February 24, 2020Comments are off for this post.

Connect Three Helping Drive Growth in Glasgow’s SMEs

The team at Connect Three has been selected to be advisors on Glasgow City Council’s new Glasgow Business Growth Programme.  The programme is designed to create a connected and collaborative network of specialists and experts.  We will be part of a group of top Scottish firms including Harper Macleod and Wylie & Bisset, working together to deliver an unrivalled level of support in the UK for local SMEs.

The programme aims to deliver sustainable growth for small businesses, and to improve the city’s business start-up and SME survival rates.  SMEs will have access to a range of specialist support from Connect Three under our capacity in Leadership, Skills and Resource consultancy.  We will provide support including reviewing existing Leadership Development processes and reporting on their future suitability, making recommendations for future actions.  We will also provide a range of support across leadership and management skills including  Organisational Development, Succession Planning, Capacity Building and HR Support.  Businesses will receive support based on their needs and their commitment to inclusive economic growth.

Colin Lamb, Connect Three’s Founder and Chief Explorer says; “It is rare for a programme to come along that offers real support for SMEs across their entire business lifecycle.  Whatever stage they are at, whatever potential they have, or problem they might be facing, the Glasgow Business Growth Programme has a solution for that, and at Connect Three we are pleased to be a part of it.”

Connect Three has been part of the Business Growth Fund’s Programme since the Framework initially launched in 2017 and we are so pleased to be part of the new programme until December 2022.

You can find out more about the Glasgow Business Growth Programme here.

February 20, 2020Comments are off for this post.

Leadership and Kindness

How does being kind have a positive effect on your leadership goals?  Kindness is a concept taught in most major philosophies and religions in the world today, but you don’t need a specific spiritual belief system in order to impart kindness into your leadership.  We are taught as children to be kind, generous and to care for those around us, as in turn, they will be kind back to us.  Obviously, in individual situations, a kind approach can be applied when leading your team, but in a more general way, how can you be #BeKind as Leader?

Maria Gamb offers 4 “Be’s” to consider when trying to embrace Kindness in your Value-Based Leadership approach:

  1. Be of Service
    “A good leader, a kind leader, helps to remove obstacles so a team member can do their job to the best of their ability”.  Through coaching and support, a kind leader is of service to their team members.
  2. Be a Guardian
    You are the guardian of your team, ensuring that they get the recognition with you and you are not the only one in the spotlight.
  3. Be Generous
    Be aware of what your team need – whether it’s encouragement, inclusion, honesty, or something else – and provide it generously. Give them what they need to succeed
  4. Be Diligent
    When considering the ramifications of your decisions and actions on others, use kindness and common sense.

Kindness as a leader may be most noticeable in tough times, perhaps because that is where it is least expected, but it should be integrated into your daily leadership seamlessly and without fanfare.  If you are only kind in order to receive praise in return, you risk looking like an attention-seeker.  In Value-Based Leadership, we should work to embody kindness without waiting to be acknowledged for it.  As a Leader, when we can be anything to our team, it is our responsibility to be kind.

January 31, 2020Comments are off for this post.

Happy Birthday to us!

Today Connect Three is 5 years old. When we started in 2015, our plan was to use the power of creativity to support and shape businesses, developing their people and pushing them to reach their potential. Over the years we have pulled together a dynamic team of Consultants who are all on the same page, in the same book, in the same library. Today we are going to celebrate all of the people and businesses we have worked with and seen develop and flourish.

We are proud to practice what we preach, and it has been great to be acknowledged for our work in people development and Fair Work, with some brilliant awards over the years. These awards are not why we do it, but it's always nice for the team to be recognised!

Really, we just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us and worked with us to date, we would not be here without you. Here's to the next 5 and beyond! 🥳

January 20, 2020Comments are off for this post.

Leadership in Uncertain Times

Uncertainty.  This seems to be the theme of 2020 before the year has even really begun!  How do leaders design their strategies for the year ahead, never mind approach budget plans and create projections for the future when we simply do not know what the next year holds for the UK?

Strong, successful leaders should be able to steer companies through this uncertain time and continue to deliver in the same way as they would when the future is secure, profits are high and stakeholders are happy – but that is easier said than done, so how do leaders lead in uncertain times?

