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Why ‘belonging’ is so important right now & what you can do

Why ‘belonging’ is so important right now & what you can do

Why ‘belonging’ is so important right now & what you can do

Australian organisations have embraced remote work…or have we?

The operative word here, is ‘embraced’. And before you think it doesn’t apply to you…think again. As managers, leaders and members of teams, it’s critical for us to remember that everyone has ‘embraced’ this in a different way. Some have ‘embraced’ it with genuine open arms, open minds, agility and as an opportunity to be savoured. Others have ‘embraced’ it with sheer grit and determination as a problem to be solved. Others have ‘embraced’ it with a fierce resentment, as a ‘tick the box’ item, something to be over and done with as soon as allowable. Some have ‘embraced’ it as an undeniable need to do whatever needs to be done, in a way that loads a heavy backpack to be carried on isolated shoulders, with the absence of real life ‘people’ surrounding them to provide the usual and normal support and comradery.

A recent study1 reported 94% of Australian workplaces had initiated remote working practices, with almost 1 in 4 organisations’ entire workforce working remotely, due to lockdown and government restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

That’s a lot of people feeling the effects of isolation.

It may not be you, but it will be someone working with you. During this unprecedented and unavoidable change in the way we’re currently working, it’s never been more important to find new, creative and flexible ways in communicating and connecting with our teams. It’s never been more important to become vigilant in being aware of and identifying stress caused by changes in the way we work and the social disconnection of working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even more concerning, a separate 2019 study2 (note pre pandemic and therefore a harsh reality even outside of the current challenges we face) found that more than 40% of workers can feel physically and emotionally isolated in the workplace. The main message out of this is that people want more connection with the people they work with. When they’re given a workplace community that genuinely values that sense of belonging, research tells us that employers benefit through increases in organisational commitment and employee retention, engagement, well-being and productivity.

Here’s the big question you need to ask your people: What does workplace ‘belonging’ mean to you?

Initiatives to create a genuine workplace community where every person feels as though they belong, needs to come from the people that work there. It can’t come from a leadership blue sky brainstorming meeting, where ideas are moved to decisions and implemented further down the line. I’ve seen this happen before in an organisation where well meaning, purposeful and beautifully crafted wellbeing initiatives were implemented. It was a short lived program, not because the intention or objectives were wrong, but because they weren’t aligned with what was important to their staff.

As Tony Dovale reminds us: “A culture of connection is the foundation of a high performance team that thrives and flourishes”.

Our advice? Embrace the long vision. Anticipate & seize the future. Respond, recover, emerge – tick. Now embrace the concept of thrive and put plans into place to help your people achieve it.

We’ve all been forced to respond to and manage the current crisis. But to actually move beyond the intention to recover, we need to move forward from that response mode and into an emergence. Once we recover and emerge with a new level of resilience, the organisations that will in the end thrive, versus continuing to only survive, will be those brave enough to believe it is so. Those courageous leaders who can already see it, who are focussed on the horizon and are defining their tomorrow, today. It’s never been more important than now to adopt and develop a growth mindset culture within business.

What do you want your organisation’s ‘next normal’ to look like?

Will you be bouncing back to a pre covid status quo?

Or will you be taking the reigns and using this opportunity to create a thriving workplace everyone wants to be a part of?

What do you need to believe in and change today, to ensure your people feel like they belong, feel supported, feel seen, feel connected and feel proud of their organisational community?

By purposefully asking your employees the question “What does workplace belonging mean to you?” and allocating resources in those areas, you show a genuine desire to re-engage the most important part of your organisation – your people. Being interested in their needs and investing in them encourage them to feel they are part of a wider team and most importantly, that they ‘belong’ and feel worthwhile and valued.

It’s not enough to believe and think though. We need to act in parallel to believing in order to achieve.

A recent study3 uncovered the key elements needed for the genuine creation of community and belonging for employees. One of these was feeling supported in daily work and career development. So, just one way to build that sense of belonging, allowing your people to feel like they’re valuable members of a team, is through investing in their development needs. Additionally, focussed and specialised team development gives whole teams the opportunity to feel connected again.

This is the time to actively promote a sense of belonging within your organisation and check in with your team to understand *how they feel and *what they need. As a way of nurturing employee engagement and keeping your intention of determinedly defining your organisation’s tomorrow versus reverting back to a previous status quo, the opportunity is there to emerge with a stronger and much improved workplace.

How can we help you empower your team to contribute to leading the way and thrive?

Get in touch to bring your team back together.

1 AIM, 2020, Covid-19 Pulse Survey
2 Ernst & Young Global Limited, 2019, Belonging Barometer Study
3 Centre for Talent Innovation, 2020, The Power of Belonging

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Understanding the introvert & the extrovert

Understanding the introvert & the extrovert

Understanding the introvert & the extrovert

We meet different people all the time – at work, through friends, at the gym, out shopping, walking the dog, waiting for our local talented barista to whip up our favourite coffee.  We seem to ‘click’ with some people and not so much with others.  And that’s ok!  We’ll either look out for the chatty “chai latte-made with leaves not powder-almond milk-extra hot” regular to engage with, or steer away from the owner of the short haired black dog next time we’re at the off-lead park.  It’s natural personal preference.  Just like we have a natural preferred ‘at work’ style.  The important thing to understand is, there is no right or wrong personality ‘type’.  In managing people and working productively, it’s more about striving to understand each other’s differences and similarities.  Why do you or I or they, have that particular working style or preference?  How do we work together effectively to produce the best results collaboratively?

