Categories
Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 48

12 Lessons From The “Trillion Dollar Coach” Bill Campbell​ For You To Apply This Week.

Dear leaders,

I trust you had a good weekend. 

In 2016 I was told about a legendary coach in Silicon Valley named Bill Campbell who had just passed away. 

A TLDR backstory of Bill:

Bill was a coach of an unsuccessful sports team for Columbia, Bill then moved into the business world and had successes at Kodak and Apple before becoming the go-to c-suite coach. 

Bill’s coaching roaster is a who’s who of Silicon Valley. Bill helped the likes of:

  • Google’s former chairman Eric Schmidt, founders Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and current Alphabet CEO Sindar Pichai,
  • Apple’s leaders including co-founder Steve Jobs, long-serving exec Phil Schiller and even current CEO Tim Cook.
  • Ex CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer
  • The current COO at Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg
  • Alongside leading Intuit’s Brad Smith and business hero Amazon’s chairman Jeff Bezos (read the business lessons from Jeff Bezos).

Bill’s life and legacy are told in a brilliant biography Trillion Dollar Coach by Former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Google’s Comms leader Alan Eagle and SVP’s of Product Jonathan Rosenberg. 

I took a stack of notes and have applied a number of these lessons to a number of my coaching clients. 

So, here are the 12 most applicable lessons from the biography and you can apply daily: 

  1. Don’t be the hero 
  2. Don’t be a fixer 
  3. Ask questions and push those towards the answer 
  4. Don’t assume employees respect you because of your title 
  5. Lean into the hard problems 
  6. Guide people to opportunities – many don’t see it myself 
  7. It’s not about you – it’s about the team 
  8. Listen to what people want and give them a process to an outcome 
  9. Never give people the answer 
  10. Park your ego – constantly put it in check 
  11. Treat everyone with dignity, even in failure
  12. Get rid of people with bad attitudes. You need people that care about the outcome 

I highly recommend reading the full book, if you don’t think you have the time, this video from The Tim Ferriss podcast with Eric Schmidt is worth the watch. 

The message: Don’t think you do not need help, you will benefit from a coach.

Good luck with rolling these out and remember often it’s about guiding people and offering a light at the end of the tunnel than giving the answer in success and in failure. 

Thanks, 

Danny Denhard  – Focus Founder & Head Coach (I offer management and executive coaching, start your career development today)

Categories
Focus News

Announcing The Future State Of Podcast

The Future State of podcast is a series of conversations between Nick Walter, the CEO of an extended reality* company Vortic and I.  

Nick and I have known each other for over ten years and often have numerous phone calls and long message threads about the state of an industry and how we think and how we would tackle that industry moving forward.

Nick and I have worked in bootstrapped businesses, successful startups and large organisations we have a good perspective on what’s happening and where the industry is and potentially should go.

The Podcast Explained

Nick and I deep dive into important and up-and-coming business areas, we discuss the current state of that particular business area, we debate what the important areas are, the opportunity in the market and then we provide our hot takes and the future state of that industry.

The podcast is weekly and typically goes live on Thursday’s.

Research & Insights Driven

We take a number of hours each week to research and talk to business minds within the space to be able to tackle rich and immersive topics.

The Future State podcast was built to provide more than just what is happening in the news or what you can read with a quick Google search, we break down each episode with our full notes not just show notes and we share our notes and insights via email so you never have to take too many notes and never miss an episode.

Why Listen?

Nick and I don’t hold back on opinions and potential actions so it’s not just another bland business podcast without personality or qualified opinion.

The First Three Episodes Cover:

  1. The future state of brand endorsements and brand partnerships.
    Why Anthony Joshua and Revolut might just be another Instagram deal
  2. The future state of football.
    Why the business side of the European Super League is so important and overlooked
  3. The future state of conferences
    Why large conferences might have died and why going niche might just be the answer for the organisers, the attendees and the speakers.

Sign Up & Get Insights & The Podcast Delivered To You

Or visit thefuturestate.co.uk and read (and listen) to the full industry breakdown.

