The Art of Being (and Staying) Humble
13 Jul

The Art of Being (and Staying) Humble

Let’s just put it out there: none of us are perfect – no matter what you might think!

 

We all have our quirks, idiosyncrasies and downright obvious areas of improvement…and that’s okay because developing is as much about being aware of and working on these areas as it is about leveraging what you are already great at.

 

“The cost of not being humble is extremely expensive.”

– Dale Partridge

 

The problem is that so many people don’t admit to what they need to work on, often for fear of appearing inadequate or unfit for the task. This thinking is damaging; you run the risk of creating stress for yourself or those around you, taking on much more than you can reasonably handle or simply appearing to others as a know-it-all fool! We tend to respect those who are open and honest about what they see as their inadequacies, so get good at being humble.

 

How to be (and stay) humble:

 

  • Become adept at reflecting: Look back on your successes, achievements, challenges, mistakes and failures. What happened? What did you learn? Why did it work or go wrong? What will you do the same or differently next time?
  • Acknowledge your flaws: Whether it’s in how you communicate with others, your outlook and attitude or the way you approach things; give time to consider what could be done in a different and sometimes more effective way. An easy way of doing this can be to step into the shoes of those around you to consider how they see you. What works for them and what drives them up the wall?
  • Be open to feedback: It takes a lot for people to give you feedback, particularly if it’s relating to something that doesn’t work for them. Much of the time, they will have thought about it long and hard before even bringing it up with you. You may not always like how it is packaged or delivered, but you have to accept it as their way of seeing things.
  • Ask for help: One of the best ways to avoid being humble is to isolate yourself to the point of feeling unable to ask for help. No man is an island and no-one can do it all on their own. Asking for help demonstrates strength, not weakness.

 

Summary

  • No-one is perfect
  • We all have areas of improvement
  • We’re often scared of appearing inadequate
  • Become adept at reflecting
  • Acknowledge your flaws
  • Be open to feedback
  • Ask for help

 

At Right Trax Training, we can help you and your people to stay humble, leverage strengths and build on development areas. Get in touch to find out more.

Why You MUST Invest in Your People, or Face the Consequences
06 Jul

Why You MUST Invest in Your People, or Face the Consequences

There is more uncertainty within the workplace than ever before. Are your people equipped with the skills and knowledge to successfully take your organisation into the future?

 

Many organisations will be trying to anticipate the future which for many will mean reviewing budgets and expenses until the economic environment becomes more stable. All too often this will have a direct impact on training and development budgets and unfortunately many development events will be reduced or even stopped. This can leave employees feeling disengaged and even more uncertain of their future and just as importantly, may impact on their overall capability.

 

An investment in knowledge, pays the best interest

Benjamin Franklin

 

The focus must remain on investing in your people, however it may mean prioritising differently or looking at alternative solutions. Review the Learning and Development strategy to ensure that it is aligned to the business objectives and it includes a clearly defined plan on developing a talent pipeline that will deliver your organisational goals.

 

Remember that whilst strategies, plans and decisions are being made your employees are still working hard to achieve the goals and objectives of the business. Take this time to show commitment to your teams and support them during this time of change, whether through management training or perhaps a range of relevant interpersonal skills workshops. Provide development opportunities that will give them the knowledge and skills to not only withstand the new world but to be more resilient and able to embrace the potential changes that may lie ahead.

 

You don’t build a business, you build people and the people build the business

Zig Ziglar

 

Before you strike a line through the training plan, stop and think of the long-term cost and ask the question: can we really afford not to invest in our people’s development?

 

At Right Trax Training, we can help to make your training an investment rather than a cost. Find out more about the management training and interpersonal skills workshops that we offer or get in touch to talk about how we can help.

 

How to Successfully Manage Change
15 Jun

How to Successfully Manage Change

Two things are certain in life: death and taxes. Another to add is constant change in the workplace, which has now become the new normal.

 

It’s fair to say that, in one way or another, we are constantly supporting our clients to help their businesses and their people through times of significant change.