During 2020, many people have had the opportunity to work from home.  Or, during 2020, many people were forced to work from home.  It depends on your perspective.  Some of us bathed in a magical sense of permission to independently create and evolve peacefully on our own (aka introverts).   While others were preparing themselves to engage in the foetal position as they tried to navigate the period of adapting to isolation (aka extroverts).  Our ‘high energy’ extroverted team members need some extra care during isolating times.  They crave being part of a team or a bigger picture and we know that video calls won’t completely dissipate the feeling of being ‘on my own’.  Some felt like they were dangling precariously on their own waiting for the wind to blow, or were at least aware of a deficiency in comparison to their usual work environment.  Fortunately though, the reality is that the majority of us are sitting somewhere along that continuum and facing very different challenges depending on where we sit.

Extroverts and introverts communicate differently and have different work styles and preferences.  It’s because of this, that some unease, discomfort, misunderstanding and even conflict can occur between individuals.  The way around it, is to understand who we work with and why they do the things they do.  For example, an extrovert will require high levels of external stimulus to develop their thoughts, thriving in group settings.  Whereas an introvert gains energy from within, preferring time alone to focus and develop ideas.  When working together or within the same team, if one doesn’t understand the preference of the other, the respect and allowance for what the other person needs to perform at their best can become precariously low, causing frustration.

The perception of personality and behavioural traits are all in the eye of the beholder.  Depending on where we sit along the continuum of introversion to extroversion, our perception of the same person’s behaviour changes.  A highly extroverted personality may see an introverted personality as unfriendly, shy or antisocial.  Whereas a sister introvert will probably innately understand the same person as needing time alone to recharge, create and evolve ideas and know they will eventually share their creation once they’ve thought it through and are completely comfortable with what they’re presenting.  On the other hand, an introverted personality may see someone with highly extrovert type behaviours as impulsive and domineering, versus well considered or thoughtful.  Whereas a brotherhood extrovert is more likely to know that the reason for their seemingly boisterous expo is actually a means to absorbing thoughts and collaborating with others to fuel their own creativity tank, enabling them to productively thrive through their preference of group projects and wider sharing of ideas.

They both work.

The challenge is in changing our own mindset around what we believe is the only way to work to achieve goals.  Staying in your own mode is simply limiting.  I know it’s comfortable, like a warm feather doona on Sunday morning in the middle of winter.  No one wants to throw that doona back.  But to get stuff done, we need to fold back the comfort and open ourselves up to the possibility that something different, something uncomfortable, will work even more effectively.  The alternative is that we can make the limiting conscious choice to simply be annoyed and become frustrated by the characteristics we don’t like.  But who wants to be a part of that team?  In my experience, we generally want to be happy at work and when we dig out the curiosity shovel with the objective of learning from each other, happy harmonious teams are an encouraging result.

Introverts and extroverts can certainly learn various skills from each other.  We can also challenge ourselves to become more self-aware of our own work preferences and styles.  By becoming aware of our own behaviour and the behaviour of others, we can start to ‘learn’ behaviour that is more advantageous in getting us to where we want to be.  For example, if you’re the type of person that becomes completely engrossed in the task at hand and so feverishly focused that you prefer to put off engaging with your team, seeing this engagement as a distraction – becoming self-aware may set you up to becoming more conscious of the collaboration needs of your team and come up with ways to engage every now and then.  It’s not about ‘changing’ personalities though.  It’s about being aware of your own needs and the needs of others, along with respecting and valuing your own strengths, alongside the strengths of the people in your team.  Really simple tweaks as a result of self-awareness can go a long way in achieving outcomes.

Beware of stereotyping

Introverts are known to be brilliant thinkers whose contributions will most likely be well developed – therefore enabling them to also be great communicators.  They may take their time before they share, but don’t make the costly mistake as a manager in overlooking your internally driven creative craftsmen as great communicators.  The extroverts in your team who are known to think out loud (& sometimes loudly) on the other hand, may not be your most valuable presenters.  Being able to talk doesn’t always mean you’re the most effective speaker or representative of an internal team’s ideas.  It’s worthwhile understanding that extroverts process information interactively and therefore can be seen to ‘jump into’ a discussion before processing fully what anyone else has said.  It doesn’t mean they don’t care, it’s simply a way of processing information.  The more extroverted the person is, the more these types of behaviours will stand out for others.

