Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays

It's a sign of getting old, but is it really a year since I had to make sure my house was this clean!

I want to wish you all a Happy Holiday, blogging will be light but MabelandHarry will still be thinking of you....

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A new year resolution for you

Promises are special, they are have great value to people. So one thing to consider for a New Years resolution is this

"Make few promises but keep them all"
Imagine the power of this statement, imagine if every one of us did this.....imagine the impact on your team, family and friends. Successful people live by this, honest when they can't do something, but deliver what they promise - what that brings is trust and respect, 2 values that leaders need in abundance.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Customer Experience - Making Magic Moments

Creating a magic moment for a customer increases loyalty, and provides the WOW factor that differentiates you from the rest of the pack...a little story

Disney...On Main Street a Guest(Customer) asked a cast member(employee) who was cleaning the street where he could get a cup of ice. He was then directed to a street vendor and in the short walk to the vendor the street cleaner radioed the Guests request to the vendor who then, when the guest arrived at the stall remarked "I believe you're looking for a cup of ice" the Guest was stunned.

Simple request, simple solution, simply can you make that "magic moment" for a external or internal customer?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Networking across the levels

One of the best way to build your personal brand and also develop the talent within the organisation, is to spend time with the younger, newer members of the team. Taking them for a coffee, lunch or even just pulling a chair up at their desk will give them such a personal buzz. Do you remember when you were new, when you were at a junior level? The buzz that someone has taken time to get to know you is incredible. As you move up an organisation you can affect that your presence can have a huge motivational factor on those around you.

10 minutes of your time invested in the talent within the junior levels, will pay huge dividends both in your internal PR but also the engagement of your team.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Engaging People In the Company Vision

Words are powerful, incredibly emotive and can be used to really ignite the passion in people. Here are 3 great examples of ho

  1. "It's the place people come for refuge - a 3rd place not home not work" Starbucks
  2. "It is more than just a resort; it's a means of rediscovering oneself, of inventing an entirely new me" Club Med
  3. "The experience enlivens the senses, instills well being and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our client" Ritz Carlton

Now look at your vision...does it stoke the same level of emotion, is it too general like surpassing customer expectations, being the best etc? Does it read like words put together at a "facilitated brainstorming session" or does it paint a powerful picture that people can see and engage with?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Seek the Truth for Success

As managers we are often not rational but rationalising and we tend to spend our time proving our point, not finding the truth. The reason... truth sometimes hurts, can sometimes mean that we have to be big enough to see when something is not working, or needs changing. So to be successful,

Seek the truth, rather than prove the point.

Respect will soar for you as a manager.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Difference between Management and Leadership

A question that I often get asked, and I do feel people do mix up the terms. For instance you often get Team Leaders being managed by a manager!

Here is what my old boss explained it to me about 20 years ago, and I think it still makes sense to me

"Manage today, lead tomorrow"
Or as I sometimes say.....Management is motivating people to get the work done today, leadership is about inspiring people to create the future.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Role of the Director....lessons from the film industry

Robert Altman says the the role of the film director is

"to create a space where the actor or actress can become more than they've ever been before, more than they've dreamed of being"

Now if you replace actor/actress with employee...isn't that what business is all about? You are a dream creator, a dream coach, a dream tell me that you have no power!

The dreams are inside people, they were there as a child but then life has made them give them up - be realistic! Your role is to dig deep, find those dreams, engage them again and relight the fire inside.....are you a dream maker or a dream breaker?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Are you special?

"If there is nothing very special about your work, no matter how hard you apply yourself you won't get noticed, and that increasingly means that you won't get paid much either" Michael Goldhaber, Wired
How true! How do you provide value, how does your personal brand bring value to the company, to the team etc Does your brand demand a premium as it delivers a higher performance? List down what your personal brand is, your values and why someone would want to pay a premium for you compared to someone else? If you can't....then write a development plan for 2007 to create your premium in the talent marketplace.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Challenging the Obvious

Advances in thinking, in products, in services come when people forget their perceptions and challenge the status quo. A story to illustrate

In ancient philosophy whoever could untie the Golden Knot was destined to become King of Asia. All who tried failed. Alexander the Great after trying decided to write his own rules, pulled out his sword and sliced the know in half...job done!

Often at work and in life we are blinded by what we see as constraints, our assumptions, our preconceptions.....if you are stuck, then challenge the rules, the status quo...challenge what you believe are stopping you from advancing...try a different approach.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Carnival of Management Tips - 2

Welcome to the December 11, 2006 edition of carnival of management tips.

Anna presents Are you looking for a solution or a solid? posted at The Engaging Brand

Jane Chin presents Most Important Quality in a Coach posted at On Careers and Life.

Mike Murray presents The Importance of Empathy posted at Episteme - Belief. Knowledge. Wisdom.

Daniel Scocco presents What do Google, Apple and Harley Davidson have in common? posted at Innovation Zen.

David Maister presents We'll Follow the Old Man Wherever He Wants to Go posted at Passion, People and Principles

Brandon Peele presents What the Media Industry Tells Us About Business Strategy and Our Lives posted at GT.

Anna presents Numbers Can Be Fun! posted at The Engaging Brand

Sagar Satapathy presents Management Strategies: 18 Tips to Manage Your Blog Network posted at Management Strategies: 18 Tips to Manage Your Blog Network

My Bubble Life presents Unleash Your Potential: Transactional Communication posted at My Bubble Life

David presents Corporate Career Success - How to Become CEO posted at Worldwide Success,

David Maister presents Wise Words posted at Passion, People and Principles, saying, "Don't just manage the goals, manage the process!"

David Maister presents Are We ON The Same Side? posted at Passion, People and Principles.

Patricia presents Dream Your Dreams to Achieve Greatness and Inspire the World posted at Patricia.

Debra Moorhead presents Put Yourself First posted at Debra, saying, "Anna,

Charles H. Green presents Legacies, Left Tackles and Investment Banking posted at Trust Matters,

Tracy Coenen presents Top ten ways to prevent employee theft posted at FRAUDfiles.

Bruce Hopkins presents How to be an Innovator posted at Bruce Hopkins

Milo Paulo milo G. Riano presents One Major Mistake When Reporting a Problem to Superiors posted at Milo Riano

Paul presents How to deal with information overload, posted at Paul,

Mark Shead presents Management Systems Leadership501 posted at Leadership501,

Game Producer presents 3 Efficient Ways to Deal With People posted at Game Producer,

Nick Rice presents Strategic Design marketing & branding thoughts by Nick Rice: Why in-house design teams should work, but don't. posted at Strategic Design marketing & branding thoughts,

Ririan presents Why You Lose Your Focus (And What To Do About It) posted at Ririan Project.

Michael presents Tales of a Corporate Hypnotist » Delegation connection posted at Tales of a Corporate Hypnotist.

John Hill presents Talking About Other People posted at Universe Of Success.

Laura Young presents Laying Down the Badge posted at Dragon Slayer's Guide to Life,

Steve Faber presents Get Your Discounts - Cash and Otherwise posted at DebtBlog.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
carnival of management tips
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page

Friday, December 08, 2006

Boxing clever for Suggestions

I am not a lover of suggestion boxes...though it is a start, I have to admit that in getting feedback. The problem tends to be that they become moaning posts so what about having two!

