How do you Stop Bullying in the Workplace?

How do you stop Bullying in the Workplace?

Bullying is stubbornly still prevalent in the workplace and business life. Although organisations know how damaging it is, many employ policies and procedures that are fair, right and logical but those approaches are clearly not working.

Why not stop doing what we currently do to tackle the workplace bully and look at the problem, and just ask why?

If you ask “why?” we believe the answer to its failure is blindingly obvious; the victims of bullying are in a state of “Learned Helplessness” that renders them incapable of taking positive action or doing anything logical or constructive.

Yet HR professionals and practitioners don’t know or ignore this fact. They produce, and quite rightly, policies relating to informal and formal processes on how to deal with the bully, which are legal, logical and essential. However, a person suffering from the overwhelming negative psychological impact of bullying is in no state to deal with such procedures. Lists of different types of bullying are widely identified that include aggressive, passive and cyber bullies. Symptoms of bullying are explored and psychologists can label different types of conditions. However, although this is all very interesting to a lot of people, it’s not very helpful for the victim.

The same applies to the logical advice given by trainers or guidelines found on different web sites for victims. These includes your rights, your responsibilities and some practical tips such as how you should react, do not make jokes, learn self-defence, through to how to avoid or outsmart the bully. These and many more are valuable in themselves and all have their place but, they very seldom work.

So why does this information, sound advice and methods have very little impact on victims?

The answer is simple. It’s called the Knowing – Doing Gap. Giving people knowledge inevitably fails to transfer into behavioural change. We have all been on training courses that may have contained useful knowledge but we soon return to our old habits back in the workplace. Donald Kirkpatrick of training evaluation fame admitted in a book in 2005 that there is a ‘devastating disconnect between learning and behaviour’. In other words learning is learning and not doing. Doing takes a ‘can do’ mind with a purpose, something that a victim of bullying has lost.

If the average worker fails to change his or her behaviours and take action on topics such as leadership, change, performance or stress, how can we expect someone who is in a state of “Learned Helplessness” to change their beliefs, attitude and behaviour? “Learned Helplessness” results when a perceived absence of control over a situation occurs such as when being bullied. This leads to people behaving in a helpless manner as they become incapable of taking action. This condition is linked to depression, anxiety, shyness and isolation. It stops rational thought and personal drive and determination. It saps people’s energy.

Depending on the type of bullying it may be linked to other known states including the Stockholm syndrome, which was named after a hostage situation, where victims develop strong emotional ties with the perpetrators. They develop a belonging need even though they are being abused. Domestic violence follows this pattern and occurs where one partner in a relationship tries to dominate and control the other. Common sense and logic to remove oneself from these situations completely disappears.

There is a common feature in all these conditions – Control

And the good news is that people can transport themselves out of “Learned Helplessness” by rediscovering a sense of personal control. This has to be done slowly and with support but once they demonstrate to themselves that they can take control, their confidence starts to return and the process speeds up. So instead of giving knowledge and information, the victim of bullying needs a guardian angel, whether internal or external to the organisation, and can lead then guide them out of the depths of despair.

Victims must also change their beliefs, attitudes and behaviours and become strong enough to face the bully. Once they start the bully may initially back down however, the bully will strike back when you least expect. This is why a guardian angel is essential.Bully Victim and Guardian Angel

The Guardian Angel needs to be someone who is Mind Fit. People that are Mind Fit have a sense of their own personal power and of being in personal control. They are mentally tough, have the drive and determination to succeed and the ability to build relationships. They must care and be ethically sound.

Our process for tackling the workplace bully uses the Mind Fit Map (shown on the right) as a template from which to develop awareness and understanding of where people are on the map and from which to build the strength and determination needed to overcome the bully.

Only the victim and the bully knows

We do not presume to know what a person is suffering or how the bully is behaving. The process is ‘inside-out’ and victims discover how their beliefs, attitudes and behaviours keep them in a helpless state where a sense of being out of control rules. With support, they soon learn that by making small changes they give themselves a sense of being in control. Those changes must be owned by them and not imposed by someone else.

Working in partnership with an organisation we develop guardian angels that have the personal strengths to work with victims and take on the bullies, professionally. We also work with victims and provide external support if required.

