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Overcome Challenges – Yes! And…

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...

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...

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...

Creative Leaders – Quickly Improve Team Performance [Yes! And Blog 124]

“Anyone got a Swiss Army Knife?”  Construction worker in a TV programme   This facilitator’s scaling tool can help your team improve performance very quickly…   I am on the way to the airport, stuck in traffic jams in snowy weather. To complete my joy, I have just received a text telling me that my flight home is cancelled and the next flight is in seven hours. So I thought I would do something enjoyable and write the blog in the back of the cab. Recently, I ran a facilitation master class, something I have run successfully many times for MBA students. I go into this class without a plan and have attendees write on Post It notes what they want to know about facilitation. I have two hours to provide and demonstrate all the answers. On this occasion, an attendee wrote that he wanted a multi purpose tool to help him facilitate meetings quickly. This article shares with you the tool I provided to the students. It is based on “Scaling”, a tool from Solutions Focus, a methodology I use a lot. To make it more real for you, imagine you are a creative leader working with a team (I used “facilitation” as the class topic).  Here are the steps that I put together on the spot from my experience: Ask them to consider what would be happening if they were performing really badly, the worst team in the organisation, world, wherever. Assign that description as “1” on a scale. Have them describe the benefits if they were performing brilliantly as a team.  Assign that description a “10”....

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...

Use Scaling As a Measurement Tool [Yes! And Blog 41]

“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving; we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it; but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” Oliver Wendell Holmes JR. American Supreme Court Judge   Scaling is a simple but powerful tool that uses subtle questions to create a positive state and movement in people. The other day, I ran a two hour workshop on Solutions Focused Fund Raising for a group of school fund raisers at their conference in Manchester. On the train journey I wrote down my intention for the day. “To make the workshop as good as I can and something unexpected will arise from it.” Well, it certainly did! During the workshop, I introduced the group to the Solutions Focus method. This is an approach to change that concentrates on what is going well, clarifying the facts of a problem and then seeking solutions rather than analysing the causes of the problem. It is very motivating. The workshop ran really well, the whole room of people were in flow and the energy was amazing. As a final exercise I ran “Scaling”, asking, “On a scale of 1 – 10, how confident are you that you could reach your perfect fundraising future?” Scaling is a great technique that you can use anywhere in facilitation and coaching because it is very flexible and can produce powerful results. One way to run it is to have a group of people stand on a scale marked out on the floor and...