CorporateCoach eNewsletter

Issue No. 17 January 2003

Brought to you by the Brefi Group: "Developing your business through strategy, facilitation and executive coaching – internationally."

Web site: http://www.brefigroup.co.uk
Editor: Richard Winfield, rwinfield@brefigroup.co.uk
Subscribers: 4251 copies, worldwide

Welcome to this issue of CorporateCoach – a free newsletter for senior executives and teams in organisations interested in using coaching to improve corporate performance. Please share it with colleagues and contacts who will benefit from reading it.

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HOT NEWS 1: New developments on the Brefi Group web site include a quick check which features the Wheel of Life and the Wheel of Work. Also a coaching quiz which lists the things to think about when deciding whether coaching is for you and then allows you to score your readiness.


CONTENTS

  1. Editorial: Seize the day – or wait?
  2. Coaching notes: Decision making
  3. Tools notes: Neurological levels – more questions
  4. Book review: Good to Great


1.     Editorial: Seize the day – or wait

The start of a new year is traditionally a time for reviewing progress and making resolutions. And late January is the time when many people realise that they have already forgotten about their well meant decisions to change!

In order to help you review where you are now, we have introduced a new page on the web site. Here you will find both the Wheel of Life and the Wheel of Work. Also a quiz developed by Carol Newland to discover how ready you are for coaching. Please try them. They take only a couple of minutes each and I am sure they will make you think.

A worthy New Year resolution would be to take better decisions. In fact this will not get you very far. Your coach would ask you to re-word this to "apply better decision making processes in order to take better decisions." Our coaching tip in this issue will help you here.

Sometimes a first stage of making a decision is to decide whether to make a decision at all and when to do so. We live in a fast moving world and opportunities and decisions are thrown at us all the time. It is easy to get caught up in the need to respond at the same rate.

Many years ago I moved into a new area and had a large pond dug. The contractor came round with the invoice and wanted to be paid. I was a little concerned but wanted to make a good impression as a new resident. Overnight, I realised that the work had not been completed to my specification and I had been charged for the contractor's own problems. Since then, it has been a principle never to pay an invoice without 24 hours to consider it.

There are situations that are self healing. If you do nothing they will go away. However, there are other situations that fester. The longer you leave a decision, the worse the situation becomes.

There are also cases where there is a window of opportunity. An unwillingness to commit or a desire to negotiate just that little bit more, can lose the whole deal.

Untangling the reality of a situation is an area where a coach can provide real value. After all there is no point in having a good process for making the wrong sort of decision.

If you would like to consult a coach then contact us now.


HOT NEWS 2: We have introduced four e-commerce packages that you can purchase through a secure payments system and then download. First products to become available are an Employee Development Pack, three rules and forms for playing the Prisoners' Dilemma trust game, rules for the Space Ship Shortlist negotiation game and a 'Flirting for Fun' workbook. These are all very low price products.

We shall be releasing more products in the near future and would also welcome approaches from authors who would like us to consider marketing their own products.


2.     Coaching notes: Decision making

Decision-making skills and techniques underpin most aspects of management. Deciding something means making a choice or coming to a conclusion. This involves a wide range of personal and interpersonal skills, including fact finding, logical thinking, creativity, analytical ability, sensitivity to others and assertiveness.

Decision making also relies on a thorough knowledge of a variety of techniques and processes.

What are the key steps in making a decision?

Whether decisions are straightforward or complex, a methodical and systematic approach will lead to success.

  • Setting objectives
  • Collecting information
  • Identifying alternative solutions
  • Evaluating options
  • Selecting the best option

On our decision making page you will see reference to brainstorming, ideas writing, Disney method, Setting well formed outcomes, Mind Mapping, Lateral thinking, Six Thinking Hats, decision trees, Ishikawa fishbone diagrams, force field analysis and future pacing.

Disney method, six thinking hats and the NLP approach of taking different perceptual positions all recognise that decisions are emotional. They are means of accepting this and getting a variety of view points by dealing with one perspective at a time. For example Walt Disney used to create an environment in which people could dream, in which they knew they did not have to worry about practicalities. Brainstorming is another way of capturing creativity. Disney then went to the other extreme and encouraged people to take the role of the critic and find every possible problem or fault with the proposition. Then they would play realist and plan the practicalities.

Let us look at a technique for deciding on an 'either, or' situtation. It is known as force field analysis. Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the centre. On the left list all the 'pros' – the forces in favour, the driving forces. On the right list all the 'cons' – the forces against, the restraining forces.

