All posts by alimont

Activate the Inner Agent

Check out our exciting URBEX video which shows how we help teams discover significant insights through operating as a counter-espionage surveillance team. An extraordinary immersive experience full of fun, challenge and new skills, and unforgettable learning.

Check out our exciting URBEX video which shows how we help teams discover significant insights through operating…Read more

13 Reasons Why Your Team Probably Isn’t Very Good…

13-Reasons-cover…and what you need to do to make them winners!

This is not a comprehensive checklist, but this team building resource does include some of the strategies that great teams work hard at getting right. Some of the “fixes” are obvious and simple. Some need you to do things differently. Others need external help.

Download this FREE resource

…and what you need to do to make them winners! This is not a comprehensive checklist, but…Read more

Are you an Open University Business School graduate?

OUBS residential workshop

4-5 July 2014

We are leading 3 sessions at the OUBS residential workshop “Motivation, Mindset and Resilience in the Workplace” 4-5 Jul 14 at the De Vere Milton Mill House, Oxford. Join us. Full details at http://www.open.ac.uk/business-school/alumni/news-and-events/forthcoming-events/thu-2014-05-29-1400/residential-workshop-motivation

OUBS residential workshop 4-5 July 2014 We are leading 3 sessions at the OUBS residential workshop “Motivation,…Read more

An invitation to walk!

We are offering a no charge opportunity to go for a walk!

The idea is simple. It is about doing something different to find the space you need to think clearly. Spend some time in the outdoors with one of our thinking partners. They are experienced business leaders in their own right and also experienced outdoor leaders. They will help create the space and inspiration for some quality thinking and exploring, and some chilling too.

How does it work?

We can offer a short walk near your work, or we can take you into the UK’s wilder spaces. You choose what you want to do, and where you want to go. Our thinking partners hold national governing body Mountain Leader and first aid qualifications. So, if you want to walk in a nearby park, that is great. If you want a day out in the mountains, that is totally doable as well.

There is no charge for this but the number of free walks we are offering is limited. The offer is restricted to one walk of up to eight hours duration anywhere on mainland UK, a party size of between one and six people, and is subject to availability. Detailed terms and conditions will be sent on application.

Remember “if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got!”

So, do something different now to bring freshness to your thinking, your conversations, and your actions. Let’s walk and talk!

Get in touch to explore more now.

We are offering a no charge opportunity to go for a walk! The idea is simple. It…Read more

Unflinching selflessness. The disclosure moment.

How important is disclosure where you work? How is disclosure encouraged and enabled? What are the expectations of those around you? Bosses, peers, staff, customers, suppliers?

A friend of mine led an expedition in the Arctic. One team member toughed out the onset of frostbite. Ultimately the whole team, as well as the individual, was put at grave risk when the frostbite deteriorated to the point when there weren’t enough hands, literally, to put up life-saving tents in a -55 degrees Celsius blizzard.

What are the trigger conditions for goal-critical disclosure where you work? The point before which your team really needs to know the important thing you know? The point before which alternatives can be enacted? The point at which colleagues recognise you have done the right thing? The point beyond which problems cost a whole lot more than they need to? The point beyond which people’s respect for you will wither in some way?

How do you balance a desire for individual strength around perseverance and resilience with the needs for team-ship and a focus on collective goals? What are you doing as a team to discuss and define the conditions when unflinching, selfless and courageous conversations are needed? What is the spirit of trust, commitment and accountability that will enable this?

Dave Stewart

The Fresh Air Learning Company

How important is disclosure where you work? How is disclosure encouraged and enabled? What are the expectations…Read more

Talking your way to underperformance

You sense that the other person is about to finish talking. You see a break, and off you go. Your mouth opens and out comes the words you have been itching to say.

How good are you at noticing what you say in meetings? Any conversation really? How well do you rate as a listener?

Do you find yourself waiting your turn to say something you are passionately attached to. Something you have been dying to say for some time? Do you experience an anxious energy which threatens to spill over?

How much of the previous person’s contribution did you actually hear? And were you listening to and reflecting on what they were saying? Did you ask a question to explore and develop new meaning from their ideas? What was created in the exchange?

