Some years ago one of my coaches, Belinda Merry, gave me formula to use to plan for proper, energising, restorative breaks through the year. The formula is elegantly simple: in month one, diary three separate days off, each day attached to three different weekends, so you get a three day break; do the same for months two and three and in month four, take one whole week off. Then repeat the whole cycle again, from the beginning.

 » Read more about: A New Year Gift – A formula for restorative breaks  »

If you're lucky enough to work the days between Christmas and the New Year or the first few weeks in early January, and your workplace is relatively quiet, it is the perfect time to reflect on the year that's been. This means quality time, spent thinking and going back over the year: to see and acknowledge the many successes, to reflect on work in progress and the unexpected curve balls that came from nowhere and,

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It's a bold claim but one I'm prepared to make. I was reminded of it over the past few weeks when talking to some staff in a small organisation. I heard their workloads had increased and were huge, management weren't listening to them at all and everything considered, things were going to hell in a hand basket. When one of the group challenged their assessment of things and gave updated statistics as to the size of the workloads in relation to each person and in relation to other offices in the region and gave the facts that said the workload was low in comparison and well below the required margin,

 » Read more about: Change resistant staff sabotage workplaces  »

I'm always interested to hear from people that their sector and their job is safe. Safe as in, safe from reforms, from major change, safe from anything that might be swirling around in the other sectors and in the bigger external environment. And these people are shocked when I offer the view that no sector is safe from external and internal change and job security is an illusion in today's world. It just isn't there.

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Articles and text books about leadership are all very well but the best learning comes from seeing it in action. The disaster at the Pike River Coalmine on the West Coast of New Zealand, thrust Chief Executive Peter Whittall into the spotlight for weeks. What was and is still evident is excellent leadership: a CE outwardly calm under great pressure and consistent in his approach to the families, the media and key stakeholders; a CE who gave clear information (no jargon-filled corporate public relations speak,

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I had a conversation today with a colleague about the need to pace oneself, when there's lots of new development work to do on products and services or other things, in the midst of current work on the go and maintaining networks and connections and responding to enquiries etc, etc. Development work requires dedicated thinking time and planning time and it can be tiring, having an intense focus for long periods of time. The key to prevent serious mental fatigue is to mix times of high focus and intense demand with periods of less demanding work.

 » Read more about: Pacing oneself for high performance  »