The Weekend Read – Deep Work by Cal Newport

This is a “must read” for anyone who feels they are getting overwhelmed or even too distracted by 21st century life. Subtitled, “Rules for focus success in a distracted world” it does exactly what it says on the cover. I regularly hear complaints from my clients that they are having problems focussing on the most important things in their life, that their surgery or office door is opened too often, that they feel the need to deal with emails, phone calls and social media as soon as they are aware of them. If your appointment book is ruling your life and you are having problems finding space & time in your life then do yourself a favour and read this.

Newport defines Deep Work as “Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. Their efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.”

He contrasts Shallow Work as, “Noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much value in the world and are easy to replicate.”

In the first half of the book the writer explains his hypothesis, which is, “The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.” He then describes examples of Deep Work from a variety of walks of life and how it has helped individuals to success.

In the second half of the book he lays down The Rules for Deep Work, which are:

  • Work Deeply – Remove distractions.
  • Embrace Boredom – Schedule the occasional break from focus for distraction.
  • Quit Social Media – Initially off putting but his argument is cogent and correct.
  • Drain The Shallows – To eliminate the amount of time for shallow work aggressively schedule your entire day and quantify every activity.

Essential.

Available from The Book Depository HERE

 

 

The Monday Morning Quote #410

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Max Planck, German quantum theorist and Nobel Prize winner.

Kolbe – My Decade of Success – What’s Your Kolbe?

WebIt’s nearly ten years since I completed my Kolbe Accreditation, since then I have shared the my knowledge with hundreds of individuals and helped many teams understand how instinct is so important in knowing themselves and their teams. So over the next few weeks I am revisiting some articles that I wrote back then.

What’s Your KOLBE™?

One of the biggest challenges to any clinician and small business owner is the blending of individuals together to make a team.

These are the same challenges that can afflict larger businesses and corporations too.

  • Do you recruit people then find they aren’t quite what you thought?
  • Are you beset with problems retaining staff?
  • Do have difficulties integrating the individuals into a team?
  • Is your hygienist outside the wire?
  • Do your associates fail to embrace your vision for the future?

The KOLBE Wisdom™

  • Identifies the striving instincts that drive natural behaviours.
  • Focuses on the strengths of your team.

The KOLBE A Index is a 36-question survey that reveals the individual mix of striving instincts; it measures individual energies in:

  • Fact Finder – Gathering and sharing of information.
  • Follow through – Sorting and Storing Information.
  • Quick Start – Dealing with risk and uncertainty.
  • Implementation – Handling space and intangibles.

The results are a serious of ‘scores’. Mine for instance is 6/3/8/3, this isn’t the place to give full analysis, my PA’s is 8/8/1/4 which means we work together well.

Hence the question: What’s your KOLBE?

Some background. Kathy Kolbe is a well-known and highly honoured author and theorist who has been working in the field of human behaviour for nearly 40 years. Following on from her scientific studies of learning differences between children she devised The Kolbe Wisdom™, which has been used by such businesses as Kodak, IBM and Xerox and many others around the world. It is now available for use with smaller teams.

The Kolbe Wisdom™ is based on the concept that creative instincts are the source of the mental energy that drives people to take specific actions. This mental drive is separate and distinct from passive feelings and thoughts. Creative instincts are manifested in an innate pattern (modus operandi, or MO) that determines each person’s best efforts.

These conative or instinctive traits are what make us get things done. They should be differentiated from the cognitive (knowledge) or the affective (feelings). As Kathy Kolbe has written, “The conative is the clincher in the decision making hierarchy. Intelligence helps you determine a wise choice, emotions dictate what you’d like to buy, but until the conative kicks in, you don’t make a deal – you don’t put your money where your mouth is.”

Conation doesn’t define what you can or can’t do, rather what you will and won’t do.

A person’s MO is quantifiable and observable, yet functions at the subconscious level. MOs vary across the general population with no gender, age or racial bias.

An individual’s MO governs actions, reactions and interactions. The MO also determines a person’s use of time and his or her natural form of communication. Exercising control over this mental resource gives people the freedom to be their authentic selves.

