Personal 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…

 

 

As a mother are your talents being utilised?

Mother Utilise Talents

 “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talents in the world”     Hilary Clinton

We know it, we recognise it and we agree with her comment….or should I say, us women do, and many mothers are living as part of this “untapped reservoir of talent“.  As a women with my own business and a mother of a primary aged child, I feel proud and privileged to know the range of talented and skilled women that I do. If you were to harness the abilities and qualifications of mothers in the school playground, you could set up and successfully run a number of hugely profitable high powered businesses, and I’m talking state school here.  However, I feel there are three key pressures that stop mothers doing what they really want to do, and using their talents to their best advantage: financial considerations, job security and expectations of others.

“In this day and age women can just as easily be the main breadwinner as men. Why should they have to give up their careers when they have children?”

 

Ben Foden fronting the Government campaign for shared parental leave.

The most important one that batters this talent into submission is financial issues.  Traditionally men have earned more than women, and as women give birth, it was always felt they should stay at home and bring up the child in Women and work talentsthose important early years, plus if we’re talking traditional, men weren’t allowed in the hospital and were outside smoking cigars!  However, in today’s society a high percentage of women have high powered and well paid jobs which are challenging and engaging.  Their wages make a significant contribution to the household, and so many, when they become mothers, need to go back to work financially.  They may need to work less hours, find they have a reduced or different role in the company, or end up applying for less skilled jobs, in order to balance financial need with childcare consideration, and so feel de-skilled and that their talents are unfulfilled.

 The recent change in paid maternity leave and how it can now be divided up between both parents, may make financial considerations less of a concern, but only if fathers are willing to take on this role.

The second issue is job security.  A National Childbirth Trust survey published in 2014,  commented that:

“Around half of new mothers have to cut short their maternity leave because of fears they will lose their job if they stay at home

 

The study quoted nearly 45% of women as feeling they are being forced back to work sooner than they wanted after giving birth, due to concerns over “job security”.  There are still great issues in some companies over asking for woman in distress Talentsflexible hours, yet remaining in the same role in which your talents were utilised.  This may not always be the employers fault, but also due to their financial considerations as well as staffing issues, yet the “job security” issue for women remains!  It can see them taking a sideways position in the company when they come back from maternity leave, or trying to balance work and childcare considerations to such an extent that both suffer, and it is all they can do to get through each day.  They are too exhausted just trying to keep afloat and get through the daily tasks to show initiative and flair.

The third key pressure, is the idea that women can and should have it all, and most importantly want it all.  Society and other women, make it sound as if it can be nothing but a great thing!  Nicola Horlick was hailed as a superwoman for balancing her extremely successful and high powered finance career whilst raising six children!  This is a fantastic achievement, but does every woman and mother want it, or do they feel under pressure to show they too, can act this way?  I know I did!

My neighbour and I had a really interesting discussion  about the pressures on mothers to return to work, and how much of that anxiety was generated by the women themselves and the media.  My neighbour told me she made a conscious decision to give up work and be at home with her four children as she felt it was important “that I bring up my children my way.  The way I want them to be brought up, with my values”.  She felt women shouldn’t have to apologise for wanting to be stay-at-home mums and choose to nurture and raise their children, but should feel confident in the choice they’ve made.

Will the much needed change in paid maternity leave see more fathers taking paid time off to share the childcare, and allow mothers to go  back to their same challenging careers, and perform well because they are able to?  Or, will companies still feel mothers are a liability and gradually squeeze them out of their positions, into a more mundane role?  Lastly, are women their own harshest critics and feel they should be able to do it all, and that their failing if they choose to stay at home with their children?

Where do you stand?  Are you at the point of returning to work, or having to make career decisions?

Do you feel you can return to work and still perform at the same high level, or do you need a confidence boost and skills audit?

Share your experiences with me on twitter @therealme_PDP or Facebook The real me (Paula Ashby)

Alternatively email me for a free and confidential chat about whether coaching can help you utilise your talents me.  paula@professionaldevelopmentpeople.co.uk

 

Prejudice and discrimination in the work place

prejudice and discrimination at work

Prejudice and discrimination in the workplace

When dealing with managers on various training events it’s rare to come across someone who would fall foul of the 2010 Equalities Act. The Act sets out 9 protected characteristics and various ways in which some or all of the characteristics can be abused.

