How to create exceptional managers and teams – a snapshot. RiverRhee Consulting newsletter, January – February 2016.

By Elisabeth Goodman, 12th February, 2016

The seminars and workshops that we have been delivering during January and February have been typical of our work in enhancing team effectiveness.  So we thought we would share four aspects, and eight tools representing some of the most popular approaches.

  1. Building an understanding of the strengths within your team
    • OPP’s MBTI ‘flip-a-type tips’, and Belbin’s Team Roles
  2. Fostering individual development
    • The GROW model of coaching, and ‘clean questions’
  3. Enabling change
    • Common factors for successful change, and creating navigators rather than victims of change
  4. Simple tools to enhance your effectiveness
    • Lean Sigma’s 5S, and the Mind Gym’s ‘5Ds’

Building an understanding of the strengths within your team

We started the year with a team workshop using OPP‘s MBTI ‘flip-a-type tips’.

OPP's MBTI Flip-a-type tips

OPP’s MBTI Flip-a-type tips

It’s an insightful tool for understanding the dynamics between people. Through it you can explore your respective strengths and how to work more effectively together and build stronger relationships within the team.

The Belbin Team Roles also continue to provide valuable insights on how to make good use of the diversity within a team and also the gaps that the team might want to address.  We delivered two in-house courses where we used scenarios to bring this diversity to light.

Fostering individual development

The GROW model of coaching continues to be a favourite in our team workshops and management training courses. This simple tools enables managers to switch from a directive to a supportive approach, and to cultivate individuals’ ownership and initiative in solving their problems.

GROW - a coaching model

GROW – a coaching model

Active listening and open questions are key to a manager’s effectiveness as a coach. I’m exploring ‘clean questions‘ with my peers in my NLP learning group as an additional tool to support this.  More on this in due course.

Enabling change

Managers and teams are subject to continuous change – whether they are leading it or dealing with its implications.  I’ve spoken in two recent seminars in my capacity as committee member of the APM Enabling Change SIG and as a practitioner / trainer in managing change. Delegates at one of the seminars had a good discussion that have helped us to identify more common factors for managing successful change.

I also continue to be passionate about the things we can do to create navigators rather than victims of change.

Creating navigators rather than victims of change

Creating navigators rather than victims of change

Simple tools to enhance your effectiveness

We’ve delivered two Lean Sigma courses this month during which I introduced our new 5S video developed for us by John Stinson.

5S video by RiverRhee

5S video by RiverRhee

Like many Lean Sigma tools it gives you a structured approach to a relatively simple concept that can make a big impact on an individual’s or team’s work. Several of our delegates indicated that they would be applying it to their desk, in their labs or in their storage areas.

How to make better use of their time continues to be one of the challenges faced by the managers attending our courses. The Mind Gym’s mantra that “there will never be enough time” to do all the things we want to do, but the main thing is to be happy about how we are using it, continues to strike a chord.  The “5 D”s combined with Stephen R. Covey’s urgent/important matrix are simple tools that are popular with our delegates.

The 5 Ds for managing time

The 5 Ds for managing time

What’s next?

Our portfolio of courses can be adapted and expanded to match your own portfolio of requirements so that your managers and teams get just the training and development that they need.  For instance we have recently carried out a training needs analysis for an SME and designed a one-day Management Training workshop for their managers.  And we have created a couple of new half-day courses at the request of another organisation one of which “Effective Influencing and Communication” has now been added to our portfolio.

We can carry out a training needs analysis for your organisation and design the right content just for you.  Or you could take a look at the full list of RiverRhee’s training courses and contact us with your choices.

Do get in touch to help us deliver the right portfolio and approach for you.

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As you prepare for 2018…RiverRhee Newsletter, Jan-Feb 2018

By Elisabeth Goodman, 8th February 2018

Snow drops in the winter garden

Snow drops in the winter display of the Botanical Garden, Cambridge

Many of our clients are in the midst of planning their objectives, and their learning and development goals for 2018.

