21 Nov

Finishing the year on a positive!



“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.”

Chris Grosser


Can you believe it’s almost the end of the year?!  At this time of year most of us are wondering where the months have gone, and feeling a bit tired as we wind toward year end.

So how do we maintain momentum, gain energy and ensure we finish the year celebrating our successes? And where we lead others, how can we help them be motivated and productive as the rest of the year advances?

Looking back…

Let’s give ourselves firstly some time to think about what has been. Remember January 1 this year? All those plans, resolutions and goals? All those good intentions and positive vibes?

Take yourself back there and review – what have you achieved that you set out to? Celebrate that! If you have achieved things that weren’t even on that January list – celebrate that too! Take a moment to consider what you are proud of this year. This is important. People are motivated by many things. One of them is progress – moving forward, achieving, taking a step.  The sense of making progress is important to people’s energy levels and ongoing productivity. So without stopping and talking stock of what we have achieved, how will we maximize our sense of achievement?

Humans are funny – we tend to focus on the negative – what we haven’t done, what we are not good at, who doesn’t like us.! Let’s flip this on its head and look at what we HAVE achieved (and while we are at it – what we are good at and who does like us!)

So what are you proud of this year? What achievements have you made, no matter how big or small? Write them down. Now go have a coffee, or a walk, do something to celebrate. A dance in the office is fine. Acknowledge it with something you enjoy. Because too often we don’t do this. And what’s the point of achieving if we ignore it and just move on to the next thing? Life is full of thinking about ‘the NEXT thing’. Busy, busy, busy. Slow down, be proud, celebrate!

Looking forward…

Now we’ve partied with our progress, let’s reflect on January 1 next year. Take yourself there. If you like to party, imagine the party. If you like to bring in the new year quietly, imagine the best possible place you could be. In both cases, who are you with? Family, friends, pets? Or maybe it’s a glass of wine and a good book. Imagine your perfect 31 Dec into Jan 1.

Now in this perfect zone, think about what you will look back on from the last  months of the year. What do you want to be celebrating? What progress will you toast? What achievements will you be proud of? Imagine your quiet or noisy celebration – which ever you prefer. Do it with a smile on your face. Paint a vivid and visual memory of all you’ve achieved.

Now get out that piece of paper again. Answer these questions:

  • What will you achieve before year end?
  • What habit do you need to break to ensure you achieve success?
  • What will give you energy, when commitment falters?

How did you go? Could you answer these questions? I’d suggest reviewing them weekly or daily. If you are determined to have that proud memory on Jan 1, you will commit.

What about your team?

Now, let’s think about your team. Are they slowing down toward the end of the year? Could

they do with an energy boost or a momentum push?

Perhaps you cold do the above exercises – looking back to celebrate and looking forward to achieve – with them.

Here are some other suggestions that I have for helping the team focus.

  • Have a weekly celebration of achievements as a team – whether talking about them in a regular team meeting, or sending an email, making a video or sharing over coffee.
  • Ensure that the team have time together to build team morale and energy. Weekly or fortnightly meetings are great for this.
  • Maybe the team is a social one and like coffee or lunch together? You know your team the best – how can you ensure this informal bonding occurs?
  • Find or have the team find a shared project that they can work on outside of their daily tasks. Something that is not too time consuming, yet is exciting for them. Not any random thing – something that relates to the work they do. Maybe your team is passionate about improving the physical workspace – let them plan and change it. Maybe they want to raise money for a good cause, solve an operational matter that’s been bugging them for a while, start a lunchtime walking group? Whatever it is, allow some freedom and creativity to refresh their minds.
  • Bring in an interesting speaker for a lunchtime or breakfast discussion. It could be a patient, a local business person, a trainer, someone from another team. Keep it short and informal. Ask the team afterwards what they learnt and how they can apply that to their own work. T
  • Have a half day meeting determining the priorities for the team to achieve before the end of the year. Plan out together what’s important, what needs to happen and key milestones. Give everyone responsibility for a part of the plan, and review it regularly (again, celebrate efforts and even small achievements).
  • Hold a competition and have some fun with it. Who excelled at customer service this week? Who learnt a new skill, tackled a challenge or achieved a milestone? Give small prizes if you can, definitely acknowledgement.

There are a few ideas for you to help support your team’s energy for the lead up to the year end. What will you do?

Here’s to a positive and productive year end!

24 Jan

Delegating is not really about you…

“The great leaders are like the best conductors – they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players.”  –Blaine Lee

Many managers and supervisors find delegating difficult. This can be for many reasons – they like to be in control, they want all the glory, they don’t trust their staff. Sometimes it is because they feel like they are doing something bad to the person receiving the task.

Particularly for managers in this last group, it might be time to think about this a little differently. Delegating is not about you. Although you may change your workload through the act of delegating, this is not the real reason you should be delegating. You should be delegating to help develop your employees and to build stronger teams. You should be delegating to motivate and inspire confidence. You should be delegating to help with succession planning. Done well, delegating is actually more about the employee than the manager.

