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Making the best of your life

10 May 2015

NLP Courses out and about!

Delighted to be able to announce our new suite of NLP courses, to run over the Autumn and through Winter, bringing some cheer and energy into this transitional time of year.

Our learners consistently report transformational change when studying NLP with us, and we love facilitating the learning.  We are very pleased to have exclusive use of the luxurious Cranmer Country Cottages to give the courses a flying start, a venue familiar to us and much appreciated by our delegates last time, the swimming pool adding a little oomph factor, as well as the beautiful surroundings.

As ever, the prices reflect a no profit culture, and we're happy to answer any questions or give more information if you would like some.

We have the Master Practitioner beginning on 28th September,and the Diploma/Practitioner beginning on 29th.  Please do get in touch if you would like more details, from Julia McGinn

2 Apr 2015

The Power to Change

Today I wanted just to include this piece as it articulates perfectly the power of health and life transition.  Enjoy.

31 Mar 2015

Making and Breaking Habits

I was struck last month by a fine article by Mary Oliver in the inspiring online resource Brainpickings on the value of habits. It resonated because I had found myself only the day before encouraging a team with whom I was working to extend their perspective on what constitutes a habit.
What do you think of when you hear the word habit? Is it something like smoking, drinking, overeating, or some other easily recognisable activity? This is quite a common response.  However, in organisations and indeed elsewhere, it’s useful to remember that we create habits all of the time – the habit of talking about someone instead of to them, the habit of going home a bit late, the habit of procrastination, the habit of moaning – whatever it’s going to be.  Habits form a key part of the working environment and culture.
We hear lots of mythology on habits – how long it takes to make one, how long it takes to break one, and so on. I am not keen on the rigidity of these claims of `how long’ as in my experience, a habit can be made or broken in many different ways and time frames. It seems to me that there are three stages to habit breaking or creation, when it comes to workplace culture change – and each of those stages might have all kinds of nuances or aspects. However, in essence, to either break or create habits, we need to do the following.
  • Recognition – take a workplace habits inventory.  How do we do this?  Well, begin to notice. Habits reveal themselves in language, practice and custom. `I always have to have a coffee before I can think properly’.  Notice how you and others behave in meetings, how people react after meetings (the uncensored conversation in the rest rooms, over lunch).  Notice what the cultural habit of meeting and greeting is – the CEO ignores the team, the CEO is `in the habit’ of making sure they say hello whenever possible. What is the expected time input habit?  Habits are what shape a culture, either into a healthy thriving culture (Herzberg, 1959) or into a culture with a heavy shadow side (Egan, 1994). With whatever tweaks, we see well established evidence through time and place which indicates key factors for creating and sustaining winning cultures.

  • Evaluate – how do these habits impact the working culture?  This is a question of adding up the pros and cons. If outspace conversations mean that no one is going to speak openly in meetings, then they are a poor habit.  If they are a sounding board for creativity for what might be said next time, they are useful. And so on. So, what are the costs and consequences of workplace habits?

  • Create new habits.  One of the tenets by which we work is not to take away anyting that has served a purpose until we have something better to replace it with.  So we need now to discover what habits might create more accomplishment.  This is where Mary Oliver’s viewpoint helps.  Habits can give structure, and in new culture creation, this can be more than useful. A manager I know in the third sector has overcome the paper trail challenge faced by many who regard themselves as people workers first and foremost. He has changed his personal conceptualisation and concrete application so that the paperwork is integrated into the client encounter, and if it can’t be done immediately, it is diaried in such a way that any client centred task is not ready to tick off until all paperwork is complete. This is different from when he used to leave it `till later’.  He has changed his habit, to create better outcomes, less cost, more positive consequences.
Sound easy, doesn’t it, and in essence it is.  Where the challenge sometimes exists is in the will, the skills and the capabilities to create transformational habits, and this is where sometimes individuals, teams and organisations might need a little help.  Equally, you might be surprised at how easily change can come about.

My current habit change is in the area of multi tasking – or not!  I will be reviewing this personal challenge in the near future!