So this newsletter is a reflection on some of the ways that RiverRhee’s learning and development resources have been evolving in the past year – in case this resonates with your needs.

Exploring mindsets as well as ‘how to’ processes

How we think about ourselves and what’s possible can have as great an influence on our capability for doing something, as having the right tools, skills and knowledge for doing it.

RiverRhee’s courses have evolved since our early days in 2009 to include more and more of the softer or people aspects of our work, as opposed to just the ‘how to’ process.

So for instance, our Lean Sigma training emphasises the mind-set of continuous improvement, and of seeking out problems so as to prevent them recurring, rather than rewarding fire-fighting.

Effective Project Management relies on creating and sustaining a high performing team, and of understanding the soft skills that people bring to it. These are just some of the challenges and opportunities of working in a matrix environment and on multiple simultaneous projects.

Managing Change is of course all about understanding how people are perceiving and experiencing change and how to respond to that to get the desired outcome.

And, Sharing Knowledge and Collaboration will be easier to do in a climate of good relationships and trust.

Our ability to:

are all as much a factor of understanding and working with the strengths of different personality types, as adopting smart personal and team practices.

(*Assertiveness is our newest course and is currently in development.)

Accessing the rich resources of Neurodiversity

In November 2017, we delivered a seminar on Neurodiversity with Carol Fowler, co-sponsored by Abzena and Babraham Bioscience Technologies.

We are now offering in-house seminars on this topic, with a view to building managers’ and HR professionals’ awareness of the rich resources that could be available to their teams.

How we recruit, interview, and support people with Autism, Dyslexia, ADHD and other cognitive differences will determine how well we can access the unique skills that they bring and ensure their well-being at work.

Going beyond introductory management skills

Delegates at RiverRhee's June 2017 Introduction to Management course

Delegates at RiverRhee’s June 2017 Introduction to Management course

Our 3-day Introduction to Management course (running next on the 13th-15th March) continues to be our most popular course.

With over 100 managers having now taken part, some of them are now looking for options to develop their skills beyond the introductory level.

We now offer a 30-minute follow-up call as an integral part of the course, as well as the one-to-one coaching that each delegate received during the course.

Our Associates are also available for further one-to-one personal coaching – to which we bring various specialisms such as dealing with Dyslexia, coaching in French, and transitioning to leadership roles.

In 2017 we added Transition to Leadership and Coaching Skills for Managers to complete our portfolio of resources available to managers beyond the introductory level.

Tailored in-house programmes

All of our courses can be tailored for in-house delivery.  In 2017 we worked with 4 clients to customise and deliver variations of our management and individual contributor courses for their staff.

These programmes included tailored versions of:

(*We were delighted to have Alison Proffitt join the RiverRhee team of Associates in January to support us with this and our other offerings.)

Concluding thoughts..

Hopefully there is food for thought there for you as you prepare for your learning and development in 2018.

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops and one-to-one coaching, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers and teams.

See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

 

 

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13 good practices for effective management. RiverRhee Newsletter, November-December 2017

By Elisabeth Goodman, 12th December 2017

We have had over one hundred managers complete our RiverRhee Introduction to Management course since we started running it in 2013.

We have thirteen modules in our course and there are some key learnings that our delegates have helped us to identify from each.

We are planning to use these key learnings in some free taster sessions for managers in 2018, and thought our readers would also be interested in a free preview of the headlines now!

Key learning 1: John Adair’s 3-part focus on individuals, teams and tasks helps our managers identify and balance their different responsibilities.

Courses workshops and coaching for managers and teams

John Adair’s model is at the heart of RiverRhee’s training for managers and teams

Key learning 2: Job descriptions, project charters, SMART objectives – are 3 invaluable tools to clarify and communicate expectations.

Key learning 3: Managers can learn a lot about what motivates their staff by listening to how they talk about their work and observing what they do.

Key learning 4: A manager should adapt the style of her communication so as to be better understood.

