We have many forms of social media that keep us busy (sometimes we are just busy being busy, don’t you think?).
Are we trapped inside our specialisms? Be that social groups, teams, pockets of knowledge, companies, organisations, universities, colleges, parliaments, media itself, banks, hospitals, schools, bowling clubs and more ? Are we in our own little tribe?
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking Fast and Slow) says we are ‘blind to our blindness’, we fail to see risks and opportunities that when we think about them later (oh hindsight) we know that we could have done things differently.
Why do we do this? What do you think? Communication between teams, societies (be those clubs or cultures) is patchy. Are we all too busy nowadays using social media to say what we want to say and not listening to what others are saying or even, not saying? Or are we reading between the lines to understand from our own reality? Is it just at work or is it also out there in society that we live and work in silos? Be those organisational silos (ivory towers/own realities) which Gillian Tett speaks of in her book ‘The Silo Effect’ or our own individual silos?
As a group or as an individual we like to fit others into labels, slots, or pigeon holes. We tend to understand from our own reality, from what we know and believe to be true from our own experience, or what we have learned from others in order to fit in (or not).
As human beings we do have an innate need to ‘get the world to fit’ to our own reality and many of us naturally seek out those people and those things that match our own reality. But do we listen and look at how people and systems interconnect with an open mind? Do we ask ourselves how people connect with us and to us? Do we examine parts of life we don’t want to talk about because they don’t fit with our reality, because we find them dull, boring or even off-limits?
Do we listen carefully to what other people say and check if what they say also fits with what they do? Do we check that what we say fits with what we personally do? Or do we dismiss people out of hand because they don’t fit with our reality?
I’m curious what you think about the above comments and how you communicate with other people. Please share or comment here and if you would like assistance or tips or suggestion on how to improve communication and understanding. Please contact me.
Contact me Rosie O’Hara via the Developing Works website, or telephone +44 (0)7796 134081, +44 (0)1224 900748, +44 (0)1309 676004.
Some suggestions –
When times are tough, and maybe there are even more tough times ahead but before you look towards cutting your spend on areas such as learning and development. Perhaps stop and consider that investment in coaching is perhaps an essential for a business particularly during this period.
There’s a need to adapt and respond quickly to changing business needs – often requiring you to change or adapt the way you work. Regardless of whether you are an employee or your lead your own organisation be that large or small.
Do you use situations like this as an opportunity to learn and move on to greater success? If your answer to those questions is along the lines of ‘never’ or ‘not often enough’ then maybe now is the time to put yourself and your business in a position of strength.
Coaching will help you develop skills and give you the opportunity to practise, as well as giving you the time to review the current situation, looking at what you have learned and evaluate ideas which you may have previously dismissed.
Coaching can help understand and work with the behaviours that will work positively for you through the tough times. Giving you a fresh perspective on problems and focusing on what is important for both you and your business. An experienced and qualified coach can help you evaluate actions you have in mind, and through skilful questioning of your language enable you to look at a range of alternatives. You then use your own and your organisation’s resources to the best advantage in a changing environment.
Our own experience of dealing with setbacks can be the crucial thing that holds you. Your coach will enable you to build on your resilience (even if you doubted you had any) and to improve and toughen your approach to taking tough decisions. – you can start to change the outcome of these challenging situations.
What others say about coaching please click here
It’s probably something you never gave much thought to.
I recently came across a post from one of my contacts on LinkedIn it said –
‘Hostile listeners are often on the left of the speaker and concordant ones to the right. At a table, change positions to neuter conflict.’
I wondered if the person posting had come across this an exercise that I taught first to teachers and trainers and then to children and then back to business people – here are two versions below – perhaps you’d like to try it out and let me know what happens?
Checking your Approachable Side
Few of us are aware that we have an ‘approachable’ side, and the implications this can have for conversations with others. This approachable side also applies to learners too. We have a ‘better / preferred’ side for taking on learning.
This is a fun exercise with huge implications we have found.
Are you more approachable from one side than the other?
A remains standing on the spot
B thinks up a question and asks the same question from three different positions
A’s task is to notice the differences in his/her response and feelings to the question.
B approaches A from A’s left, stands still and asks a question “Could you do me a favour and lend me some money?” B gives A time to notice and fix A’s immediate response.
