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Talent Dynamics RSS Feed Blog Category: High performance teams

Getting Projects into Flow

By Neville Pritchard 

So many projects fail to meet initial budgets and/or timelines. Why? When working with the underlying principles of the Talent Dynamics profile relating to I Ching it is so clear that any great project or organization strategy needs to follow the natural flow of the seasons, natural energies and relate to the positive cycle of default question.

So, what are these links and how do they apply in a project context?

‘When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.’ – Howard Schultz

This approach relies on digging deeply at each stage. There is potential impatience in following taking time to fully consider each step before reaching ‘how’ – however, the stress caused when projects have to be pulled out of disaster or at least re-worked to incorporate more realistic timing and detail can be avoided by spending the time at this early stage.

Positive Flow

Think from NHS technology to those projects within your own organizations.  In researching a number of high profile and also smaller organization projects we have realized that whenever implementation has more closely followed the ‘positive flow’ we see high percentages of success.

The danger and where we have seen the lowest levels of success has been when either the Why has not been fully defined and when the planning has jumped from What to How. These are common issues yet a large percentage of these errors are made at the most senior levels. Often in the belief that key to speed is the ability to move thinking from what to how and an assumption that the why is obvious. Neither of these considerations are logical. When fully explored and the evidence of major project failings is so overwhelming it is time to stop the assumptions.

Stress, Timelines and Budgets

Think about the people you sit near on trains having fits of stress from phone calls about their timelines and budgets. The person I sat near last week was in deep do dah!

On listening (it was hard not to!) it was clear that so many of the ‘who’ questions had not been considered that he was now being blitzed by a range of people that he had never heard of now sending him irate e-mails. This he was passing onto a colleague to investigate and all of the action and task considerations would now need revisiting. Unfortunately this is a familiar tale.

Positive Depth

Essentially, once the ‘Why’ has been agreed at senior level and the ‘what’ defined then it is the time to pass the ‘thinking’ on the project over to a core set of project specialists and facilitators with the skills to ensure the positive flow and depth is completed.  The added value from executives can then be brought to consider a fully developed approach rather than ‘solutioneer’ a less developed frame. Time of all is better utilized.

This is not easy to achieve though; the need for trust is key. When in place though the enhanced impact on internal trust, of workflow and on people costs and people value contribution are likely to be significant and the real value of each level of contribution is focused to greater impact.


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How Sustainable is Your Team’s Energy?

The environment and sustainable energy has been a core feature in news for several decades now.  We are all aware that fossil fuels are a finite resource and to safely secure our future alternate, renewable energy is a must have.

Big Issue, Small Application

Yet how often do we think about our team’s energy?  We all know the feeling of being supercharged with energy and we also know the feeling of being flat.  Where is the source of this energy and how can it be made sustainable?  This blog was spurred by the following conversation overheard between two employees (paraphrased for space):

“Employee 1: I’m not having fun in work any more.  It’s just a real grind now”

“Employee 2: Well work isn’t supposed to be fun is it?  Otherwise it wouldn’t be called work”

Both employees are clearly verbalising a feeling of low energy.  Work not being fun any more.  A real grind.  One employee is clearly suffering because of it, the other seems to have come to terms with the fact that the work they do isn’t fun.

Can Work = Fun?

Employee 2’s point of view is quite common, even if it isn’t verbalised.  Fun and work are mutually exclusive.  You can’t be working and have fun, you can’t have fun if you’re working.

Without going into the detail around what counts as “work” and what counts as “fun”, the principles of Talent Dynamics would disagree with this view.  If you are doing an activity or task that you are good at, you enjoy or are trusted in, chances are you are going to feel supercharged, a state referred to as flow.  If you are in flow you will be having fun (that is not to say there won’t be pressure, that’s a different thing).

And this is the key to understanding how to ensure your team’s energy is supercharged and sustainable.  Ensure that the activities and tasks are given to the right people.  Not necessarily with the skills and experience but the ones who will enjoy it the most.  They will be super productive (even over the ones with skills and experience) and they will enjoy what they are doing.  Enthusiasm will be high and people will have more energy.

