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   Thoughtscape: Thoughts and Tips from Mike Clayton


Issue 16

  Leadership Tools
A Bunch of Christmas Presents for Team and Project Leaders
    News and views



Dear %1

The Christmas holiday period is approaching, so in my last newsletter of 2011, I want to offer you some practical presents for team and project leaders. 

There is a wealth of great concepts and tools that team leaders can apply to your professional or personal practice.  Today we'll look at seven of them.

1. Get people to Honour Commitments
We all have a conscience: let's call it Jiminy Cricket.  One of the biggest problems leaders have, at all levels, is people letting you down by not delivering on their commitments.  So let's see how "the Jiminy Cricket effect" can help you.

It is Jiminy Cricket that nags us when we know we need to do something to honour a promise or commitment that we made.  So to boost the Jiminy Cricket effect, when you secure a commitment, you must ensure Jiminy is awake.  Do this by asking for the commitment directly, and doing so in a more formal setting.

2. Maintain Motivation with Milestones 
Project managers think of milestones as a valuable planning and monitoring tool.  Project leaders use them also as a powerful tool to motivate too.  Impending milestones give a great sense of urgency and pressure.  Missed milestones - if you are unfortunate - create an opportunity to rally to the new deadline, and milestones met offer the chance to recognise and celebrate achievement. 

More milestones = more motivation

3. Communicate Setbacks Effectively
Setbacks are a part of life, and a challenge for leaders.  It is is easy to lead when everything goes well, so we measure leaders by how they handle adversity.  The first skill to learn is how to communicate the setback.

In communicating, honesty is not the best policy...

... it is the only policy.  So start by setting out clearly and objectively, how things are.  Then paint a picture of how you believe things can be.  The challenge is to bridge the gap, so lay out how you plan to do this.  Then call people to action with a clear next step, and close by making the link between their actions and the  enticing future ahead.

4. Get Comfortable with Resistance
Mike's first rule of change:

"Resistance is inevitable"

So why is it that so many leaders fear resistance and look upon it as destructive?  In truth, it is simply a part of the process - and understanding it will make it easier and more comfortable to deal with.

My "Onion Model" sets out six levels of resistance: you can read more about it on my blog and, of course, in Brilliant Project Leader.

5. Understand Patterns of Conflict
Conflict and psychological game-playing are a constant part of our lives and a wise leader needs to be able to be able to analyse the patterns and break the cycle.

Brilliant Project Leader covers this in some detail and discusses one of my favourite tools for analysing unhelpful interactions between people: "the Drama Triangle".

Use this to recognise three roles that habitually recur in conflict and manipulation situations: "the persecutor", who feels good by making you feel bad; "the victim", who feels good by loading the responsibility for their troubles on you; and "the rescuer", who feels good by offering you  way out of your discomfort.

6. Teams Need a Name
Part of giving a team a sense of identity is giving it a name.  Brilliant Project Leader contains guidance on choosing project names and also a full list of team names chosen by candidates in the UK and US series of The Apprentice.  You can see the list here, and try to guess which were used in the US and which in the UK... and which were chosen by men and which by women.  I think some will surprise you.

7. When things go Wrong:
. . . SCOPE the Problem 

Knee-jerk reactions are rarely resourceful. But you don't have time for unfocused thinking.  So use the SCOPE process to handle a tricky situation:

Stop: Take a deep breath and a mental pause.  Maybe stop for longer if you need to.

Clarify: What do you really know about the situation?  What do you need to know? Gather data.

Options: More options = more choice = more control.  But having generated options, assess them and make a decision.

Proceed: With a decision made; proceed with determination and vigour.  Commit as though no alternative exists.

Evaluate: Continually evaluate progress - if you aren't getting the results you need, then Stop, Clarify and look at new Options.


Brilliant Project Leader
What the best project leaders know, do and say to get results, every time


Brilliant Project Leader
Order here

"This has the ability to greatly enhance your effectiveness and capability.  It is a must read for all current or aspiring project leaders."
Charles Vivian
Head of Programme and Project Leadership


Young Apprentice

Once again, my Apprentice blogs have been very popular.  Last night we saw to extraordinary young people compete, and one become this year's winner.  Catch up with my analysis of:

Or click here for my Young Apprentice homepage.


Two Seminars you may like

Practical Project Management

Brilliant Project Leader

These are two of the 16 seminars I am currently offering.  Here is the full list:

  • Three hour MBA

  • Seven Ways to get More from Your People

  • Seven Ways to get More from Yourself

  • Brilliant Influence:
    Ten Secrets of Persuasion

  • Brilliant Project Leader

  • Brilliant Time Management

  • Faster, Better, Cheaper

  • How to Read People

  • It ain't the Stress that does the Damage

  • It won't work because...
    Handling Resistance to Change

  • More than just Survival:
    Thriving in Times of Change

  • Practical Decision Making

  • Practical Problem Solving

  • Practical Project Management

  • Risk Happens!
    Control Risk and Avoid Failure
    in Organisational Projects

  • The Seven Rules of Project Management

Learn more on my website.



