Last night we celebrated the launch of Beyond Default by David Trafford and Peter BoggisÂ at the iconic Tower Bridge gallery in London.
David and Peter brought together a pleasant mix of their family, colleagues and clients to celebrate this momentous occasion andÂ the venue most definitely set the tone for an eventful evening.
Views from the gallery at Tower Bridge
An eclectic mix of drinks were served to guests on arrival whilst they were kept in suspense in the foyer as Martin Liu, General Manager at LID UK introduced David and Peter who talked about the book and thanked people who helped with the process.
Here is a bit of Wednesday wisdom from Business Alchemy by Andrew Wallas to help you explore the inner, unseen dynamics of business.
As individuals and as organizations, we need to learn to value the heart and to rebalance the mind-heart relationship within our businesses. This can only be done by learning to listen to our hearts. With a rational approach, a mind-dominated enterprise, it is possible to create handbooks, procedures and formulae that, once understood by others, allow them to excuse and implement these principles within the organisation. It is different with the heart. You cannot create a handbook or formula for listening to the wisdom of the heart.
After 40 years of working with individual enterpreneurs, groups and organizations, I have witnessed time and again moments of alchemical shift that are non-logical and do not make sense, but create a profound change in both the organization and the individuals concerned. In Sanskrit, one of the oldest languages on the planet, the two principles behind the universe are Ra and Ma. Ra is masculine and Ma is feminine. Ra is where we get the word ‘rational’. And Ma is where we get the word ‘magic.’ As businesses, we have become overly rational, and we need more Ma; we need to get a bit of the magic back. This is about rebalancing. It is not about devaluing or getting rid of rational thinking and ending up with some New Age fantasy business driven by unrealistic and shallow affirmations. It is about valuing the role of the mind- rational, logical and analytical thinking- as well as respecting the way of the heart and embracing intuition, creativity and wisdom.
Heartbeat recognises that whilst clients are looking for a more real-time, transparent and simple to use pulse survey, they often use this alongside the annual engagement survey. What Matt describes below is a fictional thought provoking story based on real encounters he has had. This should helpÂ you think about how to best use your annual results for your business.
âJane called me up and said letâs go for coffee and talk about some âopportunitiesâ she had in her organisation. Over a latte, Jane described how following the annual engagement survey results she and the team had begun to put together a plan on how to respond to the results. In the action plan she had included a couple of workshops with employees and key HR colleagues to help understand what the results meant. This all sounded reasonable, except this conversation was taking place three months after Jane put the plan together and things had not gone how the team expected!
In her new book, Read My Lips, Elaine Eksvard explores the different avenues of rhetoric, and how to get people to want to listen to you. Today weâre exploring Elaineâs idea of how music impacts almost everything we do, and how we can harness it to get our messages across to audiences. Check out the extract below for her take on how music influences rhetoric.
There is no doubt that music is powerful. It can move us to tears, or lift up oods within a few minutes. What is usually overlooked, however, is how we all are awash in, and influenced by, music. Film directors steer our emotions with the help of music. When you look at a film and suddenly become emotionally moved, you canât be entirely certain whether it was the music or what you saw that gave you that feeling. It can, of course, be a combination of the two, but the music strengthens the impressions. Magical, transporting films often manage to plant emotions without showing them. We âhearâ the feelings, but donât see or read them.
The effect is not limited to cinema and media in the slightest. The neurologist Oliver Sacks, who wrote the books âMusicophiliaâ, was of the opinion that music can have incredible effects on people with neurological conditions such as Parkinsonsâ, dementia, stroke, and aphasia. Music seems to have a unique ability to tap into inner abilities that people had lost. Part of the explanation for this is that the various components of music, such as rhythm, timbre, and beat, affect different parts of the brain. Since music triggers emotional as well as cognitive, autonomic and motor functions, it stimulates many parts of the brain.
In this way, music can also be used in the work environment. A meeting can be more or less successful, depending on the background music. You can use music strategically to create a mood that convinces the listener. It can create a feeling that you want to achieve and help lighten conversations. It is a powerful tool if you use it correctly.
