For All New Blogs From The Mudd Partnership Go To www.themuddpartnership.com Now!

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All new Blogs will now be appearing & available first at http://www.themuddpartnership.com – So please come and visit us at our new spot soon!

Already new Blogs have been posted including, ‘The Brain’s A Wonderful Thing. So Be Smart & Look After It!’ & ‘The Five Questions You Need To Be Asking Your Business Now!’ & there are plenty more in the pipeline looking at such things as ‘Work Life Balance’, ‘Generation C Versus Generation Y’  & ‘The Seven Steps To Business Heaven’ – You can also find all your favourite Blogs there as well on Leadership, Handling Change, Resilience & Business Mentoring and Growth.

In addition, this Autumn The Mudd Partnership will be introducing it’s new ‘Super Performance Series’ which will be available both live and on-line & a collection of your favourite Blogs will also be available as an e-Book for Christmas and as Podcasts for you to listen to anytime, anywhere!

For more details go to http://www.themuddpartnership.com

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“As A Leader Are You A Natural Story Teller & Story Doer?”

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In recent Blogs, including ones on ‘Authenticity’, ‘Resilient Leadership’, ‘Adaptive Leadership’ and ‘How To Engage & Motivate’, we have looked at the various styles and key components of the practice of Leadership, whether that be Self-leadership, or as a Leader of a Business or Organisation.

A fundamental part of leadership is being able to connect with those you lead through your purpose and values, through your passion, your integrity, your transparency, your vision and your personal narrative.

A great Leader is connected first and foremost with their personal story and the key events, messages and people who have shaped who they are; but a great Leader also understands the DNA of story telling and the power that broadening a narrative can have, which they in turn use for their purpose and with their passion to inform, influence and persuade.

A really great Leader will step out of the pack and communicate the story in a way that motivates and makes others want to take action. They will use change and challenging times as opportunities to serve, go that extra mile to inspire, &, connect with their colleagues’ hearts and minds.

Part of the lived experience is to be obsessed with stories in some shape or form, probably because these mirror our lives and are metaphors for our innermost hopes, fears, successes and failures. Whilst in the work context the fabric of any Business or Company will be stitched together by some pretty simple stories even though as innate structures they might appear to be organisationally complex.

These stories will all be part of the richly woven threads of any tangible system, corporate entity or physical place. They might be about what the employer and the candidate exchange during an interview. These stories might be about the brand; custom & practice; triumphs ; disasters. They will also very probably be about past and present employees and they will be the stuff of folklore and legend.

They are intrinsic to the culture, the artefacts and the architecture of the place, &, they can be used to engage, motivate, gain commitment and drive forward change, as employees, clients and customers all experience a resonance and link aspects of their professional and personal lives with these narratives.

Storytelling is just as important whether you are the Owner of a Small Business, the Leader of the Council, or the CEO or Chair of a Multinational. You will need to set a vision, provide a context, define culture and values, engage, inspire, motivate and teach important lessons.

You will also need to be prepared to explain who you are and what you believe in, to demonstrate you care and understand the concerns, fears, hopes and dreams of those whom you lead.

Undoubtedly the power of Storytelling in Business and Corporate Life is big stuff and for your Company or Organisation to have a Story is a crucial step in the journey to becoming robust, resilient, agile & successful.

But The Mudd Partnership believes that it’s not just enough to have a story and tell it. The Super Performing Leader and the Super Performing Business & Organisation are all ‘Story Doers’ too, who advance their narrative through action as well as words.

‘Story Doers’ will create a loyalty and a kind of evangelism that means not just employees, but customers too, will go and tell and spread the stories by word of mouth and these messages will also now increasingly be relayed and amplified by the use of various social media platforms and tools.

In a recent Blog we looked at, ‘How To Be A Leader On Line?’ & how crucial it now is to be clear about your values, how you want to present yourself and what you want to be known for.