When it comes to brainstorming and group decision making, we automatically think of extroverts as the most worthwhile contributors, given their brains are wired to think and process information through the provision of external stimulus such as speedy discussion, having fun through communicating with others and darting, weaving, changing their ideas as the discussion evolves. However, it’s wise to recognise the more introverted members of the team as key contributors to group discussion and brainstorming, as their ideas will be thoroughly thought through before presenting their ideas, likely making their input solid and valuable. The key is allowing those sitting on the introverted side of the continuum more time and space beforehand and after the group meeting (ideas don’t stop just because the meeting has ended!) to allow individual reflection, thinking, writing and even some one on one discussion.

More extroverted team members are much more comfortable in social settings and therefore make great networkers, often being a valuable ‘go to’ person for initiating relationships between other people. Introverts on the other hand can be seen as less valuable in social situations. Again – beware of stereotyping. This can be a dangerous assumption to have about a more introverted personality type given their efficient internal processing skills, which can possibly make them better collaborators. Introverts are also arguably more receptive to other people’s ideas, displaying a more serious, deeper interest and consideration style.

Personality traits and collaboration

Human behaviour analysis is highly relevant to improving collaboration and teamwork.  Our work preferences affect how we behave, and how we behave affects the way we work with others.  When we collaborate successfully, we’re not only more likely to achieve individual, team and business goals, but in a harmonious and highly effective way.

Making everyone aware of the variation in individual work preferences and behavioural traits is the first step into effective and cohesive team development. From our experience, once team members understand and empathize, they synergize.

We highly recommend implementation of the globally recognised and validated behavioural profiling tool Facet5 in conjunction with any team development, as it provides exponential depth to our own self-awareness and to the understanding of our team members and why we behave the way we do.  Facet5 identifies how people within teams differ in their behaviour, motivation and attitudes, and more importantly, what can be achieved.  When cultivating best practice as a team within the workplace, Facet5 gives a deeper insight into our team’s orientation.  This understanding enables action plan development through insights gained into how your team approaches work and where it focuses attention in the following areas:

  • Decision making – who in your team is a ‘reflector’ or a ‘decider’?
  • Implementation – who prefers ‘understanding’ before ‘acting’ and vice versa?
  • Generating ideas – where do you sit on the continuum of ‘practicalities’ vs ‘possibilites’?
  • Evaluation – do you prefer a ‘revolution’, or do you prefer to ‘evolutionise’?
  • Emotionality – what affect do ‘tension’ and ‘apprehension’ have on the way you work and interact with your team?

These vital team elements are explored in our Team Development workshops in detail and revisited in our Growth Mindset workplace training to explore the continuum of growth and fixed mindset behaviours.  This team development foundation further enables the identification of unrealised potential through growth mindset practices.

So in answering the question “Do you have too many introverts or extroverts in your team?”, there’s no right or wrong personality type, however you do want to understand the dynamics of the team along the continuum of introvert and extrovert – remembering the majority of us fall somewhere along that continuum and there are rarely absolutes.  What do you need  in your team and for what purpose – ie your why?  In Facet5 terms, one of the areas we look at is Energy and how this affects our preferred implementation style. 

People with lower energy for instance may show these traits, with a work preference to understand:

  • Thinks ideas through well
  • Understand in depth
  • Keep discussions to a minimum
  • Present salient points
  • Debate at a specialist level
  • Rarely discuss personal issues
  • Prefer private research to open debate

In comparison people with higher energy will be more likely to show these behaviours, with a work preference to act:

  • Get started quickly
  • Talk and discuss freely
  • Show obvious enthusiasm
  • Are involved from the beginning
  • Are easily distracted
  • Interrupt others
  • Lose focus and direction

If you’re not sure where to start focusing on your own personality profiling or helping your team collaborate and thrive through insights into self and team behaviours, we already have a plan for you. We’ve done it before (lots!) and can take the pain out of the ‘doing’.

Sound great?  Unpack more than the usual tips on team development.  We explore a new approach using valid, reliable and credible psychology into identifying barriers in team efficiencies, leveraging team strengths and how individual personalities contribute to team dynamic.  You’ll even get to view a short video sneak peak into our Team Development workshop with our own highly sort after trainer and registered organisational psychologist Michelle Cieciura.

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Have ‘enough hours in the day’ with these 4 steps

Have ‘enough hours in the day’ with these 4 steps

Have ‘enough hours in the day’ with these 4 steps

And goal setting isn’t one of them.

Do you ever feel like time disintegrates like sand falling between your fingers? Do you find yourself thinking “I wish I had more time to get everything done”? You’re not alone! Nor are you alone in living in a world defined by time. Every minute that passes for you also passes for your colleagues, friends and family. The same day, week, year that passes is the same for everyone, and they were the same for mastermind entrepreneurs Richard Branson and Elon Musk.

So how do some people seem to be superhuman in their ability to be powerfully productive, achieving things that some of us dare only to dream of? These people are masters of leveraging their time to full capacity.