Which music has the greatest effect? Is there a particular song that always works? No, but what affects us all similarly is the rhythm. But other emotions that are aroused are different. According to Ingrid Hammerlund, music therapist and teacher at the Royal College of Music, researchers today agree that the music that is most effective, medically and psychologically, is that which you choose yourself.
Ultimately you have to think about what you want to say with the music you choose, and what feelings do you want to convey. Try to use music strategically and carefully, to arouse the right feelings in the person or people you are going to meet. Think about the tempo in the music, but also the age, background, and musical taste of the listeners.
Read My LipsÂ by Elaine is out on 21 September
Presenting is a key part of any job, whether youâre dressing for that interview, or presenting a report to colleagues. Despite âpresentingâ being fundamental to many jobs, a lot of people find it daunting. To help those of us who struggle with this, Emma Serlin, Director and Founder of London Speech Workshops has written a âhow-toâ guide in communicating more effectively in 50 easy steps. Hereâs a taster below:
The fundamental building blocks of any good presentation are the writing, and the physical delivery. The writing should be powerful, engaging, and should get the point across fluently and succinctly. The physical delivery should feel fresh, alive, and full of energy.
Start with your objective. To avoid waffling and going off topic, clearly define the objective of your presentation beforehand. Think about the effect you want to have on your audience. Do you want them to come away feeling inspired? Delighted? Motivated? Every slide or point should clearly refer back to the objective.
A good structure is key. The most straightforward and fool proof example is the sequence: problem, solution, evidence, summary.
Enrich the story of your presentation by connecting with your audience; infuse your presentation storyline with a palpable sense of emotion and humanity.
The physical appearance of the presentation is essential. First impressions count, so make the most of this by holding your shoulders back your head upright, and your chin level as you âtake to the stageâ. A good way to stay calm as you begin is to take a moment to absorb the space. It will ground you, let the audience see you, and you see them. Itâs a small thing, but will also help to connect with the audience.
Eye contact is the best way to connect whilst speaking. However, a lot of people get this wrong by looking up at the wrong point. The place for âqualityâ eye contact is the final few words of the sentence or important point. Here, hold the gaze for a moment, as if you are checking with the audience to confirm that they have received your message. They will start to feel as though you really care.
Answering questions after a presentation can also be nerve-wracking. Always take a moment to acknowledge and compliment the question â it makes people feel recognized. It also helps ensure that the entire audience is involved, which will keep everyone focused and engaged.
The main thing to remember through all of this is to relax! Youâve got this!
Read more great tips from Emma Serlin in The Connection Book, out 14 September.
LID author Matt Stephens gives his take on the simplicity of successful leadership.
âBut weâve told them a thousand timesâŠ.â or words to that effect. We hear this a lot from exasperated executive teams when we give them Heartbeat results saying that people donât know the organisationâs strategy.
Senior leaders are very close to the strategy and have worked long and hard on getting it right. But this can often be a handicap when it comes to explaining it, and getting others fired up and excited. We help by giving an external perspective and asking the âdumbâ questions which can keep it simple. In doing this, we have found 5 key things which help:
1. Develop a simple narrative – technical language, management speak, and complex sentences turn people off. On the other hand, most of us respond to stories and find day to day language accessible. We have helped organisations express their strategy through a story with a series of key chapters which take people through the challenges the organization faces, why itâs important to tackle them, what it plans to do, what this means for people working there, why itâs exciting and the benefits of success. All the way through, itâs important to keep it conversational, using everyday language. Any hint of complexity can give people licence to switch off.
2. Senior leaders need to show the way â the top team have huge influence. If they present the strategic narrative to other tiers of leaders, it can have a big impact on how they then do things. This is especially the case if the top team can bring parts of the narrative to life using their own stories and experiences.
3. Equip team leaders to share the narrative locally â seeing the top team present the strategy differently will be a strong encouragement to other leaders to do the same. Often, though, they need help to adopt a similar approach themselves. We have found giving team leaders a clear, step by step structured guide helps a lot. We call it Talking Points and it lays out key messages, questions to ask, exercises and activities.
4. Help people to share their own stories â as well as understanding what the strategy is, people need to see ongoing evidence that it is being followed, and having an impact. Updates from senior people can only go so far. What really keeps people engaged is a regular stream of stories which show real people doing real jobs applying the strategy and making it work. We equip local leaders to help their teams identify a story which will have impact and use Heartbeat as a simple mechanism for them to share them.
