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Advice from Outside the Square

Category Archives: Organisational Development

What Does Your Vision Statement Mean?

Let me ask those of you who are Chairpersons, Directors and CEO's of Indigenous organisations: "Do you really know what your vision statement means?" Do you know what your organisation will look like when you have got there? How will your people behave in the future - do they behave as the vision statement imagines they might? I have been helping Indigenous organisations prepare strategic and business plans for decades. All too often, I see organisations with a Vision Statement that is printed in plans, brochures, documents and written on the "About Us" page of their websites. And yet, when I ask those questions, although people might say "sure, we do," they can rarely translate their vision into concrete steps and goals to help them actually work towards their vision. All too often the published Vision Statement is a nice set of words that don't mean anything in their work. I have to ask, why don't people make more of their Vision Statement? Why isn't their Vision Statement the ultimate goal of all planning and operational management? How do you make it so? (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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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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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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