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Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 47

Virtual Interviews & Hybrid Hiring Tips 

3rd May 2021,

Dear Leaders, 

Over the past couple of months, I have been working with a number of businesses that are in a good position to grow and invest in their staff and ramp up hiring again. 

I have been lucky to interview a number of great candidates virtually, it was something I experienced before I created Focus, as a c-suite candidate you have a large number of rounds of interviews, with numerous committees, the experience was long, complicated and challenging for both parties, especially with time zones. 

Although I have not perfected the art yet, here are a few ways you can improve virtual interviews and hybrid hiring to improve the experience for both you and your candidates. 

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Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 45

Professional Injuries & Rehab 

Dear leaders, I trust you had a good weekend. 

As I have mentioned before, I love coaching and mentoring. I currently have two great coaching clients and it is the highlight of my week whenever we sit down, zoom and run through coaching sessions. 

Something that came up in a recent mentoring session was being conditioned by a previous experience and it having a lasting impact on their career. 

I for one know I have many battle wounds and mental scars from previous workplaces and I am open to telling many of these to help to share and show we all have them and let them know being vulnerable is part of the process with us. 

Something many managers forget is the professional injuries our team members suffer or have suffered at previous companies or under previous management.
Truth be told some might be impacted by our management styles today. 

Yes, being busy is a part of it, an (important) however, not being close enough to the team and choosing to be a coach or mentor vs not having to be specific people’s manager is not taught and rarely discussed in management books or courses. 

Like athletes, injuries take a tremendous toll on us, physically and mentally and are often triggered by repeat events or similar results from a similar approach. 

This is one of the reasons why I recommend more coaches and mentors than managers. Coaches improve performance and recognise weakness that needs more personalised coaching. Managers rarely have the skillset for this.

We need rehab, we need to retrain and strengthen, what is different in the workplace especially large corporations, this is often left to the individual to work through, professional assistance and training is not promoted or recommended by managers or management teams. 

It is the time to balance this, help your team or department members seek professional help or self start and find a coach or mentor to help work on their injuries and improve our reliance and our strength. Training budgets should be used to train and retrain. 

I highly recommend updating your leadership principles to include developing your colleagues with coaching and rehab.

This week consider how you can take forward your colleague’s professional injuries or scars and look to offer a chance for them to rehabilitate. It doesn’t have to cost a huge amount of money or time but the benefit for you, your colleague and the business in a short period of time will be huge. 

Have a great week and take the time to list of a couple of your own injuries and how you might rehab them.  Professional 1-2-1 coaching is only an email away.

Thanks, 

Danny Denhard 

Focus Founder 

Five Important Reads To Read & Share 

  1. Return to the office checklist – reduce the anxiety around returning to the office 
  2. Recording mico-moments – this should be a micro moment   
  3. Offsites to reconnect as a team – need to reconnect with your team? An off-site or on-site done well with help you win the next two quarters  
  4. Fight, flight or freeze – changing the default reaction of teams
  5. Time for a co-pilot? – Is it time to revisit whether you need more support or the team needs a different pilot?
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Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 44

Risk Vs Benefit Framework

April 12th 2021

Dear leaders,

In my previous leaders letters, frameworks have been some of the most popular newsletters and most replied to newsletters. 

This week I wanted to introduce you to different pros vs con’s list I have used for a number of years that helped me to make better decisions, professionally and personally. 

Risk vs Benefit framework enables you to breakdown big decisions and questions in a repeatable framework.

RisksBenefit


  
   
  


You have two options.

Are you pen and pad or type and table? 

Pen and Pad: Write down on paper, half an a4 sheet, risks one side, benefit the other. 

Type and Table: Or in a table, excel, sheets, notion, apple apps and write down and explain in detail. 

Risk – Anything you face as a risk, anything that could be put at risk or a big red flag that needs to be called out. 

Benefit – Anything that will benefit you, the team, the company.

The more detail you include, the better in helping you to understand the first, second and third-order effects of your decision and the better decisions you ultimately make.

Simple yet effective. 

I tend to keep these risks vs benefit tables and revisit, optional but connected to micro-moments and making better long term decisions.  

This week, take a look at the risk vs benefit framework and consider how you will make better, more informed decisions. 

Have a great week and thanks for the recent replies to the newsletters.

Danny Denhard

3 Recent Must Reads

  1. Is it time for an off-site?
  2. Culture As A Service Movement
  3. Why The World Of Work Is Broken
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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.

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Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 43

Have you been the boss for so long you try and boss everything and every situation?

April 5th, 2021.

Dear Leaders,

For the past few months, I have been working more regularly with more founder-led businesses. 

