How to use mindfulness to support your people during changing times

mindful walking

Mindfulness can be done anytime, during a walk is ideal

Meditation is now being used to help people deal with the stress change in the workplace brings. Called ‘Mindfulness’, it can be used for a short time every day – with big results.

Anyone can learn Mindfulness. It’s simple yet challenging. You can do it anywhere, at any time, and the results have been shown to be life changing.

To recap, this form of meditation can be done anywhere to help stop you becoming engulfed by the mind’s emotional ‘chatter’, so it doesn’t control you.

Here are some ideas on how to be mindful:

It can be helpful to pick a particular time – your journey to and from work or during a lunchtime walk – to actively notice your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations, and the world around you. Try doing this today: find a new lunch spot or sit in a different seat when travelling to work. Now examine your surroundings, such as the air moving past you; or look at an item in detail (a raisin, a sweet wrapper).

Be mindful during a walk

Be mindful during a walk

Examples could include:

  1. Sensations – the food you are eating, the air moving past your body as you walk, your breathing…
  2. Colour
  3. Sound
  4. Smell
  5. Taste

Now, notice the chatter going on in your mind. Observe your thoughts as they float past. Don’t try to change them or debate them, or judge them – just observe them. Practice helps, so this ‘chatter’ doesn’t become yet another mental event that controls you.

Does this sound like a small thing to you? Yes, it is, but it’s straightforward too. However, it is proven to help us engage more in the everyday activities we often bypass as we are often on autopilot. In this way, we gain a fresh view of the world – and our place in it.

When to use it:

Whenever you can and especially when you experience several moments that see you dwelling on unsettling, possibly distressing, memories – the kind that involves you reliving the event. You may find it helps to silently name these thoughts and feelings as they emerge. For example: “I am worrying”; “I’m not good enough to do this”.

Please get in touch with Marjorie Raymond, on 07779 345 499, or email m.raymond@mwrconsulting.co.uk, if you would like to talk about Mindfulness.

My next blog post will look in detail at ACT, Mindfulness’ relative, and how it has been used to help people and organisations during times of change – and as an ongoing part of employee wellbeing and engagement activities. ACT stand for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Reach us at 07779 345 499, m.raymond@mwrconsulting.co.uk

Marjorie Raymond

Marjorie Raymond

T: 07779 345 499

E: m.raymond@mwrconsulting.co.uk

We have experience in developing senior managers and their team members – both on an individual and team level – so they can develop practical approaches that encourage positive, constructive behaviour. This, in turn, leads to the development of positive beliefs and values. We are ready work with you, to help you get the best out of your people.

Here are some examples of approaches that can be used and tailored to your individual needs:

  • Support if you are being bullied, or have a member of your organisation who has made a bullying complaint
  • Mediation, to address workplace conflict
  • Personal development activities
  • Individual and group coaching…Coaching – a powerful way of developing people
  • Psychometric assessment, which can identify strengths as well as derailing behaviours and also include 360 degree feedback
  • Structured module for understanding the psychological contracts in your organisation, both at an individual or team level
  • Straight Talking: …Straight Talking create change through conversations
  • Special projects, secondments and assignments

 

 

 

 

It’s not rocket science is it? – 5 test questions, just in case it is

Rockets put satellites into orbit, does that make them more complex to understand than human behaviour?

Rockets put satellites into orbit, does that make them more complex to understand than human behaviour?

“It’s not rocket science is it?”

How often do we hear that? This powerful, loaded question is often posed when people start to rationalise proposals for new ways of working. Then an unspoken:

“so we are doing it already, stupid”

hangs in the air.
However, usually when I hear this it indicates to me that the person I am talking to knows that change is not easy. This person knows that moving from the idea of change to starting new behaviours is really challenging. In their heart of hearts they know something different needs to happen. They don’t have the ‘know-how’ to bring this about. Perhaps also they may not want to face the energy demand associated with facing up to a change.

I encourage the person to keep talking to me at this stage as this is the very moment to continue a dialogue.

The knack is to call out this underlying point:

Hold conversations

Hold conversations with people to understand what is holding them back from taking on board new expectations about behaviours

“It may not be rocket science; however, people are not really making any change after all, and it’s not clear what is holding people back from not doing the behaviours?”

 

 

 

 

Here are 5 follow up questions that I find useful for testing whether rocket science just might be more involved than first thought:

1. What evidence do they have to indicate that the behaviours required may or may not be in place?

2. When people are under pressure is there evidence that shows the behaviours consistently remain in place?

3. Are the words associated with a change unfamiliar to people? If so, what may be the benefit of using words that are more familiar?

4. What are the tangible gains that people can point to from changing behaviours?

5. How will you know the change has been successful – what will success look like?

Reach us at 07779 345 499, m.raymond@mwrconsulting.co.uk

Marjorie Raymond

Marjorie Raymond

T: 07779 345 499

E: m.raymond@mwrconsulting.co.uk

We have experience in developing senior managers and their team members – both on an individual and team level – so they can develop practical approaches that encourage positive, constructive behaviour. This, in turn, leads to the development of positive beliefs and values. We are ready work with you, to help you get the best out of your people.

