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

Why doing a Rylan is good for your mental health

                  Those among you who don’t follow showbiz gossip might have missed an important story recently. The story is about former X-Factor contestant turned TV presenter Rylan Clark-Neal, who has just returned to work after taking a break ‘for the good of his mental health’. Whatever you think of Rylan isn’t relevant. The fact he’s talking about mental health and took a break for his ‘head, body and peace of mind’ is. Publicly talking about his mental health struggles is a positive, and some would say brave, thing to do as having a high-profile celebrity helps brings the issue sharply into focus. Rylan has also gone on to talk about it further on TV and in the papers and admitted he faced a bit of a backlash on social media, with people labelling him ‘delicate’ and others saying they’d like to just be able to take a break after years of working. Whether you share Rylan’s view or that of his detractors, he is right about a break from things being good for your mental health and wellbeing. It doesn’t have to be a few months like Rylan’s, but anything that gets you away from the pressures of work and increasingly busy family lives for a short time can have positive results. Even a walk with the dog, going out for a meal, or reading a magazine for 10 minutes can help, especially if you’re feeling a bit low. Too many of us focus on our careers and thinking about other peoples’ lives (particularly those of us […]
By |March 5th, 2018|Mental wellbeing|Comments Off on Why doing a Rylan is good for your mental health

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?

Putting the hours in – but are too many bad for us?

                  Working 9-5, what a way to make a living, said (or rather sang) Dolly Parton all those years ago. Times have changed and we might not all work 9-5 nowadays with the increase in flexible working, but the number of hours we work has pretty much stayed the same. A standard working week in the UK is still 35-40 hours as it was back in Dolly’s day. What might have changed is that organisations are keen on offering employees a proper work-life balance and don’t expect workers to do more than their allocated hours and to make sure they get quality downtime outside of work. There are still exceptions though. A recent study by the TUC found one in eight employees (about 3,337,000) regularly work more than 48 hours during a week – a rise of 250,000 since 2001 so maybe the message isn’t getting through as much as you’d expect. Some of the reasons cited for people working these long hours include trying to get things done, and pressure to do it because ‘everyone else does’. We all have to put the hours in at work. That’s a given. But is working too many bad for us, and if so, is there a number of hours we should stick to at work to keep healthy? The answer to the first part of the question is yes. Especially if you’re stuck behind a desk, or involved in a job where you don’t move around much. University College in London found that, for workers over 45, those who were stationary for […]
By |January 18th, 2018|news|Comments Off on Putting the hours in – but are too many bad for us?

Customer service and social media

                      In this digital age (which has actually been around for the last 15 years or so) more and more customers are using social media as a tool for customer service. It makes sense as you can just pick up your phone and type out a quick tweet to a company. Whoever you tweet will get an instant notification and most organisations will answer pretty quickly too, so it can work brilliantly for both parties. But here’s the thing – it can also go badly wrong. Send a customer an email or answer their call and it’ll between the two of you. The customer might choose to share the contents, but it’s usually private. A tweet or a reply to message on a Facebook page, however, is there for all to see. And share. And comment on. Before you know it, your conversation has gone viral. That’s great if people like what you’ve done for the customer, but not so good if they don’t. Even if the offending message is deleted, there’ll be screenshots around for all to see. Virgin Trains showed how to get it wrong recently after a female passenger, Emily Cole, tweeted about a male train manager calling her and other female passengers ‘honey’. The train operator’s official Twitter account responded with: ‘Sorry for the mess up Emily, would you prefer “pet” or “love” next time?’. The point of the initial complaint was to draw attention to the patronising attitude of the original staff member. By responding in a similar way, Virgin made it appear as though that’s […]
By |January 9th, 2018|customer services|Comments Off on Customer service and social media

Which organisations are hoping for a better 2018

                  For some organisations, 2018 can’t come fast enough. Thanks to ill-judged advertising campaigns, allegations of sexism and harassment, and scandals around tax dodging, 2017 has been a year to forget for a number of the world’s biggest companies. So, let’s look back at some of the most epic corporate fails of 2017, and what your organisation could do to stop it happening to you. Pepsi Back in April the soft-drink giant unveiled a new ad that was meant to highlight police violence in America. In it, model Kendal Jenner joins a group of protestors facing a group of riot police. She offers a can of Pepsi to one of the policeman, who, upon drinking it, tells everyone to live together in peace and they all start hugging each other. The backlash was fierce. Pepsi was accused of trivialising the issue and quickly pulled the advert. Ouch. McDonalds The fast-food kings came under fire from bereaved children’s charities for its TV ad where a recently bereaved small boy connects with his deceased dad through their shared love of the restaurant chain’s fish sandwiches. McDonalds was forced to apologise for appearing to capitalise on the child’s misfortune. Their intention, they claimed, was to ‘highlight the role’ the organisation plays in its customers’ lives – good and bad. Oops. Dove Dove ran a Facebook campaign that was particularly disastrous. The ad was basically a GIF showing women using Dove body lotion removing their tops to reveal another woman underneath. However, the GIF started with a black woman turning into a white […]
By |December 29th, 2017|news|Comments Off on Which organisations are hoping for a better 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?