Author Archives: thehumanexperience

4 steps to make a hope a habit

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I work with businesses, individuals, body builders, boxers and other athletes. Those who are super successful tend to be the ones whose mindsets enable them to build and follow through with highly effective, daily habits.   I’ve always been fascinated by what goes on inside their brains – what separates them from the rest?  A lot of people throw around phrases like “naturally gifted” or, “they were born with an unnatural ability”. And they may have a small case to make but, contrary to what you might think, there’s far more to it than that.  

Over the years I’ve studied the mindset of top performers to enable me to help everyone I work with, not just sports and business people, but individuals wanting more from life. One of the books I read recently, which was co-written by a highly respected performance coach, was ‘Organise Tomorrow Today’. 

In it they speak about overcoming the ‘fight-thrus’. It’s the point where your initial euphoria of “I’m going to make this happen!” Becomes “I’m not sure about this”, “it wont matter if I miss today” or “this is tougher than I thought.”

They speak about having the ability to overcome two or three of these important battles with yourself to be able to make a habit become second nature. 

They speak about there being three phases to habit formation: The Honeymoon, The Fight-Thru and Second Nature.  Meaning it starts out fun, then it gets hard, then it’s easy. 

Most people tend to go through this when trying to develop a habit and have to consistently perform at the very top.  Most people can do the honeymoon phase when everything seems easy, then as soon as it gets hard, they fail to FIGHT-THRU, which of course means they fail to have habit installation, where it becomes second nature to them. 

It’s not just sports and business people who have this problem, we all go through this, but once you recognise it and have a plan for how to overcome it, you can take whatever you’re doing to the next level. 

In the book they speak about 4 tips to make it happen, which briefly are: 

1: Ritualise. Put things on autopilot. Make it easy to repeat your behaviour. Have your day planned so you don’t have to think and waste time or energy. 

2: Recognise. Recognise. Simply knowing (!) that you will inevitably encounter that little, whiny voice trying to negotiate with you that *today* is the day to skip our commitment is a HUGE part of the process of winning fight-thrus. Quit being surprised. Recognise a fight-thru when it’s happening and crush it. “Ah, this is a fight-thru. I’ve got this!”

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3: Ask Two Questions. We need to coach ourselves. Two questions = 1) “How will I feel if I win this fight-thru?” and 2) “How will I feel if I LOSE this fight-thru.” <— Powerful.

4: Life Projection. Take 30 seconds (right now!!!!) to imagine your life in 5 years if you consistently win your fight-thrus and install whatever new behaviours you’re fired up about. SEE IT. FEEL IT. Get fired up about who you are becoming and what your life will look like.

Remember the biggest factor in anyone, reaching that level is their relentless ability to consistently win the fight-thrus.

You’ve got this! 

Dealing with negative comments

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At some point we all come across negativity in some form or another, and it can crush your confidence. But how do you deal with it? You could be thinking of setting up in business or taking your current one to a much higher level. It could be you want to apply for your first management role. Maybe you’re a sports person or in a team or just starting out on the road to try and get fit and lose weight. Maybe you’re a budding body builder and have plans to go on stage for the first time and compete. Perhaps you’re about to embark on a major change in life, such as going to University as a mature student or going travelling.

It could be anything that you’re trying to achieve. I used those particular scenarios as I’ve recently been asked, by people in those positions, how to deal with receiving sometimes hurtful negative comments, or others trying to put you down with humour by mocking your efforts publicly. What I get asked about most is negativity online (or trolls as they’re some times know). Those people who like to sit behind the comfort of their keyboard and typing nasty negative comments about people.

My answer is always the same. Anyone who goes out of their way to attack or drag you down for trying to achieve something or better yourself, is usually lacking in their own self belief and hugely insecure! They have to mock or pull others down as, deep inside themselves, they don’t believe they could achieve what you’re trying to do. Not only that, they don’t believe they can achieve their own goals or dreams and probably gave up on them long ago. They then have to feed their psychological need to feel good, and have significance, by laughing at or attacking someone else’s dreams.

My advice is to keep your focus on you. This is their issue to deal with. You could be going out and feeding the homeless in your spare time and someone will have something negative to say (I’ve seen this!). Whatever you do, some will love it and some won’t. Don’t let anyone steal you energy. Tony Robbins says, “energy flows where focus goes”, concentrate your energy on what you’re trying to achieve. The late, great Jim Rhon said ” you are the average of the 5 people you spend most time with”. Surround yourself with people who inspire, love and support you and keep going. Try to find at least one other person to share the journey with you. If you’re the only person you know on your path, use the wonders of the internet to research subjects you’re into, join a club or a group and hang out with people who are as passionate as you. You’ll be surprised how many people out there are also interested in what you’re doing. The ‘dream stealers’ of this world will soon move on to find another fix to satisfy their insecurities.