Employee 1 sounds like they used to be given the tasks and responsibilities they enjoyed but perhaps because they were so good at it, they have been promoted, moving them out of where they are trusted and away from where they found their flow.

Employee 2 sounds like they have never been given tasks they enjoyed so never experienced flow (and likely not have a high level of trust).  They have come to terms with this fact by switching off and disengaging.  They are in it for the money, not for the pleasure of a job well done or for helping their team achieve success.

Which employee would you want in your team?  How sustainable is your team?  Have you asked which tasks your team would enjoy doing?

Featured image used with thanks to Paco Cepas


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DT’s Tower: A Team Without A Supporter

We don’t live in an ideal world do we?  On paper (and the Talent Dynamics square) it would seem to be a simple matter of getting a Supporter to lead your team productively, ensuring everyone was doing the things they most enjoyed, inspiring them and delegating new tasks effectively.

So what happens when there is no Supporter, not even as a secondary profile?  If the Supporter is the natural team leader, with their focus on people and relationships, its opposite profile, the Lord (with a focus on spreadsheets and structure) must be seen as the worst team leader. Right?

A Lord leading Creators

As I’ve mentioned previously… I’m a Lord (and yes, spreadsheets, flowcharts and numbers is where my mind naturally goes) and I lead a team of Creators.  Not a Supporter in sight but as a team we work well together and certainly find our flow. Structurally and creatively 🙂

This has got me thinking about how this works and what can be learned from it.  A core principle of Talent Dynamics is that the path to Flow is based on your natural talents.  What comes easily to you.  And by layering different talents together in a team you should be able to cover all potential situations.

Change What You Do, Not Who You Are

So the answer to the Lord leading a team isn’t by acting as a Supporter.  That takes me right out of Flow.  What puts me into Flow is information and structure.  So this is how I can help the team, I can effortlessly shape and relay the information so the Creators can concentrate on creating what is needed as efficiently and as accurately as possible.  Where Creators might float around a bit(!) working out what needs to be done, who needs to do it and by when I can help impose a structure (but not too much… they are Creators after all) that helps provide boundaries through organisation and project management.

Yet that is not all that the team needs.  And this is where there have been struggles.  Creators crave significance.  They don’t (always) need their ego stroking but they do need to feel that what they are doing has an impact.  As a Lord, heavy on the detail and big on the numbers I can lack the warmth of a Supporter (read: my highest praise is a nod of satisfaction with a bullet point list of feedback on what could be improved) so I needed to think hard on how to ensure the team gets what they need.

A Final Challenge

I’m still working on it! (I am a Lord after all) What I have come up with so far is to ensure that each team member has their own ‘area’,  a little fiefdom where they can take the action that they feel needs to be taken (using their initiative to best effect) and can immediately see the benefits of what they are doing (boosting their significance).

Yet Creators can often leave chaos in their wake, so I lean on my high Tempo energy to ensure that they know they can talk to me (one to one obviously) and together we can fix the problem in the long term (they’ll have already jury rigged something) and I can tweak the detail to ensure it isn’t likely to happen again.

A final thing that I am trying to do is lean on my Steel energy to tell ‘the story of the numbers’ behind their actions.  Using quirky visuals and plenty of colour they will be able to see what they are doing is having a significant impact and give them ideas of what can be done next (without boring them with black and white figures).  Thus starting the cycle again.

I just have to try hard to ignore their desks…

😀

Featured image courtesy of Glenn Pebley


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A Profiling Workshop – Sysmex Middle East’s Story

Saad Kayali, the Managing Director of Sysmex Middle East, a subsidiary of Sysmex Europe GmbH, had his Talent Dynamics profile done and liked the results so much he asked Susan Castle, Performance Coach & Flow Consultant, to do the same for the entire top level of his company!

There were six managers at this level:

  1. the Managing Director,
  2. the Marketing Director,
  3. the Logistics Director,
  4. the HR Director,
  5. the Sales Director
  6. the Operations Director.