Listen To The First Three Episodes:

The Future State Of Work The Future State Podcast

The Future State Of Work 👩‍💻The future of work has been a hot topic for the past three years, the pandemic has really shifted how many businesses operate and highlighted how slow some companies have been to change their old ways of working. The future state of work is going to be led by a few but followed by many, even the big companies are struggling to keep staff engaged let alone happy. This week Nick and I discuss: The future state of work Why micromanagers are going to have to change Why so many managers have been shown upWhy HR isn’t the right team to lead The impact of a new hire – the culture community managerWhy hybrid is going to be a tougher choice for employees and businesses The challenge for old school managers to change with the times The investment required for businesses Some future thinking hot takes that you will want to hear including company currencies, the importance of mental & physical health being equal & Why part-timers & side hustles might be the choice for many Supporting Podcast Links Company Culture LinksAre you creating the right company cultureWhat is company cultureThe Hybrid office e-bookDesigning the hybrid office guide✚ Why you should listen to feedback – Funny TikTokNew tools to improve hybrid around.co – campfire video tool with integrated notes that send after the meeting and is floating head based so can work and conference call at the same time Butter.us – a way to ideate, brainstorm or present in a better way gatheround.com – better way to bring people together based on Q&A  Basecamp IssuesOriginal Story (link)Follow Up with 1/3 of senior workforce taking buyout (link)Open letter from ex member of the Basecamp teamSummarised on this week in startups (YouTube link)A Reminder: What Is The Podcast? The Future State – Modern business & future trends explored by Nick Walter & Danny Denhard. 
  1. The Future State Of Work
  2. The Future State Of Conferences
  3. The Future State Of Football – The European Super League

Subscribe on your Podcast app of choice: Apple // Spotify // Amazon Music // Listen Notes // Mixcloud // Deezer // Simplecast // or via RSS.


*What is XR

Categories
Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 46

My Go To Operational & Organisational Tips 

26th April 2021,

Dear leaders, I trust you had a good week and ready for the week ahead.

Some of the most popular leaders letters are me sharing my way of work and the frameworks I use.

So here is a select series of my operational ways of work:

Split out your browsers, inboxes and messages 

  • One for work 
  • Home for another. 

Helps you prioritise, maintain and apply prioritisation. 

Take and keep notes but have a system  

  • I am a huge note taker and keeping a record, especially of micro-moments, select one way of taking notes, often in person pen and pad works best, type up (or scan and copy text), 
  • Categorise and link to other notes. Think of the 1:2:1’s, the department notes you have to keep and actions you have given and the ideas you have on an ongoing basis.
    These are all-important to take notes, check in on progress and revisit. 
  • Revisit the Decision documents, company typically only work when ‘centralised knowledge’ is kept, updated and shared. 

No pointless or boring meeting rules

  • Meetings always have an owner – clearly called out and run by said owner
  • No attendees leave a well organised intentional meeting – be intentional and explain why they should attend and what their role is in this meeting and moving forward
  • Always have a no leaving rule (no leaving early or no leaving because you were invited to a bad or unorganised) – roll this out company-wide so it sticks 
  • Meeting feedback is a gift – offer an open document for feedback. Many businesses can operate with silent start meetings, meaning they have centralised documents and share their thoughts and feedback and then discuss with one chair who updates and then the notes are reviewed and discussed.

Statuses Work

  • Have work statuses. The ones that typically work for my clients:  
    • Available
    • Away
    • In a meeting
    • At lunch
    • Deep work aka Do not disturb 
  • Ensure everyone understands what to use and when. This is not checking up on colleagues, this is to help understand how to support colleagues time and energy
  • Even if the most senior management team members or the HiPPO contacts you, follow the statuses to manage expectations. 

Clear Internal Comms 

  • IM channels for quick updates not long threads
  • Stories style video updates work, even think about replacing in-person standup (Work in progress meetings definitely can be replaced and shortened)
  • Documents for more in-depth deliberate conversations 
  • One dedicated project management tool (Notion, Monday or confluence all work well)
  • Email for external comms and important internal updates 

Good luck rolling these out, happily get in touch if you have any questions around these points.

