Going forward to basics

When a client approached me to ask if I would deliver basic  training in Effective Meetings and Time Management my initial reaction was very much: "I don't do that sort of training any more". Reflecting on recent coaching discussions, I realised that not many people do and that the results are evident.

"I am in back to back meetings all day; I don't even know why I am invited half the time; How can you keep a meeting focussed with the distraction of phones and email?" are complaints I frequently hear from all levels of the organisation.

At the risk of sounding my age, I remember how my training as a new manager was designed to cover the basics. Learning how to give presentations, write reports, plan and chair meetings and manage my time effectively were the bedrock upon which my future career as a manager was built.

Investigating my client’s requirements further,  I realised that the training they were requesting was not for new managers but for senior people – people who were experts in their field, who could create vision and strategy –  who were failing to set clear outcomes and ground rules for their meetings, held meetings without an agenda and were thus contributing to the reactive and unfocused culture that was developing within the company.

NLP as a model of excellence in communication has a lot to say about the way we run and conduct ourselves in meetings. So yes, I do do that sort of training. Is it time, I wonder, to go forward to basics?

With thanks to this week's guest writer, Brilliant Minds Associate Partner, Denise Potts

Not working!

Recently I’ve had a spate of things going wrong in my home and office. First the oven started making an unusual noise, then the shower developed a leak. The aircon in my car needed re-charging and the day I took it into the garage their delivery of gas didn’t turn up. My bathroom lights fused. Next my printer stopped working and the same day the bank rang me to say that they were suspicious of some transactions on my account and it turned out they were fraudulent (well done and thank you to the RBS Fraud team for spotting that one!), so I had to destroy my card and order a new one.

“What do you make of all that? “ a friend asked me.  He was meaning, ‘how is this a metaphor for other things in your life?’

Well, it definitely has something to do with NOT WORKING.  That’s all I’m saying.

But when I stopped to reflect on this series of small incidents, what I noticed was how quickly I’d changed my behaviour to adapt to the new circumstances. I stopped cooking meals that needed the oven and switched to dishes I can make on the hob. In the hot weather I used the car less by choosing to meet friends within walking distance of home. I stopped spending money when I didn’t have a bank card…

And yet we often talk about the challenge of getting people to change their behaviour.

The truth is…

Behaviour change is not difficult.  We do it often.  Frequently without even noticing it.

The challenge is:

Finding a reason for change. Without any motivation to do something different, we mostly just carry on doing what we always do.

So, next time you’re driving a change programme, notice your focus of attention. Are you talking about the behaviour change? Or the reason for making the change?