Is This The New Normal?

By our lead trainer, David Ross

These are some of the main ‘lockdown themes’ that have been coming from managers on our training courses on a consistent basis

Over the recent weeks of running our Leadership and Management courses online, it’s been fascinating hearing how different work and life feels for so many of our management course delegates. We are certainly operating in a very different world and many are discovering  unexpected benefits.

Clawing back valuable time

Following weeks of forced change to work habits and practices, many are finding that their use of time has been far more efficient and effective. Less time travelling, more time doing. The realisation that many appointments, meetings and site visits can be achieved without the need for a physical presence has been a real eye-opener.

Losing the stressful commute

As well as the different approach to the day job, not having that morning and evening commute every day can be good for mental wellbeing. Trains, planes and automobiles can be time consuming and frustrating. One delegate said:

“Rather than fighting with crowds and delays for 90 minutes in the morning, I now walk downstairs, have some breakfast and start work. I’ve generally done a good couple of hours before I’d normally get to the office and I don’t feel stressed”.

Are happy people more productive?

That more relaxed start to the day or more flexible working tends to gather momentum. Less stress leads to more productivity and less time off due to illness – perhaps the two are directly linked? Many managers are saying they can plan their day to achieve a more satisfying work/ life balance. Achieving work objectives and targets around life rather than the other way round. The paranoia that some leaders have about working from home is being challenged as they are finding that productivity has increased considerably.

Working differently and adding new skills

Many are having to design products and deliver services differently. There has been a sense from many delegates that they have been forced to learn and develop to survive and thrive in their current operating environment. Existing practices are no longer fit for purpose so adding new skills has been a must and has been greatly beneficial to the individual and the organisation.

It’s also clear that recent months have been incredibly tough for many organisations and the above sentiments are certainly not universal. However, if managers make continued use of the positive changes that can be made then we should be able to see net workplace gains in productivity, mental health and individual capability.

Could this be the new normal?

How Can An ILM Award Improve My Ability To Lead?

As well as being an internationally recognised qualification which makes a great addition to a Manager’s CV, an ILM Award in Leadership and Management leads to a huge range of real, tangible benefits in the workplace.

In fact, 9 in 10 learners said they were able to apply the leadership and management skills learnt through the ILM to their day-to-day job role, and 88% of employers said that the positive impact felt by their ILM training programmes was immediate.*

To discover a bit more about the clear impact an ILM Award can have, we’ve spoken with just a few of the learners who’ve recently achieved their qualification with Impellus. They’ve been telling us about some of the changes they’ve already noticed in the workplace.

Improved Communications in the Business

Simon works for Hireworks Ltd, a leading editing equipment rental company, and took the Effective Communication Skills module as part of his ILM Level 3 Award. He found that it’s particularly helped him during the recent lockdown; ‘I’ve been able to pay more attention to the way information is communicated and made better use of the feedback I’ve received from my team.’

Ilya from Eazi-Business Ltd, a global mobile app developer, also completed an ILM Award at Level 3, and has noticed that his ‘approach to work has significantly changed. I have become more of a leader, started to take on more responsibility, inspire and direct employees within my organisation.

Like Simon, Ilya also noted that his communication had improved since completing the ILM Award, and that it has become ‘clear, concise and effective’.

Getting the Best from your People

Finally, we spoke with Tim from environmental consultants, The Environment Partnership. He’s recently finished his qualification and has already seen an important improvement in the way he leads his team, ‘The ILM qualification has greatly enhanced my leadership and management skills, giving me a much greater sense of how to lead a team of people and enable team members to be the best they can be.’

Real and Immediate Workplace Improvements

The key to the success of the ILM Award is in the way it asks you to consider real workplace situations and apply what you’ve learnt on the courses to your own organisation. The assessment questions are designed to get you thinking about how you can make everyday improvements, and is part of the reason why the ILM qualification has long been trusted to generate truly significant results.

*Harris Interactive research for ILM, July 2018.

 

Contact us for further information

Communication Challenges Facing Remote Leaders

Leaders of teams that are now working remotely face a new and unique set of challenges when it comes to communication; challenges that need to be managed carefully if misunderstandings and disengagement are to be avoided. A whole new approach might well be needed to help remote workers feel like they’re still part of the team and communicate effectively in the same way as those who meet face-to-face every day.

