Meetings, lovely meetings!

I see that meetings are getting a bad press again.  A new survey has found that nearly a million people spend half their working week in meetings and that at least a third of that time is wasted waiting for late-comers. Waiting for late-comers is crazy; it punishes the people who have taken the trouble to arrive on time and fails to inconvenience those who haven’t.   Indeed, waiting for late-comers actually trains people not to arrive on time; why bother [...]

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Give managers a break

I have spent my whole career helping managers of different shapes and sizes to manage people better.  I have also been a manager myself so it hasn’t just been ‘do as I say’ stuff.  Most managers I worked with were what I’d describe as reluctant managers – and this includes me.  They were reluctant because, in order to progress, there had come a point in their career where they had to stop doing whatever they were good at and start [...]

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A manager who was hooked on brainstorming

Miles was a section manager in a large design agency.  He was in his thirties, with an unkempt beard and given to wearing corduroy trousers. He had a degree in graphics and design and was a gifted cartoonist.  The agency created advertising campaigns, advised on corporate logos and designed catalogues and brochures for a number of blue-chip companies.  The ethos of the place was right-brained, informal and emphatically ‘can do’.  Miles was a great fan of intuitive processes and lateral [...]

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Musts and wants

Some years ago I was invited to join in a think-tank, organised by the Cabinet Office, to generate ideas on what the government could do to motivate more people to embrace lifelong learning.  It seems that far too many people treat learning and development as an optional extra.  This despite all the messages about learning being the core capability; the only skill that can never become obsolete; the gateway to employability and fulfilment; the only way to sustain a competitive [...]

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A manager who sampled 360 degree feedback

Ben was a middle manager in the purchasing department of a company that manufactured tyres for the motor industry.  He worked in a large, draughty Victorian building that, despite refurbishment, still showed its age. The purchasing office was tucked away in one wing of the building along with other administrative functions.  The bulk of the site, however, was given over to tyre manufacture – a dirty process. The manufacturing areas looked as if they belonged to another epoch.  There were [...]

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Recent Anecdotes

So far as other people are concerned, you are your behaviour