Bullying in the workplace happens to us

Even in our programmes we’re not immune to being the subject of difficult behaviours. On one course the leader said  “There were those in the team who deliberately set out to hi-jack the Mind Fit programme, but they too, converted themselves very early in the process. You had to see it to believe it…”


Who works with the bully? We do that too.


How does mental toughness help?

 Mental toughness is back!

The phrase is once again hitting the headlines in the world of leadership, performance and development whether in sport or business. It is a term used by many people to refer to the attributes that enable people to perform under pressure in different situations.

It is also one of those over used phrases that appear to capture the drive, determination and perseverance shown by athletes and many people in business who out perform others in their field. However, ask people what mental toughness actually is and how you develop it produces a range of adjectives and leaves others speechless.

People know the words and the phrases yet fail to move into the pragmatic arena of ‘How I become mentally tough’?

Definitions of Mental Toughness

Suzanne Kubasa originally described mental toughness in terms of ‘hardiness’ consisting of control, commitment and challenge. Clough and Earle (2002) then added confidence to that list. Today, others have included well-being, values and emotions whilst Jones, Hanton and Connaughton in 2007 described it “as a person’s attitude or mindset, specifically the performer focus and self belief”.

What does resonate with forward thinking people is that although some of us may have more of a natural propensity to mental toughness than others, the good news is that it can be developed.


Is mental toughness enough?

The level of mental toughness that a person has determines how well they will perform when exposed to stresses and challenges irrespective of the prevailing situation, which is why it is an integral part of the Mind Fit process. Ask an Olympic athlete if ‘mental toughness is all you need and they’ll give a long list of other attributes.

We describe Mind Fitness as ‘choosing to use your natural abilities to perform to your optimum in different situations, through ‘Can Do’ attitudes and a winning mind’. Mental toughness is only part of what enables a person to perform to their optimum as it contains elements of personal drivers and emotional control. What else is missing?

Being Mind Fit requires a person needs to use their natural abilities from parts the brain over which they have some control. The core components and descriptions are:

  • Thinking brain – able to think objectively, flexibly, innovatively and focus appropriately
  • Feeling brain – has positive energy, emotionally competent and resilient
  • Driving brain – has a ‘Can Do’ attitude and a clear sense of purpose
  • Social brain – ability to connect competently and meaningfully with others to build effective relationships

It follows that if a person is to perform to their optimum in different situations then mental toughness has to be there. However, in the world of work unless people know how to focus on what is important, have real aspirations and sense of purpose, and develop relationships which incorporates all the elements of communication, being mentally tough will not get you very far.

Developing mental toughness

Developing any skill requires focused ‘actions’ on whatever is necessary; practising over and over again and making mistakes.  That way you can keep improving through ‘doing’ rather than ‘knowing’ which is why a ‘winning mind’ is essential instead of taking the give up option. Unless people keep improving they soon become disengaged and lose their drive and determination resulting in poorer levels of performance.

So once you develop ‘mental toughness’ it will give you a degree of self-control and know how to remain calm under ‘fire’. 

To be a high performer you need to be Mind Fit; Mind Fit people also make the best employees, leaders and coaches.

Employability – a view from an experienced recruitment specialist

Employability – a view from a recruitment specialist

‘Over 80 applications for every graduate vacancy’ – headlines from just 12 months ago, with similar dramatic claims regularly being made. But it’s not just the graduate market that is concerned about the number of applications people make. With alarming regularity we hear of someone unemployed for years who has made hundreds of applications, dozens every week, who has been rejected (that’s if they get a reply) for every single one! Is it that there are not enough jobs, people haven’t the skills to do the jobs on offer or is it that there are plenty of jobs around but no one wants them or a maybe a bit of both?

Employability is an interesting concept; dictionaries fail to agree on a single definition, it is mentioned in research dating back to 1998

Employability is the capability to move self-sufficiently within the labour market to realise potential through sustainable employment – Hillage and Pollard (1998)’, Robinson (2000) similarly suggested that it was a basic set of skills necessary for getting, keeping and doing well on a job whilst more recently the definition seems to have widened to include adaptability (Harvey, Fugate, Kinicki, and Ashforth) that ultimately enables individuals to compete in the job market but does not directly relate to being employed.

