Young Apprentice Week 2 – Poor Leadership Proves to be a #recipefordisaster

Young Apprentice Week 2 – Poor Leadership Proves to be a #recipefordisaster

There was a theme of mixing things up in Week 2 of Young Apprentice. Firstly, Northern Irish -Firebrand Maria joined the boys, and Steven joined the girls. Then the task was revealed to be to produce a Recipe book and persuade 3 leading retailers to stock it. What became immediately apparent was that personality was going to play a big part.

For Odyssey, Maria made an immediate pitch for world domination Project Manager, but the lads rallied around the (safer?) choice of “the world’s youngest publisher” Sean. Maria wasn’t happy, but wasn’t going to allow this to stop her. She went on to use her considerable self belief and personality to ensure that Sean did (just about) everything she suggested, and the team lost the task.

Over in Platinum, “bossy” Lucy got the nod over Alice.

Both teams set about dividing up to do research and design. In Odyssey, Maria got her wish for a recipe book focused on the Professional Woman. The research suggested this was a bad idea, and Sean demonstrated poor leadership by allowing Maria to bully persuade him to stick with her idea. This not only created a split in the team, but is a repeat of a mistake made just last week.

Platinum came up with the idea of targeting students with the clever title #wheresmummy. This leads not only into possibilities of extended branding, but would give focus to potential social marketing. Despite this, the team was dysfunctional, “bossy” Lucy was a poor PM; decisive yes, but a poor listener and with a gift for pissing team mates off. The end product was shoddy to say the least. It looked good, but was full of spelling mistakes, in what was a terrible advert for the literacy of 16 & 17 year  olds. #cantbeleivetheywon.

So, battle lines were drawn. In Odyssey, Maria got most of her own way, ignoring both outside and internal counsel, but the product looked good. For Platinum, there was disharmony, but a good idea poorly executed. These points came to bear in the pitches to Sainsburys, and Waterstones. Maria (of course) led the first 2 pitches for Odyssey, along with Andrew and they came across well. Unfortunately, the product didn’t. For the final pitch, Sean showed weakness again, allowing Patrick his wish to pitch. It was a disaster. Why change a winning formula? Platinum came across well in their pitches, the product was liked, the spelling errors wasn’t. #gettingawaywithit.

In the Boardroom, it was revealed that Platinum got over 7000 orders to Odyssey’s 800. Two retailers did not order Odyssey’s “Professional Woman” book. The feedback was that the market was too narrow. This echoed what had been found in the focus group.

So, despite being dysfunctional and at times “catty”, Platinum won again. #bloodylucky. For Odyssey, Sean accepted that he had made mistakes, but blamed Maria’s push for the niche market. He then reinforced his poor judgement by bringing David back with Maria. David hadn’t done much wrong this week. In fact he hadn’t done much and was very subdued. Sugar was amazed that David, and not Patrick who was a disaster in the third pitch, was called back. It was no great surprise that Sean was fired, despite Sugar teasing Maria to the point that she was nearly in tears. Sean displayed poor judgement and was too easily swayed by strong personalities and wanting to be fair. This led to a poor product and business failure.

Although at times this week, the candidates showed their age and lack of maturity, we have seen similar behaviour in the “adult” Apprentice. Good leadership requires a level head but an assertive personality and sound judgement. Both “bossy” Lucy and “weak” Sean were poor leaders, one too strong the otther too weak. A true leader sits somewhere in between.

The Value in New Year Resolutions

The Value in New Year Resolutions

It’s that time of the year again. The time when we re-evaluate our life plan, make some minor (or not so minor) adjustments and set a new direction for ourselves. We call this setting “New Year resolutions”.

Of course, the joke is that we set these resolutions with great enthusiasm but by the end of January most of them have fallen by the wayside. So what is the key to making lasting change?

It’s all a question of value. Students of NLP (neuro-liguistic programming) are introduced to one of the great communication models – Logical Levels, as devised by Robert Dilts. I remember being introduced to this model and believing I had been given a major insight into the secrets of the universe – or at least our part in it.