I recently reread an article I’d saved by Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr. the author of From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership.  In it he said “By knowing myself and my values, being committed to balance and having true self-confidence and genuine humility, I can far more easily make decisions, no matter if I'm facing a crisis or an opportunity.”  I am an avid supporter of Value-Based Leadership as an approach to both personal and business growth, and this quote reminded me that its principles are a great first step when leaders are faced with uncertainty.

An organisation with clearly defined values, a well-documented purpose and an easily articulated ethos is one that can navigate any crisis.  Value-Based Leadership is a way of making decisions and evaluating your own and your team’s performance based on your organisation’s values rather than focusing entirely on metrics and milestones.

In times of uncertainty and change, the goal posts may be constantly changing, but a company’s values should stay constant.  As teams are asked to adapt to new situations, and learn new things, performance criteria will need to adapt too.  By using a Value-Based approach, not only are you creating a supportive and flexible company culture, but you are enabling feedback and growth measurement to continue through change and uncertainty.

The first principle of Value-Based Leadership is self-reflection.  In order to lead others successfully, you need to be self-aware and really understand what your company’s values are and what matters most.  Taking stock of your own position and knowing what you and your organisation stand for, makes it much easier to know what to do in any situation.

But Value-Based Leadership is not about acting blindly according to your own viewpoint. The second principle is balance - in other words, being able to gain a full understanding of a situation by seeing it from other people’s perspectives and opinions. Balance means approaching situations with an open mind and engaging with your team members frequently and authentically.

The third principle is about self-belief and confidence.  You need to recognise your strengths and weaknesses and continuously strive to improve.  This does not mean that arrogance is a coveted trait in a successful leader.  In fact, the fourth principle is genuine humility.  You should treat each person you encounter with the same respect you would like to be treated with.  Humility is also about knowing that you do not have all of the answers, or all of the time, and knowing when to ask for help and look outside for support.  That’s a great 2020 goal for any leader in any organisation.

Here are Connect Three’s top tips for leading your organisation through an uncertain year:

1. Keep Talking
Silence is unlikely to be interpreted as a good thing by your colleagues, customers or suppliers!  You should communicate often - reinforcing clearly, and repeatedly what your plans are, keeping your teams in the loop whenever things change and letting them know what your response will be.

2. Enable Others to Lead
Help develop the skills of other leaders, potential leaders & possible superstars in your organisations now, so that they are ready to step up when you need them to.  Essential Leadership skills courses are available through Scottish Enterprise and are designed to do just that.

3. Don’t stop Planning
You need to keep planning for the long and short term of your organisation and your team. Topics like personal development and appraisals may be the last thing on your list when facing a crisis, but culture and morale will suffer if you maintain your focus on the immediate future.

4. Stay Engaged
Great leaders know that they don’t have all of the answers.  They are confident that they have surrounded themselves with people capable of more than just freeing up their managers’ time.  Whether your organisation is doing well, or struggling, you hired a great team, so stay engaged with them, ask questions and be open to hearing the answers.

January 17, 2020Comments are off for this post.

Fair Work & Productivity

Productivity is a buzzword used daily in the world of business. Putting it simply, productivity is the effectiveness of productive effort, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input. Productivity can boost profitability and growth of businesses and is a major focus in many of the organisations we work with. Increasing national productivity has a much wider impact and can result in economic growth, improved housing and education and can contribute to social and environmental developments. This is where the Scottish Government’s Fair Work Framework is focused.

For Connect Three, Fair Work and productivity go hand in hand. You can’t expect to get better results or efficiencies from your people if they do not feel secure, engaged, valued and motivated in their roles. Certainly, you can create streamlined processes and procedures but without an engaged and committed workforce, there is no guarantee that these changes will take place as easily or as quickly as you anticipate.

There are countless studies that have been carried out on wellbeing and the important link to increased productivity. According to a survey of 4000 workers across the UK, France, Germany and the US, doing meaningful work was the most important factor in the happiness of workers. Meaningful work was more important than office location, company culture, management, compensation and flexible hours. There is evidence that high employee engagement can improve productivity by 20-40%.

Scandinavian countries are leading the way for being socially progressive and promoting wellbeing and they usually rank highly on global ranking for both productivity and wellbeing. Often productivity is higher, yet the working week is shorter. With more organisations coming to the forefront to trial the 4-day working week and proving it can have an impact on productivity this is really starting to open leaders’ eyes to the benefits to all of working in this way. This combined with flatter structures, dialogue and employee participation in decision making, which is believed to promote trust, shared responsibility and pride amongst all staff.

