Month: August 2016

Z Telecom

The Solution

We knew we had the antidote and we wanted to make a lasting change that would impact Z’s day-to-day operations long after our intervention is over. It was a clear issue of mindset, and no matter the number of skill building hours invested, nothing would make a difference until the mindset is where it needs to be. And so it was; we started changing mindsets by working what the Arbinger Institute calls self-deception – not knowing or resisting the fact that one is part of a problem. Once a person realizes that they are part of a problem, only then they would use the developed skills to be part of the solution and impact the corporate culture positively.

Needless to say how tricky this work can get: working with layers and layers of resistance, inflated egos, dysfunctional leadership, monumental egos, and all sorts of collaboration-hindering obstacles. We knew it would be challenging, and we were determined to make a difference.

As mindsets were getting in shape, we organized gallery-walk-markets where teams would post both their needs and their best practices, pitch for assistance and get a match for the capabilities they are looking for. The results were tens of hours of renewed collaboration that we proposed to be punched in team passports and accounted for vs. agreed upon collaboration benchmarks. To make results visible, an intranet application would track progress, dissipate news and update targets and a huge clock installed in the main hall would tick away collaboration hours achieved.

That was not all. We designed a company-wide internal communication campaign with catchy designs and out-of-the box placements to refresh the learning, remind about the team objectives and their importance and have the key messages engraved in people’s minds.

 

Result: Another success story of a “trace partner getting stronger than their challenges.

Bank B

In such an arena, many Banks, of which Bank B, have resorted to mergers and acquisitions coupled with innovative marketing strategies and aggressive recruitment and retention plans to gather what it takes to be among the top alpha banks of the country.

These strategies, along with the growth they secure, bring a series of challenges related both to the new comers and the current veterans.

To name a few, below are some of these challenges:

  • Unifying the performance and the employee satisfaction centered management culture that accompanies the competitive growth strategy and rolling it down to the farthest of the organization structure.
  • Building high performance teams that deliver under the stress of daily operations and the strain of market conditions.
  • Creating a sustainable motivation central that derives its momentum from the way leadership handles teams on day to day basis.
  • Optimizing employee turnover to serve the sustainability of the bank’s vision and strategies and its execution excellence.

In addressing those needs, B Bank and “trace partnered with an objective a management plan and an execution strategy of the same for the purpose of reaching the set goals.

It all started with a pre-project survey that benchmarked the current status of motivation and outlined the challenges team members and their leaders face in their dealings. A set of KPIs and training and coaching objectives were identified for the team, and special attention given to some influence centers and few other areas and persons described as “challenging”.

The project was then rolled out from top down to cover the Chairman’s office, the bank’s directors, its seniors as well as middle and branch managers. Over 300 leaders were trained, coached motivated and followed-up for the change sought. Workshops provided trained on techniques that became ready to use once the session ended. Participants engaged in real plays, challenges that relate to their daily jobs, and attempted to think of them and solve them as the session went on. They ended their 2 day time investment in personal change plans that they committed to follow up once back on their jobs. Some were later on engaged in one-to-one executive coaching sessions to assist their development and fuel the execution of their personal growth plans.

The overall organization was set to speak the same language in alignment with its aggressive and innovative HR and marketing strategies and the result expected to translate into the bottom line.

 

 

The Solution

Looking deeper into what makes people leave their job would almost guarantee an answer that name the relationship with the manager. On another note, being “happy” at work ensures a higher engagement and thereafter more productivity. The great thing about these 2 facts is that the prime influencer of both is none but the team leader.

This is where the thinking started.

“Nothing changes of nothing changes”.

We thought. So in order to engage the team members, collectively as well as individually, managers needed to do the things they do, the things they say and even think and believe, differently.

This is where the pre-project survey results on challenges and aspirations were plotted into the training and coaching sessions that targeted team leaders of various organizations structure levels, who can, in turn implement the change required for success.

The workshop, and later on, the scheduled executive coaching sessions, attended by more than 300 senior and middle managers, equipped the participants with the skills needed to evaluate and act on motivation patterns, identify and use communication styles and cues effectively for influenced and enhanced performance, construct a reinforcing beliefs culture that boosts productivity, build effective teams, coach for development, delegate for organizational and personal growth as well as for the increased job satisfaction, manage change, follow up, and implement the sought after agile culture.

