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Meeting Lord Sebastian Coe and discussing Primary Purpose of Organisations

Engaging the team, winning hearts and minds
It was very exciting to have Lord Sebastian Coe as the keynote speaker at the recent People Development Summit in Barcelona. His opening speech for the Summit focused at why London won the Olympic bid – I said why and not how, as this was one of the reasons London won. Lord Coe focused his team on the ‘why’ and not the ‘how’!

Just minutes before, over dinner with some of the UK’s leading learning and development managers and some of the most respected and competent training suppliers, I had been discussing how Talent Dynamics always begins by focusing teams and organisations at their Primary Purpose and how that links to value and leverage. We had been discussing this as the theme at the table was ‘thoroughly engaging the team with hearts and minds’ and being careful not to run employee engagement as a process.

We all smiled then when Lord Coe backed up everything we had just been discussing in his opening speech!

“Rarely are there only two horses in any race. The markets keep moving”

Lord Coe told us how the Olympic bid was being viewed as a “two-horse race” but in his experience there was no such thing – indeed the 1978 European Championships in Prague had been labelled a two-horse race, between Seb and Steve Ovett. As it turned out, neither of these horses won!

“The perception was we wouldn’t win it: we would get to a worthy semi-final only”

Lord Coe went on to explain that London was so far behind the other cities in approval points to win the bid it didn’t seem possible they could win. He knew why he was leading the bid and it was his passion for connecting young people to sport. He knew the impact the Olympics could have on young people entering both professional sports and sport for fun and could see that the Olympics was an enormous opportunity for young people in Britain.

“If you can get young people to see something different and extraordinary, you can give them a ticket to set them off”

Now his job was to turn the focus of his team away from ‘how’ they would deliver the Olympics safely, securely, on time and on budget (which everyone knew they could focus at later) and shifted the team to ‘why’ they were part of the Olympic Bid team. Why London should host the Olympics. Why they were giving up their time and leaving well paid jobs to be a part of this.

“A generation of youngsters who may now be moved to take up a sport…”

Changing the focus of his team led to London gaining 30 approval points in six months taking then to 60 points! He asked them all to understand internally why they were a part of this bid and why London should be picked and then he asked them to externalise that to others.

“ It happened as a result of a more compelling story and narrative”

London won the Olympic bid – it was a surprise to many people but not to Lord Coe and his team who were dedicated and passionate about the difference they were about to make to millions of young people across the UK!

So perhaps this week you can take some time out with the team from the how and the process improvements and refocus everyone on your Primary Purpose: why your organisation is here… why you are here?

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Helen Urwin, Founder of The Halthean Corporation, shares the impact of a recent Talent Dynamics Programme

Testimonial from Helen Althea Urwin – founder of the Halthean Corporation – Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

I decided to take part in a Pilot Talent Dynamics Programme in November. Being a consultant in the field specialising in Full Potential Branding, I work with leadership teams regularly to help them get the maximum out of their people and I saw this as a great opportunity to be able to participate in a programme with my entire team, as opposed to facilitating it, which is my traditional role.

What was fascinating for me to understand was how to increase the trust and flow in the team given that this was already very high.

However having briefed Michelle and Jan of the plan to double in turnover this year, we discussed the impact this could have on the team and how they would need to quickly raise their personal levels of performance to meet a challenging year of growth, along with the need for the entire team to be functioning much more in flow and quickly.

The Talent Dynamics team facilitated a fun, engaging and thought provoking two days. I witnessed changes in members of the team over this time as they grew to understand their Profiles, their natural talents, the reasons why they had easy or challenging relationships with one another and more importantly what it would take for the organisation to experience more trust and flow, resulting in more clients, new products and sustainable profit.

Three months on from the programme and we now have a unique language which we use with one another. As a result of the two days, we were able to discover new areas of value that could be created by allowing others to get into flow, doing what they love and what they are naturally talented at. We now have new members of the team, working on innovative new areas of the business, adding flow and value to our current offerings for our clients.

We have a new rhythm and routine, thanks to our understanding and implementation of the Talent Dynamics Pathway process, which gives us our daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual flow. This has enabled us to focus on what matters, when it matters and has given clarity to all the team.

