Straight Talk Tips

Many organisations are in the throes of the end of year performance review and appraisal process. It’s the big one, attached to decisions about bonus payments, salary increments and staff movements. But it still amazes me that many people approach it as lambs to the slaughter, victims in a process to which they feel they have little input and over which they have no control. There are three questions that performance reviews should address. The answers to questions one and two must be clear before the third question can be answered fairly. What contribution are you expected to make? When…
The headlong dash to the holidays has started. It’s been another tough year. Weeks and months have gone by in a blur. You’ve dealt with more crises, more e-mails and more meetings than ever before. In the blur of busyness it’s easy to mistake activity for effectiveness, and endless processing of familiar problems as progress.Take a moment and ponder what you have achieved this year; with three questions. How much of the time that you’ve spent being busy has contributed directly toward the goals and objectives for which you hope to be rewarded at the end of the year? How…
There are more ways than ever of keeping in touch. It is estimated there are 6.8 billion mobile phones in a total world population of just over 7 billion people. In Hong Kong that translates to 2.36 phones per person. There are 1.317 billion monthly active Facebook users; 255 million using Twitter and 300 million on Skype. Social media keeps families and friends in touch. Political organisations use it to generate support, spread propaganda and co-ordinate mass action. Rural famers use it to share market information and best practices on crop management. If it were not for electronic communication the…
When you look for iconic leaders, there are some names that define the high water mark, and some characteristics that are unmistakable. Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela come to mind most easily: that both were known for their wisdom and humility is unarguable. In spite of the 300 or so years separating them in time, the lesson both teach is that leading isn’t about directing, driving, threatening or coercing. It’s about behaving in ways that communicate your belief that people are always more important than things. If you behave consistently and with conviction, focusing on others not on yourself, you…
Many companies are cutting back on financial incentives due to pressure from economic conditions. As things look unlikely to change anytime soon, we need to become more effective in motivating people with other means. In any case, financial motivators have a depressingly short term impact.  A recent McKinsey Quarterly survey confirmed three themes that are common in the research on how best to motivate and engage employees. People need: Praise from their immediate managers Leadership attention, especially in one on one interactions Opportunity to perform.   Nothing new here: it’s common knowledge. Unfortunately little of it is on display. Praise?…