Category Archives: Team Building

Top 5 – How to Let Go and Enjoy the Festivities While You Work

CrowdAre you careening  head long into the end of the year at warp speeds or are you spinning on the spot in a dizzying spin of deadlines?  Maybe you are heading gracefully to a gentle close or galloping to the post with style?

However you bring the year to a close the conflicting demands of deadlines and festivities are upon us and it can be difficult to navigate a balanced course through the final weeks of the year.  Do not fear Happening People come to your aid with our Top 5 – How to Let Go and Enjoy the Festivities While You Work

1. Tidy Up Loose Ends
As you launch into all the fun and festivities the years end brings it can be easy to get so caught up in the goings on that staying focused on what needs to be achieved can prove to be more difficult.  Use the final weeks of the year to work towards tidying up loose ends.   Ask your team to take a last look at their KPI’s, their Project Plans and Strategy Documents and formulate a plan that sees them achieving as much as possible.  Whilst it can be hard to focus members of your team at this point come the New Year you will be glad you did!

2. Think Resolutions and Goals
Now is the time to not only tidy up loose ends but to set goals for the New Year.  In December and January the word on everyone’s lips is resolutions and while it is important to consider what you would like to work on or improve on in the New Year, resolutions have a tendency to be one-week-wonder.  Goal setting is easy when you apply the frame work
SMARTAS: Specific, Measurable, Attractive, Realistic, Time Bound, Agreed and Stretching.  For more information on Goal setting click here Top 5 – To Mastering Goal Setting

3. Thank you’s
Thank you’s are so important, don’t let the year slip away without taking time to thank everyone who has helped and supported you through the year.  The list can be long and it’s not a list you want to leave anyone off who doesn’t deserve your heart felt gratitude, think about your family, your team, your boss, your assistant, clients, suppliers, other departments, the cleaning staff, the maintenance staff, the people who deliver your lunch, the coffee shop owners where you get your much needed morning coffee. Showing gratitude goes a long way to building powerful relationships.

4. Take Some Time Out
With the pressure of the new year’s tasks looming and under the weight of this year’s pressures its vital that you honour your, mental, physical and emotional states and take some time out to recharge the batteries.  It can be easy to quash the need for a break in favour of achieving more.  To easy feelings of tension of taking time away from the office, put plans into place that allow you time off without worrying that the organisation will crumble to its foundations without you (it probably won’t!!).  Having the time to rest and refuel your energy levels, expand your mind and let go of work pressures you can begin the new year refreshed and revitalised.

5. Think of Others
If you are able to leave the office for a well-deserved break consider those still working over the holiday period.  If you have a team try and put in place some treats and surprises which will make their working weeks a little more festive.   Think about allowing them to wear casual clothing or arrange a basket of special snacks, put a TV in the lunch room or leave some petty cash so they can order in lunch.  Whatever you can do to make this time special will be well received.

Happening People are focused all year long on organisations Health and Well Being, not just during the party season.  Our Happening Health Programs aim to give you and your team a balanced and holistic approach to bettering performance.  Call us on 1800 68 67 69 or visit our website www.HappeningPeople.com for more detailed information on our Happening Health Programs.

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Filed under Corporate Health, Corporate Training, People Management, Professional Development, Team Building

Top 5 – How to Protect your Mental and Emotional Health at Work

With a slew of reality television shows focused on weight loss and a healthy lifestyle when we think health we often only consider our physical health and not our mental and emotional health.

The workplace is a melting pot of high stress situations, poorly managed tensions, disappearing resources  and hidden agendas and of course an abundance of politics.  Our emotional and mental wellbeing is put to the test repeatedly and we can become worn down.  When this occurs disaster strikes and we become unwell, sending us into a negative spiral.  But is it all doom and gloom?

With a little help from some brilliant minds on mental health we have pulled together our Top 5 on How to Protect your Mental and Emotional Health at Work.

1. Nourish good Relationships
Professor Jane Fisher, the Jean Hailes Professor of Women’s Health at Monash states “Close relationships are one of the most important protective factors for mental health…” says Prof Fisher. “Nourish good relationships, be committed to them, and get professional help to address destructive or negative relationships if necessary.”  Your work day is full of interactions, and relies on your ability to develop good and lasting relationships with a wide variety of people.  Focus on developing strong bonds with colleagues, they really understand what you are going through on a day-to-day basis and can act as a great listening post and support system.

2. Be Kind to Yourself
Sally Connolly, a clinical social worker, therapist and co-founder of Counselling Relationships Online.com suggests making a decision to do something nice for yourself every day and stick to it. “For many people it has to be a conscious process,” says Connolly. “They must take time to do it. I often recommend some simple ritual as a way of honouring themselves.” She recommends something as simple as daily meditation to inspire peace and relaxation. Other rituals might involve:
Planning to make your favourite dinner once a week, or getting to work 20 minutes early to enjoy a chat and a coffee with colleagues, maybe it’s about getting off the bus a couple of stops early and enjoying a stroll home on a Friday evening.

