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Wound up by Colleagues to the Point of Poisoning!

Discovery Centre From Courageous Success Inspiration

A recent US news story (reported in HRGrapevine) reports on an office dispute that went too far, and brownies designed as a leaving present were baked with laxatives!

Research from Brother UK has revealed an interesting list of the main causes of office arguments and disruption;

  • Gossiping colleagues rates at number one, with 34% of workers citing it.
  • Followed by loud-mouthed colleagues ranked at 31%.
  • Messy workers – 27%.
  • Theft – 26% (!)
  • And tardiness – 26%.

Wow!  How do you feel about your co-workers?  And how annoying are you!?
There are lots of reasons why office disputes or unpleasantness can happen, including stress, deadlines, focus, frustration and lack of conscious awareness.  We are all different and we often like to work differently, one person’s annoyingly messy desk can be viewed by another as a productive and creative space, with everything to hand.
The vast majority of us – whether we are conscious of it or not – are judgmental.  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, frequently stopping us from being truly open and tolerant of others, let alone welcoming our differences.
A lack of real connection at work often stops us bringing our true selves to work, and prevents realness and trust.

So, is it just luck as to whether we like and get on with our co-workers or not?
Is it all about them – or also about you?  Would you like to work with you?
We know that all of us can actively do something to create good working relationships that fuel a real and trusting work environment. 
Research from Relate shares that having good connections is important for our well-being as well as our health.  Thinking positively about others and building relationships and trust is important, it makes us feel connected and ourselves. Research shows that there is also a clear link between 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 and 40% less burnout.’’His research has also found that when we start to trust someone, oxytocin is released in the brain. A so called ‘sociable’ chemical, it increases empathy, a rather useful trait when trying to work with others! Impacting motivation, energy and positive culture.
From our work with iAM, bringing realness to individuals and teams, we see an average impact of 85% on improving relationships. And this week I’d like to share some of the power of our trust building approach!
Some top tips for creating more trust in your relationships, team and business culture;

  1. Decide to actively lift your openness and notice when you are holding back.  How much of a relationship do you have with your inner self and how you are seen by others?  What’s your self-awareness like?  Do you have a filter?  Notice!  You matter!
  2. Decide to be less defensive about your own ideas and opinions; ask others how to make them even better, and welcome opinion and commentary.
  3. 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.  Great, but openness often starts with you.  It’s ok to let people in.
  4. Embrace difference.  Notice difference.  Instead of deciding people are wrong, better or worse than you, see them as different to you.  Remember that we are all unique and others are not like you, so stop expecting them to be!
  5. Make friends at work. Remembering that our colleagues are funny and real people, rather than just roles, humanises the workplace.  Do you decide to see the real and engage with the best in others?
  6. Be curious, what can I learn from this situation or other’s ideas?  Stop needing to prove yourself or your rightness and absorb instead.
  7. Manage your emotional response and take accountability for your mood – don’t give your power away.  Realise that others may see you as a challenge.  Don’t stop challenging but decide to stop being the challenge!
8/9/10. Be yourself at work.

Watching Pain Dry or Real Inclusion?!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

17% of employees would rather watch paint dry than attend a team meeting! (inc.com)

How do you feel about your meetings, work and colleagues and how does this affect your interaction with your team?  A recent study by Accenture reports on the reasons for our “unhappiness” at work;

  • 31% of people don’t like their boss.
  • 31% feel a lack of empowerment.
  • 35% site internal politics.
  • 43% feel a lack of recognition (oh gosh don’t get me started on this one!)

One of the most popular workshops for Courageous Success is High Performing Team.  It yields an average reported 85% impact on improved relationships.  One of the reasons for its power and popularity is that the clear majority of “Team” approaches leave one thing out and ours doesn’t…..YOU!
If you are feeling anywhere near any of the four points above, your team could be in trouble.  Why?  Your approaches, energy, enthusiasm, reactions and persona could negatively impact the group.  You will be affecting inclusion.
Again and again we see a group of individuals seeing their team as something outside of themselves.  They don’t tend to see that they are an active part of it.  The same with a business.  Every person in a company is the company culture.  It is not an entity separate from ourselves.

We all have a role to play in managing our reactions and supporting our team members to succeed.



This week is a great example of this for me.  We had an experience afternoon in London this week.  Back to back and with jetlag from working with our Sydney team last week, I am naturally tired and there’s no time to stop.  Its full on!  19 hours before the event’s kick off the Hotel declares that there’s a problem and we can’t use the room.  We have 30 minutes to find a new one, email all the guests, pay and get it sorted.  As you can imagine, the stress that this creates in the moment is enormous.  Panic, fury, self-blame all flood into the consciousness.  All three of which have the power to destroy the event through mashing our internal world, let alone damage relationships as we react with each other.
We did it.  New hotel.  Free screen (now there’s a blessing).  Emails out.  Guests lovely and very understanding.
How did we do it without damage?  By managing our reactions with ourselves and each other.  By supporting each other to not make it about us.  And by choosing, in the moment, to not even think of the drama and fear, but instead pragmatically get on with it.
We know that everyone has the power to control their minds and reactions.  We can all manage our self-confidence and not blame others.  And when we do, we step into realness and evaporate politics.   We feel empowered to achieve.  We know that we are good enough and don’t need external recognition to validate ourselves.  Hopefully we’ll also like the boss, because they’ve supported us, not blamed us and seen challenge, not as a failure, but as a part of being human.
The thought of watching paint dry seems like such a waste of time to me.  Much more exciting is working with people like you!