Interestingly whilst the research points to employability being about becoming more adaptable and flexible within the job market all the measures of employability relate directly to being employed (actually in a job). The biggest measure of all is from the census taken 6 months after graduation by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. This statistic by which employability following university study seems to be classified, simply asks if the student is unemployed (or 11 other classifications of being either in the job market or legitimately not seeking employment e.g. long term travel).

Is it surprising then to find a whole raft of approaches to dealing with employability? Hardly surprising at all. From denials by many that it is even about the job market to others that are being very specific with the skill based interventions to assist with gaining a job.

Recently the CIPD published a research report (September 2013: ‘Real-life leaders: closing the knowing-doing gap’) that argued that knowledge based training was significantly less effective than previously thought. With some arguing that medium/long term impact was close to zero. The missing element seems to be the ‘doing’ – why give someone a skill or knowledge and not let them practice it? For example you don’t ‘teach’ a baby to walk, you encourage them to stand up again every time they fall. Imagine a performance management approach: right that’s the tenth time you fallen over and  failed to walk, walking is clearly not for you, next time you fall down, stay there and ‘bum shuffle’ across the room… and by the way, do the same for the rest of your life. That’ll work then?

Teaching employability either in a classroom or lecture hall is probably about as effective as a PowerPoint presentation on tying shoelaces – without actually doing the activity the learning and understanding is lost almost immediately.

Rothwell and Arnold (2007) argued that employability is ‘the ability to keep the job one has or to get the job desired’ – nothing in this definition about writing a CV or learning about different interview techniques, rather it talks about focus and dynamic action ‘to keep’ and ‘to get’, positive doing based actions related to a specific outcome (keeping or getting a job).

A high degree of focus, resilience and mental toughness (some call that emotional intelligence but we need much more) is needed if the job seeker is to remain highly action orientated in the face of multiple job applications and the rejections that will naturally follow. Being Mind Fit with a resilient, ‘can-do’ attitude and winning mind isn’t about learning a skill or acquiring knowledge rather it is about taking ownership and responsibility for your own actions. Graham Williams (2012 Mind Fit for Success) argues that people can only be in one of three states ‘Can Do’, ‘Can’t Do’, or ‘Won’t Do’. With high performance obviously associated with the powerfulness obtained by operating in the ‘Can Do’ state. However high performance isn’t necessarily about being the next CEO, it is about being the best you can be in whatever you are doing. Only the individual themselves can choose to operate in this state and it applies as much when applying for a job as actually doing it, keeping it or growing within and beyond it!

Einstein definition of Madness or InsanityWe need a different approach.

If Einstein was right in defining madness as doing the same thing again and again in the hope of achieving a different result, then sending out 200 CV’s in the hope that one won’t be rejected surely falls into the same category. Similarly lecturing 100 students on interview skills isn’t going to address the individual needs of each and every one of them. So why keep advising students in this way?

Virtually every careers service within British Universities has recently rebranded themselves to include employability either within the departmental name or to expand on their core undertaking – however some have taken it a step further by realising that creating the right ‘Can Do’ mind set in their students enables them to have a greater impact across a broader cohort of students. They have adopted an employability programme that doesn’t talk about vacancies, job boards, CV or interviews and yet has a massive impact on the employment statistics.

In a worldwide survey in 2011 a national paper said: “It discovered that 96pc of employers would hire someone who did not have a complete set of skills but displayed the right attitude over an applicant with the perfect skills but who lacked the right mindset.”

And it isn’t just about getting employment.

Increasingly employers are running a simple one day prequel to training or development courses to get their people into a ‘Can Do’ mind set so they don’t just sit through knowledge based training, but rather actively engage with the learning intervention and seek opportunities to implement change. So it is the ‘doing’ that makes the difference and within that seeking out what needs to change and what needs to stop. Graham Williams calls it “behavioural waste – all forms of behaviour that divert energy, talent and resources away from personal or organizational goals”. He defines Mind Fit as people who are: able to think flexibly and appropriately; emotionally competent and resilient; driven with a real sense of purpose; able to connect meaningfully with others. They will minimise their behavioural waste and focus on achievement – and that applies to development, training interventions or employability.