B moves away and approaches A from the right and repeats the same procedure.
Finally B approaches from the front.
Give feedback away from the spot on which A was stood. What did A notice, what did B notice and what did C notice? Carry this exercise out for all three participants.
Debrief – will this have an effect on where you might stand / sit in the classroom (and at meetings as well). Notice – are there sometimes pupils (people) with whom you have difficulties? What would happen if you moved or asked to sit somewhere else?
and with children we used this version
Checking your Approachable Side
Working in three
Person A remains standing on the spot.
Person B thinks up a question and asks the same question from three different positions, such as ‘can I borrow your pencil?’ (Make it a realistic ask or it won’t work).
Person A’s task is to notice the differences in his/her response and feelings to the question.
Person B approaches A from A’s left, stands still and asks a question “Could you do me a favour and lend me your pencil?” B gives A time to notice A’s their immediate response.
B moves away and approaches A from the right and repeats “Could you do me a favour and lend me your pencil?” B gives A time to notice A’s immediate response.
Finally B approaches from the front and repeats “Could you do me a favour and lend me your pencil?” B gives A time to notice and fix A’s immediate response.
All three of you get together away from the spot on which A was stood and talk about what you each noticed. What did A notice, what did B notice and what did C (the person watching) notice?
Carry this exercise out for all three of you.
Notice – are there sometimes people with whom you have difficulties? What would happen if you moved or asked to sit somewhere else?
So you know the John Lennon line ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans’? I’ve learned in life to become really good at avoiding things or planning for doing something different. These so-called ‘opportunities/challenges or whatever, let’s face it when you’re running a business and who knows what else they are just a bloomin’ nuisance .
You know the situation – you knew exactly (more or less) where your life was/is going. You’ve done all the planning, all the strategy stuff and ……………….. well a multitude of things can happen, or may happen and sometimes they do. Or sometimes it’s just one simple thing that upsets the apple cart so to speak.
Client cancels, car won’t start, child throws up (sorry), child comes out in spots – school/nursery says sorry must stay at home, client goes bankrupt, loses funding (let’s be topical here), your partner is arrested, someone dies (ok it’s getting worse), partner breaks leg as you go on holiday, you miss the ferry coming back, next one is 2 days later, you find out you have cancer – you know those things some peple seem to take in their stride !
There are options:- headless chicken syndrome, sit down and cry (quite good for a minute at the most – trust me), scream, shout, blame someone else (worst one I think personally – trust me they won’t sort it out).
Being in a good and useful state is something I talk about a lot in my work. After all we can ‘get in a state’, and mostly we say things like ‘look at the state of him or her’, ‘why did you get yourself into that state?’, ‘what a state you’re in!’ So in the UK (because in the US and perhaps other countries a state is a place in which you live, so you could change state;)) and in the training we provide (you can find me at http://www.nlphighland.co.uk for more info) we encourage people to find a good and useful state.
When you have a moment think of 5 separate times in your life when things have been going really well ,and for each one think of a label. Do it one at time – here are some suggestions Confident, Peaceful, Courageous, Enthusiastic, Motivated, Excited, Powerful, Focused, Blissful, Empowered, Successful, Relaxed, Loved, Joyful, Healthy, Humorous or anything else you like.
Thinking about each time separately so for example Confident, think about that time see what you’re seeing, hear what you’re hearing, and feel how you’re feeling when you are confident then and when you have all of that in your mind and body; press on a point on your collar bone and ‘anchor’ that confident state.
Do the same thing for each of the 4 other ‘states’ you choose and press on or ‘anchor’ on the same spot. Then briefly think of something else like doing the dishes, just briefly. Then press on your collar bone again in that spot and notice what happens. If you need to, repeat the process until it’s all really powerful and now you have an unobtrusive ‘anchor’ for a ‘good and useful state’ that you can use anywhere at any time.
So if ‘life get’s in the way’ again, – press on your collar bone.
1 You chose the wrong coach
Coaches deal with different aspects of life and work. (Did you ask yourself ‘do I want someone to offload all my worries to and to be listening and sympathetic ear and say there there’ or did you ask ‘do I want someone to motivate me? Or did you ask ‘do I want someone to help/guide/assist me in my career or business?’ Different coaches deal with different aspects.
