Mike Clayton http://mikeclayton.co.uk Business Author and Speaker Thu, 31 Aug 2017 05:06:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 22034719 How to Conquer Procrastination to Get More Done in 2016 http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2016/02/conquer-procrastination-2/ http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2016/02/conquer-procrastination-2/#comments Mon, 01 Feb 2016 07:00:48 +0000 http://mikeclayton.co.uk/?p=13889 Some of us lose most of our time, because we fritter it away, doing nothing very much. This is easier than doing something important, which takes concentration and involves the possibility of failure. So, rather like a hedgehog, it is, perhaps, easier to curl up into a little ball of inaction: it feels safe. Of […]

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Procrastination: Wasting your Time

Procrastination: Wasting your Time

Some of us lose most of our time, because we fritter it away, doing nothing very much.

This is easier than doing something important, which takes concentration and involves the possibility of failure.

So, rather like a hedgehog, it is, perhaps, easier to curl up into a little ball of inaction: it feels safe. Of course, most of us feel uncomfortable with total inaction, so we replace meaningful activity with meaningless “displacement” activities. This is procrastination; putting off what we know we need to do.

Here is a sample of six ways to beat procrastination and get things done.

Procrastination is comfortable

So remove the cosy feeling by focusing on what will go wrong if you continue to do nothing.

Start small

Start with a small part of the task or project. This is easy, so it won’t disrupt the cosiness. Once you get started, momentum will kick in.

Work in small chunks

Don’t try and do the whole job at once. Divide it up and give yourself a break between each chunk.

Celebrate success

Each time you complete a chunk, make a point of congratulating and rewarding yourself. Nothing motivates us like success.

Create pressure

It’s easy to procrastinate when there are no consequences. Make a promise to someone, which you know you have to keep.

Choose your moment

Some of you work best with a coffee, others first thing in the morning, some at the end of the day, some in a café. Know your preference and use it.

For more information

There are twelve ways to conquer procrastination in Brilliant Time Management

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How to Boost your Productive Workflow – The Ultimate Guide http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2016/01/productive-workflow/ http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2016/01/productive-workflow/#respond Mon, 25 Jan 2016 07:00:17 +0000 http://mikeclayton.co.uk/?p=13883 It’s very easy, in the cold winter months, to slip into lethargy. Rest and relaxation are good: coasting is not. Either take a deliberate break, or get on with making a difference. Here are ten habits that will keep you at your most productive. Start with Sleep High levels of productivity require energy, concentration and willpower. And […]

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It’s very easy, in the cold winter months, to slip into lethargy.
Productive Working

Productive Working

Rest and relaxation are good: coasting is not.

Either take a deliberate break, or get on with making a difference.

Here are ten habits that will keep you at your most productive.

Start with Sleep

High levels of productivity require energy, concentration and willpower. And for those, you need the magic effects of a good night’s sleep. Towards the end of the day, unwind slowly, reduce light levels, avoid stimulants, and get an early night. That way, tomorrow will be a productive day.

Creative Bookends

You will be at your most creative at the ends of the day,hen your logical brain is not quite at full steam. Some (like me) find first thing in the morning is best for creative thinking. Others find their inspiration comes most often while winding down. Schedule some blank-paper time to day-dream, doodle, and jot down ideas.

Early Concentration

Your will power and concentration are at their peak when you are well rested and properly fed. After your morning creativity hit and some breakfast, then put in a good solid chunk of high-quality demanding work. For most people this means the first 60-90 minutes after getting to work. Don’t fritter it away on low-concentration tasks like emails.

Set Schedules

Scheduling your day has the biggest positive impact on your ability to feel (and be) in control of your time. Don’t only schedule meetings: put all of your important tasks into your diary with clear time slots. Make them realistic: not so long you can coast, but enough time to do a good job without feeling stressed.

Systems and Routine

Take the thinking out of as much of the simple stuff as possible, to leave more of your mental reserve for the more demanding stuff. Roy Baumeister describes willpower as like a battery – it depletes during the day. Save it for what matters by setting up systems and routines for the easy things, and so reducing your need to concentrate on them.

My own routine

I typically start my day at 5am with a cup of tea and the World Service. By 5:30, I am doing my first task – often the planning or design of a seminar, talk, book chapter, course or article. I’ll start work on the less-creative, high-willpower doing bit when I have finished, then break for 30-60 minutes to have breakfast with my daughter and then shower. After that, I am fed and fresh and ready for a good solid stint of doing. Around 9am, I’ll look at my email for the first time, with three hours of work in the bag.

Buffers and Breaks

I’m still a project manager at heart. So I recommend you put gaps in your diary to allow for over-runs of tasks that prove trickier than you expected, dealing with the unexpected, and taking a proper break between activities. Use the break to get up, stretch, move around and get a glass of water. If you work in a fluorescent, air-con shell, at least once a day, get outside for an hour of daylight and fresh air.