Throughout the workshop that derives its teaching from winning practices modeled into simple learning objectives and methodologies, participants these on real personal cases that they related their time investment to. They were individually coached on their cases and were fueled and challenged to practice their insights and acquired know-how both to solve the presented issues as well as to plot the learning back into the work place. At the need of the workshop, the managers were requested to commit to an action plan related to both personal objectives as well as well to ones concerning their teams. These action plans were than used for follow up and executive coaching.

The pre-project survey was rolled over another time a few months after the project ended, and results were enhanced on every level.

To us, it was the recording of another success of “trace’s methodology and know-how delivery and another place where our team left a trace and people were capacitated.

 

 

Bank O

Some of the vital challenges HR had to deal with to support the Bank strategies were directly related to customer service and employees disengagement; the culture has always been pure aggressive selling and growth with no real attention to customer or employee experience and satisfaction. This has resulted in a high number of complaints received daily from customers, losing prospects and opportunities within a highly competitive market,  and a high turnover rate in the banks’ talents who were demotivated and had no loyalty or look out for succession in the organization.

Knowing this, it became urgent for HR to address those challenges through equipping the teams with customer service (customers being internal and external) and selling skills that would help them keep up with the challenge to maintain and grow the business, and that would motivate them to perform best and achieve within their current role to grow in the bank.

 

The Challenge

 In this challenge, the audience was from different customer facing points- tellers and personal banking representatives. Those had to have an aggressive- yet customer oriented- approach towards their day-to-day operation.  

Another challenge was to address the development needs of the supervisory team; this team was disengaged and working in an environment where their undefined role frustrated them, had minimal loyalty to the branch/team, turnover rates amongst it were high and individuals lacked the skills needed to carry on the new vision and goals the bank is setting for development.

All in all, the Bank was looking for a shift in culture whether towards its clients or its employees. The shift would start from within- through training front liners- and roll out towards an enhanced customer experience throughout the branches. As it happens, the shift would help elevate employees’ motivation, productivity, loyalty, opportunities to develop within the organization, all with a clear focus on performance and growth in bottom lines.

In addressing those needs, Bank O Academy and “trace partnered with an objective of making the change happen and setting the new- WOWING Customers culture which would help the bank management reach their goals through a 3 years program.

The project started with surveying and assessing employees on the job (through customer surveys and mystery shopping) and facilitating management SWOT Analysis sessions and gathering insights from upper management on where and how they want to see the operations going. This was the ground on which “trace built the workshop material/real plays scenarios to be used in the sessions.

Next were the workshops and training of all clients facing employees (tellers and personal banking representatives) on The Secrets to Wowing Customers & Service Excellence. Being based on actual scenarios (collected before and during the workshop), the workshop gave participants new tools and techniques that, when used, can help increase customer satisfaction and loyalty while standardizing/ unifying the customer experience across the bank.

Throughout those workshops, a main challenge stakeholders were voicing out was the distortion in communication between them and the back office functions; bringing clients an excellent service would not be possible unless the back office (where all the customers files/requests go for study, appraisal, approval) understood, experienced and saw what the front liners face with customers while trying to serve them better. Here the need for a customer service workshop for the support functions came to light and The Bank O Academy and “trace set another training path that would support the 1st on getting best results through enhancing communication, team work, accountability, and responsibility between the 2 cycles.

By the end of year 1, The Bank O Academy and “trace completed the training of more than 450 front liners and support functions. Follow up and learning refreshers were essential and provided in the form of email shoots which motivated and reminded the team members of the importance of what they are doing in terms of customer service (for over 3 months), while tests, mystery visits and clients surveys helped assess the actual implementation on the ground.

Year 2 of this program was all about aggressive selling; tellers were trained on up-selling, cross-selling and referring scenarios while private banking representatives were trained on up-selling, cross-selling, getting referrals, negotiating, closing more deals and maintaining relationships.

