Executive Coaching

Empowering your people to do the right things right

empowerment

Empowering your people to do the right things right

Don’t we all want our colleges to do the right things right? Well you would think so, but sometimes our behaviours don’t allow them to do so. Have a look at the Paradigm below it identifies four distinct areas that people will fall into at work and there are associated dangers and benefits to each area, along with organisational effectiveness, performance, skills development and team work.

In previous blogs we have looked at the whole concept of Attitudes and Behaviours. click here to see

In this context we are going to call them different things. Attitude, the stuff inside you, personal to you and your journey through life, can represent your prejudice. When you prejudge things adversely it can be problematical. It is very hard to see someone’s prejudice unless they drop their guard and let you see it through their behaviour. It then cease to be prejudice and becomes alive via discrimination.

So in this context Attitude = Prejudice and Behaviour = Discrimination

Area 1 – People with prejudice that allow it into discrimination at work

Empowering Prejudice

Where is the place for people that do this in your business? The obvious answer is out of the business, if colleagues come to work believing bad things and acting on them, they must surely fall foul of a vast array of policies and procedures. However many just get away with it because they have always been like it!

Not an empowering environment for creative, innovative working….. Empowering your staff requires every policy and procedure to be robustly applied to everyone.

Area 2 – People with absolutely no prejudice who never act in a way that might discriminate

Empowering No prejudice

Now we would all love to have workforces like this! Most of us bounce in to this area on occasions, but its a really difficult place to live in. NEVER having any negative thoughts, NEVER acting on them in anyway. This is the domain of saints and babies!  A delegate once suggested that this is an are solely for “the dead”, they can’t have prejudice and never discriminate.

A great place to aim for, resulting in the demise of every HR department, harmony at work…….

Area 3 – People have no prejudice, but their behaviour is discriminatory

Empowering bad behaviourHow can this happen? How can someone not feel the prejudice but behave in ways that discriminate? this falls into several subsections

1 The ignorant. These workers have no idea that their behaviour is inappropriate, but as no one has ever held them to task for their behaviour they just carry on doing it. The colleague who uses bad language as a matter of course, without realising its impact on those around, those that they would never want to offend or upset. But do.

Empowering your staff means dealing with these openly, frankly and honestly. The conversations might be unwelcome, make the individual feel uncomfortable, BUT they are necessary and warranted

 2 The blind eye. Where workers turn a blind eye to things that are going on, because they would be difficult or embarrassing to tackle. The manager that sees sloppy behaviour towards a customer and lets it go. Thus setting the standard for every subsequent customer interaction because “he saw it and said nothing……”

Empowering your staff requires standards to be set by managers and gives staff the permission to insist on appropriate behaviours, knowing they will be supported.

3 The Avoider. This individual knows that something is going on that shouldn’t be, but doesn’t have the tools to deal with the situation so they make sure they are never present when problems could occur. Supervisors roster conflicting colleagues together on a night shift, knowing that they will be on the day shift…. Not my problem then!

4 Joining in. The most difficult of the 4. Why would someone join in with behaviour when they KNOW its wrong? there are six simple answers, all of which revolve around fear. Fear of Position, Personality, Threats, Expertise, Social standing and Moral high ground.  Click here for our blog on power.

Empowering your staff means being very aware of the political dynamics at work, insisting on fair play, assassinating banter, keeping a finger on the pulse of the work place. Making sure it stays healthy.

Area 4 – People who come to work with prejudice, but don’t allow their behaviour to be discriminatory.

No Discrimination

 

Recognise anyone?  I certainly fit this area most of the time. I am able to choose my behaviours, I am responsible for them.

Empowering your staff means supporting good behaviours by acknowledging them, recognising them, celebrating them. When these things happens it is possible to start to erode the preconceptions and help colleagues dwell for longer in Area 2.

 

At PDP we help business’ and individuals look at their behaviours and the behaviours of those around them. We do this via training, coaching, mentoring and up-skilling.

Get in touch by email with Richard or Paula

By following Richard or Paula on Twitter

By giving us a call on 08712 349 873. We would love to by you a coffee…

 

 

Customer Service – What your team need to know

customer service

Customer Service – What your team need to know

Having just spent a brilliant day with London’s newest train operator MTR Crossrail we thought that it would be good to share some insight into excellent customer service. You may be aware that we worked really hard in the run up to London 2012 with the London Ambassadors, staff at City Hall and the service personnel who did such a great job securing the Olympic and Paralympic games. We were involved with training, coaching, consulting and monitoring performance.

Top Tips for effective customer service

Understand what the term “customer” means. Many business’ don’t.

DefinitionA customer is someone who receives something we provide, either a product or a service or information.

You will note here there is no mention of payment! Most operational employees of organisations rapidly identify where the “money” comes from, but fail to see the frequent “internal” customer and supplier chains. These chains are the ones which ensure the external customer gets great service. They also help ensure the business is there for the long term, which is great for job security..

