For you, new and popular

An edit of newly added resources and those proving consistently popular among our partners' teams.
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Raul Aparici on mitigating impostor syndrome
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Kate and Catherine on pausing, for conversational space
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Kate and Catherine on intentional listening
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Kate and Catherine on questioning well
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Worksheet: Time Blocking
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Kate and Catherine on the coaching opportunity
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Matteo's coaching reflections
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Kas's reflections on listening and questioning well
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Time Blocking, and bringing some colour into your calendar
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Worksheet: Owning Feedback
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Making the case for situational flexibility as leaders
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eCourse: Difficult Conversations
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Mentors, Sponsors and Champions. With Abi Adamson
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Effective Allyship. With Abi Adamson
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What's your Privilege Pledge? With Abi Adamson
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Diversify your feed. With Abi Adamson
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Privilege reflections. With Abi Adamson
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Mindful toothbrushing. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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Anchor dropping. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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5,4,3,2,1 — a mindfulness technique. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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Urge surfing. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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Everyday mindfulness. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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Making room for emotions (and the weather). With Dr. Sam Akbar
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Letting go of emotions. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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How do you notice your thoughts? With Dr. Sam Akbar
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A coaching conversation around strengths
Confidence Ecourse
eCourse: Confidence Mastery
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Daniel Goleman's Six Leadership Styles, explained by Louise Hedges
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eCourse: Mastering Delegation
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eCourse: Time Management and Prioritisation
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eCourse: Get SET with your Goals
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Perspectives on privilege, with Abi Adamson
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Neurodivergent Perspectives. Lexi Keegan in conversation with Dr. Anne Cockayne
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Neurodiversity know-how: The Spiky Profile explained
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Neurodiversity explained, with Dr. Anne Cockayne
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Neuroinclusion at work: Thinking about adjustments
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Neurodiversity know-how. Autism with Dr. Anne Cockayne
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Neurodiversity know-how. ADHD with Dr. Anne Cockayne
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Neurodiversity know-how. Dyslexia with Dr. Anne Cockayne
Micro-learning: Setting Better Boundaries
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eCourse: Practicing a Coaching Approach
Finding fortitude, and follow on experiments
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eCourse: Conscious Inclusion
Seven things to avoid when writing at work
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Share genuinely useful feedback with the BID model
Solve problems before they happen with pre-mortems
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Five tactics for influencing those more senior
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Five powerful questions for adding impact and insight to your next interview.
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Try out the CAR technique, and upgrade your understanding when interviewing someone.
Good Qs
Smart ways to frame questions in your next mentoring session
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Try the 5 Whys to invigorate your problem solving and add depth to your decisions.
Allyship CP
Course Pack: Effective Allyship, with Abi Adamson
Course Pack: Voice Gym. Building your vocal confidence
A three minute mindset exercise, to support a coaching approach
Try this deep listening exercise for deeper connection and better conversations
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Experiment with the BRAIN model for confident decision making and problem solving
Discover the impact a five minute favour can have on your relationships, and network building
Homework for Life: A ten-second daily ritual for noticing, capturing and practicing stories
Course Pack: Storytelling
Do Story
Practical storytelling principles from Bobette Buster's book — Do: Story
Evolve your 'inner mentor' — a short reflective exercise to focus your development, and the ways you can better support others
Experiment with a Springboard Story to communicate your change idea, and take people with you towards it.
N Ngrab
Course Pack: Natural Networking
Tone Policing - What it is, why it's unhelpful and how to helpfully notice it.
Coaching Criticism
Find the Coaching in Criticism. Things to try when feedback doesn't quite land
4 Ds
The 4Ds. A practical framework for acknowledging microaggressions
Mindful breathing — the foundation of focus and flow
Channel that fly on the wall. Try some purposeful self talk to mitigate moments of doubt
Add some friction to your most common distractions
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Build belief by recognising small wins — Try a 'Done List'
Silent Meeting
Make your next meeting a Silent Meeting
Can If Go
Immediately build your confidence, with a 'Can-If' statement
To Think
Don't forget to diarise thinking time — experiment with a 'To Think' list
Smarten your approach to setbacks, by trying out a Setback Story
Get clear on control with a Clarity Clap
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Everything I Know about Life I Learned from PowerPoint — What we learned and where it led...
How to be a meaningful mentor, insights from a purposeful podcast
If Then New
Design (and share) your If > Then statements, for a purposefully prompt towards action
Practice the principles of persuasion from 'Godfather of Influence,' Robert Cialdini.
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Six steps for finding focus and flow, with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in mind
Course Pack: Making Time
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Great questions to ask in coaching conversations, 1-1's and other curious contexts

Solve problems before they happen with pre-mortems

Some of the pitfalls ahead in any coming project or opportunity can be surfaced before you get going, with a neat predictive tool called a pre-mortem. And once potential problems are in the present you can get creative on ways to pre-empt them. This short guide steps out how to try one today.

