“How do I shift ‘stuck’ employees?”

Blog passion

This would be the most frequent question I am asked when facilitating leadership or change management programmes. By ‘stuck’, the person means employees who appear to resist change and may display defensive or negative behaviour. It may be an individual, a team or within a culture. The answer is actually very simple.The application takes hard work and for the ‘questioner’ to shift their mindset!

See the 3 steps below.

  1. EMPATHY: we either push people away or draw people to us through our words and actions. If you’re dealing with a ‘stuck’ person, usually you are feeling irritated, worn down and thoroughly dislike them.

The trick is to stop focusing on how you feel about them and start trying to understand them. Hard call…buts it works!

Which is the bigger motivator? avoiding or eliminating PAIN or GAIN (what we get)? Most of us would say gain. No, its PAIN! By understanding the pain, ‘fears’ (whatever it is that makes them ‘stuck’), you can begin to help them move forward. The biggest PAIN (fears) are:

  • Not being good enough: seen as incompetent or stupid, losing face
  • Losing control: being uncomfortable, not knowing ‘how to’, not fitting in or not standing out, loss of status or safety (what is known/ money/ security), even loss of identity (linked to work)

How? Talk about the ‘fear’. We need to have more real transparent conversations in business. Put on the table the elephant in the room and talk about it without blame or shame. http://www.pennyholden.com/blog/4/Get-in-Get-out-Shut-up-With-love/

Case example: As part of the Qantas Engineering transformation project I ran a leadership development initiative (over 300 engineers). This was a 101 good people leadership/ leading through change, and a large amount of mindset -shift from resistance to acceptance work. The first thing I would acknowledge at the beginning of every workshop and consistently emphasise throughout, was “This is the biggest, hairiest change I’ve ever seen/ been part of. To ask you to change is overwhelmingly huge. I get it.” Only then could I even begin to be heard by them, to talk about leadership, to work with them.

2 CHANGE TOOL: Use a simple tool to help them see the shift. I like  ADKAR and work through it with employees:

  • Awareness of the change (the why, the value),
  • Desire to change (the pain and gain),
  • Knowledge (what they need to know/ development),
  • Ability (how to set up the environment/ leadership around them to support change) and
  • Reinforcement (how to support and sustain change).

3 CHALLENGE: Be prepared to challenge them on below the line behaviour.

“Is this really who you are? Is this the best of you? Do you really wan to have a miserable day at work?”  Few of us like to think we behave badly or are actually a ‘stuck’ person, so remind them of the best of themselves and praise them when they do what is needed.

Talk to me if you need help with your ‘stuck’ people. 

Penny facilitates Bright*Star’s training course on ‘Partnering with Your Manager’

Written by Penny Holden

NEW Speakers for Web 201320Master facilitator, high calibre industry recognised trainer, and people and culture capability consultant, Penny Holden brings 20 years real business and workplace experience, expertise and knowledge. With an extensive background in behavioural  sciences, psychology, education and organisational development and people capability, she applies this in simple and effective ways to her workshops and projects. Penny is particularly recognised for her ability to work with anyone at any level with respect and robust appropriate learning methods.

 

How EA/PAs Learn on the Job

EAPAIn last month’s issue of Shine – our popular newsletter for Administration Professionals – we asked our readers how you like to pick up new skills.

61.54% of you prefer to learn on the job (compared to 23.08% choosing face to face training course and 15.38% coaching).

At Bright*Star Training we are all about learning, and how we can best support your professional and skill development. Learning a new skill has all kinds of unexpected benefits, including improving working memory, keeping your mind active and increasing engagement at work.

We have gathered our top 7 tips on how you can fit in learning while ‘on the job’ and how to ensure that you get the best results from this learning to continue to grow your skill set and knowledge.

Note that there are two types of On the Job Training (OJT), Structured and Unstructured.

This blog focuses on the second type, however there are lessons to be learnt from the structured OJT, mainly around setting specific goals with your manager and get their support for what you are wanting to achieve. For more on Structured OJT, we recommend reading this brilliant article by Charles I Levine.

