Brainstorming, a great way to…

Fail.

Not because it doesn’t have any validity, it does of course have its uses, but because it is done so badly. Wrong place, wrong people, wrong problems which all contribute to the wrong solutions.

My experiences of the technique, for which we have to thank Alex Faickney Osborne and his book Applied Imagination, is that the people who enthuse and call the BS (funny that the acronym has other meaning) session fall into two camps.

First there’s the enthusiast who has already decided what outcome they want and uses the session to make everyone think they have come up with it.

Second is the person who hates making decisions and uses the time to avoid taking the blame for something when it goes wrong because, “we all had input and agreed”.

So when I came across “The Oatmeal” and the piece, “There are only bad ideas in Brainstorming” (from which the images are taken) it was a relief, a vindication of my unease – not because the technique has little in its favour, far from it – but because of the way that it is employed. The “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” approach does nothing for me.

But I have to admit I do enjoy it.

The Incisal Edge Podcast with Abi Greenhough

I spoke to Abi Greenhough from Lily Head Practice Sales and we talked in depth about the ins and outs of buying and selling your Dental Practice. https://www.dentalpracticesales.co.uk

I learned a lot and I’m sure you will too. Even during a lockdown she and her colleagues are busy working hard to initiate and complete sales and purchases on behalf of their clients.

You can reach Lily, Abi and their colleagues on 0333 772 0654 or team@lilyhead.co.uk

 

 

 

Make sure your ladder is leaning against the right wall.

Q. What does a Business & Professional Coach do during and after work?

A. Makes sure the ladder is leaning against the right wall of course!

Stop Hiding. Wisdom from Carl Richards.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I hold Carl Richards in high esteem. His simple messages supported by drawings are always worth a look and a thought. This one is especially good. I seem to attract procrastinators (or perhaps they attract me), Carl’s words on the subject are most appropriate and I am happy to share.

You can find out more about Carl and sign up to his newsletter HERE

“There’s something you want to do. Maybe even something you need to do. And you’re not doing it.

The reason you’re not doing it is because you’re hiding.

The reason you’re hiding is because there is work to be done, and that work is either scary, or hard, or boring, or all of the above.

So instead, you’re reading your eighteenth book of the year on time management, tweeting about the economy, and Instagramming motivational pictures.

(Actually, you’re reading your emails. Don’t ask me how I know.)

Might I make a suggestion?

Just stop.

All of those are places to hide.

I repeat: There’s something you want to do. Maybe even something you need to do. And you’re not doing it.

Stop procrastinating. Stop looking for a new trick, a new #hack.

Take all that time and put it into just getting the work done.

It’s that simple.”

-Carl

 

…and I thought self control was always a good thing.

Sometimes you have to admit that everything you thought was wrong was (possibly) right. Could it be that all those good habits, all that resisting temptation and weeks of denial were for nothing?

Is it possible that beating myself up after the third chocolate digestive and saying “no” to things that would have been fun but would have distracted me from my goals may well have done me more good than harm?

I now find out that there is a “Dark Side” to self control. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Kokoris and Stavrova point out the downsides of resisting temptation.

It is true that people with strong self control have better health, relationships, finances and careers and fewer problems with overeating, overspending, procrastination and unethical behaviour.

However there is a downside:

Self control:

  • Can restrict emotional experiences.

  • May lead to long term regret.

  • Can lead to increased workload.

  • Can be used for ill.

  • Isn’t for everyone.

  • Can lead to long term bias.

Before being full on about “self control” perhaps we should practice some “self compassion”, learn to know and like ourselves, perhaps cut ourselves a little slack and be more realistic.

Read the full paper HERE

I’ll have another marshmallow now please.

In Praise of….Toastmasters

“It takes one hour of preparation for each minute of presentation time.”

I joined the fledgling West Cork Toastmasters in September 2014. I was determined to take my speaking more seriously. I was fed up of being an enthusiastic but ultimately unproductive presenter.

“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.”

Toastmasters is an organisation that was founded in 1924 by Ralph Smedley, the first club being formed in Santa Ana, California. The concept has proved successful, there are currently 16,400 clubs with more than 352,000 members in 141 countries. Clubs meet regularly, my own club meets every Saturday morning, with structured meetings where members present prepared speeches, have an opportunity to speak off the cuff with impromptu “Table Topics”and finally evaluate fellow members’ speeches.

“Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.

There is an organised structure of progress through both speeches and leadership roles. Competitions between clubs present the opportunity to compete at national and international level and also give an opportunity to observe some excellent speakers.

“Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.”

The fact that I have had to think more about what I am saying, about the structure of my speeches and all aspects of speechcraft and presenting means that I have become a better, more organised and focussed presenter. It also means that I have joined a worldwide community of people dedicated to self improvement through speaking.

“A wise man speaks because he has something to say, a fool speaks because he has to say something.”

People come to Toastmasters for different reasons and as a newcomer to West Cork I have had the opportunity to meet new people and have made some great friends.

If you want to become a better speaker, look out your local Toastmasters club and give it a go.

https://www.toastmasters.org

 

I have met a few like this…

From the ever excellent Savage Chickens, I’ve been both sides of the table.

2020/8

A Manager’s Manifesto from Bartleby

The ever reliable Bartleby in The Economist has come up with “A Manager’s Manifesto for 2020”.

If you can’t be bothered to read the whole thing or even the headings then dwell on the conclusion:

Will following these eight rules lead to instant business success? Of course not. None of this will work if the company lacks an attractive product or a decent business plan. But these rules might just make your firm a more efficient and pleasant place to work. And that is a reasonable goal for 2020.

Full article HERE, some highlights below.

  1. Give out some praise. People don’t come to work just for the money…
  2. Remember that you set the tone. If a manager is angry and swears a lot, that will be seen as acceptable behaviour…
  3. The buck also stops with you. If a team member makes a mistake, it needs to be fixed. And the manager is responsible for making that happen…
  4. Make your priorities for the next year clear, and communicate them well…
  5. To that end, cut out the jargon…
  6. Listen to your staff. They are the people who are dealing with customers…
  7. Keep meetings short. Ideally, a meeting should be the length of a sitcom episode not a film by Martin Scorsese. Bartleby’s law is that 80% of the time of 80% of the people at meetings is wasted…
  8. Drop the team-building exercises. Paintballing in the woods,…Why not build a team by introducing its members and explaining what you want each of them to do?

2020/7

Sunday Summary 200105

A collection of things that have entertained, informed or annoyed me over the past week or so.

1) Are at-home DNA tests worth the privacy risks?

I have got deeper into tracing my family tree over the past few years and whilst it would be “interesting” to know more, there aren’t that many unexplored or unexplained branches. Or so I think. That said I know someone who has recently found sisters they didn’t know they had and that’s a “win” in anyone’s language.

If you’re pondering it, read this from the people at ExpressVPN – HERE.

2) Quest for the perfect smile is putting Instagram generation at risk.

Coordinated by “tireless” Tony Kilkoyne, a letter signed by 1,000+ dentists. Daily Telegraph HERE.

3) New HPV saliva test may speed detection of mouth, throat cancers.

From the journal of Molecular Diagnostics via Dr. Bicuspid.com HERE

….and because it’s the new year and everybody is extolling the benefits of change, plus trying to sell you something that helps.

4) No more routine scaling and polishing on the NHS.

Finally another heartsink news item suggesting that everything you believe is wrong, because of its cost. Produced by a team called “RAINDROP” presumably named after a round of a new party game “fit the title to the acronym”.

Here’s the LINK via the good people at GDPUK

 

The Weekend Read – The E Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

On the inside cover of my copy I see that I bought this in February 2001 – it was first published in 1995 and I wish I had read it even earlier than that, it would have saved me much pain and heartache and probably saved me a small fortune.

Its subscript describes the book, “Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It”. This is one of THE books (possibly THE one book) that anybody contemplating going into business for themselves should read, and then re-read.

I return to it every couple of years, it is packed with wisdom and sound advice. It is invaluable.

One review says, “Gerber points out how common assumptions, expectations, and even technical expertise can get in the way of running a successful business.” and continues…“shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business, whether or not it is a franchise.”

I quote below from Sam T Davies’s review which you can read on his website HERE and where you will find reviews of other good business books.

The Book in Three Sentences

  1. Most small business owners work in their business rather than on their business.
  2. People who are exceptionally good in business are so because of their insatiable need to know more.
  3. Understanding the technical work of a business does not mean you understand a business that does that technical work.

The Five Big Ideas

  1. “If you are unwilling to change, your business will never be capable of giving you what you want.”
  2. That Fatal Assumption: if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work.
  3. The Entrepreneurial Seizure occurs the moment you decide it would be a great idea to start your own business.
  4. “Everybody who goes into business is actually three-people-in-one: The Entrepreneur, The Manager, and The Technician.”
  5. We all have an Entrepreneur, Manager, and Technician inside us.

The E-Myth Revisited Summary

  • Michael believes that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more.
  • “If you are unwilling to change, your business will never be capable of giving you what you want.”
  • That Fatal Assumption: if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work.
  • The Entrepreneurial Seizure: the moment you decide it would be a great idea to start your own business.
  • The technician suffering from an Entrepreneurial Seizure takes the work he loves to do and turns it into a job.
  • “Everybody who goes into business is actually three-people-in-one: The Entrepreneur, The Manager, and The Technician.”

You can buy the book from The Book Depository HERE

2020/3

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