5 Ways to Avoid Time-wasting Meetings (without ruining relationships)

meetings time wasting Jul 19, 2019

One of the biggest time wasters in organisations is meetings. So much of them are simply collective procrastination with people pretending that stuff is actually getting done.

When it isn’t.

Who are we kidding here?

I often lay down a challenge for my coaching clients to slash their meeting times by half over the next three months (and to STOP the back to back meeting hell that means you’re always late, never ‘present’ and often on the back foot).

Here’s how you can do this too:

Firstly, ask: ‘How important is this meeting to achieving my personal and organisational goals?’ If it isn’t then find a way to say ‘no’ to the meeting without offending. The ‘without offending’ bit is key. Here’s how to nail this:

  • Offer to attend part of the meeting. ‘I’m on a deadline with project x but I can join you for half an hour between 10 and 10.30.’
  • Schedule a phone call instead...
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10 Ways to Influence with Integrity

influence integrity Jul 12, 2019

Many people in corporate life tell me they would like to have a stronger influence – particularly at a more senior level. This is one of my ‘most read’ blogs of all time so if you haven’t seen it before, enjoy!

Influence is something we all have – to influence positively is something most of us can develop or get better at. Here are my top ten tips for making a start!

1. Be interested more than ‘interesting’. ‘Receive’ more than you ‘transmit’. Listening is the most under-rated communication skill and yet the most powerful skill we possess if we want to influence other people. How to get better at it? Practise, practise, practise. There’s no magic bullet. And a clutter-free mind helps.

2. It is said that emotion (and story-telling) drives many of the decisions we make. So however much ‘logic’ you might present, I might not be influenced. If you...

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5 ways to get your voice heard (for all the right reasons)

It saddens me that so many people with really valuable and useful things to say don’t get heard. And yet their colleagues speak up and speak out with no problem at all – sometimes eloquently and succinctly, at other times…. well you know the rest!

It saddens me because when I first became a senior leader, I struggled to get my voice heard too. I had that ‘not good enough’ feeling way too often. Plus I was brought up to believe that it is ‘rude to interrupt’ (is it? Always?) and that made it really hard to find a way in to the conversation.

Here are 5 possible reasons your voice is not being heard – and what to do about it:

1. Problem: You’re not speaking in meetings! So many talented people tell me they don’t want to speak up ‘for fear of looking stupid’ or something similar. Solution: Find a way to say something – just one thing to start with. How about: ‘This is new ground for me, so I’d...

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Shut up and Listen!

Sorry if that sounds rude but one of the mistakes we sometimes make when going into a conversation is to think we should have all the answers – slick, smart, clever answers.

Because, as a leader or manager that’s what you’re paid to do, right?

Wrong.

The best managers I know have mastered the art of asking great questions (and listening REALLY well) in order to get to the best answers.

And let me be clear. This is NOT a set of questions that you can learn by rote and pull out randomly. Oh no.

Now, there are some great questions that can serve many purposes because it’s always good to have a starting point. But we can do so much more than that if we want to get to mastery.

My wonderful coach mentor recently described a really great question as ‘one you would only ever use once’.

Because it only means something to that particular person. You’re using their words as part of your question.

That is really powerful.

It means really listening to...

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Are you giving out the wrong messages?

behaviour habits Jun 21, 2019

I’ve been reminded of a phrase this week for a variety of reasons and as a result of numerous conversations. There’s definitely been a theme emerging!

The phrase is this: ‘You teach others how to treat you’.

It’s a bit of a variation on the theme of ‘treat others as you would like to be treated yourself’:

Here’s what I mean:

  • If I want you to trust me, I have to demonstrate trustworthiness;
  • If I want to be respected, I have to respect myself and respect you;
  • If I want you to value what I bring, I have to value myself, value what I bring AND value what you bring.

Some time ago, I worked with a wonderful lady who was the team comedian. Which is all very well, but she wanted a promotion and nobody could imagine her in a more senior position – after all, she was the team joker and they couldn’t always take her seriously! She eventually had to leave the organisation and re-invent herself in a new role - (not losing her humour...

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4 ways to throw off the safety blanket of Busyness

Last time I wrote about the safety blanket of Busy-ness.

This week I want to share with you four key things to help you or your teams throw off that safety blanket! I wrote the article for Strategic HR Review a while back and thought it was worth a re-share! I do have permission to share it with you! (The article starts on page 2.)

Four ways HR can improve business productivity

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Is Busyness your Comfort Blanket?

busy comfort zone overwhelm Jun 07, 2019

We all know that our best learning takes place when we are ‘outside our comfort zone’ – but not so far out that we want to run for the hills. I know my deepest and most long lasting growth has come when I’ve had to confront something I’ve been avoiding or take on a challenge that felt new and scary.

I also know that for me and for many of my clients it’s easy to stay under the safety blanket of busy-ness’. And whilst we say ‘I’d love to be less busy’ or ‘I’d love to have more time for myself/my family’ we just keep on doing ‘stuff’ that we’ve always done and not getting round to the other ‘stuff’

So why do we say we want one thing and then do everything we can to sabotage ourselves?

Easy.

Busy-ness is safe (exhausting and overwhelming but safe)

We can do it.

We’re in familiar territory.

We’re experts.

And if I’m busy, I’m important; valued; valuable.

...

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Changing your Team Culture – We forget the blindingly obvious

How easy it is to forget the basics!

Over the last month, I’ve sent you four articles on how to change your team culture – sharing the very practical steps that you need to focus on and in what order (no theoretical meanderings that don’t work in the real world!).

As luck would have it, I’ve been working with a team recently who helped me understand one of the much more fundamental ‘blocks’ to changing or building culture.

In this particular case, the team had been brought together following a restructure and dived head-long into a massive piece of work thus ‘cobbling things together’ (their words) as they went along. 

This team needed a massive PAUSE. A ‘stepping off the treadmill, let’s start at the beginning and create something that will work’ type of pause. 

‘let’s build our firm foundation’ type of pause.

Now you know, as well as I do, that when we’re busy...

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Changing your Team Culture – Make it work in the real world

team culture teams May 24, 2019

Over the last three weeks I’ve been sharing with you a step by step process to help you change your team culture. (if you can’t find the articles contact [email protected])

In last week’s article, I talked about the importance of focusing on no more than three critical behaviours to change – if you try to change everything at once, you’ll end up changing nothing.

A while back, I worked with a senior Finance Team. One of the things the new leader wanted was a ‘more open’ culture. He’d been saying this for a while and everybody nodded their heads in agreement – but nothing changed.

Why?

He hadn’t been specific enough about what ‘more open’ actually means and how that translates into daily working life.

When I asked each of the team to define ‘more open’ they each had their own ideas about what this meant – but they’d never really articulated this as a...

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Changing your Team Culture – Be real, not fluffy

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve shared with you the three steps you need to follow if you want to change the culture in your team. Last week we looked at the importance of respecting and recognising your team’s history before you start changing things.

This week, I want to help you get clarity about what you want to change and why.

What do you want to change? And why?

  • Can you clearly and succinctly explain the need for culture change – and the specific outcomes you are looking for?
  • Can the team see for themselves what needs to change but maybe just don’t know where to start?
  • Or are they cynical or worried about changing things? Can’t see the point? Tried before and nothing really changed?
  • What are the pros and cons of change for everyone? The challenges and opportunities?
  • Let people explore these questions and grapple with some of the answers.
  • Tap into their aspirations.
  • Then co-create the change together. This is NOT a...
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