How Are You Getting Your New Staff Performing Faster?

Recently I asked a Senior Manager about their new staff member and what they’d done to get them up to speed.  His response was very interesting because he had been so busy the previous 2 weeks he had not had time to work with his new employee.  Instead, he just had them watch a couple of other staff and he knew that he needed to do something better.

Too often I hear a leader complain about a new hire after a month or two in the role.  When I ask what they’d done to get them up to speed the first couple weeks, they very rarely have a good response.  Every leader knows that they should be investing this time at the beginning of the relationship, sadly they just fail to prioritise their time to make it happen.  

Here are a few ideas that you can use to help get your next new hire up to speed faster:

Map their First Week

Before they start, map what they will be doing every hour for the very first week.  Ideally, you will have a number of different activities for them including you teaching them specific processes/skills, them watching and learning from other departments, observing colleagues to learn processes, etc.  Block out 1-2 hour blocks for each of these areas. Also ensure that you meet with them at the beginning and end of each day, to set the scene and debrief their experience. This sets them up for success and makes you look like an organised rock star (given most other leaders are hopeless at it!)

Turn boring observation sessions into leveraged learning

The most common thing managers do with new staff is to have them observe a more experienced person to learn specific processes.  This often leads to boredom and most of the time they will not be able to duplicate the process on their own (a massive loss of performance opportunity!).  A better approach is to let them know a bit about who they will be observing and give them 3-5 questions that they will need to observe/gather and report back to you.  This ensures that they are switched on and actively learning rather than just going through the motions.

Get them to Mystery Shop the Competition

Once your staff get introduced to your processes, have them mystery shop the competition.  Give them a list of questions that they need to find out which may include: What do they do better than us?  What do we do better than them? How do our products/services compare? What recommendations would they give to improve?  This will engage the and fast track them to learn how you compare in the marketplace, which can also harness some insights from their fresh eyes.

If we just took the time to plan out what we will do with new staff to get them engaged and up to speed faster we would be creating organisations worth belonging to (not to mention setting up a high-performance culture!) 

As many of you know I will be speaking at the Future of Leadership Series in August & September this year occurring across Australia and New Zealand.  You can get a 10% discount by putting in the code FOLSPEAK when you register. Click here to find out more.

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Email Hacks to Save You Time

I have a question for you – how often do you check your email inbox each day, including on your phone? Not sure? Let’s play a little game. Every time you check your inbox write it down because by the end of the day you will be shocked how many times you were in the habit of checking. 

According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute Report, employees spend on average 2.6 hours per day reading and answering emails – losing 12 hours per week (not including the weekend email catch up!) 

So how can you hack your email inbox?  

Try the 321-Zero Approach

New York Times best-selling author Kevin Kruse studied the habits of successful billionaires, entrepreneurs, and Olympic athletes. He found that they often created a simple system to streamline their approach. Kruse recommends the 321-Zero system.  

Schedule 3 times per day to check your email (morning, noon and night) and set your phone timer to 21 minutes as a game to get your inbox to zero. Even if you are challenged in getting through all of your emails in this timeframe, it provides an opportunity to minimise lost time in checking emails as well as keeping you focused.

For many of us, we may be challenged with only checking our email 3 times per day. You can adjust this and do it a bit more often (I know one client who checks 5 times per day). The important thing is to ensure that you are controlling the inbox, not it controlling you.

The 4 Step Inbox Hack  

Try this simple process to help you get through your emails faster.

Step 1: Scan

Rather than taking the time to read through and respond to each individual email, start by scanning your inbox. Take a quick look through to get a sense of which ones need responding, not based on who they are from.

Step 2: Delete

Delete emails that have no benefit or are irrelevant. Be ruthless with the goal to eliminate the visual clutter in your inbox so you can focus on the important emails that you do need to action.

Step 3: Sort

Once you have deleted the irrelevant emails, start sorting the remaining emails by the level of importance. You could do this by the sender or by the header. Many email programs have an automatic sort function that will put emails into categories such as primary, social and promotions, use these to also save time.

Step 4: Respond

With your remaining emails now being the important ones, you can focus on responding. Also ensure to let the sender know what the next step should be for them to take (FYI, share/gather information, make a decision, take action or meeting needed).  

When you start hacking your inbox you will start noticing how much time you save, rather than checking and rechecking the endless emails that slow you down.

As many of you know I will be speaking at the Future of Leadership Series in August & September this year occurring across Australia and New Zealand. You can get a 10% discount by putting in the code FOLSPEAK when you register.

Click here to find out more.

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How Many Books Did You Read This Week?

It has been shown that many successful people continue to take the time to read books to build their knowledge and skills.  In a New York Times interview, Bill Gates said that he reads 50 books per year, which equates to 1 book per week (not bad for someone that is worth $100billion).  Warren Buffet is said to read at least 500 pages per day to help keep him up to speed on information and new trends.

So ask you – how many books have you read recently?  It is known that the more knowledge and information we expose ourselves to the broader our viewpoints, insights and potential will be.  So what can you do to help improve yourself?

There are 3 simple strategies that can be used to continue to build your knowledge:

Identify Why You Should Read.  The leading thinkers in our society are the ones that are reading and also sharing their ideas by publishing their ideas. Thought Leaders that are admired are the ones that have original ideas and are making things happen. The more you read the more knowledgeable you will become – which often creates new opportunities.   

Clarify What You Should Read.  Usually, you will only read for 2 reasons:  entertainment or education. Going on holidays sometimes it is good to grab a good fiction book and have a bit of entertainment to allow you to follow someone else’s creativity.  However, if you want to make things happen, you may need to focus on education. Specifically, this is reading to identify past approaches, trends or new perspectives that can broaden your capabilities or potential.

