Training and Development Blog Articles from SerialTrainer7

A Moment to be Mindful…Do it Right Now

A moment to be mindful…do it right now.    

Isn’t that a lovely feeling? Just being present with yourself. Fully aware of being in the moment. This very moment. Non-judgmental. Knowing that you are well. Everything at this moment is good. Nothing can hurt you. You are completely present. Focussed on only now. Continue reading A Moment to be Mindful…Do it Right Now

The 6 Best Mindfulness Books

The 6 Best Mindfulness Books

Everybody’s doing it, doing it, doing it. Yes they are and it is fair to say that Mindfulness is presently (see what I did there?) having a real moment in time.  So it should too, the process of being mindful is free, simple and terrifically easy to do, the only thing it costs is practice. Continue reading The 6 Best Mindfulness Books

Managers Managing Manager’s Management

Managers Managing Manager’s Management

Managers Managing Management’s Management

Management’s Management Managing Management

So many variants, so many things that can be done with the M words! I suppose in one way or another they all mean the same thing, managing the management. I will stop this now, please do read on… Continue reading Managers Managing Manager’s Management

Twitter 101 – A Little Bird Told Me

Twitter 101 – A Little Bird Told Me…

Course: Twitter 101 – A Little Bird Told Me…

Duration – Half Day or Full Day

Delivery Style – Active participation with Twitter, Discussion, Presentation & Practical Exercises.

Outcome –Can you believe there are people who want to know about it and use it but are have trepidations and are nervous? Fear not, this highly practical and interactive course designed to demystify Twitter will leave you more informed and confident in using this brilliant piece of Social Media.

Agenda

  • Twit Twot Tweet- A glossary of the terminology of Twitter in plain English with a look at the key functionality.
  • Hashtags, BashTags, Avatar effect & @Symbols
  • Understanding the point of Twitter and its benefits to individuals and business users
  • Building Your Nest – Getting started the right way
  • Feathering Your Nest – The best types of content and tweets to put out there and the best times to use Twitter
  • Building Your Flock of Follows – How to find attract followers and build a substantial and relevant audience to tweet to
  • Don’t Shoot Me! – the things you should avoid and be wary of on Twitter, (it’s not much but you should know)
  • Talk to the Animals – How Twitter talks to other Social Media
  • Fly Away Peter, Fly Away Paul – Actually doing it in real time. 

Delegate Feedback

“Just spent a fantastic morning with SerialTrainer7 learning all things Twitter Business Development” Eboni Chambers

“Thank you for the fantastic Twitter Training I am already feeling much more confident” Elizabeth Dowler

“Fabulous Twitter training with SerialTrainer7” Mogers Drewett

“A massive thank you to Simon for the Twitter training today. Invaluable session that offered lots of great pointers.” Matthew Dunford

To Book Your Course or One to One session with Simon get in touch either through Twitter @serialtrainer7 or email Simon@serialtrainer7.com or call me on 07979 537824

Sales Hunger – Unleash the Wolf!

Sales Hunger – Unleash the Wolf!

Sales people want to sell. There I said it. It is true, they love it, they love hunting for prospects, they love the presentations, and they love selling the benefits of their products and love the hell out of closing the client. Why? Because they are hungry for the sale. Or they should be. Continue reading Sales Hunger – Unleash the Wolf!

What’s Your Calling?

On the radio this morning there was an interview with this chap who worked as a welder. He used the skills of welding to create sculpture and waxed lyrical about the skills involved and the various techniques. Who knew huh? At one point the interviewer said “it sounds like this was your personal calling in life” to which the welder emphatically agreed.

Now welding might not be your thing, but there are times when we feel that what we are doing is linked to a personal calling. Well what’s yours?

In your current profession does it truly resonate with you and consume what you do in a way that creates a fire and passion deep in your soul? Does it say to you “yes, this is what I was put here to do?” if it does then perhaps it could be said that it is your ‘calling’.

Being lucky enough to be in this situation is wonderful, when we look back at our childhoods and teachers asking us “what do you want to be when you grow up?” leads some of us to say an astronaut, a fireman, a ballet dancer or even a welder! yet how many of us actually get what we wanted?  When I myself was asked that question I said “a teacher”. As a result I made sure I was involved in training in nearly every job I held and I genuinely believe that being a trainer, coach and mentor is my personal calling. So I got what I wanted.