If you’re ready to start learning, here are our top tips.

1. Be clear on what you want to achieve

Make a list of the Top 10 things you’d like to master. Then prioritise in order of preference and importance to your role. Create an action plan to tackle each new skill and set a deadline by when you want to achieve it. Remember “Goals are dreams with deadlines”!

2. Get your manager involved

Why not ask your manager what areas they would like you to focus on? Dust off your professional development plan (84.62% of you have one), set a time to go through it with your manager, and ask for his/her support for your plans. This is a great way to show initiative and commitment to your role as well as your willingness to grow and learn.

3. Be hands on

Rather than just having someone show you how something works, have a go at it yourself. Take over the keyboard and actually work through the process yourself. Take time to familiarise yourself with new technology. Follow the lead of 2015 AAPNZ Award winner Rebeka Adamson and turn on the new printer and find out how it works before anyone else. It’s a great way to become the “go-to person” in your company and it can hugely increase your sphere of influence and people’s perception of you.

4. Don’t let what you don’t know hold you back

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to not get it right the first time. Nobody (other than perhaps yourself!) expects you to be perfect. It is a proven fact that we learn the most by

experiencing and overcoming failure. At the 2016 AP Day in Auckland, the keynote presenter Bev Adair-Beets really inspired the audience with her honest account of how she didn’t let her lack of knowledge hold her back – she simply started with “Mr Google” and taught herself what she didn’t know.

“When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” – Eloise Ristad

5. Schedule in time to learn and make it a priority

How many times have you saved an interesting article with the intent of reading it ‘when you have time’? If you’re nodding right now, then you’re not alone. We have to make time and make learning a habit. Charles Bruxton said “You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it”.

Emona Numanga, the President of the Auckland AAPNZ group shared a great tip with us at their last monthly meeting: if you struggle to find time in your day, spend a week noting down how you spend your time and you will soon discover time wasters such as interruptions that you can manage better.

6. Challenge yourself

The harder the task, the more you learn. No matter your role or how long you’ve been in it, there’s always an opportunity to learn and grow. Find it and take it! By challenging ourselves, and overcoming obstacles, we grow our confidence and our resilience – both key attributes for successful people. Over the last few years, so many Administration Professionals have told us that these are two key areas where they struggle. Bright*Star offer training courses on both topics, however the best way to start building your confidence is by tackling a new challenge – even if you start small.

“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

7. Share your knowledge

The best way to truly absorb learning is when you’re asked to present it to someone else. It forces you to verbalise what you have learnt and think about how it benefits not just you but also other people. You may like to present to your manager, colleagues, a peer group such as your local AAPNZ group, or even friends and family.

As you learn on the job you may identify a larger skills gap or professional development need you can’t tackle on your own. This is where attending structured training will be helpful. The Bright*Star team is here to guide you in the right direction to find the best suitable training solution for your needs.

They say that “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try” – learning on the job is no different. Think about what you can do right now that will put you on the right path.

Click here to take the next step in your professional development

Written by Lone Tapp

loneLone leads Bright*Star training’s ever growing portfolio of professional development programmes that includes over 165 public courses and customised in-house training courses each year. Before joining the team at Conferenz in 2003, Lone worked at the Trade Commission of Denmark in Auckland. Originally from Denmark, Lone has spent the past decade designing and delivering Conferenz & Bright*Star’s professional development training initiatives across New Zealand.

Read through the Analysis of the Survey Results:

1) Do you have a professional development plan in place?

Yes: 80%

No: 20% (No opportunity to talk to boss, awaiting management approval, not sure how to do this)

2) How often do you get a professional development opportunity?

Twice a year: 40%

Other: 33.33%

Once a year: 26.67%

3) What has been the most unexpected skill you’ve needed for your job?

