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Tag: managing tasks

3D Juggling 618: Juggling Again

Claire writes: “In this weather in England, pace is quite important.  How do you get through the day with enough energy in spite of the heat?  If you’re outside at all, it seems to require a different pace from other times of the year.

Most of us are juggling activities, work and home life, or family and pace is equally important there.  The Centre for Creative Leadership has done some interesting work into this.

They talk about how people do or don’t separate roles and tasks, and where they put boundaries, with some interesting reflections on how that impacts others.  Having just seen my youngest daughter leave school this term, it makes me reflect on how seasons influence our choices – and when we need to remember that we can choose to blend things differently – whether for a few weeks or a longer season. So are you an

  • Integrator who mixes work and personal tasks through the day?
  • Separator who has clear boundaries of space and time between home and work
  • Work Firster who allows work to interrupt home life but not the other way around
  • Family Firster who protects family time but allow work time to be interrupted
  • Cycler who switches between cycles of integration and separation

Which is a reminder for us to say that 3D will move into a lighter cycle now until the beginning of September. There are still spaces for people looking for 1-1 coaching and someone will be responding to phone calls and emails but we will be doing shorter hours.”

© 2013 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com
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3D Juggling 525: That wasn’t trivial!

Lynn writes: “Arriving back home I needed to move my car.  Having teenage kids in the house and friends visiting, the driveway was pretty full. I found that although there was clear space around the car and apparently plenty behind it, I was stuck. Forward and back I went until my arms hurt and still I was in the same space!  In desperation I asked my husband to have a go… and to my perverse delight he too went backwards and forwards for a long time.  Finally free he commented:  “That wasn’t trivial!”

At home or at work, how often do we start a task that looks simple, launch in and then find we are going nowhere or going round in circles?  As managers or leaders we can frequently delegate work to others seeing what we are handing on as simple or trivial, without realising that it is not.  Colleagues or volunteers may experience it as a task that is scary or even find that they don’t have the manoeuvring skills to make it happen in the way you do as they have a different field of influence.

The car may have been moved more easily if I’d asked for help as soon as it was clear that the manoeuvre wasn’t trivial. I might have been able to do it myself with some moral support and ideas from some of the other drivers in the house, to have been shown what to do and then gone on an advanced reversing course, or have asked to sit in the passenger seat while Bruce talked me through what he was doing.

Next time you delegate something trivial, what will you do differently? Think about it…

© 2011 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

Teaching differently

When we train people to use coaching and mentoring skills, our definition of mentoring is: ‘I know something you don’t know and I’ll tell you if you want me to’

Coutts and conducted a nationwide survey of 500 entrepreneurs and business owners last month and discovered that the development of apprentices and mentoring schemes is a key requirement in encouraging the spread of entrepreneurs in the UK.

Who are you developing?


3D Juggling 511: Underemployment

Claire writes: I had one of our cups of coffee last week with someone who works for a public sector organisation which has already made its first round of redundancies.  Those people who are left are expected to deliver the same service with less resource.  Does that sound familiar?

It may well be that their work can be done differently and more effectively with less people.  But only if they have time to stop and think.  James Watson, an American scientist, said: “It is necessary to be somewhat underemployed if you want to do something significant”.  Creativity comes when our minds are not fully or over occupied.  What can you do to create just enough underemployent in your week? Think about it…

© 2011 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

When we are working with executives and executive teams we often become aware of ‘tension’ between executive directors (EDs) and non executive directors (NEDS).  Typically EDs value the external experience, expertise and challenge that NEDs bring whilst experiencing frustration about how this is offered (‘they don’t understand our constraints…’), and NEDs value the experience, expertise and commitment of EDs whilst experiencing frustration at their assumptions about what’s possible (and often, in the public sector, an apparent lack of accountability).  We’re thinking about how NEDs establish authority and relate to EDs, and about how EDs can help them to challenge appropriately. We’d love to hear about your experiences.

Click here for a factsheet from the Institute of Directors about the role of a NED

3D Juggling 505: David’s Trees

David has been a loyal reader of 3D Juggling for many years.  He writes: “Fourteen years ago we moved into a house with a dozen attractive small bushes outside the front door. Each year they were pruned, but each year they grew to the extent that for the last 3 years we have said what an eyesore they are; but we did nothing about them.

This morning the sun shone and we took a saw to the worst of them, drastically pruned the rest and so opened up the vista so that we could again see the horses in the adjacent field and the cones on the cedar tree.

As I laboured I reflected on how many things there might be in my life which had grown to a point where they were taken for granted without me having the courage to do anything about them. With courage to act, time can be created for new visions and new activities that could enrich our lives.

Are there any bushes in your life which could be pruned or cut down to make your life better?”

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 503: Sawdust

Claire writes: “I spoke at a lunch for retired businessmen recently.  We were exploring what needs to happen to make sure that retirement contains some purposeful things as well as simply being busy.  I told them Stephen Covey’s story about filling a jar:

A man was talking to a group of busy and powerful people and used a one-gallon, wide-necked jar to make a point. First he took about a dozen fist-sized rocks and placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

When the jar was full, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone said, “Yes.” Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table, pulled out a bucket of gravel, poured it in and shook the jar so that the gravel worked itself into the spaces between the big rocks.

Then he smiled and asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?” “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. Again he poured it it, shook it and asked: “Is this jar full?”

Finally he grabbed a jug of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”

One person raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!”

“No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

At one level, the learning is what are the big rocks which you need to put in first?