Any interference with the use of this energy reduces a person’s effectiveness and the joy of accomplishment. Stress inevitably results from the prolonged disruption of the flow of this energy. Others can nurture this natural ability but block it by attempting to alter it.

Individual performance can be predicted with great accuracy by comparing instinctive realities, self-expectations and requirements. It will fluctuate based on the appropriateness of expectations and requirements.

When groups of people with the right mix of MOs function interactively, the combined mental energy produces synergy. Such a team can perform at a higher level than is possible for the same group functioning independently.

Team performance is accurately predicted by a set of algorithms that determine the appropriate balance and make up of MOs.

Leaders can optimise individual and group performance by:

  • Giving people the freedom to be themselves.
  • Assigning jobs suited to individual strengths.
  • Building synergistic teams.
  • Reducing obstacles that cause debilitating stress.
  • Rewarding committed use of instinctive energy.
  • Allowing for the appropriate use of time.
  • Communicating in ways that trigger the effective use of the natural, universal and unbiased energy of creative instincts.

Any  team is as good as:

  • The conative fit each individual has with his or her individual role.
  • The members are, in accurately predicting the differences between each other.
  • The management of the team is, in using the talent available.

In dentistry the use of Kolbe does not only help build the right teams. When the concepts are understood and applied to clinical situations or ones of patient choice and treatment planning then resistance can be handled and the correct way of presentation used.

There are only two fully trained and currently accredited KOLBE Consultants in the UK.

There is only one experienced in working with Dentists and their teams. 

Take YOUR Kolbe A analysis here

If you would like to find out more about using these fantastic tools in your practice or if you would be interested in a presentation to your study group or society get in touch via the contact form below or call me on 0044 7778 148583.

The Monday Morning Quote #387

Those who think that just enough is good enough will never fully deliver for themselves nor the team.

They must step beyond the comfortable.

Frank Dick (via Richard Welbury)

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A Collection of Smart, Friendly Individuals Does Not Constitute a Productive Team

www.dentalbusinesscoach.co.uk/services/building-the-perfect-team

From Kolbe connection

Today’s environment of rapidly accelerating change continuously gives birth to new markets, new solutions, and new opportunities.  Consequently, business structures everywhere have become decentralized and more fluid as managers are discovering the critical importance of highly responsive and productive “teams.” Today, the work force at a large organization typically comprises teams that assemble and dissolve in response to specific needs.  And when it comes to developing leaders for an organization, a business owner is less inclined to look for a lone superhero who will lead the way to profitability, and more inclined to find “team builders” who can achieve results within a changing business landscape.

So, what’s the best way to build a highly productive team?  Do you search for individuals with specific skills and a certain level of intelligence?  Or should you look for people with complementary personalities and similar life experiences?

According to a recent article in The Economist, “Teams work best if their members have a strong common culture.”1  Fair enough.  But if that is all there is to assembling a productive team, then why do so many teams with a common culture fail to achieve desired results?

Think about it – whether we’re talking about business, sports, or other activities, we’ve all known of (or even been part of) a cohesive group of skilled, intelligent individuals that still could not achieve anything close to the potential of the combined talents of its members.

On the other hand, many teams function very well in spite of the fact that they do not include the most talented or even the most intelligent individuals available.  Additionally, some highly successful teams (in sports and in business) have included individuals who do not even like each other.

In truth, “common culture” has little to do with team building.  Assembling people who like each other and who have similar personalities may be a good recipe for a social club – but it’s not the way to build a highly productive team.

The most important factor in team building lies in how each member of the team will take action – in other words, their conative MOs, or natural way of problem solving. A team of highly skilled, highly intelligent, and friendly individuals will have a very low chance of success if it suffers from a lack of conative diversity (i.e., “cloning”).  For example, a team of smart players all of whom are detailed, thorough and specific (initiating Fact Finders) may consider themselves to be very compatible with one another.  However, in the absence of anyone who simplifies, finds shortcuts or creates a sense of urgency, the team will likely collect truckloads of data but never accomplish a darned thing.