How can we make this happen for ourselves? Well first we have to identify what it is we want to be called to do. So if you think about this phone box on a beach, the phone rings and a voice calls you do something, what would it be? What really drives and inspires you? what would make you get out bed early every day, with a smile on your face filled with happiness and passion? If you can think of it, then how can you make it happen?

It is important to understand that we spend a massive amount of our time on earth working to earn money to live. Many people are deeply unhappy in their work and would love the opportunity to start looking at something more meaningful, even if it meant taking a cut in pay. When training people, I often say to them “truly, if what you do makes you unhappy then get out of it and find something that brings you joy. Even if you have to stack shelves in a supermarket for a while, nothing is worth being that unhappy.” It takes a strong will to make that jump, but those that have done, would never look back.

It is often said that people want an effective work life balance. What they actually mean is they want more time to do what they want outside of work. I have yet to find anyone who has too much time doing what they want and not enough of the work! “oh no, take away some of this free time and give me more work to even out my work life balance” can you imagine!

We surround ourselves with technology, resources and labour saving devices to help free up more time for us to do what we want, but we still feel trapped somehow. This is why we need to work out what our calling actually is and strive to get as close to it as possible. If you want to work with technology then network with people who are and find an inroad. If you want to work closely with the public or with animals there are ways of getting into this via social networks and specific industries.

We are all so blessed with the opportunities available to us that we often cannot see the wood for the trees. So as a start, good news, you probably don’t need to be told how to get into these things, you already know it, you just need to make the move and that is the tough bit.

Ask what the worst thing that could happen if you did make the move. Is it really that bad.? Could you leave a door open behind you so that you could go back if needed? You probably could. As wise man once said “if you are in a position to be fortunate enough to do what you want, it is better to build a longer table than a taller fence.” so surround yourself with networks, support and contingencies that can act as a safety net. Things will start to find their way and fall into place. Fate can play a hand too and you might get a feeling that things are going the right way, alternatively you might now believe in fate, you will just know that what you are doing is right. Right for you that is.

So ponder for a moment what your calling is, and start to work on answering it.  That phone box is ringing somewhere for you right now…

Thanks for reading. This blog forms part of personal development and career coaching offered by me Simon Hares at SerialTrainer7 Ltd. If you would like some help get in touch with me Simon@serialtrainer7.com or call on 07979 537824.

Are You Fierce Enough? Six Ways to Leave Your Mark

Fierce is a great word, it has long been known to mean aggressive and has some negative connotations. We often think of wild animals like this wolf snarling and snapping as something fierce. In people we often see fierceness as a sign of over confidence and dominating behaviour, something that cannot be tamed.

I believe it can be tamed and harnessed however, and having an element of fierceness can potentially be a good thing, unlocking potential and releasing confidence. It can help channel a focus and help to reach an outcome or goal that perhaps has previously not been completed or seen as achievable. We know that in the last month many people (maybe you?) might have embarked on some sort of New Year’s Resolution and like a many (maybe you?), often fail early on, despite the great intention that might have been behind it. It could be that they (maybe you?) lack a certain and specific ferocity that is required to succeed.

Fierceness in action

Very recently whilst working with different people I have noticed a glint of something that each has in common. I was watching a personal trainer friend of mine in the gym with his client. He gets a look in his eyes and then goes into a zone with his clients, and ensures that the only focus he has is that client right there and then. Indeed, when he works out he often shuts himself off by putting his hood up to block out any distractions, such is his focus. He gets a somewhat feral look about him too, which clearly says, “Back off I am concentrating”.

This feral look is fierce and I see it in sales people too, the clear hunt for the sale keeps them on target, the great sales people have an outcome in mind, of helping their clients achieve something that in turn helps them to get the sale.

Managers who truly understand and are in touch with their team, demonstrate a fierceness that is almost akin to wolves looking out for their pack, this fierceness helps to keep the team together and working towards the achievement of tasks whilst also taking into account individual strengths and limitations.

So what can you do to be fiercer?

Drive, determination and focus are all important and when we break things down a bit, it is possible to program ourselves keep going, to not lose our way and certainly not to fail.