All this about what you put into your life.  But you’re not always in control and it may be that someone else decides to put some sawdust in – and that absorbs your time.  Because…at the end of my lunch, a man came up to me and said: If you use sawdust and not sand, other people can put in twice as much water as they did in the Covey story.

So the question is: Whose responsibility is it to make sure that we’re not including things like sawdust in our schedule? AND if we are, what do we need to take out?
Because saturated sawdust becomes very heavy to lift.”

Discuss this week’s juggling at http://www.3dcoaching.blogspot.com/

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 500: Review Time

This is the 500th edition of 3D Juggling and some of you have been with us all the way. Thank you. We value your company as much as those who have joined us this week.  Welcome. Here’s a timely look at the archives.

In 2003, we wrote:

3D Juggling 139: Adjusting nuts

“Do you remember when a computer with the power of a laptop took up several rooms? In those early days, a computer had some problem and the maintenance guru was called. The machine itself was an enormous size, but the glitch was sorted in minutes. The company were rather surprised to receive a hefty bill for a 2 minute job. When challenged, the response came back: “It’s knowing which nut to adjust.”

TVs, computers and other fiddly pieces of equipment often come with that great button: Reset to default. So when we’ve twiddled and tweaked and it’s still a challenge, we can undo our work and start again.

Unfortunately we don’t have reset switches, but are complicated machines, balancing who we are – our body, mind, emotions and spirit with all the factors which make our lives – money, work, family, home etc. Often, deep down we do know what to adjust to make the whole juggling act easier. It’s often a question of whether we are willing or able to face it. And if we can’t find the answer, often an objective friend or a coach can ask enough insightful questions to begin to find which nut to adjust!”

This is timely because of last week’s spending review in the UK.  This will have an impact on individuals and on teams – including those that are ‘safe’ – who will have to bear the guilt and adapt how they work with those that are not.

If your job is disappearing, it may be time to think very differently about what the future might look like.  That’s what we’ve been doing in Career Makeovers for many years.

If you’re working with teams that are disappearing or know they will look very different in the future, they re-enter Tuckman’s Storming phase.  This can be a time to acknowledge the reality and move from fighting the change to knowing what the team is here for now.

If you need to manage fallout in any way, Action Learning can help you to have honest conversations and work out what you need to be asking who.

Talk to us about how we can help you, within your budget, know which nut to adjust.

(c) 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 496: Inspired to what?

Claire writes: “I ran a workshop last week for an organisation who have had to make some of their roles redundant. We were exploring how to apply for a completely different kind of job.

Some of the feedback was that it was inspiring.

I like being inspired. It excites me. It’s interesting. It challenges. Sometimes it makes me feel good.  And it’s only a feeling unless it leads me to take action. Otherwise it will fade and disappear.

So next time you feel inspired ask yourself: What am I going to do now? And do it!!”

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 469: Eiffel Tower

Claire writes: ‘At half term, Ellie and I got totally lost looking for the Picasso Museum in Paris. It turned out to be closed for 2 years. The back streets of Paris are complicated to navigate with only a very scanty tourist map. Road signs, crowds and traffic make it hard to see where you’re going. What should have been a 5 minute walk to the museum turned into a fruitless 30 minute trek where we both lost energy and hope!

What we really needed was to be able to rise above the streets and look down through the crowds to work out where we were going. She persuaded me to go up to Level 2 of the Eiffel Tower in the lift. You get to rise above the streets, but you have no control of how fast you go, and for someone who is terrified of heights it means that I still had no perspective. I just had my eyes closed!

Later we climbed the steps to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. For a moment I was willing to look at the panorama below. And it felt much better to have control of when to go up and when to go down, as well as what speed we went. Had I been less scared, we could have spent a long time up there working out what we could see.

For a holiday, these were expensive outings given that I wouldn’t look when I got to the top! And I have to confess that I only agreed to the Eiffel Tower because I knew I could tell you! The point? There are several ways to get a different perspective at work. One is when you feel that you have no control and that at best you’re in a lift that someone else is controlling. At worst you might feel that work is controlled from somewhere else and that you have no idea which way it will go next. My experience is that the lift produces as much fear as elation, and you’re often not still for long enough to fully understand what you see. You’re more likely to be wondering when the next lurch will come from.

Another way to get a different perspective is where you choose to rise above the day to day problems and business and take a strategic view of the workplace for a while. It’s more like a climb up the Arc de Triomphe. What can you see? What looks different? Who are the stakeholders now?

Even when work may sometimes feel out of control, you can even choose to rise above the rollercoaster and see what’s happening there. It just takes some clear time. And perspective.

Discuss this week’s juggling at http://www.3dcoaching.blogspot.com/

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 431: The Sock Drawer

Claire writes: ‘Last time I travelled to my own office to work I was 8 months pregnant with a child who is now 5 foot 9! The next office was the bedroom in a small terraced house, and the desk was the chest of drawers. The only way to type was to rest the keyboard in the sock drawer! More recently, we’ve been in a purpose built home office. How have we grown 3D? Not by setting goals. For us, the way to develop is to have conversations that seem to be important and, from time to time, to come up for air and notice what’s going on. In fact, our decision to expand into new premises was the result of a conversation at our team awayday.

Some people are driven by goals and yet they demotivate others. David Megginson at Sheffield Hallam has dome some interesting research . For some, goals are like a carrot – something motivating and exciting to aim for. For others, they are like a stick – painful and punishing. What’s important is that we develop in a way that allows creativity and innovation to flourish.

Do goals work for you? If they don’t, what do you need in order to flourish and develop?’

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who hates goals!

© 2009 3D Coaching Ltd May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: https://www.3dcoaching.com/ and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

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