Employee engagement:a state or mind or organisational brain washing?

February 2017 newsletter

Over the years there have been many slogans, trends and life boats for organisations and some of them have even worked, but given the overall failure rate of most quality improvement, continuous improvement and company initiatives, a lot has been said and not much done.

Based on a history of how organisations have developed their relationship with employees either driven by a wish to grow or a wish to survive, employee engagement has morphed into a whole thing in its self.

Employers want well motivated, creative, learning and flexible employees, employees want a work place that uses their skill, recognises them as human beings and enables them to succeed at work and have a great life. Is this really too difficult for employers to facilitate and employees to work with?

When it works employee engagement transforms companies and transforms lives. Sometimes organisations are crushed by dogma and bureaucracy; they have a process for everything except a process that works.

So whose responsibility is it for this to happen? Well, it’s everyone’s.

Engagement is based on the values of the organisation matching the values of the employee, that leaders are engaging, and that contributions are valued and respected. In my book Employee engagement: Getting the best from everyone, not just another survey I explore where employee engagement has come from, what helps it to work, how to do it and where it is going.

Employee engagement is an emerging theme for many organisations, how in changing times, with differing employees and constant market pressures they get the best from their people.

  • What’s the difference between engagement and engaging employees?
  • How can leaders be engaging and work for the benefit of everyone?
  • What are the keys to success and the pitfalls to be avoided?

The book also reflects on the nature of leaders, coaching and mentoring within organisations as triggers for successful employee engagement. It also looks at the changing world of work and the adapting types and forms of motivation to inspire and keep employees engaged throughout their career. Case studies, practical examples and guidelines are throughout the book which helps to answer the key question of how to help all employees be engaged.

Change and a whole new world or not?

Change can be scary even in a turbulent world

Throughout our lives and careers we all have to cope with times of change, either of our own making or where we are pushed into it. With the changes in governments, changes in expectations of how stable or consistent the world will be. What is it that we can do, well we can all opt out, run for the hills or realize that these changes will happen and that we can influence somethings and sometimes we are unable too. I heard a radio programme the other day where they talked about a post trust age, really have we really stopped trusting

There’s no denying that change can be scary, but that’s normal.  There are several perfectly justifiable and normal stages that we go through.  The first is normally panic, followed by confusion and then a need to find out more information.  You can’t subvert those stages, but by helping people through that process and by encouraging them to do things that are positive and productive it can change their view of the situation.

This time of year is one of reflection and looking back so for me its been a different year, writing more, spending time with family especially recently arrived granddaughter, enjoying working with new people and deciding what to do next.

Worst case scenario

When career coaching, the first and the only piece of advice I would give would be to stop panicking.  Of course, that’s very easy to say and quite hard to do.

In my experience people tend to react far too quickly.  For example, if they are losing their job they will often write their CV the day after they know they are going and send off several applications straightaway. But they are still at the very beginning of a personal change process where they are learning about what they need to and how to get there.

By really taking some time to explore what they’re good at, what they enjoy doing, what the most important thing for them is about their new role and what outcome they want, is a vital process.  It provides the best possible start to know how to move forward and I’ve found that getting this key stage right saves people huge amounts of time, effort and anxiety later.  If it’s not carried out properly they’ll keep coming back to it.
It’s also often the case that things are not as bad as they seem.  So it’s a good idea for people to write down the worst case scenario.  After writing it down and thinking about what would be the worst that could happen, it usually doesn’t seem as bad and some of the anxiety disappears and it becomes more manageable.   We have a tendency to over think.

I also like to challenge people’s assumptions about what they can do and help them think things through calmly and rationally and above all to do things that are productive to help them change their view of what’s around them.  By following this process it’s possible to start that person’s own journey to where they want to go by helping them come up with the solutions themselves.

My own goals for next year are to be published again this time on employee engagement something that is very important but missed by many organisations, do more public speaking its a real buzz and the most important thing be happy and enjoy life.

What do we really value in humans?

Humans are underrated or are they?image-indiv-sub

My passion is helping leaders develop and for this to be really taken seriously What’s happening?

Lets put these views in context

A complex digital world where ‘faster and faster’ are the buzz words, 24/7, the now mentality

Organisations are scary places full of traps and pitfalls for those who don’t know the rules of the new age

Geoff Colvin argues in his new book that ”Humans Are Underrated

  • Computers are evolving faster than we are
  • So what will the high value skills of tomorrow be?
  • Are we growing an army of experts or luddites
  • The surprising value of our deepest nature
  • Why the skills we need are withering
  • Empathy lessons from the army
  • Teams work because they are human

The future will be about what you’ve like rather than what you know

  • People are strange
  • Relationships are what matter

It’s tough out there, humans are feeling replaced

Harvard business school and Henley management centre talk about directors CEOs feeling isolated at the top trust is diminishing different layers have their own agendas unity is a pipe dream

Some questions

Was trust really there in the first place?