The nine Protected characteristics are;

• Age
• Disability
• Gender Reassignment
• Race
• Religion or Belief
• Sex
• Sexual Orientation
• Marriage and Civil Partnership
• Pregnancy and Maternity
To most of us these protected characteristics are factors which should play no part in treating others unfairly, they are not relevant in work based behaviours and choices. To be clear; your age should have no bearing on your abilities in the work place.

These protected characteristics can be abused in the following ways

1 Direct Discrimination.
When someone treats an individual unfairly because of a protected characteristic.
“Don’t employ Hindus because……. I don’t like them”
2 Associative Discrimination
When someone treats and individual unfairly because they are linked to someone with a protected characteristic.
“ I won’t employ him because he has a disabled wife and that will mean he takes time off for her care”
3 Discrimination by Perception
When an individual is treated unfairly because someone thinks they are linked to a protected characteristic.
“ She looks like she’s too young to meet customers”
4 Indirect Discrimination
Stipulating a particular rule or process, which might sound reasonable but discriminates.
“Male Police officers must be 6ft 1 tall, there by making sure that the majority of British Sri Lankans who may not get to be 6ft, cannot become Police Officers.”
5 Harassment
Employees can now claim offensive behaviour, even if it isn’t directed at them to be harassment. The important aspect of this is the impact of the behaviour on the recipient NOT the intention of the Harasser.
6 Harassment by a third party
Where an employer allows its employees to face harassment by someone else.
“a courier is subjected to sexist comments by a customer, but the employer keeps sending them back into the same business”
7 Victimisation
Not quite the dictionary definition of victimisation. This is where an individual is treated differently and unfairly because of a course of action they have taken, or because of their support for an individual that has taken a particular course of action.
“ An employee supports a friend in making a grievance and is then side-lined for promotion.

Not all the protected characteristics are protected entirely (See the ACAS TABLE)

In most work places

What we do come across often is that individuals don’t think about their feelings and the outcomes. They don’t think about their attitudes which can drive their behaviours, their prejudices which can drive inappropriate discrimination.
There are four outcomes forming this paradigm

Prejudice and discrimination

Fred comes to work with a strong race prejudice and then makes racist comments.
Outcome. Fred should be disciplined and probably sacked

No Prejudice and Never discriminates

Who on earth is that? Saints, Babies…. I have never met someone in this area, although every business I have ever been in seems to expect it….

No Prejudice but discriminatory behaviour

How can that be? Fred never has a malicious though, but his behaviour is discriminatory. This is the grave yard for managers old and new. How can someone do this?
1 Ignorance – they just don’t know what they are doing
2 Ignoring – they see something happening, but take a back seat rather than dealing with it. ( a suicidal management strategy)
3 Avoidance – They deliberately manipulate situations to not be present when problem might occur. Fred and Julie are always arguing at work, rather than deal with it their manager rosters fred and Juile on a shift pattern he isn’t on
4 To join in – because the behaviours that aren’t desirable are being demonstrated by someone with POWER (click for the blog on power) , rather than Challenge they go along with it

Prejudice but no discriminatory behaviour

Thinking and feeling something, but not allowing others to see that in your behaviour. Which accounts for the majority of us!

 

Interested ? Why not give Richard or Paula a call?
Email Richard or Paula
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We would love to talk to you and your colleagues about brilliant work place behaviours. #how2PDP

What happens if colleagues are not supported or challenged at work?

Support and challenge at work

What happens if colleagues are not supported or challenged at work?

Well this particular paradigm should be useful to everyone that manages people at work. Understanding it builds a culture of team work, up-skilling, objective setting, raising performance and motivation. The model looks at the relationships between support and challenge and the feelings / behaviour that can be seen.

So the grid spans challenge high to low and support high to low.

How does it feel to work in a business where there is a huge amount of challenge, but no support?

