Yes! And® Blog

94 Reduce Risk Creatively …

YES! AND… # 94 By placing yourself in the future and visualising why something has gone wrong, you can help ensure it goes right… “One does not have to be a mad scientist to travel in time” – Authors of research paper: “Back to the future. Temporal Perspective in the Explanation of Events”</ How might you help ensure that a project does not go wrong? Curious? As many of you know, I like to try different techniques that I encounter. Researching material for an article last year, I stumbled across one such technique from Gary Klein of Applied Research Associates (you can find a copy of his article here). In the article, Gary talks about using a technique called the Premortem at the beginning of a project. Instead of asking project members, “What might go wrong with this project?”, Gary has people think themselves into the future when the project has gone wrong and asks, “What went wrong?” In Gary’s version, individuals write down as many reasons as they can, the project leader records these on a flipchart and then uses the data to strengthen the project plan. This technique is based on a concept known as Prospective Hindsight. Research on this concept has shown that people are able to come up with richer and more numerous explanations of why an event might happen when they are told to imagine that the event has actually happened. So Having read Gary’s article, I decided to use his technique with a client’s project team. In their case, they were working on a pilot of a major project that had to deliver... read more

131 Have Your Team Create Itself …

Yes! And… # 131 Let teams organise themselves for greater performance “A hippie celebrates Christmas too… just differently.”   German police report Could your team design their own structure?          As a leader, I recommended to transfer a call centre operation from London to our much larger call centre in the USA. We made the decision and informed staff. It was critical to the success of the operation that the team continued to provide excellent service until the moment of the live transfer. It was vital therefore to maintain morale and motivate people over the six month transition period, while they worked in the call centre and sought other jobs in the organisation. To facilitate this, I arranged a planning workshop with four representatives of the call centre, its management and HR. One question I had for the representatives was, “What will help motivate people in the call centre to maintain a high standard of service until the transfer?” When preparing this question, I thought through a number of possible responses and discussed these with HR. What would be top of your list of likely responses? Salary increase? Bonuses? Their response surprised me: “We would like pot plants on each desk to make the centre brighter.” Naturally there were other requests, like help to find new jobs etc., but the plants were the first and there were no financial requests. I agreed to the pot plants and after the meeting, arranged for them to go to a shop to choose the plants. It cost us £75. By the time of the operational transfer, I was told... read more

117 Make Progress With the Progress Canvas…

Yes! And Blog #117 Help your team progress with the Progress Canvas… “I never cry about what I don’t have. I’m always positive. I am happy with the team I have and I am confident that we can do well.”  Fabio Capello, former England football coach and optimist On the TV back in 2010, pundits were discussing what had to be done to enable England to win the World Cup, England having gone out in the second round (Round of Sixteen), losing to Germany 4 – 1. Eight years later, having achieved the semi finals, it seems England have made  progress. How might England have achieved that progress? In my work, I use a tool called the Progress Canvas with teams. This is based on one known as the Strategy Canvas (see here for original article). The Progress Canvas provides a simple way for teams to describe the future they want, make progress towards it and monitor how they are doing. You use the tool in steps: Step 1: Detail a preferred future by asking, “What would we, our customers and other stakeholders notice when we are successful?” I like to have teams draw a picture and then document  this, but there are many alternatives. Step 2: Identify the five to six areas your customers / stakeholders would say you must focus  on to achieve success: Discuss if these focus areas really are critical to success and whether collectively they will enable you to achieve success Avoid having more than 5 – 6 focus areas, otherwise they are unlikely to be focus areas. Step 3: On a scale of 1... read more

8 Be a creative leader

YES! AND…blog # 8   “You have the capability to lead. Even if others are not yet ready to follow you can still lead yourself. You can be a leader of one.”    John Brooker inspired by the words of Tony Robbins Do you want to be a creative leader? I once attended an Anthony Robbins weekend “seminar”. It was an awesome event. I can best describe it as a self development rock concert, so may I suggest before you read on, you put on the music that most makes you want to dance round the room screaming “Yes”. Tony is a motivational coach. He has a lot of thoughtful information to impart, delivering it with an enthusiasm that fires up 12000 people (and that’s before the fire walk). One point he made that resonated with me I have written as the quotation above. Read it again. Does this ring true with those of you trying to enhance creativity and innovation in your organisation but finding it a challenge?   At times, that challenge can daunt you, especially if others are not yet ready to follow. If others are unwilling, there is still something you can do. You can focus on you leading you to be consistently creative, to build your own creative climate and to lead by example. Here are six ideas to be your own creative leader. You might like to develop this list to suit you. Develop a vision for what your work place or home life will be like when YOU are being truly creative and innovative. What will it look, feel, sound, taste and... read more

96 Facilitate people to communicate effectively

YES! AND…Blog 96 “Whatever people say or do, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different.” – Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo How might you help people communicate more positively? On a course,  my colleague, Caroline, had asked people to volunteer to tell the group their favourite “moan”.  Jason, a dog owner, regaled us with his moan about irresponsible dog owners who let their dogs poop on the pavement, fail to keep them under control and risk them attacking other dogs. Fast forward two days. Out riding my bike on the cycle track around the local lake, I crossed over a small bridge, started up the hill and wham! A bundle of black and white furry Collie came hurtling towards me, barking furiously, with its owner chasing it. Dogs have chased and barked at me before on my bike and I have had no issue, usually stopping to pet them. However, before I could stop, this delightful Collie decided to bite my calf. Perhaps the Collie’s a vegetarian and in my fluorescent yellow jacket and black shorts I resembled a banana; whatever the cause, I managed to fend it off until the owner controlled it. She voiced an apology and I rode off, smiling at the irony of being bitten after hearing Jason’s story. Caroline had asked people to “moan” because she wanted to demonstrate a technique called Positive Intent, which is designed to help people avoid being dragged in to a negative discussion. This technique is based on a presupposition from Neuro Linguistic Programming that every behaviour... read more

133 Encourage Action

Yes! And… # 133 How do you  innovate and maintain the operation? Use Sprint Actions “Great acts are made up of small deeds” – Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher Are your people struggling to effect change and run the operation? Some of you may be the type of person to pull out a toolkit at first sight of a drawer knob dropping off or other domestic issue. To my discredit, I can always find something more interesting to do and many jobs build up before begrudgingly, I complete them. However, when our bathroom door hinge recently developed a very high-pitched squeal that grated on the teeth, I lubricated it quickly with WD40. It was easy and the WD40 was handily under the kitchen sink (that had a knob on the door). I wish I could write an article about a tool that cures management issues as easily as WD40 cures many household issues, however, the squeaky door hinge provides a good analogy. When a management team has a “to do” list of more pressing things to do, it takes a very squeaky issue to replace an action on the list. However, I am sure most of you have sat in meetings and created a large list of additional actions to add to the already full “to do” list. Many people are enthusiastic and accept the actions; others are pressured to take them. It is no surprise though that people often fail to take actions because the issue is not squeaky enough. This is especially the case when new actions are about creating change and the existing actions are dealing with operational issues... read more