Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stay Home

Some days just aren't as good as others.  It is important to understand how your body is acting and reacting to different events and happenings at work.

I had yesterday off work because on Thursday I could hardly speak.  The frog in my throat had become a toad.  If I had of gone to work I would have been able to accomplish two things -
  1. Get more sick.
  2. Share the sickness germs with others in the office.
I hardly ever take sick leave off.  If I do it is for one of two reasons - physical health or mental health.  Sometimes the brain gets to overwhelmed and I just know that I can't face the office.  So I stay home and work remotely instead.

No one is Superman and everyone needs time off to ensure the body remains in functional order and at maximum capacity.  If you're sick - stay home!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Quote of the Week

“Leadership is the thing that wins battles.... It probably consists of knowing what you want to do, and then doing it and getting mad as hell if anyone tries to get in your way. Self–confidence and leadership are twin brothers.”  –GEN George Patton

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Acknowledging Your Team - Lt General Hal Moore

Lt General Hal Moore was one of the great battle field commanders.  He had the ability to lead, inspire and motivate those who were under him - with ease.  In this video the General praises those under him and gives credit where credit is due.

My question is - how do you speak of your team?  What do you say about them?  Here's a thought -
  • People will act and react depending on the way you treat them.
  • Respect is earned not given.
  • Talk your people up not down.
  • Tell anyone and everyone about how great your team is and watch the results come flooding in.
Giving respect, honor and priase to others who deserve it is the quickest route to achieving great results.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Leadership Lessons - Patton

"A piece of spaghetti or a military unit can only be led from the front end."  George S. Patton .

That quote is true for every venture, adventure and outing in life.  If you want to go somewhere and get something done using others - you must go first.

Here are a few facts about Patton that will help us better understand his style -
  • He read up, researched and understood his role and how others before him had devised and executed their tactics.  Example - Patton read about the Roman invasion of Europe and used the same routes in his journey into Germany.

  • He broke the rules and made changes to ensure success.  Patton had each of his own personal jeeps (or peeps) modified so that he could travel safely and successfully even in the middle of a firefight.

  • He changed his persona to suit the surroundings.  When in polite company Patton would take on the air of a perfect gentleman.  When with the troops he would swear, cuss and use foul language to make a point.  He fitted in with whom he was talking to and was able to relate to others where they were at.
Being a man of action and a straight shooter often times saw Patton on the wrong side of his peers andpublic opinion.  But sometimes you need to have the spine to ignore others, make the right call and make results happen.  It is up to you to decide where, when and what is important enough to warrant such action.

"If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you'll be amazed at the results."  George S. Patton.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Political Player or Political Animal?

One strategic understanding (emotional intelligence) you will need to forge the ability to figure out -
  • Who are the players?
  • Who are the political animals?
Sometimes it is hard to tell the two apart. 

Me - I'm a player and use different situations and people to achieve where I want to get to and what I want to do.  Most times people can't tell what I'm up to.  I keep my motives to myself and I am not in a hurry to get the top.  I use my personality to win friends and influence people and I assure that both parties win.  That's what makes a player.

Now someone who is unashamedly working the system to get up the ladder as quick as possible - now that's an animal.  Someone who is willing to use others as much as they can to achieve their own good, someone who targets managers, directors and ignores the little people in a business in an effort to climb - that's an animal.

Me - I don't care much for animals.  Political ones anyway. 

Beware of animals - they bite!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Book Review - The No Asshole Rule

When was the last time someone you work with or work for - really annoyed you or upset you in the office?
What did you do about it?  Did you ignore the behavior in an attempt to hope it will go away or did you confront the person and discuss what the behavior?
In the book "The No Asshole Rule" the author looks at just these types of situations and looks for ways to empower average people to deal with these types of behavior.  Bob Sutton is not one to shy away from using strong (appropriate) language to label behaviors that suck.

So whats the book like?  Short on depth but long in tips and hints.

I enjoyed the first couple of chapters of this book but soon moved through the remaining content pretty quickly.  Don't get me wrong this is a great book but don't expect it to take any more than a week at the most to read. 

