Thank you for the…team event!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

team Kanyu pic 2018 This month the team at Pro-Development achieved a wonderful thing and we’re so grateful and proud and all we want is to say it out loud. Yes, we went to the Kanyu Escape rooms near Wetherby and made it out (eventually, with a lot of clues). Now, team events are a bit of a busman’s holiday for us, but how interesting when the tables are turned! So how did we get on?

Well, very well…surprisingly! Although we needed an extra 12 minutes to achieve the task, we got there in the end.

What did we get from the event?

• We worked well as a team, all bringing different strengths and applying them effectively

• It was so good to spend time together without thinking about workloads and deadlines

• Everyone had a voice and was listened to

• When you don’t know what to do, ask for help (we had a lot of help!)

• We are fairly good at sharing information and communicating

• We need to do it more often

If it’s been a while since you have had a team event, we can highly recommend it. If you would like some help, get in touch with us. We design and deliver bespoke events especially for your team so you can get the most our of it too, just like we did.

The power of self-awareness

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

self awarenes 3 Increasing self-awareness is a very powerful tool. What’s great is that ANYONE can do it at ANYTIME. There is just one key rule, you need to be open to it!

There are many ways that we can increase our self-awareness – we can seek feedback from others either verbally or non-verbally, we can work on being more present and in the moment so we spot what is going on around us and how we are feeling/behaving and from reflecting on situations, conversations and their outcomes. In a recent Chartered Institute of Personal and Development article, there is reference to a large company who has invested in a Leadership Programme to “help managers increase their self-awareness and deliver more effectively” and they are seeing great results.

Managers and leaders having great self-awareness is important. How many of you have worked for a manager whose lack of engagement has impacted on the whole teams’ motivation to deliver, or the manager who delivers key business messages starting “this isn’t me saying this, its them” leaving the team disengaged from the content of the message. Managers and Leaders need to have an awareness of their impact on others which in turn impacts on engagement levels and ultimately business results.

Questions for you…

• How engaged are your managers/leaders?

• How self-aware are your managers/leaders?

• How often do you provide feedback to your managers and leaders?

• Do you your managers and leaders ask for feedback?

• How well do your managers/leaders understand and manage their own emotions?

Now reflect and answer the questions on yourself!

Pro-development offer programmes and coaching to build self-awareness Click Here to find out more. If you would like further information or to speak to us then call us on 01904 628838.

Productivity Leadership

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

leadership may 18 Did you know that productivity has hardly grown since the 2008-9 recession, compared to the historic average of around 2%? The UK lag behind all but one of the other G7 nations. Pro-Development have been bringing this important issue to the attention of Yorkshire businesses from the very beginning of our existence! It is something we are very passionate about and driven to make a difference.

Ian Brinkley (acting Chief Economist for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) recently ascribes the problem to poor quality managers, he states that “managerial and technical competencies have long been a weak area in the UK”. Indeed, a government report back in 2012 stated that 75 per cent of workers waste up to two hours out of their working week due to inefficient managers.

Worst management practices responsible for time lost include:-

– unclear communication (33 %)

– lack of support (33 %)

– micro-management (26 %)

– lack of direction (25 %)

Pro-Development see this trend in our Employee Engagement surveys, so our experience suggests this is as real today as ever, so this issue of leadership capability isn’t going away.

Pro-Development have a Leadership Development Programme and we really do recommend that you speak with us if you feel that the leadership capability in your business would benefit.

“Improving leadership and management skills is the key that will unlock the potential of UK businesses, allowing them to seize the opportunities available to them and achieve sustainable economic prosperity – leadership & management in the uk – the key to sustainable growth”

To find out more about the programme click here.

“The course cleverly combined experiential outdoor learning in groups (with very different and stretching activities to anything I’d experienced before) with one-to-one coaching sessions in between and it’s this combination which is really powerful. If you’re serious about your own development as a leader, I couldn’t recommend Pro-Development more highly.” Ed Reid, Owner of The Alternative Board UK

Is this the end of the appraisal?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

appraisal This is becoming an increasingly common question we are asked by managers, often with a hopeful glint in their eye!

Some organisations are indeed ditching the annual appraisal, finding it time consuming, not really understanding the purpose of it and therefore not getting any value. In some organisations the original purpose of introducing appraisals has been lost and they have simply become a method for awarding pay rises or bonus based on a box the individual has been placed in or a label they have been given. The label given is often awarded by managers competing against each other to get their team top ranking, potentially to avoid any awkward honest conversations!

Interestingly, psychologists at Stanford University studied 607 performance tools and they found the ‘labelling of people’ which so often happens in many of these appraisal schemes in fact worsens peoples performance. According to research by leadership specialist Roffey Park, a third of operational managers say they find the nine box grid (another tool used to identify talent) difficult to implement, have concerns about their capacity for objectivity when using such methods, and are reluctant to ‘label’ employees.

