January 3, 2019
As the New Year gets under way I have, as I’m sure you have also, been thinking about what lies in store for 2019.
There are the ‘business as usual’ things that just carry on. Wheels set in motion that need little or no extra effort to make happen. None of us begin with a completely blank canvas.
But what of the other?
There are, for sure, plenty of areas when we have scope to make changes. It may be tweaking things slightly, stopping some things completely or beginning something new.
I find it very helpful to use a simple two column format to focus my thoughts: More of… and Less of…
What happened last year that I’d like more of?
What happened last year that I’d like less of?
It’s a great way to stimulate the goal setting process. Here’s a few examples for me that may help get you started:
- more helping people achieve meaningful goals
- less time in rush-hour traffic
- more fun with my kids (especially memorable trips)
- less of the admin work involved with the management apprenticeships
- less time wasted on my phone (be a better example to my kids!)
- more discipline, especially in writing blogs/articles etc
What is it you’d like more of / less of in 2019?
Write it down. Share it with others…and if you need some help (sometimes we know the changes we want to make will require some rigorous, impartial accountability), feel free to drop me a line.
July 11, 2018
We easily get into ‘getting on with it’ mode. Days and weeks go by. Months pass in multiples. Suddenly we’re more than half way through the year, it’s nearly (or already for some) the summer holidays, then September and we rush headlong towards Christmas.
I’m in the ‘relaxed and positive’ rather than the ‘doom and gloom’ camp when it comes to the passing of time, with one caveat. Am I doing worthwhile things with all these hours or am I just busy with activity that, on review, will count for very little.
It all comes down to whether we have clear definitions of what success is and how to measure it. Answering this question is a crucial aspect of leading yourself and leading others. Once that’s done, here’s a few questions that can help keep us on track:
- What progress & victories have we achieved today / this week / this month that are in line with our definitions of success?
- What have we done that’s contributed most to those victories that we can do more of?
- What new things can we try to achieve more?
- What have we done that’s not contributed to our success that we can do less of, or stop doing entirely?
All seems a little bit simplistic when we put it like that, doesn’t it? Regardless, it works incredibly well. It’s often the simple things that do.
If it’s been a while since you reviewed what success means to you, can I strongly encourage you to do so? And not just at work or in business by the way. At home, with your family and friends, your health, your contribution to society and your giving to others. Your success needs defining for all of these. I’ve got plenty of simple tools to help you do this so please do get in touch if you need a hand getting started.
April 9, 2018
I’m in the middle of a great book at the moment. ‘Think Small: The surprisingly simple ways to reach big goals’ is a really interesting read around reaching goals. Not your typical ‘dream big and believe in yourself’ stuff, rather some very simple, practical advice based on the research of the UK Government strategy unit, The Behavioural Insights Team.
They suggest that there are five factors that have been shown to most improve your wellbeing… great areas to start setting some ‘small goals’. These are the five areas:
- Strengthening your social relationships
- Getting healthy and active
- Learning something new
- Being more curious
- Giving to others
Why not choose a small, achievable goal in just one or two of these areas and take some first steps towards them over the next few days!
I’m writing more specifically on goal setting over at https://goalsclub.info/ Check it out!
April 4, 2018
Change is easy. Make a decision, then go do it…and keep on doing it and, hey presto, you have the change you decided you wanted.
Except we all know it’s never that simple.
Change is flippin’ hard. We decide, then we try, fail, forget and eventually move on to something else with the scar tissue of another good intention that was going to improve our business, our life, health, or relationships in some important way but ultimately never came to anything and we live with the fall-out which will make us less up for trying the next time round.
I hate it when people in my industry make out that change is easy. It’s not. We get rooted into habits, conditioned into behaviour and ways of thinking that take concerted effort to get out of.
So what’s the answer?
I don’t want to fall into the same trap of now saying I have the simple answer which will solve everything! However, there is an important step that will help massively.
Think about the change you want to make and then build around it. Build in a fitness class to your weekly schedule. Build in accountability by signing up with a few friends. Physically build a door or a wall or something else that’s within your control if it’s about getting more focused time on your top priorities. If it’s reading more, spend some money and put a whacking-great reading chair in the corner of your lounge and always leave an open book on it ready for you to pick up!
