Are rich people less honest?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuqGrz-Y_Lc … [Read more...]

121s – The single most effective tool for improving performance at work?

I am continually surprised by the number of organisations that I work with who are exploring the ‘higher planes’ of performance management and the pursuit of excellence (using balanced scorecards, strategy maps and so on) who do not yet practice some of the management fundamentals, such as 121s, feedback and coaching.  By getting these management basics right I believe that most organisations can make substantial improvements in performance quickly and at low cost. What is a 121? A 121 is a planned, structured, documented meeting between a manager and a direct report held on a weekly. Why are they so effective in improving performance? 121s provide the foundation on which managers and their reports can build a genuine and powerful working relationship that provides the foundation for high performance. They provide the report with the opportunity to bring to their manager’s attention where they need help, support or permission to act.  Providing reports with this opportunity in a structured way will dramatically reduce the time that managers spend reacting to ad hoc requests. They give managers the chance to talk about issues that have occurred over the course of the week that may impact on the report – either … [Read more...]

Top Down: Bottom Up

Top Down Development Top down development is characterised by usually a small number of people recruited or elected to develop a ‘strategy’ that will lead to progress. The ‘strategy’ is usually accompanied by a ‘plan’, where costed elements are prioritised and scheduled for delivery in the full expectation that things will, as a result, get better. The strategy and its associated plans are usually supported with evidence and feasibility studies showing just why this is the right course of action and how benefits will accrue and to whom.  In recent years it seems we have stopped worrying about 'to whom the benefits will accrue' and accepting that the trickle down fairy will ensure that any wealth and wellbeing created by the plan will be enjoyed by all. Top down development is also characterised by: delegation down a chain of command to manage implementation - this is not always well managed fierce discussions about the correct allocation of scarce resources - this can divert us from real issues and burn millions disputes about chosen methodologies and the viability of alternatives - as everyone tries to get a piece of the planning budget piloting and subsequent rolling out of schemes and plans - a … [Read more...]

Some thoughts on Collaboration and Innovation

Don't do it unless you have to! If you know what it is that you want to achieve, and you have the power to do it without collaborating then JFDI.  Collaboration is a tool best left in toolbox. unless you have the right job for it. What are you collaborating for? Be really clear on what you want the collaboration to achieve, both for you, your preferred, chosen collaborator (more on this later) and your service users or customers.  What impact do you want the collaboration to make? Develop the vision and rationale for the collaboration - but leave the detailed planning till later Finding the right collaborators depends on having a vision that is credible, compelling and achievable.  But leave plenty of room for your collaborators to get on board with you in refining the vision and getting down and dirty with shaping goals, projects and plans.  You want them to be collaborators remember - not just hired hands... Choose your collaborators with care Make sure that your collaborators being resources, abilities, skills, something to the party that you don't have but that you need to achieve what it is that matters most to you.  Collaborations that bring to the game more of what you already have tend not to … [Read more...]

Paul Seabright on the Supply of Shirts…

If there were any single person in overall charge of the task of supplying shirts to the world’s population, the complexity of the challenge facing them would call to mind the predicament of a general fighting a war. One can imagine an incoming president of the United States being presented with a report entitled The World’s Need for Shirts, trembling at its contents, and immediately setting up a Presidential Task Force. The United Nations would hold conferences on ways to enhance international cooperation in shirt-making, and there would be arguments over whether the United Nations or the United States should take the lead. The pope and the archbishop of Canterbury would issue calls for everyone to pull together to ensure that the world’s needs were met, and committees of bishops and pop stars would periodically remind us that a shirt on one’s back is a human right. The humanitarian organization Couturiers sans Frontières would airlift supplies to sartorially challenged regions of the world. Experts would be commissioned to examine the wisdom of making collars in Brazil for shirts made in Malaysia for re-export to Brazil. More experts would suggest that by cutting back on the wasteful variety of frivolous styles it … [Read more...]

Management and the Start Up

I work with businesses and organisations at all stages of the life-cycle. Pre-starts, start-ups and mature businesses. I often see management DNA develop in the start-up phase and it is seldom a pretty site. Habits and relationships are set early and become very difficult to shake off. This is largely because of the mindset of the original founder of the business: This is their baby; They know how they want it to develop; They have exacting standards. Consequently their management style can be brusque, directive, bruising and ultimately damaging to the long term growth of the business. Ideally I get to work with a business pre-start and ensure that the entrepreneurs builds their management team BEFORE the business plan is developed. This way all members of the team can own the plan and a more open and collaborative management DNA can be established from the start. However this is pretty rare. More usually I am working with an owner manager who has already established a pretty controlling management style. Helping them to see a different way of running the business is tough enough. Coaching them to make it happen is even tougher. Often it takes a real shock to the business and the entrepreneur … [Read more...]

Horrible Bosses…

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Enterprise Hub or Duck Farm?

I visited a really great community centre recently.  Busy, friendly, homespun, clearly doing great work in and with the community. We were using several rooms, one of which was called the 'Enterprise Hub'.  It was spotlessly clean, airy, spacious and well furnished, just like every other room in the building.  But for the life of me I could not work out what made it an 'Enterprise Hub'.  It was not set up for hot desking, there were no PCs, no mail boxes, none of the usual paraphernalia... So I asked the centre manager about the Enterprise Hub.  The answer surprised me - but it shouldn't have done.  They were looking for cash to modernise and re-decorate the room and in conversation with the local authority it become clear that the only budget with cash available was in 'Enterprise'. 'They said if we called it an Enterprise Hub we could have the cash.' I love the way this demonstrates the inherent enterprise of the community centre management team in tracking down the cash that they need to 'get the job done'.  I am less impressed  by what it says about some investments in 'enterprise'.  I can just imagine the report to the councillors about the new enterprise hub... I remember a colleague saying to me at the launch of … [Read more...]

Dock Street Market – and the role of the Leeds communities

I went to a very wonderful opening for Dock Street Market last Friday.  It used to be a decent enough shop that had many fans and reportedly turned over a million a year.  But still it could not survive. Now the shop has been taken over by a number of local artisan producers and entrepreneurs, all of whom offer a phenomenal product.  We have fish and chips reinvented by the wonderful Fish &, excellent north Italian coffee and more from Bottega Milanese, superb breads from the Riverside Sourdough Bakery and more.  The people behind these businesses are phenomenally hard working and focussed on quality, service and value.  They are doing their bit to make the collaborative project a success. But my interest is in the role of the rest of us.  The fine citizens of Leeds.  Of the 700 000 plus people that live in the city, my guess is that the vast majority will not even know that the Dock St Market exists.  They are 'strangers' to the market.  Perhaps 10 ooo or so are aware of the market and certainly a couple of hundred rocked up at the opening last week.  These constitute 'prospects'.  People who know the market exists and may become customers. But customers so far, by definition, are a smaller group.  Having only … [Read more...]

The E in LEP is for ENTERPRISE

Not Economic. Not Entrepreneurial. ENTERPRISE. If LEPs really focused on encouraging enterprise rather than economic growth how would things change? If LEPs looked at how they create a culture where enterprise (the ability to act boldly in pursuit of progress) was the norm rather than the exception, a mass participation sport, something that was seen as cool and for everyone, not just those smart 'entrepreneurial types in suits' what sorts of things would they be doing? How would our communities change? What would happen to our economy? … [Read more...]

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