Frustration with managementDo you recognise this? It is where the business expects you to go the extra mile every day, where work is piled up on people who are expected to cope, but have no mechanisms to access support.  This is a really bad place to be because the constant pressure you are under has no release. This is where people trip into the bad stress areas, where illness begins with all the personal and business trauma that can cause. At the very least its hugely frustrating and de-motivating.

 

How does this happen?

Often because the employee seems to be doing OK, because they never use their assertiveness skills to say “I need help”, “I can’t cope”, “I don’t understand.” There is a responsibility on the employees behalf to help their manager understand.

There is also a legal, moral and business case why managers need to be monitoring this closely. This keeps productivity, efficiency and effectiveness high, which is what we all want, but doesn’t burn people out.

How does it feel to work in a business where there is a huge amount of support, but no challenge?

On face value many of us would relish this particular outcome. However on examination its not a really good place Manager doesn't Trusteither. This is where you don’t have to make any decisions, you are spoon fed data and information. Anything of value that needs to be done, anything that might make an impact is done by someone else. Usually the manager. It makes us become dependant, unable to assert opinions, fearful of making errors. It de-skills the employee.

How does this happen?

  1. The manager doesn’t want to overload the employee, wants to make sure that they are safe and happy in their work, doesn’t want the person to feel stressed by a task or situation. The manager feels this is a form of kindness to the employee, many managers think its their job to protect the team from everything. The DUVET feeling. Wrap you up carefully so no harm can come to you…. patronising, humiliating and in the long term de-skilling. If you have got children you might recognise this!
  2. The manager simply can’t do without you, but doesn’t TRUST you. This happens frequently in operational business’, where the manager allocates menial tasks to workers and they do them. When any decision needs to be made the employee MUST NOT make it, because the manager loses control…. Positional Power (click for previous blog)  in action.

 

How does it feel to work in a business where there is no support and no challenge?

Staff leave because of poor managersEver had a summer vacation job when a student? This is it. Nothing really to do, no one to supervise you, no one to give you more to do. You are a minion and get paid for being present. You can last a summer holiday, but not much longer. We all need some strokes of recognition, acknowledgement.

Organisations that create this culture haemorrhage staff. People will mark time until a new opportunity shows up then they leave. Frequently without notice, well why would you give any?

How does it feel to work in a business where there is an appropriate amount of  support and appropriate challenge?

How does this feel?

Stimulating, enjoyable, professionally stretching, cared for, invigorating, worth while.Happy at work

The kind of place you work hard in.

The kind of place that’s really good at what it does.

The kind of place you want to be.

HAPPY DAYS!

 

This could be your Business!  Like to have a chat? Email Richard or Paula

Tweet us Richard or Paula

Call us 08712 349 873 We would love to buy you a coffee and see how we might help you or your business

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.

 

 

ROI – Return on Investment for training events

ROI Training

ROI – Return on investment for training events, how do you KNOW you have got it?

This is the simple question that many clients really want to know the answer to. How will I be able to demonstrate to the business that my training intervention has had an effect on the employees, customers and the culture of the organisation? We have been working on a straight forward way to help with this, to really mark individuals positions at the start of an intervention and then revisit those positions at the end.

So how do PDP do that?

Firstly with some time dedicated to talking to you about your development needs, organisational culture and desired outcomes. This consulting and communication process is critical to build confidence, objective outcomes and behavioural measures. Lots of development organisations outsource their behavioural measurement to third parties. We never do. We want your needs to drive the process, not someone else’s 360 model.

Most of our partner organisations have their own behavioural competence frameworks, used for the measurement of progress, gap analysis and often appraisals. We always look to use these in a simple, digestible format. We turn your framework into pictures!  Pictures that generate discussion, highlight realities, are by definition not verbose and open to misinterpretation.

Here is an example of a 360 picture taken at the start of a series of management development workshops.

360 degree picture

 

 

 

This particular organisation has four main competence areas that its managers need to work to. Delivering Results, Setting the Direction, Leadership and Working with Others. These main heading areas are then spilt into the more detail by describing 14 key competency areas. Your business will not be exactly the same, but similar principles probably exist.

The blue line indicates the self assessment of the individual against all these areas. The red line indicates the views of five others who sit around that colleague.  In this scenario at least 1 customer was asked to contribute, because the business holds customer care as one of its strongest values.

