking social media, and attempting to do other work tasks. Or you ask your partner to do this, and do that, at the same time. Lets test your multitasking abilities with a little exercise: Part A: As fast as you can, write the first ten letters of the alphabet (hint: a, b, …), then immediately write the first ten numbers (hint: 1, 2….). Time how long this took you. Part B: Now, as fast as you can, write every second letter (hint:a,c..) up to ten letters, then immediately write every third number (1,4…) up to ten numbers. Time how long this took. Part C. This time, write every second letter then every

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Bad incentives create bad behaviour

8 months ago 0 0 240

We use incentives all the time to shape behaviour.  From our kids at home, to employees, to people we have just met, it is almost human nature to offer incentives to encourage specific behaviours.  However, like most things we do without really thinking them through, there is a dark side to incentives that often gets people stuck. Consider what an incentive might be – it might be the supply of some positive reward such as financial, social or relational.  It might also be the removal of punishment.  Often if people know that some punishment comes unless they demonstrate the behaviour, this acts as an incentive for this behaviour to be displayed. We often simply deploy incentives without thinking – in fact, the culture of the group that we are in often dictates what will be incentivised and how.  For example, if the culture can be defined as all the behaviours

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The leadership decision ‘speed trap’

3 years ago 1 0 954

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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Managing in uncertainty for high performance

3 years ago 0 0 1033

What is uncertainty? If we listen to the famous Chinese proverb: “May you live in interesting times”, we can see it as both a blessing and a curse. We are certainly living in interesting – if not uncertain – times. With Brexit, the extended time for Australian election to be decided, the rise of Donald Trump, the disagreements in the South China Sea, we can feel that there is uncertainty all around us. These uncertain times drive very specific responses. Often, these responses are not the best possible responses for the individual or the society in which they exist. How do people respond to uncertainty? When people experience uncertainty, it can mean that the person is out of their comfort zone. When there is uncertainty, people struggle to decide on what to do moving forward. They get stuck, and often have a lack of skill or strategy in deciding how

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The stories that can ruin your business (part 1)

3 years ago 0 0 794

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

3 years ago 0 0 691

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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Do you trust your intuition or use logical decision making?

3 years ago 0 2 1812

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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5 steps to achieving your goals in 2016

3 years ago 0 0 1467

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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