Leading your team to feel super safe to super fail a lot

Is your team leading the way?

Is your team disrupting or being disrupted?

If yes, then this learning note is for you!  It will provide you with some great tips for inspiring your team to take more risks, disrupt more, be open to failure and learning?

Key Learning Points

  • nurture talent
  • nurture ideas and change
  • create safety nets
  • encourage
  • focus on learning and achievement
  • create a sense of purpose
  • let go of old stories of punishment
  • create new stories of how failure will be responded to

Fail, fail, fail and then learn!

Failure is the only option when first trying to create something truly awesome!

Learning Prompts

Ask yourself (and your team):

  • What would you like to brainstorm?
  • What other ideas do you have?
  • What does experience teach your about this change / new idea?
  • What does your inner wisdom say about it?
  • How you can unlock that learning?
  • What story are you telling that is holding your team back?
  • What could a new story look like?
  • What needs to change to make this story a reality?
  • What words would you like to use less of to describe your team? (i.e.: ‘dead wood’, ‘cut the fat’, ‘idiots’, ‘lazy’, etc)
  • What words could use more of? (i.e.: ‘untapped talent’, ‘hidden gems’, ‘stars in the making’, ‘genius’, ‘inspired’, ‘open’, ‘fun’, ‘energised’)
  • What would you like to be known for as a team?
  • What behaviours do you want to be known for?

What will you do today to make failure an option?
I’d love to hear from you, how do you encourage your team to take risks and deal with failure positively?

Let me know by commenting here. I love hearing your ideas and read every comment.

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Leading your team to be so much more creative

Is your team closed to new ideas?

Is your team resistant to change?

If yes, then this learning note is for you!  It will provide you with some great tips for inspiring your team to be more open, creative and welcoming of change.

Key Learning Points

  • create openness
  • encourage positive behaviours
  • lead with a clear purpose

Lead, inspire, lead some more.

Give it everything you have.

Learning Prompts

Ask yourself:

  • Can you listen more and speak less? 
  • If your team could choose anything, what would it be?
  • Can you see any gaps in your own thinking?
  • What is possible for your team now? 
  • What would give your team the most joy?
  • What is your vision?
  • What is the greater purpose behind your team’s journey?
  • How can you adopt a beginner’s mindset?
  • How can you support my team to do the same?

What will you do today to create openness? 


I’d love to hear from you, how do you encourage your team to be open?  What is your biggest takeaway?  What advice do you wish you had when you first became a leader to help your team be more open?

Let me know by commenting right here. I love to hear all of your comments, they inspire and motivate, so please share any thoughts you have 🙂

For extra reading, I recommend reading Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki.

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Tap into your super powers #4 – Introducing innovation into a creative desert

Is your organisation culture great at saying no to EVERYTHING?

Is your creativity and innovation being blocked, stifled or left to stagnate?

If yes, then this learning note is for you!  It will provide you with some great tips for tapping into that innovative spirit to inspire those around you and give you an outlet for those awesome ideas you keep having.

The key learning point here is to : Be the role model innovation leader.  Be what you want most at work.
Lead, inspire, lead some more. Give it everything you have. 

Learning Prompts

Innovation and getting new ideas accepted and introduced into any organisation is always tough.  Often people will perceive that you are asking them to take a risk, make a courageous decision or even put their own job on the line.   Some cultures are more stifling than others. Even innovative organisations can have a ‘their way’ of doing innovation.   At some point in an organisation’s maturing face certain ways of behaving, acting and agreeing new ways of work become expected ways of work OR even acceptable vs non-acceptable ways of working.

Ask yourself:

  • What idea can be tested without sponsorship, resources or funding?
  • Do you say yes to new ideas?
  • Are you setting the example for change or fitting in and supporting the status quo?
  • Can you start yes whenever you can? (start by having a YES day)
  • Can you prove out your ideas and make them real in anyway you can?
  • How can you help you boss feel safe to say Yes?
  • Is YES really a safe thing for your team to say? If not, why not?
  • What behaviours need to shift to get a Yes?
  • What past war stories exist that you need to respond to?
  • Start leading saying YES to the new today!

What you do next is up to you…..
I’d love to hear from you, what you did do next? What did you say YES?  What did you ask for a YES to? What happened? How did you make someone feel safe to say YES?

