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Collaberation Influence Leadership Personal development Strategy

Its within our control to fix it

All to often we get caught up in why are management not fixing this! No matter where you are in an organisation you can influence an outcome. Everyday we are held back from success, but often the things that are holding us back are not clearly laid out, for others to understand or to solve or we dont see it as our responsibility to resolve. Living in hope that someone will find a solution.

Hope is not a strategy. What we walk pass is what we accept. So how do we address? Firstly understanding the problem we are trying to solve:

1. Problem statement.

2. Get a cross section of people together to discuss

3. Brainstorm solutions to the problem.

4. Agree on the best solution.

This is a far better approach than coming up with the solution when there is no recognition or understanding of the problem you are solving. The other benefit is the owner of the solution emerges. No matter how many times you go through the process the owner always emerges, as people naturally want to help and always want to be delivering outcomes that elevate pain.

An example: a team of account managers are dealing with many questions from their customers a day. Due to the newness of the business, many questions are being asked for the first time, and then again and again by different customers. The time management and CX is very poor, as the time it takes to deal with each request is not always straight forward. The problem statement ” How do we remove the burden of multiple questions from customers to Account Managers, increase the consistency and timeliness of responses, to free account managers up to focus on driving initiatives and enablement of their customers”

Because this problem statement is broad, having a cross section of staff across the business, enables solutions to be sought and the owner emerges.

STOP saying: thats not my teams issue, as it is because it impacts your team. The team that own the solution often are unaware of the issue or size of the issue, so framing the problem statement and finding solutions together is far more effective.

It’s within our control to fix it.

Categories
Collaberation Influence Leadership Personal development Strategy

Why context is so important in delivering a message

My coach always reminded me “context equals meaning”. Without context you message is lost and we leave the audience confused.

Context is so important in conversation and in delivering a message. I observe it in others but rarely identify when I am not doing it! It struck me when seeing one of the leaders from our company talking about having the critical conversation the conversations we avoid, it was a great message to leaders, but it lacked authenticity and context as there was no personal story. 

From this I learned  what was missing from my presentations. When delivering the vision for my team for the year ahead at a recent kick off I used a story to describe a customer who has mortgaged their house to set up their business, the stress of a growing payroll and the responsibility of collecting enough cash to ensure all your staff get paid, they have a billing issue that drags on for 6 months and the stress of this large bill which is incorrect. The message: Take extra special care with your customers, get the wider team involved to resolve critical issues for the customer. The feedback from the team was incredible, they said no one has made them think about the customers perspective and what they are dealing with.

Key learning is always spend more time on the scene setting, background and why you want the audience to listen, all these give context to your message.

Categories
Collaberation Influence Leadership

5 leadership skills you need to be on a Jury

Jury service is your civil duty and should be looked at, as an opportunity to grow and give back. I had the opportunity to be a juror in the district court on a criminal case.  The Jury did not know each others name, just a letter until the final verdict was given.

Here are 5 skills you will utilise:

  1. Active listening: Listening to others and understanding their insights, is an amazing experience. You all take away from a trial different aspects of the proceedings. How the jurors read into the situations presented, is as if you are all watching a different movie. Fascinating.
  2. Recognising bias: everyone has a bias that shows up in deliberation, its quite incredible, what you share when you are locked in a room for days on end.  You learn about the bias, as in most cases the juror called it out as it was based on a personal life experience. I learnt more about bias in 7 days than I have in my time in business. On reflection we can do more with our teams in business to understand biases and how they show up.  Met a leader of a business today, who told me all employees conduct a culture interview. Recently a 25 year old female interviewed a older male and  his comments were inappropriate, so the company did not hire and she had the support of the whole company.
  3. Questioning: Asking questions to draw out why someone has come to the conclusion they have, what they heard and how they interpreted the information.  Jurors shifted on the back of asking great questions that revealed information they had not considered.  A question that shifted jurors :what is the worst that can happen for a guilty or not guilty.
  4. Respect: We had a number of people with soft voices, that were uncomfortable projecting in the group. The support to ensure they were heard was phenomenal. At first they were drowned out, but soon everyone would stop when they spoke, thanking for their valuable input and encouraging more. On another note about respect, one day we were asked to get in early and three members turned in late, one apologised the other two not. I asked them to apologise to the team, as many had come over an hour to get here on time.
  5. Take your time to consider all the evidence.: Cannot consider evidence until you know all the evidence: Its tempting to start considering the evidence as you  hear it, but its not appropriate to consider any until you have heard it all.  In business we often jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts, human nature is resolve the problem, rather than get a deep understanding before acting.

Performing civil duties, develops us all as there are so many leanings.  I will look back on this time fondly as I came away a different person than the one that walked through the door. As a result of being a Juror have a huge respect for the legal system and police.

 

Categories
Coaching Collaberation Influence Laughter Leadership

Laughter the best tonic for stressful situations

I published this article last year, and given the Current crisis thought it would be a great reminder of why laughing is so important.

My team are great fun and they make me laugh daily with the challenges of working from home. We have a Online coffee catch up in the morning as a social check in.