As global leaders in vitro diagnostics and automation services, the managers seemed to have no immediate issues. All communicated well with each other and as a team were seamless.

Uncovering Issues

The issue was they tended to focus on areas they knew they were brilliant at – for example the conception of ideas, but they had blind spots in other areas, i.e. putting things into action.

On completion of their individual Talent Dynamics profiles the explanation became obvious.

Out of the six people on the team, four were Mechanics including Saad, one was a Lord and the other was a Creator profile.

This lack of Blaze and Tempo energy explained why they were good at brainstorming, but not so strong at following through. They were very tunnel focussed and tended not to go for bigger targets those with a more Blaze energy would instinctively do.

Talent Dynamics Workshop

Saad then asked Susan to run a leadership development training session to decide what changes, if any, needed to be made to their management set-up.

“I wanted the Heads of Departments to understand their own profiles, master their own talents as well as ensure that these talents are put into good use for the team and the company. Having a team that is well-honed and performing at their best can only be good for business.”

During the workshop they looked at what was stopping them from setting bolder financial targets. Was it a Dynamo, Tempo, Blaze or Steel problem? The managers ended up with about 30 or 40 different things blocking them.

After narrowing down these blocks further, the underlying core issue became apparent:

the truth was there was no one in that room with the specific kind of business power or ability to deal with Blaze or Tempo challenges.

What Kind of Energy Are You Missing From Your Team?

Each of the directors left the workshop motivated and full of clarity. They had a deeper understanding of what was stopping them from achieving higher targets and more importantly, who to go to in order to solve any issues and help achieve these new goals.

Susan says, “Sysmex found, through the test, that the management roles fitted them quite well but the workshop helped them to leverage these strengths by highlighting them and showing them how they could be leveraged to improve team communication and performance while reducing stress.”

Saad is now planning another workshop for the next level of management in the Sysmex team and we’ll keep you posted on how much of a difference this one also makes!

 “I think Talent Dynamics is a great opportunity to maximize the harmony within the team, to get the needed group mindset and perspectives of “what else we can do”; and thus develop a healthy change culture, opting always to challenge our own achievements and parameters to yield further milestones in the journey of success.”  – – Saad Kayali, Managing Director of Sysmex Middle East


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Nicci’s Call: Trusted Sales at the Trust Conference

By Nicola Bonfanti – Talent Dynamics for Sales

“Trust” and “selling” are not always concepts that go hand in hand in people’s minds. For that reason I was gratified that my talk “Trusted Sales: People to People Selling” at the recent Trust Conference was packed out.

Also, nearly everyone in the room gave me their contact details to get the free report I had prepared for the event. Anyone who has done a talk or an exhibition stand will know how difficult it is these days for people to give up their contact details.

For the past year I have been researching the ways the 8 Talent Dynamics profiles have success in sales, have blocks in selling and therefore how I can help them be more successful.  I’ve shared some of this in my blogs here along the way.

Based on this, here is the 3 step plan to win better business that I shared with the room on 11th September.

1. Establish the Sales Dynamics profiles of your sales team (or at least yourself)

I have looked at many sales cycles adopted by different companies and found the common activities and sales skills match the 8 Talent Dynamics profiles (See above).  As a result, the  Talent Dynamic for Sales Reports (available later this year) show the strengths and challenges of each profile as a sales person, their best role in the Sales Cycle and the value they give to the sales team and the client.

Knowing your own Sales Profile gives you confidence and insights into how you can add value to the client as a salesperson.

For example, a Trader is great at resolving problems, at giving excellent customer service so is well suited to incoming inquiries and complaints that other profiles with less patience would not handle well.

Whereas a Creator sales person is best with new clients, spotting opportunities and helping the client come up with new joint ideas for growing their business, that others hadn’t thought of before.

2. Place the sales team members in the role they are best suited to within the sales cycle

A sales team full of Stars will generate a lot of interest but may leave sales on the table through lack of follow up, for example.