Key learning 5: The style and content of performance reviews is evolving.  A focus on developmental opportunities and goals vs. retrospective reflections could be more productive.

Key learning 6: Developing your coaching skills as a manager will support both your own and your direct reports’ performance.

Key learning 7: When in difficult situations, it’s useful to first consider your own mindset and assumptions.

Key learning 8: Managers of high performance teams make it natural to discuss ‘the elephant in the room’.

Key learning 9: Skilful managers understand and develop the diverse personality strengths within their teams.

Key learning 10: High performing managers and their teams excel with a clear purpose and roles, strong relationships and good working practices.

Key learning 11: There will never be enough time.  Effective managers focus their attention and manage their productivity rather than endeavouring to “manage time”.

Illustration of the Productivity Ninja

Illustration based on Graham Allcot’s Productivity Ninja

Key learning 12: Delegation, for a productive manager and their direct reports, is both a necessity and an opportunity.

Key learning 13: A structured approach to projects and processes makes it possible to identify and share good practices and to continuously improve.

Other news from RiverRhee

RiverRhee schedules its courses on topics, at times, and in locations to meet anticipated need.  Dates for upcoming courses can be viewed on the RiverRhee website.

If the course you want is not available when or where you need it, then do get in touch. We may be able to schedule an extra course, arrange a workshop for you in-house, or deliver it in the form of one-to-one coaching.

We’ve been enjoying a particularly high demand for our in-house courses during 2017.  Here is some of the feedback we have been receiving from delegates:

  • Onsite course for CILIP “Making the most of your time and resources”: “very good introduction from an excellent trainer”, “lots of information but not overload.  Good that we were able to use specific examples relevant to what we do.”
  • Onsite course with CILIP “Good practices in knowledge sharing and collaboration” “A knowledgeable trainer and a focus on practical tasks very much helped to embed the learning”

We also had this feedback from a client who received one-to-one personal coaching on what they valued most about it: “Having time to think about my personal development which I wouldn’t have had normally”.

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops and one-to-one coaching, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers and teams.

See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

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Managing complex change. RiverRhee Newsletter, September – October 2017

By Elisabeth Goodman, 11th October 2017

Why choose the topic of complex change for this newsletter?

In August, the APM Enabling Change SIG proudly released its first publication “Introduction to Managing Change”.  It was the culmination of the SIG’s first 2 years of work, and a publication I am pleased to be a co-author of.

APM Introduction to Managing Change

APM Introduction to Managing Change

As described in the opening chapter, the purpose of this book is to “introduce the importance of managing change effectively”.  It describes key principles and practices and provides guidance on applying different methodologies and on the resources available.

Autumn’s issue of the APM’s Project magazine appropriately features an interview with Dr John Kotter, one of the gurus on managing change, whose eight-step methodology was outlined in his 1996 publication “Leading Change”.

Kotter’s methodology is one of those referenced in “Introduction to Managing Change”, and is expanded upon in the Project interview, in the context of complex change.

Last but not least, the concept of “complex change” is one that many of our clients will be familiar with, as exemplified by a couple of other recent publications:

  1. An article in Labiotech, with the CEO of the Babraham Bioscience Technologies, the organisation responsible for the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge, UK.  This describes some of the complexities that small Life Science organisations experience as they seek the resources and opportunities to translate new ideas into tangible revenue and growth.
  2. A House of Lords Library briefing on Globalisation, Technology and Demographic Change and the Future of Work reflects some of the underlying complexities affecting all sectors of work.

So how can complex change be managed for a successful outcome?

As Kotter explains in his interview for Project magazine, his eight-step process still applies, even to complex change programmes.

The challenges brought by scale and complexity are two-fold.

Firstly, leadership teams need to maintain operational excellence whilst steering strategic change – something that they are not always best-equipped to do. My recent blog outlines why and how senior management could pay more attention to operational excellence (The blog is based on a Sept-Oct 2017 Harvard Business Review article by Sadun et al on this topic, describing insights from 15 years’ of research with more than 12,000 organisations in 34 countries.)

