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Tutorials

Each month you will find a free tutorial on a topical management subject. As an introduction to Beechwood, we are starting by publishing our entire Personal Effectiveness course as a series of tutorials. You should target to increase effectiveness by 10%, 3 hours per week, by the time you have implemented the entire course.

So why not add www.beechwoodassociates.com to your 'favourites' now? Or, if you want more immediate effectiveness gains contact us and find out how we can help you achieve 1% per day improvement.

Tutorial

Number

Topic
Three Managing the Boss
Two Prioritisation
One What is Personal Effectiveness?

 

Personal Effectiveness Programme - Tutorial Three

 

Managing the Boss!

 

Welcome, to Beechwood Personal Effectiveness.

 

This month we look at probably the most important working relationship you have – with your boss. (For those of you who are self employed – substitute ‘boss' with ‘client')

 

Tutorial one outlined the framework of our Personal Effectiveness Tutorials, and suggested some guidelines for you to gain maximum benefit from the programme. Tutorial Two detailed the all important skill of Prioritisation.

It might be useful to spend a few moments revisiting the earlier tutorials, and re-familiarise yourself with the key points of the programme.

 

 

After completing this tutorial you will;

 

  Gain an appreciation of the dynamics of your relationship with your        boss

  Have identified key areas for action

  Be equipped with some powerful tools to develop and maintain an        enhanced working relationship with your boss.

Let's start by dispelling a few myths:

 

Managers are not telepathic.

They are human (and some have feelings       too!)

Managers do not have the monopoly on        good (or bad) ideas.

They are not employed to make your life a      misery!

 

Key Point 1: relationships are a Two Way Street

 

When managers complain to me about their staff, I often suggest that they look in the mirror. i.e. How are you managing them? Team members can ask themselves a similar question; what am I like to manage? An honest self-appraisal or advice from a trusted colleague could be quite illuminating.

 

 

Three key elements that keep that ‘traffic flowing' both ways are:

 

Mutual Trust: A vital element of a sound working relationship, and it works both ways. If you operate with integrity, discretion and meet your commitments, you are more likely to be trusted, if not…..

 

Communication : Perhaps the manager ought to sense how you're feeling – but if you tell her – she will know.

 

Shared Expectations : – what support, guidance or resources do you need to do your job? If you haven't got them, don't complain, ask. Do you know what is expected of you? If not, ask!

 

 

Key Point 2: Management Styles

 

Each manager will have a preferred or natural managing style. Your boss may not have as pronounced a style as (say) Alan Sugar, Gordon Ramsay or Sir Alex Ferguson, but will fit into (or between) these categories:

 

Directive:      (Do ABC in XYZ manner, right now, then do DEF)

Delegative:    (Please address ABC, it's high priority)

Coaching:      (I think that yo're ready to tackle ABC, let's discuss how                      you might approach it)

Supportive:    (I've noticed ABC is running a bit late, can I help with                       anything?)

Being totally directive with a highly experienced team member will cause clashes. Failing to coach a team member with little confidence regarding a new task will not deliver results. Experienced and well trained managers will choose an appropriate style for the situation. When a boss uses inappropriate management styles, working relationships suffer, but if no one gives them feedback, how will they learn?

 

Action Point: If you boss chooses an incorrect style, gently point out what you need from him, to help you to perform more effectively.

Key Point 3: Be Pro-Active

 

Margaret Thatcher was criticised for having a member of the House of Lords, Lord Young, in her cabinet. In characteristic style, she rebuffed this criticism and was quoted as saying “ Other people bring me problems, David brings me solutions” .

 

A team member who constantly dwells on the negative side, and fails to offer constructive opinions and solutions saps everyone's energy and enthusiasm. If you want a productive relationship with your boss, you need to add to the energy and enthusiasm.

 

If you dislike a situation that has developed, the best way in which you can influence it is to ‘get on the bus and persuade the driver that there is a better / quicker route'. Standing in front of the bus at the last minute results in consequences that could easily have been foreseen!

 

Action Point: Take a moment to picture on how you will be more pro-active in the future.

 

Key Point 4: Everyone is short of time

 

Bosses are usually busy people (and often impatient to boot), so it may help to borrow some sales techniques to assist your discussions with them.