One for problems/threats
One for solutions/opportunities

This builds into the culture a sense of acccountability and responsibility for driving improvement. Post the problems that people see and get them to suggest improvements...with the winner being based on the solution rather than the issue.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Gifts at Xmas

This is the time of year you go through the agony of wondering what to get your direct reports for Xmas....and end up with the same standard gifts so that you don't offend anyone. Mmmm but does it engage them?

One thought why not get them a gift for their thank the family for their support during the year.....a treat to say thank you for letting mum or dad share their precious time with you. Money is tight with most families at this time so a thank you theatre tickets, films, etc may well be appreciated.

The key thing on gifts is making sure they illustrate your thanks, that you have taken time to think about the relevance to them, and that they too deliver a value to the individual.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Do you REALLY understand your business?

I am a believer in understanding all aspects of the business to be a better manager. Here are some ideas on how I increase both my knowledge and that of the team.

  1. Invite other managers to come to team briefings and explain their goals, successes and how they work.
  2. Attend other team meetings to explain our goals.
  3. Visit one department per month to work through their process, to understand the full supply chain.
  4. Arrange at least yearly for senior managers and Executives to walk through the full supply chain so they can see for themselves issues, progress and success.
  5. Go to lunch with someone from outside your normal peer or team group.

It is important that you work across the organisation, understanding how an idea becomes purchased by a consumer. It also helps you to contribute more fully at meetings.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Is arrogance affecting you?

A lesson from Napoleon. On the morning of the Battle of Waterloo he said to his generals
"I tell you Wellington is a bad general, the are bad soldiers; we will settle this matter by lunchtime." Mmmm I bet he regretted that one!

With hindsight a little humility would have been great. How often does this happen to you, often without you knowing. Is there something like pride that is clouding your judgement? What are you not seeing? Who are you undervaluing and not giving sufficient attention to?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Managing People - A sentence to remember

Each person has needs and concerns, to be successful in life and at work you need to.......

  • You need to answer the first - their needs
  • You need to allay the latter - their concerns

Simple but effective personal development.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Management - Learn to mimic

As humans one thing we love is flattery - whether we own up to it or not. In sales you are taught how to mimic the body language of the customer, as a form of flattery. Clearly, not a good idea to over use but a bit of mimicry can go a long way.

When you are interviewing or have a one to one session, allow your body language to mimic so that you create a connection with the other person. Remember 55% of communication is through body language, and only 7% is through the body language is important in any relationship.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Focus on the Truth

Two men went to court. The plaintiff made his case and the judge said "That's right". The defendant made his case and the judge said "That's right". The clerk of the court said "They can't both be right!"
The judge replied, "That's right"

Moral:truth is all around us, what matters is where we put our focus.....

So where are your blind spots, where is your focus, what is truly important, do you know what your focus should be?

Great post on how to change the world

Here is a great post on the top ten phrases to repeat each morning as a manager - at The Engaging Brand. After smiling, sit down and tick HONESTLY which ones you need to repeat each morning.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Boiling Frog Sydrome in Management and Business

I think I heard this from Tom Peters...

If you drop a frog into boiling water it will jump out, drop it in cold water and gently heat, it will boil with it. Inertia kills!

As a manager or leader you must avoid mediocrity, avoid compromise creep which destroys the uniqueness of the product, process or service. Hold a boiling frog meeting each quarter and get people to write on a picture of a frog where they believe complacency is creeping into work, or mediocrity is preventing progress, or drains on motivation. A fun way to get concerns out in the open!

Monday, November 27, 2006

How to make mergers work

Today, most people will go through an acquisition, change program or merger. Here is my tip for creating success through this time

  • Focus should be on the skills and abilities of the talent available not on the process itself.
  • Look for unique items not similarities.


Well it is people that will create the success.....where is the talent and how can you engage their minds in creating the future.

Concentrating on similarities ends up as a lose lose, as people will have to compromise and also it won't work for the differences...and remember the differences will have made the company unique and successful. Look to embrace the originality and build a process that protects it.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Promoting your personal brand

People often talk about building your own personal brand, and what a great way then getting your own business card. One that you can give at networking events, and one that markets your blogs, podcasts etc

I love Hugh Macleod at Gaping Void - often near the knuckle but with his cartoons he hits the mark. He offers his cartoons as business cards and I have ordered mine - not to promote a business but to promote the skills that I have outside of work. Great point to remember is that these cards with your own mobile or home telephone number means that if you move companies...people can still find you!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Educating the New Generation

We are aware that our values, behaviours etc are formed during our school years. That is why as a manager and as a company I have always linked with local schools and colleges. I see this as important for the following reasons
  1. It builds links with the community which after all will be a key talent pool.
  2. It is an investment in the future of business - helping children understand and become passionate about the commercial world.
  3. The children act as a great sounding board - they ask you questions that maybe you should be asking yourself.
  4. Children talk to their parents - people who are in the current talent pool, so free advertising of your employment brand.
  5. The new generation care about society, and your role with the community. Your linkage helps both the Employment Brand and also your personal brand.
  6. It is huge fun and very rewarding!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

3 Tips of Reducing Stress within your Team

People at work need to feel that they have a degree of control, remember outside of work they are parents, or adults running their own if they don't feel they are in control at all then stress will follow. So here are 3 key management techniques that help reduce stress within your team.
  1. Be approachable.....ensure people can come and talk to you about problems both at work and at home.
  2. Remember your role is remove barriers which prevent them from doing a great job. To do this you need to be approachable, so that you know what the problems are!
  3. You need to care about them as an individual, care that they succeed, care that they are feeling strong, care that they understand their role.

Key tools that you need to succeed with the above 3 points, and don't worry they are FREE -



Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Brainstorming needs Structure to be Successful

To be successful in brainstorming session you need to structure the sessions. Often people think that in order for people to be creative, you need a clean piece of paper. No matter what creative activity you are doing, people need some structure. A totally clean piece of paper can bring fear to the group, a pressure to come up with that world shattering idea.

Unstructured thinking is rarely successful, so there is a fine balance of providing some structure without stifling ideas.

To be successful
  1. Send a clear memo outlining the purpose of the session with a clear sentence which outlines the issue, problem or opportunity. This gives people some time to think and prepare for the meeting.
  2. At the start of the meeting, read out the sentence. Set out any limitations that are givens, or areas that must be covered.
  3. Within those limits, then make everything else available for discussion - write every idea down....don't allow any judgement on an idea, not at this point. Bring
  4. Keep checking that you are staying on track to the initial problem or opportunity.
  5. Once all ideas have been captured, stop the session.
  6. Then set a new session for looking rationally at all the ideas.

Structure brings a sense of purpose, and also separates the creative from the logical thinking.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

How Management is Changing

Rene Carayol in Corporate Voodoo says that "Speed will be the legacy of our age" and I think that this is true. Speed is a fact of life and business/life needs you to think on your feet.

We used to be told to Plan, Do, Review - I believe that is changing and is now Act, Review, Learn, Act, Review, Learn etc

That doesn't mean that risks should not be assessed but that you shouldn't be paralysed by the need for analysis. It is easy to amend, or tweak a product or service the key thing is doing something.......

