There is a quiet revolution going on in many educational institutions that may not be known by workplace employees wanting to get qualifications or update old ones. Traditionally, tertiary education has been delivered in the main in face to face classes or distance learning – with text books and course material arriving through the mail. Yet for many years now, new courses have been developed and existing ones redeveloped for online learning – for certificate,

 » Read more about: Online learning a well kept secret, personal trainer suggests  »

I shouldn't be surprised at some of the things I hear but I still am, even after fifteen years as a personal management trainer. The one issue that gets me, every time, is hearing managers who have inherited poor performers with a known, longstanding history of poor performance. The core issue, which is startling, is knowing that a long line of managers have chosen not to deal with a serious problem and ignored it in the hope it will go away or miraculously right itself.

 » Read more about: Systemic management failure common, professional coach believes  »

Some women and men seem to have a natural flair and style in their dress sense. It seems they could go out in a sack cloth and ashes and still manage to look fantastic. Yet, there are the rest of us poor creatures who struggle with colour, style, coordination and overall look, and never quite get the look we want for ourselves. For those of us who do struggle, it is an unpleasant feeling if our roles require us to look smart and professional and we're uncertain if we are on the right track.

 » Read more about: Professional look in public eye essential, suggests management trainer  »

How much time have you spent thinking about your working life? I don't mean the daily thoughts about whether it was a good day or not, but quality time spent reflecting on the roles you've had; the things you really enjoy doing; the tasks that don't interest you or want to be doing any more; the ideal conditions that enable you to be your very best; the things you're passionate about? If you haven't done this for a while,

 » Read more about: Time for reflection – a luxury or a necessity?  »

An interesting looking book for those who feel their days are filled with drudgery and not great work, is "Find Your Great Work – napkin sized solutions to stop the busywork and start the work that matters". The author is Michael Bungay Stanier and if you go to you'll get a sense of the key points within the book.

 » Read more about: Have you found great work or are you in drudgery – management trainer asks  »

With the hectic pace of most places, it's easy for managers to spend their days with back to back meetings, dealing with floods of emails, coaching and supporting staff, and fighting fires. It's easy to get into doing mode and spend little dedicated time in thinking mode – as in, doing nothing else but thinking about the business, section or department; the long term goals, the short term implementation plans etc. Thinking time is just as important as time spent on planning,

 » Read more about: Thinking time is critical time, professional coach believes  »

I've been reminded of late that when people have a major crisis in their lives i.e. dealing with a health scare, their focus immediately turns to dealing with the crisis. All other things in their lives drop away and take on less significance, because on the scheme of things in relation to the crisis, they're minors. So why is it then, in so many organisations facing a crisis or serious issues, the managers react so slowly as if the issues aren't that serious or they have all the time in the world,

 » Read more about: Challenging times a timely call to action, personal management trainer believes  »

Have you ever noticed how some people get stuck into a negative spiral and stay stuck in it? I often listen to employees complain about their workplace, their managers, their colleagues, their wages and life in general yet never move beyond complaining. Learned helplessness is a label for being stuck and believing you have no power to do anything about the situation. Yet, for many issues we complain about, we can do something about them.

 » Read more about: Learned helplessness a road to nowhere  »

I love the phrase "you can't build a reputation on what you're planning to do". I've had reason to recall it recently as I've dealt with some shoddy workmanship in my office. It amuses me to see companies say in their advertising material how they are customer focused, take pride in their work etc, etc and send invoices saying how much they appreciate your business, yet fail to adequately monitor the work being done and encourage,

 » Read more about: Building reputations ongoing process, management trainer believes  »

I read an article recently about the US Navy Seals (Sea, Air and Land Teams), an elite special operations force that work around the globe. Given the work they do, their work ethic, the trust of their colleagues, their collective commitment to the task at hand, and physical fitness, enables them to do their job effectively and efficiently.

What core components are reflected in your workplace? A strong work ethic from the management and every employee?

 » Read more about: Seals show the way  »

The Family Drug Support Aotearoa (FDSA) nationwide charitable trust was founded by Christchurch innovator Pauline Stewart. It was created ‘to assist families/whanau to deal with alcohol and other drug misuse, in a way that strengthens relationships and achieves positive outcomes’. FDSA is physically based at 301 Tuam St, Christchurch Central. It’s support phone number is: 0800 337 877; the office phone number is: 03 2818740; and the email contact is:
If you need help,

 » Read more about: Have you discovered FDSA yet?  »

A key tip to keeping your technical information up to date is to create specific lists e.g. technical information (IP addresses, links to get into the back end of one’s website, instructions to do certain tasks, names and contact of IT expert) and update them regularly. Another list to create is your personal logins/passwords, and that too needs to be updated whenever new contacts/information needs to be added, or, contacts/information needs to be deleted. If you can keep on top of the lists,

 » Read more about: Update your technical information reqularly  »

The International Coach Federation (ICF) supports a huge, world-wide coaching community to gain coaching credentials (ACC – Associate Certified Coach; PCC – Professional Certified Coach; and MCC – Master Certified Coach) and maintain them, through ongoing professional development and joining specific Communities of Practice. All members adhere to the ICF’s code of ethics. Many countries across the globe have ICF credentialed coaches working with clients across the different sectors. If you want to find out more,

 » Read more about: International Coach Federation (ICF) members spread across the globe  »

Death Cafes have been established all around the world to enable individuals to talk about their mortality, life and living, and come to grips with it. The Covid-19 outbreak and the enforced shutdown hones the mind to what is important in life, and how quickly our personal situation may change. If you haven’t already had discussions with loved ones about your mortality, do so. Get your personal affairs documented and sorted out. Get real, get ready,

 » Read more about: Death cafes all around the world break silence  »

We are strange creatures, human beings. In the midst of enjoying life and living, we put thoughts of our own mortality on the back burner. Yet now, with Covid-19, the lockdowns and various other restrictions imposed upon us, our personal fragility is highlighted like never before. Our sense of control has gone and fears have come to the fore. Yet there is something constructive we can and must do during this time, if we haven’t done so already.

 » Read more about: Covid-19, Mortality and Get Your Affairs in Order (Before it is too late)  »

There’s nothing like a crisis situation to really hone the mind and focus our attention on what really matters in our lives. To enable us to do this, we need to schedule some quiet times to allow our minds to slow down and for us to really ‘look’ at our current situation- not just in our personal lives, but our working/professional lives also. So, some questions for you to contemplate in the following weeks: (1) What brings you great joy in your personal life?

 » Read more about: Enforced Covid-19 lockdown an opportunity for reflection  »

W. N. Murray, from the Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951) had this to say about commitment: “Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred.

 » Read more about: She or He who hesitates may be temporarily lost, yet can be found  »

Two difficult yet very helpful questions we could ask ourselves on a regular basis are (1) what is your soul mission? (2) what is your joy generator? When was the last time you thought about the real purpose of your life and the sort of ‘legacy’ you wish to leave behind you? Many people live lives of quiet desperation – unhappy in their work, personal lives and everyday realities; some may lack the confidence and/or insight,

 » Read more about: Two questions – what’s your answer?  »

I attended an excellent Emotional Intelligence & Neuroscience Masterclass last week, as part of the annual WBECS Coaching Summit. The speaker was Deiric McCann, and he shared the characteristics of managers and colleagues with well developed ’emotional intelligence’. They include: Demonstrate awareness of their own moods and emotions; makes others feel appreciated; is open and honest about their mistakes; makes ethical decisions; manages their emotions effectively in difficult situations; recognises other people’s hard work and achievements.

 » Read more about: How we show up determines the way people feel  »

In Alan Seale’s Weekly newsletter, dated May 22, 2019, his lead article talks about ‘Taking Care of The Glue That Holds Us Together. The ‘glue’ is the core people in the organisation that cares about the individuals within it; the ones that hold the spirit and healthy culture within a team or division or department; the shared beliefs, values experiences that are important; and the people who stand up for others. He reminds us we need to pay attention to the glue,

 » Read more about: The Glue That Blinds Us  »

I reflected on this recently, after working with some individuals dissatisfied with aspects of their working and personal lives. It is for the individuals themselves to recognise and accept their situation for what it is, and to make conscious decisions about what they will or won’t do about it. For their future peace of mind and personal happiness, they will need to take action. Mountains aren’t conquered by looking at them, but by taking one step,

 » Read more about: “You’re off to great places, today is your day. Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way”. (Dr Seuss)  »

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity,

 » Read more about: The Two Wolves and Murder in Christchurch  »

When I did my MBA years ago, servant leadership was mentioned in the list of known management styles. The idea that CEOs and senior managers would adopt this style was news to me, given the many different places I’d worked in across a number of different sectors and servant leadership was nowhere to be seen. This week I read about ENGEO, an engineering consultants business in Christchurch NZ. I discovered that servant leadership was listed as part of their core company values.

 » Read more about: Servant leadership is rare – could it become commonplace?  »

In the weeks approaching the end of the year, there’s often pressure to get everything done to clear the decks for the New Year ahead. What may be forgotten in the rush is fully acknowledging all staff’s efforts throughout the year. Specify how their valuable contribution has benefitted those around them, and the business itself. Finish on an appreciative high note.

 » Read more about: Acknowledge staff at year end and finish on a high  »

While formal supervision is provided to social workers working across the different sectors, including social services and health, there is an unmet need for managers and team leaders, to access the same support. While it is expected managers and team leaders would provide a supportive listening ears and opportunities for their staff to debrief and brainstorm with them, who do managers and team leaders go to, to discuss their work, the challenges they face, the situations they find difficult to manage or a decision they may have made that may not have been the best?

 » Read more about: Managers and team leaders need regular reflective supervision and coaching  »

Women’s Suffrage Day 19/08/2018 in Aotearoa/New Zealand acknowledged and celebrated 125 years ago it was the first country in the world to enable women to vote. A few weeks earlier on 26/08/18, it was Women’s Equality Day. While many positive milestones have been reached over the decades, there is still a way to go to achieve equal pay for equal work,  regardless of one’s gender, and the sector worked in. Unconscious biases still prevail.

 » Read more about: Women’s Suffrage Day and Women’s Equality Day 2018  »

Daniel Kahneman’s book ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ has been out for a number of years now, and its messages are still important today, in our busy working lives. He says we have two modes of thinking: system 1 – a fast automatic reflex response which may make us rush into making choices on factors we may have little information about; and system 2 – a mode we get into when we stop long enough to think issues through calmly,

 » Read more about: Two specific modes of thinking are crystal clear, it seems  »

Margaret Morrell has spent 20 years providing reflective supervision training in the health and social services sector, and written 5 guides on the topic. Each guide book is comprehensive and easy to read and follow.  They’re a valuable resource for any supervisors and supervisees. Highly recommended. To find out more  visit



 » Read more about: Reflective supervision for health and social services supervisors and supervisees  »

I’ve enjoyed participating in the World Business Executive Coaches pre-Summit (WBECS) webinars over recent weeks. WBECS offer the pre-Summit sessions free of charge, while their comprehensive Summit course is fee-paying. This  programme is comprehensive. It’s worth considering if you are a coach who wants exposure to thought-leaders and experts around the globe, and ideas and input from coach practitioners worldwide. See for details.

 » Read more about: WBECS a must-explore for all coaches  »

The International Coaching Week is a time to bring the public’s attention to the value of working with a trained, qualified professional coach.  The International Coach Federation (ICF) reflects the value of professional coach training, on going professional development and coaching qualifications, and the impact coaching has on individuals and organisations across the different sectors. The ICF currently has approximately 30,000 members in 140 countries. If you’re looking for a coach in your area, see:

 » Read more about: This week is International Coaching Week  »

Reflections On The Dark Side was published in 1990 by Dr Robert Hogan.  In his article, he discusses the ‘bright side’ and ‘dark side’ of people’s performance. This is revealed when they pay attention to the normal rules of self-presentation, and when they’re not paying attention, or when they don’t care about creating a good impression. He notes the three features of reputation, and says smart players in the game of life take good care of their reputations.

