Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

How do I feel?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Blue Monday Drum beat please…

“How does it feel to treat me like you do?

When you’ve laid your hands upon me and told me who you are

I thought I was mistaken, I thought I heard your words

Tell me, how do I feel

Tell me now, how do I feel”

Yes, Blue Monday is here. 21st January, apparently is the most depressing day of the year!

Let’s turn this around and turn this negative into a positive! Here are some hints and tips to brighten your day…

• Wear your favourite item of work clothing, something that makes you feel good.

• Treat yourself to an extra special breakfast (egg benedict springs to mind)

• Pick out one of your favourite happy tunes and blast it out on the way to work (we recommend Xanadu by Olivia Newton John )

• Don’t forget to sing along!

• Make a point of wishing colleagues good morning and pay them a genuine compliment (You never know, they might just be wearing a favourite item of work clothing!)

• Go for a lunch time walk, notice the trees, the sounds that fill the air, feel the wind in your hair.

• Give colleagues some positive, authentic feedback.

• Repeat a personal mantra in your head (something like “I rock”)

• Leave work on time and return home with another favourite tune (We recommend ‘I’m in the mood for dancing’ The Nolans, or ‘Funky Town’ Lipps inc)

• Don’t forget to sing along!

• Go out for tea. A lot of restaurants have great deals on a Monday.

• Relax at home, note all the good things in your life.

• Have a bath with some of the body wash you undoubtedly got for Christmas.

• Spray your pillow with lavender scent and tuck yourself into bed for an early night.

There, I think we’ve got you through it! If you would like to learn more about personal wellbeing, then get in touch to find out how we can help you develop in this area. For more info click here.

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.

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.

This year I am going to be more organised!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

untidy desk Ha! If only we had a pound for every time we heard that over the last couple of weeks! Being organised can make such a difference so we would like to share some top tips to help you start 2018 the way you mean to carry on!

• Operate a personal clear desk policy – Keep documents, supplies and stationery to the bare minimum and move anything that doesn’t directly serve a function.

• Give everything a home. If you don’t, it WILL join ‘the pile of paper’ or go in ‘the drawer’. If you haven’t got space to store it, have a clear out, maybe scan it, ask yourself ‘do I really need it?”

• Filing – Studies suggest that 80% of what we file is never accessed again (just saying!) if you do need to file, book some time in each day to do it until it becomes a habit.

• Organise your PC/Laptop – Take some time to think about the programs you use regularly and set up your homepage to allow easy access to the program and files you use on a regular basis.

• Plan your work – Take 15 minutes at the end of each day to wrap up loose ends and prioritise key tasks for tomorrow.

• Identify when you have the most energy – Keep a note of your energy levels throughout the day and see if you can establish a pattern. If you notice your energy levels are higher at a particular time of the day, maybe save the larger and more challenging task for then.

• Eat the frog – If you have a task which you find distasteful, a bit like eating a frog, make sure you do it first thing, otherwise you’ll never get around to it!

And, if you need more help, then we can offer training and coaching, Click Here to find out more.

The Journey of Authentic Leadership

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

2017-12-05 16.20.31 This month we said goodbye to another cohort on the Leadership Development Programme. It’s a strange time as on the one hand we are filled with sadness as we say goodbye to people whom we have built strong connections and emotional bonds with, yet on the other hand we see people who have been on an incredible journey over the last seven months and we know they will continue to be great and inspiring leaders in their respective workplaces.

On the last day of the programme we hear from the delegates what have they learnt throughout the programme, what have been their greatest achievements, we even want to hear about their biggest challenges as we believe we learn a lot from these.

Their personal stories are incredible! A couple of examples, yesterday was one individual stated how she had been described as going from ‘zero to hero’ whilst on the programme, this was a colleague describing the difference they had seen in her confidence and self-belief. Another individual had asked for feedback from a team member and both opened it for the first time and read it out loud to us. The feedback stated how this team member felt very disengaged with work and his manager, however went on to share how this has changed over the course of the programme and how he had seen his manager change his style to one which built a relationship of mutual trust and respect. Our delegate wasn’t surprised by the content of the feedback as he knew, through having regular honest conversations, what the feedback would say. All the same, a very brave thing to do and we admire him for it.

