Want to improve Productivity? Be kind to yourself!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

productivity nov 19 This isn’t the usual blog about productivity, this one is a little different. In this blog we are going to explore productivity aligned with Self Compassion and Kindness. What has Self Compassion and Kindness got to do with Productivity we hear you say? Well we think there is a big connection.

Have you ever listened to how you speak to yourself? If you are anything like much of the population then you probably recognise phrases like… ‘I don’t like my xyz’ or ‘well you messed that one up’ or maybe ‘get a grip’ or even ‘that’s my fault’. In fact, we bet if we all listened to our internal dialogue regularly we might be shocked at how we treat ourselves.

The truth is if we can’t be kind to ourselves and forgive, if we can’t soothe and care for ourselves, then we will never be our best self and that is bound to affect our productivity.

So, what can we do to begin this journey of self-care and compassion? Here are some thoughts from us:

1. When you mess up (for most of us that is nearly every day), just pause and notice how you respond. Take that moment to give yourself a hug or as the wonderful Kristen Neff suggests a ‘Self Compassion break’ – where you might repeat some phrases of comfort like ‘may I be kind to myself’. When you fail to be compassionate to yourself, let yourself off the hook and be kind about that.

2. Make gratitude your attitude – that is, start noticing the things that are going well or that you are doing well, rather than the things that are not going well or that you do not feel good at. Once you notice them, show gratitude to yourself for them. A good little exercise is to try and notice 3 (or more) things about yourself or what you are experiencing that you are grateful for every day.

3. Let go… sounds easy doesn’t it, but, we know how challenging that can be. Letting go of things that didn’t go well, or that we may not have done so well makes way for fresh thinking and new learning. Just note what you might have done differently and then move on!

These are just a few thoughts from us here at Pro-Development and there are many more. In our experience clients that have started this journey have helped to improve their productivity! Why? Well, because they started feeling better about themselves.

At Pro-Development we love to support teams and individuals with their productivity. To hear more about how we might be able to help you, contact us on info@pro-development.co.uk or call us on 01904 628 838

Monday Morning Blues

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

keep calm nov 19 “I woke up this morning…with the Monday morning blues. I couldn’t hardly find… my Monday morning shoes…. searched all through my bones…. Monday morning blues”.

Yep its Sunday night and you start to get that feeling, in the gut that you have another week of work coming. At Pro-Development we call it ‘mucky Monday’ and it doesn’t always feel good. But what really causes us to feel like that? Is it simply that we are preparing ourselves for another week where we have to focus on work? Could it be that we are gearing ourselves up to perform? Or is it just that we don’t want to go to work? There is no doubt that for those lucky people that have found work that they love, Monday morning is just another opportunity to go and do something they love. So how do we get to the bottom of our Monday Morning blues?

Tip 1 – What’s wrong with Monday morning?

Answer the question honestly. When we coach clients at Pro-Development or when we run staff surveys and interviews to help understand engagement levels, we often find that people feel a lack lustre when they have genuinely stopped loving what they do, but they often find it isn’t just Monday morning that is the problem. Alternatively, they may find it isn’t the work they no longer love, but that there are some simple changes that help them get back to a place of enjoyment.

Tip 2 – Give yourself time on Monday morning

Monday mornings can be fraught when they are crammed with meetings and other commitments, try and give yourself a bit of space on a Monday morning to prepare yourself for the week ahead. You might find it is helpful to start the process on Friday afternoon, by preparing your schedule and finishing anything you can off. We have worked with some clients who have protected time on a Monday morning, could this work for you?

Tip 3 – Take your weekend

Enjoy your weekend, take time for yourself and leave work at work (hard we know). It is tempting to cram as many things as we can into those precious days at the end of the week. However, being mindful with our body and allowing it time to relax is very important. This includes getting good sleep, taking care of our bodies and giving it nutritious food and rest, taking care of our busy ‘monkey minds’ by trying activities like mindfulness, walking and yoga.

We would love to hear your thoughts on how to tackle those Monday Morning blues. Tell us how you approach your Monday’s.

At Pro-Development we help clients tackle their Monday Morning blues in many ways. Contact us if you would like to hear more on info@pro-development.co.uk or 01904 628838 – we would love to hear from you.