 » Read more about: The light and dark side of ourselves – what do we reveal to others?  »

Telling stories is part of the human condition. It is how ideas and information is conveyed to others, and it is also how we interpret and rationalise events and situations in our personal and professional lives. In our stories, we may often present ourselves in the best possible light –  our ‘best selves’.   Yet before making a decision on issues and passing on information, a distinction must be made between the actual, neutral facts of a given situation,

 » Read more about: Actual facts and the stories we tell ourselves about a situation may differ, to our detriment and others  »

Julian Treasure’s talk on 5 Ways to Listen Better is a revelation. He suggests that while we spend 60% of our communication time listening, we retain only about 25% of what we hear. This percentage can be increased if we train ourselves to actively listen, by developing specific listening skills. He shares five simple exercises that we can all do to develop conscious listening techniques, and create greater understanding and meaning from the sounds we hear.

 » Read more about: We may have ears but do we actually listen to others? Not necessarily, says management coach  »

80% of what it takes to change our own behaviour is a function of our ability to self-regulate. Personal change is possible, and the key to it is to know the ‘triggers’ that set us off. If we can identify each specific trigger, we’re then able to develop specific strategies to ensure we deliver a regulated, neutral response. We are creatures of habit, so any deliberate change process takes mindfulness, a good understanding of ourselves,

 » Read more about: Behaviour change related to our ability to self-regulate – sounds easy, but is it?  »

Robert Waldiner shares three core findings in the longest study on happiness: good relationships keep us happier and healthier; the quality of the close relationships are critical (they buffer us from life’s lows, difficult times, etc); and good relationships protect not only our bodies, but also our brains. See:    for a fascinating talk and explanation of the findings.





 » Read more about: What makes a good life? A 75 year old ongoing study reveals 3 core lessons  »

With the plethora of webinars, seminars, training programmes and workshops readily available, it’s easy to be caught up in the latest hot topic ‘must do’. Yet before committing to new seminars, programmes and workshops, it pays to revisit all the ones they have already attended, and see what they actually did with the information given (typically, course notes are filed away and immediately forgotten). The key to integrating new learning is to consciously diary time over a two-three month time span to put into practice what has been learnt. 

 » Read more about: Stop, look, revisit – before committing to seminars and workshops  »

The Resilience Institute Team suggest tactical calm is the doorway to impulse control. They say ‘humans are wired, tired and fired to be stupid’ and the old-school advice of ‘take a deep breath’ when we are trying to calm ourselves in difficult situations, is the worst thing we can ever do. Why? Go to and read From Strategic to Tactical Calm.

 » Read more about: What may save us from ourselves? Human wiring, impulse control and tactical calm…  »

Throughout the week, my local paper delivers not only news but advertising flyers from nation-wide organisations with local facilities. The flyers are informative and typically invite the reader ‘to find out more, call (a named person) on a local number (provided)’. One flyer I received had information I wanted more details on, and called the stated number many times over the following week but the phone wasn’t answered. Two weeks later I got through and once I had the email address of the person I needed to contact,

 » Read more about: Silence damages businesses and wastes marketing efforts  »

A great percentage of our population don’t prepare for the inevitable – their eventual death – and typically leave a mess behind for others to sort out. When someone dies relatives or friends are tasked with the unenviable task of preparing a funeral/memorial service, including speeches about the dearly departed. Oftentimes a deceased person’s professional life isn’t widely known by others, and speech-makers have a difficult time of finding relevant information, and filling gaps in a person’s work history.

 » Read more about: A CV is a useful addition to ‘getting all your affairs in order’ documentation  »

A recent discovery, and one I recommend, is the ebook ‘There’s a Part of Me…’ by J. Schwartz and B. Brennan (© 2013 Trailheads Publications). The authors posit we are all made up of different parts, that together, form our basic nature and personality; and our ‘thinking’ is conversations between our different parts. When our different parts want different things for us, that can lead to inner confusion, conflict and so on. The authors offer an effective way to identify then listen to our parts, 

 » Read more about: How well do you know your inner self? What part of you wants to find out?  »

Changing our personal behaviours isn’t an easy or fast process. In 1977 James Prochaska and Carlo Clemente developed a Transtheoretical Model of Change which shows the different stages we progress through: Pre-contemplation (we realise our behaviour may be problematic but we’re considering the impact of our actions; we’re not ready to do too much about it);  Preparation (we have the intention to do something about specific behaviours); Action (we deliberately take steps; we change old behaviours);

 » Read more about: A good guide for personal transformation – the Transtheoretical Model of Change  »

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC), coaching is now an approximately $2.356 billion USD industry worldwide with 53,300 professional practitioners. This is stated in new data released in the 2016 International Coach Federation (ICF) Global Coaching Study. The study revealed: 75.2% of professional coaches are female, compared to the global average of 67%; NZ coaches typically have more experience than their overseas counterparts (37.6% having coached for more than 10 years, versus 26.9% globally; and almost 70% of Kiwi coach practitioners identified business coaching as their main speciality area.

 » Read more about: 2016 ICF Global Coaching study reveals Kiwi Coaching industry surging ahead  »

It’s time to have the conversation you may have  put off for too long! Saturday 16 April 2016 is the national Conversations that Count Day – a time to think about advance care planning – for your future and your end of life care. It is the ideal time to think about yourself and your loved ones. Go for it.

 » Read more about: Join in The Conversations That Count Day – NZ 16 April 2016  »

I agree wholeheartedly with Douglas Lang’s comments in his Looking for fair and balanced (leadership) reporting article in the December 2015 edition of NZ Management magazine. The style of extroverted leaders is  widely extolled whereas the styles of introverted leaders hardly rates a mention. The limiting and inappropriate ‘this opposed to that’ style needs to be reconsidered, so that equal value is placed on the management and leadership styles of introverts and extroverts alike.  The article can be purchased online at:


 » Read more about: Introverts do make good leaders – great article in NZ Management mag, Dec 2015  »

The Ripenists is a new resource targeted at smart, self-aware midlife women who want to make the second half of their life filled with zest and zing. It’s about positive, vibrant aging, and people reaching their full potential. It’s filled with interesting, engaging articles and reflections, all well worth reading and then going back for more . See for details.


 » Read more about: New resource available for mid-life women  »

Mary Oliver once said “And now I understand something so frightening, and wonderful – how the mind clings to the road it knows, rushing through crossroads, sticking like lint to the familiar”. ( She’s captured in such a succinct way, how we effortlessly run on automatic pilot, repeatedly doing what we always do, without really thinking about it. Yet if we always do what we’ve always done, we will always get what we’ve always got.

 » Read more about: What are the problems with ‘sticking like lint, to the familiar’? Management coach explains all  »

In Jasbindar Singh’s October 2015 blog she highlights Margaret Heffernan’s latest book ‘Willful Blindness’. Margaret explores why individuals (all of us) tend to ignore the obvious, to our detriment; offers explanations why we may do it, and the difficulties inherent in seeing, then naming, what is going on in a situation most people want to avoid noticing. It is an excellent summary of her key points. Jasbindar’s blogs are always a mine of information –

 » Read more about: ‘Willful blindness’ more common than we think, management coach suggests  »

This phrase was used recently by the All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. Hansen (The Press, Sept 11, 2015) suggested it was important to look at situations with honest eyes to see the inconvenient facts (the stuff we can’t deny, despite our wish to do so) that lie within them. Once we’ve faced the facts, we can then do something about the situation in question. What a great notion: it’s simple, elegant and very true.

 » Read more about: Honest eyes and inconvenient facts a great notion, says management coach  »

John Izzo talks about a bank that operated on a 100% responsibility/ 0 excuses policy. The premise was that every employee, regardless of their role, were 100% responsible and accountable for doing the very best for their clients and the organisation itself. To hear the principles behind it, watch

What barriers would get in the way of it working in every organisation?

 » Read more about: Accountability in organisations – what % is required, management coach asks  »

Meeting rooms, air conditioning, uncomfortable chairs, harsh lighting and meetings that go on, and on, and on. The traditional way of having a meeting with a colleague or two may be harmful for our physical and mental health in so many ways. A healthy alternative is to have walking meetings: get out of the office, gather the colleagues together, select the issue that needs attention and walk and talk until the desired outcome is reached or you’ve come to your
favourite cafe.

 » Read more about: Walk through your meeting, management coach suggests  »

Kerrie Noonan’s Groundswell project that promotes ‘death literacy’ has some amazing posters to highlight their Dying to Know Day on 8th August 2015. My favourite one cites one core statistic that many individuals in a death-denying culture may not be aware of, that is: ’10/10 people die. Are you ready? ‘.  Equally enlightening is the poster that says ‘Talk about death. It won’t kill you’. With that assurance, there’s every reason to get chatting about it now,

 » Read more about: Dying to Know Day poster highlights one core statistic  »

A recent report from Statistics New Zealand found the life expectancy for men and women has increased for all ethnic groups: 83.2 years for females and 79.5 years for males. How do we prepare ourselves now, to have a rich and satisfying life as we get older? Juliet Batten’s book ‘Spirited Ageing’  (2013) addresses this and offers practical ideas and guidance to help.  See


 » Read more about: Longer life expectancy – good news for everyone?  »

Deloittes have recently published the 10 core human capital trends. See

I’m delighted in the trend towards the simplification of work and the new era of doing less better, rather than doing more with less. That will make a huge difference to everyone in the workplace.

 » Read more about: Check out the 2015 Human Capital trends  »

Recent research released from Perpetual Guardian (; 02/05/15) reveal many individuals leave making their first will until late in life – approximately 60-69 years of age; amongst older people with wills, 13% made their first will between 18-29 years of age; and 24% did so between 30-59 years of age.

These are alarming figures, given the reality every individual will face at some point in time (their death); and the impact dying without a will has on the loved ones,

 » Read more about: Most of the population don’t have wills  »

What are the conversations that count? They’re the discussions about getting all your personal affairs in order before it is too late to do so (wills, enduring powers of attorney, guardianship for children, memorandum of wishes, funeral details, recording digital assets and so on) AND Advanced Care Plans – the process of thinking, talking and planning for future and end-of-life care. Pakeha/European culture is largely death-denying which is a significant barrier to these important discussions.

 » Read more about: Be courageous – have the Conversations that Count!!  »

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust are offering additional fellowships this year to recognise this. The fellowships are open to any person interested in researching a topic that will benefit their organisation, their sector or community, etc. As a recipient of a fellowship many years ago, I encourage you all to read about the Trust, the work they do and the requirements of the fellowship.

 » Read more about: Winston Churchill Fellowships – applications now open  »

A quote attributed to Chuck Reid recently caught my attention – “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice, there is.” It’s something I’ve pondered on since, especially in relation to leadership and management. Theories certainly give a framework for viewing and considering how things may be and why so, and that’s fantastic. The understanding and possible application of the theories in the workplace, is problematic as situations, contexts, individuals and interpretations are all so different.

 » Read more about: Theory and practice – is there a difference between the two?  »

One small issue has made a big impression on me of late, and that was the lack of care taken with important documents, especially so contracts. I have seen contracts for service that had incorrect information in them and required the recipient of the contracts to point the errors out and ask they get altered. Errors may be made in documents however when some documentation requires cutting and pasting material from one source document into another,

 » Read more about: Small things make a big impression  »

A recent edition of NZBusiness alerted readers to a book out from Michael Smyth (the ‘Approachable Lawyer’), entitled Employed But Under Fire – Strategies for Dealing with a Difficult Boss. The book explains what goes on at the workplace and offers employees strategies to adopt to get out of the stress. The book is available in paperback and in an E-book. See

 » Read more about: New book offers strategies for dealing with a difficult boss  »

PwC have just published their Next Generation Survey, called Bridging the gap: Handing over the family business to the next generation. They conclude that succession may be a make-or-break moment in family firms and there are a number of factors that need to be worked through, to make the process successful. It is a comprehensive report and a great read.

 » Read more about: Next Generation survey now out from PwC – well worth reading  »

The International Coaching Week is acknowledged and celebrated all around the world. The Australasian Charter Chapter of the International Coach Federation (ICF) is encouraging coaches to spread the word. A recent, independent Pricewaterhouse Coopers study on aspects of coaching found that 86% of companies reported coaching provided a return on their investment (they made at least their investment back); 99% of clients are satisfied with the overall experience when they have a coach; and 70% of clients report improved work performance from coaching.

 » Read more about: It’s International Coaching Week 19-25th May – spread the word  »

A newly released free app – Occupation Outlook 2014 – has been released from the Minister of Tertiary Education, Steven Joyce. The app aims encourages women and girls to broaden their career options and in doing so, find more rewarding career options and higher incomes. Some 50 career options are included. It’s available for iPhones and iPods and other devices. Some of the same information is available through www.dol.govt/nz/publications.