So, what do we mean by Fair Work? The Scottish Government’s Fair Work Convention has developed a framework which is centred around allowing employees to feel secure at work, have a voice, have opportunities, feel respected and be fulfilled in their roles. These five core areas are integral to increasing productivity and achieving the vision for fair work in Scotland. “By 2025, people in Scotland will have a world-leading working life where fair work drives success, wellbeing and prosperity for individuals, businesses, organisations and for society”.

So, here are our 5 top tips we can offer to help you start to think about Fair Work in your organisations:

1. Re-ignite your values and purpose
Ensure you know why people work for you and what makes them tick. Do your staff feel they contribute to the success of your business? Do they feel valued on a personal level? Clarify your sense of purpose as a business and create a set of guiding principles to help promote positive behaviours and culture that will help drive productivity.

2. Review decision making and participation
Reduce walls and ceilings and move decision making to those who have the information. Give confidence and clarity to your teams to start making decisions instead of passing the buck. This will lead to increased responsibility and ownership.

3. Start using your ears more
Listen more to the ideas and suggestions of your people as they often have the most knowledge on the ground to suggest better ways of working. Involve staff in discussions to gather better insights, help problem solve and co-create solutions.

4. Update Working practices
Being present doesn’t mean that you are necessarily being productive. Can your teams work more flexibly? Do they need to be chained to their desks 5 days a week and work 9-5? Is your working environment fit for purpose and does it give your staff the right space for thinking, meeting, 121 and team time?

5. Develop your leaders
Don’t forget to invest and continue to develop your managers and leaders by giving them the tools and techniques to effectively manage their people through change.

Colin Lamb
Chief Explorer

November 28, 2019Comments are off for this post.

Gratitude as a Leadership Quality

This week our American clients will be marking Thanksgiving.  It may not be something that we celebrate in Scotland, but it did spark a conversation in the office about gratitude and saying ‘thank you’ in business.

The British sense of etiquette means that ‘thank you’, ‘please’ and ‘sorry’ are drummed into the average school child to the point where we apologise for bumping into doorways.  That in turn means, to quote coach Jen Sincero: “When someone doesn’t say thank you […] it’s as glaring an omission to me as if they’ve shown up without their pants on.”  As true as that may be in our daily business lives, there is a big difference between ‘thank you’ and being a leader with an attitude of gratitude.

Gratitude is not a quality often highlighted as a required attribute for a successful leader, but praise and recognition for team members when they do great job is critical.  It is more than just the act of saying ‘thank you’ that will make a team member feel appreciated.  You could involve them in the decision-making process of your projects to show them that their contributions are valuable, or provide them with opportunities for growth.   A study by the American Psychological Association in 2012 showed that 70% of employees felt valued at work when they were given opportunities for personal development.

While it’s true that actions speak louder than words, as Gertrude Stein famously said: “Silent gratitude isn’t much  use to anyone,” so don’t assume that your team know you are grateful for their work because you are helping them grow.  You still need to tell them and make sure you are specific, authentic and sincere.  Having an attitude of gratitude in your day-to-day work will encourage positivity, appreciation and a willingness to work hard in your team.  In her 2017 Forbes article, executive coach Christine Comaford talks about how being a grateful leader helps you see the positive in tough situations and experience less stress and fatigue.  Ingratitude, on the other hand causes a negative outlook which can lead to mistakes, missed opportunities and misjudged situations.

As Geoffrey James says: “People who approach life with a sense of gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their life. Because they enjoy the fruits of their successes, they seek out more success. And when things don’t go as planned, people who are grateful can put failure into perspective.”

Success and gratitude go hand-in-hand, but it does take a while to strengthen your attitude of gratitude, so get practicing!  Thanksgiving is as good a time as any to give it a try and spend a couple of days of feeling thankful for what you have, and appreciating what others do.  See how it impacts on your leadership and whether it becomes a focus for your development in the future.

November 18, 2019Comments are off for this post.

