Circles of Influence – Coaching Yourself to Action

The circle of concern has everything you care about in it.

Just because you care about something and you are passionate about it, does that always mean you can do something about it? I expect your answer will be the same as mine, it’s a No!

SO when I am faced with a problem, I get a bit of paper and I draw four concentric circles like those to the side, and then use this image as a guide and a way to focus my limited resource – Me and my time.

To help explain the process, I will use the example of selling and buying a house. Remember this is an example that you can use to understand the concept of circles of influence, and then apply the approach to something you care about.

  • First step: I write my problem in the outer most circle Number 1 : I want to move!
  • My next step is to think through all the possible solutions and l write them down on a separate piece of paper.
  • I then number each solution as per each circle above, and then to help me focus, actually write them onto the circles on my first bit of paper.

So:

  • Everything outside my control and outside my influence would be numbered 2.
  • Everything I can influence would be numbered 3.
  • Everything I can control would be numbered 4.

Here are some examples of statements with the number of the circle in which they sit:

  • Choose an estate agent to sell my house – No. 4
  • Choose the area I want to live in – No. 4
  • Hope the interest rates stay low – No. 2
  • Get the mortgage agreement with a bank – No. 3
  • Make my house welcoming and in good repair to sell – No. 4
  • The local search comes back without issues – No. 2
  • Wonder if the state of the housing market is good for sellers – No. 2
  • What if I sell before I find somewhere to buy? – No. 3
  • Timings of viewings – No. 3
  • Price for selling – No. 2
  • How to afford what I want to buy – No. 2
  • Where the house is marketed – No. 3

I can now see more clearly where I can be pro-active and that is with everything in circle No. 4. I can also begin to work on things in circle No. 3 and consequently some of these will then move into circle No. 4. The bigger circle No. 4 is (i.e. the more statements there are in it), the more energy and time I have for things in circle No. 3 and I begin to see evidence that I am making a difference.

Remember, it may feel relatively easy to spend time and focus on issues in circle No. 2 however, it means that you will not be taking responsibility for your actions and outcomes and your energy will decrease and your impact on what matters to you will be minimal at best.

Prior to using this method of problem solving, I use to find myself being reactive, sometimes blaming others, feeling powerless and demotivated. Consequently, I would have little energy left to even think about, never mind do something about the problem or issue.

So what’s on your mind?

Take the following steps and you will notice how it makes you pro-active in your problem solving to both business and personal concerns:

a. Draw your circles and number them 1,2,3,4
b. Write the solutions, think as wide and as deep as you want
c. Number the statements based on the circle within which they sit
d. Write them into the relevant circle to help focus you
e. Get on and TAKE ACTION starting with all the statements in circle No. 4

Start your journey of coaching yourself and we would love to hear from you about how you got on.

Now, have a look at this festive video which shows how one organisation made circles No. 3 and No. 4 bigger and delighted a whole host of people.

Be careful what you notice…

As humans, we are prone to selective attention where we look for patterns to reinforce what we see by giving excessive importance to unremarkable events that seem like they follow a sequence. What we tend to not notice are the hundreds and thousands of bits of information that are not repeated because they do not create an interesting pattern.

Together with selective attention, we also demonstrate confirmation bias where we give even further importance to each bit of information proving that there is something extraordinary about what we have decided to notice.

So what does all this mean in everyday life for you, me, everyone?

Your brain is great at pattern recognition, it helps you learn. This means you will be looking for patterns to reinforce what you want to notice and so give it importance.

There is so much information being pushed at you all the time via advertising, news feeds, social media posts, radio, magazines to name just a few. Often these bits of information are biased to encourage you to notice patterns that those pushing the information want you to notice, and  selected to make you feel either fearful or inadequate unless you do something different or buy something.

The under-used benefit of selective attention and confirmation bias is that you can choose what you look for so:

  • Take a moment to notice what you have to be grateful for, such as friends, life, health, being literate (reading and understanding this article for instance). Unless you look for these, you may stay unaware.
  • Notice the colours, the smiles, the flowers, the birdsong, it’s around us all and you still fail to notice it – unless you choose to.
  • In your business world, you can choose to notice the challenges and the day-to-day difficulties. Or you can choose to notice what is going well and do more of that, and notice the opportunities and actually take advantage of these.

Remember, all your friends, family and customers also notice things, so how will you help them think carefully about what they notice or, as you are more aware now, can choose to notice?

Have a look at this video and see what you notice!

Please share some of your stories with us at . . .

What are you waiting for?

“You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.”
Joseph Campbell.

In times of uncertainty, there is room for possibilities; when things are not certain, anything is possible.

Yet according to Dante’s Inferno, ‘limbo is the first circle of hell’, and that’s because ambiguity and change are not easy things to deal with in life.

