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Advice from Outside the Square

Category Archives: Teamwork

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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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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Stop Micro-managing!

I had a meeting with a client yesterday. Amongst other issues we discussed the fact that even as her company grew, she had to continually look over people's shoulders, tell them not only what to do, but also how to do it in a satisfactory way. When I asked her what was a "satisfactory way" she explained that it was the way she would have done it, the way her customers had come to expect how her company would do it. She gave me an example where her version of "satisfactory" included a hand-written note to the customer the next day to see if the product met his needs and if she needed to explain any aspect of it to him. In other words quality was not a fixed value but a set of behaviours that had come to represent what the customer wanted. Only, she seemed to be the only one in the growing company who seemed to understand that, despite her experienced (and expensive) new hires. Readers will tell me this is not uncommon. When you start a small business, often you and your key team members know exactly what to do, and how to "do it satisfactorily" because you...
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Three things to check to find the “best-fit” staff to your team

I provide strategic consulting services to Not-for-Profit clients who perhaps are not best equipped or experienced to apply corporate procedures that most of us would find "normal". However, when an NFP has a highly-paid CEO that once worked senior positions in significant banking and investment companies, you'd expect better. I was asked to assist in recruitment interviews for a General Manager position by the CEO of an NFP that I have had a relationship with earlier in their history. In fact, I had participated in earlier interviews for various finance staff recruited by this CEO when he had first arrived, and in the process had provided to the organisation a recruitment "checklist" for those earlier interviews. So, imagine my surprise when the CEO asked me to assist in the GM interviews, and I discovered that a complete Job Description was still being discussed, that an advertisement had been published without reference to key details such as employer industry and location (regional town), and before other details such as remuneration ranges and basic terms had been agreed internally. Having heard this, it was no surprise to me to learn that various highly qualified potential candidates had made initial inquiries, and when told...
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