Some salespeople may be pretending to be a Star as feel that is a “typical” attribute of a salesperson when in fact their true Accumulator profile is just what the team needs to do the planning, research and put together competitive tenders. So once the Sales team has completed their profiles, we can help them fulfil their potential by placing them in the right role for them in the sales team.

3. Focus on your clients

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, the most important thing in trusted selling is to put the client first.   Imagine the power of Talent Dynamics for Sales in creating better relationships and better understanding between buyers and sellers, so not only do you understand your own strengths , challenges and value as a sales person but you understand what drives your buyers to buy.

I didn’t have time to cover as much as I wanted on this aspect, so I’ve put a free Sales Success report together for you that you can implement ideas from immediately. If you missed the session and would like a copy you can get it from http://trustedsalesdynamics.com/resources/e-guides/

I am  passionate about making sales a trusted profession, making people feel proud to be a salesperson and I was gratified that so many people at the Trust Conference felt the same and wanted to be part of the Trusted Sales  Movement.


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[VIDEO] Roger James Hamilton and the 3 reasons to attend the Trust Conference

Roger James Hamilton, international entrepreneur and futurist takes some time out to share his 3 reasons for being at the Trust Conference this year.

1. Trust and Markets

The ways people are sharing and noticing your business is changing rapidly and these changes make prediction difficult.  By focusing on the value of Trust your business can add a little extra certainty.

2. Trust and your Team

Only a few years ago you could be certain about the people, roles and responsibilities of those around you.  Not so today with virtual work spaces, flexi-time and entire supply chains changing or disappearing.  In this space who can you Trust?

3. Trust in Yourself

New options and new pathways for career progression are opening up all the time.  Businesses and individuals are having wild success with specialisation and niche targeting.  This can leave people second guessing themselves.  It can be difficult to Trust in your own decisions and your own personal journey.

You can still book tickets for the 2014 Trust Conference here


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Change and Challenges – Amanda’s Story

By Osmaan Sharif

Recently there was a big change in the management team over at Citizen M Glasgow.

The new hotel manager, Amanda, had been a participant on one of my previous Talent Dynamics workshops here at Rapid Transformation, and approached me about doing some work with her new team.

Hitting the Ground Running

Her challenge was for the team to quickly build trust, understanding, and effective ways of communicating with each other.  She wanted them to hit the ground running, especially when it came to the special projects that each manager would now have individual responsibility for.

It was refreshing to work with a team that’s led by someone who’s putting Talent Dynamics to work.  Amanda had already been using all the knowledge and skills that she’d learnt at her previous workshop, by being mindful to recruit a team that spanned the eight profiles, as well as assigning individual projects according to profile strengths and preferences. 

Putting the Pieces Together

Now she wanted the team to gain an understanding and appreciation of each other’s strengths, and to work out how to excel together.  During their Step One (Full Day) Programme, we looked at the challenges the managers faced and how they could improve the way that they tackled them.

For example, we looked at how they could improve communication by understanding the differences in how people from each profile tend to act, communicate and think.  We took some of their pressing challenges and listened to all the different perspectives from each manager, noticing how they view things differently and what benefits that had for the team when it came to finding solutions.

Team Harmony

By the end of the workshop, all the managers recognised that they were part of a well-constructed team.  They were more appreciative of each other, and not only did they recognise that collaboration was key to the success of their hotel; they had the tools in place to make that collaboration a natural way of working for them.

As a result, they all understand why they’re each leading different projects, and how they can help each other to make them a success.  And Amanda didn’t come away empty handed.  Even though she’d been on a workshop before, she learnt more about how to best communicate with and support each individual member of her team.  She told me:

“It was a real awakening for the attendees to see how they each support one another based on their profiles. We came away from the day with real goals and areas for focus and having learned a lot. Since the training day, we have refreshed individual tasks based on profiles and the team harmony is better than ever. I can also use the training day as a starting point for developing each manager.”

