Be a Wild Haired Chick at Work for 2018!

From Courageous Success Inspiration

70% of survey respondents admit to forgetting what they had been taught within 24 hours of learning.
(Bridge survey of 1,000 U.S. employees measuring employee retention and forgetfulness from training).

The web and social media are full of ‘trends’ for 2018, ‘Social Learning’, ‘AI’, ‘Generation Z’.
In our experience the huge majority of us remain reliant on external knowledge and ‘trends’ to follow, beat or keep up with, to appear ‘with it’ and either ahead or part of the competent crowd. 
So, if subject matter experts are the ‘new rainmakers’ (Forbes – really?!), then here are the Courageous Success top tips for you in 2018, to set your own personal trends for success.  Use these tips to create your own learning and maybe you won’t forget it!

1. Embrace who you are, know that you are different and embrace your uniqueness.

2. Be the same person at work and at home.  
The benefits of authenticity at work, reported by HBR, is significantly higher job satisfaction and engagement, greater happiness at work, stronger sense of community, more inspiration and lower job stress.  We gravitate to, and tend to like people who are authentic. 

3. Care about others and see the best in them.
US brain neuroimaging research, quoted in Psychology Today (The Neurobiology of Giving Versus Receiving Support), found that giving ultimately had greater brain benefits than receiving – that our brains are wired to feel rewarded more for magnanimity and selflessness than for meanness and selfishness.  It’s also good for business, perfecting customer experience, according to research by McKinsey, can grow business revenue by 5 – 10% and cost 15 – 20% less, over a span of 3 years.

4. Explore out of your comfort zone.
Avoid the trap of being stuck on a treadmill of transactional doing. Switch off the autopilot! Stir things up.  Take a new route to work.  Regularly speak to people you wouldn’t normally.  Draw ideas on a blank piece of paper. Embrace challenge!
Taking on new opportunities will give you the chance to learn and grow. Learning helps the brain evolve new pathways which will literally change your mind. Set yourself a daily or weekly challenge to inspire.

5. Enjoy being you, work on you being one of the best people that you know.
 Be yourself, not who you think you should be, be the real you, humanising the workplace. As a leader or manager – connect regularly with your team, and show your human side; admit mistakes and show vulnerability.  Live your iAM Values at work. Smile, enjoy what you are doing, and do it in a way that reflects the very best of what you are good at, and truly reflects you at heart.

6. Believe in yourself, aim to achieve what you set your mind to.
Promote your skills and what you are capable of.  Many of us are worried that putting ourselves forward could be seen as arrogant, so much so that we simply don’t do it.  As a result, we restrict our skills and selves. Think about how you can help people, drive more performance, make a difference in your business.

7. Don’t get affected by the mood of others.
Keep your power, don’t let other people affect your mood or equilibrium. Avoid negativity and negative people.

8. Be persistent in your options and courageousness, don’t give up.
It took over 5000 attempts before James Dyson perfected his revolutionary bagless vacuum cleaner, and famously JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was famously rejected 12 times and she was told ‘not to quit her day job’ before it was published.  Make the choice – decide not to give up. The simple act of making a pact with yourself, a promise, is simply a choice – but a powerful one. Create a plan and talk about it. Once you verbalise and personalise a goal, persistence becomes the fuel of creativity.

9. Stop moulding and adapting, don’t conform to be liked.
We often think of work as having to be professional and formal. None of us have ‘professional’ written on our hearts!  Be informal and normal – be you.

10. Build a strong relationship with yourself.
Create a positive dialogue with yourself and use your positive beliefs. Researchers estimate that much of happiness is “under personal control.’’  Our clients report an improvement of 88% in their positivity and happiness when working with us. This isn’t a magic happiness pill that we hand out at induction – it’s about creating a mind-set that we can all experience.  One of the reasons we have such an impact is that we put your power back in your hands, influencing the relationship you have with yourself and the world around you. Creating happiness from the inside and not relying or hoping about what happens outside.  Creating a strong relationship with yourself is part of an inside out happiness plan.  

For 2018 take responsibility for your mood and experience so that you can deliver and live at your optimum.

 

Living Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Work in 2018

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

It would be fantastic if 2018 was the year that there was a major shift upwards in the statistics for equality, diversity and inclusion at work.

We can all do something to bring about change.