Now that is interesting. It’s rare these days to attend a seminar or conference on talent without someone discussing the shortcomings of the talent grids like this. Having worked in talent management we can see where placing people in a talent category might appear to help with succession planning, but there is much evidence suggesting now that doing so, is not helpful. What we are finding works better, is where people are more closely connected, and where management know all their people. Giving people a label or category can over-complicate the process. So back to the original question – is this the end of appraisals?

Absolutely, if it is a once a year process, based around meaningless objectives, ensure compliance or to tick a box.

Absolutely not, if the appraisal is part of an annual framework based on regular, honest conversations that support an individual to meet their objectives, develop and grow and help them work toward aspirations along with helping the business to manage any risks and identify future successors for key roles.

Ultimately the appraisal is one part of a series of quality conversations an individual has with their manager to help them to be their best, feel valued and appreciated. When it’s done well, it’s a fantastic tool, just don’t over-complicate it!

Our challenge to you…

Are your managers equipped with the skills, to conduct quality conversations?

Click here to see what we can offer and how we can help you.

Is that the sun I see?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

smily sun We’ve been talking in the office about how lovely it is, driving home, and it’s… sunny! Yes, its bright and light outside and we are feeling great! We’ve been thinking, shall we go for a run, cut the grass, go for a walk or swing a golf club? This is great news as our usual thoughts are, what’s for tea, goodness I am tired, or shall I have a glass of wine tonight? Sound familiar?

There is something about the sunshine that fills us with energy. We have read that sunshine boosts levels of serotonin which contributes to a sense of wellbeing and happiness, that’s why we tend to feel happier and more energetic when the sun shines. More importantly (for us), we have also read that HIGHER levels of serotonin in our bodies not only makes you feel happy, but it also suppresses the appetite, so you’ll eat less in warmer weather, say hello to weight loss and feeling healthly!

The good news is that this week it’s only going to get warmer and sunnier, so are you going to seize the opportunity to boost your wellbeing and happiness?

Why not do a brisk walk for 15 to 20 minutes at least once a day. Early in the morning can prepare you for the day ahead. Perhaps at lunchtime to re-assess and re-plan you day, or after work maybe, to release any pressures and to ensure you focus on time for you. We challenge you to do this and email us the difference it made to you on info@pro-development.co.uk.

Wellbeing, happiness and energy levels are very important, if you’d like to talk more about ways of increasing these, to get the best out of both you and your colleagues, why not get in touch for a chat or attend one of our monthly Employee Engagement Workshop events.

Reward and Recognition

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

reward and recognition Having undertaken numerous employee engagement surveys in businesses of different shapes and sizes, we are beginning to build up a picture of how local companies are finding different and innovative ways to recognise and reward their employees.

We have known for many years that money is a short-term motivator, plus many of the businesses we work with are not in a position to hand out large bonuses and pay rises. However, they are exploring new and different ways to help people feel valued.

Here are a few ways some of our clients are rewarding their teams:

• Having your birthday off

• Buying pizza once a week

• Buying sandwiches on a Friday or (food has featured quite heavily)

• Working from home

• More flexible working

• A move away from set hours

• Able to bring your dog to work

• Provided a seating area to work outside

• Setting up a fun committee with an agreed budget

• An indoor recreational area for relaxing or having lunch

• Having study time

• Gift voucher

The key is to note that not one size fits all. Businesses who are investing the time getting to know their people have a clearer understanding of what will make individuals feel more valued. Here’s an example:

Someone on slimming world or weight watchers would not necessarily feel recognised by being gifted free Pizza, but they may well appreciate being able to leave earlier on a Tuesday to get to a slimming class.

It seems simple but its effective! Each business is different, and you will have you own limitations as to what is feasible, but why not spend some time thinking creatively to see if there is anything you may be able to do that would make a difference to your people.

Questions

• Do you know how valued your employees feel?

• Do you understand what would help them to feel more valued and recognised at work?

• How effective are your current reward and recognition strategies?

Our Employee Engagement survey can provide a measure of how valued and recognised your people are, alongside insights into what’s working for them, and what’s not as effective. If you would like to find out more, click here or contact us on 01904 628838

Receiving Feedback

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

receiving feedback We have talked a lot about having honest conversations and delivering feedback to help people grow and develop…however, we’ve noticed something recently. When we ask people to gather feedback on themselves, there is always a sharp intake of breath and more often than not, complete inaction in gathering any feedback.

Ok, so getting feedback on yourself isn’t the most comfortable of things to do, I mean, who’s to say people will be honest with us. Are we just happier with our head in the sand?