Monday, November 20, 2006

Creating a Mental Map

The biggest problem most employees face is just not understanding what is expected of them, not understanding what the company is trying to achieve.

You need to create a mental map for each person through the managers, supervisors, team leaders etc

One question that I have used is asking each person to finish this sentence..."I dream about..."

I then work with them to understand how we can make that dream a reality, linking it to the business. It is a great way of showing rather than telling, and consulting rather than informing.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Blog Carnival of Management Tips

Welcome to the November 19, 2006 edition of carnival of management tips. I will hold this fortnightly to try and share as many ideas as possible

Anna Farmery presents 8 Free Ways to Help People Learn at Work at The Engaging Brand

Jane Chin presents Most Important Quality in a Coach posted at On Careers and Life.

Mike Murray presents The Importance of Empathy posted at Episteme - Belief. Knowledge. Wisdom.

Daniel Scocco presents What do Google, Apple and Harley Davidson have in common? posted at Innovation Zen.

David Maister presents We'll Follow the Old Man Wherever He Wants to Go posted at Passion, People and Principles, saying, "Real leaders go first, hold themselves accountable, and resign if they fail."

rudolph d. bachraty III presents Hold My Calls, I?m Too Busy Blogging posted at sellsius real estate blog.

Brandon Peele presents What the Media Industry Tells Us About Business Strategy and Our Lives posted at GT.

Brandon Peele presents 21st Century Enterprise: For-Benefit Business 101 posted at GT.

Sagar Satapathy presents Management Strategies: 18 Tips to Manage Your Blog Network posted at Management Strategies: 18 Tips to Manage Your Blog Network,

My Bubble Life presents Unleash Your Potential: Transactional Communication posted at My Bubble Life, saying, "In order to be effective as a manager, you must communicate with people on their level."

David presents Corporate Career Success - How to Become CEO posted at Worldwide Success,

David Maister presents Wise Words posted at Passion, People and Principles, saying, "Don't just manage the goals, manage the process!"

Anna Farmery presents CARS leadership fro great business and leadership on The Engaging Brand

David Maister presents Are We ON The Same Side? posted at Passion, People and Principles.

Patricia presents Dream Your Dreams to Achieve Greatness and Inspire the World posted at Patricia.

Debra Moorhead presents Put Yourself First posted at Debra,

TrustedAdvisor presents Legacies, Left Tackles and Investment Banking posted at Trust Matters, saying Building trust in business relationships.

Tracy Coenen presents Top ten ways to prevent employee theft posted at FRAUDfiles.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
carnival of management tips using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Thanksgiving for the year

It always amazes me that we all love certain holidays and love the feeling of community and family. Maybe we could learn some lessons from these holidays and take aspects for the whole year.

Recognise that decorating the workspace with family photos is important to people.
How can you recreate the family feel at work - team photos, team names etc
Can you build targets into decorations for the department... eg a Xmas tree with each branch a progress target towards the top.
Can you think of a way of connecting more with the family. Have an open day for parents to bring their children to work?

Decorations are a visual stimulus - maybe there are lessons for how to decorate an office.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Know thyself!

To understand others you first have to understand yourself. I often say that a mirror is an important tool - so that you can reflect on the impact that you are having , and what areas that you need to build and develop.

Self awareness is a key skill in both personal and work life. One thing that I have learned over the years is often the very thing that annoys you in others is something that you are not good at....if you are annoyed by the way that others are acting ask yourself why, ask yourself is it because it reminds you of something about yourself?

Being honest with yourself is so important.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Are the winter blues affecting your motivation?

If you are feeling low and wondering "Is this all I have to look forward to?" - Don't worry it is the winter blues grabbing hold of that mind....the lack of sunshine is a huge factor on motivation.

But it is also a chance to think about what is important to you. Often we are trying to define ourselves or measure our happiness from what we do or is not wrong, but don't forget to think about measuring your day to day life against who you are.

Often depression hits because you are not doing something that is core to your may be achieving a lot and yet it doesn't seem to make you happy. If that is the case take a few minutes to think about your values, who you are and make sure that your day to day life is fulfilling these needs. No money will ever compensate for you working or living against your desires or values.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What is your role as a manager of talent?

We keep hearing that our focus should be to bring out the talent in others - but what does that mean?

Well for me it is not about "creating talent" that is not possible, it is about how to match the person and their talents to a role that will allow them to thrive.

That mean as you get to know people better, you may move them. Every person has strengths - it is your role to find them and match them to a role that will allow them to fill their potential. Talented people need a great manager, talent needs someone who wants to - and finds the time to match the talents to the role.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lessons from an Elephant trainer on management!

I read this story and thought it was a great metaphor for managers and their teams. Vivek Paul, CEO of Wipro Technologies said that he saw an elephant trainer outside Bangalore.

The trainer had 3 elephants tied to 3 small stakes, and he asked him "How do you keep such large elephants tied to such small stakes?" The trainer looked and said "When they were young and they tried to break free they couldn't pull the stakes over. When they grow older they don't try anymore."

How often has this approach affected us, at work or at home. We need to shake off the shackles of the past and keep our minds pushing new boundaries. We know what we are capable of now so why limit ourselves today on past limitations. We have changed, times have changed. Don't be afraid to try something because it failed in the past - you are now a different person, you have new skills, you have new experiences - this time it may succeed.

Think also about how you may have affected others - have you blocked something in the past, which prevents them from trying in the future or blocked ideas?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Andrew Carnegie - Excellent Advice

Andrew Carnegie says that there are 2 types of people who don't achieve very much

  1. One who won't do as they are told
  2. One who does no more than they are told to do

If you want to achieve success, then you need to be the third kind - Someone who not only performs the role but then adds a little more....turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Be a Bullfighter! Cut the jargon....

Jargon really does turn people off, it also confuses people so here are my list of jargon words that you must avoid

Strategic imperatives
Strategic Direction

You need to replace all these with everyday terms so most of the above can be replaced with the following 2 sentences

What are we trying to acheive, what are our goals for this week, month, quarter?

What targets shall we set ourselves?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Making your life extraordinary

In the book the Fred Factor Mark Sanborn says

"there are no insignificant or ordinary jobs when they're performed by significant or extraordinary people"

I just love that idea. The people that have made your life special at home or at work, probably do not have a big job title - it is the way they behave.

Let me give an example. I go to the same place for a quick meal each weekend. Why ? Great, great environment...not really, great prices...not as low as I think they should be!

No the real reason is because of the people who work there...they say Hi Anna, your usual? I will bring your drink over once I have finished serving this lady. The waitresses who are not highly paid make me feel special - when the restaurant took my favourite dish off the menu they continued to cook it for me! The point is that their jobs are not powerful or special - they are, they make me feel valued, and provide value through service. They have ordinary jobs that they make extraordinary.....I now have crossed my fingers ahead of going there tomorrow!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mentoring and Building Credibility

Just because you are a parent, manager, leader does not mean that you are an ideal mentor. The title does not consititute the skill, and people are assessing you as a potential mentor they will ask 3 questions

  1. Have you been successful at what I am trying to do or become?
  2. If not, have you coached someone else succesfully to achieve the success?
  3. If not, do you know what you are talking about i.e what is your knowledge like, do you keep yourself up to date technically and professionally?

