Retrenching without Real Conversation ... a recipe for disaster!
Alison Williams - Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Yesterday Toyota Australia retrenched 350 workers and the Chief Executive chose to make these compulsory redundancies, stating that "If you don't perform to Toyota's satisfaction you will lose your job." Now there's always more to a story than the media hype around it, yet this apparent 'culling on the spot of poor performers,' complete with heavy security guard presence is such a great example of how not to have Real Conversation!!
If you manage a business I encourage you to use this case for some great learning and consider:
- How does your organisation deal with poor performance? Are issues allowed to escalate to the point where someone is then retrenched out of the blue (often with a fairly shaky reference to 'necessary restructure') or maybe moved sideways so that they can merrily continue to do what they do but at least it'll be someone else's problem?!
- How do you communicate change within your business? Is it the Toyota style 'bolt out of the blue' leaving those impacted distraught and those remaining feeling traumatised, distrusting and almost guilty for surviving?
- How do you deal with issues that need to be addressed within your business? Is it Toyota style confrontational (not that I'm suggesting you'd necessarily get the security guards in!), assuming interactions and dialogues will go badly, seeking to 'keep the power and control' at all costs?
And, having reflected on this case, I urge you to bring the culture of Real Conversation into your business, through:
- Having professional and respectful conversations with staff about performance on an ongoing and informal basis. Be open with them about what you love about what they do and clear about what needs to be different. Don't shuffle your poor performers around - deal with them - in my experience they respect you for it and business productivity and the morale of your organisation will boom.
- Remember that people are emotional beings and not machines. They will not respond well to sudden imposed change - would you??! Be as transparent as you can in communicating future change as soon as you can and if there's stuff you don't know about the upcoming change say so - tell them you don't know rather than try to 'fudge it.' People will respect your authenticity.
- Skill your managers in the art of Real Conversation. Help them to communicate with their people even in sensitive or difficult situations in a respectful, empathic and professional way so that even if people don't like what's being said, they'll at least feel understood, feel heard - and that has a huge impact on the quality of work they will do for you and the morale of your business.
Hope that's given you food for thought - pop along to Home Page
for a complimentary Report on 'Why Real Conversation can make a huge difference to your life or business' or cut to the chase and contact me on 0422 974 042 or firstname.lastname@example.org
to see how we can get down to dealing with the real issues in your business with Real Conversation.
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Bunking off work ...
Alison Williams - Thursday, March 01, 2012
You know what?? ... This morning I bunked off work - really - I did! I had a lot of 'stuff' that needed to be done before clients this afternoon, ranging from planning to marketing to product development ... and I bunked off!!
I realised last night that I felt like I was running from one thing to another - business planning work which is exciting because I'm about to rebrand and get clearer on my direction, spending some great quality time with my little boy, enjoying some great time with my dad and his partner who leave back for UK on Monday (yes, we all went drummin' in Mooloolaba last night - what a hoot!:-)), working with my existing clients, preparing for new business development events ... you name it, I'm running to or from it to be frank!! And I'm loving it yet feeling the sadness around my dad leaving, feeling some overwhelm at those points when I forget to just take life one moment at a time and try to make everything happen at once and so feeling the need for Space ... just a bit of Space.
So this morning I bunked off ... off work ... off bootcamp (sorry Brett!!) ... I went for a lovely walk with a friend on the beach with no intent other than just to wander, catch up and enjoy it (the only issue being we wandered quite a way and Jack the puppy nearly had to be carried back - poor soul!!). Then I bunked off even more ... we went for coffee and caught up some more! At which point I did have to stop bunking off and have a wash and brush up ready to see some clients!
You know what, I only ever bunked off school once - on the day we were supposed to have a mock history exam on the Crusades (because I had no intention of ever answering an exam question on that topic so didn't want to swot it up!). The only issue was that so many of us bunked off that day that it was glaringly obvious something was going on and we all had to do the exam another day - very traumatic!!
So, maybe for me, bunking off has a bit of a taboo ... it's just not done ... it's not the right thing. And maybe I need to remember to bunk off more often if that's what I feel I really need in order to be ok! I've been much more clear headed and productive this afternoon - I've got lots done ... because I did what I needed to do to deal with what was really going on for me ... rather than being ruled by misplaced guilty feelings ... hey, I've even written a blog post!!:-))
So when did you last bunk off?? What would it be like if you did?? And if you need some company bunking off just give me a shout ... I'll be doing it regularly!!:-))
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Valentines Day ... call me cynical but ...
Alison Williams - Monday, February 13, 2012
So Valentines day is upon us ... Call me cynical but it just doesn't do it for me!! Yes I know, I remember the heady days of my youth when I'd wait for the postman to see if any secret admirer had sent me a card ... and sometimes he had I'll have you know!! Then I progressed to the point where a few times I got taken out for really nice meals in really posh, very overpriced, very overcrowded restaurants ... and that's when the cynicism started to creep in.
