7 common 1:1 mistakes 

7 common 1:1 mistakes 

I have had the good fortune to observe and listen in on many managers and leaders run 1:1’s with their team over the years. Some very good and many not so good.

There are two elements that go into an effective 1:1; structure and impact. 
Most feedback I hear focuses on a specific question or a line of thought. In my experience what makes the biggest impact on a 1:1’s effectiveness is to focus on the structure 1st and the impact generally follows.

What follows are the 7 most common mistakes I see in 1:1’s.

1. No review of previous action points 

All too often I see people move straight into the ‘new’ 1:1 without discussing and ensuring the previous action points were completed.
If you don’t care enough to check, why should they bother completing them.
Find out if an action was completed and the outcome; maybe even the learns from completing it. 
When an action hasn’t been completed find out if on reflection it was valid, still is valid and by when and how it will be completed this time.

2. No review of goals/expectation and current reality

Too often I listen to 1:1’s where there is no discussion of the goal/goals that are desired; only a discussion of what’s not working and how do you fix it.

If you don’t look at the goal and what it means to achieve it, how can you know how close or far away you are and why it’s even worth trying. 

When you’re clear on the goal and the current reality; the performance gap is clear and actions can be gauged effectively. You may even need to do less than you’d envisaged. 

3. No discussion of what’s working 

So many of the hours I spend listening to one to ones involves me listening to what isn’t working.

If someone is achieving 10% of a desired outcome or exhibiting a behaviour some of the time; spend some time finding out what enables them to achieve what they are and how they could do even more of it. You might not need to focus on the downward spiral that is ‘why’s it not working’.

4. No discussion of why what’s not working isn’t.

All too often people discuss what’s not working but don’t really get to the nub of why it’s not working. 

Find out what’s getting in the way of something happening. Is it knowledge, resource, attitude, skill or something preventing ‘it’ from becoming a habit. 
Without this root causing; 1:1’s often involve endless cyclical conversations where the same topic is discussed week in, week out with no forward momentum. You don’t want that, do you?

5. No agreement to an effective course of action 

All too often I see managers smile when an action or actions are written down on a page. No matter the quality of the actions or confidence in the action to achieve the desired outcome, the ‘we’ve got something down’ mindset kicks in.

Effective courses of action involve being clear on what you’ll do, when, who with, where, how and why. If these aren’t thought through and pinned down, you only have an inkling of what will be done. Not what Will be done and how it will deliver the desired change.

6. No input from the employee

All too often the 1:1 is driven, explored and explained by the manager. Here the employee is told what they should be achieving, what they are achieving and what they need to do to move forward.

This approach breeds a lack of buy in at best and breeds, at worst, a powerfully debilitating compliance, lack of accountability and develops an inability for the employee to fix their own issues in the absence of the manager.
Working too many hours as a manager and feeling like you need to drive everything; this is a major contributor.

7. No agenda agreed

All to often I’ll arrive, unless prompted, to observe 1:1’s and meeting without a pre agreed and times agenda; or enough time to adequately cover all topics.

An agenda should be agreed prior to the 1:1 with both parties having clarity of exactly what is expected with sufficient time to prep.

When the above isn’t in place meetings  take longer than they need to and half of the time allocated is used to explore the goal, reality, root cause and actions. 

Prior preparation would mean much of this could be completed prior to the 1:1 allowing ratification and checking and testing of the likelihood of success; rather than doing all of the thinking in the 1:1 itself.

So there you have it; the 7 common 1:1 mistakes I see. Can you name more?

Who am I? Stefan Powell…

I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.

Get in touch today…

If you’d like to experience what working with me is like, get in touch and we’ll see if coaching is right for you. I’d love to speak with you via:

Twitter: @stefanpowell

E-mail: stefan@yourleadershipcounsel.co.uk 

Phone +44 (0) 7736942382

15 ways to engage your people and eradicate clock watching

I often say that if you enjoy work more than you enjoy being at home, we need to talk about it. But, thinking about being anywhere but work every minute of the day is good for no one.

Listen to the conversations over a pint on a Friday or Saturday night and you’ll hear that far too many people live for 5pm and dread Sunday evenings.

As a leader you have to ask yourself what type of environment you are creating if your workforce feel this way and what impact is this having on colleagues, customers, shareholders and just as importantly the individual and their family?

We all have an individual responsibility to take control of our own destiny. But when you signed up to head up your team, department or organisation you took on the challenge of truly engaging your people.

Ask yourself; what would I need to do to motivate my people to come to work if I couldn’t pay them? You’ll be I the right track.

Here’s 15 things a leader must do, in my experience, if they want their people to be compelled to come to work and not focus on 5pm.