One at a Time

You cannot be productive trying to do two or more things at once; you can only be busy. Do one thing at a time and concentrate on getting it done to the right standard, before starting something else. Your brain is built to work best that way.

Slow Time

Do you have times of the day when your brain slows down and can’t focus well? Of course you do; we all do. Those are the times when you should be doing the low concentration stuff like checking emails, sorting things out, and doing routine admin tasks. Of course, if you have the luxury of taking a nap… do so.

Take Pride

You will be at your most productive when you decide to take pride in what you do, to do it really well, and to savour the experience of doing it. I have a routine I learned from a friend (Rich) of selecting the very best materials before I start a task I want to focus on, and clearing my desk. In my case, it is often the right notebook and a nice pen.

Clear Desk

At the end of the day, make your last routine about clearing away the day, so hat tomorrow starts with a blank workplace slate. If you can, clear down your emails too. Most of us cannot, but an innovation I have introduced into my own routine this year, with great success, is once a month, on a Friday afternoon, to create inbox zero – an empty email inbox before the weekend.

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10 Things to Focus on for a Successful 2016 http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2016/01/10-things-to-focus-on-for-a-successful-2016/ http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2016/01/10-things-to-focus-on-for-a-successful-2016/#respond Mon, 18 Jan 2016 07:00:21 +0000 http://mikeclayton.co.uk/?p=13879 With a new year comes a new opportunity to get focused on what really matters… Your ‘Compelling Causes’ If you make one resolution this year, make it this one: to spend your time on things that are truly worthwhile. This means eliminating more things from your life that matter least, and focusing on the things that you […]

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With a new year comes a new opportunity to get focused on what really matters…
10 Things to Focus on

10 Things to Focus on212H

Your ‘Compelling Causes’

If you make one resolution this year, make it this one:

to spend your time on things that are truly worthwhile.

This means eliminating more things from your life that matter least,
and focusing on the things that you choose to focus on.

What matters?

Decide on the compelling causes* you want to pursue this year – at work, at home, in your community. Choose a vital few things that will make a difference that matters to you, so you know where to focus your effort and commit your energy.

Cut out distractions

Choose when to take calls and when to use voicemail. Choose when to check your email and when (the time of day when you are at your best – often early to mid-morning) to leave it. Decline meetings that have little value or no clear agenda. Turn off alerts from LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora, Twitter, Instagram, and the news.

Plan your week and your day

End each week by reviewing the outcomes you want for the next week. Then schedule the main activities into chunks of your days ahead. End each day by scheduling tomorrow’s vital activities around fixed commitments – and make those activities into new commitments.

Keep things in order

If you cleared your inbox, tidied your workspace, and got up to date on your admin before the holidays…
Fabulous! Now keep it that way.

Know your distractions

Make a list of all the time bandits that steal your time by interrupting or distracting you. Once you have consciously made a list (put it in your notebook and mark the page), you will be better able to resist their seductions. Make a courteous but firm N.O. – a Noble Objection** that says ‘I choose to prioritise what is most important’.

It ain’t what you do that makes you great

Seth Godin’s fabulous book, The Dip, introduced me to the profound idea that we often do too many things that are worthwhile. Those of us who excel do so because we know when to drop things that are important and worthwhile, to make time to truly master something else that is even more important and worthwhile. Dropping unimportant stuff is easy. This is hard and therefore even more valuable.

Conserve emotional energy

It’s easy to get annoyed, frustrated, angry, or upset by the thoughtless, stupid, careless and selfish things other people do. It may even be reasonable. But it is not wise. However you feel, people will carry on doing that stuff anyway. So your destructive emotions serve no purpose. Rise above it. Accept it will happen, and get on with being as good a person as you can, and focusing on what matters to you.

Let it flow

You will enjoy your work, hobbies, social and volunteering activities more when you give them everything you have, set yourself demanding targets, constantly track your progress, and have a clear purpose in mind before you start. Even when they are mindless, mundane admin tasks. Flow states are described by author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, as causing ‘a sense of deep enjoyment that is so rewarding people feel that expending a great deal of energy is worthwhile simply to be able to feel it.’

Do it now

There are lots of tips to avoid procrastination. The simple fact is that they all amount to ways to help you to exert your will over your desire. If it matters, choose a technique and get on with it.

Recharge – Refuel – Reflect

Focus takes effort. So set time aside to recharge your batteries with good quality rest, relaxation and recreation. Also keep your diet in tune with your desire to focus: good quality food***, savoured and enjoyed. Finally, also take time to reflect on what you are achieving and learning as you go. Reflection and mindfulness are the route to serenity and wisdom. (But be warned: it is not necessarily a short journey.)


