The need to manage perceptions as part of an overall communications strategy came to mind this week. I'd been chatting to a group of managers and they mentioned they had held meetings with their staff over time, to draw attention to some unhelpful practises that had crept into the workplace: gossiping, talking about staff behind their backs (and spending an inordinate amount of time doing so) and negativity – a constant flavour of anti-this, anti-that and the other thing.

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Barry Schwartz's book, The Paradox of Choice (2004), has been on my must-read list for ages until now. Once opened, it's difficult to put down, as he unpacks the reality of our world today – it offers us more choices than ever before but they don't necessarily equate to more satisfaction or happiness or good outcomes. He explores the overwhelming options available and the choices to be made in our personal and organisational lives; and then,

 » Read more about: Choice is good, right?  »

A small paragraph in an article in NZBusiness ( February 2011 edition (p.31) entitled What Business Owners Can Learn From NFPs, sprang off the page and grabbed me. Clive Plucknett, CEO of Challenge Trust said NFPs can beat dollar-driven organisations in one main area – they have passion for their cause. He went on to say this was so, partly because they had to, but mostly because it worked. When you think about it,

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You may be surprised to know that in almost every workplace in the country, all through the year, staff dealt with not only their day to day work but an infestation of quadrapeds, fish, birds and insects. It's shocking but true and all without an SPCA or pest controller in sight. How could this be possible? You may well ask and yet the answer is quite simple – read on, to reveal all.

Some say it's the quadrapeds that cause the most problems in the workplace.

 » Read more about: Workplaces are jungles – is yours?  »

It's confession time. I was an organisational prostitute for 20 plus years. But before you reel with horror and think ‘that can't be, she seems such a nice woman', let me explain.  A prostitute is, according to one definition, someone who offers themselves or their talents for unworthy purposes. My definition of an organisational prostitute is someone who has well developed skills, abilities, experience, qualifications and opportunities yet gives themselves and their talents in roles that they no longer like,

 » Read more about: Organisational Prostitution – a crime of our time  »

In formal management text books its difficult to find anything about an organisation's heart and soul. It's hardly surprising really, given management texts delve into black and white concepts and core management functions and leadership texts explore qualities and traits and styles.

Yet an organisation does have a heart, a spirit – the essential, most important part of a place that's experienced by all employees, as to how a place feels like and is like to be in;

 » Read more about: Has your organisation lost its heart?  »

No, this isn't a salacious read. It's about individuals and workplaces. How do you get your passion back for your work, when you have ‘lost it'? And how do you get passion for your work, if you've never had it to lose in the first place?

A typical dictionary definition says passion as a strong enthusiasm for something. I prefer to say it's something that makes your heart sing (for the less musically inclined,

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There's nothing like being in a major earthquake to focus the mind and sharpen the senses. The most basic instinct to kick in is personal survival and following that, concern for the wellbeing of family, friends, neighbours and the safety of homes. Business owners and managers within organisations had additional concerns – their business premises, operating equipment, stock, staff, loss of revenue and possible livelihoods. How many organisations, large and small, had adequately prepared for such an event?

 » Read more about: Earthquakes and Risk Management  »

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about future proofing. Not future proofing a business but myself. And I'm not just thinking about me but other practitioners, consultants, advisors and employees who work across sectors and subject categories and have considerable experience doing so. It can be said that the more you do the more experience you have in something but can we be sure we aren't just repeating the same three or ten years experience every time?

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The State Services Commission report (18 January 2011, ONE News/NZPA) into the culture of New Zealand's police says decisive action is needed to improve police culture. Amongst other areas of need, the report identified police managers and staff at all levels tolerate poor performance and behaviours; and management have tolerated the continuation and appointments of the wrong people into some positions. Another report that same day commented there were pockets of change resistant staff within the police and they will need to be dealt with.

 » Read more about: Police saved by stitch in time?  »