All Change

2016 has seen a huge amount of change. Reflecting on the decisions made and the events arising around the world, how will they influence 2017?

Check out the video below:

Best wishes for 2017!

The Thompson Dunn Team

How to Break Stuck Patterns - The Lab

How to Break Stuck Patterns - The Lab

What is so freeing about an opportunity to brainstorm, improvise and create? Vast streams of research efforts have been dedicated to the study of creativity. However, no one is actually quite sure exactly what it is. Even the exemplary organisational Psychologist Professor Adrian Furnham describes it as a ‘deeply frustrating concept’ with books and literature on creativity often ‘accepted with little or no proof’. Despite the obviously significant difficulties in empirically testing it – after all, what is IT? A process, personality, thinking style? - people have valiantly tried. ‘Creative’ group activities have been linked with positive outcomes, including higher levels of interpersonal trust and communication....

The terrifying nature of creativity...

The terrifying nature of creativity...

A certain world is reassuring. Habits, routines, patterns, familiarity. There isn’t the fear of the unknown, the unease of potential mishap and failure that goes hand-in-hand with creative pursuits...

Online social networking giant Twitter is facing serious problems following another unimpressive quarterly return and a significant slide in the stock market. With the share price tanking by more than 10% on Tuesday October 27th, and with competitors racing ahead in user growth, Twitter's problems are mounting. They are facing very low percentages of new users, fast growing competitors, disgruntled investors to name but a few. Serious issues in the now, but critical for the company's future. If only for a 140-character turnaround solution...

Twitter has taken several steps to arrest its slide. Co-founder Jack Dorsey as been newly installed as CEO to replace Dick Costolo, who was removed following disappointing results in the last quarter. Mr Dorsey has swiftly cut the company's workforce by 8%, in an effort to mobilise agile development teams to produce solutions for growth. He has overseen the launch of Moments, a service which gathers tweets, stories, news and events and delivers them succinctly to users. And most recently, his organisation has released a voting mechanism that allows users to tweet responses to a 2 choice poll.

However, the biggest problem facing Twitter is its ability (or perhaps more accurately, inability) to innovate, adapt and to originate new, creative ideas to excite users; which ultimately will generate the income required to raise the share price.

Did you know that the 'hashtag' and 'retweet' functions, language and symbols that are synonymous with the Twitter brand, were actually created by users!? Quite astonishing that the core rhetoric of the Twitter fraternity were not the invention of the company itself. More importantly, this suggests that in actuality Twitter has not, and may still not, have the ability in its ranks to originate the creative ideas and services to meet the expectations of social media users.

Targeting a solution to their innovation problem will be critical to Twitter's turnaround. It has been their problem in the past and in the present, but ensuring it isn't a problem going forward will be key. This is not just an issue for Twitter of course, or solely for the social media market place. It is an organisational challenge faced by many companies in almost every industry; jostling with competitors and steeling a march on the opposition's ideas.

The most effective way for organisations to meet this challenge is to ensure they have the right balance of creative, commercially minded 'originator' talent within their ranks. An innovative, customer-focused, intuitively curious workforce at the heart of the enterprise who can envision and walk the pathways to excite their current users and grow their customer base; something that Twitter is consistently failing to do - only gaining around 3 million users (less than 2%) in the last quarter.

Recruiting and developing the right talent to meet these commercial challenges is not easy and requires a strategic, bigger picture mindset to what might appear straightforward problems. But steps can be taken to assess, acquire and grow the right talent to tackle these problems head on. Mr Dorsey and his talent management team might want to think about this more closely.

With users becoming less interested in Twitter and more enthused by rivals such as Instagram and WhatsApp, the company must evolve its service offerings now! For the good of today's Twitter but more importantly, tomorrow's.

Recent comments from Mr Dorsey suggest he is aware of the need for change in Twitter's product and service range, in order to engage 'tomorrow's users'. This is all well and good but there are critical, introspective questions he needs to ask. Do they have the visionary talent to deliver products to turn things round? Have they jettisoned the 'right' 8%? Do they possess the inherent capability to originate? Have they ever had it? Time will of course tell. But history doesn't inspire confidence. The market doesn't stand still.

At Thompson Dunn we have developed a tool called the Decision Profile that can help organisations like Twitter to immediately identify, recruit or develop their innovators. Ensuring that you have the right kind of decision makers, who make choices and develop commercial products in a creative, risk taking and decisive manner, will increase the chances of meeting the business needs of organisations.

Decision makers who hold the Originator Decision Profile in particular, who are strategic, enterprising and visionary in their contribution, are what Twitter require. And fast. #callingalloriginators

Visit www.decisionprofile.com to explore how you make decisions.

