Thursday, 20 December 2012

Are you Stressed?

Are you feeling stressed? At times it seems like we all have just too much to do with too little time to do it in. I often feel stressed at key points in the year, christmas, holiday time, and at times when there are too many people off work and workload is passed onto me when I have enough of my own to do! I know it is easier said than done but I sometimes try to take a step back and try to de-stress myself by doing the following: 1. Think about the progress you have made – It can sometimes be very easy to feel as though you are getting nowhere. Take a moment to reflect on what you have achieved so far before looking at the challenges ahead. 2. Take time out to do something you find interesting but remember interesting is not necessarily the same thing as fun, pleasant or relaxing. Remember if it interests you and gives you replenished energy then do it! 3. Your to do list – Your to do list can sometimes seem endless and it is simply a list of tasks. Have you ever thought about adding a where and when to your list? Research has shown that that if you decide when and where you will complete a task it can double or triple your chance of doing it. For example, call Dawn in HR, could be call Dawn in HR on Tuesday after a lunch out with the boss. It is called seizing the critical moment. 4. Use a routine. Try and reduce stress by reducing the number of decisions you make and use routines. For example, respond to emails at a certain time in the day, have a break at 10.30 every day. In fact in a recent interview President Obama, (who I am sure knows a great deal about stress ), mentioned using this strategy himself: ‘You need to remove from your life day to day problems that absorb most people for meaningful parts of their day.. You’ll see I wear only grey or blue suits. I’m trying to cut down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing because I have too many other decisions to make. You need to focus your decision making energy. You need to get into a routine, you can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia’ quote from ( President Obama – Vanity Fair) 5. Look at the big picture – it is sometimes useful to link your smaller actions to the big picture to give you a sense of achievement. 6. Take a break – finally we are all human and yes it is OK to take a break. Follow these simple steps to a stress less 2013!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Putting your People First

I recently read an article calling business leaders to pay more attention to ‘the 3P’s’. This interested me, was this phrase simply another management acronym or was there some substance behind what I read? The three P’s stand for: PEOPLE before PRODUCT (or service) before PROFIT (or performance). The sequence and the word before each P is extremely significant. The phrasing states that, if you ensure your people are capable, creative and engaged, they will in turn produce great products (and/or services), which will lead to a successful, high performing business which is profitable and successful.. However how many businesses really think in this way? I have worked for many businesses who engaged far too much ‘top down’ management. They strive for profit and performance without paying attention to engaging their people in doing the right things. I have witnessed businesses pay huge salaries and big bonuses to focus staff on sales and profit targets and while bonuses can act as an ‘extrinsic motivator’, in reality they only provide a short term impact at best. They do not truly engage staff and are soon forgotten. So what does putting your People before Product and Profit mean? In my view if a business is going to truly put their people first they have to do a number of things. For example, they need to: - Understand the innate skills and capabilities of the people they have. - Be clear about what is expected from everyone. - Support their managers and staff to develop skills that will make them more effective in their jobs. - Give their staff as much autonomy as possible trust them to do their job and give them the freedom to make their own decisions. - Involve their staff in decisions that affect them more. - Listen and pay attention to what their staff say, their concerns, and ideas for improvement, and ACT on them. Finally I believe that senior execs need to recognise and understand that the culture of the business is dictated by their behaviour. They must therefore work hard to develop the necessary behaviours to enable them to act as excellent role models, and demonstrate on a day to day basis that they put their people first. If a business truly desires to improve its performance, it must start with its people, their skills, capabilities, motivation and level of engagement.

Friday, 14 December 2012

The Importance of Talent Management

After working with many different businesses I have concluded that one of the biggest risks facing many organisations is having the right talent to enable them to compete in the future. I see many businesses who have a significant number of key executives will likely retire in the next 5-10 years. While this may not have been an issue 10 or 15 years ago, pressure has been such that businesses have had to reorganise and resize themselves to a point where the talent pool that would have been ready to step up into key roles are either not ready or not there. I also think this will be compounded in the longer term as fewer people stay with one organisation. For example, a recent study estimated that current school leavers will have between 10-14 jobs by their 40th birthday! To address this issue, I believe that more companies need to integrate their talent and succession planning with their strategic business plans and view talent management as a long-term, continuous process. To achieve this I believe that businesses should: • Think strategically. Talent management requires a strategic perspective. What are the things that might impact your organisation in the future? Will it grow and acquire other businesses, or is the market shrinking and therefore a different leadership approach may be needed? What ‘type’ of managers and business leaders will be needed in the future? • Understand the businesses key roles. Which functions and roles in the organisation drive the majority of the business’s value? Businesses need to think broadly, and not just about traditional leadership roles. Specialist technical roles such as product development may be as equally important. Once this is complete it is a straightforward task to examine the age profiles of those currently in the key roles. How many of these could retire in the next 5-10 years? How many of these roles have ‘ready now’ successors? • Identify the requirements of the key roles. Effective talent management requires clarity on technical and behavioural requirements for the roles as well as specific experience, such as international or specific market experience. All key roles should have the necessary components and characteristics for superior performance clearly defined. These requirements can then be used as a basis to assess people, either internally via a promotion or externally via recruitment. • Agree a succession strategy. Once the organisation knows who is likely to retire, and who the potential talent is, objective decisions can be made about how the key roles will be filled in the future. This will enable the business to actively recruit and bring in new blood to fill roles that cannot be filled from within. • Define career paths for internal promotions. Once a succession strategy is clear, establishing career paths and the ability to describe the requirements for pursuing the path becomes easier. Creating effective career paths requires two components, knowing the requirements for the next level and creating clear plan of how to gain the necessary skills, behaviours and experience. • Link talent management and performance management together. Talent management and succession planning should become a part of the organisation’s performance management and career development processes. Regular performance discussions are important to collect evidence of how potential successors have progressed. • Provide on-going development. Managers need to support the ongoing development of their talent to ensure that make the necessary progress. • Monitor readiness and prepare a succession plan. Senior managers should meet at least annually to initially agree who the potential successors are for the key roles and to subsequently monitor their progress. Who is ready now to move to their next role? Is their evidence to suggest that any of the successors will not ‘make the grade’? If not what needs to be done? What I have described may at first to appear a cumbersome process, but none of the above steps need to be made overly complex. If your business does not focus on talent management and succession planning then the availability of talent for your key roles will be left to the fickle finger of fate. Surely the future success of your business is too important for that?