Category Archives for "Other"

May 27

A.I, Coaching and Chess

By Margaret

One of the best grand chess masters of all time is Garry Kasparov. Grand chess masters hone their skills with tens of thousands of hours of deliberate practice. They learn to “see” patterns and future move’s almost instantly. 

This practice is as important as chess is complex.  After 4 moves there are 288 billion positions that can arise!  Yep! However, unlike much of the natural world and interactions with other people it is a finite domain – despite the vast numbers, you can count all of the possible positions. I can’t count the possible outcomes of one short interaction with another human (or even a bunny rabbit for that manner) but I can count the possible moves in chess.

Given this finite complexity, computer scientists saw chess as the ultimate testing ground for “intelligent” machines. Could a computer beat a grand chess master? For years the answer was, “not even close”. Humans ruled hands down.

Then in 1996 the IBM supercomputer ‘Deep Blue’ and Kasparov duelled for 6 games. Kasparov won, but it was close. The next year they rematched and Deep Blue won. Since then it’s been one way traffic. Was this the Terminator turning point? The end of humans and the rise of machines?

Not quite. Kasparov had an insight – What about tournaments between humans paired with computers? Take a “good” chess player (not a grand master) and pair them with a super computer and what happens? they destroy everyone. Grand Masters, Deep Blue, the lot.

It’s yet another example of the power of AND. Human’s can strategise and “imagine” what might be a good move. The computer can run the numbers and tell you if it will be. It’s using the best of humans and machines.  

I share this as a story of hope and opportunity. Chess is complex but unlike most of the world we live in it is still a constrained and finite problem space.  Therefore, chess is a simple, not a wicked, problem to solve.  Even in this domain computers still don’t fully rule (I think they will soon). Funnily enough, thanks to human technologies just about all the worthwhile problems we as humans face are wicked (almost unendingly complex), not simple.

So the opportunity for most of the world, and certainly leadership development and coaching for quite some time is humans plus machines.  Let the human coaches and facilitators do what only they can do, such as, the deep insightful, caring and connecting work. Combine this with what computers can do well, such as connecting insights from vast databases, staying with people (in a pocket or on a wrist), and providing space for private reflection. We can vastly improve the accessibility and impact of leadership development, leading to a more conscious society that ironically will stay ahead of machines and AI for longer! Cyborg coaching?

We are at the start line and out of the blocks – what next ideas or future do you see to more effectively leverage human machine pairings?Carl
 
If you’d like to read some more from JumpShift, you might enjoy: 
Diversity in Counsel, Unity in Command
What Leadership Coaching is All About
The Development Triggers for Leaders
Blending Synchronous and Asynchronous Leadership Development Experiences
Apr 23

Leading In Complexity

By Carl Sanders-Edwards

We used to say that work was VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous).  We told people this and tried to wake them up. The truth is only some of the work out there was VUCA. Lot’s was stable and predictable. Here, the rewards were, rightly so, for people and leaders that:

  • Conform to norms and rules
  • Master tasks and built and expertise
  • Achieve goals and standards

In 2020 this all changed. Everyone’s work now is VUCA. It’s clear our world is entering a creative rebuilding phase. From goo to growth (hopefully). It doesn’t matter if the curve is up or down – it’s all ruled by uncertainty. Uncertainty is up, complexity is up, risks and opportunities are also up.  Now the rewards are for people and leaders who:

  • Are purpose driven and question of the status quo 
  • Generate personal and system transformations 
  • Combine parts to expand the possible and create new reality

These are the leadership mindsets required to thrive in the years coming. Mindset’s drive behaviours and behaviours drive outcomes.

How do you know the mindsets your people operate from? What is your mindset or that of your senior leaders, do they have the leadership DNA that is needed?  Do you have hidden gems in your organisation?  Would you like to develop mindsets so all your people can thrive?

We need to be digging deep into: 

  • Better matching of people to roles
  • Uncovering the ‘gems’ in hiding we all need to play bigger roles
  • Targeted and scalable mindset development for everyone
  • Get unstuck and develop by seeing how people on your developmental edge solved the challenges you face

JumpShift and Adeption have been doing some work in this space with the Vertical MIndset Indicator (VMI) assessment. In as little as 15 mins with advanced AI leveraging 40 years of research in Adult Development, VMI allows you understand you and your peoples current mindsets. More on this HERE

Carl

If you’d like to read some more from JumpShift, you might enjoy: 

Apr 08

On Diversity in Counsel, Unity in Command

By Margaret

Agile is a bit of a buzz word in business at the moment. How many of us have; been in a cross functional sprint team, had a ‘retro’, or planned to ‘iterate’ an idea in the last year? I am a fan. However I’m also a BIG believer in us doing our own learning. Taking the principles of Agile and making our own versions of this. Here is a window into some of my own learnings hot off the press this week.