5. Keeping it going â strategies need to be living things. To have impact, they must be talked about regularly, and other messages should be linked with it so people get a sense of coherence and progress. Having a simple and clear narrative makes this easier by giving straightforward messages which can be repeated and reflected in other communications â it becomes a consistent point of reference.
Matt Stephens’ bookÂ Revolution in a HeartbeatÂ is out on 14 September.
As the saying goes, âeveryone has a book in themâ. But the writing of the book is the hardest part of sharing ideas, especially when the endeavour is close to your heart.
However, help is at hand! LID author Neil Usher, whose book will be released in March 2018 has written about the writing process from his experience of writing his new book, âThe Elemental Workplaceâ.
Check out an extract below, or to read to full blog, click here.
Ink in the well by Neil Usher
The lights of the ashes smoulder through hills and vales
Nostalgia burns in the hearts of the strongest
Picasso is painting the ships in the harbour
The wind and sails
These are years with a genius for living
I havenât posted anything for a while because I have been writing a book on theÂ Elemental Workplace. Itâs finished and will be coming out next Spring. It takes about six months from this stage to being on the shelves. Itâs been an amazing experience, and so for would-be writers here are a few thoughts on the experience, shared partly as a means of getting back into the shortform.
Starting is easy. After that coffee, of course. Itâs a little later that it becomes a struggle, after the initial headrush clears, when there is enough down to make it look like youâve achieved something, but a more expansive void ahead that needs to be filled. For so long, it seems as though you are not yetÂ half-way through, that there is more to travel than you had just trod.
From the very first sentence, you canât shut down. You live inside it. Forget writing anything else, especially a blog, itâs searing jealousy wonât let you.
You start off in charge of The Book, and at a certain point that when looking back you canât recall, it takes over. From Master, you become Servant. It gives the orders. When you try and regain control it just ignores you.
Thereafter Book as it becomes known to you and those around you takes on a personality of its own. It lives with you, drinks your coffee, eats your lunch, falls asleep on your sofa. It doesnât leave, or understand that a welcome only last so long.
The completion of the first end-to-end draft is an amazing feeling, like tumbling across the finish line with a last breath, joyous. Only to be told that it wasnât quick enough, your style was awkward, your rhythm was erratic and you need to run back again.
When you finally pluck up the courage to re-read what youâve written, you wonder who the hell wrote it. For a while you are uncomfortably inseparable strangers. It takes a while, several iterations, for it to become yours. The first edit is without doubt harder than the first draft.
There is nothing âinstant-gratificationâ about it. This is old-school work. The internet might aid quick fact-checking, each of which of course needs to be re-checked because the sources can be a bit flaky, and the word processor might offer some additional wiggly lines to suggest brevity, but you have to write every single word yourself. Albeit my Mum did ask me if I wrote the first draft by hand.
You live in fear of misquoting or not crediting the right people. You wonder, did I hear that particular idea somewhere, is that my thought or did I scoop it out of one of the puddles that stipple the roads youâve hurried down in the dark, where the streetlamps werenât working, never there the next day.
If youâve ever taken a psychometric or an aptitude test, youâll know that itâs quite easy to feel categorized and filed away, trapped by the constraints of the results. Sally Bibb of Engaging Minds has torn down these restrictions with her book, The Strengths Book, which helps readers to find their strengths and find how they can make the most of doing what they enjoy.
Strengths are the specific things that you do really well, and that you love doing. These simply canât be measured in psychometric or aptitude tests. So, for example, a personality test might tell you that youâre conscientious. What it canât tell you is whether you have a specific strength in organising things to create order. Think of it this way: a psychometric test tells you about skill, and a strengths assessment tells you about will.
The tricky part is finding what your strengths are. Using techniques from The Strengths Book, we can reveal the key questions to ask yourself when youâre trying to find your strengths.
What did I do recently that I really loved doing and energized me?
Think of as many activities as you can.
âI had a great call with a new client about the website Iâm building for him, and they loved some new ideas I showed them. I punched the air afterwards!â
What is it about me that makes me love those things so much?
