Whatever we do in life, failure is usually high on our list of fears – but when it comes to success in business, failure is often one of the most powerful tools in our armoury. How does failing make us better leaders, and how can we support you through your failure journey to becoming the [...]
Making a significant and lasting change in any organisation that successfully adapts the way that things are done requires far more than a training session and a to-do list – it means defining shared goals, creating a shared pathway towards those goals, and the whole workforce walking that path together, guiding each other through each [...]
However much we tell ourselves that we are unbiased and progressive, we all have unconscious bias – and it’s up to us how much we let that influence our leadership. The very definition of unconscious bias is that it’s a bias we aren’t even aware we have. Our upbringing, background, cultural environment, the social circles [...]
They say culture eats strategy for breakfast, and they may have a point. But, like breakfast, culture has ingredients: the behaviours that create the atmosphere and patterns that everyone works within. Think for a moment about your morning muesli, and contemplate that old adage – “One bad apple…” It seems the staff at Business Grapevine might be thinking along similar lines, judging by their recent article, 5 warning signs of a TOXIC company culture. For those that might be concerned, here’s the summary checklist: A lack of employee motivation Inauthentic leadershipHigh turnover rates Absenteeism Lack of communication While culture can – indeed, should – be managed, it’s only reasonable to assume that the decision to create a culture with these characteristics is rarely that any intelligent organisation would take, but how many are mindful that these symptoms can arise surprisingly swiftly when behaviour goes either awry or unchecked? No matter what our staff handbooks and codes of conduct might say, organisations are composed of people, and a degree of irrationality comes with the turf. But that does not mean all is lost. A recent Strategy & Business article profiling Maryam Kouchaki, an expert in the causes of unethical behavioural, included an important reminder: […] although we humans may be hardwired to react and behave in certain ways that may not always make us proud, we are by no means a lost cause. This is just as well, given some of the findings of a recent McKinsey article, The hidden toll of workplace incivility, which charted some of the impact of toxic behaviours: […]
It’s not every day that a high-profile professional dismisses their own abilities, makes the news by resigning, acknowledges that privilege is a complex issue, and makes an important point about our relationship with work – but that’s just what Lucy Kellaway, the FT’s award-winning management columnist and journalist, has just done with the announcement that she’s resigning from her job to retrain as a maths teacher. Furthermore, she’s taking the opportunity to encourage others in the later stages of their careers to consider joining her. As someone who has written – usually wittily and often acerbically – about careers, she is not the easiest writer to dismiss when she chooses to be candid about her reason for doing so. While she acknowledges the excitement of the new, especially after 31 years of journalism, she has explained in her own column that: […] the biggest thing, which readers may find hard to swallow given my entire career has been based on ridiculing others, is that, for my next act, I want to be useful. Yes, I know sticking pins in pompous chief executives is useful in a meta kind of way but that’s not the kind of useful I have in mind. Without actually using the phrase, although it’s one she must have typed a great many times, Lucy has hit the nail on the head when it comes to one of the business industry’s Holy Grails: employee engagement. This state of being – so much discussed in some circles that it has almost acquired an aura of myth – is driven by many things: good working relationships, an environment where employees feel confident that they are learning and developing both personally and professionally, and an organisation whose work and purpose they admire are just three of them. But when it comes to summing up such HR-speak sentiments as ‘having a sense of making a personal contribution that is aligned with the organisation’s values and mission’, it is hard to be more succinct than “I want to be useful.” […]
When we talk about ‘customer-centric organisations’, what do we actually mean? And how do we recognise one when we see one? Let me give you a very simple example. Recently, an ASK colleague was travelling to London by train for an evening appointment on a very tight timescale. All was proceeding smoothly until their [...]
The following is an opinion on British Management. “Short Sighted, Short-Termists, or Long-Term, Growth Visionaries”. If the first couple of words hadn’t given an indication that further language with a hint of ‘step into the executive car park and say that again, would you?’ might be about to follow, here are more words from the same source ...