I was listening to a podcast recently in which a prominent CHRO commented that “the world has changed, it’s chaotic and unruly and our leaders need to be able to operate effectively in chaos”. Surely we want change not chaos.
Now I don’t know about you but that’s not a sales pitch I’m warming to. I’d agree that things certainly seem to be heading that way; I’m not sure we’re enjoying it…is anyone getting a kick out of Brexit? Somebody else once told me “never hire anyone who tells you they’re good in a crisis – you’ll always be in one”.
And yet it seems to me that all we need to escape the chaos is a little process, and some structure, to help us find our way out of the darkness. What’s frustrating is how bad we are at doing just that. I work for an engineering business and we love a process – we just love following them less!
Have a Plan
Let’s face it; any idea without a plan to guide it is nothing more than an aspiration. And we all know what happens to the majority of our aspirations. Need I mention New Year’s resolutions?
Why do you think there are so many shiny new gyms offering 12 months membership at reduced prices in January? Because they know we’re weak that we have aspirations but no plan – and that most of us will turn up a couple of times and then just stop looking in the mirror!
It’s why coaching often gets a bad rep in business; not because it’s poorly done, because it has no support structure around it, at which point it’s pretty much doomed to failure.
I’m a great believer that one of the reasons the phrase “talent” has become such an exclusive phrase is because of the lack of support surrounding it – it’s become an exercise in the survival of the fittest.
We hear a lot of talk about the best ways to make our people more resilient – perhaps we should just stop trying to crush them, announcing those who survive as being the most talented.
Our job is to spot the potential of all our people and cultivate it – whether it’s talent that shouts or the sort that whispers. Once identified, all you need is a structured approach to helping it bloom.
John’s Five Steps
At NG Bailey we’re very lucky, one of our learning team is a great coach and helps ensure that we have that process and structure in place. So, I asked John what his five top tips for success would be. Here’s what he said:
- Start with the contract: The majority of issues stem back to an inadequate or vague contract. Are both parties clear? Are the expectations around effort and responsibility clearly set out?
- Ask the stupid question: Do they know why they’re here and are they committed to the cause? There are plenty of people who buy Lycra but very little of it ever makes it to the gym!
- Set clear objectives: Where do they need to be by the end of the contracted period? What are the steps that they’ll take along the way? What milestones will mark their progress and signal improvement? How do we know they’re being achieved? What evidence can be offered? If you decided to run a marathon, the first training run isn’t 26 miles long!
- Address the practicalities: When will you meet and where? Who’s responsible for what? Can you cancel and re-arrange? If you agree all of this beforehand, it’s less likely to delay, distract or derail the coaching itself.
- Get into a rhythm: Like an athlete training for a race the regularity and structure of the sessions will guide you and help build confidence and skill. Those steady steps of improvement will increase your motivation and help get you through – particularly when the going gets tough.
We’re all on a journey, and that journey will call upon us to develop different things at different times. As with most things, your chance of success is greatly enhanced by the amount of time you spend on your preparation. Surely we want change not chaos.?
Or you could just embrace the chaos…