27 Apr

Do you have the right people in the right seats?

A question which has stuck in my head forever, thanks to an old boss of mine, “Do you have the right people, in the right seats on the bus?” has over the past couple of weeks come up in conversation with quite a few of my clients.
This is a powerful question because it makes you step back and view your business from a completely different angle. It’s not about the products or services or the systems you use. It’s purely about the people that you have, if they are the right fit for your business and if they are performing their duties as per expectations. A rather sobering question if you ask me.
The teams which function in our businesses are extremely important. You already know that as a business owner or operator, ultimately your team are the ones that make things happen. They are the ones who make the business come alive. They are the ones who represent the brand to the outside world.
With this in mind there are four key areas I would like to raise and possibly get you thinking about  when you start evaluating the “seating arrangements” on your own bus.
1) Skills and capabilities – every person in your team has a set of unique skills and capabilities, hence the reason for why you hired them in the first place. If you took a snap shot of your business as it currently stands, is every person within your organisation playing towards their strengths and focusing their attention on your business objectives or has their focus shifted?
Teams function well when they are able to get to know their fellow team mates and over time with some commitment from all parties, your goal is that trust starts to blossom. One ingredient which is key to the trust recipe is having a consistent core group of team members with very little unscheduled shifting of positions and people as possible.  As a business owner how do you maintain that core team? In today’s business world we are all aware of how easy it is to “jump ship”. People are often looking for greener pastures. What talent management process to you have in place or people development programme?
2) Emotional intelligence – When you evaluate your team members, instead of only measuring them on their ability to complete their tasks, it pays to measure their emotional intelligence levels as well. They may be highly skilled individuals, but if they have very little self and social awareness, or minimal ability to  self-manage, then they could be more of a hindrance in your business than an advantage. The beauty however about emotional intelligence is that it can be learned.
3) Values – It is said that people are guided by their own personal values, goals and needs first before they actively drive any business goals. With this in mind, do your team members share your business values? Are you aware of team members individual personal values?  Would it not be best to share in a common set of values and beliefs than to struggle with constant internal conflict with your team members?
4) Motivation and passion – Sticking with the bus analogy, you could call motivation the  the fuel of the business. Having a busload of highly skilled, emotional intelligent individuals is any business owners dream. However if these individuals don’t put fuel in the tank, the bus is going nowhere. Same for your business, if your team members aren’t motivated to drive the business goals forward, your business is going no where.
Internal motivation is key and when recruiting the right people should be a non-negotiable, but how are you as the business owner or operator motivating your team members?
With these four areas as a benchmark, how does your current seating arrangement look?
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.


15 Oct

Do you listen to your gut?

As they say, hindsight is twenty-twenty. Life would be so much less complicated and less stressful if we could see the results before they happened. When things don’t turn out the way we planned, we often blame the fact that we were short of the facts, that we should have researched things better or should have taken more expert advise. Should have, would have, could have. We tend to look outwards for the answers.

When we are faced with a very important life-changing decision or even just a run-of-the-mill everyday decision we often base our decision on rational thinking by using cold hard facts and intel. This is a good practise to adopt and should never be discarded. However we do have other resources at our disposal that are often forgotten. How often do you include your gut feeling or emotional mind into your decision making calculator?

I am sure you’ve heard people or even yourself say “I had a feeling that it was the wrong decision” or “I knew I should have chosen the other option!”  It’s a funny thing, we place huge importance and rely so much on external expertise or solid facts to help us in our decision making, that we so often ignore or doubt our own instincts of how we feel about the decision.

Consider the following research and learnings from Daniel Goleman:

“Lower in the brain, below the limbic areas, lies a neural network called the basal ganglia. This is a very primitive part of the brain, but it does something extraordinarily important for navigating the modern world.” (The Brain and Emotional Intelligence, 2011)

“The basal ganglia extracts decision rules: when I did that, that worked well; when I said this, it bombed. Our accumulated life wisdom is stored in this primitive circuitry. However, it turns out also to have very rich connections to the gastrointestinal tract – the gut. So in making the decision, a gut sense of it being right or wrong is important information, too. It’s not that you should ignore the data, but if it doesn’t fit what you’re feeling, maybe you should think twice about it.”

The next time you have that heavy feeling in the pit of your stomach, don’t brush it off as a physical ailment. Stop, think and listen to what your gut is telling you. Consider your feelings about the upcoming decision at the same level of importance as the expert advise and research facts you have gathered. By creating a happy balance between your instincts and the facts you might be pleasantly surprise. If not, you will always only have hindsight.

06 Aug

Why aren’t we more compassionate?

Over the past few months I have been doing  extensive research on Emotional Intelligence. I find the subject matter fascinating and rich with so many lessons which, if you follow them, will grow and develop you in many areas of your life.

The TED talk below, by emotional intelligence guru Daniel Goleman, points out how little attention we pay to each other. How in our busy lives we become so absorbed with our own stuff that we block others out, against our own natural instincts.

We allow irrelevant tasks, shiny gadgets and our own self-importance to get the better of us. It pays to be mindful of how we interact with each other.