Top of the list for maintaining operational excellence is commitment from the top: ensuring that there is a clear vision, visibility and role modelling by senior leaders – themes that also feature at the top of the APM Enabling Change SIG’s, and RiverRhee’s key factors for successful change.

The second challenge of more complex change is how to ensure that all those affected by the change are optimally engaged in helping to make the change a success.

We know that what people find most difficult about change is the associated uncertainty, and the lack of control, as referenced in a previous RiverRhee newsletter on dealing with change  Providing information as early as possible, and finding ways to involve people are key ways to counteract these difficulties.

enabling-navigators-of-change

Kotter’ three strategies for ensuring success, referenced in the Project article are to:

  1. Involve lots of people
  2. Win over their hearts as well as their minds
  3. Give them freedom to act

This type of involvement will need some careful and coordinated steering and management!

So, as Kotter also says, complex change will require involvement from experienced change management specialists, above and beyond skilful steering by a programme or project management team.

If you would like to know more

RiverRhee’s training courses, workshops for teams and one-to-one coaching are designed to create exceptional managers and teams.  How you manage any type of change will contribute to that excellence.

Managing Change is one of RiverRhee’s training courses for managers and teams coming up in November and December.  Other courses in the next few weeks include: Introduction to Lean and Six Sigma, Introduction to Project Management, First Steps in Selling, Coaching Skills for Managers, and Transition to Leadership.

All of these topics and more are also available as in-house workshops and can be covered in our one-to-one coaching.

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops and one-to-one coaching, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers and teams.

See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

Other notes

John Kotter’s eight-step process, as summarised  on page 21 of the APM’s “Introduction to Change” are: 1. Create a sense of urgency; 2. Build a guiding coalition; 3. Form a strategic vision and initiatives; 4. Enlist a volunteer army; 5. Enable action by removing barriers; 6. Generate short-term wins; 7. Sustain acceleration; 8. Institutionalise change.

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From vulnerability to mastery in five steps! RiverRhee Newsletter, July-August 2017

By Elisabeth Goodman, 18th August 2017

Why write about vulnerability and mastery?

We pick a different theme for each of our bi-monthly newsletters, to reflect on a topic that relates to our work with managers and teams, as well as providing a medium to update you on some of our activities and events.

Our choice of the theme of vulnerability and mastery was prompted by a couple of videos that we came across in Marcel Schwantes’ 9 Best TED Talks to Help You Become a Better Leader.  These included Brené Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability and Dan Pink’s The Puzzle of Motivation.

Brené Brown’s advocacy of vulnerability as a leadership quality gave me a lot of food for thought.  Whilst “mastery” is one of three key motivators endorsed by Dan Pink.  I believe that vulnerability and mastery are inextricably linked, and of great significance to managers and teams.  Hence the choice of this theme for this newsletter.

Vulnerability is the first step towards eventual mastery!

When was the last time you learnt something new? How did you feel at the start?  What was your inner voice saying?

In the early stages of learning something new, we can feel very vulnerable.  We can feel awkward or embarrassed.  Our inner voice may be telling us “I’ll never be able to do it”.  Alternatively, we might be filled with enthusiasm, eagerness and energy..

We are in that state of “conscious incompetence” as illustrated in this variation on the competence / consciousness model.

Variation on competency consciousness model

Variation on the competence / consciousness model

Although we might not all remember what it felt like when we started to walk, many of us can remember our early driving lessons.  The whole thing might have looked very straightforward as a passenger or observer, and yet almost impossible when we actually started to learn.  Yet through determined perseverance, trial and error, lots of practice, many of us are at the stage now where our driving skills are almost automatic: it’s not unusual for example to barely remember everything that was involved in getting from point A to B on a regular journey.

The same pathway from vulnerability to mastery, from conscious incompetence to unconscious competence, is likely to be true with any of our undertakings, whether in our personal or professional lives.