 

* Compelling Causes

This is the central idea of Chapter 1 of my  book, Powerhouse.

The world is full of opportunities. Turn the right ones into compelling causes that you will totally commit yourself to. ‘To defend everything is to defend nothing’. Figure out what really matters and make it your mission.

** Noble Objection

The idea of a Noble Objection as a way of saying ‘No’ is a core concept of my best-selling book, The Yes/No Book.

Lots of people asked me if my books are available in audio book format, so, as an experiment, I have recorded an unabridged version of The Yes/No Book for download.

You can get it from Gumroad and, if you use this special New Year offer link, you can get it at less than half price.

*** Good Food

Are you like me – often in search of stimulating new ideas? Then you will love the Radio 4 in Four webpage – full of intelligent timewasting snippets from Radio 4’s output – all four minutes or less.

One of my favourite programmes of last year was an audience with Michael Pollan – a clip of which is on that site, titled Seven Words to Change your Life.

In this, Pollan summarises all of the research findings on healthy eating into four words: ‘eat food, not too much, mostly plants’. Listen to the clip to learn more about what constitutes food.

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Top 12 Ways to Invest your Time for Success in 2016 http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2016/01/13872/ http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2016/01/13872/#respond Mon, 11 Jan 2016 07:00:08 +0000 http://mikeclayton.co.uk/?p=13872 Some people are excellent at time management. They get a whole mass of things done. Yet, at the end of each day and each week, they feel uneasy with what they have accomplished. They have worked hard, got lots done, but it is not enough. They never feel that their busyness is paying off. These […]

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Some people are excellent at time management.
Invest Your Time Wisely

Invest Your Time Wisely

They get a whole mass of things done.

Yet, at the end of each day and each week, they feel uneasy with what they have accomplished.
They have worked hard, got lots done, but it is not enough.
They never feel that their busyness is paying off.

These people are ‘work smart’:
they spend their time effectively and work efficiently.

Wisdom, however, lies not just in spending your time; but in investing it, to reap valuable long-term rewards. As in everything, success comes to those who can balance current expenditure with investments for the future.

When you invest your time, you become ‘time wise’.

Learning

There is no more-profound investment that you can make in yourself than learning. For wisdom, balance depth with breadth. If you become a deep expert in one thing only, you will rarely be perceived as wise, and your judgements will often be flawed. Likewise if you have too much breadth, but no depth. You need both.

Skills

Knowledge is important; so are the skills to apply it. Invest time to develop and hone your skills, once again balancing advanced levels of mastery in some areas, with basic competence across a broad range of skills. And don’t forget that you will find acquiring and practicing some skills pleasurable. Time wise means forsaking task smart sometimes, to enjoy yourself.

Reflection

Reflection and stillness become, if anything, more important as you get busier. They are a chance to understand and consolidate knowledge and skills, to learn from experience, to calm your mind, and to deepen your self awareness and mastery of your emotions and response. ‘Mindfulness’ is fast becoming one of the big business buzz-words of the teens years.

Health

It ought to go without saying that your health and well-being are a vital part of your investment portfolio. Yet often these are the first to go. When you get the sniffles or a bit of a headache, it may not slow you down physically; you’re tough. But it will slow you down mentally, diminish your resilience to setbacks, and set you up for worse health to come. (For more, see Brilliant Stress Management).

Finances

Think about your long term finances and your material assets. This is not about obsessing with wealth – quite the opposite. It is about creating the level of security that is right for you, so you can focus on everything else that matters. A few wise cash spend and saving decisions today will give you freedom tomorrow.

Career

For most of us, our career is not about earning money, nor even about long-term financial security. Done well, it is a source of fulfillment and pleasure. So figure out what aspects of your career give you more than just a wage, and figure out how to develop those into a career that adds more to your life than pounds, dollars, euros or any other tradeable commodity.

Family

… And your home-life needs to balance your career-life. Whatever family means to you, investing in it is both rewarding in itself and defensive: your family and your home are your protectors and your shelter when times get tough. In times of stress, it is your family who will want to help.

Relationships

My major gripe with social media (apologies to all my social media friends who are reading this) is that it can sometimes get in the way of the deep relationships, the close friendships and the trusting collegiality that really nourish our social lives. Place your relationship-building investments wisely and check-up on past investments (old, dear friends) from time to time.

Helping

The gopher mentality (see The Yes/No Book) drives us to help lots of people with lots of things, leaving little time for what matters most. This is not wise: instead, look for opportunities for ‘deep help’ – offering profound assistance that can transform someone’s life; assistance they cannot easily get elsewhere, on things they really cannot do for themselves. This way, you focus your helping where it really matters. This is a good opportunity to give a shout-out to volunteering as a source of personal growth, fulfillment and relationship-building.

