How to Improve Teamwork?

There are many ways, many frameworks, many tips.  Here I share one simple, easy to implement change that you can begin to use today.

Sometimes the best way to allow your team mates to ask for help is for you to ask for help first (and especially when you don’t necessarily believe that you need help).  Allow others to have an impact on you, they will then open to allow you to have an impact on them.

This video is about learning the humility as a leader to ask for help, not when you need it, but at times where you don’t feel you need it – at times where you are not struggling, at the times where you would tend to just get on with it and solve it yourself.

If you liked this post, you will also like 6 Question to Ask Yourself Every Day to be a Better Leader and 12 Vital Questions for Any New Business.

“Sincerity is not a test of truth; only truth is a test of truth” Jim Rohn

This video is about Trust and 3 things to look for in another person in order to determine if they are worthy of your trust.

The three things to look for:

  • Self Aware: They recognise their own failings
  • Feedback: They tell you things you don’t want to hear
  • Trust: They are quick to support you in your plans & projects

Based on a video from Pep Mari (in spanish): ¿de quién puedes fiarte?

If you liked this post, you will also like The Trust Equation and How to build trust, improve relationships and enhance the quality of your life (video).

This video is inspired by George RR Martin and his view on leadership and the price of power. Kouzes and Posner in The Leadership Challenge show that being a good person gets the greatest effort out of the people around you, but just being a nice person can mean you avoid the really tough decisions of Leadership.

What’s the toughest leadership decision of all time?  Answer below the video…

Tough Leadership Decisions?

The toughest decision of Leadership: Odysseus’ choice between Scylla and Charybdis.

This list is Conor’s “Sunday afternoon in a coffee shop brain dump” of reasons why Business Leaders seek the support of an Executive Coach or Mentor either independently or through an organisation like Vistage.

I’ve been working on leadership development for over a decade through my roles at IESE Business School, Entrepreneurs Organisation and Vistage.  I’ve come across hundreds of coaches and thousands of business leaders who have benefitted from the support of a coach.

  1. I have a specific need
    1. I regularly fail to achieve results (typically in one specific area)
    2. I want something specific (a promotion, more money, get fit, better golf handicap)
    3. I am frustrated at myself and nothing seems to be working
    4. I cannot relate effectively with somebody (children, parents, boss, team mates, senior leaders, wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend)
    5. I’m having a conflict with a colleague.
    6. I am burnt out/overwhelmed and need to release some of the pressure
  2. Someone Else tells me that I Need a Coach
    1. HR assigns coaches to all senior managers
    2. HR puts me on “fast track”
    3. HR identifies me as “needs improvement” but valuable enough to make the effort
    4. My friend/wife/husband/boss has told me that I have to make changes
  3. Conditions change
    1. I have been fired or my job made redundant
    2. I start a new business
    3. I change career path or change company
    4. I need new skills for my role (public speaking, writing, leading, managing others)
  4. I am Stuck
    1. I don’t know what I want (but I know that where I am now is not it)
    2. I have been passed over for promotion
    3. I need some help advancing my career, my career trajectory has hit a plateau.
    4. I feel bored with my life
    5. I feel that my improvement has stopped in an area of passion (golf, tennis, fitness)
    6. I feel that I am missing out on life (FOMO)
  5. My Leadership is Ineffective
    1. We don’t have a strategy.
    2. It takes too long to get things done.
    3. Turnover is high.
    4. My employees do not take responsibility for results
    5. The leadership team is not moving in the same direction.
    6. I need to take my Leadership Team or my Board to the next level.
  6. I want to “Win”
    1. I want to achieve something that will give me a sense of winning
    2. I want to increase my life challenge, I want to avoid complacency
  7. I want to be Inspired
    1. I wish to experience an excellent role model
    2. I want to see how you coach/lead me, what techniques you use
  8. I want Validation
    1. My self-worth depends greatly on external validation
    2. I lack a strong group of supportive friends
    3. I lack a trusted confidante who will be fully honest
    4. I need clear, objective and usable feedback

The Coach’s Perspective on Executive Performance

 

What about you?  Have you ever worked with a Coach?

What other situations or triggers would cause someone to see out Executive Coaching?  What is missing?  When have you sought out coaching?

Are you a Business Leader?