Learning from phase 1?

Loads!

The individual;

  1. takes time to look at the competence framework and self assess
  2. gets a good picture of their performance against the frame work
  3. is informed about how other see them at work…..

 

The diagrams are sent to the individual a week before a scheduled 1 hour meeting with us. The purpose of the meeting is to build some rapport with colleagues and to explore areas where development may be required and strengths celebrated. This can be the start of really a meaningful coaching relationship, to set the focus on the training programme and its benefits.

 

The organisation;

  1. gets a snapshot of individuals performance at the start of the programme
  2. identifies where people are significantly at variance with their circle of colleagues
  3. often becomes aware of unknown skill shortages, which may be addressed within the development programme

The training intervention

 

Based on the outcomes of the first 360 and the associated coaching sessions the content and time frame of the training events are agreed. usually along with a coaching session “mid-Term”. At the end of the programme delegates revisit the 360 process. Take a look at the second chart, which was undertaken by the same colleague 9 months after the first 360.

360 end picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what does this tell us?

It indicates lots of things that are really important to the individual, their team and the business.

  1. the individuals view of himself is much closer to that of their peers.
  2. the competence areas are all outside of the “usually” sphere, where we would expect effective managers to be
  3. there is demonstrable growth in several of the competence areas from both the individual and their peers
  4. a 9 month intervention has developed this person at work. When the organisation looks at all the individuals we can measure the impact of the training across the business
  5. now we are in this position it is possible look forward to the next challenge, knowing where the people are
  6. a culture of coaching is becoming “normal” within the company because individuals know it works

 

 

Would you like to know more about PDP and how we can help with your training development?

Contact us by Email Richard or Paula,

by telephone on 08712 349 873

by Twitter  Richard or Paula

We would love to buy you a coffee!

 

 

7 top tips to help you survive your first job interview!

First Interview

“Nation of awkward teens need help to shake hands and smile”

Antony Jenkins Barclays chief executive, was quoted in The Sunday Times today as saying that Britain will probably have a “lost generation” of teenagers, if we don’t “help them develop the skills they will need for the new world of work”.  Are these your students he’s talking about?  The skills he’s referring to aren’t the academic topics they’ve spent years studying for, but “people skills”.  These are the skills that take the individual from being “socially awkward” and not able to give eye contact or shake hands with someone in authority, to appearing confident in the way they manage themselves, engage in conversation and play their role within the interview.  Below I’ve outlined 7 top tips for you to share with the young people you work with increase their effectiveness in interviews:

Be prepared for the interview

How many of us worry about the interview in private, but shrug it off as “no big deal” in public.  IT IS A  BIG DEAL! Statistics from www.parliament.uk showed that 764,000 young people aged 16-24 were unemployed in September to November 2014, which was up 30,000 on the previous quarter, and the unemployment rate was up 0.9% from the previous quarter. This means that no matter how positively you are viewed at six form, college or university, you are an unknown quantity in the world of work. You will be judged on what you know and how you present yourself, so read up on the company, the position you are being interviewed for, what other similar companies are up to.  Have questions prepared that you can ask the company, and appear knowledgeable. Be very clear why YOU want to work for THEM, as HR and company directors like to know that you have chosen to apply to them for a job rather than a competitor.

Be confident

How do your friends and family view you?  Do they see you as being confident in a range of situations?  Ask them for examples of when they have seen you this way, and what you looked and sounded like?  Check out were you naturally confident in this situation, i.e. discussing a topic around Sunday lunch with your family, or did you have to switch if on, such as giving a speech at college.  Get your family or close friends to describe these situations and coach you, so that you can conjure up these positive words, phrases and mannerisms again, when your confidence is beginning to fade, either before or during an interview.  Also ask them to describe situations where you’ve been over-confident and what this looked like? It’s important to know the difference so that the wrong impression doesn’t come across in an interview.  When we are nervous, over-confidence can easily come into play to cover up nerves.  This is not a good look