If you have people who behave like asshole's,  you want to know how to deal with asshole's or you want to avoid hiring one - then get this book!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Kodak - F.A.S.T

FAST - now there is a business philosophy that I agree with.  Not SLOW or TOMORROW but FAST.

Jeffrey Hayzlett has a video interview showing on Meet The Boss TV where he discusses the way that he changed the culture and performance of the company by introducing a new methodology to the way that Kodak conducts it's business.

Here is the key slogan/philosophy that Jeffrey says he put in place -
  • F - Focus.
  • A - Accountability.
  • S - Simplicity.
  • T - Trust.
I love this saying.  Moving from the daily grind of an organisation and influencing employees to not only see opportunities but to grasp them and move ahead with speed.  Cut through the norms and the old ways of doing things and start getting things done!  Results matter.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dante - Inspirational.

"In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself in a dark wood, for the straight way was lost."  Dante.

Every day we make choices that lead to results and outcomes.  My question today is what questions, results and outcomes are you effecting as a manager and as a human?

Dante's thoughts are interesting in that he realises midway through his journey that he has actually lost his way, he has strayed from the path and he is need of some enlightening to get started again.

Goals, plans and mission statements are valuable management tools that will guide you through your management journey and will ensure that you do not fall asleep at the wheel.

Here are some action steps to take that I recommend you take over the weekend -
  1. Consider where you are currently at.  How are your job, your goals and your life progressing?
  2. Write down some short term goals that you can achieve in the next four weeks.
  3. Write down some goals that you want to achieve in the next 12 months.
  4. Read a biography or two.  Find someone inspirational and who will challenge you (Richard Branson or Queen Noor).  Summarise the key points of their life and consider the decisions they made that set them on a new path.
  5. Write yourself a new personal mission statement.  Think about who you are and what you want to achieve in your lifetime.
Today is the day to arise from your slumber, take stock of who you are and risk it all to achieve the unthinkable.

"From a little spark may burst a flame".  Dante.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dilbert - Because I Can!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CEO Interview - Viv Maidaborn

The need for strong leaders and management within Non Government Organisations and Not For Profits is just a crucial mission in life as is working for corporations and organisations.

Here is another strong player/leader that has been brought into the spotlight by HerBusinessMagazine's who's who edition.  This leader is Viv Maidaborn.  I am not going to repeat the article because if you hit this link you can take your time and read it at your leisure.

Here's my view of the NGO/NFP sector -
  • There are a lot of hoops and paperwork requirements to jump through - so one needs to be nimble;
  • Time is of the essence - so one needs to be quick;
  • Lots of obstacles get thrown up in the way of those people who are seeking to 'do good' and improve the quality of life of others - so one needs also to be able to jump over the candlestick.
Here's my skill summary for a CEO - "leader be nimble, leader be quick, leader jump over the candlestick!"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Busy or Productive?

  • Being busy for the sake of being busy is silly. 
  • Being busy and achieving no results is not smart.
  • Busyness does not equal productive.
  • Being productive is smart.
  • Achieving tangible and measurable results is smart.
  • Productivity = success.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Excellence and Peak Performance

It was while reading the book "The Sport Psych Handbook" that I discovered this great list of attributes for people that are determiners of their success. 
Charles Garfield compiled this list of peak performer traits -
  1. A sense of mission.
  2. A tremendous work ethic.
  3. Use of resources.
  4. A strong "preparation ethic".
  5. A love of challenge and change.
  6. Great "team people".
My question is how often do we seek these traits in others and how often do we exhibit them personally?  If sports people need these traits to be the best how much more should we as managers be exhibiting these skills and traits as well?

There a quite a few lessons we can draw from each of these points both corporately and personally.

Here is my basic summation for reaching your own peak performance level - do something you love, have lofty but attainable goals and prepare yourself to acheive task, ask and allow people around you to assist and enable you and thank them for all their help when you are done.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Development or Compliance?

Learning to do work tasks better = job training.

Learning new skills, becoming a better person,  meeting new people = professional development.

Don't confuse the two.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Educational Management

We are preparing to undergo a new style audit that the Ministry of Education (New Zealand) have put in place for all educators that teach post Secondary school.