Planning

A ‘just do it’ attitude is task smart. Thinking ahead, planning, preparing and then reflecting after you have finished is time wise. The perfect way to plan a day or a week ahead is the OATS process (see Brilliant Time Management). If you have a big project to plan, the project management tools are your way forward (see Brilliant Project Leader).

Creativity

Doing something creative is an investment that pays well beyond the outcomes of your creative endeavour: it sharpens your thinking, hones your skills and absorbs your attention leading to a deep sense of pleasure in the moment. Creativity is the master skill that allows you to plan, help, develop relationships, support your family, enhance your career, grow your asset base, manage your health, reflect constructively, enhance your skills and capitalise upon your learning.

Passion

Above all else, prioritise your passion. Whatever it is for you, this is what makes your life worth living.


Wisdom is not just about investing:
it is about balance too

In The Yes/No Book, I talk about goal-directed activities as the things to primarily say ‘Yes’ to. All of the above are ‘goal-directed’. Lets look at the non-investment tasks that you need to say ‘Yes’ to as well, to maintain balance.

Responsibility

Some goal-directed activities are the ‘musts’ in your life; your responsibilities. They may not feel like investments, but if you don’t attend to them, it is neither smart nor wise. Failure to attend to your responsibilities can leave you unable to make the investments you need to: either through a sense of outstanding obligation clouding your mind, or through physical barriers arising as a consequence of your failure to do what you are responsible for doing.

Pleasure

In addition to goal-directed activities and their opposite, guilt-directed activities, The Yes/No Book also describes ‘desire-directed’ activities: those we do for love, or purely for ourselves. Fulfillment is the combination of success and happiness. And what happiness can there be if you do not allow yourself a little bit (or a lot) of pleasure?

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4 Super Powerful Steps to Create Goals that Work… http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2016/01/13863/ http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2016/01/13863/#respond Mon, 04 Jan 2016 07:00:43 +0000 http://mikeclayton.co.uk/?p=13863 We are at the start of a New Year. Happy New Year !! It is a great time to think forward and decide what goals you want to set yourself. For many people it is a daunting process, so here are four steps to make it really easy, extracted from The Yes/No Book.   Step 1: […]

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New Year: Time to set your goals

New Year: Time to set your goals

We are at the start of a New Year.

Happy New Year !!

It is a great time to think forward and decide what goals you want to set yourself.

For many people it is a daunting process, so here are four steps to make it really easy, extracted from The Yes/No Book.

 

Step 1: Fermenting your Goals

If you haven’t thought very much about your goals before, then getting to an answer is not an instant process.  You need to let your thoughts ferment, until they start to form clear ideas about what you want.

There are different ways to do this.  You could combine various of these techniques:

  • Relax, take your time, daydream and ponder.
  • Take some long walks and clear your head, allowing thoughts to come.
  • Ask yourself “What do I want?” in the evening before you go to bed. Write this at the top of a sheet of paper and leave it on your table before you go to bed:

My Goals

Will I … ?
  • Set your alarm early, get up the next morning and spend half an hour at the table, writing everything that comes into your head.  Do this every day for a week.
  • Chat about your goals and what you want with a trusted friend or partner.
  • Think about all of the things that really excite and inspire you.
  • Start a notebook and keep it with you.  Write down ideas and goals whenever they come to you.  And write about them too.
  • Use the Eight-page method (You will have to buy The Yes/No book for that.)

Whichever of these techniques you use or combine; continue revisiting your goals from time-to-time, until you feel that you have some real understanding of what you want.  Now it is time to write them down.

Step 2: Upsizing your Goals

Take a look at each goal that you have written down.  For each one, if you can, put a measure against it.  What would be a good figure to aim for?  You might have a salary goal, expressed in pounds per year.  Or maybe you have a lifestyle goal and you want to be able to take five weeks of foreign holidays per year.  Perhaps your goal is a beautiful home – on a scale of 1 (a hovel) to 100 (a palace), where does it sit? Maybe at 60?

When you have done that, review each figure and put a second figure next to it.  What would be an outrageously impressive level to aim for?  Double the salary, 12 weeks’ holiday, a level 80 home.  These are possible, but only with the greatest level of effort and performance from you.

So put a third figure, somewhere between the other two.  Which would be a great goal to set yourself?  That’s the one to go for.

Write your goals out in full now, and write each one as an IOU.

IOU
Inspirational – Outrageous – Uncomfortable

Inspirational
Make sure that each goal really grabs you by the gut and makes you want it like crazy.

Outrageous
Set your goals to an outrageous level that will give you enormous satisfaction when you achieve them.

Uncomfortable
Choose goals that will take you out of your comfort zone when you tackle the things that you will have to do to achieve them.  If it is easy to achieve, how inspiring will it be?