I think what really bugs me is the sense of expectation built up into a frenzy by the marketing giants. Think of all those poor unsuspecting blokes that buy the odd bunch of flowers here and there but all of a sudden on Valentines Day it has to be roses ... they have to be red ... they have to have a posh ribbon!! I feel for them I really do! And what about the people who don't get anything ... from anyone ... talk about being made to feel left out in the cold!!
It takes a brave guy (or girl) to stand up in the face of consumerism (I struggle enough with persuading my four year old that he really doesn't need some lollies ... another car ... a remote control helicopter!) but maybe we can take a moment to consider what meaning we can make out of Valentines Day? Yes we could just ignore it, but what could we have it mean for us that would enhance our relationships?
Maybe it could be the day we call mum or dad and tell them we love them ... maybe the day we slope off for a beautiful, peaceful (and free!) walk on the beach with a loved one and enjoy each others company ... maybe we just use it as a reminder that relationships and connections are vital to our wellbeing and refocus on attracting the relationships we want into our lives.
With a husband in Harvey Bay at the moment, about two and a half hours away, I think it'll be a fairly low key Valentines Day for Mrs Cynicism here. Though I'm curious how all that frenzied romantic energy in the air will impact my client work tomorrow, I'm looking forward to a romantic dinner with my little boy and young Jack the Jack Russell ... and I wonder if Bob hid a card anywhere when he was home on the weekend ...!!
Whatever you choose to make it mean for you, make it real ... make it what you want for your relationships and not what the marketers would have you believe it should look like.
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How to have a Cracker of a Christmas - Part 2: Identify and meet you Needs - You will feel good when you do!
Alison Williams - Friday, November 04, 2011
If Christmas brings up for you feelings of overwhelm and thoughts of rushing from one place to another trying to please everybody all at once them it may be worth your giving some time to reflect on your own Needs. Yes, yours! - Because they're important.
In my previous blog I discussed how you can 'lose' some of your sense of yourself in your family upbringing. Only yesterday I was speaking with a client about the fact that in her family of origin there had been very little open communication and lots of anger. Her energy as a child had very much gone (unconsciously) into 'trying to read between the lines' and trying to figure out how she was meant to behave in order to avoid being in trouble (the stereotypical 'good girl' role). This was her focus and any sense of being able to stay true to what she needed in order to be ok was out of the window - it was all about 'how can I best shape myself to fit in and stay safe here.'
This concept of needs is so important. We all have our own needs in order to be able to be our best. For example, I have a strong need for respect and if I feel that someone has behaved disrespectfully towards me (maybe a supplier who has let me down or a friend who hasn't appeared to listen to me) I will feel disrespected and need to take some action. That may be as simple as speaking up to say I feel disrespected and looking to resolve the issue or may be about my looking for a new supplier who treats me in a respectful way.
And in simple terms that's how needs work - You get an uncomfortable feeling, a niggle, something just doesn't feel right. So you check in - What need do I have here that's not being met? Then you take steps to meet that need and be able to feel and be your best.
Unfortunately if you've spent many years, for whatever reason, ignoring your own needs or pushing them to one side, it can be an interesting concept just to imagine that you might have some needs? Or that they could be important to your wellbeing? ... You may not even always be clear about what your needs are - you just know that sometimes you don't feel ok ... you're certainly not at your best.
And in that case you just start to learn about your needs ... step by step. Try the following process and see how you go:
1. First of all, notice when you do feel a bit out of sorts, uncomfortable, upset, anxious ... Often you may just carry on regardless, but give yourself a moment this time ... stop ... reflect - what is your unmet need here? What need do you need to meet in order to feel more comfortable with yourself? If you're not used to identifying what your needs are, use a list of needs such as the one at http://http//www.cnvc.org/Training/needs-inventory to get you started. Sit with the list, let your eyes roam gently over it and just notice in your body what draws you - that 'aha - that's what I need!' moment!
2. Once you've identified what you need then decide what steps you will take to meet the need. This is hugely significant - don't wait around for someone else to meet your needs - you are ultimately responsible for your own wellbeing and meeting your needs - not someone else! This can be really simple. For example a client in a recent session recognised her need for nurturing, wasn't in a physical position to be nurtured by her partner at that stage so had really written it off! In discussion about how she could nurture herself she lit up when she recalled how she used to feel so nurtured and comforted by curling up on the verandah in the sun with a throw when she was a child - but she never did it anymore. She set off to do just that! It really doesn't need to be complicated - the simpler the better.