 The CBI in 2010 defined employability, in probably the widest of all the definitions, as: ‘A set of attributes, skills and knowledge that all labour market participants should possess to ensure they have the capability of being effective in the workplace – to the benefit of themselves, their employer and the wider economy.’

So if we focus on where the journey is going – towards being employed – then perhaps Einstein would say ‘do something different and do it now’. The old mantra of hire on skills and fire on attitude has flipped, so the smart, common sense way forward would be to develop graduates with the right attitude. But another saying in Mind Fit is “when has common sense, been common practice?”

Employability skills are life skills so maybe we should start with  developing the right attitude earlier than university.


By Adrian Thomas – recruitment professional


Feedback from a recent programme from a Catherine Farrant – Lecturer and Course Leader – PPD3

Catherine Farrant University Lecturer“Mind Fit delivered a workshop for Employability Skills using their approach to my undergraduates at Greenwich University. It really encouraged them to take personal responsibility for their own career development and to work on developing a truly ‘can do’ attitude. They also supported evaluations of group podcasts and presentations giving invaluable feedback to the teams. The CEO, Neville Gaunt additionally brought along two expert colleagues to ensure the undergrads had a truly relevant assessment experience. I know my students found it nerve-wracking and stimulating at the same time! The personal growth of all students in such a short time frame was amazing! I can see great value if this was run as a 1st year course as my students are clearly more engaged in their studies and starting early would allow us to build on effective foundations and raise attainment.”

Want to find out what Mind Fit can do for your students?

email us

Mind Fit and the 4 Global Strengths – No4 Feedback

Mind Fit Global Strength no4 Feedback Adding ValueAny feedback has value.

Bold statement maybe, but whatever feedback you were given, by others or yourself, there is a value.

Awareness, Control, Focus , Feedback are the 4 Mind Fit Global Strengths.

They form a continual loop that will ensure you start to close your perception reality gaps and provide a solid foundation for growth.

Constructive criticism can be as valuable as complimentary feedback but it’s still your choice on what to do with it.

Ken Blanchard of “The One Minute Manager”  fame, said

Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions 

The following is such a powerful video on so many fronts. But look at it now with a mind to feedback – the consequences of continuing on without feeding back what’s happening around us can have considerable implications.


This is the last of the 4 global strengths and with these alone you will be able to improve your mind fitness and your performance – if you practice. You can close your perception reality gaps and improve your mind fitness in this manner in whatever you do. The best advice we can give is “Never be afraid of feedback”,  after all it’s up to you how you choice to use it!

The Mind Fit 4 Global Strengths – Awareness, Control, Focus and Feedback form the foundation of mind fitness.

To be the best you can be, knowledge is important too. But Mind Fit people eat knowledge for breakfast and then get on with it. Join us or want to know more?



Mind Fit and the 4 Global Strengths – No3 Focus

Mind Fit Global Strength No3 Focus

Few use focus well

The ability to focus on what’s important is a skill we all have but few use it well. It’s pretty clear when the camera is out of focus as we see a blurred image. But everyday we’re faced with lots of choices and decisions and we can easily lose sight of what is important and what we should be focused on.

The key is to know what to focus on and when, in order to achieve the best outcome.

Some people prefer to think and focus very wide and in pictures. Others work in small and narrow bite-size chunks. Working with architects who build bridges, it soon becomes apparent that some of them start by imagining the end result whilst others build the end results by putting lots of pieces together. Two very different but very effective approaches.

Learning to control our focus, to maintain it on what is appropriate and to vary it as required is a considerable skill but once again, one that can be acquired through practice.

The following short video is great example of the consequences of not being focused.


Have you seen this lack of focus in yourself? In others? What different will it make?

Next time Mind Fit Global Strength – No4 Feedback

Without all 4 working together there’s no performance improvement.

Mind Fit and the 4 Global Strengths – No2 Control

Mind Fit 4 Global Strengths - Control Awareness and Control are inseparable

In No1 we looked at Awareness but in reality the concepts of awareness and control are inseparable. They are the two key determinants of mind fitness and underpin any success you will have in creating healthy individuals, a dynamic team and organizations.

What’s the basic idea about control?