We also identified four key steps you should take to lead from the front in having an on-line strategy and the first of these is to Embrace Your DNA i.e. To know who you are and to not be afraid to tell your story!

For more about the other three steps which include, ‘Loosing The I Am A Leader & I’m Right Attitude’, ‘Using Every Available Resource’ , &, ‘Practicing Patience, Passion & Perseverance’ – follow the ‘How To Be A Leader On Line’ link above, &, if you want to be a ‘Story Doer’ as well as a ‘Story Teller’ then:

make sure you have a story to tell;

make sure the story is about something big, for example a larger ambition to make things better;

make sure key people understand and care about the story;

make sure the story is used to drive and direct tangible action at all levels & even better if you can directly measure impact and results;

make sure the main thing remains the main thing even as the picture gets bigger; &

make sure colleagues, employees,  friends are all motivated to engage with your story & that customers and stakeholders can actually use it to advance their own causes.

If you want to find out more about our work developing Individuals, Teams, Organisations and Businesses to Super Perform and Succeed please visit our website www.themuddpartnership.com

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STOP PRESS:  Remember we are also now developing a Series of Super Performance Events which will start Happening at The Mudd Partnership Place from this Autumn, so watch this space & follow us on Twitter @muddpartnership for further details.

“Think Positive. Be Positive. Really!”

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Did you know that a ratio of 3-to-1 positive heartfelt emotions is the Tipping Point for a person being classed as having a really positive day?

Doesn’t sound much does it, but it’s the difference between languishing or flourishing and the simple truth is that most people live their lives on an actual ratio of around 2-to-1 and anything below this is where depression lies ready to pounce!

The trick it would appear however is to not try & force these positive emotions because for them to really work and do their stuff, they must be heartfelt, genuine, & rooted. It is not one of those areas it would seem where you can “Fake It Until You Make It”: Sincerity rather is everything!

Positive emotions broaden the mind and build resourcefulness, which in turn enables you to become more Resilient, &, positive feelings enable you to see new possibilities, bounce back from set backs & “The Slings & Arrows Of Outrageous Fortune”, connect with others and become the best version of, as Bill George might say, YOU!

To create a positive mindset it is suggested that you are:

Open, Appreciative, Curious, Kind, & Real

which as regular followers of our Blogs will know are all pretty fundamental aspects of being both Authentic & Resilient.

It also ties in with the daily practice of Mindfulness which is something else The Mudd Partnership wholeheartedly supports.

In another recent Blog we asked, “Do The happiest people Really Have The Hardest Jobs?” and found that Engagement, whether it be at work or in other areas of your life is a very strong predictor of happiness and positivity. Whilst other prerequisites included Being Attuned (with a high degree of empathy); Being Buoyant (with both mental toughness and stamina); & Being Clear (seeing things as they really are with both compassion and acceptance).

Barbara Fredrickson has written a great book about ‘Positivity’ and the steps you can take to build it. There is also a free two-minute on-line test you can do to work-out what your Positivity Ratio is for any given day – You’ll be surprised, so go and visit www.PositivityRatio.com

And if you want to find out more about our work building Individual, Team, Business & Organisational Resilience & Agility, visit our website www.themuddpartnership.com

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STOP PRESS:  Remember we are also now developing a Series of Super Performance Events which will start Happening at The Mudd Partnership Place from this Autumn, so watch this space & follow us on Twitter @muddpartnership for further details.

“Big Words & Visceral Responses: How Do You Engage & Motivate?”

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Motivation, Engagement, Change! Three big words capable of evoking even bigger visceral responses.

For instance, Change is a word that can evoke many emotions. People can be fearful of what it may involve or how it will effect them and in a time of upheaval and change in the workplace or in one’s home life, how can you keep motivated and engaged & how can you motivate and engage others?

Engagement can be defined simply as the self-motivation that comes from a persons involvement in, support for and satisfaction with something, which means that they feel a sense of Commitment and are moved to take action or perform in the service of that something.

Commitment though is rarely built without you being engaged in some way or other, &, without Commitment attitudes and behaviours are less likely to change.

In the early 1970’s, Lepper, Greene & Nisbett undertook research into Self-Determination Theory and compared the pathology of Intrinsic & Extrinsic Motives. Intrinsic motivation was defined as coming from the interest, satisfaction and enjoyment that a person feels and is likely to drive them to act by their own choice. Whilst Extrinsic motivation comes from the value and usefulness that a person places on an external goal, such as a reward for a certain type of behaviour.

In Self-Determination Theory, Intrinsic motivation is understood to play a dominant role in influencing individual behavior and it is recognised that part of the self-determination drive will be the urge to increase one’s options and choice by engaging in exploratory, playful and curiosity driven activity that extends and exercises personal capability. In short that’s how we can develop and grow!

Self-motivation and high levels of Engagement are inextricably linked, whether in a work context or in other areas of your life and in recent Blogs like ‘Be Transformed & Super Perform’ & ‘To Super Perform You Must Have A People Plan For Change’, we have discussed the need for a Powerful Engagement Process & the importance of creating a shared and common purpose.

Did you know in Organisational Performance terms, employers with the highest levels of Commitment performed 20% better than their less committed colleagues and were 87% less likely to leave their Organisation!

And did you also know that in the Team context, fully engaged team members are 50% more likely to out perform expectations and these Super Performers were 30% more productive overall!

There are Four key components to a Powerful Engagement Process and in the work of The Mudd Partnership we ensure they are central considerations in our practice. We have also spoke about them at great length in other Blogs, but just to remind ourselves these are: Communication, Involvement, Learning & Reward.

As individuals and regular people of course, we also are who we are because of the context in which we find ourselves and every context invariably defines meaning as well as motivation. So, it is vital as an Individual to be able in whatever circumstance we find ourselves to try and understand that particular context – to become Socrates’ “Active Seeker After Meaning” & also to be as Daniel Goleman et al would describe, “Emotionally Intelligent & Aware”.

Whilst as a Leader we must be able to provide and define the context for those we lead. It’s a given and an essential tool in the Art of Leadership!

And as a Leader you also need to be able to invoke a Strong Personal Connection giving people the Self Determination and Intrinsic motivation to become committed to new ways of working, or new ways of doing things, & part of this is enabling them to see the personal opportunities for themselves.

You need to be able to provide a coherent narrative that tells a believable and engaging story that stimulates both trust and reciprocity – a willingnes to engage and share. This is just as important whether you are a small business, a Council Leader, CEO or Chair of a Fortune 500 Company.

Lead with your passion, share the purpose & get clear about some of those really important things which make such a difference to people: Clarity, Relatable Values, Common Humanity, Walking the Path, Owning Your Mistakes, Support without Unnecessary Conditions, Vitality and Presence.

Recent Blogs on ‘Authenticity’ & ‘Authentic and Resilient Leadership’ have also looked at all this in greater depth and in a future piece we will be asking whether, “As A Leader Are You A Natural Story Teller?”. In the meantime come and visit us for a look and a chat if you want at www.themuddpartnership.com

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STOP PRESS:  Remember we are also now developing a Series of Super Performance Events which will start Happening at The Mudd Partnership Place from this Autumn, so watch this space & follow us on Twitter @muddpartnership for further details.

“Does Your Business Need A Mentor?”

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A successful business is one that stays in business and on it’s own terms prospers and grows.

It grows by having a clear and distinct purpose, by measuring itself against the best in its sector, by being agile and having the right plans, systems and distribution channels in place.

Whist it increases profitability by understanding its market – knowing who their competitors are & how they behave and who their customers are and what they will buy.

The challenges of running a business though can be overwhelming; whether dealing with staff, managing the bottom line, delivering to existing markets & establishing new ones, or ensuring that your products and services are of the highest quality.

A good Business Mentor can help you to step back and see the “view from the balcony”, develop increased confidence in your leadership skills and improve your ability to direct & maximise both your own efforts & those of others too.

A good Business Mentor will listen actively and not judge because they have learned the art of hearing what people really say, they are analytical, self aware and give honest & open feedback & they question skilfully encouraging their Mentee to talk and think through issues whilst providing constructive challenge.

They provide high business content, genuine in-sight, a broader perspective and you can trust them.

To make the relationship work takes commitment and it’s not a quick-fix solution, but it might be exactly what you and your business needs.

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STOP PRESS: Watch Out for the launch of our new website The Mudd Partnership Onlinehttp://www.themuddpartnership.com“Inspiring Ideas 4 An Inspiring Life @Work @Play”: And Remember we are also now developing a Series of Super Performance Events which will be Happening at  The Mudd Partnership Place from early Autumn, so watch this space & follow us on Twitter @muddpartnership for further details.

“Providing Business Expertise To Support Local Companies To Grow & Prosper!”

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TMP_AvatarThe Mudd Partnership welcomes the superb opportunity to work with Perth & Kinross Council’s Business Growth Team to support local Businesses to Grow & Increase Their Profitability!

As a selected Preferred Supplier for the Council’s new initiative to provide Business Consultancy Support Services across the local economy, we will be focusing our experience, expertise and value added approach on the key areas of Organisation & People Development, Change Management, &, Employee Engagement.

The Perth & Kinross economy is one of the Top 10 Enterprise Demographics in Scotland. Fact. With an average of 42.6 registered businesses for every 10,000 residents in the area it punches well above its weight when set against the national Scottish average of 30.1 & has maintained steady growth throughout the current recession. However, The Mudd Partnership sees this as a unique opportunity for local businesses and commend the timing, foresight and scope of this initiative, as we believe a key challenge for the Council will now be how it maintains this growth and builds on the 65% of new businesses which have survived three years or more in the prevailing economic climate.

There cannot be room for any complacency and a clear vision and strategy with practical and accessible initiatives providing support that both nurtures and grows existing businesses, whilst also providing targeted support for Start-Ups, are all pre-requisites for ensuring the continuing growth and above national average performance of the Perth & Kinross economy.

The additional fact that 69.5% of local companies employ less than Five people and 84.2% are micro-businesses employing less than Ten only adds weight to the need for the right kind of support to be available in the right format at the right time. For these businesses can have particular challenges around structure and organisation, time management and prioritization, finance and resource management, staff engagement, processes and policies. They need experienced and trusted counsel, coaching, mentoring, &, specific tools and techniques, which will enable them with confidence to put their limited energy and resources in the right places to maximise opportunities for growth and increased profitability through the way they organise themselves and how they engage and motivate their employees.

As regular followers of our professional practice and thought leadership Blogs will know, we are experienced Business Mentors working on behalf of the Scottish Chamber of Commerce, the Institute of Enterprise & Entrepreneurs and The Prince’s Trust for Mature Enterprise. We have also been blogging recently on the Key Things Start-up Companies Need To Act Upon To Be Successful & Grow! In addition, we are very experienced Coaches; People, Leadership, Organisational Development, &, Change Management Specialists with over 40 years combined experience working in both start-up businesses and established national organisations, in senior development, operational and management roles, so we fully understand the challenges and pressures that Business Owners face.

We do not have a one-size-fits-all approach and always work with a client from their starting point, whilst very quickly seeking to identify and understand their particular drivers, aspirations and challenges. We then, given our broader business background and wider understanding and experience of the prevailing economic context, develop specifically tailored appropriately costed and deliverable business growth & development plans, targeted consultancy support and training interventions which add to the success and profitability of the Company.

For a conversation with us about how we might help your Business to Grow and Prosper Contact us through the Website, by Email, or LinkedIn and please bear us in mind when you’re talking to Perth & Kinross Council’s Business Growth Team about accessing their Business Expertise Consultancy Funding Support to work with a Consultant  to help you Grow & Expand. We are here to help You!