Step 3: Write yourself an IOU

The only thing you owe yourself in life is to live the best possible life that you can – to live the life you choose.  Now write yourself that IOU.  Summarise each IOU goal and write them all on one or more blank postcards.  Carry these with you wherever you go.  This IOU card will constantly inspire you by reminding you what to say YES to, and when to say NO.

You can find a template for your IOU cards at www.theyesnobook.com.

Step 4: Successorize your Goals

It’s now time to surround each goal with the accessories that it needs to make it realistic and achievable.

  1. For each goal, write down what it will mean to you to achieve it.  What is really inspiring about that goal?
  2. Now write down how you will know for sure that your goal has been met.  Give yourself an explicit completion criterion for each goal:
    “When I have achieved my goal I will know it, because …”
  3. Put together a plan
    • What are the steps along the way?
    • What skills and knowledge do you need to acquire
    • Who are the people who can help you?
    • What resources (things, equipment, money) do you need?
    • What milestones are there, along the way
  4. Finally, make your goals public.  Tell people about them.  Don’t just pick one person and tell them everything, tell different people different goals.  The more you share your goals with other people, the stronger you will find your commitment is, to those goals.  If you don’t feel it appropriate to share a goal, then write it down and put it in an envelope addressed to yourself, with the completion date on the envelope.  Post it.

When it arrives, put it safely in a drawer, ready for you to open on the date on the envelope.

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Management: It’s all me, me, me…/feed/atom/ http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2015/12/management-its-all-me-me-me/ http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2015/12/management-its-all-me-me-me/#respond Wed, 09 Dec 2015 08:00:15 +0000 http://mikeclayton.co.uk/?p=13645 Hang on… That’s wrong. Surely management is about you, the team. Surely managers need to be focused on other people: their suppliers, customers, partners, colleagues, subordinates, bosses… even their peers. And so you do. And no-one likes a self-absorbed solipsist. Me, me, me: no. That’s just wrong. But is it? Let’s take a closer look […]

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Hang on… That’s wrong.

Surely management is about you, the team. Surely managers need to be focused on other people: their suppliers, customers, partners, colleagues, subordinates, bosses… even their peers.

And so you do.

And no-one likes a self-absorbed solipsist. Me, me, me: no. That’s just wrong.

But is it?

Let’s take a closer look at what can make you successful, as a manager. Three things are, without a doubt, vital. I’ll call them ‘Me 1’, ‘Me 2’, and ‘Me 3’.

Me 1: Self Awareness

The transition to manager is a big one. It brings with it many challenges. And unless you are aware of your strengths, your weaknesses, and you motivation, you will find it hard to make the change effectively. People will challenge your new leadership role. Working relationships may come under strain, and you will find pressures and stresses that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

You need to be aware of these and, crucially, how they impact your emotional state, and your performance.

Me 2: Self Confidence

Many of the challenges you will face are personal ones. You may have to win offer former peers, who now work for you. You will need to assert yourself, without becoming dictatorial. You will need to represent your organisation – sometimes to more experienced clients, suppliers, and partners.

To do this well, you will need self confidence. This is not about some form of haughty arrogance. This is a rootedness that gives you the feeling that your choices are well-founded, and within the rights that your role confers.

Me 3: Self Control

Under pressure, it is easy to fracture. Stress can lead to fear, anger, frustration, misery (the dark side?). Letting these emotions take control of you will mar your performance and you will find it hard to succeed in management and win over respect if they become a large part of your demeanour.

So you need a measure of self control. In my training, I talk about the SCOPE Process as a means to create this. You can learn about this in the fourth of the free video lessons extracted from my video course: http://mikeclayton.co.uk/new-managers-five-week-success-system/

If you are a new manager… or you aspire to be, I have created a video course just for you. And you can access four free videos here: http://mikeclayton.co.uk/new-managers-five-week-success-system/

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A Charter for Ethical Stakeholder Engagement http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2015/12/a-charter-for-ethical-stakeholder-engagement/ http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2015/12/a-charter-for-ethical-stakeholder-engagement/#comments Thu, 03 Dec 2015 08:00:52 +0000 http://mikeclayton.co.uk/?p=13728 A Call to Action... These are my set of six commitments for ethical stakeholder engagement, in the form of a charter. I invite you to sign it, to share this charter (you can download a copy here), and to encourage colleagues to sign it too. Please do make your commitment as a comment, below. First […]

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A Call to Action...

These are my set of six commitments for ethical stakeholder engagement, in the form of a charter.

I invite you to sign it, to share this charter (you can download a copy here), and to encourage colleagues to sign it too.

Please do make your commitment as a comment, below.

First Commitment: Respect

  1. To always respect all of your stakeholders.
  2. To seek the insights and knowledge that your stakeholders possess, and to consider it objectively.
  3. To assume the best of your stakeholders – in particularly, that they act with positive intentions, even when their choice of behaviours is poor.
  4. To allow your stakeholders to make their own decisions, free of any manipulation or coercion.

