Work hard, work harder

Moving into Leadership

I’ve been working with a lot of professional services firms recently and have been struck by the leadership demands being made on people transitioning into very senior roles. Particularly those making partner.

The step up to partner is a huge one and the pressure people are under is immense.

Getting to partner means you’ve been a superstar on your way up. When you get there, however, you move from being at the top of the tree, to being back at the bottom. Like the new kid at big school, you are now having to fight for yourself as the buck now quite literally stops with you.

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Strategy is Rehearsal

Strategy as Rehearsal

I coached someone today who has a personally very important speech to deliver and wanted to get it as right as possible.

As I listened to him speak I was struck by the demonstration of leadership that he was embodying in both what he said and how he said it. For me, it also was a brilliant example of how to solve the strategy/execution conundrum that is the source of so much leadership scholarship.

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Trains – going nowhere, slowly

It is the day of the 10th anniversary of the WOW! Awards gala at the Tower of London.  I thought it would salve my anger to write about the train “service” my local train operating company, Greater Anglia, “provides”.  As a  corporate entity it has about as much chance of winning an award as a chocolate remaining in a solid state in a furnace.

Today also saw the annual announcement of the increase in rail fares, 3.1% in January 2019.

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Words Matter. It Is Not What But How We Say It.

It’s been a while but today I am gladly resuming my publications. Today I will share something about feedback and how the selection of our words is important.

I once read somewhere that around 250k people die in the US every year as result of medical mistakes. Investigations found that more than a third of these fatalities could have been avoided if doctor’s assistants had spoken when noticing that something in the procedure was incorrect. The fact, apparently, was that most of these assistants don’t speak because of the negative reaction (even aggressive) from doctors.

Have you ever experience a situation in which you were in doubt whether you should speak or remain quiet afraid of being shut by someone who believe to ‘know-it-better’?

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Awards – which ones matter?

There are a great many awards schemes that businesses and organisations can enter nowadays.  But which ones are worth winning?  My experience as a judge highlights two schemes that are genuine and represent a true accolade of excellence.

What does success in these awards say about the organisation, its leadership and the team and/or individual who has won?  And what should critics of business and our public sector organisations take heed of?

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The curse of the accidental manager

On July 12th, the FT published an article headlined “The UK’s productivity problem: the curse of the ‘accidental manager”, you can find it here – https://www.ft.com/content/b96ce8f2-5dd9-11e8-ad91-e01af256df68.

Are pork pies good for you?

It is somewhat disquieting to read that the “Peter principle”, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_principle, continues to thrive in UK business.  Our poor productivity performance arises because too many people gain promotion into managerial roles beyond their level of natural competence.  However, in the firm featured in the FT article performance is improving.

It strikes me, however, that simply hanging up figures of Superman (is this unconscious bias by the firm’s leaders?), and doling out pork pies are rather superficial practices.  The only likely outcome of this epicurean approach is hardened arteries.

The firm’s performance growth is due to its managers doing something much more profound, i.e. the way they “serve” their employees, see Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Power-Servant-Leadership-Robert-K-Greenleaf/dp/1576750353/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1531821205&sr=8-3&keywords=robert+greenleaf.

At the simplest level, they should be talking to their employees as equal partners striving for success.  When this is achieved, I hope they’re rewarded with more than cholesterol laden pies!

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IF YOU DON’T WANT TO, DON’T…SAY NO!

Are you a “Yes-all the time-round the clock-person”? , Do you feel bad when you say No, so you immediately go to a “but” that opens a lines of real or unrealistics reasons to eventually say Yes?, Do you know why do you do it? Want to experience the “FREEDOM” that saying “NO” can bring to your life?, then let me share what I did to stop feeling guilty by really wanting to say no, and always ended up saying yes to everyone.

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Absolute Power

A terrible Injustice

Today I was had.

It’s not a great feeling and it’s left me furious. As I reflect on the particular circumstances of the scam (no crime, just a disingenuous shop owner) I find myself trying to understand the nature of my rage. Because that’s what I feel. Rage.

It’s shouldn’t be a big deal. I have a new charger for my mac that works, but it’s not worth the money I paid and not as good as the proper Apple product. So why am I so upset by the incident?

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I’m as mad as hell

A credible role model?

Brian Cranston won this year’s Best Actor Olivier Award for his role of Howard Beale in Network.  In recognition, I thought his infamous mantra, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” should fire us up not to accept poor customer service.  Otherwise, you have to bite your tongue and meekly walk away.

Rant and rave

Not long after his appointment as CEO of Barclays Bank, the “Montreal Marauder” to give Matthew Barrett his sobriquet, remarked in an interview with the Independent newspaper in August 2001, “The consumer, whatever they are buying, is long suffering. A service revolution is a little overdue. I find the legendary politeness of the English to be not in their self-interest. I think they should be ranting and raving at the service they get, wherever they are getting it, banks included. The consumer cuts business too much slack in this country.”

Why did Matt mention only the English? Why didn’t he include the other home nations?  From Scotland, if speaking today, he could have chosen the Simpsons characterisation of a Scot in the form of Orkney-born “Groundskeeper Willie”.

Alternatively, that of Robert Carlyle’s foul-mouthed, violent Begbie in Trainspotting.  I’ll leave you to search Google for comparable examples from Wales and Northern Ireland.

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