Can this tomato timer really improve your mental agility ?

The Pomodoro Technique, developed by Crillo during the 80s, proposed a method of breaking down work into ‘Pomodoros” of 25 minutes, with short breaks in between. He based this approach on the idea that mental agility can be improved with frequent breaks, with an ideal Pomodoro of 25-30 mins long, 40mins max..

This was one of the two major influences behind our ‘Light Bites’ webinar series. We wanted to develop a set of short sharp training materials using this approach. Recognising Crillo’s theory that agility is improved – or at least more focussed – in that time, it seemed logical to incorporate that as a strong influence in our product design, and limit training durations to one “Pomodoro”.

The second influence came from our involvement in talent reviews and career development discussions. We often hear about leaders who have attended plenty of training, but struggle with smaller or more focussed elements of their leadership roles. We tried to identify some of these ‘nuggets’ of training needs and to deliver them in short bite-sized modules that could support broader development programmes and experiences. We’ve developed Light Bites topics that include ‘Difficult Conversations’, ‘Driving Better Performance’ and ‘Leading Virtual Teams’ among others – with the aim of delivering a few key ‘takeaways’ whilst people grab a coffee, or eat their lunch … their Pomodoro lunch!

In the Light Bites series, we deliver a Powerpoint slide deck, a script and relevant handouts. We can host the webinar, or you can run it yourselves. And you can access materials as they are, or bespoke them to meet the development needs and your business.

light bites sample

So where does the tomato come in to all this? Pomodoro is Italian for tomato, and represents the old timer that Crillo used in developing his approach!! Make your own timer choice – eggs, iPhones etc.- but try out the concept with your own work and see how it impacts your personal ‘agility’.

See more information about our Light Bite Series here

See more about the Pomodoro technique here

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I’m often asked about the role of a facilitator and how they can add value to the meetings, workshops or sessions they support.

You may find it beneficial to use an experienced independent facilitator to:

• Provide a planned and focussed structure for your event, and to manage the ongoing process in the room. By spending some time with a facilitator in the planning process, you can ensure that there are clear objectives, and a methodology that will deliver them. They can provide different perspectives, new approaches and methodologies, and creative tools and activities to support the achievement of your goal.

• Establish an environment where everybody gets to have a say, and where there is respect for openness and honesty. Your facilitator comes without ‘baggage’ – and as an independent ‘outsider’ they work without bias or influence – so enabling everyone’s voice to be heard is a key part of their role. They can help to minimise the effects of office politics, history, relationship challenges, and focus on bringing the core issues to the table.

• Provide challenge to participants. As an external party, your facilitator has the opportunity to challenge the status quo, to challenge what is proposed, and to be the ‘devils advocate’ in the room. As part of the process, they can generate challenge within the group, but providing a safe environment for that to happen.

• Help the group to tackle difficult issues and situations, acting as a mediator to enable the team to work through their challenges collaboratively, and come to an agreement that everyone can buy into. The facilitator can help to build consensus among the group, and can help to keep pace and focus in the group, rather than allowing discussions to spiral, and become non-productive.

• Ensure a group commitment to a plan, a change, an initiative. By discussing, agreeing and gaining consensus to the outcome, the team will be able to move forward after the event more effectively – enabling action, change and delivery to happen more quickly.

A facilitator is an expert in managing the process and dynamics of the group that is doing the work. Bringing skills that include mediation, coaching and mentoring, alongside a strong knowledge of individual and team dynamics and business knowledge and focus, a facilitator can really add value to your event. We have worked with a great variety of teams with a variety of workshop types and objectives – from strategy development, to team building to conflict resolution.

Click here to see what people said about our facilitation services, and see our FACILITATION page for a recent case study.

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