Zombie Apocalypse – 5 things you wish you had done

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

zombie apocalypse newsletter Oct 2019 You wake up one morning and everything has changed. The world hasn’t stopped turning, but life as you know it has stopped. As you look out of the window there is this eerie light on the horizon … you see some folks you used to know, but they are staggering around in faded ripped clothes with that vacant look on their face. You say to yourself ‘I knew it… it’s the zombie apocalypse’ and now I’m in survival mode…I wish I had xxx”.

OK, so maybe it isn’t the zombie apocalypse, its just another day… but hey there are days we look out of our window at Pro-Development and see that vacant look on people’s faces. Those are the people that just carry on and don’t live their true life’s purpose … in short they become zombie’s and the worst thing of all is they don’t even know they have caught the deadly virus!

So, here is our top 5 tips for not just surviving but thriving and avoiding the zombie apocalypse:

1. Know yourself well, know what you love, know what you don’t love. Bring more of what you love into your life and eliminate the stuff you don’t.

2. Be clear about your values and make sure they are aligned to your work and life. The quickest way to catch the zombie virus is to work against your values or worse, to not know your values at all.

3. Be kind to yourself always. It’s OK to show yourself some love and it is so easy to forget this when we are busy. Know what time you need to take for yourself and be selfish in doing it.

4. Have a plan, but don’t be afraid to change it. Stuff happens in life and it might not be on our plan. But it’s OK to change direction, this is what makes us open to new possibilities.

5. Have a zombie proof car…. Actually, that was Vicky’s idea and it is nearly Halloween…

We would love to know your top tip for surviving and thriving in a Zombie Apocalypse… let us know on the comments section.

To find out more about us at Pro-Development and the work we do contact us on info@pro-development.co.uk or call us on 01904 628 838

Neuroscience – becoming supernatural!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

neorscience oct newsletter 2019 As neuroscience becomes more mainstream, we are learning so much more about ourselves and our brains. The truth is we don’t really know the full extent of what our brain can do and what we are therefore capable of. However, neuroscience is really challenging some old thoughts and beliefs when it comes to learning.

So, what do we know?

Before we start explaining this, let us say that at Pro-Development we are not Neuroscientists, but we are very interested in this subject, so here goes: We have three brains that support us with thinking, doing and being. The Neocortex is the newest brain in our development and is highly specialised, it is involved in higher functions like sensory perception. Then there is our Limbic brain which is responsible for three functions – emotion, memories and arousal, this is an older part of our brain. Finally, there is the Cerebellum which is the seat of the subconscious mind. Every time we learn something new our brain(s) work seamlessly together to forge new connections and here is the good bit… our brain physically changes!

This is so exciting for us because what this really means is that we can all literally change our brain and we need not be stuck with a label as ‘someone who isn’t good at x’. We now know that nerve cells that fire together wire together and this is called neuroplasticity.

So, here’s our challenge to you

At Pro-Development we would like to challenge you to think about something that you have always wanted to do, but perhaps felt that you couldn’t. Maybe it is a goal you have been holding back on, or skill you would like to develop. Neuroscience tells us we are supernatural beings and our thoughts become things. So if we can change how our brain fires and wires, we can change our reality.

Now that is spooky!

At Pro-Development we want all our clients to be Supernatural. We would love to hear from you if you would like to find out more. Contact us on info@pro-development.co.uk or call us on 01904 628 838

It’s frightening … the implications of losing your good people?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

scared woman oct newsletter 2019 “Nobody cares about me here, I’m just a number!”

“I don’t feel valued and nobody says thank you for what I do!”

“I’ve never had a 1:1 or a review with my Manager since I started here!”

“Training … what training? I’ve never had any development for me in my role!”

Scary quotes aren’t they? Don’t they make you want to scream in horror?

Shock horror…This is what we hear every week from some people that we come across in our work at Pro-Development through our Employee Engagement work. Yet, how many of you are reading this and thinking your team would never say this. Are you sure? Are you valuing your people and letting them know that they matter? Do you really care or are you just paying lip service? After all, without them, we wouldn’t have a business, team or be able to deliver for our customers and clients.

“We just can’t get good people”

“We’re losing good people and we don’t know why”

“Our industry is renowned for high turnover of people, it’s just how it is!”

