How to Beat Procrastination

August 7, 2014 in At Work, Leadership, Personal Development, Skills Development, Small Businesses

The key to beating procrastination, surprise surprise, lies with you.

It’s no big secret that to get over procrastination you need to get up off your butt and get down to work, but what makes it so difficult?

Is it the thought of the work that’s so unappealing? Is it just too difficult to focus with that Facebook tab blinking a notification at you? Maybe you can’t help but overhear a colleague’s problem and helping him fix it seems more interesting that getting through your own to-do list…

Whatever your cause for distraction, the bottom line is that only when these have been eliminated will you be able to really focus on your work.

What this means is that you have to identify your potential distractions, and then block them.

Close any internet tabs you aren’t working with, put your phone on silent and hang a Do Not Disturb sign on your office door, then calmly think through what it is you have to do and lastly, do it!

Once you get started in earnest it becomes just as easy to get lost in your work as it is to procrastinate – the only difference is that you’ll feel a sense of achievement instead of guilt or anxiety.

Win Win!

Staff Training is a South African soft skills training provider. Contact us for more information.

What to Consider when Preparing a Room for Training

July 29, 2014 in At Work, Personal Development, Skills Development, Small Businesses

Often companies opt to use their own premises for training, but fail to properly prepare the training room, leading to all sorts of delays that could otherwise have been avoided.

When deciding to host an in-house workshop, besides the actual prepping of the room itself, one of the most important things to remember is to inform all the delegates and the trainer of exactly where (i.e. in what room or building) the training will be.

Once this information is out there you can move on to prepping the training room.

1. Seating arrangements

You will need to ensure that there are enough tables and chairs for all the delegates (plus one for the trainer), and if possible arrange these in a U-shape. Alternatively you can arrange these in a school-classroom fashion, i.e. in pairs. Make sure that there is enough room for the delegates to move around without falling over or disrupting their colleagues.

2. Projector and whiteboard

Trainers will often make use of visual presentations when conducting their training, so be sure to have a projector available. Trainers will also need a whiteboard/flipchart for making notes and illustrations.

If you do not have access to these the trainer can usually bring them with, but be sure to make this arrangement with the training provider well in advance of the workshop.

3. House rules

It is important to establish some rules prior to the training, such as:

Cellphones switched off
No Interruptions
Be punctual

4. Stationery

When the training is at your premises is it up to your employees to ensure that they have pens, pencils, writing paper, and if requested by the training provider, laptops available during the workshop.

Other things you may want to think about with regards to in-house training are:

Refreshments, i.e. water on the tables, mints/sweets, tea and coffee.
Informing the trainer of where parking will be available.

And what else?

How to choose the right training for your staff

Preparing the learners for the training

- Ensure follow-up and behaviour change after the training

Staff Training is a soft skills training provider offering more than 40 training courses nationwide. Contactinfo@StaffTraining.co.za or call (021) 839 3021 for more info.

How to Prepare Your Employees for Training

July 29, 2014 in At Work, Leadership, Personal Development, Skills Development, Small Businesses

To ensure both you and your employees get the most out of their training, it is important to properly prepare the learner before they embark on their course.

As the training organiser it is up to you to ensure that your learners are fully prepared for their training. This means answering any questions the learners might have, as well as assisting them in identifying their desired goals from the training.

The questions you as the training organiser should be prepared to answer when meeting with the learner(s) are:

1. Where the training will take place

If the training is being hosted at the training provider’s venue, ensure that any maps and additional information from the provider has been supplied to the delegate well before the training takes place. If the training is in-house (at your premises) then you will need to inform the delegate of which room/building the training will be presented in.

2. The times and dates of the training

Always ensure the delegates are fully aware of what time the training commences, how many days the training covers and what time it is scheduled to adjourn.

3. What the learner needs to bring

Often all the learner will need to take with to the training is a pen, however, in some instances training providers request that laptops and/or recent reports/business letters/minutes are also brought with. Ensure that this information is passed on to the learner well in advance of the training.

There are also various other things you will need to cover with the delegate before the training, such as ensuring that the delegate knows why s/he is going on training, what the learner hopes to achieve from the training and what the organisation hopes to achieve by sending him/her on training.

As the training organiser it is your job to get the delegate thinking about what he or she wants to accomplish on the day, what they hope to get out of the trainer and what they hope to get out of themselves.

Learners who are fully prepared for training get more out of it and are able to implement the new skills they have learnt more quickly and more effectively, as more of their time is spent productively thinking about their goals etc., as opposed to worrying about how to get to the training or where it is.

What else should you consider?

How to choose the right training for your staff

Preparing a training room for the training

- Ensure follow-up and behaviour change after the training

Staff Training is a soft skills training provider offering more than 40 short courses. Contact us at (021) 839 3021 for more information or drop us an email.

How to Choose the Right Training for Your Staff

July 24, 2014 in At Work, Leadership, Skills Development, Small Businesses

And how to ensure you both get the most from it!

Before sending your staff on training there are two important factors you must first consider:

1. What training course will be the most appropriate for your employee/s?

2. Do the employees understand the reason for the training?

In order to address both of these questions at once the easiest thing to do is simply include your employees in the planning process.

