Leadership Tips for Discovery in Action Alumni + network
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October 2016

Welcome to our October edition of our Discovery in Action - Monthly leadership tips,  your 'once a month'  'bite-sized' chunks of practical leadership wisdom!

In this edition of our newsletter we share :
We post the blogs in this monthly leadership tips publication on Linked In. Please feel free to forward this email to people in your network who you think may find it helpful...

We also use the content we share each month, in the work we do in our consulting practice. Feel free to get in touch to find out more about anything in this newsletter or other blogs on our website.  Enjoy!

Paul and Melanie Eyres

Only 20 hours to learn a skill?

We wrote a post earlier this year that shared some thinking about the 4 rituals you could employ to help yourself become an ‘expert’ an anything. This post referenced the research of Eric Barker, who shared 4 tips from Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, who created the theory that it takes about “10,000 hours” to become an expert. He says, the majority of people totally misunderstand the idea and there are 4 tips that are critical to improving competence. Click here to see what these 4 ritual are…

I must confess, the ‘10,000 hours’ concept is one that has confused me at times. Who has 10,000 hours to spend on getting good at something? 10,000 hours is the equivalent of a full time job for 5 years! Haven’t we learned skills in much less time? Josh Kaufman (TED Talks) found himself asking the same question – but he actually went an did some research to make better sense of this concept!


K Anders Ericsson completed the research that supported the 10,000 hours concept – but where people have become confused, is that it takes 10,000 hours to perform at an EXPERT level of performance – often in highly competitive fields such as professional sport or academia. As Josh Kaufman shares in this TED talk below, what started as 10,000 hours to be an expert in ultra-competitive fields – became 10,000 hours to be an expert – which became 10,000 hours to become good – which became 10,000 hours to learn.

Well – that is not true!!

Click here to see the tips to help become 'good' at any skill, behaviour or action in 20 hours, including the TED video featuring Josh Kaufman.

Keys to making coaching part of your practice

When people are learning the skills of coaching, they can find it difficult incorporating coaching skills and the coaching approach when they return to work.

Sometimes we hear people say :
  • Oh, things got too busy so I couldn’t find the time
  • It was difficult to incorporate the skills and approach because my team are not used to seeing me like that…
    • They really just want me to tell them the answer! or
    • It’s not the usual way we interact and I felt strange slowing things down
  • I often missed the opportunities for coaching and was too far in before I realised!
  • It all made sense in the workshop, but when I got back to work, it was difficult to actually make the change on a practical level

Here is a visual you might like to use to help you as you build your competence…

Keys to making coaching part of your practice

Click here to see the more detailed blog and to see other blogs on coaching.

Want to bring about sustainable changes? Watch this video on neuroplasticity!

We’ve often written blogs about the challenges associated with making sustainable change. In our blog called ‘Making those personal changes stick’, we wrote "you know it won’t be easy to try some new things that are not in your comfort zone. You know it won’t be easy to break some ingrained habits or behaviours.'  So we find ourselves asking…

How do I make sure I make the change?

How can I ensure that I can make the changes stick in the hurley burley of daily work?

How do I follow through on my intentions?

Successfully making sustainable personal change can be difficult - but you CAN DO it!

This blog reminds you of some tips to help make those personal changes stick!

And then shares a video that validates that you CAN do it!!

‘With repeated and directed attention towards you desired change – you can rewire your brain!!’

Make your change your new autopilot!

Click here to access this blog and watch this fascinating 2 minute video!

'Adding Value' - an annoying habit of leaders

We have recently started a new DiA program with mid-level leaders, and many shared some of the challenges associated with the concept of 'adding value', and the unintended consequences that may come from it.

Many people leaders started out their careers as ‘technical’ or ‘professional experts’, ie we were paid for being really good at something or for knowing a great deal about something of value. Our core purpose was as an individual contributor.

When we become leaders of others, the skills and capabilities that helped us to be successful in the roles as an individual contributor are different to those needed be a successful leader. It takes a mindset shift, and may require letting go of some of the things that made us successful in the past – and were key to our ‘identity’. We must shift from ‘doing the work’ to getting the work done through others.

So…there is a chance that some of our old habits will still be around. Does this sound like you? When someone comes with an idea or a report, do you feel the need to ‘add value’? ‘Yeah – that is great, but it would be even better if…?’

We need to be careful who we are doing that for.
For ourselves? (I have expertise to demonstrate)
Or for them…? mistakes leaders make to try to add value

This can be a delicate thing to balance. The answer to the question above might be – for them – as we are helping to coach and develop our people. That is great – and an essential role of a leader. Or it might be because our ultimate accountability means we need to make sure it is 'just right'.

Click here for some questions to reflect on in situations like this.

Some recent assignments

  • Started an Emotional Intelligence training series with staff within a local council
  • Facilitated a culture + climate workshop for a division
  • Facilitated a strategy mapping workshop for a new contemporary art museum
  • Continued providing coaching services for a number of individuals
Click here to access the Eyres & Associates website to find out what else we do!

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