Category Archives: Change

Soft Skills and Diversity

With increased migration rates, more fluid work arrangements and a general push for skill development across a variety of industries and fields, there is a much stronger focus on diversity than ever before.


However, for an organisation to be truly diverse the thinking needs to go beyond gender, age, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation and spiritual practice. Diversity includes flexibility of thought, leadership and communication styles. To put it more directly, diversity requires and demands the so-called “soft skills”. The increasing need for global workforces is stronger than ever and high performance teams need to have fully embraced, successfully harnessed and put into practice robust diversity programs than include a “soft skill” focus.

According to a recent Deloitte report, ‘Soft skills for business success’, even though non-technical skills have become widely acknowledged as important for workplace outcomes in addition to traditional technical skills, there is no universal definition for what these skills are or how they all fit together. By looking towards the growing presence of diversity alongside the growing need for soft skills, it becomes evident that the increase in one and the demand for the other are definitely related.

According to Deloitte’s report, “soft skills” refers to those skills that allow for greater communication, understanding and fluidity within the workplace. They are the skills that allow someone to get along with others for greater productivity, be self-motivated and be willing to learn new things for their own competency and the development of the company. Soft skills allow people and organisations to learn and achieve more through their diverse ways of thinking and acting to accommodate others and seize opportunity. Similarly, embracing diversity is all about breaking down previous barriers that served only to limit opportunity and neglect new ways of thinking. The main goals of embracing soft skills and diversity align: they both aim to embolden individuals with good emotional judgement and teamwork skills to foster better workplace culture.

Facilitated by technology and more liberal trade policies, the barriers between economies and once isolated communities are continuing to erode. Trade now represents nearly 30% of global GDP (and 20% in Australia) – and the value of trade is predicted to continue to grow according to the World Bank. Deloitte’s recent report found that the number of jobs in soft skill intensive occupations is expected to grow at 2.5 times the rate of jobs in less soft skill intensive occupations. And by 2030, Deloitte predict that soft skill intensive occupations will make up almost two-thirds of the workforce by 2030.

In order to stay competitive in this increasingly diverse, soft skill demanding environment, companies need to focus on diversity and look for ways to become more inclusive. Diversity has the potential to yield greater productivity and competitive advantages. Managing and valuing diversity is a key component of effective people management, which can improve workplace productivity. Changing demographics, from organisational restructuring, women in the workplace, equal opportunity legislation and other legal issues, are forcing organisations to become more aggressive in implementing robust diversity practices.

To stay ahead of the curve when it comes to both diversity and soft skills, there are steps you can take to introduce both key elements into your own business. There is no one single answer to address the gap in discussions around diversity and soft skills, encouraging a space for thought provoking ideas amongst your team, providing examples of where soft skills and diversity succeed (such as in the hiring or promotion of staff from diverse backgrounds) and implementation of soft skill diversity practices in your work environment are all good places to start. Most workplaces are diverse in many ways already, so why not embrace it and use it to your competitive advantage?

Managing diversity presents significant organisational challenges, and is not an easy task, particularly in organisations that are heavily weighted with highly technical professionals such as engineers, lawyers and accountants. However, the more you diversity can increase the soft skill base in your organisation and vice versa, the more prepared you will be for a future that demands soft skills and continues to embrace more diverse ideas.


Download this free white paper from LMA to learn more about relevant opinions on diversity, held by leaders, managers and employees throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Understanding the stages of team development | LMA

Embracing Positive Change

As a decision maker and problem solver, you must be prepared to embrace all of the risks associated with change.  There are common pitfalls that often ride on the back of both proactive and reactive change.


However, you can avoid these pitfalls if you are willing to pay the price of disturbing your own psychological comfort when choosing to change.

Listed below are a few challenges that should be considered when making a move towards change:

  • It will become necessary to defend yourself against traditional ways of thinking “We have always done it that way”. You may have to do without social approval for a time. You may also encounter resistance, especially if you are young or new at the job. Not only do some people instinctively resist change, they may actively insist that they are unable to learn a new procedure or change an old habit. When you believe in your decision, be consistent, stay firm and reinforce the need to change, even if you must do so repeatedly. Remain calm and unemotional, but determined. Be confident and lead by example.
  • People will be more likely to accept change when they see you embracing it with enthusiasm. When they see you not only survive, but thrive in a changed environment, they will be more willing to take the risks associated with a given change. Let your team members know that change is inevitable, and that your organisation will find a way to capitalise on change to succeed.
  • Sometimes, when seeing the scope of change in its full extent, it can seem completely overwhelming. Often change cannot be made in one easy step. Usually multiple areas of change happen concurrently or in gradual steps. It is easy to forget, that in life we rarely make entire changes in one attempt. One of the best ways forward is to break larger change projects down into smaller pieces that can be undertaken one piece at a time.  As a guiding rule for most people– ‘It is easier to embrace change when that change is gradual.’
  • Don’t be afraid to try new ideas or processes. However if you fail, fail in a correct way. In many organisations, people don’t understand the value of a failure. This is unfortunate because failure when innovating or experimenting with change, can be a good thing.  When implementing change, the correct way to fail means doing it quickly, at a low cost and never the same way twice. You don’t want to have too much money or time hinging on any one outcome. If you do, then failure is harmful, taking time and money away from other opportunities.  Testing your process on smaller scales projects allows for the risks to be lessened and the flow on effect to other areas is reduced.  Don’t forget to learn from your failures so that you don’t repeat them in the future.

Change IS necessary and it’s NOT evil. Learn to love change and you will be in a great position to succeed.  Leadership Management Australia has a variety of complementary resources which can be used to help support any change environment.

Build a Strong Foundation for Success

When you participate in leadership development training, you’re building on your previous experience and success. Your improved skills will enable you to get more done in less time and with less wasted effort, and as a result, you will become increasingly valuable to your chosen organisation.  Improved skills means less stress related to your responsibilities, so you will find yourself enjoying your job even more.

As you grow as a Leader, you will have a positive influence in three areas:

  1. In the organisation overall,
  2. With your own team members, and
  3. The work climate as a whole.


  • Your influence in the organisation: Organisations are much like human beings. Each copes with challenges in its own characteristic way and, operates in a manner designed to preserve its existence and succeed. An organisation is simply two or more people working toward a common goal. Regardless of the size of your organisation, being a leader calls for willingness to identify with your organisation’s purpose, to support it with your attitudes and your actions, and to facilitate the changes needed for the organisation’s ongoing success. Regardless of the type of your organisation – whether it’s a provider of services, a distributor of goods, or a manufacturer – you’re expected first of all to get results through your people in order to operate at a profit. Given defined human and financial resources, you must reach certain productivity goals. The nature of “profit” takes different forms according to the nature of the organisation, but the principle is the same.  “You are effective as a leader only when you manage the available resources to make the product or service worth more to the organisation than the cost of producing it.”  Although your personality characteristics and skills are important, your value to the organisation is generally measured by how effectively you’re fulfilling its mission and achieving cost-effective results.
  • Your influence on team members: In addition to understanding your responsibility to the organisation, you must also understand the needs and wants of the members of your work group. If you concentrate exclusively on your own needs and goals and neglect those of your team members, a deep rift in team relationships could develop. If you’re achievement oriented, you may be tempted to boost your own self-esteem by downplaying the contributions made by other team members. But when other team members feel that their efforts have been ignored or that their value has gone unrecognised, they view themselves as relatively unimportant to the organisation. Consequently, they feel less responsibility for being personally productive. Avoid this destructive pattern at all costs! Both you and your team members will enjoy the positive results of shared responsibility, achievement and recognition.
  • Your influence on the work climate: When you adopt a no-limitations belief in the potential and worth of every individual, you begin coaching each team member with an enthusiasm that says, “You can do it!” Your confidence in them gives them maximum opportunity to grow, to meet their own needs, and to contribute to the success of your department or work group. When you believe in the ability of people to perform productively, your expectations become a self-fulfilling prophecy. People tend to live up to what’s expected of them by others, especially by those they consider authority figures. When you demonstrate that you believe your team members can succeed, they’re willing to take more growth risks. A no-limitations belief in people also makes it easier for you to delegate various responsibilities and to trust your team members to get the help, resources and training they may need to successfully complete the tasks you assign. When you demonstrate your confidence in their ability to perform successfully, they will accept the challenge and work harder to meet your expectations.

Communication – The Two-Way Street to Dealing with Change and Uncertainty

Robert McCloskey once famously said “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant”. Or in other words, communication is fraught with enormous potential for misunderstanding, misinformation and misinterpretation such that we can never be quite sure what people have really heard.