Or were you, in super-quick fashion, simply categorising the seeming relevance of their contribution without any integration with, or shaping of what you said next? Were you just listening for the gap you are now filling? For your turn?

How creative are the conversations you take part in? What skills are in play? Listening skills, advocacy skills, inquiry skills, self-awareness skills, and more? How are these purposefully developed?

You can reshape strategy. You can redesign your processes. You can play with structures. And you can spend money on tools and apps. These are all good things, and used well, will help your organisation survive and thrive.

At the end of the day however these are all just things that are brought into being as a result of conversations and decisions.

What would it be like where you work if people become more skilled at having great conversations? Can you imagine what that might do for a whole range of issues? Innovation, agility, costs, competitive edge, resilience, engagement etc?

It seems an obvious area to invest in. Not many organisations do. Too busy talking at each other? Too busy talking their way to underperformance.

Dave Stewart

The Fresh Air Learning Company

 

You sense that the other person is about to finish talking. You see a break, and off…Read more

It’s a no-brainer. It’s a feeling. Do it!

We all know it happens. When times are tough, the training and development budget gets cut first. It is discretionary spend. Or so it is viewed.

Spending is tightly controlled. Closely argued business cases are demanded. The returns have got to look good to justify any investment. And, of course, ROI on training and development is notoriously difficult to quantify.

And yet some companies seem comfortable with allowing emotion and personal experience to sit alongside numerical evidence when they make investment decisions.

“You think we need to roll out a coaching programme across our customer-facing workforce? Yes, do it. No business case. Just tell me how much. We will know when it has worked because we will all feel the difference.”

That was a reported conversation between a well known global company’s Learning & Development Director and the Board.

And there are plenty of other examples like this one coming out of the Chartered Institute for Personnel & Development conference I am attending this week.

I wonder if we now have a generation of leaders who have grown up with positive personal experiences of coaching and mentoring, and who see spend on soft development as a no brainer.

Literally a “no brainer” because this is a decision based on a feeling. A sense of knowing beyond numbers.

 

Dave Stewart
The Fresh Air Learning Company

We all know it happens. When times are tough, the training and development budget gets cut first.…Read more

Beyond rude and into sloppy!

Getting straight, honest, and clear about the conversations we engage into.

I am pretty clear it is rude and sloppy. Face-to-face or virtually.

You offer a conversation. Someone responds positively. You respond in turn. Then silence. You wait. Maybe try again, worried you weren’t heard; worried the other person is beginning to think you are rude. Again, nothing.

This is an unlikely face-to-face interaction. But why is it so common in the virtual business world?

What is going on when people walk away from a social media or email conversation they have seemingly encouraged? “Thanks for this. Interesting idea/product/blog/point of view. Let’s talk more. Yes, let’s stay in touch over this.” You follow up. Silence.

I am pretty much past worrying, at a personal level, about getting a stiff ignoring. Almost. It still rankles of course. But why are “dead-enders” wasting my time and theirs?

I am genuinely curious about these stalled engagements. What is going on? Where does the initial interest and energy go? Is it a courage thing? Cold-feet around a new relationship, idea etc. Is it an energy thing? “Must get back to the comfort of always doing what I have always done.”

And what about good manners? “Thanks but I need to put this on the back-burner”, or “I have other priorities that demand my attention right now”. How much does a quick reply like that cost?

If we can’t be straight and honest, or find the energy and focus to follow-through, what does this say more widely about the quality of our working and other relationships?

If we just accept that “this is the way it is these days” we are copping out. It is beyond rudeness. It is sloppy and ultimately bad business. I am not promoting the “fluffiness” and niceness of good manners; I am promoting being straight, honest, and clear about what we do with the conversations we engage into. It’s a maturity thing. It is also an effectiveness thing.

So, what could be different right now in the teams and organisations you work in with a bit more social honesty and maturity?

Dave Stewart
The Fresh Air Learning Company

 

Getting straight, honest, and clear about the conversations we engage into. I am pretty clear it is…Read more