 

Salespeople usually have an ‘elevator sales pitch' – A sales proposition that takes 30 to 60 seconds to deliver. This allows them to take advantage of the briefest moment with a potential customer, to plant a seed of interest in their minds.

 

This technique can be used with bosses, so that walking from the car park, or waiting by the photocopier can become a highly productive mini-meeting, rather than just a chat about the weather.

 

You can plan for this, or a more targeted mini-meeting by using the H.I.R.E.D technique to prepare and structure your discussion in advance:

  

 

Explanation

Example

H eadline

 

An attention grabbing statement

I can increase my productivity by 3 hours per week -

I dea

 

A solution or proposal

if I attend a Beechwood Personal Effectiveness workshop

R eason

 

Justification for your proposal

They provide lots of practical advice and tools which are easily assimilated in the workplace

E xample

 

Of how your proposal has worked previously

I know someone who attended and they have achieved the 3 hour objective.

D o

 

A request to act

Can I book myself onto the course?

 

The example above is obviously fictional! – But I hope it serves to explain the process!

 

Be careful with your objectives, a big idea could not be handled in this way, but a request for time to discuss a big idea could utilise this technique.

 

Action point: Have a mini-meeting (or a few) prepared in advance, for when opportunities arise.

 

 

Key Point 5: Avoid Surprises

 

This may sound like an obvious point, but telling your boss in Mid-October that you've just exceeded the advertising budget for the year will not win any prizes.

 

A discussion in March, outlining your forecast for over-spend and some suggestions for corrective action will meet with a calmer response.

 

A boss is held accountable for his department, but has to delegate responsibility for certain tasks – he needs to be able to trust his team, in order to create a harmonious working environment.

 

 

Key Point 6:

 

Summary / Checklist/Actions:

 

The following checklist summarises the key points, to speed up and facilitate the process of capturing the recommended actions:

 

  1. Mutual Trust – It's a two-way street;
  2. What style is your manager adopting with you? Is it appropriate? If not, you need to seek some changes.
  3. Be Pro-Active. Think of three actions you can take, right now.
  4. Use your bosses' time effectively. Start straight away.
  5. Avoid producing surprises (at all costs)

Next month, our tutorial will cover another of the key elements of Personal Effectiveness, in detail.

 

Conditions:

You may use or copy any of the material published in tips, tools and tutorials for personal and workplace use subject to the condition that Beechwood Associates copyright is acknowledged at all times.

General publication in any form, including use in training courses requires

our express permission.

Beechwood Associates accept no liability for the material and links published as free resources. Readers must take appropriate professional advice to establish its correctness and applicability to their individual circumstances.

 

Copyright Beechwood Associates ( UK ) Ltd. 2010.

 

DOWNLOAD TUTORIAL THREE


Personal Effectiveness Programme - Tutorial Two

 

Prioritisation, Prioritisation, Prioritisation!

 

Welcome , to Beechwood Personal Effectiveness.

 

Delegates constantly ask us ‘What is the most important aspect of Personal Effectiveness'. Our response is unequivocal : 'Prioritising' .

 

Tutorial one outlined the framework of our Personal Effectiveness Tutorials, and suggested some guidelines for you to gain maximum benefit from the programme.

 

Can you remember the 9 key learning points from tutorial 1?

No? Okay, take 10 minutes to review Tutorial 1, especially key points 1, 2 and 4. Then let's review your Checklist/Actions .

 

We asked you to list your personal effectiveness barriers and       Prioritise the top 5.

        Did you have any difficulty prioritising your barriers?

        Did Prioritising feature in the top five?

Then we asked how you are choosing the 'right actions' each day       and how these chosen actions support your aims /goals              /objectives....quantified where possible.

       How did you prioritise the right actions each day?

  Finally, we asked you to set three simple goals to improve personal       effectiveness.

        Did you have the courage to tackle some of your top 5                   effectiveness barriers?

        Did you achieve your goal?

If you did not make the progress you hoped, don't be disheartened. You've made a good start, and will be more effective this month after learning:

How to Prioritise, how to distinguish Important from Urgent,

how to Grade and Sequence daily tasks to achieve short, medium and long term aims, goals and objectives.