Thanks and have a good week,

Danny Denhard


Other Great Leaders Letters:

One problem two solutions framework

Risk vs benefit framework

Three questions to build better relationships

Fewer managers, more coaches and mentors

Commitment: Communicate clearly

Categories
Focus News

Manager Coaching Courses

As Focus mission is to fix the broken world of work, we have spoken to a large number of “leaders” and managers about what is broken in their workplace and how we can collaborate on fixing fundamentals to complex problems that they are facing as a business or as a leadership team.

Our dedicated weekly Focus newsletter, leaders letters, helps people with a senior title evolve and become leaders or improve their leadership skills.

The Elephant In The Room

Let’s address the elephant in the room, managers and above rarely receive or seek out management coaching or training.

This is a big problem…

  • for managers
  • for teams
  • and importantly for their businesses.

Why is this a big problem? Your personal development will slow, your career will likely stagnate and your business performance will only hit a certain level.

Managers of all levels and experience require constant improvement, yes you can learn on the job, however, typically you do not improve any of your core skills or arguably, more importantly, your core weaknesses.

How can you improve any baseline numbers or hit targets or KPI’s when you are failing to improve yourself?

Professional Business Requires Coaching

Sports and business have many parallels, the difference is in almost all professional sports you have dedicated coaches, you receive coaching daily for your professional career and the majority of the team you are coached on improving your weaknesses and improving your core skills and then applying this in a team and squad environment.

Even the worlds best and greatest athletes are coached seek help and receive coaching every day!
This should be no different for business professionals.

This very rarely happens in the work setting, the only time this happens is when executives are recommended a coach or a startup is maturing and the investment team seeks out a coach for a founder or the founding team.

Career Stagnation Is Your Problem

Almost every career stagnates at one place or another, this can be more many reasons, the most common; you stop wanting to progress and seek out help, seek out improving your weaknesses or seek out a mentor or a professional coach.

Step up and develop your career!

Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First

Put on your own oxygen mask is a famous business quote that translates to look after yourself first, this could not be truer notably when it comes to actually helping your team or business improve, if you are not improving yourself, how are you improving others?

Invest In You

One of the big takeaways in talking to leaders is they end up not using their training budget or “wasting it conferences”.

Stop wasting your annual training budget on conferences you learn small and disposable pieces of information or fail to attend because you are too busy.

Get Focus: Professional Management Coaching

Focus offers a tailored package that has been built for managers across all levels, whether you are a:

  • A newly promoted manager
  • A Head of Team or Head of Department
  • A Director who is lacking confidence or delivery is slipping away
  • A VP who is too busy juggling meeting requests and sitting in back to back meetings to develop themselves or their team
  • A C-suite member who has become detached from their discipline or lost their influence over their team.

We work together with you, we then:

  • Build a tailored package to your specific situation
  • Build a growth plan together
  • Build your skills, session by session
  • Build out your confidence and communications skills
  • Build out a set of templates for you to use and roll out internally

The Packages

The Focus 1-2-1 Coaching Packages can be brought in blocks or per session.

Each coaching session is 60 minutes and virtual. Each session is one to one, with homework to improve your skills and actions to tackle and roll out after every session.

No Timewasting! To ensure we are compatible and you want to be coached, we arrange a quick 15-minute session to run your situation and see if we would be a good fit.

The packages can be paid for directly from your business or if you are looking to pay for this yourself this can be set up. This enables you to invest in yourself or your company to invest in your long term success.

Get in touch below to start your coaching with Focus.

Coach Quote Eric Schmidt
Categories
Business Performance

25 Meeting Recommendations

 

Meetings take up to 15% of all time within work. In very few organisations they teach you how to run successful meetings, how attendees are supposed to participate and what success looks like at the end of each meetings.

Company success is often shaped as much by meetings as their company strategy. 

Bad meetings impact company culture and often are the causes of teams misaligning and interpersonal conflict. 

With the number of meetings increasing, the lengths of meetings reducing but the frequency of repeat meetings, it is essential we reduce the friction of meetings and help to structure, optimise and improve meetings. 