Did you ask ‘do they have business experience?’ What kind of training do they have? ‘Are they recommended?’ Notice when you initially meet them do they carefully question how you say what you say or do they rephrase or paraphrase your language and you’re too polite to comment.
2 You relied on the coach to tell you what to do
The only person in life who is in charge of you is you. You are ‘driving your bus’. Admittedly there will be times in everyone’s life when we want to give and or abdicate responsibility. Ultimately you have to make your own decisions without hearing from someone who tells ‘oh that happened to me, what I think you should do is….’ Incidentally ‘should’ is about the other person about how they think or tell you what to do. You will most probably ultimately find that what you should do (according to them) was not the right thing to do.
3 You weren’t in the right place at the time
Coaching is not intended to resolve the deeper underlying issues that are the cause of serious problems like poor motivation, low self-esteem and poor job performance.
When we go into a coaching relationship we do that in the belief that we are self-aware and a ‘whole person’ and that we have chosen coaching because we don’t require a therapeutic intervention. It can be that even with underlying issues we will experience success within a coaching context even without resolving the underlying issues. If we become ‘stuck’ and the coaching is not achieving desired results, then a therapeutic intervention may be necessary for me to move forward and achieve your goals. Therapeutic interventions are not coaching and even coaching using NLP is not therapeutic and as a coachee you need to be clear on that.
4 You didn’t like the task you were given. If you and your coach agreed that you would do certain things by a deadline and you didn’t like what you agreed. Then there are options:
A. Life got in the way
And it does, tell your coach and re-arrange the deadline. Be aware – if you keep on changing your coaching dates – do you need to ask yourself ‘why am I allowing this to happen? After all the most successful people in life juggle things, work through things, overcome obstacles, ask for help, delegate and more.
B. Say you didn’t/don’t like it and then talk that through with your coach. Your coach
Your coach offers you a supportive and motivating environment to explore what you want in life and how you might achieve your aims and desires and fulfil your needs. There is no such thing as failure in life and your coach’s job is to enable you to get to where you want to be.
C. Give up and say coaching didn’t work for you
If you choose this option perhaps ask yourself how willing you are/were to commit and if you are prepared to make changes to your behaviour(s). When we stay the same so do other people. Or other people actually become worse because they will tire of our behaviour.
Bear in mind when you change your team or change your job you will still take you with you. We have to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’.
Sometimes we get in our own way with our beliefs. Discuss this with your coach, be open and honest with your coach (and yourself). Say what didn’t work and get them to assist you to get to where you want to be. The coaches job is to assist you commit to action and be a sounding-board for your experiences.
D. Ask your coach to help you
If you coach has additional qualifications such as NLP, CBT etc. they are in a position to assist you but you both must agree that this is what happening. Or get your coach to recommend you to a qualified practitioner or find someone who someone else recommends, in that they have worked with them.
E.You didn’t like the fact that your coach asked you to set goals/outcomes/objectives.
In the coaching sessions you and your coach will generally be more concerned with the practical issues of setting goals and achieving results within specific time-scales. Coaching allows you the personal space and support you need to grow and develop. Your coach’s key role can be in assisting you to maintain the motivation and commitment needed to achieve your goals. However they aren’t there to ‘kick your butt’ or be ‘on your case’ every day. If you think you need that then there are behaviours and beliefs that could do with changing on your part.
Only you are in charge of you and only you will do what you agree to do with yourself.
If you’d like to know more about coaching with me Rosie O’Hara please contact me via the Developing Works website, tel. +44 (0) 7796 134081, +44 (0)1224 900748, +44 (0)1309 676004.
Do you like to be told what to?
Most of us don’t usually. We want to decide for themselves.
Depending on how we say and do something (or don’t say and do it), our ideas will be considered or immediately dismissed by the other person/other people. When people are processing life, the world and the universe in this way, they are have an Internal Motivation Pattern.
When people are in Internal Mode, they like to gather information and evaluate it for themselves and hate having someone decide for them. In fact, they love to make their own decisions, based on what is important to them.