Which channel to use

Perhaps the most obvious challenge comes from the way in which we choose to communicate and the opportunity this allows for ambiguity and misunderstandings to creep in.  Although the sentence you’ve written in an email might make perfect sense to you, how can you be sure that the recipient will interpret it in exactly the same way?

Emails and group messaging services all, of course, have their place but sometimes a simple telephone call remains the most effective way to communicate one-to-one. Video calls, too, can help to uncover the non-verbal clues that might be needed about how someone’s feeling or their understanding of what they’ve been asked to do.

How often is too often?

How often managers communicate with their teams remotely can be a difficult balancing act. Too little can signify apathy, yet too much can feel like micromanagement – and too far in either direction will almost certainly have undesirable effects.

It may be that getting this balance right is the biggest challenge of all.

Social groups

Keeping teams connected through social media groups, such as WhatsApp and Snapchat, is increasingly popular and offers an outlet for sharing ideas, feedback and information on a day to day basis without the need for a more formal meeting.

However, it’s highly unlikely that the work chat about their latest project is going to be the only one on everyone’s phones. With the lines becoming blurred between work and social lives, how can you possibly know what other chats the team are engaged in, including those with their colleagues that might deliberately have excluded you?

Defining the processes

Communicating across different time zones and/or with people working different shift patterns may well mean that they’re not all available and able to communicate with each other at exactly the same time.

Having clear and structured processes in place and sharing information in a mutually agreed and pre-defined way can save time and help everyone to work more efficiently, even if colleagues aren’t always immediately available.

 

Ultimately, everyone in a team is working towards a common goal and wants the organisation they’re operating in to thrive. But when it comes to working remotely, managers may need to develop an even greater understanding of team members and their individual circumstances, if they’re to facilitate the communication required to achieve that goal.

 

Further Information

Management and Leadership Training

Effective Communication Skills

Contact us

Changes To Terms For Client Training Accounts

Many clients add training days to account with us. This has a number of benefits; improving discounted buying terms, making it easier to book ongoing training – especially if you optionally wish to allow others to book their own training – and accounts can lock in funding which may be available from time to time.

In practice these days of training, which can be exchanged for any day of open training or towards qualifications, remain on a client’s account until they are used.

Dormant accounts

However, in certain situations, some of the days which are added to account are not used by clients. This is often due to events such as clients being acquired, restructures, redundancies or the final few days of large purchases being in excess of ultimate requirement.

In these cases, days left on these dormant accounts cause us challenges.

So if an account has no booking history at all in twelve months, or we have no prior notification that a client wishes their account to be dormant for a period of 12 months, we deduct one day from account. These are our current terms.

This affects only a very small number of accounts.

However, in some cases accounts become dormant with larger numbers of days on account and it can take several years for us to clear days from those accounts, creating problems around how we allocate resources to ‘live’ clients, where and how we put on courses and how we account for our future liabilities.

Future change

For these reasons we’re changing our dormant account charges from 1st November 2020. Whilst the above terms will remain in place, we will also be completely clearing all accounts with remaining days after three dormant years. That’s accounts that have not made any bookings at all with us – even if it’s for courses into the future – for three years and still have days on account.

This will affect only a tiny number of the hundreds of accounts which are set up annually.

Naturally we’d rather every client used all of their days on account and maximised their value. Almost all, of course, do. But in order to maintain the integrity of those accounts, we need to be able to see and account for the ‘live’ days undistorted.

A Global Example of Value-Based Leadership with Incredible Results

The ever-changing, volatile and uncertain world that we are increasingly operating in is putting added pressure on our business leaders to be seen to be doing the right things and to behave in the right way.

Failure to do so risks losing the trust, buy-in and commitment of staff, many of whom are finding it tough to adjust to new ways of working in these challenging times.

“I really rebel against this idea that politics has to be a place full of ego and where you’re constantly focused on scoring hits against one another. Yes, we need a robust democracy, but you can be strong, and you can be kind”.

What a breath of fresh air this quote is and so in tune with today’s requirements.

Who said it? Gandhi, Churchill, Kennedy, Thatcher, Mandela?

No, Jacinda Ardern, current Prime Minister of New Zealand and a leader who is receiving plaudits from around the world for her leadership qualities in the face of many challenges.

So, what are the key elements of Ardern’s quote that any leader in any position in any organisation can adopt to be the best leader they can be?

