21 Apr

Are you Bob?

“When Bob has a problem with everyone, the problem is generally not everyone. The problem is Bob!”

Sometimes people say things that resonate with you so intensely that the lesson stays with you for years to come. I once had a boss who often made the “Bob” statement. His way of confirming someone’s lack of good social awareness and the inability to play nice in a team environment. Whenever I heard him saying it, it always made me more conscious of my own actions and interactions. It made me reflect on and consider my own behaviour.

Being able to step back and objectively see yourself warts and all, as others may see you can be a little bit uncomfortable. But, then to acknowledge your “warts” and take responsibility for how your behaviour has directly affected someone, can be exceptionally difficult.

If you succeed in developing and strengthening your emotional intelligence the benefits are not just for your own personal growth, but it improves the longevity and quality of your relationships with your colleagues and customers.  Strong, trusting professional relationships can only strengthen your business by building motivated productive team members, and increasing your employee retention.

If you think you may be a “Bob” and may be alienating your colleagues and team members with your behaviour, start by asking yourself the following. Both questions have been inspired by Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. 

  1. Do you listen to understand first, before trying to be understood? The next time you have a conversation with one of your colleagues, try not to steamroll  through your point or opinion at the beginning of the conversation. Stop and let them speak first. Actively try and understand what they are saying to you.  By being conscious of this, it will hopefully prevent you from paying them lip service and assuming what they are trying to say before they actually say it.
  2. Do you think win-win? This is not High School. It’s not about whoever wins the race gets the prize. If you really want to win in the business world you need to think smarter. The next time you go into a discussion, go in with the mindset of team collaboration. Think how the the discussion outcomes can be mutually beneficial to all parties. You may need to stretch your thinking and consider options which you have never considered before. Be curious. Remember, its not always about you.

If you think you may be a “Bob”  and need assistance. Contact Nicole at nicole@tikumu.co.nz for professional business coaching.


14 Apr

Less is more

“I wish there were more hours in the day!” I’ve heard this expression too many times before and sadly even from my own mouth. “ If I just had a few more hours, I could complete so much more!”. 
Of course if we were granted these extra hours, we would excitedly fill them up with more appointments, projects and stuff and then when we couldn’t squeeze anymore engagements into the already crammed and overflowing diary we would quickly turn around, bat our eyelids and with open hands ask for more time, please. Unequivocally we are our own worst enemies and end up back were we started, time-poor.
 We somehow believe that the more we do and the busier we are, the better, more successful and productive we will become. Sadly, this delusion doesn’t make us more productive, it just makes us more stressed, tired and unfocused. This coming from someone who has bought the original T-shirt and seen the movie, multiple times on the subject.
I believe there are a couple of lessons to learn here. So for all the busy, overextended and overcommitted people out there, If you only had three hours in your working day how would you spend them?
Stop, put on the brakes.
Before you start overloading your precious time with meetings, take a step back and ask yourself these questions:
1) What are your long term goals? Have these long term goals been broken down into manageable medium and short term goals?
If you had to rack your brain and rummage around to look for your notes on your goals, or you’ve just been to busy to even define them, then I’d suggest that you first spend some time reminding yourself what you ultimately want to achieve.
2) Once you have a handle on your goals, review your to-do list. Do the tasks on your to-do list align themselves to your goals?
Those irrelevant items that have somehow snuck onto your to-do list, why are they there? Just remember, being busy isn’t going to win you any awards. It’s about the quality of those tasks, not the quantity of tasks.
3) Be ruthless with your to-do list. If the tasks, projects, appointments etc. do not drive your goals, then remove them from your list.
4) Now that you have reduced your list, select a maximum of 3 items. These tasks should be fundamental to achieving your business goals. These are the tasks you want to work on first. The other tasks can be scheduled after these critical ones. Not everything is important and urgent. By being objective your to-do list can be streamlined significantly.
By reducing our time, it forces us to think about how relevant the tasks that we perform are. Don’t fall into the trap of asking for more time, change your mindset and rather ask yourself. “Which tasks are irrelevant and if removed from my to-do list will give me more time in my day?”
 Need some assistance? Contact me. nicole@tikumu.co.nz for professional business coaching.
08 Apr

People don’t leave companies, they leave managers

Businesses spend thousands of dollars every year investing in recruiting, training and developing their teams, but despite this some employees choose to leave for greener pastures quite soon after joining the business. Why does this happen?

If you had to review these ex-team members exit interviews or ask them why they left, the most common reason would be simply how they were managed by their direct supervisor. Oddly enough in an exit interview they may speak highly of the company as a whole, commend the company on the products and services they offered or even speak fondly of their ex-team mates and peers. But, somehow all of those positives do not cancel out the reality of the fact that these people chose to leave your business. People don’t leave companies, they leave managers.

So what is it about the management style that makes people run for the hills?  It comes down to how that manager makes that team member feel.

Richard Branson boldly stated, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” 

If you are a manager and responsible for either one person or a team of people, ask yourself these questions.

  • How often do you touch base with your team member(s)? This is not a formal meeting, but just a quick 5 to 10min catch up.  Don’t confuse this with micro management. This is a “How are you doing on x project? Need my help, please feel free to come and chat.” 
  • When last did you ask your team members how their families, kids etc were doing? Do you know their children’s or partner’s names?
  • Do you ask your team members for advise on certain business issues? How often do they contribute?
  • When last did you publicly compliment one of your team members on a job well done?
  • When last did you provide specific feedback on a team members weaknesses or challenge areas? Did you discuss alternative behaviour with them?
  • Do your team member(s) have personal development plans in place?

I could ask a hundred questions. The point is, do you treat people in your team the same way you would want to be treated?

Do you believe that you make your team members feel as though they are adding value? That they are meaningful to the team and make a difference?

People don’t want to just go to work everyday to earn their salary. People want to feel as though they are been treated like equals and want to feel acknowledged for their contribution. Think about it.

Need some assistance? Contact me. nicole@tikumu.co.nz for professional business coaching.