Tag Archives: Motivation

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 – How to Get the Most out of Your Coaching Sessions

With over $1 Billion dollars spent yearly on Executive Coaching in the US (Harvard Business Review) such a large investment needs a return. The good news is that when employees who are being invested in really work to get the best out of their coaching sessions the returns are high.

We all know a Personal Trainer won’t lift your weights for you, a Spiritual Guide will not live your life for you and an Executive Coach is not going to do your work for you either, but all of them will guide and support you through the process when you work in collaboration with them.
MetrixGloball LLC a recognised thought leader in the strategic application of coaching said in one study, executive coaching at Booz Allen Hamilton returned $7.90 for every $1 the firm spent on coaching.” This is what you call ‘real bang’ for your buck!

So how can you get the most bang out of your companies Executive Coaching dollars?  Once again Happening People rise to the challenge and answer the question with our Top 5 – Getting the Most Out of Your Executive Coaching Sessions.

1. Bring your Attitude
Hey, when you do bring your attitude, make sure it’s the right one!  Leave the ego at home, you will get much more out of your session if you can be open minded.  Sure, having someone discuss with you your work performance can be difficult at times, but you need to remember that the intention behind coaching is to make you aware of your behaviours and effectiveness to give you the tools to adapt them to best meet everyday challenges.  Throughout this process not only will you discover what needs improvement but what strengths, skills and talents you have that you can build upon to be at your best.

2. Be Selfish
Executive Coaching is an investment in you and what you most want. It is not a time to sit back and worry about others.  The time you dedicate to your coaching is yours and the more effective each session is the more benefit you will provide to others after each session.  That means you may need to push out a deadline or simplify your day.  You will need to put work second when it comes to scheduling your sessions and work to be ‘present and focused’ not just in ‘attendance’ at each session.

3. Set Goals
Whist your Executive Coach will be experienced in leading you through the process of Executive Coaching each coachee is an individual and no two sessions are the same.  Embrace your uniqueness and plan with your coach exactly what you want to achieve and work on a strategy to achieving it. You and your coach need to discuss each other’s role in the process, establish expectations of each other, clarify objectives and establish benchmarks for results.

4. Be Open to Change and New Ideas
Let yourself be challenged, for real growth doesn’t begin till we are outside our comfort zone.  Choose to walk into each session with an open mind and an inquiring spirit. This is your opportunity to learn from those who have walked your path before, someone capable of putting language and structure around your imperfections and provide a plan for the future.

5. Homework
Your Executive Coach will have you try new ideas, approaches, strategies and or communication skills. Make sure you try these out and take note of what worked and what didn’t work each time you try one of these. Committing extra time to looking more in depth at each idea will move you more quickly towards your coaching goals and overall effectiveness.

Want to learn more about the Executive Coaching Happening People Offers?  Click here.

Executive coaching is a way for the leader, manager or executive to be aware of and change their behaviour to meet each situation with effectiveness and to lead with authority, clarity and purpose.
Imagine if you could do all of this?  You can! With a little help from our Executive Coaching Team.
Call Happening People on 1800 68 67 69 or go to www.happeningpeople.com

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Filed under Coaching, Executive Coaching, People Management, Positive Psychology, Professional Development, Uncategorized

Top 5 – SWOT Success – Part 2

Last week we brought you Part 1 of a two part series on SWOT Analysis.  We delved into detail on the four areas of the SWOT, Strengths and Weaknesses as well as the Opportunities and Threats.

In summary the essence of the SWOT analysis is to discover  what your business does well, how you can help improve it, whether you are making the most of the opportunities you uncover and understanding what are the changes and potential threats to your market such as technology advances, mergers or unstable suppliers.

This week in Part 2 of the series we outline five key factors that will help ensure success as you complete a SWOT for your business.

1.Clear Goals
A compulsory first step when performing a SWOT is to define the end goal or an overall goal that needs to be achieved in order for the SWOT process to be deemed a success.  The goal must be clear and agreed upon by all those partaking in the SWOT analysis process.  By not completing this step the business risks wasting resources and not completing the process.

An example of an overall goal might be: ‘Expand 10% of the meat processing arm of our business into the Asian market by year end 2013.” Remember to be realistic.

 2. Seek input from others
Collect as much information as you can. You can gather information using interviews, reports, focus groups and group brainstorming sessions.  Your goal at this stage is to get as many details about each of the four sectors of the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).  The quality of the information you collect is extremely important for determining the success of the SWOT process.  You can develop the most comprehensive plan ever seen, but if it is based on faulty or incomplete information it will fail.  Keep in mind the SWOT can also help highlight what you don’t know.

3. Identify potential Blind Spots
In “Six Ways to Prevent Corporate Tunnel Vision,” Adrian Ott lists six questions you can ask to uncover hidden risks and opportunities. (Fast Company, April 5, 2010)
– Can a competitor with a new business model explode the economics of your industry?
– Do you evaluate the same competitors now as you did three years ago?
– Can your category be simplified?
– How well do you evaluate the broader customer context independent of your products?
– Do you regularly seek the next wave of technology or methods to serve customers, even when they will make your current products obsolete? (think Blockbuster or Borders)
– Do you have the same channel partner portfolio mix as three years ago? (think Google or Paypal).

4. Perform the SWOT Analysis process many times
A SWOT Analysis should perform multiple times.  Your business environment will be constantly changing so use the SWOT as an ongoing business tool that is reviewed regularly.

5. Relying on SWOT as a holistic diagnostic strategy
Remember, use the SWOT as an overall strategy to analyse your business, not in isolation. See it as a guide not a complete decision making tool.  Be mindful not to base all major decisions on this analysis and nothing else.

Now it’s your turn!! We hope you have found this two part series on the SWOT Analysis Process useful and informative, please let us know what you think………..

Almost 90% of survey respondents use SWOT’s to navigate the unknown.  Don’t be left in the dark! Happening People have helped many organisations discover their strategic planning prowess!  Call Happening People on 1800 68 67 69 or go to www.happeningpeople.com

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