Focus ego in the right direction

Rather than point scoring and furthering your personal agenda, harness ego to demonstrate confidence, passion and belief that will inspire and motivate people to ‘want to’ get on board and work with you.

Be open, honest and transparent and you will earn respect and be seen as credible and trustworthy.

Be strong and robust

Leadership often means tough, brave decisions have to be made.  Be clear about why your decision is the right one and then commit to it.

Don’t be afraid to challenge people who are not on board and tackle objections by emphasising key points with certainty and confidence.

Be prepared to be wrong

A caveat to being strong and robust – listen to objections and challenges with an open mind and be prepared to change your mind if appropriate.

Don’t let ego get in the way of doing the right thing.

This preparedness to listen and learn will only add to your trust and credibility provided it’s done with strength and confidence.

Be kind

“You can be strong, and you can be kind”.

People skills and Emotional Intelligence are essential for today’s leaders.  Be aware of your impact and notice how your people are feeling.

Be open to different views and ways of working. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone but have a debate in a respectful manner and if you don’t agree explain why calmly and with clarity.

Being nice should not be seen as a flaw.

Food for thought

What a refreshing and courageous attitude from someone in such a high-profile position.

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll revealed that Ms. Ardern has a 59.5% approval rating, 20.8 points higher than previous polling and the highest for a party leader in New Zealand’s history.

Her approach may not work for all leaders in all organisations, but it must be worth serious consideration.

Further information:

Management and Leadership Training

Courses and Qualifications

Contact us

Live online training courses – have you considered how to make the most of them?

There’s no doubt that the changes brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic have led to a rise in popularity of online training courses. Not only do they offer the obvious advantage of being available in our own homes, with no social distancing required, but they have also allowed those on furlough the opportunity to continue their learning and development in readiness for a return to work.

But if you’ve previously been used to face-to-face training courses, how can you adapt and make sure that you get the most from a course delivered online?

Preparation is key

It sounds obvious but make sure you have a reliable internet connection and that you’ve downloaded any required software or app in advance, and that you know where to log in at the appropriate time. With some basic technical preparation, you should be able to avoid your first foray into online learning becoming a frustrating lesson in IT.

Do you have everything to hand that you’ll need for the duration of the course – pens, paper or a workbook? Do you have something to drink? Having to hunt for things once the course has started means you could miss important parts of what’s being said.

Minimise distractions as far as possible

Do you have a dedicated, quiet space in which to do the training? Can you wear headphones to avoid being distracted? Are you comfortable?

Remember to switch off your phone and close down emails and any other tabs on your device. It’s all too easy to become temporarily distracted by notifications popping up on your screen.

It’s also a good idea to make sure that colleagues, or housemates if you happen to be at home, know what you’re doing and that you’ll be unavailable for the duration of the course – exactly as if you were physically attending it in another location.

Regular breaks to recharge

It’s important to move away from your screen during break times if you can. Take some time out so that you return to each session ready to engage again.

Of course, breaks are also the appropriate time to check emails or deal with anything urgent that needs your attention. Impellus live online training courses all have regular breaks scheduled throughout the day so that delegates have an opportunity to manage any other demands on their time.

Active participation

Interact as much as possible with the trainer and other delegates, and take the opportunity to ask questions whenever you need to. Although a live online course may be a different format to the face-to-face that you’re used to, the benefits of sharing information and experiences should be the same.

Enjoy the experience and, who knows, live online courses may become your preferred method of training in the future.

 

Further information:

Online training solutions 

Contact us here

 

The Key Challenges Facing Every Senior Leader This Summer

The coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone and every organisation.

The changes were quick and brutal and are still happening. Every week brings new challenges and none of us know exactly what the short, medium and long-term impacts could be.

What then for the senior leaders having to make decisions? Decisions that could determine their very survival and at least their wellbeing, employee stability and motivation levels.

Forced to deal with furlough, working from home, changes to the immediate situation or ride a wave of short-term increases in business, how do leaders deal with a crisis and plan for the future?

Here are the main challenges for senior leaders right now:

Thinking long term: Questioning purpose and setting clear direction

This period of change provides leadership teams with a great opportunity to re-visit their current organisational strategy and decide whether it’s still fit for purpose. Things will almost certainly look very different now to how they did at the start of the year.