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STOP PRESS: Watch Out for the launch of our new website The Mudd Partnership Onlinehttp://www.themuddpartnership.com“Inspiring Ideas 4 An Inspiring Life @Work @Play”: And Remember we are also now developing a Series of Super Performance Events which will be Happening at  The Mudd Partnership Place from early Autumn, so watch this space & follow us on Twitter @muddpartnership for further details.

“How Tough Does A Resileint Leader Need To Be?”

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So, to begin, what is a Resilient Leader? A good question we’re sure you’ll agree, &, another good question would be where does this fit with Authentic Leadership & Servant Leadership, which regular followers of these Blogs will know are both aspects of Leadership we have been taking a look at in the past wee while.

To remind us, Authentic leadership is as Bill George might describe in his book, “Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering The Secrets Of Creating Lasting Value” a consistency of thought and deed; a passion for purpose; the practice of values truly held; & a form of leadership which comes from the Heart as much as the Head.

Whilst at the core of Servant Leadership is the natural feeling to first be of Service and then to Lead. As Robert K Greenleaf might describe it, the need to make sure that other people’s highest priorities and needs are being meet before one’s own.

A Resilient Leader is a Leader for our times. A Leader who can motivate and inspire others through a crisis. A Resilient Leader emerges and flourishes in those tough times that may follow any major change programme, or at times of economic upheaval and uncertainty that require a Business or Organisation to hold fast, develop agility and be robust.

Great Leaders can demonstrate that challenges are opportunities to learn, grow, change, &, most importantly to not repeat the mistakes of the past. Indeed, some of the greatest successes in history have followed monumental failures and a Resilient Leader is one who astutely and instinctively captures the mood and the moment & makes it their own, because their style has been shaped and defined by the hallmarks of adversity and personal set-backs.

They certainly don’t see themselves as victims of circumstance, but rather take responsibility and are courageous enough to accept reality, take it on the chin and bend it to their will.

The Resilient Leader will weather a storm, embrace the unknown and see every challenge as an opportunity for personal growth and development. This however doesn’t mean that the Resilient Leader is without any vulnerability; but they are honest with themselves and self-aware.

Just like the Authentic Leader prototype they are very aware of their strengths and their weaknesses; their potential blind spots; & equally importantly they are aware of and live by their principles and beliefs.

They have both courage and humility at their centre, so it is not simply about toughness, but rather it’s about stamina, rigour, being ever-questioning, going that extra mile, being mindful, knowing ones weaknesses, being honest, acting with integrity and speaking from the heart.

A Resilient Leader is an inspiring communicator and just like both a Servant Leader & an Authentic Leader, will use challenging times as opportunities to serve, connect with people’s hearts and minds, &, motivate followers to face up to and deal with the complex and the unknown head-on!

The Resilient Leader is also a great listener. They will listen for the, “Song Beneath The Words” and as Aristotle’s ‘Active Seekers After Meaning’ they will lead by asking questions like, ‘& What Do You Think About…?’. Which of course, helps them to understand and connect better with those whom they lead and create a shared and common purpose.

In a recent Blog we asked, “Do The Happiest People Really Have The Hardest Jobs?” and it was Helen Keller who famously said, A Happy Life Consists Not In The absence, But In The Mastery of Hardships”.

A Resilient Leader’s ultimate test then is perhaps that they recognise and accept this as a fundamental part of their core narrative arc and raison d’être. Their purpose being to personally master any situation through humility, compassion, vision, vitality and an approach that goes beyond the bounds of competence and skill!

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STOP PRESS: Watch Out for the launch of our new website The Mudd Partnership Onlinehttp://www.themuddpartnership.com“Inspiring Ideas 4 An Inspiring Life @Work @Play”: Remember we are also now developing a Series of Super Performance Events which will be Happening at  The Mudd Partnership Place from early Autumn, so watch this space & follow us on Twitter @muddpartnership for further details. And look out soon for a collection of the Blogs to be be published and made available on-line!