 » Read more about: A new App to encourage women and girls to broaden their career options  »

The Centre has a range of resources available for adults with complex mental disorders who engage with the public mental health service. They have workbooks for a range of different topics and the books guide the reader into answering specific questions and thinking about things.

One of the workbooks looks into mastering worries, perfectionism, self limiting beliefs and panic attacks – a resource that could be useful for many busy employees and employers facing long work days,

 » Read more about: Australian Centre for Clinical Interventions has great resources  »

If you haven’t already done so, check out Worksafe’s latest best practice guidelines to help employers and employees deal with workplace bullying. The resource is terrific. Every workplace should have documented human resources policies and procedures; and documented policies and practices around bullying. That’s the base and they need to be accompanied by on going educative sessions. Ignorance isn’t bliss – it’s damaging.

 » Read more about: Worksafe’s Best Practice Guidelines for bullying a great resource  »

A recent newspaper article (The Press, 20/02/2014, A11) reports the results of a recent PwC’s 2014 Global Economic Crime Survey – that ‘fraud affects a third of New Zealand businesses, with theft by far the most common’. The authors said theft represented 70% of fraud and was followed by procurement fraud, bribery and corruption, human resources fraud and cybercrime. It is a great reminder that organisations, large and small, need to have good revenue assurance policies and practices in place.

 » Read more about: Theft and fraud affects many companies – have you been affected?  »

I’ve realised of late that for those of us who aren’t professional librarians and information-finders-and-keepers, it can be a challenge to set up and maintain our own information trees. These trees grow when we set up folders, sub-folders, sub-sub-folders and the like and rarely take the time to review the trees, prune them, relocate wayward branch files and remove dead branches. Earlier this year, when work was quiet, I set aside a chunk of time and discovered:I had more information trees than I realised,

 » Read more about: Information trees need frequent trimming, says management coach  »

If you were to reflect on your working life to date, how many amazing managers with exemplary leadership skills have you worked for or with? How many managers have you worked for or with that had no leadership skills at all? Numerous leadership articles and assessments are available online and offline and the one that caught my attention recently is the Leadership Practices Inventory available through

This organisation suggests the 5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership includes: Model the Way,

 » Read more about: 5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership – what do you experience in the workplace?  »

The New Year is traditionally the time when a small portion of the population write down NY resolutions and commit to keeping them. Statistically however, few people are successful in their resolutions, possibly because they’re a should or must do resolution and not necessarily a deep, driving need. An alternative that may be more realistic is to forget resolutions altogether and focus instead on the Mental Health Foundation’s 5 Ways to Wellbeing. These provide a useful framework for setting intentions and goals for the future and the headings to use include: Connect (social wellbeing),

 » Read more about: Five Ways to Wellbeing good framework for personal planning, says management coach  »

There’s an unfortunate norm that occurs in many organisations – staff new to management go into entry-level management positions with little support or guidance on what management actually entails. Typically, those around them are busy in their own roles and oftentimes, new staff are left to figure things out as they go along. The school of hard knocks unfolds before them, often a difficult road to go down alone.

A resource to help people new to entry-level management is The Beginner’s Guide to Management.

 » Read more about: The Beginner’s Guide to Management – where is it when you need it?  »

The first few days, weeks and months in a new role are hugely important for new appointee and those around them. A mistake often made by some new appointees is in their rush to make an immediate impact, they fail to take the time to get to know and understand the people around them; fail to determine the extend and scope of what people do, and to fully understand the context they work within. The colleagues working with or around a new appointee tend watch them carefully over the first few weeks to see how they’re going to fit in and they quickly develop an overall impression about them –

 » Read more about: First few months in a new job are critical, says management trainer  »

Who isn’t? Given we spend so much time at work and expend enormous amounts of energy doing what we do in our workplace, it should be the source of happiness and fulfilment. Yet often times, it isn’t. Dr Srikumar Rao’s presentation on this topic is timely, hugely interesting and educational. Take an hour out of your day to hear his lecture and tips:

 » Read more about: Looking for happiness and fulfilment in your work?  »

Rudman (1999:52) in Human Resources Management in New Zealand says the top 10 factors in job satisfaction include: respect of the people you work with; learning something new; seeing your suggestions acted upon; being asked for advice; being well trained; personal freedom; a challenge; helping other people; respect of other people in your field; and being liked by the people you work with.
How many of these factors can you tick? What factors aren’t on Rudman’s list that you’d like to see there?

 » Read more about: What’s your job satisfaction like? asks personal management trainer  »

Teresa Amabile, in a TedTalks session at discusses the Progress Principle and the catalysts and inhibitors to employee engagement. She notes the importance of small wins and how to make progress in the workplace while caring about the people who work within it. It’s well worth watching.

 » Read more about: Note the progress principle and importance of small wins, says management coach  »

Great news in The Press, 09/09/2013 – the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will soon issue new guidelines that define bullying and alert bosses to what they need to do to counteract any bullying in their workplaces. The statistics are staggering: bullying costs companies millions of dollars in lost productivity; and in the rehiring and retraining costs to replace staff who leave unsafe workplaces. In my experience, few workplaces have documented policies and processes to deal with bullying behaviour so the behaviours are enabled and good staff eventually leave for safer workplaces.

 » Read more about: Workplace bullies cost organistions big time, says management coach  »

The process for shutting down digital assets for accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, PayPal and email accounts, is not simple. For example, amongst other things, Facebook requires a copy of a deceased person’s death certificate; LinkedIn requires verification of death, such as a death notice; Twitter requires the names and contact information of people closing the account, plus a link to a public obituary and YouTube requires a death certificate, a power of attorney document and details of the person closing the account.

 » Read more about: Digital assets and how to prepare for your premature demise  »

I’ve read several articles of late that mentioned what was needed to climb the ladder of success. What struck me at the time was how often success was seen and measured by a vertical marker and rarely a horizontal one. Success is about achieving something you wish to attain or experience and it will mean different things to different people. Perhaps it’s time to ditch the traditional ladder notion of success and encourage and support individuals to define success in their own terms.

 » Read more about: What does climbing the ladder of success mean for you? asks management coach  »

The other day I saw a sign on the back of a large van that simply said: hurry slowly. It was apt, given the truck was on a busy, clogged street in Christchurch (NZ), one rich with road works, safety cones, one lane and many drivers wanting to be let into the traffic. Despite how keen all the drivers were to get somewhere in a hurry, they couldn’t. the situation was simply, as it was.

 » Read more about: Have you tried hurrying slowly? asks management coach  »

Every day, in every way, we’re bombarded with information. While some of it comes in bite-size portions via tweets or texts, a fair amount comes from within the workplace, in moderate sized-morsels. And like any snack or meal, too much may not be a good thing. Information overload is fed by meeting minutes, reports or other documents loaded with corporate speak and padding – the going forward, push back, socialising the issues, back stories and other such gems –

 » Read more about: Sinking or swimming in the tsunami of communication overload?  »

Staff in roles that deal with people in crisis or emergency situations receive specific training in how to de-escalate and manage difficult situations yet, can the same be said for others in ‘front line’ roles? For example, as a matter of course, do teachers, tutors at universities and polytechnics, social workers, probation officers, health professionals and receptionists get this training? I don’t believe they do, which in itself poses a real health and safety workplace issue.

 » Read more about: De-escalation training essential for many roles, says management coachh  »

The BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander was quoted recently (May 2013), suggesting that many managers are wary of role relationships of inferiority and superiority and as such, they mismanage their labour force. As I understand his statements, he’s saying many managers feel uncomfortable being in a superior role to others so they take a middle-of-the-road approach – they under-condemn people who don’t do a good job and under-praise people who do a good job. It sounds like a recipe for mediocrity: the poor performers keep their safe status quo,

 » Read more about: Under condem and under praise? True or False?  »

In The Press (Christchurch, May 7, A13), the CE of Recover Canterbury outlined three critical lessons for all businesses to take note of, in light of the aftermath of Christchurch’s earthquakes. In the time the Recover Canterbury coordinators were working with businesses, they found few businesses had disaster recovery plans and few were familiar with the local economic development agencies and other resources; many businesses used their accountants for compliance purposes, and not for business advisory purposes;

 » Read more about: Lessons for business, from Christchurch’s earthquake aftermath  »

This thought came to me after reading about the Ford Motor company and a new CEO a numbers of years ago, that took the helm and brought in change. To improve things within the company his mantra was ‘improve focus, simplify operations’. Likewise for an incoming CEO of a technology company who sorted a lot of stuff out and the company followed his mantra of ‘no drama, just execute’. Mantras are a simple tool to provide a lazer like focus on what really matters;

 » Read more about: How many organisations have a guiding mantra?  »

A report in the Christchurch (NZ) Press today noted that on average, it takes 201 days to detect internal organisational fraud and 206 days to detect external fraud. Typically, the main system in most organisations for fraud prevention is internal controls. The report also notes that fraud committed by management takes on average 514 days to detect and for senior executives, 545 days. The amount of time taken is considerable and it is possible that in some organsations,

 » Read more about: Workplace fraud takes a while to discover  »

Plain old human error, mistakes and intentional fraud create revenue loss in organisations big and small; and regardless of the sector they’re in.

To help prevent revenue loss, here’s six tips of things to watch for: 1 – people in positions where they can easily intercept or alter financial data; 2 – people who are always very busy but resist all offers of help; 3 – people who often work late or go into work on the weekend,

 » Read more about: 6 tips to help prevent intentional and unintentional revenue loss  »

A recent report – the 2012 KPMG Fraud, Bribery and Corruption Survey – states about 24 percent of respondents who experienced serious fraud were reported to police; and most survey respondents – about 60 percent – thought that half or less of the fraud occuring in their organisations was being detected.

The reality in most workplaces is that staff often know theft or fraud is occurring in their workplace and they may or may not report their suspicions because: they don’t feel safe in their job;

 » Read more about: Theft and fraud go unreported in many organisations, management trainer discovers  »

The events in Rome this week have been fascinating: a hundred plus potential candidates for a top job, a secret ballot selection process, no interview; an immediate start, major, multiple, complex issues to sort PDQ, a billion plus stakeholders around the globe; and salary? Probably a modest stipend, although full board and lodging is provided. And on working day one, signalling by action and words, that change was afoot. It would be interesting to know how he manages the change process and the team he surrounds himself with;

 » Read more about: Huge management and leadership test for new Pope – what can we learn from it?  »

On a number of occasions, we received food, drink and medicine; help with accommodation and unsolicited, much needed directions. Villagers and fellow pilgrims, people we didn’t know at all, offered items when they thought we needed them. These random acts of kindness occurred without warning and were freely given – and always at a time when what was offered, was exactly what was needed. It was humbling and heartwarming.

The key to receiving gracefully is to ‘get over ourselves’.

 » Read more about: Lesson 6 – Receive gracefully  »

Some days, there was nothing familiar or remotely comfortable about some of the situations we found ourselves in. We relied on the help of strangeers for clarifying directions and finding transport, medical facilities, banks and shops. Everyone was happy to help us and we were grateful for their efforts.

The key to asking for help is to understand it isn’t a sign of weakness, rather, it is a sign of self awareness. It is about realising that sometimes,

 » Read more about: Lesson 5 – Ask for help  »

Walking 6-8 hours each day means arms and legs do their thing automatically and the mind is free to roam. Without the need to be doing anything else than walking (that and keeping a sharp eye on the terrain and potential hazards), the opportunity ws to be truly human beings, fully engaged in the present moment i.e. this minute, this hour, this morning. We were absorbed with what we were doing, seeing and feeling, with all that was around us.

 » Read more about: Touchstones for challenging times – Lesson 4 – Be in the present moment  »

The best laid plans can go to pieces. It happens. Despite our intentions to walk every step of the 800 kilometre route, leg injuries necessitated the rapid development of Plan B and bus travel for a few days. It required us to let go of our expectations of ourselves and our original plans yet keep the end goal clearly in sight.

The key to letting go requires us to stop railing against things we have no control over.

 » Read more about: Touchstones for challenging times – lesson 3 – Let Go  »

Despite adequate preparaton and preventative measures, leg injuries and blisters struck a week into the walk. Our recovery was relatively quick because of a good level of fitness, strong immune systems and healthy bodies. Numerous pilgrims who weren’t fit or adequately prepared had a miserable time and struggled from the outset.