Five steps to successful onboarding

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Many employers still make the mistake of putting new hires straight into their roles, expecting them to settle in on their own as if they’ve worked there for months!  It’s surprising how little thought goes into onboarding, especially at large companies where they have the resources to do the job properly.

I’ve worked for organisations where onboarding consisted of having new starters shadow someone for a day or two, (if they weren’t too busy), and that was that! Poor onboarding can be costly, with new hires taking longer than necessary to reach full productivity or leading to people leaving very quickly, especially if they’re good.  Considering the cost, time and effort of finding the right person in the first place, a thorough plan for getting a new starter up to speed should be high on the agenda.

In case you were thinking it, onboarding isn’t just for large organisations. Having worked in both large and small companies, I’ve had the opportunity to see its effectiveness in both.  Even in smaller businesses, it’s a fantastic opportunity to not only settle the new member of the team in, but to have them become productive and happy employees far quicker.  We’re not talking about a quick orientation here; walk them around the building, introduce them to a few people along the way and give them a copy of the company handbook, then leave them to fend for themselves. Onboarding goes beyond this, as the first few weeks are crucial to embedding the business’ culture into the new starter.

Here are my steps to onboarding a new team member and seriously increasing their odds of success in the business;

  1. 1. Even before they start, send a letter or email, or call them to confirm the details of any parking, the dress codes, their start date and time and, if possible, the name of an onboarding partner/buddy who can help them with any issues in their first few weeks.
  2. 2. Allocate them an onboarding buddy who shows them around the building, introducing them to people as they go, and shows them where all the amenities are.  They’re also on hand to answer any questions they may have and check that they’re doing okay. This is crucial, as there’s nothing worse than a brand new member of the team sitting at their desk, looking around wondering what to do and who to speak to.
  3. 3. Set up a ‘new starter meet & greet team’.  This can be just one or two people, or more depending on the size of your organisation, who are great examples of what the company stands for, who live your company values and really embody the culture you want to promote.  They meet every new employee and give a personal account of their time in the business as well as a description of what it’s like to work there and what’s expected.  They can also be called upon for help if the new hire’s onboarding buddy isn’t available and they need advice.  This is a fantastic way to embed people into your company’s culture.  It’s also great for the confidence of the employee who can hit the ground running much faster, knowing there’s help on hand.
  4. 4. It’s a great idea to have already filled the employee’s calendar for the first week or two. Book in meetings with any members of staff they’ll be working regularly with in other departments and have them meet the senior team and directors, even briefly, as this lets them know everyone in the business values them as a member of the team and has a genuine interest in them being successful. Remember the first few days of a new hire’s experience with your company is going to lay the foundations of their impression of your business.  If your attitude towards your onboarding is one of disinterest or is something cobbled quickly together, it will be evident to the employee.
  5. 5. Establish a well thought out training plan that takes into account different learning styles (see Honey and Mumford), and gives the new hire time to practice and absorb what they’ve learnt (see Kolb’s learning cycle).

If you do this, every new person will see that you genuinely care about their experience, and you’ll significantly raise your chances of having highly productive and happy team members, who embody your culture.

5 very simple steps to add rocket fuel to your morning, and life!

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The way you spend the first 30-60 mins of your morning can have a massive impact on the rest of your day and even your life. A more productive morning routine will mean you are more productive in life as well. Changing my morning routine a couple of years ago, made a huge impact on my life and it can on yours by giving yourself a little time to follow some very simple steps.

It’s fair to say we all have rituals in our life, whether we like it or not. The way we handle our finances, relationships, our health or even our children.  If you look at someone who goes weight training five times a week, you can usually work out, just by looking at them, their attitude and rituals towards working out.  The things we do on a daily basis have a huge impact on the results we get from life.

Starting the day in a proactive and not reactive state is powerful.  Waking up, after hitting the snooze button three times, checking social media and emails for half an hour then rolling out of bed to have an unhealthy breakfast and a quick wash followed by a dash to get to work on time, isn’t an inspiring way to start the day!  Reacting to social media, emails or what’s on the news is stressful and unhelpful.

Many of the most successful people in the world such as Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, the list goes on and on, take control of their day with good rituals.  As you known these people weren’t just lucky, they have certain things they do daily that make them successful and it starts with daily rituals that turbo charges their morning and allow them to be focused and have the energy to attack the day.  They do things to help them have a strong body and mind.

Here are my 5 simple steps that are guaranteed to add rocket fuel to your morning, make you productive all day and change the quality of your life. If you want to be as successful as you can in life and help others as well, you can’t do that until you help yourself first.