 

Michael Johnson

Occupational Psychologist and Decision Profile Consultant

Thompson Dunn Ltd.

 

W: www.thompsondunn.com

E: info@thompsondunn.com

T: 0044 (0)207 486 1199

 

W: www.decisionprofile.com

E: info@decisionprofile.com

So you think you're decisive? Speedy decisions, private panic

As a practising Consultant Occupational Psychologist at Thompson Dunn Ltd, experts in individual, group and organisational decision making, I am often asked to assess, baseline and develop decision making talent in many different organisations across multiple diverse industries around the world.

Just as a certain family might have particular ways of interacting and doing things, certain groups and organisations often have particular decision making behaviours, preferences and cultures that are characterised by the profiles of individuals they recruit, the teams they form and the talent they choose to develop.

If I were to ask how can we define decisiveness, a large proportion of the general population would likely identify the speed of decision as being the key to decision making. Indeed in today's world, you will perhaps recognise the friend, colleague, boss, whoever, who portrays themselves as someone who 'gets things done'. Fast. On time. With confidence. Whilst this may sometimes be true, in my experience speed is only one small part of what characterises decisiveness. And more often than not, speed of decision making is in actuality an impression management strategy for what is really going on behind the mask of an individual, group or even a whole organisation.

In reality, this impression of fast and firm decision making masks many factors in the human decision making equation, but in particular it conceals what we would term 'Post Decision Dissonance'. In our work we see a large proportion of individuals who like to see themselves as being decisive but in actuality are prone to significant afterthoughts once a decision has been made. They may outwardly appear confident in their choices but privately they are rethinking their decisions, having second thoughts, looking back and wondering whether they made the right call - 'drumming their bottom lip'. This is 'Post Decision Dissonance'. Therefore, although they may be speedy in selecting their course of action, they are actually privately disagreeing within themselves and in turn are less decisive than they might outwardly seem.

This is not to say that a rethink or a change of direction is not sometimes helpful. Quite often a change of course after an initial decision is essential. But what is even more essential is that individuals, working teams and whole organisations understand their decision making talent and seek to harness, develop and deploy it in the most effective way.

The Decision Profile is the key to our understanding of how, why and when people make decisions. It is an invaluable psychometric assessment tool for baselining and analysing decision making preferences, and forms a very important part of our consulting on human decision making at the individual, group and whole organisational levels.

Understanding that speed can mask true decisiveness is one of the many discoveries that are possible by taking a real in depth look at decision making talent. We encourage you to explore your approach to decision making too. Visit the Decision Profile website www.decisionprofile.com to compete your own Profile and find out how you make decisions.

The instrument is also available for clients to license and use for their own purposes within their business or consultancy, however small or large. We have many individuals and organisations around the world who license the Decision Profile for their own use, ranging from individual consultants to large global corporations. Visit our website or contact us today to find out more or to become a Decision Profile Licensee.

How do you make decisions?


Michael Johnson
Occupational Psychologist and Decision Profile Consultant
Thompson Dunn Ltd.

W: www.thompsondunn.com
E: info@thompsondunn.com
T: 0044 (0)207 486 1199

W: www.decisionprofile.com
E: info@decisionprofile.com

How can psychology assist in Mergers and Acquisitions such as the proposed $100 billion AB InBev and SABMiller brewing deal?

Alan Clark current CEO of SABMiller began his career as a psychologist and later used his experience as a Training and Development Manager. Whilst this is unusual as a career development plan for the CEO of a business, we at Thompson Dunn would suggest that he has a distinct advantage over many of his counterparts in that he will understand how people behave and think at times of change and uncertainty.

Those of us who have been involved in large-scale Mergers and Acquisitions are well aware of the risk to the businesses and profitability when employees of both companies feel uncertain about their own and the company’s future. As words like ‘customer’ disappear from the company conversation and are replaced by anxiety and questions like “will I have a job after all this?” then it is definitely time to take action.

At Thompson Dunn, we believe that the Decision Profile is an invaluable tool to assist CEOs and change leaders at these crucial moments in time. Merging two quite disparate corporate cultures and ensuring that the ensuing merged entity has a common ‘language’ and understanding, is a complex and difficult challenge. However, tackled it needs to be!

In our work across individual cultures, it is clear from results on the Decision Profile that there exists within an organisational culture incongruent views and behaviours on decision-making. Once these have been identified and understood by leaders, then it becomes possible to create better functioning teams by working towards a more insightful and potentially unified view. In terms of merging cultures if sufficient due diligence is paid to the identifiable behaviours of different parts of the new organisation, then greater possibilities exist in creating a ‘whole’ which has more potency than the sum of its previous parts.

Using a tool that can identify the individual person’s ability to make decisions can assist in that person’s insight into how he or she will embrace change and respond to perceived levels of risk-taking. Having the ability to build teams that have a collective knowledge of how they work under duress can be invaluable both in the recruitment and deployment of personnel to strengthen the functioning of teams.

The unique ability to have a ‘whole’ organisation perspective to attitudes to risk, and how decisions are made across different parts of a merged entity, surely acts as a powerful catalyst to assist the merged organisation in its endeavours.

The Decision Profile provides key insights into your workforce and how they embrace or are paralysed by innovation, rapid change and uncertainty. It will help to identify emergent leaders who will facilitate and help others to overcome their difficulties in adapting to the new environment, such as in the proposed M&A activity for these brewing giants.

The instrument measures individual, group and whole organisational attitudes to Risk, Luck and Decisiveness, as well as providing an in-depth analysis of how intuition is incorporated into the decision making process both individually and collectively. The tool is administered online and feedback can be provided by licensees within your organisation or through our Thompson Dunn consultancy services. For an insight into this invaluable instrument and to become a licensed practitioner of the Decision Profile, please visit www.decisionprofile.com for more information. Alternatively, contact our team of psychologists at Thompson Dunn on +44 (0)207 486 1199.

 

Pat Thompson and Michael Johnson

Consultant Psychologists

Thompson Dunn Ltd.

 

 

COACHING FOR BUSINESS RESULTS

No time

Coaching can help you stand out from the crowd and unlock the potential in your firm by engaging your employees in business development. It provides a collaborative strategy that develops self-awareness and motivates them to deliver.

 

A company’s value is largely in its staff, and so organisations must actively ensure that employees are engaged with the company vision, as well as developing business strategy and plans. Effective organisational advocates are needed to champion companies and help to engage employees at all levels. In addition, developing authentic relationships with clients is a key fundamental of business.

 

This requires ‘soft skills’ – those intangible attributes that enable us to interact harmoniously and build positive relationships. Emotional intelligence is a vital component of this skill-set – and, good news – it can be developed through personalised, creative and comprehensive coaching. Coaching a few key individuals can have widespread, positive effects, with whole teams participating in a more collaborative manner1,2. Compared to other forms of workplace development, including popular methods such as training and 360 feedback, coaching has been found to have the most significant positive effect on work motivation, behaviour and performance3. And the science backs this up; ‘The Neuroscience of Leadership Coaching’ demonstrates how leadership coaching techniques actively engage different brain areas associated with these positive changes, leading to those critical developments in mind-set and behaviour4.

 

Why Does Coaching Help?

  • Coaching grows the individuals and enhances self-knowledge by giving feedback on skills and progress.
  • Coaching raises the awareness of the needs of others by asking what makes others ‘tick’ and how to respond. It develops awareness of subtle clues about human behaviour, e.g. key buying signals from clients.
  • It builds confidence in seeking creative solutions for clients. Is this sales training? No! Coaching develops skills for solution selling, rather than order taking. Can we develop business generation? Definitely!

 

How Do Thompson Dunn Coach?

  • By using the same rigorous assessment principles as for recruitment and development.
  • We establish a baseline from which we explore the developmental needs of the individual or group. This gives us sound data to implement a development plan.
  • We use tools like the Myers Briggs, Herrmann, Decision Profile and Occupational Personality Questionnaire. Taking a whole-brained approach, we combine science and logic with vision, intuition, feelings and creativity.

 

What is our value add?

  • 25 years experience as trusted advisors at all levels of the business.
  • We help you recruit, retain, develop and promote key individuals.
  • Succession planning and talent development, essential for business growth.
  • Your trusted advisors.
  • We help you to deal with pain points in your business (although we prefer to work with a positive approach).
  • We understand the issues. Like us, your roles demand expert technical skills and academic credentials. BUT in an ever competing world, can you and your key staff members afford not to learn how to develop and sell your skills?

 

Coaching builds confidence in how to develop and sustain key client relationships. The ultimate tool in selling.

 

1. Peltier, B. (2011). The psychology of executive coaching: Theory and application. Taylor & Francis.

2. Grant, A. M. (2014). The efficacy of executive coaching in times of organisational change. Journal of Change Management, 14(2), 258-280.

3. Jones, R. J. (2014). Want a Promotion? Then Get a Coach. BPS News.

4. Bossons, P., Riddell, P., & Sartain, D. (2015). The Neuroscience of Leadership Coaching: Why the Tools and Techniques of Leadership Coaching Work. Bloomsbury Publishing.