The key to self care is embracing the – if it is to be, it us up to me – motto. Self care is our own responsibility and we can’t blame others for what we may or may not have done to date.

 » Read more about: Touchstones for challenging times – lesson 2 – Self care  »

An 800km walk across the north of Spain in 2009 on the Camino the French Way provided six lessons for getting through challenging, changing times. The context involved 30km days, the Pyrenees, hills, hot and cold weather; back packs, accommodation in hostels of varying quality and comfort; two sets of clothing and leg injuries. Each day brought different challenges, interesting people and joy. The journey was mentally relaxing, spiritually uplifting, emotionally and physically challenging and ultimately,

 » Read more about: Touchstones for challenging times – lesson 1 – Get over yourself  »

The beginning of a New Year is often a good time to reflect back on the previous year and typically attention is on all the things we have done as ‘human doings’ – the achievements, large and small, as well as the disappointments and bits in-between. What is often missed in the reflection process is who we are as ‘human beings’ and in particular, our inner self. The Indian philosopher Patanjali said “When you are inspired by some great purpose,

 » Read more about: How inspired are you by what you do for a living?  »

A recent report in the newspaper mentioned, in tones of great astonishment, that a particular person was still in paid employment and they were in their 60s – the inference being, the person was too old to be working and how come they weren’t retired. I find it difficult to understand how an employee in their 60s is considered unusual in this day and age, given people live longer today than decades ago. I find it difficult to understand the spoken or unspoken inference that being in a certain age bracket means people are past it,

 » Read more about: Ageism alive and well in NZ  »

Many workplaces aren’t the most conducive environments to work in, especially offices. Many house large numbers of people in small offices or densely configured open plan spaces; they’re noisy, through colleagues, phones and equipment; and disruptive, through the nature of the work itself, i.e. interruptions. Small wonder then, the demand for remote working options are increasing. It isn’t for everyone or for all organisations, but it can be for others. Remote workers often report higher levels of engagement to their work and their organisation,

 » Read more about: Demand for remote working options increasing, management coach believes  »

Daniel Kahneman’s newly released book ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ unpacks two modes of thinking – system 1 and system 2. System 1 is super fast, instinctive and we have little control over it – which leads us to make choices on factors we are unaware of, which in turn may cause problems. System 2 is the mode we use when we stop and consciously take time to think things through slowly and thoroughly. The concepts remind us to consciously think about how we think -and the processes we use in decision making.

 » Read more about: The links between how you think and what you think  »

A quote from Michael Moncur caught my eye through the week: “I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life”. It’s a good point, as the future is where we’re all heading. And it’s a challenge too, because individuals have their own inner ‘time’ orientations/preferences for either the past, the present or the future. Too much focus on the pst or on the imagined future means we miss now –

 » Read more about: Have you a past, present or future orientation?  »

In 2011, David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister launched an initiative to start measuring national wellbeing – the quality of people’s lives. This was alongside the traditional economic measures such as GDP. The outcome of the 12 research project by the Management Innovation Lab, London Business School, was a report on wellbeing in the workplace. The key findings were: the key determinant of workplae wellbeing was the quality of the individual manager; good bosses do three things: push decisions down to employees;

 » Read more about: Should we follow the UK and conduct research into workplace wellbeing?  »

My favourite management whiz, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, has identified five self-defeating behavious that may ultimately ruin people's careers and damage companies. Check them out on:

 » Read more about: Kanter’s 5 self-defeating behaviours  »

The Kiwi Sisters’ Camino de Santiago is much more than a simple travel narrative: it’s an inspiring reflection on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Sue Dwan talks about an experience many people will never have – walking the 800 km Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail across northern Spain .

Despite having very little knowledge of the local language and customs, Sue and her sister Catherine set off every day into an unpredictable landscape that exists far beyond their comfort zones.

 » Read more about: The Kiwi Sisters’ Camino de Santiago  »

If you've ever felt yourself going around in circles trying to make major decisions over a career change, a job offer, a business proposition  or something equally major, know that the circles may be caused by the conflict between what your ‘head' is telling you to do and what your ‘heart' is saying to you. Martha Beck's book, ‘Finding Your Own North Star (2001)' is a great resource to help us understand the conflict created by the head and the heart.

 » Read more about: Conflict between the head and the heart is often unavoidable, management coach suggests  »

Susan Cain, the author of 'The Power of Introverts', has an illuminating presentation on TedTalks and in it, she posits that while 1/3rd or nearly half of population is introverted, most workplaces and schools are geared for extroverts i.e. high stimulus environments, noisy shared work spaces, group/team work activities etc. To understand the power of introverts see:

 » Read more about: TedTalks, Susan Cain and the power of introverts  »


A recent Statistics NZ report entitled: Working together: Racial discrimination in New Zealand revealed racial discrimination was the most common form of discrimination experienced by workers; Asian peoples reported the highest levels of racism in workplaces, in public places/on the streets and getting service when purchasing items; followed by Maori and Pacific peoples. It is disturbing given the Human Rights legislation was introduced in 1993 (and subsequently added to) to prevent discrimination on the grounds of race,  » Read more about: Racism exists in the underbelly of many workplaces  »

A recent report from the Consultative Forum on Mature Age Participation in the Workforce revealed, not surprisingly, that age discrimination is alive and well. There are many barriers to mature age employment that come at a cost – to individuals, to companies and the country itself. It's a fair bet the Australian research findings would apply to New Zealand also. Read more about this on:


 » Read more about: Mature age employment thwarted by age discrimination, a recent report discovers  »

A recent article from the HBR, entitled ‘All hail the generalist' suggests too much specialisation can be a handicap, especially in ambiguous times. The author argues generalists know many things across a number of fields, draw from an eclectic array of traditions, accept ambiguity and contradictions more easily than specialists and are better equipped at navigating uncertainty. See


 » Read more about: Time for generalists to come into their own? asks management coach  »

Recent Australian research into the effects of restructuring and bullying in the public service notes that organisational factors create the power relations needed to support it; and in some instances, restructuring policies and practices may be the perpetrator. For a thought provoking read, see  » Read more about: Australian research into restructuring and bullying  »

The EEO Trust (NZ) announced in their latest ezine the Australian Multicultural Foundation has developed a cultural diversity training manual for small/medium sized businesses to support them in encouraging cultural diversity in the workplace. If you want the benefits cultural diversity brings and want to know how to go about it, check out the cultural diversity training manual and the Training Programme Workbook for details.

 » Read more about: Cultural diversity training manual available for organisations  »

Failure, as we have all experienced, is being unsuccessful in doing something. It's something most people want to avoid, preferring instead the flip side to the same coin – success, achieving something. Failure is seen and experienced as negative and best avoided. But what if failure could be seen in a different light altogether? What if it could be acknowledged as an essential part of a creative, learning process? What if we could have the belief that as human beings living our working and personal lives,

 » Read more about: Is there such a thing as failure? asks management coach  »

A terrific article in the latest Harvard Business Review – ‘Why Remote Workers Are More (Yes, More) Engaged' – is a must-read. It explains the results of a feedback process in an organisation that revealed team members who were not in the same location with their leaders were more engaged and committed to their work and leader, than team members in the office. The author, Scott Edinger, explains why. See:


 » Read more about: Remote workers more engaged than those in the office? Read on, says management coach  »

For a recent study looking at the link between flexible working practices and increased productivity, see the Regus study It found that 76% of small-business owners and managers surveyed believed their company was more productive as a result of allowing employees more choice over where and when they worked. It also found 64 per cent of larger organisations agreed.  Source: EEO Trust, NZ.

 » Read more about: Flexible working practices increase productivity  »

One way we can rapidly lose our focus and energy is when we become emotionally caught up in issues or situations. Depending on the issue at hand, we may find ourselves angry, frustrated, jealous, frightened, cynical or paralysed with indecision. We may find ourselves locked into these emotions every time we think of the particular issues – we get ourselves stuck, in other words, in the 'basement', with our base level emotions. One way to avoid getting stuck is to take a 'penthouse'

 » Read more about: Stress management technique #6 – Stay in the Penthouse, get out of the basement  »

A huge amount of energy is wasted being concerned or worried about things. So that we don't get overwhelmed by our numerous concerns, we need to know two things: (1) what is in our ‘circle of concern' and (2) what is in our ‘circle of influence'. There's a world of difference between the two. Many issues in our circle of concern are items we have no direct control or influence over i.e. we can't do anything abut them.

 » Read more about: Stress Management Technique #5  »

Thinking about every big and small issue, constantly? Feeling tired by burning up so much mental energy? Getting nowhere with the issues you're constantly ruminating on? Try the box technique. Note and mentally label all the issues/concerns you currently have i.e. mortgage, the house renovation, the lost documents. Consign them to separate ‘brain boxes' and only think of the different separate issues when you need to. Discipline yourself to do this (this is difficult to do,

 » Read more about: Stress Management Technique #4  »

Is there really such a thing as work and life balance? Do we need to have every aspect of our life in perfect balance? And what does balance mean, for every individual? While you dwell on these questions you may like to draw Waitley's Work/Life Pie to help you reach your own conclusions: (1) draw a circle (2) chunk it up into the core categories of physical, work, family, mental, spiritual, community, social and financial and the proportion of time you allocate to each category (3) draw another circle,

 » Read more about: Stress Management Technique#3  »

What are you tolerating on a daily basis? When you wander through your home or office, what grabs your eye and you think "oh, that's right, I must remember to fix that" or "I'll get onto that" and you never do? When you think about those ‘must do tolerations' does your energy immediately drop? Tolerations are huge energy drains and unless they're eliminated, they can create constant, just-below-the-surface stress. The good news is there is no need to tolerate the intolerable,

 » Read more about: Stress Management Technique#2  »

Looking for a business meeting/conference venue (and maybe boutique accommodation as well) in Christchurch, New Zealand? Despite so many venues being out of action since the earthquakes in 2010, one that has been fully and beautifully restored is Eliza's Manor on Bealey (as in, Bealey Ave). For information, contact Ann and Harold on 0800 366859 or email or check it out on



 » Read more about: Business Travellers to Christchurch NZ  »

Brian Noble, quoted in an article in NZBusiness, June 2012, p.48, reflects on the findings of numerous surveys that suggest most New Zealanders are unhappy in their work. He suggests that people may be unhappy in their career because they aren't doing what they are good at. This means they're in a role that doesn't use their natural abilities and talents and the frustration of this may become intolerable, particularly around the ‘mid-life' stage, when a person reflects on their life,

 » Read more about: Ever suffered from restless aptitude syndrome? You betcha!  »

  • Acknowledge a difficult situation for what it is
  • Identify the factors that contribute to the situation
  • Isolate all the separate factors and see if they can be minimised, isolated, eliminated, managed or viewed differently
  • Talk to trusted colleagues or a coach – ask for their support and ideas; use them as a sounding board
  • Look to reduce any extra stresses in your personal and/or working world
  • Look to the past to see how you got through other tough times and the strategies you used to get you through
  • Know that tough times will occur,

 » Read more about: Some survival strategies for when the going gets tough  »

Reg Garters, in The Press, 2/06/2012, F2, quoted an oft-used phrase of Sir Bob Jones – TINA -which means There Is No Alternative. Garters speaks of TINA and a common problem, which is when managers make assumptions on issues, spring into quick solution-finding mode, find the solution they most often use and fall prey to ‘group think'. It is too easy to say ‘there is no alternative' to some issues, especially when little time or real effort is spent exploring alternative solutions.

 » Read more about: TINA – Send her packing when she turns up  »

Organisations in Christchurch have now moved out of their initial crisis response mode into business recovery and a ‘new' normal. This typically includes temporary accommodation, disrupted workplaces, cramped working conditions and longer commutes; extra or different demands, loss of staff and/or clients or records.

For some managers and staff in the early days of their initial crisis response, they made unexpected yet immensely valuable discoveries. That is, many of their pre-earthquake everyday policies and procedures and practices were impractical,

 » Read more about: How to Develop a Ready Response Capability  »

In recent research conducted by Leadership Management Australasia, nearly 4000 respondents in Australia and New Zealand were asked how they felt about their jobs. The survey revealed more than 60% of the workforce either hated their jobs or didn’t care about their work, as long as they got paid. It showed nearly half were considering looking for a new job while 62% either hated or were ambivalent about their work. (Source: APN).