Members of the team know who to pass the ball to with confidence, trust and certainty now. This has resulted in an opportunity for me to take much less of an operational role day to day and to really focus on the strategic, business building side of our brands and has created the space for all of us to raise our game and step up into our natural talents to perform even more confidently.

I would sum up Talent Dynamics saying that it has greatly accelerated both our learning and ability to put in place the vision for the substantial growth we are in the process of achieving. I will definitely be working with the Talent Dynamics team again in the future and have been very happy to highly recommend them to add value to my clients.

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Jan’s Corner: business as a game

Isn’t it strange how many people take business or work so very seriously? Yet business can be the best playground there is — just watch Richard Branson and Warren Buffet.It’s not about the billions of pounds of wealth they have created over time: that’s just the score. It’s about the fascination with what they do every day and how they do it, not just for themselves, but for others.

Even if you are not a billionaire, you can greatly increase your level of enjoyment, learning and performance in the workplace — if you play business as a game of collaboration with, and contribution to, others in your team or organisation.

The two following questions could help you:

1) What would be missing, or would not happen, if I were not at work for a year or longer (and nobody replaced me)?

2) How can I help to make my boss, colleagues, customers or suppliers more successful?

If you ‘play’ with these questions you may surprise yourself with the answers. If you are managing a business or a team, consider how much easier it would be if everyone had a chance to use their unique talents at work and their primary purpose was to be there to make others successful.

You would all have much more fun and it would seem like a game. And productivity would shoot up.

Much like the results Talent Dynamics achieves.

Jan Polak

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When was the last time you got naked with your team?

Why is getting naked good for business?

So this blog might not be quite what you expected it to be…but it’s a serious question for leaders and I’ve been giving it a lot of thought as we launch the Talent Dynamics Super Flow Roundtable this week, helping leaders achieve the results they desire with their businesses, by getting naked and really working together on solutions.

Now what I mean by getting naked with the team is this — sharing the business results honestly, looking at business performance, warts and all – an opportunity to air the dirty and clean washing with utter transparency. Comparing estimates against actuals. Combing through the P&L, sales targets, productivity of individuals, customer complaints, systems and processes, what the competition is doing etc…

If you want to make a difference, solve that sales issue, work out why the latest promotion hasn’t had the results you expected, you are going to need to take a closer look at it, maybe take it apart and put it back together again and the best way to do this, is with someone else, who can give you an expert opinion but they are going to need to look at the whole picture to be able to help. That’s the whole point of getting naked in the first place.

A workplace goes naked for the day

Design and marketing company Onebestway, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, goes naked for the day

But I don’t want the team to see how it looks naked!

If you had a problem with your car, you would of course take it to the mechanic and say “it’s got a juddering problem” or whatever the problem is: you wouldn’t then stop the mechanic looking under the bonnet because you know the engines a mess and you are embarrassed…how can he fix the car?

If you were feeling sick and you went to your GP and said, “I’ve got this really itchy rash and I want some cream to clear it up please” and the doctor asked you to take your clothes off so he could take a look, you wouldn’t say: “Oh no, it looks too nasty, can you just give me a solution without looking at it please?” How can she possibly know what prescription to write?

It’s the same with your business. Getting seriously naked is the best way to view the problem and then figure out the solution! Its when you involve the team with the whole picture and allow them to add value in the way that comes most naturally to them, that you will find their commitment to the business increases and the quality of the solutions roll in so much faster!

Once you have seen it all…you can start to focus on solutions!

It’s like this: those of you that know me, know that I’m a big fan of transparency in business and leadership. Its my experience that when you share with the team what’s really going on, they have an opportunity to step up and take some action.

I worked with a business recently that was under performing quite seriously and it wasn’t their normal policy to involve the operating team in all the detail, in fact they felt that keeping the information from them was the best course of action and that the leadership team would figure it all out: it wasn’t the best course of action of course. The team knew things weren’t going well and as no one involved them, they made up what they didn’t know; gossip was rife! Once the leadership shared the issues, the team were more confident and able to step up, as they knew the whole picture. They were now able to contribute ideas and more importantly solutions that really made a difference to the business performance.

Best of all they really owned both the problems and the solutions together.

So why not strip off?

I urge you in the next few weeks to try it – get naked – and see what new ideas and fresh inspiration you can come up with together in your business!