Like many of us in the business world, you’ve probably committed to and can check off everything on the time management list of:

  • Time management apps
  • Wall work planner
  • Diary with work organiser
  • Time management course
  • Realising none of the above helped you achieve everything you needed to do so you tried working into the night and across weekends to ‘just get stuff done’. Sure, you may have made some progress with that tactic, but we all know it can only be sustainable for a short period of time for genuine productivity. You could work a consistent 60hr week, but that doesn’t result in being effectively productive.

The hard news not many of us are willing to hear, take on board, develop some self-awareness around, is that until you actually start to take time seriously, managing time will always be an uphill battle. Read that again.

Step 1 – Become aware

Sounds simple, but it’s certainly not an ‘obvious’ step. And it’s the most critical.

Just in case you missed it – the hard news not many of us are willing to hear, take on board, develop some self-awareness around, is that until you actually start to take time seriously, managing time will always be an uphill battle.

We need to know what the cause of the problem is to know what the solution is. As Albert Einstein famously said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking of solutions.” This here, is the key to successful time management, which leads to brilliant productivity. By committing to a little self-awareness and identifying what our time management problem is, we’ve successfully implemented step one of putting an ongoing productivity plan into place.

Step 2 – Track using the 4 quadrants

Ever hear yourself say “I’m so busy!”? The important thing here is to ask yourself, “Doing what?”. Getting stuff done, doesn’t mean getting the right stuff done.

Stephen Covey highlights the importance of identifying ‘urgent’ vs ‘important’ tasks in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. By identifying what activities and tasks you spend time on and allotting them to one of the 4 quadrants below, you start to create a picture of where you’re spending most of your time (time management) and how appropriate that is in achieving what you need to achieve (productivity).

Are you spending time on activities that are important but non-urgent (long-term goals), important and urgent (emergencies and crises), urgent but not important (interruptions), or non-urgent and not important (distractions).

By keeping a time log (hang in there with me for a minute!) you start to understand where your ‘busy-ness’ is focused. To gain a useful perspective, I encourage people to keep a log for at least a couple of weeks. Just bring up a digital calendar and make some notes hour by hour. I know it sounds mundane, but let’s turn your perspective around so that you can actually get some value out of this critical step – it will serve you for a very long time to come. Think of your 60 seconds of writing per hour as a trigger to take a break. Taking regular breaks throughout the day is proven to increase productivity. So set your hourly timer for the next couple of weeks and spend a couple of minutes every hour writing down what you did, noting if it was low or high importance with low or high urgency.

Many of us find that most of our time is spent in the not urgent and not important quadrant of distractions. When we’re stuck in this quadrant, we’re in danger of the procrastination beast. We end up scrolling socials, watching Netflix or shopping mindlessly online instead of working towards our low urgent, highly important long-term goals.

When you continue to look back over your observations you’ll get to see which quadrant all your activities fall into. What did you focus on today? How much of it fell under the not urgent but important quadrant of long-term goals? To achieve them, you need to be focussing on realigning activities to ensure you’re doing at least something each day that contributes to long-term goals.

Realistically, yes of course you may be frequently interrupted or pulled in different directions. We can’t completely eliminate interruptions, but when you do, then YOU get to say to what extent. Just like you get to decide how much you want to achieve your goals and therefore how much time you will spend on them and their related activities that will lead to your own productivity and success.

It’s your choice. Their agenda or yours? Remember “Either you run the day, or the day runs you” – wise words from Jim Rohn.

Step 3 – Shine a flashlight on your habits

Highlight your identified areas for improvement, weaknesses and bad ‘habits’ (they’ll be there if you’ve been brutally honest with how you’re spending your time). Really illuminate them. Write them down and make them stand out.

By writing them down and making them visible, you’re forcing yourself to become aware of them versus just ‘thinking’ about them or being mindful of them, which will unfortunately ensure you revert back to those unproductive habits again over time. You don’t want that after investing valuable time to this point in a worthwhile process!

Don’t feel bad about it. If you never became aware of your time wasting or inefficient or unproductive behaviours, which eventually turn into unproductive habits, you’d never be in the stellar position you’re in now – the opportunity to change them!

Step 4 – Calculate the cost

You’ve identified where you’ve been spending your time, understood where you’re losing balance between the urgent and important stuff, and had some ‘a-ha’ moments around some less than desirable habits. Instead of trudging along and being determined to ramp up the willpower and ‘change your ways’, it’s time to calculate the actual cost of subpar time management.

(Warning: Willpower never works long term, but that’s a whole other article we don’t have time to delve into today. See, it works! There’s my low urgency low importance task being identified as a distraction right now).

As we continue steps 2 and 3 over longer periods of time, we reap the benefit of understanding where we’re wasting time instead of getting things done and achieving what we actually want to achieve. You may have discovered you’re a fireman (putting out fires for your community all day and not getting to your own priorities), or that you’re a socialite (finding energy from communicating with others, going out to lunch and spending just that little bit too much time having a chat over coffee), or that you’re the team’s ‘go to’ person for any problem or thing that needs to be done (because you always ‘solve’ the problems and ‘do’ the things!). Or you’ve uncovered some other identities hampering your own productivity goals.