So filled with sadness and joy we say goodbye to this cohort knowing that we made a difference, and that is all we can ask for. The Leadership Development Programme is truly a remarkable programme, we are very proud of it and the difference it makes. It’s special, it’s different and it’s powerful. If you know of anyone who you think would benefit, then get in touch, we’d be happy to discuss the programme to see if it’s right for them.

We have a programme starting early 2018…Click here for more information and watch our video of a past delegate describing his journey through the programme.

The Diana Award

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Diana award Here at Pro-Development we’re proud to be working with the Diana Award, mentoring a group of young people to help instil citizenship, improve workplace readiness and develop resilience and determination. The Diana Award was founded in 1999 as a legacy to Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world and inspire those around them. Through the Mentoring Campaign, young people are encouraged and empowered to take positive actions in their school, local and even global communities by undertaking a social action project and skills training.

The young people we work with are full of energy, enthusiasm, and a belief that they can make a difference. Although we became involved with the Diana Award to give something back, we come away after each session with a renewed sense of positivity and a belief that if young people are empowered and given the skills they need, they do have the power to make changes in the world and to be inspiring role models.

If this sounds like something you would be keen to get involved in, The Diana Award are currently signing up individuals and teams of mentors across York, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham to start in mid-November, or at the end of March 2018. As a Mentor you would work in a team with other volunteers, giving a group of students an insight into your role and world of work and supporting them to develop a social action project around a topic of their choice. If you are interested in finding out more please email: Danielle.gourlay@diana-award.org.uk.

What part can we all play to increase productivity?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

productivity

A recent report by the BBC noted that the productivity of UK workers has dropped back to pre-financial crisis levels. The Office for National Statistics stated that hourly output fell 0.5% in the first three months of the year, and Economists have warned that the UK’s productivity continues to lag behind its major trading partners such as the US, France and Germany.

Ian Brinkley, acting chief economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development stated that “Unless more is done to tackle the nation’s low productivity, people’s wages and living standards will continue to fall and the UK will be ill-equipped to compete once we do leave the EU.” Other economists, however, have said productivity – which is output divided by hours spent producing it – has partly fallen because there are record numbers of people in work.

Whatever the reason, we need to think about what part we can all play in increasing productivity and we strongly believe that having an engaged workforce is a crucial factor to business success. Just imagine if people in your business wanted to and could give their best each day. What difference would that make to the energy, the enthusiasm, the creativity, the effort they each put in? What difference would that make to you?

The good news is, you don’t just have to imagine as we have seen many of our clients take positive steps which have made a difference for their and people and their business. “With Pro-Development, our business has seen and experienced a totally different approach and a very positive level of results, both financially and in the progress of the business. Pro-Development have worked with our teams in their unique way with a programme of activity to support our employee engagement. Pro-Development’s programmes and continuing developments at all levels of the business, including directors, has given a new perspective to people’s approach to business life within our group of companies. Without doubt, any business wanting to grow and develop should have no reservation in working with Pro-Development, and I would strongly encourage you to at least have a look at how they can help you”. Roger Bodill | Chairman, RB Associates

We believe a good starting point is to give employees a voice, to listen to them, to understand what’s working for them and what’s getting in their way. However, this is only valuable if people are open and honest, and leaders are brave enough to listen (and we mean really listen) to what people have to say. This is where we can help, our employee engagement surveys provide a means for confidential and anonymous feedback, and our analysis of the results are presented back in an honest and balanced manner, providing real insight.

However, there is little point on gathering insight if you don’t take action on the results, and this is where, in our experience, many companies fall down. At Pro-Development, we work closely with businesses to identify actions and act as a conscience to ensure key actions are delivered to drive up employee engagement.