Getting naked with the team, doesn’t necessitate taking off your clothes, although I’ve heard some training organisations employ this method!

That’s perhaps a future Talent Dynamics programme…*makes note*

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Being focused on what matters in 2010

New Year’s Eve, sat round the fire with a glass of champagne.

My friends and family are discussing their resolutions for New Year. Some have been really diligent and written them down, others are making them up on the spot… so I suggested before we set the 2010 ones, that we take some time to look back at the 2009 ones to review: which had worked best and which hadn’t…

Very few people in the room could even remember what they had expressed last year. I could remember all of mine. I was asked how I even remembered what they were, when they were set so long ago and so I shared this with everyone and if it works for you too, then I’d love to hear back.

Goals or resolutions?

First of all I never set a resolution, for me it feels less likely to really happen than a goal. A resolution conjures up the need to resolve to change and usually incites the: lose weight, stop smoking, be nicer, blah blah blah… whereas a goal for me feels like it has more substance and I take more time to word it carefully in order to achieve it. A goal feels much more action-orientated for me.

Set enough to stretch but not too many to overfaze

You can easily overfaze yourself with far too many, or not stretch yourself with too few. My suggestion is at any one time have between three and seven goals on the go. If you have three, then they are likely to be very big demanding goals. If you have the maximum of seven, allow some smaller, more achieveable ones. During the year, when you achieve a goal, you can replace it with another so that, over the course of the year, you can achieve much more than seven.

Focus on getting better at what you are already good at

Those of you familiar with Talent Dynamics already know that you have certain skills and talents that you are much better at and enjoy more. A suggestion of mine, to make your goals more achievable, is to have at least 50% of your goals as things that you are already good at and that you want to get even better at in 2010: by the way, you are much more likely to achieve those ones and quicker. Its more fun to have those kinds of goals and they help to keep us in flow.

Keep them visible

I can remember mine because I keep them on my desk in front of me and read them often. Ask yourself when you go to bed at night ‘How did I do today?’ and when you wake up ‘What’s my focus for today?’ These two questions can serve as your daily review on your goals. If they are visible you will always have them in your mind to achieve

Share them with others

If you have a coach or mentor, then you can share your goals with them and they can help monitor your progress and motivate you to keep achieving. If you don’t have a coach (apart from maybe adding that to your goals list!) then you can share them with friends and family. Its amazing how others want to support you and you never know who in your immediate network may be able to help you out immediately (as I found with one of mine that I shared on New Year’s Day!)

Check how compelled you are to achieve them

There are two ways I do this for myself.

First, I read what I have written and notice how I feel about it. My gut feeling always tells me if I even want to achieve the goal – sometimes I can tell I have written a goal because I should do it and not because I wanted to.

The second way is to score each goal as to how motivated you are to achieve it out of 10. Be honest with yourself, if your motivation is less than 8, again, review this goal. Do you really want to achieve it? Are you even going to try?

…and finally and, in my opinion, most importantly: focus and take some action every day

Focus is so important to achieve your goals. Whatever you and your team focus on is what will get done. Fact.

Each day decide what action you will take towards your goals and spend some time reviewing what worked and what didn’t and how you can improve it for tomorrow. Sometimes its just taking that very first step thats the hardest, so make it a baby step and keeping taking baby steps until you feel ready to take a slightly bigger step. Rome wasn’t built in a day remember…

Best of luck to you for achieving your goals this year. Have a fabulous 2010!

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Are you solving problems or co-creating flow?

The ‘Problem’

Recently, I was working with a client, when they admitted to having a dispute with another colleague over a number of work-related issues.

This person, let’s call them Manager A was really struggling to see eye to eye with Manager B, who worked in the same department. The matters were of real importance to the organisation and they had attempted several times to discuss and resolve them. The boss had noticed the relationship differences and wasn’t sure how to resolve this either.

I wondered if part of the ‘problem’ was the level of trust between the two managers and if, as a result of this, the level of flow being created by each of them for the other one was not being maximised. Both were attempting to get an outcome that worked for them and hadn’t thought of the ‘problem’ as an opportunity to actually create flow for one another in a really effective way that would benefit the team and the organisation at a much higher level.

