Thursday, May 19, 2016

Values, culture and change

When an organisation or group has a change of leadership there will inevitable be change.  The direction, strategies and way the organisation led will no doubt be different from what has gone on before.  This is not a good or bad thing.  
Change is healthy and needed for freshness to occur.  Every project reaches an inevitable end, every leader grows tired, every strategy will eventually become  outdated.  And so change happens, a broom sweeps clean and a new leader works to create an environment that they think will take the organisation/group into success.
Now not everyone is going to appreciate the change.  Some people will embrace it, others will be neutral and some people will get really ticked off as they may not be able to see the how and why of decisions made and they may not agree with the leadership style or approach being employed. 
Here are a few reflective thoughts I have had in regards to my recent experience of just this type of situation occurring.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate - when a new leader takes over it is important that they communicate what is going on and why. There can never be too much communication in this regard. When new members are being brought into the team, when older members are moving on, when strategies are being discussed these things need to be communicated so that everyone knows what direction is being taken and why. 
  • You just might suck - if someone challenges the decisions you've made, asks why are we travelling in this direction?, or just doesn't like the way you as a leader are doing your job - suck it up.  Not everyone is going to agree with you. Everyone isn't going to think that the sun shines out of your butt just because you're in charge. Maybe the way you're leading and the decisions you make suck. We all do it from time to time. Own up, face reality and figure out how to fix it.
  • Treat people well - in a boxing match the referee tells the participants that they must "defend themselves at all times".  The same goes for people holding leadership positions but think of it this way "be professional at all times". Not inviting some people but making sure others know to come to meetings because they disagree with you is unprofessional. Making decisions as a leader with no consultation from others and thinking you're 100% right all the time is unprofessional. Changing strategy, direction and invariably the culture of an organisation without communication is unprofessional. 
  • And the same goes for followers/participants - be professional.  If you don't like a decision that's been made then say so - but - in a professional, calm and open way.  You might just be the one in the wrong. 
  • Find ways to move ahead that are mutually agreed upon if you can't figure out ways to work together. If change is really hard, uncommunicated, you feel you've been treated badly, the culture is so different that what it used to be, you no longer feel that your contribution is actually making any sort of difference - then find a mutually agreed way to leave. 
But when things don't go so well, you're made to feel like what you've done, added and contributed previously is not wanted or warranted, when you get left out of meetings on purpose and are unable to challenge decisions made - then it's well and truly time to go. 
And here's another thing - 
  • If someone does decide they want to move on or that the approach you're taking isn't something they can support - the very least you can do is acknowledge the person for what they've previously to support the group. Even just an email goes a long way towards letting someone know you actually valued what they did do - even if there is disagreement now. Not acknowledging a person and ignoring them says a lot about you as a person. Try being the bigger person in the situation. 
Change is good. Change is inevitable. But the way you make those changes, communicate them and lead others on the journey is, in my mind, a far greater indicator of success as a leader than simply getting results in your own. 
And if you take over a position and people disagree with you and your approach then make it easy for people to part ways with you, Its a far better outcome for everyone concerned. 
Okay so this piece is me mostly talking to myself about how I feel about a particular situation. This piece does not in any way reflect upon my employer as this relates to an external organisation I was a party of. And to be honest if I had of followed my own advice (as written above) then I probably would have done things differently and would still feel that I could be part of something good.  So please consider this to be a reflective piece.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter everyone!

Have a great Easter everyone.  Everyday Manager is taking a few days off to unwind, rewind and run a few miles.

Have a great Easter and I will catch you back here again next week sometime!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How engaged are you with your job?

A young man (traditional story) and a young woman meet and fall in love.  They spend their days just being together and spending time discussing their hopes and dreams.  They talk of the future and where they will live, what they will name their children and how many they will have.  The days rush by in a blur and time is of no consequence. 

Have you ever had a job like that?  A job that challenges and motivates you?  A job that makes you look at the wider world and think - I'm in the right place for me right now.