Managing the new customer service and sales culture wouldn’t have been possible without training the branch assistant managers on supervising the implementation of the strategies and learning. Here came the challenge of motivating those on assuming their roles as supervisors and equipping them with the tools and techniques needed to maintain a wowing customer service, enhanced sales/branch and proper team work within the branch and support functions. This was the ground for Secrets to Great Supervisors workshop which was delivered to 70 assistant branch managers.

Having delivered training session for over 1000 trainee through the 3 different workshops that rolled over 2 years, it was again essential to have follow ups. The follow up came in the form of boosters and refreshers in year 3; the continuous customer feedback, test results and supervisors’ input/branch helped The Bank O Academy and “trace build up booster sessions that would give participants a ground to share success stories and challenges to further work on in terms of wowing customers, selling and/or supervising. In year 3 “trace also had full training sessions for new comers in their different roles to make sure the culture is maintained year after year.

 

 

Shifting Mindsets

This is where we always recommend that you start.

Arbinger’s work with organizations begins with a foundational workshop that helps participants develop a mentality of responsibility in their work and think about their work in a way that takes into account ones impact on others, improves personal accountability, and improves results. Arbinger then helps organizations learn and incorporate implementation strategies and tools into their work practices, thus embedding these principles within the workplace. As an organization’s leaders play a critical role in establishing work practices and the work environment, we also have specific programs designed to enable them to lead more effectively and we prepare organizations to evaluate and redesign policies, practices, and systems to ensure that the culture invites and rewards accountability and collaboration among their employees while reducing resistance.

 

3 Fast Tricks to Overcome Stage Fright

Glossophobia: Glossa in Greek means tongue, and phobia means fear or dread. So here you go, now you even have a technical term to brag about. And mind you, it is the number one phobia and accounts for a share of 19% of them all, even more than death, spiders, heights and confined places! The range of its symptoms stretches from sweating, stuttering and freezing to breathing difficulties, cramps, nausea and panic attacks.

If those sound or feel familiar, worry not, you are definitely not the only glossophobic out there. Statistics say that 3 out 4 people suffer from some sort of fear of speaking in public.

Yet, it is one of the most influence building skills out there, so what to do?

Here are a quick list of things that you can do fast to adjust and fight back:

Reality is, to no one’s surprise, the most important thing here is State Control. Neuroscience links state to behavior. And state itself is a full physiological and psychological experience that takes over thoughts, mood, bodily reactions and behaviors in general to an autopilot mode dictated by the state in question. If reversing the state is not possible, what we want to do is replace it by one that is more resourceful. The fastest way around that is to influence the internal conversation and its sensory experiences. What you want to do at this point is remember an experience during which you had the state you want (vs. the one in shock). This could be a real experience that you are bringing out from memory or one that you make up from scratch. For example, let’s say you want to be in a state of confidence. You remember a time when you felt confident, or you imagine how you would be when you are confident. The important thing at this point is to recall that experience in its fullest details: from what you were seeing, to what you were hearing, to the music in the background, to the colors of the memory, to the feelings involved and all that. Then you want to make that experience more vivid by exaggerating all and everyone of those sensory experiences. Let’s take colors for example, you want to make them as vivid and as vibrant as you can. Take a moment and try it out. This will have the effect that dancing song that you love has on you when you hear it.

The second thing you want to do is assist that resourceful sensory experience with physiological aids that will trick the brain into believing that it is true. Breathing is key at this point. Have you ever watched a deep sleeper breath? They do so from their belly. That’s what you want to imitate. And you want to do that while taking in as much air as you can and exhaling it slowly, almost at half the inhaling speed. This will calm you down and will get you back in control.

The third trick has to do with your posture. States have postures and the brain gets confused about which comes first and which leads to the other: the state or the posture. So when you’re depressed or not in a very good place, you might tend to look down, walk around with a slow pace, have the shoulders bent forward, the face looking sad and the voice inside you is deep and not very positive. On the other hand, when you’re confident and excited about something, you stand tall, shoulders upright, chin up, you walk with a kind of faster pace with a determined smile on your face and the voice inside you has a completely different pitch than the one you had in the previous example. So with the brain not knowing if the state gets your body into that physiology or if the physiology gets the brain into that state, you can trick it by adopting the physiology of the state you wish to be in. So, if you want to feel confident, act confident. To test that out, try adopting the physiology of the first example (non-resourceful state) and think about sad things and see how fast these rush into your head. Now shake it off and adopt the physiology of the second example (resourceful state) and try thinking about things that stress you out and experience for yourself how more difficult that will be. To many of my trainees, it is even impossible.