Let’s look at a familiar example – central heating is a common and helpful piece of household technology.  The ideal central heating system maintains the most comfortable temperature, adapting smoothly and appropriately to environmental changes. Your central heating system needs to be aware of the room temperature in order to function properly. That’s the job of the thermostat.

But awareness is not enough. There must be an element of external control in order to maximise the effect. Before the system can provide the best possible service, it must be told by you exactly what is required – using the knob on the thermostat you set the temperature you want, and the central heating responds efficiently.

How do we achieve control?

The word ‘control’ appears in many management books on subjects as diverse as personal empowerment, team-leadership and group dynamics. The exercise of control is widely considered a vital ingredient in the good health of any organization. But how does it relate to mind fitness?

An initial element of control was necessary to make the central heating work properly. However, you wouldn’t want to go back every five minutes and readjust the thermostat – it would be inconvenient, inefficient and confuse the whole system. So it is with management. If you have a mind fit team, all operating with good levels of awareness, your control of the team will be infrequent yet highly effective. In actual fact, good leadership can involve a lack of control, by giving control to the team members closest to the issues. Anyone who has had an engaging and inspiring leader will know how empowering this feels.

Unfortunately, many leaders retain an excessive amount of control through the over-use of positional power, using an authoritarian, domineering style of communication. In extreme cases this can even tip into bullying in the workplace. This is usually the result of a combination of factors, including pressure from higher up in the organization, insecurity and lack of awareness on the part of the leaders, and a general distrust of the workforce. The effects on the mind fitness of their people can be disastrous.

Controlling the controllable

If controlling other people is fraught with difficulties and dangers, what can you control? The answer is simple – yourself. And that is what mind fitness is all about. With self-awareness comes the possibility of self-control.

With awareness, you have the opportunity to make decisions about what you want to stop doing, and what you want to do more of. Your current level of mind fitness is simply a set of habits, and you do not have to be a slave to them. You can take control rather than giving or taking control from others.

Now here’s a Hot tip

Most people say one of the most important factors in a happy work life is being thanked and feeling acknowledged. It only takes a moment to thank a member of your team, or to say ‘well done’, but it makes a world of difference. People feel more in control when they are thanked, rather than feeling like just another unacknowledged cog in the machine.


The next Mind Fit Global Strength – No3 Focus

Were you as lucky as this ugly duckling?

Simon the Ugly Duckling


This ugly duckling was lucky.

Remember the Hans Christian Andersen story about the ugly duckling? Well, as all of his stories there’s always a happy ending and in this case the ‘ugly duckling’ grows into a beautiful swan. Not that Simon, the subject of our story, looked or felt ugly, but he may as well have been as he was obeying the rules at work but not enjoying them one bit.

He wasn’t just an average employee either, as he was in an important senior role. But he was downtrodden and stuck in a cultural trap of someone else’s making and Simon felt like an ugly duckling, along with lots of his senior colleagues.

Simon had been working for a number of years in a public sector organisation.  He had reached a senior level, taking responsibility for the strategic development of services. However the culture in which he worked was one where the senior employees were expected to put in many extra hours of work, without any additional financial compensation. Simon, like everyone else, complied with the oppressive and controlling leadership style – one that what would be considered as a toxic environment today. His work/life balance was severely compromised, but he didn’t feel there was anything he could do about it.

Simon had built up a national reputation in his field, making major contributions at seminars and in published works. Fortunately for him this had been acknowledged and noticed by others in the industry, outside of his organisation. One day he was invited to undertake a year’s secondment to government department in Whitehall. He knew it was only a secondment but accepted it, having no idea just how profound an effect this move would have on his life and future career.

From the moment he arrived at Whitehall Simon was given an enormous amount of responsibility. He acted as a government advisor, liaised directly with the Minister on matters of policy and attended the House of Commons during debates. He was being trusted to use his skills in an independent way, and as a result was having a real effect on people’s lives. Being given this amount of personal control in such a high-powered and exciting environment meant that Simon fell in love with his job all over again.

The ugly duckling was no longer ugly.

