Blog list ...

Workspace and productivity

How does the physical work environment affect employees?

The environment around us has a major impact on our happiness and is an important factor as we consider how to motivate staff to increase productivity. For example, a fascinating study recorded by Science Direct revealed how children perform around 16% better when the environment suits learning. The three key components appear to be:

  1. Naturalness: light, sound, temperature, air quality and links to nature. 
  2. Individualisation: ownership, flexibility and connection.
  3. Stimulation (appropriate level of): complexity and colour.
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Managing organisational change

 Get ahead of the change!

When an organisation must repeatedly change it becomes fatigued, but with training and insight for key staff it becomes easier than the traditional work harder mentality change framework that many choose to adopt.

Delivering successful change is one of the most pressing issues facing businesses today. How to win new customers, changing market dynamics, changing competition, changing product lines, new employees, and not to mention legislation!

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Why is stage presence important?

  ‘The only limit to your impact is your imagination and your commitment.' 

Tony Robbins

It is pretty simple to understand, but challenging to apply: to maximise your personal impact at work, you need to devise ways to maximise your stage presence.

In the business world, of course we do not think about 'stage presence' very much. There is too much to be getting on with, meetings, presentations, projects, client visits, reports, work winning, staff management, budgeting, the list is endless. Why on earth should we think in terms of the actor's world of stage presence?

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How to negotiate a deal

Winning for the future

Negotiation has had a bad press, particularly since Donald Trump said he was good at it. And on the other side of the Atlantic the Brexit negotiations have proven to be a hugely expensive political complexity finding a deal almost impossible to reach. Perhaps the time has come to reinvent ‘negotiation skills’.

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How to delegate as a leader...

"Don't be a bottleneck. If a matter is not a decision for the President or you, delegate it."  -Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense

How can we safely delegate decisions? Surely there is a massive risk if we ‘let go’ close our eyes and just see what happens? Isn’t it safe to stick to task delegation?

 It is easy to delegate tasks. All you need is an instruction sheet. The more complex the task, the longer the sheet.

 It is much tougher to delegate decisions.

 A great manager gets their people making decisions. Not only that but making great decisions. When we can do that, we have made the holy grail of management. We can duplicate our own skills in others leaving us free to move onto greater things. The main reason for lack of promotion is commonly described as “can’t do without”. It’s no good being needed, if we are needed, we can’t move on. Delegating tasks keeps us needed. Delegating decisions gives us freedom.

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Fun at work matters!

Psychology Today records laughter as the most contagious of human emotions . If you really want to influence others, bring laughter, that will do the trick.

I have a personal dream that a manager’s objectives appraised in the PDR include how much laughter he or she was able to generate. I can think of a few managers I have worked for (and no doubt you have worked for too) who would quickly be out of a job.

We have a major challenge with humour at work in that a lot of workplace humour is based on what we might call ‘banter’. This is the language of the race, the traditional jokes and teases that go with the territory of the job. The problem we have is that the territory has rapidly changed, and traditional banter can be seen as divisive whereas before it was seen as the glue that held the team together. Banter traditionally gave a sense of identity, of ‘us and them’. In today’s open and more tolerant society, that approach doesn’t work. Banter needs to be inclusive without being offensive.

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Professional networking tips

“If you were on a cruise ship that was about to sink, who in the crew would you like to have a great relationship with?”

This quote came to my attention recently. I have no idea of its origins. But it makes a very powerful point about the purpose of some of our relationships in the workplace. Often, we know a lot of people and shake a lot of hands. But do we know the right people when we need to?

When we look back at our careers, it is likely that the breaks we have had are down to the contacts we had. At some point someone acted on our behalf and pointed us towards a brighter future. They informed us of a possibility and opened a door for us. And why? It is likely that they felt they owed you something because at some point in the past you had been good for them.

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Effective meeting strategies

Plato had a point when he said “Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something”. He must have been to some of the meetings I have attended!

I once conducted some research which showed that managers spent on average 2 days a week in meetings. That in itself is alarming, but the more alarming point is that most managers felt that the majority of these meetings significantly wasted their time.

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Learning how to negotiate effectively

“Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing”. Carrie Fisher.

The hardest thing about negotiation, in my personal opinion, is maintaining the ongoing discipline of imagining how the other side sees things.

How many times have you ended up in an argument or dispute only to later find that the other side actually did have a good point? Maybe you couldn’t process this at the time because you were against the clock, because it was poorly explained, or because you just didn’t like each other. Whatever the reason, a deal was not done when it could have been. Like you, I have been there many times regretting that more wasn’t done in the deal when it could have been. Richard Holbrooke records how WW1 started because of a botched negotiation. It needn’t have happened. Quite a sobering thought.

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