 

Change come in many shapes and guises; whether it’s downsizing, finding new ways of working, shrinking budgetary demands or a desire for increased effectiveness. It seems that we only manage to bring ourselves over that sometimes illusive hill of the change curve before *SMACK* another comes to throw us off kilter.

change
The startling truth is that 70% of all change initiatives fail to achieve the targeted impact, often driven by a sub-standard approach by leadership and management, unsurprisingly resulting in overwhelmingly negative employee attitude.

 

Change isn’t going to stop, and we all have a personal responsibility for how we manage ourselves, support others and make any organisational change a success.

 

Managing Ourselves

  • Is your glass half full or half empty? If you fear or dislike change for whatever reasons, you may respond negatively to each and every change that comes along. This is unhealthy for both you and those around you (especially if you are a people manager with this outlook!).
  • Learn to view each change with an open mind. It’s human nature for any change to make us ask the WIIFM question (“what’s in it for me?”), but rather than focus on the potential negatives, look for the opportunities that exist for you, your people and / or the organisation as a whole.
  • Challenge, but do it constructively. There’s nothing more demotivating than the death-knell of the “We used to do it like that 15 years ago and it didn’t work then.” Sure, that may well be the case, but use this experience to suggest alternative approaches to refine the change rather than find reasons why it’s doomed to fail in the first place.

 

Supporting Others

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate! Even if you have nothing or very little to tell people – in reality, no news is rarely good news and if you do nothing, people will form their own conclusions based on the limited information they have.
  • Use a variety of methods. Whether it’s face-to-face, briefings, bulletins, newsletters, Intranet, team meetings…put the information out there in a number of ways so that people can find and digest what they need when they want and need to.
  • Honesty is the best policy. Even if you are unable to discuss certain things, say as much rather than avoiding people’s concerns and worries. Aim to win people over to make them champions of your change and allies, not foes.

 

Making Organisational Change a Success

  • Last but never least, follow a structure to plan, implement and evaluate the change. There are a myriad of options and whatever structure you choose should be tailored and regularly reviewed to ensure there is room for flexibility.

structure

Get in touch to find out how our approach to learning and development can help you to successfully manage change in your organisation.

Are YOU Taking Control of YOUR Learning and Development?
04 May

Are YOU Taking Control of YOUR Learning and Development?

employee training and development

It is very easy to expect organisations and managers to provide everything for employee training and development needs, but do we do enough to take control for ourselves?

 

A recent survey by Penna Consultancy shows the disparity between managers’ and employees’ opinions about how they feel they are supported in their career.

 

“91% of managers agree that they support employees with opportunities, definitely or sometimes, despite 29% of employees saying that they don’t.“1

 

This means that one out of every three employees don’t feel supported – not a great place to be. Realistically though, regardless of where your support comes from, who should be owning your learning and development and providing suitable opportunities…you or your manager?

 

How many of these statements do you recognise?

  • I’m waiting to have my review with my manager.
  • There are no training courses I can sign up to at my company.
  • The sign-off process for training is really complicated.
  • There is no budget for development or training courses.
  • I don’t have the time to focus on my development.
  • I don’t know what I can / should do.

 

We can easily pass the buck to someone else; it’s much more difficult to face the truth and take control for yourself. So, what can we do to break these bad habits? How can we start to take back the control?

 

Try these three simple steps:

 

  1. Take some time for self-reflection:
  • Ask yourself what opportunities did you take advantage of and have you created any for yourself? Try completing a SWOT analysis – this is a process of self-analysis and personal reflection of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to personally evaluate your development needs. Download our SWOT template to get started!

 

  1. Identify your goals and aspirations:
  • Consider the goals that are important to you and think about what skills, knowledge and experiences you will need to get there. Find some help on this here in one of our recent blogs.

 

  1. Create your own personal development plan
  • We don’t mean a PDP that you only pay lip service to! Pull everything together to create your own tailored plan. Keep it simple using a straightforward format that can be easily referred to and updated.

 

So the next time you think you haven’t had any development or support from your manager, remember it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. After all “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Zig Ziglar

 

At Right Trax Training, we are passionate about helping you to take control! Find out more about our employee training and development and get in touch to discuss how we can help.


