Mentoring is a powerful way of imparting knowledge and developing people within organisations.

Mentoring is a powerful way of imparting knowledge and developing people within organisations.

Mentoring is a powerful way of imparting knowledge and developing people within organisations.

The word Mentor originates from Homer’s classic poem, ‘The Odyssey’, describing a time around 1200BC when Odyssus was preparing to travel a great distance. He asked ‘Mentor’ to act as a teacher, guide and friend to his son, Telemachus.

Many famous people who have enjoyed success have had the benefit of a mentor relationship. Oprah Winfrey looked on the writer Maya Angelou as a trusted mentor.

The mentor – mentee relationship is also referred to in the Hypocratic Oath: ‘To hold my teacher in this art equal to my own parents; to make him partner in my livelihood;’

Mentor programmes in organisations are beneficial to all parties and increases retention within organisations.

From Mercenaries to Missionaries -Designing, Developing & Leading High Performance Teams

The Book: https://tinyurl.com/BuyTheM2MBook

Website: https://martinmurphy.coach/

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/martinmurphy-coach/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/teamcoachmurph/

 

What is the Elite Team Concept?

Using friendly competition to boost performance in your business…

Competition is seen as a natural part of life and work. There is always a creation stage when an idea must compete for its place in the world. You have to compete for a new job. The entrepreneurial stage in business is when the start-up must prove it’s worth and activity is primarily about winning customers without which the product or service will not survive.

But not everybody enjoys competition whilst some people thrive on it. Leaders have to be careful that when they frame competition that it doesn’t create anxiety and negative impacts on people’s wellbeing.

Competition increases psychological and physiological activation and exercised correctly leads to creativity and supportive behaviours. Done incorrectly, competition leads to cheating and sabotage as we’ve witnessed by banks leading to long term pain for the organisation, employees and clients.

Competition needs to lead to happiness not humiliation if you want to get positive outcomes.

Here are some key points to consider.

Compete originates from the Latin Competere meaning to strive together to achieve a common purpose. Chances are that competition was a key driver of human progress along with the peak performance flow states that competition can engender. It is important to remember that humans collaborated their way to the top of the evolutionary tree, probably in friendly competition.

Constraints

Introduce constraints and be clear about boundaries and ethical values that you are all agreed to upholding. Research has shown that saying the Lord’s Prayer before a competition decreased the cheating that took place by a group of students in a test when the answers were easily obtainable.

Open to Feedback

As a leader encourage the right behaviours and attitude by modelling them such as being open to feedback. Also, introduce the concept of ‘After Action Reviews’ so that the focus is on improving the behaviours and processes not just achieving the results. Keep it non-threatening and friendly.

Mutual accountability

Measure team results more than individual results so that the team members are mutually accountable to each other not a manager. Peer pressure is more effective than dominant pressure. We feel more compelled to help our own people more than a person who is not ‘one of us’.

Purpose vs Material

Make competition success about improvement and personal growth, don’t design rewards purely based on money or status. If you introduce monetary and status rewards then it can lead to jealousy and resentment. Peer-to-peer recognition is useful as we do enjoy basking in the limelight sometimes, even the quieter team members.

Excellence

Regularly emphasise that the aim of competition is to encourage the pursuit of team excellence. If an individual achieves great results, that process should be modelled and shared with the other team members.

Team Building

Brain storming sessions, quizzes around work, shared social experiences are all excellent ways to bring people together and build esprit de corps.

Egalitarian

In military special forces units, hierarchy is shunned and people are recognised for their indivdual expertise. They’re not encouraged to be clones but have individual skills. If you promote egalitarianism and appreciation of individual strengths in your organisation, then it will encourage creative teamwork but harnessing that creativity is a skill.

Collective intelligence from a diverse group is just as effective as having a lone genius- and there aren’t many lone geniuses around- so work on boosting team engagement.

With everything that has happened this year and how that will impact us all going forward, when would now be a good time to make facilitating effective meetings, decision-making and learning to use collaboration tools for effective communication and coaching, a core competency in your business?

Interested in learning more? Mission Power meeting Facilitation Online Course

Ownership or Leadership?

