Whitepaper Archives | Blue Sky

 

John Gottman’s research – the Four Horsemen – outlines the behaviours he identified that signal the end to a relationship. Our insight into Customer Experience has revealed that the Horsemen exist in business too.

 

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“The secret to high performance and satisfaction at work is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better” – Dan Pink

Stories are our one of our oldest societal practices. Since Homo Sapiens first sat around campfires, we’ve been using stories to share learning and create meaning for the world around us. Stories help us feel a part of something larger than ourselves. They give us a sense of purpose and smuggle beliefs and information into our brains in an emotive and memorable way. In other words, they’re naturally viral.

McKinsey research into change management found that you are 3.7 times more likely to succeed on a change journey if you have a clear and compelling story.

This article brings to life some key insights and lessons that will enhance your storytelling skills. Discover even more around why stories are important, how to tell them well and what to expect as a result. If you change the story, you change the culture.

 

 

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“At the heart of receiving feedback is a clash of two core human needs. We’re wired to enjoy learning and growing – it’s a big part of what brings satisfaction and accomplishment to life” (Sheila Heen, 2018)

 

At Blue Sky we believe that feedback is a gift. A feedback gift is something
a person says to you that, if you acknowledge it, creates an opportunity to deepen your understanding of yourself or the other person. It helps you better understand how that person is feeling or thinking. It helps you explore each other’s needs.

 

Download our ‘Gift of Feedback’ article to explore the art to receiving and giving feedback. The latter is important, but the former is critical.

 

We hope you find it useful, and please let us know how you get on!

 

 

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“Women who were leaders in 2017 were 22% more likely than male leaders, to be rated as ‘top performers’.” (Viser, 2017)

The end of the year. An opportunity to reflect on the various merits and perils of the last 365 days and put in place a series of tenets for the 12 months ahead with the intent of making them even more successful.

This year, I wanted to invest energy in the gender pay gap, our efforts thus far in tackling it and what could be done in the next 12 months to move that agenda forward. According to the ONS, progress in the UK is very slow – dropping by 0.6% in full-time employees since 2012. This result, over a backdrop of significant investment in women and strong campaigns within business and wider society to drive change, is troubling and needs reviewing.

When you dig into the stats, an interesting story comes to light…

In this E-book, Dan Mason explores what 2020 could mean for women in leadership: the year women storm the C-suite. Here’s what you can expect to get out of it:

The stereotypes are all empirical nonsense

  • Women are less effective negotiators. Nonsense… Jens Mazei and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of over 100 studies. They found some very small differences but in situations that would not occur in a business context
  • Women lack confidence. Again, nonsense. Kirsten Kling and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of over 200 studies and found very small differences in adolescence which had gone completely by 23 years old
  • Women are more risk averse. Again, nonsense. James Byrnes and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis which showed that the largest differences were in contexts that don’t apply to business
  • Women don’t put the hours in as they are more interested in family. This is as true of men as it is women. Nearly everyone in a Harvard Business School study placed a higher value on their family than work (Harvard Business Review, 2014)

We should not be focusing our efforts on training women to be more like men, we should be focusing on helping women build on their strengths.

I’ll say that again: Train women in great leadership, not male leadership.

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“According to a recent study by Randstad, 38% of workers want to leave their jobs due to a toxic work culture.”

 

At Blue Sky, we believe, managers are pivotal in setting the tone for workplace culture.

Unfortunately, leaders and managers can be a major cause of stress in the workplace. Whether intentional or not, some behaviours and characteristics can contribute to a negative, toxic and hostile working environment.

Most jobs have some level of stress, even on good days. However, if going to work (or just the thought of it) makes you feel depressed, anxious or even physically ill, then there’s more to it than just general stress: these could be signs of a toxic work environment. What do you do to fix it?

In this article, Sean Spurgin explains how to detox your company culture. Here’s what you can expect to get out of it:

 

How many of the following can you identify as toxic at your workplace?

  • Fear: the ultimate culture killer…
  • Gossip: we all hate the thought of people whispering behind our back…
  • Sabotage: competition can be healthy but sabotage can rear it’s ugly head…

 

The lay of the land

  • According to research, the average employee has been at their current company for 4.2 years – Bureau of Labour Statistics
  • 75% of people voluntarily leaving jobs don’t quit their jobs; they quit their bosses” – Roger Herman

 

What to do about your culture: the antidote

  • Blue Sky conduct over 50 diagnostics in FTSE 250 companies every year and part of the process puts us in front of employees to hear what they have to say. We have a wealth of experience at detoxifying company cultures
  • “Employees who say they have more supportive supervisors are 1.3 times as likely to stay with the organisation and are 67% more engaged” – New York Times

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If your business is struggling with cultural challenges, then take a look at our Management Development solutions. From 90-minute learning bite sessions to customised learning solutions – we are ready to help.

Check out our Management Development solutions and boost your skills.

 

““There are more differences within groups than between them.” 

 

In and out groups go far beyond the legal protected characteristics. And, while they are helpful in policy creating and measuring the success of such initiatives, they can also be a red herring that leads those in the majority group to dismiss the personal relevance of this important topic (especially where senior sponsorship is required). The fact is that most employees (61%) report having to hide who they are to fit in at work and, while this is higher in marginalised groups, it is also very high in the majority (almost 50%) (Yoshino & Smith, 2013).