1 http://www.penna.com/news-and-opinion/news-details/2016/03/23/mind-the-perception-gap

How Is Stress Affecting You?
27 Apr

How Is Stress Affecting You?

It’s now the leading cause of workplace sickness and affects one in five of us1. When will organisations realise that they or their people can no longer afford to ignore stress?

 

In 2014/2015, stress accounted for 35% of all work related ill-health cases with 9.9million working days lost2 and with less than three out of five organisations taking a proactive approach to identify and reduce stress in the workplace3. This is clearly an important issue for organisations to address, when we further consider that a recent CIPD 2015 Absence Management report states:

 

Workload remains the most common cause of stress, followed by non-work relationships, family, management style and relationships at work’3.

 

What constitutes ‘stress’ and what does it do to us?

Essentially, stress is a physical response by the body when it feels under attack or threatened. In these situations, we experience the ‘fight or flight’ response, where a combination of hormones and chemicals are released to prepare the body for action. This in turn causes a number of different reactions, from heart-pounding to clammy hands; all of which is the body’s way of protecting us.

 

When does stress become unhelpful and damaging?

It doesn’t matter if we’re stressed at being stuck in traffic or facing a life-threatening situation, the body will react exactly in the same way. Therefore, if you are frequently experiencing ‘fight or flight’ in your daily life it will start to impact upon your physical, emotional and mental health.

 

What are the impacts of stress for organisations?

 

  • High employee absence / presenteeism rates.
  • Workloads and resources stretched too thinly.
  • Increased accidents and mistakes.
  • Increased workplace conflict and grievances.
  • Damage to brand and reputation.
  • Damage to goodwill, motivation and engagement.
  • Increased liability for personal injury.
  • …and the list goes on!

 

How can you recognise the signs of stress?

There are four potential symptoms to look out for:

Cognitive

Emotional

  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgment
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability or short temper
  • Agitation, inability to relax
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Sense of loneliness and isolation
  • Depression or general unhappiness

Physical

Behavioural

  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds

 

  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

The symptoms are not extraordinarily difficult to recognise, however prevention is better than cure. From the research and evidence being presented, it’s clear that many organisations need to be much more proactive to create a healthy environment where their employees can be effective and productive.

 

At Right Trax Training, we are passionate about helping organisations to develop their people to be better at what they do. Get in touch today to find out how we can help.


1http://www.stress.org.uk

2http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress/index.htm

3https://www.cipd.co.uk/binaries/absence-management_2015.pdf

You Want Results? Start at the Top!
24 Feb

You Want Results? Start at the Top!

Providing learning and development is great, but often a wasted investment if change isn’t driven and supported by your managers and leaders.

 

There are many reasons why it’s important to evaluate the learning and development you provide to your people, such as:

  1. To validate that the results achieved – and the budget spent – actively contribute towards organisational objectives and goals.
  2. To assist in deciding whether to continue, expand upon, or indeed discontinue, your current development offering.
  3. To gain intel on how to further improve your future development programmes.

 

However, some benefits, such as developing ‘soft’ skills, can be harder to put a solely monetary value on. The main advantages of having a proficient and committed workforce, who are ‘on board’ with the company’s objectives and goals can include:

  • More satisfied customers
  • Reduced employee absenteeism
  • Less employee turnover
  • Increased morale and employee engagement

 

Often many thousands of pounds are spent in the name of ‘new customer acquisition’, only to find that many of these new clients are soon put off by poor customer service efforts. This is not always as a result of a lack of development or substandard employee behaviours, but rather as a consequence of employee apathy or disenchantment driven by poor management and leadership.

A positive attitude and a commitment to improving performance starts with the approach of the company’s leaders and managers. When we a want to do something it will get done better and faster than if we are coerced or forced into doing it. Skilled and professional leadership has a way of becoming infectious. These managers know how to make people want to be highly productive, which is why they should be the first to be engaged in development if any change is to be successful.

 

At Right Trax Training, we can help your managers and leaders to successfully navigate organizational change. Get in touch to find out more.

