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Think Like A Watch Maker – Create Healthy Teams

NO people are not steel parts, rigid and disposable, but I believe we can learn a lot from looking at the inner workings of a clock or watch and apply some of these basic principals in order to grow or manage high functioning, healthy and productive teams in both small businesses or large organisations. The principals are the same, the application is variable based on size and level of dysfunction.

If we all thought and behaved the same, the world would not only be boring but almost unable to function.

We are all meant to be different, be able to see things differently, to have different natural talents, skills and abilities. This is the necessity of a functioning or even semi functioning world.

Think of an old-fashioned watch or clock, with all its bits and pieces, different sizes, different purposes. Each piece relying on another piece to function.

When I am working with clients who have small or medium business’s or even larger teams, most of the internal struggles they have with the people resource factor, is about people getting frustrated with another person, personality clashes, poor communication, differing opinions and views, un-fulfilled expectations. These are the core issues in most cases, the initial verbalised frustration will be something more minor, but if you dig deeper any or all of these things are usually at the core.

Sometimes driven by motives based on power, control, greed, pride or ego, lack of trust, or by someone lacking the skills to be in a particular role.

Even though a manager or a leader may be frustrated with a team’s inability to function in a healthy and productive manner, it is essential that the solutions begin at the top and filter down.

Liken a leader or manager to a watch maker – To become a watch maker is a skill, it takes a certain kind of patience, thinking, planning, skill set and practice.

I believe excellent management and leadership is a similar skill and some of the same principals apply when putting together a high functioning, healthy and productive team

Lets look at why the wrist watch functions the way it does:

Every part has its place:

It stays there, I can’t move except in the direction it is supposed to (unless it breaks). It is placed in there by a machine or human hand that knows exactly where that part needs to be in order to support its neighboring parts.

KEY POINT for human teams: Each person has a primary focus or function in a team, when a role is vacant and another person is trying to ‘juggle’ roles, you may see signs of overload, overwhelm and poor productivity. While this is sometimes necessary in transition, it should never be left un-attended or be seen as a long term solution, it is not sustainable.

Every part has its purpose:

Some parts are large and obvious, some are small. Some are support parts like screws and stays, others are functioning parts like wheels that rely on other wheels. Many parts are needed to make the watch work. Even the casing, that protects and keeps everything in place.

KEY POINT for human teams: Each person in a team is important to the overall purpose of the business or organisation, no matter how ‘front line’ or ‘back of house’ that role is, everything effects everything when it comes to a well-oiled and high functioning team. From the tiniest role to the leaders and managers.

Every part is needed:

In this illustration when one part breaks the whole watch stops, in an organisation or team this isn’t always the case with a human absence or malfunction, but there is no doubt that, depending on what that person’s function is in the team, there are ripple effects for others.

KEY POINT for human teams: The ripple effect, although variable, is real. When one person in an organisation is unhappy, under-skilled, under equipped, or over worked, there will be a negative ripple effect, it cannot be avoided, and the longer this is allowed to carry on, the bigger the impact will be.

Every part must work:

Each part of the watch must work, or it will have to be repaired or replaced, the watchmaker knows that if something is not working the watch stops working. With teams this can happen over time, and in subtle ways, slowly eroding a culture, relationships, productivity and ‘bottom lines’.

KEY POINT: Dealing with small issues early will prevent large more costly issues arising. Having a healthy transparent process for conflict resolution will avoid bigger issues. Creating a high trust, environment backed by clear processes for issues will empower and enable people to deal with situations as and when they arise.

Notes for existing teams:

  • There is always a solution and a path through
  • The time needed to clean up a dysfunctional team will depend on how long it has been left un attended

Back to the watch for a moment: If you have ever owned one this will make sense, if a bit of water gets in a watch that is not dive resistant, the watch is taken apart or dried somehow quickly the watch will most likely get working again without a further hitch.

IF the water is left in the watch and NOT cleaned up, the watch will rust, part by part, until the whole thing just stops working and becomes beyond repair.

  • Always be prepared to start at the top down, with management, leadership. If that is you then be prepared and open to some self-awareness and learning. Don’t spend money ‘fixing’ your team if you are not prepared to get your hands dirty too.
  • If the roles are clear, defined, filled with the right people working in their strengths, there is a clear, transparent process for dealing with conflicts as they arise, and healthy communication internally and externally – teams can become a high performing, high producing machines.

Notes for creating a new team in a growing organisation or business:

  • Think like the watch maker, plan the roles ahead of time, know what you need each part to do, what skills they need, get the right people in from the start. If this is not your skill set INVEST in help, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune but it will be a great investment long term
  • Outline and plan the culture you want to create by looking at your core values, company direction and long-term goals.