Copy and Photo courtesy of Sam Dounis


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The Dynamic Dozen of Real Estate Sales

In the highly competitive world of Real Estate, a high functioning sales team is vital, followed closely by quality listings to satisfy their hunger to sell. One high profile South East Queensland agency turned their struggling sales team full spin into a dynamic force within months, using the guiding force of Talent Dynamics profiling techniques.

Profiled by Rebecca Mitchell, Talent Dynamics Master Trainer and Performance Consultant from Brisbane, this team of twelve real estate professionals achieved some surprising results.

From Flagging Sales…

Sluggish sales and unmet targets were an early warning sign that the team were falling out of step, despite a strengthening property market.

The General Manager knew every individual had the qualities of a great salesperson, yet somehow their motivation was lagging their ability. So he brought in Talent Dynamics Master Trainer, Rebecca Mitchell to decipher the cause of their failing KPI’s.

Each rep took a Talent Profile test. The GM had assumed all profiles would be Stars– known for their prowess as promoters and delivering results, or Supporters – able to reap sales with their Blaze energy leadership. But the Talent Dynamics profiling results proved different.  From the eight reps only three were Stars and one a Supporter, complemented by a Deal Maker, two Traders and one Accumulator.

By understanding how their Talent Profile powered their performance, the team identified changes that would take them into rapid flow.

But what quickly turned their team into a “dynamic dozen” was working together to change how each person went about selling that also complemented the others.  Their new goal: to increase revenue by $100,000 over the following 6-12 months.

The Stars came up with the strategies to help the Deal Maker, Traders and the Accumulator, instantly inspiring and reducing competition between them. Each eased into action – and their natural flow.

To Flogging It!

Over the following weeks, the sales team completely changed their focus and responsibilities. The Deal Maker shifted to partnering with other agencies and financiers in the region.  The Trader took over the ‘walk ins’ and incoming phone and website enquiries. The Accumulator concentrated on telesales and follow-up sales, as well as reporting weekly sales figures. The Supporter took over the Office Manager role and recruited a small team of three commission-only sales agents who worked closely with her – running information evenings, connecting with the local Chamber of Commerce, promoting their office and running monthly events.

The three Stars continued with traditional listing strategies by marketing direct to home owners. They also featured at the monthly events, each month in turn, which further developed them into their own area of expertise; one in apartments, one in standard priced houses and the other in executive homes and house and land sales.

Within six months the team had exceeded their initial $100,000 target! They are now set to increase their bottom line by $500,000 by the end of this year.

This shining real estate firm has jettisoned their motivation and their performance to new levels by embracing Team Dynamics at its best.


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Has There Ever Been A More Important Time To Build Trust?

There’s never been a more important time to build Trust.

With banks and entire economies collapsing around us, governments surrounded by covered up scandals… who can consumers and the public trust and by how much?

The Impact of Trust

It is the most trusted companies today are being the most successful. They are out performing their competitors by as much as 10 times.

In a Watson Wyatt 2002 study, high-trust organizations outperformed low-trust organizations in total return to shareholders by 286 percent.

As if that’s not exciting enough…

When Trust is consistently high, productivity speeds up, people feel more empowered and make better decisions. Accuracy levels increase. Absence decreases, turnover decreases. People have more fun and feel more connected to the organisation and team.

Consequently, the company performs at a much higher level, consistently.

We know from our experience, clients who have accelerated levels of Trust in their organisations,  go on to create results that have as much as doubled their revenues and profits. We hear of teams being told to go home in the evening, they are so engrossed in what they are doing, they didn’t notice how the time flew by!

Is Trust simply a buzz word that companies are banding about today?

Anyone who thinks Trust is simply a buzz word or an HR fad, is unfortunately missing the point.

Richard Barrett of the international Values Centre, asserts,

“that of all values, Trust is the most important to build internal cohesion of a high performance team”

Do you have high Trust?

High Trust is a measure that you are delivering Value consistently to your market or team. As you would expect, we have a series of sophisticated tools that we use to measure Trust with our clients.

However, you can already have a Trust ‘litmus measure’ based on what your customers or colleagues are saying.