  1. Ensure that your organisation has a strong purpose which aids humanity more widely, that your people understand this, believe in it, see the part which they and their business area play in it and feel that they have a direct influence on it.
  2. Ensure that your people have the knowledge, skill and confidence to deliver their role and duties effectively,and instinctively, with opportunities to be stretched. 
  3. Check in on your people and ensure that a) they can actually do what they need to and b) provide positive reinforcement of what they do well and help them overcome challenges or develop in weaker areas. If you don’t care enough; why should they.
  4. Ensure that the team can ask questions and share ideas with you and make sure that you hear them fully before you evaluate or even dismiss ideas and opinions. Being listened to and considered makes us feel valued.
  5. Empower your people to take ideas and decisions forward; creating accountability for outcomes, strategy development and decision making. People turn up to see their ideas, decisions and strategies come to fruition.
  6. Share the highs and lows with the team and how much you care about what’s happening; the team needs to know you feel responsible and truly are ‘in this together’. This doesn’t mean the leader shouldn’t be clear on the part they do and don’t play and the responsibilities of the team.
  7. Foster an environment in which people can have fun, have down time and ‘shoot the breeze’ from time to time, safe in the knowledge that the team will self regulate, and work doubly hard, once they’ve paused, talked about the kids, football or holiday plans. All work and no play does make jack a dull boy and unproductive to boot.
  8. Tell your people to go home when it’s time to go home and encourage people to find ways to genuinely fit their work into the working day. They and their families will love you forever.
  9. Ensure that the team know that you have ‘got their back’ and that you manage upwards, across and downwards, within parameters, and that you will represent them, as long as the team remain committed and focused on the cause. We follow people that would follow us.
  10. Show an interest in what your people do away from work and take the time to recognise key dates, outside work pressures. Show empathy and joy alongside the team for what’s going on inside and out of work. We want to be around people who want to be around us.
  11. Be clear in your expectations and the way you will measure the team, appraising and remunerating transparently. Fairness never hurt anyone. Inequality burns us to our core.
  12. Develop and provide opportunities for the team to progress as they wish and as their potential dictates; let team members fly the nest when they are ready and ensure that they have helped with succession planning before they leave. The team left behind, must feel that they’ve been looked after. We try to escape shackles.
  13. Make sure your team feel as appreciated as possible; make them cups of tea. Say thank you at the end of the day or week. Tell them to take half a day off when they have worked 14 hours the day before or work from home when they need to. Recognise their value and they’ll pay you back in spades. 
  14. Ensure the team see that you love what you do. If you don’t why would they?
  15. Arrange a family day at least once s year where all families get together and want to get together in your team; bring the kids, have a bbq; show interest and don’t talk shop. Talk about the greatness you see in partners and thank partners for supporting their other half in doing such a great job for you. Family matter, make your organisation a giant one.

So there you have it. 

Let me know what you’d add or take away.

Stefan 

Who am I? Stefan Powell…

I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.

Get in touch today…

If you’d like to experience what working with me is like, get in touch and we’ll see if coaching is right for you. I’d love to speak with you via:

Twitter: @stefanpowell
E-mail: stefan@yourleadershipcounsel.co.uk 
Phone +44 (0) 7736942382

It’s not just up to leaders to inspire 

The role of a leader is to inspire; right?

Yes absolutely, it’s imperative. My belief is that this is only a part truth.

The reality is that leaders, managers and everyone in the team needs to inspire other humans beings to do, be or think in a variety of ways. 

The person serving coffee has the role of inspiring you to:

  • Want to drink another coffee 
  • Drink again from their establishment
  • Ideally want you to want them to be the one serving you. 

Without inspiration we or those we come into contact with, live life in inertia.

We are all inspirational…

We are all inspirational we just don’t always recognise it or utilise it.

Our children want to be like us, our friends want to have a beer with us and our loved ones, wives, husbands and partners have devoted their lives to being with us. You don’t get that without the ability to inspire others. 

Reflect on:

  1. Who were you when you met these people?
  2. What were you doing?
  3. What have you done for them?
  4. How did you do it?
  5. What were you thinking and feeling when you were doing what you did
  6. What would need to be in place for you to be like that more of the time.

The role of a leader…

The role of a leader is to recognise the brilliance in others and help us to technique how much and when we shine.

When we shine we make other people’s days and in turn this leads to greater levels of satisfaction. 

Go shine…

Stefan


Who am I? Stefan Powell…

I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.

Get in touch today…

If you’d like to experience what working with me is like, get in touch and we’ll see if coaching is right for you. I’d love to speak with you via:
Twitter: @stefanpowell

E-mail: stefan@yourleadershipcounsel.co.uk 

Phone +44 (0) 7736942382

Are you ready to lead your people into 2016?