Who can we trust?

Can we trust ourselves?

How do we realise our potential?

What gets in the way?

What helps us?

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt says the best advice he ever got was to get a coach. Bill Gates emphatically says everyone should have a coach. Venture capitalist Fred Wilson advocates coaching too, especially for first-time CEOs.

If you’re considering coaching, here are 10 ways you might benefit:

  1. Hard results – greater productivity, faster promotions, bigger profits
  2. Deeper learning about yourself, how you’re perceived, where you can improve
  3. Faster action with greater precision
  4. Space to hear your own voice to talk something through and gain perspective
  5. Awareness of beliefs, and attitudes that may be holding you back
  6. Clarity on your values and what you stand for, the real you
  7. Ideas for ways to improve that you may not see – awareness of blind spots
  8. Emotional support, empathy, and encouragement – feels less lonely and isolated
  9. The cold truth others won’t tell you
  10. Support for improving specific skills – communication, delegation, conflict management, team building, persuasion, etc

What coaches are not?

Cheerleaders, therapists, counsellors, friends, spies, my plea to you is get a coach, try it out, to be unafraid

To thyne own self be true” ok then what is thyne own self?

What makes your heart sing?

What nags at you in the middle of the night?

What is this imposter doing inside you head?

It’s good to talk, it’s even better to talk and be really listened to, challenged and understood

A coach should have two prime skills above all else 1. How to question and 2. How to pick up what remains unsaid

A coach’s job is to

  • Notice
  • Listen
  • Challenge
  • Support
  • Create a safe place

Humans are not underrated, just human they need to grow their own self belief and with that their own self awareness

This is an extract from ‘The Hole in the Sum of my Parts’ by Matt Harvey

“Part of me is truculent: don’t look that way at me

Part of me is succulent – suck it and you’ll see

Part of me’s detestable – or so people have said

And part of me’s suggestible – or so people have said

Part of me’s competitive – it only wants to win

And part of me’s repetitive – or so people have said

Part of me’s interminable – it goes on and on and on

And on and on and on and on and on and on (and on)

This part of me’s prolific – it writes reams and reams and reams

And part of me’s terrific But most of me is dreams”

Another Poem Prelude – The Dance

What if becoming who and what we truly are happens NOT through striving and trying but by recognising and receiving?

How would this shape the choices you have to make about how to spend today?

What if you knew that the impulse to move in a way that creates beauty in the world will arise from deep within and guide you every time you simply

PAY ATTENTION and WAIT

So executives, managers, leaders take up the challenge of having someone challenge your thinking and question your actions and reignite your dreams, get a coach

FCI launch 2

Can personal and professional change or transition be separated?

Well, it depends on how extreme either is. Even the most motivated, driven and/or successful person has a tipping point.

So, what do people do to get in their own way?
Sometimes it’s about making connections when there are none
Sometimes it’s about failing to make connection
Sometimes it’s about thinking without feeling, not drawing upon all the information you have.
Recognising closeness to the tipping point:
Being stressed. By this I mean seeing the stress negatively or not listening to yourself
Withdrawing becoming hyper self critical.
Stop panicking
Throughout our lives and careers we all have to cope with times of change, either of our own making or where we are pushed into it.

There’s no denying that change can be scary, but that’s normal. There are several perfectly justifiable and normal stages that we go through. The first is normally panic, followed by confusion and then a need to find out more information. You can’t subvert those stages, but by helping people through that process and by encouraging them to do things that are positive and productive it can change their view of the situation.

When career coaching, the first and the only piece of advice I would give would be to stop panicking. Of course, that’s very easy to say and quite hard to do. In my experience people tend to react far too quickly. For example, if they are losing their job they will often write their CV the day after they know they are going and send off several applications straightaway. But they are still at the very beginning of a personal change process where they are learning about what they need to and how to get there.

By really taking some time to explore what they’re good at, what they enjoy doing, what the most important thing for them is about their new role and what outcome they want, is a vital process. It provides the best possible start to know how to move forward and I’ve found that getting this key stage right saves people huge amounts of time, effort and anxiety later. If it’s not carried out properly they’ll keep coming back to it.

It’s also often the case that things are not as bad as they seem. So it’s a good idea for people to write down the worst case scenario. After writing it down and thinking about what would be the worst that could happen, it usually doesn’t seem as bad and some of the anxiety disappears and it becomes more manageable. We have a tendency to over think.

I also like to challenge people’s assumptions about what they can do and help them think things through calmly and rationally and above all to do things that are productive to help them change their view of what’s around them. By following this process it’s possible to start that person’s own journey to where they want to go by helping them come up with the solutions themselves.