The main emphasis and thrust behind this audit is the ability to reflect.  In the traditional system of auditing  the paperwork was checked and we try to laud how good we are while simultaneously hide anything we aren't good at.
Under the new system the evaluators want to see
  • How well do we understand what we do - that is teach,
  • How we do know how we are doing,
  • How are we improving.
I think these questions are really self audit questions that every manager and employee should ask themselves about their position within the company and in their relationship with the customer.

I have captured the three main reflection questions in a different way.  Try answering these questions and see what answers you get -

  1. What do you do to help our students learn/customers spend/ clients succeed?
  2. How do you know how well it works?  What are the results?  What evidence do you have?
  3. What are you doing to improve it?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Morning Motivators

Not every day starts as good as the one before or the one after.  This led me to ask the question - how do you start your days that just aren't happening?

This morning I needed a good dose of humour and this what I came up with -


Here are a few other (far more serious) ideas to help you get your day started -
  1. Phone a friend.  Ring someone who is uplifting, genuine and you can have a laugh with.
  2. Go for a walk - get out of your seat and get physically moving!.
  3. Go to the mail room and collect the mail or call in to someone else's office and just say hello. 
Let me know what your strategies are for starting the day on the right foot are.  I'm very interested to find out.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What cost - opportunity

Some opportunities in life are just too good to let go.  So when the chance came up to join a team of experts and professionals in my field of work - how could I say no?

Here's the real lesson of this story.  The opportunity of a lifetime (this is a voluntary position) was handed to me on a plate.  I said yes.  But the same opportunity also has implications for my existing (paid) employment such as - time away from work (not a lot but some), extra meetings (again not that many) and a bit of effort is required.

Now if my employee came to me and told me that such an opportunity existed for them to grow themselves and gain some new skills that benefit -
  1. them in the first place (major reason and weighting);
  2. their ability to do their job (a good reason but not the majority);
  3. help the entire industry (a very good reason with some weight added),
what do you think I would say?  Yes, absolutely, go for it.

What answer do you think I got?  No.  So what did I do?  I ignored the answer I got and decided to go for it anyway.  So what is the cost going to be?  A couple of annual leave days a year to attend extra meetings and a few extra hours in the office to cover any time spent doing voluntary work for the organisation.

The best opportunities in life will cost you something.  Having the ability and opportunity to pursue the rewards of what you really want in life - far outweighs the meagre cost of travelling the road to get there.

"Sieze opportunity by the beard for it is bare behind"  Romanian proverb.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ATEM NZ Conference Day 2 - recap

So day one of the conference (Thursday July 8th was great).  So how did the second day stack up?

Session one was by given by Peter Mellow, AUT.  Peter is a legend when it comes to creating content and lessons for students using every known technology there is known to man.  Peter talked about using creative education spaces and how we can alter learning spaces to encourage students learning development.  There were heaps of live examples and photos and ideas from how educators in the US are doing things different now.

Session two was from the Learning State ladies.  Basically an education provider/ITO that is setup to deliver training to public service employees. 

Session three was delivered by Yvonne O'Brien.  Yvonne has a long history of working in the education sector through University's, Polytechs and now Te Wananga O Aotearoa.  Yvonne talked us through the dramatic and ongoing changes that occur at "the Wa".  The turn around story of the Wananga is quite surprising

A very interesting story that illustrates the need and demand of lower income people to have access to education.  I'm not sure we've heard the last of this story yet. What goes up usually comes down again.

Session four that I attended was entitled "Coach to Grow".  This session was presented by Toni Snelgrove and Therese Ovrevik Walkinshaw.  With Toni what you see is what you get.  She is very, very smart and knows how to cut to the heart of the matter.  Therese is also very smart and applies her skills in the University sector.  Therese is very warm and pleasant to speak to yet she is very sharp also and has the ability to quickly size up a situation and deal with the possibilities and problems with little fuss.

This was a great session that was unfortunately timed in the same period as another session that was looking at silo's and how to overcome them.  It would be great to have a session like this again next year but have it better attended.