Simon told us one of his greatest moments whilst on the secondment came during a meeting with a group of consultants. Simon’s Whitehall boss was present, and when asked which of the two men was in the senior position, the boss replied that although he was technically higher up the ladder, it was Simon who had greater knowledge and experience. It was this acknowledgement, which stemmed from a healthy, confident and self-aware leader that allowed Simon to regain control of his own life and work.

Simon knew that he could never return to his old organisation, where micro-management, command and control behaviour was the order of the day.

What’s the lesson?

Simon’s mind fitness was restored by his time at Whitehall, and he realised the poor leadership at his original place of work was the cause of the damage to his psychological fitness at work and at home. It had made him feel like the ugly duckling.

They lost a great member of the team because they would not allow him an appropriate level of control over his own life, and did not acknowledge his skills and experience. As a consequence, the performance and productivity of the team suffered greatly.

Now Simon’s experience seems to be very common in fact it seems all too common and on the rise.

People tell us time and again that they would like to be trusted to get on with the job, and they find constant interference from leaders and managers very frustrating and extremely disruptive. Unfortunately, many leaders or managers are too frightened to relinquish any degree of control for fear that it will be abused. Of course, there will always be the odd member of a team who will abuse a freer, less tightly controlled management structure, but the consequence of over-control is an unfit mind, demoralised and disengaged workforce who will likely suffer from stress, conflict and under-performance.

If leaders and managers realised the risk they are taking by over-controlling, might they think again?


What if they became more aware and in control

Being aware and in control takes individuals to a different place whether as individuals, team members or as managers and leaders. Conversely, people who are not aware or have no sense of being in control merely function and their performance is much lower.

Some of the benefits of greater awareness and personal control for individuals and organisations include:

  • Less stress
  • More time for managers and leaders
  • Better decisions being taking by people at the coalface
  • Individuals taking on more responsibility
  • Increased performance
  • Greater productivity

What is there not to like about that?

Hot tip

The reality is that most people perform best when they feel trusted, empowered and in control of their working lives. Allowing members of your team more individual control may seem frightening at first, but if it is backed up with supportive appraisals, realistic goals and deadlines and an open door policy for feedback, their journey to mind fitness and greater personal power can truly begin. Why wouldn’t you try it so that individuals, teams and the organisation benefit?

Summing up

Sustaining and improving on one’s position on the Mind Fit Map demands a level of personal control. Mind Fit people feel in control even when the outside environment is trying to take control away from them. They will tend to focus on the things they can control, retaining a positive attitude to their work and doing the right things.

Sadly, outside influences can remove many opportunities to take control of life in the workplace. The consequences are disengagement, stress and ultimately poor performance. If you are in a position to give appropriate levels of control back to people you lead, take that opportunity. You will be rewarded by a more committed, more positive, more engaged and more productive team. They’ll be on the Mind Fit journey.

The Mind Fit approach is easy – takes less than a day to try.

When developing people – don’t we need to start from the same place?

Developing People

When it comes to developing people at work the assumption, probably made unconsciously, is that we all start more or less from the same place.

Senior staff makes a decision that to increase business performance people need training for example leadership, time management, sales, team working or change management.

The learning and development team are mobilised by HR and the desired knowledge training programme or workshop is born; or more likely a ready made one is taken off the shelf. Some organisations may also seek external providers and the web is awash with them.

This same pattern relating to people development to improve business productivity has existed for years yet very few providers, internal or external look beyond delivering the topic specific knowledge. They fail to ensure that the input transfers into behavioural change and tangible business results. Today, other than technical training, we know from research that the transfer of knowledge back into the workplace is poor. The training may have been great, people return to work with good intentions, then old attitude and behavioural habits kick in and soon they are back doing what they have always done. Most of the training has been a waste of time, effort and money.

There is a growing amount of evidence available today that shows the gap between knowing and doing is as wide as ever. Even Donald Kirkpatrick of training evaluation fame admitted in 2005 that there is a “devastating disconnect between learning and behaviour”. People know about theories, facts, information and so forth that are supposed to change them but in the main, it doesn’t. It is as if we are trapped in dead and obsolete maps, models and processes that cognitively we understand and can regurgitate when asked; yet we fail to take action.