According to research it takes just seconds to judge people on their appearance. We all make quick judgements and thin-slice all of the data we take in (with non-verbal taking up a big percentage) and filter it through our values and belief system.  Familiar and similar ‘fits’ more quickly.  However this filtering, that we all do unconsciously, has a huge role in how we view and interact with those different to ourselves.  The implications are enormous to our own growth, the growth of those around us, especially if we are a manager of people, how we recruit (often in our own image) and business growth – ”racially diverse companies outperform industry norms by 35%” (Forbes).
Equality and diversity is under the spotlight for 2018. In the UK April, is the deadline for qualifying companies to make public their gender pay gap data.  Although, as reported in HR Magazine, 1/10 firms may not make the deadline, a survey of managers within middle-market businesses found that ”’78% said that the reporting obligations would help reduce the size of the gender pay gap.”  
And it’s not just pay that needs addressing, last year Fortune reported that the number of female CEO’s of the Fortune 500 companies had fallen to 4.2%.  It has been reported in the past by the New York Times that ”Fewer large companies are run by women than by men named John…’’.  We often see similar statistics for racial diversity in the workplace too.
Forbes has previously reported a SHRM report that 41% of managers are “too busy” to implement diversity initiatives, BUT we can all make this change by collectively being more conscious of our own judgements and bias about others.


Make 2018 the year of being fully open minded and

really living diversity, equality, and inclusion.

 

 

We can all choose to include people, encourage contribution, be kind and make others feel special;

  • Assume positive intent of others – all of us are good at heart.
  • Value others and value kindness at work.
  • Be conscious of your thoughts when interacting with others, silence your judgement and listen.
  • Encourage ideas, debate and questions to allow full contribution and creativity.
  • When with others switch off your inner critic (we all have one) and switch on your insightful awareness and openness.
  • Ask questions, to really get to know others.
  • Ask yourself what you sense about another person when you interact with them rather than what you think about them.
  • Don’t get drawn into office gossip and conversations that are at the expense of others – be positive about others.

Bring the best you to work every day and positively encourage others to do the same.

Put You at the heart of your success.
Talk to us about iAM – discovering you and your team’s heart based values.  iAM crosses cultures and is loved by users as giving powerful self- awareness, rated at 90% impact.

The Price of Just Being in it For The Money!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

Only 21% of employees are driven by their career!!
A recent finding, reported in HR Magazine this week, of a survey of 2000 employees.

What is this all about?  In the same report only 11% of respondents over 40 said they were passionate about their job and 72% of us only go to work to pay the bills.
Are we all just mindlessly going through our working days and life – and therefore missing out on really living and enjoying it?
How many times at work do you find the day went quickly in a blur and at the end of it, wondering what you have actually accomplished?  Busy doing lots of things, but not feeling like you’ve actually achieved what you needed to?
An article earlier this year in the Harvard Business Review shared that ‘…. mindlessly performing tasks ….is a recipe for inefficiency, disengagement, and even poor health.’  The article goes on to talk about how finding ‘a clear sense of purpose’ in day to day tasks can have massive benefits to efficiency, productivity and even health.  In a study of Japanese workers at a large IT company ”….a higher sense of purpose as well as a sense of interdependence with co-workers was correlated with lower inflammation as well as a higher viral resistance in the bodies of the workers.’’
Research has also shown a connection between a sense of purpose in our personal lives, and good health such as reduced risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, and even increased longevity.

 

What stops us being our most productive,
connected selves? 

 

 

Letting ourselves be distracted, allowing ourselves to be dragged into meetings we may not need to be at, being on autopilot, spending too much time bouncing emails – bouncing the work around without it actually moving forward, robotically ticking off tasks and not being truly engaged.

Having a purpose stops us being as distracted- but it does more than that, it galvanises our energy, it unlocks our courageousness.
Questions for you;
Do you know what your purpose is in your working life?
How would you score yourself, out of 10, against it at this moment in time?

Hints & Tips on Finding Your Working Purpose

  • Create your purpose, what fuels you, is it changing the world or enjoying something?
  • Identify and list your mission purpose, e.g. being a force for good, changing the world, tangible success, money, helping others, beating the competition?
  • Identify your mainstream purpose e.g. financial security, enjoyment through activity, learning, feeling useful.
  • Choose your main primary purposes and begin to integrate them into your daily consciousness.  Use them when you are creating your daily goals and reflecting on what a difference you have made.
  • Ask yourself, what is meaningful in what you do? Focus on this more.
  • Identify what difference you really want to make in your role, in the company.  Make this happen.  Regularly review how you’re doing to get that positive feedback loop.
  • Create a purpose of being. How do I want to be as a co-worker, team member, leader?
  • Are you making enough effort to make a difference?
  • Choose to make the most of everyday, wherever you are, not just for yourself but for others too.
  • Choose not to coast.