My 5 top tips for transition and resilience

1. Establish goals, both small and large
Crisis situations are daunting. They may even seem insurmountable. Resilient people are able to view these situations in a realistic way, and then set reasonable goals to deal with the problem. When you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by a situation, take a step back to simply assess what is before you. Brainstorm possible solutions, and then break them down into manageable steps.

2. Keep working on your skills, everyone is a work in progress
Resilience does not involve any specific set of behaviours or actions, but can vary dramatically from one person to the next. Focus on practicing some of the common characteristics of resilient people, but also remember to build upon your existing strengths.

3. Embrace change and look for what you are learning
Flexibility is an essential part of resilience. By learning how to be more adaptable, you’ll be better equipped to respond when faced with a life crisis. Do something different every week!

4. Build positive beliefs in your abilities
Research has demonstrated that self-esteem plays an important role in coping with stress and recovering from difficult events. Remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments.

5. Invest in and look after yourself
When you’re stressed, it can be all too easy to neglect your own needs. Losing your appetite, ignoring exercising and not getting enough sleep are all common reactions to a crisis situation.

Risk it and try some collaboration, what me?

As for the last six months I have been collaborating with a diverse and highly skilled group of coaches and I wanted to reflect upon the process of working within a forming and developing series of relationships.

Which at times requires tolerance and understanding so for me both personally and professionally these words have had some real special resonance so I thought id re-share them so to speak

What are the current trends on problems for companies and people?

Companies are looking for more tailored and integrated ways of driving action. When trying to marshal large scale, diverse and remote work forces ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t work. Localized, targeted and aligned programmes have a far higher chance of success.

They need to regenerate a sense of belonging and re-establish trust and integrity. Having open and clear conversations has an enormous pay off on the bottom line. Collaborative forms of leadership, create followers that engage and want to succeed.

Recent research shows that during the recession MDs/CEOs were staying with organisations for even shorter times, this often meant that senior managers moved on quickly too. The result is that some organisations became skeletal in nature; too thin to survive therefore there is no room to anticipate or deal with any fluctuation of the organizational plan and growth then becomes a problem rather than a delight.

Risks and experimentation are at a minimum. Innovation is marginalized and the same old ways of working get the same old results. Change is not getting any slower and shortages exist at all key levels, so perhaps getting the best from people is not such a costly idea and practice after all. The world is small and big at the same time. Speed and flexibility is the key.

For people
Resilience is the key.
Keep learning.
Taking care of yourself both physically and mentally.
Look for the good in what’s happening.
Have realistic expectations and enjoy the now.

Being self reliant, self motivated and self developmental because in some strange way this is what the company wants from people  and it’s what they you want for themselves.

However the years of recession have taught people to keep their heads down, don’t rack the boat and it’s best not to be noticed.

The need for great leaders as coaches and mentors is even greater than ever before, so collaborate, trust and talk the real key words for company and personal success

So to bring it back to my own experience lots of energy, willingness to share and be honest , developing trust and understanding has moved us all in Smart Training and Coaching to become a great team and gain lots of valuable learning and results

This article originally appeared on the http://www.smartcoachingtraining.co.uk/risk-it-and-try-some-collaboration

Another micro-article that inspired my thinking http://www.smartcoachingtraining.co.uk/the-importance-of-strength-of-mind

Is cooperation collaboration?

A belated August newsletter with some further September thoughts

FCI launch 1

What is the biggest barrier to cooperation?

Old style treating people as resources, keeping people in the dark, not admitting when things go wrong, pretending that you have all the answers are all factors in a non-cooperative organisation. But the biggest single barrier to cooperation is thinking that only one person has all the answers.

Cooperation is based upon the ability of people to give and take and to understand each others points of view. Sometimes I think this simple fact gets lost in all the management speak, leadership gurus or specialist coaching systems that people use to help them to adapt and communicate with one another

Does speed equal effectiveness?

What seems to get in the way is time, we don’t have enough of it, and we need to do other things? We start to take short cuts in what we say and how we say it, hoping that the other person will magically understand what’s inside our heads.

Unfortunately this doesn’t often work.

Sometimes we need time to check out what is being said, sometimes we need to ask questions, and sometimes we need to understand the intention behind what is being said, even if it isn’t stated explicitly. This takes time. This contradicts the old adage ‘speed equals effectiveness’. Speed does not always equal effectiveness; in fact speed can be very ineffective, especially where it hinders understanding.

The more we understand and seek to understand each other the more the barrier gets lowered and the ability to cooperate increases.

Another factor in cooperation is that both sides need to have something that is useful for them; this is bit of an extension of ‘what’s in it for me’, it now becomes ‘what’s in it for us’. Getting people to cooperate creates a shared mutual benefit.

What drives and motivates us is there all the time in our language, in our emotions and in our thoughts. I have often worked with teams and individuals to bridge a divide and scale a barrier and it always starts by carefully drawing out what they really mean.