Helping your employees understand that training is an investment in their future with the company helps them to be more open and responsive to the training itself.

Often when there is a lack of communication with employees about training, bar perhaps a notification to attend, the employee can only speculate as to the reason they’ve been chosen to be trained.

“Am I bad at my job?” “Am I being punished for something?” “Why is it only me going for training?”

With these questions running through their heads they come to the training, defensive and demotivated instead of excited and ready to learn.

It’s for this reason that it’s so important to engage with the employee long before the training takes place. Explain the value of training for both the employee and the company, decide together what training would bring about the most benefit, and ensure that your employees understand the process of assessments should you require them.

Remember that you are all on the same team and all have the same goals.

The key to this is of course communication. Without it our employees have only their own assumptions to rely on – and these are often highly negative, demotivating thoughts which are unfounded and unnecessary.

What else should you consider?

Preparing the learners for the training

- Preparing a training room for the training

- Ensure follow-up and behaviour change after the training

Staff Training is a soft skills training provider offering more than 40 training courses nationwide. Contact info@StaffTraining.co.za or call (021) 839 3021 for more info.

What Colour are Your Office Walls?

July 9, 2014 in At Work

Whether you’re aware of it or not, colour affects your thinking and behaviour each and every day – so bear this in mind next time you redecorate!

Choosing a colour for the office walls seems like a trivial task. A mere detail. Something that needn’t be given much thought. On the contrary, however, the colour you choose to paint the walls will affect the overall mood, productivity and energy levels of everyone in the office for as long as they are there.

Sound like hokus pokus? I assure you, this is science!

Now, if you were to ask Google (like I do for every important decision I make) what colour to paint your office, you’d find that most results suggest blue. Blue is a calming colour, they say, and leads to the highest productivity.

Calm and productive is good, but what if calm isn’t really your style? What if calm isn’t going to get the job done?

Say for instance your line of work is one that relies on your creativity. In this case you’d find that yellow is a better colour, bringing out optimism, self-esteem, confidence, extraversion and creativity.

Another scenario is one where it’s physical activity taking place and not brain-work. In this instance you’d want a colour like red to stimulate strength, energy and physical courage as opposed to the calming effects of blue.

Find out which colours would bring about the environment you’d like to create here.

What colour are your office walls? Are they conducive to your work environment?
Staff Training is a soft skills training provider. Contact us at info@StaffTraining.co.zaor call (021) 839 3021.

Defensiveness in the Workplace

June 4, 2014 in At Work, Leadership, Personal Development, Skills Development

Why are we wasting so much time on defensiveness in the workplace and how do we move forward?

In my opinion it is rather simple: We’re scared.

Mostly the fear is a perception that someone else will think that we aren’t good enough to do the job. Or we’re afraid of a loss of face. Or in some instances possibly disciplinary action. Mostly though, it is the whole trust issue and that if we do admit to this error, will our managers be able to trust us again?

So because of this perception we shift blame, we procrastinate, we defend, we even lie in the most extreme of cases.

How can we move forward?

Definitely by doing some inner-work. Self-knowledge, possibly through coaching, emotional intelligence training and some reading of great books. There are so many that it is difficult to begin listing them, suffice to say, check out the psychology and/or self-help section at your closest book store and start with the one that speaks to you. If the pupil is ready, the teacher will surface.

Debbie Engelbrecht is the CEO of Staff Training, a soft skills training company offering more than 40 short courses. Contact us at (021) 839 3021 or info@StaffTraining.co.za 

When personal views affect business

April 8, 2014 in At Work, Leadership

How important are your personal views when it comes to your business? The short answer is: very.

While you might think that your personal opinions and views are entirely detached from your business and how it operates (why should it matter if you wear real fur outside of work?), when you’re in a high-level position the lines can become blurred – after all, you’re one of the decision makers.

People tend to see you and the company as one and the same, which means a controversial view or decision by you almost always affects the company, especially in bigger companies who are often in the public eye.

This lesson was recently learnt the hard way by co-founder and recently appointed CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, who in 2008 made a donation to support a same-sex marriage ban campaign in California.

While his contribution was met by the public with negativity at the time, it was not until he was appointed CEO that the outrage bubbled over the surface.

Among those opposed to Eich’s appointment as CEO were online dating website OKCupid, whose visitors using the Mozilla Firefox web browser were stopped before being able to access the site and greeted with the following message:

“Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience. Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.”

Also found on this page were links to download alternative browsers, although Firefox users could still continue if they wished.

Eich has since stepped down as CEO.

So what can we learn from this?

While one could argue that what someone says or does in a personal capacity, as long as it’s not illegal or malicious, should be accepted according to our laws regarding freedom of expression and not associated with our businesses; we have to be realistic and accept that this is not the case and our personal views can and do affect how people see the companies we run.

All we can advise is that you think about how your words and actions may reflect on your business. If your views and the company’s views do not align, be aware that publicly acknowledging this could cause you and the business to both come under fire.

