Trust, the fundamental requirement of management

Good managers require certain characteristics for success. Contrary to popular belief, being charismatic is not one of them. There are many great managers who have led their organisations to unprecedented sustained success with personal charisma no greater than that of a dead fish. There are many other qualities that sit on the scale of what…

The six most powerful questions great leaders ask their people…

During my career in management and consulting I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work with numerous entrepreneurs and managers. Whilst there were many things that were different, there were some commonalities – especially amongst the successful ones. From my 20 years experience, here are the six most powerful questions great leaders asked of their…

Putting Our People First

What is most valuable in an organisation has changed over time. Not long ago, it was capital – that scare resource that gave those with it an advantage over the competition. Early entrepreneurs employed capital in agriculture and industry for profit and growth. International corporate empires were built in ensuing years, often making their sheer…

The Secret Power of Rituals

Most of us have a general idea of our aspirations and what we must do to achieve them. The difficulty, of course, is in the execution. We also have a very human weakness of over-reaching for our short term goals and under-reaching our long-term goals. This often results in us, say, planning to run five…

The five duties of a manager

Management at its most basic, is about clarifying an organisation’s purpose and empowering its people to achieve performance. But what are the key duties of a manager? Here are five, collated from available research and our own management consulting experience. 1. SERVANT LEADERSHIP Above all else, good managers have the mindset of a servant leader….

Understanding Organisational Performance

Organisations (and individuals) must eventually consider their results. Not in a one-dimensional utilitarian mindset but in the context of their existence and contribution. This provides everyone – inside and outside the organisation – an understanding of how time and valuable resources are used and managed. In our management paradigm, people and the organisations they work…

Three steps to defining your organisation’s purpose

What should we do? This is one of the powerful questions we must repeatedly ask of ourselves and our organisation. In our fast-paced environment the answer changes all the time. It is why we may need to change the management mind-set from Strategy to Purpose. The latter is iterative, involving the entire organisation all the…

6 Areas that contribute to a meaningful life..

In an earlier article, I shared my thoughts on purpose and “how we would like to be remembered and lead our lives.” Purpose provides context and meaning that helps us with our life’s direction, our aspirations and our goals. But what does it mean in real terms? What happens next? For starters, life and time…

Is servant leadership worth the effort?

Many Christians, this weekend celebrate the solemn triduum of Easter commencing with the commemoration of Jesus washing the feet of his apostles. Regardless of one’s beliefs the growth of the Church is an amazing achievement for an organisation that began with just 13 men and at a time in history where there was little mass…

Three key factors to organisational success

What are the key factors to look for when considering the environment an organisation operates in? This has been a recurring question arising from my recent conversations with CEOs and managers, and one worth exploring further. In our PURPOSE, PEOPLE & PERFORMANCE model – the very first step is to consider the Environment (the other…

What limits us from success…and how to overcome it.

Last week, I spent a day with Lewis Trigger organised by the Institute of Management Consultants here in Perth on the theory of Constraints (TOC). Trigger is a global expert on Constraint Innovation having dedicated the last few decades to it, studying first under Eliyahu M. Goldratt who originated the theory of constraints (TOC) and…

How do we spend our time…

“Time,” as Peter Drucker said, “is our scarcest and most precious resource. You can obtain greater quantities of every other resource except time.” PRIORITIES Purpose! It is not just about getting things done, but about getting the right things done. For there is nothing worse than performing with excellence those things that need not be…

Winning isn’t everything

Winning isn’t everything – It’s just as important to follow the compass as it is to check the clock when pursuing our personal best.

Is it time to abandon annual performance reviews?

(This is part#2 of a series on PEOPLE – see part#1 here) Managers and leaders have to re-wire their organisations to evolve in order to satisfy these needs and still perform in a competitive and challenging environment. They need to constantly calibrate their purpose in an ever-changing global marketplace. What is irrefutable, is that the…

How will we lead our lives?

Life happens! Our environment shapes it and we adapt – until a defining moment when we must all pause and question: How will we live our life?
It takes curiosity and courage to ask ourselves how will we be remembered and to live in accordance to those values.
For it is not how long we live, but simply how?

The urgency delusion of work

The immediacy of our work environments have had numerous positive and negative implications on how we perform. One phenomenon, is the sense of urgency that has permeated everything we do in the work place. The addiction to ubiquitous screens endlessly screaming for our attention has only worsened our consciousness. It has led to a delusion…

Focusing on the person – the primacy of the individual

There are no teams! There are no departments. There are no business units. There are no customers and there are no suppliers. There are, however, individuals who comprise all of the above! The human person. It is the human in management that must take primacy at all times. Teams don’t under perform – individuals in…

Eliminating the weakest link

The management practice of maximising an individual’s strengths and making their weaknesses irrelevant is rightfully becoming widespread these days. However, this will only be successful if weaknesses are above a certain acceptable level. A person with a speaking difficulty or hearing impediment will not make a good telephone receptionist. Similarly, as discussed earlier, one’s strength…