And before you panic about ‘not’ continuing to live up to your assumed roles above, ask yourself, “What would happen if I stopped doing these things?” and put them into context of the cost of continuing to do them. So what would happen? Write it down. If the world really does fall apart or you identify a catastrophe, run it past someone else for a different perspective on whether or not your belief is really true. If nothing bad happens and you realise other people need to reach toward being responsible and accountable for themselves, then let them go ahead and do that thing or solve that problem. And you get onto yours.

The key question, after all of this brilliant detective work has been completed, is – “At what cost to you?” What financial, mental, physical or emotional costs have you paid? Has there been a cost to your wellbeing? Write them down. Again, don’t just think about them and consider them. Write those costs down. By doing that, you’ll start to realise just how costly your time management (or discovered lack thereof) has been, which will ultimately provide you with a ‘why’ on how important YOUR goals are.

If you’re not sure where to start focusing on your own time management or helping your team with workplace time and productivity, we already have a plan for you. We’ve done it before (lots!) and can take the pain out of the ‘doing’.

Sound great? Unpack more than the usual tips and habits around great time management by clicking here. You’ll even get to view a short video sneak peak into our Time Management sessions with our own highly sort after speaker and trainer Michael Harrington.

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8 Traits of Successful Sales People

8 Traits of Successful Sales People

8 Traits of Successful Sales People

Uncover your sales personality – even if you believe you don’t have one! With these simple methodologies, you can be a successful sales person.

Successful sales people are highly effective in their sales activities and behaviours
Good sales people know that their most important asset is the time available to them. They use smart qualifying approaches to ensure that they are talking to the right people at the right times about the right things. They are not afraid to say “No” to unhelpful requests for their time.

They start a discussion easily and control it subtly
Good sales people understand the importance of putting clients at ease and using smart questions to subtly influence the direction and tone of any meeting. They always prepare thoroughly for client meetings.

They are focused on developing strong relationships with clients
The most important factor in any effective client relationship is trust. Good sales people recognise that being trusted is much more important than being liked and will always do what it takes to ensure that client trust remains strong (even if it means telling the client some bad news!)

Renowned sales expert Zig Ziglar provides worthwhile advice when he says:

“If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”

They help people identify real needs
Sales people want to help clients. Ineffective sales people clutch at any client expression of interest as something to work on. Good sales people use smart questions to identify the real client pain points so they can offer genuine value by helping them identify and address their real needs.

They help people identify real needs
Sales people want to help clients. Ineffective sales people clutch at any client expression of interest as something to work on. Good sales people use smart questions to identify the real client pain points so they can offer genuine value by helping them identify and address their real needs.

They ask great questions and listen effectively to the responses
Sales people have no more important skills than the ability to ask the right questions and then listen and respond effectively to the answers they receive. Good sales people understand questioning techniques (including open, closed and high gain styles) and prepare their core questions in advance of meetings.

They understand and can articulate what they have to offer
Far too many sales people forget to look at their benefits from the client viewpoint and consequently their value messages fail the ‘So What?’ test of client relevance. Good sales people make their value messages clear so that it is easy for clients to buy from them.

They have a process
Good sales people know that sales is not a black art…it is a science. As such they have and use a sales process that incorporates all the topics that have been addressed above. In addition they practice and reinforce the various steps until they achieve their desired level of competence.

They don’t look like they’re selling
Ask people what made a sales experience good for them and they will often tell you that they didn’t feel like they were being sold to.

Effective sales people spend the time to become comfortable with their sales process, their questioning skills and their value articulation. By doing this they appear natural and ‘not selling’. As a successful sales person, it’s when you master this that you are at your most effective.

If you’re not sure where to start…

Whether you’re an ‘accidental sales person’ or in a corporate environment, we can arm you with the practical skills, discipline and confidence needed for consistent sales success. Enable your teams to see things from a ‘customer’ point of view and help them identify and articulate the true value their business is offering.

Our sales expert Gordon Smith is a highly sort after sales trainer both in Australia and overseas. His training ideas and approaches are now successfully used by several thousand people around the world, including “passing the so what test” and the “6 magic words of benefit statements”.

Unpack the mystery around developing great sales habits through our Professional Sales Skills workshop by clicking here. Enjoy a short video sneak peak into our sessions here.

Participants who have engaged in our Professional Sales Skills workshops have so far reported and enjoyed a 72% improvement in “the ability to articulate my company’s offering and their value to the prospect or client”.

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Taking time to think strategically

Taking time to think strategically

Taking time to think strategically

From time to time, we all need a reminder to consciously make the time and put in the effort to work on our business instead of allowing ourselves to get caught up working in it.

Did you know that only 2% of employees can name their company’s top business priorities?*

As a business manager or senior management leader your job is to create the why for your business. Your people need a clear vision to align with so that your business can be what we all want our businesses to be – a successful, revenue producing, profitable success! Without vision and a reason for why you’re doing what you’re doing in your business, your people are basically busy, running to the next thing to be even busier and being consumed by ‘busyness’. But what are they so ‘busy’ doing? They may be being productive creating and implementing ‘things’, but without a vision or a reason why, they cannot possibly hope to contribute in a meaningful way to a flourishing business.