Some sample responses:

To be a Counsellor

Dealing with different personalities

Waitresssing

Juggling the needs of multiple direct reports 

Copying with bullying

Conflict Resolution

 

 

 

 

 

Nominate an Exceptional Admin Professional


personalpresenceLone Tapp, General Manager Bright*Star Training, is returning as judge for this  year’s AAPNZ Administrative Professional Award and we wanted to repost her blog from last year where shares her tips on what it takes to be a standout administrative professional. If you are considering entering or nominating someone you know for the 2016 event, do read on…

Earlier this year I was honoured to be asked to judge the Administration Professional of the Year Awards at the AAPNZ conference in Christchurch. It was a real privilege to get to know the three finalists and to learn about their journeys. What talented women!

With so many amazing applicants, whose stories I was fascinated to read, it was hard enough to get down to just three finalists, so imagine the difficulties in choosing the winner.

What made Rebeka Adamson stand out in my eyes was that her passion for the profession really shone through, she was extremely well prepared, and she was very clear on where she was headed in her career.

Since July I have been thinking about what advice I would give to other administration professionals looking to enter next year’s Awards. What would help them stand out and possibly get to the next stage? Here are my top five tips:

  1. Let your personality and passions shine through in your application and in the interview
  2. Don’t be shy to talk about yourself and what you have achieved (please give examples)
  3. Talk about yourself and your role rather than about your organisation
  4. Be clear about what your goals are, how you plan to achieve them and how winning the Award can help you do that
  5. Make sure you follow the format and instructions given in the application form

I strongly encourage all Administration professionals in New Zealand to consider entering the 2016 Awards. This is your chance to step out from “behind the scenes” and share your story and your experiences with your peers. Don’t be daunted by the process – I promise you that you will not regret entering. We need to celebrate the amazing diversity of roles, skills, and career opportunities that are available to administration professionals and continue to raise the profile of the profession. Your stories should be heard. Your contributions recognised. Imagine how amazing it would feel to win!

If you can answer yes to the following three questions, then you should apply.

  • Would you like to take stock of how far you have come in your career?
  • Would you like your boss put down in writing just how outstanding you are?
  • Would you like to be recognised within your profession?

These are just three of the many reasons cited by previous applicants as to why they find it so rewarding to put themselves forward for this award. Whether you win or not, everyone I’ve spoken to agrees that it is hugely beneficial and eye-opening to go through the process. It builds their confidence, allows them to reflect on their accomplishments, and makes them consider what’s next in their role or career.

I have met some absolutely inspiring administration professionals over the last decade, both through AAPNZ and through my work on training courses and events for EA/PAs through Bright*Star and Conferenz. What these women have achieved, the responsibilities and huge workloads they seem to carry with such grace, it really does humble you. What then surprises me is that almost every single one of them feel that they don’t have what it takes to be considered for the AAPNZ award. Digging a bit deeper, what I’ve found is that the main two things holding them back are:

  • They don’t feel confident enough to put themselves forward
  • The prospect of having to do a short speech in front of their peers terrifies them

I understand where they are coming from. I have struggled with those two areas myself but in the end found that the only way to overcome my fears was to tackle them head-on. Both are simply skills that can be learned. Once you pick up a few techniques and start practising on a regular basis, the fear goes away. Personally, I joined Toastmasters and went through an assertiveness training programme. There are many options available to you so if you start now you will be ready for when nominations open for the 2016 AAPNZ Awards. If you want any advice on options, I would be more than happy to help you. Contact me directly on 099123610 or lone@brightstar.co.nz

Written by Lone Tapp

loneLone leads Bright*Star training’s ever growing portfolio of professional development programmes that includes over 165 public courses and customised in-house training courses each year. Before joining the team at Conferenz in 2003, Lone worked at the Trade Commission of Denmark in Auckland. Originally from Denmark, Lone has spent the past decade designing and delivering Conferenz & Bright*Star’s professional development training initiatives across New Zealand.