This was followed by a keynote session from Rob Matthews, MBE.  Rob is a blind runner who has an incredible story and is hugely inspirational.  I was fortunate enough to spend some time lunching with Rob and he is very warm, genuine and an all round good guy.  Rob told us about his story and the hurdles he has had to overcome in life.  Rob was joined during his presentation by his wife, Sarah.  Nice.

After that I was physically stuffed so called it a day and missed the final session.  So in brief - Friday was another great day that seemed to have more flow and was more relaxed than the Thursday.

Monday, July 12, 2010

ATEM NZ Conference Day 1 - recap

The 2010 ATEM regional conference was hosted bu AUT, University of Auckland, Unitec and Manukau Institute of Technology.  That was a great move.  Having the conference co-hosted meant that there was a lot of input from different people and the organisation was great.

Here's how the speakers went down (in chronological order) as I attended the sessions -

Derek McCormack (AUT).  Derek spoke about the differences in philosophy between the NZ government and the Australian government.  In a nutshell - money for tertiary education in NZ is drying up, while in Australia they are increasing the investment they are making in tertiary education.

Thought - hasn't Australia showed in the past, through sports, that the more you spend and invest the better the results?

Jonathon Hagger.  Yes that's my session.  You can see the powerpoint of my session by clicking here.  I spoke about defining your management brand.  HR meets Marketing 101.  It was a good session with an excellent cross section of people from across the educational spectrum.

David Earle.  This session was very interesting.  (The actual presentation was a bit dry but the content was awesome).  The direct correlation between education graduates and downturns  in the economy made for an interesting point.  David has a very sharp mind and is excellent value.

Terry Fulljames and Jan Hausman.  The new SAEER regime that the Tertiary Education Commission has devised was discussed.  BOP Polytech have recently finished their initial SAEER and Terry and Jan shared their feelings, experiences and findings from what they have been through.

Julie Wood and Jo Shortland.  These two ladies spoke about their experiences about designing and creating innovative environments for students.  Julie spoke about what MIT are thinking of doing and some of the locations and experiences of institutions internationally.  While Jo spoke about what Wintec has done in regards to their Gallagher centre and new Avalon campus.

These are tiny recaps on the sessions.  I recommend if you think there is something of interest here - contact the presenters and request a copy of their work.  Thursday turned out to be - an excellent day!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What drives you?

What are you here for?  Check out the article on HBR by clicking here.

(Okay today I'm being lazy and borrowing someone else's content.  Bak to normal Monday with a recap on the ATEM conference I attended Thursday and Friday).

Friday, July 9, 2010


"Every event is an opportunity to network".

What I got told when I didn't take business cards to the conference dinner on Thursday night.  I assumed (wrongly) dinner was about eating.  I was wrong!  It was actually a chance to do business...

Note to self - always carry business cards.  Always.

Try this though - there were about 80 attendess at the conference but less than 10% use or even know what Linked In is.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Defining Your Management Brand

For the next two days I am attending the ATEM conference being hosted by AUT.  This will be the second time I have attended the national conference and I am realy looking forward to it.

On Thursday morning I am presenting a workshop session on 'Defining your management brand'.  Basically I am looking at - what is a brand, why a management brand and what will you you do with a management brand once you've got one?

I am deeply grateful to all those awesome people out there who have researched the subject and have created their own content on the subject.  I have gratefully borrowed from everyone and put it together to make what looks like a great presentation.

As my great MBA lecturer always said "Edit, don't author"/].

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Telecom Stores - they work

Great design in a shops layout will both entice customers as well as make the shopping experience far more enjoyable for your customers.

I noticed a Telecom outlet store in Hamilton on the weekend and was blown away by how far they have come as a retailer.  Here's the lowdown on the store -
  1.  It was well lit.  Everything was easy to see.
  2. The shop was uncluttered.  All the products were located on the walls with one product per every 2 to 3 metres.  Products were easy to see, there were no distractions and it wa seasy to focus on exactly what you were looking at.
  3. The centre of the shop was for sitting only.  There were no products or displays in the centre of the shop.  The shopper standing at the doors could see straight through the shop right up to the counter with no hindrances.
I recommend that ifyou are in the area (Centre Place Hamilton) go and check it out.  Retail success starts with the right design and layout of your store.  Note - the image above is not the exact store I saw but you get what I'm talking about  Right?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stress Busters

There are times in everyone's daily work life when stress hits.  Time lines aren't met, there are too many tasks to be done or people are just plain ticking you off.