To sum up, three out of four of the people around you are glossophobic. If you’re one of those three, do what follows:

  1. Control your state by recalling or imagining and visualizing the resourceful experience you wish for (ex. confident) and make it as vivid as you can. 
  2. Breath in, breath out two times slower. Do so from your belly. 
  3. Act like the state you wish for (stand tall, smile, chin up…). 

Too much effort for not enough result?

Ambitious people know that it’s up to them to drive for the results they want in work and in life generally. If the results aren’t as good as expected then you simply try harder. This is the usual way for many highly ambitious people, and it works – some of the time.

When things don’t go according to plan, regardless of the increased effort you put in, then what?

It can become frustrating when the result you want is really important, yet you make no progress. It can feel like there’s a huge barrier getting in your way. The more you try, the more frustrated you become.

This frustration is a signal that you need a different approach. Perhaps a better strategy, or alternative style of communication. The problem with frustration is that it can fix your mind too rigidly on the details, when what would be more useful is to stand back, relax, and focus on the overall process. Sometimes it is better to let go of the urgency and frustration in the situation so that you can use your imagination to figure out an alternative approach.

But the imagination doesn’t work well under stress, which is precisely what frustration creates. When you relax and rise above the detail you will be able to map out, in your mind, the cause/effect patterns that are creating the barrier to your success.

Taking an alternative perspective in this way allows you to understand your situation better. You become more aware of your own thinking and behaviour, and how others may be perceiving you. Armed with this fresh perspective you can adapt your approach accordingly.

It sounds simple doesn’t it? Yet it’s surprising how many ambitious people keep trying the same things and hoping for a different result. When you hit a barrier there is no point in repeating the same approach – you need an alternative. One of the NLP presuppositions describes it in this way: ‘if what you are doing isn’t working, do something different’.

The reason people don’t try alternatives is that they become stuck in the way they think, and stuck in repeating the same behaviour. The ability to shift your thinking and modify your behaviour is something you can learn, practice and develop. The more skilled you become at this the easier everything in life becomes.

As a baseline you need to really understand human nature, and be able to recognise patterns in language, including your own. We humans are complex creatures, but we think, act and behave in set patterns throughout our lives. For some people the patterns work well, for others they don’t. When you are able to delete or edit your patterns, and create new ones, then you become significantly more influential in all life contexts.

You can acquire the skill to shift your thinking, take alternative perspectives and design different strategies during the course of our NLP Practitioner Programme. The variety of tools and techniques learned help you to adapt to any situation in work and life. You become more relaxed as you need less effort to achieve your aims. It’s a bit like a computer in that if you don’t upgrade the hardware now and again its performance will decline. As a NLP Practitioner you not only get an upgrade to your hardware, you get to upgrade your entire operating system – in a highly stimulating and supportive environment.

Subjective Leadership: A Practical Approach Beyond Situation Based Leadership

“Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions. Harold S. Geneen”

Company’s success is not solely based on revenue and international presence but primary on its managerial and operational systems set.

Throughout the years, we witnessed the birth of different leadership styles, which were implemented on different levels, including politics, religion, or even community groups. Nowadays, situational leadership seems to be mostly helpful and successful among other styles which highly depends on the leader understanding the behavior of each team member and adapting his conduct based on their level. This techniques highly depends on these factors:

Analysis, where leaders need to understand the situation they are dealing with

Adaptation, where leaders’ conduct needs to be adapted to match the contingences of the situation

– Communication, where leaders need to convey messages in a way that is understood by all

– Continuation, where leaders need to move forward with the plan of action

Let’s look at this from a different point of view; all decisions are based on leaders’ conclusions vis-à-vis the environment they’re adapting to, which can be considered as subjective since the only person agreeing on the whole thinking process and actions to take is the leader him/herself.

Subjectivity issue ought to be questioned in such leadership style as the so called “boss” is the only one assessing each employee’s situation and imposing plan of actions- therefore, we need to examine this correlation which exists between Situational Leadership & Subjectivity.

Subjective Leadership does not necessarily follow the same technique used in assessing Situational Leadership, but it also has an incredible added value, which is personal experience. List of processes included in the Subjective Leadership style goes as per the below:

  1. Maximizing Self-Awareness Level:

Each leader, in a way or another, benefit from what we call Innate Leadership Strength, including areas of development and critical skill sets that are used in high performing environments, as well as strong knowledge of the leader’s character/behavior. Awareness needs to be sustained on that level so that initial analysis can be made fast and accurately.

  1. Initiating and Leading Coaching Conversations:

This is highly effective when team members’ behaviors need to be identified. Leaders have to benefit from excellent communication skills in order to orient conversations in a way to distinguish the best plans of actions in accord to each person’s character.

  1. Working on Team Members Development:

When leaders get to a point where they have control over the environment they’re in, it becomes easy form them to draw the path each team member has to take for their own personal growth.

  1. Observing Behavioral Change and Achieving Results:

After the course set has been applied, leaders evaluate the path on both levels: team members and results. The changes of behavior mainly comes from leaders, as they have to choose and adapt to a certain leadership language which is both concrete and corporate. If team members have been responsive to this language, it’s a success for leaders. They’ll then be able to observe and the results they had set in mind for every project/campaign/etc.

The fact of deriving key takeout after using Subjective Leadership also means adding value to leaders’ personal experience, and this is where the practical approach comes in hand. It opens a continuous path towards development and discovery of new techniques in leadership.

How To Become A Better Problem Solver

John Dewery, one of the founders of the philosophy of pragmatism and functional psychology once said “A problem well-defined is a problem half-solved”. We read this and we think, yeah, that’s right! But how often do we really stop to properly define a problem? How do you go about doing that?

More often than not, we are automatically biased towards dealing with the symptoms we see and feel rather than framing and scoping the decision we need to make to change them! Being natural problem solvers, people have a huge propensity to believe in their capabilities of finding a solution right away! As it turns out, this is one of the biggest mistakes of problem solving!

Finding the right decision to make is a process, where the decision comes at the end, not the beginning!

  • The first step is to clearly define your decision problem and clarify what you are trying to achieve by solving it.
  • Next, you ought to create alternatives to choose from, and make sure that each of the alternatives generated meets your objectives.
  • At that point, you will be ready to make a decision after considering thetrade-offs between alternatives, uncertainty of the outcomes and your appetite of risk!
  • Along the way, you have to be aware of the biases you might be facing.

Just like anything else: you learn decision-making; you exercise it multiple times to get better at it, until it becomes something you excel at. There are no “natural” problem solvers and decision makers; there are only trained ones and untrained ones!

Once you become trained, your perspective to “problems” changes! You become less averse and more competent and capable of facing them. This is what our workshop will prepare you and your organization to be. Together, we will learn and practice the decision making process that will sets you on the right path to leadership and your organization on the right path to success!

5 Things Coaching Can Do For You

There is a clear trend of moving towards coaching as a learning and development method among entrepreneurs, executives or professionals alike. More and more companies are looking to internalize a “coaching culture”, or to adopt a “coaching methodology”. A closer inspection to this customized, focused, one on one method reveals many considerable advantages.

Coaching provides a safe learning space

One of the primary reasons why employees don’t seek guidance is the fear of being judged or being seen as incompetent. However, the very concept of coaching is built on the importance of continuous learning: regardless of your career and expertise level, there is always room for improvement, acquiring alternative methods, seeking a deeper understanding, and gaining new skills. Within the context of coaching, the employee gets the chance to seek clarification and hone his/her skills in a safe, non-judgmental environment, with the help of a coach who encourages inquisitive thinking.

Coaching teaches you how to think

“Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon” (E.M. Forster)

One of the notable differences between coaching and the traditional classroom approach is that the former allows the coachee to identify problems and think about them critically. The coach often answers the coachee’s question with other questions that will guide his/her thinking towards formulating the right solution. Instead of being limited to answering individual questions with specific answers, coaching enhances analytical thinking skills and encourages “thinking about thinking”.