 

Here are some examples of approaches that can be used and tailored to your individual needs:

  • Special projects, secondments and assignments
  • Mediation, to address workplace conflict
  • Personal development activities
  • Individual and group coaching…Coaching – a powerful way of developing people
  • Psychometric assessment, which can identify strengths as well as derailing behaviours and also include 360 degree feedback
  • Structured module for understanding the psychological contracts in your organisation, both at an individual or team level
  • Straight Talking: …Straight Talking create change through conversations

Marjorie Raymond

How do you engage your people during organisational change?

New approaches to mentoring means it is not old hat

Mentoring is certainly not old hat

I’m asked quite often whether mentoring really works as a way to engage people during organisational change.

My answer goes something like this:

  • Research shows that organizations who establish a mentoring programme will see a significant effect on levels of employee engagement.
  • However, employee engagement during times of change is important. It builds understanding. It builds commitment. As a result, people see their organization positively and they will ‘go the extra mile ‘.
  • The old hat model of ‘mentoring for high-flyers’ is overturned by being most effective with the bottom 20% of performers.
  • Mentoring delivers higher levels of engagement and is valuable.

These days mentoring is a much broader approach.  Rather refreshingly it now applies to everyone.

Mentoring is for everyone

Mentoring is for everyone, it builds skill and confidence

Mentoring is especially useful in virtual teams, project teams and during organisational change. Nowadays mentoring is about learning and advising. When carried out in this way it raises levels of knowledge and skill, builds competencies and develops confidence.

If you need to introduce a change to how people work, then consider using mentoring to help people engage in the change and sustain it in future.

Reach us at 07779 345 499, m.raymond@mwrconsulting.co.uk

Marjorie Raymond

Marjorie Raymond

T: 07779 345 499

E: m.raymond@mwrconsulting.co.uk

We have experience in developing senior managers and their team members – both on an individual and team level – so they can develop practical approaches that encourage positive, constructive behaviour. This, in turn, leads to the development of positive beliefs and values. We are ready work with you, to help you get the best out of your people.

Here are some examples of approaches that can be used and tailored to your individual needs:

  • Special projects, secondments and assignments
  • Mediation, to address workplace conflict
  • Personal development activities
  • Individual and group coaching…Coaching – a powerful way of developing people
  • Psychometric assessment, which can identify strengths as well as derailing behaviours and also include 360 degree feedback
  • Structured module for understanding the psychological contracts in your organisation, both at an individual or team level
  • Straight Talking: …Straight Talking create change through conversations

‘Competency framework’ – tool for performance appraisal

 

'Competency frameworks' can provide the language needed to tackle performance management

‘Competency frameworks’ can provide the language needed to tackle performance management

‘Competency frameworks’ can provide managers with both a framework and the language needed to tackle the complex task of performance management.

They can do so in three ways:

  • by defining each competency
  • by breaking down each competency into levels of performance through which people can progress
  • by providing behavioural indicators – through the use of examples – to show what both desired and derailing behaviours look like.

The table below shows how competencies at various levels – from basic to management level – are expressed. Each competency in the table has a definition, and the different levels of performance include: behaviour, knowledge, skills, abilities, attributes and attitudes.

Table to show an example of how a coaching competency may look in an insurance industry management role – a Call Centre Manager

competancy table

Often six performance levels are indicated in such tables – from zero, which is not relevant, to five, which indicates mastery. Incidentally, the requirements at level five also include those from levels one to four. The ‘coaching competency’ table above is for an insurance industry contact centre manager role. Identifying, and then defining, all the needed competencies and then putting them into such a framework means the relevant ones can be assigned to each role (typically, these will be six to eight per role). The required level of performance is also highlighted.

A competency framework such as this can provide an organisation with both a very useful tool and the language needed for good performance management. Language can be customised by leaders to ensure it is individually focused and relevant to the team, and aligned to the organisation’s goals.

Our next blog post will explain the contribution ‘competencies’ can make to developing trust, and how trust can ignite both individual and team engagement.

Reach us at 07779 345 499, m.raymond@mwrconsulting.co.uk

Marjorie Raymond

Marjorie Raymond

T: 07779 345 499

E: m.raymond@mwrconsulting.co.uk

We have experience in developing senior managers and their team members – both on an individual and team level – so they can develop practical approaches that encourage positive, constructive behaviour. This, in turn, leads to the development of positive beliefs and values. We are ready work with you, to help you get the best out of your people.