What this shows are large numbers of employees who aren’t committed to their organisation or the work they do.

 » Read more about: What do you really feel about your job?  »

Systematic management failure is a label I use to describe issues that are years old and have been unsuccessfully dealt with, by a long line of managers. Systematic management failure occurs when managers go into new roles and in no time at all, find they've inherited a number of longstanding issues. They discover that despite various attempts in the past to resolve the issues to a successful conclusion, it hasn't occurred. They discover remedial actions may have been started,

 » Read more about: Systematic management failure common, yet avoidable  »

 It seems strange that an 800km walk across the north of Spain in 2009 provides ‘lessons' for getting through challenging, changing times, but it has. And it seems equally odd to be writing about it in these terms, but then again, why not?

Context is everything, so picture two sisters walking the Camino – the French Way – from a small village in the south of France to Santiago de Compostela, in the west coast of Spain.

 » Read more about: The Camino – touchstones for challenging times  »

This delicious phrase was first uttered by Winston Churchill in 1906 in a speech at the House of Commons. The original meaning of it at the time referred to inexact or inaccurate terminology however it changed over time to mean a euphemism for outright lies or untruths. I think of the phrase and its original meaning whenever I read articles or documents filled with sentences and paragraphs with excessive words, little punctuation, overused clichés and jargon-speak.

 » Read more about: Terminological inexactitude – hands up, anyone?  »

The following waiver, courtesy of Anonymous (undated), is so good it's worth sharing: "I understand that during the course of my life I will be required to make decisions, such as where I want to live, whom I want to live with, where I work, how much fun I have, and how I spend my money and time, including how much time I spend waiting for things to get better and people to change, and whom I chose to love.

 » Read more about: A life waiver – are you up to the challenge?  »

In his regular column, Reg Garters (The Press, 04/02/2012) talks of the benefits of regularly reviewing one's personal and working life in the key areas of: physical, mental, family, spiritual, financial, social, community and business. He suggests after completing the review, to jot down the findings in an annual report to oneself. It's a great idea, as it encourages us to check the balance in our lives and to see where and what we are spending our energy and time on.

 » Read more about: Personal annual reports called from management coach  »

Applications for next year's fellowships are invited by 31 July 2012. The Winston Churchill Trust enables a small number of Fellows each year to travel overseas and pursue ideas that will have a benefit to them and the wider community. For details contact Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, P.O. Box 805, Wellington. Phone 0800 824 824  Email:

 » Read more about: Applications Required for Winston Churchill Fellowships  »

Another natty assessment is the Birkman Method® which examines aspects of behaviours and the motivations that influence them. The Birkman Method® questionnaire contains a total of 295 questions (!) and elicits success factors intrinsic to each individual and provides information that illustrates how people interact with one another. Moreover, the assessment predicts how people can effectively contribute to an organisation's goals. This assessment can be completed online or through a paper questionnaire.


 » Read more about: Birkman Method® and Success Factors  »

The PIA&V assessment (Personal Interests, Attitudes and Values) used today is based on research done in 1928. The assessment measures the ‘why' of behaviour and helps individuals discover their personal motivators by identifying their attitudes, beliefs and values. It is a person's attitude, beliefs and values that move them into action, so the PIA&V focuses on why people act in the way they do.

 » Read more about: Individual behaviour assessed by PIA&V  »

I'm often struck by the numbers of different assessments employees are put through as part of recruitment processes and then, once in an organisation, as part of ongoing team building processes or self development initiatives. Assessments are great tools to understand why we are as we are; and the conditions that enable us to be at our best or worst. It's great for teams to know the different ‘types' within the team and how to use the strengths of everyone's different personalities,

 » Read more about: Assessments – do they really help or hinder?  »

FIRO-B stands for Fundamental Interpersonal Relationships Orientation – Behaviour. It is an assessment designed to see how an individual's personal needs impact on their behaviours towards other people. The measurement is in two different dimensions: expressed behaviour and behaviour desired from others. In essence, this assessment measures how we would usually behave with others and how we expect others to behave towards us. It's designed to help us see ourselves, based on our own interpersonal needs.

 » Read more about: FIRO-B™ – needs in a nutshell  »

Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung observed human behaviour follows identifiable patterns that develop from the structure of the mind. Jung believed that when the mind was active, people were doing one of two things: perceiving (as in, taking in information) or judging (organising and prioritising the incoming information, to arrive at decisions). He believed everyone uses these mental processes and people are born with preferences for how they use them. Moreover, he identified two very different ways that people perceive and judge: perception may be by sensing or intuition;

 » Read more about: The MBTI® – Jung’s theory in a nutshell  »

I hate to disappoint but this battery isn't a measure of your firearm skills in the Scottish Highlands but rather, it is an assessment that measures one's natural abilities including: inductive and deductive reasoning, spatial abilities, visual and musical abilities and learning channels, as well as personal style factors. It is one assessment, amongst many, designed to support individuals in their career development; and it enables managers to compare individuals with the known characteristics of a successful team and see how individuals and groups may behave under stress.

 » Read more about: The Highlands Ability Battery – a military regiment or something else?  »

There are hundreds of assessment tools available now to individuals, recruiters and human resources personnel, thanks to some early work that started in 444 BC. At this time, Empodocles, the founder of the school of medicine in Sicily, categorised behavioural elements in terms of earth, air, fire and water. About 100 years later, Hippocrates determined that four ‘humours' of blood, yellow bile, phlegm and black bile were each thought to be responsible for a different type of personality.

 » Read more about: Assessment tools – are they new or old hat?  »

According to Joyce Russell (The Press, 03/03/2012, p.F1), "career resilient workers are more employable because they have positive and flexible attitudes; are adaptable to change; are willing to take risks and they engage in continuous learning". Russell suggests the key to being career resilient is for people to take control of their own career; to keep their skills relevant; be prepared to undergo a career makeover and be prepared to periodically reinvent themselves if they're looking to make a career transition or switch.

 » Read more about: How do we become career resilient?  »

A current issue of the Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources includes a new paper from New Zealand researchers on workplace bullying. The researchers surveyed 1700 employees in 36 New Zealand companies. The employees identified a number of effective tactics to combat workplace bullying, including: encouraging open communication; resolving conflicts quickly; developing a complaints procedures; developing a bullying policy and encouraging appropriate interactions between people.

 » Read more about: New research into workplace bullies  »

The Protected Disclosures Act 2000 – also known as the Whistleblowers Act, came into force on January 1, 2001. It seeks to afford protection to employees who make disclosures about serious wrongdoings. For a quick guide to the Act AND some issues to be aware of BEFORE you put the whistle in your mouth, check out:



 » Read more about: Whistleblowing – a therapeutic exercise or a risky business?  »

Franchises have an edge over non-franchise businesses and organisations when it comes down to operating systems and processes. Before a franchise chain opens its doors for the first time, every process and system in their operation has been mapped, documented, flow-charted, tested, refined, tested and fine-tuned to perfection. The result is simple, effective, standardised, time efficient systems that anyone can follow. This makes for effective training of personnel and a fast uptake on how the organisation functions.

 » Read more about: Franchise systems approach highly transferable  »

Research has shown unconscious behaviours cause self-sabotaging behaviours, which is one reason why people resist change. The difficulty is when people try to use technical solutions to solve adaptive challenges. In essence, individuals need to learn to be more adaptive and the only way to do this is to make a mind shift. To read a more elegant summary, check out:


 » Read more about: How immune are you to change?  »

Ashley Balls tackles this topic in New Zealand business magazine Dec 2011/January 2012 edition He found proof New Zealand isn't over-regulated or overtaxed. To see the latest research, go to and download the report entitled Doing Business in a More Transparent World (published by the World Bank). Ashley's article entitled ‘The Consequence-Free Society' is well worth reading.

 » Read more about: Over-regulated NZ or a benign place to do business?  »

Bad debt costs businesses big time. Regardless of the size of your business, you need to have sound credit management policies. At the very least, ensure you have a formal credit policy and detailed credit terms that you share with all customers. Undertake credit checks on new customers and monitor existing customers to see if they can still pay their account. Take every action to trace customers who vanish with debts. Engage specialists to help you find them and don't just write off the debt.

 » Read more about: How good are your credit management policies?  »

Why use 100 words when 30 would do? Short, punchy quotes on important topics can have more impact than a talkfest or pages of text. Alvin Toffler once wrote "The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn" (nd). This made me think of the ‘programmed knowledge' we all have, gathered from years of experience. It is so ingrained we don't even think about it,

 » Read more about: Management pithy quotes  »

 There's nothing new about action learning – Reg Revans introduced it in the 1940s – yet it is still a powerful model for personal, group and organisational change. This is especially so today with unpredictable, major global challenges and rapidly changing environments. Individuals in every workplace today need to be able to act and learn simultaneously and do so continuously. If you haven't already discovered the World Institute for Action Learning, check out: For a comprehensive guide on action learning,

 » Read more about: Action Learning powerful model  »

According to David Allen, author of Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress- Free Productivity (2001) – it is possible to achieve with a combination of attention on what needs doing and clear intention to what specifically needs to be done, to do it. There's also the matter of incomplete loops to seal off as well.  It is well worth reading if you want a different look at self and time management techniques.

 » Read more about: High productivity – mission impossible?  »

You know how it is. A report to write, an essay to begin, an assignment due, a month of blogs to prepare in advance before you go on holiday. The looming deadlines make the brain cells go AWOL and no ideas spring to mind. One way to get started is to think of title headings and jot them down. Then, think of items that could fit under the headings and put them down in short bullet points.

 » Read more about: Two writing tips to circumvent writer’s block  »

According to the Ministry of Economic Development's recent research, New Zealand has some of the worst managers in the world. This is reported in the October 2011 edition of NZ Business (NZB). By all accounts, poor managers are the main reason people go to work in Australia; poor leadership and management skills are cited as the reason for high employee disengagement and low productivity; and poor management skills have been shown to have a direct impact on the culture of a business.

 » Read more about: NZ has the world’s worst managers?  »

It is a fair bet that most people are time poor because they're dealing with multiple, conflicting demands in their personal and professional lives. Some people appear to juggle work and other commitments without any apparent difficulties or feelings of stress whatsoever; yet there are others who seem to struggle keeping all the balls in the air all the time and feel those effects. And unexpected events, like the Christchurch earthquakes or the loss of a loved one,

 » Read more about: How to series – How to Manage Stress  »

In Christchurch, NZ, we are but three days away from the first anniversary of the September 4 2010 earthquake. It also marks twelve months with ongoing disruption and destruction; deaths, injuries and uncertainty; constant change and losses of all description. It also highlights a year of community connections, humanity, compassion, generosity and astonishing resilience. And the question I've reflected upon endlessly over the year is what builds resilience? It seems some of the traits include: a positive,

 » Read more about: Lessons in resilience  »

 Emails are insidious creatures despite them being a terrific tool for quick communications. But were they ever intended to train the senders and recipients into expecting instantaneous responses? A time saving habit is to check emails only twice a day: once in the morning, and once towards the end of the day. And turn the email alert off, so you're not distracted in-between times.

 » Read more about: Twice daily emails  »

During 2011, waves of baby boomers around the world will turn sixty five. Some of them already in full time paid work may choose to ‘retire' completely from the workforce; some may choose to keep working full time; and some may elect to reduce to part time hours and keep on working. For those in the Western world, statistics show we're now living longer and people in their sixties may spend 25 -30+years in their next life stage.

 » Read more about: Baby boomers – 10 steps to prepare for the next life stage  »

Thomas Malone, in his book The Future of Work (2004), explores how technology gives us many options to create a different working world. He speaks of the potential for a range of decentralised organisational structures, centered around human values and a shift to a co-ordinate and cultivate management model. We have the technology today to enable remote working and flexible models and ways of being, but so many workplaces stick with the typical centralised command and control model.

 » Read more about: The Future of Work – what is it?  »

Systematic management failure is a label I use to describe issues that are unsuccessfully dealt with by a long line of managers. It's when new managers or managers going into new roles find they inherit issues that are years old, despite endless attempts made in the past, by previous managers, to resolve them. The manager discovers that remedial actions have been started, yet not finished; or not even started in the first place, for a huge range of reasons.

