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Advice from Outside the Square

Category Archives: Change Management

How To Do Things You Don’t Enjoy In Your Business

Like me, there are things you have to do that you don’t enjoy. You know – go on a diet, exercise, that sort of thing! But you know you have to do it, and the consequences are clear, so you do them! I’m sure you have your ways to discipline yourself and to turn the mind from “have to” to “get to do!” But what about in your business? Sometimes in your business, you have to do things that, not only do you not enjoy but that you might actually hate to do! These are situations where you have to cold-call a new customer (I know I hate that), or you have to discipline staff for some inappropriate behaviour; or perhaps even having to learn new skills that you just know you can't do. In these situations it’s not about not having the time, or feeling uncomfortable – it’s about actually hating to have to do it! That negativity causes procrastination and delay, you put it off, plans stall, your to-do list piles up, and perhaps your business even suffers. These are not things that would be nice to do and which you don’t enjoy – these are things you hate doing but you absolutely must do because if you don’t your business really suffers! How do you...
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Build Value In Your Business…By Going Away For Three Months!

Has the title of this month's article got your attention? Who wouldn't like a 3 month sabbatical, put up your hands! Like many entrepreneurs and small business owners you are probably struggling with your work-life balance. You are working long hours, sometimes weekends, when you go on vacation you can't help feeling the guilt, your phone or tablet is always on and always calling for your attention even at all hours of the night. Yet the reason you started your own business, apart from the passionate belief in what you are doing is...getting time to do what you want. Just stop for 10 minutes (yes, you can!). Ask yourself why you aren't able to find that "life" part of the balance. Do these reasons sound familiar?
  • I need to really dedicate myself to this business to make enough money to take that time off;
  • I'm really busy because I can't afford someone else to do some of the work;
  • I have it all in my head so I can't leave;
  • I'm ultimately responsible for the business' success;
  • As I expand there's even more work to do;
  • ...
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Poor Customer Service Caused by Lack of Systems

There. The title has said it all. Poor customer service is almost always caused by a lack of systems. That's it, fix the systems and we can all go home early! No, of course it's more involved than that, but that is basically the problem. Let me take you through a real-life case study. I have a business that supports OTS Management - I won't tell you how because we are still doing business and I don't want them to feel bad. But once I explain the situation, you may wonder if it's you, because that's how common the problem is. Once I was able to show them what the consequences could have been, and showed them how to fix the problem, they became clients as well as suppliers to OTS Management. So what happened? (more…)...
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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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