So here are the Top Ten Things to Avoid Saying to an Internal (or someone who feels that way)
Words That Close Minds
1. You should …… (almost guarantees they won’t)
2. I need to talk to you. (especially unhelpful to say to your partner in life)
3. I have the solution to your problem.
4. I know what you did wrong.
5. I know why that won’t work.
6. I told you so.
7. I have a better idea.
8. You should have an open mind about this.
9. Here’s what everyone thinks about what you did/do/will do.
10. No one is doing that any more.
Top Ten Suggested Things to Say to an Internal
Words That Open Minds
1. I have an idea that I’d like to run by you to find out what you think.
2. May I make a suggestion?
3. What would you think if we ……?
4. When you are deciding about X, what are the most important things?
5. I have an idea that may not be completely useless.
6. Here’s what I think….. what is your opinion?
7. You said that X, Y, and Z were important, so that’s why I’d like to suggest ….
8. Here is something that you may wish to consider.
9. Here is something that you may wish to avoid.
10. You be the judge.
It’s interesting to note the differences between the two approaches. The first list is mainly about you deciding for the other person, while the second encourages the other person judge for his/herself.
Which list ‘makes you feel better’? Which list do you think would get you better results?
With thanks to Shelle Rose Charvet
For more info on Words that Change Minds please click here
Eisenhower was a very astute man. And did you know that he came up with the Urgent/Important Matrix before Dr Stephen Covey? I didn’t, until I was reading the ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management) magazine Edge.
Eisenhower said ‘An intellectual is a man who takes more words than is necessary to tell more than he knows.’
The Urgent/Important Matrix is about using time effectively, not just efficiently, and in my experience the more effectively you use time the more efficient you become.
In this day and age there just never seems to be enough time. Is this really true?
How often have you taken time out to ‘Stop and Stare’? And perhaps realise what you are doing is getting you nowhere. We’re anxious, we can’t concentrate, everything gets in the way, and then, we simply blow. We tell ourselves that we can do so much because we have so many ‘labour saving’ devices, mobiles, PCs, laptops, we can be contacted anywhere at any time.
In spite of all these gadgets and online calendars (that everyone can set us up appointments with (if we let them) – do we really mange our time efficiently?
Do we spend our time on things that are important and not just urgent? It’s important to distinguish between important and just urgent.
- Important activities have an outcome that leads to the achievement of your goals.
- Urgent activities demand immediate attention, and are often associated with the achievement of someone else’s goals (ah had you noticed that?).
We often concentrate on just urgent activities. The things that make the most noise, the things that demand attention because the consequences of not dealing with them are immediate.
The Urgent/Important Matrix is a useful tool for thinking about this.
Eisenhower said, ‘What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.’ This so-called “Eisenhower Principle” is purported to be how Eisenhower organized his tasks. Dr Stephen Covey made the idea more public in his business classic, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Covey called it the “The Urgent/Important Matrix.” I use it often in coaching and on my business courses and on my NLP Business Practitioner Course:
The Urgent/Important Matrix is a powerful way to use to think about priorities. Using it helps you prevent the natural tendency to focus on urgent activities, so that you learn to keep enough time to focus on what’s really important. This is the way you move from “fire fighting”, into a position where you can grow your business and your career.
This is how it works
Divide and A 4 page into 4
Deadline driven projects
Recognising new appointments
Interruptions, some phone calls
Some mail, some reports
Proximate, pressing matters
Trivia, busy work
Some phone calls
Assess the importance to all the activities on a scale of 1 to 5
Remember Eisenhower also said: ‘Leadership – the art of getting someone else to do something that you want done because he wants to do it.’
When people see you are clear about your objectives and boundaries, they will generally not ask you to do “not important” activities in the future, and at best do it themselves or find someone else.
This blog first appeaerd in 2012 on my then and now defunct NLP Highland Blog.
If you would like to know more about your preferred patterns and how you work with these and get things done on your own or with other people please contact me either here or via the Developing Works website, or via my Coaching Website tel. +44 (0) 7796 134081 (What’sApp as well), +44 (0)1224 900748, +44 (0)1309 676004. And please ask questions or comment here.
A while ago someone asked me how did I remember things, more importantly how did I remember to take things with me after an event, training or meeting or what happened in that meeting. I’d like to share with you.
There’s a technique known as ‘Reframing’ to create a different meaning literally around something, for example to turn a bad experience into a good one, or to notice that there is actually something positive.
