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!