So how can we get those who work for us to approach their jobs in the same way?

  • Purpose.
     When a newly engaged couple go out in public they pretty much have one thing on their mind.  The best for each other.  So how do we develop purpose in our people?  We define the purpose for our businesses and work units.  We thensell that vision to others and let them decide whether or not they want to engage with it.
  • Responsibility.  The jobs I have always enjoyed best are ones where I have been given the opportunity to stretch my wings and make decisions.  Key decisions.  Not just lame decisions but real key decisions.  Get your people to be part of teams and projects that will expand their view and think more of not only their job but themselves as well.
  • Accountability.  Couples with responsibility comes accountability.  Responsibility without accountability is like giving the keys for a ferrari to a learner driver.  When used correctly accountability will enable the people to whom you have given responsibility to have finish times and be able to move on to further projects.  In this way you create a seamless cycle.  What you do need to be aware of is making sure that there are further projects for your staff to progress onto as well...

To be honest there is no secret recipe or fail proof method for getting people to engage in the workplace.  The best thing you can do is allow people to grow themselves within the roles and responsibilities that you give them.



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's all a matter of 'Perspective'

Four young men sit by the bedside if their dying father.  The old man, with his last breath, tells them there is a huge treasure buried in the family fields.  The sons crowd around him crying, "Where? where?" but it is too late.  The day after the funeral and for many days to come, the young men go out with their picks and shovels and turn the soil, digging deeply into the ground from one end of the field to the other.  They find nothing and, bitterly disappointed, abandon the search.

                    The next season the farm has it's best harvest ever.

(Source: The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander).


Some things in life are all about how you see look at them.  It's not the age of the eyes but the perspective and opportinity that the eye's view that makes the difference.

What kind of eye's are you looking through?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Giving out some love to my peeps....

Friday on twitter is the day when people tell everyone else who is worth following.  It's otherwise known as the #FF Friday Follow.  In this blog post I will share the love for some people/tweeps/blogs that I follow and recommend to you all.

Twitter users.

  • @rgoodchild - this very smart lady does a fanmtastic job as a freelance writer/journalist.  She spreads her time between her family, her work and twitter.  Why follow?  Because she's like a box of chocolates  you never know whay you're gonna get!
  • @iceandy - the Icehouse is a business incubator set up and run by Auckland University.  And the person tasked with the immense job of pulling it all together is Andy Hamilton.  Andy is always posting plenty of interesting links and thought provoking stories that stretch our understanding of what it is to be entreprenurial and in business.
  • @rotoruanz - why are these guys good? Because it's where I'm from.  Simple.


  • - I am biased on this one because I have known Paul for years and years.  One thing Paul does right is he is always ahead of the game as far as technology changes and trends.  Pauls latest project is the NZTechPodcast.
  • - this canadian girl is all about the marketing.  She has a great blog and is also a great user of twitter and keeps people up to date what's going on in the world.
  • - these guys and gals serve up all the latest gossip and changes in the world of social media.  The weekly highlight is the Social-Lite video.  This is a 4 minute video that sums up all the comings and goings for the week.
  • - Simone is a marketing/media person who works for the ASB bank.  Her blog is a users guide to social media/blogs/twitter and all things connected to them.  A very pleasent read indeed.


  • DFJ Entreprenurial Thought Leaders Series by Stanford University.  This for me is the premiere business podcast available today.  They have all the best speakers covering a multitude of topics.
  • Manger Tools - these guys cover every scenario under the sun when it comes to management.  They are fully professional, down to earth and super sensible.  Enough said.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Feedback the Toastmasters method

One of the key skills that we practice as Toastmasters is how to give people feedback on their performance.  Feedback happens at every single meeting, every single week for every single person.