On our mission to fix the broken world of work, we collated our 25 most suggested meeting recommendations to help your organisation to succeed. 

  1. Ask the question: does this have to be a meeting?
  2. Answer: Could this be a memo? 
  3. Whole company agreement: No meetings to have another meeting 
  4. AHA: Always Have Agenda’s 
  5. Keep track of ‘meeting moments and movements’ – centralise all notes, decisions and actions and share across to all invitees and if open allow all to view
  6. Always answer what is the objective of this meeting
  7. Agendas are great for meetings that require structure 
  8. Always have refresh agendas – with 50% of meetings repeat and agendas recycled you are fighting against yourself 
  9. No agenda = No attendance can work if enforce top to bottom 
  10. Agendas remove creativity – think of this when brainstorming and problem-solving 
  11. Always explain to each attendee why they are attending, what their expected role is and how they can help move the meeting forward 
  12. HiPPO’s have to encourage and support employee first engagement 
  13. Have no spectators rules – Steve Jobs would remove people who did not contribute to meetings 
  14. Remove awkward starts to meetings 
  15. If the meeting fails quickly gift people their time back 
  16. Feedback is a gift, survey attendees and asks for feedback sessions in the last five minutes of meetings (open documents for open feedback) 
  17. Always have a social element to meetings, never dive straight in, scientific studies and cultural differences have proven no social elements break social bonds and trust in the work environment 
  18. Meeting recovery syndrome is a hugely under-recognised issue within businesses, reduce the number of meetings and 
  19. Employees need help to manage calendars especially in hybrid environments, help to manage and have a meeting champion to share tips and best practices and offer training 
  20. Hybrid meetings are challenging, applying the same attention to those remote as those in the office, you must follow the no a team (in office) and b team (working remotely). Checking on remote attendees and asking for their opinions will be equalisers. Reviewing meeting notes and document updates will be important 
  21. Have meeting attendance guidelines. The quality of meetings drop the more that attend
    1. Other companies rules:
      1. 10 people (Google)
      2. 6 people (Apple)
      3. 2 pizza rule (Amazon) & 7 people + approval by senior meeting
  22. Remove meetings after 16.00 – least productive and often rushed.
    1. If you are an international or tri-time zone company consider how you can rotate these meetings  
  23. Silent start meetings are great for longer-form meetings requiring insights, discussion and alignment. 
  24. Keep and update your decision document to keep clear communications and a canonical home of decisions 
  25. Remember how we are engineered, information architecture is essential, an easy way to find out information and find relevant historical notes for those who were not at the company helps understand how to be successful.
    Meeting name > Date > Project > Department often works best  

Important Related Reading To Improve Business Performance:

Categories
Business Performance

Reducing Anxiety & Returning To The Office Checklist

We are about to see many companies ask their teams to start planning for the return to the office.

Some large banks and institutions have already asked for their teams to be back in the office full time. In many businesses, a return to the office is something many teams are dreading and have had many personal changes since March 2020.

There is a high percentage of anxious people who have fear about returning to the office or actually want to stay working at home or move to a flexible and the next normal, the hybrid office (our free hybrid office ebook is a must-read).

It is now time for businesses to become flexible and ensure work works for everyone and more flexibly.

If you are anxious or feeling concerned about this, there are a number of steps you (as an employee) can take & questions to ask. 

Managers and senior leaders will have concerns and be nervous, particularly with the extra responsibility they would have had to take on and now understand how they manage a team in a hybrid set up.

At Focus as we are on a mission to fix the broken world of work, it is essential we break our recommendations down for both leaders of a business and the staff members who may be nervous and have anxiety about returning to the office and how to get the best for both parties.

For Leaders For Staff 
Have a detailed plan to share for the return to the office plan If you have not received a plan, ask for the work in progress plan and timeline of when you are likely to have to return
Demonstrate with imagery and videos of how the office has been amended to include more space and how you are limiting the attendance in the office.