• Is our Vision still relevant?

• Is our Mission Statement still appropriate?

• Are our Company Values and guiding principles still valid?

Finding answers to these key questions will be an important step towards providing a renewed focus on the common goals and purpose of the organisation.

Often in times of crisis these are easy to overlook but the direction you set now will change the culture of your organisation and set it on the right path. Is that the direction you really want? Are you blindly hoping that things will return to normal or are you setting your organisation up for a painful few years ahead?

Thinking short term: The need to make short-term tactical decisions before it’s too late

You need to be able to make quick and possibly uncomfortable decisions. Are these tactical and ‘for now’, or do they shape your long-term future?

Analysing the world your organisation is now operating in is a crucial activity for senior leaders. Asking challenging and sometimes unpalatable questions will ensure that even short-term tactical decisions are being made as a result of sound strategic thinking rather than guesswork.

Where decisions are for the short-term only and are pivotal to survival, this is at least clearly understood and can be communicated to staff as such.

• Is there still a place for our current products and services?

• Do we have the right people in the right places doing the right things?

• How do we gain competitive edge?

• Should we diversify and do something radically different?

Preparing for the future

The short-term challenges in any crisis are likely to be all-encompassing but we have to keep an eye on the horizon to ensure we stay relevant and create solid strategy.

This is a critical part of long-term thinking and helps to ensure that your strategic decision making, as above, remains successful.

Let’s face it, we would need a crystal ball to predict the future with any certainty, especially in today’s world, but the responsibility to attempt to do so in these volatile times rests with our leadership.

• What is likely to be happening in 1, 3 and 5 year’s time?

• What are the trends likely to be?

• What will customers demand from us when things get ‘back to normal’?

• What will normal look like for us in the future?

• What happens with the UK agreement with the EU at the end of the year? 

• What happens if the China / US trade war worsens?

• What happens to the ability to recruit graduates in the next 12 months?

• What if there’s a second wave of the virus? Or third? Or even more?

 

Keeping staff engaged and motivated

If these are challenging times for organisational and business leaders, then let’s not underestimate the impact that this is having on their staff.

Some staff are furloughed, have taken pay cuts, have lost their jobs. Whilst others are potentially very busy and worried about the full safety of their environments. Many, of course, are working remotely from home.

These areas are being dealt with by most leaders as a matter of urgency whilst a glaringly important but less urgent challenge could be building into a big future problem: keeping current staff engaged, motivated and on board with your decisions from above.

These are essential and senior organisational and business leaders must dedicate hours in the days or weeks to the following to avoid painful long-term consequences around productivity and the loss of good people.

• Give regular updates on business challenges and decisions

• Communicate with honesty and transparency

• Deliver key messages with passion and enthusiasm to generate buy-in and commitment

• Understand that staff may be anxious so give them the opportunity to ask questions and challenge

• Be patient with reactions to a changing world

• Realise that the changes to work will affect people very differently

Become great at remote leadership and find the tools to do it appropriately for your needs.

There are many other challenges; even just keeping a clear head in troubled times can be one.

 

Being able to stand back and be clear about what you’re dealing with and what the effects of your actions will be in both the short and long term is critical. Only then can you build in the opportunity and resilience that will create your future successes.

Further information:

ILM Award Level 5

Organisational Leadership Skills

Managing Performance and Efficiency

Strategic Thinking and Decision Making

 

 

 

The Telling Post-Lockdown Trends in Booking Management Training

As we all inch towards and adapt to a ‘new normal’, many of the ways in which training is being booked have also changed – some are quite telling of the times and the challenges facing managers. So here’s a quick roundup of what’s happening to training in the post-lockdown world.

 

Open courses remain hot but with telling trends

Clearly, for some, there’s no substitute for face-to-face training and the opportunities this offers to interact and engage with other delegates away from the usual workplace – wherever that currently is. We’re still seeing demand for open courses in venues throughout the UK, albeit with a bias towards dates from Autumn onwards compared to usual booking patterns where most bookings are taken 4-6 weeks out.

But open leadership training courses can now be delivered online via Zoom too. Since lockdown began, demand for online open courses has soared and, whilst it remains to be seen if this is a trend that will continue in the long-term, it’s a good alternative for those who are not keen to be back in a training room with others.

