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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Leadership is wearing high heels shoes and stepping strong.

Do you classify jobs by gender? What is your first reaction when you learn that the General Manager of a Regional Marine department is a female? Continue reading “Leadership is wearing high heels shoes and stepping strong.”

More about Space and More about Time

A couple of weeks ago I offered a playful connection between physics and communication. In this post, I intend to offer some insight into how to use Space and Time to improve the quality of our communication.

Before I do, though, it’s worth mentioning that this is tsp-uk’s one hundredth blog. In little over 18 months this community has produced a phenomenal range of content and insight. From the philosophical to the highly practical this space continues to be a dynamic and exciting forum to share ideas. Here’s to the next 100!

Now back to the topic in hand. My intention is not to give a class here, or offer some “top tips” but to explain how these concepts relate to my work and a couple of the ways I apply them in my practise.

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The Communication Continuum

What is it that gives other people confidence in you?

What is it that defines you as a credible, confident, authoritative communicator of ideas and vision? Gives you gravitas? Says to people that they should take you seriously?

It’s pretty simple really. It’s all about space and time.

In (not quite) the same way physics brings space and time together to form the space-time continuum, so it is that how we bring together our personal relationship to space and time will define our impact as communicators. A Communication Continuum, if you like. 

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Employment Engagement – A Vicious or Virtuous Cycle?

Employee Engagement – how do you go about it? Is it an annual event or integrated part of your culture?

Gallup recently published a report stating that only 15% of the global workforce is engaged.

 ‘Worldwide, the percentage of adults who work full time for an employer and are engaged at work — they are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace — is just 15%. Though engagement levels vary considerably by country and region, in no country does the proportion of the employed residents who are engaged in their job exceed about four in 10.’

It is undoubtedly a very alarming finding. So, who is responsible to raise Employee Engagement? The common answer is the manager. I do, however, agree about it partially. To me, it is a team effort. Everyone holds responsibility in it and following are my reasons.

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Living and Leading in Turbulent Times

Sweet Pea Lathyrus Odoratus

My recent period of turbulent times started innocently enough – with a neighbour giving us a bunch of wilting Sweet Pea plants (Lathyrus odoratus). The plants were not showing much sign of life, so I decided to save them. What then followed were a series of challenging events which, taken in the whole, have provided some valuable lessons for life. But this is not a horticultural blog so what I’ve looked for is how life informs leadership, and vice versa.

Now that I’m almost freed from the shackles of daily commercial endeavour, I find I take more valuable time to reflect on the lessons that life throws at me. My friend and Guest Author Domingos Silva put it so well in his recent Blog article: “I never lose. I either win or learn”. Domingos in turn was quoting from Nelson Mandela.

What were my challenging events – my turbulent times – and what were the lessons for life and leadership?

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