One thing is for certain though – if you’re NOT communicating at all or are doing so intermittently or poorly, there will be large gaps between what you think you’re saying and what others think they are hearing (or not hearing as the case may be).  Our Real World Leadership resource can provide some great extra details.

Nearly half the leaders (47%) believe they’re communicating to a great extent about the future of the organisation yet just 29% of employees and 16% of managers believe this is the case.

Communication about your personal future

Employees about leader/Manager communication

Managers about leaders communication

Leaders about their communication to staff

Great extent




Moderate extent




Small extent




Not at all




Great/moderate extent




Small extent/not at all




Employees – To what extent have your business leaders and senior managers reassured you about your future with your organisation?

Managers – To what extent have your business leaders and senior managers communicated with you about your future with the organisation?

Leaders – To what extent have you communicated with your staff about their future with the organisation?

Leaders and managers need to recognise that reassurance about the organisation’s future and the future of individuals is paramount to securing a stable, productive and harmonious workforce.

Periodically ‘settling the horses’ by providing information, vision, direction and purpose to the people who make the organisation perform will help enable them to deliver results as a team. When this focus also highlights the future for each individual, their meaning and purpose become clearer and their performance improves as a result.  

Click here for some extended details from our L.E.A.D survey Whitepaper.

Leading Resolutions.

New Year Resolutions: eat healthier, lose weight, find love, and reach the top of Everest, however ambitious these resolutions seem, it is common practice for people to set themselves new personal goals to be achieved in the coming year.

So… why don’t we do this for our workplace?  Many leaders don’t even think to apply this form of self-reflection to their professional lives.  If that’s you, here are some resolutions that could help you drive new Win-Win goals for 2018.

Resolutions for the workplace:

Resolution 1) Plan to be successful:

Often it is a slow time of year when you return to the office after the summer break, try to use your fresh mindset and apply your organisational skills to look ahead and plan out the next few months.  Your stress can then be self-managed prior to your workload (and stress) increasing.  Setting goals for the year is also an effective means of self-assessment, did you hit the mark in May that you aimed for in January?

Resolution 2) Learn about or apply new technology to your workplace:

Everyone loves to find an easier way to do something, if it saves time, it generally also saves the company some revenue. Technology moves at such a rapid rate that unless you are keeping one finger on the pulse you can easily miss opportunities to improve the day to day processes of some activities.  Huge strides has been made in the automation of customer relationships via CRM tools, the management of sales lists via calendar programs, and the automation of data acquisition.  These technological improvements have made some heavy admin areas of operation a breeze.  Which in turn frees up your time to be used more effectively.

Resolution 3) Your attitude – new and positive:

The way you see your role can affect your attitude towards it. Do you see the value in how your role interacts with the surrounding business?  If not, look at some ways in which you can improve upon existing strategies. Improving productivity and performance can be as simple as having a discussion with your employers about the why your role performs the assigned tasks the way that it does.  This in turn can greatly help your understanding and conviction within each task.

Resolution 4) New and visually stimulating work areas:

Layout – if you were searching online for a weekend getaway, would you choose the location with bad lighting, cluttered spaces, and repeated layouts? No. You would choose the most visually appealing location that creates the feeling of freedom or inspiration.  Why doesn’t this intention apply to your work space?  Where possible it is recommended that you adapt or even change the layout of your work space as often as you can.  Adding family photos, scenic shots to inspire you or even the use of funny images can create a more visually stimulating environment for your mind.  This in turn improves on employee productivity and effectiveness. A happy worker is an effective worker.

Now that you have a few examples of professional resolutions its time to start setting yourself some of your own goals.

Any forethought is always a good idea.  For those interested, LMA offers a wide degree of courses to help develop forward thinking and goal orientated thinking, click here to find out more.

Coping With Change

One of the main pressures on the leadership development process is change. Our organisations are changing like never before and at all levels we’re being forced to accept that change is not just good for us, it’s essential – for sustainability, functionality, efficiency and profitability.

Coping with change has therefore evolved to become a core skill for leaders, managers and employees at all levels.

So how well are you coping with change in a fast-paced, ever-changing organisational world?

Since the L.E.A.D. Survey began, we’ve been asking how well people at all levels cope with change:

  • Employees believe they personally cope with change better than their leaders and managers believe their employees do – 93% very or quite well compared to 79% of leaders and 76% of managers. Even so, the proportion of employees believing they cope Very Well with change is steady at a little over a quarter (28%), down from 35% a decade ago.
  • On the other hand, leaders and managers believe they personally cope with change better than their employees believe their leaders and managers do – 91% of leaders and 89% of managers compared to 81% of employees. Again, the extent to which leaders and managers feel they cope Very Well has settled at around a third for leaders (37%) and a quarter for managers (24%) – both down around 10 points over the past decade.