Why is ownership so important in team and individual engagement?

With ownership one could argue, the owner’s worldview is to extract value from people working on ‘their’ projects where as, a leader is leveraging the potential of a group of people to co-create value for the community.

Ownership is one of the greatest cons of all time which began around 10,000 years ago. Somehow, somebody, (probably a man) got their hands on some agricultural tech and gained an advantage over others, then leveraged that advantage. This has led to hierarchies, the exploitation of people and the destructive extraction of wealth from the planet with disastrous consequences.

Don’t believe me? Just look around you…

Before that period, as evidenced by observing contemporary hunter gatherer cultures that are still around today, we can see that our Palaeolithic ancestors were primarily egalitarian. Moreover, they were egalitarian for 150,000 years and living in balance with nature. They’ve outlasted supposedly more sophisticated, war-like civilisations such as the Roman, Mongolian and several Chinese dynasties.

Anthropologists have studied dozens of hunter-gatherer societies in remote areas around the world such as Africa, Asia and South America. These tribes lived in small bands of about 20 to 50 people and have many common cultural values. They also maintain peaceful relationships with friends and relatives in neighbouring bands. Warfare was relatively unknown and the dominant cultural ethos emphasised autonomy, non-directive childrearing, communal cooperation and decision-making. It appears we collaborated our way to the top of the evolutionary tree.

On the flip-side, modern history has been the ongoing conquest by dominant warring parties of other smaller bands to form more complex political structures. These societies focus on higher levels of power, wealth and control passing to an elite group at the top and like a Ponzi scheme is unsustainable. Every so often they fail and collapse back down to more sustainable levels. Then when the dust has settled and memories faded they begin the same journey again.

We’re heading towards a global economic and cultural community but that’s a work in progress. In the meantime we’re wrecking the planet with our conquering and exploitative mindset and people’s mental health and wellbeing are suffering as a result. Two decades of war in the middle east to protect the American petro-dollar is a classic example. All those humanitarian and ecological costs to protect the oil industry and American’s hegemony, are externalised onto communities and the planet.

So back to teamwork and leadership.

How does behaviour compare with egalitarian communities and modern workgroups?

Just as we have modern archetypes in the workplace, one could argue they match those of ancient egalitarian people. There are hunters, gatherers, shaman (mostly women originally) and scouts.

Hunters periodically acquired meat as a source of protein, Shamans were the keepers of the wisdom e.g. which berries were edible and which would kill you. Gatherers nurtured others in the community and foraged for edible vegetation and the Scouts would look for new hunting grounds and connect with other communities for marriages and trading.

Today we have Founders who are similar to Scouts as in they challenge old ideas, create new products and champion new ideas.

We have Entrepreneurs who tend to be more risk tolerant, focussed and can drive new ideas into existence similar to the hunter personality.

We have the Gathers who are the supporters and coaches within the organisations.

And the Managers, like the Shamans, are generally the keepers of the wisdom and strive for operational excellence and like to organise for certainty.

But what’s different from the workplace is traditional egalitarian communities maintain social norms that prevent any of the personalities from trying to exploit their position. These are called:

S.T.O.P’s – Strategies to Overcome Power

Hunters didn’t bring home meat then boast about their good fortune and hold the rest of the group to ransom. They didn’t promote silly ideas of greed as some ordained right. Material wealth was shared. Egalitarian communities focus on what George Monbiot calls ‘private sufficiency and public luxury’ the total opposite of what neo-liberal capitalists promote today.

In our evolutionary history we began to resist hierarchy, an ancestral primate social modus-operandi, when we developed the ability to speak. This allowed weaker members to collaborate more effectively, band together and throw rocks at any tyrannical member of the group that tried to dominate them. However, all previous evolutionary and developmental versions of us, are encapsulated within us and if the right conditions occur, people will revert back to being monkeys basically.

They will try to dominate others to get a bigger share of the bananas, and once they’ve got their hands on the bananas, they don’t like letting go.

For business owners and managers this means they have to deal with the psychological effects of the dominance and involuntary defeat systems. These are behavioural operating systems which arise as soon as you introduce hierarchy.