Unlock your courageousness instead.

Shocking Customer Service and Your Leadership Style!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

$1.6 trillion. This is the estimated cost of customers switching due to poor service. 
(Accenture 2017)     

Having had two weeks of travel to Australia and around the UK, I have had plenty of chances to experience ‘customer service’. And some of it has been shocking!
As I went from flight to flight, taxi and restaurant, I observed a clear pattern. Those who delivered great customer service did so based on one core approach, which those who lacked in service clearly ignored.
They didn’t make it about themselves.
Instead, they put their ideas, thoughts, moans, attitudes and needs aside and focused totally on the other person, and making them happy. The result – specialness.
Making people feel special disarms them and opens up realness!  Our walls seem to come down and the real us shines through.
People often say to me that they feel really connected to me, that I stand out, what is this?
It’s simple. 
When I meet you, whether for a meeting, a 1:1, a workshop or in day to day life. I put myself to one side and focus totally on you.
At work, this approach builds strong relationships by making people feel happy.
When the focus is on others rather than yourself, you do a number of things naturally:

  1. You ask the questions.
    So the other person feels valued and can talk about themselves and where they work. You are appreciating them and their presence.
  2. You become genuine.
    Your sincerity shows that you care. Your gates open and so their guards come down, and you show that you’re interested. This connects you both. You step into the moment together. 

Perfecting customer experience, according to research by McKinsey, can grow business revenue by 5 – 10% and cost 15 – 20% less, over a span of 3 years.
It’s also good for us!  Psychology Today quotes research from a US study  (The Neurobiology of Giving Versus Receiving Support: The Role of Stress-Related and Social Reward-Related Neural Activity) in which fMRI neuroimaging tests were used to explore how specific brain areas were affected by giving versus receiving social support.  The research found that giving ultimately had greater brain benefits than receiving – that our brains are wired to feel rewarded more for magnanimity and selflessness than for meanness and selfishness. 
In this moment, when it is all about them, specialness through these two points is experienced.

Our tips to make it about others at work and in life: 

  • Practice giving people your full attention and remain focused in their conversation and not yours.
  • Remember that where you work is actually a group of human beings that service others in some way – all wanting to do their best.   
  • As a leader or manager – connect regularly with your team, and show your human side; admit mistakes and show vulnerability.
  • Choose to be positive, good, kind and caring every single day.
  • Smile, enjoy what you are doing, and do it in a way that reflects the very best of what you are good at, and truly reflects you at heart.
  • Consider: what is my personal impact on others? What am I radiating to others?
    Create a personal mantra for your way of being, and then express it to make others feel special.
 Helpfulness and focussing on others shows others that you like them, driving acceptance, motivation and engagement – and ultimately not only a happier workplace but also a more productive one. 

It’s Not All About You!

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

Developing, growing and ‘improving’ ourselves is important but it’s not all about you!

What is also important is what you think of other people, especially in your relationships at work. Thinking positively about others and building relationships and trust is important, it makes us feel connected and ourselves. Research shows there is also a clear link between putting you aside, building positive relationships with trust and business performance.

Paul J Zak has spent years researching this link and has found, (as reported in HBR): ’’Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout.’’

His research has also found that when we start to trust someone, oxytocin is released in the brain. So called a ‘sociable’ chemical, it increases empathy, a useful trait when trying to work with others. It has an impact on motivation, energy and positive culture.

Instead of asking ourselves ‘how can I improve?’
Maybe we should ask ourselves: ‘how can I see the best in others, show people I like them and build trust?’

From our own research we know that 80% of our clients have a personal value around kindness, so building trust amongst co-workers should be easy? Experiments around the world have shown that humans are naturally inclined to trust others, but don’t always.

What stops us?

Our habitual ways of experiencing and processing information can really get in the way:
Malcom Gladwell in his book ‘Blink’, talks about how we ‘thin slice’ and make judgements and decisions on small amounts of data and experience. We filter the world based on our point of view – does it fit with my beliefs and values or not?  If the answer is not – we can dismiss it – making us judgemental of others stopping us being truly open.

Then there is how we communicate, now more often than not, by email. Without all of the nuances of verbal and non-verbal communication, we can interpret the tone of emails differently to how they were intended and according to Psychology Today, we tend towards the negative.


