Phil Byrne, from Positive Sparks, recently interviewed me on a wide range of topics. We talk purpose, problem solving and how automation helps grow businesses whilst giving people back time – so we can spend that time with other people…
Total Clothing wanted to involve people from right across the team to streamline their processes, to prepare in advance for another year of major growth. They asked Critical Action to help with building vision, identifying changes and putting a plan into action.
“We worked with many of our team, led by Keith, to identify bottlenecks in our processes and by voting on the most urgent issues, gave everyone a sense of inclusion and buy-in.
It has brought the team so much closer in terms of working towards common goals and also in the way they communicate with each other on an ongoing basis.
We are really thinking differently as a team about the way we operate and this is translating into actions and profitability.
Keith’s no nonsense, practical way of facilitating, managing and ensuring that tasks were completed by all has really helped us overcome some challenging issues and we are moving forward with some exciting times ahead.”
Jan Richardson Managing Director, Total Clothing Ltd
I’m a fan of the Pomodoro Technique when it comes to quick blasts of productivity. Here’s a quick tip for how to use it on your PC.
As well as the natty tomato-shaped physical timer I have, I also use Windows 10’s Alarms & Clock app to make a virtual pomodoro… Search for “Alarms and Clock” in the search bar, then click “Timer” in the app.
Simply set up and save two timers, one for 25 minutes and one for 5 minutes.
Then just alternate between the two when you want to Pomodoro-ify your time!
We wanted to mention a new feature of our GoalStormer platform, for those of you who manage staff performance.
It’s important to discuss, agree, set and track goals with your people; but it can be time consuming to keep on top of, and often suffers at the hands of other day-to-day priorities.
That’s why we’ve introduced automatic scheduled reports into the GoalStormer ProHub (for Pro account users).
For users in your groups, or who have set you as a coach, you can already generate progress summary reports on demand. We’ve added a new “Schedule” button. This lets you pick a day of the month and a “how many months” frequency for reports to be generated and emailed to you as a PDF. You can do this per user, and you can switch the schedules on and off individually.
This means once you’ve agreed initial goals with users, you can sit back and let GoalStormer remind and inform you when it’s time to review progress with individuals.
In my days as a Service Delivery Manager, we occasionally faced situations where “the customer was down”, and before the advent of affordable modern monitoring systems like System Center, I’d often find this out when engineers came to me saying things like “we need to drop everything and fix X!”
Sometimes, you find, after throwing resource at a problem, that the root cause was not only nothing to do with us, but not even something over which we had any control.
However even in those situations; you don’t want to do the equivalent of standing in front of a customer with arms folded, saying “not our problem mate…” – we empathised with the customer, and wanted to get them to a potential solution as fast as they could, with our help.
So we created three ways to categorise the information we had to make decisions upon, right from the first call:
Facts – supported by evidence – you can make decisions based on facts
Assumptions – not proven, but based on our experience – a decision made on assumptions needs to be validated, fast
Opinions – driven by feelings and fear – ideally don’t make decisions based on opinions, but do respect the emotions behind them when thinking and communicating
So, quickly, we could parcel up what we “knew” into three pots; facts to make decisions on, assumptions to explore and validate, and opinions to manage. Three tasks that can be delegated, owned and tracked.
Of course, there is still a human judgement to be made on when you have enough facts to start acting. This judgement itself is driven by a mixture of facts, assumptions and opinions of your own.
We’re please to announce that our new Vision2Action programme (V2A) is now available!
It’s a fast-tracked, concentrated shot of our customers’ favourite tools and processes. It’s designed to give busy business owners and directors a structure for turning their vision into a strategy with defined objectives, plans for delivering change, and the time and support to keep the momentum up.
The emphasis is on working with you to make the most of your time and knowledge, so we can create for you “actionable documents “- in other words, real documents, with content, decisions, guidance and information; which you can share with your people, refer back to yourself, or use with external suppliers.
Each fixed-price programme includes an initial, intensive set of activities to get things moving, and then quarterly review meetings, plus use of our online goal-tracking platform.
We’re pleased to announce a new User Interface for GoalStormer, our goal achievement web-app and online community for individuals and businesses.
The new look gives you more of a “dashboard” on PCs and larger tablets, whilst slimming down and giving a simpler look when viewed on smaller tablets and phones.
We hope you like the new look and feel!
Standard GoalStormer accounts are free, and we offer a range of paid-for accounts to meet your needs, plus consultancy services for businesses. Please contact us if you would like more information on using GoalStormer for your business; either with your customers or staff.