Straight Talk Tips

It’s resolution time: lose weight, get fit, stop smoking, reduce stress, play more golf, spend more family time, read more. At work it’s about strategizing, setting goals and targets, making plans: to become more innovative, launch new products, increase sales, reduce headcount, improve customer service. What all these grand intentions have in common is the need for change in our behaviour. You can’t get different outcomes from the same old inputs. And there’s the rub. Skills and competencies aren’t so impossible to change. With some effort you’ll learn the new computer system; and your golf will improve – a little.   But…
Did you have any lucky breaks this year? Did lady luck smile on you? Have you been tempted to blame things that haven’t gone well on bad luck rather than on your own incompetence?Most business leaders believe that capability, skill and hard work, rather than luck, are the keys to their success and that in many ways they create their own luck.  Gary Player is often quoted as saying ‘The more I practice the luckier I get’. But sometimes, unexpectedly and out of the blue, good things happen. Sometimes bad ones do too.You can think of luck from three perspectives,…
The end of year signals are appearing: holiday plans, exam preparation, shop displays and an increase in frenetic busy-ness. At work, it’s also bonus time. In difficult business conditions when it’s unlikely that there will be enough to go around to ensure everyone is happy, tough decisions are involved.Whether you are making bonus decisions or are on the receiving end of those decisions, here are some considerations.Are goals and targets fair? Bonus schemes fall into disrepute when targets are set so that they are easier for one team to achieve than another, or when a team or individual has to…
Spring - the season of energy and renewal. We tidy cupboards, spring-clean houses and sort out garages. In the garden we prune away shoots and branches that are taking up too much space or are weak and diseased, so trees and plants can grow strongly. Seasons and life cycles apply to products, businesses and even relationships just as they do to gardens. We ignore them at our peril. Entrepreneurs who don't realise that a start-up is a season can kill a business that matures and needs leadership skills different from their own. Product lines need to be shut down when…
The debate over work life balance has been in the news recently: first with the resignation of Hilary Clinton’s director of policy planning so she can spend more time with her family, and then the appointment of Marissa Mayer, pregnant with her first child, as Yahoo’s new CEO. Ms. Mayer said of her maternity leave that it would be ‘a few weeks long, and I’ll work throughout it’. Work life balance is an ideal that we all talk about, but in our ‘always on’ culture it’s difficult to switch off. How often have you answered e-mails, texts and phone calls while…