1) ‘Diversity in counsel unity in command (execution)’ – Cyrus the Great

Cross functional sprint teams are great for making sense of opportunity and what is required to make it work. We quickly build relationships, understood scope and potential and created energy. This is all vital for eventual execution of what is created. Remote Cross-functional sprint teams can sometimes struggle to execute and create as the work of everyones ‘day jobs’ wins, and after a while meetings are 50% about why last meetings actions didn’t get done.

2) Blitzing works
When execution is required blitz sessions work. Longer meetings that are more like workshops where the work is done, not talked about 

3) Reflecting and pivoting is critical
Regular meetings and cadence help build momentum. However they also build inertia – the team can stay in place and continue the meeting, long after the benefit is extracted. Plan to pause, reflect and have the courage to adjust how the sprint team is meeting and functioning as progress is made

4) Creating and ‘owning’ product is a thing, it’s not an add on to our other work
Innovative offerings need investment, deep care and ownership to not just be an increment on what is already done
It is very very hard to do this around another jobs. Ideas and input are important but are also cheap and easy for others to give. Creation and execution need a home, a day job.These are raw reflections. I’d love you to build on these reflections within your own teams. How can you learn together and shine a spotlight on what works for you and your team and tweak what doesn’t.

Carl

If you’d like to read some more from JumpShift, you might enjoy: 

Jan 27

What is Leadership Coaching All About?

By James Burroughes

Recently, we’ve had a lot of questions about how leadership coaching works and what a partnership between coach and coachee might look like. Here’s the lowdown!

Usually 1:1, leadership coaching creates a relationship between two individuals in which one person (the coach) partners with another (the professional being coached) on the professional skills and behaviours that will boost their effectiveness and impact as a leader. It’s like having a personal trainer at the gym who can observe your form and technique but in a leadership context.

Anyone may engage personal leadership coaches, or their organisations may hire coaches to work with their employees. You or your organisation might engage a coach upon starting a new job or ascending to a leadership position in an existing company, or at any other point in your career. A coach may work with clients for weeks, months, or even years. Many of our coaches have longstanding and deep relationships with our clients.

The beginning of a coaching relationship normally commences with the establishment of goals and outcomes for the individual. These can be combined with organisational goals that the individual wishes to contribute to or developed towards.

What does leadership coaching look like?

Your coach may use a variety of methods to help you realise your leadership potential. The specifics of the approach will vary according to their particular professional coaching style and previous experiences. 

The Jumpshift coaching approach involves the DIY methodology we are known for.

We work with clients to Diagnose the challenges and outcomes they are facing, and what is currently working well.

We then Inspire you through sharing of best practices, tools and insights which lead you towards Your Action. This is where you make a commitment to try something new

We like to encourage all coachees to approach new things like an experiment and see what happens. Then there’s the chance to reflect on that change and see what worked and didn’t and how you will act next.

Some other common areas that leadership coaching supports include:

  • Frequently meeting with leaders for established sessions to discuss plans and issues
  • Gathering and analysing data on behaviours and those within the organisation, including the performance of managers and team members
  • Offering guidance and support and addressing specific and general concerns
  • Providing tools and resources, such as learning opportunities, technology, and reading materials
  • Assisting with the setting and carrying out of goals
  • Offering professional feedback on skills and progress

If engaging a coach for yourself or your people is something you’ve been thinking about, we’d love to connect in with you. Flick us a quick email at info@jumpshift.co.nz and we’ll set up a no obligations 30-minute chat with you to better understand what you’d like to achieve and how we could walk alongside you to get there. 

Oct 22

Don’t Stop, Crowd Out Change in Your Organisation

By Carl Sanders-Edwards

Stopping entrenched habits is hard.  Culture change is even harder. Why? 

One of the biggest reasons is that we focus on the wrong thing. We focus on what we should stop instead of focusing on what we should start. It turns out the new habit, behaviour, culture then ‘crowds out’ the old one (assuming it provides more benefit to you).  