F.I.E.R.C.E. Six steps to leave you mark.

Step One – F

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A full on focus will facilitate fierceness. Think about what the outcome is, or the goal, or the task, or the target. Break it down into chunks that make it possible for you to start things in the right way. So if you have a target of losing weight, don’t think about the overall weight, focus on what will give you an immediate win, such as the first session, the first day, the first change, if you have a large sales target, break it down into the number of days you have to deliver it in, and if needed by the hour. Bite sized ‘chunks’ that are easy to focus on. Think about this, a shark can smell a tiny drop of blood in the water from over a mile away. Just by focusing on this tiny drop allows the shark to reach the bigger goal.

Step Two – I

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Intensity & Integrity. Once you have your ‘chunk’ to focus on, make your focus a laser like intensity, stay on it, zone in on it, record any wins along the way. Remember that at all times you must be working towards your ‘chunk’ keep your levels of integrity at their highest, be gracious with people, yet ruthless with your time. By doing this, things remain clear and in reach, resulting in you doing the right thing in the right way at the right time.

Step 3 – E

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Energise Emotions for Endurance. As you start it can be easy to lose momentum and become distracted, leaving you with a feeling of ‘falling at the first hurdle’ or worse ‘failing’ altogether. By having a high focus and intensity on your ‘chunks’ means your momentum will be maintained. Ensure that you keep on top of your feelings and emotions when things maybe do not go as planned. It is easy to let the negative ‘voices’ take over, these things try to trip you up, but by keeping them in check, will ensure you keep going therefore creating endurance. Silence the voices by writing down what they are saying, and then crossing them out again, it sounds crazy, but it is often said that when we write something down, we commit to it, well that sounds good to me, but how powerful and fierce will it feel if you physically cross it out again! Talk about taking control!

Step 4 – R

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Be Radical & Resilient. I am sure you have heard this before, “if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.” It is no good to do things the same way, so approach your goal and the little chunks in a way that seems radical. Break the rules a bit, do something different and see what happens. If you demonstrate high levels of integrity along the way, then what is the worse that can happen? In order to be fierce, you have to be radical in what you do. You will be amazed at how great the results can be, when you commit to doing something, and then going about it in a unique way. Avoid listening to people’s advice, especially people who use the words “that’s a good idea, but the only problem with that is..” don’t let them talk you out of it, be resilient even if you find yourself struggling to keep going, depart from the traditional, just go ahead and do it, because you can do it.

Step 5 –C

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Campaign, Concentrate & Commit. When you start on this journey to be fiercer, tell people what you are doing so that you have some encouragement and support. This campaigning approach is not vulgar self-promotion, no, it keeps you concentrating and committed to the cause. If what you are doing is worth all this effort, is it not worth sharing? Especially if you achieve the overall goal. How great will it feel to achieve that target, reach the goal, complete the project or lose the weight surrounded by people who you have told about your personal campaign?

Step 6 – E

 

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Evaluate the end game and embark on the next. Part of being fierce is the ability to endure. This can be achieved by constantly evaluating what you are doing especially when you get to where you needed to be. There has to be another goal, another target another project that you would like to embark on? You don’t just stop and sit back on your laurels. Look back on what has worked, what went really well and why. Then address the things that were tougher, often these are the things that got you to where you needed to be. Look at the lessons learned and apply them to the next things you want to work on and embark on them with a new focus and a newer fierceness.

Now you have the steps, you now need to get started. So sharpen your claws, uncover your feral side, and start leaving your own personal mark all around for people to see. In time they will admire what you have done and maybe ask how you did it, and you can say, “I did it by being F.I.E.R.C.E.” You can have a little roar of your own now if you want, go on, just a little one.

Thanks for reading.  This blog forms part of SerialTrainer7 coaching and assertiveness skills development. If you and your team need help in this area then please get in touch by calling me Simon on 07979 537824 or email Simon@serialtrainer7.com

 

Are You A Pioneer?

Personal & Business Confidence: Are you a Pioneer?

Pioneer

Noun

  1. A person who is among the first to explore or establish something new

Verb

  1. Develop or be the first to use or apply (a new method, area of knowledge or activity.

Great word isn’t it. Pioneer. It originated from the 16th Century as a military term denoting a member of the infantry ‘Pionnier’ but in today’s world it is used often in the business world for those who are looking to be first or to do something new or for the first time.

