Yearly Archives: 2014

Managing People? Learn about 3 skills

Yes, we have read about "Leadership" and how that is different from "Management". Yes, we are well aware that moving a large group of people towards common goals require vision and the ability to translate that vision to the employees. Yes, we are clear about how productive a vibrant and self-motivated workforce can be. But wait, what if we are talking about managing rather than leading (some of us remain "managers" of people after all). What if we are talking about managing the work of individuals? After all you can't "lead" 50 individuals individually. What do you have to do? Here's my suggestions:- 1. Learn to delegate, and delegate properly, making sure the objective is clear, the authorisation is approved, and the tools are available, as well as be clear about how often and how you want to be informed. 2. Learn to push different buttons. You will be managing a number of individuals that make up a team, but each individual will be of different ages, different experiences and be in different financial and social circumstances. Understand what makes them tick and push the buttons that motivate them. 3. Learn to work with different motivating forces - I accept good teams can display coherent behaviours...
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Do you have the skills to be a Board Director?

Having spent a lifetime advising Boards of small and larger enterprises, I now spend a considerable amount of my time sitting in Board myself as a Non-Executive Director. It is interesting to me when I look over the meeting tables at my fellow Directors and see what they bring to that table. I believe many Non-Executive Directors bring technical skills to the Board, and others bring their management experience having run their own businesses. This is all well and good, but I believe that being a Non-Executive Director, you need to bring a different set of more helicopter-level skill-sets. Funnily enough, I believe these skills are very similar, if not the same as those of a good leader in a business, or those necessary to run your own good small business, even though the extent of the practice of those skills is different. Here is what I think you need to do if you become a Non-Executive Director. * To start with, you need to learn as much as you can about the business and industry, especially if it is an industry you have not actually worked in yourself. You need to understand where the company sits in the industry and its market...
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How non-financially trained people can prepare a budget in 5 easy steps

Preparing a budget is "easy" for an accountant and small business people who have some finance training. However for many it is the stuff of voodoo. But when you break it down, there is no real mystery around the preparation of a budget, it is based on your plans and intentions, costs that you can obtain from suppliers, and some judicious making of assumptions and estimates. In truth, any non-finance executive or business owner can do it if they approach the task logically. Here are 5 basic steps to take to compile your budget. 1. Tell the story of your plan first. A budget is no more than the costing of a story. Is your story one of expansion, or of reduction? Does your story include the need for more staff or capital equipment? Is your story about opening more stores? So the first step is to provide a narrative of your operational plans for the period of the budget, usually a year. If you don't have a business plan, look at your business and ask yourself what you will do within it for the year ahead. List any new initiatives, identify any areas you either want to close or reduce in size, identify your...
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Four Steps To Simplify Your Message

Do you want to explain difficult facts to clients? Do you want to get a sales message across? The first few seconds of any interaction is critical, whether you know the other person or not. This is particularly important in any business interaction today where people's time seem so limited, people seem so aware of "that sales pitch" coming and are ready to tune off. Today's SMS and social media world seem to do nothing but ready for us to listen to tweets. If you want to put your business message across, whether it is advice, technical information or a sales pitch you need to tune yourself and your communication to that frequency which is most clear. I have found that the best way to do this is to use four simple steps in any business communication. First, meet people where they are, in order to take people to where you want them to go. If you want someone to understand your message, you need to understand what they care about. They may care about cost, or they may care about ease of use, or indeed they may care about something human like not being embarrassed. Understand their hot buttons, and acknowledge it before you go...
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