Posts Tagged ‘Pro-Development’

Experience is the best teacher

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

learn I must Ever wondered about the best learning experience you ever had? I’ve been chatting with Vicky Deighton this week about this and she shared her best learning experience.

“I remember the first time I got into a light aircraft, it was a sunny day in August and I had decided to try and overcome my fear of flying. I was driving past an airfield and heard the buzz of the light aircraft, I pulled over and thought ‘I’m going to give it a go’.

I clearly remember the feeling as I got into the aircraft, it was a 2 seater little iddy biddy thing and this young chap sat next to me, the instructor, exuded confidence as we taxied out. We got airborne and I recall just looking around me thinking ‘I want to get out’. Two weeks later and I am back and this time I decided to try another flying school and a different instructor. This guy gave me control and told me I was ‘going to do the take-off’. As soon as we were airborne, he gave me control again and I just remember thinking ‘I love this’. What was the difference between the two experiences? Well there was nothing technically wrong with the first one, apart from I didn’t get a chance to try it. The second experience was completely hands on, I got a chance to try nearly all of the techniques, I was completely stretched outside of my comfort zone and when I landed I was exhilarated.

This learning experience that I had was completely experiential – that is I got to physically try out some of the techniques in a real-life situation. You may have heard of experiential learning before, according to Kolb we learn through experiencing, reflecting, analysing and testing and it’s this kind of learning that is likely to stick.”

Vicky’s conversation got me thinking more about our approach to experiential learning. At Pro-Development our Management Development Programme takes experiential learning to the next stage. Not only do our participants get to experience really life changing practical exercises that are completely unique, they then get to explore how these unique experiences apply to their leadership style and how they show up in their behaviours.

Imagine spending a day with Horses – these beautiful animals have a unique way of reading us and our intentions and they respond accordingly. Or perhaps you have spent the day with like minded people in the cookery school, preparing a menu with other team members. What does this have to do with leadership you might ask? This is where the experiential learning comes in, because as we raise our self-awareness, we observe how our behaviour unfolds, and this helps us to connect with how our thoughts, emotions and behaviours show up at work.

As for the comfort zone thing, it is these experiences that take us into a situation and or environment that stretches us outside our comfort zone. This is such a gift because it is when we are stretched a little, that our comfort zone expands.

At Pro-Development we feel very blessed to be able to offer this programme to our clients, and we know they are having some life changing experiences. If you are interested in finding out about how this amazing programme may be able to support you or someone you know, get in touch we would love to talk to you about it. Our video also gives a good overview of what to expect.

Why Should Anyone be Led by Gareth Southgate?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries, Uncategorized

football 2018 It’s been reported that businesses are clamouring to secure the services of Gareth Southgate to share his views on leadership, with offers of £100k plus for speaking events. We wrote last month about Gareth Southgate’s ability to hold honest conversations, but what other leadership qualities does he demonstrate, and what can we learn from him?

Here at Pro-Development we regularly ask leaders, ‘why should anyone be led by you?’. This can be a scary question, but in the same way that Gareth Southgate needed the England team to follow him, we need our people to follow us. Goffee and Jones carried out extensive research in this area and found that, in addition to vision and energy, leaders need 4 other qualities. What are they, and how do you and Southgate measure up?

First, inspirational leaders selectively show their weaknesses. Following the semi-final defeat, Southgate admitted that the England team are not in the top 4-5 in the world yet. He has been very honest about the weaknesses of the team as a whole and the work they still need to do together without singling anyone out for praise or criticism, it’s all about the team.

Inspirational leaders dare to be different, Southgate openly hugged his players, demonstrating that he really cares for them as people. He doesn’t stand on the touchline and shout at his players, he speaks quietly and trusts his players to execute his plans, very different from the shouty, aggressive approach of some ‘old style’ football managers.

Leaders who are inspirational demonstrate ‘tough empathy’. They empathise and care intensely about their people and the work they do. Southgate released Fabian Delph mid-tournament so that he could attend the birth of his third child. Tough empathy can include having the courage to let people go in a sensitive way, he was not afraid to drop experienced players such as Wayne Rooney. Inspirational leaders also rely heavily on intuition and collect and interpret soft data. Southgate consoled the Colombian player Uribe after his missed penalty. In his team’s moment of triumph, and his personal redemption, Southgate displayed an understanding and empathy that is often lacking in football.

To what extent do you selectively show your weaknesses, dare to be different, demonstrate ‘tough empathy’ and use your intuition? If you need help in developing as a leader or manager, our management development programme and coaching will help you to develop and grow your unique abilities as a leader.

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.

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.