Include capacity numbers and links to the software you will be using for booking in and booking to work remotely
Ask how the business has taken the steps to make the office have more space, more distance and more protection, alongside how to liaise with your manager to enable remote work
Have a dedicated HR stream for those who require more specific requests or have had their commitments change or been impacted by COVIDLiaise directly with HR on how they are going to support you in your personal situation, especially if you have been disconnected from your manager or team
Prepare to offer a dedicated long term mental health and mental wellbeing helpline(s) and support groups Ask for details of mental wellbeing support being offered by your firm.

If this is not yet an option ask HR how you could go about claiming sessions back until there is a formal policy  
Have one policy for why certain people or teams are returning to the office Ask for the workings out around the staggered return to the office policy and why you and your team need to return
Show how you have invested and improved the technology set up, more connective equipment, better audio and more camera’s to connect in the hybrid office.

The office as an arena is an important concept to consider and share internally.
Ask questions to understand the steps taken to improve technology to help remote and in-office teams to be one team, not have an a team (in office team) & b team (those working remotely)
Set up regular Q&A sessions to keep teams up to date with changes and reduce stressKeep a track of important follow-up milestones and questions and ask for regular updates from the management team
Show the hybrid guidelines and the principles for communications and how to be successful in the new hybrid office.

Have principles around informing colleagues that you will be in the office or working remotely  
Ask to understand if there is a way to book in and out of the office and software. Many software still do not talk to each other have an agreed status on instant messenger tools to enable colleagues to know you will be in or out of the office

Ask if there are a minimum or maximum you can work from home or work from the office
Have a decision document to show how decision were made and offer transparency to discuss through Ask questions at the decision level and ask questions to calm down your fears.

If you are a people manager look to collate questions from the team and answer with fellow decision-makers
Offer back to the office training sessions online before the return to the office.

Many system and processes will have changed and it is important to align everyone
Ask what has changed and what are the requirements for training sessions.

How long they will be and the benefit of these sessions.

Online training and online zoom sessions have caused fatigue, explaining the why is really important here
Reduce anxiety by having a traffic light system of those who have reservations or commitments and treat as a way to help manage anxiety and flow into the office. Ask what the requirements are for:

– Red (highly concerned). Requires one to one discussions. Will require a personalised run-through of the amendments, the process that will be followed and discussions with the department lead to reduce fears and consider how highly anxious people can return in the near future.

– Amber (concerned), what would the requirements be and how can your manager or department lead (alongside HR) help to reduce any concerns

– Green (ready to return)

Best of luck with your return to the office plan. Happily get in touch directly if you need consultancy.

Important Related Reads

  1. Will an off-site reconnect my team?
  2. Planning the post pandemic return to the office
  3. The culture as a service movement
  4. Recording micro moments and micro-events
  5. It is time for management pods to improve leadership teams
Categories
Friday Focus

Friday Focus – 9th April

This week’s Friday Focus includes five books we always recommend but the kicker is the quick-fire book review by YouTube channel Productivity Game.

How To Decide – Annie Duke

Annie Duke is my go-to author, her previous book think in bets is probably the best book on decision making with real-life examples out there.

Grit – Angela Duckworth

Angela’s TED talk is also a brilliant watch.

How To Negotiate – Chris Voss

Chris’ masterclass is a brilliant workshop from his book and years as an FBI negotiator.

Deep Work – Cal Newport

Cal is a brilliant thinker, author and podcaster, his latest book dives into why email breaks the hive mind and is not fit for businesses.

Atomic Habits – James Clear

Student of habit building and habit forming, James Clear is a brilliant writer and a one-person media empire. My go to resource for James Clear is 1% better everyday video, a must watch.

Categories
Friday Focus

Friday Focus – 2nd April

This week, here are five podcasts from the brilliant leader and researcher Brene Brown.

Here are the five best Brene Brown podcast – Dare to lead. Grab your phone, put in your headphones and take a walk and enjoy these powerful podcasts.

Brene with former President Barack Obama

Armoured Leadership & The Power Of The Right Questions

Adam Grant & Brene Talk The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

Dr. Sarah Lewis & The Uncontrolling Power of “Failure”

The Heart of Hard Conversations

Categories
Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 42

Recording Micro Moments & Micro Events

March 29th 2021.