Many of us will be familiar with the idea of a post-mortem or a project retro — a review conducted after a project's completion of what went well, what went wrong, and what could be improved on the next go round. But a lot of the problems you’ll end up facing on a new project can be easily identified and easily solved from day one. That’s where pre-mortems, used by lots of growth-minded teams — and cited in Annie Duke’s excellent Thinking in Betscome in.

As its name suggests, a pre-mortem gets in early to identify problems, sticking points and pitfalls before they’ve arisen. And once they've been surfaced we can proactively explore how to mitigate them. A head start on headaches.

Below we share some simple steps to follow so you can give pre-mortems a go in your team. Try one today to pre-problem solve and bias bust your project.

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Illustration by Leon Edler

Assemble your team, making sure that everyone who needs to be at the pre-mortem is present. If your team is dialling in remotely, create a Miro or collaborative whiteboard so everyone's thoughts and contributions are visible and shared. If it’s in-person, grab some pens and paper.

Set a timer

Pre-mortems shouldn’t take longer than 20-30 minutes, so make sure to neatly timebox each step. If this is your first time trying a pre-mortem, set an initial 2 minutes for the first round of brainstorming (laid out below).

What could go wrong?

Ask your team to look into a ‘crystal ball,’ and imagine a dark and gloomy future - the task or strategy or project you’re all about to begin working on has failed. But why?

What specifically went wrong? Be as descriptive as you can. The idea here isn’t to invoke nausea, rather to flush out as full a picture of potential problems as possible.

Start the timer and brainstorm, in silence, with your team.

👉 A lot of teams find Mind-Maps particularly useful here.

What happened?

Time's up. Go around the group one member at a time and ask each person to reveal their top reasons why the project failed.

Was the deadline missed? Were there unchecked biases that knocked it off course? Did the project go over budget? Did the style of the marketing campaign not click with your audience? Were there creative tensions among the team? Did the website crash?

Write all the answers somewhere shared and visible; on post-it notes stuck to the table if in-person, or in text boxes on your virtual whiteboard.

Assess and take stock

Here’s where the real pre-problem solving gets going.

Address each individual reason that the future project failed. Start by judging, as a group, the likelihood that the problem will occur. For example, tornado hitting the office - unlikely; creative tensions among the team - likely; deadline missed - very likely.

Next, assess how big of a contribution the reasons made to the failure of the project. For example, the project going over budget - severe; creative tensions among the team - less severe.

Rank your reasons by risk and likelihood, with high likelihood and high risk at the top and low likelihood and low risk at the bottom.

Break Murphy’s law

Working from the top down, begin putting steps in place to solve the problem before it happens.

If going over budget is highly likely and very risky to the success of the project, you might give someone in the team the job of monitoring expenditure on a week by week basis and reporting to the project leader.

If the website crashing isn’t very likely but poses a huge risk, speak to someone in IT who can run a safety check on the site, or who can do a quick risk assessment to make sure the platform is up to date.

What blockers can you put in place to stop problems from appearing seemingly out of nowhere?

Perks of a pre-mortem

👍 Revealing biases

Especially in group settings with a diverse range of minds and mindsets, slowing down and assessing your decision making and assumptions unearths the biases that might get in the way of the project's success.

👍 Reducing overconfidence

Imagining that the project has already failed forces the team to ‘reality check’ and understand the risks involved. But when everyone sees the roadblocks ahead, and knows precisely how to hurdle them, it builds that confidence back from a healthier and more grounded place.

👍 Clear roles

With a collective understanding of what could derail the future project, everybody knows exactly what part they play in solving the issues.

Hungry for more?

👉 Try The Six Thinking Hats for collaborative problem solving, bias busting and ideation

👉 Make your next meeting a Silent Meeting for focus and retention

👉 Use the Round-Robin Brainstorming Technique and build on each others ideas

More Resources