Which Thinking Hat are you wearing? And more importantly Why? (And When?)

Which Thinking Hat are you wearing? And more importantly Why? (And When?)

? Edward de Bono’s Six Hats is a way of providing structure to discussions and ensuring that you bring different perspectives to the table when making decisions.

What are the hats?

? Blue Hat: The Conductor’s Hat. Thinking about and managing the thinking process. The blue hat is the control hat. It is used for thinking about thinking. The blue hat sets the agenda, focus and sequence, ensures the guidelines are observed and asks for summaries, conclusions, decisions and plans action.

? Green Hat: The Creative Hat. Generating ideas. The green hat is for creative thinking and generating new ideas, alternatives, possibilities and new concepts.

? Red Hat: The Hat For The Heart. Intuition and feelings. The red hat is about feelings, intuitions and instincts. The red hat invites feelings without justification.

? Yellow Hat: The Optimist’s Hat. Benefits and values. The yellow hat is for a positive view of things. It looks for the benefits and values.

⚫ Black Hat: The Judge’s Hat. Caution. The black hat identifies risk. It is used for critical judgment and must give the logical reasons for concerns. It is one of the most powerful hats.

⚪ White Hat: The Factual Hat. Information. The white hat is all about information. What information you have, what information you need and where to get it. (This is my favourite hat!)

Edward de Bono wrote the book “Six Thinking Hats” in 1985. He wrote “Lateral Thinking for Management” in 1971 and Six Hats is about “Parallel Thinking” – where people consciously “wear the same hat” as they explore all sides of an issue (in contrast to adversarial thinking).

? By wearing each of the hats and by wearing them together with other people, you can gain a richer understanding of issues and how to solve them.

? And as shown here, specific topics/issues may require a different order to the hat-wearing.

What do you reckon? Something you use? Or has it become – [groan; so sorry] – old hat?

? You can still buy the book: https://buff.ly/3SmbFLg

Here’s the de Bono website (where the above descriptions come from): https://buff.ly/3tRBjbX

This great illustration comes from here: https://buff.ly/3HHNHn2

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What really matters for employee engagement?

What really matters for employee engagement? What does the research say…?

? Here are five keys, based on WTW research into what engaging managers actually do:

? Really know the people who work for you – understand their experiences, motivations and interests

? Have an interest in helping people learn to do new things in new and better ways (this isn’t about formal training, it’s about a coaching mindset and encouragement)

? Inspire people; not through slogans and posters on the wall, but in practical ways that provide a sense of purpose (e.g. customer interaction and feedback)

? Involve people through building line of sight and business literacy, and by providing access to fresh information (transparency) and by being inclusive

? Recognise people’s contribution: a “Sincere Well-Informed Timely Thank You” is a powerful thing (but many managers struggle with this).

? The list comes from the book “Closing the Engagement Gap: How Great Companies Unlock Employee Potential for Superior Results” by Julie Gebauer and Don Lowman.

? Julie leads the Heath, Wealth, and Careers team at WTW. You can learn more about this and other research we’ve done on employee engagement here: https://buff.ly/46iUjUc

? The best managers in my experience do all these things and more. What would you add to the list?

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“Can and Can’t, Will and Won’t.”

“Can and Can’t, Will and Won’t.”

In this article Daniel Stillman summarises a 2×2 of employee motivation and technical ability that comes from Danny Meyer (founder chairman of Union Square Hospitality Group and author of “Setting the Table”).

It’s based on an interview, which you can watch here: https://buff.ly/3s9Gjgp

The conversation is really around how you can scale culture by rewarding the right behaviours and not tolerating the wrong ones.

When it comes to this framework, each quadrant has its own actions.

For people who:
✔ Can & Will – you need to recognise and celebrate them
✔ Can’t but Will – you need to coach, and have some patience
✔ Can’t & Won’t – you need an early intervention
✔ Can but Won’t – you need a broader discussion.

? Danny Meyer talks about using the framework as a mirror (literally, in fact) for employees to reflect on their position. There’s a hospitality-focus to the approach, as in engaging people with great “hospitality attitude”.

I’m always interested in how tools like this can “fit” with different sectors and strategies. Does this approach resonate with you at all….?

The link to Daniel’s article is here: https://buff.ly/45lAtpQ

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The Feynman Technique

The Feynman Technique. Do you know it? You may already follow it in some form.

