THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – What does your music of choice say about you?

What music do you listen to out of choice?

Opera, Soul, Gospel, Punk, Disco or Blues? 

Each of these music genres has it’s own feel and flow.  All have stood the test of time and continues to thrive.  So it shouldn’t be too surprising to make the connection with thinking processes, and as we all have a preferred thinking process style, it also shouldn’t be too difficult to spot the clues in what each of our styles might be.

I’ve picked 6 examples, but of course there are others.  If you favour one outside of the 6 listed, then please throw it into the pot – everything counts and they all have something significant to discover!

So here we go for week 5 , discover something new today and share what your musical “go to” is.  You will undoubtedly have a favourite song in your chosen genre too so if you have the time or inclination – include a You Tube (or similar) link in with your comments this week and we can all experience the sound of your soul (no pun intended!)

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THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – Fascinating Lives

In what way does life fascinate you?

Well its been a very busy week at Aresko HQ but we’ve managed to pull a Thursday Thoughts! out of the bag at the last moment today 🙂  So here’s a nice yellow mellow sort of question to end a Thursday evening and start your thinking towards the weekend:

In what way does life fascinate you?

Its yellow because its assuming a glass half full scenario – its proposing that life fascinates everyone!  It symbolises brightness and optimism and is a very positive statement.  In asking “in what way” it suggests logic is the obvious route to benefits and it probes for statements of harmony and values.  But it can be answered in any manner of ways.

So, share your colourful answers to this one and why not ask others to join in?  I know there are one or two lurkers out there who follow and read but don’t yet contribute to comments.  Make January your brave month and put a toe onto the comments section this week.  Everyone is more than welcome.

Team Effectiveness

THE 5 DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM : PATRICK LENCIONI (2005)

Nobody’s perfect.  Human beings are fallible.  This is a fact of life so when we throw several human beings together and instantly call them a “team”, that’s a bit unfair.  Get teamwork right, and you can dominate any work task, market, industry.  However, such a prize requires much skill.  This model explains one approach to evaluate why things go wrong, there are many in existence.

This is about the root causes of politics and dysfunction on teams, and it offers some tools for overcoming them.

Best Advice Lencioni gives:

If you are a leader, start by ensuring your teams trust one another and are comfortable in open conflict.  There is no substitute for trust. The technique uses fables to illustrate points and the weighting of each dysfunction is relative.

Enabling a team to be to be functional and cohesive requires levels of courage and discipline that appears to be beyond some.  Addressing these dysfunctions starts with 5 simple questions:

  • Do team members openly and readily disclose their opinions?
  • Are team meetings compelling and productive?
  • Does the team come to decisions quickly and avoid getting bogged down by consensus?
  • Do team members confront one another about their shortcomings?
  • Do team members sacrifice their own interests for the good of the team?

The finest teams/organisations can answer “yes” to all these questions.  If no, then address each of the 5 dysfunctions one by one. The prize of getting this right?

  • Avoidance of wasted time (talking about wrong issues over and over again)
  • Higher quality decision-making;
  • More accomplished in less time with less distraction and frustration;
  • Retention of star players – they don’t like to leave “excellent” teams!

Top Tips:

This is about embracing common sense not sophisticated theory.   Watch the YouTube video referenced overleaf.  This is similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs but at a team not individual level.  Goals and goal setting activities set standards for accountability.  Mutual trust and open communication are the foundation stones. Personal histories build trust and spending time together is invaluable for getting things done.  Communicate often and openly.   It takes time to mature into a top team.  Leadership is highly relational.  Talent is not enough!

 “A single twig breaks, but a bundle of twigs is strong” Chief Tecumseh (supposedly)

 Check out the technique on You Tube via: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dRKa700RaQ  and then check below to see what sort of team you currently belong to.  You might get a surprise!

WHAT BEHAVIOURS DO YOU SEE REGULARLY FROM THE LIST BELOW?

DYSFUNCTIONAL TEAM

FUNCTIONAL TEAM

Absence of Trust:

  • Conceals weaknesses and mistakes
  • Hesitates to ask for help or offer constructive criticism
  • Holds grudges
  • Dreads meetings
  • Finds reasons to avoid spending time together
Trusting Teams:

  • Admits weaknesses and mistakes
  • Asks for help
  • Accepts questions and input about their areas
  • Gives the benefit of the doubt
  • Focuses on results not politics
  • Offers and accepts apologies without hesitation
  • Looks forward to meetings and other opportunities to work together
Fear of Conflict:

  • Boring team meetings
  • Politics and personal attacks are routine
  • Controversial topics are ignored
  • Time is wasted posturing and managing personal risk
Healthy Conflict:

  • Meetings are lively and interesting
  • Ideals of all team members are extracted and exploited
  • Real problems are solved quickly
  • Politics is minimal
  • Critical topics are tabled for discussion
Failure to Commit:

  • There is ambiguity amongst the team about direction and priorities
  • Windows of opportunity close due to excessive analysis and unnecessary delay
  • Air of lack of confidence and fear of failure
  • Discussions and decisions are revisited time and again
  • Second-guessing is evident
Strong Commitments:

  • Clarity of direction and priorities is real
  • Entire team aligned around common objectives
  • Learning from mistakes is evident
  • Opportunities are taken early
  • Forward movement is without hesitation by all
  • Changes in direction are not guilt laden
Avoiding Accountability:

  • There is resentment amongst team members for differing standards of performance being allowed
  • Encourages mediocrity
  • Deadlines are missed
  • Team leader has  undue burden as sole source of discipline
Effective Accountability:

  • Poor performers feel pressure to improve
  • Potential problems identified quickly through peer challenge without hesitation
  • Respect is evident through common standards
  • Performance management is not bureaucratic
Not Focussed on Results:

  • Fails to grow
  • Rarely beats other teams in same circs
  • Loses goal oriented colleagues
  • Focus on own careers and individual goals
  • Easily distracted
Collective Results:

  • Retains goal oriented members
  • Minimal individualistic behaviour
  • Enjoys success, suffers failure acutely
  • Individuals subjugate own goals/interests for good of the team
  • Avoids distractions

Improving Morale – 3 steps to heaven


At this time of fast moving change in many industries, maintaining good staff morale is always in the top 5 priorities of any organisation.  If you can get this bit right, then you have a much better chance of taking more people along with your change narrative and will spend less time in the “what more do I need to do to convince them” zone!

So, my recent tweet of: “The worse thing you can do for staff morale is demand the impossible!” requires some explanation.

What YOU (as a leader) could do straight away …  Yes, I mean absolutely today – there’s still working hours left so why not start now?

  • provide focus on the things that are within your control, not the things that aren’t.  Staff like certainty and in the present climate there is precious little of it around!  So be the one to bring the focus on the things that you can do today and tomorrow;
  • Do the BIG 3 of noticing what and when things are done right; listen; and show appreciation.  All 3 will go further than you ever care to imagine;
  • TALK to people, partularly about morale.  Don’t allow it to remain the elephant in the room.  You will be amazed how this small step will lead full circle to bullet point 1 again!

Then, what you could do over a longer timescale to demonstrate that this is not a flash in the pan with you, because its not …. is it?

  • Seek feedback.  Particularly after difficult situations.  The learning from those will be immense;
  • Reflect:  Am I inspired?  Am I inspiring?  You really would be surprised how little you have to do for someone to think “they’re ok they are!”  Look to your own heroes and identify what it is they do that you want to mirror – then go and do it in your own way; and
  • Learn.  Never stop learning.  Just talking to people helps you understand what motivates them, what their values are and gives you a very privileged insight into their own human nature.  All this is invaluable to  you.

Give it a try – the best things are usually the most simple in essence, and there’s nothing more simple than looking, listening and communicating on a basic level.

 

What’s Your Status Cloud Like?

Aresko has a fun, funky, lively and really uplifting twitter cloud.  What would yours say about you?

THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – Room, Desk or Car?

Room, desk and car – which do you clean first?

It’s Thursday again folks and here we go again.  Keep the answers coming and spread the word to friends and colleagues to come and  join in if you/they can.  This Thursday, lets consider a wide open, unexplained, red question:

“Room, desk and car – which do you clean first?”

This was a real interview question asked in a company called Pinkberry, for the role of “shift leader”.  We’ve all been in situations where we’ve been asked a question, whether at interview or otherwise, which has completely surprised us.  I suspect this particular question produced one of those situations!

I will share some of the actual answers offered during this recruitment process later, but lets see what we can add to the mix in the first instance.  As always, answers by way of comments below, always feel free to submit future questions for Thursday Thoughts!,  and lets have some fun with this one!

THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – Why do plans fail?

Plans – why do they fail?


Ok, well Thursday Thoughts! is proving to be a very popular topic so far – thanks to everyone who’s contributed and I hope you continue to do so 🙂  By all means, if you have a burning question yourself, submit it and I’ll use for future Thursday Thoughts! topics.

So this week, lets have a very Black Hat sort of question:

Plans – why do they fail?

In our professional lives, we’ve all be subject to an array of plans.  Some we’ve thought were good, some we’ve thought were downright bonkers! But nevertheless, we’ve all been in positions of having to “sell” and “deliver” such plans.  Using the most powerful tool available to us – hindsight – why do you think some plans you’ve been involved in, have failed?

Answers, as always, via comments below please.  Happy reflections to you all, I can’t wait to hear what you think.

Mentorship and Me Part 7 – Peggy Edwards – New Years Resolutions

New Years Resolutions

During a recent, intensive, face-to-face mentoring session a couple of weeks ago my mentor questioned my obsession with being ‘overly prepared’ and informed to the point of saturation, when I am making decisions. I like to think I am a decisive person, and believe I make decisions very quickly, but on reflection she might have a point. I do obsess, do my research both on the web and through literature. Not unusual you might think but its the extent to which I undertake both that we were discussing. I believed it had come from the years I have spent doing two degrees. My mentor perceived it as me wallowing in my comfort zone, wanting an extensive array of evidence available at my fingertips because I eternally sought to justify my decisions. She suggested it was a confidence in my own judgement issue, or perhaps an issue in treating everyone else as “logical, rational thinkers” so they too would be convinced, beyond all reasonable doubt, that my decisions were good sound ones, in the same way that I am persuaded, with an armoury of logical, rational evidence. Food for thought! Does this say more about what persuades me than what persuades others??

Well, its time to bite the bullet and get a grip and in 2012 I will do just that; stop collecting interesting articles which may come in handy (just in case), clear those files on my computer which again may come in handy (just in case), clear those web sites from the favourites (just in case)! I have to say, it was going really well until I thought I would just read them before I deleted them………….. doh!

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