How to WOW with your Presentation Skills!
09 Dec

How to WOW with your Presentation Skills!

interpersonal skills presentation wow

Presenting is commonplace for most of us, and a pretty common thing that many dislike having to do as well…but some straightforward techniques can take your presentations from the mundane to the magnificent!

 

Easier said than done?  Just consider the amount of presentations we are subjected to, where the ‘presenter’ hasn’t done their groundwork, is still getting themselves ready once the clock has started ticking or we spend all our time wondering what they are saying and leave with no idea what the point was.  Fear not!  By following some simple steps, it really is easy to WOW with your presentations and make them stand out from the crowd.

 

1.Failing to prepare = preparing to fail.

Very few of us can stand up there and knock it out of the park without putting the effort in up front.  How long you need to prepare depends on a number of factors, such as:

  • How well you know the subject
  • How much content/material already exists
  • How skilled you are as a presenter

Factor in as much time as possible, scheduling the time out in your diary if necessary – do this sooner rather than later.  It can take anywhere from 10 hours to 30 hours+ to prepare your content and delivery, including time to rehearse.  Don’t forget, preparation should also cover getting set-up on time and having a Plan B just in case things don’t go to plan (technical problems, anyone?).

 

2.Tell a story.

During your preparation time, start off by thinking of how you will structure the presentation. What’s the Twitter-style 140 character intro that will grab people’s attention, hook them and make them interested in why they need to listen?  A great story connects with us on an emotional level and has a captivating introduction, killer content and a powerful ending.

 

3.Keep it real.

Realness is about bringing an idea to life and not relying solely on words, taken from ‘Sticky Wisdom‘ by What If: The Innovation Company.  There are 3 elements to how we create realness in our presentations:

  • Engage with the ‘theatre of the mind’ – we all see and feel things differently so do your best to tune into your audience.
  • Avoid ‘insider speak’ – go easy on the jargon, acronyms and corporate language (good advice to live by really!)…this alienates your audience and adds confusion.
  • Remember ‘brain styles’ – put something in your presentation that appeals to all styles.  Confucius said “I hear and I forget.  I see and I remember.  I do and I understand”, so make it come alive.

 

4.Create an experience.

During the main part of your presentation, you should now have the interest of the audience; now you need to give them the substance and create an experience.  There are a number of ways to do this:

  • Introduce the antagonist or counterargument (i.e. what’s the problem to solve or what is the benefit of your recommendations?).
  • Explain what you think needs to be done.
  • Use anecdotes, examples, testimonials, stories and relevant statistics to prove the effectiveness of your solution.
  • Pre-empt any potential arguments which you might be challenged with.
  • Give the audience a vision – something they can see, hear, taste or touch.
  • Get the audience involved to keep them engaged.

 

5.Brush up on your delivery technique.

Something that’s often left until the last minute, if considered at all…PRACTICE!  Let us repeat…PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!  To yourself, in the mirror, in front of the cat / dog at home but ideally in front of real-live human beings who can give you helpful feedback, we can’t stress this enough.  Here are a few other pointers to help with your delivery style:

  • Use the space around you in the room, avoid being rooted to the spot by moving slowly and fully around your space.
  • Watch out for tells that could show your anxiety, such as clicking pens or rocking on the spot where you stand.
  • Brush up on your questioning and listening skills.
  • Observe your audience – watch out for signs of restlessness or boredom.
  • Use silence to your advantage rather than filling them with noise.
  • Give your audience time to think and reflect on what you are telling them.

 

Of course, we would argue that you can learn to love presenting, but even if not love, by trying out these tips you’ll certainly love being better at delivering presentations in a way that helps you to feel 100% more confident!

 

We hope these ideas help to refresh your presentations, but of course it really just scratches the surface.  At Right Trax Training, we can help you to deliver truly powerful presentations.  Find out more about our interpersonal skills workshops and get in touch to find out how we can help you.

How to Find Your Mentor and Why You Need One
04 Nov

How to Find Your Mentor and Why You Need One

No matter who you are or how good you think you are, a mentor can be an invaluable asset to your personal and professional success.

 

What do Google’s Larry Page, Virgin’s Richard Branson and Apple’s Steve Jobs all have in common? They all received guidance from mentors. Yes – even the legendary Apple founder needed a little help, advice and support from time to time.