 

Here are some examples of approaches that can be used and tailored to your individual needs:

  • Special projects, secondments and assignments
  • Mediation, to address workplace conflict
  • Personal development activities
  • Individual and group coaching…Coaching – a powerful way of developing people
  • Psychometric assessment, which can identify strengths as well as derailing behaviours and also include 360 degree feedback
  • Structured module for understanding the psychological contracts in your organisation, both at an individual or team level
  • Straight Talking: …Straight Talking create change through conversations

 

Energise your organisation using ‘competencies’

A ‘competencies’ framework can be used to manage performance and link individual performance to organisational goals.

Illustration of a Competency Framework

Illustration of a Competency Framework

Competency is critical to individual, the team and the organisation’s performance.

Competency links individual performance to organisational goals. And when competency-based performance management is carried out well it engages people. Since competency is so important – and useful – this will be the first of five blog posts that look at various aspects of developing and using ‘competencies’ that tend to be overlooked, or tend to become diluted over time.

Managing competency starts with a framework that includes all the organisation’s roles and at all levels. Typically, six to eight such ‘competencies’ relate to business and people management, and another six to eight relate to technical skills. In large organisations there may be specific frameworks that reflect job families and distinguish between team member competencies and management ones, particularly senior management competencies.

Competencies explain – and show – how important elements, knowledge, skills, abilities, attributes and attitudes, impact specifically on each role. Like an iceberg, not all of these elements are visible – see diagram below.

Not all the important elements needed to be competent are obvious

Not all the important elements needed to be competent are obvious

However, the important elements can become visible in two ways:

  1. when identified for each role, through dialogue with those with similar roles
  2. when they become visible during performance management assessment and dialogue with the individuals concerned.

The next blog post takes a look at how competencies are expressed.

Reach us at 07779 345 499, m.raymond@mwrconsulting.co.uk

Marjorie Raymond

Marjorie Raymond

T: 07779 345 499

E: m.raymond@mwrconsulting.co.uk

We have experience in developing senior managers and their team members – both on an individual and team level – so they can develop practical approaches that encourage positive, constructive behaviour. This, in turn, leads to the development of positive beliefs and values. We are ready work with you, to help you get the best out of your people.

Here are some examples of approaches that can be used and tailored to your individual needs:

  • Special projects, secondments and assignments
  • Mediation, to address workplace conflict
  • Personal development activities
  • Individual and group coaching…Coaching – a powerful way of developing people
  • Psychometric assessment, which can identify strengths as well as derailing behaviours and also include 360 degree feedback
  • Structured module for understanding the psychological contracts in your organisation, both at an individual or team level
  • Straight Talking: …Straight Talking create change through conversations

 

 

 

 

Coaching your call centre people can increase sales by 10 per cent

Coaching frontline call centre people inceases producitivity and engagement

Coaching your call centre people can increase sales by 10%

Call centre supervisors who coach their staff not only improve productivity and employee engagement but convert this into strong bottom line results – typically a 10 per cent increase in sales and a 25 per cent rise in customer compliments.

That’s right compliments – not complaints.

A recent study found a clear productivity benefit – a saving of one second on each call – as a direct result of coaching.1 And, in my experience, the strong bottom line results mentioned above are not uncommon.

In the call centre world, time spent talking to customers is sensitive. It has to be gauged just right. Every second really does count. Each call has to be judged just right – neither too long nor too short. Eliminating verbal clutter, so as to reduce call time, is a prized achievement. As the research study mentioned above showed, reducing call time by just one second enhances the customer’s experience, making for real quality interaction, and increases productivity.

But, sometimes supervisors were unwilling to coach. This usually happens when they haven’t been encouraged to:

  • advance their coaching skills
  • coach staff, rather than concentrate on administration
  • develop their confidence

From an effectiveness and an efficiency point of view, it makes sense to equip supervisors to coach their staff.

Even when organisational hierarchies are flattening, the evidence indicates there is a need for supervisors to play a central role in employee development – and in performance management too.

Supervisors really are the ideal people to deliver call centre training.

1 Liu, A and Batt, R (2010). How supervisors influence performance: a multi-level study of coaching and group management in technology-mediated services. Personnel Psychology, 63, pp265–298. 

Reach us at 07779 345 499, m.raymond@mwrconsulting.co.uk

Marjorie Raymond

Marjorie Raymond

T: 07779 345 499

E: m.raymond@mwrconsulting.co.uk

We have experience in developing senior managers and their team members – both on an individual and team level – so they can develop practical approaches that encourage positive, constructive behaviour. This, in turn, leads to the development of positive beliefs and values. We are ready work with you, to help you get the best out of your people.

Here are some examples of approaches that can be used and tailored to your individual needs:

  • Individual and group coaching…Coaching – a powerful way of developing people
  • Personal development activities
  • Special projects, secondments and assignments
  • Mediation, to address workplace conflict
  • Psychometric assessment, which can identify strengths as well as derailing behaviours and also include 360 degree feedback
  • Structured module for understanding the psychological contracts in your organisation, both at an individual or team level
  • Straight Talking: …Straight Talking create change through conversations