When things are uncertain, we as humans are hard wired to react with fear in order to survive. We become irrational in our thoughts and our actions follow these thoughts. Fear based thoughts inhibit good decision making, so the chances are that our actions will not lead to the best outcomes.

So, the first step is to ‘reframe’ uncertainty. When things are not certain, it means that there are more possibilities, this is reforming the reality of uncertainty into something more positive and something that you can actually work with. It takes you away from irrational reactions to actions that are more considered and will lead you to more desirable outcomes.

So what does all of this mean on a practical level?

  1. Stay positive, think of something in the day that has been positive (however small) and think about it to quieten your mind.
  2. Keep expectations to a minimum, otherwise you will be setting yourself up for disappointment if your expectations aren’t met.
  3. Consider the different potential outcomes and start to plan for them.
  4. Your emotions will be guided by what you focus on, so focus on what is within your control to work on.
  5. Be aware and manage yourself so that you are not overly influenced by another person’s assumption, emotions or opinion.
  6. Things could go a number of different ways so don’t try to consider and ponder on limitless ‘what if’ scenarios.
  7. Give your intuition some space, you can’t force gut instincts. When faced with a tough situation, take the pressure off to get to a solution by doing something different like going for a walk or something you enjoy.
  8. Be prepared to be wrong, that’s okay!
  9. And finally, BREATHE! This will help you stay in the moment, stay calm and make more rational decisions. This may sound easy, take it from me, it takes practise and it will help you when you feel overwhelmed.

So in summary, take yourself out of the unhelpful circle that uncertainty can tempt you into, plan and most importantly, remember to breathe!

As we move into the summer and we enjoy some warmer weather, have a look at this video and listen carefully to the words – do it now! Well, what are you waiting for?

Think About Things Differently

This month, we considered not writing a newsletter and then that took us to ‘Why do we ever bother anyway?’

Well the first thought I had in response was that it’s like a habit, and we have regular reminders in the diary to ensure we keep to our habit.

Then I thought, actually it’s so that we can share ideas, tips, stories and inspirations with our friends and colleagues.

As I further reflected on the initial question, I remembered all the lovely emails and conversations we have had from readers of our newsletters to date. So that’s when it dawned on me – we are building and growing relationships through our newsletters and getting to know people and, they are getting to know us!

So if we didn’t send out a newsletter, you wouldn’t be reading this now and remembering who We are, or reflecting on what’s important to You.

As mentioned above, here are the ideas, tips, stories and inspiration tthis newsletter:

Idea: Think about something you are doing regularly just because you have always done it. Now, what would happen if you didn’t do it? How would that impact you and others that are important to you? By consdiering these questions, now make sure it meets the mark and your intention.

Tip: Do it differently! Experiment with your approach by noticing how people respond and ask questions to better understand them and remember to really listen to what they say!

Story: We have shared our story about writing this newsletter, (incidentally, stories don’t have to be long); now what’s your story? Please share one with us, – a story about something you did differently would be very welcome and we would love to read it!

Inspiration: Here are some tried and tested things practical suggestions that work:

  • Try something you’ve always assumed you can’t do yet secretly wanted to have a go at.
  • Teach someone else to do something and tap into your potential as a leader and coach.
  • Immerse yourself in learning something new and allow yourself to forget about the limitations of time, allowing you to experience mindfulness and to be in the moment.
  • Think about the challenges you face and identify possibly solutions to overcome them and think differently as you do this.
  • Attend an event to connect with like-minded people.
  • Attend an event to connect with people that think differently to you and be open to their thoughts.
  • Well, having thought differently about this newsletter and sharing a brief story with you, we hope you have enjoyed reading it.

Now it’s over to you, share a story with us about you and especially a new experience you have had.

Click here to get your creative juices flowing and be inspired by this video about Thinking Differently!

Little things make a big difference

If you thought that little things don’t make a BIG difference, try sleeping with a mosquito!

Very often we feel that we need to take massive action in order to achieve something significant in a short time.

The results can be highly visible and provide high impact, – very often for only a short time.

What is likely to make a sustainable difference to you and your business is to make small changes over a period of time which are embedded in yours and your business’s DNA.

There are numerous examples of how small changes make a massive, long term difference across many sectors from sport to business, and beyond.

In the world of sport, a collaboration between pharmaceutical giant GSK and racing car manufacturer McClaren focussed on small changes, such as the development by GSK of a hydration drink for Jenson Button who was driving for McLaren.  This drink is an example of the ‘marginal gains’ that helped both companies achieve the highest level of performance in their respective fields.  “We have a continuous improvement approach which we learnt from the McLaren team,” said Mr Connor of McLaren.  “It made us set really small incremental goals – the equivalent of fine tuning the car for ultimate performance.”

