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Realising The Potential In Your People

A businesses most important asset is its people!

Businesses are judged on their financial results. So how do you make sure that you get the most from your people to achieve your business objectives.

With productivity being such an important issue the challenge is how can we work better together.

The following 3 activities are interesting challenges to set your team to help in the management of performance.

Realising The Potential In Your People

Activity 1: Focus and Awareness

Three people throw and catch two balls. This activity is completed by 3 people standing side by side.

  • The person in the middle and to the RHS have rugby balls.
  • The aim of the challenge is the person on the rhs to throw the ball to the centre person who will throw the ball the person on the LHS.
  • Note the middle person has to throw his ball up in the air as well as distributing the other ball.

Observation points from this activity

  • Trust – the other throwers must trust that the middle man will do their part
  • Communication – without effective communication the task will fail
  • It may be necessary to practice the activity in order to get the timings and throwing process sorted
  • You have to concentrate on the task if you get distracted the task cannot be completed
  • You need to develop a process – as one thing follows another

Note: When you are doing the task i.e. throwing and catching you are focusing on the task and your awareness of other external activities becomes diminished.

Focus and Awareness

  • Its difficult to focus and be aware
    • Sometimes you need total focus i.e. getting a major piece of work completed on time
    • Sometimes awareness is needed i.e. blue sky thinking
    • So there is a balance to be had between focus and awareness.

Action: What measures do you have in place to check that both focus and awareness are implemented

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Realising The Potential In Your People – Activity 2

If within your business you have team made up of Directors, Managers and Staff then within the 3 elements of Policy, Procedure and Execution how do they spend there time.

In an ideal world directors would be focused on strategic activities, managers would be looking at operational issues and staff would be involved in tactical activities.

Unfortunately with many SME’s the actual split ends up with directors getting involved in operational activities, managers splitting their time between operational and tactical and the limited number of staff on tactical activities.

Activity 2: Do you work as a team

The task as a team to lower the eight metre pole to the floor . Half the team stood on the LHS side of the pole, the other half on the RHS. Resting the poles on the index fingers of both hands with the arms outwards the team then attempted to lower the pole to the floor without everyone in the teams fingers maintaining contact with the pole.

About the task

  • The lightweight pole would typically weigh about 250g
  • In a typical team of 14 people, that’s 28 fingers supporting  the pole
  • As a team nobody wants to drop the pole so automatically the pole will rise.
  • If the pole starts to rise then everybody else within the team has to move their fingers up to stay in contact
  • Nobody was purposely pushing the pole up but as a new task they had no idea what was the right approach

Learning points from the activity

  • To work effectively as a team
    • You have all got to act together
    • There needs to be a high degree of TRUST within everybody. If one person doesn’t engage within the team that can significantly impair the performance.
    • Importantly just because you might ultimately complete the task it doesn’t actually mean that you are a high performance team
    • Ultimately are we achieving results in spite of ourselves

Realising The Potential In Your People – Activity 3

The Issue of Change

Activity 3: Group chaos

As group spread out into a circle so that you can see everyone. Then everybody chooses 2 people (preferably people you don’t know well). the idea is to stand in a position equidistant between these two people. Once you say the word “Go” everyone can move into the required position.

As you move it breaks out into a chaotic situation, as ultimately your movement causes and impacts on others people movement. Interestingly some people will stand still waiting to see what happens. Now this is fine but of course as they then move so it impacts on the group layout

Change is when something different happens

This could be through

  • new people
  • new processes

Important note: Not everybody changes at the same pace. I’ll move when I’m happy to move, which then impacts on the group – its the issue of cause and effect. We are all different “why should I change”.

Often there are two distinct types. Those who when faced with change don’t hold back (and in fact positively race forward, thus creating more change) and those who are slow and need encouragement / pushing in order to achieve change.

Why do you need performance management?

  • Provides structure
  • Offers improved management control
  • Delivers a direct financial improvements
  • Encourages engagement
  • Defines team roles and competencies
  • Increase motivation and productivity

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