In This Episode…

After outlining my Productivity Improvement Operating System in yesterday’s episode, today I dive a little bit deeper into Stage 1 – Setting a Clear Direction.  I walk through the following 7 steps to getting clear on what I want to improve about how I conduct meetings:

1.   Pick an area to improve

2.   Define my behaviour goals

3.  Identify the obstacles

4.  Use mental contrasting

5.  Decide when and where

6.  Affirmations

7.  Visualise done and doing.

Episode Transcript

I Anne, welcome to today’s episode of the profit productivity podcast. It’s your host, Michael, who else would it be No. In yesterday’s episode, we had a look at my productivity improvement operating system, which is a stage, a five stage process I’ve developed for developing new productive behaviors. And I ran through that and I also focused on the first stage, which is getting a clear direction and looked at the seven steps to getting a clear direction. What I want to do in today’s episode is just go into a little bit more depth in each of those seven steps in relation to me developing my abilities and my productivity habits around having effective meetings. So I’ll just summarize the seven steps. First. First of all, they are picking an area. Number two is getting behavior goals. Number three is identifying obstacles. Number four is mental contrasting. Number five is deciding when and where number six is affirmation.

And number seven is visualizing what done and doing looks like. So let’s go through each one of those intern. So the first one picking an area it’s meetings, that’s basically a heading for this process. I don’t need to go into any more depth about that one. Now the second one behavior goals. And it’s very important to understand what a behavior looks like and sounds like because that quality description means it’s very clear in your own mind what doing the behavior is. So being productive, isn’t a behavior because what does productive mean Being frustrated isn’t behavior, because what does frustration actually mean and look like So in this particular instance, I’ve got to get very clear on what doing looks like. So for example, I’ve identified, there are three phases, there’s a preparation phase that the meeting phase itself and the post-meeting phase. So the preparation phase, I’ve talked about getting very clear on what my outcomes purposes and the agenda is going to be.

And so their behavior, there would be something along the lines of actually writing down the outcome. This meeting is, and the purpose of this meeting is, and this is the agenda. That is a specific behavior. So understanding that is very key. Another, so then moving on to the, during meeting phase, this is about capturing decisions when they’re made, that’s capturing, that’s writing them down or maybe typing them into a PR a format on my iPad or my computer, I’m doing the same with actions and then maybe taking notes. So what does taking notes looks like, look like that might be doing a mind map that might be typing. but specifically I need to get very clear on what that looks like and then follow up after the meeting, sending an email, I know what lucky sending an email, actually it looks like taking action keeping track and what the records are starting a little bit more hazy here, but it’s knowing that I am doing stuff around keeping records.

So the records could be that I’ve got the agenda, I’ve got my notes and they are filed on my system so I can access them. That’s could be a behavior. So I’ve got to go into a little bit more depth about that and get clear on my end, because as I’m saying this, I thought I was clear on I made these notes, but clearly I’m not. And I think that the value of doing this podcast for me is I’m able to listen to myself describing what I’m doing and actually work out whether I’m congruent with that or whether there’s more work needs to be done in this case. I think more work needs to be done. The third step is identifying obstacles. This is about becoming a realistic optimist. I know I’ve done great meetings in the past. And so I could go, yeah, I can do that.

No problem. But if I picked up there was a problem last week and clearly I’m not doing that. So the three obstacles that I’ve identified is that there is this a nurse you’re maybe there will be fine. meetings are okay. I’ll I tend to get by. Okay. So that inertia something I need to get over. The other thing at the moment is there was a lot going on and taking the time out from what I’m doing in order to be able to do this and make these corrections is I’m struggling at the moment. I’m struggling to do that with all the things that are going on. So that is something I have to overcome. And the other thing is I have a tendency to overcomplicate these things and go into too much detail. And so I’ve gotta be careful and not creating something. That’s going to be harder to run than just turning up and hoping for the best.

So getting clear on those obstacles will really help me be mindful of what’s in the way so that I can plan around them. Now, the fourth one is all about mental contrasting. This is about looking where I am now and looking to the future. And the idea is to create a necessity to act. So at the moment, I am in this haphazard way where I’m sort of doing some of the stuff, but there are things that are being, let I’m letting things slip. My attitude is quite relaxed because I have relaxes. I’ve got older, but actually the, the processing of the meetings needs to tighten up. So that’s where I am now. And that’s causing me a bit of frustration. I’m losing track of things, things aren’t getting done as professionally as I would like. And I realize I need to up my game in that.