Belief is so important to mentoring. American author and businessman Zig Ziglar once said, ‘A lot of people have gone much further than they thought they could simply because someone else believed they could.’

Ask any truly successful business person and, if they are honest about it, they will almost certainly admit to having benefited from the advice of a mentor at some point in their career. It’s a big part of why there are so many prosperous family businesses – parents mentor their children to emulate (or even exceed), their own success!

Mentoring is often confused, mainly with coaching. One of the key differences between mentoring and coaching is simple: mentors give advice and suggest solutions.

From this simple fact, it is easy to see why finding the right mentor can often make or break the process. It really is important – so choose wisely.

 

Finding the right mentor

A good mentor is someone who agrees to speak truthfully, but constructively, about weaknesses and problems. A person who will not shy away from discussing emotionally charged issues. The mentor is a critical friend who, more often than not, is of a more senior level to the mentee. They should also be on-hand to listen, ready with considered advice, able to provide the mentee with support and willing to share the benefit of their experience.

One crucial aspect is selecting someone whose skills and experience complement the mentee’s own. It’s essential that the partnership is between two individuals who can also connect with each other on a personal level. So actually liking one another is a good place to start!

Both parties need to appreciate that they are committing for the long-term. Mentoring needs to be available on an ongoing basis, with meetings often arranged at the last minute if the need arises. It’s a very real obligation – so neither party should go in to the process if they aren’t prepared to give their all.

That said, there is an immense amount of mutual benefit to be had – and hopefully some fun times too!

 

We’ve provided some food for thought here, however mentoring is a big topic.

Get in touch with us to talk through it in more detail, or if you need a sounding board or some ideas on how to enter into a mentor / mentee relationship.

Teambuilding – Make It Work For You
14 Oct

Teambuilding – Make It Work For You

Great teambuilding happens when we are able to better understand individual strengths to unlock how the team can be stronger together…

but how can you make it happen for you?

 

Getting to know you…

The team spirit can really be enriched by taking part in activities that involve getting ‘under the skin’ of each other, embracing differences and helping each other. Good managers can learn a lot by gathering intelligence about their team’s strengths and capabilities – and many unidentified assets can come to light in the slightly more ‘relaxed’ out-of-office atmosphere. Get ready to be surprised by all the untapped skills that can then be utilised and developed!

Truly getting to know the team allows a manager to better know what buttons to push to get the best results; and when to push them. Talents and expertise identified during teambuilding can be a hidden armoury that comes into its own when the time comes to solve problems and seek new solutions.

Investing time in actively understanding how a team thinks and feels makes for an easier time when motivation is needed.

 

Find out what makes them tick – and what doesn’t!

It’s universally true – we love recognition – but we also love respect. Taking the time to involve a team in some personal development shows them that they have earned it, and deserve it.

Understanding the psychology of people, and their desire to feel that they are making a difference, the ‘time out’ opportunity of teambuilding can afford managers the chance to reassure the team that the organisation is paying attention to their hard work.   Some heartfelt, genuine recognition and respect can go a long way towards building loyalty and trust. It’s amazing what a boost this can give to the team!

At a time when job insecurity is rife, and there can be lots of uncertainty, taking the time to have ‘fun’ beyond the office can be a perfect time for an acknowledgment of what has already been achieved. Use the occasion to take a step-back and reflect on what has been accomplished and what has been learned along the way.

team-building
Celebrate success – together!

Today’s fast changing world of work can leave some people reeling, and very often not enough time is taken to acknowledge success. Teambuilding and personal development time can offer an ideal pit stop to identify why the team is successful and how they can continue that success.

Sadly, celebration is all too often a short-lived activity. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about! It’s what we often crave, so don’t ignore it. Take the time to enjoy the moment and to acknowledge the team who all contributed.

 

In a nutshell…

Managers are only as successful as their team, and the effective ones are those who know their team members, and cultivate the right team dynamics to guide their decisions. Embrace the diverse personalities in the team and everyone wins in the end.

 

At Right Trax Training, we specialise in developing your business through your key asset; your people…and we can help you to build your team! Find out how we can help by getting in touch and let’s take it from there.