Here are some hints and tips to help you receive feedback.

• See the feedback as valuable information. It will potentially help you to move in the right direction.

• Remember, it may have taken a lot of courage for someone to provide feedback, so we should be thankful that they were kind enough and brave enough to provide it.

• People generally deliver feedback with good intention.

• Listen to the feedback without interrupting, so you fully understand and check out your understanding by restating what you have heard.

• Probe for more information. Ask questions such as “Can you give me a bit more detail?”

• Avoid a defensive or emotional response. Comments like “I only did it that way because …” and watch out for “Ah yes, but …”

• Don’t argue with the feedback. It is based on their perception of the truth.

• Feedback is a gift, you can choose whether to accept it.

Challenge

So, we challenge you to go out and ask for feedback from 3 people, you never know, it might just be the catalyst for change you have needed for a while!

Disc 363

If you are a leader and would like to take a more structured approach to receiving feedback we are accredited to offer the Everything DiSC® 363 for Leaders profile. This tool can be used by anyone in a leadership role who wants to include 360 feedback as part of their ongoing personal development. If you are interested in finding out more, contact us on info@pro-development.co.uk

Cooking up a storm

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

This month our fearless Management Development Leaders got hot under the collar in our cookery extravaganza.

What can you learn about leadership in a kitchen we hear you cry? Well quite a lot as our Management Development delegates will tell you. Having to perform under pressure, in unfamiliar situations, providing direction, clarity and communication can be a regular feature of a leader / manager’s role. In the kitchen we simply re-create the business environment and observe people lead.

cook 1 march 18 So, what did the kitchen teach us?

• Keep your eye on the goal

• Spend time up front planning

• Take the time to observe what’s going on

• Use the skills and talents of those around you

• Listen to people and ideas

• Ask questions to understand

• As a leader, try not to get stuck in the detail

• Define the roles and responsibilities of those in the team

• Celebrate the success and reap the rewards!

And reap the rewards we did!

Can you handle the heat of leadership? Would you like to understand more about your style and the impact it has on those who you lead?

To find out more about our Management Development Programme CLICK HERE or give us a call on 01904 628838 for a chat about the programme and how it can help you and your business.

Time

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

time deadline Ah if only I had more of it! It seems to disappear, there’s never enough time in the day to do what we need to do. Recently I met a lady who was early for our appointment, I said I would get there as soon as I could. I spent the next half hour dodging through traffic, getting het up as everything was taking too long and arrived in a fluster and full of apologies for taking so long.

She on the other hand, had a light bulb moment and shared with me, in her calm and serene manner “I’m always late, however being early has given me time to prepare my thoughts, to reflect and learn and its been really great, I am going to be early more often”.

Then I had a light bulb moment, we are victims of our own making. We pack so much in to our busy days that we don’t often allow ourselves time to stop, to catch our breath, to reflect, to learn. I long to be that calm, serene self and so from today I made a pact with myself to change a few things to remove some of this self-imposed time pressure.

Ask yourself these questions?

Does this resonate with you? Do you impose deadlines and pressures on yourself unnecessarily, because let’s face it, what’s the worst that can happen? Are you unrealistic about how long things will take you. If you have answered yes, think about 3 actions you could take to change a few things for yourself to remove the pressure.

If you need more support and challenge in doing this, explore the option of being coached by a member of the Pro-Development team. Coaching is a very powerful tool that can help with behavioural change and may be just the thing you need to make the changes needed. Take a few moments to read what people who have worked with us have to say.

Managing the Transition

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

leadershipOver the last few months we have come across numerous managers who have struggled with their transition to manager. This isn’t the first time we have written about this; however the issue of transition doesn’t ever seem to go away.

For some reason, when we get promoted up the leadership ladder we have a tendency to focus on the technical aspects of the role and we step up to provide support and guidance on getting the job done. However, we don’t afford ourselves the same luxury to allow time for ourselves to lead the team and have conversations with team members on a 1:1 basis to help them develop and grow.

So why is this? We asked some managers why they didn’t afford the time and here is what they told us:

“I still have my own work to do as well as managing the team, I need to complete my tasks.”

“I never seem to have the time.”

“It’s never really been explained to me what is expected of me.”

“I didn’t realise there was so much to it”.

“The team are alright, they just get on with it. They know what they are doing”

However, let us not forget that 62% of people leave their job because of their manager, so it is important to give this important role the time and focus it deserves.

Challenge Yourself

Have you / your managers received any management development?

Are you / your managers finding the time to lead?

Are you delegating tasks to have more time?

What can you do that will make a difference to you and your team?

We have a number of solutions that can help your transition through management and leadership which include leadership programmes and coaching. If you would like to discuss your requirements and how we can support you / your businesses then why not get in touch.