So the biggest barrier to cooperation is simple really: it’s you and me.

This is often born out by being not only being unclear about our goals but also even more unclear about our intention which sits beneath the  goal and adjusts it in our thinking.

So collaboration s much more about having aligned intentions way of thinking beliefs and values

How have you turned things around?

July 2015 newsletter
image-indiv-sub
In my line of work I often meet organisations and teams where things are not working well.  Having been recommended to a senior executive from a public sector agency by a private sector manager from a local networking group, I met with him to talk about the issues he had with his team.After describing how his team was acting and reacting to one another and how some of the issues were to do with specific individuals, he then explained how difficult it was to change their behaviour. Typically, these issues were the surface reactions and through some further discussion I discovered that some team members avoided each other, some set each other up to fail and some competed over everything or simply did their own thing and generally acted very unlike a team.

Change can be liberating

I suggested it would be useful for me to meet each team member and talk through the situation and how it was affecting them. During these discussions we talked about what it was like to work for that company, what they got out of it, what they enjoyed, what frustrated them and how they saw themselves. A common problem in situations like this is that everyone sees others faults and problems and the need for change, but few are willing to make the change themselves.  This proved to be true in this situation.

To get things started, I did some individual profiles.  This allowed them to have a common language to describe how they worked with one another, what their preferences were and why they saw the world differently.  These profiles were conducted individually and privately so they could challenge and discuss freely.

Then I brought the team together to display the results (anonymously) and talk through where they were now and where they wanted to be. During this process it became apparent that the team was very used to playing ‘the away day’ game; where everyone was nice to each on the day, but once back in the office reverted to their previous behaviour.What they hadn’t realized was that other parts of the workshops would be about them having paired discussions and that these discussions would form the basis of their action plans. I think for the first time in a training session they were required to commit to change and this would be followed up by mentoring from their boss with some coaching from me.

Everyone understood that they could speak without fear of recrimination.  At times emotions and concerns were highly charged and often very vocal.  The focus was on moving forward, not reconstituting the past. It proved to be a liberating experience for them all.

At the end of the workshops (held over several days) the team created a ‘team charter’ detailing how they would work with each other, how they would behave during their group meetings and how they would be mindful of each others’ feelings. They also agreed that they would exchange information and teach each other about their diverse roles and how these interrelated.

This process released the trapped potential of the team, with team members and the team leader now being energized and committed to a common and shared future. The way they worked with one other changed dramatically. In terms of results they went from being mid-table and on a downward trajectory for their type of agency, to being in the top five in the country

services

What’s the common problem that you encounter?

March 2015 newsletter plus a day

Unfortunately the most common problem I’ve encountered is one where people at various levels inside the organization have given up listening to each other. Instead of trying to really understand what the problem is, people’s reaction is either to ask ‘who did that’ or ‘why was that done’, neither of which actually solves the problem but just allows for someone to be blamed.

‘Problems’, ‘issues’ and ‘concerns’

It’s interesting, but nowadays we can’t even talk about a ‘problem’ for the problem is now renamed an ‘issue’ or a ‘concern’.  I like to think of problems in a slightly different way; that problems are a puzzle for us to solve.

This changes people’s minds about the problem, as a puzzle becomes something that we all want to get involved in and try to find the answer to. This not listening disease infiltrates and closes off parts of an organisation. It is very insidious and creeps up, even in the best of organisations; those which have great things like employee surveys, engagement practices, talent management, and a whole host of very complex and very well-meaning ways of trying to get their employees to exchange their views thoughts and feelings.
The trouble is that organisations talk about everything that is complex in the company’s mission, vision and where it should be in the future. These are all great things and needed, but what is not accepted and understood is that people go to work for a huge variety of reasons. These reasons need to be acknowledged and valued even though they may not be the same reasons as a senior manager or specialist. People have the right to have their own reasons and for those reasons to be respected.

It’s the age-old problem about listening, learning and putting things into practice. It may not be as sexy, as complex or as highbrow as we might like it to be, but it is a very fundamental issue (sorry, problem) and the undercurrent behind the difficulties when people experience feeling undervalued and ignored.

One great saying I came across the other day is that if you treat your people like donkeys it’s no wonder that they say neigh.

EVENTS
Another date for the creative and intuitive:
Thursday 18th June
The Artist & The Engineer: coaching using harmonised approaches
See your inner Artisteer!
www.craftyourlife.co.uk/events/

Integration from the world of the arts and science.  Understand how these approaches converge and flow together.

To book, please send an email to jen@craftyourlife.co.uk  or peter@petermayes.co.uk and we will invoice you directly. You will be able to pay by BACS, cheque and Paypal.

I hope this newsletter has provoked some thought. For those who want to be provoked further, I am very happy to help you along the way.  Feel free to contact me on 01793 882058 or via peter@petermayes.co.uk