These are great questions to ask yourself, and also to ensure that you are expanding your skills. It helps you understand what gaps you need to fill, and also a chance to celebrate your personal progress.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Brainstorming or Creative Thinking

When you are trying to be creative sometimes you get bogged down. One technique that I use is to change the if you are thinking of a designing a new car...think vehicle, transport, carriage etc. This inspires you to think away from how your mind thinks of the word car.

This works with process. For example if you want to design a new induction program....think welcome, invite, introduction, training, new starter, starter etc

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Teamwork beats individualism

Quick story, from Aesop. A farmer who had a quarrelsome family could not find a way of reconciling their differences. So he called his sons together and told them to lay a bunch of sticks before him. He tied the sticks together in a bundle, and asked one son after another to pick them up and break them. They all tried but in vain.
He then untied the bundle and handed a stick to each and invited them to break it. Each son did it easily. He then turned to his sons and said
My sons, as long as you remain united, you are a match for all your enemies, but differ and separate and you are undone"

I think this stands for itself...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Great Management and Customer Advice

One piece of advice that I received early doors was this

"Customers don't believe what you say, they believe what you do"

This is an important point for any relationship - family, spouse, friends, employees, boss etc Words are great but it is action that shows your commitment.

If you want to stand out from the crowd then deliver on your promises, live your values, and ensure that your words are backed up by actions.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Positive feedback and dealing with problems

Over on the Widows Quest there is a carnival on 5 November about how to turn your life around. I love this idea, and can't wait to see the links.

As managers, friends, partners etc we rush to find what is wrong with the reaction, idea, work etc We need to bring some positivity to the world!

So tomorrow (and next week at work) try and respond to any person with a positive comment, find something genuine and positive to say no matter whether you agree or not. I am often accused of seeing the positive in everything - well, guilty as charged! I believe that there is always something that you can learn or take from an interaction. If you do see the positive, just watch how people respond to you and open up...... you attract people because you stand out from the normal negative people

Introduce your blog and yourself

I came across MyBlogLog - which is a great tool to put a face to your readers. I have put the widget over on the right hand side and would love to see you - so go on add your photo.

I love blogging, I love sharing tips, ideas but to really build a community that you need to put a face to who is reading...go on you know you want to!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Ten Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

As we enter the colder, darker days (or at least in the UK!) we tend to suffer a dip in our motivation. So how can we keep our motivation going?
  1. Exercise is good for your motivation. Why not go for a walk for 20 minutes at lunch.
  2. Take a nightclass to learn a new skill.
  3. Sit down and write 3 goals for the next 3 months. Plan how you will achieve them.
  4. Eat well, eat more vegatables/fruit to keep your body in tip top condition.
  5. Don't waste your weekend -this is a chance to recharge your emotions. Plan something to look forward to during the week.
  6. As a manager, set some events that bring people together with a fun element - quizzes, brainstorming, celebrations.
  7. Write a blog to help others with the feelings of a dip in motivation.
  8. Visit older members of your family and friends who feel the winter the most. The act of helping others can be uplifting.
  9. Hold breakfast sessions at work to stimulate motivation discussions.... keep them light, but they ease people into work.
  10. Make sure that if you work in the office you get some of the sunlight during the day. When outside - via a walk etc make sure you lift your head and allow your eyes to see the sun.

Helping each other can be great, understand that people will have down days, be patient and supportive.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Internal Branding to be Customer Focused

I have just spoken with Steve Farber who is a wonderful author - The Radical Edge: Stoke Your Business, Amp Your Life, and Change the World and The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership are really worth reading. I was talking to him about being obsessed with customers - and he said any company that isn't will ultimately fail. I tend to agree and would take this one step further.

Any company that is not obsessed with their employees, and their employees being customer centric will fail. Every thing you do whether it be a service, manufacture, retail, wholesale depends on your people believing in what they do...feeling the values of the brand and displaying them throughout their interaction with the customers. An example is Toyota - the manufacturing teams live quality and want their product to live up to the customer standards. They might not meet them but they want the customer to feel the quality.

If you are going to get this level of engagement - great 4 step guide here over a series of posts - then you must interact with your team, to the same values, to the same mission that you want them to do to your customers. For many support areas such as finance that can mean their internal customers. Remember services can be outsourced and you are interacting with a customer and fighting for the contract!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Learning from the New Generation

On The Engaging Brand, yesterday I published an interview with Billy Smith (Show 39) about how the new generation feel about work and life.

I think we can learn from our children, the younger people at work. Yes, we have the experience but they also have fresh ideas, see things that we don't see. It reminded me of a quote

"Always listen to the young monks: they know all the things that you have forgotten" St Benedict

We can learn about the new technologies but also creativity. When we were younger we were more creative, somehow along the way it gets drained from us. So don't ignore the new starters - listen to what they have to say. Don't ignore because you tried it 5 years ago and it failed. It might be that it will work now.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Develop your reaction to problems

Problems happen, things go wrong ....fact. No matter how great you are as a leader, life will throw up issues, home and at work.

It is not the problem that causes issues, it is your reaction to it. Your reaction has a huge effect on those around you, on the ability to resolve the problem, on your own mental welfare!

Do you listen carefully at what is the real issue?

Do your present an optimistic approach?

Do you respond positively?

Do you see this as a challenge rather than a problem?

Do you understand that your reaction will impact on how people approach you in the future?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bad bosses are great motivators!

Sound a little strange? Well, I firmly believe that I have learned a huge amount from bad bosses, and they have helped me develop my skills. If you are working for a "bad boss" then instead of being demotivated see it as a huge learning curve. I have learned the following
  1. What demotivates people.
  2. How to not value people.
  3. How not to communicate.
  4. How not to deal with a problem.
  5. How the behaviour of your boss affects your motivation.
  6. How to remove clarity from people's work
  7. How to ruin work/life balance.
  8. How changing priorities on a daily, weekly basis causes confusion.

Now that is great learning. What I did was take time to review how he did it, and how I felt. I then promised myself that when I had the chance to lead I would NEVER do the same things.

You can survive a bad boss in the short term, by using them as a living learning example.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A new style of CV

We all need to learn from failures, failures are fantastic if you grow as a person so to ensure that you have developed

Create a CV which concentrates on your mistakes !

Put underneath each one write your development plan, how you have progressed and future action to be taken.

Clearly, you can keep this to yourself but it can help you focus on your growth.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A wonderful lesson

I always remember my boss saying

"Committees don't commit, people commit"

That is so true, if you want to ensure success then make sure people own the actions to be taken and not the committee.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

How to manage homeworking

In a world that craves flexibility and individuality, there is a greater number of times when you manage people that are not necessarily working alongside you. So what are the 5 secrets of success

  1. Trust - the number 1 item. You need to trust in your people, trust their integrity. Without trust their is no relationship.
  2. Understand why they need to work from home and support them. Get to know them like you would your people at your place of work. Understand what they like about it, and what support they need from you.
  3. Manage by output. Set clear objectives, and give regular feedback on their performance. Feedback on the output NOT a value judgement on whether they are working hard!
  4. Invest in your communication skills...more than ever you need even stronger social skills when you cannot interact face to face regularly.
  5. Find ways to give face to face. Online meetings, visits, gatherings anything to give that personal touch.