So let me look at the future. Well, in the future, now, this is where I start thinking about what could it be like Well, I’ve got meetings in the future that are focused. They are concisely. Our professional professional for me is one of my values. I really, that really draws me and part of the pain at the moment that I’m having is because I’m not being professional. and it bothers me that I’m, I’m letting my value slip there. So back to the future, they’re meeting a purposeful, they’re going to be valuable. They’re going to be short. They’re going to be effective. They’re gonna be punching. People are going to enjoy coming to them because things get done at my meetings because I hold people to account at meetings. And we know that we are going to create what we set out to create in the meetings.

Now, when I think about that, I start to get excited about the possibilities. I start to see how that will contribute to the work I’m doing. And then when I reflect back on where I am now, I think, right, I’ve got to do something about this. Now, another thing I could do, I start, I could start looking at the continuation of the journey I’m on at the moment, the track I’m on at the moment, you just take that to its logical painful conclusion. If I do nothing. But I think at the moment, this future actually looks completely rosy to me. So I’m a very, very drawn to that. The fist step is deciding when and where those behaviors are going to happen. Now, this is all about if then planning is all about implementation intention. When am I going to do the activity What triggers it

So if then planning has been proven to improve the output and improve the consistency of activity in accordance with plans. And the way it works is this. If you define the criteria that needs to be in place, or when that’s there, then you define what your happen. So for example, if I have a meeting arranged, then I will get very, very clear on the outcome on the purpose and on the steps in the agenda, capture that in a document and send it to the people I’m meeting with. Another one could be during the meeting, if a decision is made during the meeting, then it is captured, acknowledged and confirmed. That’s what I need to do for that. Now there’s probably a whole load of if then statements I need to be looking at in terms of the behaviors I’ve got. And I’m not going to go into depth now because it’s probably quite a little bit more work, but that’s the sort of thing that I need to do.

Then we come on to step six and seven, which is really about supercharging. The effort I’ll make to really make sure they are going to happen. This is where we come into the high performance and the productivity development, because this is about shifting your identity. And we tend to do things consistent plus amount of 10% of our identity. And in fact, probably man’s greatest man kind greatest driver is to be consistent with who they believe them to be. And so clearly at the moment, if I am behaving like this with meetings and my identity around my meeting behavior, isn’t consistent, isn’t one of focus meetings. So I’ve got to shift that and the way to do that is by using affirmation. So what I say to myself and how I describe my meeting abilities and how I talk about how I operate meetings, that’s got to shift.

So for example, I’m great at meetings, I’m focusing meetings. My meetings are always valuable and well run. Those are just things I’ve come up with the top of my head. Again, I probably do a little bit more work on that. And then finally the visualization actually seeing myself in my mind’s eye, doing the behaviors that I’ve described. Now, it’s a bit hazy at the moment and you’ve probably sense that I’m sort of going through the motions of talking about these steps and I’ve sensed that myself. I am firmly committed to changing the way I’d be doing meetings based on how it’s happened this week. Yet when I’m at this stage, what’s happening is the obstacles. The inertia is starting to creep in a little bit and maybe this is almost like a token gesture, but actually I realized that myself and I’m sharing that with you because I want to hold myself to account to a highest standard because of the moment I’m talking a good game, but I’ve got to walk the game and partly out of congruency because I’m helping you move your productivity forward.

But also because that’s the only way it’s going to work. It’s only way it’s going to work is if I’ve got a, I’ve got to walk and live this because I’m doing this, not because I want to teach it. The teaching is as a consequence of me doing it, I’m doing this because I know that my life will become so much more, better, so much more, better, so much better. When I have upped my game on the productivity stakes. That’s why I’m doing this. So this is another reminder. Yeah, I’ve got up my game a little bit more. I’m taking a little steps and this accountability I’m getting from you and from me, sharing it with you is really helping. So that’s today’s episode until tomorrow.

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