Unspoken message of involvement

An inclusive culture can be a powerful thing in a business.

Involving people more – what effect can it have?

Involve young staff when visitors come round – ask them to talk to the visitor.  Give an opportunity to a junior person to visit a client, partner or a supplier.

What’s the message you are giving off to that employee? Read more

“Listen till your ears bleed”

Within the business community it is at last becoming widely recognised that if you want higher performance from your staff you have to win over their hearts and minds.  There is a greater understanding that people give more when their attitude to work changes from “somewhere I go to earn money” to “a place where I can achieve my dreams and aspirations”.

But how do you do this?  Employee engagement can seem complicated to achieve and every office has its politics and reasons or excuses why staff engagement is low and why it may be difficult to improve it.

But if you truly believe that your company will be a better and more profitable institution if you improve employee engagement then there really isn’t any excuse for not trying.  So you have to start somewhere – right? Read more

10 essential leadership qualities – and Boris

That Boris Johnson is a larger than life character is beyond doubt.  He is already a huge force in British politics and it is certain that we haven’t heard the last of him.  But now he is out of the leadership race for the next Prime Minister we can take a moment to consider whether he might have made a good leader for the country or not.

Good leadership is a hard quality to define and when you are looking for leadership potential it is easy to get caught up in personal charisma instead.  Which is why our Organisations Leadership Skills course takes time to consider a Leadership Competency Wheel that identifies all the qualities needed in a leader.  This is a great way of looking dispassionately at someone’s performance while not getting overly caught up in their personality.  This wheel identifies 10 qualities that a leader should express.  Let’s take a look at how Boris Johnson rates for each of them.


Is Boris truly a visionary?  Read more

Bent out of shape

A tree branch bent too far will break.  It has some flexibility, but when pushed beyond that it will damage irreparably.

Our British view of democracy and governance has been bent increasingly out of shape by the constant drive for closer union in the EU and its unwieldy bureaucracy.

The Conservative party has been bent out of shape by the strong differences of opinions about the EU.

Whatever your view about Brexit, Read more

Whose truth? – whose reality?

As Seth Godin said in his blog recently “Someone faced with doubt rarely brings her best self to the table.  Doubt undermines confidence, it casts aspersions, it assumes untruths.”

In the UK many business people are filled with doubt and fear following the Brexit vote.  That means that many of us won’t be bringing our best selves to the table at the moment.

With such deep divisions exposed Read more

Step forward and move on…

In our post-Brexit world we are starting to see occurrences of divisive behaviours.  Social media has been the platform for a considerable amount of  abusive behaviour in the last few days.  The vote was 52% to 48%, so in most companies with any significant number of staff there is likely to be a roughly equal split in the way the workforce voted.  Leave voters may be behaving triumphantly, Remain voters feeling sad and betrayed, and everyone is watching the financial markets and wondering how long and deep the recession will be.

The less-sensitive amongst your staff from either camp may inflame the situation by making sweeping provocative statements.  Read more

Staff reactions to the EU vote? – A time for reassurance

Business leaders across the country will be arriving in work this morning wondering what to say to their staff about the result of the EU Referendum.

You guys have got a tough job.  Whichever way you voted there will be plenty of people on your staff who voted Remain and are very worried for their future.  And even the Leave voters, while possibly jubilant, will be wondering what they have let themselves in for.

There is a huge amount of uncertainty now, with the financial markets diving, Cameron’s resignation and key figures giving their reactions.  And still ringing in people’s ears are comments such as those made by Donald Tusk (EU Council President) last week predicting the end of western political civilisation on a Brexit vote.

We have to stay calm and remember that this initial reaction will dampen down, but the issue of uncertainty is not going to go away quickly.

So your job today and over the next few weeks is to reassure your staff in any way you can.  Of course it is neither right nor fair to be unrealistic, but while staying in the real world, try to reassure them about the company’s ability to ride out whatever may happen.

It is all too easy for people in this type of situation to talk their way into a hole: for us collectively to talk our way into a recession.  And the way to counter that trend is to look for constructive ways to move forward, to be creative and to find ways to protect the organisation against the more dramatic effects of the Brexit process.

It is unlikely that western political civilisation will end.  That has to be a massive overstatement, but let’s not make things worse by wallowing in fear and uncertainty when there is great work to be done.

3 strategic themes for focus in a charity

Charities have to consider their strategy just as much as commercial organisations and sometimes there can be a mismatch in the language they use which makes it difficult to relate the lessons of management theory to the practices within a charity.

One of the most helpful concepts in developing a company strategy is the idea of Strategic Themes.  This was developed by Treacy and Wiersema.  The benefit of these themes is to focus your strategy, and give clarity to the aims of the company and how it markets itself.

The three themes are: Read more

Do you think strategically?

Strategy is an over-used word in business.  Many more of us talk about making strategic decisions than actually know what they are.  But for those of you who can secretly admit to not being sure – we can let you into the secret…

First establish your vision for the company.  It may be something like “We want to be recognised as the best quality provider of xxx in the UK”.

**** NOW STOP! ****

Setting a vision like that implies that you recognise that you are not yet seen in that position.  So something needs to change to get you there.  Read more

“Can’t do” – “won’t do”

Sometimes when managing staff you come across tasks that just don’t happen.  You keep asking but they get squeezed out or rushed through so you don’t get the result you need.  When this type of problem persists it often needs some careful thought about how to deal with the employee concerned.

Take an example.  Perhaps a situation where Jamie is expected to make phone calls to customers to check whether some support problems have been resolved.  It is on Jamie’s job description to do it, but he consistently doesn’t get around to it.  This situation comes up regularly and you keep asking him about it and yet it still hasn’t been done.

Why not? Read more