It would be daft to say that every customer is the same, because we are all unique, different individuals. However we can identify similarities in customers that will lead to particular customer service outcomes.

Elective Customers

These are the people that recognise they have a choice for the provision of goods, services and information. They have the ability to move from supplier to supplier as a better deals or products come to the market. They are not Elective customertied in to the supplier. Organisations really fight hard to keep these customers by offering all kinds of loyalty bonus’, reward cards and incentives to attract customers back. When you genuinely have a choice would you put up with crappy products and services? Neither would we, so we go to the competition. So organisations really want to impress the Elective customers…. and do so by encouraging excellent customer service.

Captive Customers

There are a vast array of business’ that have captive customers. Look at your phone. Did you get swayed by the Captive Customershiny latest model and then sign away a 24 month contract to someone who knows it will cost you money to get out of their contract. The more complacent of these firms offer “new customer only” deals, which are far better than yours… If you are a captive and happy customer then well done to you and the supplier. The reality is that many of these business’ know you are captive and get complacent, until month 22…. when you start to become elective again and get better customer service.

Unwilling customers

Why would anyone be an unwilling customer? It doesn’t make sense! Well every time there is a bank holiday in the town we live in the refuse collection gets varied by a day or so. Every time that happens our rubbish isn’t collected, Unwilling customersso we have bins full of household waste that sits for … well… The service supplier that takes our bin has a two week cycle, week 1 rubbish, week 2 recycling. Not a service level agreement we wanted, but that’s it! So when a failure happens on August 28th the next time the bin gets taken is September 11. Can you imagine what the sardines we didn’t quite finish on the 14th of August are like now? BUT we have no choice in that supplier, and they know it, and they don’t care until their contract is up for renewal in 5 years…… so much for customer service.

Non Users

How can someone be a customer without using a product, service or information? In the UK cash is moved from Non Userbanks and shops to cash centres and then back to banks and shops. It is done by several companies, but the largest is G4S Cash Solutions Ltd. They protect their employees well with good vehicles, body armour and training, making it very difficult for “baddies” to steal from them. Fewer thefts mean that insurance premiums stay low, so when we go to insure our homes, lives etc the premiums are lower because of G4S! Even though we don’t use their products.

If it was your business…

We always try to deliver customer service that recognises our customers as elective, it keeps us focussed, ensures we pay attention to detail, makes us really listen to our customers. If you would like to find out more about the training, coaching and development work that we do please contact:

Richard by Email or twitter

Paula by Email or Twitter

or call us on 08712 349 873

At a crossroads in your life? Not sure which turn to take?

Coaching mums

At a crossroads in your life? Not sure which turn to take?

Are you prepared practically and emotionally for your new venture?

 

Coaching for mums crossroads

 

SPECIAL OFFER!!!!!

Group coaching for mums returning to work

An opportunity to discuss common anxieties, tips for job hunting and preparing yourself mentally for work

Coaching PDP crossroads

 

Email Paula

Tweet Paula

Call Paula, to have a chat about how to begin moving forward.

 

 

Power at work

Power in the workplace

 

Power at work – 6 things you need to know

There are various theories about how “power” plays a role in the work place, having an understanding of these theories might put you in a better position use assertiveness.

Here are a few indicators that I find useful when the situation looks a little tricky.

POSITIONAL POWER – The obvious power play, this derives from the grade, rank or position that you hold, it’s Positional Powerabout status. Many senior managers in organisations use this deliberately to get things done, that probably should have been planned better. “I am your boss and I am telling you to do it!”, “your family commitments need to wait, this deadline must be achieved, just get it done”. We see this Power play in everyday life. Why do Policemen (It is only men) wear helmets? So that they stand out, so that their status / power is readily observed. Some police forces would only recruit above a certain height to exacerbate this. (lets not get drawn into how well you do the job or how you behave, just give us big ones, ho hum) In a court of law judges sit higher than everyone…uniforms in the military.. uniforms at work.

Expert PowerEXPERT POWER – “I am the recognised guru in this field, challenge me at your peril! For I am the font of all knowledge”. Unfortunately many people confuse expert with length of time served, therefore you can be perceived as the expert just because you have lived long enough. How many colleagues do you know that have 10 year’s experience, but actually only had 1 year, but repeated it 10 times!  Learning little in the past 9 years.

coersive powerCOERSIVE POWER – The ugly use of threats to get people to do things. Often, but not exclusively, comes with Positional Power, frequently an abuse linked to social power.

Moral PowerMORAL POWER – “We must do this because it is simply the right thing to do”. A hard power play to argue against. The usual failing of this is that the right thing to do is often based on subjective feelings or misdirection, rather than objective facts, trends etc. “The Government of Syria should not gas civilians”. Well of course not, a point that makes absolute sense. However why was it OK to kill and injure civilians using other methods? And why were we silent then?