The attraction of this method is the next step. Decide on the strength of each force and represent it graphically by drawing an arrow towards the centre line. Show the strength in terms of both length and thickness. You now have a much better indication of the balance between the pros and the cons – not just numbers or arguments but weights.

This method can also be used back to front. Assuming that you wish to make a certain decision, what has to be true for it to be valid. We used this in a recent coaching session in which we planned a negotiation strategy.

We prepared a force field analysis as if we were the other party. We then went through the cons and discussed whether they were real or perceptual. In many cases we decided that we could reframe them as either positive or as objections that we could meet. We also went through the pros and discussed how they could be reframed as much more powerful.

If you are looking for win-win, you need to know how the other party can win too. As a result of our exercise, my client was able to make a presentation that represented the decision strongly in his favour.


HOT NEWS 3: The Brefi Group web site receives more than 2,000 individual visitors a week. According to Copernic Agent which consolidates results from 13 search engines we score number one in the Web-UK for the search terms: -

  • Executive coaching
  • Facilitation
  • Flirting for fun
and number two for: -
  • Training needs analysis
  • Director development

We also get great scores for Google – our favourite search engine: -
Executive Coaching (4), Director Development (4), Training Needs Analysis (4), and Facilitation (6),

If you would like to know how we do this, we provide a technical and consultancy service.


3.     Tools notes: Neurological Levels – more questions

In past newsletters I have described several of the Neurological Levels developed by Robert Dilts, which we use as a major tool.

I have included a series of questions that we set individuals to help them think more deeply: -

  • What is this for me?
  • What do I get from being this way?
  • What causes or drives it?

Here are some more that you might like to try: -

  • How does being like this help me?
  • How does being like this hinder?
  • What would be better than this?

And for the environmental level:-

  • Who are the key players in this environment?
  • What other environments do you operate within?
  • How do the environments interact?


4.     Book review: Good to Great

I believe that Built to Last is probably the best management book available and should be a standard text for any manager or director. Co-author Jim Collins has followed it up with five years research into 1,435 Fortune 500 companies. Built to Last investigated the processes that had enabled a few companies to continue to thrive over long periods through changing environments. In Good to Great Collins asks a simple question: "Can a good company become a great company and, if so, how?"

Most great companies grew up with superb parents who instilled the seeds of greatness early on. But what about the vast majority of companies that wake up part way through life and realise that they are good, but not great? From the 1,435 companies analysed, Collins and his team selected 11, whose cumulative stock returns in fifteen years were 6.9 times the stock market. Good to Great explains the key concepts that determined their superior performance.

The team identified six primary concepts. Each one showed up as a change variable in 100% of the good-to-great companies and in less than 30% of the comparison companies during the pivotal years. At the heart of these companies they found a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Transformation depends on three broad stages: disciplined people, disciplined thought and disciplined action. Within each of these three stages there are two key concepts: -

Disciplined People
Level 5 LeadershipSelf-effacing, quiet, reserved – a blend of personal humility and professional will.
First who . . . then whatPeople are not your most important asset. The right people are.
Disciplined Thought
Confront the brutal factsMaintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, and at the same time have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts.
Hedgehog ConceptA deep understanding of the intersection of: - What you can be best in the world at; What drives your economic engine; and What you are deeply passionate about.
Disciplined Action
Culture of disciplineDisciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action – combined with an ethic of entrepreneurship.
Technology acceleratorsApplication of carefully selected technologies.

Having produced these two great books, Collins concludes that Good to Great is not be seen as a sequel to Built to Last, but more as a prequel! This book is about how to turn a good organisation into one that produces sustained great results. Built to Last is about how to take a company with great results and turn it into an enduring great company. To make that final shift requires core values and a purpose beyond just making money combines with the key dynamic of preserve the core/stimulate progress.

'Good to Great' concepts lead to sustained great results. Add in 'Built to Last' concepts and achieve an enduring great company.

This research based book is an easy read supported by dozens of stories and examples from the great and not-so-great. I thoroughly recommend it to all practitioners and students of managemnt and business.

You may click here to buy Good to Great or Built to Last. Or visit our books site for more ideas and recommendations.


We aim to make the Brefi Group web site family the premier UK developmental site for teams and individuals in organisations, so do please send us your suggestions and requests for further development. And let us know what you think of this newsletter, and comment on the content.

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Brefi Group is a change management organisation that provides corporate coaching, consultancy, facilitation and training. We can also advise you an your Internet strategy and design web sites.

We hope you enjoyed this issue of CorporateCoach. If you would like to learn more about how we can work together, then please contact me, Richard Winfield:

Telephone: +44 (0) 7970 891 343
E-mail: rwinfield@brefigroup.co.uk