A fresh approach

Fresh approach

It is crucial for both business performance and growth in today’s highly demanding world that we acknowledge we are all unique and through our different experiences, it makes us complex. Whatever the business challenge we face we all start from a different place and therefore, the journey to the point of convergence that relates to the specific topic in the context of our work, will be unique to each and every one of us. This may not be the case when it comes to providing technical knowledge, which can be learnt cognitively. However, anything that relates to attitudes and behaviours (soft skills), the input needs to start with the individual and their needs so that the journey they take is in the right direction.

As we all know, it is the games driven by negative attitudes and behaviours of people in organisations that cause so much waste in time, effort and money as disengagement surveys consistently bear witness too.

Universities have probably acknowledged they need to get everyone aligned and use the first year of a degree course to enable students to adjust to the new environment to make sure that they all start the second year from the same place. Parents will hear about their children in  the fresher year saying ‘I’ve done this at GCSE why am I doing it again?’ – to get you all on the same platform will be the echoed response.

From a different perspective Olympic 100 metres champion Usain Bolt is a fraction faster than his fellow Jamaican athlete Yohan Blake – by just over one hundredth of a second. Physically they are poles apart and therefore their training regime and methods of running has to take this into account. Even so, they both perform to an almost identical level of speed.

The importance of a good map

standard-tube-map_Page_1If a group of commuters travel to work in the centre of London via the underground, the probability is that they would all travel in from different directions.

All they need to know is where they are, where they are going and which direction they are travelling. Each person will take responsibility to get to his or her destination. They may even join colleagues at convenient parts on their journey. This is the power of having a specific map. It is obvious and occurs thousands of times each day.


This approach of people taking responsibility and making choices within clear parameters is the key to personal development and business growth. We all tend to know it, but unfortunately it doesn’t happen nearly enough. If a business has a very clear destination point relating to performance, productivity and profit then we need to devise an approach that initially allows people to make their own development and performance route that leads to success. Later, as they begin to converge, individuals can link up with fellow travellers and move forward together.

Building the foundation – reducing behavioural waste

Creating and Performance attitude and culture

Our approach is to build the foundation that might be termed ‘the prequel’ to enable people to achieve this by developing their own attitude and behavioural map – the Mind Fit Map. Once they become aware of where they consistently operate from on their map they can identify those routine behavioural activities that they do that either cause wasted effort and underperformance or those that cause increased performance. Once they recognise where they are and what they do to keep themselves in a particular place on the map then they can choose to change direction if they need too. These insights occur during the first day of exploration so their convergence takes place rapidly.

Simply by stopping those activities that lead to poor performance (behavioural waste), which may include prevarication, conflict, poor timekeeping, underperformance or disengagement they will immediately have a meaningful impact on productivity. All these activities can be costed so that by stopping them it will simply demonstrate the effectiveness and be valued against the cost of the development programme. Then, by replacing that behavioural waste with positive performance focused behaviours linked to business needs, will lead to business growth – and real added value compared to the cost of the development programme. It really is that simple.

However, people need to acknowledge where they are on the map first and once accepted, they can choose to change.

Only we can choose for sustained change:

  • The direction in which to travel
  • To change and influence our performance
  • To become who we are capable of becoming and not who we believe we are

We need to accept that any change has to be inside-out rather than someone else deciding what we need if we are going to make an impact on people and the business. Each of us needs to self assess to understand where our personal journey is starting. Then we can choose to travel in the desired direction.

Is it now time for organisations to change their approach and start with attitude and behaviours?

Eliminate behavioural waste?

The Map is there, the choice is yours.

Selling is WIIFM. Is SME Networking WIIFU?

Selling - What's in it for me.Experienced salespeople will often joke, “Everyone’s favourite radio station is WII-FM.” They’re of course referring to the acronym WIIFM ‘What’s In It For Me?’ Something we learn from an early age to think about even if we don’t say it.
Every prospect you approach will consider your pitch from the point of WIIFM because among other things it’s human nature to be that way. That’s why it’s so important to talk about benefits rather than features when you sell. Better still, don’t look at it as selling, look at it as people buying – where you’re the buyer – WIIFM really works!

