In This Episode…

After experiencing that I can apply myself productively when setting up and attending a meeting, it is time to look at developing consistent behaviours rather than those that appear in a haphazard fashion.Over the last 18 months I have created and refined a system for developing new productive behaviours called my Productivity Improvement Operating System.In this episode I review the steps stages and identify what the first steps are to developing productive meeting behaviours.

Episode Transcript

Hi, and welcome to today’s episode of the profit productivity podcast. It’s your host, Michael tipper. Who else would it be now Yesterday, I had an experience of a good meeting when I met with my accountant. And in yesterday’s episode, I captured everything that went well about the meeting and the preparations for it and the followup for it. And I also identified what I would do to make things even better. And so yesterday I proved I could do it. I could take part in a meeting and handle it in a productive fashion and do that reasonably well. But the trouble is at the moment I’m in the gray zone of sometimes being able to do that. And I really need to get into the clear zone of always being able to do that and making that a habit. So how do I do that Well, over the last 18 months, as I’ve been developing my own productivity skills, I have done research into looking at the development of new behaviors and looking at how to create habits.

And I’ve identified my own productivity improvement, operating system, a five stage process for developing new productive behaviors. And I thought it’d be a good idea just to revisit that now and remind myself of what that process is so that I can apply that to doing, to getting this behavior, looking at meetings really into my, my psyche and my behavior patterns. So it becomes automatic. So there are five steps. The first step is getting a very clear direction. Now goal setting is probably something we’ve all heard of, but not many people do it effectively or well enough. So understanding how to get very, very clear on what you want to achieve is the starting point, because often many people don’t know what they want to achieve. And if you don’t know what you want to achieve, then how are you going to get there

So the first step is very important, clear direction. Now the second step is marginal games. So Dave Brailsford, who was the team manager of team GB, the cycling team that has dominated the cycling events in the Olympics ever since I think 2008. And he came up with this concept of marginal games instead of making massive, big sweeping changes, he just looked for small, tiny games he could make in a cyclist performance. And the principle was that the aggregation of all these little tiny improvements would make a significant difference. And of course he was proved, right Because if we look at the performance of team GB over the last few years, it has been astonishing how they’ve dominated that sport. So identify marginal gains and marginal gains are important. Also psychologically because the brain doesn’t like big shifts or big changes as human beings, we can make small adjustments quite easily, but the big ones tend to be a bit of a, a crisis situation for some people.

So making small gains make them manageable, make them believable and also make them possible. So having small shift is important. So that’s the second stage having marginal games. Now the third stage, I think is probably the secret stage that this is the one stage that binds the, all the stages. If you want to use a talk in Lord of the rings analogy, and that’s having a growth mindset a few years ago, Carol Dweck wrote a book called mindset that identified these two mindsets, a fixed mindset, a growth mindset. Now I’m not going to go into the full details of what a growth mindset is. Other than to identify that with a growth mindset, you will move forward. You will embrace challenges. You’ll overcome obstacles. You realize that the pastor mastery is effort and keeping on practicing and practicing, practicing. You take any criticism as feedback, and you’re inspired by the successes of others.

With that framework in dealing with anything you want to improve, that will mean you’re much, much more likely to improve it. So having that growth mindset is really important. So the fourth one is having an awareness of what’s going on. Now. I recommend there are three ways you can do this. The first one is through journaling. The second one is through tracking your time, keeping a time log. And the third way is to compare your plans with what you actually did and achieved. And so by monitoring the meetings by monitoring how I’m going to apply myself to this and reflecting back on that will be a route through to improvement. So that’s the fourth step maintaining awareness of what’s going on. And finally, it’s a process of continuous improvement. So I will start with a, an approach to dealing with meetings. And I will try that out.