?Feynman’s technique is designed to help you convey information using concise thoughts and simple language.

✔ It begins with identifying a topic and writing down everything you know about it.

✔ You should then explain it in your own words, plainly and simply, without jargon — so that a child can understand what it is.

✔ Real learning happens next, when you ask yourself “What am I missing?” and “What don’t I know?” (Feynman famously kept a notebook titled “Notebook of Things I Don’t Know About.”)

✔ This process is iterative, but the next step is to tell your story and to review it. One idea is to speak it aloud so you can hear when you stumble. Another approach is to use analogies.

? Simple steps, tricky to do well, but key for effective communication.

The image here comes from BrainZucker: https://buff.ly/3FvkESY

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How can you measure “belonging”?

How can you measure “belonging”? There’s a lot of talk about it being important and I’ve seen organisations try different approaches.

? This good-humoured research paper by Saga Pardede, Nicolay Gausel, and Magnhild Mjåvatn Høie explores various models and in the end comes up with three dimensions they termed: “belongingness,” “emotion-acceptance,” and “social self-representation.”

☑ Belongingness gets at the need to feel part of something.

☑ Emotion-acceptance is feeling able to express one’s emotions around others.

☑ Social self-representation reflects a need to represent oneself as a person of worth.

(I am summarising quite a bit here!)

They also looked at correlations, and “belongingness” had a positive relationship with both “emotion-acceptance” and with “social self-representation.”

? This means that the more one feels the need to belong, the more one feels the need to be accepted for one’s emotions and to be allowed to share them with others.

? This sits well with other work on how the need to belong is fulfilled through emotion-sharing and reciprocal connectedness.

I found this useful. Are there things here you might be able to put into practice? e.g. I like the item about being able to express your emotions around others (we already use the question about “being myself”).

Here’s the paper: https://buff.ly/3QlFgmB

Reference: Pardede S, Gausel N and Høie MM (2021) Revisiting the “The Breakfast Club”: Testing Different Theoretical Models of Belongingness and Acceptance (and Social Self-Representation). Front. Psychol. 11:604090. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.604090

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What really matters for wellbeing and, in particular, for sparking improvement actions?

What really matters for wellbeing and, in particular, for sparking improvement actions?

? Our research points to the importance of social connection.

The article (linked below) is a great summary by my colleagues Natalia and Steve. It focuses on the connections between wellbeing dimensions and explores what really matters for taking action.

? We define the ideal state of wellbeing as one “where the employee is physically thriving, financially secure, emotionally balanced and socially connected.”

? When you look at the links between those 4 dimensions, it’s clear that employees with high levels of wellbeing in one area tend to report high levels of wellbeing in the others.

✔ An effective way to improve wellbeing in any dimension is to take targeted actions in that specific area.

? But when employees combine actions in multiple areas, the benefits (in terms of wellbeing improvements) are larger still.

? In fact, employees who take actions in all wellbeing areas are three times more likely to be thriving (i.e., achieving high wellbeing levels in all dimensions) than those who take no actions.

⚙ But what makes employees more likely to take actions? The analysis finds that levels of social wellbeing are a key catalyst to encouraging employees to take actions.

? As the figure here shows, employees who are “socially connected” are more likely to take action to improve their wellbeing in all dimensions.

A useful reminder of how important the social element is for sparking behaviour change.

Read the article here: https://buff.ly/3QkehYW

hashtag#WellBeing hashtag#EmployeeExperience hashtag#Connection hashtag#SocialWellbeing hashtag#Leadership hashtag#HR hashtag#EX hashtag#EmployeeEngagement hashtag#PeopleAnalytics hashtag#BehavioralScience hashtag#WTW hashtag#BehaviorChange hashtag#FutureOfWork hashtag#PsychologicalSafetyActivate to view larger image,

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How’s your Emotional Energy and how charged are your Moral Batteries?

How’s your Emotional Energy and how charged are your Moral Batteries?

Emotions in the workplace is a hot topic. However, a lot of stuff on LinkedIn and in general focuses on the individual. As a social scientist by background I like how this paper draws on concepts from sociology as well.

=> “People are inherently social–emotional and embedded within organizations and institutions.”

The paper highlights the importance of:

=> Collective emotions: common feelings as a result of shared experiences.