Those with authority and status begin to focus on their position and keeping it rather than doing what’s best for the community. It also increases the likelihood of psychopathology such as Machiavellianism and narcissism (a good example is politics).

Being dominated, triggers our involuntary defeat behaviours which leads us to doing as little as possible for our meagre share of the bananas…Well you would wouldn’t you?

As society has become more polarised between the have’s and the have nots, resentment builds. We’ve seen this with the rise of populism as smart people have tapped into the powerlessness felt by those left behind and motivated them to act in ways which actually don’t serve them but serve the elite…yet again.

Archimedes said:

‘Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand and I can lift the world’

Well leadership is the lever and humility is the place to stand. If we strive to see leadership as a lever of potential not a badge of office and promote those leadership behaviours throughout the organisation in self managing teams and communities we would probably see engagement increase tremendously. Of course it is not easy to wrestle back control from the baboons so perhaps it would be better to follow Buckminster Fuller’s idea:

‘Don’t fight the existing reality, create a new one which makes the old one obsolete’

So in summary, if you’re prepared to treat people like wage slaves, then by all means carry on, but don’t be surprised if it feels like you’re dealing with monkeys at times. Also accept that people are fed up of being left behind which is how Trump and Brexit happened. They’re also realising that their is an alternative and it’s on the rise.

Employee ownership is attracting tax incentives as it has been seen as beneficial for business and society for many years. When you have this level of ownership then the teams have skin in the game. It’s a great way for entrepreneurs to have a succession plan, because when things are steady, they like to move onto their next challenge whilst leaving a legacy.

Whenever an organisation needs to adapt quickly to overcome greater challenges, they’ve always diminished the influence of hiearchy and moved power to information. I call this the Elite Team Concept, as used by the military and organisations.

Special project teams have been hiding in plain site and showing the way for centuries. The irony is that they’re not elite, they’re egalitarian in nature and focus on doing the basics well. It’s our evolutionary advantage. Imagine if you empowered your whole orgniasation with the elite team concept?

Want to know more?

Check out: The Elite Team Concept Seminar with Complimentary Digital Book

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-elite-team-concept-seminar-with-complimentary-digital-book-tickets-98264771577?aff=ebdssbeac

The next one is Online on February 4th 2021

Leading your Team Through a Crisis

Whilst this is not a definitive step by step guide, it will cover some basic principles and points to think about when leading your team through a challenging period.

The first thing to remember is that people are not very good at responding. Sure they’ll react to an immediate danger, but won’t acknowledge a danger that’s approaching slowly.  Read more: here

The Delusion of VU (From VUCA) is Over!

I came across a discussion on twitter which alluded to the fact that the world was becoming more complex. This discussion was based on the ideas of General Stanley McChrystal, author of ‘Team of Teams, New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World’.

McChrystal wrote:

“Efficiency remains important, but the ability to adapt to complexity and continual change has become an imperative.”

I remember feeling irked about this statement and the reason for this response, (apart from having man-flu at the time) is that people are acting as if VUCA (the US military term to represent volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) is a new phenomenon. That’s not correct, the world has always been subject to volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Ask poor people.

Read more: Here

Great Leaders are Learning to Paradigm Shift

“The biggest paradigm shifts happening right now are ironically the increasing awareness of the existence of paradigms…”

Paradigms are a worldview shared amongst a group of people so they can experience group identity
and achieve a common purpose. Our world is governed by them very much like seas influence the
life of a fish.

Examples of paradigms include the idea of countries, money, religion.

They are a set of beliefs, values and stories which enable collaboration with greater numbers of people and even with people living different locations. It is our ability to use paradigms that enabled us  to climb to the top of the species hierarchy.

One monkey left on a deserted island might survive more ably than one person might (unless he’s Bear Grylls). But if you put one hundred people on the island, then they would organise themselves more effectively than the monkeys.
But there are a few problems with paradigms….  Read More

From Mercenaries to Missionaries

A favourite quote of mine is Buckminster Fuller’s, “You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.” I’ve been looking for a way to implement this philosophy into my work.