Stress Management – Don’t Ignore It
26 Aug

Stress Management – Don’t Ignore It

Most of us will experience some workplace stress at some point. This is normal; but a disproportionate amount of stress – or an over exaggerated reaction to it – can interfere with productivity, and have a truly detrimental effect on our welfare and the business.

There are some ‘simple-to-execute’ methods that can help to support stress management, (both in yourself and others). It’s not always necessary to make huge changes, but better to concentrate the focus on training ourselves to be masters of our own stress.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 15.07.34
Time management – prioritise and organise

This really can help us to regain control over the situation. Having a sense of self-control in demanding circumstances will often be infectious. Realistically, you’re unlikely to be the only one who is stressed in your organisation!

  • Create a balanced schedule: review responsibilities and tasks. We all have deadlines, and can be at work later than we should be, but it’s true that ‘all work and no play’ is a recipe for disaster if it’s for too long a period of time. Try to find a balance between work and social activities. We all need some ‘downtime’.
  • Avoid over-committing: A back-to-back schedule soon takes its toll. Don’t underestimate how long things will take. When you have a lot on your plate, decide what is a ‘should’ and what is a ‘must’. If you have something particularly unpleasant on your ‘must’ list, then deal with it as soon as you can. Move tasks that aren’t immediately essential to the bottom of your list; and think about eliminating some of them entirely. Very liberating!
  • Break projects into small segments: A feeling of being overwhelmed can be greatly relieved by making a step-by-step plan that allows us to focus on taking one manageable step at a time, rather than facing it all at once.
  • Give yourself time: Leave earlier than usual for work, or appointments. Avoid stressing from frantically rushing everywhere, or running late.
  • Schedule in – and take – regular breaks: Go for a walk, make a drink, or just push back your chair and try to clear your mind. Stepping away from your work space to briefly relax and recharge increases your ability be more productive.
  • Delegate and ask for help: If there are tasks that other people in your business can take care of; let them! Free yourself from the desire to control everything. You’re part of a team, and by letting go of the reigns just a bit you may be making a colleague’s work more fulfilling in the process.
  • Compromise, and reap the benefits: If you, or colleagues, are suffering with stress – be kind to each other and seek out or offer help where you can. If you can all bend a little then hopefully you will find a happy middle ground that reduces the stress levels for everyone.

 

Develop your emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the knack of using our own – and others’ – emotions in positive and constructive ways. More businesses are realising that when it comes to satisfaction and success at work, emotional intelligence matters just as much as intellectual ability.

The ability to communicate with others in ways that draws people to you enables us to overcome differences, repair wounded feelings, and effectively defuse tension and relieve stress.

Build your own emotional intelligence by:

  • Recognising your own ‘fight-or-flight’ stress response. If the stress ‘alarm bells’ trigger then it’s time for a break.
  • Paying attention to how you feel, and factor this into your decision making at work. Ignoring our emotions may mean we don’t fully understand our own motivations and needs
  • Learning to recognise – and effectively use – ‘nonverbal cues’ and body language. Often what we say is less important than how we say it. Be aware of your own and others’ levels of eye contact, facial expression, tone of voice, posture, and hand gestures. Body language can influence people’s sense of interest, trust, and desire. Equally, it can generate confusion, distrust, or stress.
  • Resolving conflict in a healthy, constructive way. The trust between people in the workplace can be fragile in times of stress and tension. It’s also important to stay focused in the present by disregarding old hurts and resentments – let it go!
  • Talking about it. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone we can trust will help to reduce stress. A supportive and empathetic colleague or friend can be a great help.

Right Trax Training are a learning & development consultancy who are passionate about helping businesses to develop their people to be better at what they do. Get in touch today to find out how we can help your people to build their resilience to workplace stress.

FREE WEBINAR
BUILD YOUR BOUNCEBACKABILITY IN TEN SIMPLE STEPS!
1. What is resilience and why is it so important
2. Get an indication of your own bouncebackability levels!
3. Ten point plan to build your resiliency
4. Take away our resiliency resources
31st May and 1st June