Top 10 Management Tips for New Managers

Want to avoid committing common management mistakes? Bright*Star training team provides you great management tips that will define your success in your new role. To get specific insights from our expert facilitator, sign up for our training course on ‘Management Skills for New Managers and Supervisorspersonalpresence

1. Choose respect over love without morphing into the Grand Dictator A new higher level position doesn’t give you automatic permission to order people around and watch their every move – would you have appreciated that in your previous role? On the other hand, as human beings we are often conditioned to seek approval so many new managers experience cognitive dissonance as a desire to be approved interferes with their ability to lead. Your staff are relying on you to be their manager which means that generally you cannot be their friend. Making the tough decisions and being respected by your people are the hallmarks of an effective leader.

2. LEAD by example – Become a Role Model People will always learn what behaviour is acceptable by your actions. Role models in the workplace are often characterised by credibility and have built trust by doing what they say they will do or being upfront if they are not able to keep their promise for any reason. You have probably worked for several different managers over the years so examine what motivated you and just as importantly, what didn’t.

3. Master the Art of Influence A big part of your new role will involve requesting people to complete tasks and projects on your behalf. Clearly explaining content, timeline and why that staff member has been asked to assist with the task increases influence and reduces ambiguity.

4. Compare leadership styles with your predecessor One of the most common mistakes new managers make is changing who they are to fit a pre-determined ‘manager’ mould. One of the reasons you got the job is because of who you are, however possessing a leadership style that differs from your predecessor will mean your staff will need to align with a different set of expectations and preferences. You can’t expect your team to know how these have changed unless you tell them so encourage an open conversation around similarities and differences between leadership styles.

5. Preparation is the key Preparation is the key to success at any level – however tracking projects (who they are assigned to, expected outcomes/dates and their current status) allows everyone to be on the same page and work more effectively as a team. This may be the first time you are responsible for recruiting new team members. Prepare ahead when hiring new staff – hire for team fit, train for skill and ensure you have a comprehensive and planned on-boarding process for when they arrive.

6. Manage your stress Stress may be a part of any new management role for a period of time as you adjust to the extra responsibilities and tasks. It is important that you recognise your own personal signs of stress and stress management tactics that work for you. Don’t be tempted to flag that yoga workout in lieu of spending some catch up time in the office – extra-curricular activities and having good ‘sounding’ people outside of work will help you to get through the busy times and initial learning curve.

7. Understand individual differences and communication style Your role now involves managing a team of people with different styles of working, decision-making and communicating. While your team’s individual styles may not be how you approach your work, if the results are good than you will need to learn to accept these differences. Get to know your team, making an effort to spend time with them both as individuals and a group and this will help inform professional and personal growth plans as well as establish the ground rules of team communication.

8. Organisational Culture Companies all have their own culture and it is essential to understand what is important in your organisation. Spend some time getting a feel for the company environment and mission and remember that by representing the organisation as management everything you say can be perceived as a company statement regardless of its intent.

9. Managing Up In other words, an effective manager knows how to handle and manage their own boss. All levels of the organisation (including your manager) have things to accomplish in order for everyone’s job to be completed successfully so ensure you keep your manager up to date on all projects including the issues. Your manager is there to also provide guidance however you should discuss a preferred communication method with them in order to gain the best results – do they prefer a weekly catch up or emails as the issues arise?

10. Accept that you will make mistakes You cannot possibly know everything the first day your start any new role and management is no different. However it is important to realise that now your mistakes are likely to affect the team. Instead of beating yourself up about it, come clean, rectify where possible and learn from the error in order to improve your leadership skills.

***

Want to know more? Sign up for our course today

Management Skills for New Managers and Supervisors

UPCOMING DATES
  • 7 – 8 Mar, 2016

    Wellington

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    Auckland

  • 8 – 9 Aug, 2016

    Wellington

  • 14 – 15 Nov, 2016

    Auckland

     

Changing results with learning

Blog written by Anna Kingston and republished from her Linkedin profile

Anna is facilitating a course on Instructional Design for Bright*Star this year. 