Final note for all, where there are people there will be conflict even in a healthy team, there is such a thing as HEALTHY conflict, and processes for dealing with it in a healthy way.

A conflict free zone is not possible in a high functioning team. The difference is made in how the conflicts arise and are faced, NOT avoided.

Avoiding or trying to avoid conflict almost never works. Its time to make friends with it, shake hands with it, and find out how to have a healthy relationship with it for the sake of the relationships in your world.

Go the watch maker!

Jen

www.jentyson.co.nz

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Embrace CHANGE – 5 things you can do

“ If you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting what you have always got”

A powerful quote we all hear, or see time and time again, and often nod, agree, and make private or spoken recognition of the change needed in our own lives at some level.

To get from where we are today, to where we want to be in the future, either long term or shorter term, there is a BRIDGE – That bridge is called CHANGE.
In business, this is just as true as in life. If we want to succeed in business we must learn to better embrace change.

Some are more comfortable and able to embrace change more than others, but even those who shout ‘Change? BRING it on!’ have a tipping point, a limit to where their avoidance of change would turn up.

change

On that bridge called change, there can be discomfort and for some this may mean PAIN, as human’s when faced with a choice to face discomfort or pain we can experience FEAR, or apprehension, especially if we cannot see an end ‘date’ or time frame, or even at times a perfect outcome. Which then can lead to avoidance.
At times, we have ventured courageously onto the bridge, but when it got too ‘hot’ – too uncomfortable, we turned back, retreating into old habits, and the comfort of what we knew.
An interesting observation I have made about the space called ‘where you are now’ – even if that space is not pleasant for many reasons and we KNOW we need to change, the FEAR of crossing that bridge is greater than the pain of staying where we are, the old saying “Better the devil you know, than the one you don’t” seems to fit well here.
We are HUMAN, and humans like comfort – no one likes to be uncomfortable for long, especially the concept of being uncomfortable for a period of time that seems to have no end in sight.
Going to the dentist, having a medical procedure, squishing into a small car for a short trip, standing on a bus to give someone your seat, are some examples of being uncomfortable for a short period of time where we see an end, we know it will be over in a set amount of time and so we tend to carry that off.
5 things you can do to embrace the changes needed to get to where you want to be:
1. Acknowledge where you are with a trusted mentor or coach, if you are really stuck to a good old fashioned ‘pros and cons’ list for staying there.
2. Make your goal, where you want to be, written and clear following the SMART model or something like that, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound – WRITTEN goals are 100 times more likely to become a reality, especially if shared with someone you trust who will keep you accountable and encourage you.
3. If the main goal or where you want to be is BIG and long term, then you need to get smaller shorter term goals, 6-12 months, that are milestones and pointing you in the direction of the bigger goal. For each of those you then need some ACTION steps to make sure you are doing something every month in the direction of where you want to be
4. NOW would be a good time to acknowledge any ‘failed attempts’ of crossing this bridge in the past and to notice the thoughts and beliefs you may have collected from that experience, these need to be dealt with in order to move forward – you may have got half way across and something happened, you made it mean something, retreated and made your mind up about the situation, the BEST way I know is to write down that thought, ask yourself “ is this useful to me crossing the bridge?” If not then you are at choice, you can re write this – BE your OWN COACH in your mind. Cheer yourself on with positive statements as you would if you were helping another.
5. CHANGE your mind about CHANGE – within in change there is incredible growth, with growth comes strength and sometimes new opportunities and confidence – your comfort zone expands, CHANGE is a good thing, and necessary in business and LIFE unless you want to stay in one place for the rest of your days.

‘LIFE and BUSINESS, is 10% about what happens to me, and around me, and 90% how I respond to it’
This is one of my favorite quotes of all time, it has inspired me over the years to look at how I am thinking about something and to make a positive change or keep on putting one foot in front of the other on that bridge.

Oh and what is with the other arrow going up half way across the bridge? This arrow shows that sometimes we have got half way across the bridge, things got painful, we got disillusioned and instead of retreating to where we were, we take a detour! Go down another path, because it seemed more comfortable, easier, but because that is a detour off our path of purpose, our bridge to OUR goal or future that burned in our belly, this other path often leads to its own set of discomfort and in fact can be a lot hard to come back onto the bridge from.

Now go cross that bridge!

To your beautiful journey of change

Jen
http://www.jentyson.co.nz


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Overwhelmed? Come up for air and breathe!