Online qualifications are what HR Managers are booking right now

With many employees still on furlough but available for training, we’ve certainly had to adapt to the increased level of interest in obtaining online ILM qualifications.

Undertaking an ILM Award online, for example, could be a valuable use of time whilst on furlough. Without the usual distractions of a full working day, ILM Award qualifications can be completed online in a matter of weeks, delivering core management skills straight back into the workplace at a time when you may well need them most.

A valuable use of time which puts the onus on managers and delivers management and leadership skills and assessments quickly.

 

Physical in-house training is rethought for the ‘new normal’

We continue to receive interest in booking in-house training sessions, although these tend to be for dates later in the year, from September onwards.

As employers and workplaces adapt to the new guidelines for social distancing, risk assessments on suitably Covid-secure rooms and areas for training will become commonplace and therefore simply a ‘new normal’ part of organising on-site training – they needn’t themselves be a barrier to it.

 

Whether you’re considering leadership training for a whole team or a session of one-to-one coaching, social distancing doesn’t have to prevent this. We can work with you to tailor any of our courses in leadership and management, commercial skills or human resources, to your requirements, and can deliver in many different ways. If you’d like to find out more about booking training with us:

Contact us here

Further information:
Impellus open course schedule
Online training solutions
Online ILM Level 3 Award in Leadership and Management
In-house services

Impellus COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Statement and Policy – 17-03-20

Some open courses being cancelled

With immediate effect we’ve cancelled all open training courses scheduled until the week commencing 20th April 2020.

We anticipate that there may well be further cancellations thereafter but at this point all courses scheduled from that date forward will be running. If the situation changes we’ll notify all delegates and those who’ve made the bookings as quickly as possible.

We currently have dates scheduled until August 2021 so access to future dates is easy.

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In-house training

We’re postponing all in-house delivery within the next four weeks from today and thereafter on a case-by-case basis. If you have concerns about your dates then please get in touch with us directly.

Again, we anticipate that this policy may well need to change.

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Future policy changes

Such is the current speed of change with the situation that our policies may change at any time before we can publish them here although we’ll make all endeavours to keep you posted at all times.

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The immediate future and the resumption of full service

As of today we’re launching full online service delivery options as well as deals for future bookings. We’ll be monitoring the future situation and government and PHE advice on a daily basis.

We aim to be announcing the resumption of full service as soon as is practicably possible.

Impellus COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Statement and Policy

All open courses are currently running as normal

For now and for the foreseeable future all our courses are continuing to run in the usual way.

We run courses with strict limits of 24 delegates in (typically) 4-star hotels who are all also taking good sanitary precautions. We’re happy to avoid shaking hands if you’d prefer and are providing additional hand-washing facilities and gels as available. As is good practice, we’re recommending people wash hands regularly throughout the day.

Whilst we’re not making changes to any of our other booking terms and conditions, should you wish to change the date of a course booking that’s coming up within a 10 working day period because of concerns over Coronavirus, we’ll move the date for you for £85 +VAT per delegate per day. Normally there are no re-booking terms within this period. Please note that this needs to be arranged and paid by credit card at the time of arrangement prior to the course commencement date.

Clearly we’re monitoring the situation and should things change we’ll provide updates accordingly.

 

In-house training, where we come to you

For all in-house bookings over the foreseeable future, we’ll be requesting information about your delegates, workplace environment, sanitation assessments and Coronavirus policies which you have in place. We’re also happy for you to ask similar questions.

Should we need to move dates due to Coronavirus, we’ll be reviewing bookings on a case by case basis. This means that whilst our terms and conditions haven’t changed we’ll be prudent in our approach.

 

 

Here’s the current update on the government’s response to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The importance of hygiene 

Personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19, especially washing hands more; and the catch it, bin it, kill it strategy for those with coughs and sneezes.

Wash your hands more often for 20 seconds with soap and hot water.

In addition to handwashing before eating and after sneezing, you should also wash hands after using toilets and after travelling on public transport.

Please help us in sharing simple and effective hand hygiene messages:

https://twitter.com/NHSuk/status/1235112744917049346

Public Health England has a dedicated webpage with a range of posters and digital materials at:

https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101- coronavirus-/resources

Sign up is quick, free and means you will be alerted as more resources are made available.

 

 

 

If you’d like to find out anything here might affect you please call us on 0800 619 1230.