Matthew Syed in his book Black Box Thinking, talks about small changes that have made big differences in medicine, aviation and sport, such as changing the shape of two levers in the cockpit of a B-17 plane resulting in a particular and regular type of air accident disappearing overnight!

Stuart Diamond in his book Getting More devotes a whole section to what he calls ‘being incremental’ during negotiations.  He suggests that “Asking the other person to make a big jump makes it easy for the other person to say no” so, “Divide the negotiation into smaller steps, getting anchoring and buy-in at each step”.

So, what does this mean to Your business?

It might be about looking at how you currently market your business and tweaking either your message or the media you are using.

There might be a business process that would benefit you and your customers just by make one or two small changes.

Have a look at the approaches other people are taking that seem to have made a positive difference to their business and take a similar approach.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, revolution can, and does work on some occasions. What has been proven to make a long term significant difference is evolution –  a bit at a time.

Let us know some of the Little Things that have, or will make a big difference in your organisation.

Click here for a gift from us to you – enjoy The Present.

We need you!

Our friends at the University of West London (UWL) and GSM London are both holding events on 19th October 2016 and would really appreciate your support.

It would be great if you would come along to one of the events to show your support for the students by sharing your expertise in business.  It is also YOUR opportunity to showcase both you and your business to a wider audience.

The events are at UWL and GSM London:

UWL are holding an industrial placement and graduate fair for the School of Computing and Engineering, and the Claude Littner Business School; where employers, (up to 35), come on campus between 2-4 hours and speak to the university students about opportunities the employers have on offer.

They will also be offering opportunities for employer-led presentations/workshops, and inspirational talks from business entrepreneurs — like you!

Where: Ealing site, St. Mary’s Road, Ealing W5 5RF.

When: 19th October 12.30 to 3.30pm

Contact: Tracy Mcauliffe Tracy.Mcauliffe@uwl.ac.uk

GSM Re-thinking the startup: integrating multiple perspectives from the ground up taking into consideration the varying perspectives of those who are starting businesses, those who are directly involved in providing support and services to startups, and those who are attempting to create an environment conducive to startups and SME development within a particular local context.
There will therefore be involvement from entrepreneurs and start-ups, private and public service providers and support agencies, business associations and representative organisations, local authorities, and institutions of further and higher education.

Please feel free to bring marketing materials such as pop up stands and leaflets etc.

The event includes:

  • Insights from startup entrepreneurs including University ‘spin-outs’
  • Perspectives of those involved in local enterprise creation and development
  • Discussion of responses required to emerging startup needs and priorities
  • Development of an ‘action plan’ for enhancing conditions and opportunities for startups
  • Opportunity for networking and building B2B connections

Where: GSM London, Horsenden House, 891 Greenford Road UB60HE

When: 19th October 2pm to 5pm

Contact: Paul Moran Formationzone@gsmlondon.ac.uk

Please use this invitation and opportunity to support your local students by contacting Tracy and Paul to explore possibilities.

If you have any questions, please contact me at geofflangtson@glconnects.com or on 07780605868 or via www.glconnects.com

Thank you!

Everybody needs somebody

Whether we work in a large business, a small business or micro-business, we all need somebody to talk to, particularly in the challenging times we are in at the moment.

This is equally applicable in our home lives. We are predominantly social animals and need company to lead a fulfilled life.

Clearly, this need varies according to our individual circumstances and personal preferences; however the need for human interaction is a part of who we are and the importance of it is clearly demonstrated in Maslow’s ‘Hierachy of Needs’.  In his model, Maslow explains that in order to reach our full potential we need to have a social connection with others and know where we fit in the community.

So, what is your support network looking like right now?

Think about who you have to go to, someone that is willing and able to listen to you and understand what is going on for you in your life, – to enable you to grow, develop and be the best you can be.

Think about the following situations and put some names against who is there for you.

So, who:

• Challenges my thinking?
• Cheers me up?
• Can I share my good or bad news with?
• Can I rely on for feedback?
• Is around when I need them and is prepared to sit and listen to me?

These are only a few situations of many that we find ourselves in on our journey through life and discover that sharing them with someone else makes our journey more fulfilling.

Watch this video for some tips and hints about developing your relationships. We have more inspirational videos here for you.

For a FREE full support network template, contact us and we will send you a copy (with guidelines) for you to complete.

Connect with us to let us know how you get on!

There isn’t enough . . . or is there?

Scarcity: “The state of being scarce or in short supply; shortage.”

Abundance: “The state or condition of having a copious quantity of something; plentiful-ness.”

So, what’s your view of the world?

Do you see life as “There is not enough time, not enough money, there are not enough business opportunities; if I share information or an idea, the other person may benefit and I will miss out”, or even simply that “they” have something that you don’t?

OR, is your life full of opportunities; you have enough money, enough food, enough business ideas, more than enough “stuff” so much so, that you can share it with others?