Here’s a simple way to do that.
A. Remember an occasion when or where you got angry.
B. Make a picture or image of this or imagine this having happened and see yourself in the picture.
C. Now put a frame around the picture or image.
How does your response to the situation change when you put a wooden frame around it? What about a metal frame? A multi-coloured frame. An oval frame? How about a colourful frame with balloons hanging from it?
And what do we do to remember things when we’ve walked through the door?
We need to make a conscious effort to stop briefly and think about the thing we want to do, or are going to, or are have been doing. And then we need to make a mental image of this thing and place it up to our left. And looking up to our left see this thing, this object, this person, this task, this memory, then imagine seeing it in colour and see it standing still. Making sure it’s still there, move on out of the room and when you’re out of the room and doing the next thing look up to your left and see this item, still standing there. And hey presto, you’ll remember.
If you find this tricky, practice. Only perfect practise makes permanent.
And for some people you might need to place this image up on your right.
Try it out and let me know what happens for you, then walking through the door will be much easier and your memory will improve.
Forgotten to catch up after a meeting or networking?
Well most of us do at times. Some of us believe making notes will help, not so good if you then lave all your info somewhere. I recently realised that I had left all my info from one networking meeting, neatly packaged on one place on the table in the room I had been in. Fortunately the info was still there.
According to an article in Scientific American online, which being scientific has lots and lots of references and could be (for me) a tad exhausting; when we walk through a door we forget. Well actually they were interested in why walking through a door makes us forget.
The article: Gabriel A. Radvansky, Sabine A. Krawietz & Andrea K. Tamplin (2011): Walking through doorways causes forgetting: Further explorations, The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64:8,1632-1645 (click here to read that) states that walking through a doorway causes what they call ‘an event boundary’ and we update our model of events in respect of what happened previously. They maintain that this ‘can reduce the availability of information in our memory for objects associated with the prior event. And then they do some scientific speak about how memory is essential (in my words) dependent on how or what we associate with the previous event. ? What does that mean, you might be asking? Well it means we need to remind ourselves in some way of what happened or was happening before we left the room.
So in my case above remembering to take all my info from the event happened because I generally (I stress the word generally) have a checking thing (or system) before I leave one place to go to another. We don’t always check because often deep in thought we move from one doorway to another and therefore onto something else.
If you would like to know more, please contact me Rosie O’Hara http://www.developingworks.com, http://www.rosieohara.com tel. 07796 134081 (What’sApp as well), 01224 900748, 01309 676004
Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 and form a larger cohort than the others I’ve previously written about. (Sometimes they are referred to Baby Boomers I and Baby Boomers II with the cut off year between being 1959.)
Certainly those born before 1959 can remember Martin Luther King and John F Kennedy, the Beatles and Elvis and other massive changes to the world of politics and the music industry.
Don’t underestimate the Baby Boomers, amongst Baby Boomers there are some powerful people in the world today who have made a lasting impact. This cohort includes such people as Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Madonna, Barack Obama, the Price of Wales, Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair, Benazir Bhutto, Angela Merkel, Ellen DeGeneres and many, many more.
The name was given to this cohort, no one knows by whom or when to describe the generations born after the Second World War, when populations worldwide experienced a boom in births. This boom due on the one hand to partners returning home and on the other hand to the start of movement of families, particularly in Europe to countries where they were either displaced as a result of war or to which they had moved as a result of labour shortages due to war. It was now safe to have children in so many ways. It is also important to understand however the British Baby Boom was not as vast (25%) compared to the US (40%) Baby Boom and circumstances in which the early cohorts in both parts of the world grew up were very different up until 1959 (in the UK there was still rationing to a great extent). Similar applies to continental Europe as well; the world was a more austere place.
The focus here is on communication. Baby Boomers value knowledge. They grew up with encyclopaedias. If you were very lucky and your parents could afford it (or a man came round and collected weekly payments) you had the whole 15 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica in the UK or its equivalent elsewhere.
Baby Boomers value face to face communication and discussing knowledge or information with other people. For them face to face communication means in person, particularly when they want to do business. They may well be as good as younger people at using LinkedIn, Twitter, video communication etc., but for many other things they like to meet you in person.
