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.