Did you say YES to everything today?

Let me know here.

For extra reading, I recommend  Influence – They Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini. 

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Tap into you super powers #3: How to be creative when the box just doesn’t fit

Are you super creative and stuck in a super not-creative job?

Do you remember being creative when you were younger – writing scripts, painting, singing, playing the saxophone, making home movies, creating music but can’t remember the last time you got to do it?

Does your job feel like it is crushing your soul and your ‘creative’ outlet involves expletive ridden attempts to get visio arrows and lines to connect!!?

If yes, then this learning note is for you! It won’t help you with visio but it will provide you with some great tips for tapping into that creative energy again whether at work or in your non-work life. It’s time to start embracing creativity again.  Being an artist does not mean having to give up your day job.  This note includes learning prompts and a fun call to act.

The key learning point is to define what creative is for you.

Learning Prompts

Creativity is part of who we are. Don’t keep your creative self hidden, forgotten or pressed down.  Its an important part of  us.  The more I embrace my creativity, the more happy, fulfilled and fun I am.

Ask yourself:

  • Define what creative is for you
  • Write down all the assumptions you had about why it wasn’t a suitable job, outlet or pursuit for you
  • Put a line through them, burn the piece of paper (safely) – those assumptions are gone now
  • Write down all the feelings you can remember having when you expressed your creativity
  • Pick your favourite creative outlet
  • Start doing it today, as in right now!

Some more prompts and suggestions

If you like writing, open up evernote and write down 1 sentence that just comes to mind….. need a prompt:
– describe your first overseas travel tour
– describe the first day in your current job
– describe that time your saw your fave band for the first time ever!! LIVE!!
If you like art:
– book a time to go to the gallery (such as: Heide or NGV, if you’re in Melbourne)
– book a trip to visit MONA in Tasmania
– open up pintrest and create an art based vision board
– find your old paints and draw a circle.

If you like music:
– find your old instrument
– create a top 10 list of music you’d like to learn to play or sing
– book tickets to a local band, festival
– go down to your local to see up and coming bands
– write down 5 ideas for a song
– book into a musical
– sing in the shower – LOUDLY!!!

What you do next is up to you…..
I’d love to hear from you, what you did do next? Did you book something?  Write something? Play something?

Did you sing loudly in the shower?

Let me know by commenting on this post.

For extra reading, I recommend BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert – it’s a game changer!

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Tap into your super powers #2 – Turning frustration into your best work ever!

Are your best skills going to waste?

Are you a bit bored at work?

Are you under utilised and under appreciated?

If yes, then this learning note is for you! It will provide you with some great tips for turning that frustrated energy into a powerful tool to make you stand out at work, feel fulfilled and add more meaning to your job everyday, including: learning prompts, a case study example – going from frustrated to happy in exactly the same job and ideas on what steps to take next to get started.

The key learning point is to look at why and when you are frustrated and use that energy to design the role you want and started doing that role in your current job right now.  

Learning Prompts

To channel that frustration into something positive for yourself try to understand why you are frustrated, what triggers you and what type of work would ease that frustration.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the biggest problem facing your team, project or business?
  • What skills do you most want to use that could help solve this problem? And, how? 
  • What would this solution mean to your boss, customer, business?
  • Can you start working on this solution as part of your current role?
  • How can you get support for this idea?
  • Who could support to get this idea off the ground?
  • What would it take to make happen?
  • Do you need extra support or can you do this alone?
  • What would it mean to you to use these skill in this way?
  • How would you feel if you to used these skills everyday? 
  • What skills do you love using?
  • Could you integrate them in to HOW you do your job?

Case Study

As you know I love coaching but in my current role as a consultant I have very little opportunity for coaching as I don’t have direct reports.  This doesn’t stop me from taking on this role unofficially and people who are aware of my business regularly come to me for advice, coaching or to bounce ideas around.  One way I have incorporated my coaching skills into work is to use them to create really positive outcomes in workshops and meetings that I lead.  If you  have watched some of my facebook lives on managing meetings you will know that there have certainly been some ‘trials and tribulations’ with some ‘interesting’ behaviours in meetings.  This might sound a bit lateral and it is.  Using powerful listening techniques and skills to stay present and in the moment just makes meetings, workshops and how groups of humans functions so much better.