Measuring Trust and Flow

Having both already completed their Talent Dynamics Profile tests (and being almost opposites on the Profile square), I now asked Manager A to complete the diagnostic tool I use to measure PSR: Personal Social Responsibility and asked Manager B to do the same. Once they had both completed their assessment, I asked them to share their responses with one another.

The PSR scores show individuals very clearly where they create the highest amount of Trust and Flow and both were quite suprised at the low scores they recieved from the other manager!

Where an individual is not seen to be adding value or helping the team to leverage in an effective way, they will soon be rejected by the other team members and indeed ultimately by the organisation. Manager A and B recognised that this was happening to them, in the way they viewed each other and possibly the way other team mates viewed them also.

This created an open discussion on what could be done to increase both the Trust and Flow scores for one another. Both Managers realised the way that they could most successfully co-create flow was by taking specific actions that would enable the other person to increase the scores they had given them. To do that, the Managers created a plan both individually and together that they could implement.

Just last week I had a call from Manager A, to tell me that since they had this new level of understanding about how they can add most value to one another, their working relationship has improved dramatically. They actually now really appreciate the differences in one another and they value one anothers strengths and utilise them in a way that is much more effective for the Organisation. The boss has noticed the difference and commented on the improved outcomes that they are now creating together too!

Manager A said to me: ‘I wish we’d known about this months ago!’

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What is Talent Dynamics and what does it do?

Wow, so much has happened in the short space of two weeks, since Jan and I ran the first Talent Dynamics Pilot Workshop!! So many people have been asking me for more information, so over the next few days I will be sharing my experience of the past few weeks and answering some of those questions…

The main questions Im being asked are: What is Talent Dynamics and What are the Pilot Particpants saying about it?

What is Talent Dynamics?

Click here to see video on Talent Dynamics

Talent Dynamics is the first ever integrated training system that actually links Team Performance to Company Profitability, Sustainability and also Corporate Social Responsibility. It actually has strategies to implement at an individual, team and at an organisational level to achieve those outcomes.

Talent Dymamics was created by Roger James Hamilton as an extension of his World Leading Wealth Dynamics System for Entrepreneurs. If you have utilised and leveraged Wealth Dynamics, you may be able to have a guess at what Talent Dynamics is and does. Otherwise, let me explain.

Through the Talent Dynamics system, Organisations can actually measure and track their current level of trust and flow. They are then given clear strategies and tools that empower individuals at every level of the organisation to increase their level of personal effectiveness, increasing results directly.

There are a number of steps that an Organisation can choose to go through with Talent Dynamics depending on what they are looking to achieve themselves.

  1. Understanding Primary Purpose
  2. Measuring and Building Flow in the Organisation
  3. Meaningful, Measurable, Profitable Change

What are the Pilot Participants saying it did for them?

We ran the first Pilot with The Halthean Corporation – A team of extremely specialist Brand Consultants who work with some of the largest international Brands around. The second Pilot last week was with Cumbria University’s Facilities Management Leadership Team. A team of 12 who line manage over 300 staff over multi site operations in the North.

When we go back in 3 and 6 months time and see what both organisations say they have achieved, I will let you know. For now, the immediate feedback was fantastic:

  • 95% of the participants said they had learnt something completely new that had great applicability in their current role.
  • 90% said they now had a clear understanding of the value as an individual they bring to the organisation that they didnt see before
  • 90% can see clearly the value in their team members they didnt see before
  • 90% can also now see how they can effectively leverage that value for business results in a way they didnt see before.

Some of the anecdotal feedback we recieved was

“I feel totally empowered to be me and that actually, by being me, I bring tremendous value to the team”

“I cant believe we have achieved all of this in just 2 days!”

“Being part of this programme has opened me up to infinite possibilities in my organisation”

“We have a whole new strategy for 2010, one that we wouldnt have even known was possible if we hadnt done this process, one that we all feel inspired by”

“I had a negative and sceptical view at the start of this programme, I thought it would be a waste of 2 days. Its actually been brilliant”

“Its totally explained why I didnt get on with ‘Y’ and now we have a language we can use to work together so much more effectively and deliver much better results”

If you have some specific questions on Talent Dynamics you would like me to answer, please post them here and I will get to them over the next few days.

We are working with Workshop Productions who are producing a short video from the second pilot and that will be ready by the end of next week to view and share, so you can see us in action and hear the testimonials direct!!

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