When did you last put aside dedicated time and personal commitment to working ‘on’ your business? I mean really did it. With no ‘running’ the business distractions, blocking your diary and having the courage to say ‘no’ to anything else?

When did you last:

  • Work on and truly understand your why and your business purpose?
  • Develop a genuine level of clarity on your purpose?
  • Create a mission?
  • Develop transformational business objectives?
  • Create a plan to achieve your mission and objectives to align with your purpose?
  • Refine your business and marketing plans (because you’re measuring success too – right?)
  • Dedicate time to seek the wood through the trees? Look at the big picture? Reflect and rewrite your SWOT (internal and external business environments change! – so should your SWOT and therefore your plans)
  • Actually write it all down in a business planning document?
  • Communicate your purpose and plan to the rest of your business?
  • Talk to your mentor (no matter how experienced you are, a sounding board at least is always a great idea, but developing a relationship with a mentor to guide you through challenges, successes and find key learnings, is even better).
  • Let go of the need to do everything yourself because no one can do it as well or efficiently as you?

Hmmmm…that last one’s a whole other realm isn’t it?

But when we’re honest with ourselves, this question has the ability to uncover a lot and help us answer why we never seem to get around to doing the important versus urgent things.

Never had a mentor? We encourage you to seek out and develop a mentoring relationship – you can find tips here. As Lailah Gifty Akita said, “Every great achiever is inspired by a great mentor”. If you need a reason why it’s so important for you to work on your ‘why’ and diarise it for next week right now, take a look at Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle” theory which explains your clients’ behaviour and thinking around how they engage with you and your business. Tip: it has little to do with your products and services and lots to do with your business’ purpose – your why.

Warning: If you never work on your business (aka organisation, business unit, team, vision), never be so confident to expect your business will ever function to it’s maximum ability. It won’t. It’s that simple.

As business managers and leaders, our staff look to us for the why and the inspiration. And it’s ok for us to look to our staff for inspiration too! Simon Sinek reminds us – “None of us has the strength to do it alone. We need people to encourage and inspire us so we can encourage and inspire others.” Never think you need to do this on your own. Yes, you’re driving the planning process, but who do you have in your team that can provide you with inspiration, ideas, creativity and a little blue sky thinking when you need some “out of the square” ideas to consider? The difference between a connected staff member and a disengaged (or ‘busy’) one could be as simple as moving focus away from their usual day to day ‘working in the business’ protocol and moving toward ‘working on the business’. Including team members in decision making, problem solving and strategy or tactic development, encourages collaboration, helps them feel valued and view their contributions as worthwhile. Especially if you have team members working from home in the current climate, strengthening a remote workforce will be a top priority to reap the benefits of engagement and productivity.

It’s also critical to know what your ‘working on the business’ teams are capable of. Who do you have actually leading and driving your strategic thinking and planning? Occasionally we see managers promote their ‘star performers’ who are highly productive, motivated and engaged into senior positions responsible for driving strategy. Occasionally, there are missing building blocks which enable these star performers to move from productive implementation to strategic development. We assume they simply have the ‘intuition’ to get it done without the necessary experience or explicit training.

So who is doing the designing, planning and refining of your business strategy? Do your driving managers understand what strategy is? Do they understand the difference between strategy, objectives and tactics and how they feed into each other and the business planning process? As leaders, we can sometimes make the assumption that the teams we give responsibility to for planning and refining business plans, understand how to do this effectively, when this isn’t always the case. This is a great place to start reflecting before we hand over the reigns to the driving force of strategic planning.

From a ‘people’ perspective, working ‘on’ the business also encompasses taking a step back and remembering that our people are part of our business. So how do we ‘work on’ our people? I don’t know a manager whose main objectives wouldn’t include; fostering staff engagement, increasing productivity, nourishing staff morale, developing team relationships, nurturing staff wellbeing and developing a positive growth mindset. However, monitoring these elements of wellbeing and culture has become more complex for managers as a result of many businesses’ recent change to remote working. But it remains essential for the health of your employees and the health of your business.

If you’re not sure where to start working on your business, or you want to be a part of a team working on your planning with an expert facilitating the process for you, or you need a sounding board up front, we already have a plan for you. We’ve done it before (lots!) and can take the pain out of the ‘doing’.

Leaders and managers that have engaged in our Organisational Strategy & Development sessions have so far reported and enjoyed an 81% improvement in “the importance of spending time on ‘my team’ by planning and setting goals for our management team and my own area of responsibility”.

Sound great? Unpack more around working on your business by clicking here. You’ll even get to view a short video sneak peak into our Organisational Strategy & Development sessions with our own Managing Director John Smith.

*15Five, “How to launch, track and achieve your objectives and key results”, 2020.

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Growth Mindset? Try this Revealing Exercise

Growth Mindset? Try this Revealing Exercise

Growth Mindset

Have you been faced with great opportunities or impossible situations?

Try this revealing end of week exercise to find out!