Social PowerSOCIAL POWER – This is a bit more delicate. How do you discipline a colleague when he is having an affair with the chief executive? Some people deliberately use their patronage to behave badly towards others. Although I have recently seen an example where a competent hardworking colleague was getting some really poor work allocated to her. The reason? Daddy is a senior manager and her boss doesn’t like Daddy, because Daddy got the job the manager wanted.

Personal PowerPERSONAL POWER – Some people are just really charismatic, regardless of their position. I am sure that all of us recognise people at work, home or in the pub that influence enormously because of their personal power.

I hope that makes sense, just a taster. Now think about your tricky situation, what are the powers being used? How can you use that knowledge to your benefit WITHOUT VIOLATING THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS? Richard

 

 

 

To find out more contact Richard or Paula by email, follow us on twitter Richard or Paula. or call us on 08712 349 873. We would love to buy you a coffee.

 

 

Change – Make it happen using Kotter’s 8 stage model

Kotter's 8 stage model

Change – Make it happen using Kotter’s 8 stage model

In our last blog we explored the things that need to happen before you try to apply this really useful model. We looked at the importance and skills of objective setting, the application of PESTLE to clarify your thinking. Click here to see that blog.

Once you have that vision and have applied the PESTLE analysis to it, you can progress to using Kotter’s 8 stage model.

1 Create a sense of urgency

Create a sense of urgencyIdentify Market and competitive realities
Identify and discuss crisis, potential crisis and major opportunities

Often this is where leaders will miss the opportunity to “Aim for the Heart”, they rely on the application of pure logic to convince people. Leaders that connect with people’s values are much more likely to be successful. We can use crisis as an opportunity maximiser here. “We must react and react quickly”, inaction can be fatal.

 

 

 2 Build a guiding team

Change PowerAssemble a group with enough power and influence to lead the change effort
Encourage the group to work as a team and develop team work

How many business’ assemble a team of people without the passion, power or influence to make things happen. The idea is probably a sound one but other people’s power will kill it off. We really need to have people on board with both high levels of power and positive attitudes,  YOUR ALLIES.(Click here to see our blog on Influencing)

 

 3 Develop a change vision

Develop a change visionCreate a vision to help direct the change effort
Develop strategies for achieving that vision

 The vision must be:
· Imaginable: They convey a clear picture of what the future will look like.
· Desirable: They appeal to the long-term interest of employees, customers, shareholders and others who have a stake in the enterprise. They help with motivation.
· Feasible: They contain realistic and attainable goals.
· Focused: They are clear enough to provide guidance in decision making.
· Flexible: They allow individual initiative and alternative responses in light of changing conditions.
· Communicable: They are easy to communicate with confidence and can be explained quickly

 

 

4 Communicate the vision buy in

Vehicle to communicateUse every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies
Teach new behaviours by example

 communicating the vison is simple when it is;
· Simple: No techno babble or jargon.
· Vivid: A verbal picture is worth a thousand words – use metaphor, analogy and example.
· Repeatable: Ideas should be able to spread by anyone to anyone.
· Invitational: Two-way communication is always more powerful than one-way communication.

 Vision 1

We hope to reduce our lead time with products and services so that we are able to facilitate the needs of our customers, employees and suppliers making their objectives central to the vision of our business resulting in synergies for everyone.

OR…………

Vision 2

We will be faster and more accurate than anyone else – satisfying stakeholders needs.

Which one can you repeat? which one resonates? Simple! So don’t over complicate the vision.

5 Empower broad based action

Empower actionRemove obstacles to change
Change systems or structures that undermine the vision
Encourage risk taking, innovation, non-traditional ideas and actions

 You will need to deal with the lower level managers that keep on saying “if it isn’t broken don’t fix it”. They need to be very clear that we are going forward and that they need to be “on the bus.”

 

 

6 Create short term wins

 

create short term winsPlan for visible performance improvements
Create those improvements
Recognise and reward employees in the improvements

This is about deliberately creating some short term wins, about celebrating their effect. At this stage we need to be really high on planning and really low on praying!

 

 

7 Don’t let up

 

Don't Let UpUse increased credibility to change systems, structures and policy that don’t fit the vision
Hire, promote and develop “champions”
Re-invigorate the process with new projects, themes and change agents.

As the momentum is with you this is where the transformational leader uses the momentum to create even more change.

 

 

8 Make the change stick

 

Make it stickArticulate the connections between organisational success and the new behaviours
Develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession.

This is where we can identify the cultural change by reinforcing new values, by appointing people to the business who share those values. In this last stage we must make sure that the change is celebrated and communicated.

 

 

At PDP we are passionate about your business, your change and your views, please leave us some feedback about this blog via the comments box below……

Or contact us by email Richard or Paula

Or follow us on Twitter Richard or Paula

Or call us on 08712 349 873

We are here to help, lets get together over a coffee?

Time for Change? PESTLE – a tool to make your change happen

PESTLE

 

Time for Change? Practical things to make change happen.

