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9 Kingswood Blackrock Rd. Dundalk IE

Performance Coaching for Individuals & Teams

Focus 2 Succeed

Get YOUR world in focus & design Your future.


Your Team Culture: By Design Or Default.

Posted on January 12, 2015 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (156)
So it's that time of year again. New year, new start. It's an opportunity to make things better. To do better than last year, and correct the mistakes of the past. You have new plans, systems and processes that will make your team the best they've ever been. If you can get the people involved to get their attitude right and apply themselves, that is.
So as is always the case, you can bring a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. All of the great ground work and education you have put in to date, relies on the teams mind-set. Will they apply themselves to implementing all of your good work? Have they got the Motivation, Focus, PMA, Persistence & Beliefs to make it happen? Because without the right individual Mind-set and Team Culture, the other stuff won't impact. It's like looking to build a house and not paying attention to your foundations. As the build progresses, everything looks sound. But as soon as it's tested, by the weather, a tremor etc. the cracks begin to appear and you know it wont take much for the deck of cards to come tumbling down.
If you don't Design your culture, it will evolve by Default. Then, with the first real test of your "new and improved" plans, system and processes you may learn that the "Default" culture is not as you would have "Designed". It may be expressed as a lack of confidence, a drop in motivation or perseverance, becoming distracted and loosing faith.
When you ignore your foundations (ie Team Culture) at the beginning of the build, you can't be overly disappointed with your team if they display a disappointing mind-set through testing times. Attempting to go back in and sort your foundations, when the walls are cracking, will prove to be a much more timely, costly and difficult task. Where you've got a culture of individuals taking the "Umbrella Position", (ie Keeping themselves dry) it only leads to the team looking to apportion blame for the problem rather than considering how they might contribute to the solution. The attitude of, well ..... "I'm all right Jack" or expressions of hindsight wisdom like, "I knew that .....", will only cause the team culture to further diminish and performance will continue to be effected. It will lead to individuals avoiding responsibility, by looking to apportion blame to anyone other than themselves.
The Moral of the story is .... Lay Sound Foundations. Design your Team Culture to withstand these inevitable tests. Ensure that everyone understands the Vision and how it benefits them (This will ensure Motivation & Persistence). Everyone should be involved in the design the plan to deliver the Vision (This will ensure they feel Valued and take Responsibility). Everyone should know their responsibilities (This will keep them Focused). And finally, but key, you should all agree the Core Values that team members will adhere to (This will ensure that a Positive & Solution Focused attitude will be the overriding approach to difficult situations).
If the traditional skills and responsibilities of Management have been the measurement and control of Money, Time & Quality. The really successful Managers have also paid attention to ensuring that their teams have the sound foundations of the correct "Mind-set / Team Culture. They Design their Teams to be able to withstand the trials and tribulations that will inevitably test their best laid plans.
Happy New Year and Good Luck to you and your team for 2015.


Posted on May 6, 2014 at 7:26 PM Comments comments (78)
“People LOVE what we do, because I’m rewarding them as I see fit, I’m their leader and I told them so!”
I know, that’s ridicules ….. Nobody thinks like that ….. Right?
Well? …. Check it. Go into your past experience and put it to the test. You, Your Team Members, Your Family or Your Friends, have never worked for someone, or an organisation, that thought like this? 

Unfortunately it’s more often the Rule, rather than the Exception. Leaders tell them how great it will be to have attained the “Predetermined Goal” without knowing if it meets their needs.
It’s not as blatant as I've portrayed it, but it is often the case that businesses, employers and leaders are so preoccupied by other hugely important aspects of the Organisations Goals, that they expect that their people are as turned on by these goals as they are. Big, big, big mistake!!! No two of us are the same, so therefore why would we expect that we are motivated by the same things?

We must take time to find out what motivates our people. Individual Motivation is the key to achieving our Collective Goals. The “What’s in it for me” question is key. Money or Achievement is not the panacea to motivating people. It’s generally much more subtle than that. Like, “What can the money do for them?” Or “How will the Achievement make them feel?” Or “Will achieving the Group Goal help their own Personal Satisfaction levels”.

We are all motivated differently. For some it’s Money / Achievement. For others it’s being able to help others. For others it’s being able to spend time at their hobbies / pastimes. Find out how achieving group goals would motivate your people individually and you’ll have uncovered the button that keeps everybody focused on the collective “Organisations Goals”.

#Focus2Succeed #ModelOfEngagement

A Team's Under Performance

Posted on April 15, 2013 at 10:00 PM Comments comments (62)
Be it in Sports, Business or any other team environment, under performance is a common hurdle. But how should you handle it and what are some common mistakes?