Amidst this new way of being and working, we find ourselves navigating new territory. Our work environment is different (maybe there are less people around or you’re working from home), the way we work is different (you’re dealing with many more emails because instant face to face with the person usually sitting next to you isn’t an option) and how we manage our day is different (you may have children at home while you’re working). There are so many variables and dozens more not listed here – but the sentiment remains true – we find ourselves navigating new territory. And that can be uncomfortable.

Uncomfortable is ok. Resisting it is where we run into problems.

Understanding and acknowledging how uncomfortable this new way of being and working is, is the key to continuing growth and productivity. Acknowledging this for yourself and for the people that work with you is a worthwhile and valuable exercise. All will unfold by the end of this article. For some there will be an ‘a-ha’ moment, and for others there will be a surprising realisation and a calming long breath out.

Reflecting on what you, your business and your people have achieved over the last few weeks, how amazed can you be on your collective ability to evolve? In what we can sometimes consider to be ‘a mess’, Charles Swindoll reminds us:
“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities, brilliantly disguised as impossible situations”

Writing down our thoughts helps us to separate ourselves from the ocean of thoughts swirling around in our minds (what do I need to do next, what am I having for lunch, did I remember to send that email, what time is my Zoom meeting today, I need to get to the end of this article to tick it off my to do list…..) to focusing on one thing. This is the essence of productivity.
In knowing that, you have the permission to take a breath and the next 2 minutes to be productive by getting one important thing done.

Reflect on and understand what you have personally achieved in a short period of time and therefore the capacity you have to continue to move forward. Take a minute now to write down a couple of things you’ve achieved over the last couple of weeks that you’re proud of. If you have writers block, take another breath and ask yourself the question “what have I achieved at work during this transition?”

And wait. An answer will come.

It may be leading people in online collaboration, or something that’s surprised you in a shift in your environment such as developing creativity skills you never knew you had. Also know, you don’t need to list successful ‘outcomes’ to goals you may have had. Remember to acknowledge what you’ve courageously tried and may not have worked, so you applied a different process to achieve the same thing ie. you didn’t ‘give up’.

Over to you – set a timer on your phone for sixty seconds of scribing about your achievements.

Now do the same for the people that work with you. What are you happy with? What are you grateful for? What has surprised you? Take the next 60 seconds to understand what they have achieved in this transitional period. Have they used the initiative to consciously set up a productive work environment at home? Have they shown new capacity to take the lead in collaborating with their team in their new working world? Do you have coaches you didn’t know about helping other employees that are struggling with a new way of working?

Over to you – set a timer on your phone for sixty seconds of scribing about your people’s achievements.

So when we go back to the original question of: “Reflecting on what you, your business and your people have achieved over the last few weeks, how amazed can you be on your collective ability to evolve?”, you’ll now fully understand the power of taking just a couple of minutes to answer that.

Reflection and acknowledgement of what we’ve achieved can give us a relieving sense of control when we feel like the situation is out of control. We understand it’s not out of control, it’s actually just a situation that’s new. And when situations are new, we feel uncomfortable.

Now you have two lists. One that represents what you’ve achieved and feel great about. A second that represents what your people have achieved and you feel grateful for. Don’t stop there or underestimate what you’ve created in the last two minutes. Here are two tips on the next steps to take in building on that captured productivity:

  1. Acknowledge it: Put your list somewhere visible to you and acknowledge what you’ve achieved. Give yourself a moment to feel a bit chuffed about it. Do the same with the list you have for the people working with you. Share it with them and acknowledge them. Share a moment with them to be chuffed about it and allow them to understand their contribution is worthwhile.
  2. Add to it: Continue to add to both lists to create a process of celebrating (which can be as simple as sharing and acknowledging) achievement.

Once we take the time to notice what we’ve achieved, including the mistakes we made or the obstacles we overcame, no matter how small the step, it’s much easier to continue taking the next step.

Uncomfortable? That’s great! Take the next step – it can be as small as you like.

Our Growth Mindset workshop participants have so far reported and enjoyed a 92% improvement in “gather tips and ideas in dealing with inevitable challenges in developing growth mindset behaviours”. Some of the direct participant feedback we’ve had in our most recent workshop includes:

  • “This workshop was so motivating”
  • “I’d like another day of training on this to find out even more”

Sound great? Unpack more around developing Growth Mindset behaviours in your team by clicking here to view a short video sneak peak into our Growth Mindset workshop with our expert facilitator and qualified teacher Kaylene Ball.

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Leadership and change – understand the real secrets

Leadership and change - understand the real secrets

Leadership and change – understand the real secrets

In business, most of us have been cautioned at some point that, “If you’re not moving forwards you’re actually going backwards.” In essence, this cuts to the core of why change is so essential to a positive and healthy business.

Change is the central element of growth and it requires vision, a driving team and a tight context to be delivered positively. It is the domain of leaders.

On the other hand, consistency, which may apply to product, quality, profit or even to some degree organic growth, is a different objective. It is the domain of managers.