Dear Leaders,

Over the last few weeks, I have been talking to c-suites, agency leads and departments heads about recording micro-moments. 

A micro-moment to me is when you feel a spark, you feel a move or a moment that is breaking through something, a moment you feel has pushed you, a colleague, a conversation or a project forward. 

Micro-moments to me are positive, especially at the time you don’t know how positive it is. 

As previously suggested I truly believe that notes taking, having knowledge centres and personal wiki’s help you run effective project, campaign or product launches.

Taking notes, sharing these notes and actions and being deliberate with reviewing micro-moments allows you to see signals, understand patterns and build out more micro-moments.  

I like to hand sketch these moments out in a diagram, follow the chain and review very briefly. Seeing the chain reactions as a timeline or as ripples is a great way to demonstrate to those around you.
Across my career, 95% of the time, scribbles or sketches beats 500 words or spreadsheets. 

One micro-moment I had this week was rolling out brand new software to a client who struggled to connect people with software, I knew it was a micro-moment as the team were surprised how quickly we got through the meeting, how many actions we had completed, how the small number of follow-ups could be completed asynchronously and how we all called out how it felt like real progress was made and the reduction of discord messages. 

The important part of reviewing micro-moments or micro-events is being able to teach these signals and patterns and then celebrate your micro wins (small wins). 

I know the phrase celebrate the small wins is a little overused but micro-moments need calling out and celebrating.

In the coming weeks, try to make notes of the micro-moments, the processes you followed and the feeling it gave to the team around you. 

Celebrate this micro moment with me! 

Cheers to this week and have a great week,

Danny Denhard

.

Three Must Read Follow Up Articles

  1. The Four Questions To Build A More Informed Company
  2. Ghosting – A Real Business Issue
  3. How To Improve Virtual Meetings
Categories
Leadership

Planning The Post Pandemic Reopening

As large companies in the US slowly reopen their offices, I wanted to write a quick tip to win as a leader of a company or a department.

As a leader, you need to know when to let people work and let people play.

Once your offices open up (between 10% and 30%) and you look to organise the safe first on-site or offsite.

Please think before you act, think before action is essential here.

First Comes Mentor Time

At the off-site (on-site), allow people to play first, then see the work bubble to the surface and then keep bubbling.

You’ll be surprised by the impact and reconnection that comes and then the will and desire to win together.

People First Approach

Many colleagues have lost their connections.
Many colleagues have got used to the transactional nature of video calls.
This may not need a hard reboot, but multiplayer and team-first connections need to be re-established semi organically.

It is worth keeping in mind, some of the strongest bonds would have been lost or broken in the pandemic, it is for those who lost this to build the actual bridge, you have to be willing to understand the subcultures and environment and repoint the company compass.

It is important to understand and guide your teams that despite the nostalgia for pre pandemic times, we will be operating in a hybrid office environment and this does mean that we have to be deliberate, intentional with everything, have more focus on those around us. No in office team vs digitally remote team hierarchy.

The buzz of an on-site or offsite needs to carried through to work, this will come from connected ideation, a long term project within a flexible framework and come from continued interaction. You will need to plant the seeds, water them and then let them flower and blossom.

People + Tech

A blend between voice, story format video with overlays and instructions, documentation and of course video meetings will help continue the connections and enable working relationships to rebuild and grow.

Then Coach Time

  • Bring forward the focus,
  • Your connective vision,
  • Co-build the plan,
  • Let your co-pilot and captain step up and lead.
  • Allow the team breathe, provide space and trust,
  • Then allow a couple of passion projects alongside an important long term project.

This is by all means not a guaranteed formula for success, however, this is a framework to help you rebuild your team’s connections and provided an ability to lead out of this global crisis.

Remember, “Leaders lead” so your behaviours and cues are key to winning.


Important Related Reads:

Get a free copy of the Hybrid Office Ebook

Read the future of the office, the office as an arena

Why the culture community manager is your most important hire of 2021 nad beyond.


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