Many organisations that we are associated with are really up for change, they understand the necessity for change, the opportunity for innovation, efficiency savings, team work and even re-organisation. Frequently change fails within business for some simple, straight forward, avoidable reasons. Let’s have a look at some of these pitfalls so that you and your business might be aware and avoid them.

We really like the work done by Kotter, his 8 stage change model is really useful, but needs some preparation.  (We will refer to his work in a future blog)

There are some fundamentals that we need to address if change is going to happen and they are frequently ignored. The first, having an objective, is highlighted in the clip below.

What is the change that we need to implement and why does this need to happen?

Well you are the expert in your business! but the following is a really useful model to use so that you can start to think about the pros and cons of any change once the objective has been formed. This model uses six separate areas of reflection that can then be divided between positive outcomes and negative outcomes.

 

PESTLE – what will the future look like when your “change” is embedded? What do you need to factor  in under the following headings. We find it useful to list the benefits and drawbacks here.

Worked example – “Should a  third runway be constructed at at Heathrow Airport?”

Politcial

PoliticalThe P in political can be a large or small one! It can be about National or International issues or local, even interpersonal politics? Every work place has stakeholders and they are usually political beasties.

Heathrow Example

Benefits; Potential for increased employment, further investment in the area, Heathrow being seen as an International hub, Closer working between central government and local authorities

Drawbacks; Danger for local MPs who might get voted out if they support the plan, widespread disruption for several years, impact on “newly” affected noise pollution areas

 

Economic

EnvironmentalWhat are the Economic factors in the change?

Heathrow Example

Benefits; Massive investment in area and infrastructure, huge employment opportunities, attracts the best people to work and live near the airport, huge revenues for local authorities, Hotel and restaurant expansion, skills levels of workforce raised

Drawbacks; South East housing “bubble” further exacerbated, inequality of funding to other regions, transport implications in an already busy part of the UK

Social

SocialWhat are the social implications of the change, to organisations, teams , individuals, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders?

Heathrow Example

Benefits; Employment, investment in hospitals, schools and infrastructure to support workforce

Drawbacks; Increased shift working, families cannot afford housing, potential for very desirable expensive housing only, blight on communities with noise, impact on “newly” affected areas of noise and emission pollution, creation of ghost towns?

 

Technological

TechnologicalWhat Technological advances or intervention can be used? Even if the advances are currently embryonic. Are there changes in technologies that potentially make the change redundant before it starts?

Heathrow Example

Benefits; Lower engine noise and emissions mean that the impact of more flights will not have an adverse effect on the population. Better sound proofing materials exist now, more accurate monitoring and recording of the  impacts are possible

Drawbacks; As planes get quieter we could put more flights through the existing runways, as IT technologies get better we could adapt and shorten the distance between take off and landings thus NOT requiring additional runway capacity

Legal

LegalWhat are the legal implications of the change OR the legal Implications of the Status Quo?

Heathrow Example;

Benefits; Government backing

Drawbacks; costly Public consultation process, lengthy appeals process, challenge to decision could come from several areas, local residents take action against the airport and it’s contractors.

Environmental

EnvironmentalWhat is the potential environmental impact of the change from Macro to Micro. Does standing still have a potentially negative Environmental Impact?

Heathrow Example;

Benefits;Newer Aircraft are less damaging to the environment, they carry more people, are more fuel efficient, emit less CO2

Drawbacks; Increasing the number of flights increases noise, pollution from CO2, damage to wildlife, potential physical and mental harm to residents.

PESTLE

Is a really useful consultation, communication, motivation and behavioural tool. The Heathrow expansion example is a bit simplistic, but within a relatively short time you can roll out the implications for your change idea and also explore the possible dangers of in-action. We encourage clients to use this tool as an integral part of the way that they lead and manage change. Can we help you through training, coaching, consulting and increasing confidence to do the same?

Contact us via Email Richard or Paula

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Call us direct!  08712 349 873

 

 

 

 

New Years Resolutions – 6 top tips to make them happen

resolutions

This article is aimed at an audience who understands the complexities of change.  It’s for those of you who work in businesses where you are used to discussing and planning how to achieve goals with your staff or paying clients, and generally you are successful at it.  My question to you, is do you practice what you preach?  Do you achieve the equivalent of New Years Resolutions, when it’s a personal goal?  This article is to jog your memory of some of the tools at hand to make these wants or wishes a reality and achievable.

It’s that time of year again, when your motivation levels are high, and you decide to make New Years Resolutions. This may happen due a need for change, high stress levels, a firm resolve or through too much alcohol!  Actually it doesn’t matter how they came about, the question now is can you achieve them?  Generally most of us make some resolutions, and think about how life would be different if only we could stop smoking, be fitter, improve our performance to get that new job or move to a bigger house.  We tend to look at a problem, decide we don’t want that situation any more, make some attempts to stop the problem being a problem, such as try and cut down on the cigarettes, join a gym, enquire about new jobs or begin house hunting, without much thought into really planning to achieve our goals.  We have launched ourselves into meeting our resolutions and if energy and enthusiasm could make it happen, we’d be a non-smoker, at our target weight working as a CEO and living in our dream house by February!  Unfortunately, these two things are not enough, and as you all know, change takes time and emotional energy, and is often difficult to accept.