Considering these two side by side, it is not hard to see why consistency and change (indeed managers and leaders) are often challenging to tie together.

The #1 secret for achieving change

The #1 secret for achieving change is that there is no secret for achieving change. Indeed, achieving change in itself is quite easy, as our political leaders show us time after time.

The real challenge is achieving change that is both positive and sustainable. Taking steps to ensure this occurs is the art of great leadership.

Ask the tough questions

I sometimes wonder whether it is harder to know where you are really starting from or where you are specifically trying to get. Pull on your thickest skin, get someone else to identify and ask the questions that need to be asked and don’t let your ego rob you of the truthful introspection that should follow.

It may make the difference between your success and failure. It may also be the difference between business success and failure.

“Feel” and accept the true reasons for change

Identifying the specifics for your ‘change vision’ and also the specifics of your ‘deep and heart-centered’ reason for change is tough. If there is a key requirement (you just said there isn’t a secret) for achieving positive and sustainable change, this is it.

Recognise the types of people you need to drive your change vision. Take some time to identify specifically who they might be and then what it is about your vision that might move them.

Develop a simple plan for leadership and change

From here on, the key elements of your success are sticking to what works, keeping it simple and continuing to fuel the passion that binds your driving team to your vision.

Try to involve your driving team in this process of identifying the repeatable tasks that will achieve your objective and the resources available / needed.

Next you will need to identify the finite list of potential blockers and develop contingency plans to achieve positive and sustainable outcomes. Keeping on track and achieving positive and sustainable change is a 99% leadership and 1% management mixture of fuel, context and accountability.

Take a deep breath and be prepared to be human, to concede error and to be open to change yourself.

You will be respected and followed as a leader in a far more powerful manner when you have the courage to do these things.

This article is an excerpt from Stuart Hayes’ article in “My Business Magazine”.

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Training for people, who need people who understand people

Training for people, who need people who understand people

Training for people, who need people who understand people

Think back to your school days. Remember the teachers who made a difference, the ones that in some way still have influence on your life today. Chances are they were the ones who brought more than just the curriculum to the chalkboard. They provided experience and treated you with respect. They didn’t talk down to you, they engaged with you in a way you could understand. That experience made lessons come to life and those lessons still may resonate with you today.

There is no substitute for experience

Only those with real life experience are allowed to facilitate DST peoples training and development programs. There are no juniors learning on the job. Our management experts work with modules they have had a hand in developing. Those modules are built on decades of real world experience working directly with people. What DST people do is not theoretical.

It is practical and it achieves real, measureable and long-term change because our people have decades of experience getting the best out of people.

…and the winner is?

Almost all of those who participated in our courses have found our training inspiring and noticed a marked improvement in the way they work. Want to hear more? Click here to see what our clients and course participants have to say about us.

But as they say, ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’, so if you want to understand the DST people difference you need to contact us and discover first hand what we can do to help you achieve your goals.

Contact us on 03 9555 9050 or email js@dstgroup.com.au to learn more about our training & development options.

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Complimentary training & development review

Complimentary training & development review

Complimentary training & development review

Many organisations fail to realise the full potential of their people, simply because they don’t continue to develop that potential. Similarly, an organisation’s culture can be poisoned by poor communication, leading to misunderstanding, resentment, poor behaviour and less-than-stellar performance. It is rare that individuals alone are to blame for these failings. The right training & development can transform an organisation and its people. Our staff are not naturally equipped with the skills to cope with the variety of personality types found in business. We are often surprised when people fail to work well together. This can be costly. The right training can make a big difference and help your people learn to communicate and work together much more effectively.

Why do organisations fail to invest in training & development?

According to Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” great companies invest significantly in their key people. So why don’t all organisations invest in their greatest assets outside technical training? They may see training such as effective communication, team development and managing conflict as a low priority, but this view is counter-intuitive.

Why pay so much for your people, then not equip them with the skills to make them as effective as possible.

Consider that an investment of 5% of a team member’s salary in training could yield an increase in productivity of 30% and you begin to understand the value of ongoing training & development.

Complimentary training & development review by DST people

Organisations without a history of team development training quickly become evangelists once they experience first hand the transformation effect it has on its people and productivity.

We have discovered that the most difficult part of this process is understanding where to start. So DST people is now helping organisations with a complimentary training & development review consultation.

We’re making the process easy to start. Meet with us to discuss your people challenges and we will advise you on how to develop the culture you’re looking for.

Contact us on 03 9555 9050 or email js@dstgroup.com.au to learn more about our training & development options.

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A brief insight into the world of DST people

A brief insight into the world of DST people

A brief insight into the world of DST people

 

An interview with John Smith, Managing Director of DST corporate

John Smith gives a brief insight into the world of DST people. John discusses what differentiates DST people from other organisations in the HR sector and how DST people works with mid size organisations.

DST people’s range of services includes organisational development & planning, role success profiling, professional sales, skills training, managing performance, high performance leadership training, outplacement support, succession & career planning, conflict management & prevention, effective team development, as well as personality & cognitive assessments.

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