Make it Easy.  I really like Warren Buffet’s approach because it is so simple.  Just have a target for how many pages per day that you are going to read and make it a game.  Another option is to listen to an audible whilst driving or grabbing one of the many book summary providers to get an overview of a book, which can help you determine if you should read the entire book for deeper insights.

By taking the time to read you can broaden your perspective, skills, and potential.  As many of you know I will be speaking at the Future of Leadership Series in August & September this year occurring across Australia and New Zealand.  You can get a 10% discount by putting in the code FOLSPEAK when you register.

Click here to find out more.

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Are You a Giver or a Taker?

Over the past year, I have been spending a lot of time traveling on planes (thank goodness for Qantas frequent flyer benefits!)  Airports are a fascinating place, full of hustle and bustle as people go about their lives trying to get from point A to point B.  This flurry of activity (along with flight schedules and the chance of missing a flight) is filled with people from all walks of life from business owners, employees, and families going about their lives.

As our pace of life (and work) continues to speed up I am noticing that people are starting to fall into 2 distinct categories.

One group are the ‘Takers’.  These are the people that are always pushing to get things their way.  The energy that they spread is one that is often self-centered and quite often full of tunnel vision.  I noticed someone getting off a plane yesterday that was in such a hurry that when they got their bag from the overhead compartment, they just pushed it into the person behind them.  No word of apology, in fact, they were not even aware as they also grabbed their jacket and flung it over their shoulders -hitting the woman behind them in the face. It was as if they did not care, or even worse they had no awareness.

The other group is the Givers.  These are the people that look at you and give you a kind smile.  They are also busy, however, they take the time to help the other person get their overnight bag out of the overhead compartment.  On the same flight, I had the pleasure of a businessman offering to hold a 6-month-old baby to provide the mother with a chance to easily stand up from her seat and grab the baby’s toys from the seat pocket in front of her. This kind gesture of giving was a powerful example of what we all should be doing.

So who is winning the current race of life?  The Givers or the Takers? If we read and listen to the news and media headlines they will promote the negative things that are occurring by the Takers.  However, if you start looking you can see the Givers that are there helping others.

My question is what would your footprints tell me about you over the last 7 days?  Were you a Giver or a Taker?

At Work:  Make a conscious effort to be a Giver.  Check in with the people around you and look for opportunities to assist them.  This can be something as simple as making them (or buy them!) a cup of coffee. Ask them how their family is doing and show an interest in them as a human being, not just another staff member.  If you can start this and get others to pass it on, the positive impact on your work culture will be incredible. It all starts with a step of kindness and giving to someone else. Small gestures make a massive impact – especially when you are giving to others.

At Home:  Take a minute or two and write down on a sheet a paper your activity over the past week.  Make 2 columns and title one column “giving” and the second column “taking.” Now write down the touchpoints that you have had with your family/partner/children over the past week.  Be honest. Also recognise that some of your activity may be neutral, which means it is neither giving or taking. The question you need to ask is where do you want your activity to be?  And more importantly, take a few moments to identify some things you can do to start giving. Remember it does not have to be financial giving, in fact, the most powerful gifts are those that have a true connection and show that you really do care.  

If we can get everyone to do more giving than taking we can make the world a more positive place.  More importantly, you will know when you are making this difference to others when you get that warm feeling inside – deep in your soul.  This is your inner vision letting you know that you are ‘on path’.

As many of you know I will be speaking at the Future of Leadership Series in August & September this year occurring across Australia and New Zealand.  

You can get a 10% discount by putting in the code FOLSPEAK when you register.  

Click here to find out more.

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The Myth of Work-Life Balance

I attended a conference this week and one of the presenters was talking about the need for their employees to have a ‘work-life balance’.  They spoke about how we need to try to spend as much time at home as at work.

Seriously? What a load of rubbish!  This mindset may have worked in the 1980s before we had the internet, mobile phones and 24/7 access to information and work emails.  I don’t know anyone that can live that way in the world today.

What we should be doing is focusing on the quality of time, not the quantity.  When we are at home on the weekend we should be focusing on our loved ones and family, NOT checking emails and being distracted with work things.  

If one of your kids asks you to help look at one of their projects (like my 17 year old daughter her who’s finalising her end of year project) we should stop watching the TV (or Netflix!) and focus on them, even if you are a bit tired from a big week and just want to chill on the couch.  

I’ve put together a few ideas that can help you focus on what is important (especially this weekend)

Give Time & Attention to Your Loved Ones

Take a break from your work rhythm and mindset and shower the people that you love with attention.  Notice when the dishes are stacked up in the sink and stop your spouse from cleaning them up again and ask them to sit down for a minute and ask them how their day has been.  Little gestures like this send a powerful message about how much you care.

Ignore your Devices

Unplug from your work devices and turn off the screens.  Grab the kids and play a card game or a board game that gets everyone to interact with each other and have some fun.  Every time we do this the kids enjoy it so much that they don’t want to stop. It also lets them know that you can have fun without having your face glued to a phone, iPad or computer screen.

Don’t forget me time

With the ever-increasing pace of work we often sacrifice the time for ourselves which can help us keep the spring in our step.  On the weekend, take the time to carve out some time for you. Go for a walk, jump on your bike, or go to the movie that you’ve been wanting to see for the past 2 weeks.  The important thing is to take some time for you. This also can allow you to de-stress and release some of the pressure and tension from work, trust me, your family and friends will thank you for it.

As many of you know I will be speaking at the Future of Leadership Series in August & September this year occurring across Australia and New Zealand.  You can get a 10% discount by putting in the code FOLSPEAK when you register.

Click here to find out more.


Stay True To Your Path

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