Accepting and acknowledging our vulnerability will enhance our authenticity! (Step 2)

Although the focus of Brené Brown’s TED talk is on vulnerability in the context of connecting with, or relating to other people, her message translates to the context of this newsletter too.

Brené recounts her own experience, and the results of her research with others, which highlights the difficulties people have in accepting and acknowledging their vulnerability.  Vulnerability is the opposite of feeling in control, or of having certainty, perfection even – this applies to emotions, personal and professional capability.  And so there may be a temptation to pretend that we know more or are more capable than is the case.  That route will lead to misunderstanding and potential disaster!

Accepting and acknowledging our vulnerability, enables us to be authentic and open to others, open to real connection (as Brené argues) and also open to the learning that will eventually lead to mastery.

To what extent does mastery of a field of knowledge or skill motivate you? (Step 3)

I referenced Dan Pink’s The Puzzle of Motivation in a recent blog: Motivation a refresher…eight years on.” Mastery” is one of three key motivators that he endorses, along with autonomy (the ability to work on something under our own direction) and purpose (feeling that we are doing something towards a greater good).

People coming on our courses often cite the ability to learn something new, or to improve on something they already do or know as a motivator in their work.  As trainers, facilitators and coaches, we are very aware that we work best with delegates and clients who are motivated to learn about the subject that we are addressing.

To achieve mastery in a field of knowledge or skill requires a lot of determination and perseverance.  If we are not motivated, we will not get there!

Achieving mastery requires concerted practice (Step 4)

Although there is some controversy about exactly how many hours are required to master an area of knowledge or skill, there is no doubt that some amount of concerted practice does help!

Concerted practice reinforces the neuronal pathways involved, and so trains memory, muscles and coordination.  The sooner we apply and re-apply what we have learnt, and the more often we repeat it, the closer we will get towards mastery.

We will also be most successful if we choose the format and medium for learning that is most effective for us.

Choose the approach for learning that is most effective for you (Step 5)

Some of us learn better through discussion and interaction with others, either in a group, or with an individual mentor or coach.

Others like to learn on their own, with written or auditory access to printed or electronic resources.

Or we might like a combination of both, and it might also vary with the subject matter.

The important thing is to find the approach that works best for you.

If you would like to know more

RiverRhee’s training courses, workshops for teams and one-to-one coaching are designed to help you on your vulnerability to mastery journey!

People attending our  management courses for example appreciate the opportunity to meet other people who are experiencing similar challenges to themselves.  They are often transitioning from being an expert in their scientific or technical field, to the novelty of managing others – and can feel quite vulnerable about it. We have recently added two new courses “Transition to Management”, and “Coaching Skills for Managers” for those who are ready to take the next steps in their management development journey.

We also have a new course – Presentation Skills – for those who are wanting to gain more confidence and competence in how they present.

And we have consolidated the information available on our website for those seeking one-to-one coaching.

We also have a range of workbooks available for purchase for those who prefer to study on their own.

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops and one-to-one coaching, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers and teams.

See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

 

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Gaining value from investing in learning. RiverRhee Newsletter, May-June 2017

By Elisabeth Goodman, 7th June 2017

CIPD In-Focus Report - May 2017

Continuous learning opportunities not only at the individual but also at the organisational level are key factors for success

This is one of the conclusions from a recent CIPD report authored by Jane Daly and Laura Overton. Ways cited in which an organisation can benefit include increased growth, profitability, transformation and productivity.

This is one of several references that I have come across in recent weeks exploring the value that organisations can gain from investing in learning.

Not surprisingly, as a provider of training courses, workshops and one-to-one coaching, it’s a topic close to our heart!

The report makes several references to Senge, who was an early advocate of the learning organisation.  The first edition of his book, “The Fifth Discipline” came out in 1990.

The Fifth Discipline

The Fifth Discipline. The Art & Practice of the Learning Organisation. By Peter M. Senge.