BS 2016 Website-EventBanners44I’ve always been fascinated by how we turn our ‘training sessions’ into new habits which get actually get remembered and used on the job by the people we interact with.  Because this is why we’re employed really isn’t it – to create improvements in business results?

As we know, Remembering = Learning – Forgetting.  And forgetting is easy, though remembering something requires those neural pathways in our brain to be strengthened and accessed many times.  Think about something you learnt, like riding a bike, before you jumped on that bike you believed you needed to ride (maybe so you could hang out with your friends) or someone important to you (e.g. your friends or parents) convinced you it was important.  Then you practised a lot (and hopefully not on a main road).

First we’ve got to believe what we’re learning is important and then we’ve got to get some practice in applying it on the job.  Simon Sinek popularised a concept which is key to learning in his TED talk “start with why”.  First we must get buy-in by sharing why this new skill is important (known affectionately in the training field as W.I.I.F.M. – what’s in it for me). Next, repetition and practice in a safe (and fun) environment, within training sessions (either online or face to face), starts to build that skill.

The most missed part of creating long term learning is that once the learning session is over, we need to keep that buy in and on job application up.  I was inspired to write this post by a blog “Crush the Forgetting Curve: How to Drive Sustainability in Your T&D Initiatives”, because it encapsulates my beliefs too (and I paraphrase key points below).  How we can encourage transfer and use of learning:

  1. Use your marketing skills.
    Yes, we need to create (and follow) a communications plan
  2. Measure those results
  3. Provide on job support.  Another favourite article of mine explores this further in “are you meeting all 5 moments of learning need
  4. Engage managers

I believe this last one is the one of the most important for long term learning, as we know immediate managers drive our engagement at work and every day performance.  If we can help our learner’s managers understand the ‘why’ and feel successful, as well as the learner’s, then the learning will be used and improved, no doubt about it.

Of course, we don’t have all the time in the world to do these things, so we need to make it easy for us (and the learner’s plus managers).  So how do we do that?  More tips and ideas on engaging managers in my next article….  I’d love to hear your ideas too.

anna kingston 
Anna has worked in the Learning and Development industry for over 12 years both at a strategic and a hands-on level, as a Learning and Development Manager, Instructional Designer, Coach, and Facilitator. Anna is passionate about creating immediately applicable, practical, learner-centred and useful learning solutions, developing buy-in from both earners and stakeholders.

NEW research – the Three Keys to Executive Presence

Written by Bright*Star Facilitator Sally Mabelle

If you’d like to develop your ‘leadership presence’, join Sally’s new Bright*Star course in 2016:

‘Building Your Executive Voice and Presence’19th August in Wellington or in Auckland on 11th May.
personalpresence

What would you say if you were asked to name the most important attribute of Executive Presence (EP)?

According to research cited in the 2014 book ‘Executive Presence’ by Sylvia Hewlett, CEO of the Centre for Talent Innovation (CTI), EP turns out to be a dynamic mix of three things according to a survey of 4000 university-educated professionals including 268 senior executives surveyed:

The way you act (Gravitas)

The way you speak (Communication)

The way you look (Appearance)

It turns out that these three attributes were not at all considered equally important.  The survey determined to crack the code on EP found that 67% of the senior executives cited gravitas as the most important factor, followed by 28% voting on communication skills as the most important, and 5% voting on appearance as the most important EP factors.

Here’s a quick checklist of these Executive Presence attributes. Which ones do you have and which ones do you need to work on?

Gravitas:

  1. Confidence and ‘grace under fire’
  2. Decisiveness & ‘showing teeth’
  3. Integrity & ‘speaking truth to power’
  4. Emotional intelligence
  5. Reputation & standing
  6. Vision/ Charisma

Communication:

  1. Superior speaking skills
  2. Ability to command a room
  3. Forcefulness and assertiveness
  4. Ability to read a client/ a boss/ a room
  5. Sense of humour/ ability to banter
  6. Body language/ posture

Appearance:

  1. Being polished and groomed
  2. Physically attractive, fit
  3. Simple, stylish clothes that position you for the next job
  4. Being tall (fortunately only 6% of the appearance mix!)
  5. Being youthful and vigorous