How to manage homeworking

In a world that craves flexibility and individuality, there is a greater number of times when you manage people that are not necessarily working alongside you. So what are the 5 secrets of success

  1. Trust - the number 1 item. You need to trust in your people, trust their integrity. Without trust their is no relationship.
  2. Understand why they need to work from home and support them. Get to know them like you would your people at your place of work. Understand what they like about it, and what support they need from you.
  3. Manage by output. Set clear objectives, and give regular feedback on their performance. Feedback on the output NOT a value judgement on whether they are working hard!
  4. Invest in your communication skills...more than ever you need even stronger social skills when you cannot interact face to face regularly.
  5. Find ways to give face to face. Online meetings, visits, gatherings anything to give that personal touch.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

How to build your personal brand

People often feel not valued, and unnoticed for all they do in the roles. Here are some tips on how you can build your personal brand
  1. Network - across lunch, in meetings, in corridors. Speak to people, ask them about what they are doing, what are their interests?
  2. Volunteer for projects, organising events.
  3. Have a success wall in your work area for e-mails that thank you, projects delivered, customer feedback
  4. Take in to your one to one a progress sheet on what you have achieved so far, and how you are tackling the next steps.
  5. Use Linkedin - if you want contact me !
  6. Gather through technorati or an RSS reader info on your company, market, competitors and share it with people.
  7. Always remember knowledge is not power - it is the sharing of it, that is!
  8. Remember to thank others in the company for work THEY have done well.
  9. Be true to yourself on your development needs no matter how difficult it is to admit it and spend time developing your skills.
  10. Ask for feedback - be brave with more negative comments, don't dismiss the points just the emotional words.

Just a few for starters....anyone got any more?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Reactive vs Proactive

I listen to the Motivation on the Run podcast and love it - Larry's style is well...engaging. He talked in one of his shows about reactive vs proactive and this is absolutely true in terms of managing people. Some questions to consider

  • Do you talk to people about what they want to achieve more than what they haven't?
  • Do you talk to people of how they have incorporated learnings vs what courses they should be going on?
  • Do you talk about how they are going to achieve their objectives or how they haven't ?
  • Do you talk about their strengths more than their gaps?
  • Do you talk to them about their personal visions or their past history?

Are you a proactive or reactive manager?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Recruitment Techniques

One thing I really hate...yes, I know hate is a strong word! ...... is recruiting for a role rather than a person. Here are my ways of changing your mindset.

Change what role do I want to fill to what skills do I need to take the team forward?

Change what is the cost of recruiting to what is the benefit from bringing talent into the business?

Change how can I get others to do the work in the interim to how can I use this opportunity to develop others in the team?

Change I need to loads of people to apply, to how do I get the right people to apply?

The Engaging Brand has 2 great shows on this - Show 35 and 36 the former with Seth Godin on how to create an employment brand that stands out from the crowd and the latter with a recruitment expert on tips of the trade.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Grab that Brain!

As the famous saying goes - you hire a person, hire the hands and forget to engage the brain.

So many people forget to engage the brain, so what questions can you ask to "grab that brain as well"
  • What are your career goals and how can I help you achieve them?
  • What are your passions and how can we develop your role to engage those passions?
  • What do you want from me as your mentor?
  • How can I get the best from you?
  • What values are important to you?

This is in no way a full list but a start....the main point is to follow up on what you find out, and to review regularly.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Quality of Life

Studies show that the quality of life depends on 2 things
  • How we experience work
  • Relations with other people

Both of these need work and attention. As a manager we can be a catalyst for both of these and therefore just think of the power that you have in your hands. When you are sat thinking that you cannot change anything...remember this blog post. You have the power to help others enjoy a better quality of, now that is the ultimate power. Ask people how you can improve these 2 things at build quality of life for people.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Developing Talent

How many times have you thought "I might as well do it myself!" and then gone away and done it.

In the short term that may well be the quickest way but it doesn't develop your people, takes your precious time, creates frustration and when the problem comes up next won't be any better off - indeed you will probably have to do it yourself again!

So next time, try saying to yourself "I owe it to the person and myself to take the time and help develop their skills. I want them to be successful in the future and my experience can help them"

Time invested now, will pay HUGE dividends later...not to mention both of you feeling more positive in the short term.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Innovation - It is not just the product

People think of products when you talk about innovation. In 2004 Booz Allen Hamilton said that 10.2% of the R&D budget at the Top 500 industrial businesses, was spent on process innovation. Simplifying, clarifying, automating, quickening etc

Toyota and Proctor & Gamble are classic examples of how to engage people in your business by encouraging shop-floor innovation. They let people design process themselves.....bringing improvement in productivity, profit, engagement, product, morale, cost reduction.

Friday, October 13, 2006

How to be brilliant

Tom Watson, the IBM boss was asked "How long does it take to become excellent?" The answer came "A minute, think"

Speed will be our huge legacy of our age, and we have to be careful that speed does not detract from our thinking ability. If you don't put some time aside for thinking, you will never find time for it.

Two things to do
  1. Subscribe to

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Effective Teams

The Courage Institute said that effective teams exhibit 5 strengths
  1. Candor - speaking and hearing the truth
  2. Purpose - pursue lofty and audacious goals
  3. Will - Inspire hope, spirit and optimism
  4. Rigor - Invent new knowledge and make it work
  5. Risk - empower, commit, invest in relationships

5 thoughts for you to think about and how your team rate against these criteria

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How to bring values alive

Values are important to any work environment. I give A4 page with each value listed down the left hand side, a column saying how my direct report should be showing those values, a column with any development and then a column to show progress.

At each fortnightly meeting we have a quick review and they discuss how they have illustrated those values.

It shows my commitment and it also keeps the values at the forefront of the teams minds.

At the team meeting we then celebrate any great ideas or accomplishments.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Focus - the key to shorter working hours

Sam Ewing said "It's not the hours you put into your work, it is the work that you put into the hours"

Successful people have the ability to focus. They know what their objectives are, how to achieve them and then get on it with it!

If you find that you are not achieving what you want to despite the long hours then take 5 minutes and look at what you have been working upon during the day. Long hours lead to a lack of focus, and tiredness. Tiredness leads you then to not be able to work to your optimum, you take more breaks - a quick gossip, a few more coffees, longer meetings etc

Focus is key so proudly on your table put your personal objectives.....then each day look at your commitments and ensure that they are achieving your objectives.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Your legacy

Last week I talked about creating a 8 word thing to think about is each day how can you bring a little sunshine to the world.
  1. Do I smile, do I smile inside so that it comes through in my voice?
  2. Have I caused someone else to smile today?
  3. If I am not smiling, am I doing the right job for me and my needs?
  4. Am I present with people, do I give them respect by giving my 100% attention?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Trust is the Key to Relationships

Trust is a key part of life - think of how important it is in your relationship, and how difficult it is to rebuild if ever doubted.

If you went to your Doctor with a sore throat and he made a mistake on the prescription giving you laxatives would you trust that Doctor in the future? You may, but more likely you would try and see another Doctor.