  1. 1. Get up when your alarm goes off.  The snooze button is not your friend! Dropping back in and out of sleep makes you groggy and by hitting snooze you’re subconsciously telling yourself you’ve failed in your first commitment of the day.  Waking up at the time you set the night before is the first step in conditioning yourself to achieving your goals. It may be a small win but, lots of small wins throughout the day equals a fantastic 24 hours.  Tomorrow, when your alarm goes, jump up and grab a glass of water or green tea straight away.
  2. 2. Mental Vitamins!  Take two or three a day with your tea. What I mean by this is, have written down two or three positive affirmations and say them out loud. One of your affirmations could be “I have all that I need to achieve what I want today”. Then, while you drink your morning tea or water, take time to say what you’re grateful for, it could be as simple as having a warm bed to sleep in, a job to go to or just that you’ve woken up! Expressing gratitude helps you put your life in perspective and gives you a more positive outlook. Whilst doing these genuinely try and smile as this creates a ‘feel good’ state that you will take on through the day.
  3. 3. Pick two big wins for the day.  Before you go to bed, pick two things that, if you accomplished them will feel like the day was a success.  In the morning, look at what you’ve picked, close your eyes for a minute and visualise yourself doing those things.  Try to be as specific as possible, play the images out in your mind and see yourself doing them successfully. You can’t have huge, epic wins every day, but having a strategy like this will keep you focused and moving in the right direction.
  4. 4. Exercise! Yep, you probably guessed that this would been in the list somewhere; and maybe, like a lot of people, you are filled with dread at the thought of anything more punishing, first thing in the morning, than walking downstairs or lifting a kettle!  Relax, you don’t have to run a 10k to get some benefit here. Between 5-7 mins of activity is enough to get you breathing heavily and it won’t have a major impact on your time.  Exercising takes care of your mind as well as your body.  Your body is linked to emotion, and even some light exercise can go a long way to combating stress and makes you feel good for up to 7 hours after.
  5. 5. Breakfast.  Now I know some people will say they never eat breakfast or can’t face anything until after 11am.  One of the best things you can do for yourself, your mind and your body, is to eat a healthy breakfast especially after exercise.  It doesn’t have to be much, it could be a nice green smoothie or some fruit.  My personal choice is porridge with banana, nuts and dried fruit with a cup of green or peppermint tea.  This sets me up for the day and keeps me going until my next meal.

Take charge of your morning! When you start to be proactive and look after yourself first, you become much stronger at dealing with whatever the day throws at you.  As I mentioned before, morning rituals massively helped change my life and we all have them. Ask yourself, do yours get you pumped for the day or disempower you? Are they slowing you down, holding you back or helping you get what you want from life?

Going back to school!

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Through the work we do with SMEs, I was recently asked to be keynote speaker at the Leeds Enterprise Network event addressing the leaders & employees of early stage businesses and SMEs. It was to be held at Leeds City College and this made the decision to speak even more appealing as it was the college I attended after I left school.

It was a privilege to share the story of how I had come full circle, from having studied business at the college, to going through my career and setting up my business, T.H.E..

The network is a collaboration partnership between the Business Support Services, Leeds Beckett University Enterprise and Innovation Hub, Leeds City College, and Leeds College of Music. They all do a great job and offer fantastic services. When you get a chance check them out, they’re a friendly bunch!

I’m always excited to work with and speak to SMEs, and these networking events are a great way to meet new people and share experiences and ideas. Have you attended any good networking events lately, or do you run an event? Either way, please share by leaving a comment below.

Robert Lattibeaudiere

RETENTION AND ENGAGEMENT: WHOSE PROBLEM IS IT?

More and more businesses globally are realising the severity of having disengaged staff in their workforces, especially the impact to a company’s bottom line.

Quite often staff retention and engagement are left to HR to deal with, something which they are not usually specialised in. Their area of expertise may lie more in advising managers on the appropriate policies and applicable laws as well as resolving issues that arise between management and employees.

It’s actually more the responsibility of Directors, Senior managers, managers and team leaders. They are the ones who should be working together to help with the problem of poor retention and engagement. Staff members are also responsible to a smaller degree as well I feel, however, they do need a reason to be engaged at work before we can talk about how they can help to maintain it.

So, back to our leaders, these people also need to feel engaged so they can inspire their teams and in doing so alleviate the problem of disengagement. It therefore has to start with the people at the very top.

When it comes to work force engagement, everything must always come from the top and be in line with the business’ core values. Just as values can lose their potency over time and go off track, so can staff morale and their level of commitment to the business. Do they remember or even know why the company started in the first place and what it is all about?

Last year, Towers Watson published the results of a study of 31 economies around the world. It showed that more than one-third of employers surveyed (35%) reported an increase in employee turnover over the same period. Alarmingly, the study also found that just four in 10 employees report that they are “highly engaged”.

Many leaders tell us, with regard to engagement, that they run a ‘people survey’ and that engagement is the responsibility of HR or those running the survey.
The message, culture and ‘feel’ that comes out of the boardroom from all the directors and senior leaders, is that which will be carried all the way down to the newest and the least senior member of the workforce. This is THE place to start if you want to stop your people leaving.