I’ve been part of Entrepreneurs’ Organisation for the last 10 years and for almost any significant decision I have taken in the last decade, there are 9 people in my forum group who have helped me take a better decision.  I would share with them:

  1. the background to the decision
  2. the why of the decision
  3. what I’m seeking to achieve in my life

There is no major decision I’ve taken in the last 10 years that has not had at least those other 9 wise brains also looking at it.  They are also giving me different perspectives, helping me think through:

  1. Who I am
  2. What what my strengths are
  3. What my company strengths are and
  4. How I can better play into the opportunities that I have

My question to you: “how many brains do you get involved in the big decisions you have to make?”

If it is just one brain (your own) then you are really going to struggle over your life as a business leader.   Join Vistage, join EO, join Young Presidents’ Organization…  Get into a peer group where others can give you multiple different perspectives, different ideas, different experiences that have worked for them in the past.

Get as many brains as you can to help you take important decisions, to help you think through the problems you face, to see how to seize (or say no to) the opportunities coming into your life.

Get access to brains to share your problems. Ask lots of questions and get as much coming back from other’s life experiences as you can.

There is a saying: “if you’re the smartest person in the room, find another room.” 

Are you the smartest in the room?  If you find that you are often the smartest person in the room, you’ve got to expand your network.  Get out of that room and get yourself onto a bigger playing field.

Peer Group Organisations

 

 

“Some People Go 24 Hours Without Hearing a Single Positive Thing Said About Them” Coach George Raveling (on the Tim Ferriss podcast)

Coach George Raveling

I was struck by this sentence.  I was inspired by Tim Ferriss’ interview with Coach George Raveling.  George speaks so clearly and concisely about life and learning and our role.  His life has had some amazing adventures that came from him being open to the advice and suggestions of mentors at a young age.

So I made a video…  back again after a couple of months away from video making for YouTube.

Who will get a positive word from you today?  Don’t forget the power we each have with our words…

Leadership is about raising up those who follow you. Leadership is not so much about doing, but about having an effect on how others do.

The Tim Ferriss podcast episode: https://tim.blog/2018/08/09/george-raveling/ Great episode, loved listening to Coach George Raveling

Subscribe here to my channel http://cono.rs/utube I upload videos every Tuesday about leadership, personal development, entrepreneurship and the power of communication to drive change.

Check out my online course: Speaking as a Leader, 10 weeks of lessons on becoming a more impactful speaker https://conorneill.com/improve-your-speaking/

And you can message me and connect via Facebook: http://facebook.com/rhetorical

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” Aristotle

There are few things more important than understanding your own personal strategic recipes for enjoying a positive, fulfilling experience of your own life.  What is a Strategic Recipe.  Let’s start with what constitutes a “strategy”.

“A Strategy is a system of producing a consistent result”. Tony Robbins

This sentence is deep.

A Strategy:

  1. is a System – repeatable, objective process
  2. of Producing – there is no strategy without action, “producing” implies that something must be done
  3. A Consistent Result – time and time, over and over again you achieve a specific outcome.

I would class these systems as “Recipes”.  A Recipe is a specific process and clear starting state (quantities of ingredients, saucepans, oven temperature, time required) that consistently delivers an outcome (delicious, tasty meal that impresses the guests).

Let’s call these effective processes Strategic Recipes.

My Strategic Recipes

Running in Nature – In my case, going for a run is a Strategic Recipe. No matter how crap and aimless that I feel before I start running (and often for the first 15 minutes of the run), by the time I have run for 20 minutes, my mental chatter starts clearing out and I start to be present in the day, in my body.  I start to reconnect to what is important for me, to the people that I want to be with today. I have (what feel like at the time) good ideas and clarity on actions that are important for today.

The gym doesn’t work the same way for me… it has to be running outside… I don’t know why this is, but that doesn’t matter…  it only matters that I have a Strategic Recipe for turning unmotivated fuzz into disciplined productive action.

