Tag Archives: management

resilience and taking it on the chin

14 Jun

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This is the Alcántara Bridge in Spain, built by the Roam Emperor Trajan between 104 and 106 AD. That’s almost 2200 years ago. It’s not modern engineering but it’s lasted. It’s prevailed. Can you imagine the hordes of people and animals and vehicles that have crossed it. The fights and battles. The life and death it has seen in that time.

The bridge has resilience built into it. That’s why it’s still here. It has strong foundations.

People at work work together. Sometimes they’re called teams. Teams support each other if they’re functioning. It’s a necessary element in all teams including sporting and in families. That’s nice isn’t it?

But guess what. S%$t happens (I censored that for you!)

But it does, even in the most highly functioning teams because people are people and we have moods, emotions, short comings. We’re not all nice all the time.

I heard about a man who was known as a man of god. That was his life. Doing good things for people who others shunned. He was also a boss. I heard that every morning he would walk into his offices and lose his block. He would systematically fire people and then an hour or so later re-hire them (or something like that.) This was devastating to his team of kind hearts and do gooders. But they stayed with him. Why?

Because they allowed him his childish behaviour because they recognised that he was angry and stressed. It wasn’t them.

It’s hard dealing with difficult people. But when you do and the sky doesn’t fall, then you build your understanding and resilience so the next time the boss loses it they know what to do. It’s called emotional intelligence.

Great teams have this resilience and it allows them to build trust and understanding one block of stone at a time.

It’s what happens after that really matters

19 Apr

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Things can go wrong. Like they said in the army SNAFU. Situational normal all f*&^%$#@ up! Leaders, managers, teams and individuals make plans, follow programs, address well thought out strategies and then … 

My family had a successful retail business that operated for almost 80 years. It was established during the peak of the Great Depression and it grew. It traversed WW11 and Vietnam. There were fights between siblings and a whole heap of problems both personal and professional. 

Not everyday was a good one > but the wheels kept on turning somehow. 

RESILIENCE

Recently, in a workplace, I was involved in a great effort. The place was electric. There was lots to do in my team. And each day brought lots more. It wasn’t business as usual at all and tempers flared more than the pants I used to wear. 

My last post (I’ve heard that somewhere before!) was about artichokes and the art of managing. Watching individuals unfold like the leaves till you see the heart.

During this testing period an amazing thing happened. Amid the stress, long hours and emotions the team spirit kicked in.

Esprit de Corps.

The team supported each other. There was as much laughter as there were tears (and there were some.)

It was a small thing maybe but also amazing to see a group of people act like a well oiled machine. We got through the situation and the results were excellent.

The team had more in the emotional bank account to draw upon later.

That’s when teams work really well. Before, during and after a crisis.

That’s what makes life great.

When you see that happening.

BAT CEO = CREATIVE + STRATEGIC

15 Nov

bat maskA young guy I know well has recently been appointed as CEO of a large not for profit organisation. He’s a very clever person and I have watched his career unfold.

When he was first appointed, I know he struggled as to how to be the CEO. He doesn’t wear suits. He’s not a fan of corporate speak. He’s a blend of creative and strategic. He’s an entrepreneur, a musician, a story teller but probably not an administrator.

He knows how to network and he does so at very senior levels. His passion for the good deeds and the clients his organisation serves are what makes this guy so compelling.

He utilises the media and has clear objectives for the publicity. Often it’s to inform policy makers on what’s happening ‘on the ground.’

But what astonished me is a video he sent me: BAT CEO

He filmed himself with a Bat Mask on going around the office enquiring how the team was going but in the gravelly, vigilante voice of the new BATMAN. The reactions of many of the staff was unmitigated glee at seeing their big boss being so light-hearted and well, damn funny.

It was a master stroke in my opinion as it disarmed and calmed while introducing a different mode of leadership.

It’s not always appropriate being BAT CEO. There are difficult strategies and difficult conversations leaders have to have but why not engender some fun.

Humour is a strategy in itself and it breaks all kinds of ice.

Here’s to BAT CEO. Long may he serve!

Working with a genius

15 Sep

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I have worked for a couple of people who could be termed geniuses. They are unique in the business world and like fire, often can’t be tamed.

Geniuses are innovators who continually change whatever it is their doing in their business, even when it would appear to us normal people that things were going well.

Geniuses are restless and highly inspiring.

They can also be maddeningly difficult. They do things that drive the process driven among us quite crazy. They can be downright demanding and sometimes over critical. I believe that Picasso wasn’t easy going. Look at his eyes.

But geniuses change things. They also take risks that can be un calculated.

How do we manage a genius (we manage both up and down?)

Can we tailor our personalities and expectations so that the future will come and we won’t go crazy in the process?

In the presence of real genius we do just that. It takes time.

But don’t worry … there’s not many around.

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Can you let go of the wheel?

13 Sep

Encourage disobedienceEncourage disobedience and other dangerous concepts

I came across a blog with an ebook attached entitled The Happy Manifesto written by Henry Stewart (manifesto@happy.co.uk.) It is about workplaces, people, processes, innovation and creativity. One section is entitled Encouraging disobedience, which got me thinking about a lot of the workplaces I have been and am involved in.  Which ones were ‘open’ and which ones ‘closed.’

In the west (as opposed to the east and eastern philosophy) we have been pre-occupied with HAPPINESS possibly because it is often a fleeting emotion and not at all about possessing ‘stuff,’ or prestige and power. HAPPINESS comes from within. Well that’s what I tell my son when he’s looking at the latest gaming device.

Encouraging disobedience is a powerful concept in workplaces if it’s embraced and understood. Translated into leadership, it’s about encouraging input and innovation, thoughts suggestions ideas. Workers at the coalface know their jobs and know how things can be done better. If they are in a micro-managed environment where things have always been done like this; where it’s silently frowned upon to re-invent the wheel, then it’s disobedience not to blindly obey.

Trusting your people and encouraging thought about new ways of doing business motivates people more than money.

Everyone wants to be loved, appreciated and recognised. That’s at least part of what makes people happy.

Advice to micro-managers: Let go of the wheel sometimes and hop in the backseat.

Then watch your people grow.

Lessons in marketing from a window cleaner

10 Sep

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Almost everyday, when I’m driving, I stop at some major traffic lights. At these lights there’s a guy who washes windows for spare change. Half Aboriginal and half Italian, his name is Maurice and he’s a landmark. The first time I saw him I was amazed at his outfit; sometimes a pirate; sometimes a mad hatter … all kinds of get ups.

He decorates the poles the traffic lights are up on with teddy bears and christmas trees, always different depending on the season and what takes his fancy.

I told him that he was the best marketer I’d come across. He even hands out handwritten gift certificates. Maurice takes his business seriously and from the car horns beeping at him and drivers waving he’s very popular and well known. 

He told me once that the boss of a global mall chain said to him ‘If half my tenants were as good at marketing as you are …’

Maurice never stops. His business is micro, micro, but he doesn’t care. He runs it seriously, and he’s seriously good at it.

Running a small business is like riding a quarter horse. You steer them everyday.

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Rodie – King of Content

2 Sep

King of content 230813

“When I have an idea, I turn down the flame, as if it were a little alcohol stove, as low as it will go. Then it explodes and that is my idea.” Hemingway.