It will probably come as no surprise to learn that our behaviour is driven by our beliefs and values. What Dilts’ model shows us is how this happens. As New Year resolutions are about implementing personal change, and by change we mean changing our behaviour, then it makes sense that we have to believe in this change and see value in it, for it to be maintained. We also have to believe that it is realistic and achievable. Lastly, it has to fit with our sense of identity. Putting these together, the best resolutions for change need to fulfil the following criteria:

  • be linked to our personal values
  • be consistent with the beliefs that come from these values
  • generate clear, realistic and achievable actions (behaviours)

In addition, your resolutions will be more likely to succeed if they are consistent with your personal sense of identity. This is why coaches suggest you state your resolution at an identity level, rather than a behaviour level. Here’s an example around one of the more popular resolutions at this time of year – losing weight;

  1. State the resolution as an identity; “I want to be slim” rather than “I want to lose weight”.
  2. Make sure it is linked to at least one of your personal values; “health” or “fitness” etc.
  3. Now, define the steps you need to take to achieve this by setting some (SMART) goals. Focus on realistic and achievable in particular.
  4. Now, write an action plan to deliver your goals.

If steps 1-5 above seem like too much hard work, then don’t waste your time by going any further with this resolution, as you clearly either don’t believe or value it

If one of your New Year Resolutions is to “be a more influential communicator” then why not follow this blog and learn how to do this for free?

Thriving with Change

Thriving with Change

It’s an old cliché, but let’s face it the only thing that’s constant is change. This is particularly true at the present time, with economic uncertainty leading many of us to consider career changes, though not always through choice.

So how can we best cope with change?

It is my philosophy that it is possible to not only survive but to actually thrive with change. It’s all a question  of approach.

In this article, I will introduce a concept from NLP that facilitates this. In fact it is one of the core concepts from NLP, namely, setting well-formed outcomes. This is a technique that has applications beyond managing change. It can be used for any future planning. It is also a useful check for letting us know when we are not achieving what we would like to – it may be a sign that one of the well-formedness conditions is not being met.

So how do we set well-formed outcomes? All you have to do is answer the following questions. You can do this on your own (self coaching) but it can be helpful to have someone else guide you through the process. Any good coach will be able to help you set good well formed outcomes for your career or, indeed, your life.

Here’s how;

  1. State what you want in the positive, i.e. “what do you want” (rather than stating what you don’t
  2. Convert a good objective (see 1 above) into an  outcome by answering “How will you know you’ve got it?”
  3.  Use the full range of sensory language (visual, auditory and kinaesthetic) to ensure you are clear about your desired future.
  4. “Can it be started and maintained by you?” This is crucial, as we are all limited by what we can directly change, or our ability to influence those who can. When we are experiencing rather than leading change, it is often this lack of control that leads us to feel unhappy. Within the context of the change, focus on what is within your control. Do your own personal SWAT analysis, and focus on your personal strengths and minimise your weaknesses.
  5. Give your outcome an appropriate context;
      • “Where, when and with whom do you want it?
  6. Maintain the current positive by products. This is the one part that is crucial to, and most often missed out, when organisations and individuals initiate change; find out what is liked, by you and others, about the current way of doing things, and make sure that where possible you take them with you into the changed future.
  7. Do an Ecology check; Is it worth it in terms of:
      • Cost to you?
      • The time it will take?
      • Your sense of self (personal identity)?

Setting well-formed outcomes is crucial to not only surviving but thriving with change. Follow these steps to ensure you can turn even the most challenging situation to your advantage.

If you want to learn more about NLP, I recommend the following book “The NLP Coach” by my teacher, Ian
(with Wendy Jago).

You can learn more about this strategy and others at our upcoming workshop “A Change for the Better”.

How Company Culture Evolves – “The 5 Monkeys”

With thanks to CasaZaza.

The attached video beautifully explains the story of  “The 5 Monkeys”. This is a metaphor for how cultures evolve, and more importantly why they are difficult to change. It is not only about politics, it is about culture.

As you watch the video, reflect on the environment that you work in, play in or live in.

 Are you a victim of 5 Monkey Syndrome? Or maybe a perpetrator?

Can you become a Change Agent and undo 5 Monkey Syndrome?