Mondays conversation was about how is the Italians ran out of coffee first and the Australians toilet paper! It seems that many in my team are stockpiling Nescafé for when the coffee pods run out.

Tuesday the conversation turned to getting comfy with a chair and desk at home, so there was trips to office works and IKEA! Apparently some love building flat packed furniture. Ummm..

Wednesday the teams attention is now on the lack of steps one reported 66 in a day. One of the team chose to post a video of mini home workout, starting with a set of 5 press ups, etc. adding one on each day. Great video! Everyone very happy with wearing activewear. Started online meetings with some yoga stretches… Fun on video!

It is important that we laugh at ourselves and with others. Laughter will ease the stress and pain of this situation.

Here is the original blog on laughter is the best tonic for stressful situations.

As a teenager I was told off when telling a funny story about my auntie at the tea celebrating her life, post funeral. Everyone was laughing, then my mum pulled me aside and I was told it was inappropriate to laugh, I needed to be solemn as a mark of respect. My Auntie would have been laughing with me if she was alive and celebrating life is very important.

This learning about being more solemn did not just play out at the funeral, but in the school and the workplace. In the UK it was often frowned upon in business meetings to be laughing and having fun.

That belief stayed with me until 6 years ago when working with my business coach, Phil recommended a class with a comedian, on how to release tension by laughter. I had feedback that I am very serious at work and quite intense. We were told on the course that in the work place when their is stress that making a self deprecating joke or having fun, will release the stress and it does. Learning to have fun and laugh at work, makes the place a great place to be for everyone.

Just completed jury duty and we were able to laugh inspite of the stress of deciding a verdict. I am not sure how we would of got through without the laughter and fun, it relieved the tension and helped people not stress about the task at hand.

If you are reading this and you cannot remember the last time you laughed, its time to take stock and ask yourself what did you last laugh at? Who makes you laugh? Watch something that makes you laugh. If your beliefs are that it is inappropriate to laugh in certain situations then rethink that belief, as the relief from those around you will lead to greater collaboration and teamwork.

Laughter is a tonic and you need it like you need food and exercise. Let go of inhibitions and have some fun.

Categories
Career Change Career planning Coaching Collaberation Influence Intrepenuership Judgement Mentoring Personal development

How do you prepare to move from Small business to Corporate?

I thought I was alone on the need to find out how large companies work. After 20 years in tech start ups, small and medium sized business, I had a desire to understand how large business operate, how they scale, how they manage the volume of business.  I secured my first corporate gig in Salesforce.com  in my 40’s!intrepeneruship

7 years on I have no regrets, I have personally grown, I am still an entrepreneur at heart and love the opportunities that present themselves daily. The transition is the hardest personal development opportunity I have ever been through, but worthwhile.

In preparation to going into corporate from a small business here are the five skills you need to perfect:

  1. Stakeholder management:  In small business can you can afford to be dismissive and intolerant of others. In corporate you have to work at every relationship and interaction. If you don’t you can earn the reputation as “throwing others under the bus”, “difficult to deal with” .  The key to success is understanding what your stakeholders want from you, how you can help them through insights and sharing information and working as one.
  2. Judgement: Let go of it. It has no purpose and gets you into a heap of trouble.  Move from thinking about the persons annoying habits to how you can help them.  Build great relationships across the business. you cannot afford to have anyone who speaks negatively about you, as that will stop your career and find it difficult to achieve the results
  3. Job descriptions: In small business you need a versatile team that work across multiple disciplines, Job descriptions are a guide.  In corporate the need for clarity around roles and responsibilities is critical to the growing empires. In rapid growth the land grab is part of the political positioning by leaders.  Be careful when stepping over boundaries that you do it with consent.
  4. Influence: ability to change others thinking. In small business, energy and passion does the trick, in corporate asking great questions is critical to influencing.  You cannot influence by telling. You will fail fast, so learning to ask questions every day in every situation is the key to success. Collaboration is critical to working together
  5. Intreperneurship: your greatest asset to a corporate. Your ability to create and build from nothing. You are not hung up on turning the titanic, Job descriptions, perceived limitations, you bring the can do attitude, glass half full  that makes things happen.  You will inspire others by your enthusiasm and people will want to join you on your expedition. Sell this attribute as this is of great interest to corporate.

Startup opportunities in corporate is the best of both worlds. You can utilise your SMB skills whilst developing many new ones that will accelerate your development.

Today many people with startup businesses at the next stage of growth come and speak to me about how to tackle the transition from small to medium, medium to larger business. Some want to take a step up and don’t have the skills, others want to step back in the business, others want to be on the board and leave exec leadership to transition in to non exec roles. What ever the transition is you are looking to achieve, each needs a transition plan and a coach/mentor to enable the change.

I chose a business coach to prepare for corporate. Without the coaching prior and in the early years I could not have made the transition. Your new leader in corporate may have never experienced a small or medium business so the responsibilities are with you to address your gaps fast, so you can operate effectively.

As a result of developing the skills, I have definitely become a far better leader and coach.  You never stop learning, which is why career opportunities are so much fun and stimulating.