Some of the tools I use are questions (just like the prompts above).  Thoughtful and empathetic questions can be asked in 1:1 discussions or even to groups.  And, just sitting still with someone and really hearing them and not interrupting or making a judgement, really taking the time to respond to allow more silence in discussion creates a beautifully safe space for honesty, trust and empathy to build and grow.

Using these techniques has allowed me to create greater connection and also to be open to surprising compliments, advice or observations that I would have not been open to recieve otherwise.

What is the impact to me?

Work feels more meaningful.

I have a smile on my face as I head out of the station.

I come home feeling satisfied.

I sleep better.

Of course, I’d love to work full time as a coach and I’m building my business towards that goal (eventually.)  But I’m not in a rush and I love working in IT (what other profession could I spend my day talking Star Wars, Tesla, colonising Mars and robots, oh and strategising the adoption of the latest leading edge tech?).  By combining both passions and thinking laterally on how I can incorporate this skill set, I get the best of both worlds without feeling I have a passion and ‘real work’ in two different silos of my life.

Take Action

Next time you get super frustrated and think ‘If I only I could’….

Write down your thoughts!

And then?

Get planning, start testing out what you could do until you find something that just clicks day to day in your job. 

And then?

GO FOR IT!

Would you like to work more on developing this skill set?

Do you have career goals to work on that you would like support and coaching in?

Have you thought of getting your own career coach to help you take the next step in your career?

If yes, then find out more about the Tap into Your Power coaching series. 

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Tap into your super powers #1 – What to do when you keep getting told No

Key Learning point: The key learning point in this article is how to get a YES for your best ideas from your senior stakeholders (especially when you keep hearing a No to your good ideas).

To create this change you will need to create a compelling WHY to motivate a change of mind.  

And, we will also work through a case study on how do you get additional time and funding  approved.

Do your best ideas always get a no?

Do you find it hard to get endorsement for changes to scope, estimates, cost or resource hires?

If yes, then this post will help you do just that by providing you with:

  • learning prompts
  • case study example – going from a NO to a YES
  • ideas on next steps

Learning Prompts

To get a senior stakeholder to say yes (especially to anything involving a change in cost) you need to create a compelling why. A compelling WHY creates the motivation for someone to change their mind.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the biggest problem facing my stakeholder?
  • How does my idea help with this?
  • Can my idea help solve my stakeholder’s problem in someway?
  • What would it mean for this problem to be solved?
  • Who else will benefit?
  • How will it improve business outcomes (profit, strategy, financial, marketing, reputation etc) ?
  • Is my idea aligned to business strategy?
  • Has my idea been tried before?  (And, what happened?)
  • Are there quality reasons for pursuing something that has failed before?
  • What does this idea add or take away from my current role?

 

Case Study

In one Test Manager role I was in a few years ago, I had inherited an estimate that could be at best described as ‘optimistic’ but I would describe as ‘crazy’.

I decided to ask not for the 23 days (which had been approved) estimated but instead ask for approval of a 288 day estimate.

The Delivery Manager’s response: “You’d have to get the CIO to approve that’

My response: “Ok, I will get that!’

And… I did.

How?

  1. I researched what had happened in the past (the project had been tried and failed 3 times over 10 years due to a lack of or poor testing)
  2. I researched what a poor quality delivery would actually mean if implemented in production. The impact I found was : catastrophic business failure, regulatory breaches and huge (newspaper story worthy) customer financial loss
  3. I put a succinct options paper together – this was a 3 page slide pack with 3-4 bullet point per slide which succinctly stated option, risk, cost and recommendation (yes/no)
  4. I got the business sponsor to publicly back the best estimate to his General Manager  (this took some time to influence)
  5. I then presented the options paper to the steering committee which consisted of the CIO and the CEO’s direct reports
  6. And, the CIO approved the new estimate – in fact the whole committee did

How did I ‘win’ the argument?

I pitched every risk with a direct (yet implied) statement which if that risk came true would directly lead to the CIO losing his job. 

Because the risk that poor quality would create in a production environment was so great to the company, any realisation of this risk would mean business failure (or close too) and that would mean no more jobs for the CIO or the other members of the committee.

