Resources

Here's a collection of articles, videos and links to other resources that have helped us. Hopefully, you'll find them interesting and useful too.

 
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Psychological safety

Sounds a bit complicated and scientific but psychologial safety is just about individuals being able to contribute without fear of being ignored, criticised, ridiculed, humiliated or in any other way put down, which would discourage them from contributing again. Lack of psychological safety can be a real problem for all organisations, large and small, as it can mean that only, say, 20-30% of your people feel comfortable contributing and the vast majority don't. If this is happening in your organisation you are missing out on a lot of ideas and input that could make the difference between success and failure. These two short articles explain psychological safety in more detail:

What psychological safety is and how it's the key to success

What a lack of psychological safety can mean in practice and how it can lead teams to fail

In trying to understand what makes a team successful Google discovered that it isn't much to do with the make up of the team or the individual members but is everything to do with psychological safety. This short post explains:

The five key dynamics of a successful team

That last post could well be my favourite of all time, given that it is such a quick read and contains some pretty surprising and easy to understand information that might just turn your approach to management on its head - by far and away the most important dynamic for team success is psychological safety!


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Teamwork & teaming

Effective teamwork has always been important to success but now teaming is too. Teaming is where people come together to complete a task or project and then disband without ever really forming a traditional team.

Some statistics about teamwork   More ...

The importance of teaming   More ...

 

In this 2 minute video Amy Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership & Management at Harvard Business School, tells you about her book on Teaming but also gives a great descripton of what teaming is.


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Diversity & diversity of thought

Of course diversity is important. We intuitively get this and understand it is right and fair that we recognise and embrace diversity. It's plain wrong and unfair when we slip from this position, or even worse, actively deny it or go out of our way to promote division.

On top of that there are lots of benefits from diversity. We can enjoy being with and learning from one another. We can do things differently. We can improve our problem solving and make better decisions. We can achieve better outcomes too.

This article from McKinsey, Why diverstiy matters, explains why diversity matters, not just in itself but also because it makes sense in terms of business results.

This article from Forbes, Nine signs that your organisation lacks diversity of thought, explores what we mean by diversity of thought, the difference it can make to an organisation and then lists nine indicators of a lack of diversity of thinking.

New research makes it increasingly clear that companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially.
— McKinsey
Diversity of thought should be our single most powerful competitive advantage in our workgroups and organizational teams.
— Forbes

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Thinking

We all think! It's just that sometimes we don't think as well as we could.

As a result we get things wrong, make mistakes, miss better solutions, create more work for ourselves, waste time, misuse resources, lose customers, cost money ...

Here are a couple of articles on how to think better:

 

 

Introduction to The Thinking Environment pdf

Mental models: how to train your brain to think in new ways

Thinking caps off pdf

 

 

 

 


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Listening

What all topics on this resources page have in common is that they all rely on effective listening. So here's a SlideShare and an article on how to listen better:

Active listening instead of waiting for a chance to speak

Five ways to listen better SlideShare

Still on the theme of listening, here are a couple of videos on the subject. The first is an 8 minute TED talk by Julian Treasure, sound and communication expert, and the second is a 2 minute animation that gives you the basics.

The last item on listening is a pdf from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which is a great guide to how to listen effectively:

 

Listening Skills in Mentoring pdf

 

This document includes a bit at the end relating to the work of Nancy Kline, who developed The Thinking Enivonment covered in the Thinking section above.

For Nancy listening is about giving your FULL attention and NEVER interrupting.

This differentiates her approach to the active listening approach described in the video above, which suggests that from time to time you should interrupt the speaker to repeat back what they've said.


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Meetings

Just one very short but extremely helpful article on meetings by Seth Godin, author and former dot com business executive:

 

The crisp meeting More...


Behaviour change

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This article is about changing behaviour through process, rather than goals:

Forget about setting goals. Focus on this instead.

This one's about mindset be fixed by behaviour, rather than the other way round:

Why mindset is overrated in behavior change

And this one's about how incompetent people overrate themselves which inhibits their ability to change (the video in this post is particularly helpful):

Why incompetent people often think they're actually the best


The BRAIN!

You might be interested to know how psychological safety, teamwork, listening and all that stuff fit in with neuroscience research. Here's an article by David Rock, founder and director of the NeuroLeadership Institute, which goes some way to explain.

 

Managing with the Brain in Mind

 

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"When leaders make people feel good about themselves, clearly communicate their expectations, give employees latitude to make decisions, support people’s efforts to build good relationships, and treat the whole organization fairly, it prompts a reward response. Others in the organization become more effective, more open to ideas, and more creative. They notice the kind of information that passes them by when fear or resentment makes it difficult to focus their attention. They are less susceptible to burnout because they are able to manage their stress. They feel intrinsically rewarded." David Rock

 


Downloads

 
If the UK’s least productive firms raised their productivity to their German equivalents it would be worth over £100bn to the UK economy.
Good management complements the technical skills needed to absorb the full benefits of new-to-firm technology.

Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

Download the free report - no email necessary, just go to the CBI page below, click the link and get the pdf.

 

From Ostrich to Magpie

 

The CBI set out to find new ways to tackle the striking variation in productivity that exists between UK firms. The results are clear: the UK needs more ‘Magpie’ and fewer ‘Ostrich’ businesses. Magpies have the skill and the will to find and adopt readily available technologies and management best practices proven to lift productivity and pay. Ostriches stick with what they know. Tackling this ‘failure to adopt’ could help reduce inequality between firms’ productivity and
between people’s pay, adding over £100bn to the UK economy.