Here’s a tip to help your confidence or ‘gravitas’ when you’re in a challenging situation. Breathe out and in deeply and slowly while you remind yourself internally of this message: that “Who I am at the core, my essential Self with a capital ‘S’,  cannot be helped or harmed by any external events.”  Sit up or stand up with a tall spine, and proceed to communicate with dignity, humility, and empathy as your breath continues to calmly move in and out deeply and slowly.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about  ‘Executive Presence’. What do you think are the most challenging aspects to master? Anything to add?

Sally Mabelle, M.Ed, B.A hons, has 20+ years’ experience as a ‘Voice of Leadership’ specialist. She combines her professional background in Communication, Education, and Psychology with her extensive stage experience in her courses. She has honed essential skills in voice projection, emotional connection and physical presence and is an award-winning inspirational speaker.

http://www.brightstar.co.nz/training/building-your-executive-voice-and-presence

 

What I look for in AAPNZ Award applications

Earlier this year I was honoured to be asked to judge the Administration Professional of the Year Awards at the AAPNZ conference in Christchurch. It was a real privilege to get to know the three finalists and to learn about their journeys. What talented women!

With so many amazing applicants, whose stories I was fascinated to read, it was hard enough to get down to just three finalists, so imagine the difficulties in choosing the winner.

What made Rebeka Adamson stand out in my eyes was that her passion for the profession really shone through, she was extremely well prepared, and she was very clear on where she was headed in her career.

Since July I have been thinking about what advice I would give to other administration professionals looking to enter next year’s Awards. What would help them stand out and possibly get to the next stage? Here are my top five tips:

  1. Let your personality and passions shine through in your application and in the interview
  2. Don’t be shy to talk about yourself and what you have achieved (please give examples)
  3. Talk about yourself and your role rather than about your organisation
  4. Be clear about what your goals are, how you plan to achieve them and how winning the Award can help you do that
  5. Make sure you follow the format and instructions given in the application form

 

I strongly encourage all Administration professionals in New Zealand to consider entering the 2016 Awards. This is your chance to step out from “behind the scenes” and share your story and your experiences with your peers. Don’t be daunted by the process – I promise you that you will not regret entering. We need to celebrate the amazing diversity of roles, skills, and career opportunities that are available to administration professionals and continue to raise the profile of the profession. Your stories should be heard. Your contributions recognised. Imagine how amazing it would feel to win!

 

If you can answer yes to the following three questions, then you should apply.

  • Would you like to take stock of how far you have come in your career?
  • Would you like your boss put down in writing just how outstanding you are?
  • Would you like to be recognised within your profession?

 

These are just three of the many reasons cited by previous applicants as to why they find it so rewarding to put themselves forward for this award. Whether you win or not, everyone I’ve spoken to agrees that it is hugely beneficial and eye-opening to go through the process. It builds their confidence, allows them to reflect on their accomplishments, and makes them consider what’s next in their role or career.

I have met some absolutely inspiring administration professionals over the last decade, both through AAPNZ and through my work on training courses and events for EA/PAs through Bright*Star and Conferenz. What these women have achieved, the responsibilities and huge workloads they seem to carry with such grace, it really does humble you. What then surprises me is that almost every single one of them feel that they don’t have what it takes to be considered for the AAPNZ award. Digging a bit deeper, what I’ve found is that the main two things holding them back are:

  • They don’t feel confident enough to put themselves forward
  • The prospect of having to do a short speech in front of their peers terrifies them

 

I understand where they are coming from. I have struggled with those two areas myself but in the end found that the only way to overcome my fears was to tackle them head-on. Both are simply skills that can be learned. Once you pick up a few techniques and start practising on a regular basis, the fear goes away. Personally, I joined Toastmasters and went through an assertiveness training programme. There are many options available to you so if you start now you will be ready for when nominations open for the 2016 AAPNZ Awards. If you want any advice on options, I would be more than happy to help you. Contact me directly on 099123610 or lone@brightstar.co.nz

 

Ten Steps to Gain More Time

 

Okay, I guess I better start this blog with a disclaimer. After reading it you will still only have 24 hours in a day, but you may have picked up a few ideas on how to achieve more with that time.

