It’s not the end of the world if somebody does something wrong








Every leader in every organisation has faced (or will face) a time when someone in their team has done something wrong. By something wrong, we don’t mean gross misconduct, or they’ve attempted to bring down the company, but those little instances where they might not have followed your instructions to the letter or haven’t done something quickly enough, so a milestone is missed.

These minor irritations are often the ones that irk us the most, but they can be the trickiest to deal with. They can derail a project for a while and slow things down or cause you to have to do it yourself in some instances, but they’re usually not serious enough to cause any long-term damage.

So why do so many managers make the person who’s made the mistake feel like it’s the end of the world?

It’s probably because they’re frustrated and will take that frustration out on the perpetrator in the heat of the moment, especially if someone higher up the ladder is doing the same to them. Often these little mistakes can make a well-run project grind to a halt or high-performing department not perform quite as highly for a short-time.

Frustrating? Yes. A show-stopper? Probably not.

When mistakes are made, it’s usually down to people not being sure what they’re meant to do, or because they’re under pressure. Of course, it can be because corners are cut, or short-cuts being taken, but in most instances the majority of people want to do a good job and not make mistakes.

They’ll probably […]

By |March 12th, 2018|leadership|Comments Off on It’s not the end of the world if somebody does something wrong

Communicating clearly as a CEO












When you’re at the head of any organisation, how you communicate is one of the most important skills to have. In fact, we’d go as far to say not being able to communicate effectively could cost you your job.

You might think this is a bit far-fetched, but there’s plenty of examples where it’s happened, with perhaps the best-known being Steve Jobs who was fired from Apple because of his abrasive style, particularly when communicating with people.

So, what steps can you take to communicate more clearly as a CEO or leader in an organisation?

The first thing to do is never assume people will know what you’re talking about. You need to add context and make sure your audience, whether it’s one person or a whole group, understand your message. As well as context think about the tone of your delivery and how it could be interpreted. The simplest message can be totally mis-understood if it’s delivered in a way that makes it sounds you’re accusing someone of something, or they have no idea why you’re talking about it.

If you’re communicating a written message, flesh out your email, blog post or whatever form it takes with a bit of context, and then tell your story. If you’re doing it in person, use your whole body to communicate. Body-language is crucial – appearing hesitant and not looking confident when talking means your audience won’t believe you’re sincere.

Think about the level of your voice, what you’re doing with your hands and look people in the eye to engage and […]

By |February 26th, 2018|leadership|Comments Off on Communicating clearly as a CEO

Facing the tough decisions when you grow too fast










There comes a time in every organisation’s life when it faces some pretty tough decisions. We don’t mean when you might have to make cuts or restructure things because money’s tight. Of course, they’re tough, but what we’re talking about is the tough decisions you face early on in an organisation’s lifecycle.

A good example of what we mean is when your organisation becomes too successful too quickly. Perhaps you know the situation we mean – you’ve set the organisation up from scratch and have worked hard to get everything ready and the clients start to come in thick and fast. Too thick and too fast in some cases.

That’s when the tough choices start. Do you try and slow things down, potentially losing customers along the way? Do you keep doing what you’re doing in the hope that things will calm down a bit, or think about moving on to the next phase for your organisation, even if you don’t think you’re ready?

Which of these tough choices you make is up to you. In the short-term, the first two might be the answer, but eventually there’ll come a point when you have to move on. Taking this step is a bit like taking a relationship up a notch – you put it off for ages because you’re happy with the way things are, you’re not sure what will happen, and it can be a bit scary!

Most of the time though, it works out okay and it’s roses and chocolates happily ever after. The same is true […]

By |February 19th, 2018|leadership|Comments Off on Facing the tough decisions when you grow too fast

Are performance reviews still relevant in 2018?










There’s been a trend over the last few years for organisations to ditch performances reviews. These organisations felt a formal review process doesn’t belong in today’s workplace, with the system of singling individuals out for special praise bearing the brunt of their bad feelings.

They also argued that the changing nature of people’s roles makes it impossible to plan a week ahead never mind 12-months in some industries, and felt the added pressure of preparing and going through the process could reduce workers’ health and well-being.