The most Trusted companies are the ones that have clients returning time and again to purchase their products or services over and over because they are delivering Value consistently.

Apple has people sleeping on streets overnight to get hold of their latest product. Apple customers have such high levels of Trust in the organisation, they will pre-order the latest product without even seeing it first. This is because Apple focus on the best way they can deliver Value through being consistently innovative.

Trust in High Performing Teams

The most trusted individuals in a team are the ones who are consistently delivering Value to their colleagues in a way that it can be leveraged effectively.

An example of this would be a Creator profile who creates visionary strategies for the business unit, that are scalable and sustainable. Creating exciting new products and services that consumers want and need.

Or an Accumulator profile that ensures all the projects and processes are delivered on time and in the most efficient and timely way possible. Checking all the information and research to make sure the overall plan of action is the most risk averse and water tight.

Wherever you deliver Value consistently, as an individual, a team or an organisation, you will see you can build Trust and you will continue to have a place in the market or the team or organisation.

Can you improve  Trust levels?

Absolutely!

Trust is established and grown when:

  1. You say what you are going to do
  2. It is seen to be of Value by someone else (a team member or customer)
  3. You do what you said you would do, really well and consistently.

If you want to build more Trust, then focus at delivering more Value consistently.

Once you lose Trust, can you ever regain it?

There’s an old saying you may have heard.

“Once trust is gone it’s gone forever.”

Well that’s not strictly true.

If you follow the same principles, you can re-build Trust by consistently delivering Value. It may take longer but it’s not gone forever!

Where Trust was already really high and something goes wrong, its much easier to get the Trust back quickly. There’s enough in the ‘trust bank’ to already believe the person or organisation will fix the situation and do what they said they would do.

If there was low Trust in the first place its certainly harder to get it back but it’s always possible to regain and replace Trust if both parties are open to it.

Think of a relationship you had, where Trust was lost for some reason, if both parties feel the win of being together in a relationship is enough, then they figure out how to build trust.

Sometimes you just need to ask the other party if they are willing enough to want to rebuild it…

Find out how to build Trust in your Business

If you want to know more about building Trust in your business for success, join us at the Trust Conference in London on September 11th with Keynote speaker Sir Bob Geldof.

Early bird tickets still available, please click here.


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What’s new?

Well the big news for us this month has been the official announcement that Sir Bob Geldof is to be the keynote speaker for the September 11th Trust Conference.  I’m sat on the train back from London, writing this, after meeting with Sir Bob to film a video about the importance of trust, in the run up to the conference! Can’t wait to share that with you in the next few weeks!

A tireless campaigner for human rights and charities around the world, Sir Bob, along with our other expert key speakers this year, are set to share, powerful, practical strategies that each of us can implement both in our work and in our lives. Showing us tried and tested ways to create a more trusted work place, community and world, not just for us here and now but for our children and future generations to live, work and connect in.

Wether you are running a multi million dollar business or you are in start up phase, The Trust Conference is the place to be, to learn how you can propel your business to outperform your competitors by as much as 10 times by growing Trust.

(Oh and if you live too far away to get to London on the day, this year we are also live streaming the event and providing participants with downloadable recordings to watch later)

Click here to book an early bird priced ticket

I interviewed Hollie Delaney last night. Hollie is the Head of People Experiences at Zappos.com. A billion dollar company that Hollie highly attributes to a high culture of Trust, Connection and Happiness. Hollies sharing was generous and insightful about how to create an awesome culture, wether that is from a start up get go situation or an entire corporate cultural shift. Click here to access the recording

With less than 3 months to go now to the 2nd Trust Conference, we already have over 350 business leaders booked to attend. Gold VIP tickets are sold out so please don’t delay if you are planning to attend…

Have a flow filled month ahead!

Michelle

PS. On July 16th at 1730 UK time, I am interviewing my good friend Roger James Hamilton, who is also one of our Trust Conference speakers this year… Roger is a renowned futurist and entrepreneur. His insights into building Trusted organisations and teams are not to be missed, so please diarise the date and look out for the details!


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