 

After working through this tutorial you will;

understand your current prioritisation tendencies,

have identified key areas for action,

be equipped with the tools required to prioritise effectively.

 

Let's start with the Key points about prioritisation:

 

Key Point 1: We do make choices!

 

Getting straight to the point, the phrase ‘ I didn't have the time to …….' really means I chose to do something else'.

 

So, it is vital to recognise that prioritisation is about making choices , and that these may be being decided sub-consciously, or even to someone else's agenda.

 

Key Point 2: How do you currently Prioritise?

 

To aid your understanding of the prioritisation choices that you are making, take a few moments to consider the following possibilities:

 

I prioritise tasks that:

 

I find enjoyable,

Are interesting,

I'm good at doing,

Are easy,

Follow a routine,

Are new,

Offer a challenge,

Are ‘on top of the pile

I'm chased to complete.....

 

If you identify with any of the above – congratulations – you're human!

 

And, in appropriate circumstances, some of the above can aid personal effectiveness. e.g. ; An easy task completed just after lunch, might ‘set you up' for a effective and successful afternoon.

 

However, they are not necessarily consistent with optimised personal effectiveness…..

 

 

Key Point 3: Making Choices for the ‘Right' Reasons

 

The ‘bottom line' reasons for prioritising a task are:

What benefits will the task deliver? and

Are those benefits consistent with the goals, targets or objectives    of the organisation. (bluntly - is this what the organisation is paying me to do!).

 

In other words, effectiveness is achieving tasks that add measurable benefit to the organisation.

 

This sounds straight-forward, but if only life were that easy…….

 

 

Key Point 4: Urgent versus Important

 

Our working environment creates diverse pressures - (‘why haven't you replied to that e-mail I sent to you half an hour ago'!) – it is very easy to become reactive to things around us instead of proactively organising ourselves to do all the things we must do.

 

A common problem is the prioritising of tasks that are presented (to you) or perceived (by you) as urgent , ahead of those that are important .

 

The definition of important , is simply that it contributes (either directly or indirectly) to the goals, targets or objectives of the organisation.

 

So the vital elements of this key point are:

Make every effort to eliminate tasks that are not important.

 

Do not assume that all urgent tasks are important .

 

Prioritise tasks which are important .

 

One simple way to look at this is to grade tasks into:

 

A - those you must do,

B - those you should do and

C - those you could do if you have time after the musts and shoulds have been completed.

 

Key Point 5: Grading your ‘To Do List'

 

There are many published methods of grading your tasks into must do, should do and could do. Here are three simple methods which require little explanation:

 

  Method 1   

Priority

Method 2

Priority

Method 3

Contributes to

objectives

A

Improvement

Activities

A

Must

Part of your job

B

Maintenance

Activities

B

Should

Not part of

your job

C

Nice to do

C

Could

 

With practice, you will find that you will accurately select priority levels instantly and instinctively.

 

 

Key Point 6: Sequencing your ‘To do list'

 

Having ranked the tasks on your ‘to do list' in for importance, you must decide the appropriate sequence in which they should be executed. Is it as simple as just do all the A's first?

 

Well not necessarily, because frequently ‘maintenance' tasks have to be done before ‘improvement' tasks, e.g. updating changes to customer address lists should be done before shipping orders........

 

So when sequencing tasks, here are a few considerations to make:

 

Bullets:

Which tasks impact upon others, if not completed.

  Best fit of tasks around external factors, e.g. :

    Busy phone times etc.

    Mail times

Take account of your body clock. e.g. :

    - Tackle big tasks first thing in the morning when you are fresh.

    - Schedule lighter tasks in a mid-afternoon energy trough!

 

 

Key Point 7: Are you on the same Planet ?

 

You are probably now thinking 'whoever wrote this tutorial lives on another planet and needs to visit your workplace......... '. All of us are employed to serve others so it is non-sense to prioritise independently and rigidly. In future tutorials we will cover additional aspects, for example:

 

 

Managing Conflicts.

 

Never forget that other staff and managers have their priorities and sometimes we have to manage a conflict in priorities. The principle remains that priorities are choices so you can resolve conflicts by giving informed choices.

e.g. The example in Key point 4 ‘Why haven't you replied to that e-mail I sent to you half an hour ago'! – could be answered by 'Do you need that information before I complete today's invoices ?'