Managers and leaders have mostly welcomed the changes as they sit down to discuss performance with their teams more often than they did before. As a result, engagement went up and people believe their manager understands them and their needs better.

On the flip side, it’s probably fair to say not everyone in these organisations’ HR departments was entirely happy. HR departments like to have facts and figures at their fingertips to analyse and have something tangible to base decisions on (like pay-rises and bonuses). They’ve had to change the way they do things and find other metrics to measure performance.

However, the performance review probably isn’t extinct just yet. As many organisations as has dumped them still see them as vitally important as they’re the only way they can monitor individuals’ progress and track their accomplishments. What they track, and how, has evolved and performance reviews are now a tool to help staff develop and grow.

This last point is worth taking seriously. Employees today like to improve and develop at work. […]

By |January 26th, 2018|leadership|Comments Off on Are performance reviews still relevant in 2018?

New year resolutions for your organisation










It’s that time again. That time when we start to think about what we can do differently as the new year hurtles towards us. For most organisations, this will be things like increasing turnover, expanding in size, and taking on more staff. That’s nothing wrong that – they’re all really good areas to look at, and we’d say go for it.

However, we’ve come up with a few alternative new year resolutions to consider for your organisation. You might feel some aren’t as important as others and might not help grow your bottom line. That’s fine. They might not all be relevant, and you might not want to implement them all (maybe you already have), but they’re worth thinking about as they’ll help the wellbeing and happiness of your staff in most cases.

Create a Code of Conduct
We’ve gone with this one first because we think it’s probably the single-most important thing you can do in your organisation if you haven’t already. We’re pretty sure you don’t need us to go into details why, but read any newspaper or news website from the last four months or so and you’ll find a story about an abuse of power and improper conduct. A properly documented Code of Conduct means your people will have somewhere to turn if anything happens and shows them you’re taking the issue seriously.

Close the pay gap
Another big issue for 2017 (we wrote about it many times). And we expect it’ll stay that way in 2018 as all companies with more […]

By |December 22nd, 2017|Employee engagement, leadership|Comments Off on New year resolutions for your organisation

Could your organisation do with a ‘Pep’ talk?










Those of you who read our blogs regularly will know we’re partial to an occasional piece about sports, and how you can apply some of the things we talk about to leadership. Hopefully you’ve read these and found them useful.

Well, we’re going to talk sports again. And specifically, how one man has really shown himself to be a true gamechanger with a new approach to his sport. That man is Pep Guardiola – current manager of runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City. If you’re not a follower of the beautiful game in general or a fan of the Citizens (City’s nickname), that doesn’t matter because we’re going to look at his leadership style and qualities, not how good his football team is (they’re very very good).

So, let’s look at what makes Pep, as he’s known, so successful as a manager, and how you can relate what he does to your organisation.

He has a philosophy and gets others to adopt it
Pep has won trophies in Spain and Germany before coming to England to manage and has done so playing a particular brand of football. It’s a style he believes in and he gets his players to believe in it too. The way his teams play is usually very different from how they’ve played before and it can take a season or two to adapt.

Once it does, however, it’s worth it. Sometimes you have to be prepared to not be instantly successful, while understanding you’ll get there in the long term, and bring others along for the […]

By |December 15th, 2017|leadership|Comments Off on Could your organisation do with a ‘Pep’ talk?

Looking after millennials in your organisation











It’s thought that around 75% of the global workforce will be made up of the millennial generation (born roughly between 1980 and 1999) by 2025. That might still seem a long while off yet, but it’s actually less than a decade away, so it could be wise to start thinking about how to look after this generation in your organisation.

There’s a good chance a fair number of this cohort will end up employed in your organisation, and you’ll probably already have many of the generation’s first-born already working there. This population is the first to not know what life was like before the internet and who came of age after the 2008 crash, so their expectations in the workplace are very different than the generations preceding them.

If you’re thinking all you have to do to keep these workers happy is to throw a few beanbags around the place, and offer a few trendy coffees at your canteen, think again. Millennials actually care about a lot of the things other workers do, like engagement, trust and being valued. But they also like to know what a company’s values are before they join and would rather have a great working environment (think a home-from-home) than a big pay packet.