6 top tips to meet your goals and resolutions

I’ve put together 6 top tips from theories and training tools that should be already familiar to you, to improve your effectiveness in achieving these New Years Resolutions.  Your challenge, is to make these happen!

1  Understand your goal

To do this, you must understand why you’re setting this goal?  Is it you, or are you under pressure from someone or something else?  Do you want to cut down on alcohol because you think you should, for health reasons, or because your partner wants you to? If it’s your objective go ahead and plan how you’re going to achieve it.  If it’s someone else’s, then are you really committed to it?

Secondly, you must understand why you are setting this objective now?  Is it just because it’s the thing to do over New Year, or are there more fundamental reasons for this decision, i.e. job cuts will be made this year so looking to move jobs is proactive, or there are deals on gym memberships that mean taking up exercise will be cheaper now than later on in the year.

2 Know what you can influence

One of the first rules of engaging in changing an aspect of your personal or working life, is to understand what you can influence and what is beyond your control.  There are a variety of methods you can use to examine influence, but the one shown here is the most basic and will give you an initial starting point.

New Years Resolutions 6 top tips to make them happen

Basic Circles of Influence

 You need to ask whether you are completely in control of this objective or are there factors outside of your control that you need to consider?  If you wish to move house, but the housing market is stagnant or prices have dropped, this is outside your sphere of influence and you have no control over it.  As a result, you may have to hold back on looking to move until later on in the year.  However, there may be issues you can influence, such as applying for higher paying jobs in other areas, with a relocation package. If you are the ideal candidate for the job, the company may agree to wait for you to move and give you some control on that time scale.   Check out our previous blog on leverage.

3 Who can support you?

In terms of influencing, you must also be honest about who could influence your objective positively and be supportive, or hold you back, distract you and potentially be detrimental to you reaching your goal?    The diagram shows a simple way to look at your stakeholders, in particular those that have the ability to affect the outcome of your goal setting.  You need to map these stakeholders to the grid so that you can then employ the right tactics to maximise or indeed eliminate their impact. www.stakeholders

Blockers – throw things at you that “block” your progress. When you are trying to lose weight these people constantly say “a little treat won’t hurt….” they are always buying the doughnuts.

Foot Draggers – stall you, take up your time with unnecessary garbage. Similar to the small unwilling child on a shopping expedition.

Networkers – have loads of useful ideas and contacts that you could tap into, but don’t have much power. When you try to quit smoking these guys might have failed themselves, but have great ideas about how to do it, know self help groups and others who have done it.

Allies – have the power and inclination to help you, and could act as a mentor, but you need to manage them carefully.

4 Set clear objectives

Once you have decided on your resolutions or goals, use the SMART mnemonic acronym designed by Peter Drucker to help you set clear objectives.  There are slight variations of the meaning of certain letters and I have used the ones below to help with your personal objective setting.      New Years Resolutions - 6 top tips to make them happen

Put simply, does your target focus on a SPECIFIC area for improvement or is it too vague or too large a leap to make?  Have you included any MEASURABLE factors to show when progress is being made, such as quality, quantity, time, cost or behaviour changes?  These could include you wanting to lose X amount of weight by a certain date, be down to 5 cigarettes a day, researching job/project opportunities across your company by a certain date and so on.  Is your New Years resolution ACHIEVABLE?  Is it appropriate and attainable in the period of time and with the resources you have allocated to it?  Do you have the skills to achieve your goal? How RELEVANT is the goal to you at this time?  There is a difference between wanting to lose weight for yourself or your health, as opposed to being nagged to do so by your partner.  Lastly, have you made the objective TIME-BOUND?  Using a time frame will force you to look at the other components of the acronym and review what can realistically be achieved in the allotted time.

I’ve included a link to the Chartered Management Institute, who have clearly set out this principle and outlined an action check-list and suggested terminology to ensure you get this aspect of planning right.

5 Accept change is difficult

You will need to accept that things will go wrong, and the path of change will not be smooth or easy, if it was, you would have made these decisions before now and followed them through.   When issues happen, have confidence and reflect on the previous tips and remind yourself why you made the resolutions and why it was important for it to happen now.  Refer to Fisher’s Transition Curve in my last article, and click on the link to understand the various emotional states you may go through when making significant changes.  If your resolution is to cut down drinking, smoking or change your diet, also take into consideration any impact the withdrawal from alcohol, nicotine or sugar may have on your mood and energy levels.  What support networks do you have in place to help and encourage you in continuing with your goal when times are difficult, or you encounter problems?  Do you need to adapt your initial goal or resolution? Refer back to your SMART objective and see what needs to be re-defined to allow you to get back on track.

6 Focus on ‘solution-building rather than problem-solving’

This is an aspect of Solution Focused Brief Therapy, and examines what current resources you have available to help you meet your future goals, rather than recycling past problems and getting stuck with current obstacles. Relate it the Strengths and Opportunities boxes on a SWOT Analysis, rather than the weaknesses and threats boxes. It’s about looking forward and moving one step at a time. This is an approach used by counsellors and those involved in the psychiatric field, but I think individuals could use the 0-10 scales or steps to help them plot their progress.  Zero is the worst possible scenario, whilst 10 is the achievement of the goals.  You need to consider where you are in the pursuit of your objective.  I use this ladder approach in coaching and people often find they are at stage 3 or 4 and not 0 as they expected.  What are you already doing to achieve your resolution or goal?  Each time you think of a positive and pro-active action, move up a step.  If you have already decided to give up smoking due to the health benefits, or are looking at low caloric recipes on a food website, you are already on the ladder.  What next small step could you take to help move you nearer to your goal?

Contact me and let me know how you are doing in terms of meeting your New Years resolutions?  Good luck.

 

 

 

Please tweet or email me at paula@professionaldevelopmentpeople.co.uk and

Transactional Analysis: Crossed and Complimentary Transactions – Psychology for Business

Transactional Analysis:Crossed and Complimentary transactions

Ego States and Transactions

Last week, I introduced Dr Eric Berne’s concept of Transactional Analysis, and the three Ego States (parent, adult and child). I examined some of the language and behaviours attributed to each of these ego states, and have had some interesting feedback from readers of the article, including one individual who realised that she behaved like “a spoilt brat at Christmas” and used the term “I want..” when talking about presents.  Her husband said that he “always” got his wife everything on her list, even when it was expensive or difficult to obtain, “otherwise she sulked and made Christmas unbearable”.  Classic Child and Parent behaviour, which both parties recognised, both knew what to expect from the other and it seemed to work for their relationship (Complimentary Transaction).

I want to briefly explore the three ego states a bit further, and as you can see from the diagram below, the Parent ego state is divided into Critical or Controlling Parent and Nurturing Parent.                                                           Transactional Analysis

Critical or Controlling Parent

Can you think of occasions when you have been in one of these modes?  What behaviours did you display?  What language did you use?  Do you often find yourself saying “I sound just like my mum!”.  If you do, are you pleased or horrified? We internalise the words, voices, body language and rules from the parent figures from our childhood and use them again in adulthood.  Are you very critical and need to control situations and those around you?  Think back to someone in your past who may have displayed these same behaviours.  Why have you adopted them and in what situations?  How do others respond to you when you behave in this way, do they give in and agree with you (Complimentary transaction) or argue back so that you have to change your stance (Crossed transaction)?

 Nurturing Parent

The other aspect of the Parent ego state is the Nurturing part, and in the last article, I outlined how this came into play for me, when someone hit the back of my car, whilst I’d stopped at a red light.  After my initial shock and checking that there was no serious damage, I comforted the person who had hit me, as she was so apologetic and concerned for me (Complimentary transaction).  Part of my upbringing, was no matter what was happening to me, I had to always think about how others could be feeling and respond to them, i.e. even if you don’t like a Christmas present you’ve received you show some form of joy and gratitude, so as not to upset the other person.  You literally nurture their feelings.

The Child ego state can be divided into three sections: Rebellious Child, Adapted Child and Free or Natural Child, and these are self-explanatory.

Rebellious or Adaptive Child

Sometimes we rebelled and refused to say thank you for a Christmas present, or said it with bad grace so that it was obvious that we didn’t mean it.  Other times we may have been very dutiful and done as expected of us.  As adults now, how many of you are having a Christmas to please others rather than what you really want?  Are you happy cooking for everyone (Nurturing Parent), or would you have liked to be in a hotel somewhere putting your feet up, but are doing what others expect of you (Adaptive Child)?

Natural or Free Child

The Natural child ego state is when we behave in ways which have nothing to do with external pressures or remembered ways of behaviour and we are just ourselves.  We are spontaneous and independent of any rules about how we should behave, and what we should say, and people just have to accept us for how we are, when we’re in this ego state.

As the diagram above shows there are positive and negative aspects to each of these ego states and you can read more about them in Berne’s book ‘The Games People Play’.

 Complimentary and Crossed Transactions

Transactions are a form of communication, I might ask “Is the meeting still at 9am?” to someone in the office, and they might respond “Yes it is”.  This is a straight forward communication and if we keep this going, it would form a transaction chain.  It’s as this chain develops that we begin to see whether our transactions are complementary or crossed, and will have to make a decision as to whether to change our response in order to get a different outcome to the conversation.

 Complimentary transactions Transactional Analysis:Complimentary or crossed transactions

These are where the arrows in the diagram are parallel, and either means both parties are speaking from the same ego state as with the example above, where both were in Adult. Or where two people are happy with the status quo, such as in the husband and wife example at the beginning of this article.  The wife was in Natural Child and the husband was in indulgent Nurturing Parent mode and both were happy with each other’s standard responses, and so the lines stayed parallel.

As long as the lines of communication DO stay parallel, conversations and relationships run reasonably smoothly, even if it’s not on an Adult basis.  However, when individuals become confused about a situation, a task or a comment this is generally where crossed transactions occur.  For example if I ask you a question from my Adult ego state, such as “What’s the time please?” and expect an Adult reply, but instead receive “Have you lost your watch again!”, this shift will surprise me and I will try and move into a parallel or complimentary position, hence an answer from Controlling Parent could be  “You shouldn’t have moved it, then I would know where it is!”, or a move into Adaptive Child “I’m sorry, I left it by the sink upstairs”.

Crossed transactions                              Transactional Analysis: Crossed and Complementary transactions

The crossed transactions often happen due to people giving emotional responses to questions or situations, rather than assessing the situation and responding from the Adult ego state.  Reflect on the people who you find difficult at work, or situations at home that always start an argument, and begin to adjust your response accordingly. It’s similar to using the broken record technique when someone wants to argue with you, but this time you are choosing your words carefully so as not to inflame the situation, but to clarify your position.  If I said to a member of staff “Have you finished that report yet?” depending on my tone of voice and body language it could be seen as a Controlling parent comment, rather than an Adult question. My colleague could become defensive and say “No, you only gave it to me yesterday” (Rebellious Child).  It would then be up to me, to bring the conversation back into alignment, by not responding in the same manner, but perhaps saying “I know I only gave you the report to do yesterday, and was wondering if you needed any more information from me in order to complete it?”.

Transactional Analysis is a fascinating look at human behaviour and this article has begun to examine some of the intricacies of the three ego states.  Once you understand what drives certain aspects of your behaviour, you are then able to examine your conversations and transactions with others and adapt your response accordingly.

In the next article, we’ll look at the games people play both consciously and subconsciously.  Can you recognise the behaviour of someone who is smiling and has a light voice, but whose actual message is undermining you?  Email me with your exaperiences and I’ll include them in my next article.

 

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Is Transactional Analysis a viable business tool? Psychology for business –

Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analysis or TA as it is commonly known as, is a tool used in many areas of business and education, and it’s a concept that once explained, makes complete sense and you’ll wonder why you haven’t used it before!

There have been many books and articles written on Transactional Analysis such as ‘Games People Play‘ and I’m OK – You’re OK .  Their premise is to  help us become more effective in the way we respond to and communicate with others. Read on, and in laymen’s terms I’ll explain the terminology and how to begin to understand why we communicate in certain ways, both in the work place and in our personal relationships. However, there are complexities to this concept, and so this series of articles will only look at transactional analysis on the simplest level.  However, you can contact us if you want to explore various concepts further.

Transactional Analysis – What is a transaction?

Dr Eric Berne was a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, whose work on human behaviour was influenced by Dr Sigmund Freud and neurosurgeon Dr Wilder Penfield.  At it’s simplest level:

 “Transactional Analysis is the method for studying interactions between individuals”  

This includes any form of verbal or non-verbal communication between two people. This communication is the ‘transaction‘, whilst the ‘analysis‘ is what you understand or take from the message you are receiving.  Someone smiling at me is a ‘transaction’ and my ‘analysis’ is that the person is happy to see me.  Berne’s work asks us to reflect on these interactions and try to understand our own behaviour as well, i.e. why am I smiling back and crossing the road to meet them, if I really want to avoid them?

Transactional Analysis – What are ego states?

To help us understand the nature of our transactions with each other, Eric grouped our ways of thinking and behaving into three areas, that he called ego states:

Parent -when we are thinking or behaving from this ego state, we are drawing on our experience of the parental Is Transactional Analysis a viable business tool?figures in our lives which have been absorbed into our way of relating to others.  These parental figures could be warm, loving, indulgent, distant, controlling, or ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ types. These characteristics could be attributed to our real parents, or people who we saw as parental figures in our lives.   In a recent situation, someone hit my car from behind whilst I was stopped at a red light.  The woman driving was so apologetic and shaken up by it, I forgot she had hit me and gave her a hug and told her it would be OK.  It was my natural response to nurture her, once I realised everyone was OK.

Adult – when  we are involved in transactions from this ego state, we are rational and able to think and make choices.  In this state, we are able to recognise our potential child and parental responses but keep them in check and maintain control and deal with the facts of the situation.  Again, in the car situation above, my initial response on getting out of the car was to ask what had happened, was anyone hurt, then later on to check my car and hers over and then take her details for insurance purposes.