 

Extra context

For some context, I have well over 10 years technical estimation experience and I had the most experienced person on the programme run the numbers as well.  I knew the estimate was right.

I also knew to pursue the other estimate would lead to project failure or even (if the project actually got into production) potentially business failure. I had 100% faith in myself and my team that we were the best people to deliver this work and I had 100% belief that I could get the CIO’s approval with a fair argument for the new estimate.

 

Take Action

Next time you get a No, ask yourself – do I 100% believe in my proposal? And if the answer is yes, then ask the person who said No:

“What needs to happen to get a YES?”  

And then?

GO FOR IT!

Would you like to work more on developing this skill set?

Do you have career goals to work on that you would like support and coaching in?

Have you thought of getting your own career coach to help you take the next step in your career?

If yes, then find out more about my  Tap into Your Power coaching series. 

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Goal Setting Secret #1 – Know What You Want

My name is Beatrice Crocker, and I help women to stand in their power and get ahead of a pack. And I work with women in male dominated professions to get the career that they want. You can find out more about me at beatricecrocker.com

Today’s post is the first in a series of three, which is three secrets to always getting what you want. And today I’m sharing secret number one. 

Watch the video and read more below

 

 

Secret #1 How to know what you want. 

How often do you say this “I know exactly what I want in my life” ?

hmmmm, like never right? 

I know this is something I’ve really struggled with.  Although for a long time I didn’t realise it.  But I was definitely living life according to what I had been told what to do vs what I most wanted.  It wasn’t a conscious thing.  I’d had goals for career and relationships and I achieved them.  I just didn’t have bigger goals or appreciated what I really wanted in my life.  And it didn’t click for me until a great friend and mentor told me ‘You have to have a plan Beatrice, you have to know where you’re heading and WHY you’re pursuing it’.  

It sounds like an easy thing to say but let’s face its not an easy thing to do.  

For a long time I led a life according to shoulds instead of examining what I really wanted. I should have a high paying job, I should have a house, I should get married etc. And although these things are great, I never asked myself what do I really want? And when I did it it was really hard work, because for a long time I had overlaid other people’s wants onto what I thought I wanted. 

I hadn’t done the work.

So I ended up marrying the wrong person, buying the wrong house, and staying in the right job, but for too long until it became the wrong job. And to be quite honest I didn’t even realise I was leading a life of shoulds, but I look back now and I can see I was doing just that. Of course that’s the beauty of hindsight. However, during this period I got sick a lot, I had colds, sinus infections, migraines, nearly lost the eyesight in one eye, and a breast cancer scare (thankfully only a scare). So my body was screaming at me to stop, but I just kept going anyway. 

And so when I found myself single again, no hubby, no baby, no house. That was really when I took the time to self examine and really have a look at what I really wanted in life. And I guess my biggest realisation was that I wasn’t very good at doggedly pursuing what I truly wanted, and I wasn’t very good at knowing what that was either. 

So I’m sharing the secrets that I’ve learnt in terms of getting what you want because now that I have done the work, and I understand my WHY (helping women progress) and WHAT I want to achieve.  I have had the happiest, most satisfying 2 years of my life.  

I really want this for you as well.   

So if you’ve gone for a long time without being clear on what you want, this series will help you get crystal clear. 

What do you really want? 

1. Let instinct be your best friend.

It’s time to practice letting instinct guide you. The best way to tap into instinct is to focus on your emotional and physical reactions. 

  • How do certain events make you feel ? 
  • How do people make you feel physically and emotionally? 
  • Do you feel relaxed, energised, happy, at ease?
  • Do you feel tight, contracting, anxious, uncomfortable? 
  • When you feel most relaxed? 
  • When do you feel most energised ? 
  • When do you feel super healthy? 
  • When do you feel on edge? 
  • What gives you an instant headache? 
  • When does that injury play up again? 

All these reactions are giving you clues to what you want and love and what you don’t.  

Action: 

1. Take notes on how people, events, ideas, make you feel and act. 

2. Take note of any recurring themes. 

2.  Embrace variety

Try lots of new and different things in your life. 

Say YES more. 