His tenets have been adopted by Knowledge Management practitioners who advocate a range of approaches for connecting employees so that they can share knowledge between them.  These include for example:

  • Creating Communities of Interest or Practice to share expertise within and between organisations, irrespective of any hierarchical structure.
  • Ensuring that people share knowledge with peers before, during and after completing any significant piece of work, including projects.
  • Capturing knowledge from experts in a particular field to ensure that it is not lost when they leave an organisation.

These are approaches that we teach in our Knowledge Management and Project Management courses.

We also promote continuous learning and improvement in our Lean and Six Sigma courses, something that the CIPD report advocates as part of creating a “thriving ecosystem”.

Learning and development initiatives must be supported at an organisational level

The CIPD report emphasises that learning and development cannot occur in a vacuum, but instead must be set within the context of the organisation’s purpose.  As the authors say: employees are asking for clarity of purpose (the ‘why’) and top organisations are those that are sharing this – it’s the ‘golden thread’ for unlocking potential.

Delegates on our management courses and new leadership course tell us repeatedly that they struggle to set effective objectives for their direct reports when they don’t know what the organisation’s strategic objectives are.  Learning and development related objectives rely on that clarity of purpose.

Michael Beer, in the October 2016 Harvard Business Review (HBR) article “Why leadership training fails” also tells us that clarity of direction is one of the six basic steps for ensuring an effective outcome from investment in training.

Investment in training must itself demonstrate value

Training is an overhead, and opinion is divided as to whether or not to invest in it when times are lean.

So it is important to have some measures of the impact of training, as advocated in Kirkpatrick’s four levels i.e. it’s not enough to have a ‘happy sheet’ at the end of a training course (level 1).  Instead, we should measure the level of learning gained (level 2), how it has been applied (level 3) and what impact it has had (level 4).

We have been getting some excellent feedback from a current in-house management and leadership development programme that speaks to levels 1, 2 and intentions for level 3:

Delegates at a team building event on a RiverRhee management course

Delegates at a team building event on a RiverRhee in-house management course

“Another great training day. Having clear labels for appraising / coaching has been extremely beneficial and I am looking forward to implementing what I have learned”

 

We occasionally get an opportunity to carry out follow-up surveys to get a proper assessment of levels 3 and 4, as with one in-house client last year for whom we delivered courses in management skills, project management, communication and influencing skills, and time and meeting management:

 

Example of Kirkpatrick level 2 to 4 feedback

Example of Kirkpatrick level 2 to 4 feedback

There are many routes available for learning and development

The CIPD report mentions the value of coaching for all levels of an organisation.  Coaching is something that we embed in our management courses, offer as a stand-alone, and we have just launched a new Coaching Skills for Managers course. 

We also advocate the importance of a range of on-the-job learning approaches that organisations can implement for themselves, such as shadowing, buddying, cross-training, mentoring, and sharing insights gained from external courses through internal seminars. 

What we are more skeptical about is the degree of emphasis that the CIPD report puts on online learning as a major platform for learning.  Yes it is convenient and widely accessible, but, as the report says, people struggle to find the right information online, and to make the time to use it (“35% of employees say that uninspiring content is a barrier to learning online”).

Our experience is that face-to-face events still seem to suit a lot of people better in terms of their learning style, tailored content, and helping them to make the time.  The ability to interact and explore their challenges with and learn from colleagues is an aspect that they continuously rate highly.

Do get in touch if you would like to access some of our portfolio for learning and development

Courses workshops and coaching for managers and teams

Courses, workshops and coaching from RiverRhee for managers and teams

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops and one-to-one coaching, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers and teams.

See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

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Inspirational leadership. RiverRhee Newsletter, March-April 2017

By Elisabeth Goodman, 11th April 2017

An effective leader is inspirational

We’ve been doing some background reading preparatory to launching RiverRhee’s new course on leadership, as the next step on from our Introduction to Management.  Claudio Feser’s new book has been giving us a lot of food for thought.  When execution isn't enough - Claudio Feser

The book is based on McKinsey’s practical experience and study of academic literature, and lays a strong emphasis on the qualities and skills of inspirational leadership.