In between these clearly adult ego state behaviours, I was shocked and shaking, but comforted her when I realised that she was worse than me emotionally.

Child – from this ego state, we are remembering how we used to respond to events outside of ourselves when we were small.  We may use extremes of behaviour and language and have strong feelings about a situation or statement, and exaggerate our responses, i.e. in the car shunt situation mentioned above, I could have slammed the car door and screamed at the woman “You stupid idiot, are you blind?” and then burst into tears.  This name calling and crying is a way of showing that a situation has overwhelmed us and so we can revert back to name calling and extreme displays of emotion, if this is how we remember dealing with situations when we were small.

We can move between the ego states depending on the situation, the people involved and the communication itself.  As you can see in the above example, my thoughts were in the adult ego state and ruled my emotions initially, as I was very rational and dealt with the damaged car, before moving into my parental ego state.  Not everyone is able to do this, and certainly not all of the time.  We tend to have an ego state we naturally adopt when under stress and times of pressure.

Question: Do you know what your natural ego state is?  

Do you handle situations from different ego states depending if it’s home or personally related, as opposed to a work problem?  Most of us do, because we’ve learnt the types of behaviours expected of us at work and conform to them. However, at home and with our partners we can let rip and behave in an emotional way (child or parent), which would be unacceptable in another situation or in front of a different audience.

What type of language do you use? 

Parent – “never”, “should”, “always”, “do this”, “don’t do that”

Child – “I feel”, “I hate”, “Always”, “I don’t want to”, “I like”

Adult – “probably”, “I think”, “I realise”, “perhaps”, “I believe”

In the next blog, I’m going to explore complimentary and crossed transactions, as well as ‘game playing’ examples, and begin to look at how you can change the course of a conversation or interaction that is going wrong.

In the meantime, please tweet me @therealme_PDP and give me examples of how you know when you are in a particular ego state.

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Mentoring

Mentoring

Mentoring is becoming much more common within organisations that want to develop talent. It allows business to develop people outside of the line management chain, looking towards the future, innovation and succession planning. When done well it can hot house talent, retain highly effective people and be a motivational tool. It is a two sided process. Both Mentor and Mentee have a lot to gain from the process and relationship.

Mentoring – the process

To be effective the mentoring process ought be cut up into four parts

  1. Training and awareness
  2. Contracting
  3. Outcomes – Where are we now and where are we going?
  4. The Journey – How do we travel from the “now” to the outcome?

lets explore some aspects of the process

1 Training and AwarenessMentor

In our experience there are a huge range of reasons why people want to be involved on either side of a Mentoring relationship. The poorest reasons are WIFM (whats in it for me) and I can show off my skills, cleverness and contacts. For the relationship to be really productive the scene needs to be set. Benefits and responsibilities explored, the process demystified. The safest way to achieve that within business is to run separate training events for Mentors and Mentees, before the partnerships have been allocated.

In our experience the greatest nerves, concerns and questions come from the Mentors. They really want to do a great job and need the support of a structure. Mentees are often in awe of their potential mentors. Can look at the Mentor as some “generous benefactor” who will shower them with gifts and opportunities. A father Christmas figure. This needs to be clearly addressed before we begin, along with the process. Once the training is done we can release the mentors and mentees into the wild!

2 Contracting

Having been through our training process both parties will understand that they need to have very clear guidelines about what is acceptable, desirable and possible. (click here for our Blog on Behavioural contracting) This isn’t about where we are going, its about the rules of engagement. It is very much about a framework that we can collaborate within. This contracting has the additional benefit of starting the rapport building process, without which TRUST cannot exist. Mentoring is outside the line management chain amentoring contractnd should remain confidential.  However at this stage it MUST be made clear when the confidence should be broken. This falls into one of three reasons;

  • The mentee is at risk
  • The mentor is at risk
  • Someone else or even the organiastion is at risk

 

3 Outcomes – Where are we NOW and  where are we going?

This is where the Mentors skills will really be put to the test. In an open, honest and frank way the Mentor must create an atmosphere of realism in the outcomes. Help the mentee to generate a specific, measurable outcome of the relationship. Through this process it is imperative that the knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviours of the mentee are taken into account. Using tools like a SWOB analysis the mentee needs explore their Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Barriers NOW.

Realism, relevance and attainability of the outcome should be discussed. This is NOT about killing  aspirations, far from it, but giving the outcome a chance of life.

 

4 The Journey – How do we travel to the outcome

If the previous three phasmentoring signpostes have been followed successfully then this is about development, opportunities and networking. This is where the vast experience of the Mentor enables them to guide the Mentee in a particular direction, with the final outcome in clear focus. Mentees will be given tasks to undertake, be involved in discussions, be encouraged to be creative.

REMEMBER Coaching is about helping a colleague with specific work objectives and performance. The job of the line manager. Mentoring is more open, looking at things that might allow the Mentee to grow into new challenges.

Like to know more? How might this work in your business, give Paula or Richard a call.