Founder led businesses are notoriously more difficult if you do not know how to ask the right questions and you answer their questions quickly and concisely with a focus on delivery. 

One question that has bubbled up with each founder 

Have you been the boss for so long you try and boss everything and every situation?

The answer is 90% of the time, no, the 10% are the more open and transparent and typically say yes. 

The yes answer is good, they are aware of where they are and know they will be pushed to step back and challenged to understand where to let go.

The 90% have a few more sessions to go, they are unaware of having to control not boss each situation.

The 90% then split into two camps, those who want to change and those who want to control. The controlling group are those who need more coaching and guidance, you need to show where they are being too hands-on, too overbearing, too much talking nowhere near enough listening. 

So the question for you to ask is have you been the boss for so long, you attempt to boss everything? 

If yes, step back, challenge yourself to listen more and understand where you need to take a leap back or leap into action and where possible bring in external help or hire more people to remove some friction. 

Have a good week and remember being the boss doesn’t mean making every decision and kicking every ball it means knowing when to bring others to the table, bringing support in for you and the team and then being clear and concise when delegating. 

Thanks,

Danny Denhard

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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

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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

5 Timeless Lessons From Industry Leaders

In the summer of 2020, I went on a leadership mission, I spoke to as many leaders from as many fields as I could. This was a way to improve leaders letters, it was a way to learn from leaders to improve the leaders and leadership teams I work with but to also share these experiences. 

The leaders I interviewed came from many different and diverse backgrounds, including banking and finance, military, teaching, traditional business owner, a Chief Medical Officer, co-founder of a large remittance company and experienced startup leader. 

I took away many lessons and I hoped to turn the series into a Focus leadership podcast (maybe in the future), I thought I should share five of the lessons I took away from the brilliant conversations so you could ponder or implement. 

Lesson 1: Military Leader

“Outcomes for the group is essential: the mission for the team, the objective for the unit, crystal clear task for the individual.”
This cycle has to be understood completely, with no fussy or blurry lines. This then has to be understood at the team, unit and individual level. Often it is life and death and the most vital pieces of information have to be clear, concise and as up to date as possible. 

Lesson 2: Head Teacher

“Always have an open mind”, always learn from other sectors, increase your reading, share and empower those around you with your learnings and take feedback from whoever it is. Staff, parent, governers and then walk that walk.
There is a lot packed into this but so many lessons to take away and apply. 

Lesson 3: Co-Founder Remittance Company

“Ask for advice – is not a weakness!” Many leaders truly believe asking for help is a weakness, it is not it is a strength, especially when those around you or seeking those in a better position will drive you and your business forward.  

Lesson 4: Chief Medical Officer

“Replace ego with empathy – Read between the lines (there is always an agenda) find out what is really going on and explore together.” 

Lesson 5: Serial Startup Founder

An essential job for the founder is recruitment, it is to create the right environment for the organisation to thrive by blending people, positions and passions. 

These five lessons are all actionable across leadership at any level, all of these resonated with me for different reasons but mostly because leadership is about being clear, understanding and delivering instructions, asking for help, replacing your ego with empathy and the culture you create impacts your team every day. 


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Focus News

Hitting The Wall Podcast

Ash Taylor invited me onto his podcast Hitting The Wall (The Business Clubhouse) and it was a great conversation.

We talk about many important topics, including:

  • Being deliberate to win business
  • Company culture
  • How to build the right Hybrid office for the future
  • How to improve your business by being deliberate
  • Building your own ecosystem of smart and diverse people
  • The power of explaining something complex in writing and love of books

You can listen in your browser here or below:

Listen To The Podcast

A conversation with Danny Denhard of Focus Hitting the Wall

In this week’s episode I chat to Danny Denhard from Focus who’s on a mission to change the world of work. We discuss all things culture and leadership, digging into how businesses thrive when they put culture in the workplace first. You’ll learn about the power of creating personal eco-systems, and why enabling conflict in the workplace is a good thing. We talk about business being a badge of honour, prioritising culture before the workplace collapses, and why gossip is so important. Danny also takes through his personal manifesto for change, why being back-to-back is damaging productivity and whether the new habits we’ve created in the last 12 months are beneficial to people and businesses A fascinating discussion Weekly digest Of the best articles from the week you likely haven’t read – https://mustreads.substack.com Weekly inspiration every Monday on improving leadership – https://blog.focus.business/leaders Focus aka fixing the broken world of work Website https://www.focus.business/ Manifesto – https://www.focus.business/manifesto Connect on social media with me https://dannydenhard.com/linkedin https://dannydenhard.com/twitter

Resources Discussed In Podcast

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