Claudio Feser reassures us by saying that these skills can be learnt: they are a set of behaviours that address people’s “true inner motivators, values and emotions”.  The basis of this type of leadership is to have a strong focus on the goal to be achieved, to influence people in such as way that they are committed towards a course of action, and to encourage and support them to take ownership for their actions.

These behaviours are also symptomatic of having a strong emotional intelligence, and the ability to clearly articulate the vision or goals for an organisation.

Although Feser does not mention Robert Dilts’ neurological levels of change, there is a strong connection to this NLP (NeuroLinguisticProgramming) model.

We can learn a lot from neuroscience and from personality tools

Readers of my blogs will have picked up my digest of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) article about Oxytocin, trust and employee engagement.  The March – April issue of HBR continues the exploration of neuroscience in the context of personality tools, and Feser has a chapter on this topic too.

The Neuroscience of Trust_HBR_JanFeb2017

The neuroscience of trust, HBR Jan-Feb 2017

Leaders would do well to familiarise themselves with the current thinking on this topic, and also consider which personality (or psychometric) tools to use to aid their understanding of the strengths and diversity within their team.

We use tools such as MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) Belbin Team Roles to support our training for managers and teams, and will explore personality tools further in our leadership training.

An inspirational leader adapts their influencing style based on the circumstances

We know that effective managers and leaders adapt their approach based on the context and the people that they are dealing with.

I ‘grew up’ in the business world on Robert Cialdini’s “Influence: Science and Practice”, and am also a strong advocate of the strategies described in “Influencer – The new science of leading change”.  We use aspects of these in RiverRhee’s Managing Change, and Communication and Influence courses.

Kipnis Schmidt and Wilkinson influencing

Based on Claudio Feser’s description of D. Kipnis et al’s, “Intraorganizational Influence Tactics: Explorations in getting one’s own way”, Journal of Applied Psychology 65, no.4 (1980): 440-452

Feser introduces a set of nine hard and soft approaches for influencing, based on the work of Kipnis, Schmidt and Wilkinson.

He describes how an inspirational leader will adapt which approach she or he uses with individuals based on the context, the knowledge, skills and mind-sets of the people involved.

So for instance, hard tactics will be most effective in simple, clear situations with some sense of urgency, whilst softer ones will be best for dynamic, complex and ambiguous situations.

Another example, according to Feser, is that inspirational appeals will be most effective where people have strong values, and with those who are more energetically outspoken.  Whilst socialising strategies, those that start with something like “I see the problem exactly the same way…”, work well with knowledgeable people and those who are very conscientious about their work.

Inspirational leaders also operate at an organisational level

My work with the APM Enabling Change SIG has been a great opportunity to consolidate my thinking about the key factors for successful organisational change.  So it was reassuring to see Feser’s suggestions echoing some of these:

  1. Create a change story, or vision: at its most powerful it will reflect the organisation’s values and emotions and be cascaded through the organisation
  2. Leaders role model the values and arouse the emotions in their particular change story
  3. Build skills and capabilities
  4. Ensure structure, processes and systems reinforce the change that is expected

Again, these are all activities that are within the control and sphere of influence of inspirational leaders.

We look forward to bringing these concepts, and more, into our new course on leadership in the not-too-distant future.

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops and one-to-one coaching, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers and teams.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

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Still thriving in times of uncertainty. RiverRhee Newsletter, January – February 2017

By Elisabeth Goodman, 25th January 2017

We are in the midst of change

Our readers will not need us to spell out the nature of the changes that they are currently facing!  Change brings uncertainty. Some of us will be quite relaxed and happy to wait for developments. Others will yearn for greater certainty, involvement and control.

enabling-navigators-of-change

Here are a few things that you might already be doing for yourself, and also some others that you could consider…

(RiverRhee works with managers and teams, so those are who we are targeting in this newsletter – but many of our tips can of course apply to anyone at work or in their home life.)