It’s also important to understand how these younger workers feel about personal motivation and recognition. Having someone say thanks for a great job and to feel they’ve made a difference is just as important – if not more than […]

By |November 30th, 2017|Employee engagement, leadership|Comments Off on Looking after millennials in your organisation

Don’t over-promise once you get that top new job










Anyone who’s ever had a job interview anytime in their life (probably most, if not all, of you reading this) has more than likely over-egged the pudding a little bit when talking about their achievements during that interview. You know the kind of thing – exaggerating the size of team you managed or the level of responsibility you really had slightly. In some cases, you might even take the approach of ‘I’ll tell them I can do that and figure it out later.’

These kinds of small white lies are pretty-commonplace and, if they get you the job, then you can justify using them. But what about once you’ve joined your new organisation and are asked to present your strategic plan for the next 90 days, should you overpromise here too?

This is a very different situation and one where underperforming matters more than it did during your interview. Here, you’ll be face-to-face with those right at the top of the organisation telling them what you’re going to do for their company, not just trying to impress someone from HR who’s scoring your answers against other candidates.

Getting this pitch right is crucial. You’ll have big ideas you want to start implementing and want to impress the new boss. That’s natural. You’ve worked hard to get here and beaten other people to the job so it’s only right to feel good about yourself.

The key is not to let that enthusiasm and energy get the better of you. If you’ve been asked to talk about what you’ll do for […]

By |November 22nd, 2017|leadership|Comments Off on Don’t over-promise once you get that top new job

Does your culture encourage people to speak out?













If there’s one thing the tidal wave of allegations that have swamped the Hollywood film industry and the FA, BBC, and Houses of Parliament closer to home have shown, it’s the importance of being able to speak out. It seems one of the key reasons people have been able to act as they have done for so long is because their victims are afraid to speak out.

We don’t all work in the glamorous surroundings of Hollywood or the Palace of Westminster though, and some of these examples are very extreme. But if someone in your organisation wanted to speak out about someone or something, like their manager, a team-mate not performing properly or some of the things making the headlines, would they feel confident to do so? Would they be afraid of what might happen to them and the possible repercussions they’d face?

Losing their job, being isolated and not having anyone believe them are all genuine fears stopping people speaking out whether they produce movies, play sport internationally, run the country, or work in an office or factory.

As well as fear, another factor stopping people talking is futility. Too often, people keep quiet because they don’t think there’s any point. They feel they won’t be believed or it won’t make a difference so why bother? They suffer in silence and hope things get better.

Creating a culture where people feel comfortable about speaking freely is one of the most difficult things to achieve. A lot of organisations claim to do it, but […]

By |November 3rd, 2017|leadership|Comments Off on Does your culture encourage people to speak out?

Trump NFL trouble shows importance of choosing battles carefully










There’s a saying in life (as well as in business) about picking fights where it really matters, and not wasting your energy on the ones that aren’t important.

It’s a saying President Trump could do well to take notice of. Not for the first time, he’s found himself involved in a war of words with a group of people he definitely shouldn’t be spending so much time worrying about. Is it really the job of the ‘world’s most powerful man’ to even offer his opinion on how some of the country’s sports stars are behaving, even if he thinks their actions are unpatriotic?

Many Americans think his time would be better spent on things that are important instead of engaging in a personal spat with NFL players and owners, like helping the relief efforts in Puerto Rico and other parts of the world hit by Hurricane Irma.

Great leaders are able to understand what things in organisations are worth their time and energy. They know taking on every problem can be almost impossible and it can actually undermine their authority on something really important if they concentrate too much on something relatively minor.

The first thing they do is work out if they’re fighting against something because it’s one of their own pet hates – something they don’t like or agree with, but doesn’t go against organisational culture or company rules. These things can eat away at you and sap your energy if you let them.

Of course, there’ll always be things worth fighting for – you just […]

By |October 25th, 2017|leadership|Comments Off on Trump NFL trouble shows importance of choosing battles carefully