Thursday, 20 September 2012

Handcuff's Half Hour - 30 shady minutes

This article was posted in the Swindon Coaching Team September Newsletter Swindon Coaching Team member David Rigby has been reading this summer’s best seller ‘Fifty shades of Grey’ (in the interests of psychological insight you understand!) and reflects ……..
As it’s the surprising best seller of all time, I felt obliged to read the book to find out what everyone’s talking about. Then it seemed an idea to review it from a man’s perspective. The main character, Grey, is a dominant, but has committed the biggest blunder of his hobby, falling for his submissive. It’s a great conversation topic, especially when talking to women, and I have been surprised by the number of people who will happily discuss the detail. I will never view a tie in the same way again! But the effect on me is to give a new light on relationships: dominance and submission. How many relationships work on the dominance and submission model? Where one is in charge and the other likes to be told? As a submissive, if you totally trust the person who is dominating, it can give you the courage to try out new experiences you may never have known abou,t let alone tried. But is it courage or is it fear? Are you forced into doing things – either in the bedroom or workplace because you like submission or in fact because your partner is dominant? I have come across people who claim to be submissive but actually are quite dominant in demanding dominance from their partner but only comply when it suits. Who is in control now? In particular who is the victim? Wanting to please someone is part of the submission role, Submission is not about being used, submission is about being of use. Submission is not about what is done to you. Submission is about what you do for others Submissives want to be of service to others, dominants just want to serve themselves. Who is better for society? Is being dominant part of insisting everything be done your way? Failure to be brought new experiences and fear of delegation and losing control? Do you need to be a tyrant to cover your inadequacies and fear of being found out? Loss of face and inability to change are common features. To parody Frank Sinatra ‘You did it my way’. Signs of inability to delegate too! If you chose to be in these roles and are happy in them, you may ask yourself why? As a dominant or submissive type you can feel like a victim. The important thing here is choice. The relationship can become that of victim and bully – not only an abuse of power but also of trust upon which the dominant/submissive relationship was based. The roles of bully/victim may be more familiar to us and can be equally painful and guilt-ridden. The difficult bit is breaking the cycle. Here’s the good bit – if any of this feels like your relationship you’ll find our coaches are the unshockable and non-judgemental ‘friend’ and confident who can help you gain control of your life again. Get in touch if you want to talk about aspects of relationships, be they personal or work based. David specialises in helping people make the right choices.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

People Like Us

This article was published in the Swindon Coaching Team Blog in June 2012
When you walk into a room of strangers, whether at a party or a networking event, who do you seek out to talk to? Do you take the PLU approach (‘people like us’ a term invented by Lady Astor in the 1920s) those who look like you, dress like you and hopefully have the same views as you? Do you chose the best looking or most attractive people in the room to talk to - hoping they will talk to you? Or are you prepared to talk to anyone who doesn’t fit the above? How do you feel about talking to the non PLU’s – people outside the group you feel most comfortable with? It’s much more of a challenge. The case for diversity We all know that everyone is unique - even though people have things in common with each other they are also different in all sorts of ways. Differences include visible and non-visible factors, for example, personal characteristics such as background, culture, personality, and work-style, size, accent, language. Some of these are covered by discrimination law to protect against being treated unfairly – things like race, disability, sexual orientation, age, gender reassignment, sex, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion and belief. 

Managing diversity is valuing everyone as an individual – valuing people as employees, customers and clients. Even within a narrow band people have different needs, and so even people who appear to be in the same group within a PLU have different needs, values and beliefs. Equally individuals within different ‘diversity groups’ may have many characteristics in common. Equal opportunities? 

It is important to recognise that a ‘one-size-fits all' approach to managing people does not achieve fairness and equality of opportunity for everyone. Equal opportunity is often seen as meaning treating everyone in exactly the same way. But to provide real equality of opportunity, people need to be treated differently in ways that are fair and tailored to their needs but in ways that are aligned to business needs and objectives. 

 There are three main strands to the business case for going beyond what is required by legislation: people issues, market competitiveness, and corporate reputation. The law is there to enforce diversity, but the most successful organisations embrace diversity as a means of best utilising skills from different groups, if nothing else as a means of reaching out to those groups. Equally, having worked in 17 countries I have learnt to combine the accepted wisdoms of national characteristics with treating people as individuals. I have always sought to broaden my experiences and know how to do so. But I still have to ‘catch myself’ for avoiding particular groups. But what about you? Next time you go to party or networking – will it be more PLU's or the excitement of gaining new experiences and friends? You may recognise that while you may be scared of meeting complete strangers they could equally be scared of meeting you. Our coaches can help you rise to the challenge to make life more exciting and rewarding and lead to opportunities you never dreamed possible. 3 tips from David – 1. You will be no worse off if you approach a stranger and they say 'no' than if you had never asked at all. 2. People can me more scared of approaching you than you are of approaching them. 3. And from NLP - "If you always do what you always did - then you will always get what you always got". David is our resident coach specialising in resilience and positive psychology. If you’d like to discuss any of these further, just get in touch for a free chat!

Asking for Help in the Emirates

Swindon Coaching Team Member David Rigby recently spent eight months in the desert near Abu Dhabi coaching and advising the government on customer service.
David (you've guessed it on the right of the picture) says: The Abu Dhabi Municipality offers 400 services to its people. With the opening of one-stop-shops, in the six cities in the Abu Dhabi desert area known as Western Region, the citizens were no longer obliged to travel the 100-200 miles to Abu Dhabi to undertake several transactions. One hundred of these services were, in theory, offered at the one-stop-shops, called TAMM centers. In practice only three of them could be undertaken in one visit. I developed processes to enable all the services to be offered through media including web, phone, call centre, SMS etc. They were all redesigned to international standards and to standard templates. None of which would be of much use unless the frontline staff knew how to use them, so this is where my coaching skills became very important. My client was Ebrahim Alhosani Director/ Integrated Government Services Western Region Municipality, And on first meeting he said “I am studying for my masters from Harvard, what do you study?” One of my clear learning objectives is about spontaneity, and thinking on my feet responded “I study learning who to ask for help." The only way I could manage this project was to ask for help and give help in return. The key challenge was always knowing who to ask without losing face. As a first-time visitor to UAE at the beginning my main challenge was the food – what it was and more importantly how to eat it. I took my training very seriously – first of all asking my Arabic assistant how to eat rice with my right hand without it spilling everywhere. Not to mention how to eat while sitting on the floor on special occasions – including making sure my feet pointed the right way. One of my team from Jordan asked me why I asked people for help, as it appeared to be a sign of weakness in his culture (at least among the males). I told him that it saved so much time and gave better results. An example I gave him, was that I discussed with his boss how to get a number of documents printed and rapidly delivered to me from 100 miles away. He suggested using a taxi. It worked brilliantly. My Arabic customer services trainer, Maher Al Nukkary, asked me for help with his life. I coached him to identify and live his vision: he is now in Australia studying for his second degree in translation. I never told him what to do only helped him make a decision. (See what he says below...) Some of the work required demonstrating international best practice - EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) and ISO (international Standards Organisation). Not my best subjects, but I knew who to ask for help from my colleagues in the UK, which was based on the relationships I had built in the past. One of the things we wanted to know was what the citizens thought of the service they were currently getting . So, we asked them! We were looking to improve the way the customer facing staff worked. Who are the people who are best likely to know? You guessed right! So - we asked the staff! So how do you ask for help without losing face? It’s about developing a mutual trust with the person you are asking for help, and making yourself available to help people. This is when your coach can be a very important person. Someone you know and trust, who can help you identify the issues and enable you to decide who and how to approach to resolve them. Someone who you know who’s on your side. Maher Al Noukari (in picture centre) said... Here are a few words to the man who changed my life with a simple sentence: David Rugby. I have worked with David for alomost 2 monthes on the BPR for the Western Region MUnicipality in AbuDhabi! I have learned from him in these two monthes more than i learned through whole my professional carrer ! But what i have learned from him and the advices he gave me on the personal level have contributed in me taking the right decision which changes my life! David told me one simple sentence" don not worry about the things you can not onfluence " and this is the golden rule in my life! Now i am in Sydney doing my Masters and things are very good! Thanks David...the best mentor ever 13 January 2012 01:16 This article was originally published on the Swindon Coaching Team Blog in 2011

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Customer Service in UAE and UK

I was recently interviewed by Swindon Local Radio as part of my work with Swindon Coaching Team. I was asked to compare customer service in UAE with that of UK. I posted on the EIU Opinion Leaders' Panel and got this response: That's interesting as I see the lack of authority as a widespread problem in customer service, not just in the UAE. We did some research earlier this year on the future of customer service and one of our key findings was that customer service leaders are much more likely to empower their staff to make decisions when resolving customer issues, compared with average firms. And while weaker firms are investing more heavily in standardised service processes, leading firms are prioritising staff training and development. Here's the link to the full report - Service 2020 - hope you find it of interest:

here is an extract

Lessons from service leaders

If customer service is going to be increasingly important in the decade ahead, what are the leading practitioners already doing differently today? In our survey, about 16% of executives describe their firms as “excellent” at customer service, relative to their peers. Segmenting these firms against those that rate themselves as merely average, or below average, yields some insights into how some leading customer service practitioners are working:

• While the average firms of today compete primarily on quality, service leaders unsurprisingly already prioritise customer service as their competitive differentiator, far ahead of cost. In line with this, these firms are far more systematic about implementing proper systems for tracking customer feedback and complaints, as well as identifying potential service weaknesses. Nearly 50% more have these in place, ahead of weaker rivals.

• Three quarters of customer service leaders have empowered their staff to make decisions when resolving customer issues, compared with less than half among average firms. And while weaker firms are investing more heavily in standardised service processes, leading firms are prioritising staff training and development, and also working harder to define service standards and goals.

• While both strong and weak service firms see information-enabled consumers as a major driver for change in recent years, weaker firms think communications technology is the primary driver, while leaders see competition as the defining force.

• Service leaders are more focussed on social media already: they monitor it more closely, use it more often to connect with clients and generally collect more external data to feed into their tracking systems. Related to this, a far higher proportion of leaders say their firms are excellent, or above average, at using technology to understand their customers.

• Finally, while service leaders expect to use service to stand out from the crowd, it is largely only the weaker firms that expect typically to charge a premium for this service.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Away in the UAE

We have been undertaking work in Customer Service for the Abu Dhabi Municipality during 2010 and 2011 so this blog was not updated

Friday, 24 September 2010

The Plunge -Enterprise Training for Student Success

Given the right Working Knowledge people are motivated, teams are effective and organisations succeed.

The Working Knowledge Group exists to bridge the gap between education and the workplace. We help the people and organisations we work with to realise their potential and build capacity with innovative and engaging programmes that have long lasting positive impact. Working Knowledge's activities cover a wide spectrum, preparing young people for the workplace, including those in 14-19 Education and Higher Education, through to those already in work with Management Education.

TWKG Ran a three day event called The Plunge
What is The Plunge?

Essentially a cross between The Apprentice and Dragons Den, 'The Plunge' is a business challenge over three days involving students aged 14-19 years in Further and Secondary Education. This event takes students through the creation of a viable business idea and onto a series of group-based workshops in money, sales and marketing, people and operations. In essence, a series of innovative and highly interactive workshops that both simulate a real working environment while informing the students in business concepts and language.
Teams subsequently spend 15 minutes in each of four advisor meetings with business experts who evaluate teams on such characteristics as their presentation, negotiation. listening and teamwork skills. The Team then go on to pitch their business to a panel of judges.

David Rigby was one of the experts advising seven teams of six students undertaking the plunge advising on Vision, Leadership and Motivation. One of the key benefits from attending was the learning from sharing with other experts, watching the students develop was another.

Swindon Coaching Team

David Rigby from Riggours was pleased to be on of the representatives of Swindon Coaching Team at its appearance at Swindon Coaching Team

Wednesday 22nd September at the Swindon Connections meeting in the National Self-Build Centre in Swindon from 6:00pm to 8:30pm. Cost is £10+VAT which includes light refreshments: for venue and to book go to event page. Those of you who attended the last one of these in July will know the added benefit of great networking and good visiting speakers.

On Wednesday 29th September we are doing a lunch time drop in event again at the popular Old Bank wine bar in Wood Street Swindon SN1 4AB between 12 noon and 2pm. Drop in anytime. No need to book, and no cost except the drinks you buy!

Let me know if you want to receive the SCT newsletter or a discounted coaching session from SCT.