The first thing to remember is that, if you keep doing the same actions, you're likely to get the same results. It's not good enough to demand that everyone works harder. To work harder, doing the wrong thing, will not improve your performance.  

Everyone needs to understand that team has interdependence at its core. This means that all individuals will need to perform well to enable the team to succeed. Often when things aren't going well, group mentality can be to try to identify who is underperforming most. This gives the comfort of removing oneself from analysis. Watching programmes like "The Takeover" we hear employees identify their boss or a co-worker. In sports we hear about managers & coaches losing the dressing room. By identifying one person it allows the other individuals escape analysis, therefore as the majority will be happy, a consensus is easy to come by. 

The key to improving performance is to encourage all individual team members to engage in honest self-critic. All concerned need to accept personal responsibility and to commit to a positive outlook. Team analysis of the current under performance will help identify and agree the issues. This creates ownership. Identified individual areas for self improvement, alongside regular review and adjustment, should yield a return to performance.  

Change Management

Posted on March 4, 2013 at 2:44 PM Comments comments (64)
Often Difficult & Never Easy, but Always an Opportunity.

Change within any organisation is a time of raised emotions. Often the Management Team who are responsible for implementation choose to ignore this in an attempt to put forward the cold business rational behind the decision. Is this the best way to handle this situation for all concerned? Lets consider both perspectives?

As an example, we'll take a situation where a large Life Insurance Company requires a number of redundancies, will close a number of local offices and require some of the remaining staff to change rolls within the business.  

Using the above Management approach, staff will know that decisions are imminent and that Management will be discussing options behind closed doors. Eventually, like in the Vatican, white smoke will appear. Department Heads may be informed first and then the news will be delivered to everyone together -"As you will all be aware, due to pressures caused by the current economic environment, and through no fault of the effort of the people in this room, we have been forced to implement a number of changes to protect the business going forward". This may include a presentation detailing the current issues as viewed by Management and an outline of the proposed solution. The meeting then is broken into a number of meetings with each dept head and his/her team. How is it for those people delivering the news? What about the people loosing their jobs? Those being asked to take up different responsibilities and those being asked to move location? Even those who have escaped unscathed will have emotions about it and form opinions.

The emotional side of "Change" will never be avoided, merely postponed. My advice is simple, treat others as you would like to be treated. Have open discussions and involve everyone. Help people prepare for the "Change" and encourage them to engage in the process. Yes, you may loose people through the process. But experience would suggest that if you keep communication lines open, you will tend to loose those who know that their positions are at risk and those who are up for the fight will often rise to the occasion and actually make strong contributions to the ultimate solution. As we know from the post on Leadership, when people contribute to a plan, they feel a stronger sense of ownership and responsibility to delivering that plan. To coin a phrase of Brian Tracey's, if you can -"Eat that Frog", it'll make for a more understanding, creative and cohesive team, before during and after the "Change"

What Leaders need to know.

Posted on February 18, 2013 at 2:59 PM Comments comments (93)
What's the key to improving team performance for a Leader?

The first thing acknowledge is that you can bring a horse to water, but you can't make him drink it. You know "that feeling" (or is it "that failing"?). 

Common Mistake:
The common mistake made is that Leaders feel that they need to be "Driving" the team to better performance. Demanding higher levels of effort, which in turn will deliver results. Now even reading these two sentences is causing doubt in the mind of the good leader. To "drive a team" is different to "leading a team". And more effort in the wrong areas, won't help either. Yet, unless you have provided the space to really consider your approach, the large majority of leaders will fall into this trap.

Real Vision:
To lead effectively you will need your charges to really want to achieve "THEIR" goal. If it's important to you, dont assume it's important to them. You should work with the team to help them to see how it  will benefit them. Once they have established this they need to build the benefits into a "Real Vision". A "Real Vision" is one where, when they think about achieving the goal, they can actually feel the benefits .... emotionally. So if they achieve the "Win" what are the benefits and how will they feel. Knowing this will get them motivated. To keep them motivated, monitor and communicate the progress, and have them imput to any adjustments that are required.

Designing the Plan:
It's important that everybody feels that they have contributed to the plan. If you are implementing a plan that you had no input to, you can be less committed. Quiet simply, if it fails, it was not YOUR plan. You will naturally work harder on something that you have signed off on and that you agree is the way forward. So get input from team members when designing the plan.

Individual Focus on Performance Delivers Team Improvements:
The Vision & the Plan must be personalalised by each team member. The language and discussion must focus on individual performance. To speak about team goals etc spreads the responsibility to the collective. This can cause individuals to abdicate personal responsibility and lead to a lack of focus.

So a good leader will, create a Vision & Plan with his team. Ensure that each member knows how it relates to them. Monitor the progress and make any adjustments required with the input of the team.Good Luck!!!