 » Read more about: Systematic management failure common, yet avoidable  »

This phrase came to mind the other day when talking to someone who was nervous and tentative about stepping up into a more senior role. Parts of the new role required them to be something they weren't at all – extraverted – especially in some specific situations. What the person hadn't realised is that work wise, we are all in roles and all roles require us to act and be in certain ways e.g. a bit more extraverted in social situations,

 » Read more about: Fake it until you make it  »

There's nothing quite like feeling stuck. You know the feeling: heaps of ideas and questions and issues rushing around inside your head; or you feel you can't make sense of some things; or you can't make a decision because something you can't quite put your finger on, stops you from doing so. One way to move through this state is to have some sounding boards – trusted colleagues or others to run ideas past; to reflect back our own thinking;

 » Read more about: Sounding boards – have you got one?  »

Recently reported in Her Magazine (June/July 2011; p.14) a recent survey revealed more than 60% of the workforce either hate their jobs or couldn't really care less about their work as long as they get a pay cheque. The research undertaken by Leadership Management Australasia asked nearly 4000 respondents in NZ and Australia how they felt about their jobs. It showed nearly ½ were considering looking for a new job while 62% either hated or were ambivalent about their work.

 » Read more about: Time for a show of hands – hate your job?  »

The Ministry of Women's Affairs (NZ) has launched ‘My Board Strengths', a unique online self-assessment tool to help women who want to serve on boards. Users can take part in virtual board meetings to experience the boardroom environment in a private online setting. Do check it out: and follow the links to Women on Boards then Links and Resources then My Board Strengths.


 » Read more about: Women on board or women on boards?  »

When we begin large projects or start to tackle longstanding issues with a long time frame, it's easy to get bogged down if we feel we aren't making progress quickly enough or we feel overwhelmed by the enormity of what needs to be done or the barriers that stand in the way of progress. A way to minimise this feeling is to get early runs on the board, the small quick wins that will encourage us to keep on going.

 » Read more about: The power of small wins  »

I'm reading my way through 'The 2020 Workplace' by Jeanne Meister and Karie Willyerd (2010). They explore future workplaces shaped by social media technologies and the Millennial generation (born between 1977 – 1997), a generation of hyper connected workers. Meister and Willyerd outline 20 predictions for the 2020 workplace and paint a picture of an intensely personalised, social experience to attract, develop and engage employees across all generations and geographic locations. It is a compelling,

 » Read more about: The 2020 Workplace – are you ready for it?  »

Yes, because to date, approximately 700 New Zealanders are recipients of a Winston Churchill Fellowship through the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. The Trust is a bit of a well kept secret and not many people know the Fellowships are open to all New Zealanders to do study that will benefit not only them but New Zealand. Do take some time to check it out – email and ask for details. You too,

 » Read more about: He or she’s a jolly good fellow – really?  »

 1. Know exactly what it is your role requires of you: – the work that is mission critical; the standards and deadlines you must meet, the level you are to operate at, the boundaries between your role and others' roles.

2. Know the pros and cons of your management style and find out if that is the style your manager and the organisation as a whole, requires.

3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses in relation to the tasks inherent in your role.

 » Read more about: 5 Tips to lift your management game  »

1. Ask directly how they like things done. Determine their preferred meeting times, ways of receiving information, venues for meetings. Ask them what their expectations are of you.

2. Have the big picture, the long term view. Establishing rapport, trust and an easy working relationship takes time and effort from both parties, so stick with it to make it happen.

3. Inform. Never let them get surprises. Keep them fully briefed in the areas you are responsible for.

 » Read more about: 5 Tips to manage your manager  »

This came to mind recently who listening to someone in a senior management role describe their work practices as chaotic, as they had no structure to their day; never met deadlines, never returned calls or did what was promised; or processed work in a timely fashion. What was interesting, was the person had no awareness of or concern for how their poor practices impacted on their staff, nor on the overall functioning of their section;

 » Read more about: What’s our impact on our work environment?  »

Traditional thinking about appropriate business buildings and their location is rapidly changing in Christchurch NZ. Businesses that may have thought the CBD is the only place to be are finding that life in the suburbs isn't too bad at all. Some have realised that taking their services into the community where their clients are makes more sense than being remote from them; they're asking the big questions about their business/service delivery model and what they simply accepted as the past norm.

 » Read more about: Post earthquake innovation abounds in Christchurch NZ  »

How quickly can you get your mind around the fact that things aren't as they used to be, that our world changes all the time? How quickly can you get into a different gear, when conditions require you to do so? I've chatted to a number of people in different businesses this week and I was struck by the number who knew the recession had hit their business hard last year and the year before,

 » Read more about: Can you dance on the head of a pin?  »

In a recent The Harvard Business Review Weekly hot list, Rosabeth Kanter offers a terrific 10 minute video clip on the essential skill of zooming in and out on issues. She describes a simple technique to enable leaders and managers to see both the big and small pictures and not get bogged down in either. It's a great tutorial, do check it out:

 » Read more about: Zoom in, zoom out, says Rosabeth Kanter  »


  • Know the differences between strategic plans (a high order long term plan) and action/business plans (annual, tactical plans that convert the strategic intent/goals into reality).
  •  "If you don't know where you are going, any path will do" – have clear long term goals and directions in mind.
  • Conduct strategic planning as frequently as needed to set and reset the direction. Conduct planning annually, in order to develop action/business plans.

 » Read more about: Sue’s Tips for Planning Success  »

We spend most of our life at work so getting on well with those we work with and manage is essential, if we want to get the best out of our days. Managers need to create the conditions in the workplace to enable people to be their best but sometimes, difficult situations arise and some staff may appear to be ‘difficult' to work with. Try the following tips to help you deal with difficult people situations.

 » Read more about: Sue’s Top Ten List – How to Deal with Difficult People  »

No one really likes to admit they have time thieves actively operating in their building, but whether they like it or not, they are there. They're brazen creatures, these time thieves, and there is only one thing for it. They need to be named and outed…and dealt with in the quickest, most humane way possible. How? See

 » Read more about: What time thieves destroy your productivity and waste company money?  »

Speaking as the self-professed Queen of Time Management, I want to encourage everyone, at least once a week, to check their existing time management techniques. Yes, weekly. Why? In times of busyness and complexity the edges can easily get knocked off our techniques and they may become sloppy at the very time when we need them to be at their sharpest. To save you time in refreshing your techniques, here's a series of four short clips to make it easier.

 » Read more about: Time management techniques need regular spring cleaning  »

If nothing else, Christchurch's latest earthquake has shown just how adaptable, flexible and creative people can be. Many employees have been relocated to the suburbs, to other branches out of the city, to their homes, anywhere, to carry on their work. A needs-must approach and a sense of urgency has kicked in. Kitchen tables have become workbenches, cafés with Wifi have become workstations for those with laptops and working remotely is the order of the day.

 » Read more about: Post Christchurch February 2011 earthquake – flexible workers and workplaces needed  »

To see much of Christchurch city brought to its knees so spectacularly by the 22nd February 2011 earthquake is horrifying. It defies belief. In the midst of the horror, stories have emerged of brave people doing extraordinary things to help strangers and colleagues from collapsed buildings; and in the damaged suburbs, strangers and neighbours helping each other to empty houses, shift silt, get food, water and other supplies. Great leadership and management skills are on display,

 » Read more about: Post Christchurch February earthquake lesson – recheck your risk management procedures  »

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.

 » Read more about: Managing perceptions part of communications  »

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,

 » Read more about: Passion or passionless?  »

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,

 » Read more about: Passionate or passionless?  »

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?

 » Read more about: Future proofing yourself  »

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?  »

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,

 » Read more about: End of year good time for reflections  »

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.

 » Read more about: Job security is an illusion  »

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,

 » Read more about: Pike River Coalmine leadership in action  »

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  »

I really don't like this time of year. The end of year wind down that so many people get into seems to start about October and I often hear "it's nearly the end of year so we'll leave whatever it is until the New Year". It winds me up a treat because the end of year is about eight weeks away by then and when people speak of the New Year, they're typically meaning mid to late January as it's the time of year when so many people take their annual leave and many workplaces are understaffed at that time.

 » Read more about: End of year wind down a real wind up  »

A dictionary definition of retirement means to give up or to go into seclusion. It suggests a withdrawal from life and the workplace. The notion of retirement is something that many people welcome so they can be free of work pressures and routine and free to pursue other interests. However some people begin their pre-retirement wind down and withdrawal while they are still employed and several years before their intended departure date. Some deliberately slow their work pace down,

 » Read more about: Definition of retirement scary and could be avoided  »

If you've ever wondered about the inner mechanics of a customer/consumer's mind when it comes to buying goods and services; and wondered at the inner mechanics of any seller's mind (any person selling goods or services) Sean D'Souza's book, The Brain Audit: Why Customers Buy (and Why They Don't), is a good starting point. It makes you think of problems and solutions in a whole new way. And it explains how easy it is to talk past each other,

 » Read more about: Why do customers buy?  »

Known workplace problems are often ignored. This may occur because people responsible for dealing with them may believe if they ignore the problems, they'll go away on their own accord. Inevitably, they don't and they become entrenched. One reason people ignore issues is because deep down, they have the belief the problem(s) are too hard to tackle. The key to managing known problems is to change the belief system around them into something more realistic and appropriate: problems can be successfully dealt with,

 » Read more about: If problems ignored, look at belief systems  »

A Guideline for Coaching in Organisations is currently being edited by Standards Australia. The feedback process with a number of key stakeholders: the International Coach Federation, Sydney University, corporate organisations, Australasian coaches and others, starts late October 2010. The final publication is due out in early 2011. See for details.

 » Read more about: Coaching standards for Australia in 2011  »

A guy I know who is a bundle of energy, has a super high work ethic, boundless enthusiasm, is fun to be with and he loves nothing more than working, dawn to dusk if necessary. He'd been successfully self employed for decades and when he relocated into another city, worked for an employer until the recession hit and the work dried up. When he recently applied for a role as truck driver in a large company,

 » Read more about: Age and technology may kick good people into touch  »

Yes, it's true. Although there are certainly differences between the builders/matures, baby boomers and generations X and Y, there are some similarities: the desire for work/life balance and work flexibility; purposeful, meaningful work; being rewarded in ways that are personally meaningful; recognition for work/contribution; challenge and variety; being heard; the ability to make decisions and have the resources needed to do the work; connectedness, opportunities to learn and develop; a work environment that is pleasant and enjoyable;

 » Read more about: What? Baby boomers, Gens X and Y want similar things?  »

Dwan & Associates and Goodman Tavendale Reid are co-presenting a free seminar on the challenges and benefits of generational differences in the workplace, in Christchurch, on Monday 11 October, 2010, between 5.00-7.00pm. Seminar begins with drinks and nibbles. Contact to register your interest.

 » Read more about: Christchurch seminar: challenges and benefits of generational differences in workplace  »

A quote that took my eye through the week is from Thomas Edison – "Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities for progress". In a workplace context, we need to know how much of our discontent or restlessness may be attributable to factors that are genuinely work-related and how much actually relates to ourselves. For example, our boredom with what we do; knowing we have outgrown our role; knowing we are fearful of change and leaving current job security.

 » Read more about: Personal progress – whose responsibility is it?  »

Another post-Christchurch earthquake reflection triggered by reports in the media about the fast and timely speed at which some decisions were and continue to be made in the recovery mode, is simply this: an emergency situation galvanises people into action because time is of the essence. There is a lot at stake. Personnel are assembled, briefed and dispatched to do what they need to do. Issues are discussed, decisions made and actions happen soon after.

 » Read more about: Warp, normal or slow speed management responses?  »

I've been heartened to hear of a number of businesses in Christchurch who have treated their employees admirably, post earthquake: the ANZ and National banks gave $500 to each of their employees; a small business gave bunches of flowers to their employees; one company arranged a trip out of Christchurch for a staff member who had done an amazing job keeping the business going in those early days; and the CE of another organisation phoned each employee at home to see if they were alright.

 » Read more about: Management bouquets and brickbats post Christchurch earthquake  »

Five days in from the Christchurch earthquake and still reeling (quite literally) from the experience, I'm full of admiration for the calm, clear, consistent leadership shown by those in charge of the crisis – the Mayor, the Police, the Emergency Services. Key messages were relayed throughout the first day and subsequent days and the messages transmitted everything was under control, the emergency services were onto things, there was no need to panic, and further updates would come throughout the day.

