Friday, 30 January 2009

Which Words Are You Afraid Of?

Are these the Five Scariest Words?

Yes, I Can and I Will: These can be the scariest words in the English language because once said they define your commitment. For example, “I will attend the meeting,” or “I can commit to coming to rugby training every week,” or “Yes, I will help you on Saturday’s project.”

They are the “I’ll Make It Happen” words. These five words say you are willing to take responsibility and be held accountable for the successful completion of a task. For example, when you say "Yes, I’ll have the report done by Friday” you have stepped forward and made a commitment.
Commitments can be scary to many people, but they don’t have to be. At first, make commitments to accomplish tasks that you are confident you will succeed in. Then build on those successes with commitments that stretch your capabilities. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed. The skills you learn from your accomplishments will help you throughout your life.

Suggestions for implementation:
1.Count the number of times in a week that you use the “I’ll Make It Happen” words: Yes, I can or I will.
2.Have fun seeing who in the team (or family) can use these five words the most during a week.
3.Once a team member has made a commitment to do something by using the yes, I can or I will words, help him or her to be successful with the project.
4.Reinforce the importance of these words to your team.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Zen Teachings for the 21st Century?

OK, this is one I've seen versions of before and was sent to me by a very good friend, (Thanks, Tim) intending to be funny and politically incorrect. However, there are many truths in these and some that fit the blog title and aims very well - you can decide which they are.

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me for the path is narrow. In fact, just **** off and leave me alone.

2. Sex is like air. It's not important unless you aren't getting any.

3. No one is listening until you fart.

4. Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.

5. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

6. If you think nobody cares whether you're alive or dead, try missing a couple of mortgage payments.

7. Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

8. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

9. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

10. If you lend someone £20 and never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.

11. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

12. Some days you are the bug; some days you are the wind screen.

13. Don't worry; it only seems kinky the first time.

14. Good judgment comes from bad experience, and most of that comes from bad judgment.

15. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

16. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

17. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

18. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

19. We are born naked, wet and hungry, and get slapped on our ass ...then things just get worse.

20. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Coaching Tips from the Rugby pitch

Those who know me will be aware that my great passion away from work is rugby. In this posting I want to cross fertilise from rugby to management development. (It probably went the other way first, to be honest.) I picked up the following from a rugby coaching website. I had intended to rewrite it, but it needs little translation - just substitute learners for players etc.:

* The Magnificent Seven *

How great questioning can lead to great learning

By Peter Tann, qualified rugby coach and sports psychologist

By getting your players to answer key questions, you will help them to learn from training sessions. You may also find willing and able sources of help and innovative ideas.

1. Plan
Plan meaningful questions for the training session ahead. You should:
  • Consider the nature of the task and the players' willingness to contribute to it.
  • Write your questions down.
  • Make sure your questions are appropriate for your players' levels of knowledge and understanding

2. Don't Give the Answer

Avoid giving your players the answer. This takes ownership of the problem-solving and decision-making process away from them.
There will be times when you have to intervene - but that's why you are the coach!
In which case, try to quickly revert back to encouraging the players to come to their own conclusions.

3. Draw-out a Response

Give your players time to think about a problem. You will find they will tend to respond more frequently and with more meaningful and valid responses.
This can be a difficult technique for coaches to learn, however. To give the players time to answer a question, you can:
Listen to a response without repeating it.
Give players time to think in silence.
Avoid demanding an answer from a specific player immediately after asking a question. Note that once you've identified a player to answer, the others may tend to "relax" and stop thinking.
Avoid "Yes, but..." reactions to a player's answer. These can indicate a rejection of the player's ideas and may make them less likely to contribute in the future.

4. Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is far more likely to motivate players to respond enthusiastically and appropriately to future questions.
So praise players for their contributions, even if you think they still have a long way to go.
To effectively reinforce an answer you can: Praise the answer. For instance, "That's a really interesting idea. Well done! Can you tell us how you came up with it?"
Be honest and sincere with praise.
Also use non-verbal praise, such as smiles, eye contact, thumbs up, etc.
Avoid lots of "Uh-huh", "Yep/Yeah" or "Okay" comments. These can indicate disinterest in the answer being given.

5. Prompts

Use prompts to remind players about previous learning. For example, a coach might ask a player a question about their mental coping strategies, whilst asking them about how they have been dealing with errors.
You might say, "How did you react after you gave away that penalty for hands in the ruck? Think about the mental skills we discussed last week."

6. Question Evenly

Consciously direct questions so all your players have the opportunity to contribute.
Even if a player is initially reluctant, considerate questioning by the coach can enable them to grow in confidence and participate.

7. Independent Observation

Ask someone to observe and evaluate your use of questions.

That last one takes some courage, but is a useful tip.

Good Advice from High Flying Leaders

Reading this morning's papers I came across some good advice from two high flyers from the aviation industry.

Firstly a wonderful piece from Barbara Cassani, former head of Go Fly budget airline, where she shared some tips on success, para-phrased here:

It’s people that make a business fly....

  • Break down the hierarchy
  • Avoid double talk - Be open with staff.
  • Encourage people to try things. Everyone makes mistakes but we reacted quickly and didn’t spend a lot of time pointing fingers or blaming people.
  • Pick a good team of people and “not people who were like me”
  • Recognise your own weaknesses and limitations and account for that.
  • Make the time to visit employees, factories, shops or offices, schedule into diaries three months ahead.
  • Say thanks to staff. It’s easy, cheap and makes a massive difference.

The other was my old shipmate and everybody's favourite business character, Richard Branson who said "Almost everything I've learned, I've learned by doing" - More support for experiential learning!

And Just for Fun ..... You may have seen the TV advert, but do visit:

Sunday, 4 January 2009

New Year Resolutions - Goal Setting

  • Happy New Year,

    At this time of year, it is common for people to make resolutions about the future. The mental health charity, Mind warns against this, saying that resolutions which focus on issues such as the need to lose weight or job worries create a negative self-image and if the plans fail to materialise, that could trigger feelings of failure and inadequacy. Rather they advocate thinking positively about the year to come and what you can achieve.

    The tradition of New Year's Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C.. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar. With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.

    According to one website the most popular resolutions are:

    1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
    2. Fit in Fitness
    3. Tame the Bulge
    4. Quit Smoking
    5. Enjoy Life More
    6. Quit Drinking
    7. Get Out of Debt
    8. Learn Something New
    9. Help Others
    10. Get Organized

    For those following a learning journey, we should all recognise that this is not something we should do just at new year and certainly not during a moment of madness fuelled by champagne or sambuca! Rather our goals need to be considered carefully and reviewed regularly to be effective. With that in mind here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts of goal setting:

    Do Visualise your desired outcome. (What will success look like)
    Don't Start with a defeatist attitude
    Do Write down your course of action in an easy step-by-step format that can be checked off with each accomplishment
    Don't Try to memorise all of the steps as most will be forgotten
    Do Think positive all the time
    Don't Let yourself be overcome with the negatives or set backs
    Do Surround yourself in motivating factors and keep them in easy to spot locations
    Don't Forget the reason you set your goal in the first place
    Do Set your plan of action as soon as you know what you want and start right away
    Don't Put off beginning your course of action
    Do Be realistic in your setting your goals
    Don't Set your goals too high to achieve them
    Do Be specific in the goals you choose
    Don't Set goals that are too vague
    Do Learn to be organised in your thinking patterns
    Don't Let anything stand in the way of achieving your goals
    Do Make an effort to keep track of all of your achievements
    Don't Downplay your achievements, you are keeping yourself motivated
    Do Share your achievements with those around you
    Don't Let yourself get off track, stay focused on your goals!

    Best Regards,