Many of my friends and former colleagues are moving into a new field of work either by turning their hands to freelance work or to set up businesses on their own or with colleagues. Having done it, it really is a big step and requires many deep breaths before taking the plunge. The thing is, once a little time has passed and things start to even out you wonder what all the fuss was about. Yes you have to fanny about with tax and setting things up, but this little bit of labour intensive effort pays off to leave you free to develop your business. As time passes further you start to see your business as your baby and it genuinely feels extremely, well, pioneering. After all, it is about be first to explore something new, or to apply something new for those doing it, it is new. Often when people set themselves up on his or her own, they are often described as entrepreneurs, this term is somewhat overused and reading between the lines, I think I prefer pioneer, I have also toyed with ‘entre- pioneer’ but that doesn’t work. Support plays a big role, and having support from friends, colleagues and associates really makes a difference. For those out their starting on their own pioneering quest, reach out to as many people as possible, ask for help, take help when it is offered with a grateful smile as this will help to build your business confidence (especially when networking events beckon) and you can learn from their mistakes before you make them yourself. It is great to network this way too, be warned you don’t come across to ‘grabby’ for information and always try to reciprocate wherever possible if you are to keep your network happy.

Personally, people who have experienced some form of epiphany and make a big change in their lives are pioneers too. All to often we hear people wanting to be more confident or more assertive, and when applying some self-development principles we can really see people develop. One method I like involves asking 7 specific questions of the things we are about to embark on, this helps to get a grip on things and take control.   These self-coaching questions work like this and can be applied to both business and personal situations.

  • What is the specific action I am about to perform?
  • What problem does it solve, or what goal does it help to achieve?
  • What is the cost of doing this? (Can be interpreted not only in financial terms but also time)
  • Is it profitable/worthwhile (delete as you see fit)
  • Can it be sustained? If so, what do I need to do it?
  • What is the first thing I can do to start?
  • When will I do it? Commit!

When you have the answers to your questions, your pioneering can truly get under way, as you work through the tasks you start to feel like you have achieved something and this achievement should be recorded. Personally I favour a journal of some sort, something nice, and not a device like an ipad. I have a leather bound journal when I have pioneered something I set it out in three simple terms, this stops the waffle!

  • What did I win or pioneer?
  • What did not go well?
  • What would I do different if I do something similar again?

By recording your pioneering achievements this way you have a record of really good, confidence building information and if things didn’t quite go to plan, well points 2 & 3 ensure you never make the same mistake again, therefore continuing your pioneering journey in the right way. This method works so effectively for people in employment too, for example sales people love to demonstrate effectively what they have delivered, using this helps them to gather evidence and can help when looking for a pay rise! Managers can use this to evidence good practice especially with a new team or if the manager is just starting out.

Wherever you are, whatever you do, look at what you do as being valuable, be aware of your own value and appreciate it. I am not saying go around singing “look at me, aren’t I amazing”, no that is not it. Rather it is simply about understanding what you contribute, what you achieve and how you can be your own personal pioneer. So go ahead, make some tracks in unchartered territory and pioneer!

Top 12 Recommended Books for Leaders & Managers

SerialTrainer7 has two main pillars to it’s business, Sales and Management and the latter takes up at least 50% of delivery and coaching for my clients. During every course I take along a selection of books that I think supplement the training and give some extra development to the delegates. The list I present to you here is just a sample of my vast collection, I spend so much money on books it is obscene, but to me each is a treasure and if I learn one good thing then it is worthwhile, believe me I have read my share of truly awful (most of them sadly USA based) motivational management crap, however what sets this group apart is their straightforward, practical nature and applicable skills to the day to day manager.

MNGT BOOKS2

And so to accompany my recommended reading list for Sales People here is another list of recommended reading, this time for those working as or thinking of working in management.  Each of these books represents experience and is light on the traditional management model; to qualify that if you are looking for stuff on Herzberg, Maslow or McGregor then these are not for you. If however you seek enlightenment from people who are on the sharp end of management and actually doing then read on.

The One Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard.

