Creating Your Head Edge

How your mind can work for you, and against you!

Get your team, individually and collectively, to picture where they want the team to be at a given time (e.g. financial year-end).  Get them to see the picture of what it will look like, how they will feel, what they are doing.

The Power of VisualizationIt is important for them to be clear not on just where they will be, but how they will get there.  What do they have to do, day in and day out, for this to happen?  How will they do this?

Repeating visualization has been shown to improve performance and results.  Build this into all your interactions with your team, whether they be 1-to-1 or as a group, formally or informally.  On-going reinforcement of this is key and helps to build resilience and performance.

To view or download a PDF version of this blog click here 

Share your thoughts and ideas here, or email me at andrew.cooke@business-gps.com.au

If you found this article of use or interest please don’t hesitate to share it with others.

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What a Lack of Trust Can Cost You

Trust taxes are costs that you incur when there is little or no trust. When trust goes down, speed also goes down and cost goes up.  This is a “tax” – and this tax can double the cost of doing business.

Meeting in office

There are 7 types of “trust taxes”:

  • Redundancy & duplication with smaller spans of control – if there is less trust, then you will find that tighter control develops over smaller areas and that there is an unnecessary duplication of resources to offset the increase in perceived risk.
  • Bureaucracy – with less trust so procedures and systems become more cumbersome in order to bridge the perceived gap between what is needed and what is available in providing security and consistency in the work done.  In the US there is Nordstrom where its high levels of trust are reflected in its one card operating manual: on one side of the card it says – “We have one rule… – on the other side, it says “use your best judgment in all situations“.
  • Politics – more silos develop and turf wars become more prevalent.  Less trust results in individuals putting their agenda ahead of others and the business overall, it also creates a “fixed mindset” where people see the pie as fixed, so that they only way they can get a larger slice of the pie is at the expense of somebody else e.g. different departments negotiating for budget allocation will compete against each other for it.
  • Disengagement – a lack of trust reduces staff engagement as they do not believe that their leaders have their interest at heart.  This is reflected in research which shows that 96% of engaged employees trust their leaders, whereas only 46% of employees who are disengaged.
  • Turnover of Employees – as disengagement increases, so staff perceives roles and jobs elsewhere as more attractive which, previously, they might not have considered.
  • Churn – low trust also extends to customers and other stakeholders who now see other businesses as more attractive and less risky.
  • Fraud – with lowering levels of trust there is a lower level of integrity increasing the likelihood of fraud being committed within the company.

If you have a lack of trust, then you are likely to incur some or all of these taxes.  If you have a lack of trust then you need to address this. This is the subject of another blog.

To view or download a PDF version of this blog click here.

If you found this article of use or interest please don’t hesitate to share it with others.

What to Do Before You Start Making Decisions

What you need to do before you start the decision-making process

by Andrew Cooke, Growth & Profit Solutions

Decisions Before You DecideWe make decisions every day; small ones, big ones, unusual ones, specific or general and those which have become a force of habit.  We get so involved in the decision itself that we become blind to the key dimensions that surround it. So what are they, why are they important and how can we use them to help us make better and more effective decisions?

The Four Key Dimensions

There are four key dimensions which need to be considered when making a decision.  This includes:

  1. Composition: Who should be involved in the decision-making process?  You need to make sure you have the right people, with the right information, who can contribute and develop the necessary decision.4 Dimensions of Decision-Making
  2. Context: In what type of environment does the decision take place?  Is it an open environment that fosters open, constructive dialogue?  Or a closed environment in which personal interests supersedes those of the group?
  3. Communication: What are the “means of dialogue” among the participants?  Does it involve considerable direct discussion with those with relevant knowledge and expertise, or is it ‘filtered’ through reports from senior people in the hierarchy?  Are there face-to-face meetings or is it via phone, email, reports etcetera?
  4. Control: How will the leader control the process and the content of the decision?
  • Control of the Process how do you want to shape the way that the deliberations are undertaken and followed;
  • Control of the Content how much do you want to control the outcome of the decision

This last factor- Control – is the hardest, and has the greatest impact on the decision.

A Balanced Approach

A balance between control of the process and control of the content is required.  Too little or too much control of the process and/or the content will result in sub-optimal decisions.  Some of the impacts of low or high levels of control on the process or content are shown below.

Impact of the Level of Control of Content & Process in Decision-Making

 Decisions and Control

So how can we achieve a balance in controlling both the process and content of a decision?  There are three steps:

 3 Steps for a Balanced Approach

1.      Be Clear on the Decision

Are you clear on what the decision is that you are making is?   For example, you are looking at how to improve your retention of key customers.  This is not a decision; this is a problem that needs to be solved.  Be careful not to confuse decisions with problems.

2.      Know What Objectives & Outcomes You Want to Achieve

Have a clear understanding of where you want to be as a result of the decision you have made.  Knowing this will help you understand what expertise and information you need, from whom you need to get it, and the people who should be involved.

3.      Have Checks & Counter-Balances

You will find that you and others involved in the decision-making process will fall into common decision-making traps or errors of judgement.  Understanding them, and how to avoid them will provide you with the means to check your collective thoughts, ideas and insights and reduce the likelihood of your decision being subverted.

Use this as a checklist – make sure you address the four dimensions: Composition, Context, Communication and Control – and build the means for better decisions.  Will you share this with your colleagues and those who participate in your decision-making processes?

It’s your decision.

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Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.