Why does time management matter? It matters because it benefits you. It allows you to stay on top of your time, priorities, and life. It ensures that you spend your time where it matters the most.

With Christmas approaching many are now suffering from the double whammy of end-of-year fatigue combined with a growing realisation that we are not likely to tick all items off our to-do list before the holidays.

So, we thought we would compile a 10-step guide to help you improve your time and priority management skills to get through this period – and to set you on the right track for 2014.

Step 1 – plan ahead

I find that if I don’t plan my day, it is so much easier to get sidetracked by emails or other demands – and I end up feeling like I didn’t get anything accomplished. To overcome this, I’ve started planning my day the night before. Writing down the next day’s tasks means I can come in with a clear purpose and don’t have to try to remember things overnight.

How you structure your to-do list is a very individual choice, but the key is to capture the tasks in one place at once so you don’t end up double handle information or emails. The list only also works if you refer to it throughout the day/week and it is combined with reminders.

Two popular time management apps that might help you are:

https://www.wunderlist.com/en/

http://culturedcode.com/

Step 2 – prioritise

To prioritise well, you need to constantly keep in mind what the overall purpose of your role is – what activities will give you the best results, help you achieve your goals?

The 80/20 rule applies here, too. Spend 80% of your time on the top 20% of your priorities. Choose what you spend your time on and just as importantly what not to spend your time on.

It will involve making some tough choices to achieve this and you will likely upset some people that might have been accustomed to you being available more of the time.

Step 3 – streamline your tasks

A key purpose of time management is to increase your productivity. Look at what you do and how you do it – and consider whether there are ways to do it smarter or quicker. Always question why the task is there, what would happen if it simply wasn’t done or whether it is
possible to delegate it to someone else.

 Step 4 – set a realistic and achievable daily schedule

To set a realistic daily plan, the first step would be to think through each task on your to-do list and consider how long it is likely to take and plan accordingly. Allow some contingency time – you are very likely to need it! E.g. booking back to back meetings is never a great idea. You will most likely end up running late and your stress levels will be building. Don’t put yourself in that situation when it’s so easily avoidable.

Step 5 – don’t give time when you don’t have any

We tend to underestimate the time we need, and over promise the time we have. If someone asks for ‘a minute’ you both know that it’s not going to be just a minute. Before you agree, find out how long it will realistically take and don’t be afraid to turn them down or schedule the catch-up at a more convenient time for you so that when you do meet up you will be able to give them your full attention.

Step 6 – stop procrastinating

Not following through on your intended action is one of the most harmful mistakes. Finding the discipline to “eat the elephant one bite at a time” each day is often your biggest challenge. Simply by acting on an item the first time you touch it or read it you can lift your productivity.

Step 7 – turn off that device!

Is work taking over your life or are you truly able to leave work at work? Be wary of how much you have allowed the lines between work and free/family time to become blurred. If you are regularly taking work home or constantly checking work emails on your mobile device, then you need to learn to allow yourself to switch off and without guilt.

Step 8 – recharge your mental batteries

Make sure you plan time for activities that you find pleasurable as this will engage the right side of your brain and help recharge your batteries. It’s okay to stop up and do nothing – so when planning your day make sure you set aside some time to think, reflect and relax.

Step 9 – don’t ignore the early signs of stress

Managing your time can directly reduce your stress level. With an effective time management system in place, you are less likely to be fighting fires, and rushing from task-to-task and place-to-place.

We recommend reading “I’ve had it up to here – from stress to strength” (2nd edition) by Gaynor Parkin & Sarah Boyd – a well-written New Zealand book with practical tools to improve your resilience at home and work.

Step 10 – learn from the best

Why not register on our upcoming Time and Priority Management” training course?