So how to you delegate without making it about you?

  • Understand your team and individuals within the team – what are the needs and desires of the group; what motivates individuals, what are their career aspirations, what are their strengths
  • Identify tasks or projects that will play to an individual’s strengths or will enable them to develop skills whilst working on something they enjoy
  • Explain the task / project clearly: objectives, timeframes, their role and why you think they are the right person for the job. Try to make this last aspect as motivational and positive as possible e.g. “I want you involved as you are excellent at developing strong relationships across departments. That is critical to this project as there is a lot of cross-functional work needed. The project will also expose you to senior leaders and raise your profile with them.”
  • Check in with the employee – do they understand the project and their role; do they think it sounds like a good opportunity to be involved in; do the timeframes sound reasonable. Discuss further as required
  • Ask what support they might need from you and outline any progress checks you expect

Of course, there may be some tasks that you struggle to make motivational. In this instance, re-challenge yourself to identify an opportunity for the specific person you have in mind – remember, it’s not about your interests or development! If the task truly is unlikely to be interesting, yet still requires delegation, then be as honest and positive as possible e.g. “I’m asking you to do this because I know that you will do a good job with this and it’s an important part of our team’s role.” Try not to use the reason of “I’m too swamped to do this” as employees are often left feeling ‘dumped on’. Obviously every situation is different so use your judgement on outlining the reasons.

More often than not, if you know your team well, delegating for development will inspire and engage employees. If you think about delegating as a way to develop and motivate, rather than as a way to clear your own desk, you might just be surprised with the subsequent results!


engagingPOTENTIAL: training, team development, coaching

Specialising in working with managers to develop extraordinary teams!

© Engaging Potential Pty Ltd

19 Oct

Team ‘spark’

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.”   H.E. Luccock

What level of energy is there in your team? Are team members motivated? How much ‘spark’ does your team have?

Teams all go through different motivational phases, impacted by projects, individual influencers and wider company impacts. Overall though, certain teams will have a visible energy, while others can appear tired, negative or unmotivated. How would you describe your team’s motivation or energy?

Team ‘spark’ is a phenomena that some teams create through individual contribution, team cohesion and strong leadership.

Breaking it down more simply:

  • S: Smile – Do your team members smile at work? Do they smile at each other and at customers? How much fun do you have as a team? (Yes, you can have fun at work!)
  • P: Participation – Do people participate in team discussions and problem solving? Are they interested in what the team is trying to achieve? Do they want to contribute to team success?
  • A: Attitude – Is your team made up of people with a positive attitude? Does the team have a ‘can do’ approach?
  • R: Respect – Do team members respect each other, their customers and other colleagues? Do they demonstrate this respect every day in meetings, in emails and general dialogue?
  • K: Knowledge: Does the team share knowledge internally and externally? Do they work to build their knowledge of the company, of products and services, of industry influences?

If you answered ‘YES’ to many of these questions, chances are your team has ‘SPARK’; your team has energy! This may be demonstrated through positive attitudes (especially during times of change) a keen interest in the company’s achievements, support of each other in achieving team goals, and even laughter at work!

A team with SPARK will generally have better retention of staff, higher morale, noticeable efficiency and effectiveness and of course greater achievement of goals compared to other teams with less energy and motivation. And not to forget the flow on effects – of less sick days, better stress management, stronger support networks and improved company or team external advocacy.

How to develop a team’s SPARK?

Here are some examples:

  • Organise a team meeting away from the office to formulate a team vision; finish the day with a team building activity that is fun, non work related and team based.
  • Establish team operating guidelines. How will we communicate and operate effectively in meetings, on projects, in daily work?
  • Regularly celebrate success. Recognise a project completed, a new client signed up, even a new skill learnt.
  • Get to know each other better. At team meetings assign a portion of time to developing an understanding of each team members role, exploring personality preferences (e.g. Myers Briggs Type Indicator) or simply finding out what motivates each other.
  • As a manager, coach team members towards developing behaviours that enhance their own or their team’s SPARK.
  • Train the team to give effective feedback and then encourage regular feedback (positive and developmental) within the team.
  • Set up a knowledge sharing forum on-line for team members to contribute snippets of appropriate industry, company or product knowledge. Or even ‘know how’ tips for daily tasks e.g. powerpoint, spreadsheets, selling etc.
  • Welcome fun! Share a joke on the team internal voicemail, go out to lunch, play a spontaneous game of office soccer, leave a bowl of chocolates out for a quick break – the list is endless for simple and appropriate moments to have the team smile.

 So SPARK some energy into your team and enjoy the results!

engagingPOTENTIAL: training, team development, coaching

Specialising in working with managers to develop extraordinary teams!

© Engaging Potential Pty Ltd