Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The Growth Mindset

My daughter in law is studying to become a teacher and recently introduced me to the Growth Mindset. 

What I have discovered via Google is:-

Every so often a truly ground breaking idea comes along and the Growth Mindset is one.

  • Why brains and talent don’t bring success
  • How they can stand in the way of it
  • Why praising brains and talent doesn't foster self-esteem and accomplishment, but jeopardizes them
  • How teaching a simple idea about the brain raises grades and productivity
  • What all great CEOs, parents, teachers, athletes know

The Growth Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference.

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships. When you read Mindset, you’ll see how.

The following excellent video really illustrates what we should be doing with the development of our children, but also too to adults which is the area that I am interested in.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Back up all your files now!

Last week was a nightmare for me as I had quite  lot to do and when I fired up my ageing desktop I was given the 'choice' of fixing the damage to my hard disk and losing all my files!! The upgrade to Windows 10 from 7 must have been a bridge too far for my faithful old warhorse. After a visit to PC World I was advised by Vladimir that if I repeatedly hit the F8 key when I switched on my computer, I might be 'allowed' a safe period in which I could extract all the files that I hadn't backed up. I followed his advice to the letter, managed to get a safe load and never switched the computer off for the rest of the week - phew!

When I worked at NestlĂ© a computer crash was an inconvenience, when you have your own business it can be catastrophic. A year ago I went down the Office 365 subscription route so all my work files are automatically backed up into the cloud. All my photos (17k) are backed up in the massive storage I have on Google Photos plus an external drive for extra safe keeping. So far so good, but there were a number of very important files I had missed.

  • My Outlook data files plus archives were too big to do regular cloud backups, so I have to regularly back them up onto an external hard drive. I hadn't done this and the loss of all my folders and correspondence would have been a nightmare.
  • I didn't realise it but my web sites assets were scattered all over my old computer and the web sites would have have been inoperable based on the back ups I had made. So I was able using Serif WebPlus X8 to save all components as a package and then reopen on my new computer.
  • After chatting to a Microsoft expert I realised that I was using their OneDrive cloud system as my sole back up of important files. The expert stressed OneDrive is aimed at giving you access to all your files wherever you are and on any computer, but still routinely do your backups to an external hard disk.
  • I had all the programme disks for my specialist programmes, but all the software keys were in my Outlook folders so that was a great save. I now have all the keys safely stored away on the software vendors web sites.
I bought a HP Pavillion all-in-one and logged on to my Microsoft account, and with OneDrive integrated into Windows 10 it just put all my files onto my new computer. It took two days of downloads but I was very impressed. In fact the whole operation went very smoothly apart from getting my email system working. I just couldn't send emails, then on one of the morning there was a big update of Windows 10 and after that everything worked like a dream. What I like about IMAP for my emails is it is fully synchronised to my Oulook app on my iPad. 

I believe I had a very lucky break (thanks Vlad) and would like to encourage anyone reading this to BACKUP ALL YOUR FILES NOW!!!

Friday, 8 January 2016

High Performing Teams 2016

One of the great things we did when I worked at NestlĂ© Purina was to create a programme for teams. It was in the early days of running the Purina Inspirational Leadership Programme (ILP) when I was asked if I could create a programme for teams. Participants to ILP were finding the highly supportive environment resulted in excellent openness and honesty and they wanted to create the same ‘atmosphere’ within their own teams. It seemed like a good idea, so I scanned the market to see if any outside training company offered such a programme. It soon became apparent that there wasn’t one, just plenty of team building activities. Cooking a meal, walking up/down a mountain, walking over hot coals are all fun and help to bring people together, but they seldom address the issues that exist within teams. In typical ‘can do’ Purina fashion, what we couldn’t find we created ourselves. We started with the first workshop modeled on Inspirational Leadership and year by year continued to improve the workshop. I left Purina at the end of 2009, by which stage we were up to version 12 of High Performing Teams. In 2010 I set up my coaching business Release the Magic and continued to develop the programme. I started by reflecting on the past 10 years and taking on board all the learning and this generated a new model that I have run very successfully for five years.

Going into 2016 I decided it was the right time to renovate / reinvent HPT and I have just run the first two day workshop with a UK client and it was awesome!!!

This is the new model:-

The key attributes are:-

  • Where the leader is engaging and inspiring and willing to share leadership with the team
  • The team know each other well and together they use peer to peer coaching to grow one another
  • They have a continuous improvement mindset constantly looking for small / big improvements and eliminating waste
  • There is a high degree of mutual trust 
  • The vision and values they have as a team inspires everyone
  • All goals are aligned and roles and responsibilities and priorities are clear
  • There is a wonderful team spirit where people feel pride and passion for what they do
The HPT workshop is a very hands on, fun and eye opener to new possibilities even to the most skeptical. There is no hiding as everyone just has to participate and they have to, in a very supportive environment, deal with their issues. I just love running the workshop and know that the enthusiasm and energy that flows from me doing what I love, has an infectious effect on all participants.

I have also designed a couple of additional modules for the team's learning remembering that 'a team that learns together tends to grow together'. ‘Peer2Peer Skills Coaching’ is about transferring skills strengths within the team (plus additional coaching guides that we will provide) to other team members who are struggling and ‘Simpler Smarter Quicker’ (uses the P2P coaching culture) is about reorganising the way people work to manage time better, use email effectively, reduce waste and free up around 25% of each person’s day to create the capacity to do more value added activity. It’s about repurposing wasted time/resources and has the potential to transform team performance.

I am hugely excited about this new programme which is always an early indication that we have a real winner on our hands!!!

H A P P Y   D A Y S!

Monday, 4 January 2016

BrainPickings post on punctuation

I had to save this post it's too good. 

A Darkly Delightful 1905 Poem Celebrating Punctuation

The peaceful land of Punctuation
is filled with tension overnight

When the stops and commas of the nation
call the semicolons “parasites”

Within the hour they form their troops,
an anti-semicolon group

The question marks avoid the scrape
(as always) and quietly escape

The semicolons’ mournful racket
is drowned out by surrounding brackets

And then the captured creature freezes
Imprisoned by parentheses

The dreaded minus sign arrives
and — slash! — ends the captives’ lives

The question marks, now homeward-bound,
pity the corpses on the ground

But, woe! A new war looms large,
as dashes against commas charge

And cut across the commas’ necks
so that the beheaded wrecks

(the dashes delight in gore)
as semicolons hit the floor

Both semicolon types they bury
in silence in the cemetery

Those dashes that still remain,
Creep blackly behind the mourning train

The exclamation holds a sermon
with colon’s help, right on the spot

Then through their comma-form free nation
They all march home: dash, dot, dash, dot…