”If the message is ambiguous, many people will automatically read the most negative emotions and intentions into it.”  

 

 

We also make inferences about people and their intentions when our emails don’t get a response.
Stress can inhibit that sociable chemical oxytocin, this explains why often when we are stressed we can avoid interaction with others.

So – how can we be more open to others and build trust?
  • Practise being open, remove your gates and guards, and let people in.
  • Be less defensive about your own ideas and opinions; ask others how to make them even better.
  • Share information about yourself. A google study found that managers who “express interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being” outperform others in the quality and quantity of their work.
  • Embrace difference.  Remember that we are all unique and others are not like you so stop expecting them to be!
  • Be curious, what can I learn from this situation or others’ ideas?
  • Get out of your comfort zone. Try new things, maybe one per week e.g. listen to a different style of music, read a different source of news, broaden your experience.
  • Manage your emotional response and take accountability for your mood – don’t give your power away.

Be yourself.
The minute you are the heart-based, real you, you’ll automatically be less self-conscious and will naturally maximise your focus on others.

 

Your Performance Appraisal – Love or Dread?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

What if, tomorrow all competency frameworks, all appraisal processes, all talent grids and profiles went up in smoke?
Would people stop doing their jobs?

We don’t think so. The appraisal is dead. This is also the view of many commentators today. What real value do they add? How do they help people to be the best of themselves when all we are really doing is placing restrictions on them by comparing them to others, putting them in boxes, scoring them like they’re in a gymnastics or dancing competition?

How many people in employment look forward to their appraisal or talent review? 

In recent months many high-profile organisations have been reported as having abandoned their annual appraisal processes. According to The Harvard Business Review, by some estimates, more than one-third of U.S. companies are doing just that, including Microsoft, Adobe, and IBM and GE systems.

It appears business is coming round to the view that the traditional annual appraisal system doesn’t work.  Gallup research from 550 organizations and 2.2 million employees found that only 50% of employees knew what was expected of them at work.
According to CEB, a corporate research and advisory firm, only 4% of HR managers think their system of assessing employees is effective at measuring performance — and 83% say their systems need an overhaul.

The reason?  Basically, we hold up our job description as ‘our perfect employee’, then once a year measure people against it, often scoring, basically telling people that they are not good enough. Many appraisal systems fail because we’re all human and giving and getting grades can seem threatening. We all want to fit in, be liked and succeed, so being ‘scored’ can feed our limiting beliefs and make us focus on the negative, feel anxious, defensive and take things personally – focusing on fear and ‘prove myself’, rather than performance.

Does your process allow managers to hide behind it?  So, avoid regular feedback, or having difficult conversations, as we know, most of us don’t like doing this.
Performance reviews often become something to be endured for both the manager and the employee. something to report, rather than being inspiring, useful and productive development or celebration of achievement.

Companies that have seen the light have replaced the annual appraisal with more regular feedback conversations.

Are you being accountable?
How many of us actively seek out feedback – or self-appraise, what did I do well in that situation and what could I have done better?  If we all did it more, it would become part of a normal conversation, rather than a forced, formal and weird one.

Tips for Humanising Feedback

Make it a normal part of your company or team culture, start by self-appraising and talk about this positively.

Focus on listening, don’t worry about what to say next.

Curb your emotional response, this is not about you.

Use questions when giving feedback.  E.g: How do you feel it went?  What would you change?  What could make it more powerful?

Avoid using the word ‘why?’ It carries judgement.

Respond to others’ work with warmth, energy and enthusiasm. Show people you like them.

Be clear in your expectations, let people know what you want, how and by when.

Embrace the energy of growing and developing yourself and others.

Watch your tone, don’t be condescending.  Really care about each other and you will grow as a team.

Feedback is about clarity and sharing.  There’s nothing wrong with sharing what you’d encourage someone to do even better – how else can we learn from each other?  Be ready and open to others’ having an opinion too.

How positive and motivating is your performance review process?  If the answer is low – come and talk to us, we’d love to help.

How’s Your Bulls**t Detector?

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

Authentic leadership is often talked about as the holy grail and gold standard of being a successful leader or manager– but do we know what being an authentic leader is?