Relate this to our Christmas theme - The invitations are coming thick and fast - you've two events on the same day - which one will you go to? You've been busy, you're tired, you know you need to chill out - Will it be the more formal, prestigious 'do' where you know you'll feel obliged to dress up a bit, hope the kids behave and make some chit chat or will it be the more informal 'do' where you know you'll be amongst friends, be able to 'hang loose' and say whatever you want to say? What's your choice? Will you take steps to meet your needs or will you be led by other peoples views or what seems to be the 'right' thing to do? And will that feed your energy level or take away from it?
The above practice in itself can support you in feeling less stressed and overwhelmed at Christmas (and every day!). Try it and see how you go - I'd love your feedback.
As usual, if you need further support just give me a shout - Don't forget my current Special Offer on Family Patterns Assessment is available until just 30th November.
Take care until next time and remember, through actively meeting your needs you're constantly affirming to yourself that you're worth it ... you're important ... and how good will that feel?!
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How to have a Cracker of a Christmas - Step 1: Clarify the Past to see the Present
Alison Williams - Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Welcome back to the 'Cracker of a Christmas Series' where I'm pulling together some tips and strategies to support you in connecting more, stressing less and building stronger relationships, particularly over the holiday period.
This week I want to talk about the Past, or, as I technically call it in Psychotherapist speak, our "Old Stuff!" We've all got what I call "Old Stuff" - maybe things that happened in our family that weren't as ideal as we would have liked or maybe some past traumatic experiences. Now there are a couple of really important things to note here:
- In speaking of the past my intent is not to have you wallow around in it and feel sorry for yourself - that's just not useful! My intent is to guide you towards learnings that can be gleaned from past experiences and taken forward to help you develop stronger relationships i.e. this needs to be a forward-looking process and involves you in taking responsibility for recognising aspects of your behaviour that you can now change.
- It is crucial that looking at the past is not taken as an opportunity to blame your parents for how they behaved towards you. Every parent does the best they can with the level of skills and knowledge they have on board at the time. For a simple example, there have been occasions when I've raised my voice (ok shouted!) when dealing with my little boy. I'm pleased to say not many and yet it's happened. Now in the future he may turn round to me and say "Hey mum, I remember you shouting at me that time when I was three" (at which point I will probably be completely mortified!!) and at the same time I trust he will understand that personally I was at a point of extreme frustration and simply didn't have the resources to know what to do different at that point. I trust also that he will recognise my efforts to learn more, to develop as a mother, to grow the range of resources and strategies available to me. If you get stuck in blame you put yourself in a very weak place because you make it all about your parents and as long as that's the case then nothing's going to change. There's something very powerful about accepting they did the best they could and choosing that now you're going to move on and do the best you can for yourself. Make sense so far?
So in our taking a peek at the past what are we looking for that may help us in forming stronger relationships in the future? Let me give you 2 key things to look for:
Yes those 3 sided things - or in this case those things with 3 people in them. Because whilst we often think of a relationship as involving 2 people, in reality it often involves 3. Let me give you an example: Mum and Dad have some 'cracks' in their relationship - maybe it's not easy for them to talk openly with each other about tensions they feel or issues they have and so by way of relieving the tension (totally unconsciously) Mum starts to talk to their son, 'little Freddie,' about her frustrations - "If only your dad would get those odd jobs done around the house .... would realise I need some support around here."
Lots of implications here: Issues don't get dealt with directly between the appropriate people, tension in the family just gets passed around and maybe 'dumped' on people it doesn't belong to, 'little Freddie' maybe starts to change his view of his father and relationship with his father because of what's happening ... and 'triangling' becomes the norm. Children can carry this model out into their future relationships and also into the future work environment where 'triangling,' aka gossipping, can be a huge issue.
We need to take a look at the extent that triangling went on in our family of origin - if it existed then it's highly likely to be still going on now (unless family members have done work on this issue) and if this is part of your model of relating then it may explain why you find it difficult to deal with issues directly with the people concerned or why you feel so frustrated and flat when dad downloads on you - you'd rather he just dealt direct with mum.
So consider, what triangles existed in your family of origin (any situation where there was tension between 2 people and so a 3rd was 'triangled' in)? Are they still going on now? To what extent does 'triangling' exist in your present day life? How does it impact you and what would you like to change about that?
2. Family Roles
If you luck out and get born to totally emotionally healthy and connected parents then you may have nothing to look at here! The famous Family Therapist Virginia Satir cast doubt on this with her premise that only 4% of us are born into totally emotionally healthy and functional families! I take comfort in knowing that it's not just me that's got issues!!