Posture and stance

When you go for an interview, you never know who is observing you, so it’s always a good idea to be confident from the minute you enter the building.  What impression are you giving the receptionist who greets you?  At this stage, you will need to show confidence through your posture and stance, so ensure that when walking into the building or interview room, you stand up tall and straight, put your shoulders back and keep your head level with your chin up, as this makes it easier to gain eye contact.  These things extend your body length and give you a presence.  If this is difficult for you to understand, just think of how you view people who are the opposite.  By trying to make themselves as physically small as possible, how do you see them: shy, worried, fearful  or even powerless?  Can you think of someone who has a strong presence on TV?  Observe their mannerisms and how others react to them.  However, as I’ve mentioned earlier, don’t be over-confident and swagger into the interview room thinking the world is lucky to have you.

Eye contact

There is a lot of information out there on whether you should or shouldn’t make eye contact due to cultural differences, gender and age differences and how best to show respect to someone in authority.  The golden rule, is that the person interviewing you is asking you questions and so will usually be looking at you, and so expects you to look at him or her when responding.  It’s useful to do this, as you can generally pick up on their facial cues, smiles, nods show they are listening and are either agreeing with what you are saying or are finding it interesting, whilst frowns or  stares could mean confusion or disagreement.  It IS acceptable however, to break eye contact. You are not in a staring competition, and also ensure that if you are being interviewed by a panel, that you initially look at the person who asked you the question when answering, then look along the panel as you continue answering the question.

eye contact

 

Body language

During the interview you’ll be using a range of body language and the key is to be aware of some of the messages you are giving.  This is why mock interviews are really useful, and preferably with people you don’t know, as they can tell you, without bias, the impression you are giving.  You will be nervous, you might be flustered, you’ll probably be sweating and possibly uncomfortable in the clothes you’re wearing.  If you have excluded an air of confidence before entering the room with your posture and general chit chat, don’t blow it now.  Ask friends and family if you have any ‘poker’ tells, which means what do you routinely do when you are nervous, twist your fingers, play with your hair, clear your throat or jiggle your legs?  Whatever your poker tells are, unless you are consciously aware of them you won’t be able to know when they are happening and stop doing them!  You won’t fail an interview for crossing your arms across your chest or saying erm, but the person interviewing you will pick up on how uncomfortable you feel compared with the person they have just seen, and may choose to give the job to the more confident person, if qualifications and knowledge are similar.

Choice of words

You must know your stuff!  You must use key terminology in a knowledgeable way and also provide examples of things you have done.  Look at the job description, objectives or competencies required and pick out the key points that link your experiences or ‘career/job wants’ and talk about these.  At the very least it shows you have read all the information sent to you and can link the job competencies to experiences you have had.  It also makes you feel comfortable as you are talking from a position of familiarity and therefore are more confident.  It’s like using hashtags, if you want to get hits, use the right tags.  If you want to get the job, use the workplace language! Most interviews want to know about your life experience as well as academic information, so talk about your hobbies and how decision making comes into play, or budgeting, decision making or problem solving…

The open and close of the interview

These are important times and interviewees often feel powerless at these points as they are unsure what is expected of them, so are just usually quiet and waiting for someone to tell them where to go and what question to answer.  Use this time to engage in small time or chit chat, about the company “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to come here today because I’ve heard ….”, the building “What a fantastic old building, what’s it like to work here?”, the weather or any small talk (you can prepare some topics beforehand), so that you give positive verbs to the person meeting you, and it also helps you to relax into the situation.  More importantly, the interviewer sees you smiling and chatting to a member of his or her staff on entry to the room. An excellent first impression! Similarly, at the end of the interview, show some initiative and thank the interviewing panel for their time, give them eye contact and shake each person’s hand if you have the opportunity.  This gives them a positive lasting impression of you being a confident candidate for the job!

Professional Development People have worked with schools, universities and companies in coaching people and developing their communication skills.  We were most recently involved with #DavidCameron’s #Employability programme in Surrey, helping the long term unemployed get back into work, through training them in a range of qualifications, CV writing and interview skills.

Let us help your young people!  Call or email Paula or Richard via our website to arrange a free consultation over coffee. Follow us on Twitter Paula or Richard
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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……

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

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