It would seem that at all levels we’re comfortable with change and do not fear it. Over the long-term our ability to adapt has held us in good stead and enabled organisations and their employees to address significant global, national and local challenges.

However, our confidence in coping with change appears to have waned somewhat, presenting leaders and managers with an opportunity to help their people become more resilient.

Employees coping with change

Employees coping with change
(Employee view)
Very well 36 35 29 29 27 28
Quite well 58 57 66 65 67 65
Not very well 3 6 4 4 4 5
Not at all well 1
Not sure 2 2 1 2 2 2


Employees coping with change 
(Manager view)

Very well 7 10 9 9 7 8
Quite well 68 70 70 66 69 69
Not very well 21 19 18 22 20 20
Not at all well 1 1 2 3 2 2
Not sure 1 1 1 1 1


Employees coping with change 
(Leader view)

Very well 20 14 13 12 13 17
Quite well 70 65 76 67 69 62
Not very well 8 18 10 18 16 18
Not at all well 1 1 3 1 1
Not sure 1 1 1 1 1

Q. Change affects people at different levels in organisations in different ways. When it comes to dealing with the magnitude and pace of change affecting your organisation, how well would you say you personally (your staff) are coping with change?

What do leaders and managers need to be doing?

  • Provide appropriate support to enable change to be undertaken – very often change is implemented and then we move onto other more pressing matters, forgetting that ongoing support for change and feedback is vital to ensure the change continues to work as planned.
  • Continue to skill the workforce to embrace and deal with change – equip them with tools and techniques to successfully plan, lead and embed change. Celebrate successful change and learn from less
    successful change initiatives.
  • Involve people early and deeply in change – as drivers of change rather than victims of change – the earlier and more deeply we involve our people in change, the greater their commitment to planning and implementing the change to deliver success. They begin to own the change and support it rather than being victims or spectators of the change process.
  • Communicate widely, regularly and consistently about change that is taking place – communication underpins our leadership competencies and therefore our ability to successfully lead change.  Communication provides the opportunity to seek input, gain commitment and buy-in and work collaboratively to make the change a reality.

Leaders and managers coping with change

Q. How well would you say you (your leaders and senior managers) are coping with change?

Leaders and managers coping with change
(Leader view)
Very well 47 25 39 34 41 37
Quite well 49 54 57 59 52 54
Not very well 3 16 3 7 6 10
Not at all well 1 4
Not sure 2 1


Leaders and managers coping with change
(Manager view)
Very well 31 32 30 26 27 24
Quite well 62 62 65 69 68 65
Not very well 6 6 5 5 5 10
Not at all well 1
Not sure 1


Leaders and managers coping with change
(Employee view)
Very well 23 21 17 15 18
Quite well 56 61 62 63 63
Not very well 14 13 15 16 14
Not at all well 2 3 2 2 2
Not sure 4 2 4 3 3

How to develop leadership at all levels

For organisations to succeed in today’s ever changing competitive business environment, they must tap into the leadership potential of their people at all levels. Leadership throughout the organisation is essential for its overall competitiveness, profitability and sustainability.

This concept of ‘leadership at all levels’ should not be taken lightly. A culture of leaders developing leaders empowers the entire workforce, engages people’s discretionary effort and capitalises on the full potential of all employees. Therefore those in formal leadership roles have a tremendous responsibility to lead by example. As a result they must develop and exhibit the right leadership abilities and characteristics.

Everyone has the potential to be a leader. There is an old saying “Leaders are not born, they are made”. Progressive organisations encourage and commit to developing leadership abilities in all employees. There is nothing that restricts the development of people’s personal leadership potential more than the artificial limitations that people place on themselves. Everyone can develop their leadership potential and contribute greatly to the productivity, performance, success and sustainability of the organisation. When people let their determination, self-motivation, strengths and abilities drive them to improve their leadership skills, they improve their own work and contribute to those around them. They don’t need additional tools. They just need to develop their leadership abilities and characteristics.

Practice the following suggestions to improve your leadership effectiveness and success.