 

 

Summary / Checklist/Actions:

 

The following checklist summarises the key points, to speed up and facilitate the process of capturing the recommended actions:

 

  1. Prioritisation is all about choices your choices .

 

  1. Against which factors/considerations should you prioritise your work?
  2. Compare your priorities with the goals, targets or objectives of the organisation.
  3. Avoid completing tasks that are not important and do not assume that urgent tasks are important.
  4. Develop a quick, simple and effective method of grading your ‘to do' list.
  5. Sequence your ‘to do' list, in a logical manner by considering the different outcomes of doing things in different sequences.
  6. Set three simple goals for improving your prioritisation this month and   track your success at achieving them.
  7. Review the personal effectiveness barriers you set last month (Tutorial 1,Checklist action 1). Do you want to change these ? Do you want to reconsider the prioritisation following this month's tutorial ?
  8. You can make further progress on these barriers this month by recording and considering the reasons that prevent you from overcoming them. Tackling some of these reasons will lower the barrier.
  9. Schedule an action to look out for next months tutorial at www.beechwoodassociates.com . Or alternatively arrange an e-mail reminder for future tutorials by sending an e-mail with ‘Reminder' as the title, to alistair@beechwoodassociates.co.uk.

Next month, our tutorial will cover another the key elements of Personal Effectiveness, in detail.

 

Conditions :

You may use or copy any of the material published in tips,

tools and tutorials for personal and workplace use subject to the condition that Beechwood Associates copyright is acknowledged at all times.

General publication in any form, including use in training courses requires

our express permission.

Beechwood Associates accept no liability for the material and links published as free resources. Readers must take appropriate professional

advice to establish its correctness and applicability to their individual circumstances.

Copyright Beechwood Associates (UK) Ltd. 2010.

 

DOWNLOAD TUTORIAL 2

 

Personal Effectiveness Programme - Tutorial One

What is Personal Effectiveness?

We achieve personal effectiveness when we use our work time productively, to successfully complete tasks that maintain or enhance the performance of the organisation. On a personal level, the many benefits include:

Work/life balance
Job satisfaction
Respect of peers
Reduced stress
Fulfilment and/or advancement.

Is it Different to Time Management?

Time management tools are an essential and integral part of personal effectiveness – if a 2 hour task can be completed in 90 minutes (without compromising quality), it has been achieved more efficiently. However, we sometimes need to look closely at end result (the effectiveness) of the task:

What benefits did the task deliver?
Are those benefits consistent with ‘the bigger picture’? (The goals, targets or objectives of the organisation).
What would happen if it wasn’t done?

If these questions cast any doubt on the task, then the subsequent revision or elimination of the task will ensure that we are working more effectively.


How do I get the most from this Tutorial Course?

Set Goals:
Setting goals is an characteristic of effective people and becomes increasingly important in both our personal and business lives as we gain more responsibilities. By starting early with simple goals the process becomes intuitive and easy to do.
Start with simple goals; e.g. To save 10 minutes administrative time each day this week – why not write that into your diary/calendar/time planner now?

Adapt the Principles to suit your style/organisation:
Absorb the essences of what you learn and apply them in your own environment, using your own style.

Involve Others:
Share ideas with your colleagues - Remember that team output is always greater than the sum of the individuals.

Enjoy:
Of course this is a serious subject, but it should also be enjoyable and rewarding to challenge (even laugh at!) how we do things.

And Finally..
An open and flexible approach will be a real benefit when we come to dealing with matters of workplace behaviour and influencing others.

DOWNLOAD TUTORIAL 1


Tutorial Publication Reminders

To ensure that you don’t miss out on future tutorials, you can arrange an e-mail reminder, simply by sending an e-mail with ‘Reminder’ as the title, to alistair@beechwoodassociates.co.uk.


Conditions:
You may use or copy any of the material published in tips, tools and tutorials for personal and workplace use subject to the condition that Beechwood Associates copyright is acknowledged at all times. General publication in any form, including use in training courses requires our express permission. Beechwood Associates accept no liability for the material and links published as free resources. Readers must take appropriate professional advice to establish its correctness and applicability to their individual circumstances.
Copyright Beechwood Associates (UK) Ltd. 2010.