This is what we hear from business owners, leaders and managers and it’s the last one that is the biggest worry. Why? Because it doesn’t have to be like that. If you trick or treat people in the right way, with respect and value what they bring and help them to be the very best they can be, they will not get on their broomsticks and want to leave your business and you will attract the right kind of people.

When you lose talent, it is spookily scary and 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 persons salary.

So, if we’ve not frightened you off yet, here are some questions that we have put into the bubbling cauldron 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 we’ve not terrified you too much, but you are horrified to think this might be happening in your business, get in touch with us on info@pro-development.co.uk or call us on 01904 628 838 or if you want to find out more, join us for our next workshop on the 20th November.

If you would like to find out more, founder of Pro-Development (UK) Limited, Michelle Mook is speaking at the Spa Life UK 2019 conference in Coventry on 12th November and sharing her ideas and challenging you to consider how you can create an engaged workforce who are your best advocates, deliver for you and help make your business a great place to work.

Another Great Personality Tool – MBTI

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

You may have recently read our DiSC Blog discussing our team DiSC profiles. But perhaps what we haven’t told you is that at Pro-Development we use many different types of profiling tools.

Another favourite for our team is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and we offer this fantastic tool to help support our clients.

The MBTI differs to DiSC because the MBTI focuses more on personal preferences which drives our behaviour. The MBTI measures our core personality and how we are naturally wired regardless of our environment or circumstances. This tool is great to help identify underdeveloped behaviours that can be developed to enhance our interpersonal effectiveness. The tool can also help to bring more awareness to the lesser known aspects of our personality that are often explored later on in life. It is a great tool to understand team dynamics and of course leadership style.

With the MBTI there are some great tools to help our clients to understand this.

For example Michelle has an ENFP profile – here are some words that describe her strengths. See what you think:

mchelle mtbi

Our lovely Sue has an ISFJ profile – here are some words to describe her strengths:

sues mbti profile

Of course it isn’t only about our strengths but our blind spots too. Here is the profile of Vicky and what gets her head in a spin.

upside down head

We think you will agree these fun graphics are fabulous and so useful. At Pro-Development we have access to all these tools and many more. If you think you might be interested in hearing more about MBTI or any other tools we use. Please get in touch, we would love to hear from you. You can contact us on info@pro-development.co.uk or 01904 628838

Authentic and Inspiring Leadership

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

inspiring leadership

Take a moment and think of a leader that has really inspired you. Someone that was truly authentic and held the qualities and values that make a difference. Someone who encouraged and supported you and inspired you to be your best self. It could either be a leader that you reported to, or maybe it is a leader that was famous but simply stood out for you. Could you think of one?

When we think about this (and we often do at Pro-Development) so many people spring to mind. But what is it that makes an authentic and inspiring leader?

There has been so much research done about this, and many papers written about Authentic Leadership.

Some people say it is simply about being true to yourself when you are being a leader, other have created models about authentic leadership.

We like to think that there are some key traits that are regularly demonstrated when we are authentic leaders, like leading with heart, being self-aware, demonstrating great emotional intelligence. Its also about laying a foundation of honesty and trust in the relationships we build.

Why does this matter? Ultimately these are the kinds of leaders that teams not only survive under but thrive and flourish and what business doesn’t want that?

Michelle is speaking on this very topic at Brand Yorkshire, Harrogate on Thursday 3rd October at 10.10am if you would like to hear more. Her session will share our top 5 tips for being an authentic and inspiring leader along with some stories to inspire us all.

We would also like to hear what you think makes a truly authentic leader, let us know in the comments section.

If you would like to hear more about the kind of work we do in this areas, please also get in contact with us on info@pro-development.co.uk or call us on 01904 628 838

Time for Change

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

autumn road sept 2019

It’s been an amazing summer for the Pro-Development team. We have had some summer fun and holidays, worked with some amazing clients and life has been happening around us.

On September the 23rd the Autumn Equinox begins, and it is very symbolic for many reasons. At this time night and day are the same length.

It is a time for noticing change. We might see change happening all around us particularly in nature as the plants effortlessly shed the summer growth and begin preparing for winter. It reminds us of how impermanent everything can be.