  • Work with your team members to create a vision of excellence and meaningful values for your team.
  • Share the specific goals and objectives for your team and show them how they contribute towards their accomplishment.
  • Become genuinely interested in seeing them achieve their personal and career goals.
  • Lead by example. Let your actions be those that you’d like your team to emulate and follow.
  • Be a good teacher, student and communicator. Share your insights and experiences with others in your team.
  • Respect others’ experience and ask for their ideas and suggestions – then , listen to these ideas and suggestions , really listen!. Some of the best ideas for improvement in the team’s operations will come from other members of the team. Show them that you value and care about their input and ideas.
  • Trust the people you work with. Without trust and mutual respect between the team leader and team members, low performance and poor morale prevail.
  • Provide opportunities for others to learn how to solve problems. Show that you trust them by empowering them to take on additional responsibilities in the areas of decision making and problem solving.
  • Continue to extend and broaden your knowledge about technical advances or other issues that affect your field of operation.
  • Talk to people at all levels within the organisation and seek and value their feedback.
  • Coach and mentor your team members, share new information and up-skill them at every opportunity.
  • In the area of making the most of your time, lead by example. Discipline yourself to use a daily planner, avoid interruptions and prioritise your activities during the day.
  • Conduct meetings in a timely and efficient manner. Have an agenda prepared and distributed to everybody ahead of time.
  • Work to keep the meetings focused on the Agenda and outcomes.
  • Recognise team members for their efforts. Thank them for jobs well done and provide recognition and, if appropriate, rewards.
  • Be available to your team.
  • Be reliable. Do what you say you will do. Reliability shows integrity and provides stability, strength and confidence in your team members. You are also demonstrating another characteristic in which you are leading by example.

Please consider and use some, or all of the above suggestions to develop your leadership, and encourage others to develop their own leadership potential in the same way.

How to Plan and Conduct an Effective Performance Improvement Conversation

Leaders and managers often lament the “difficult conversations they have to have” with staff about performance – whether it be to address a specific behavioural problem or highlight an attitude that is less than ideal in the individual.

In almost all instances, this conversation seeks to bring about a change in the individual that has to come from them and to which they must commit.


Here’s a practical process for planning and conducting these conversations to achieve better outcomes:

Process for Conducting Performance Improvement Conversations (Behaviour or Attitude Related)
  Step Examples
1 Explain the nature of the problem, issue or concern I’ve noticed / I’ve become aware of / Someone has informed me that issue / attitude/behaviour is happening / that performance is not where it is required to be…
2 Provide some specific and objective evidence to support your comments (not hearsay or opinion) Here’s some information / stats about the problem
3 Explore the reason it is a problem, issue or concern and outline of consequences as appropriate This is a problem for me/the organisation because… If this continues it creates the further problem of…
4 Question for understanding I’d like to understand more about why this is happening so that we can work together to prevent it in the future. Why do you think this is happening? What do you believe is causing it to happen? What else?
5 Communicate collaboratively to search for possible solutions What could we do to overcome / solve / fix / improve the situation? What options are available to us to address this? What else? (If key options not mentioned – I think we could also consider options including…)
6 Selecting the best option From all of those options, which one(s) would make the biggest difference / get the best outcome / could you implement to address the situation? Which others? (If key options not mentioned – I think we could also consider doing …)
7 Agree on option(s) So let’s just confirm that we are both in agreement that you’ll do….and I’ll do…
to support you…
8 Agree on measure(s) Let’s talk about how we are going to measure this. What will be different once this option has been implemented? What will you do differently? What will I be doing differently?
9 First actions to implement the agreed option So what’s the first step in making these things happen? Where would it make sense to start? What would you do then? And then?
10 Agreed follow up I’d like us to meet again in X days/weeks to check that everything is working to plan and to make any adjustments we may need and check the measures we’ve put in place

Extracted from LMA’s High Performance Management, (Diploma of Management). To find details about the next High Performance Management course or our entire course range, please click here.

Key to Success – Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

One of the greatest keys to success, in both your personal and professional life, is effective goal setting; and the way in which you express a goal can have a significant influence on your likelihood of achieving it. 

One of LMA’s key principles of effective goal setting is that your goals must be S.M.A.R.T. goals.

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for the five qualities of an effective goal.  A S.M.A.R.T. goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Tangible. If you ensure that you set S.M.A.R.T. goals it will better enable you to devise specific Action Steps for the achievement of those goals.