The same goes for the comments and updates you post to social media and other sites – while you are entitled to your own personal views you need to always be mindful of how these views may reflect on you and your future prospects.

Sometimes it is best to err on the side of caution. Controversy can occasionally be good for business, but usually the opposite is true.

Staff Training is a soft skills training provider. For more info on our training options please call (021) 839 3021 or drop us an email.

Do you and your body speak the same language?

April 4, 2014 in At Work, Leadership, Personal Development, Skills Development

They say it’s not what you say, but HOW you say it that matters. That might be the case, but what if your body language says something different altogether?

When communicating with our employees and colleagues we often pay close attention to the words we use, and many of us are even mindful to put them across in a way that we think the listener will be receptive to.

But what we forget to take note of is what our bodies are saying.

Body language is something all of us use and interpret every day, mostly on a subconscious level. That wild arm waving and gesticulation you do while speaking on the phone? That’s your body trying to help you communicate.

Whether you’re aware of it or not your body is constantly speaking on your behalf; and the other person, whether they’re aware of it or not, is always trying to interpret that body language.

That’s why it’s so important that you become aware of what your body is saying so you can ensure that your message is clear.

For example, a very relaxed posture while reprimanding someone could lessen the impact of your words, or an unintended smile while dealing with a serious matter could undermine its import.

Making sure that your body language is doing what it’s supposed to, which is to affirm what you’ve said, is a key step to excellent communication. And all it takes is a little attention!

Staff Training is a soft skills training provider. Contact us at (021) 839 3021 or drop us an email.

How to Become an Early Riser

March 31, 2014 in At Work, Personal Development, Skills Development

If you’re one of the people who knows the benefits of waking up early, but can’t seem to get up before snoozing the alarm three times, then this article is for you…

Waking up earlier in the mornings helps us to be more productive, more organised and in the long run can make us happier people, but if you’ve ever tried it then you’ll know that sticking to it is much easier said than done.

So, we’re going to let you in on a little secret.

The trick to waking up earlier is this:

1. Put your alarm clock out of arm’s reach.

Ensuring that your feet have to touch the floor before you can turn off your alarm clock is a great way of helping you to not go straight back to sleep. You’ll probably still have to fight the urge to get back into bed, but at least half the battle is won.

2. Gradually wake up earlier and earlier.

Don’t decide that you’d like an extra two hours in the morning, set your alarm for two hours earlier and expect to feel fresh and alert in the morning. Our bodies don’t like this. If you want to wake up two hours earlier rather keep setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier each day until you reach your target waking time.

3. Switch on the lights once you’re awake.

Make an effort to turn on the lights once you’re awake. Not only does this make you feel less groggy but it also helps to set your internal clock’s day/night cycle, meaning that before you know it you’ll be waking up naturally around the same time as your alarm.

4. Keep track of your progress.

It is so easy when lying in bed, the alarm clock blaring next to you, to just turn it off and creep back into your warm bed. It takes a lot of self-control to say no to that inner voice that’s asking for just another five minutes under the duvet, which is why we suggest keeping track of your success at waking earlier. Once you’ve had a few days where you’ve woken up early and see your progress moving along you will become less likely to want to break the string of successes.

Remember: It takes about two weeks for a repeated behaviour to become a habit. Stick with it when the going is tough and before you know it you’ll be one of those people who naturally rises with the sun, happy and ready for the day.

Staff Training is a soft skills training provider. Contact us at (021) 839 3021 or drop us an email.

Team leading with the Enneagram

March 26, 2014 in At Work, Leadership, Personal Development, Skills Development, Small Businesses

To manage and lead a team effectively it is crucial that we have an understanding of how our team operates, what drives them and what causes them to get stuck.

Unfortunately we don’t always know our teams. They could be made up of people from different departments; could have new people coming and going as time goes by; or maybe team building isn’t a thing at your company and you simply aren’t very well acquainted with your co-workers.

Taking the time out to get to know them is also not always an option because this cuts into time that should be spent completing the project, so our choices become: A) Try to lead a team you don’t know very well and hope for the best, or B) Get to know the team in order to lead them more effectively, but sacrifice precious work time in order to achieve this.

Neither of these options are ideal from a productivity perspective, but what if there was a third option?

Ahh but there is!

Thanks to the folks over at Integrative Enneagram Solutions a tool now exists which aims to not only give us a clearer understanding of how we operate, but helps us understand how others operate as well.

With the Enneagram we become more in-tune to different people’s communication needs, allowing us to adapt our approach to get the best results.

The Enneagram helps us understand exactly what it is that helps motivate the individual members of our teams as well as identifying their core fears, which we can then incorporate into our entire approach, from communication to incentives, resulting in comfortable, happy and contented team members.

At Staff Training we recognise the value of modern leadership tools such as this, and apart from using it within our own company (which we do) we have also incorporated it into various short courses including our 3 Day Leadership +, Enneagram and Emotional Intelligence and Enneagram for Team Development.

To find out more about the Enneagram click here to read our FAQ.

Staff Training presents more than 40 soft skills training short courses nationwide. Contact (021) 839 3021 for more info or drop us an email.