It’s rapidly approaching the end of the year and if you’re anything like those that approach me to work with them; this year will either be falling at your feet in submission or standing over you asking what have you achieved this year?

No matter whether it’s been a great year or less than you’d intended, end of year reflections offer you the opportunity to renew and refresh.

The success that many of my leadership clients see, comes from accepting that “the most effective action often begins with a period of reflection, followed by acceptance and then planning”. My question for you is; Have you paused yet to reflect on this year? 

Reflections on your 2015

Here’s 12 questions to help bring a renewed sense of purpose, enthusiasm and the spark needed to make next year the success you want:

Repeating and building on success 

  • What did you aim to achieve this year?
  • What have you achieved?
  • What has gone well this year?
  • What have you done to bring this success about?
  • How could you see even more of this success in 2016?
  • What will it mean for you to repeat your successes?
  • What will you do and how will you know when you’ve been successful?

Opportunities to be even better

  • What didn’t you achieve this year?
  • Which of these elements will have the greatest impact for you and your people in 2016?
  • What would be the impact of seeing success in these elements for your business in 2016?
  • What would need to change in order for you to see success in the elements you have identified? 
  • What will you do and how will you know when you’ve been successful?

Having completed this exercise…

Having reflected on these 12 questions, you’re now ready to identify the success you wish to see and the changes you can make to bring this success about.

An extra question 

Too often we define the activities that need to change but forget to consider who we need to be in order to deliver those changes. Now consider this:

  • Who do you need to remain/become in order to repeat and build on the success you achieved in 2015?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

In the meantime have a wonderful end to 2015.

Stefan

Who am I? Stefan Powell…

I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.

I am not a number…

I am not a number…

  • I have a family to feed and a wife and child to be home for.
  • I believe passionately in what we’re trying to do.
  • I celebrate just as hard as you do when we succeed.
  • I hurt when I hear our organisation being critiqued.
  • I wonder if we’ll make it long term.
  • I wonder whether I’ll still be here next year.
  • I am the chief executive of the organisation and I’m a human being too.

As you read this; what were you thinking…

At every level in an organisation there are people seeking to feel valued. No matter the position held; we are all human beings and none of us are numbers. As human beings we recognise that we are valued when:

  • Our opinions are heard
  • People recognise our highs and our lows
  • Please and thank you are the norm
  • Tomorrow actually does come 
  • We are given the time and support we need to succeed
  • Others challenge us and we know it’s because they believe that we have it in us to be even greater.

…delivering a sense of value through your leadership team

It’s not as easy as everyone would have you believe to make people feel valued, especially from afar. The key is to develop a sense of being valued, and the importance of actively valuing others, in your own leadership team first. In turn passing this onto your people.

To do this may require assistance…

Ensure that your own leadership team feel valued and get them to explore what makes them feel valued and how they can deliver this through their own reports into the business.

This may require the assistance of a coach, experienced in the ways of team coaching and sensitively handling tricky team based conversations and with the ability to bring the topic safely to the table and generate successful outcomes from the conversation.

Your starting point…

Your starting point is to evaluate how well you are already doing. Ask yourself; how much of this valued culture are you:

  • Seeing?
  • Creating?
  • Responding to?

By reflecting on your own embodiment of the culture you seek you can begin to make a considerable difference to your personal impact and in turn the impact of those around you.

If something is getting in the way…

If something is getting in the way of this happening as often as you’d like; get in touch and we can discuss how to bring about the change you seek.

  • Twitter: @stefanpowell
  • E-mail: stefan@yourleadershipcounsel.co.uk 
  • Phone +44 (0) 7736942382

Who am I? Stefan Powell…

I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.

What my clients have said…

“Inspirational – easy, thorough and methodical to work with while also intuitive, imaginative, creative, incredibly flexible and very accommodating”. Wendy Stern – Chair of Action For Involvement – http://www.actionforinvolvement.org.uk

Why we should listen to the quiet amongst us…

I’ve just read a great post by @susanjritchie: Should Women Be Any More Modest Than Men? I’d recommend you read it.

I was so struck that I felt I needed to reply.

The basic premise is best expressed in Sues own words, for me, in these two sections:

“we need to stop telling women that they need to be modest and instead encourage them to understand their strengths and be proud of them. And then, help them find ways to share their achievements”.

And…

“Now no-one is denying that humility is a great thing in a leader – but you’ll never get to a position from which to lead anyone anywhere, unless you get comfortable with communicating your excellence”.

I agree with you Sue…

I agree with you Sue and I believe the reasons to be many fold and even wider than women; although I accept they show themselves far too often where women are involved.

