Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Praise vs Recognition

A recent survey shows that the 3 top peeves are condescending tones, reprimands in public and micromanaging. There is one rule that it important.......criticise in private, praise in public.

When emotions rise take a moment to think about your reaction. By doing this you will not destroy the relationship....don't let your emotions rule your words.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Eyes Have it!

To improve your relationship with people and especially your contribution at meetings, make sure that you make eye contact with people. Eye contact shows that you are interested and illustrates that you are listening and that you value the person.
Now when I say make eye contact - don't go over the top and stare as that can make people feel uncomfortable! But at meetings try not to be looking down at your writing pad for minutes on end. This gives the impression that you are not interested, bored etc. Look up and make that eye contact with the person speaking, it will also help pull your body posture up which again illustrates a more professional approach.
So the eyes have it....make it your aim to show your interest, to show your commitment, to show your professionalism.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Dr Joyce Brothers said "Listening not imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery"

Listening is such a skill and I use the LADDER approach - I can't remember where I got this from but it works very well
L= Look directly at the person
A= Ask questions periodically
D= Don't interrupt the speakers train of thought
D= Don't change the subject
E= Empathise with the feelings of the speaker
R= Respond both verbally and non verbally.

Has anyone else got ideas of how to listen effectively?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Difference Maker

We all launch new initiatives, new ideas but what is the difference between engaging people and merely interesting to create one thoughtful detail.
Something that they didn't expect.
When you launch, or do a team brief etc....add that seasoning...think about a little thoughtful detail that will make it stand out. It may be in the design or the service. Think about what the customer wants and then take it one step further......that is when you know that you truly delight the customer!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


"Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat him as he could be, and he will become what he should be" Jimmy Johnson

One key frustration for me are those managers who do not see the potential in people. People are often capable of so much more than they realise. It is your role to bring out the potential and build the self confidence so that they can achieve that potential. Some questions to ask yourself:
  1. Do you have a reputation for building peoples confidence?
  2. Do you provide a positive environment for people to make a mistake and help them see this as a learning?
  3. The development of my people is one of my key objectives?
  4. Do you clearly state what is expected of them and show them what they can achieve and who they can become?
  5. Do you listen, really listen or do you just hear the words while you are forming your response?
  6. Do you have a pool of talent for the future?

These questions will help you frame in your mind how seriously you take the development of your people. Be honest, the best feedback that you can get, is in the mirror if you are willing to be honest with yourself.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


My favourite quote comes from Edgar Shalton who states

"Do something. Either lead, follow or get out of my way!"

I love this - simply because even the words give the sense of action. Too many people think of all the obstacles, reason why they can't do something, the problems......sure you can do that and be miserable! I prefer to take a small step forward every day and be happy!....sometimes leading, sometimes following but trying not to be in the way. Success needs action, make a decision you can always tweak later on. But not making a decision at all, is accepting mediocrity and accepting the problems....go on try it take action!

Monday, May 22, 2006

goals Remind Yourself

A great way to keep your goals top of mind is to use your screen saver or your wallpaper on your mobile phone. You can put on here your goals, or use it to put affirmations on it. A quick, free way to speak to your subconscious.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Positive Self Talk

Great trick to use when you are struggling with learning something new, or overcoming a problem. Instead of saying "I can't do it" say "I haven't quite mastered it yet". This convinces your brain that you believe that you will achieve it....thus positive self talk moves you forward.

Other words to avoid are can't, never, it's no use.....always remember one thing you can achieve anything if you want to......

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Bill Gates of Microsoft says that it is only through focus that you achieve matter how capable you are.

Focus is necessary to achieve, too often every problem arives on your desk and you get drawn into dealing with it.
Today, sit down and write 8 words about what your role is really about. Then look at your to do list and prioritise the items that will move you towards your goals. Don't be sidetracked by issues that you can delegate or that are non critical. Success depends on achievement. Turn the email off - look at it 3 times a day. Delegate those tasks that can be - even though you enjoy doing them. Focus on what is really important - and if you dont know what that is, then your focus needs to be on determining it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Managing Your Time

How do you spend you day, week, month?

The way you spend the hours at work says a lot about what is important to you. Look through your diary and ask the following
  1. How much time is dedicated to coaching. When I say coaching I don't mean managing workloads, problems etc - I mean real coaching?
  2. How much of your time is spent talking to your customers - be it internal or external?
  3. How much of your time is spent on your own development?
  4. How much of your time is dedicated to looking at the future and what you need to do to achieve the company vision?

Your diary will not lie! You have time to spend on the have 35-40 hours a week to spend how you want take a long hard look at the above, and be honest about why you are avoiding the above - fear, don't see it as important, motivation, lack of clarity, don't know how to - then address it. You cannot afford not to!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Customer Service

Bob Pittman of 6 flags entertainment found that the janitors were surly with customers. He went undercover and found managers were ordering that the parks were kept immaculate. The janitors therefore saw customers as a problem, as they were stopping them from achieving their objective.
Pittman changed the objective to keeping the customers happy and since a dirty park would make their time less enjoyable, they cleaned it up but in a friendly manners.
Now that is using goals in a great way and shows how even mundane tasks can be linked to a grander purpose.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Goals and Objectives

Do you struggle setting objectives for people? Do you find that the achievement of the goal is less than clear? Often this is because they are not true are using a strategy rather than an objective goal. An example: Increase product performance by increasing product placement. This is a strategy not a goal.