5 things you can do to get out from under the pile of ‘overwhelm’ – come up for air and breathe

The dictionary says this about the word ‘overwhelm’:

To bury or drown beneath a huge mass of something, especially water.

What to do when everything closes in – the dark place of ‘overwhelm

For some, this is a familiar place on a way too frequent basis, usually the symptom of entrepreneurs or working parents, but many others also suffer this unproductive and uncomfortable state, too often.

If you have ever felt confused, weighed down, stressed and grumpy by a never ending list of things to do, swimming around in your foggy head, chances are you have experienced what many call ‘overwhelm’.

For me and those around me this is not a good place for me to be in, mentally or physically. I forget things, don’t sleep well past 4am, find myself snappy and irritable, and in a constant state of stress. This space is usually very un-productive.

Here are 5 things I have found that can lift the fog and help re focus energy and time:

  1. TIME OUT: Take a morning off, ASAP, as soon as you recognise you are here, go for a walk, then sit down and make a massive list, categorise if you must but make a list of everything you need to do, everything that is in your head.
  •  Make sub lists from this list and put in categories of priority, personal, work and  other. Just this task of getting out of my head and on paper splits the stress literally in HALF, because now I can’t forget anything, it is all on paper.
  1. GET ‘YOU’ IN THE PICTURE: Re look at your diary, your schedule,  remove some things to make some space for you, and the things that ‘feed’ your mind, body and soul… At least 3-4 times a week. SMALL things count – I used to think I needed to get to a yoga class for 90 mins (plus travel) or the gym for an hour for it to count….then it just wouldn’t happen, when I discovered the scientific fact that 10 mins of walking somewhere pretty can change your brain chemistry completely, I started looking at this time differently. I make time 3-4 mornings a week to walk my dog, just 30 mins in our local park, I dance once a week, and I train in martial arts (my favourite sport) 1-2 times depending but a minimum of once. The park walks serve a few things, I love nature and how it soothes my soul, reminds me of my place on this earth, connects me to creation and also gives my body the movement it needs, it clears my mind, I solve problems among the trees.

NOTE: I used the words ‘make time’ ? We can all find time to fit in what we deem to be important, I realised that I am important, so cleared some things off my plate.

  1. TIME CHUNKING: Look at the way you schedule things in your diary, if you are self-employed you CAN choose your hours, set them on a calendar, and then schedule in what you do in that time, this is a discipline that takes time to implement if you have been a little loose on this. I use TIME CHUNKING, I put things in blocks of time I think they will take, for things like my walk, they REPEAT every week, on the odd occasion I have to move them but it is a choice and usually only once in any one week.
  1. SAY NO nicely: Learn to say no, if you have so much on your plate there is no room for you, look at what you can possibly take off. Ask yourself these questions on each thing that takes up your time. These are for things you have on your plate that you want to check in about:
  • Why am I involved in this?
  • Why did I say Yes?
  • Is this part of my overall purpose in life?
  • Does this energise me or drain me?
  • Why am I holding on to it?
  • If you choose to let it go, plan how you will say ‘no nicely’

What to consider BEFORE saying YES to new things:

What REAL time is involved in this? Do I have the time easily available? What will have to move off my diary in order to fit this in? (NOTE If is YOU time that needs to move, seriously consider saying NO) What is my motive for saying yes?

ALWAYS say you want to think about it, so you have time to process taking on new things, even this will give you freedom and less pressure. If they can’t give you time, then perhaps you just say NO right away.

  1. ASK for help: Or Delegate. What can someone else be doing for you? Giving jobs that don’t light you up, or asking others for help with children, chores or tasks can give others the opportunity to do something nice for you OR something they love doing! Instead of seeing it as weakness, see it as allowing others to work in their strengths.
  • You can pay people, barter time or ask a favour, depending on what it is there is always a way to get some help with the things that are on your plate that you can’t get rid of.
  • This frees you up to get on with the things that energise you and are part of your overall purpose in life.
  • I don’t like housework, I like getting help with this on a regular basis and giving chores to my kids, does this mean I never do it? NO, It all just doesn’t land on me and that feels good.

Final note: YOU are important, that is why they say in the flight emergency briefing put YOUR OWN oxygen mask on first before attending to children, WHY? Because if you stop breathing you are NO good to anyone.

You have stuff to do in this world that only you can do, and when you are living in balance to the best of your ability most of the time you are WAY more effective, productive, have better health, relationships and enjoy life rather than just get through each day.

Yours in freedom

Jen

www.jentyson.co.nz