Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Grow Your Business

The quickest and most efficent method of marketing is to ensure the customes who use you now - come back again and tell their friends.

Yes, it is that simple.

Have a great Christmas

I want to wish everyone a great Christmas and a happy New Years.

I may post during the next week or two but most likely wll not.

The blog will restart properly beginning January 5th, 2010.

Thank you all, Jonathon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Managing Generation Y

One of the single biggest issues you will have to confront when dealing with Gen Y'ers is developing trust.

Here are some helpful hints for managing your Gen Y workers -

  1. Set boundaries. Many Gen Y persons have had very little rules to conform to, therefore they are more likely to go ahead with a project without fully thinking out the implications.

  2. Be flexible. Gen Y want to be able to dictate what they do with their time and when. The classic working day means far less now than it used to.

  3. Creativity. Give your Gen Y people ongoing projects and assignments to work to keep them engaged with the companys mission.

  4. Develop Credibility. Gen Y want to know you trust them and that they can trust you in return. Don't assume respect - earn it, test it and develop it. If you lose your credibility - you will have to work extra hard to regain it.

  5. Cmmunicate. Gen Y are totally savvy with new technoogies and using them as a means to speak to each other. Tr using social media and electronic message boards as your primary method of communication.

There is also a great article here by Km Huggins (K HR Solutions).

Alternatively, you can watch this video on You Tube in which Sylvia Ann Hewlett is interviewed for Harvard video and discusses Generation Y.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Great Leaders

People who have passion and drive can achieve great things in their lifetime. Check out the video below of Marla Ruzicka.

You can click here to watch the video on Google.

What can we learn from this? If we apply ourselves to a selfless mission and use our passion for good - we too can begin to change the world.

Ms Ruzicka was only 28 when she was killed doing what she loved. That is very sobering.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

2010 Management Goals

Here are the top three resolutions I have for 2010 as far as my management goes -
  1. Compliance: (a) the act or process of complying to a desire, demand, proposal, or regimen to coercion, (b) conformity in fulfilling official requirements.

  2. Excellence: (a) the quality of being excellent, (b) an excellent or valuable quality.

  3. Teamwork: cooperative work done by a team (especially when it is effective).

These are the three key section headings for 2010. My aim now is to break down these headings into specific sections and goals that are SMART.

  • Specific;
  • Manageable;
  • Ambitious;
  • Realistic;
  • Time measurable.

Watch this space for ongoing updates!

Leadership Interviews - Number 3

Check out this short interview with Pete Peterson, alternatively there is another great longer video over here.

Here's my take on what Mr Peterson covers -
  • Longevity rules. Mr Peterson has a proven track record over time which equals credibility. When you get to Mr Peterson's age and have grand kids - you care more and you aren't afraid to tell people what you really think.

  • Honesty is everything. Be honest at the time when honesty is most required - not a long time after.
  • History counts. The longer you are around or are able understand the past - the more effective your management becomes as you are able to quickly react to new scenarios and situations.

  • Do what you enjoy and what you are good at. There is no more full proof strategy than that.

  • When you've made 'it' reinvest your fortunes into those that either haven't made 'it' or are on their way.

  • Never stop thinking about tomorrow or how you can do things better.

Editors note - you may not always agree with someone and their views, but that doesn't mean you can't mine a wealth of knowledge from them.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Scenarios for Strategy and Planning

"The tales we tell are just as important as the facts and figures we learn. Stories help us try on different possibilities to see how they fit!" (Brian Fies).

Having the ability and making the time to glimpse the future is an important part of the managers role. Here's how you can get started -

  1. Imagine the future. Get wild! What does the future look like to you? How will you know when you have crossed your finish line?

  2. Think backwards. What steps were taken that created the end picture. How did you get to the end result and who did you need to get there. What money was required? Did you need venture capital? How many employees will you need along the way?

  3. Create practicable steps that you can implement today. Start with the smallest steps and then move on from there.

  4. Keep reflecting and keep updating the end picture and stay flexible enough to get there.

Creating a vision for people to work towards is one part of management. Working out what steps are required to get there separates the dreamer from the visionary.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Know Thy Self

One key method for ensuring you are progressing as a manager and a person is to engage in reflection time. Yes, this does include some soul searching but not necessarily in a spiritual way.

One great method is to spend the last 10 minutes of every day writing down your thoughts under the following categories -
  1. What went well today?

  2. What didn't go so well?

  3. What could I have done differently?

  4. What will I do differently tomorrow?

  5. What do I need to accomplish tomorrow?

  6. What do I need to finish the number of days I have left this week?

By reflecting and improving on the little areas in life then you are well able to make adjustments that will work better into the future.

"If we don't change our direction we're likely to end up where we are headed". Chinese proverb.

"The self aware person is able to gain an accurate and appropriate perspective on events in their life, and instinctively brings simmering feelings into awareness. The self-aware person is a positive person, and recognizes that there are only ever 'positive people' or 'negative people' in life, business or sport" (Lead to succeed - Craig Lewis).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Crisis - How do you deal with it?

A crisis can either paralyse you with fear or energise you to make a change going forward.

This week we have had to deal with a major crisis that fortunately will not have as much impact as we first thought it would have. Also the team came out the other side with a clearer understanding and sense of purpose than what we had before the crisis hit.

So what did we do to get through?
  1. Called a crisis meeting. All the parties involved were called in. Not just the persons who may have appeared to have been at fault but a wider selection of people. Those persons who were also able to solve the situation.

  2. Focused on the issue at hand. Move away from finger pointing, blaming others or trying to apportion responsibility to a person. Rather focus on fixing the problem.

  3. Made action plans. Every person in the meeting left with a sense of direction about what would be done to solve the situation. Every person will also be held accountable for their assigned tasks to ensure they are completed correctly.

  4. Created procedures and protocols. Solving the problem faced once is not good enough. Creating levers and establishing communication links for the future is the ultimate outcome.

  5. Reflected. There were a whole bunch of people who - missed it. We all missed the error and didn't fully appreciate the outcomes of our decisions. Through reflection we are able to ensure (as well as we can) that we will not knowingly make the same mistakes again.

  6. Came clean. Our boss went and spoke to the CEO as soon as we knew what was happening and was able to - build credibility (integrity and honesty) and take some of the heat out of the situation.

Don't get me wrong. There was a crisis and there is some fallout as a result. However given the fact that we dealt with it - early, with everyone and can move forward - we all get to sleep better at night as a result.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Leadership Interviews - Number 2

Wendy Kopp, CEO of Teach for America - is a great role model. Ms Kopp is listed as having a Bachelors degree. What does that say? You don't have to have a PhD to be a great CEO!

What I find really interesting about Ms Kopp is the fact that when she first finished her study she noticed a need in the community at the low income end and ended up starting a community and social responsibility company that seeks to help under privileged kids.

Here's the lesson - if you follow your heart, use your smarts and open to change then anything is possibe.

Here's another lesson - often times you won't change the system from within, but you can create and provide solutions from the outside in.

Here is a video of an interview done with Ms Kopp.

There is also another great interview with her written up by the NY Times over here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Change Manager

Change Management.

Definition -

A company or person charged with - adapting to change, controlling change, and effecting change.

Qualities required -
  • high levels of commitment,

  • motivation,

  • optimism,

  • self-confidence,

  • influence and

  • initiative.

Have you got the goods?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Great Reads

If you live in the South Pacific and are wanting to read something that is local and relevant, check out the following publication -

"BOSS" by the Financial Review. It comes out of Australia and constantly has excellent articles and interviews.

From what I can see the magazine has re-engineered it's content over the past year or so and is now capable of competing with other top line management magazines that are out there in the market place.
The October issue has the following article highlight's - Top bosses: the missing link, i feel motivated, The boiler room.
Grab a copy - you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Talent - what do you do with it?

Every employee you have and person you know has a particular talent and tons of potential. The key is to figure out - what is that talent and how do you make the most of it?

Talented people generally are on the move (either upwards or sideways) and think they know where they are going. What you need as a manager to do is to provide a balance between untried ambition and actual skill. Provide a balance between new challenges and the development of new skills as well as the refinement and strengthening of current skills. Getting the balance between the two is hard - but the results are also very rewarding both for your business and the person concerned.

The other idea is to make every employee a CEO of something. Make them completely responsible for an idea or project. Give them a budget, authority and the right amount of support to make it happen.

Talented employees also need feedback and reflection time. The reviewing of KPI's and goals is a powerful motivator. Keep the KPI's short and aggressive. By doing this you, the manager, keeps close to the talent and you can gauge their growth. Where growth is quick - you can set higher targets and more complex problems. Where growth is slower - this provides a good time for both you and the talent to catch a breather before proceeding.

Note - not all talent is under 30! Some of the most talented people you have are over 30, settled into their jobs and are quite possibly bored. the mission is to identify them, lure them out of their secure place and unleash their hidden skills on the world!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Education, Trends and Job Currency

In order to be relevant and to keep relevant you need to keep in touch with current trends, philosophies and approaches.

How can you do this? Here are the simple methods -
  1. Read. Join your local library and borrow books. Readers lead and leaders read. Good libraries update their books often. If your library doesn't - ask! Your local librarian might just need some good ideas of what people want to read.

  2. Surf. Jump on the Internet and seek out teaching and lessons from the top leaders of our time. There are a lot of websites that exist with top content.

  3. iTunesU. Download the latest lessons from the worlds best Universities every week!

  4. Listen. Often times the language that is being used by the 'guru's' doesn't take long to permeate into everyday language.

If you are able to keep current with modern thinking and activities - you position yourself well for tomorrow.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

You Get What You Measure

What are the key aspects of your business and work that you measure?

When you begin to measure something you are able to assess the impacts and success rates of what it is you are trying to achieve.

If you are working to achieve higher turnover - you measure sales!

If you are trying to achieve more website traffic - you measure the hits and content!

If you are trying to get fit - you measure weight loss, stamina gain and strength gains.

In order to know if you will hit your targets and goals - you must measure your development as you go.

Aim, Analyse and Achieve.

Connection vs. Communication

Napolean Boneparte once said "An army marches on it's stomach". True.

A business and relationships are dependant upon something else - communication. We operate in a world where there are countless opportunities and technologies that we can use to communicate with others. However we need to reassess and discover if we are merely connecting or are we truly communicating?

(Note - I will use the word 'connect' to mean electronic methods of interaction).

Here's an example - to connect means someone picks up the phone or sees you have messaged them but there is no action, feedback or follow through by the other person.

Communication is where the other person answers the phone, listens to you and understands the intent and purpose of your message.

Many managers assume because they have made a connection (usually electronically) that the message they were trying to communicate has occurred. Wrong assumption.

How do you know the difference between a connection and a successful communication? Try these tips to figure it out -
  1. When sending email track the message - to make sure it gets opened.
  2. Get the receiver to repeat back to you the message you sent - in their own words.
  3. Follow up with the person to their progress within a realistic time frame (shorter rather than longer) to ensure progress is being made.
  4. Speak to people face to face. Body language and non-verbal communication styles account for 80% of a message given (and received!)

To succeed in life - communicate.

  • Communicate often;
  • Communicate clearly;
  • Communicate effectively.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Management Reads

I picked up a copy of "Lead To Succeed" written by Craig Lewis. This is great book that centre's on the sporting achievements that Craig was able to help engineer with leading New Zealand sports teams and individuals.

The thing I liked most about this book was the openness and frankness of the writer. He dealt with real people in real situations and Craig does an excellent job of walking the line between sports leadership and business leadership.

The book is essentially based upon a few major themes -

  • kaizen - the drive for constant improvement;
  • fun - enjoying what you do;
  • trust - knowing those around you.

It is a great read filled with stories of achievement and overcoming what others think are insurmountable odds - and doing it anyway!

The other book I am reading is "Follow The Roar" by Bob Smiley. What does Tiger Woods have to do with management? Everything!

This is a very humorous and candid story from an impartial observer of what Tiger Woods does, and even more importantly how he does it. There are a number of very potent observations that the writer makes that can teach the average person a lot about how to approach life and be a winner.

Excerpt "He walks slowly; nothing is rushed. He actually appears to relish the pressure of the moment".

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