Get resolution faster | Make meetings more effective

New programme announcement

For the first time in my professional career, I have decided to put on an open programme. It is 1-day long, is called Transforming Meetings, and is accredited by Nancy Kline’s Time To Think organisation.

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I have become increasingly convinced of Time To Think principles of for meetings of the approaches in this programe. In my roles as Board Chair of a small tech company, and Chair of Governors at a Primary School, we have slowly introduced these principles over recent months, to good effect.

For example, at the start of a recent board meeting, I shared some practical tips on paying magnificent attention to each other. This involves not just cursory attention, where I start raising my hand while someone is speaking so I can get in next, or where I wait for a micro-gap and then deliver a pre-loaded answer. But, rather, it involves looking at eyes of the person who is speaking, genuinely fascinated by what they will say next. And never interrupting. One of my favourite quotations is, “Interruption is an assault on the thinking process” (Nancy Kline.)

As we exhibited an increasing quality of such attention, it increased the quality of our thinking. We knew this because we got through more topics, better, faster. And because when we were interrupted by hotel staff with a breakfast order, our discussions for the ensuing 15 minutes went round in circles, so much so that decided to loop back and address a topic again.

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As a board, generating effective thinking is critical to our success. (Hence the picture of the generator at the top!) And time matters. So we were delighted.

But, in my nearly 20 years as a coach, facilitator and leadership consultant, I have never run an open programme. So, why now? One reason is my confidence in the material (above).

Beyond this, in a pilot edition of the programme, I was encouraged by the positive feedback from clients in the business, education and charity sectors:

  • “I am not generally a fan of training. This training challenged my objectives of any meeting to aim for maximising the collective thinking and not just progressing the agenda as quickly as possible,” Brian Wilkinson, Head of Network Development, Viva
  • “Nick’s Thinking Environment programme really helped my firm’s thinking and makes our meetings more productive. Simple, logical, energetic and in a nice environment,” Victor Chua, Founding Partner, Mansfield Advisors LLP
  • “The programme has helped me to lead meetings and listen more effectively, impacting both on my professional and personal life. I have applied the principles and structures to a number of meetings since attending the programme. As a result, our quality of discussion is richer, there is greater balance in who contributes and for how long, and we generate ideas and solutions to problems more efficiently,” Jake Jones, Assistant Headteacher, Wheatley Park Secondary School
  • “The training is a revelation,” Andrew Dubock, Communications Manager, Viva

So, it’s happening! I’m looking forward to the programmes. If you are available on 1 October and 6 November in Oxford, sign up here!

Using technology to improve business results and make change stick

Street food vendor in Nanjing, digitally enabled. Photo credit: Mesoy

For this week’s blog, I point you in the direction of my friend Tor Mesoy, who shares his global perspective on the interplay between business, technology and personal productivity improvement. Notice Tor’s inspiring reference to Coachify in the full blog! He is a leadership coach and consultant for Agnus Consulting, of which he is also founder and chairman.

I am always curious about how society is changing.  I am interested in understanding change from many examples: what enables it, what catalyzes uptake, what the ramifications are and why it is happening now.

I was recently in Nanjing, China, and was thrilled to observe a keen adopter of FinTech.  The street food vendor in the photo above was selling steamed yams and corn.  The revenue stream was modest and could not fund much infrastructure of any kind.  The stall was homemade and dirt cheap. The vendor had no flyers or other marketing collateral.

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Pilot productivity app (part 1)

Take advantage of a unique, free, transformational opportunity

Image of group coaching session with connected devices.

Image credit: shutterstock.com | Syda Productions

Even a casual glance at the news will inform us that all is not well with the world. It’s tempting to join the ranks of those who bemoan the woes of our day without lifting a finger to contribute to redeeming the culture around us. But I know that you have a greater sense of purpose and it’s my desire to help you rise to the challenge – and it begins with the man (or woman) in the mirror.

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Making the most of your reordered time

Image credit: shutterstock.com | Max Griboedov

Image credit: shutterstock.com | Max Griboedov

Are you feeling refreshed from the digital detox and now have a clearer sense that your diary reflects your priorities in life? As a follow up to having undertaken the aforementioned exercises, I would like to point you towards one of my most popular posts that focussed on time management.

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Reordering Your Priorities

Sort out your bucket; enjoy the journey!

Sort out your bucket; enjoy the journey!

For this week’s blog, I invited Roger Eaton, Coachify’s Project Manager to write on how his recent experience in reordering his priorities has improved his productivity and reduced his stress levels.

Do you ever get the feeling that you have overcommitted yourself? As a result of your enthusiasm, or perhaps weakness for people-pleasing, you agree to take on more and more responsibility at work, or in your social scene, not to mention maintaining family life.

At the beginning of September, the summer holidays already a distant memory, everything was picking up speed. Working two different jobs, leading a new church in a foreign culture and language, married with two young children and trying to maintain a social life, I was feeling overcommitted! Something had to budge.

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How to improve productivity with design thinking

Your new approach to greater productivity (part 5/5)

Image credit: shutterstock.com | T.Dallas

Image credit: shutterstock.com | T.Dallas

Design thinking is all the rage.  From IBM to AirBnB, to reaching the cover of Harvard Business Review last year, companies are embracing a design-based way of thinking. Design thinking is here to stay and it can improve your productivity. This 5-part series will help you understand and apply design thinking personally and in your organisation.

So how can you implement design thinking into your context?

To become a design thinking leader, you must develop the right stance, tools, experiences and team.

This will not be a seamless journey. I failed several times before starting Coachify and I have failed several times since. I am reminded of Michael Jordan, who said: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Here are the four elements of success.

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How to improve productivity with design thinking

Coachify case study - (part 4/5)

Image credit: shutterstock.com | macgyverhh

Image credit: shutterstock.com | macgyverhh

Design thinking is all the rage.  From IBM to AirBnB, to reaching the cover of Harvard Business Review last year, companies are embracing a design-based way of thinking. Design thinking is here to stay and it can improve your productivity. This 5-part series will help you understand and apply design thinking personally and in your organisation.

Whilst design thinking may seem like a new approach, in reality, it has always been there. It turns out that Coachify is a design thinking firm too. In this post I show how we used Design Thinking to give birth to and nurture Coachify. (more…)

How to improve productivity with design thinking

Concept in brief – 3 ways (part 3/5)

Design thinking is all the rage.  From IBM to AirBnB, to reaching the cover of Harvard Business Review last year, companies are embracing a design-based way of thinking. Design thinking is here to stay and it can improve your productivity. This 5-part series will help you understand and apply design thinking personally and in your organisation.

So Design thinking is well rated and highly needed. But what is it? In this post I give three different explanations.

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How to improve productivity with design thinking

Getting personal (part 2/5)

Image credit: shutterstock.com | Dragon Images

Design thinking is all the rage. From IBM to AirBnB, to reaching the cover of Harvard Business Review last yearcompanies are embracing a design-based way of thinking. Design thinking is here to stay and it can improve your productivity. This 5-part series will help you understand and apply design thinking personally and in your organisation. In this post I share my story of how design thinking helped me become more productive. 

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How to improve productivity with design thinking

Introduction (part 1/5)

Image credit: shutterstock.com | Cienpies Design

Design thinking is all the rage.  From IBM to AirBnB, to reaching the cover of Harvard Business Review last year, companies are embracing a design-based way of thinking. Design thinking is here to stay and it can improve your productivity. This 5-part series will help you understand and apply design thinking personally and in your organisation.

(more…)