Are you inspiring your team or getting in the way?

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Leaders Inspire!

We often hear about owners of football clubs or large sports teams who can’t help but get involved in the day to day running of the team, especially when things aren’t going so well.  They often visit the changing rooms when the team’s had a particularly bad day, and undermine the work of the manager by charging in and trying to affect change with their own reasons as to why things are going wrong and what should be happening to put it right; and we all know how those stories usually end!

Sometimes the situation is that  your business could be doing well, or just okay, but you’re doing too much of the day to day management of your staff.  Or maybe the business isn’t scaling or is in trouble.  Perhaps you’re doing really well, but you’ve hit a plateau and don’t know how to take it to the next level?

It may be that you’re being guilty of managing rather than leading your business. Often with companies, especially the small to low-medium sized ones, it is all too easy to fall into the same trap as the aforementioned football club owners!

Business owners and their managers are two completely different things, but owners tend to overlook this, having built the company from scratch.  I see it so often where leaders who should be steering the ship, are so busy fire fighting alongside their staff, that they lose sight of the bigger picture and end up going further off course.

If your business is struggling in some way and you’re doing the same things over and over, trying to squeeze that little bit more from everyone in your team;  getting involved in the man-management of problematic individuals, working longer and longer hours to turn things around and standing over the shoulder of your managers in the hope that it’ll add weight to whatever it is that they are doing; you’re going in the wrong direction!  You need to step out of your comfort zone and do something different.

Go back to basics, look at what you can change, rather than doing more of the same.  If your business has gone ‘off course’ it needs to be realigned.  You need to do something different, be more connected with your people on a human level and more innovative mentally; do things you wouldn’t normally find in a book.

Leaders inspire! They surround themselves with good people, share with them and bring to life their vision, values, and goals. As soon as your team understands and buys into this, give them the freedom to get on with it. By empowering your managers to fully manage in their way, and supporting them when needed, you can take the helm and steer the ship safely to success without needing to run the main sail and mop the deck as well!

Does being profitable mean you don’t have to worry about engaging your employees?

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 Image credit: e-arogya.com

I had a client ask me this recently and then a couple of days later, I read Gallup’s data showing that only 13% of people worldwide are actually engaged at work!  This got me thinking, a lot of organisations must be taking the view that ‘as long as we’re profitable, does it matter if our staff are disengaged?’

 

Firstly it is important to recognise that these are two totally different things.  You can increase profitability in many different ways such as re-negotiating prices with suppliers, re-structuring and generally trimming the excess throughout the business. Maintaining profitability however, is almost impossible without a engaged workforce and your chances of increasing profits and sustaining these over time without your staff behind you, are slim to none.  To get this mix right, the management team have to put as much energy into ensuring their people are engaged, as they do into drilling down into the company financials.

 

One great way is to go back to basics and talk to your team, all of them!  Now, this may sound banal or cliched but it isn’t that simple or straightforward.  It must be done in the right way and not come across as patronising.  People must be able to speak openly without fear of punishment and allowing them to do this is the only way you will get real feedback.

Whilst in this  dialogue, help them to fully understand why the organisation exists.  Do they know why?  In their minds the reason may simply be “to make the owners/ Directors rich!”  Simon Sinek really explains this idea well in his TED talk start with why.  Your team must understand and feel part of the bigger picture. If you can get everyone, and I mean everyone; including the least senior members and the junior recruit who started last week, pulling in the direction the company wants to go, because they understand where you’re going, what you’re trying to achieve and most importantly the part that they play in that, then you can look forward to long term sustained profits that will possibly be bigger that you’ve ever had.

Long term satisfaction for employees is more about being a valued member of a team, working to achieve something important, rather than how much money they’re paid (provided they’re being paid fairly).  Employees don’t tend to leave organisations they tend to leave managers!

 

Robert Lattibeaudiere

RETENTION AND ENGAGEMENT: WHOSE PROBLEM IS IT?

More and more businesses globally are realising the severity of having disengaged staff in their workforces, especially the impact to a company’s bottom line.

Quite often staff retention and engagement are left to HR  to deal with, something which they are not usually specialised in. Their area of expertise may lie more in advising managers on the appropriate policies and applicable laws as well as resolving issues that arise between management and employees. Continue reading

Rob’s Top Tips to Improve the Human Experience at Work

I’m often asked the best way to keep employees and keep them happy. As well as “How do you keep your teams so fired up?” I usually reply by first of all asking, “Why are your employees unhappy?” Followed by, “Do you know why people are leaving your business and why they’re so disengaged?”

Until you know what the problems in your organisation are no one can give you the answer or work on a solution. If you throw money at it, by increasing commissions, salary or bonuses and nothing changes you have a new problem, which is now more costly than before. Continue reading