3. Laughter is the Best Medicine
Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D. is a pioneer in humour research and says “Your sense of humour is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.”  Physically laughter relaxes the whole body, laughter boosts the immune system, laughter triggers the release of endorphins and laughter protects the heart. Emotionally laughter dissolves distressing emotions, laughter helps you relax and recharge and humour shifts perspective. At work the benefits of laughter include allowing you to be more spontaneous, let go of defensiveness, release inhibitions allowing you to do your best work and it allows you to express your true feelings.

4. Never Stop Dreaming
Richard Branson Gazillionaire and entrepreneur “…. you need to take the opportunity to focus on the future. Finding time for aspirational thought is vital. … I spend time every day with my notebooks and iPad, thinking over new dreams and ideas.” Your work day can be filled with procedures, guidelines and protocols.  It can be hard to think outside the square with restrictions placed on our thoughts.  Daring to dream broadens the mind and ignites creativity which in turn boosts our confidence, reduces our stress levels and gives us hope.

5. Keep your Job
Building financial security will help protect your mental and emotional state at work.  When you know your financial future is secure it frees your mind of stress and tension that could otherwise jeopardise your health.  David Koch, presenter, finance Journalist and commentator  has been voted by his peers as one of the ten most influential people of all time in the Australian financial services industry he states “…. the increase in joblessness should prompt action to ensure your position at work is secure. Now is the time to make yourself indispensable by learning, increasing awareness of those around you and taking on a bigger role in everything you do.”

Happening People know that good Emotional and Mental Health as well as Physical Health are vital to your overall well-being and that of your team and organisation which is why we offer Happening Health a program aimed at helping organisations become employers of choice by offering a holistic approach to their employees’ wellbeing.  If you would like to know more or to book a session please call us on 1800 68 67 69 or check out our website www.happeningpeople.com

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Filed under Corporate Health, Corporate Training, Human Resources, People Management, Positive Psychology, Team Building

TOP 5 : How to Improve Team Effectiveness

The Oarsome Foursome is the nickname for an Australian men’s rowing coxless four crew who competed in all Olympics between 1990 and 2012 and won numerous medals for Australia. They enter the history books as an elite rowing team and are an excellent example of team effectiveness.

In the book Better Coaching: Advanced Coaching Manual, The Australian Sports Commission delves into the success of the Oarsome Foursome and what made them such an effective team.  Their coach Neil Donaldson had his work cut out for him as each athlete came to the team with their own rowing experience, their own health problems, their own training needs and their own preferences to training. Noels job was to bring all of this unique talent and styles and bring them together to create a rowing powerhouse.

A people manager is tasked with the same responsibilities, but unlike a rowing team the team needs to pull together and perform at its peak each working day not just for a series of races every four years.  Despite the best efforts of leaders there are times the ‘oars fall in the water” and a leader needs to navigate their team to calmer waters.

Happening people have pulled together our Top 5 on How to Improve Team Effectiveness to help steady the boat and drive your business to the winner’s podium.

1. Gain a more in-depth understanding of all members in the team
You know yourself when a new team is formed it takes a while for the ‘ice to break’ and for you to feel comfortable with the members of your team.  The more you get to know them the easier and more at ease you are doing your job role.  As a manager one of your roles in improving team effectiveness is to make sure that the team move through this phase quickly and easily to facilitate their cohesiveness.  There are infinite number of ways to do this some of these include regular team lunches away from work, games that focus on ‘getting to know you’ and using  a few minutes of your team meeting to focus on one team member who gets to ‘introduce themselves’ and talk about their passions outside of work.

2. Identify effective methods of working together and how to implement these
You do not need to have all the answers, most likely your team does!  Take the time to meet with them individually and collectively and find out what it means to them to work with a team and what ideas they have that can be implemented to improve team dynamics.  You may be surprised at the hugely varied responses they can provide as well as the level of detail.  Hot Tip: The team is more likely to be successful when they are given the opportunity to work together the way they agreed upon rather than having it decided for them.

3. Gain a greater understanding of other team members’ expectations and needs
No two team members have the same expectations and needs, there may be similarities like expectations around respect and fairness, but even your definition of these concepts will differ from another team member based on your own experience.  Jane might think its ok to be half an hour late to work because she has to drop her twins at day care but Anna might think it’s outrageous as she has to tend to a sick husband at home and still makes sure she is at work on time.   These areas of conflict can be addressed by working with the team to come up with a set of team values that will help govern behaviour.

4. Develop a common understanding of job roles
One of the reasons great teams are so great is that each team member knows what the other one role is. Think of a soccer team, each team member is given a place on the team based on their skill and ability and they must carry out that role to the very best of their ability whilst supporting the other team members to achieve theirs.  If the goal keeper is too busy being the striker then they will not be in position to defend the goal when needed and the competition will inch closer to a win. The same applies to business teams. All team members need to do their job to a high standard and support other team members to do their jobs to an equally high standard.

