Blog

A recent article in the Bloomberg Business Week emphasises – again – that it’s soft skills which determine your long term career success.  Roxanne Hori, the associate dean of corporate partnerships at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management advises students planning their MBA classes to take as many soft skills subjects as they do hard skills such as finance, strategy and operations. Without doubt, hard skills are fundamental to getting onto the right career ladder. But having strong team skills and knowing how to build and manage relationships are just as important.  They become even more so in more senior…
I’ve been watching school children this morning on their way to the first day of term, thinking of all the things they’ll learn and all the questions they’ll ask as they grow up. We ask them questions. ‘What did you do today?’ ‘What did you learn today?’ ’What do you want to be when you grow up?’ Have you asked yourself the same questions recently? What will you do today that will make a difference and contribute something valuable to your employer or your clients? Will you learn anything new today, or are you coasting along on the basis of…
Common sense and research show that setting goals, targets, outputs or key performance areas is a necessary and effective way of focussing people’s attention and driving their performance and motivation. We put our trust in stretch objectives, challenging KPAs and BHAGS – Big Hairy Audacious Goals. But like all prescribed remedies, there are side effects. One of the most serious is that you get what you ask for. One of the most dramatic examples of getting what you asked for comes from the Ford motor company. When CEO Lee Iacocca announced the specific and challenging goal of producing a new…
In most organisations it is assumed that if you want to build a high performing team you need to set stretch goals and objectives. Logically, it makes sense that setting challenging goals and objectives is the best way to inspire the most effort and the best performance. The only limitation that is commonly recognised is that when goals are set too high they cease to be motivating because people see no point in even trying to achieve them. But there are other problems with stretch goals. One is that a heavy focus on stretch goals can promote cheating and unethical…
A performance appraisal interview is, in many ways, far more important for an employee than it is for a manager. It is essential that you prepare for your performance appraisals carefully and handle them skilfully. A good performance appraisal can enhance your reputation and accelerate or change the direction of your career. An interview that goes badly can stall it and damage your progress for months or years after. Employees consistently complain about two features of their performance appraisals. They find that managers pay more attention to mistakes and omissions than they do to giving praise for work that has…