Brompton with Daughter – Taking my daughter (the 2 years old one) out on the infant seat on my brompton bicycle and cycling around Barcelona is another Strategic Recipe.  It feels like a meaningful activity – and I love the way she shouts “Wheee!” and “Faster Daddy!” as we cycle.  We don’t have any real destination, but might stop off at a playground or a Starbucks along the way.  It has to be the brompton bicycle… going for a walk to the park doesn’t give me anywhere near the same positive emotion as the brompton (my daughter is also necessary… heading out alone is just a lonely loser on a bike without a destination…)

Drinking Makers Mark bourbon whisky at night is another Strategic Recipe.  (I don’t like that it is… but as I reflect I have to accept that it is…). Watching TV without the whisky makes me feel ordinary and boring.  Throw in a neat whisky and I feel like some sort of awesome sofisticated TV watcher.  Nuts.  (I don’t do this every night…  we had some alcoholism in my family and I really watch out for any regular habitual daily drinking… and stop immediately if I notice it)

Curious this…  I am sat in a Sandwichez coffee shop near my house and trying to think of the Strategic Recipes that I have in my life to achieve a positive mental state as a result…  and the recipes that I find are random…

Some other Strategic Recipes that I have:
  • Write a blog post – like just now…  20 minutes of activity and I feel that I have accomplished something for the day. They often trigger interesting comments or email dialogues with interesting people.  This adds a bit of feeling connected and significant to my day.
  • Networking on LinkedIn – I have a whole bunch of searches set up (I use the paid Sales Navigator version of LinkedIn) and I can identify a number of inspiring people that I reach out to.  My business Vistage depends on building deep, trusted relationships with a wide range of high integrity spanish CEOs.  LinkedIn is a gold mine for this.  (probably because I spent 15 years blogging, 8 years making videos and generally have what is known as a “personal brand”)
  • Cooking a Meal – I love cooking.  Gives me a sense of accomplishment, creativing and completion.  I start with raw ingredients, end with a tasty meal… all in 20 to 60 minutes.  My current favourite recipes are Thai chicken curry (yellow, green or red), Mexican fajitas or Indian curry (korma or tikka masala).  I used to love BBQ, but have lived in places where you can’t BBQ for last 4 years…  I do miss that.
  • Playing Cards with my family – they are very smart and there can be no distraction when I play… or I will be destroyed.  Tough to deal with when you are dealing with a 14 year old and an 11 year old.  But I always feel connected and intensely present during the games.  We currently play Dou-Dhi-Zou, Georgian “Stupid”, Hearts and Gin Rummy.  What other good card games are there for 3 or 4 players?
  • Watching Big Bang Theory with my older Daughter – we are on season 6… got hundreds of episodes to go.  Love the inside jokes that she and I can make based on Sheldon and team’s on screen antics.

It would be good to have a set of Strategic Recipes in our armory that allow us to meet the 6 human needs:

  1. Safety (or Certainty)
  2. Risk (or Variety)
  3. Significance
  4. Connection
  5. Growth
  6. Contribution

What are your Strategic Recipes?

I’ve been going through a 2 month period of feeling unmotivated.  I had a very busy May, June, July and it put me off balance…  I am only now noticing that I am unmotivated and would like to get more clarity and fulfillment back into my days.  I’d love your help.  What works for you?

I’d love to hear from you.  What are your Strategic Recipes?  What set of steps systematically lead you to a consistent positive feeling (through meeting in some way some of the 6 human emotional needs)?

Comments below are excellent, but more than happy to hear from you via email.

 

I was on the road for 8 hours over last 2 days, lots of podcasts.

I listened to Tim Ferriss speaking to Jason Fried.  Jason seems an interesting character – professes to have no goals as he learnt at a young age that setting and aiming at goals only served to detract from his joy of life.  I don’t think his approach works for everyone, but I do think I have something to learn from his attitude of learning to enjoy and contribute rather than focus on task completion.

One sentence really hit me as he said it:

“In schools, you don’t learn to iterate. You complete the task, you hand it in, and you are done. In life, iteration is everything.” Jason Fried

When I heard this I repeated “iteration is everything” over and over for a few miles… because I completely agree.  Why am I good at giving a speech?  Iteration.  I get to speak hundreds of times every year.  Writing?  this blog.  I write hundreds of posts, edit them, improve them, republish them… each iteration is a slight improvement.

There is a story from Toyota in the 1980s.  Globally they decided to implement an employee suggestion scheme, but they left it up to each national leadership team to decide how to implement the scheme.