I’ll reflect back to see if it’s working in the previous step, the awareness step by taking a growth mindset and taking the feedback. I will then adapt and make another small marginal gain and make sure I’m getting closer to my direction, the clear direction to the setting, the goals, so that continuous improvement and constantly checking, is this doing what I wanted to do Yes. Then keep doing it. No, then make the change. So it does keep doing it. So that fundamentally are the five stages of the productivity improvement, operating system, clear direction, marginal gains, growth, mindset, awareness, and continuous improvement. So where do I start with that Well, clearly it’s getting a clear direction. Now, when you break down getting a clear direction, there are seven crucial steps, and these are the key steps I’ve identified again from the research I’ve done from a variety of sources that identify the best way to instead of habit.

And these are the five steps. The first one is picking an area. This is a fairly general step because it’s a starting point. And for the area, are we going to pick, obviously at the moment it’s going to be meetings. The second step is setting a behavioral goal. Now I am looking to change my behavior. So I need to know what that looks like and sounds like, and feels like so that if I was to write it down, someone could, could see the description and then go and be able to repeat that themselves without any interaction from me whatsoever. I have to get that clear that crystal clear in understanding what I want to be doing, and the reason why I wanted to be doing that. Now the third step is to identify the obstacles that are going to get in the way. So that might be procrastination that might be I’m too busy.

That might be a whole variety of things. But the key thing here is recognizing something called realistic optimism. I am pretty sure I’m going to be able to develop the abilities and the skills and the habits to really be very, very productive and effective when I meet with other people. I know that now I believe that to be true. But if that I left it at that, I am potentially at setting myself up for failure because I have to recognize that I will face challenges. There will be challenges I’ve got to overcome. There will be obstacles. There’ll be things that get in the way. It wouldn’t happen as quickly as I would like it to. And when I recognize that I am much more likely to achieve them because I’m coming at it with a realistic sense of optimism, not a blind sense of optimism.

So that’s step three. The fourth step is to mentally contrast where I am now and where I want to be. Now at the moment, I’m in a position where the meeting structure, isn’t good for me. I’m not doing it very well. I’m inefficient, I’m ineffective, and it’s not true to the values I’m holding myself to, which is out of being productive and efficient and effective. So that’s where I am now, where do I want to be I need to look to the future and really get a sense and the essence of how I’m going to feel what it’s going to be like when I’ve got this new structure in place and really got to create that contrast. And in doing so, I’ll create, what’s called the necessity to act. So that’s the fourth step. Now the fifth step is deciding when and where I’m going to do these behaviors.

Now this is something called implementation intention. And this is about if then planning, probably one of the most important discoveries I’ve made in this field. sorry, I haven’t made it myself, but I’ve discovered that people have made it. I don’t want to claim ownership of that, but I’ve, I’ve come across this and realized just how important the, if then processes. So I need to decide and create some if then criteria to implement these behaviors. So when I’ve done that I’m left with, a couple of steps. The first one is an affirmation, and this is about really tapping into my identity, my identity, as someone who attends meetings and behaves a certain way in meetings at the moment, I’m consistent with my identity. I have that me in meetings, which is haphazard occasionally do it sometimes not. And I’ve got to change that one way of doing that is through an affirmation.

And then finally, the last way, which is the seventh step is deciding what done and doing looks like the performance psychology has made great strides in understanding the power of visualization in developing people’s performance. As human beings. We can’t tell the difference between a real and a vividly imagined event. And so by training our mind and seeing, and imagining us conditioning ourselves, or imagining us performing the behavior, it’s almost as good as performing the behavior. And we create neural pathways in our brain that are laid down in preparation for us being able to do it for real. So understanding what doing and what done looks like, and then imagining that will really help me instill those behaviors. So that’s just a summary of the seven stages of getting started, getting a clear direction. So I thought it would be useful just to revisit that for myself and also share that with you. But the reason for that is because now my homework is to go and take that first step, the starting point, and really work through that and get very, very clear on setting the right direction for me to be able to create these new behaviors that I am going to implement, definitely going to implant for handling meetings. So that’s this episode until tomorrow.

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