Straight Talk Tips

Three centuries ago Goethe wrote elegantly, Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. 22 years ago Steven Covey was more direct when he said that if you don’t spend enough time on your personal goals and priorities, your life becomes irrelevant.Personal effectiveness depends on the ability to make choices, take decisions, and act on them. The extent to which we do so is a measure of integrity and the value we place on ourselves. We allocate time to things based on our assessment of their urgency and importance. Urgent matters are usually…
Some people tick all the boxes. They have all the intelligence, education, skill and experience they need. Their colleagues enjoy working with them and their teams are happy high performers. Some people tick some of the boxes. They’re smart, skilled and experienced. But they behave in ways that make them difficult to work with or work for. Maybe they always need to have the last word, or they don’t listen, or are given to outbursts of anger. Some don’t take responsibility, or ever apologise. Sometimes our flaws are mere quirky eccentricities that lend us character: sometimes they’re annoying habits that…
It’s hard to believe that in another couple of months Christmas goods will be in the shops and most companies will be in the throes of end of year performance appraisals. Performance appraisals still arouse strong emotions: expectations and disappointment over salary increases and bonuses; alarm at the time they require; apprehension that interviews will go badly and end up in argument; frustration amongst employees whose managers are out of touch with what they’ve been doing; and equal frustration amongst managers when people still aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do. Do your homework. Gather the facts about the performance…
I learned a new TLA recently; EDI, Electronic Displays of Insensitivity. In recent research by the Vitalsmarts group, 90% of people agreed you should not answer text messages or check social media in public. But over 60% of them reported that they experience EDIs frequently in meetings, at the dinner table and in customer service interactions. Meetings cannot be effective when people are distracted and disengaged, surreptitiously multitasking with their smart phones. Information that is shared is not properly considered or understood. Afterwards people may even claim it was not presented. Decisions have to be revisited because people who were…
The executive’s response to the presentation on the computerized performance management process seemed positive. ‘This looks very good’ he said. ‘Now I won’t have to spend so much time on performance appraisals’. I think he missed the point. While managers are drowning in e-mail and meetings, performance problems aren’t solving themselves and edgy relationships are descending deeper into backbiting and cat-fighting. We bemoan the country’s low productivity but we’re making it worse. In most studies of how to motivate and engage people in ways other than cash, three themes recur constantly. These are: praise from immediate managers, leadership attention, in…