International Men’s Day

Tuesday 19th November marks International Men’s Day, when companies and organisations around the world will be celebrating positive male role models and working to raise awareness of men’s well-being at home and in the workplace.  Founded in 1999 by Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies, the day is designed to highlight men’s and boy’s mental health, focus on improving gender relations and gender equality, and recognise male role models who actively and positively contribute to communities, places of work, friendships, families, marriages, and childcare.

At Connect Three we are heading to Family Friendly Working Scotland’s “Being a Working Man in 2019” event today which looks at flexible working for men in the 21st century.  When we celebrated International Women’s Day as a team earlier in the year, we held a workshop and reflected on ways in which we could balance our professional and personal lives for the better.  This is a problem faced by men as much as women in our society, so a key mission for us on International Men’s Day, and beyond, is to work towards Scottish men being offered the same family friendly, and life friendly, flexible working opportunities as women.

At tonight’s session, senior business leaders in Glasgow will come together to discuss why and how more men need to be encouraged and supported to work flexibly.  Currently, far fewer men than women work flexibly which is a problem for men, society, our economy and gender equality.

Studies have shown that men who do work flexibly find it is good for their wellbeing and their relationships; and employers find that it is good for business as it engenders more loyal and committed staff.  However, many men who want to work more flexibly find it difficult and feel it is not always acceptable in the workplace or society.

For too long, the gender equality conundrum has been left to women to fix and flexible working has been a woman’s issue, but women are also looking for more men to work flexibly as this is considered to be the key solution to reducing the gender pay gap.

Tonight’s conversation will centre on what can be gained by men, women, business and society, when more men work flexibly and when men help to drive the conversation forward.

It wouldn’t be right to sign off without saying a huge Connect Three thanks to the men in our team – Colin, Craig and David.  You make what we do one of the best jobs in the world, thank you!

October 30, 2019Comments are off for this post.

Connect Three wins Fair Work Award at Glasgow Business Awards

After our recent success at the Glasgow Business Awards, where we won the Fair Work Award (1-50 employees), our founder & Chief Explorer, Colin Lamb, talks about why fair work is not just important at Connect Three but essential for Glasgow’s growing economy.


"Fair Work, is what is says on the tin really. It’s about creating a workplace culture and environment that allows employees to bring their best selves to work every day.

"Many business leaders we work with ask us 'how do you get teams and individuals engaged and how do you get discretionary effort?'. The answer for me lies within the 5 elements of Scottish Government’s Fair Work Framework.

"Fair Work covers working practices and policies in five areas: Employee Voice; Opportunity; Security; Fulfilment and Respect. These are the ingredients for for a fool-proof recipe of a highly productive culture.

"A few examples of our people practices are flexible working, no zero hour contracts, Living Wage accredited, Personal training budgets, Investors in Young People accredited, job buddying, capability matrix and learning plans, personal wellbeing allowance, investing in charities and helping young people flourish through work experience and internship opportunities.

"Fair Work is also about creating, as coined by Prof. Amy Edmundson, ‘psychological safety’ in the workplace. A workplace where you can speak freely without fear of being shut down and have the ability to make mistakes and learn from them. This learning focussed culture is where we start to see personal growth leading to increased engagement and productivity levels.

"Our company values help to promote and demonstrate this well. Be Curious, Be Bold and Be You. We encourage all members of our team to ask lots of questions, contribute ideas, challenge thinking (even mine!) and importantly bring their full selves to work each day - warts and all. We are all human at the end of the day and we need to understand our teams better. Utilising your people’s strengths and providing them with the right support will help them flourish.

"Connect Three are absolutely thrilled and extremely proud to have been awarded this special Business Award through Glasgow Chamber of Commerce (sponsored by RBS). It is a very important award for us that shows our clients and partners that we practice what we preach (being a people focussed consultancy) and gives us recognition internally for demonstrating best practice in what we do."

Here’s a link to the Fair Work Framework, if you are interested in enhancing your culture or looking to increase productivity through your people.

June 13, 2019Comments are off for this post.

Essential Leadership Programme

We are very please to announce that Connect Three will be delivering Scottish Enterprise's new Essential Leadership Programme across Scotland.  Launching with 2 initial programmes in Glasgow and Edinburgh in September 2019 with further programmes launching in 2020 in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dumfries and Ayrshire.

