Posts Tagged ‘Employee Engagement’

What we can learn about leadership from Santa!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

santa and elves 2018 It’s a busy time of year for the big man, but we caught up with him recently to find out how he motivates the team to deliver, year on year on year. Here is a selection box of top tips…

Set a clear and understandable vision

“Our vision was revised about 2 years ago and now embraces the digital age, however it’s important to me that everybody is on board and understands the vision and how we can translate it into action. We had a launch of the revised vision back in 2016, however we ensure we bring the vision to life at every opportunity. I strongly believe every Elf could tell you how they contribute to the vision and why it’s important.”

Communicate regularly

“Communication has been so important for us and we don’t always get it right! In 2017 we had some Elf and safety issues with the hover boards, and this wasn’t communicated to the workshop and some faulty goods went out. I now communicate through regular team meetings and ensure everyone receives the message. Through regular 1:1s with the Elves, myself and the head Elves we check that the message has been received as intended, and there is an opportunity for the elves to ask questions to further their understanding”.

Always be honest

“I am always honest with the Elves” states Father Christmas. “I give regular feedback on performance and behaviours. What’s most important, I believe, is catching people doing things right and recognise those behaviours, so often this can be missed”

Trust your team

“You need to be able to trust your team. In 2017 I caught the terrible bug that was going around. I really had to put my trust in the team that they would have everything ready and they did (of course). I never doubted it, I think sometimes I need to let go a bit more and just leave them to get on with it!”

Be authentic

“Finally, be yourself”, says Father Christmas. “I always make sure I am myself, so people know that when I give my hearty laugh its genuine, and that’s important because it builds trust. I am also not afraid to celebrate what is unique about me and I dare to be different. Let’s be honest, there are not many men of my stature that would wear a red coat but that’s me, it reflects who I am and its authentic!

If you would like to spend 2019 working on being an authentic and inspiring leader why not treat yourself to our Leadership Programme. Click here to check out our video of previous delegates and their experience.

Values and a horse called Opus changed my life

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Michelle & Opus nuzzling This was the statement that headed up the entry for York Press Business Awards “Business Personality of the Year” and which resulted in me being shortlisted down to 3! I’ve been overwhelmed by the messages I have received in the last few days since the award was announced and just wanted to put together a few words about my journey that has led me to be writing this blog tonight!

About 8 years ago, I found myself disengaged from the organisation I worked for and was unhappy both in my work life and my home life. A dear friend gave me the opportunity to spend a leadership day working with horses in Warwick. I was intrigued. I went. The learnings from that day changed my life forever!

I made a bold decision which had some significant consequences. I had always wanted to set up my own business but felt trapped and needed to do something about it. So, I decided my passion and determination would be enough to make it work, and in 2011, I did it!

Pro-Development saved my life

Again, another bold statement, but setting up Pro-Development was the scariest but most thrilling step I’d made in my career. I felt more alive than I had in many years. I spent time creating a vision and purpose and quickly established that I wanted to work with SMEs in Yorkshire, helping to support their growth through focusing on the engagement and development of their people. I was excited! Six months in, I became a single mum! Not part of the plan, but my husband no longer wanted to be part of the journey I was taking and it was clear our values were not aligned. A very tough time but it certainly gave me a renewed focus on making the business work! I networked! And networked some more! I love Yorkshire and quickly made some amazing connections and friends along the way. I have been inspired by the generosity of time and kindness from others who have been a part of my journey. Within a year, I had grown the business enough to ensure that Pro-Development could bring on board a wonderful colleague I had worked with previously. Sue was very keen to get involved, and so Pro-Development became the dynamic duo.

The power of Networking

Networking was one of the things that kept me sane in the early days. Meeting other like-minded people, the help and advice, the connections, the partnerships and friends I made. The benefits for me were endless. And, guess what, it did win me business! Apart from the client we won through our kids at school (yes, honestly, our biggest client came about through the children asking for and swapping business cards in the playground), we have secured some of our best clients through people we have met at networking. And, best of all, I get the opportunity to give back to others and spend time with them, understanding and helping them to achieve their goals and make the connections they need. The icing on the cake? Being approached by York Professionals to join their Board of Directors earlier this year and then last month being asked to take on the Chair. What an honour and privilege to be part of such a fantastic team of people who work so hard to raise the profile of professionals in and around York. Love it!