In this E-book, we offer 9 lessons that move the D&I Dial. Here’s what you can expect to get out of it:

 

Four Pillars of Trust

  • How trustworthy are you?
  • Stephen Covey says that people continuously make an evaluation of how much they trust you based on your character and your competence: the Four Pillars of Trust (2006)

 

Creating psychological safety should be a core management practice for future leaders

  • Diverse teams create more innovation, increased knowledge sharing, better collatboration, increase engagement. (Newman et al, 2017).
  • neuroscience shows that, when our brains register a threat (and this includes a threat our psychological safety), blood flow is directed to the amygdala, which in turn directs blood flow to our limbs and away from our prefrontal cortex. This means there is less energy behind creativity and our drive for excellence, we’re in survival mode (HBR, 2019)

 

Managers are your largest lever for cultural change

  • Help overcoming their own self-enhancement bias around the topic
  • Help understanding the organisation’s inclusion narrative
  • Training on the behaviours that create psychological safety within their teams
  • A toolkit, or collection of exercises, that they can run with their teams to cascade the learning throughout the organisation

 

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read more of Dan Mason's D&I whitepaper

If you find Dan’s insights useful, then take a look at our Management Development Modules, our 90 minute training sessions to improve your management skills now.

After conducting over 400 diagnostics in FTSE 250 we have identified what makes good business and we’ve been people change experts for over 20 years. If this whitepaper talks about things you’re facing as a business, we’d like to help so get in touch.

 

“Studies show that the ROI in coaching is 7x the initial investment.”

 

Managers face a Tsunami of constant change, increasing demands from senior leaders and customers, increased team sizes and more complex problems to solve. Many managers feel they just don’t have time for coaching and developing their people. You can argue that that is kind of like not having time to take your car in for servicing and being surprised when it breaks down.

Coaching for many organisations has become about formal meetings, held once a month (if employees are lucky!). We believe coaching is a mindset and not a meeting. It is about having lots of different types of coaching conversations, in the moment.

In this E-book, we offer quick and simple coaching conversations that will inspire, engage and develop your people! Here’s what you can expect to get out of it:

 

Coaching is a mindset

  • How to coach in the moment and encourage the behaviours you want to see show up
  • Studies show that the ROI in coaching is 7x the initial investment, with more than 25% of coaching clients reporting an ROI of 10-49 times the cost

 

Don’t weigh the pig.

  • Avoid being transfixed by the number, or the KPIs. Focus on the input needed to improve performance and employee engagement
  • 147% higher earnings per share than the competition when companies increase their numbers of ‘talented’ managers

 

Grow your profits and improve service.

  • 3 top takeaways on how to boost the impact of your coaching
  • Today’s skills only have a life of 2 ½ to 5 years
  • How do up to date skills improve your performance and your profits? The answer: effective coaching

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If you find Sean’s insights useful, then take a look at our Management Development Modules, our 90 minute training sessions to improve your management skills now.

After conducting over 400 diagnostics in FTSE 250 we have identified the characteristics that great managers consistently display. Solutions configured to transform the everyday for your managers, their teams, peers and colleagues. Our modules are in a virtual classroom environment and bitesize so you can focus on the issues you’re experiencing in your workplace.

Check out our Management Development Modules and boost your coaching skills.

 

Want to spark brilliant conversations at the beginning of your event or team meeting?

Are you a leader, manager, facilitator, educator or anyone who wants to spark brilliant conversations? We’ve created this set of questions cards as an adaptation of the usual icebreaker. Use them at the start of an event or meeting to create connections, spark conversations, ignite discussion, spread ideas and give new perspectives.

There is one insightful question per card giving you the flexibility to use the cards in lots of creative ways. There are 13 question cards in each of the following categories: Personal (Knowing Me), Leadership, Creating The Right Climate and VX™ Value Experience.

Why use them?

The Brief Encounters cards…

  • Create a buzz and rapid connection at the beginning of any event, moving far beyond the usual ‘what’s your name and where do you come from’ icebreaker
  • Kick-start discussion and give light-bulb moments from the get-go
  • Give real insight and discussion to draw upon throughout your event
  • Encourage reflection and challenge thinking
  • Give people permission to be open and honest about the subject
  • Provide a rapid way to spread stories and ideas
  • Break-down any departmental, hierarchical and ‘us and them’ barriers

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“Training and coaching leads to an increase of 88% in productivity, versus 23% from training alone. Return on investment in training increase from 22% to 88% when supported with coaching.” – NLP

What are “Coach Me Cards”?

A set of cards designed to help you to master personal change. Whether you want to change your mindset, a behaviour, a habit or develop a skill, the ‘Coach Me’ cards will help you to challenge your thinking, gain new perspectives, overhaul unhelpful habits, beat your biases and break through assumed constraints.

Why use them?

 Change is not easy. If it was, 90% of people who have undergone heart surgery would not revert to unhealthy behaviour within two years. Deciding to do something and actually doing it are two different things.  All of us decide to make changes that then don’t happen. This makes us upset or frustrated or we see it as more validation to our view that ‘people don’t change’ or that ‘change is hard’.

The ‘Coach Me’ cards lift the lid on the mysteries of personal change. They show you how you can make change happen through being your own change coach. They’ll help you to connect deeply to the ultimate question: why change? They’ll support you in making a conscious choice about the specific change that you’re going to make and they’ll guide you through making a conscious change that sticks.

Who could use them?

Anyone who wants to change – whether you want to do something differently or be a better version of yourself.

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