Ultimately, the research is out there, it’s a fact that an engaged workforce can drive up productivity on average by 5% and profit on average by 12%. And, let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to see an increase like that on their bottom line? We are here to help you and love making a difference so if you would like to increase your productivity and have a highly engaged workforce, why not come along to our next workshop.

If you would like to join us at our next workshop to find out what you can do to bring the best out in your teams, increase productivity and sales which links directly to your bottom line then choose a date below and book a place. We have had such great feedback about our workshops that we know that it will be a great few hours invested!

The next available workshop dates are 13th September and 11th October 2017 from 10am-12noon followed by a light lunch with the chance to network and it will be held at our offices at Forest Farm Business Park, Fulford, YORK, YO19 4RH. All just for £25 + VAT to cover room hire and lunch. See you there!

How well do you listen?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Listening We were really excited to hold another of our Employee Engagement workshops yesterday. People often ask us what we mean by Employee Engagement. The definition we like to use is “a workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are committed to their company’s goals and values, motivated to contributing to success and able at the same time to enhance their own sense of wellbeing”. This can be simplified to setting the right workplace conditions to help people to ‘be their best’. One of the most important things we can do is to really listen to people. Feeling that you are listened to is important, but to really engage people we need to go even deeper, do we really listen to understand people?

How do we demonstrate that we really understand people? Not through an annual appraisal according to recent CIPD research. Many companies are moving away from the traditional appraisal to an emphasis on a continuous development dialogue and high-quality conversations and feedback. Managers need to be supported in how to have rich conversations, including giving and receiving honest feedback. One of the greatest gifts you can give your people is time for them to talk and for you to listen to them, to understand them and to find out what really motivates them and how they like to feel valued and recognised. We often practice selective listening, or we listen to respond, to move our own agenda forward. Listening to understand is completely different. We listen with our eyes as well as our ears, and by really listening, we give the other person time to think. Stephen Covey calls this giving people ‘psychological air’. It’s rare but powerful and can make a real difference to engagement not just in the workplace but with friends and family too. We often find when we run employee engagement projects, that when we interview people and ask questions of how engaged they are at work and really truly listen to them, people will often tell us that it is the first time they have felt anyone has really “heard them” and will tell us that they have found it really helpful just being able to talk. Next time you sit down for a chat, think about the quality of your own listening, and take time to listen to understand – it can be very engaging! We’d love to know what difference it makes.

To find out more about our Employee Engagement projects including surveys and interviews click here. To find out how to support your managers to have honest conversations and to give and receive feedback, click here.

Listening 2

Combatting Monday morning blues

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

mondayWe have just had another bank holiday and many people we spoke to couldn’t wait for another Monday off work – but why do we find Mondays such a drag?

Is it the sense of loss of freedom or the mundane routine of it all, the treadmill of life! Or maybe it’s the people you work with dragging you down or the overwhelming sense of inability to make a difference. How can you combat the Monday morning blues?

Do something different before you go to work

First thing Monday morning get outside, have a coffee in your garden or go for a walk. Listen to the birds singing, feel the sunshine (or wind) on your face.

Stop telling yourself you dread Monday mornings

Ever heard of self-fullfilling prophecy? The prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true! Fill your head with more positive thoughts about the great things you achieved last week and the brilliant things you can achieve this week!

Plan your diary wisely

Keep Monday mornings (or at least part of them) free to plan your week, get organised and maybe have a little sort out so you are in a great position for the week ahead.

Make someone smile…it will make you smile too

Undertake an act of kindness to make someone smile. Recognise a colleague’s efforts, tell someone what you value about them, compliment somebody, make a cuppa for the team. It costs nothing but a smile is priceless.

Have something to look forward to on Monday evening

Treat yourself to your favorite meal at teatime, or go to the gym or watch that programme you missed on catch up TV.

If you feel fed up and need to inject a bit of enthusiasm back into you life and work, why not contact us, we can help.