Second Commitment: Integrity

  1. To always act with the utmost integrity.
  2. To consider the consequences of your actions and take responsibility for your choices.
  3. To be accountable for your actions to your stakeholders.
  4. To act in good faith, disdaining to act solely in your own interests and, where they overlap with those of stakeholders, to declare your interests openly.

Third Commitment: Equality

  1. To disdain unethical discrimination of all kinds, respecting people for who they are, rather than for the category into which they fall.
  2. To offer or withhold no favour that is predicated upon either personal liking or animus.
  3. To act in accordance with the basic human rights of each stakeholder.
  4. To work towards a fair sharing of gains and losses among stakeholders.

Fourth Commitment: Minimise Harm

  1. To always act to safeguard the wider interests of your stakeholder group.
  2. To strive to identify unintended consequences of your actions.
  3. To balance with care the conflicting interests of different stakeholders, and to be open about the implications of those different interests.
  4. To promote informed decision-making and to commit to facilitating the transparent processes and that will support it.

Fifth Commitment: Tell No Lies

  1. To always remember that honesty is the only ethical policy.
  2. To present the whole truth: bad as well as good, and to tell only the truth.
  3. To avoid deliberately exaggerating, diminishing, omitting, or selectively interpreting the evidence.
  4. To let your stakeholders know all of the consequences of the choices they might make, including the adverse ones.

Sixth Commitment: Honour the Rules

  1. To always act in accordance with laws, regulations and rules that are imposed through due process, whether by nations, states, administrative regions, or the organisations to which you are bound.
  2. To respect contractual commitments that you and your stakeholders have made, or that have been made by organisations to which you or your stakeholders are bound.
  3. To meet the requirements of all properly appointed people who have been assigned seniority over you by the organisations to which you are bound.
  4. To remain mindful that your ethical and moral duties can sometimes transcend points 1, 2 or 3 of the sixth commitment, and that you are, at all times, responsible for your choices.

I freely make these commitments:

Date:          . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Signed:      . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The Influence Agenda

A Systematic Approach to Aligning Stakeholders for Driving Change

Mike Clayton

“This book is sure to expand the way you think about aligning and engaging your stakeholders. It should become the go-to source of knowledge for a 360-degree view on how to develop or improve your approach.”

Mark Watson, CEO, Purple Works Strategy,
Communication and Coaching Consultancy

A highly practical roadmap for driving and implementing change, this book demonstrates how to properly influence, engage, and enlist the support of your key stakeholders.

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Leadership is the Easy Bit http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2015/12/leadership-is-the-easy-bit/ http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2015/12/leadership-is-the-easy-bit/#respond Wed, 02 Dec 2015 08:00:57 +0000 http://mikeclayton.co.uk/?p=13642 Manager or Leader? On of the most familiar components of management and leadership training is Warren Bennis’s comparison between leadership and management. Managers promote change, but it is the role of leaders to design it. Managers need to take effective action, while leaders need to ensure that their actions are meaningful. What role would you […]

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Manager or Leader?

On of the most familiar components of management and leadership training is Warren Bennis’s comparison between leadership and management. Managers promote change, but it is the role of leaders to design it. Managers need to take effective action, while leaders need to ensure that their actions are meaningful.

Warren Bennis Manager or Leader / Management vs Leadership

Warren Bennis Manager or Leader / Management vs Leadership

What role would you want

And, of course, making its appearance in hundreds of leadership and political speeches, managers need to do things right, but it is the role of leaders to ‘do the right things’. Who wouldn’t see leadership as the senior role, the more appealing role, the more challenging role?

Well, I would certainly like to be seen as a leader: visionary, creative, and inspirational.

But is leadership really the harder role to fulfil?

I am not so sure it is. And here is the reason…

Leadership is role in itself, just like management. And I can easily recall leaders who are good at their role and do pretty much all of Bennis’s leadership task – and they do them well. Ann many of them don’t need to do any management at all. They have managers for that.

As successful leaders, they simply inspire, challenge and motivate their managers. It is the managers who then get things done, by promoting the change their leaders design, taking effective action, and consolidating and building on what their leaders have envisioned.

What of Management?

I’ve known (and trained) many, many managers. And the best of them can cover off all of Bennis’s ‘left-hand-side’ with calm, efficient rigour. But they also seem to spend a lot of tie on the right-hand side of the chart. And the reason why is obvious.

Managers manage people. And how can you deliver results through people without integrity, inspiration, challenge, and yes… leadership? To manage, you must lead.

Leadership is the Easy Bit

… because leadership means leading.

Management, on the other hand, means managing and leading. And, if you want to do it really well, that’s got to be the tougher gig.