Brilliant Project Leader

Brilliant Project Leader has been selling well.  All of the tools and tips to the right come from its pages, and it will make a great present for the project leader in your life - or treat yourself if you have been to one of my seminars and want a reminder of the key ideas - and more!

Brilliant Project Leader

Amazon currently has an attractive discount of 46%.
Order here at just 7.01.

To hear me talk about some of the powerful ideas in Brilliant Project Leader, take a look at my interview with Samad Aidane, of Guerrilla Project Management.  Here we discuss a wide range of project leadership topics.  You can download the mp3 for your portable device, too.

If you have attended my project management training or seminars you will know that my approach to project management is highly practical.  So, to accompany the book, I prepared a resource pack of 12 project management templates.  You can now download these at the Brilliant Project Leader website and, at the same time, take a look at the contents of this book.  It will be my seventh.

It is a great complement to...

Risk Happens!
Managing Risk and Avoiding Failure in Business Projects

Risk Happens! is available in paperback, iBook and Kindle formats.  It is accessible to new project managers, yet has tools and resources that will give experienced hands new ideas too.  It includes 60 invaluable tables and checklists, and 57 figures and diagrams. On the Risk Happens! website, you will find more downloads of risk management tools.


Management Pocketblog

For nearly two years now, I have been writing a regular weekly blog for one of my publishers, Management Pocketbooks.  The Management Pocketblog covers a wide range of management, leadership, communication and self development topics.  I am given free rein.

We recently passed our 100th blog.  Here are some of my recent favourites:

Three ways to get it wrong
Behavioural economics of Daniel Kahneman

Predicting Behaviour
Can Kurt Lewin's equation predict all human behaviour?

Crazy Times Again
From FW Taylor to Tom Peters

Who is Getting in your Way
Tim Gallwey and your split personality

The King of Self Help
Dale Carnegie and six ways to make people like you

A Bigger Bite
My tribute to Steve Jobs

Naomi Campbell
Super model Naomi Campbell was quoted in this month's Harper's Bazaar as "reading an amazing book called Brilliant Stress Management by Mike Clayton."

This does seem to have driven sales of the book - and some great compliments from readers.  Read all about it here.

Brilliant Stress Management
High sales mean Amazon has dropped the price to 6.15, so Order Here

Brilliant Stress Management is still in the WH Smiths travel Top 50

Brilliant Stress Management grew out of a seminar called:  
"It ain't the Stress that does the Damage"

This seminar is available  in 90 min to 3 hour formats.  The focus is on building the resilience to thrive in a stressful environment. 

Contact me for details of how to book  "It ain't the Stress that does the Damage" or its companion seminar: "More than just survival: Thriving in times of Change".


The Three-hour MBA
Tomorrow, I will be in London, at RIBA, delivering two seminars:
Brilliant Time Management in the morning and The Three-hour MBA in the afternoon.

Both sessions have SOLD OUT - Three-hour MBA has sold out the largest seminar room RIBA has, at 65 people, with a wait list.

The Three-hour MBA, has been a great success as an open event, with some cracking feedback.  I am taking bookings for in-house seminars. 

"A lot of information in a short space of time but delivered superbly that
made it manageable."


2012 Seminar Dates
I am working hard to finalise 2012 dates for my open seminars and hope to have them for you in my first newsletter of the New Year

* The Three-hour MBA

* Brilliant Time Management

* Practical Project Management

* Risk Happens! Control Risk and Avoid Failure in Organisational Projects

... and maybe something new.


... and finally:

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year holiday.

I know that this year has been tough for many of you - and that next year maybe just as tough,; perhaps even tougher.

I've had my share of challenges and lessons learned, but I have also had much to celebrate. 

I am looking forward to next year - and maybe working with you.  I have two new books slated for publication in 2012 and I am very excited about each.

Merry Christmas
Happy New Year




My focus next year ...
... will remain on writing, responding to press enquiries, and new speaking engagements. 

If you know a conference organiser who is looking for an engaging speaker with great testimonials, please do send them to my website: www.mikeclayton.co.uk.  If you need a speaker now, just contact me using the links below, or the contact form on my website.  You can download my speaker pack here.

Best regards


I recognise you get a lot of email and I don't want to add unwanted inbox clutter.  I intend to give useful tips and thoughts, but if you don't wish to get any more, I will understand, so just click the "no more emails" link and they'll stop.

Many thanks

    Please contact me ...
... mike@mikeclayton.co.uk
... Tel: 08456 441349
... www.mikeclayton.co.uk
... on Twitter @mikeclayton01

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Mike Clayton, 2011