That is similar to work. As a manager you promise things, promise to take action to remove roadblocks, deliver development, develop talent, communicate well etc If you don't deliver or you don't explain why.....then trust disappears. People will feel that you are not the manager that they want to work for....

So build trust..under promise and over deliver!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Perfect - see it as a warning!

If you ever feel that there is a great atmosphere, that you have reached peak performance, that there are no real issues, that morale is great...beware!!

Is it real or are you just not close enough to your customers or your employees?

Sometimes people tell us what they THINK we want to hear....when things are going well, stay on top of the issues, stay close, walk around, listen, talk, dig below issues, ask "We have made many improvements, how can we continue to drive forward?"

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Be the change you want to see in the world!

The heading of this post is a quote for Ghandi and is so true!

Social change starts with individuals - so if you want to reform your team, reform your culture, reform how people interact etc then start by reforming yourself. The change will impact others around you and even if others do not change then you have helped changed the changing one person!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

8 Word Legacy

Over at our sister blog -The Engaging Brand - they run a podcast called The Engaging Brand which looks at motivating and inspiring people at work and they have a lovely question at the end of the interview...what do you want your 8 word legacy to be?

This is a great thought...try writing one it is difficult, but it helps to give you focus to your life.

What is yours....feel free to share one

Monday, October 02, 2006

Aim high

A quote from Somerset Maughan that I love:

Its a funny thing about life - if you refuse to accept anything but the best you very often get it

Now how true is that! We are often demotivated because we settle for things that do not give us pleasure. Settle is an awful state at work and at home. Your own self motivation needs you to dream, it needs you to set yourself a target. That target will be one very personal to you - but then live that dream by working towards it. At work if we are going to succeed then we need to aim high, don't settle for mediocre become a magnet for the extraordinary. You will achieve alot more by having high standards then settling for just OK.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Don't forget those loyal employees

A study done by Sirota Consulting showed that employee engagement declines after only 6 months of being employed. Although after 10 years service it recovers it never returns to the level it was....

Lesson for me is that we all rush to "engage" people when they join, but remember it is as important if not more important to "re-engage" your existing employees. Once you start taking them for granted you risk their loss, the loss of talent and also the loss of that invaluable experience.

So what are you doing to re-engage people on a regular basis? If you need help then visit our site

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Quick Tip to help focus and goals

Why not use screen savers and mobile phone wall papers to publicise your vision. Get someone in your team to design one and make it relevant to your team. Or you could use general motivational statements like

"How will I make a difference today?"

or list the 3 key objectives. You could run a competition for the family member to come up with the best screen saver each month and give an iTunes voucher or Amazon voucher to the winning entry....

The only word of advice - forget corporate jargon or speak! Make it sound real and something people can engage with....

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Be a distinct personal brand

"Differentiate or die" - Jack Trout

"Be distinct or be extinct" - Tom Peters

Two great quotes from highly respected people. You are a very special human brand, one that you need to look after and grow. If you stand still, stop learning, stop stretching yourself then you will just fall back into the crowd. So ask yourself
  1. What do you want your legacy to be, what do you want to be remembered for ? Then build an action plan to achieve it.
  2. What are your strengths - are you playing to them?
  3. How can you add value to your family, your work, your community? What value do you want to create?

You are in charge of you! Understand your brand, and live your brand values....

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fail, fail and then succeed

Have you ever had an idea, gave it a go and it didn't work? Have you ever felt that you were the reason or that your idea was not good enough?

Success comes through persistence....

  1. Chuck Yeager threw up on his first flight and swore he was not made for air travel - he later became the first man to break the sound barrier!
  2. Charles Carlson developed photocopying in 1938 - 21 years before Xerox produced the first copier.
  3. George Burns was 80 when he won his first Oscar.

If success was easy, everyone would be successful. Success comes through perseverance...Tom Peters says Fail, Forward, Fast....

Monday, September 25, 2006

Don't ignore inexperience

One of the easiest things to do, is to dismiss new recruits or young people because they have not "been there and done it"

St Benedict once said "Always listen to the young monks: they know all the things that you have forgotten"

So true.....experience is fantastic but it can often blind you...have you ever said "Oh we have tried that, no that doesn't work...." both these sentences are dangerous - you are assuming that it won't work now, or that the idea is not good.....maybe this time it will work, maybe this time you have the right people to execute it remember teams are great when experience and lack of experience are both respected and both listen to each other.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

How to Lose Friends and Not Influence People

Dale Carnegie wrote a great book and yet people still struggle to influence people, here are my thoughts on why...

1) Say one thing do another

2) Say of course I won't tell anyone......

3) Manage up not manage down

4) Desire to be nice not constructively honest

5) Treat people how they want to be treated instead of how the individual wants to be treated

6) Stay in their office, rather than be visible

7) Respect their own views more than other views

8) Believe that once you have left college you have stopped learning

9) Settle for what they have rather than living their dream

10) Seek approval rather than the right answer

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dare to Dream

There was a post on The Engaging Brand about daring to reminded me of a story.

Over 15 years ago Guy de Laliberte was working the streets of Montreal as a fire eater and by night slept on the park benches. Today he is a multi-billionaire - his brainchild, Cirque Du Soleil

He dared to dream, he dared to take action to make his dream come true..... life is precious and short. Dream, and then work at turning that dream into reality.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Service that makes you smile

I love this story of an air steward on a flight from Denver to San Francisco, they said

"If you are having a hard time getting your ears to pop, I suggest you yawn widely. If you are having trouble yawning ask me about my love life"

Now tell me that wouldn't have made you smile.....connecting with customers is an important aspect of success. Giving a little of yourself and doing something out of the ordinary - a wow factor - can differentiate you from competitors. Normally, air stewards read from scripts and it is boring...I bet they don't get talked about on blogs!!!

Make someone smile today.....

Monday, September 18, 2006

Success comes with hard work

A story...

In the early 1950's Colin needed to earn some money and so volunteered for day jobs. He landed a spot on the soda delivery team, then cleaning up the soda syrup at the Pepsi plant. No one else volunteered for these kind of jobs...he did great work, had a grat attitude and was asked back the next summer. A story told in his autobiography....who, Colin Powell.

Sometimes when we see successful people we think - Oh, it alright for them...but we forget the work they put in, in their early careers. Success does not happen, you make it happen. Working hard, and practice are a huge part of most successful people's early life.

Remember the old golfing quote...The harder I practice, the luckier I get....

Friday, September 15, 2006

Ask a bland question, get a stupid answer.....

Great quote from Groucho Marx who hated the cliches of business. He received a letter from a bank manager who used the standard phrase "If I can be of any service to you, do not hesitate to contact me"

Groucho replied "Dear Sir, The best thing you can do to be of service to me is to steal some money from the account of one of your richest clients and credit to me"

Ask bland questions, don't be surprised by a ridiculous request...

For me, I would have phoned Groucho and say unfortunately that is not possible but you are obviously wanting to grow your savings here are some suggestions of how we can help with that........

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Beware Familiarity

In a psychological experiment a person was shown a photograph of himself and then a reversed image of the same picture. Consistently the person preferred the reverse image simply because it was the image that he was used to seeing in the mirror.