On the other hand, a team of change agents experimenting and improvising options (initiating Quick Starts) might create (and even execute) several innovative strategies within just a few days, but never achieve their objectives because no one has gathered sufficient background data to justify their solutions.  Additionally, since the team includes no one who was designing systems and bringing closure to open initiatives and ensuring that proper procedures were followed, the team might produce more problems than solutions.

To build a highly productive team, a manager (or a coach) should look for individuals with different conative strengths – people who will bring out the most in their teammates.  That means finding people who “initiate” and people who “counteract” in each of the four Acion Modes® (Fact Finder, Follow Thru, Quick Start, and Implementor).  And don’t forget the importance of finding individuals who will “ReAct” and pull the team together!

During “March Madness,” the best college basketball teams from all over the country put their reputations on the line and compete in a single-elimination tournament.  For a few teams, individual talents come together in beautiful harmony.  These teams are often said to be “playing over their heads.” However, such descriptions don’t come close to capturing the poetry of five different players meshing on the court.  When a coach knows the individual strengths of each player and then deftly mixes and matches these talents as the game progresses, and the players accept that their individual talents are magnified when they play in concert with one another, that’s when synergy is achieved, and usually a new national champion is born.

What’s true for teams on the basketball court is also true for teams in the office: The talent, personality, and intelligence of the individual members are important factors; however, in the end, those teams with the right balance of conative strengths will stand the best chance of victory!

www.dentalbusinesscoach.co.uk/services/building-the-perfect-team

 

The Weekend Read – Legacy by James Kerr

41p3KrAb8OL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_Published three years before the All Blacks won their second Rugby Union World Cup Final this is a fascinating book about the culture of a great team. The lessons are applicable to every team whether they be in sport or business.

It starts when things were not going so well for New Zealand, in 2004 they had just been beaten by South Africa and finished last in the annual Tri-Nations tournament. Too many players drank too much and there was a malaise and attitude that wasn’t good enough for a team with a great history to flourish in the new professional era. Graham Henry had just been appointed coach and on the long flight home across the Pacific his assistant Wayne Smith wrote him a note saying, “we must fix this thing”.

On the pitch the changes and improvements were obvious. Away from the performances, fundamental changes were taking place. Rooted in the culture (that word again) of the All Blacks are certain qualities and beliefs that needed to be re-discovered,  recognised, acknowledged and developed. The author describes the dressing room after the All Blacks have beaten Wales in Dunedin in June 2010. When the hero worshippers, the journalists, the coaches have left, the team toasts their captain Richie McCaw and they in their turn leave the room. Except for two senior players who pick up brushes and sweep the floor. The purpose of this exercise is to prove that the All Blacks tidy up after themselves, that they have personal and collective discipline.

  • Sweeping the sheds.
  • Doing it properly.
  • So no one else has to.
  • Because no one looks after the All Blacks.
  • The All Blacks look after themselves.

The chapter names include:

  • Character
  • Adapt
  • Purpose
  • Responsibility
  • Pressure
  • Authenticity
  • Sacrifice and
  • Language.

This book is crammed with great lessons. In my opinion it is unique in its breadth and depth with examples that will provoke you to make changes for the better in your life and organisation.

Three quotes:

  • “For the Strength of the Pack is the Wolf and the Strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”
  • “No Dickheads”
  • “Champions do Extra”

The All Black ethos is summed up in one action by their centre three quarter and outstanding sportsman (a champion at rugby league and boxing) Sonny Bill Williams at the end of the World Cup final at Twickenham last year. A 14 year old fan was tackled by security staff when he ran on to the field (I can identify with his action and enthusiasm, I used to do the same at the same age at Cardiff Arms Park, to get close to my heroes), Sonny Bill seeing what happened went and protected the youngster and then gave his winners medal to the lad.

The Monday Morning Quote #358

“The only thing you have power over is to get good at what you do.

That’s all there is; there ain’t no more!”

 Sally Field,

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via Box of Crayons