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  • Toby Sinclair

Curated Insights | Friday 19th March 2021

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Happy Friday,

This weeks insights include:

  • How a chef can help you build new habits 🍱

  • 5 Check-In Questions for one-on-ones 👥

  • Change is not an event. It's a skill. 🛠

You can give one-click feedback at the end of this edition.

With Gratitude,



How a chef can help you build new habits 🍱

mise en place

This week I read Good Habits, Bad Habits by Wendy Wood. Thie big takeaway was how shaping your context can help you form better habits.

Professional chef, Robert Jörin shares what cooking can teach you about habit formation.

“My first thought is mise en place: ‘What do I need to make this?’”

He prepares the kitchen for cooking so that it’s easy to complete the recipe.

“Once I know that I have all the ingredients and all the equipment to make a new dessert, then I mentally figure out in which order I need to do it. I have it scaled out in the way that logically I am going to use it. When I start working, I didn’t forget anything. It is lined up in front of me so that I don’t have to think about it. So, here is my crunchy layer on the bottom. Then this is my filling that goes on top of it, and then here is whatever glaze that goes over it.”

When cues at your station are organized, “you can concentrate on the methods that it takes to make the dessert rather than have to worry about if you have the right ingredients on the right tray.”

Professional kitchens run on a model of automaticity. They repeatedly and quickly turn out the same quality dishes to keep a restaurant full of customers happy. To do this, chefs harness the external forces in their kitchens by creating stable contexts that automatically cue the right response.

But this is a principle that has power beyond the kitchen. Jörin explained that he uses mise en place in his job as a teacher.

“Every day when I go home, I set up my roster, my whole class for tomorrow or for Monday. All the stuff that I need for Monday morning is on my desk ready to go. This is how I live my day. I want to know what I do at 10:00 tomorrow. I don’t want at 9:00 to send out a text that this person has to be over there. In order to efficiently get stuff done, you need to have a timeline and set up for different tasks ahead of time.”

💡 Insight for you:

How can you shape your environment so that your desired habits are easy to do?


5 Check-In Questions for One-On-Ones 👥

How are you?

This question starts most conversations. There are better alternatives.

These are the 5 questions I use at the start of almost every one-on-one.

💪 Motivation - How motivated are you?

📈 Value - How much value do you think you are creating?

🧠 Learning - How much are you learning?

🔋 Energy - How are your energy levels?

🧭 Direction - How happy are you with the direction you are heading?

For each question, ask your team member to give a score of 1 - 5.

1 = Very Low, 5 = Very High.

The results will give an indicator of topics to explore in the one-on-one.

This video expands further on how you can use this technique.


Change its not an event. It's a skill. 🛠

Agile Coaching Exchange

On Wednesday 24th March I'm speaking at Agile Coaching Exchange Meetup.

Here's a little sneak peek.

Change is typically seen as an event. We often associate change with transformative moments that lead to an epiphany. Whilst these events can and do happen, they are rare and actually contribute less than we think to change.

You can succeed better by shifting your focus from transformative moments to changes that happen every single day.

There are skills you can develop, that increases your ability to harness the power of change.

Three skills that research has shown help are:

I'll share the post-session recording so that you can learn more about how to develop these skills.


Quote of the week

"Happiness only real when shared"

(From one of my favourite films I rewatched this week)


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