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Smell a Lemon and Boost Your Productivity!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

Make 54% less mistakes by smelling a lemon!

Research into productivity in the workplace, recently shared in HR Grapevine, found that people working with computers made 20% fewer typos if the office was scented with lavender, 33% fewer with jasmine and 54% fewer if exposed to the scent of lemon.  The best smells for boosting productivity and moods at work are lemon, lavender, jasmine, rosemary, cinnamon and peppermint. 
Smells! What a simple and creative way to improve working environments and boost productivity.  
We’ve quoted before the research by Warwick University that happy employees are 12% more productive and unhappy ones 10% less productive. The researchers say; ‘’positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings.”
We know from Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, that the brain works much better when a person is feeling positive. ”When workers are happy they’re more effective collaborators working toward common goals.’’
How’s your productivity?  Do you think creatively to positively improve your environment and the way you work?  Or, do you blame where you work, your workload or your bosses and colleagues for negative feelings and stress?
We all have a choice about how we live and enjoy our lives in and outside of work.
We’re all human and it’s so easy to blame other people or things for the situation we find ourselves in.  Similar to other strategies we employ when life feels a bit too hard: being a victim, a martyr and thinking that ‘life happens to me’, that I have no choice.  Blaming other people or things (workload, mess, amount of emails) for how we feel is a choice we make – an unproductive one, but a choice just the same.

In all aspects of life, we can take responsibility for ourselves and how we feel, and how we make others feel. Choose to be creative in making changes to feel more positive and productive in your life in and outside of work.
Lemon or jasmine?   How creative could you be to be more productive?

  • What three changes could you make to either your routine or environment to make you feel positive?
  • Get in touch with when you are most productive. Schedule your work to fit in with your natural rhythms.
  • Ask yourself, what is meaningful in what I do? And then 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, and leader?
  • Self-manage your energy levels and make time for you, to rest and re-energise. Diarise breaks into your working day or be conscious of just having a moment of pause.
  • If you are a manager, are you being a role model for others around efficient working and maintaining balance? 
  • Make sure you’re not a slave to your ‘to do’ list and the feeling that you never accomplish anything – pause, step back and focus on what you are really trying to achieve, where could you add the most value?
  • Go and buy some lemons!!

Ever Been Written Off by an Algorithm?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

The world needs to move on – the oldest psychometric test, MBTI, is still widely used globally and it was developed in 1943!!

How on earth can this correlate with the excitement & move forward of AI? Are you using your profile as an excuse, or writing yourself off because of one?  Are you really sticking to methods that were developed 75 years ago to develop your people?
The media are constantly telling us that AI is growing in importance.  Driverless cars and even fighter jets are now being developed.  Don’t get me wrong, technology is great if it advances us and doesn’t damage society or keep us stuck in the past!
In the world of Learning & Development every day we see apathy and boring methods, lacking in power, being repeated again and again as we are so enthralled by so called “smart software”.  My question is, is your “smart software” really smart and are you questioning whether it is at all?  Along with outdated profiling there are reported cases of AI or automation getting it wrong, ex Facebook executives admitting that the way Facebook was built is bad for society, and driverless Uber taxi accidents.  The fact that online search algorithms provide suggestions based on our previous searches that narrow our experience rather than widen it – giving us what we have always had, rather than expanding our experience.  We stay unawares.
What we have gained in technology in recent years is undoubtedly amazing, it has revolutionised the way we work, and used wisely and well, it really helps us.

But are we also in danger of being so enthralled by “smart software” and the cost savings, that we underestimate the power of being human?  Are our futures at work determined by a machine?

Are we all ending up being slaves to the algorithm, relying heavily on AI and software that we are collectively unaware of, at the expense of being ourselves at work?

 

 

An article in the FT earlier this year, talks about a “depressing reminder of the relentless spread of psychometric testing.”  In discussing the growth of testing used by private equity and venture capital firms since the 2008 financial crisis, it shares the view of an expert that the growth is chiefly due to “spread accountability if it all goes horribly wrong”.
Articles debating psychometric testing quote the case of a disgraced ex UK banking chairman.  When he left the business, the Commons Select Committee were told, during the investigation, that one of the explanations of why he got the job ahead of better qualified and experienced candidates was that “he did very well in the psychometric tests.”  !!
An FT article also points out that along with the growth in psychometric testing there has also been huge growth in an industry built up to help people beat the tests!
Psychometric testing can be useful in creating objectivity and removing bias from assessing employees, but the downsides, when not used correctly, can be putting people in boxes or giving them labels that they then live to or feel ‘written off by’ or seeing people as black and white, either/or – when we are all more complicated than that!
You are not a colour, number or collection of letters, you are you! 
#beyourselfatwork

Your Mind at Work – an Open or Shut Case?

Business Inspiration

“80% of employees around the world say they have to shut off their minds to get through work.’’