Employee Engagement is the key

Whilst working in a previous organisation I had become interested in employee engagement and also became involved in the work of Engage for Success. So, for the last few years, I have run workshops, volunteering my time to help raise this important issue and bring it to the attention of local business owners. Last year alone, over 150 businesses attended our workshops and left with action plans for how they were going to make their business a great place to work. This year, the team challenged me to reach over 200 businesses and to speak at 20 different events. Becoming a speaker was certainly never part of my plan and was something I felt very uncomfortable doing, but the challenge was set. I overcame my demons, and now have done over 20 speaking events this year. I am even starting to love doing them!

How have I achieved this?

Since I’ve started speaking at events, a number of people have come up to me afterwards saying they have been inspired to do something different and asked what inspired me. People inspire me. Since setting up the business I have been delighted at the amazing people who have come into both my personal and work life. I know that I am at my best when I am surrounded with inspiring people. My team inspire me, with their ideas, their work ethic, their honesty and commitment. My children inspire me, every day and keep me grounded. A boss I worked for in my 20s inspired me, he saw potential in me and encouraged me to undertake my degree despite leaving school after my GCSEs with the no big aspirations or career plans. People are where I get my energy for life and the determination to make a difference to other people and businesses.

The future

Is exciting! Pro-Development continues to grow; moving from the back of the garage to our lovely office near Fulford; tripling our amazing team; adding new systems and processes; creating new products and services; working with more fantastic clients; and lots of inspiring partners. My life has changed beyond all recognition over the last 7 years: long may it continue!

Are your Leaders and Managers hot to trot?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

2017-06-28 15.21.31 Having the confidence and self-belief to face challenging and sometimes conflict situations in the work place is a common issue we find when we speak to the many managers we come across in our work. As a result, there is a lack of action and issues are left to fester. Often, the lack of action taken by managers in these situations is a source of frustration for many team members and has a detrimental impact on team morale and employee engagement.

Interesting, we are seeing a theme at the moment as well around managers and leaders who are still getting too involved in the role they had before they were promoted and not making time for managing and leading their team. In a coaching session recently, one manager who was spending 90% of his time doing his old role said “but if I don’t do all this work, what would I be doing?” It can seem like a blank sheet to many people who have never led or managed a team before.

We believe that giving managers theory, processes and tips to understand their role or deal with issues and challenges isn’t enough; a more holistic approach is needed to develop their confidence and belief in themselves as a person and as a leader and enable them to develop their own vision of what being an authentic and inspiring leader looks like.

This is the approach we have taken on our Management Development Programme and we are seeing some amazing transformations; one person was even described as going from zero to hero.

• Do you have managers and leaders who know what do to do in challenging situations but are not stepping up?

• Do you have managers and leaders who avoid conflict situations?

• Do you have managers and leaders who seem to be too busy in the day job to manage their team?

• Are your managers and leaders holding back on some honest conversations?

Based on our experience we believe a high percentage of those answers will be yes but let us know your thoughts on what you think gets in their way of dealing with the issues.

We also know our Management Development programme has equipped people with the confidence and belief to go on to be truly authentic and inspirational leaders who face challenges head on. If you think this is something your business would benefit from, click here to watch our video or contact us and we can talk you through the programme and the benefits of having a manager hot to trot!

Phone Addiction

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

mobile phone pic 2018 This month we have heard about Simon Cowell who has ditched his smart phone for 10 months…WOW! We say WOW because we are not sure we could do that, but the thought of it sounds fantastic. We wonder how many times a day we look at our phones? Even writing this blog we have glanced at it about ten times and touched it twice. If we ever can’t see our phone or fear that we have left it somewhere we go into a complete meltdown. Its quite a scary addiction, and we say addiction because we think we probably are addicted to it.

