Listen up! When this team wanted to round off their day with some music this got them working together, listening, laughing, having fun and most of all making music together as a team!
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
Whichever, the profiteroles were great and the team worked beautifully together which obviously came out in their cooking!
Now if we could just add a bit more cream.....
Thursday, 16 October 2008
How often do you wish that you had fewer problems? We all do at some point. But supposing we wished for more skills to deal with those problems instead?
A problem is an issue if we don’t have the resources to deal with it. Whilst many issues are not of our own making, nevertheless knowing that you have the resources to deal with whatever is thrown at you can turn a nightmare situation into a manageable challenge.
Personal and management development can ensure that individuals have the skills they need to deal with difficult situations when they arise. Whether it is dealing with people, budgets, projects, or planning, knowing what to do, who to ask or where to find out the answer can make all the difference.
And for businesses, knowing that their staff are flexible, knowledgeable and competent can make the difference between loss and survival or indeed survival and growth!
Don’t wish for change, change what you wish for.
Don’t wish for less challenge, accept the challenge and wish for more wisdom to both understand and overcome the challenge.
Monday, 18 August 2008
We have done just that by teaming up with The Music Gym to allow us to provide team building using audio and sound technology, originally designed for the disabled, but adapted to create a great experience for others as well. And whilst we are having fun and helping others learn about teams, and team dynamics, some of the the fee goes back to helping the disabled. Great eh?
Sunday, 6 July 2008
Masterchef Peter Bayless joined our Team Building day last week, bringing his own spin on cooking pasta to the fray. With recipes such as Between the Blankets and Putanesca Sauce the team had fun making the pasta and eating the results. Thanks Peter.
Monday, 30 June 2008
1. Motivating employees starts with motivating yourself. Find out what motivates you and use it.
2. Each person is motivated by different things. The first thing you need to do is to find out what it is that really motivates each of your employees.
3. Few of us have the outstanding qualities of inspirational figures such as Nelson Mandela but we all have an ability to inspire employees in small but meaningful ways. When people are inspired they become more enthusiastic, motivated and engaged which invariably improves their performance
4. Killer whales like fish. Their trainers use it to raise the bar that they jump over – a bit at a time.
5. Learn to let go – you need to trust people to use their own judgment .
Friday, 2 May 2008
1. Know your subject - there is nothing worse than some talking about something they know nothing about. The audience will see through you. Do your research and you will feel much more relaxed.
2. Understand your audience - know who they are and what they want to get out of being there. Remember, your audience want you to succeed. Who wants to sit in a presenation that doesn't? So they are on your side.
3. Have a conversation. Keep the audience involved by getting them involved.
4. Dress well - make sure you look the part - looks really do count.
5. Speak up - if you have something to say make sure you can be heard otherwise your audience will go to sleep!
6. Don't overcrowd your slides - good visuals are so important in a world of constantly changing images being presented to us all the time.
7. Have fun - if you are having fun then the audience is more likely to.
Friday, 7 March 2008
Here is a team from the Open University trying their hand at it, and successfully laying it to rest on the floor!
Friday, 29 February 2008
Based on ‘Managing in the Middle’ by Barry Oshry, which can be found at www.executiveforum.com
Even in today’s world of flatter, leaner organisations, most organisations continue to have three levels of hierarchy. At the top there are the people who shape and give direction to the entire organisation. At the bottom are the workers, who manufacture the business’s products or render its services. Between them are those in the middle, often torn between meeting the demands of those at the top and responding to the needs and concerns of the workers they are expected to manage. The middle can be a confusing and ambiguous place, yet it is potentially a point of powerful influence, both upwards and downwards.
Some Top Tips for Middles
Resist the urge to make other people’s problems, issues and conflicts your own. Your job is to coach and empower them to resolve their issues, not take responsibility for them
Keep your own mind. Pay attention to your point of view, your values, your solutions. This will maximise your personal contribution to collective problem solving.
Be a Top whenever you can. If you can resolve a problem without passing it up to the Top, then do it. Tops only need to be involved with problems that are unsolvable at the Middle level.
Be a Worker when you should. If your team is short-staffed or has a sudden influx of work, then help them out with it. But remember, this should only be a short term solution. If it becomes long term then you need to re-focus on the systemic problems which are causing it.
Facilitate solutions by bringing together the people who need to be together, and helping them to have productive interactions. This is more effective than trying to act as a buffer between them.
Integrate with other Middles. Strong, interactive relationships with your peers will enable you to make a strong collective contribution and reduce your feelings of isolation.
To see the full version of this article visit http://www.satc.org.uk/62/managing-in-the-middle/
Saturday, 23 February 2008
Tuesday, 12 February 2008
Having taken on the client, a coach needs to work with them at the value and beliefs level, as it is at these higher levels that it is possible to fully unlock the potential for performance and behaviour change. So, as an example, even if a client has the skills and capabilities, he will not use them if his belief is such that he can't. Even if he believes he can, he won't if he is not motivated by his values to do so.