A staggering statistic quoted by Daniel Cable, professor of organisational behaviour at London Business School and shared with HBR when talking about his new book Alive at Work.
In a BBC series called In the Wrong Job, the BBC report that a string of studies “suggest that as many as 75 per cent of British workers feel they are in jobs which don’t suit them or which they simply hate.”
What is driving these stats?  Are all jobs and workplaces unsuited to us or hateful, or are we making it this way ourselves? 
Cable identifies the fact that we all have a ‘seeking’ system in our brains that motivates us for different experiences and growth, which in turn keeps us motivated.  In his book he talks about the condition of ‘learned helplessness’  discovered by psychologist Martin Seligman; “where a human or animal learns it is helpless in a particular situation, accepts loss of control and gives up trying…employers are creating learned helplessness in their workforces by putting people in roles where they can’t use their seeking systems.”
 So we are all looking outside of ourselves for motivation!!!
As humans we tend to look outside of ourselves for happiness and satisfaction…more money, better house, better job, i.e. I’ll be happy when…, and also blame circumstances or things outside of ourselves when we feel we are in a negative situation. 
How many of us look internally to shift our perspective on the situation we are in?

Do we all need to stop making it about what is happening outside of us and take responsibility.  Waiting for something or someone else to come along and change our situation is a recipe for unhappiness and disengagement.

Cable advises that “leaders must create a platform (for employees) to be curious”, to activate the seeking system of the brain. 
We disagree.

 

Our view is: get leaders to encourage others to create their own platforms for curiosity.    
Are you waiting too?

Here are some challenging questions for you to notice if you are shutting your mind:

  • Are you thinking about yourself too much – is there a ‘what’s in it for me’ malaise hampering your business and personal growth?
  • Are you as productive as you could be at work or do you work to a level that you think you can get away with?
  • What are some of your habitual behaviours that may be keeping you stuck?

Activate yourself and ask yourself these questions:

  • If I was truly engaged and active at work – what would be different?
  • If I was being my most courageous self at work – where might it take me?
  • How can I generate new ideas or ways of doing things that can be shared & implemented?
  • What would I love to challenge or change in my workplace?
Choose to make the most of everyday wherever you are, not just for yourself, but for others too.

Waistcoats & Winning!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

What can we learn from the 2018 England World Cup team?!

Love it or not, it’s estimated by Fifa that a whopping 46% of the global population watched this year’s World Cup.

Forget whether they won or lost, there has still been lots to learn from the England team over the last few weeks about what makes a winning team.
Despite losing the semi-final this week, the unanimous response to the team’s overall World Cup performance has been positive – at last a team to be proud of.  There has been many UK media columns dedicated to analysing the apparent cultural and performance turnaround of the England team.  Much of it credited to Manager Gareth Southgate, described in the UK press as; emotionally intelligent, humble and even a national treasure, his reputation boosted when he took time to empathise and comfort a Colombian player who missed a penalty against England.  The hero worship has gone far and wide, not only of his team management but also his style in waistcoats, now reportedly sold out in M&S, and no doubt fuelled by “#waistcoatwednesday”!

An article in the Guardian this week talked about the team’s training, having had an emphasis on mental performance along with physical performance, an approach that, according to Gareth Southgate, has created a team “….transformed from previous incarnations.… it now comes across as a hungry, humble team, playing with lightness and joy.’’  Also backed up with one player, Dele Alli, claiming beforehand that he was “excited, not nervous,” about playing in England’s first World Cup semi-final in 28 years.  A great example of re-framing a situation in a positive way.
It seems, and many commentators are making this link, that the England team are more free and unburdened from fear….of failure, of the expectation of others, of the wrath of the manager.

Despite  the semi-final loss, the team has achieved more than any other England team in over a quarter of a century.  The most common words used about the team’s performance the day after the semi-final, along with pride in their achievement, have been:  decent, respectful, humble, no egos, calm, “a polite Englishman” – Southgate – and a “bunch of ordinary modern lads”.
All of this feedback is great and positive, and is a refreshing change on how the UK media have previously judged the English team.  However should there also be some words of caution along with the praise? Amid all of this calmness, there still needs to be a team collective fire in the belly to win, high energy, risk taking and persistence, the ability to really step up when up against it.

Here are our winning tips on what can be learnt from the ‘winning’ England team:

  • Really get to know your team mates, what matters to them, what drives them, what has shaped them in the past, iAM values can help, or encourage team conversations and simple socials.
  • Embrace failure – as an opportunity to learn and develop rather than beating yourself up about what went wrong, dwelling on what is wrong with you, and not moving on.  Failure proves that you, or a member of your team are trying.
  • Don’t take things personally – stay open to new ideas, think about the greater good rather than hanging onto your idea or what you want and not being able to see past it.
  • Be like Southgate, don’t conform to how you think you should be or behave – do it your way. A nation has taken Gareth Southgate to its heart due to his authenticity.
  • Avoid negativity – either in yourself or others, negativity breeds powerlessness.
  • Make friends with fear, re-frame it as an energy and excitement and don’t let it hold you back. 
  • Be prepared to take risks

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