Archive: Jun 2020
How to develop resilience
Posted: June 25, 2020 9:46 amResilience is basically the ability to recover when something in life goes wrong. The more resilient you become the less likely you are to dwell on failures or feel defeated by adversity. Instead, you’re much more able to learn from situations and to move forward whatever happens in life. If you’re looking to develop more resilience for life there are some key steps involved.
The fundamental qualities of resilient peopleAccording to research there are a number of key qualities that set resilient people apart from those who are less likely to bounce back in the face of adversity.
- Being able to reframe the problem. If you’re resilient then when something goes wrong you can view this as a challenge as opposed to an immovable obstacle.
- A commitment to life. Resilient people tend to be fully committed to achieving goals and to everything, from career to friends – there are no half measures.
- Directing energy to the right places. Being able to determine what can be controlled and what can’t, and to channel energy where it can have the biggest impact, is a key quality of a resilient person.
- Protecting self worth. When something goes wrong resilient people don’t blame themselves but see the situation as the reason, thereby protecting their self worth.
- It won’t last forever. Resilient people view setbacks as temporary and know that obstacles can be overcome. They are also much more likely to restrict negativity to a single issue (e.g. I didn’t do well on that project) than their entire being (e.g. I never do well on any project) which makes progress seem a more achievable goal.
How to develop resilience
- Get the basics right. To give yourself a fighting chance at resilience make sure you get enough sleep, eat well and spend time away from the office.
- Observe how you speak to yourself. Our internal chatter can have a big impact on how well we cope with the world. If you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re not enough or that you can’t cope then this will eat away at your potential to be more resilient.
- Reframe the hard things. For example you can use cognitive restructuring to develop a different view on issues and problems when they arise.
- Look for the lesson. If you make a mistake or experience a setback look for something to learn from the experience rather than engaging in self-hatred or blame.
- Focus on improving self-confidence. Resilient people know deep down that they will succeed eventually and this requires confidence in your abilities and approach. Developing confidence will nurture your sense of self and ensure that you have your own back.
- Be flexible and allow for change. One of the easiest ways to develop resilience is to work on a mindset that accepts uncertainty and the fact that everything changes all the time.
- Maintain perspective. Being able to see the bigger picture means that you won’t get dragged down by individual issues or crises.
Our top 10 tips for project management success
Posted: June 18, 2020 9:43 amIn any sector and at any stage there are challenges when it comes to project management. These are our top 10 tips for driving momentum and ensuring the eventual outcome is success.
- Get to grips with the project. Be clear about who the clients and stakeholders are and where each of their interests lie. What are the goals and objectives for the project and what plan is in place to ensure that these are achieved?
- Create the right team. Once you have a plan in place you can start to identify how to resource the project. Identify a team, define roles and make sure you have all expertise requirements covered.
- Work with individual strengths and weaknesses. When you’re leading any team you will always get more from people if you focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. Tap into the strengths of every team member so that each is tasked in the area where they can contribute the most.
- Identify the milestones. In order to keep a project on track you need to have a clear pathway to success with specific milestones marked along it. What needs to happen at each stage of initiation, planning, execution and close?
- Make sure that someone is steering the project. It’s crucial to have a clear leader in project management – collaboration is important at every stage but there needs to be a project manager who will take control and responsibility where necessary.
- Ensure that channels of communication remain open. Whether it’s among team members or between stakeholders and managers, poor communication can mean negative project outcomes. It’s essential to ensure everyone remains informed and has the opportunity to ask questions where necessary.
- Use technology. In particular, project management software can make it much easier to deliver a successful outcome. It’s a great way to ensure that everyone has access to information, to facilitate collaboration and to help to make sure that momentum is maintained.
- Get familiar with the risks. The risk component in any project can be off-putting and it might be tempting to ignore it and hope it goes away. However, effective risk management is crucial to project management success. Go through the process of identifying potential risks in advance and then putting contingencies in place in case these do actually arise. The reality may be that you never have to deal with them but you’ll be ready to take action if you do.
- Test, test, test. Every time you reach a critical milestone test your deliverables. This is the clearest way to see whether the project is on track or not.
- Review the project afterwards. Whether you achieved success or not, post-project review is essential. If there have been mistakes and failures then these present a chance to learn and this is also a good opportunity to embed those actions or initiatives that worked particularly well.