Arguably one of the finest and most practical of all the management books out there and currently it is available in a new updated version.  It covers the day to day aspects of appraisal, reprimand and goal setting and for new managers or those who might have lost their way, this is essential. I give this book to many of my delegates and coachees as it simply works.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves.

Most managers talk about Emotional Intelligence or E.Q. as it is often referred to, but many of them have not the faintest idea as to what it is when they are questioned. They often believe it has ‘something to do with empathising or the like’ and this really gets me cross as it is so much more and it plays a massive role in all businesses.  This book easily breaks it down and makes it applicable. It has a sister book too called Leadership 2.0 and they both work really well together. This book is perfect for those managers feeling out of touch with the people who work for them or senior managers and Board members who simply do not live in the real world!

Sales Management Simplified, Mike Weinberg

Wow! it is about time a book on this subject has been written that actually talks sensibly about sales managers and helps them to get the best from the their teams and ultimately get them making money. This is new book and any Senior Sales Exec or Account Manager should have this book in their library. As for seasoned Sales Managers, I think this will open their eyes to new world.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni

The content of this book plays a role in my Management Essential course as it clearly and concisely illustrates why things go wrong with teams. It makes for light bulb moment reading and I have experienced many managers who have had the Ta-Dah! moment for themselves after reading it. If you want to understand a team from a different perspective then you could a lot worse than read this. Terrific stuff.

Team Roles at Work, R. Meredith Belbin

I have long been an advocate of anything by Belbin. His team roles profiling tool is without exception the most effective out there for my money. Here Belbin takes the roles he sets out in his profiling and puts them to work, demonstrating the effects and how to manage them effectively. This book is perfect for helping with specific contributions from team members. Furthermore, by understanding the team better helps any manager to recruit the right person for the role not the person who is most like themselves.

The Coaching Secret, Andrew Machon

Shhh it’s a secret! I am not usually a fan of anything labelled with ‘secret’ but this book, however, opened my eyes to new techniques and practices that can make a different to anyone offering coaching or mentoring either as part of their role as a manager or professionally as a business coach. Clear and well laid out it won’t take too long to read, but you will find yourself coming back to it again, it demands your time and what you get is so worth it.

The Manager’s Diary, The Manager’s Diary 2 and The 7 Deadly Sins of Leadership, Cameron Morrissey

Without doubt, the most relevant, insightful and real manager ever to be published. Cameron Morrissey to me is a legend. You get three here and they are bloody fantastic. Cameron Morrissey has his own website too listed at the end of this sentence, check it out.http://themanagersdiary.com What I like most is that he is not frightened to own up to mistakes and errors that we all have made and show us how he has put things right. He shares his struggles and successes and you get the feeling that you are in the same boat and that you are just muddling by, you are the same. The two Manager’s Diary books are a best of, and the Deadly Sins book looks at Leadership in terms of how leaders behave and how to put bad behaviours right. This is essential reading.

The Three Levels of Leadership, James Scouller

This is another recent release and with so many books published on the subject of leadership it is important that the best ones get a mention. This one is great, it break leadership down into workable chunks; personal, private and public leadership that actually mean something rather than all the flannel and BS that is swims around. Ideal for those experienced managers who are looking to develop this element of their role further or are looking for something more tangible to add to their credibility.

Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek has a very engaging way of writing that keeps you turning the pages and coming back for more. He says that “Leaders are the ones who run headfirst into the unknown, they rush toward danger and would sooner sacrifice what is theirs to sacrifice what is ours and that they would never sacrifice what is ours to save what is theirs.” See what I mean. Great huh, and that is just a snippet. Get this book it is one of the greats.

Lead From the Heart, Mark C.Crowley

I stumbled upon this book whilst I was in the USA and something about it just resonated with me. I knew it was going to be good when I had filled my copy with post it notes and writing in the white spaces, so bought another one for reference. Passion, Happiness and Engagement are the key themes to this book and it works so well with the other two books I have recommended on the subject of leadership.

Naturally there are so many books out there that it is tricky to pick all the best ones, but these would make a good start for anyone. Please feel free to contact me for other recommendations, by doing so I could save you a lot of wasted money!

Thanks for reading, and if you would like to have your managers trained in effective management and leadership skills, then contact me Simon at Simon@SerialTrainer7.com or call me on 07979 537824