This leadership programme will help you to:

  • Identify and Integrate your values in the business culture
  • Develop a more successful business which is a fair place to work
  • Drive engagement, innovation and productivity
  • Increase Resilience, agility and the ability to drive faster change
  • Develop strategic decision making

Essential Leadership is a 'lighter touch' version of the new Growth Leadership programme and is targeted at leaders and potential leaders engaging with leadership development for the first time.

Programme structure:

  • Pre-programme diagnostic and 121 visit in the workplace
  • Access to our learning portal with activities, videos and tutorials
  • 5 x 1/2 day workshops over 4 months
  • Half-day forward action planning session
  • Post programme survey

The Essential Leadership programme is significantly subsidised by Scottish Enterprise. The costs for the business per person is £500 + VAT per person.

If you would like further information or to speak to us about this then please contact us direct on hello@connectthree.co.uk or 0141 370 339.
Alternatively you can also contact Anne Marie Donald - Scottish Enterprise Project Manager on annemarie.donald@scotent.co.uk 

www.connectthree.co.uk 
Leader coaching

 

April 17, 2019Comments are off for this post.

Connect with Katy

Consultant

How time flies when you're training amazing organisations and delivering programmes for Scottish Enterprise that help teams and businesses to grow. Over the past month we've delivered workshops, hosted an International Women's Day series of events and attending the amazing Social Bite celebration ceremony for the 'Big Sleep Out'. Thanks for everyone that helped us raise over £3,000 last winter.

Roll on a few months and it's been an amazing start to spring at Connect Three HQ. As National Tea Day rolls up we're delighted to be sitting down with another member of our next Connect Three family to talk all things work and play. Grab a cuppa and get comfy as we sit down to talk with Katy Morrison.

Happy start of spring Katy. Could you tell us a little bit about your role at Connect Three? 

Sure. As a consultant at Connect Three I love to explore workplaces to discover the potential from their people and to then use these discovered to help make workplaces happier and more productive. This remains my biggest passion, and a lot of my day to day work centres around delivering management and leadership programmes across frameworks with Scottish Enterprise, Glasgow Welcomes and with our fantastic private clients. Another part of my job is to support workplaces by identifying needs and providing sound solutions to help them achieve their goals.

Phew, what a busy but exciting role. With so many exciting things happening what’s been one of your proudest moments this month?

I booked a place on Kids Yoga Teacher Training this month. It’s been something I have wanted to do for a while but I kept putting it off as I was using time as an excuse. My little boy was copying me doing yoga in the house and I knew it was the time to book onto it, so I could guide him and my daughter safely.

They say the best way to learn is to copy and do. Great to see your little boy is a keen learner already. Next up, what three things would you take with you on a desert island?

A few good books as I don’t often get the chance to read as much as I’d like with having  two young kids, an endless supply of crunchy cheese Cheetos and an invisible cloak so no one could ever find me!

Sounds like a true desert adventure. Next up, which business leader would you like to have a cup of tea with?

Arianna Huffington! I really respect her honest and bold views that have always struck a chord with me. She was one of the first people that taught me to look at myself first in situations, in work and at home, to get the best outcome. I find her words are those that give me confidence to do this. I’d love to curl up and put the world to rights.

How can events like this National Tea Day help businesses to empower their staff and help encourage more conversation? 

Events such as these are a great way to take some time out and connect with yourself and others around you. Some of the best ideas, solutions and conversations have come from people putting their tools down and just engaging in unfiltered conversations. I know that I am at my most productive, focused and feel able to soar when I feel great about myself. If we can provide people with more opportunities to be more focused on their well-being and building personal resilience, this can only contribute to happier work places and increased results.

Thanks for an amazing April Connect Katy and with people at the heart of a business, it's a real honour for us to have someone so passionate about workplace empowerment be part of the Connect Three family. This Friday 19th April Katy will be hosting a work and wellness event in celebration of National Tea Day & Mind's fantastic campaign to get more people talking over a good ol' fashioned cuppa. Join Katy and the Connect Three team as we open our studio doors in partnership with Tempo Tea Bar and The Kali Yoga Collective.

 


 

Find out how Katy can help your business achieve more workplace happiness through staff development programmes and business or personal coaching.

Glasgow: 18-20 Orkney St, Glasgow, G51 2BX     |     London: Scotland House, 58 Victoria Embankment, London EC4Y 0DS