By working with beliefs and values we are working directly with the client's beliefs about themselves and with their self-esteem and motivation, both vital ingredients to success and excellence.
We need to work with the client to discard the beliefs that are holding them back, and replace them with beliefs that are conducive to success and the desired results.
Friday, 1 February 2008
Then read the following comment:
It is well known in the Health & Safety industry and the HSE that the recommended techniques are 'open to question' and do not actually work in reducing the risk of back injury. With the current HSE recommended techniques as the centre of training courses workers don't change their habits sufficiently for them to make a difference as it becomes obvious that they are not possible in so many tasks.
We provide this training and use the HSE Techniques as a starting point. In reality the only way to genuinely reduce the risk is for each individual to be trained in Manual Handling Risk Assessment so that they can make informed choices rather than being taught by rote a set of techniques that are impossible to apply in far to many cases.
As for suggesting that we all try to stop Manual Handling, the reality is that many of these tasks have to happen and a lot more practical advice, financial support and encouragement should be forthcoming from governmental agencies.
Thursday, 24 January 2008
10 Mental Locks
In his book 'A Whack on the Side of the Head' (Warner Books, 1990) Roger von Oech identifies ten mental locks - restrictive ways of thinking that we get shut into:
- The right answer
- That's not logical
- Follow the rules
- Be practical
- Play is frivolous
- That's not my area
- Avoid ambiguity
- Don't be foolish
- To err is wrong
- I'm not creative
'A Whack on the Side of the Head'
Von Oech suggests that 'we all need an occasional whack on the side of the head to shake us out of routine patterns, to force us to re-think our problems, and to stimulate us to ask the questions that may lead to the right answers'.
Fortunately the 'whack on the side of the head' recommended by von Oech is a metaphor - no physical violence should be involved! Metaphors are a powerful technique for unblocking thinking which has become stuck and helping us to see things differently.
Much of the language we use when talking about business involves the use of metaphors - we talk of 'flooding the market', 'pumping money in', or 'freezing assets'. Some of these metaphors have become cliches - so commonly used that we no longer register the gap between the words used and the message they convey.
Stand-up comedians are good at coming up with new metaphors, which make people look at the world in a different way. For example:
"Whales living off krill and plankton is like Geoff Capes eating only hundreds and thousands."
"The Football Association holding an inquiry into why England didn't qualify for Euro 2008 is like an inquiry being held into why the Titanic sank by the iceberg."
(Sandi Toksvig, The News Quiz)
A business presentation will be enhanced by the use of metaphors. Some you can take 'off the shelf' (to use another metaphor!) - for example:
"The mind works like a parachute -it works best when it is opened"
(The Dalai Lama)
"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing. That's why we recommend it daily."
At other times we might want to illustrate our points by coming up with our own metaphors. For example, in an e-mail to Sally Holloway when we were designing our 'Comedy Skills for Business Presenters' course, I wrote:
"It's like cooking a meal using two very different ingredients. Will it work best if we mix them together - like duck in a plum sauce; or will it be better to keep them separate as a main course and dessert, like chicken and banana?"
This metaphor helped to unblock our thinking and make decisions about when to bring together stand-up skills and business presenting, and at which points to keep them apart.
'What if?' Questions
Another useful technique for unblocking creativity is to ask "What if?" Paul Merton's flights of fancy on 'Have I Got News for You' often begin with a statement like 'Wouldn't it be great if...'
Wouldn't it be great if...
We started doing what we enjoy, rather than what we think will make a profit?
We told our customers/colleagues/bosses what we really think of them?
We made all public servants wear fancy dress (not just the judges!)
Some 'What if?' questions you might like to apply to your business - or which might prompt a reaction from your audience if used as part of a presentation:
We throw out all our policies and procedures and make up the rules as we go along?
We all stopped bothering to turn up in the morning?
Whenever we get a piece of advice, we do the opposite?
"How wonderful that we've met with a paradox. Now we have hope of making some progress."
(Niels Bohr, physicist)
Paradoxes can be a great source of inspiration. Von Oech writes 'the very act of seeing the paradox is at the crux of creative thinking - the ability to entertain two different, often contradictory notions at the same time'. For comics the bringing together of these different or contradictory ideas is often the source of their jokes.
Some paradoxes for you to mull over:
"If you can remember the sixties, then you weren't there"
"We can't leave the haphazard to chance"
(N. F. Simpson)
"I wouldn not care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as a member"
Challenge the Rules!
Stand-up comedians are very good at challenging 'rules' - often through asking 'why' questions. They'll identify an absurd aspect of everyday behaviour then ask "Why do we do that?" They'll also be willing to slay sacred cows (after all, they make great steaks!). The role of the comic is often to think the unthinkable and say the unsayable.
So - what if you started doing more of this in your business presentations? You'd certainly stimulate a reaction!
Monday, 21 January 2008
Often, when discussing leadership, the subject of charisma comes up. Do leaders need to be charismatic? If so, is it something you can learn?