Do you spend time working outdoors?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

autumn picDo you hold meetings outside? We told you about a recent study from the University of Warwick demonstrating that happy and engaged staff are 12 percent more productive. One aspect of the study we love is the reported importance of spending time outdoors when we’re working. This can improve self-esteem and mood, help concentration, and increase creative thinking. A lot of our development activities include an outdoor element so it’s great to have academic backing for what we’ve found with our delegates. We spent a day in the beautiful grounds of Hazelwood Castle with our lovely management development cohort. Using a range of fun and creative activities they were developing skills in managing performance, holding honest conversations, dealing with underperformance, and managing talent. Our programme provides our delegates with the opportunity to practice lead and learn through a range of experiential activities, many of them outdoors. Click here to read more about our management development programme. Try holding your next one to ones whilst walking outside. It’s amazing how this encourages creative thinking and honesty. Let us know how you get on…

The Colour Purple

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Bluebells 2 Have you seen the amazing displays of bluebells this year? As we were wandering through the woods at Hazelwood Castle last week, observing our amazing management development programme delegates performance managing their colleagues through a variety of challenges, we came across a swathe of bluebells. It was truly beautiful and stopped us in our tracks. We felt a sense of tranquillity and calm and wondered whether it was the bluebells or the expanse of purple that had such a profound effect on us.

England’s native bluebell is a deep violet colour and a mass of bluebells looks like a purple carpet. An expanse of purple in nature is rare and this may be why purple is often associated with having sacred meaning, and is traditionally the colour of nobility and of course, Pro-Development! Purple is made from a combination of red and blue and so embodies the balance of red’s stimulation with blue’s calm. The colour purple has been shown to affect us physically, lifting our mood, calming us, and boosting our creativity and imagination.

Challenge yourself, go outside and see a display of bluebells while they last, or better still, join us on our next Management Development Programme and you can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors whilst developing your skills as a manager. Click here to find out more.

3 Peaks Challenge – 3rd Update

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Our training is continuing and we now have less than a month to go! Here are the latest in our trials and tribulations!

Liz – did two very hot and painful runs in Murcia whilst on holiday. It was approx. 35 degrees everyday so the only possible way to run was to go out early morning before the sun got too hot! Nights weren’t an option because by the time the sun went down, too many gin and tonics had been consumed! She has also done a couple of gym sessions plus a 7 mile training walk with Michelle in the Howardian Hills. She has also purchased some walking trousers and a new ruck sack!

Michelle – has been busy in the gym plus swimming whilst on holiday at Center Parcs. Her new walking boots are now safely broken in with no blisters, result! As mentioned above, she has done a training walk with Liz, unfortunately having to spend too long looking at the map with long debates about direction as navigation and map reading are not their best skill! However Michelle did get them where they needed to be and came out as the top map reader of the day!

Sue – has purchased new walking boots – at long last!! She has tried walking uphill with them and her report back to us was “Boots OK, walking uphill not OK”! Oh dear! She thinks due to spending too much of her life in Hull, which is flat, her walking muscles have not developed. She hated the walk, and to quote her again “it was a painful and miserable experience and how anyone enjoys walking uphill is beyond me. I didn’t mind the downhill bit though and the two pints of pale ale at the end!”. She does make us laugh!

If you would like to sponsor us, we would really appreciate the support. Please go to our Just Giving team page and donate whatever you can to the charity closest to your heart.

Exciting Project delivering change ….

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Pro-Development York Training Synergy Pro-Development York

We’ve been busy since October designing and delivering a three day bespoke programme with Training Synergy to support the Cabinet Office with a change project, here’s what they had to say…

“Michelle is a pure joy – so passionate, enthusiastic and brilliantly motivational. There is such preparation and skills required for good quality training and Michelle has it in abundance.”

“As a County Lead, Branch Chair and Director, I would like to thank Sue for what I would describe as probably the best course of this kind I’ve attended in many years!”

“One of the highest quality, engaging and enjoyable training events that I have ever attended. Thank you!”

“This has been a really good use of my time – each day has been challenging and engaging and given me lots to reflect on. I am looking forward to focusing my efforts on trying out the training techniques and activities. Fabulous – thank you Michelle.”

“Really enjoyed how Sue undertook the training – will use some of her training in the future.”

“Michelle’s knowledge, enthusiasm and delivery of training was very impressive and this is probably the first training course I haven’t struggled to stay engaged at any point – thanks.”

New for 2014 – Management Development Programme

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

We are really excited about our Management Development programme which commence in March 2014.This Six month Programme will take you an inspiring journey with a difference and one that you will never forget. You will learn about yourself, discovering how you can remain authentic but still bring out the very best in your teams and colleagues. You will be supported throughout the journey by your Programme Leader, and a coach and will form long-lasting bonds with other people on the programme. Click here to find out more and how to book a place.

Why not drive up your employee engagement levels in 2014?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

People really do make a difference, particularly when it comes to employee engagement.

Our last issue we mentioned the amazing results one of our client had in their Employee Engagement survey, the people there had a huge role to play in their success.

Since we wrote about our client, a number of you have approached us to find out more about employee engagement. We have talked much about the importance of employee engagement and the benefits of focusing on people and performance.

For a start, if your employees are engaged they’ll be happier, healthier and more fulfilled.  But equally great, you could also see a 12% increase in profit, alone not to mention the and increase in staff retention and 5% increase in productivity.  I could go on!