Whatever your goal, build something into your routine, your work, your team or your family that will mean you continually stumble over that thing and it whacks you in the shins every time you try to move so that you remember why you took that decision in the first place and have a much better chance of following through on the action required to secure the change needed.
February 21, 2018
On the radio this morning we heard the news that another cold snap is incoming for next week and we let out a collective weary groan.
My daughter especially is really looking forward to warmer weather and the thought of yet more freezing temperatures after the months of Winter we’ve already had, lowered her mood.
The thing that struck me though as we talked over our bowls of Cornflakes, own-brand Rice Crispies and Gluten-Free Granola was that this was likely to be the last dip before things are well and truly on the up weather-wise.
The mornings are getting lighter, so are the evenings, and we’ve had some warmer days already giving a glimpse of what’s to come. In this context, it was much easier to raise the spirits of the family because they had tangible evidence of things going the way they wanted.
The long, warm days spent in shorts and t-shirts, eating ice-cream after school and water-fights with friends in the street may be some way off yet, but it feels like we’re getting there and that makes enduring the present reality much easier.
The same is true in our work, in our DIY projects, anything really. We function better when we have some tangible indications of progress towards our goals. To do this, we need clear goals of course AND we need to have established definite ways to measure progress towards them. We need regular ‘small victories’ and to get our heads up long enough to notice that the nights are getting lighter and it wasn’t quite so bitter on the platform this morning!
How about taking some time today to pause and notice what tangible progress you’ve made already this year? Share that with your team if you can. Emit a collective sigh of satisfaction….and get back to it… hopefully with a renewed sense of resolve because the end is a little more in sight that you realised.
P.S. I’ve just realised this is one reason I often have the SatNav on even when I know where I’m going – I like to see the progress as the miles are covered and the destination draws closer. Counting down the miles is strangely satisfying!
February 5, 2018
If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.
So says the ancient proverb… and there’s lot of wisdom in this. If you try to go in two directions at the same time, you’ll end up reaching neither.
Wouldn’t it be lovely then to only chase one rabbit? It would be heavenly to focus on just one thing but for most of us that seems like an unrealistic dream because we have so many different things running concurrently and we mustn’t drop the ball on any of them.
So what practical wisdom can we take from the age-old ‘Two Rabbits’ conundrum? Here’s just one thing that you may find helpful.
Manage transition between projects.
Think back to school. Maths lessons followed English followed History. Each lesson (at least the good ones) had a well-structured start and finish so you left in good shape to do whatever homework may be required and arrive back for the next lesson ready to continue. You were (again, in the good lessons!) able to give full focus to that one lesson for that one hour before moving on to the next.
Many challenges arise as we hop between projects and tasks holding many different things in our minds, not able to fully focus on any of them. Let’s take meetings as an example. People arrive at the meeting unprepared because they were doing something else, often unrelated, right up to the last moment they left to join the meeting, Then they leave the meeting and go straight to the next thing without processing what just happened. Instead they should be reviewing what just took place, scheduling any actions required on their part and swiftly following up with any further communication needed. When this doesn’t happen, next meeting we find agreed actions haven’t been done, or are part-done, little thought has been given to the implications of what was discussed last time and much inefficiency ensues!
Whether it’s a meeting with others or simply your own management of the various rabbits / balls / plates (pick your favourite metaphor!), it can really help to work on slowing down and focusing on good transitions. Doing this well can seriously boost your productivity and also reduce stress as things feel less hectic and out-of-control.
Give it a try and have a great week!
September 19, 2017
Here are nine magic questions – if you develop crystal clear answers to all of these in any given situation, be it something for yourself, helping motivate a member of your team, or in a sales context, it will make a massive difference:
1. What do you want?
2. Why do you want it?
3. Why is that important to you?
4. Why don’t you have it now?
5. When would you like to have it? Why then?
6. How will you feel when you have it?
7. What do you need to do to get it?
8. Are you willing to do what it takes to get it?
9. What’s the Plan of Action to get it?