Navigating Change workshops

We have been running a unique one-day workshop for a Legal Services client where the majority of participants are lawyers. We have been using the latest neuroscience and psychology along with proven tools and techniques to allow participants to master the ‘head, heart and hands’ elements of change.

The workshop is designed to help participants to:

  • Be familiar with the brain’s key processes, strengths and limitations relating to change
  • Know how we typically react to externally driven changes
  • Understand how to take control of the brain to make externally driven change a more positive experience
  • Know how to use the brain to habituate self-directed change
  • Learn to use a range of tools to support successful change
  • Know how best to support others in times of change

To date over 150 participants have attended the sessions and their evaluations give a Net Promoter Score of 99% i.e. 99% would recommend attending the session to a colleague.

The workshop is a blend of input, group discussion, exercises and personal reflection that allows participants to create their own learning and action points. Participants are invited to define their own context for the workshop i.e. to consider personal, vocational, previous or planned changes as they wish which helps to make the material more personal, relevant and meaningful. The workshop is very interactive and engaging.

This is a small sample of the feedback:

  • Useful insight for all areas of ‘change’ both personal and professional
  • Definitely will strongly encourage other members of my team to attend
  • Very interesting approach to what is often such a negative concept i.e. change
  • Very enjoyable and accessible session
  • A nicely focused session with some very interesting content
  • Interesting and practical
  • Has made me less fearful and given me practical strategies
  • Brilliant, made subject matter engaging and enjoyable
  • Was unsure how ‘cringe worthy’ this would be but a really pleasant surprise and a good day
  • Course was very intelligently presented
  • Very informative and useful, allows me to look at change in a different light
  • An interesting and helpful day. Learned quite a lot. Strategies suggested to manage change were useful
  • Some very useful ideas, with useful follow up reading.
  • Excellent, well worth the day out of work!
  • Very interesting, enjoyable, inspiring course

If you would like to know more about this unique, innovative and practical workshop please contact us

Email just isn’t working anymore

The fact that email is slowly strangling lots of workplaces was recognised again recently when Sir Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University and former adviser for the Government Office for Science about mental health in the workplace spoke at the recent British Psychological Society annual conference.  Sir Carey said that rampant email checking is damaging the mental wellbeing of employees, and in doing so slows them down and damages UK productivity.  This recognition that email may now be doing more harm than good is not a new one, but what still seems to be lacking are practical solutions to turn email back into an effective productivity tool.  For example in their original  study paper Atos Consulting identified internal email as a major drain on productivity and their Zero Email programme has gone some way to address this; although n the merit of, to a large extent, replacing email with alternative communication channels such as ‘enterprise social networks’ may seem somewhat questionable.

Some of the problems, and solutions, related to this email blight can be quite tactical and technical e.g. ensuring that you know how to use features such as, short-cut keys, filters, rules, MS Outlook quick steps, staying up to date with email enhancements such as the many that support the GTD methodology etc.  But the major causes of this communication and productivity log-jam tend to relate to much more challenging areas such as personal behaviour and organisation culture; and changing these tends to be neither easy nor fast.

At an individual level we know that checking email is often ‘just’ a habituated behaviour but sometimes it can also be an ‘addiction’ where the ‘crack cocaine’ of random positive rewards means we mindlessly check email at the expense of our wellbeing and effectiveness.   And at an organisational level ‘conversation-by-email’ and ‘reply-to-all’ is often seen as ‘the way we do things around here’.

So what solutions do we propose to client’s looking to address this?  Some of them include:

For organisations:

  • Clearly distinguish between internal/external and necessary/unnecessary email.
  • Capture and publish data on where internal email is coming from. Challenge people on their internal email usage and get to the root of why they are sending it.  Set targets to reduce internal email volume.
  • Set mail servers to only deliver email during working hours by default; with an opt-in for people to receive email ‘real-time’.
  • Introduce, and stick with, ‘no-internal email’ days.


For individuals

  • Refresh your email IT skills and make sure you are making best use of your mail programme’s capability.
  • Take control of when and how you check your email. Check email only at set points during the day and ideally not first thing in the morning. Turn off any audible or visual email alerts.
  • Process email in batches and aim to handle your messages only once.  To quickly decide what to do with an email use ARAFS:  Archive, Reply, Act, Forward, Save.  Use the two-minute approach.  Act immediately on messages that will require less than two minutes of your time.
  • If you are on your third ‘reply’ for the same email then it is time to pick up the phone or go for a visit.
  • Unsubscribe to all of the ‘it may possibly be of use sometime’ mailing lists that you are on, or send them to an email address other than your main work one.

This infographic offers some other useful ideas J

Working with CIPD – Neuroscience of Coaching

It’s always nice to be asked back and having spoken at the CIPD annual conference last year we have been invited to speak at the Learning and Development conference on May 1st.  Our topic is ‘Using Neuroscience to Enhance L&D Effectiveness’ and we are looking forward to explaining how to move neuroscience from the ‘interesting’ to the ‘useful’ i.e. what is the new learning from neuroscience that be applied to L&D in organisations.


Much as we are looking forward to this we are even more excited to be delivering  a new workshop on how to use neuroscience to develop your coaching practice as part of CIPD’s open programmes.  Interestingly, our view is that coaching may be one area that emerging neuroscience may not change significantly, but it will help explain the efficacy of coaching and allow us to embed good practice in our coaching.  Will we ever get to the point where we are ‘coaching to the left anterior cingulate cortex’?  I don’t think so, but I think we will be using neuroscience through each stage of the GROW process to ensure we are playing to the brains natural mechanisms, strengths and limitations.


A small helping of imposter syndrome for my executive team please!

The thing that is important is to try to distinguish one’s own insecurities from real weaknesses. Insecurities have the habit of becoming realities if left unchecked.

Recently, when watching the senior director of a global organisation deliver some of the worst presentations I have ever witnessed, it was interesting to observe that the  large audience of in-house senior managers were held captive and hanging off his every word (or at least doing an excellent job of appearing to do so). This phenomenon also appears to be true for some celebrities who reach a certain level of fame; it doesn’t seem to matter how good they are anymore, they are forever carried along on the tidal wave of success from their past glories. This is doubtless great for the individual but far less so for the organisation and those around them. I am sure that the director is highly competent in many other aspects of his role but it would seem key to the all round success of anyone performing at a high level, to be able to get up in front of large groups and communicate important information or to be able to motivate and rally a call to action in the people they have connections to.

Another thought that popped into my mind was of people in business being like horses. . . . . . bear with me now. . . . . Do horses think we all drive at 10 miles an hour? Well, that is all they get to witness as we slow down to overtake them. They don’t observe that when we are at a safe distance we begin to speed up. Was the director akin to the horse? If he received no contrary view of his performance how would he know that his presentation skills were not up to scratch?

So what is the moral of the story? If you don’t think you have a bit of imposter syndrome or its elements stalking you to some degree, let that be the call to action to ensure you get solid, constructive feedback from those around you to ensure you keep the Peter Principle at bay, at least until your next promotion!