 » Read more about: Management lessons in Christchurch earthquake  »

I've been reflecting on organisations and their structures and how so many organisations, despite endless policies, systems and layers of management and people, still end up with so many people-related problems, such as personnel, regardless of role, with difficulties identifying problems when they first appear and acting on them; having difficulties with remaining on task for the entire time they're at work (avoidance of the boring bits of their work or the difficult work stuff or the inherited problems that are truly ghastly) or having difficulties delivering what's required.

 » Read more about: Why is it so difficult to remain on task?  »

Dwan & Associates and Goodman Tavendale Reid are co-presenting a seminar on the challenges and benefits of generational differences in the workplace, in Christchurch, on Monday 11 October, 2010, between 5.00-7.00pm. Cost is $30 and seminar begins with drinks and nibbles. Contact to register your interest.

 » Read more about: Christchurch seminar on challenges and benefits of generational differences in workplace  »

The art of procrastination is something some people develop into an art form and they may confess to a marked reluctance to change their ways. Typically, it's because it works well in the short term however, the down side is that it may cause some mental stress when people worry about what they know they're avoiding – typically, avoidance lists get bigger and bigger, until there is a missed deadline or a deadline that is finally,

 » Read more about: Procrastination’s sting in the tail  »

I've been thinking of this recently, as I came across and signed on for 10 free lessons on thinking. Every day for the last 10 days, an email has arrived with a link to a key question and a forum to post replies. I've worked through three questions to date and haven't yet replied to the fourth, as I'm still contemplating it. Through the lessons and website, there's access to interesting articles on brain wiring and other associated topics…so far,

 » Read more about: How did we learn to think?  »

I've been reminded this week of how easy it is to get bogged down. Some months ago I was asked to develop and deliver a one hour seminar on a particular topic. The client urgently needed the seminar because there were things happening in his store he wanted to change. I was asked to give some suggested dates, did so and waited weeks for a response. When I was able to get him on the phone,

 » Read more about: Avoid the bog  »

There is one common workplace issue that has the most potential to lower employee morale, lower workplace productivity, waste hundreds of hours of person hours and drive managers and workmates to distraction. The issue is poorly performing staff that fail to meet the required work standards and they may be widely known as being this way, for years.

And while many poorly performing staff can be successfully turned around, there is little hope of success when a staff member's manager (or other managers in the chain) ignores the problem in the hope the staff member may eventually leave the organisation;

 » Read more about: Ignore poor performers at your peril  »

Some time ago I facilitated a workshop with, as I quickly discovered, a group of very unwilling participants. Their unwillingness made itself clear right at the beginning – they arrived late to the training room and some only got there because a colleague rounded them up; some, once in the room, left again, to have a quick smoke outside; and once the session got underway, most refused to contribute in any meaningful way. Despite all efforts to get some people to engage,

 » Read more about: Resistance not subtle, management trainer discovers  »

It's a bold claim but one I'm prepared to make. Large organisations have layers of management, numerous divisions and teams, countless individuals and policies and practices for Africa. Decision making tends to be slow, making changes even slower, productivity average and all in all, are places where individual creativity and passion is most likely to be eventually stifled because of the weight of the structure and the weight and complexity of its internal processes. They are sick places,

 » Read more about: Organisational structures kill enthusiasm and productivity  »

There is a world of difference between the symptom of a problem and a core problem and sometimes it's a challenge to know which is which. For example, a staff member may be experienced by colleagues as constantly obstructive. They may think the person is deliberately being difficult to annoy their colleagues or stop organisational change occurring. Yet, the obstructiveness may be symptomatic of different problems altogether, such as: the person may not have all the relevant information on some issues in order to make an informed decision;

 » Read more about: Symptoms and core problems cause confusion  »

The concept of fast failures is an interesting one. It is where an organisation, section or team has an operating norm that sees mistakes as an inevitable workplace practice. Then, when a mistake occurs, it is analysed by the people concerned, the learnings found from the experience, necessary changes are made where they need to be made, and everyone moves on. I like it. This approach enables the workplace to be a supportive, learning organisation and a place where calculated risks,

 » Read more about: Fast failures are good  »

I had an interesting experience recently when I met with numbers of staff in an organisation and asked them what their department's vision and values were. The answers varied greatly however the most common response was they had no idea and that they'd no doubt follow them if they knew what they were. The next most common response was cynicism, suggesting a documented vision and values were mostly words, a nice shop front that had no bearing on what really happens.

 » Read more about: Vision and values easily forgotten  »

On a coaching call this morning I was reminded again of the distinction between outcome goals i.e. I will have refurbished the whole house by December 2010 and process goals i.e. I need to hire a skip to fill with rubbish, by June 25th, I will hire an interior decorator to give me advice on colours by July 6th. Often we give up on goals if they're all outcome goals because if we haven't broken each outcome goal into a number of separate process goals,

 » Read more about: Different kinds of goals help us achieve them  »

Reg Garters writes a regular column in The Press (Christchurch, NZ) and in his column May 1, 2010, (H2) entitled Reviews garner all feedback, he spoke of the acronym Denba, to help in doing performance appraisal interviews. He explained Denba means: Describe – the specific behaviours you observe; Effects – explain what effect behaviours have on others; Needs – tell a person what needs to be done to make a situation satisfactory; Benefits – give a clear statement of the benefits to the person,

 » Read more about: A simple feedback model for your toolkit, courtesy Garters  »

Now for a great story – it's great because it shows how easily businesses can lose business and their reputation without even trying. My friend's husband wanted to install a particular sort of heating system in their house. The product he wanted was around $10K all up, he wanted to install the heating as soon as possible and he phoned sixteen companies, explained his needs and asked them for a quote. They all promised they would be back in touch within the week.

 » Read more about: Who monitors staff and systems?  »

Here's a plea to those new to management roles or new at being a business owner. Do consider undertaking management courses and formal study to find out what you know already and what you don't know about management functions, managing staff, strategic thinking and planning and all the rest in-between. In the absence of knowledge about best management practices, we typically resort to role modelling the management practices and behaviours we have experienced ourselves. There is no guarantee that what we have experienced and adopt is good and if so,

 » Read more about: Management studies invaluable – have you considered them?  »

Contemplating quitting work, a project, a business or a business idea can be a valid and attractive option on occasions. It may be much easier to say than actually do, because by the time we think of exiting ourselves from something a huge amount of time, personal energy, or money has been invested. There's a fine line too, between not putting enough into something, putting just the right amount for the situation or completely going over the top and losing perspective completely.

 » Read more about: Quitting not easy option, personal management trainer believes  »

We can easily waste energy and time by attempting to do some tasks associated with another task, when we're in the midst of a priority task. We can be diverted when a thought pops into our mind about another piece of work and we then go and do something about it, rather than making a note about what we thought of, to come back to at a later time. It takes about 10-15 minutes to get the brain back into the first task when we divert ourselves from the main task in hand,

 » Read more about: Focus on one thing at a time, suggests management coach  »

Sometimes, out of the blue, we may find ourself experiencing a sudden loss of confidence. It may be triggered by specific events at work or people»s reactions to what we are doing or planning to do.  It»s a horrible state to be in however there are some steps we can take to get our equilibrium back: pinpoint the specific triggers that set us off; identify and acknowledge the feelings that have arisen; talk to a trusted colleague or friend about the state we are in and our perspective on what has happened;

 » Read more about: Loss of personal confidence can easily occur, Dwan &Associates says  »

It's easy to get into a state of doom and gloom when we are hit with countless reports of what's wrong in various markets, the economy, the cost of living, the affordability of this that and the other thing. And add an overlay of workplace realities – like another round of change, loss of staff or additional expectations on busy staff – then it isn't surprising that people may become negative and workplaces too. A negative work environment takes a fair while to develop and staff in these environments often adopt survival mechanisms i.e.

 » Read more about: Negative work environments damage, personal management trainer says  »

Collegial support is a simple thing in principle yet in practice, it's priceless. Every business owner and manager and employee needs support in the workplace and it can take many different forms, such as: a listening ear, a word of caution, an endorsement of an achievement, an acknowledgement of difficult times, the giving of resources, passing on referrals, lending a hand through a difficult time. A supportive workplace tends to be a happy workplace –

 » Read more about: Collegial support priceless, Dwan & Associates believe  »

How many organisations do you know that actively engage in succession planning? I don't know that many that do and I'm always amazed when I hear about an organisation that does have an active plan in place and a decent one at that – one which involves identifying potential people within and external to the organisation. Succession planning isn't just the domain of large organisations as the principles apply equally well to small to medium sized ones.

 » Read more about: Succession planning essential, Dwan & Associates believe  »

I get concerned whenever I hear staff in their late 50's or early 60's, say they just want a cruisey time in the run down to their eventual stop to full time paid work, when they're about 65 years or so. What is often implied with this attitude (and often openly declared) is that they'll just do what's necessary and nothing more or they'll give a wide berth to change projects or difficult things, because they can't be bothered doing that stuff any more.

 » Read more about: Attitudes about retirement impact in workplace, personal management trainer believes  »

Mistakes, errors, misunderstandings and misinterpretations, occur in every workplace. It is just how it is, when dealing with people, complex issues or situations, work pressure, ongoing demands and the like. What also happens in many workplaces when unfortunate and unexpected things happen from time to time, is that the situation is looked at and the issue is resolved as quickly as possible, through problem solving, and life goes on. Yet what often gets forgotten is the value in conducting an in-depth review on how procedures,

 » Read more about: Develop processes to learn from events, management coach suggests  »

Oftentimes, managers don't closely monitor the outcomes their staff are required to deliver. It happens easily enough: a full workload, lots of conflicting demands, running around like a headless chook – all things that may divert a manager's attention from ensuring the deliverables are delivered on time, every time. The problem with assuming that work is being done or ignoring the work that's due but very late, is that it signals to staff that deadlines don't mean much or the deliverables aren't that important either.

 » Read more about: Don’t assume, don’t ignore and monitor progress, personal management trainer asks  »

I work with self employed business owners and have discovered that all, at one stage or another, find the business of being in business, too much on occasions. This is because small business owners with no staff or one staff, find themselves being the Jill and Jacks of all trades – the cleaning, the administration, the strategic thinking and planning, the marketing person, the accounts person, the IT person, the you name it, they're it. It does get tough at times.

 » Read more about: Self employment not for sissies, business coach believes  »

An area small, medium and large organisations often overlook when things are getting busy or difficult, is their infrastructure – their policies, procedures and systems; their company culture and climate; the way they talk to one another; view clients or colleagues. So often an organisation's infrastructure suits how things were when there was less staff, fewer clients or less operating complexity. Unless any organisational growth is recognised as a time to also check the infrastructure,

 » Read more about: Infrastructure checks essential, management trainer says  »

I've just read a thought provoking editorial from the editor of NZBusiness, Glenn Baker. In it, he talks of a concept from Jonar Nader, on how organisations can invigorate their business. One idea for continual business improvement was OPEX – standing for One Percent Excellence. The aim is to be one percent better than yesterday in all that you do, and eventually you'll have a healthy business. It's a simple concept and sounds eminently doable.

 » Read more about: One percent excellence great concept  »

A website is now available that focuses on positive psychology – the science of looking at what makes people happy. Apparently there are three sources of long lasting happiness – mental resilience, healthy relationships and finding meaning in life and there are downloadable audio files that give specific techniques to help the listener with this. The site is now publicly available at

 » Read more about: Learning to be happy possible, management coach discovers  »

Im always a bit surprised when I see some managers who work at a middle management level, struggle with the concept of operating at a higher level. By that I mean, removing themselves from lots of unnecessary operational stuff i.e. inappropriate involvement in their staffs' work, to working at a strategic level i.e. taking a bigger view of their patch, planning and thinking about known and unknown eventualities, ensuring the operating infrastructure is sound and can support all the activities.

 » Read more about: Operating at a higher level – easier said than done  »

I've come to the conclusion that within most workplaces, within the workforce, lurk organisational saboteurs. These are a group of people from all levels of an organisation who intentionally or unintentionally may: block organisational change; stifle initiative in others; do just what's needed in the job and no more; withhold information; refuse to learn to use new technology; mock others or constantly whine and whinge about how dreadful colleagues, managers, clients, suppliers or others are.