Googling the term ‘what is authentic leadership’ brings back 22 million results with lots of articles and debate from all over the world. This week the topic has been spotted featured as follows:

  • The Australian Financial Review reporting from their Bosses’ Summit that ‘Leadership has to be authentic, big bosses say’.
  • The author Monica Ali in a BBC article shared “the cult of authenticity is flourishing”, and explored what does it mean to be “authentic”?
  • Professor Rosie Campbell in her BBC radio programme described authenticity as the ”yardstick by which we now measure many things in our society.’’

Professor Campbell’s programme examined authenticity within politics and shared how Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn are seen as being authentic with Theresa May and Hilary Clinton being less so. Interesting!
Of course people in the public eye are subject to far more scrutiny than us ordinary folk, but how do we gauge if someone is being authentic or not?  Is it a rational response to someone or more of a sub-conscious emotional reaction?  I think we all get a feeling of whether someone is being authentic or not – we all have great in-built bulls**t detectors!
There are many definitions of what authenticity in management and leadership is. According to research featured in the Harvard Business Review, authentic leaders are ‘genuine and honest, admit errors and stay true to what they believe in.’

Do we need to be told what authenticity is?  It is as simple as knowing who we are at heart- our iAM Values – the real us – and then being that person wherever we are? Bringing who we are outside of work, into work.

The benefits of authenticity at work, reported by HBR, is significantly higher job satisfaction and engagement, greater happiness at work, stronger sense of community, more inspiration and lower job stress.   So it works.  We gravitate to, and tend to like people who are authentic.  We all want to work for and be with people we like.

Here are some tips for bringing the real you into work:

  • Be the same person at work as at home, you’ll feel and come across as more real and natural.
  • Don’t conform, we often think of work as having to be professional and formal. None of us have ‘professional’ written on our hearts!  Be informal and normal.
  • Bring friendship and care into your relationships at work.  Listen, with openness and approachability.
  • Be encouraging and build self-belief in others – always see the best.
  • If you need to have a difficult conversation, think about how you’d approach this out of work, with either friends or your kids, and then do the same with your team.
  • Admit mistakes and ask for help , and encourage this in others. Create a normal and real environment, where help can be given and mistakes made without it being seen as failure.
  • When you need to achieve something, think about how you might ask your best friend – and take that approach.

 

Enjoy it!
Love the connections and time together.

Small, wide-eyed animals at work!

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

”…there is a small, wide-eyed animal within each of us that doesn’t understand why we keep kicking it.”
William Sieghart talking about his new book: The Poetry Pharmacy

If the animal inside you represents the joy of being you, your confident self, your wide-eyed innocence & excitement about the world, and you are regularly kicking it, what is the impact?

If you keep kicking, will the wide-eyed animal shrink, wither, be scared, vulnerable, disengage and hide from the world – become broken? Does this small animal represent your self-belief?

 

Are you in touch with the animal inside you?

Do you know how it’s feeling?

Do you nurture it, feed it and really look after it?

 

 

 

We have a courageous counter that we use with clients to measure how much you need us.  One of the questions looks at your relationship with yourself, how much do you know yourself, are you in-tune with yourself and do you have useful internal conversations? If you were to score how positive your relationship is with yourself, would your score be high or low?

There isn’t one human being that we’ve met that doesn’t give their inner animal a regular kick. 

Courageous Success global leadership research shows that 88% of leaders agree that: I have times when I doubt myself, 79% agree that they’d use words like worrier, doubter, overthinking and lacking confidence when describing themselves.  But over 90% of us don’t look within ourselves for the answers. 

Do we let our life journey keep our inner animal down?  Do we start conforming at an early age: to what’s required at school, higher education and work – becoming what we think we should be? During this journey, does our childlike enthusiasm and joy dim over time without us even realising? When did your inner animal feel the most alive? How does it feel now?  Want it back – healthy and alive?

You can reignite your inner wide-eyed animal.  Think about how you’d feel if: 

  • I invited you to pass the parcel, would you feel the anticipation of excitement?
  • What about that interview for your first dream job, imagine you could be there right now and it was tomorrow.
  • You had that first kiss with the love of your life.
  • The moment you first stepped off a plane into the warm summer sunshine.
  • You opened the envelope to see that great grade or they said yes.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s great about being me?
  • Do I love me for who I am?

Start to have those inner conversations, the ones you want to have with your kids, your nieces and nephews, your friends and work colleagues.

What’s this got to do with work? Well, you are the worker. You are not a transactional, logical, robotic machine, you are that excited child waiting for the parcel to be passed to you.

You are not a number or a colour or a profile, you are you, and if you nurture your inner, small, wide-eyed animal, you and all those around you will experience the best of you.