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Refocus your way out of the regressive phase.


Did you notice anything peculiar with your colleagues lately?

In the sense that they are sort of—well, how can I put it—regressing, not showing up at their level of maturity as constantly as they normally do.

From a developmental point of view, regression is mostly something we notice in smaller children. Here they were, doing so well at going to sleep, eating their porridge or whatever, and now suddenly they are back to behaving in a much more immature version of themselves.

But if you think about it, we all regress from time to time—probably more often that we would like to admit.

Essentially, we have three levels of functionality:

  • Our normal way of being (The way we operate most of the time);
  • A higher level (A peak level something we are trying to learn or aspire to and that we experience from time to time, but not on a consistent basis); and
  • A dysfunctional level (A less...
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Our Sense of Safety is Directly Related to Our Levels of Relationships

A few years ago, Google published their studies on how teams with a high degree of psychological safety outperform teams that have lesser degrees of safety.

This led to many learned articles on what psychological safety entails and how to achieve it. Often, it sounds quite complicated, but not always. I wrote a simple version here.

The research breaks psychological safety down into four key components:

  • Tribe (A sense of belonging)
  • Expectations (Are they clear?)
  • Hierarchy (Can I say what I think?)
  • Autonomy (How much influence do I have on “how” I do my job?)

In simple terms, that means it's important that everyone feels included, that you set clear expectations, and that you try and limit the surprises. There shouldn't be an excessive focus on authority and positions. Finally, the ultimate motivator for your team is if they get to have a say in how they do their work, not what they do—that's a management decision—but how they do it.

But we can actually...

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The Whole Should Not Be Less Than The Sum of Its Parts

Lack of Psychological Safety


You have heard it ad nauseam—the bit about the whole being larger than the sum of its parts. We use it to describe the benefit of systems or why teams are better than just individuals working in groups.

So let's just recap: When do “things” become a system?

A system is the result of connecting things that are different.

Note that the critical words here are connection and diversity.

A box of nails does not constitute a system. All the things are exactly the same and they aren’t connected even if they are in the same box.

A computer is a system and so is a management team. One is mechanic and the other is organic. We’ll come back to the implications of that later.

But what we seem to forget is that it’s not a given that the whole will be more than the sum of the parts. Sometimes—quite often actually when we talk about teams—the whole turns out to be considerably less than the...

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All Your Problems Are Interpersonal Relationship Problems

A Simple Model to Understand How This Works


"Tell me, what do people actually ask you to coach them about,” she asked. I was having a lovely conversation with an old friend who I had not seen in a while and we were catching up on how our lives had developed. I tried to give her a few examples of what I thought were very different issues of what I’m working with.

Later that week, I was reading something by Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler and came across this:

All problems are interpersonal relationship problems.

Then, it hit me—reflecting on what I had discussed with my friend and also thinking through other examples. They may call it different things, but by far, most of the coaching challenges that I work on are about relationships.

Relationships with colleagues, bosses, across departments or even customers—even relationship with themselves—

—the common denominator in all of this has to do with how to work better with others.

Why do so many...

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No Fear—It's the Foundation of a Great Team.

In the previous blog posts, you've been looking at the employee experience. If you buy into the whole concept of the Service Profit Chain, it makes perfect sense that creating a great employee experience will help you create the best possible guest experience.

Then, let’s explore another element of the employee experience.

At the basic level, people have a need to feel safe. Only when you feel safe can you do your best work. If you feel anxiety in some form, your system directs your resources toward coping with whatever you feel as a threat. At a deep level, you try to answer the question: fight, flight or freeze? Obviously , none of these modes are conducive to producing great customer experience.

When you dissect great customer experiences, most of them are the result of one of your team members deciding to do something different in a given situation. The guest’s situation does not fit the script and there's a need for an improvised...

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