The reason is rooted in behavioural psychology, neuroscience and the study of willpower.  The conscious deliberate part of our brain that is bossy and tells us to STOP doing things is actually pretty small and easily gets tired.  However, the big puppy dog part of our brain that tells us to GO acts subconsciously and has endless energy. Activating this GO system for new healthy habits ends up forcing you to eventually stop those old, less healthy ones. You don’t stop, you crowd out. The same goes for organisational cultures and processes. Lots of change efforts focus on what to stop before starting a new and better process. However, we generally get more permanent results by starting new alternative processes and letting them gradually ‘crowd out’ the old.  It’s why the concept of a ‘pilot’ and many agile techniques work so well.  

For a slightly more morbid take on this same idea check out the famous quote from the towering scientist, Max Planck:

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing it’s opponents and making them see the light, but rather because it’s opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

Kind of the ultimate form of ‘crowding out’!!  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Carl

For more on Leadership Development, check out our blog library https://www.jumpshift.co.nz/blog/

Sep 10

The Development Trigger for Leaders

By Carl Sanders-Edwards

What makes us do what we do?  What makes a leader interested in development? QUESTION: How does the ‘trigger’ happen?

The behaviour approach that can be used to guide this moment comes from the widely researched, B-COM and B-MAT models.  Behaviour equals Capability, Opportunity and Motivation or the very similar Behaviour equals Motivation, Ability and Trigger.

There are three primary triggers (or opportunities) that can be used in this space for developing leaders in the workplace:
  1. An invite.  It’s important to signal to a person that development and dedicating attention to development is important. An invite from a leader who knows the value of development is key. People dedicate time to things that they know other people care about. Setting this up in the initial invite process makes a big difference to initial motivation. Follow up is even more important.  A coach or a manager taking a few moments to reflect with this leader on their learnings creates a dramatic increase in follow on engagement and carries a long shadow of continued engagement.
  2. Assessment.  This is very powerful and plays into our natural desire to understand how we currently show up and then a want to improve or move forward in some way. If we’re not tracking how our thinking changes through the stages of our development it’s hard to support an ongoing journey of growth.
  3. Situational prompt. We develop best when we have to, not when we want to. Real situations in the workplace create great triggers for self development. Prompting around situations leaders face, moves development right into the day-to-day nature of work. I.e “It’s time to start thinking about that crucial conversation coming up”. A few of these prompts go a very long way turning day-to-day experiences of leadership into deep developmental opportunities (and you get incredible data in the process).

Leadership Development
Aug 20

Blending Synchronous and Asynchronous Leadership Development Experiences

By Carl Sanders-Edwards

COVID-19 has sent a ripple through the Leadership Development world. You see we are predominately people’s people. That means face-to-face is king and leveraging technology is often a distant ‘not as good’. But now we operate in a world where in some places face-to-face isn’t an option.

The conversation is now all about technology and leadership development. The gradual process of change and technology adoption has become rapid. Delivery isn’t always face-to-face, it’s now sometimes virtual. Practitioners have moved from tech starters to tech masters. Zoom meetings are the norm. It’s all about how we can best move delivery from face-to-face to virtual.

What It Means

This is both good and not enough. It’s good because there are many benefits of integrating technology into leadership development. We can reach more people, reduce travel, allow people more private (and public) reflection. We can focus coaches and facilitators more on the art of our practice than the process and more easily extend the time people are paying attention to their development.  

It’s not enough because half the benefits I just mentioned have nothing to do with face-to-face or virtual delivery. They are about asynchronous delivery. Asynchronous is when individuals work in their own time and space – it can still be together but they don’t need to be together. Face-to-face and virtual delivery on the other hand are actually almost identical. They are synchronous.  People together during the same time working on the same thing. We even use technology to share the same space when meeting virtually. 

The Learning Curve

Therefore when we talk about ‘blended’ developmental experiences we shouldn’t be talking about blending classroom and technology. We are actually talking about blending synchronous and asynchronous.

Why am I sharing this? Well the real learning curve is around blending asynchronous with synchronous delivery. Asynchronous brings flexibility and integration with work and life, synchronous brings commitment (check out student syndrome) and a fresh context to view work and life from. 

Carl


Want to continue reading? Find our last blog on the Five Things You Can Do to Avoid Burnout here

Jul 22

Burnout – and 5 Things You Can do About It

By James Burroughes

As leaders, we can start thinking about doing these five things for ourselves and our teams to avoid burnout.