If you are a new manager… or you aspire to be, I have created a video course just for you. And you can access four free videos here: http://mikeclayton.co.uk/new-managers-five-week-success-system/

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The Biggest Challenges for a New Manager http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2015/11/the-biggest-challenges-for-a-new-manager/ http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2015/11/the-biggest-challenges-for-a-new-manager/#respond Wed, 25 Nov 2015 08:00:19 +0000 http://mikeclayton.co.uk/?p=13640 When I was at Deloitte, there was one aspect of promotion that often let down the business, our staff, our clients, and the people promoted. Don’t get me wrong, the London consultancy was full of excellent people (hi there if you’re reading). And, without a doubt, almost all promotions were on merit. Sometimes we got it […]

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When I was at Deloitte, there was one aspect of promotion that often let down the business, our staff, our clients, and the people promoted.

Don’t get me wrong, the London consultancy was full of excellent people (hi there if you’re reading). And, without a doubt, almost all promotions were on merit. Sometimes we got it wrong… of course.

But here is the thing: we promoted excellent consultants from Senior Consultant to Manager. Which was, of course, the right thing to do. So where am I going with this?

Being an excellent consultant is not the same as being a competent manager. We were promoting people into management roles because they were ready to move on from their current role. They had mastered it and they wanted more: more status, more challenge, more salary.

But wanting more did not mean that they had the skills of a competent manager and, far too often they did not. And I know we wee not alone. I saw the the same thing happen in our clients. And, as a trainer, I have seen it again and again for over twelve years.

Preparation for Management

The (first) biggest challenge for a new manager is that their organisations rarely prepare them for management. It’s a different role, with a whole host of skills. Yet how many organisations offer training for soon-to-be or new managers?

For many years I ran new manager training. I’d often start by asking participants what roles are part of management, that were not in their previous role. We’d fill a huge board.

The next step was to ask what parts of that role most concerned them. There was a pattern: it was just about all of it. People understand that management is a complex, interwoven net of skills, attitudes, and competencies.

If we are lucky, we inherit a stable environment and some good staff. This gives us a safe place in which to practice and develop our management capabilities. Stressors that test us hard come one at a time. We have enough thinking space to reflect. We build our management competence steadily.

And the other aspect of luck that may have benefited you is having a trusted guide, mentor, or coach. With someone to support and advise you, the challenges feel less acute. There is always someone to talk to, and someone to offer wisdom. I didn’t have the stable environment, but I was blessed with coaches and mentors.

The Discomfort of Management

So, the (second) biggest challenge for a new manager is to put down the comfort of the familiar. You are good at what you were doing before your promotion. But that isn’t the meat of your job now. It is management. Your job is to succeed through the work of your team. So they have become your first priority.

Your success is entirely down to how you inspire, cajole, and develop the people around you. It’s not all me, me, me anymore. And this shift of perspective is the (final) biggest challenge of all.

If you are a new manager… or you aspire to be, I have created a video course just for you. And you can access four free videos here: http://mikeclayton.co.uk/new-managers-five-week-success-system/

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Are you Influencing as much as you Could? http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2015/11/are-you-influencing-as-much-as-you-could/ http://mikeclayton.co.uk/2015/11/are-you-influencing-as-much-as-you-could/#respond Wed, 18 Nov 2015 08:01:38 +0000 http://mikeclayton.co.uk/?p=13631 As a professional in the business world, influencing colleagues is an important part of your role. Yet strangely, it is a topic that is hardly ever taught – not at school, at college, nor in most professional training. Influence and Persuasion are a Fundamental Part of Business Education It has not always been this way. […]

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As a professional in the business world, influencing colleagues is an important part of your role. Yet strangely, it is a topic that is hardly ever taught – not at school, at college, nor in most professional training.

Influence and Persuasion are a Fundamental Part of Business Education

It has not always been this way. Back in the classical era, running right through the Middle Ages and the renaissance period, lawyers, doctors, and financiers would have learned the skills of influence and persuasion as a fundamental part of their professional education.

And the skills that your predecessors learned will work just as well for you, today. It all starts with the observation by Aristotle that a persuasive argument requires three elements. This is worth knowing, because most of us explicitly learn only one of them. In the order in which they work most effectively, they are:

Ethos: character, authority, trustworthiness. People want to know that you are someone whose opinion is worth listening to.

Logos: reason, logic, argument. This is what most of us trained for – the ability to evaluate the evidence and put together a well-reasoned case.

Pathos: emotion, values, caring. Most of the time, the decisions we make are based on the way we feel; not on what we think. We then use rational argument to justify ourselves.

If you have been basing all of your persuasion solely on logos, you will be used to being right and yet not being believed, or being believed, but seeing decision-makers ignoring your counsel. It is time to incorporate ethos and pathos into your argument. Let’s examine a few simple yet effective techniques to make each of the three elements work at their best.