Scarcity is fear-based thinking, fear of not having enough, and abundance is trust-based thinking, trusting there is more than enough for everyone.

We were fortunate enough to visit India earlier this year and found ourselves talking to people about ‘scarcity versus abundance’ mentality.

There were those wanting to convince us that their scarcity mentality was the right way even though it did mean they were so pre-occupied with it, they forgot to enjoy the people around them and all they did have.

Not surprisingly, there were others with an abundance mentality that had what they needed when they needed it, and found that when they shared with others, others shared with them and were on the whole, really enjoying their lives!

It is also worth noting that peoples’ monetary wealth had very little to do with their approaches and attitudes to life.

As you have probably worked out, those with an abundance mentality were grateful for what they had and would share it with others, (rather than concentrating on what they didn’t have, or still wanted or believed that others owed them).

So, if you have an abundance mentality already, take some time today (and everyday) to share your practice with others.

If however, you are someone who wants to enjoy life more and benefit by developing an abundance mentality, here is one small step that will help:

  • At the start of the day or the end of the day (or ideally both), make a note of one thing you are grateful for in your life.

So for me today: “I am grateful that you have taken the time to read this and to do something different as a consequence.”

Have a look at this great video which gives insights into being grateful for what youn already have in your life.

For more ideas of how to bring about successful change in your life, please connect with us at GL connects.

Follow us on Twitter @glconnects

Call us free on 0800 088 6053

Once upon a time…

GL connects Once Upon a Time“Storytelling is one of our oldest artforms. It stimulates the imagination and builds a sense of community between tellers and listeners. Stories are everywhere – in newspapers, books, on TV and the internet. Every day, conversation is full of anecdotes and real life stories. Storytelling helps us understand our environment and personal experience.” (Tracs)

In business, stories can help us get important messages across in a powerful way, bringing things to life, making sure that our teams understand what the messages mean to them as individuals, as team members and as part of the wider organisation.

As you can see, the GL connects story is featured on our front page!

The stories you tell in your businesses may be examples of great customer experience to illustrate the approach you would like in your business, or outstanding leadership that can be used as a model by managers in your business; there may be many many more stories to share.

What stories do you want people to be hearing and telling in and about your business? Think about it and then turn your thoughts into stories!

In this, our final newsletter for 2015, we have attached a story of goodwill and a great customer experience that will be remembered for many years to come by the participants and veiwers! Click here for a festive feast of truly amazing service!

We wish you a restful and peaceful seasonal break and look forward to staying connected with you in 2016.

CONNECT WITH US TODAY

The Power of Emotional Connections

What is it about the John Lewis Christmas advertisements that regularly makes grown men and women have tears in their eyes, propel unknown singers to number one in the music charts, encourage massive sales of advert related products and top the hashtag trending topics on Twitter?

Typically, the majority of people have no knowledge of any of the actors that appear in the advert, including their personal history and background and yet, there people are with tears in our eyes, singing the background music, buying the promotional products (remember Monty the Penguin last year?), and Tweeting to share!

Marketing has definitely become more and more about emotional relationships, than either the product itself or the price, as evidenced by the many choices You and everyone else makes, – just think about what you have bought recently yourself and why.

As human beings, we are driven by emotions and relationships and this is as important to understand in business as it is in our personal lives.

The relationships we form with our internal and external customers and therefore the emotions we create in them are critical to our success.

So, how are you developing your relationships?

Here are a few thoughts and ideas about how to build and strengthen emotional relationships with your customers (internal and external):

  • As you know, your team is actually made up of human beings just like you, and like to be treated the way you yourself like to be treated. The old command and control approaches to working with your team are recognised now as not-motivating, so ensure that you look after and, dare I say it, ‘love your team members’ (in a professional way of course!).
  • Say “Thank you” regularly to all your customers in any way that works for you and them. It takes seconds to say “Thanks” and means the world to the recipient.
  • Empower people; genuinely give them responsibility (within their skill set and guidelines) to truly delight the customers.
  • Really get to know people and tailor your conversations to include topics that are important to them as an individual as well as a customer. Ask good quality, open questions, to find out about their interests and then include this in future conversations, sending snippets of information to them if you come across something interesting related to their topic of interest, this will enable you to learn new and interesting things too.
  • Remember; always be authentic and genuine in all the activities mentioned above, your customers will know if you are treating them in a way that feels genuine to them.

In this video, the fisherman is clearly being himself, doing what he believes is going to benefit others without expecting anything in return. This approach is one of abundance mentality, where there is more than enough of everything for everyone, and frequently what one does with an abundance approach, is repaid many times over.

What will you do today to engage with your internal and external customers even more, – maybe using one or two of the approaches above?

For more ideas about creating long lasting relationships with yourself, your team, colleagues and your organisation, connect with us now.