The goal would be. Achieve a 20% increase in product performance at retail by December 2006.
An objective might be - Increase the product team by 2 people by the end of the quarter.
The strategy - Increase product placement at retail by aggressively expanding our customer base.

The goal needs to be specific and focus on the measurement. The objective is a step towards achieving the goal and the strategy explains the support required and how the goal will be achieved.
Goals are a key management tool - are your goals specific and measureable?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Management and the Ability to Connect

The engaging brand podcast discusses the role of leadership on employee engagement. In this weeks show they discuss the need for connecting with people. I couldn't agree more. Often the list of tasks gets in the way of managers and leaders spending time with the people. I am a believer that the tasks can, in the main be delegated as a tool for their development, but the motivation/inspiration of people is the role of managers and leaders.

People expect that you can do the day to day tasks - but what seperates you as a great leader is the ability to connect. People want meaning in their lives - look a the ressurgence of religion - popstars with Kabullah for instance. If you want to get the best out of your team - ask them "How does your role contribute to the firms success and vision?" If they look blankly then coach them, help them understand. Therefore, in purchase ledger - they pay the bills, to buy the raw materials, to make the product, to sell the product, to get the cash, to pay the employees etc etc.

Make their role less of a task and more of a key ingredient to success. After all its true! Every firm needs everyone performing to the best of their ability. Does the job description read in a way that inspires? Do you have a visible flowchart of how each person contributes to success? Do you have objectives linked to the company vision?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A great quote from Starbucks

I came across this and thought it was fantastic. It is a quote from Howard Schultz of Starbucks and I hope you will find the same inspiration from the words

"Care more than others think wise.
Risk more than others think safe.
Dream more than others think practical.
Expect more than others think possible."

Print this out put it on your desks, put it on your wall, make it your mantra as it sums up what leadership is all about!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Use of Colour

How do you use colour in your workspace? How do you use it in documentation? Colour is a great tool to convey an emotion. No matter what your role, you are marketing your service in some way. Some ideas from the book Emotional Branding:

Fedex chose purple and orange so that it stood out in the reception area.
The yellow pages are yellow because this colour grabs attention.
Art galleries use red as a way of stoking emotion and potential buyers are more willing to purchase.
Green is used to show environmentally aware - BP, Body Shop

Think about companies use colour - and cut off adverts and put them on the pin board. Then get the team to think about what you can learn from the use of colour to improve your service.....

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Simple Communication

Do you struggle to keep people engaged when you are speaking? Maybe it is time to learn from Jack Welch
"If a manager can't describe a plan or proposal to me in one slide, I send them back to rework it because it means they don't understand it very well"

Often there is a desire to pack as many slides as possible but remember this can confuse the message. Guy Kawasaki has some great ideas but in essense keep it simple. Keep the message succinct - if you can't because it is "quite comlicated" then ask yourself - Do I fully understand this? Ask yourself the 5 why? until you get to the core reason.
The key aim is to create a dialogue, so allow plenty of time for questions. It is the discussion that will help people understand the complexity. It is the discussion that is allowing inclusion, giving respect to the thoughts of others.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Warning Signs

A hunter turned to his guide and said "This seems to be a dangerous cliff. Its a wonder that they don't put up a warning sign?" The guide turned and said "They had one up for 2 years but no one fell off so they took it down!"

This made me smile. How often does this happen at work? We register an issue like communcication - we believe that we address it in the short term and then forget about it. We are then blind to see how the problem remains. Think about this - great managers do not take the signs down. They leave them up by constantly speaking to people and listening to the warning signs from their teams. They don't wait for the disaster...think about what have you addressed in the past and have now let it drop off your radar screen? Go and get feedback, and never take that warning sign down.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Being a great manager

"Most employees want to do a good job. How they perform is simply a metter of whom they work for." This is a quote from Darry Leonard and it is so true. If we take care of the people there is a much greater chance of success as they will look after the customers and be a great advertising tool for you personally, and your business. One thing I would remember - there are few limits to the potential of your team if you don't worry who gets the credit. Successful teams illustrate a successful manager! Show your commitment by recognising personally the ordinary people who do an extraordinary job no matter what their job title is or the level in the organisation. Remember "People (both customers and employees) will forget what you said, forget what you did but they will always remember how you made them feel".

Thursday, May 04, 2006


The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology states that there is only a 50:50 chance of interpreting an e-mail correctly. That is an incredible statisitc but illustrates the need to speak to people. If you disagree with an e-mail go speak to the person, if that isn't possible then ring them. Speaking is the best form of communication and is also a great way of not wasting time on e-mail table tennis!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Creative Game

Do you want to stimulate creative thought in your team sessions? Try this idea from Creative think....
First think of a simple question "How do you stop a fish from smelling?"

Ideas could be cook it, keep a cat, burn incense, cut its nose off! Allow people to come up with various ideas and maybe give a little prize to the best idea. Use this 2 or 3 times then revert to a work issue.
Brains are muscles that need warming up, and this game allows people to give daft ideas without being laughed is a great way to get people thinking differently. People all too often stop when they get an idea....don't find others, look for the second right answer!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Communication is Power!

Too many people believe information is power....WRONG! It is the sharing of information that brings the power. If people struggle to get information from you they will just not come to you. People rarely get fired for over communciating!
This week try and introduce yourself to someone new, ask them about their role. Look for ways of helping them, and sharing information. Pick up the phone instead of e-mailing, visit people. Make sure the service you provide in the company is personal.