In the US, the leadership decided to pay 2% of the value of the change once implemented.  Imagine you are working on the factory floor of a Toyota plant in US.  What type of ideas are you looking for?  You will get 2% of the value of the change…  big ideas, huge ideas!

In the US they received an average of 1.5 ideas per employee of which less than 10% were actually implemented.

In Japan, the leadership decided to pay $50 for every idea.  Imagine you are there on the floor of the Japanese factories.  What type of ideas are you looking for?  Small ideas, little improvements, anything that slightly improves the efficiency or quality of life of the factory.

In Japan, they received an average of 55 ideas per employee, of which around 70% were implemented.  Within 2 years the Japanese operations were so much more efficient that they took the new Japanese operations and re-implemented them around the world.

Iteration is Everything

All excellence is from iteration. World class musicians play a piece hundreds of times with small improvements (or just changes) with each iteration. Sports is repetitive. My speaking is repetitive.

What piece of old writing could you dust off and improve 1% and produce a new iteration?  What skill could you focus 5 minutes each day on iteration?  What animal have you always wanted to be able to draw… draw a bad version today and iterate every day for the next month…

How to practice iteration… Check out this from Jason The Writing Class I’d Love to Teach

Screenshot 2018-07-31 21.39.54
Mark Fritz, Vistage Expert Speaker

Mark Fritz is a regular Vistage speaker who is on a mission to end micromanagement around the world.  He is passionate about helping leaders create highly engaged organisations where every employee treats the business as if it were their own.

One of my favourite examples from Mark is his question: “why does nobody ever wash a rental car?”

Why Does Nobody Ever Wash a Rental Car?

Have you ever washed a rental car?  No.  It is not your car.  You give it back covered in muck and full of litter.  It’s not your problem.  Its someone else’s car.  It got you from A to B.

Many people treat their work like a rental car.  Do your employees treat your business like it is their rental car, or do they take care of it as if it were their own vehicle?

Leaders must be great at 3 things to create Success…

The 3 Necessary Conditions for the Success of your Organisation

Clarity – when things are clear, you take more action. When things are clear, everybody takes more action.

People – it is not your people that are your most important asset, it is your people pipeline. How are you developing the next generation of people?  If you are not developing people to replace your current leaders, your current leaders can’t grow into their next roles.

Influencing Skills – if your people can’t influence someone else on the team, where do they come to get help?  to you.  If your people can’t influence, they depend too much on you.

As a leader who really wants everyone to grow around you, you need to help people around you develop two abilities:

  1. Business Judgement
  2. Influencing Skills

Check out Mark’s short video from a recent Vistage open day in the UK:

Check out some of Mark’s recent blog posts:

Learning Business Judgement

I am biased.  I believe business schools are excellent at developing business judgement.  During the 19 months of my MBA program at IESE Business School, I worked through 650 cases.  Each case is a business decision.  Each case requires some individual work to practice your own ability to focus on what is important and develop a plan.  Each case then requires that you work with a small team to influence them about your plan, and to allow your ideas to be tested and changed by their influence.  Each case then requires that you enter a classroom with an excellent teacher who will take the discussion even deeper.  There is no better way to develop general business judgement than in the business school environment.

Learning to Influence

I have a vested interest in this.  I have taught over 44,000 business leaders, MBAs and political leaders to Speak more Powerfully – specifically to Move People to Action.  I would suggest you begin by taking my Speaking as a Leader online course (currently free).  You can also watch the playlist on my Youtube channel (over 70K subscribers) called Develop Your Speaking Skills.

 

Have a great summer.

If you want your kids to thrive in the next decades in the commercial world, internet sage Seth Godin tells us that they need to learn to be good at two (and only 2) things:

  1. Solve Interesting Problems
  2. Lead

If you can raise a kid who can solve interesting problems and lead (which requires emotional intelligence and generosity).  The way you learn to solve interesting problems is by solving interesting problems.  The way you learn to lead is by practicing generosity and kindness for a higher goal.

Everything else, you can look it up on the internet, or you can hire a pay a commoditised skill person to do it for you.

Exams certainly don’t test these 2 skills.  They check whether you can solve un-interesting repetitive problems that have already been solved.  They don’t test how you affect other people and get them to be better because of your presence.

Check out the answer from Seth: