Wednesday 31 January 2018

How to motivate yourself and others

According an article in Psychology Today the one thing that sets aside people who achieve their goals from those who don't, is having the motivation to succeed. Motivation can come from within or can be stimulated by external reward.

However, studies show that while external rewards have their place, we usually value our internal drivers more, so we’ve developed a few hacks below to help you draw on your inner motivation – but don’t forget to build in a few small external rewards to your daily routine too, to keep you focused and enable you to reach your true potential.

Keep your eye on the bigger picture

Rather than think about the task in hand, concentrate on the ways in which completing that task will take your closer to achieving your goals or realising your dreams. The secret to staying motivated is to link what you are doing back to your real value drivers. Always take the time to remind yourself why you are doing what you’re doing.

Set an achievable to-do list

Nothing is more off-putting than a huge list of tasks and not enough time to complete them. By setting an achievable to-do list and managing people’s expectations about what you can do and by when, you can keep motivated enough to complete the things that need to be done. Unrealistic expectations – set by yourself, or by others – are the main reason for failure. Be kind to yourself and set yourself up for success.

Visualise what you’ll feel like when you’ve done it

You’ll feel great, right? Like a weight has been lifted and this will leave you feeling more positive and motivated than before. Visualisation is a tried and tested practice that helps us rewire our thinking. Our brain can be tricked into thinking we’ve done things which makes it easier for us to complete the tasks we been putting off. When we think about the positive feelings we’ll have when we’ve completed a task we will be more willing to actually do them. Think successful to be successful.

Just do it – in small bursts if needs be

There is nothing more motivating than being fully present and totally focused on one task at a time – and having a tight timescale in which to complete the task you’ve been set can really focus the mind. Have you ever been amazed at how much shopping you can fit in your basket when they announce the shop will close in ten minutes? Or how many emails you can get through when you have a meeting to get to shortly? Start putting a timescale against tasks for completion to keep the motivation turned up and the procrastination dialled down to a low. Don’t go over the time you have set yourself and if you haven’t finished what you set out to do, simply schedule in another session later in the day/week. See how much more productive you are.

Reward your own productivity to keep the motivation juices flowing

Having something to look forward to is a great motivator. Make a deal with yourself – if you can do what you need to accomplish in the morning you’ll take a lunchtime walk in the sunshine to clear your head; if you get through the afternoon’s tasks you’ll take a long bath and set some time aside to make a start on that new book.

There are some great articles about both internal and external motivators, like the ones below. Just remember to do whatever works best for you – not for others.

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Managing groups and recognising team personalities

Being able to identify your key strengths and core skills are central to setting and achieving your goals. And as a manger, knowing exactly what your team is capable of, will make the difference between success and failure.

If you ask people where their skills lie, chances are they will be able to give you a long list of their qualifications and work-based achievements. What sets the great managers aside from average managers is their ability to see through what is written on paper and gain an appreciation of people’s soft skills too. Having an understanding of what each team member brings to the table will enable you to not only bring out the best in your people, but also achieve your collective goals.

We’ve outlined a few of the common personality types you may find in your team to help you with this – go ahead, see if you can find a match in your own talent pool and do whatever you can to play to people's strengths to get results!


These people are great for mediating conflicts and keeping everyone on track. Your leaders guide meetings and keep them on track, as well as helping to delegate tasks within the team. Leaders are often good communicators, focus on the end results and are able to motivate and bring out the best in others.

Team players

Not everyone can lead and having some real team players on your side are key to getting things done. You can tell the team players by their enthusiasm when working with others towards a common goal. They’re usually eager to help, willing to compromise and diplomatic. They might not the greatest self-starters, but once they’ve been briefed you can guarantee they’ll see tasks through to a successful conclusion.


Always probing and seeking more information, questioners are great at finding gaps or inaccuracies in plans and projects. As well as asking the questions, they are often more than happy to find their own answers or conduct the research necessary to make sure that no stone has been left unturned when it comes to planning. Questioning types within your team – if you don’t take their constant probing personally – are usually great at testing new concepts and ideas before the planning phase.


Every team need a subject expert. These are the people who know all there is to know about the specific area of the business. Not only that, if they don’t have the information they will go out of their way to find it.


Thriving on rules and regulations, planners are essential to keep the more creative members of your team on task, organising everyone so they’re set up for success. Creating order and cutting through chaos is what planners do best, so if you have a natural planner on your team, use them wisely. They’re great at improving efficiency and thinking projects through from concept to completion.

Creative thinkers

Yes, we know that sometimes creative types can drift away into their own little world of concepts and ideas, but when you can actually ground what they have in their heads, creative thinkers are the ones who excel at problem solving, delivering fresh ideas that can reinvigorate business development and build the concepts many businesses need to stand out from the crowd. Creative thinkers can be frustrating to work with but if you place them in the right team, their input usually adds real value to a business.

This article: How To Manage Personalities To Get The Most Out Of Your Teams breaks down team personalities into three different groups – have a read and find out how to propel your team’s performance from OK to outstanding…

Monday 8 January 2018

Personal development tips for busy people

By now most people are back at work after the holidays and we all share high hopes for what lies ahead - we may even have set resolutions that will make us better people and help us live a happier, more fulfilling life. It’s also the time of year when we look at our career and identify goals that will enable us to grow. But how attainable are these goals and resolutions that we set? Is it possible to set realistic objectives – both personal and career based - that won’t get overlooked once we’re back in the thick of our busy, day-to-day routines.

We’ve found some self and personal development areas that can be built into our daily lives. Let’s make 2018 a year of personal growth and self-development – without it being a chore!

Get online

It used to be that if you wanted to learn a new skill you had to go to night school, or take time out of your day job to attend courses. Not so now. If there’s anything you want to know or learn, the internet is your friend and what’s better is that many are free or low cost. More than that, most online courses or webinars can be done at your leisure, when it suits you. Why not schedule an hour in your diary once a week to take you closer to achieving the goals you’ve set?

Explore mentoring

Becoming a mentor or working with a mentor are both great ways of developing your skills in a less-formal fashion than traditional training courses and leadership programmes. Sharing what we know with others is a great way of appreciating the skills and experience that we have and, conversely, working with a mentor is an effective way of enriching your own personal development while exploring new ways of thinking and working. And what’s more, it can all be done at a time and place that is convenient to you. You can read more about mentoring, in this blog post.

Venture into volunteering

There are so many charities out there looking for a wide range of skills and experience to help them deliver vital work with local communities. Volunteering is a great way of either sharing the skills you have within a different sector or learning something new. Either way, volunteering can help you fulfil your personal development goals for the year. Many charities have their own training courses too, some of which lead to recognised qualifications. They do often require a regular time commitment, though this could be as little as two hours a week - well worth scheduling into your calendar. Check too with your employer, as some allow you to complete volunteering assignments within work time as part of their corporate and social responsibility programmes.

Write your goals down

As with most activities and priorities, the way to bring your personal development goals to life, is to write them down. In fact, go one step further – write them down and then schedule time in your diary to work on them. Writing things down legitimises them, giving them time and reiterating their importance. It doesn’t have to eat into your day either. Read a text book during your commute to work, or during your lunch break; or listen to a webinar or tutorial before you go to bed. Make your time work for you. If it’s important to you, you'll find the time.

If you are still struggling to find the time to work on yourself this year, this article from the Guardian outlines some handy time management tips of busy people to give you some ideas.