=> Emotional energy, which operates as a continuum ranging from ”good-self feelings’ to ‘negative self-feelings’.

=> Moral batteries: “positive and negative emotions which motivate action away from an unattractive state and towards an attractive one.”

=> Emotional capital: resources that shape behavioural dispositions that may be seen as desirable or undesirable within a social group.

Here’s to more work on understanding and improving situational mechanisms and social bonds.

And here’s the link to the paper: https://buff.ly/3JYZtLq

Citation: Zhang, R., Voronov, M., Toubiana, M., Vince, R. and Hudson, B.A. (2023), Beyond the Feeling Individual: Insights from Sociology on Emotions and Embeddedness. J. Manage. Stud.. https://buff.ly/3pPXpi6

** I associate “moral batteries” with work on social movements, and prefer this definition from James Jasper: “Pairs of emotions, one positive and the other negative, which draw people toward one pole as they repel them from the other” e.g. pride and shame.

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Extreme Trust

In an age of transparency and connectivity, trust has never been more important.

Don Peppers & Martha Rogers in their book “Extreme Trust” talk about the importance of “trustability”. They argue that to succeed in a more transparent and “hyperinteractive” world you need to:

? Do things right (be competent and focus on experiences as well as performance)

? Do the right things (align your interests with those of your customers and link short-term actions to long-term value)

? Be proactive (“not knowing and not doing is not competent”).

In essence, they argue that trustability comes down to 2 dimensions:

✔ Good intentions (honesty and alignment of interests)

✔ Competence (proficiency and capability).

One of my favourite sections is on “the social role of empathy” which they argue is the reason why trustability is the “primary structural issue facing board rooms”.

Written about customer experience (CX), it’s a useful framework for employee experience (EX) leadership and HR too.

The figure shown here comes from a bog by ttec, which you can find at: https://buff.ly/48NrKzz

You can find the book here: https://buff.ly/3tzUKui

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What does it take to build a High-Performance Employee Experience?

What does it take to build a High-Performance Employee Experience?

This is our HPEX “blueprint” that’s based on a lot of research we’ve done.

=> There are 4 key areas for EX: Purpose, People, Work, and Total Rewards.

=> There are some aspects of these that are foundational. I often call them “brilliant basics”. These include having a supportive boss and understanding how your work fits in to the bigger picture.

=> Then there are areas where good companies emphasise an advantage over the pack. What’s interesting is that they mostly relate to inclusion and involvement. (This is one reason why I write a lot about these topics.)

=> And finally there are aspects where top companies stand out, including drive and inspiration, growth and trust.

We measure EX this way and provide organisations with a scorecard that’s aligned to their ambition.

We also design, prototype and implement solutions that spark behaviour change and create lasting impact.

=> One approach that’s very powerful for this is digital, personalised communication, which our Embark software delivers.

You can learn more about our research and approach here: https://buff.ly/48c0evk or you can just contact me.

hashtag#Leadership hashtag#EmployeeExperience hashtag#EX hashtag#HR hashtag#HighPerformance hashtag#EmployeeEngagement hashtag#PeopleAnalytics hashtag#BehavioralScience hashtag#WTW hashtag#OrganizationalHealth hashtag#FutureOfWorkActivate to view larger image,

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How can you involve people when designing changes?

The Systemic Design Practice Wheel guides practitioners taking creative and participatory approaches to complex problems. Designed by Emma Blomkamp, it distils experience and knowledge from research, evaluation, education and practice in design for public and social innovation.

The five core domains (5 Ps) of the wheel are:
=> Principles: Why and how does this work need to happen? What matters most?
=> Place: Where does this work fit? When is it happening? Which level are we working at?
=> Process: How will we organise our approach? What are the key moments?
=> People: Who needs to be involved? What do they bring? What do they need?
=> Practice: What specific methods, techniques and tools will we use?

The focus is on “systemic co-design”. Although it was developed for public and social policy, it has far broader application, e.g., for building design thinking into employee experience and for managing many other projects.

I love “collecting” ideas and tools like this.

This canvas is available on Emma Blomkamp’s website, which is full of great materials and you can find it here: https://buff.ly/44XXoYC

You can read more about the approach here as well: Emma Blomkamp (2022) “Systemic design practice for participatory policymaking,” Policy Design and Practice, 5:1, 12-31 https://buff.ly/44SNQOG

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