Kindness

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

girl cuddling herself

“My religion is very simple, my religion is kindness” Dalai Lama”

When Vicky in our team first started her kindness and compassion journey a Buddhist monk asked her to think about the ways in which kindness can flow. She thought for a while and then told him ‘well it is something we give to others or perhaps something that others give to us’. He asked her if there was any other way that kindness could flow, and at that time she couldn’t think of anything. Then he finally said to her ‘we can be kind to ourselves’, and that was the start of her kindness and compassion journey.

Through her practice of kindness and compassion, it is this element that she has found most challenging and continually reminds herself “may I be kind to myself”.

When we look closely at how kind we are to ourselves, it can be really quite eye opening. One of her favourite authors Kristen Neff said that in order to demonstrate this we “should treat ourselves as we would treat our best friend” and this includes thought, word and deed.

So how can we be more kind to ourselves? Here are a couple of ideas from Pro-Development:

1 – Choose compassion over criticism

Have you ever listened to your inner critic? Vicky’s inner critic voice is loud and it often fails to recognise all the good in favour of the one small thing she didn’t do. Remind yourself that we are allowed to make mistakes and there maybe days when we don’t feel our best, compassion says that it is ok.

2 – Take care of your body

Our body is the most amazing power tool and is very intuitive, it tells us when it needs something whether that is food, hydration or even through illness. Yet often we ignore what our body is trying to tell us. Take some time to really tune into your body and listen to its signals, this can be done through meditation, certain kinds of exercise, or tuning into the bodies responses.:

We would love to hear your thoughts and reflections on Kindness and Self Kindness, let us know what works for you.

Here comes the sun

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

sue and ruby Here at Pro Development Towers, we do love to see the sun. It makes such a difference to the working day. We get out more, go for walking meetings, sit in the courtyard to take telephone calls and we enjoy a stroll with Ruby the dog at lunch.

To do this though takes discipline. It would be far easier to stay sat at our desks ploughing through the work, coming up for caffeine every few hours.

Breaking off from your work can feel quite stressful, anxiety sets in because we have so much to do, and taking 30 mins off is classed as a luxury.

We have to remind ourselves to take these breaks, to get outside and to give ourselves time to breathe. We are almost institutionalised to thinking we must stay at our desks and crack on, and we’re not quite sure where this comes from? Breaking this habit is hard but we must try.

There are many benefits to taking a break, getting outside and enjoying a bit of sunshine. Here are some of the personal benefits we feel.

• Headaches reduce

• Mood lifts

• Thinking becomes easier

• Conversations happen that wouldn’t otherwise

• Re-plan our approach to work

• Sense of feeling empowered and free

• Issues are placed back into perspective

• Have a bit of fun

• Bring that freshness and lightness back into the office

So we challenge you to do the same!

We are running a workplace wellbeing strategy event on the 11th June at Sandburn Hall, York where you can consider some different ways to help define what makes a great wellbeing strategy within a business.

Key outcomes of this event include:

• Define what makes a great wellbeing strategy

• Plan your approach to create and implement a wellbeing strategy

• Share best practice on what works and what doesn’t

• Explore and experience a variety of wellbeing strategy initiatives

• Create an action plan

To reserve your place on this wellbeing event, please contact steph.edwards@pro-development.co.uk or 01904 628838 We look forward to welcoming you on the event.

Investment = £50 + vat

Funding for you and your team

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

good news Great news! Funding for training is now available through The Skills Service for eligible SME businesses in the region. You may qualify for 40% funding from the European Social Fund towards training you and your team. How great is that! We’ve already accessed this training for some local business for our Management Development Programme, short courses and team events.

To be eligible for 40% ESF funding towards the cost of training the business must:

• Be an SME based within the Leeds City Region. This includes the following districts – Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York. This can include Private Limited Companies, Partnerships and LLPs, Sole Proprietors, Self Employed and Registered Charities.

• Employ fewer than 250 full time equivalent staff and have an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million.

• Put forward participants who work for the company based within the Leeds City Region and are aged 18 years or over.

• Operate in the following sectors – Creative and Digital, Finance and Business, Hospitality and Tourism, Low Carbon and Construction, Manufacturing and Engineering, Retail*, Health and Social Care* or Medical Technology.

• Contribute 60% of the total cost of the training.

• Not be employers in the following sectors/areas: Hair and Beauty, Voluntary Sector, Public Sector including NHS and Hospitals.

This provides a fantastic opportunity to support local business development and growth, and we would love to be part of your journey. If you would like to know more click here or give us a call on 01904 628838.

Funding is from the European Social Fund via the WYCC Skills Service.

WYCC_Skills Service_ESF

How refreshing!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

employee engagement may 2019 Well we all know how refreshing a lovely glass of wine can be, however how refreshing was this employer’s attitude when a fine wine was served by mistake.

Let us explain. In the news recently there was a story where an employee in a restaurant served the wrong bottle of wine worth £4,500. The customer had ordered a £260 bottle. Just imagine how you would feel if you were that waiter/waitress! Mortified no doubt, indeed they were. However, the employer shared on social media this lovely message:

“to the customer who accidently got given a bottle of Chateau Le Pin Pomeral 2001, which is £4500 on our menu last night – hope you enjoyed your evening! To the member of staff who accidently gave it away, chin up! One-off mistakes happen and we love you anyway”

We would imagine employee engagement in this company must be extremely high. This response suggests they have a fantastic culture built on trust and learning rather than blame. Now we are not suggesting that people aren’t held accountable, indeed when there are consistent areas of underperformance an honest conversation needs to be had. We do however support the notion that people do not come to work to intentionally make mistakes, generally something in the system or process has led them to the wrong decision or outcome. So next time something happens in your workplace, stop for a moment and consider, how would I feel if this were me? What was the situation that caused this mistake to happen, and finally how can we all learn from it so it doesn’t happen again!

If you are interested in the subject of Employee Engagement and you would like to find out more then please click here or contact us to have a chat.

Can you afford to lose good people?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

I quit We all know how hard it can be when you lose a key member of the team. When you lose talent, it impacts in so many ways.

• There is a sadness that comes from losing the day to day contact with someone who often has become a friend.

• People are often unsettled by the change and start to query their own career and whether its time for them to move on too.

• Then of course there is the increased workload and frustration that can bring.

• Loss of knowledge is a massive risk and can slow down what was a slick and efficient process.

• Someone in the business needs to find time to recruit and finding the right person is not easy – ask any recruiter!

• Once the person has been selected, they require a full induction, not just a tick list of things to show someone in the first week. We mean a 6-month induction programme to support people in their new role.

• Oh and of course, someone in the business will need to design and manage the induction process and the list goes on!

The true cost of losing an employee has been estimated by the Hayes Group to cost between 12 – 18 months of a person’s salary. With the current average salary, you could be looking at a financial loss of anywhere between £25k – £39k! Staggering isn’t it? So here are some questions for you:

• Can you afford to lose good people?

• Do you know if one of your best people is considering leaving?

• Are you doing everything to ensure that people want to stay?

• Do you know what is motivating and engaging your teams to ensure they are giving their best?

These are difficult questions, but focussing on employee engagement will help you to answer them. Gaining insight into employee engagement in your business means you are well informed about employees views and feelings and this enables you to focus your energy (and resources) on doing the right things, and those ‘right things’ will probably make the difference and be enough to retain your talent.

If you would like to find out more come along to one of our Employee Engagement sessions. Click Here for more details.

Shaping Your future!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

shape your future 2019 Learning at Work Week 2019 takes place from 13th to 19th May and the national theme this year is ‘Shaping the Future’ and has three strands: Future Open, Future Ready, Future Active!

Now we often invest time in shaping the future of others. Simply by listening to people, providing opportunities for them to grow, providing support when needed, perhaps a shoulder to cry on, helping others identify personal strategies to move forward and providing feedback on performance so that people can understand what they are doing well and where they need to develop.

However, do we invest as much time in shaping our own futures?

We suspect not, so why not use learning at work week to think about you and your future.

Here’s a few hints and tips to get you started:

• Stop the constant ‘doing’ and take some time out to stop, reflect and think! Book some time out in the diary this week for ‘you time’.

• Broaden your perspective of how you could develop at work – think outside the box. What excites you about the business, sparks passion in your work and provides the right amount of challenge?

• Be open to new learning experiences. Step out of your comfort zone, try something new. You don’t know what you don’t know!

• Read around a topic that can help you be even better at what you do. What’s the latest thinking in your field? Can you introduce some new thinking into your work?

• Develop your resilience – How can you react differently to change? Change is the future so we might as well be prepared.

• Practice a bit of self-care to rest and repair. Get your energy levels back to a high so you embrace your future with gusto!

The Learning at Work Week website offers resources, themed activity ideas, inspiration, promotional materials and planning workshops to help you design a brilliant Learning at Work Week and bring the theme to life, not only for others but for you too – so go on, invest time in shaping your future, because you’re worth it!

If you would like any help or support with the above, contact us here at Pro-Development as we can help via coaching or working with your teams to support change, building resilience or identifying career paths.

Well Well Well…being!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

wellbeing 2019 Well what? Indeed, the term wellbeing is being discussed quite a lot at the moment, but we are finding that many businesses are struggling to understand where their focus should be and what to do in terms of a way forward? We also heard it said, “I got to this point without wellbeing, why do I need it now”? So, it would also appear some attitudes need challenging too!

When it comes to wellbeing, here at Pro-Development, we prefer a holistic approach. An approach that includes all aspects of self, such as sleep, nutrition (in fact, those of you who have been with us for a while will remember the healthy eating campaign we embarked on) mental health, work/life balance to name a few. Also being in a team of let’s say ‘women of a certain age’ we most certainly must consider our wellbeing and it goes further than having an office fan because we are either too hot or too cold!

So why has wellbeing suddenly become a ‘thing’? Well we don’t think it suddenly has – certainly we think it has been re-branded and may have been known by some as staff welfare in the past. Lots of the initiatives we see have been around for quite a while, for example employee assistance schemes, flexible working, and staff benefits such as gym memberships. However, the agenda is widening, for example, the menopause is now getting some air time and also our attitudes towards mental health have shifted significantly – it is no longer a taboo subject or masked as another illness. Ultimately, focussing on wellbeing makes business sense too. A happy, healthy and engaged workforce is a productive one – simple!

To help businesses get to grips with wellbeing and develop their strategies, we are running a half day event where we will bring together and share information on some of the areas of focus, listen to what other businesses are building into their strategies (and to what success) and share thoughts and ideas as a group. As a result, you should be in a really good position to shape a wellbeing strategy for your business.

Wellbeing isn’t a fad – it’s good business sense. To ensure your business and you are at the forefront with the right focus and approach contact us to find out more about our wellbeing workshop.

Work life balance

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

work life balance 2019 Well this is an interesting one? How do we achieve work life balance in a 24/7 society? Many workplaces now offer flexible working and workplace benefits which are there to increase our wellbeing and improve our experience of the world of work. However, how possible is it to have a work life balance with a smart phone that’s with you all the time?

You may work from home every now and again or work part time, so it could be argued that yes, you have a good work/life balance, but how often do you check your phone for emails outside of working hours, in your ‘life’ hours? When you check those emails how often do you get that sinking feeling that you need to act or, that you will be expected to act. Do you become distant from what is happening around you? Are you missing moments at home when you should be present? Do you miss your gym class to complete that piece of work? Does your mood change (for the worse)?

Flexible working is a good thing, if it doesn’t take over too much ‘life’ time. So, who is responsible for getting the balance right?

Answer these questions

• Who is expecting you to answer emails when they come in?

• Who is expecting you to take immediate action?

• Who is making you feel guilty for not responding or acting?

Likelihood is, it could be you who is putting the pressure on yourself.

So, our challenge to you is…

What’s getting in your way of a good work/life balance? Write down your findings.

If it is you, what are you going to do to make a difference?

When are you going to start making a difference?

If your work/life balance isn’t right, maybe consider come coaching to help drive some new behaviours. Click here to find out more or contact us

What to know more about work life balance, why not come along to our wellbeing strategy event to find out more please contact us.

Is Yoga in the workplace a good idea?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

yoga april 2019 Our lovely Vicky who joined our team last year has had a passion for Yoga for many years now and which has become an important part of her life for so many reasons. Here, Vicky shares with us how it has helped her and why she feels it is so important for our wellbeing.

“My journey with Yoga has had a very significant and ultimately, positive impact on my life. It has helped with my mental health and my spiritual wellbeing. My body has changed in so many ways due to my regular practice. I feel blessed to have this in my life. Many companies are now beginning to understand the benefits that yoga can have.”

Interestingly, Personnel today wrote a really interesting article on this and quoted that Yoga is (according to – Mira Mehta (1994) : “A powerful antidote to the stresses of modern-day life, yoga is a practical philosophy that aims to unite the body, mind and spirit for health and fulfilment. A fit and supple body can be developed through the practice of postures that work on all the bodily systems, toning the muscles, stimulating the circulation and improving overall health. The benefits are not just physical: as the postures are mastered and techniques introduced for relaxation and breath control, you will find that yoga has the power to calm the mind, increase your concentration and give the ability to cope with tension.”

Clearly this can have a profound effect on employees and of course employee engagement because when employees feel calm in mind and healthy in body, this can support productivity in the workplace.

So where might a company begin in thinking about introducing a yoga programme for staff?

Here are a some reflections from the Pro-Development team:

– Build it into an overall wellbeing strategy. Yoga is great and can contribute to an employer’s wellbeing strategy, introducing yoga as part of something that is focused on wellbeing can really help engage staff to try it.

– Consider running sessions in work time. People often share that the biggest challenge to doing yoga is having enough time. Giving staff time to practice at work will really help them with this and also support them in feeling valued.

– Help people understand that yoga is for everyone. Most people think yoga requires you to be bendy and strong, this simply isn’t true. When Vicky started yoga she couldn’t touch her toes! Professional yoga instructors will always have a posture that ensures that participants feel comfortable in their practice.

– Don’t forget to share the benefits! There are so many and often people don’t realise just how beneficial yoga can be.

If you would like to find out more about how to create a wellbeing strategy, contact us about a wellbeing day we will be running where we will be offering some taster sessions in yoga as well as time to help you consider your wellbeing strategy.

Authentic Leadership

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

authentic leadership MIY March 2019 We had the pleasure of delivering a workshop on Authentic Leadership in partnership with Make it York last week and I thought I would share with you this fabulous flipchart which was pulled together by the group which captured many of the thoughts on what they think it takes to be an authentic leader.

We all agreed that to be a truly authentic leader of our life, our family and our colleagues takes focus, reflection and time and is a commitment to ourselves to learn and grow.

The lovely people who attended the session gave themselves the gift of a day to consider this important area and I was so impressed with all of them for their honesty, openness, willingness to share together and learn from each other! Great leaders in my book and all inspiring in their own way!

Thank you to each one of you for a superb day ❤️ and also for their amazing feedback. It was clear that they got a lot from the event and you can read their feedback on our testimonial page.

Let us ask you a few questions … answer honestly!

So, how many of the areas from the flipchart can you say you are demonstrating as a leader?

When was the last time you asked others for feedback on your leadership?

Which are your top 3 to focus on in 2019?

Are you Inspiring people to be their very best?

Are you building an environment of honesty and trust?

Are you communicating and leading your people towards achieving business goals?

If you or a colleague would like to be the very best Leader or Manager that you can possibly be, you may be interested in Pro-Development’s Leadership and Management Experiential Development Programme which has received huge acclaim. It has been described as both game changing and life changing. Click here for more information or contact us if you would like a chat.