Autumn is a great time for letting go of what no longer serves us as we see this happening all around us. Letting go is not an end but a beginning as we make space for all the new that can enter our life.

It is also a great time to reconnect with our self and what is important. This kind of reflection can be great for planning and thinking about our goals.

So as we move into this new cycle what can we do to welcome change? Here are a few ideas from the team at Pro-Development:

1. Make a list of things we are grateful for – this reminds us of all what we have

2. Let go of what no longer serves us so we can make room for change in our life

3. Do something different, maybe something we haven’t given ourselves a chance to try or that we have been putting off

4. Notice the changes that have happened naturally without our notice, this can remind us how change is a natural process

5. Remind yourself of things you would really like to change

Change is a big part of the work we do at Pro-Development. If you would like to hear more about how we help individuals and teams to embrace new beginnings and change, contact us at info@pro-development.co.uk or call us on 01904 628 838.

The listening zone

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

listening aug Being in the listening zone is easier said than done. Listening is notoriously hard work, ask anyone who interviews for a living!

Listening happens on various levels. Firstly, there is the level that is just noise, you know, you can see the lips moving and noise coming out but the meaning is completely lost. You may have glazed over (I’m sure we can all resonate with that!)

We can also listen, but all the while just wanting to get our point across, waiting for that moment when we can interject and take over the conversation. Sound familiar?

Sometimes we listen with judgement. Do you remember ever thinking whilst listening to someone “here we go again” or “you would say that”!

I am sure we can all identify with these listening states and have experienced them at some point. So we need to work on our listening skills to block out these urges and simply listen. So how can we do that…here are some hints and tips.

• Move away from distractions e.g. phones, other people etc (we recommend going outside)

• Give yourself permission to stop and listen

• Recognise listening as part of your job, not an interruption from it

• Ask questions and probe for greater understanding

• Good eye contact and attentive body language helps

• Repeat back a summary of what you have heard to check your interpretation and understanding

• Enjoy listening to others and how valued you are making that person feel

If you feel you or your team would benefit from development in the area of communication click here or contact us on 01904 628838. Don’t forget that we have the amazing 40% funding that many businesses will be eligible to receive from the European Social Fund via the WYCC Skills Service.

WYCC_Skills Service_ESF

To find out more contact info@pro-development.co.uk

Being organised

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

organised aug 2019 Going on holiday does accentuate the need to be organised. We need to make sure everything is sorted, loose ends tied off and make sure the team are up to speed with the latest information. So, what are the key organisation skills we use? We’ve already talked about clear desk policy and that caused quite a stir! So moving on, let’s look at some other techniques!


We love an outcome-based plan. A plan that identifies the end goal and the steps required to achieve that goal. A plan that has deadlines set and a weekly check to see if everything is on target. Some people we talk to don’t have a plan, because planning takes time, time people don’t have, but believe us, take the time out to plan will pay dividends in the long term.

Effective diary use

If you use your diary, be honest with yourself. Are you being realistic or are you underestimating the time activities will take? Another common theme is people double booking their time. Not for client facing work of course, but for behind the scenes work, administration, development work etc! This could be construed as an act of denial, unless of course you are a multitasker extraordinaire.

Empty your head

Some of our clients spend the first 5 minutes in a morning or the last 5 minutes of the day downloading their brain. Simply capturing all the information swimming around and writing it down. Once it’s written down you could formulate a list or a mind map to then structure the tasks. That way you start the day or end the day feeling organised.

Recognise when it’s too much

Call it or delegate when you are overloaded. Sometimes there simply is too much to do. This is the point we can become stressed, flustered and can stop thinking clearly. So, call it out and tell people and get their support, there is no place for hero mentality here.

Have a tidy up

You’ll be surprised how much better that makes you feel. I know tidying up makes me feel better yet I am always taken aback by just how much better I feel. I think we forget sometimes that simple things can make a big difference.

We challenge you to take some time out to get organised today, take just 10 minutes out of your working day and see if that makes a difference to you.

Need help with planning and prioritisation or time management? We offer development in these areas so contact us. Don’t forget that we have the amazing 40% funding that many businesses will be eligible to receive from the European Social Fund via the WYCC Skills Service.

To find out more contact info@pro-development.co.uk

WYCC_Skills Service_ESF