Most SMEs will know it’s not about the features but it’s all about the benefits. Benefits are simply specific examples of what the buyer stands to gain if they buy from you. The result being they appeal directly to the WIIFM mindset of the buyer. Cost and performance implications are usually winners here. Features, on the other hand, are specific facts about a product or service and typically they don’t explain how the product will improve the buyer’s job or life. So back to what counts – focus on the benefits and give your buyers pleasure or reduce their pain and suffering, either work well.

Networking needs a different mindset – WIIFU

In SMEs where the functions of sales, networking, presenting etc all end up in the lap of one person, maybe the owner, it’s now where a mindset ’shift’ is needed. Often the WIIFM mindset is so fixed and entrenched in your behaviour it overpowers everything else. Even when you have a switch that may say mindset ‘shift’, nothing happens. This ‘shift’ button that gets stuck in the WIIFM place is for many the main reason why networking doesn’t work.

WIIFU or ‘what’s in it for us’ should be the networkers’ mantra and is in fact quite a simple shift to make. For WIIFU to succeed, just look at your colleagues (fellow networkers) as part of your business team and you are jointly selling to the local community. We don’t normally talk of a mindset shift, as Mind Fit people that are flexible and adaptable can flip or glide from one state to another without thinking and hence make great networkers.

WIIFU is the glue that makes networks work and why some networks only need a few people to be in the WIIFU mindset.

If you’re a WIIFM and you’ve been lucky to join a good network, it may still work for you if the others value what you bring to the party. But as lots of networks today have a business rule that only allows one plumber, accountant, solicitor etc  into the group, as a WIIFU, you might need to be careful what network you join.


Is WIIFM for Sales, WIIFU for networking common sense?

As we say, the choice is yours.  And you can always use the Mind Fit MAP.


Employee Engagement – is it the prequel for CSR and Sustainability?

Punch and Judy - employee engagementIs employee engagement becoming a term associated with CSR and sustainability?

In a recent global survey of company executives:

“over 78% view sustainability and social responsibility issues as critical for their future growth”

If it is business critical why have only a few managed to even start or sustain the process? For those that have adopted the concept and driven their programmes they know all too well what needs to be done. Forcing the agenda doesn’t work! It never has nor ever will as what’s needed is the complete engagement of every stakeholder. Surely that is where the real issue lies.

Not surprisingly the survey found that :

  • many organisations have built their strategic approach, yet still struggle to achieve management and employee engagement.
  • successful organisations are those that have spent time to engage the hearts and minds of all their people, and demonstrate positive beliefs, attitudes and behaviours to drive business results.
  • many executives state the problems start with the difficulty of achieving a sustainable ‘mind shift’ at executive and operational levels within the organisation.

Engaging employees and in fact engaging any stakeholder in something that’s new and perhaps alien and outside of their grasp has always been a difficult task. And yet the rewards are known to be immense for a business with an engaged worker be they on the shop floor or in the boardroom.

Engaged employees are committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, and are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of well-being.

But when it comes to employee engagement, we are now dealing with the complicated part – that of people. People are different and complex and if we are improving engagement we need to change individual’s attitudes and behaviours – and we all now how painful change can be. Sometimes it’s so painful, that some companies don’t even try it.

At Mind Fit we know that all three – attitudes, behaviours and outcomes – are part of the engagement story. There is a virtuous circle when the pre-conditions of engagement are met when these three aspects of engagement trigger and reinforce one another.

Engaged organisations have strong and authentic values, with clear evidence of trust and fairness based on mutual respect, where two way promises and commitments ( between employers and employees) are clearly understood, and fulfilled.

Is employee engagement new? Well not really, but in today’s fast-paced and changing environment, for many it seems to be difficult to achieve. For instance, talent management strategies that are designed to increase engagement, end up doing the opposite by further disengaging the already disengaged. Our article on “The War on Talent” explains that in greater detail.

So if companies believe that social responsibility and sustainability issues are business critical they need to start with fixing the cause.

An engaged employee experiences a blend of job satisfaction, organisational commitment, job involvement and feelings of empowerment. People don’t go to work to fail, so by helping them be successful, and be at their best they can be is surely a great foundation – and not just for the sustainability and social responsibility agenda.

Employee engagement reminds me of the effect of  teamwork – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Employee engagement – is it the prequel to your social responsibility and sustainability agenda?

Download more here as we believe it is.