In very simple terms, children born into a family tend to compensate (totally unconsciously) for what's missing in the system. For example, if there's not a lot of humour around one of the children may become the family Joker. If the family puts on a very 'proper' face to the world then another may take on the role of Black Sheep or Scapegoat. If there's a lack of love in the family then a child may take on the role of Caretaker. Get the picture? The important thing here is that in taking on a role you start to lose your sense of self and prioritise (totally unconsciously) the needs of the family system. In doing so you lose touch with your own needs and, given that it's through meeting your own needs that you feel good about yourself, you tend not to feel good sometimes and yet aren't really sure why not (we can take a closer look at needs in a future blog).
In coming from a role rather than your real self you impact your ability to build authentic and strong relationships and will struggle to get your needs met. I have worked with many clients who found it such a relief to realise the roles they had played in family of origin and which continued to play out in current family, at work and in life! In seeing these roles they could set the intent to clear them and find their own authentic needs and behaviour. Sometimes these clients weren't even conscious of what they needed in order to be happy and it was beautiful to see them starting to recognise their needs and take steps to meet them so they could feel happier in themselves.
A useful resource here is 'Behind Closed Doors - The truth about intimate relationships and how to create them' by my colleague Shirley Smith - view it at http://http//www.inspirationalchange.com/_product_62435/Behind_Closed_Doors_-_The_Truth_about_Intimate_Relationships_and_how_to_Create_them
So what was (or still is) your role (s) in family of origin? Were you the Caretaker, the one who was always in trouble, the Hero of the family, the Perfectionist?? How is that role still playing out in your life? What steps are you willing to take to take to change your behaviour?
I trust that taking a look at these two patterns from the past may give you some ideas on how to move forward towards stronger relationships and a true Cracker of a Christmas!
If you'd like support along the way to see patterns and shift them then take a look at my Special Offer on Family Patterns Assessment which can be taken up either face to face on the Sunshine Coast or via Skype or Phone.
See you soon for more tips and strategies and in the meantime I'd love your comments or questions x
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How to have a Cracker of a Christmas - Not a Damp Squib!!
Alison Williams - Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Christmas is coming - yes, really ...!! I need to face the reality that it's only 9 weeks until my Christmas Holidays and 12 weeks till the big man in red comes to call (that's Santa, not my dad - who incidentally is arriving from the UK at about the same time, much to my delight).
That got me thinking - What would I like to contribute to my clients and colleagues before the end of the year that isn't already planned in? As the title of this blog suggests I decided to take some of the common issues my clients talk about in this run-up to Christmas, such as:
- I'm 45 now (or whatever you happen to be) and yet whenever I'm around my family I feel I'm being treated like a little child again!
- Why do I always feel I'm expected to take on a certain 'role' in my family?? It's always me that seems to resurrect the burning Christmas dinner, amuse Great Uncle Fred and try to rescue old Aunty Flossie's false teeth out of the toilet (yes that really happened in my family one year!!)?
- How come I spend three weeks with the family at Christmas and yet come away feeling like I've not really connected with them? We don't seem to talk about what's really going on and I walk away feeling they don't really know me?
- Why do I find it so hard to say 'no?' I seem to run around over Christmas trying to see everyone and keep everyone happy and just end up feeling frustrated, overloaded and glad of the chance to go back to work??
- Why do I find it so hard to just relax?? I didn't have children so I could sit on the beach with them feeling frustrated, thinking of all the other things I could be doing and wondering how business will go in 2012 ?
... and to spend the next few weeks blogging about some of the insights, knowledge, skills and resources that clients have found valuable in developing a deeper understanding of these issues and bring about change i.e as I refer to in the title, setting yourself up for a whole different experience of Christmas!
By the way, if you're in business keep reading - all of these patterns/issues equally arise within organisations (though hopefully not the false teeth thing??) and I'll be happy to discuss strategies with you as we go along.
I have to confess that this is a personal challenge - I have never blogged in my life and can be a little technophobic, so I'm just going to treat it like setting out to have a little chat with you once a week and not scare myself too much with the b*** word!
The 'little chat' will be posted on my website once a week at http://http//www.inspirationalchange.com/_blog/Inspirational_Change
Newsletter subscribers I assure you I will not be barraging your inbox every week - I'll just send you a reminder of the link in a month's time. The best way to be conscious of my weekly 'chats' will be to join me on my Facebook page at http://http//www.facebook.com/pages/Inspirational-Change-with-Alison-Williams/300031283383, where I'll be posting the updates on a weekly basis. Feel free to pass this link to any friends or colleagues who may find it of value.
In the spirit of family and Christmas I'm delighted to pledge 10% of all individual consult fees for October and November to Youthinsearch (www.youthinsearch.org.au) to support their work in resolving adolescent issues for youths aged between 12 and 17.
So I look forward to our next 'chat' when I'll be discussing some of the common 'patterns' and 'roles' that show up in families (and also organisations!) - Becoming more conscious of these gives us the opportunity for change and a stress-free Christmas!
Until next time ... xx
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