The quietest often have the most to say…

In my experience, those that are confident (be them male or female) who fail to ‘hide their light under a bushel’, often have little or no reason to be so confident. They tend to lack the self awareness and knowledge needed to truly inspire, lead and manage their people in the long term.

Those that are quiet (again whether male or female) often have the capability to meet the needs of their people; which in turn should rightly afford them the right to a forum when speaking. Unfortunately it so rarely does in a room full of ‘loudies’.

Listen to me but I shall not listen to you…

Those that ARE confident to highlight their own ability often don’t listen or give time to those that they should listen to. This is the same approach that I observe in activists vs. reflectors and pragmatists vs. theorists. The reality, so often, is that the loudest and quickest to shout, often get the first and last words.

Leaders seek out the quietest voice…

The greatest leaders I have worked with have always sought the voice of the quietest in the room as they recognise that this is often where the wisdom is stored.

Bias is definitely there…

The problem is definitely biased against women but is also biased against sensitive and intuitive men who take the time to consider the options, repercussions and/or make decisions based upon an instinct that they may struggle to articulate to others in the moment.

My hope and ambition…

My hope and ambition is that we move beyond a mere recognition of the value of diversity, past the embracing of diversity and into seeking its counsel as a matter of course.

The benefit of diversity has been interpreted by many over the years and it’s benefit to the achievement of greater outcomes accepted by many. One such example is Edward de Bono’s six thinking hats; a concept which has been around long enough for the maturity of our leaders to catch up.

Let’s grab hold of the diversity of all and make sure the ‘quietest’ no matter whom they are are brought to the fore.

Thank you Sue for grabbing my attention.

Kind regards 

Stefan

If you’ve enjoyed this and found it beneficial…

If you’ve enjoyed reading this and found this beneficial; I’d love to hear from you.

  • Twitter: @stefanpowell
  • E-mail: stefan@yourleadershipcounsel.co.uk 
  • Phone +44 (0) 7736942382

Who am I? Stefan Powell…

I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.

Why I do what I do…

“Stefan helped us focus on our goal neutrally and objectively, could we have done this on our own, probably! Would we have done it probably not!” – Russ Hobson – Agent – NFU Mutual 

Is 50% enough?

Today a colleague shared that they enjoy what they do less than 50% of the time. Which led to a discussion about how they could increase the level of enjoyment they got from what they do. It also got me reflecting…

I’m incredibly proud…

I’m incredibly proud to say that those I work with often tell me that they can tell I love what I do and I’m incredibly happy to say that I do. 

Don’t get me wrong there are moments when I pause and think oh no not this again (or words to that effect) and then I reflect on how I’ll buzz off what I get to do, helping leaders make a difference to their people, and the resulting smile that they and I will have at the end of the process.

It’s what drives me everyday to strive to be better than the day before.

Steve Jobs…

Steve Jobs once said that “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle”. 

Leadership is about doing great work and you don’t tend to do that when you’re unhappy. 

What’s more; personal dissatisfaction is likely to be disengaging your people; which is estimated to cost the US economy alone $370 BILLION annually. (Gallup)

So, how much of your job do YOU love?

If it’s less than 50%; is 50% enough? I don’t think so and its time to increase that figure. 

For every 5 days you’re at work, 2.5 days of your working week (assuming you don’t work weekends) are likely to be less productive than they could be and in turn your people need you to be. 

Change happens…

In the words of Tony Robbins “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change”. Answer the following:

  • What is it costing you to not find joy in your working life every day?
  • What would it mean for you and those around you to feel fulfilled by what you do?

You don’t have to throw out the bath with the bath water…

Making that change doesn’t have to start with throwing the bath out with the bath water, in fact a great place to start is with identifying when you’re already happy in your work; I’m hopeful those times exist for you – no matter how hard you might need to look at times.

Assuming you’d like things to be different; ask yourself:

  • When are you at your happiest?
  • When does work feel effortless?
  • When work does feel effortless?
  • What are you doing?
  • What are you talking about?
  • What are you feeling?
  • Who is with you?
  • Where are you?

Change happens…

Now, having identified when you already enjoy what you do, consider:

  • What changes would you need to make to enjoy what you do more often? 
  • What would you need to believe?
  • Who would you need to become?

A wise man once told me…

A wise man once told me that you “don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to become great”. So, when will you get started?

If you’ve enjoyed this and found it beneficial…

I’d love to hear from you.

  • Twitter: @stefanpowell
  • E-mail: stefan@yourleadershipcounsel.co.uk 
  • Phone +44 (0) 7736942382

Who am I? Stefan Powell…

I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.

Why do I do what I do? Making a difference…

“Stefan helped us focus on our goal neutrally and objectively, could we have done this on our own, probably! Would we have done it probably not!” – Russ Hobson – Agent – NFU Mutual