There are many different ways that people react to stress.  Some are positive and some are destructive.

Here are some ideas to deal positively with stress when it next hits -
  1. Breathe.  Often times when I start to get stressed my breathing patterns change and I don't breathe properly.  So what happens?  Less oxygen gets into the body which means muscles tighten up and the brain has to start working harder.  Take a minute or two next time stress hits and just focus on slow, steady, constant breathing.
  2. Stretch.  Physically get up, walk around and stretch.  Similar to the point above when you stress your body reacts.  Your muscles tighten and you become more and more tense.  Solution - get up. move around and release the tension.
  3. Stop and Assess.  What is it that is actually stressing you?  Is it an important task or is it a niggling issue that just won't go away.  Stopping and assessing the situation is a critical step.  If you choose to keep plowing on with the task chances are you will only make matters worse for yourself and you will in fact create rework for yourself.
  4. Delegate.  Give work away.  Get others working for you.  You can't do it all yourself.
  5. Reflect and Plan.  How did you get into this situation?  What will you do differently next time to be better prepared before you get stressed? 
Deal with stress in a positive way and let it be a method of focusing you on what is important and what isn't.


Monday, July 5, 2010

What sort of boss are you? Take the test.

Take the test - you might be surprised.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Quote of the Week


"You can only elevate individual performance by elevating that of the entire system."

W. Edwards Deming

Friday, July 2, 2010

Understanding Your Team

There are quite a few different models and systems for labeling and categorising people in the workforce.  Some of those systems are time consuming and require a lot of input from other people.

Some of the models are very simple yet can be just as effective if used in the same manner and method as the more labour intensive types.

Here is a link to one of my more favorite models that is clear and concise.

Very simply people fall into one of four categories -
  1. The Iceberg.  These are the people for whom everything is an issue.  They have very little motivation and usually are ignored after the boss gives up on trying to help them.
  2. The Backbone.  These are the people who are the stayers of the company.  They know their job and they know how to do it well.  Yet they don't have the charisma or the drive to move up into star status.
  3. The Problem Child.  These people have tons of potential but don't have a constructive way of venting their ideas and their energies.  So they become rebellious and mouthy.  They still have a ton of potential but require a good telling off more often than not.
  4. The Star.  These are the people who are determined to be the best and have the skill and drive to achieve great results.
The awesome thing about this model is that you can quickly differentiate between personality types and the descriptions used provide excellent analogies for the people you have.  The other great thing about this is that you can figure out what the motivators are for each group which will enable you to proactively encourage your team towards greater results.

Once you have formed a clear picture of who you have in your team and what they are capable of achieving then you can begin to divide the various projects and assignments according to who will and who won't get the results that you require.

What model do you like?  Do you use it?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

CEO Interview - Alison Andrew

Alison Andrew is a lady who knows her stuff.  She is a high flyer in the corporate world, is on a ton of different boards and still has her feet on the ground.

Before this afternoon I had never even heard of Alison Andrew before.  Now I know more about her - she has my total respect.  It was while I was checking out the new appointments to the board for Scion Research that I saw her name and did a google search.

The first result was her Linked In profile.  What struck me was the mixture of confidence and self knowledge without the arrogance or pride that often times comes across in others profiles.

Here's what it says - "Proven leader with multi-industry experience. Executive who can span all functions from technical to commercial. Deep experience in operating businesses, growing businesses and turning businesses around. Successful track record in large corporate (Fletcher Challenge and Fonterra Co-Operative), and medium private business. Engineering and business qualifications."

So what works?  The words - proven, leader, multi industry experience, deep experience, growing, turning businesses around, qualifications.

I am impressed.  Whether or not Alison herself actually wrote the specific words is neither here nor there.  The words speak for themselves as does Alison's experience and true qualities.

For an actual interview with Alison you can click here -

There are some really insightful thoughts and hints in this article.  It comes highly recommended.

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