Maureen Collins

Maureen Collins

Maureen Collins has a B Sc degree in Psychology from Edinburgh University and over 20 years of management and consulting experience in the African corporate world. She started her career in the mining industry with Anglo American in Zambia before coming to South Africa in 1976 to join AECI. She then worked for Afrox and the Barlow’s Group before joining the FSA Contact consulting group in1985. From 1995 to 2006 she was an Associate of Gateways Business Consultants. She now consults independently as Straight Talk.

Maureen has consulted extensively in the chemical and manufacturing sectors and in other organisations such as Telkom, SARS, Harmony Gold Mining Company and TFMC. Her current clients include Wesbank, Safmarine, Rand Air, Aberdare Cables, Ovations, Johannesburg Securities Exchange, Nedbank, Development Bank of South Africa, Gauteng Department of Health, and Multichoice.

Maureen’s experience is in management and leadership training; team building, and handling change and transition. She has trained managers extensively in performance management. The challenge of improving the quality of performance feedback given by managers to their employees lead to her interest in the field of emotional intelligence as a means of improving communication in the corporate world.

In designing the Straight Talk material she has drawn on her own experience and a broad range of resources to help people improve their communication skills in the difficult conversations they encounter in their professional and personal lives.

No, it's another train. We don't know how long our current troubles will last, if they will get worse before they start to get better, or how badly each of us will be affected. The immediate problem for everyone is the same. How do I cope?
Monday, 01 September 2008 14:38

Three little words

It's all very well saying 'Get your bounce back', but if you've really lost it, where do you start? You could try getting yourself into a good physical space, build up your energy, eat right, sleep right, exercise ... you know the drill. If it was so easy, everyone would be doing it! Alternatively, you could start to acquire personal mastery over the host of resilience competencies that you see in the self help magazines. But as we all know, personal development can take a lifetime. Then there's the more philosophical approach in which you develop a personal vision and imbue your life with a sense of purpose. And that could take two lifetimes!

Wednesday, 01 October 2008 14:38

Walking The Talk

Mission, Vision, Values, … The words roll off the tongue so easily. How much time have we spent revisiting them, strategizing around them and trying to align people with them! But talk is cheap. Walking the talk is a different proposition, and the problem with values is that what you say about them is irrelevant. It's what you do about them that counts. Test yourself on some your organisation almost certainly says it aspires to.

Saturday, 01 November 2008 14:38

Conversation is a two person game

Holding a conversation means talking WITH someone or WITH a group of people. It does not mean holding them spellbound while you pontificate. It does not mean talking endlessly and without allowing any interruption, until you finish everything you want to say. It is certainly not a diatribe against all the wrongs you feel the world has wrought you.

Thursday, 01 January 2009 14:38

Time to get serious

It will take some effort to get through this year successfully and I have been thinking about what the essentials will be to do so, regardless of your age, position or discipline. I think it comes down to two.

Sunday, 01 February 2009 14:38

Influencing Upwards

It is hard not to notice how much the current economic climate has created change in organizational climate. We used to talk about empowerment, creating accountability and personal development. Now the talk is of cuts and controls, needing approval, and waiting for management decisions.

Sunday, 01 March 2009 14:38

What happened to being authentic

I would guess that in recent years most of you have been to a workshop, attended a conference or at least read a book or magazine article extolling the virtues of becoming an outstanding leader.

Wednesday, 01 April 2009 14:38

Back to basics. You sure about that?

It is a back to basics, all hands on deck, stick to the knitting kind of time. Superficially, it sounds like what we need. But have you looked closely at what is really going on?


There is a set of basic corporate values that some of us had started to almost take for granted. They feature in most mission statements and paper the walls of many a corporate lobby. The list includes words like communication, trust, loyalty, respect, honesty, kindness, care for customers and employees, growing people, and rewarding excellence.

Good stuff: could make you feel proud to be part of the corporate world, except that it is changing fast, and not for the better. How sad that crisis brings out the best only in a few.

Ask managers which part of their role they find most troublesome and they are likely to talk about managing the performance of people. There is general agreement that managing poor performers is the hardest part.

When did you last give someone positive feedback?

We often overlook the fact that getting the best from people can be as easy as catching them doing something that you value, and doing it well. You must be sincere, and it helps if you can be specific in describing exactly what you are complimenting. Other than that, it is really hard to go wrong.