How Sticky Are You?!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

Legend has it that Walt Disney was turned down 302 times before finally getting financing for his dream of creating Walt Disney World. It’s also been said that KFC founder Colonel Sanders was rejected 1009 times before finding a taker for his chicken recipe.

Could you persist 302 or 1009 times? 

I am in Sydney this week.  Meaning?  Severe jetlag, with a global to do list that’s full on, and a need to be flexible with an ever-moving diary. Fitting in 21 plus conversations into 5 days, with team catch ups, calls with the UK & US and the usual challenges of running a business!  Combine this with the absolute fact that every time I do this trip to work with our Aus team, I get here and day one, everything changes!  People move their meets, postpone or suddenly want to book in.  A roller coaster with 4-6 hours’ sleep.  Two very clear strengths are always required.  Resilience and Courageousness!

Those of you who know Courageous Success know that what we do is ground breaking and changing the face of work and everything that we experience there.  But, as I go on a global mission to transform the way the world develops people, I encounter my fair share of resistance;

  • “Is it like MBTI?”
  • “I get calls that say we are different all the time so what makes you and iAM so special?”
  • “Sell it to me”.

I walk the pavements with hope and a mission and a huge heap of courageousness.  People literally say to me every day, “how do you do it?  How are you so courageous?  How come you keep going?  How can you work so many hours? “  (the hotel that I always stay in share that I am their most hard-working customer lol).

Linda Apsley, Director at Microsoft, once shared, when asked about critical success factors that, resilience is first, in other words, what she sees is “the ability to roll with the many experiences you will encounter in your life. Be willing to stay focused on your goals regardless of voices that might discourage you.”

Yes!  I don’t believe that you have to be on a mission like we are at Courageous Success to galvanise persistence.  But I know (from personal experience!) as well as working with you all, that when we choose, yes choose, to stay focused, and put aside our fears, that magic happens.  The magic?  We let go and, in our vulnerability, we are ourselves.  Freedom.  We are brave and go for it.

So, no matter what your career, purpose (it’s ok to have the purpose of wanting to pay the mortgage and drink cocktails at leisure – sounds good!)  If we give up, we have lost.  Persistence is the energy that makes everyone’s dreams come true.

Imagine if at work we all visualised success and stuck to it…

  • If you think about achieving your goal, does it fill you with excitement, energy and hope? If not – what would?
  • Ask yourself how much you want the goal, score it out of 10, if the score is low, you could be focusing on the wrong thing – what would be a better goal?
  • Look at what you are trying to achieve – have a clear goal or objective to focus on.
  • Create a compelling vision of your goal, how can it be an expression of you?  How can you uniquely create or contribute to it? How will you feel when you have achieved it?
  • Be honest with yourself.  Out of 10 how much are you being persistent?
  • Make the choice – decide not to give up. Flexing and adapting is fine if it makes the outcome better, but the simple act of making a pact with yourself, a promise, is simply a choice – but a powerful one.
  • Be conscious of your well-being, keep your batteries charged.
  • Create a plan and talk about it.
Once you verbalise and personalise a goal, persistence becomes the fuel of success.

Happiness = Productivity

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

Courageous Success clients report an average impact of 88% on their positivity and happiness.
Sounds fluffy for the workplace?

Not if it’s a major contributor to an 84% impact on improved performance!
A study of nearly 2,500 people in the US by Temkin Group, has found an enormous link between happiness and productivity at work.  Their research demonstrated that people are more likely to do the following at work based upon high happiness levels vs. those with low happiness levels;
✓ Do something good for the company, even if it’s not expected of you +50%
✓ Try your best to do a good job for the company +28%
✓ Stay late at work if something needs to be done after your normal workday ends +27%
✓ Make a recommendation about an improvement that can be made to the company +60%
✓ Help someone you work with even if they don’t ask for help + 23%
✓ Look for a new job outside the company during the next six months -30%

So, if you believe that your energy and happiness state doesn’t affect your productivity or those around you, think again!
I repeatedly see people including senior leaders at all levels sabotage their own happiness, with no thought of the impact.  How?  They let their mood be affected by others and don’t control their emotional response.  They believe that they can’t be themselves and conform to “workplace norms” so feel monotone and deflated.  They compare themselves to others and knock their own confidence.  They hold back rather than be courageous and say it as it is.  They reserve the real them and their clear thoughts, visions and opinions for life outside of work or just for their own team.
Is this you? 

