How Conversations Will Help Your Business

According to research conducted by Gallop, trusting conversations between a manager and their employees is the best way to engage employees.  Engaged employees are happier, more productive (c) alexwhite www.fotosearch.com Stock Photographyand innovated.  These factors boost the success a business can achieve.

So, my question for you, how do you, as a manager, leader or entrepreneur (particularly if you are at the top) stay motivated and engaged?

A New Approach

I am thrilled to be introducing a new program designed to stimulate great conversation between participants, help you learn more about key business successes, and motivate you personally and professionally to take action and lead change.

Leading business books like Good to Great, the Purple Cow, Pivot, Developing the Leader within You and many more offer readers great success insights that can help each of us be better at what we do.

How many of these insights do you implement after reading a book?

If you’re saying to yourself, not too many, you are not alone.  We are all busy and implementing new habits into our busy lives is difficult without daily commitments to yourself and your goals. Consistency = change success.

Amplify Learning

Coffee and Conversations offers a unique approach to network with other motivated, like-minded business leaders, help identify and extract key learnings from leading business books, dissect and share insights with the group, and create an action item you can commit to for 30 days.  Our daily on-line check-ins take less than 2 minutes a day for 30 days but, most importantly, they keep your action item top of mind.conversations-iphone

Unlike book clubs where you must commit to reading a different book each month, Coffee and Conversations provides you with a short synopsis of the book which take about 10 minutes to read prior to the meeting.  During the meeting, your Leader will facilitate discussion by asking probing or thought-provoking questions. This approach not only amplifies your learning, it also saves you time and improves your own engagement in your job.

Will You Join Me?

Join me in late March 2017 for our first 4-month Coffee & Conversation series.  I will be hosting a group in the Metro Vancouver area, and an on-line group via video-conference.  Space is limited for each group to ensure each participant has an opportunity to share.

 

Eventbrite - Coffee & Conversations Business Group (4 part series) - Vancouver BC

 

PS — If you aren’t in Vancouver BC, or you would prefer a Virtual Group format, please add your name to our notification list.  We will launch a Virtual Coffee & Conversations Business Group in April 2017.

Add me to your notification list

Start a Conversation – Gain More than You Expect

When was the last time you had a good conversation with a colleague or a team member?  Did this conversation result in new insights?  Did you learn something new?  Did it up-lift you or provide valuable information?

Fancy action plans don’t create engagement; ongoing two-way dialogue creates engagement.


A conversation is described as an informal exchange of information between two or more talk bubblespeople.  A conversation involves two aspects — sharing information and listening.  Too often listening, I mean really listening so you hear what is actually being said to you, is lost.  Communicating by email, text or notices shares information but lacks the engagement and “hearing” components of a conversation.

 

Nothing managers talk about will affect engagement if they don’t listen to what associates tell them.


According to Gallop, “Great managers who have meaningful ongoing discussions with their employees also take ongoing action based on what they hear in those everyday conversations. They ask good questions, including disarmingly simple ones, and they pay close attention to the responses. They keep the wheels of engagement turning all the time, just by talking.”

In my role as a Consultant I have the opportunity of observing the interactions of many different people in the workplace.  I also see and work with the impact of poor communication and the lack of meaningful conversations.

 

When you make eye contact you acknowledge the other person’s existence


Make Eye Contact

What does eye contact have to do with conversations?  You can’t connect and initiate a conversation if you don’t see and acknowledge a person.  How many times have you walked down a hallway at work and not made eye contact, smiled at or acknowledged the other person?

eye_blue-eye-pic54When I am working with clients who are disillusioned with their job or their workplace, they frequently say they don’t feel valued.  Many also tell me “the boss just ignores me unless I’ve done something wrong.”  Others report they don’t feel heard because their boss doesn’t make eye contact, but looks at paper on their desk or their computer screen.

Eye contact during a conversation can be difficult for some people but it is vital for effective communication.  People are more willing to talk to you when you make eye contact and you are more likely to hear them too.

Your challenge… When you get to work make a point of making eye contact and saying good morning to every member of your team.  Make a point to acknowledge each person you pass in the hallway or who gets on the elevator… see what happens.

 

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller

Huddle Up


One way to build engagement with employees and to connect with what is happening around you is to have daily huddles.  A huddle is an opportunity for you to connect with your team and to plan your day or gain insights. Huddles are short (less than 15 minutes) and to the point.  They are not for problem solving or lon

www.freedigitalimages.net

www.freedigitalimages.net

g-term planning. Huddles are probably one of the most effective interactions you can have with your team.

A huddle isn’t just a “report out”.  Instead, its an opportunity for every member of the team to share information, insights and to ask questions to help them move forward.  You’ll build connections, improve organizational productivity, enhance the culture and keep your finger on the pulse.