Why is this important, well that kind of familiarity can also spill over at work. You can favour similar people, but beware great teams consist of diversity. Make sure you are not judging by the mirror, make sure you are judging by results and behaviour.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Customer Service

We all have suffered bad customer service. Here are 2 questions that I was asked this morning by a customer service agent who was handling a query with me

  1. What would you like to see happen here?
  2. How can I help you handle this right now?

This had the effect of switching me from complaining (!) to possible solutions, but also it gave me the impression that they were listening to ME.

Finally, the person took total responsibility, phoned me back after speaking to various other people and then phoned me back later to ensure that I was happy that the situation had been resolved. Wow, that made me feel a million I going to be loyal to bet!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dealing with Anxiety

Remember that anxiety that you have, is only an illusion. It is not reality. Anxiety is good, adrenalin is good in order to improve performance - just look at sports stars!

You can only live life forward, looking back afterwards and reviewing it is about learning, its about understanding.

If anxiety is about an illusion than create a postive look - see people smiling and clapping at a presentation that you are about to give. See a succesful conclusion with the task no matter what that looks like....

Make the illusion work for you, not against you. You don't know how it will be, so why worry about a negative outcome? Picture a success, picture a celebration, let the illusion work for you and that will control the anxiety.

Monday, September 11, 2006


If you think you are busy - you are! We all look for quick fixes - treo's, blackberry, filofax, lists etc but none of these items will make you less busy, indeed can increase time pressure.

To solve time pressure you need to look at
  1. An average worker gets interrupted every 5-7 minutes for 5 minutes! Control your interruptions, if they don't add value then don't allow others to take away your most precious resource - your time.
  2. Review your objectives and make sure that your time is concentrated on achieving them. Often we waste time on easy things to do, but don't let these distract you.
  3. Plan to get your objectives achieved by 3pm each day. Too many people expand work to the 8-6 mentality.
  4. Check your inbox at 3/4 times a day. Outside those times don't be sidetracked by the email.
  5. Be honest. What is REALLY taking your time? Are you choosing distractions? Be honest, and look at the real reason you are allowing your time to be managed by others. Then deal with the root cause.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Make Targets Exciting

Words like objectives, ,metric, KPI's are all banded around but they are not passionate words. If you want to engage people in achieving targets why not bring some creativity to it?

I bet you have someone in your team, or in your business with some artistic ability. Set a visible target here are some examples

  1. Race track - move the car around to the finish line which has the target on it.
  2. Archery - move an arrow with the bulls eye as the target.
  3. Themes - so at Christmas work up the branches on the tree.
  4. Horse race - with the winning post as the target and the horse gets nearer.

The key is to bring fun and creativity to it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Lessons from Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet says that he "borders on lethargy", his style is about making few decisions except the really important ones. This helps him stay relaxed, focused and thoughtful.

That is an important lesson, if you really think about it do the decisions made by you, every second of the day, really need your input? How many smaller decisions are sapping your energy? Give people the power to make day to day decisions and free yourself up to be thinking about the direction your team should be taking and how to get the best out of your talent.

Great words of advice from Mr Buffet!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How to get more feedback

Yesterday I touched on the importance of pausing. Today I want to talk about starting your questions with "So, what...?"

In questioning ask - "So, what could you do to...?"

In listening say " So, what you are saying is........?"

In summarising state "So, what we have here is......?"

The "So, what" technique gives clarity, it is non threatening and simple. Try it and tell me if it helps!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Key to Listening

So what is the key or art of listening. Forget all the books here is the key - a pause.

Often we are so involved in the conversation we talk too much, learn to pause before you speak. During that pause think about the following

  1. What did they say?
  2. What are the positives that you can build upon?
  3. What is the key message - after laying aside the emotion ?
  4. What is your emotional state and control it to ensure that you keep the dialogue going~?

A pause shows that you are thinking, that you have listened to what they have said. Your role then is to show that you have listened by picking up on the key message. Don't shout down the negatives, make sure that your first reply is about the positives.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Talent Chess

Sometimes I believe there is a misconception about the role of talent management. I believe that your role is not to create talent, but to match talent to the right role so that it can flourish. There is so much talent wasted because people don't get to know the person and develop them into roles that suit their skills, personality etc

So talent management is like chess - moving people around the corporate board, to find the position that they can win from!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Time Tips

Couple of tips today to help you manage your time. Time is precious, and a scarce resource so you need to protect your time well.
  1. Build in interruptions to your day. We all know they will happen. Too many people book back to back meetings - don't plug in some time that acts as a buffer.
  2. Why use 30 minutes chunk's? Use 20 minute 10 minutes. Helps people focus and no matter the time people will fill their slot.
  3. When you have a to do list, write a time and date by the side of each item. By placing a time it helps focus the day and also gives it more importance.
  4. Cancel any meetings that don't add value!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Customers are Sacred

Customers are the most important part of any firm. Looking after the customer is a given - or at least should be! It is a relationship that needs work and attention. Remember that any asset - in this case the relationship - deteriorates if left neglected. Assets need attention and care.

So this makes complete sense for external customers but it just as true for internal customers. Customers to your work are just as sacred and should be dealt with, with the same care and attention. Ask them what they want, educate them about what you can do, deal with queries promptly, treat with wouldn't shout at an external customer so why an internal?

People who build strong internal networks will always be valuable. People who see the internal customer as sacred will be valued. People will want to nurture that relationship not look for other alternatives e.g. outsourcing. Remember the best way to protect your job is to do it brilliantly! If you do the job in isolation and not create added value then why would people not see this as a commodity that could be bought "cheaper". Add add add security.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Loyalty vs Contribution

When you are reviewing your team - remember one thing. Loyalty is fantastic and should be treasured but and it is a big but - contribution is key.
Don't let loyalty mask your view of the contribution that the person is making. Your role is to ensure that the loyalty is turned into performance - for me that is engagement.
Check out The Engaging Brand podcast and their blog for help if you feel you need ideas of how to achieve Engagement - well worth checking out.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Question You Should Ask

Whether it be your partner, spouse, direct report, colleague...try asking this question.

"What is the best praise that you ever received and what made it so good?"

From that you can understand much more about the individual. You can then adapt to the style they link - informal vs formal, verbal vs written, public vs private etc. Every one of us is different, learn how to make each individual special. It is not how you like praise, it is how THEY want praise.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Books that Inspire me

I often get asked about my suggested reading. Here is a list that I believe are some of the best books around.

I read a lot, I find that it inspires me, it opens my mind to different ideas. It also helps you to understand the problems that you have, are fairly universal. You may think that your's are different but they are not!
Reading helps to expand my thinking away from everyday life and one thing that I love, is reading articles, magazines, books not in my chosen area. There is always something you can learn and adapt into your life - at home or at work. Audiobooks now make it even easier.....

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Be a Talent Magnet to Succeed

John Wooden the coach of UCLA Bruins said

"Not every coach can consistently win with talent, but no coach can win without it"

So true! You need to be passionate about talent, love it, thrive on it - too many people are scared about it. Don't let that be you.