S stands for SPECIFIC. One of the most important qualities of an effective goal is that it’s specific.  A specific goal clearly defines exactly what you want to accomplish, and therefore has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a vague goal.

To set a specific goal, ask yourself:

  • WHO? List who is involved
  • WHAT? Determine what you want to accomplish
  • WHERE? Identify a location
  • WHEN? Establish a time frame
  • WHICH? Identify requirements and constraints
  • WHY? Specify the reasons or purpose and the benefits of accomplishing the goal

One simple action you can take to make your goals more specific is to write them down. By writing them down in “black and white”, you will see more clearly where your goal is specific and where it isn’t.

M stands for MEASURABLE. A goal is measurable when it can be quantified. Establish concrete criteria and a process for measuring your progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.

To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as:

  • “How much?”
  • “How many?”
  • “How will I know when it is accomplished?”
  • “What methods of measurement will I use?”

When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued improvement and ongoing success.

A stands for ATTAINABLE. A goal is attainable when it is humanly possible to accomplish. When you identify the goals that are most important to you, you begin to find ways to make them come true. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals and you develop the abilities, skills and financial capability to reach them.

You can attain most of the goals you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals, you build your self-image, you see yourself as worthy of these goals and you develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.

R stands for REALISTIC. A goal is realistic when it represents an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work towards. Realistic is relative to each person based on their own situation at a given point in time.  If you rarely exercise it would be an unrealistic goal to complete a marathon this weekend.

A goal is realistic when you truly believe that it can be accomplished with the time and resources available to you. One way to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past. Another way to help you determine if a goal is realistic is to ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.

A goal can be both high and realistic. You are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be, but be sure that every goal represents substantial progress. A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts a low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seemed easy, simply because they were a labour of love and motivated you.  So, if you love to run, perhaps a more realistic goal is to complete a half-marathon in three months time… and so on.

T stands for TANGIBLE. A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses: taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing.  In other words, you must be able to feel and sense what it will be like when your goal is accomplished.

When you make your goal specific, you’re usually able to “see it.”  But to truly make your goal tangible, you must add one or more of the other senses.  Then you’ll actually be able to experience it “in advance”, giving yourself sufficient “pull” to help overcome present road blocks or behaviour patterns.

When your goal is tangible, or when you tie an intangible goal to a tangible, you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.

Intangible goals are your goals for the internal changes required to reach more tangible goals. They are the personality characteristics and the behaviour patterns you must develop to pave the way to success and the achievement of your other goals. Since intangible goals are vital for improving your effectiveness, give close attention to tangible ways of measuring them. Ask yourself “What evidence of accomplishment will there be when I reach this goal?”

If you are interested in knowing more about this and other keys to success that will dramatically improve your leadership, productivity, and performance, contact LMA today.

Do Not Disturb – Dealing With Disruptions More Effectively

High performing employees at all levels know the value of their own time. Everyday interruptions that remove a person’s focus from their most important, High Payoff Activities (HPA’s), are costly to both personal and team productivity.

One of the biggest issues with interruptions is that they break your focus, which means you spend time realigning your thought process to where it was before you were interrupted. Research shows that this can take up to 11 minutes. Furthermore, since the number of hours each of us has in our workday is limited, unplanned interruptions have the potential to add additional pressure to meet key deadlines and targets.

The following basic strategies, that we call “The Five Ds of Disruptions” will assist you to reduce the time and productivity cost of unplanned interruptions.

The Five Ds of Disruptions:

Decide: If a tasks requires 100% of your attention, schedule it when you are least likely to be disturbed.

Defer: Learn to say ‘No’ in an assertive way. If an interruption is not critical, agree to meet and discuss the issue at a time that suits you. Saying something like, “I am happy to meet and discuss this at 3.00pm today. Are you available then?” will not offend anyone, and you defer the interruption to a time that better suits you.

Discourage: Focus on controlling others’ accessibility to you. Close your door if this is possible. If not, communicate realistic boundaries and expectations to those around you by letting them know that you have an HPA to work on, and what time of day you will be available.

Deal with it: There are times when you will have no choice but to respond to the interruption. In these instances, focus conversations of action and results, then return your attention to your HPAs.

Delegate: If you are losing a lot of your productive time through interruptions that relate to tasks that someone else could do, start the process of delegating these.

LMA has  a wide variety of course to help you deal with disruptions and their management.  Click here to find more information on our courses and how they can help.