I also have used huddles to connect individually with team members during the day.  I’ve used these exchanges to touch base, learn more about employees and share.  These meetings don’t have an agenda other than to connect but I’ve shared positive feedback, asked questions about a challenge I’m aware of or to check on progress and to offer my assistance.

Your Challenge — Connect with every team member in your team and have a conversation.

 

Learning without thought is labor lost. ~Confucius

Boost Learning


learn-key
One of the best opportunities a manager has to positively impact their organization’s learning and to lead change is to teach.  I don’t mean in a classroom style, but through a conversation.  Traditionally, when people attend a workshop or conference they become excited about new information or insights they have learned but this goes by the wayside when they return to their desk.  Why?  There is no mandate to integrate it into their job.

After an employee attends a conference, have a conversation to identify what their key insights were and if there is something they would like to integrate into their work?  Can you help them set up a personal challenge to instill an action plan into their work?  Book follow-up conversations to monitor progress.

Do you provide in-house training sessions?  Coaching has helped organizations to support employees to actually implement skills they have learned into their daily work habits.  Daily conversations can also help improve employee engagement on skill integration as well.

Your challenge —  Establish regular conversations with each member of your team as a way to integrate learning into their daily work habits.

 

You don’t understand anything until you learn it more than one way. ~Marvin Minsky

 

If you are interested in how to integrate daily conversations into your workplace to improve employee engagement, learning or productivity, contact us for more information on the options we have available to assist you.

3 Most Common Barriers to Learning

Your greatest learning comes when you are open to new information and willing to undergo the transformation it takes to integrate the new information with the status quo.  I frequently hear students and employees tell me “it’s hard” or “its takes too long” when they are completing assignments or adapting to a new system.  This is true.  Learning requires us to stretch and grow, push ourselves beyond our norm, and disables our ability to work on automatic mode.

1.  Moving beyond your Comfort Zoneheadset books

Each and every day you are able to do a multitude of tasks and respond to questions and demands at work and at home automatically.  These are things that have been learned and are now within your comfort zone.  Learning requires you to think, act or say things differently and therefore disrupts your ability to react instinctively.  It also challenges your beliefs.  Your greatest learning will come when you are on the verge of your comfort zone — that place where you may feel like you’ll never achieve the goal, or where you are most uncomfortable.   Learning involves change… a process that upset your normal and allows you to push the limits of your comfort zone in a way that expands your horizons and opens new opportunities.   Next time you feel like your assignment is hard, or you are procrastinating to avoid the task at hand, be open to pushing yourself — you are on the verge of a great breakthrough!

2.   Not recognizing the extent of the challenge

How often have you attempted to undertake a change where you had to learn new techniques, integrate new information or changed how you do things only to realize part way through the process that you took on more than you could handle?  In contrast, have you over-prepared for or over-thought a transformation only to realize it was so much easier than you expected?  In both situations, over-estimating or under-estimating a challenge can pose a huge barrier to the learning process.  The solutions is to take the time to establish an implementation plan for the change where you know what you want to achieve and identify the steps and resources needed to get there.   In the May 21, 2013 issue of my newsletter I shared the PDCA (Plan/Do/Check/Act) methodology.  Using this approach you are more likely to minimize these barriers and increase the success of learning and leading change.   You will also have more buy-in from other people who will be affected by these changes as they will know what is going tobstacleo happen and when.

3.  Disagreement

When a change is suggested how often do you disagree with the need to change and offer up numerous reasons why the current system or thinking is “just fine”?  Disagreement creates an obstacle to learning.  It can be caused by fear, an unwillingness to move outside the comfort zone or over-estimating the challenge.  When you position yourself in opposition to the change, you create another obstacle to learning.  Disagreement generally closes the mind to learning – and understanding another perspective.  When you feel yourself switching into disagreement, step back and relook at the situation from a different perspective and how the changes or learning process could be worthwhile.  This process alone will enable you to learn more about the scenario you instinctively opposed, even if it doesn’t change your mind.

These are just three barriers to learning.  As a leader, you want to remain open to and lead the changes within your life, your career and your business.  The world is changing around you and maintaining the status quo will leave you stuck and unable to compete, advance and enjoy the fruits of your efforts.   Be open to taking the time and effort to learn and expand your mind, and move from your comfort zone into new horizons… where your goals and dreams live!

Can I help you navigate your transformation?maze
As a Coach and Consultant I am available to work with you to navigate the transformations you wish to undertake by offering you support, encouragement, action planning and implementation.  Contact me if you want to reach your full potential, lead a transformation efficiently and effectively, or break though the fear of success.   Book now

 

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