How to manage people without them knowing
Posted: June 11, 2020 9:40 amLearning to manage people without them knowing may sound Machiavellian. However, the intention behind this is simply to start managing people in a way that allows them to effectively manage themselves. It can take time and effort to get to a stage where your team is able to be autonomous where necessary, own their decisions and be creative about problem solving but it is possible to get there. These are some of the key steps involved.
Be clear about when you need to be part of the processMost managers want to steer clear of a micro-managing approach and this rarely suits teams either. However, it’s difficult to achieve this if there are no clear guidelines on what needs your input and when an issue or decision is something that staff should be handling on their own. The first simple step to managing people effectively is setting out unambiguously when you should be involved before the team makes a move. Once this is in place it should mean that you’re not constantly being asked for input but also provide reassurance to everyone that it’s clear when you need to be consulted.
Don’t deviate from the path you’ve designedParticularly if you’ve been overly involved in every single decision for some time it might be difficult for your team to give up asking for your input on everything. You might still need to make contributions in unprecedented situations or help junior – or new – staff but on the whole you should stick to the new path that you’ve designed and what you’ve put in place about when you need to be involved and when the team needs to make their own decisions. One simple tactic to deal with staff who are repeatedly returning to ask for your input on every single thing is to turn the tables on them. Next time they come to you with a question try asking them “what do you think?” It means that they may come up with their own solution and will get them into the habit of starting to tap their own internal resources first.
Stay in touchWhen management style changes there is always a danger that the team may feel like they are being ignored or abandoned. To avoid this, schedule in regular meetings – face to face or via video chat – so that there is the opportunity for them to ask questions and talk things through. This approach may also encourage them to save questions for the weekly chat rather than constantly bombarding you with them.
Give your team the opportunity to shineInstead of solving problems on behalf of your team, when an issue arises give them a chance to do it themselves. For example, if there is a process that currently requires your input to complete but could actually be effectively done without you could a template be designed to facilitate this? Instead of designing this yourself put the problem to the team and let them come up with a solution – it’s likely that they will be more creative and come up with something much more appropriate as it will be designed by those who use it most. There is an art to managing people without them knowing and it starts with clear communication and a willingness to trust. Find out more by booking onto our Managing People on Projects training course…
Top tips for world-class customer service
Posted: June 4, 2020 9:03 amCustomer service has always been a foundation of business growth. Recent events have made achieving positive customer service more challenging but not impossible. As brand reputation continues to have a key role to play in whether or not consumers choose your business over another it’s becoming increasingly crucial to make world-class customer service a priority.
- Give your team the right tools. In the current situation that often equates to technology. Whether that’s an effective CRM, upgrades to accounting or billing systems or marketing automation, the right tools can make it much easier for your customer service team to excel at what they do.
- Clear and honest communication is essential. Most people don’t respond well to being patronised or overloaded with information and almost all will switch off if they feel they aren’t entirely being told the truth. It’s crucial to train staff to communicate clearly and honestly with customers, to avoid platitudes and practice authenticity.
- Make sure you have a system in place to handle complaints. When customers aren’t happy it’s important to take note of this. Although it may not always be a sign that there’s an issue you have to resolve it’s always worth making space for the complaint so that the customer feels heard. Train your team to acknowledge the complaint and act so as to control the situation and refocus the discussion on a more positive outcome. Problem solving is essential in a complaint situation as it enables a customer to potentially walk away happy.
- Avoid rushing customers. Most consumers can sense when they are being pushed hard towards a goal and will resist if this is done in a clumsy way. Customer service teams shouldn’t be clock watching and should avoid being pushy to drive customers towards their goals too quickly. On the flip side, most consumers today don’t want to waste precious time on business interactions so it’s also important to make customer service communication concise.
- Learning the art of closing is essential. Whether this is closing a sale or simply a conversation, when it is done right it will leave the customer with a sense that the business cares about getting it right – is focused on whatever the customer thinks ‘right’ is – and isn’t going to try and force a conclusion.
- Learning how to say thank you is key. Gratitude can create some serious ROI and leave a positive impression on customers. Most businesses rely on customers to evolve and grow and expressing thanks for this regularly can be enormously beneficial.
- Invest in a good team. Exceptional customer service people can have a huge impact on how well the business does overall when it comes to interactions with consumers. Customer service will never be better than the quality of the people delivering it so it’s worth taking the time to find great people, to train them well and to provide opportunities for learning and growth that benefit individuals and the business as a whole.