Our tips to create habits and routines to boost happiness and productivity:

  • Be the same person at work as you are at home – bring all of you to work.
  • Accept that others might be different to you, and will do things differently – embrace the richness of diversity.
  • Take the positivity challenge; for ten days choose to see the positive in all situations and in all interactions with others. Avoid negative influences e.g. the media or negative people.
  • Apply gratitude to your working life – notice the good in others and hold positive expectation.
  • Make the choice to always have a positive impact on those you interact with – wherever you are and whoever it is.
  • Be generous – share your ideas and yourself.  Let the people around you know that you like them, be consciously empathetic and look for every opportunity to give.
  • Be conscious of your inner dialogue: does it need to change to be more positive and optimistic?
  • Take responsibility for your own happiness, don’t wait for something or someone to make you happy.
  • Visualise what you would like to happen, where you would like to be in the future.
  • Watch your language: use positive language consistently, both internally and externally.
  • 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? Am I making enough effort to make a difference?
It is your choice:  make the most of everyday, whatever you are doing, and make a positive difference for you and those around you. 
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Self -Awareness, A Rare Quality?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

Bad company culture costs UK economy £23.6 billion,
according to research by BreatheHR reported in HR Magazine.

The report also revealed the benefits of positive workplace cultures, including improved morale and relationships (cited by 44%), better customer service and satisfaction (43%), and reduced employee turnover (35%).
What is it that stops company cultures being positive? What is it that makes the culture of a company – driven by the top or a combination of all employees’ behaviour? Do we all take responsibility for it or expect it to be ‘made’ for us by senior managers? Could the reason people complain of bad culture be the unintended consequences of lots of people either not caring about or lacking awareness of their impact on others?
The organisational psychologist Tasha Eurich, has done lots of research into self-awareness and writing in HBR (What Self-Awareness Really Is, and How to Cultivate It) says, ”research suggests that when we see ourselves clearly, we are more confident and more creative.  We make sounder decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. ….We are better workers who get more promotions. And we’re more-effective leaders with more-satisfied employees and more-profitable companies.’’

However Eurich’s research has revealed that  ”…even though most people believe they are self-aware, self-awareness is a truly rare quality. We estimate that only 10%–15% of the people we studied actually fit the criteria.’’



How aware are you of your impact on others, aware or mostly unconscious of it? We know how we feel when we experience rude or bad behaviour from others, the car that cuts you up, someone pushing into a queue ahead of you. And yet we also all know how positive we feel when we experience the opposite from others, the unexpected coffee made, the door held open for you, a seat on the train offered up, or as one member of the Courageous Success team will always remember, the stranger on a London Underground escalator that rescued them from falling.
Think about your day to day life and  routines, how you interact with fellow commuters, how you talk to family, friends and co-workers, do you consider whether you are making a positive or negative impression, improving their day and lives or having the opposite affect?
Do you care?
Erin Urban writing in Forbes, ”We do things without considering the repercussions or even realizing that our actions and words matter. We dish out our opinions on social media in thoughtless disregard to the ripples that they cause. …We have become so convinced of our own powerlessness that we don’t stop to think that what we do shapes the very world around us every single day.’’
We do have a choice, we can choose to have a negative or positive impact on those around us.
Self-awareness is about knowing ourselves, what motivates and drives us, along with what irritates us or wobbles our confidence. Knowing your iAM values gives you that internal awareness. Once we have this we can self-regulate and manage our reactions, moods and emotions. And it is also about having external awareness (Eurich’s definition: how well we understand how others see us), being conscious of the impact we have on those around us, and aiming to make it a positive one.
If we all become more conscious of our impact on others and decide to always make it positive, imagine how you could transform your company culture?Our top tips for contributing to a positive culture:
  • Be conscious of your personal impact on others?  Ask yourself, what am I radiating to others?  Choose to always make it positive.
  • Create a personal mantra for your way of being, and then express it to make others feel special.
  • Choose to be positive, good, kind and caring every single day.
  • Commit to becoming self-aware, be courageous and ask for feedback from your team or work colleagues,  Eurich recommends having a ‘Loving critic’, someone you trust, who you know wants you to be successful and will also be completely honest and direct with you.
  • Practice giving people your full attention and remain focused in their conversation and not yours.
  • As a leader or manager, connect regularly with your team, and show your human side; admit mistakes and show vulnerability.
Smile, enjoy what you are doing and your connection with others, behave in a way that reflects the very best of what you are good at, and truly reflects you at heart!


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What our clients say…

  • Definitely the best development programme I have been on in my 20 years at work.

  • Training like no training before.

  • Probably the only course that I will never forget.

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  • …this has brought us closer as a team. This will have a huge impact on efficiency and clear benefits to the bottom line.

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  • What a great tool and experience – I wish I had had it 10 years ago!

  • The programme took all of the anger out of the business as we learnt to deal with employees in a positive way…They make you believe in yourself and your ability to deal with people and to do your job. It’s the best course I have ever been on!

  • Feedback on the programme has been extremely positive and I am left in no doubt that the individual employees involved have an enhanced level of belief and confidence in themselves.