We have a three step method for giving people feedback that is tried and true and builds people up rather than pulling them down.  It goes something like this -

  1. Commend.  Start with telling people what they did right.  Focus on the positives of someones performance.  This way you build them up and they are receptive to receive the recommendation that you have for them.
  2. Recommend.  Pick a oint or two (at very maximum three) and let the person know some tips on how they could do better next time.
  3. Commend again.  Find other postive aspects of the person and build them up.  This way you leave people with a positive feeling and the person will know that the next time they will be treated the same way.

The great thing about this method is that it suits everyone no matter what level or how experienced they are.  So for new people you spend a lot of time looking at the positives and for the negatives you start with the surface issues and then build them up again at the end.

For people who have been in the game a bit longer you can focus more on the finer points of their performance and hone in on specific aspects.

Another great thing is that in a Toastmasters meeting you only ever have 2 to 3 minutes to comment on someones performance.  There is no time to spare and no time to waste your words.  So the feedback giver needs to be succinct in their approach and wise in their approach.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Management - the truth of it



This picture has two sides to it.  On one side there is a negative sarcastic connotation but at exactly the same time there is a whole lot of truth in it as well.  Here's my take on it -

  • Sarcastic take.  If people don't get out of my way then I'm goting to run them over.  So they better move it or else they'll be toast!
  • Positive take.  We need to work hard to overcome the fears, rejections, negative thinking of others so that we can spread our wings and soar.

So we need to consciously look at those people around us and think about are they helping us or hindering us from achieving our goals and mission in life?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book review - Blake: Leader

Peter Blake was well and truly one of the great leaders, planners and masters of execution within sport in New Zealand.  He was a gentleman and a scholar.  Of that there is no doubt.

What Mark Orams has managed to do is to pull together the real and tangible aspects of Sir Peter's leadership style and has captured then within this book.  There are a multitude of real life working examples that clearly illustrate the points being made.

From what I understand and have learned from this book is that Sir Peter was both a leader as well as an enabler.  The challenges that he faced werent faced by him and him alone but rater the responsibility and accountability was spread around the team.  


As with any book, photo or description of someone - the ability to capture the X factor is nearly impossible.  There is just no simple method of bottling that essence.  What this book does is it lets the reader get a feel for the magic, a sniff if you like of the chemistry.  When reading this book if you open all your senses then you too may sense the spirit Sir Peter as it wafts past on the breeze.

Feek free to dive into this book at any chapter.  Each chapter in it's own is a stand alone manual on excellence in people management and strategy.  The chapters open wih a direct quote from Sir Peter Blake and then the lessons follow on from that point.  And then each chapter finised with a recap of the general main points followed by specific lessons for leaders.

What I really liked most about this book was the can do attitude of it.  It is written in a way that the average person can implement the lessons of leadership directly into their own lives with ease.  This book is a how to manual.  Here's how you do this followed by here's how you do that.  Down to earth, easy to read, practical in every sense of the word.

The other great thing about this book is that it was written by someone who was there.  Having a writer tell and recall stories from a first hand experience carries much weight and also adds a certain depth and reality that supersede's an intellectual or academic approach from someone else.

If I had to choose one word to sum up this book it would be "Spirit".  Read this book and you too may begin to realise some of the spirit that flowed through Sir Peter flows through you too.




Monday, April 11, 2011

Shifting house and getting serious!

Please bear with me over the next week or two because I am shifting house!  Not literally physically but literally electronically. 

I am moving my content from a free/simple hoster like blogspot or posterous and am taking the plunge into having my content on my own website.  So why do this?

  • To get serious.
  • To be visible.
  • To own my own content.

I am all for using free and simple blogging services to start out with when it comes to having somewhere to place your content.  However when you have a website/product that you have a vested interest in be it – financial, time, blood sweat and tears – then you take it more seriously.

So after two years (which seems like forever already) I am getting serious.  LOL.  So please bear with me if things are a bit erratic for a week or two.  Normal transmission will continue again shortly.

Here's the moral to the story - if you are taking pride in your work and are being serious about what you are doing – then it follows that others will take you seriously as well!


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