The Cambridge dictionary defines charisma as 'a special power which some people possess naturally which makes them able to influence other people and attract their attention and admiration.' Saying people use it 'naturally' may suggest you have to be born with it, is this true?
Well-known leaders such as Ghandi or Churchill are often cited as leaders with charisma, yet we could all probably name others who are very successful but seemingly quite ordinary. So how can you be a leader who is able to influence other people and able to attract their attention and admiration?
Something that helps is being clear about your operating values, the principles by which you live your life and conduct yourself as a leader. Having a strong set of positive values means you are more likely to have a clear sense of self, be grounded and have a framework for decision-making. This strong sense of self is also very likely to be communicated to those around you.
Another factor that is often present with charismatic leaders is a willingness and ability to take a genuine interest in those around them. Charismatic leaders reach out to others and show a real interest. In that way there appears to be an increase in energy when they engage with others. Ineffectual leaders on the other hand, often have little impact on the energy of those around or at worst, even drag energy levels down.
There are of course other aspects that can contribute to a leader's ability to influence and gain respect. Each leader can develop a style that 'fits' with them as individuals as well as meeting the needs of the organisation. This is where leadership training programmes and \ or coaching can make a real difference. Having an opportunity to explore individual strengths, values and style can lead to a real growth in leadership effectiveness and that is likely to translate into better results all round.
Thursday, 17 January 2008
I have recently become a mentor for the women's mentoring network, based in the SE under the auspices of SEEDA. The aim is to encourage women to tackle issues at work and at home that might be holding them back. These issues can be many and varied as I know from the training we do. So I am looking forward to working with these women to help them make the most of themselves!
See our new Women's training programme launching in Feb!
Monday, 14 January 2008
We do Experiential Training because it involves all the learning skills: listening, watching and doing which in turn lead to:
· Better communications at all levels
· An understanding of working together to achieve a specific end result
· A common language to develop across the team based on the experience
These in turn will lead to:
· Better rapport between managers and others
· A development in sensory acuity – improving awareness of their own senses and others
· Outcome orientation – switching attention to what you want to achieve and away from reasons why it “won’t work”.
· Behavioural flexibility – enhancing the ability to recognise how to change behaviour, both in themselves and in others
Thursday, 10 January 2008
The Act makes provision for a new offence of corporate manslaughter and for this to apply to companies and other incorporated bodies, Government departments and similar bodies, police forces and certain unincorporated associations.
Prior to this legislation it was possible for a corporate body, such as a company, to be prosecuted for a wide range of criminal offences, including manslaughter. To be guilty of the common law offence of gross negligence manslaughter, a company had to be in gross breach of a duty of care owed to the victim. The prosecution of a company for manslaughter by gross negligence was often referred to as "corporate manslaughter". As the law stood, before a company could be convicted of manslaughter, a "directing mind" of the organisation (that is, a senior individual who could be said to embody the company in his actions and decisions) also had to be guilty of the offence. This is known as the identification principle. Crown bodies (those organisations that are legally a part of the Crown, such as Government departments) could not be prosecuted for criminal offences under the doctrine of Crown immunity. In addition, many Crown bodies, such as Government departments, do not have a separate legal identity for the purposes of a prosecution.
Therefore it was extreemely difficult to actually have a sussecful procecution in this matter.
The new offence builds on key aspects of the common law offence of gross negligence manslaughter in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. However, rather than being contingent on the guilt of one or more individuals, liability for the new offence depends on a finding of gross negligence in the way in which the activities of the organisation are run. In summary, the offence is committed where, in particular circumstances, an organisation owes a duty to take reasonable care for a person's safety and the way in which activities of the organisation have been managed or organised amounts to a gross breach of that duty and causes the person's death. How the activities were managed or organised by senior management must be a substantial element of the gross breach.
The elements of the new offence are:
The organisation must owe a "relevant duty of care" to the victim.
The organisation must be in breach of that duty of care as a result of the way in which the activities of the organisation were managed or organised.
The way in which the organisation's activities were managed or organised (referred to in these notes as "the management failure") must have caused the victim's death. The usual principles of causation in the criminal law will apply to determine this question. This means that the management failure need not have been the sole cause of death; it need only be a cause.
The management failure must amount to a gross breach of the duty of care. The Act sets out the test for whether a particular breach is "gross". The test asks whether the conduct that constitutes the breach falls far below what could reasonably have been expected. The Act sets out a number of factors for the jury to take into account when considering this issue. There is no question of liability where the management of an activity includes reasonable safeguards and a death nonetheless occurs.
To read the act in full go to: CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER AND CORPORATE HOMICIDE ACT 2007
In reallity, whilst this will be hyped in the press and by many companies selling products, the basic requirements of managing Health & Safety in the workplace have not changed. If your current systems for the management of Risk (Health & Safety) in your organisations are robust then little will change or require to change. If on the other hand you do not know whether they are robust enough or are aware of weaknessess then now would be a good time to review them. This need not be a start from the begginning but at least an audit to determine where work may be required. If you would like support in the process please give us a call we are only to happy to discuss your requirements.
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
Please do join in our conversations!