Talent has a wonderful effect on you if you embrace it

  1. It keeps you on your need to keep learning to stay ahead. Talent is there for you to learn from...
  2. Talent makes you look like a star, people see you as a talented leader as you attract the stars of the future.
  3. Remember to keep talent. When things go wrong you take responsibility in public, when you have success let the person take the credit. This is one of the most attractive features of a good leader.
  4. Allow talent to cross train, join projects that are not under your control, go on temporary assignments. Their development is your main concern - and they will respect you for it.
  5. Talent protects you - it does not endanger you. The more talent you attract the higher the performance of your team. The higher performance the more you will be recognised for achievement.
  6. Success is a great motivator......helps create a great culture. A great culture attracts more talent.....talent brings great performance. It is a wonderful circle.
  7. Great PR about you. Talent will speak highly about you across the business. Wonderful, free PR!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Engaging the Individual

Three words that you need to know if you are going to engage people - at work, at home.

Why - do they live, why do they do the job they do?

How - they think, how they work, how they make decisions?

Who - are their friends, their trusted advisors, their network?

Once you know this, then you can play to these strengths and engage at the right level with the right tone for THEM. Try it, keep little postcards on each member and refer makes that human connection.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


People say "Treat people like you like to be treated"


"Treat people how they want to be treated"

Every one of us is different, some like public praise others in private etc.....You need to understand the motivations and demotivators of each person around you, and respond to that. I used to be captain of a sports team. Some needed to be shouted at, others an arm around the shoulder when things were not going well. Leading is about understanding which technique works with which person.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Great Idea From Marcus Buckingham

Marcus Buckingham has a great suggestion. Get a piece of paper...have 2 columns
Most productive Members in my Team Members I spend the most Time with

Then in each column rank your team under both headings. Afterwards, draw lines between where people sit on each column. If you are spending too much time with the people not performing....change! Your stars should not be neglected....Too often our time is spent in the underperformers, the ones who constantly break the rules...that is wrong, look after your stars before they feel neglected.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Avoiding Meeting Hell

I have just read a great article in Wired magazine which I thought I would share with you. It is entitled "Stay Awake in Dull Meetings" and offers 4 pieces of advice

  1. Open a window. Warm rooms promote brain fog, fresh air and a little noise will help you stay alert.
  2. Apply Acupressure. Tap your fingers on your forehead, massage the muscles between your thumb and your index finger, rub the base of your skull, or knead the spot below your knee.
  3. Peel an orange. Or pop an Altoid. Citrus and mint aromas not only help you stay focused, but they also reduce anxiety and frustration.
  4. If you are the boss have mercy. Don't schedule meetings between 1pm and 4pm. People get drowsy after lunch.

Mind you if these kind of meetings are happening often I would also thnk about giving feedback to the boss, or look for a transfer to someone who can inspire you a little better!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Set directions not instructions

To engage people you must set them a vision and an objective (first step towards the vision) and then let them get on with it. The fact that they may do it differently to you - don't worry. As long as they are within you boundaries of values give them the freedom to find out their own path to success. That freedom shows trust and respect - it may also help you to learn something new!

Too may managers give step by step guides of not just what to do but also how to do it...leaving the employee thinking why bother the manager might as well do it themselves.

So remember give the destination not the path - even if they get lost, coach them how to refind the path.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Nothing to Fear but Fear itself

What frightens you? Or what frightens someone else in your team? No doubt presenting is up there somewhere! Fear is good, it pumps the adrenaline that you require to reach peak performance. But there are 3 things that you need to do to conquer fear:

1) Recognise the fear and realise presenting isn't the issue - fear is the problem.

2) Decide to welcome the fear and just like any muscle in your body you need to train your mind to cope with the weight of expectation. Do this as any other up gradually. Present to your mates, present to a small circle, then a team meeting, then slightly bigger. But don't rush this process, practice builds your it gradually.

3) As you move through recognise your progress - give your mind a well done. Each time you speak is another step on the way to conquering the fear.....

Friday, August 04, 2006

Don't wait for Company Surveys

There are two key basic needs of any employee, which if addressed will help their motivation.
  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the right tools to do my job effectively?

These 2 questions are basic needs, for all the lovely extra's you will not make up for any deficiencies in answering the above. Don't wait for a survey...ask, walk around, listen, watch and make sure that every person has these 2 areas covered.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Promises, Delivery, Respect

One piece of advice that I read from Marcus Buckingham that has stayed with me is this

Make only a few promises, but keep them all.

Great words as you gain respect with family, friends, colleagues from delivering what you promise. Over promising is the scourge of work.....promise and deliver on the few key items that will make a difference.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Working Too Longer Hours?

Quote for you to think upon from Sam Ewing

"Its not the hours you put into your work, its the work you put into the hours"

In a world that is struggling for life/work balance...note I always put this the opposite round as it is Life that is the most important! ..... you do have enough time - honest. You write down at the start of the day 3 key achievements for the day, and whatever distractions ensure that these 3 points are completed.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Learning but not Comparing

A great phrase to keep in mind is "Learn from everyone, compare to no one".
Every person you work with has a talent, keep your eyes and ears open to observe people. Don't be insular and limit this to peers and can learn from everyone.
A great example is I learned so much from our cleaner/housekeeper on customer service in an old role...that lady made you feel special...anticipated your needs and always had a smile.
The key is not to compare....this is a big world there will always be someone who is better than you at something.....fact! Comparison is a negativity drain......learn and grow instead.
Look after yourself, achieve your objectives, work on your relationships.......if others want to compare great - your aim is that THEY compare to YOU!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Celebrate Success

We are quick to point out what has gone wrong. But don't forget to celebrate success. Success breeds success...getting on a roll and getting that winning feeling is an important part of building a high performance team. Here are some ideas, send in any to add to the list!
  1. Have a success board. Post memo's from customers - internal and external, articles about your team from the press, from the company magazine.
  2. Publish results and have a treat if you achieve the target. eg Ice creams, share a cake, let people leave 30 mins early
  3. Have a high fives session in the middle of your team when you get some good news.
  4. Treat the team to lunch for achieving a tough schedule.
  5. E-mail or publish on the intranet a well done to someone.
  6. Send a thank you card for work that goes that extra mile.
  7. Give the team a small budget for them to decide how to celebrate.

Come on every one of us likes success...bring it to the fore, make it part of the culture.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Clear Messages

When you want to know that your email has arrived, you can have receipt stamp. Interesting, in email people understand that it is important that the message is received. However, when we verbally give messages do we check with the same fervour?
One key thing is having a very clear objective about what you are trying to say, what effect do you want? Then once having said it, you need to check what the recipient has may be different to what your objective was! So ask them how they feel they will use the info, what action they will take, what implications it has for them, their team etc....

Verbally make sure that you receipt stamp!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Teams Need Trust

Trust is vital for strong effective teamwork. No question. Without it energy and creativity just drains without it. So what can you do to encourage trust to flourish, well here are some quick thoughts
  1. Look for common thinking, look for similarities within the group and reinforce this by taking about it.
  2. Deal with people who are working against the team. By ignoring their behaviour you are condoning it.
  3. Give individual objectives but also always have one that is based on the team results.
  4. Encourage interaction...create space for people to sit together, socialise. Hold lunch meetings....have break out areas etc
  5. Review team performance and look for reason why progress is slow and agree together how to remove the blocks.
  6. Listen, watch behaviour...... your eyes and your ears are great open as a leader for ideas.