People of this cohort are rational. In their eyes there has to be a reason for something having happened. They believe in ‘commonsense’. However what is commonness to me may not be commonsense to you. These traits are not always useful as we need Emotional Intelligence or soft skills to understand others better. See this link here for some potentially useful frames for everyday life and to understand ‘commonsense better.Baby Boomers like to negotiate, not just in business, but also in life, using rational thinking this may take longer.
Baby Boomers are prone to working long hours, you work until the job is done. Even though in the UK for Baby Boomers university education was free a far lower proportion of over 50s actually has a university degree and would therefore have been paid less for longer hours. They have also either not accrued a pension pot or one that is not generous, due to belief that the state would provide after all their years of hard work.
They are however more loyal to a company or organisation it can take a lot for some of them to change their loyalties. Loyalty is everything and money will motivate them to stay as opposed to younger generations who will move for more money and are not as loyal to a company or brand (there will always be exceptions). Baby Boomers are driven by the fact that their parents probably had little money and struggled to provide them with the material things they needed in a changing world. The change for them was just as monumental in their growing years as for other generations, but slower than in the current day and age. It has in some circumstances led to some Baby Boomers wanting and having everything material, facts that can lead to some bad press for Baby Boomers – in the words of Mike and the Mechanics in the song the Living Years ‘Every Generation Blames the One Before.’
So how would Baby Boomers like to be communicated with? You will find some who do not like change, some who may refuse to adapt. A major change once every ten years might work for them but they are happier when they take charge of the change themselves once every fifteen to twenty-five years. They like to hear what things have in common, what has not changed as well as how things are the same. Others will accept change once a year if the change is not drastic. They need change once every five to seven years. They like to hear that things are the same except more … less …better. They tend to resist major changes except when they are perceived to be gradual. Upgrades are okay because they are about an improvement new and different is not (think of those people you know who still have a mobile phone that’s like a brick and who has a smarter smartphone).
They like to talk about people and name them and meet with you regularly. They like to be given praise and told how valuable what they did or said was. They follow procedures and processes well. They value their own territory of responsibility and when needed will work together with others. They appreciate an understanding of others and how they are thinking and feeling (they don’t always get that right, because unless they have truly learned to understand others from the other person’s point of view, they only understand how they themselves would feel).
If you’d like to know more contact me Rosie O’Hara the Developing Works website, or via my Coaching Website tel. +44 (0) 7796 134081 (What’sApp as well), +44 (0)1224 900748, +44 (0)1309 676004. And please comment on this blog too.
Some of you may know the Paul Simon song from 1970 (okay so I’m older) from the album Bridge Over Trouble Water. Over the last few weeks keeping the customer satisfied has been the focus of several client conversations and the presentation I delivered recently ‘Pitch Perfect, Perfect Pitch. Most people it seems appear to believe understanding the customer and exactly how customers are motivated is important for good customer relationships.
Then this last week I’ve had three examples of really poor customer service (and I’ve checked with others each time to find out what they think, just in case). One example was over my phone number at the opticians, ‘This is my husband’s number’ – ‘But you gave it to us,’ ‘No I didn’t you give you this number. I gave you my work number.’ ‘We don’t phone work numbers. and You didn’t tell us you’ve moved.’ I haven’t moved’ ‘Well we took this number from your husband’s file’ After a long conversation I said ‘other opticians are also available’.
Another customer service issue is ongoing with a membership organisation, when I made a comment that was taken as a criticism, has yet to be resolved. This is the second time I’ve had this reaction from them. is this a pattern?
They are currently busy with something else. They will contact me next week, when I’m away every day hmm.
A note on comments on feedback –
Feedback is about raising awareness. It is about the impact of a behaviour, that may or may not be your behaviour not about you personally.
A third interesting encounter was when I put my shopping in the wrong place at one of those detestable (for me) self service checkouts and it was snatched from me, as well as the things I had in my hands. The woman in the train station newsagents then raised her voice at me because I must have looked at her incredulously. I resisted the urge to say anything. But resolved to really not go in there again.
Here’s a slide from an upcoming SlideShare upload from me on how we deal with customer/client/patient/member problems.
Contact details are http://www.developing works.com by phone 01309 676004, 01224 900748, 07796134081 (text or phone)