So if you’ve sort of dropped some hobbies, go back to old hobbies, find some new hobbies and activities. 

Action:

  1. Write down what makes you happy, sad, passive, excited, joyful, tired. 
  2. Is something draining your life force? Then, stop doing it. 
  3. Invest more time in the activity that boost your energy and make you feel good.   

3. Turn a negative into a postiive

 

Write down a list of things that you don’t like, at work, in terms of a partner, in terms of your home. They don’t have to be current things, they could just be things you know you don’t love, 

Action:  

Reverse it. 

So if you’re like look I don’t like being in roles that require high detail and little human interaction, then the  reverse of that is I like being in strategic creative roles with lots of time spent face to face with people. And so if you haven’t really had a lot of time recently where you’ve really been happy doing something, write down all the things like are really bugging you, and then reverse it. And it will give you the keys to what will make you really happy. 

4. Feel it out

Don’t expect too much too quickly. If you’re out of practice with knowing and feeling what you want then it will take time. So start off small and build up. And if you’re working on big life changes focus on changing one thing at a time not everything. If that’s a choice. 

After getting divorced I lived in three different houses, made three different job changes – all in 18 months. It was way too much change!!! Some of this was definitely avoidable and it happened because I just didn’t take the time to listen to myself and give myself some breathing room to feel it all out. 

Action: 

1. Take all the time you need. 

                    

Getting instinct back into your life takes practice. 

Good luck!  

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Beatrice’s Equality Day Dreams #5 – Making an important career decision is so easy

Can I be honest with you? I’m beginning to think my day dreams maybe a bit cynical.  When I read over this day dream that I wrote 5 months ago, it was part of a list of things I wish the workplace was vs wasn’t.

It shouldn’t be a dream that we are supported and progression is easy if we are ambitious and competent.  While writing my book and starting my life coaching business, every woman I have spoken to has talked about the challenge of finding out information on how to progress.

At work, a colleague came up to me (after reading my blog) and admitted she didn’t know that she was supposed to ask.  She has recently started working in Australia and asking wasn’t the custom in her previous country and in fact it might even have been deemed rude to ask.  People progressed once they met a benchmark and their manager would ask if they wanted to go up a level or take on a new role.

If you’re a manager, how transparent is it to your team how they progress? Are you over looking someone because they haven’t told you what they are interested in?  And, are you being overlooked because you are not asking?

One more story, recently a senior manager let me know that a role was available in his team and talked me through a series of names and I gave my thoughts.   I added an extra name to the list and we both agreed she’d be great for the role if she was interested.  In my gut, I thought she probably wasn’t.   Later, I asked her if she would be and let her know the role was available.  She surprised me by saying she was interested. So I said, “call him NOW and let him know NOW”.  She waited 5 days to speak to him (after another prompt from myself) and she missed out on the role.   The senior manager made a decision in 3 days.

If you hear of a role and you are interested, let the hiring manager know  straight away.  Don’t hesitate or let other work get in the way.

Just ask.

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“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together”

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together”

When things are difficult, I often find it is because I am heading in the wrong direction.

Maybe I am pushing too hard to make a relationship something more than it can be, maybe my expectations are not realistic for the work I have asked to be performed, maybe I just thought one way of doing things was better than another and I was wrong.

Being able to pivot, change course and accept that there are better paths available to us, can make us into a better boss, friend, colleague, partner and neighbour.

What have you needed to pivot on lately to find a better path?
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Beatrice’s Equality Day Dreams #3 – they just asked me what job I wanted!

“The leadership team called me into their management meeting and said there were 3 roles available and I could pick anyone of them! I mean that was a really hard decision”

Said no women ever!

Am I right ?

But wouldn’t it be awesome if it happened.

For this to occur, a management team would need to assess people on :

  • their work performed,
  • make hiring decisions as a group and in a transparent manner,
  • the company would be in a high growth phase and have lots of new roles on offer,
  • the culture would be open and inclusive (not paternal and closed),
  • individual choice would be valued and there would be a lack of a reward systems in place for people feeling ‘owed’ positions (I’m not sure what the opposite of that be – something like people progress and are rewarded on company wide performance and objective measures, maybe?)

Now I’d love to hear from you, would you love this to happen and (is it possible) has this ever happened to you ?

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