Led by Elaine McMeeking, one of New Zealand’s leading facilitators, the course focuses on key areas such as:

  • Setting achievable goals and objectives
  • Identifying and focusing on high payoff activities
  • Learning to say no
  • Gaining productivity
  • Overcoming procrastination
  • Managing pressure and stress

Hint: if your first thought is that you simply haven’t got time to take two days out to attend training, then that’s a clear sign that you actually, truly need this course!

 

What NOT to do when facilitating

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What a facilitator does is plan, guide and manage a group event to ensure that the group’s objectives are met effectively, with clear thinking, good participation and full buy-in from everyone involved.

If participants stray from the agenda items, you have an obligation to get them, and the meeting, back on track. You don’t have to be heavy-handed about it, but you do have to be assertive.

Here is a fun look at what not to do when facilitating a meeting and some pointers on how to manage the participants and get results.

1.      Don’t forget to prepare

Before the meeting, make sure you understand the group’s desired outcome, and the background and context of the meeting. As the facilitator, your job is to choose and design the right group process, and develop an effective agenda for the occasion.

 2.      Don’t forget to set the ground rules for the meeting

What rules should participants follow in the meeting? How will people interact? How will you ensure that people respect each others ideas? How will questions be handled? Prepare some ground rules in advance, and propose and seek agreement to these at the start of the meeting.

 3.      Don’t forget to introduce everyone (including yourself!)

            The best way to ensure engagement from the start is to get people talking, so let them introduce themselves to the group as this will work as an ‘icebreaker’.     

 4.      Don’t let the participants hijack the agenda

It’s so easy to get caught up in a discussion and lose track of both time and focus. In your next meeting, make sure that the written agenda has clear start and end times for each agenda item, and that you take charge and move the group onto the next item in a timely manner.  If the discussion is valid and you want to let it roll on be aware that something else will have to give!

 5.      Don’t let participants wander off onto tangents that are not part of the agenda

Carrying on from the last point, make sure you don’t ask too many open-ended questions which could easily derail the discussion and make sure to redirect questions if you feel that a direct answer has not be given.   Open questions encourage discussion – closed questions bring conclusion.

 6.      Don’t get persuaded to take sides

To facilitate effectively, you must be objective. This doesn’t mean you have to come from outside the organisation or team, though. It simply means that, for the purposes of this group process, you must take a neutral stance. You step back from the detailed content and from your own personal views, and focus purely on the group process.

7.      Don’t let participants get away with unproven facts

Make sure to ask participants to explain facts or technical terms or jargon so that everyone is clear on what’s being said. If someone uses statistics to support their point, then make sure that they have the numbers right and can prove it.

8.      Don’t let ‘Groupthink’ take over the meeting

The term “Groupthink” was coined by Irving Janis in 1972 when he was researching why a team reaches an excellent decision one time, and a disastrous one the next. What he found was that a lack of conflict or opposing viewpoints led to poor decisions, because alternatives were not fully analyzed, and because groups did not gather enough information to make an informed decision.

 9.      Don’t forget to focus on outcomes

So, it was a great meeting with plenty of discussion and interaction. Everyone had a say and you felt everyone was fully engaged. Great! But did the group actually discuss the issue at hand and the desired outcome? As the facilitator, you must always keep in mind the outcome – and how you are helping the group reach it.

 10.  Don’t forget to consider the ‘what-if’ scenarios

An experienced facilitator will know what to do regardless of what unexpected developments might occur during a meeting. Have you thought of and prepared a plan of action in case there is major disagreement or if a solution does not emerge?

Want to learn more?

We recommend our comprehensive 2-day training course:

Facilitation Skills – http://www.brightstar.co.nz/training/facilitation-skills

 If you would rather focus on developing your assertiveness first before taking on the role of a facilitator, then consider registering for this course:

Developing Assertiveness and Self Confidence at Work

http://www.brightstar.co.nz/training/developing-assertiveness-self-confidence-work