Look after your physical and mental health

We all have things that help us to feel better.  Some, like food, drink or going for a walk have short-term benefits.  Longer-term benefits could be gained from spending social time with colleagues, friends and family, focusing on doing your work to the best of your ability, or developing a new area of expertise.

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Connecting with nature on a bright winter’s day.

Volunteering to organise a team building activity, finding ways to help colleagues, joining a workplace representation group – these are all things that could help you to feel more involved and so better able to cope with the uncertainty around you.

(I myself do a range of volunteer work, and recently donated, through RiverRhee via the Work for Good platform to Red Balloon – Cambridge, a charity that helps young people who have been bullied or suffered other trauma which means they are no longer in full time education.)

Whatever the approach, it has to be the one that is best for you.  You will know what that is.

Remember what’s important to you – and focus on your strengths

I have recently written a blog on how to help people discover what they enjoy doing the most at work, and how they can do more of that.  Sometimes just concentrating on what you do well, your strengths, can provide a much needed oasis until the desert sands have

stopped blowing around you.  This kind of coaching is something that RiverRhee Associates can support.

The same can be true for a team: focusing on its current purpose, and on how to do that well, will help to channel people’s energy and develop good practices to work from, whatever the future might bring.  This kind of team building, with team diagnostics and workshops is something that we support, and indeed did so with a local team during December.

Connect with your internal and external networks

This is a really important role for managers, and one that they will be best able to focus on when their team has achieved ‘high performance’: when team members have attained a certain level of autonomy.  The team’s stakeholders (customers, suppliers, senior managers, professional peers etc.) will be an important source of information during periods of uncertainty.  They will also be key people to influence and negotiate with in terms of the team’s future.

Dan Ciampa, in a December 2016 article in Harvard Business Review (“After the handshake.  Succession doesn’t end when a new CEO is hired”, p.60) emphasises the importance of building effective relationships with key stakeholders for CEOs who want to effect change.  The same is true for any level of manager who wants to have some level of influence over the fate of their team, at any time.  As Ciampa points out, understanding the “political dynamics” at work is a key factor for success.  Another factor is understanding the values and working practices that might influence any decision making (the culture).  A manager’s awareness of these will grow the more she keeps in touch with her internal and external networks.

Take advantage of free external events and networking opportunities

Free events or networking meetings could provide a welcome distraction from brooding about uncertainty! They could also provide some very helpful information about the change, or other resources to help you cope with it.

We hope that our upcoming event at Babraham’s new conference centre, The Cambridge Building, on Thursday 2nd February – What is your relationship with time? – will provide you with all of these benefits, and look forward to seeing you there.  If you cannot make it, but would like to explore this topic and associated ‘personality productivity’ resources, do get in touch with me at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

Spend time on personal development and on developing the team

Periods of uncertainty can also be a good time to focus on developing personal and team skills that will be valuable to make use of in the future – whatever that might be.

We have a wide range of coaching and training opportunities for managers and teams, several of which will be running in February and March, and for which we still have spaces available.  These include:

  • Introduction to Management – 14th-16th March
  • Introduction to Lean and Six Sigma – 21st February
  • The First Steps in Selling – 22nd February
  • Introduction to Project Management – 23rd February
  • Managing Change – 28th February

 

 

 

 

We also had a very positive response to our “Good Practices in Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration” on-site course with CILIP which we ran three times last November, and look forward to opportunities to run it again during 2017.

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Illustration for a team collaboration exercise from “The Effective Team’s Knowledge Management Workbook”, RiverRhee Publishing, 2016

“The foundational principles of Knowledge Management were clearly explained.”

“The interactive nature was welcome.”

“Delivery was excellent”

“Good, well structured.”

“Real life examples”

 

 

We look forward to exploring how we can help you thrive during these times of uncertainty

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops and one-to-one coaching, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers and teams.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

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