âI like sharing my creative ideas and seeing my client excited about them.â
âI like feeling Iâm doing a good job and that my creative work is appreciated.â
Think about all the strengths you answered for the questions above and choose three that give you the biggest buzz.
âIâm good at keeping projects on track because Iâm organised and conscientious.â
âIâm good at explaining/sharing/teaching my ideas.â
From answering these questions you can build up a Strengths Profile which you can use both personally and professionally.
Using these initial questions, anyone can build up their strengths. One clue in discovering our strengths is to know that they are usually the things that we love to do. Think of things that give you a buzz, that you look forward to doing, that energize you, that you always check off your to-do list first.
Ask yourself, what made you enjoy doing this?
Ask yourself, what that was like?
You have now begun to find your strengths.
The Strengths Book is out on 26 October.
We all come across sales in one shape or another in our daily lives, from the minute we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. We have also all âsoldâ something at one point â CVs are how we âsellâ our skills for a job, and every year hundreds of thousands of young people have to âsellâ their academic abilities in order to get into university, an apprenticeship or a college. Sales is undoubtedly everywhere, and no matter where we go, there will always be someone, somewhere, trying to sell something.
Luckily, to help with the constant stream of selling, four of the top salespeople in the UK have come up with a solution for how to be the best salesperson you can be. This solution comes in the form of a new book, The Salespersonâs Secret Code written by Ian Mills, Mark Ridley, Ben Laker and Tim Chapman. Their âbelief systems that distinguish winnersâ are based on five âDestination Beliefsâ, which form the basis of the Secret Code.
The five âDestination Beliefsâ come as the result of tireless research by the authors and their team, of interviews with 1000 salespeople from all strands of sales. These interviews revealed the core beliefs held by these individuals, who view their sales career as a journey that has a destination to reach. âDestination Beliefsâ are necessary components of a salespersonâs belief system, and you can find out more about them below.
Destination Belief 1: Fulfilment
Fulfilment is defined as the achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted. According to the Secret Code, âhigh performers are constantly evaluating themselves against a personal progress goal to be the most professional, productive salesperson they can beâ. Fulfilment is therefore both a goal and a motivator for the best salespeople.
Destination Belief 2: Control
Control is the second element of the Secret Code. Salespeople believe in having a plan, and regularly evaluate where they want to be, where they are, and what the gap is. They show a sense of personal accountability for their success or failure. When failure does come (yes, it does for even the best performers) they embrace it and take ownership of it. When you own a problem you can do something to change it. To high performers, failure is a temporary set back to the road to inevitable success.
Destination Belief 3: Resilience
This third belief is connected to control because it represents the ability to bounce back from the setbacks and failures salespeople inevitably face. Resilience is shown through the action one takes after a setback. Resilient salespeople face whatever the world throws at them, convert the stress into positive energy, and get busy shaping their own destiny.
Destination Belief 4: Influence
Having and gaining influence is paramount for any sales professional. You need influence to open doors, gain support, and win business. You also need influence to be able to see any changes, risks, or opportunities before they are common knowledge. When changes are known about in advance, that gives you influence to change how people feel about them, and use this to build up your track record of success. Then you can gain friends in all the right places, which in turn adds to your influence.
Destination Belief 5: Communication
This is perhaps the most important belief out of all five. You can never communicate too much with colleagues or a customer. However speed and clarity are absolutely essential. Speed is important because today people ingest information at a record-breaking rate. If it isnât less than 200 characters, people tend to switch off. Keep communication short yet regular. Clarity is just as important; there is so much competition for a customerâs attention that your message has to be precise in order to cut through the static.
The Salespersonâs Secret Code is out on 28 September
Jonathan Geldart, Executive Director of ‘Grant Thornton International‘ will be launching his new book, Inside The Middle KingdomÂ at the Dehuitang Teahouse in Beijing this Wednesday. The book offers a spectrum of stories of people in modern China. This is Jon’s third book about China published in the UK.
Over the past 7 years, Jon has been working and living in China. He has key insights on brands and culture and contributes greatly to bringing business partnerships and communications between China and the UK. The launch ties in perfectly with the ‘Beijing International Book Fair’ and will consist of Â VIP speeches, a Q&A with Jon, an exclusive book signing, photos and networking.