I spent some time with overseas intelligence officers last year, teaching leadership. For amusement I used the opportunity to subversively challenge their worldview under the guise of improving decision-making skills. By challenging them to argue for their enemies’ viewpoint, it soon became apparent that both sides had ideas worthy of consideration. People are complex beings. Ultimately though, the officers realised that after leaving the course, they would hit the paradigm inertia present within consolidated organisations and governments and have to continue working on the assumptions they held before.

So, upon my return I wrote a book called ‘From Mercenaries to Missionaries’. It’s a fusion of

Blank bookcover with clipping path

experience, observations and research whose purpose is to help business owners evolve into leaders who can unleash more of the purpose, passion and potential of the teams in growing businesses. Within society entrepreneurial people are creating wealth by selling products and services. To be successful they have to compete for their place in the Universe and bringing a product to the marketplace often requires a Herculean effort.  I realised by working with business owners, that once they achieve a certain measure of success, they can be persuaded to challenge the present paradigm, much like I did with the intelligence officers.

Businesses usually follow the ‘growth for growth sake’ mentality. This leads to growing teams of people who become less engaged, trading their time for money, constantly in need of a pay rise to maintain the levels of dopamine they get from opening their payslips. It’s the mercenary approach.  It becomes soulless and frustrating working in mercenary organisations as people become widgetized to remove uncertainty. But I help leaders harness the complexity and creativity within the team, not hide from it.

To challenge this paradigm in larger, consolidated organisations, is possible but it meets more paradigm inertia. So, this book helps founders and entrepreneurs develop high performing, intra-dependent teams who can make ecological decision which don’t sink the ship. This then allows the entrepreneur the freedom to solve other more meaningful problems and they can be guided to help their communities thrive too. I would say:

‘Inspirational leadership is ordinary people doing extraordinary things in a constantly shifting world. Leading themselves and, by example, others into a better world for everyone. A world which is environmentally sustainable, socially just, and a personally fulfilling place to live and work’.

Until we change the way we operate in society, I’m on a mission to challenge the entrepreneurial lifecycle helping them become purpose focussed instead of purely profit driven. By unlocking more of the potential of the team’s collective intelligence, organisations can become platforms for developing a new world which makes the old world obsolete.

Martin Murphy

Available on Amazon: http://www.tinyurl.com/ELITETEAMCONCEPT

 

How to minimise biased thinking when briefing your teams

“Humans never communicate as effectively as they think they do” Christine Comaford

So, I am working with this group of team leaders and I notice that they are greatly biased towards a certain style of behaviour and communication. They’re very collaborative and inclusive when they are briefing their teams for a task to be carried out. The problem is that they continue to collaborate and communicate until they leave themselves little time for achieving their task.
This is because the group of leaders have grown up in a certain type of culture. Their culture drives their way of thinking and behaving. Just as an individual has a personality, an organisation or country can have its own culture. There is much to be said for being aware of such biases and overcoming them because neuroscience is finding that to have a diverse and inclusive culture creates better performance. But it’s one thing to be aware of them, that alone will not stop biased thinking and behaving. What we need is a process to overcome this when briefing teams. READ MORE

Creating ELITE teams for Business Success

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” Henry Ford

No matter how talented, passionate, and determined to succeed you are in your chosen business, your level of success will be determined by your ability to inspire and lead a team. The game of business or any endeavour is both simple and complex. The simple bit is to have a great idea which you turn into a set of business goals. You then have to attract support for your idea be that in the way of clients, a talented crew and if you’re lucky, a crowd. If you find yourself being one of the lucky ones, albeit combined with hard work and perseverance, whose idea takes off, it is then just a case of measuring and adjusting your way to success.

Of course, that’s not what usually happens. At some point, you’ll want to scale your business and this means adding more people to the equation which adds complexity. As the team become bigger, tasks become harder to complete for several reasons. One being that the channels of communication grow dramatically. Another phenomenon that arises the by-stander effect. The more people you add to a group, the more people will assume others will pick up the slack. Levels of management are brought into police everybody. This all comes down to the myth that people can’t manage themselves but they can if given the right conditions. READ MORE: