Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Leadership Lessons - From the Phillipines

Anna Cleal, a kiwi, is doing some work with people in the Phillipines at the moment and is an awesome representative of what can be achieved through micro-finance and in particular through Kiva.

If you hit the link below you will be re-directed to a fabulous little blog post she wrote on what we can learn from people in the Phillipines. 

It comes highly recommended.

Remember - life isn't just about us.  It's about how we can help and assist others in their lives to be the best they can be - through whatever means we have available to us.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Presentations That Work

Today I'm working our stand at a local expo.  And guess what?  It's going great!  What are we doing right?  We have a very simple stand set up over an area approximately 3m deep by 6m wide.  This is enormous for an expo but we have bought extra space because we need it.

The space at first glance appears to be a bit bare but it's about the customer experience and interaction that counts.  We have products that are simple to expain, people can put their hands on them and interact with them, and they are everyday products or items that people have just never thought about. 

The way it works - we get at most 2 minutes with every person that walks past. Thats 120 seconds max. So what we do is give the people something to put their hands on straight away and gain their interest. No standing around waiting in qqeues - just cut to the chase and sell what you've got.

So this year we have - a microscope for looking in, a laser sight for measuring heights, wooden kiwi's to give away and a grass meter (that measures grass depth.)  All of these take no more than 60 seconds to explain or to get peoples attention.  That leaves us with 60 seconds to sell our product (in this case education) before the people turn off, get bored or move on.
Short, sharp and simple.  Effective.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Brain Storming

One TV program my kids watch that has an tool for business is - "The Imagination Movers".  It is a light and fun program that introduces  a number of different key concepts and problem solving skills and practices for kids (and adults as well!).

The show in brief - a person comes to the Movers with an issue or a problem.  The Movers are then engaged to help find a solution to the particular problem. 

How do they do it?  The Movers employ the 'Brain Storming' process.  They even have a song about it.  They think about all the possible solutions and avenues that a possible answer could come from and then they start experimenting. 

So what can we learn from these guys?
  1. Finding solutions for problem situations can be fun.
  2. There are no wrong ideas when searching for a solution.
  3. It takes a lot of trial and error before you will find the solution that fits.
  4. Teamwork creates more ideas and reduces the time for implementation.
Here's a clip from the show that highlights the Brainstorming emphasis.

Or for a more serious option check out - or try this website from the UK -

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Constructive Criticism

Here's a quote from my mum - "If you've got nothing good to say - don't say anything at all".

I'm down with that.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Power of Saying - Yes

In a weeks time I get a huge opportunity and the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream to be able to travel, and not only to travel, but travel into China.  To be honest I was pretty sure I would get there one day I just hadn'tfigured it would be in 7 days.

The really great aspect of the entire process of my being able to go all comes down to three basic things.
  1. I said yes.
  2. I was prepared at the right time.
  3. I am ready to go and have the ability to.
In what I thought was just another plain day at work my boss asked me a completely random question.  Do you have a passport?  Answer - yes.  I had no idea where he was going with this.  Second question - is it current?  Answer - yes.  Now my interest was beginning to peak.  Then the third question - do you want to go to China?  Answer - Yes.

It really is that simple.  I made an on the spot decision and it has turned out to be all good.  To put this all into context what happened was my boss has previously visited China in the past few months and had an excellent time there.  While he was there he had the chance to meet faculty from the Nanjing Forestry University.

So what does this have to do with me?  The University have extended the invitation for us to visit again.  As my boss has been on a few international trips already recently he felt he did not have the time to commit with the ever increasing pressures of work.

So he decided to pass the opportunity on to someone else.  That someone - is me.  Awesome! 

So I must say a HUGE thanks to my wife is allowing me to go :-) and oh yeah - I even get to pop into Shanghai for the weekend for some sighseeing and shopping!  So I better bring home something nice!


Monday, May 17, 2010

Leadership Lessons - General Colin Powell

When you can't say it better than someone else, let them say if for you. Thanks to the team at Slideshare and more importantly - vivekpokhare for taking the time to capture the information and post this presentation.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Book Review - Getting From the Cubicle to the Corner Office

This book reminds me of an excellent cook book.  It is filled with how to recipies and illustrations to empower you to achieve success.  The author Joel Weiss is a guy that has gone places and has acheived great things and has the credentials to say what he does in this book.

In this little and light book Joel reflects and focuses on the little things that can make the difference to your career and can help you to get to the job and position you really want. 

The book is made up of a bunch of short chapters and looks at a different aspect of the business life and provides clear how to hints and thoughts on how to be a better manager, co-worker and employee.

Topics covered include - communication, reporting techniques, how to get a promotion.   Short punchy chapters that get straight to the point and leave you with clear and precise directions.
My overall impression - this is a great little book filled with helpful hints and easy to understand directions.  This is not a book that deals with the vague ideas and possibilites of strategy and management theory but is written (just like this blog) for the everyday people out there who want to be the best that they can be (without the bs).

It is a book however that if you should choose to heed the lessons will assist you to get ahead.

You can purchase a copy of the book through Amazon by clicking on this link -

Friday, May 14, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Some of the best business and nonprofit CEOs I've worked with over a sixty-five-year consulting career were not stereotypical leaders. They were all over the map in terms of their personalities, attitudes, values, strengths, and weaknesses."

Peter Drucker.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Marketing - The Viral Way

I received this email from a 'friend' of mine about an hour ago -

"Easy, Hope ur all good. .

We're shooting a music vid this Sunday, & looking for people 2 come show there support..

Basicly, we're gonna throw a lil rave inside the tube train.. We bringin drums and shit, and probably a big Ghetto blaster playin the music for our nxt release.

It's not gona take long, n hopefully no 1 will get arrested ..  If u want som more details giv me a shout..

BiG LoV."
Now this type of email works on a whole lot of levels.  How?
  • It speaks directly to people who have an interest in the actual topic or arena.  This isn't mass marketing but speaking to the people who want to hear the message.
  • It has a certain mystery quality to it that entices the reader to think more and saw - ooh and aah.
  • There is a call to action.  The reader has the opportunity to choose if they will engage or not. 
  • It creates a sense of exclusivity.  That is one of the keys in sucessful products and marketing.  make it exclusive or give your product some glamour.
Unfortunately I don't live in England so I can't choose to respond.  However if I did live in England - I'd be telling all my friends about it as well!  Now that is smart marketing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dilbert on Time Management

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tips for attending Expos and Events

Expos and events are the perfect time to enhance not only your companys product but yourself as well.  You can work on your people skills and methonds of interaction with others.  Here a few tips for the next time you are out on the road -
  • Be confident.  Know your product and be confident that you know what it is you are selling.
  • Look for points of similarity with others.  Use what they are offering as a starting point for then focusing what makes your product different from theirs.
  • Speak to other exhibitors.  Use these times as self marketing and marketing opportunities to tell others what you are good at.  There may come a day when you could be asking them for either a reference or a job.
  • Have fun.  Interact with others.  Mix and mingle.  
  • Smile lots.
Above all else - if you are having fun, so too will the people you are talking to.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Constructive Criticism

I got nailed today.  I thought I had a lot of the paperwork setup in the correct formats and styles but I was wrong and got it pointed out to me.

I wasn't too about it because some of the persons who provided the criticism had taken the time before the meeting to look over it, make recommendations and capture their thoughts.

So why was I able to accept the criticisms? -
  • The people involved displayed the fact that they had taken the time to look at my work.  I don't mind being corrected provided that you actually care enough to do your research first.
  • The criticism was valid.  The attendees were persons with a history of getting right and the judgements they made were hoest, frank and necessary.
  • The tips and corrections were written down as well as verbalised.  That way I have the criticisms in a form that I can use as references and starting points for making changes.  (This too says that the person had enough reepect to take their time and make corrections).
If you feel the need or have the opportunity to correct someone - follow the tips I put just above.  Next time the person you are speaking to may be more open to what you have to say to them.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Team

It is important that as a manager you have a team you can trust, depend on and can delegate to.  Often times you may not get the choice of who is in your team.  If you do get the choice to create a team keep these thought in mind -
  • Pick people that have a track record of being dependable. 
  • Choose people who turn up every day.
  • Choose people who can roll with the punches.  Having flexibility in your staff and knowing they can handle last minute surprises without losing it is awesome.
  • Find people who will complement the existing team.  Getting the right mix and balance of staff is crucial to ensuring success and ongoing excellence.
  • Look for people who have different skills than you do.  Use people who are skilled in different areas than you are. 
Team is about a bunch of people workng together to achieve great outcomes together.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Transparency in Business

The HBR this month leads with an article titled "Leadership in the age of transparency".  I recommend it as a must read sometime this month for sure.

I am unaware if there are many better ways of demonstrating transparency than the way Air New Zealand have captured it -

What does the term 'transparency in business' mean to you?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Delegating The Right Way

When you ask a person to carry out a job or you delegate a task to them use the following check points to esnure they get it right -

  1. Assume nothing.  Don't presume that the person whom you have delegated to has understood you or is going to do the job right the first time.
  2. Check up.  See whats happening.  Never let go of a task completely to the point where you forget about it or forget who you gave it to.
  3. Don't micro-manage.  Give the person some time to figure out the task.  If they can't do it then step in.  Looking over someone elses shoulder while they do something can be a waste of both their time and your time as well - unless you treat the task as an opportunity to coach or teach.
  4. Evaluate and get feedback.  Ask the person 'How well did I go in explaining what I wanted from you?'.  Let them be honest and take the time to learn from any mistakes you may have made to allow you to do better in the future.
"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." --General George Smith Patton, Jr.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Job Management - It's all in the way you market yourself

Traditional job seeking websites list positions that are put their by employers looking for the right kind of person.  This process involves -
  • Having a position to offer;
  • Knowing what you are looking for before you advertise;
  • Having no idea who is going to apply or what the quality of applicant may be;
  • Then spending hours and hours looking through and vetting CV's and reumes that were a complete waste of time.
What alternatives are there?
  1. Hire people on short term contracts.  Make an initial contract no more than three months in length and watch how the person goes.  Are they a a fit?  Are they who you thought they would be?  Does their skills match their CV?  If not, you still have an opt out option.  This is fairer on them and you as well.  And if the person fits the organisation they already know the job and can continue on at full speed.
  2. Use social media to source people.  Find someone who knows someone who has the skills you are looking for and find out before you hire where they are at.  This is also a great way to pick up people who may currently be overseas and are returning soon but don't want to commit in to big a way upon their return.
  3.  This website reverses the standard 'looking for employment' process.  Employers can browse over the CV's and resumes of potential employees and can pre-decide who looks like a great fit for the company.  It is also a great wat to see peoples CVs and work historys in advance.  This kind of self advertisement also takes a bit of nouse and ago which are probably both skills that your organusation needs.
Try it.  It works.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Keeping It Real

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