Coaching enhances self confidence

Low confidence stems from lack of knowledge, past failures, destructive criticism, in addition to feeling unprepared to perform the required task. Gaining knowledge, though necessary, will not remove the feeling of anxiety. It needs to be coupled with hands-on application under the guidance of an expert who can give directions and clarifications along the way. The coach usually plays this facilitating role. Coaching also relies heavily on positive feedback and encouragement rather than punitive measures or pressure: this reinforces the desired behaviors for the coachee and increases future successes.

Coaching creates accountability 

The follow-up performed during the coaching process creates a sense of accountability which is necessary for continuous and effective learning. By performing frequent check-ins and follow-ups, the coach makes sure that the coachee is on the right track, persevering in spite of the temptation to give up after failed attempts. The coach will follow up on the assignments that are given in between sessions, the obstacles that were faced, the progress that was made, in addition to ensuring the overall advancement towards the set objectives. The coach therefore inspires the coachee to keep going by reminding them of the importance of their efforts and the contribution to other goals.

Coaching enhances performance…fast.

Working closely and consistently with an expert allows the identification of areas needing improvement in an accurate way. More so, it allows directing efforts efficiently towards bridging those gaps. This specific, customized and targeted approach which is implemented in the coaching process leads to significant improvements in a short period of time because it is tailored to the exact needs and capabilities of the employee. The result is a palpable improvement in the bottom line performance of the coachee who doesn’t have to waste time tackling the wrong problem or going through unhelpful resources.

You All Know The Answers, Right?

You know all the answers, right?

Have you ever felt like you were being ignored after giving someone good advice? Have you experienced another person, or group, disagree with you when it’s clear that you know the best or most obvious way to go about something? Well you wouldn’t be alone. Many people experience this every day. It seems a part of life that people will not change their behaviour, stance or viewpoint no matter what advice they get. But why?

The majority of people find it hard to change, especially when given advice. It’s not because they refuse to, or that they’re awkward or stubborn, which is a natural conclusion to arrive at. People resist change simply because they don’t know how. You may have all the answers for them, but still they don’t change.

But they could learn how, couldn’t they? Well some people do, but they tend to be the minority; those who have worked out that their future success and happiness will require some personal change along life’s amazing journey. You may have heard the Buddhist take on this ‘change comes from within’, or you might say ‘you have to work out your own way through personal change.

People who resist personal change are held back by self-limiting beliefs that take the form “I couldn’t do x” or similar. So you challenge the limiting belief by replying “but of course you could, if you only …” and state your condition or reasoning why.

But what’s often missing from these limiting belief statements is the word ‘because’, such as: it’s because I’m too old, too young, I don’t have qualifications, I’m not bright enough, not confident, they won’t let me, I would fail etc. This language pattern is prevalent in people who seem to get stuck at some stage in their lives. The pattern may not always be outwardly expressed, but their self-talk is likely to consist of frequent negative belief statements. They are unable to move on because ….. Well you can make the rest up. Call them excuses if you like that act to validate “I couldn’t do x”.

So how do you get someone to change their unhelpful behaviour, their viewpoint or negative beliefs? First of all you have to accept that your suggestions or answers are unlikely to work. In fact they may well work against you as the other person could strengthen their resolve to stay just as they are. So show an interest in the person, listen to them, be respectful and build rapport. Keep an open mind and avoid making a judgment. Use some powerful questions that (when done well) can result in the other person creating their own change. With the right questions you can really open up a person’s closed mind.

This type of questioning requires certain knowledge about how language works, an ability to detect the various language patterns that make up any conversation, and an understanding of the psychological impact specific patterns have on motivation and well-being. With a little practice you will be able to ask the perfect question to open up possibilities for change in the mind of the other person.

NLP Practitioners become expert linguists. They learn how to use language, and their voice for a desired effect, in any context. Not only do they have this amazing set of tools to create change in others, they use them to clean up their own negative self-talk and create new language structures that makes personal change easy, and a highly pleasurable experience.

We have place just for you on our next NLP Business Practitioner program – Learn in a highly supportive, stimulating, safe and fun environment where your personal expectation is our key focus.

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