Managing for the short and long term

In the not too distant past, when time and weather permitted, I used to find myself on a stand-up paddle board on Perth’s beautiful Swan river. Over the hour-long paddle the often calm waters could turn into quite a swell depending on the wind and passing boats. Negotiating these unsteady times involved keeping one eye…

Beware of the first straw on the camel’s back

There is an old saying about the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Whilst this is a valid statement, in management, one must pay more attention to the first straw. Whether it’s people, processes, the economy, markets, even disruptive technologies the first significant sign of change is important. Ignoring it, just like ignoring a…

The true test for Management is Performance

In a recent conversation with an ex-colleague, I was asked the question: “What must I do to go to the next level in my career?”. Answering it took some thought and consideration. There are two types of people in an organisation: managers and non-managers – and the answer to that question differs considerably for both…

The four steps to developing your business strategy

This week, I had the privilege of spending some time with post-graduate business students from the local university. The topic for discussion was creating a business plan. The conversation gave me an opportunity to reflect on the matter and put some of my thoughts in writing. Following are the four ‘C’s to consider when developing…

How to address concerns in the workplace

During my time in the work-place, I’ve witnessed the ‘spray’ at all levels: staff meetings, management get-togethers, and locker rooms.  This is where the boss addresses the entire group with a generalised outburst on what’s wrong and how it needs to be fixed. As a young manager, I have been guilty of this on many…

The 2 key functions of the modern manager

For too long management has been mistaken for authoritative control of people. Where a manager is a powerful figure…almost dictatorial…ruling over his workers in the pursuit of efficiencies. The decline in the number of manual workers and the ubiquity of the knowledge worker has required a re-think. Knowledge workers today are often experts in their…

7 Steps to full engagement with your people…

You don’t hire just a hand, the whole person comes to work! Managers today must understand that they employ the entire person – regardless of the role. This requires full engagement with the individual, which can be achieved by focusing on the following seven areas: 1. Understanding context Getting to know the person, their family…

3 ways to grow your organisation’s revenue

 Growing revenues and profits in any organisation must be an ongoing focus. With the ever changing environment, disruptive technologies and new opportunities and challenges, a culture of growth must be encouraged and embedded into the routine. A structured model to do this on a regular basis may sometimes be helpful. The diagram above proposes a…

The 5 negatives of interruptions during work

Getting interrupted whilst working or managing a project can be annoying. However, recent research suggests the negative effects can be a lot worse. In 2013, Erik Altmann and Zach Hambrick of Michigan State University and Gregory Trafton of the US Naval Research Laboratory found that brief interruptions, even as low as 2.8 seconds resulted in…

Budget for growth to ensure organisational success

As we enter a new financial year, most companies have been through the process of financial forecasting or budgeting. Notwithstanding, as argued before, that a 12-month cycle may be too long a time-frame for such a process it is a requirement for various reasons. It also does provide the basis for medium-term planning. The annual…

Schedule your priorities not prioritise your schedule

For a long time now, time management experts have extolled the virtues of tasks or schedules and then to prioritise them. Whilst this in itself is a good endeavour, a more effective method to achieve one’s outcomes is to set key priorities and to schedule them. Too often our days and weeks are dictated by…

Focus on the outside

As managers, it is often easy to get caught up in the everyday. The constant demands of the email in-box, the regular board and management meetings, the routine of operations or the unending unforeseen issues that require your attention can be quite consuming. However, a key function of the manager is to interpret the outside…

Core competence – Individuals in the organisation

We’ve discussed the strengths/weaknesses theory previously, but how does it work best in an organisation? One’s management of one’s strengths and weaknesses is critical in managing one’s self and career. Most people don’t quite know what their weaknesses are, let alone their strengths. Identifying them through self-analysis and feedback-analysis is an important starting point. Doing…

Pursue your strengths and give back until it hurts

Following are my notes from a recent talk at the Perth Young Professional meeting on 23 April 2015. The world is changing at an accelerated pace. Five-year and three-year plans are no longer reliable. They are almost redundant. The taxi industry, for example, would never have predicted the transformation of its business model three to…

Outsourcing Life

BPO or Business Process Outsourcing is the buzz word of this decade, pioneered by the Indians who through their insatiable desire for education and knowledge have raised a generation of English-speaking graduates in their millions waiting to serve the world. But whilst the Indians may have specialised in outsourcing business processes, we in the western…

The Integrity Myth

In almost any poll of managers, employees, CEO’s or leaders, integrity is always rated in the top three values they aspire to, see themselves as having, or require in the organisation’s they work for. It has almost become a buzz word. Some have argued that it should surpass core values in organisations and become a…

Strengths and Weaknesses

Something I’ve learnt in management over the years is how to deal with a person’s strengths and weaknesses. There is a tendency amongst many managers to focus on weaknesses of employees and constantly work to improve them. I believe addressing weaknesses is an individual pursuit and should not be a major focus of management. Of…

5 Steps to being more effective

Distractions have a major impact on anything we do at work and at home. Unfortunately, technology has only increased and magnified these distractions. In the past we’ve had to deal with just the phone and the walk-ins that break down our ability to stay focused and get things done. Now it is emails, social media,…