I moved back to NZ on Christmas Eve 2019 and hit the ground running. I’ve been house hunting twice, bought an apartment, a car, and re-established links with friends I haven’t seen in a couple of years; whilst working. I was burning the candle at both ends for sure. 

And then COVID happened. I am sure most people are sick and tired of hearing about COVID related stuff, but it struck me that we have gone through, and in many countries, continue to go through, is the greatest disruption of a generation. This disruption has transcended business, home life, family life, and well, just about everything. And it’s taken its toll.

The Impact of COVID

COVID created a lot of issues because people treated it like another business problem and started sprinting towards trying to solve it. This was exacerbated by the psychological windows of lockdown and Levels which bound the temporal concept of our experience. The reality is that people are still running and experience burnout. But they are trying to run a marathon at sprint pace 

I have been discussing with colleagues and clients how they are feeling and many have said they aren’t sleeping well and are over-tired. They are putting on weight, using alcohol to ‘self-medicate’, eating junk food because of the long hours and not really feeling like they are in control of their lives at present. Many are still trying to work out how to adjust to the new expectations of working from home and feeling like they need to work longer and longer hours. All of this is tiring.

I had breakfast with a group of future thinkers I did a webinar with a few months ago and they said much the same. People are absorbing their commute into the working day. They aren’t moving around as much due to the endless zoom meetings. Self-care was deprioritised whilst home-schooling and remote work became the priority. The result? People are really fatigued. The adrenaline rush of COVID has abated, to be replaced by chronic fatigue and burnout. 

Some symptoms of burnout described by the Mayo Clinic are:

  • Becoming cynical or critical at work
  • Having to drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started
  • Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients
  • Lacking the energy to be consistently productive
  • Finding it hard to concentrate
  • Using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel
  • Sleep habits changed

This pattern of working is not sustainable for companies or employees. The long term wellbeing consequences are even scarier if leaders don’t act to help themselves and their people:

  • Sadness, anger or irritability
  • Alcohol or substance misuse
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Vulnerability to other illnesses

The pool of people I am connecting with are mostly leaders. And if they are struggling, how do you think their teams are feeling? My guess is pretty similar. After all, life doesn’t discriminate when it comes to these types of things. 

So then the next question is, what can leaders do about this? Korn Ferry wrote a great article using the oxygen mask analogy. Focus on sorting yourself out before you help others. But as leaders, we can provide some clear guidance and permission to our teams as they might not have the presence of mind to cope right now.

5 things you can do:

  1. Consider how you want to ‘show up’ to your team and how you want others to see you. Are you the leader who is still at full sprint? Or are you the leader who is in business continuity mode; planning and executing calmly. Your team will observe, react, and most likely mimic your example.
  2. Encourage and role model time in your calendar for recuperation and relaxation. Whether that is a shift to the four day week, a meditation half-hour, pics of you, and your family at the park. Share your R&R with your team and ask them to create experiences that offer the same.
  3. Examine your annual leave/vacation plots. Many of my clients haven’t taken leave since before COVID and many have been working more than 5 days per week. Encourage people to take a day off here and there. 
  4. Work out! It’s that simple. There is endless research on the benefits of exercise – even if it is a 5-10 minute walk around the building at lunch. Get out of your house, office, warehouse and do something. 
  5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! The biggest lesson we have learned through this experience is the importance of communication. You need to communicate relentlessly with your team. What is going well, what isn’t? Progress, challenges, good jobs well done, improvement opportunities. Expectation and commitments. Whilst people are in a mental fuzz, your team will need explicit and clear communication to feel assured that they are on the right track. Those who have regressed into work-zombie burnout won’t hear subtle or nuanced communications so you need to spot them and help.

Thanks for reading!
Jimmy Burroughes


Want to continue reading? You can find our latest blog on Blending Synchronous and Asynchronous Leadership Development Experiences here

Jun 02

Limits and Pushing Through Them in Leadership

By Tim Winstone

I’ve always thought that if I had lived in a different time, I would’ve been an explorer that constantly sought new adventures and opportunities. I have such a passion for adventure sports. These always involves pushing yourself to your absolute limits and beyond what you think is possible. 

Human beings are an amazing species, and our ability to push beyond what we think and believe is possible is one of the many attributes that have allowed us to survive and evolve.  Part of the reason I love adventure is that it takes you to new places. This is because it allows you to engage in new experiences and tests your physical and mental limits and all while in the company of other like-minded adventure seekers.

