For the latest thinking,
commentary and analysis to
support you and your organisation.

For the latest thinking,
commentary and analysis to
support you and your organisation.

Increasing your impact and making the most of your time

Returning to work probably requires you to find a different pace and a sharper focus compared to how you’ve spent your time whilst away. In this article from Comeback Community™ (our platform for people preparing for/returning from any type of extended leave) we’re sharing seven superbly simple tools to make an impact with the time you have. If you’re coming back on reduced hours, or no longer have the inability to ‘stay late’ and play catch up on things not completed during the normal work day you might be wondering how you’ll deliver all you did before. The answer? Don’t even try to! This is an opportunity to start afresh, consider the impact you want to have and make a plan to get there. SEVEN SIMPLE TOOLS: Rocks, pebbles, sand If you only worked one day a week Stop, start, continue Biggest task first Five minute start Time boxing Scheduling self-time 1. Rocks, pebbles, sand Author of the excellent book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey, talks about figuring out which things in your life are the ‘rocks’ – the big, important things – that you’ll be miffed if you don’t make happen. His analogy is a vase (your life) to be filled with rocks, pebbles and sand (the stuff that fills your time). If you put the sand in the vase first, followed by the pebbles (the smaller, less important stuff) there won’t be so much time for the rocks. Put the rocks in first, followed by the… Read More »

Many happy returns? What Chief People Officers are thinking now

Sometimes it can feel lonely at the top and it’s good to know what your peers are thinking and doing, especially when there’s no playbook. Our NEW report Many Happy Returns? presents the five main themes that emerged from our conversations with Chief People Officers and HR Head Honchos over the summer. ** RECEIVE YOUR COPY NOW – simply add your name and e-mail address to the box at the bottom ** The HR professionals we spoke to about the challenges of remote working and the return to the office spanned many different sectors: accountancy, advertising, asset management, event management, insurance, law, manufacturing and market research. “We’ve done a lot of work with linemanagers reminding them to contractwith their teams on how they’re goingto work with their people. Somemanagers have done a really good jobof contracting with clients too. Somepeople have contracted that there arecertain times when they won’t accepta Zoom call.” Chief People Officer, advertising The five themes: THE NEW ‘MIXED ECONOMY’ – maintaining equality of opportunity for employees regardless of where they work.  STRUCTURE AND CERTAINTY – acknowledging the need for security employees are craving, and that’s difficult for HR to provide.  KEEPING UP APPEARANCES – helping employees feel comfortable with remote working.  THE FUTURE OF FLEX – continuing to modernise attitudes around flex and capitalising on the gains made during lockdown.  ALL TOGETHER NOW – healing the hurt of furlough and rekindling team connectedness to move forward with purpose.

The single best thing you can do for mothers in your organisation right now

What accounts for the HUGE difference in wellbeing, engagement and effectiveness of working mothers in your organization? How much flexibility they have over their schedule. Simple. McKinsey analysed the experience of 887 different workers over the pandemic and found some interesting and alarming differences (for instance, it’s better to be a remote working father than any kind of worker without kids). Nearly 60% of mothers who have flexibility around how they organise and achieve their professional goals report positive wellbeing compared to just 19% of women who don’t have this autonomy.  Even more staggering is the gulf between their self-reports of effectiveness. 61% of those with schedule flexibility said they were being effective compared to just 15% of those without. That’s an astonishing 75% drop. The takeout for employers is this: be crystal clear on your organisation’s mission and how each individual is expected to contribute to it then trust employees to get on and do. Be clear on delivery dates and other important expectations but don’t tell workers when and how to do things. Their work for you sits within a bigger, more complicated and exhausting picture and right now most parents need a bl**dy big break from EVERYTHING. The least you can do is allow them the freedom to flex within the parameters you set.

Find Focus & Feel Good – Moving Meetings

Stanford University behavioural and learning scientists, Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz discovered a huge upswing in creative-thinking when walking compared to sitting. I’ve long been a fan of moving meetings, often by myself – yes, I know that sounds oxymoronic – to problem-solve and think about the bigger picture of the business. This thinking tool took on new meaning in 2014 when Rocky, our now nearly six year-old whippet came into our lives, and I had to find diary space to walk him without losing work time. These Monday Morning Moving Meetings with Myself, as I call them, have been fixed in my diary ever since and lately have been crucial in identifying my focus areas for the week ahead during Covid-19 enforced work from home. “Stanford researchers have found a HUGE upswing in creative thinking when walking compared to sitting.” In recent weeks we’ve heard many coachees talk about exercise reducing and sleep worsening as they attempt to combine 1.5-2 jobs into a day meant for one (1.5 jobs = childcare split with a partner plus a substantial full-time paid role or two jobs if there’s no partner at home to share the load). This is in stark contrast to child-free professionals or those whose kids are now teens+ who are glowing from Yoga with Adrienne, outdoor running and culinary creativity in place of frazzling-commutes. The stress many of our coachees are experiencing is palpable and easily detected over the phone (we offer coachees a choice and many opt… Read More »

Covid-19: A Psychologist on Play, Purpose & Potential

Play, Purpose and Potential for Motivation & Performance whilst working remotely: a guide for line managers. Play, purpose and potential are three positive motivators identified by Lindsay McGregor and Neel Doshi (ex-McKinsey & Co and co-authors of Primed to Perform) that often lead to increased work performance but are most at risk whilst we’re working remotely. See their piece in Harvard Business Review. So what can people managers do about it? Read on for our nine practical suggestions for stimulating play, reinforcing purpose and nurturing potential. Play (the motive that most boosts performance) Give your team an audacious goal. “Imagine if this time next year we could say we’d achieve X, what would have happened to get us there?” This could kick-off as a 45 minute group brainstorming challenge over virtual afternoon tea (everyone to bake/buy own scones, jam and cream). Have a fun problem-solving task running in the background such as how to celebrate the return to work on a budget of £500. Invite people to add pictures, films and notes to a shared folder. Put a playful provocation in the post to your team. [Post coming soon sharing something that went in the post from our CEO to everyone in the team]. And remember to ask your team for ideas on how to inject playfulness into how you’re working. You don’t have to have all the answers. Keep your clients and customers alive in your team’s mind. You might ask each team member to dig out some customer… Read More »

Covid-19: A Psychologist’s 1-10 for leading a productive and healthy WFH team

Through our work conversations and coaching practice since social distancing began we’ve caught more than a whiff of mistrust and micromanagement in the air. Our founder, coaching psychologist Jessica Chivers, shares her 10 psychology-based tips to help people managers be productive and healthy, and facilitate the same in their teams. Regular 1:1s Continue to have regular 1:1s. It’s important team members know they have individual focus time with you. Some research from the 80s suggests a fortnightly cadence is optimal but you might want to switch to weekly and make them shorter. If you’re not getting them with your leader, send her/him a nudge with calendar invites. 2 minutes talk time Have a daily team call. Each team member, including you, has 2 minutes talk time: 1 minute to reflect on what went well yesterday and 1 minute to outline today’s priorities. 3 key things Develop a habit of identifying 3 significant tasks/outcomes to focus on each day. At the end of the day reflect on, and write down, 3 key things that went well and why[i]. The first helps you know when to stop for the day. The second helps you draw a line under the working day and go into ‘home time’ feeling relaxed and positive. The 4 quadrants of the Johari Window The Johari Window[ii] is a simple and useful tool for illustrating and improving self-awareness and mutual understanding between individuals in a group. Now more than ever your team are likely to be encouraged by you… Read More »

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