5. Improve interaction, collaboration and fun
There are many team building activities that you can get underway that will help bring the team together through a renewed understanding of each other.  Some of these include International food day at work where team members celebrate their uniqueness and cook a meal that represents their heritage to share with the team. There are also many group activities like sailing, bowling, cross city treasure hunts and corporate rowing teams.
Simple things like sweepstakes in races such as the Melbourne Cup, fund raising  or themed team lunches in the boardroom can inject fun into the workplace.

These are our top 5 in the early stages of team development, other important aspects of team effectiveness include a clear vision, goal setting and excellent communication – to name a few.

Over the years Happening People have run a very successful range of ‘Team’ based Corporate training programs which are very popular with organisations as they strive to gain the upper hand  in today’s competitive market.  Happening People’s programs include Conflict Resolution and Team Effectiveness and Growth.  All programs can be tailored to your individual team and needs or a new program uniquely your own can be created. To find out more click on the links above or call Happening People on 1800 68 67 69 or go to www.happeningpeople.com

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Top 5 – Sales Skills for Everyone

For most people when they think Sales People they think of a Used Car Sales people, Real Estate Agents or a Door to Door Sales Person?  But what about a Customer Service Representative or an CEO or a Project Manager, they sell too it’s just not as obvious!

Some of the most important sales skills include persuasiveness, good listening skills, self-confidence, self-motivation and the ability to build strong relationships through empathy and rapport.  These skills are not exclusive to sales roles they are required by almost all roles.

In 2011 The Manpower Group surveyed nearly 40,000 employers across 39 countries and territories  and found the 2nd most difficult job for employers to fill were Sales Representative roles.  The Top 10 included, Engineers, skilled trade’s people, Administrative and office support staff, Accounting and finance staff and management executives.   When Employers were asked why they had trouble filling these roles it was because a key component included sales skills capabilities in all the roles.

The survey demonstrates that to be successful in any business or organisation strong sales capabilities are a must.

In light of this information we provide you with our top 5 on Sales Skills for Everyone. If after reading through our Top 5 you realise you or your team need to boost your sales skills give us a call we will be delighted to assist you.

1.  Sales Skills for People Managers
Effective People Managers are those that can sell their ideas through influence and persuasive action.   There’s an old saying that “features tell, benefits sell.” Features are the facts and benefits are their emotional connotations.  As a people manager you need to tell your people what you need them to do and then encourage them to do it by selling them the benefits.   For example: When conducting a performance appraisal you need to explain how they are performing and help them realise the benefits of lifting their performance to the next level.

2.  Sales Skills for Customer Service
When you get an annual insurance renewal you may need to call the contact centre and speak to one of their Customer Service Staff to update your details.  Their primary responsibility is to listen effectively, update your policy to reflect the changes you require and build rapport with you and provide you with the cover which meets your needs.  This is a process of upselling (buy more of what you have) or cross selling (offering other related products)Effectively you end up with a renewal of your Insurance and a Life Insurance policy you never knew you needed and now can’t live without!  So when servicing customers key sales skills are, rapport, empathy and needs of the customer.

3.  Sales Skills in your Career
Many people know of someone who seems to get every job they apply for or get promoted rapidly through an organisation and their career.  Sure they may be really good at their job but they are not necessarily the best.  One thing they all have in common is self-confidence and the ability to skilfully self-promote.  Some quick ways to build self-confidence is to dress the part, have good posture, walk fast (people with confidence walk quickly and with purpose) , speak up and focus on the contribution you wish to make to the world.   Moreover people who are good at managing their career sell the value of their skills, experience and knowledge to the organisation.

4.  Sales Skills in Leading Projects
Most Project Leaders will tell you it’s a tough gig.  The role of Project Leader covers a lot of areas and you need to be very strong in your ability to influence others to get a result.  To do this you need to be able to sell the vision to get all stakeholders on board and keep them there even when it gets difficult. Influencing is a key sales capability and understanding human behaviour plays a major role if you are a Project Manager.

5.  Sales Skills in a Team
Whether you lead the team or are part of the team one of the most important sales skills you need for work and life is the ability to build strong relationships.  To do this you need to use empathy (a person’s ability to understand what another is experiencing).  Empathy allows you to build trust and a connection with others and is necessary for interaction and full comprehension of the experience.  When strong relationships have been built and trust established your ability to ‘sell’ your idea or to ask for help is that much easier.

Sales skills are skills for life they aren’t just for sales people.  If you need to boost the sales skills in your organisation, talk to the International award winning leaders in Sales and Leadership Training.

Call Happening People on 1800 68 67 69 or go to www.HappeningPeople.com

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Filed under People Management, Positive Psychology, Professional Development, Selling, Team Building