Rest assured that it’s not just us. When we deliver training courses, we now ask people to turn their phones on to silent. Sometimes we ask people to agree a way of working together to get the most out of the training event, often the mobile phone is mentioned where people ask for agreement that they will remain off them for the duration of the course. Interestingly though, as soon as it is break time we see delegates rummaging in their bags looking for their phones taking calls and checking appointments. Are we really that critical to the business that a couple of hours without contact will cause a massive risk to the business? We think we all know the answer to that one!

Our challenge to you

• Ask someone to be your conscience and notice how often you check your phone during a work day.

• The next meeting you go to, turn your phone off or leave it ask your desk.

• When you get home tonight, turn your phone off until the next morning.

• Notice how you feel, being away from your phone.

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.

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

What if you were the one who pressed the button!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Press the buton We were reflecting last week on the official alert sent in Hawaii warning people a ballistic missile was about to hit – only for it to turn out to be a false alarm!

It’s your worst nightmare, just like when you send an email to the wrong person or even, send to all!

You know, we all make mistakes…granted, some are bigger than others, but we have two choices in our opinion:

Choice 1 – Make everybody involved feel bad and spend copious amounts of time and effort finding out who exactly was to blame.

Choice 2 – Find out where it went wrong to ensure we learn from our mistakes and stop it from happening again.

Let’s look at choice 1 for a moment. Making people feel bad is a waste of energy and no doubt the person involved will be doing a good job of that themselves. We know from our own experience how we love to beat ourselves up when we make an error or even dare to produce a piece of work anything less than perfection! Secondly, finding out who is to blame reflects an unhealthy company culture, one which encourages people to hide errors, lie, avoid accountability, and stifles risk taking and innovation.

Now lets look at Choice 2. Ask yourself who do you know who comes to work and intentionally does a bad job? We bet you’re struggling to think of anyone, and that’s because people generally want to do a good job. So when mistakes are made, rather than spend the time blaming someone for something they didn’t intend to do, find out what and where in the system or process led the individual to the error and change it, learn from it, improve it! Operating in this manner will foster a culture of openness, honesty and learning, where people will step out of their comfort zones and try something new!

If an action was taken with good intent, next time maybe think about the choice you take in response.

If you would like to know more about how you can create a great company culture, come along to one of our Employee Engagement workshops. This workshop will provide you with a framework to understand the key drivers for employee engagement and give you the opportunity to consider what you can do to bring out the best in your teams and increase your productivity and sales. Click here to book your place and we look forward to seeing you soon.

I’ve seen the light!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Clock The shortest day is behind us, but many of us are still going to work in the dark, driving home in the dark and spending the days indoors, not even breaking for lunch. If you’re lucky enough, you may have a lovely view of the daylight out of your window!

Interestingly scientists at the Lighting Research Center have reported that daylit environments increase occupant productivity and comfort, and provide the mental and visual stimulation necessary to regulate human circadian rhythms (sleep/wake cycle)!

In a 1999 study “Daylighting in Schools: An Investigation into the Relationship between Daylighting and Human Performance,” found a high correlation between schools that reported improvements in student test scores upwards of 10 percent and those that reported increased daylight in the classroom.

So why, if natural daylight is so good for us, do we not get more of it? This year we want to challenge you to do at least one of the following:

• Look at your working environment and make the most of your well-lit areas, make plans to share the space with other team members.

• Make sure files and other bulky items are away from the windows letting the light flood in.

• To enhance the benefits of daylight further, find time in your working day to get outside, hear the birds tweet and feel the wind in your hair!

• Design an outdoor space for you and your team to enjoy. Maybe buy a picnic table or some garden furniture. What about developing an edible garden in plant pots for people to pick lettuce leaves in the summer?

Overall, research suggests that daylight and daylit areas are likely to improve worker satisfaction, mood, and productivity, so come on, let’s SPRING into action!

If you want to know more about creating an environment that can positively impact on profit and productivity, why not join us on one of our employee engagement workshops where you can find out some handy hints and tips to put into action.