I have often reflected on parallels between taking part in high intensity adventure sport and leadership development. In particular it relates to the field of Vertical Leadership Development. This is ultimately about expanding a person’s capacity to lead. Nick Petrie, a world leading researcher in Vertical Leadership Development describes three core elements for it to thrive:

  1. Entering the ‘Heat Zone’
  2. Obtaining ‘Colliding Perspectives’ and 
  3. Practicing ‘Reflection’. 

The combination of these three conditions enable leaders to grow their capacity to lead and take on new experiences (adventures).

What can we learn from endurance sports and activities that can be applied to leadership?

A book that captivated me recently was ‘Endure’ by Alex Hutchinson. It explores the world of endurance sports and the different elements that enable humans to reach limits no-one thought possible. The book ponders whether an individual’s physical limits are set by their body or their brain, or a combination of both. What controls our ability to endure through elements? Is it our physical limitations as humans, or does our brain play a key role in protecting us from harm? 

Hutchinson shares that in many cases our brain will set ‘alerts’ before we can cause physical harm. It’s possible to push through our limits to achieve what we think is unachievable. Because endurance athletes constantly balance the risks of pushing on in their sport even when the brain is signalling to stop, these athletes have the ability to reset what their limits are – but can be very costly if pushed too far.

Pushing Beyond Perceived Limits

Can we push beyond perceived limits in our leadership? Can we extend beyond what our brain says we are comfortable with and reset the limits of what’s possible? Those who climb Mt Everest, don’t attempt to push past their physical limits (oxygen deprivation) and head straight to the top. They acclimatise and set new limits as to what their body can sustain.   

As you work towards a new goal, break it down into achievable stretches that enter the ‘heat zone’. Ensure that you come back to within your limits. So, reflect, gain perspective and then you can push further.  Building such a mindset as habit will allow you to challenge and extend your leadership capacity. Just like physical endurance, you need to be mindful of what physical limits exist. These are the ones that you don’t want to exceed.

If you want to find out more on this topic, I recommend reading ‘Endure’ by Alex Hutchinson, ISBN: 9780062499981

Thanks for reading!

Tim


If you’re interested in entering your own ‘heat zone’ to push beyond your limits and stretch yourself why not think about coaching? Here’s a little bit about what we do in this space: One-on-One Coaching

Apr 24

Trust – Take the Time to Build and Maintain It

By James Burroughes

The concept of trust might feel like a funny thing to be talking about at this time. However, as the last few weeks have shown, it’s one of the key issues affecting business performance according to research by both Gartner and Gallup.

The dictionary defines trust as, ‘firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something’. To me, the key part of this are the words FIRM BELIEF.

As a child, we mostly all hold a firm belief that our parents have our back. They will protect, provide and help us whenever and wherever possible. And yes there are exceptions to this rule, however, I’m working on the basis of good parenting. It’s interesting to me that most leaders never liken their role as a leader as having many similarities to parenting. And the situation now is something like when your kids are under immense exam pressure — x1000.

Trust In the Workplace

In business, your employees want to firmly believe that you aren’t virtually peering over their shoulder (micromanaging them); or that you are so “hands-off”, you have no idea what they are up to.

Employees want support. They want encouragement to be allowed to try things and know that you will be there to catch them when they fall. Or at least pick them up and dust them off if they do! Remember they are currently having to try a LOT of new things! They also want you to care about them, ask how they are and show your compassionate side.

This cultivation of trust is key to employees delivering at their best. David DeSteno, professor of psychology at Northeastern University and the author of The Truth About Trust states that trust is “essential to boosting employee engagement, motivation, and candor.”

This begs the question, how does one build trust?

  1. There needs to be a simple alignment of expectations and obligations between managers and employees. A virtual one to one can create enormous alignment, and therefore build trust using the four simple questions above. Employees are more likely to follow through on goals set by a manager they trust. Likely to be more forthcoming about the challenges they see on their level.
  2. Formally known as incidental socialisation, these are the water cooler conversations. The just passing by your desk questions, the lunchroom chats. Meetings tend to start and end with business and not trust-building small talk. We are relational animals and therefore need this interaction to feel a connection and trust.
  3. Try moving to a 45-minute meeting format which starts with small talk. It’s never been more important to maintain social connection with your team. Scheduling a shorter meeting time will also force those in the call to get down to business and clear up actions quickly.

The intent for this is to remind you to take the time to build and maintain trust with your teams. They really need it right now.

James


Find out more on what we do in building professional skills here

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