Ethos

There are three main elements to ethos, and the first is authority. In particular, the authority that comes from being an expert, from having studied, and therefore from knowing what you are talking about. But we sometimes let or credibility drip away, by not presenting ourselves at our best. If you want to be as influential as the most senior professionals, look the part. Dress smartly and use good quality accessories like your pen and notebook. Make your argument clearly, so I have no doubt how well you understand it. Paradoxically, perhaps, jargon and complex language leave listeners doubting your credibility and truthfulness.

The second aspect of ethos is your trustworthiness. When you try and persuade people of something, this is the first thing they try to establish for themselves. When meeting someone for the first time, establish your credibility with a business card and a short description of your professional expertise. Finally, to establish your ethos, you have to persuade me that you understand my issues and concerns. Listen to politicians: this is what they spend most of their time doing.

Logos

You know your stuff, but how logical is the way you arguefor what you want me to understand and act on? Most often, it will make great sense to you, but maybe not to the person listening. Spend time honing your ability to explain the complex in simple ways. This is not about over-simplifying, but about showing that you understand your argument well enough to present it in a compelling way.

In How to Speak so People Listen, I offer eight examples of structured response frameworks: simple structures that you can use to make your point in a compelling and powerful way. Here is an example that I call the Hook, Line, and Sinker framework.

Hook: establish the pressure, the need, or the compelling reason for me to pay attention: “The level of risk to our portfolio has risen beyond the levels we set as acceptable in our last strategy review.”

Line: set out a solution or a compelling offer: “If we were to diversify our property holdings across a broader spread of countries, we would re-balance our risk profile.”

Sinker: offer a convincer that demonstrates the soundness or desirability of your recommendation: “The level of activity in the property markets that is creating the volatility I am concerned about also makes it a good time to divest and re-invest.”

Pathos

It is tempting to ignore pathos in the business world: where is the proper place for emotions at work? But you do so at your peril because few of us are as coldly logical as we’d like to believe, when we make decisions. Instead, we are also influenced by bias, values, and feelings. The role of logos is principally to give people the evidence that they can use to justify the decision they make with their instinct or their heart.

Three factors play very well to pathos in the corporate world: fear, desire, and duty.

Fear is, without doubt, the strongest motivator for decisions. Especially where we fear a loss. In this case, we will often take risks that we would never otherwise have countenanced. Be very careful how you use this, therefore. Those risks may not be rational and may lead to problems. However, if you need me to act on a legitimate threat, then spelling out the consequences, the signs that it is real and imminent, and likelihood of it happening, is the strongest way to enhance your argument.

Desire is the second of these emotional motivators. If you can start my emotional movement with a little kick of fear, it will often be desire for the positive consequences that will sustain my motivation.

Finally, we have duty. This takes a number of forms, like our duty to keep our word, when we have made a promise, or our duty to reciprocate a favour or a concession. Loyalty is also an emotion linked to duty. So emphasise, as appropriate, how your recommendation is consistent with something I have already said, endorsed, or even committed myself to. Or link your request to a favour you did for me, or a concession you granted me some time ago. This way, I will feel a duty to reciprocate, out of fairness. And you can link your recommendation to the welfare of people or institutions I care about, so that my loyalty will almost compel me to accept your recommendation.

Sinker

You may notice that this whole article is structured into a hook (influencing colleagues is important; yet you were probably never taught how), a line (here are three things: ethos, logos, and pathos, that will help you) and now, a promised sinker.

This should not come as a surprise to you. Everything in this article should have the ring of common sense truth to it. You have spent enough time using some of these and experiencing them all, but probably without realizing it. They work – not by magic, but by the pressures of human psychology. So, is you want to be a more effective professional, and to rise through your career building professional alliances a you go… you’d better get influencing. You had better polish up the swords of your three influential musketeers: ethos, logos, and pathos.


 

Four Psychological Tricks to help you Persuade others

The “Black and White” effect: we evaluate an offer or an idea in the context of others that are available for comparison. Offer to or three options, where your recommendation is clearly the strongest.

The “eight out of ten cat owners” principle: we often default to making a safe decision – one which the people around us have already made. Show case studies and testimonials to support your argument.

The “Narrower is deeper” effect: we find narrow expertise more credible than general competence, so emphasise your depth of knowledge, and do not offer opinions outside your core area of expertise.

The “I’m gorgeous, fly me” principle: we are more easily influenced by people we like – so make yourself likeable by getting to know me, sharing my interests, and presenting yourself well.


 

How to Influence in any Situation - 2nd Edition of Brilliant Influence

How to Influence in any Situation – 2nd Edition of Brilliant Influence

How to Speak so People Listen by Mike Clayton

How to Speak so People Listen by Mike Clayton

SmartToWise-600

Smart to Wise

 

New Manager's Five-week Success System

New Manager’s Five-week Success System

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