Archive for ◊ July, 2015 ◊

• Monday, July 27th, 2015


Think you can slow down on Friday and take it easy? Think again.

Being unproductive on Friday might be impacting your weekend more than you think.

Rumination…. the scourge of performance

Rumination can be a killjoy. Rumination is when we constantly think about things that are going on in our lives. Those things that have happened during the day that left us frustrated, or the things that are coming up that are making us anxious.

It affects our stress levels, because we can’t stop thinking about the source of our distress, and it impairs our quality (and sometimes quantity) of sleep.

In fact, it often does both at the same time. Ever lay awake at night annoyed about that argument you had with your manager, or obsess and worry about the presentation you have to give to a client the following day? Chances are you found it hard to drift off to sleep, and your night was frustratingly restless.

The Trouble with Fridays…

Recent research shows that people who have unfinished tasks on Friday afternoon tend to ruminate more on the weekend, and have impaired sleep. It seems that those unfinished tasks tend to play on our mind, even subconsciously, causing us to re-think the week that’s been, the week ahead, and prevent us from getting the sleep we need.

So don’t take Friday lightly. Here are three tips to turbo-charge your Friday

Turbo-Charge Your Friday:

1) Narrow your focus 

Write a list of the things you need to accomplish. Prioritise it so that the absolute most urgent and important tasks are at the top. Now rule a line under the top three things . There are your non-negotiables. Say to yourself “if these are the only things that get done today, it will be a successful day”

2) Make the morning count 

People make one big mistake:they do low priority, easy things first. Not only are they easing into their weekend…. they’re easing into Friday as well! The trouble is, so many interruptions and distractions pop up during the day that those things we leave until ‘later’ get trumped by something else.

Do yourself a favour and do the most important things first.

3) Park things for Monday 

Lets face it: not everything on that list is getting done despite your best intentions.

To ease the burden of unfinished business, spend the final 10 minutes of your work day allocating a time on Monday for those unfinished things to get done. When you ‘park’ your taks for a definite time in the future, our bodies and brains seem willing to forget them and accept that they’re taken care of.

Don’t ease into the weekend. Instead, finish the week with a bang


• Thursday, July 16th, 2015

goalslineWhen i speak at conferences, I often ask the audience to answer two very simple questions by raising their hands:

  1. Put your hand up if you work in a team that has goals.  Everyone puts their hand up.
  2. Leave your hand up if you can tell me what they are.

At this point only 5% of people leave their hand in the air

This will be astonishing to most leaders. But it is a pervasive element in teams all around the world.

There are a few key reasons, but the most simple one to explain – but possibly the most difficult to execute – is the shear fact that most people don’t care about them.  And we tend to pay attention to what’s important to us.

The Two Reasons We Have Goals

You see, goals need to do two things:

Firstly, they need to guide people’s behaviours. This means there needs to be a clear objective, but more than that, the goal should send a signal to people about what is most important to work on each day.

Secondly, they need to inspire people. People need to WANT to engage in the tasks that are most important. And to do this consistently, they need to be inspired to do so. Why? Because unless your goals are asking people to turn up and go through the motions, then chances are that the things you want them to do are slightly out of their comfort zone – and that’s how they’re going to achieve those goals. And you, me and most other humans need some inspiration to do the uncomfortable thing, rather than going through the motions.

What Inspires You Might Not Inspire Them

When we look at the majority of goals, they are based around hitting targets and numbers. Acquiring customers, making budget, being more efficient. Those things probably inspire you as a manager – because those are parts of the business that interest you – but chances are the average person in your team really doesn’t care.  If you ask them they might toe the line and give you the response they think you want to hear – why wouldn’t they?

Go Out On a Limb – find out what’s really important

Your team’s goals don’t necessarily have to be the goals that were handed down from Head Office. Sure, they obviously need to achieve those things, but maybe you can set some other, higher level goals that would mean that those things get accomplished anyway. If your target is to hit a certain budget, then maybe your goal could be to be the highest performing division in the state. Maybe that sense of status and achievement is something that appeals to your people.

And the goals don’t always have to be outcome-driven, they can also be culturally-driven. I worked with a football team once whose goal was to ‘Be the team that everyone wants to play for’. Part of this was winning titles, but you can be sure it wasn’t the only thing.

These things might sound fluffy to your average manager, but this is really why most teams don’t have inspirational goals – because it requires you to take a risk, and maybe to be a little vulnerable.

Whatever you think an inspirational goal might be, I urge you to go ahead and find out what really inspires your people. Ask them straight out, but also observe their behaviours and see what drives them.

The Challenge is pretty simple. Create goals that really inspire people. When I ask that question next time I’m at a conference, I hope it’s one of your staff members that leaves their hand up.