 » Read more about: Saboteurs within most workplaces, coach believes  »

In reading about professional development the other day, I discovered there are four learning stages a person must go through before a behaviour change can occur: the first requires us to be aware of something i.e. an idea, a requirement; the second requires us to have an understanding of what the idea or requirement may mean or require of people; the third requires accepting that what needs to change must be changed and then changing one's own ideas,

 » Read more about: Behaviour change a four step process  »

There's something about the New Year hype that may create pressure on people to set goals for the year ahead by January 1st at the earliest, possibly January 2nd by the latest and start working on them by January 3rd, at the very least. It's unrealistic and unnecessary and is to be avoided. A less pressured approach to determining what you may want to achieve in the year ahead is to spend time resting and relaxing to give your brain and body a necessary break from thinking and doing.

 » Read more about: Avoid New Year madness  »

The time management tip of aiming to handle paper only once is often difficult to achieve. Some issues on the paper may require consultation with others who may not be immediately available; some issues may require research and getting back to; some issues may require quality thinking time before deciding what to do about them…so an immediate deal to it and let it go approach may not be possible for good reason. Like any useful tip,

 » Read more about: Handling paper only once difficult time management challenge  »

How do you feel most days – vibrant and energetic or jaded, slow and simply getting through the days, worried about things in particular or more generally, the state of the country or the planet?  Have you lost sight of what really makes your heart sing? Some words from Howard Thurman are worth considering – "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive".

 » Read more about: Are you really alive or just existing?  »

One of my favourite phrases and coaching tips, if you could call it that, is that it may be time to "get over yourself". Without supporting context it sounds rather bald but in the context of some coaching conversations, it's anything but. As individuals concerned with things or mulling over options, it is easy to analyse things to the point of paralysis then become completely stuck, caught in the rip tide of what-ifs and maybes.

 » Read more about: Coach Sue’s Get Over Yourself  »

When you think of the amount of people we each may know or know of in our personal and private worlds, the numbers would be considerable. Our level of connectedness with others can be easily increased by joining informal or formal networks or groups and spending time with them. How connected are you in your professional world? How connected to you want to be? And if there isn't an established group in your areas of interest,

 » Read more about: Connections make world go around, coach believes  »

Until yesterday, I'd not given much thought to small planes and balancing the weight of fuel, passengers and freight. Yesterday I was asked to shift from the middle of the plane to the rear back row and two other passengers, also in the middle of the plane, were reallocated in the same area. When I enquired why we needed to shift the flight attendant said it was to help trim the plane – they needed more people at the end of the plane to balance things up.

 » Read more about: Weight matters, management coach discovers  »

We've just had Labour Day in New Zealand, a day that was first celebrated in 1900 (the legislation went through in about 1935 or 1936) and represented a victory (after a long and difficult struggle over many decades) for an 8 hour working day. Samuel Parnell, in 1840, was the instigator, as he was asked to build a store and he said he would, only on the condition he worked an 8 hour day. Good for him and lucky for us all that he had the foresight to put a limit on a working day.

 » Read more about: Meaning of Labour Day not uppermost in minds  »

It's started already. I heard it this week. "Well, it's nearly the end of the year, no point thinking about that until the New Year" and "things are winding down now for the end of the year, so we can't guarantee when decisions will be made on that". It's only October, and there are weeks until the end of the year and Christmas day, so why do people begin slowing down now in their thinking and actions,

 » Read more about: October’s not December, reminds management coach  »

I received a tender document through the week that required a course on coaching to include thought leadership, amongst other things. A quick search revealed thought leadership emerged as an idea in the early 1990s and stated it was a buzz word or jargon for someone who had innovative ideas and had the ability to translate them into bite size pieces called thinklets to spread them around for general consumption. I felt decidedly under whelmed as I read the information.

 » Read more about: Management fads fashionable but are they really useful?  »

I don't know about you, but sometimes I find thinking difficult. This is particularly so when I'm searching for solutions to issues I'm mulling over or when writing documents and trying to find some lead-ins to topics or present information in an interesting way. I find the more I sit and focus on something that eludes me, the worse I get. What I now do when I can't think clearly is to: take a short break and read the newspaper or make a cup of tea;

 » Read more about: Can’t think for thinking about things? Management trainer has some answers  »

I've often heard managers say that in difficult financial times the first item on the organisational budget to get the chop is training and development. Strangely enough, the same stop and drop approach is often taken by busy managers when they're faced with piles of paperwork. They see it as the one area in their role that can be dropped for an indefinite period of time, until things get quieter. They can justify their decision by saying another area in their role has a priority.

 » Read more about: Misguided managers drop paperwork  »

Typically sabbaticals are the domain of academic institutions and are a time for professional development and research. Yet why should they be confined to academia? Truth is many managers and business owners across every sector could benefit from a decent time away from their role and workplaces to refresh and regenerate; to upskill; to do research; to reflect on the workplace and things within it. Some large organisations have schemes that enable staff to take a reduced salary over a set number of years to have a chunk of paid future leave as a sabbatical.

 » Read more about: Sabbaticals not necessarily the domain of academic institutions  »

I like the phrase 'having a guard dog and barking yourself' as it reminds me of role boundaries and people management. Sometimes inexperienced managers inadvertently pick up the work of their staff because the staff are overloaded, overwhelmed, can't meet deadlines or don't know what to do. They may do this as a short term, immediate solution to a particular issue yet sometimes find that when the particular crisis has passed, they're still stuck with their staffs'

 » Read more about: Having a dog and barking yourself is silly  »

In most workplaces today the dominant generation are the baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964. Most management positions are filled with baby boomers and that whole generation has developed and shaped the workplaces as we know them today. I've been wondering about just how attractive the workplaces really are to generations X and Y and, come to that, to some baby boomers too…When I hear managers lament the fact that generations X and Y don't stay long in their roles and reflect on why that is so,

 » Read more about: How attractive are workplaces to generations X and Y?  »

It's surprising sometimes to find basic courtesies missing from daily business interactions. The sort of things like being on time for scheduled meetings, replying to telephone calls or emails in a timely fashion (as in 1-3 days), thanking people for what they've done for you; acknowledging people when you see them and passing on referrals and information when needed. These things take so little effort to do and they're important. Not doing them makes us memorable for all the wrong reasons.

 » Read more about: Professional courtesies cut  »

It always horrifies me when I encounter a toxic workplace. You know you're in one by how it feels and how it sounds, when staff talk about their experiences in the workplace. By toxic I mean a workplace that has disgruntled, unhappy employees as well as happy ones; good managers as well as very poor ones, at all levels within the place; an overriding culture of fear or concern for speaking out about what's not alright in the place;

 » Read more about: Toxic workplaces time bombs  »

At a seminar recently, a speaker said "change the way you see things and what you see will change". It is a pithy, useful statement and gives food for thought. For how often do we find ourselves talking about the things we couldn't do, for a whole raft of reasons, and then find ourselves, sometime later, doing something on that list we thought was beyond us and being delighted that we had? How often do we hold onto our own interpretation of things,

 » Read more about: Change starts in the mind, says management trainer  »

I'm no fashionista by any means but have you ever noticed the Vivaldi four seasons working wardrobe for many men and women is a relentless black? I was stuck at the airport last week and had ample opportunity over two hours to do a fashion police check on those who streamed in and out of the departure gates and it was a dull sight. Black certainly is a serviceable colour but trouble is, it doesn't suit everyone and in winter especially,

 » Read more about: Corporate black bleak  »

A marvellous saying about happiness was given to me just recently – "Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do, are in harmony" – Mahatma Gandhi. It's deliciously simple yet complex and may be challenging to answer. How happy are you, in your personal and working worlds? How congruent are your thoughts, words and actions? What can you change, if you are out of alignment somewhere?

 » Read more about: How happy are you? Personal management trainer asks  »

Coaching myth number 4, that coaching is beneficial for everyone, is simply that. A myth that's mythed the mark. Coaching doesn't benefit everyone for a number of good reasons, for example: if a coach or coaching has been imposed upon someone and they don't want a bar of it, then they will resent the imposition, resist the opportunity and get little value from the encounter; if someone believes they have no need of any coaching,

 » Read more about: Coaching myth no. 4 dashed by management coach  »

Organisational prostitution is alive and well in most organisations today. By this I mean organisational prostitutes are people don't want to be in their role anymore because their heart has gone out of it; their personal values clash with the organisation's values; they feel they have few choices open to them; they continue to stay and receive their pay cheques feeling they've sold their soul to make a living and feed their habits, such as maintaining a lifestyle,

 » Read more about: Organisational prostitution a crime of our times  »

It's a simple system, but a good one. Take five minutes at the end of every work day to tidy your desk, put stuff away and prepare for your tomorrow, by: opening and checking your diary to see what appointments you have and where you need to be at a particular time; what important tasks you need to do and chunk and label specific time in your diary to do them (thereby making an appointment with yourself);

 » Read more about: Prepare for tomorrow today, says management trainer  »

For many, the thought of systems, system development and using systems in their workplace constitutes the height of dreariness. Free spirits often like to do their own thing with systems and sometimes develop their own and ignore the organisational ones. The trouble with this approach is that good systems are designed to process information and/or material in the most efficient and effective way and ideally, the systems themselves have been well developed to eliminate any processing gaps,

 » Read more about: Systems organisational oil that keeps the wheels turning, management trainer believes  »

 I came across this phrase just recently and it took my fancy. It suggests that if we think we can do something we will, thereby showing we could and did; and if we think we can't do something we won't, thereby showing we couldn't and didn't. Some years ago I wondered if I could walk a half marathon – it seemed such a large distance – however, I thought I could do it and did so.

 » Read more about: If you do it you can, if you don’t you can’t, management trainer suggests  »

I'm shocked, I really am. I went trekking-shoe shopping on Friday night and had the most amazing customer service experience ever. The store manager introduced herself, offered her hand to shake, found out what I was after, chatted about things as she sorted the fit for purpose shoe and went to great lengths to ensure the final shoe was the right one, in every respect. She focussed totally on my needs and made sure she met them,

 » Read more about: Excellent service shocking experience  »

I grant you it's not the most elegant phrase in the world, but it's a good one. I often say it to myself when I'm hesitant about doing something and doing the 'will I, won't I' thing. And once I've made the decision to get over myself, I make decisions and get into gear pretty quickly. All too often our internal self talk, fears, imaginings and nervousness overtakes us and we get stuck. So, if, like me on occasions,

 » Read more about: Get over yourself, management trainer says  »

A speaker at an evening I was at recently said "it's ok to have unreasonable aspirations". She said this to explain her story of having a vision for a new business and despite all odds, over a period of years, created exactly what she wanted. She spoke of the people who said her ideas were unrealistic and unachievable; and spoke of the small core of people who believed in what she was creating. I have since reflected many times on her comment –

 » Read more about: Modest, reasonable or unreasonable aspirations – what’s best? coach asks  »

I'm always surprised when I hear managers complain about not getting around to important tasks in their job, because their day is taken up with interruptions, meetings and dealing with the unexpected. When questioned, many managers reveal they don't diary in specific time to do some of the important tasks as they try to work it in and around their usual busy and interrupted day…then wonder why it doesn't get done. If you want to ensure you always get the important tasks done in a timely way,

 » Read more about: Chunking and labelling useful self management tools, coach believes  »

I know few people who really enjoy cold calling in the search for new clients yet know many who enjoy networking events as a means of meeting new people and expanding their circle of contacts. A website that offers free articles and tips on dumping cold calling as a way of getting prospects and replacing it with a referral-based approach is It's well worth a visit.

 » Read more about: Cold calling versus referral based approach – what’s the best?  »

I've been in several meetings of late when the many participants filled the air with much corporate or jargon speak. The two most popular phrases used (I lost count of how many times it was used within 15 minutes) were '…give you a quick heads up' and 'so going forward….' I find jargon phrase overkill all a bit much really and I find my mind drifting off completely, wondering what other phrases will surface to be bashed to death around the meeting table.

 » Read more about: Jargon speak irritating, management coach admits  »

Have you ever wondered why so many meetings are a complete waste of time and money and do little but irritate the participants? There are a number of ways meetings waste resources and drive people to despair because: they may not start or finish on time; they may not follow a set agenda; too much time is spent on minor issues and little on the major ones; attendees haven't come prepared so time is spent recapping issues;

 » Read more about: Meetings easily run off rails, coach believes  »

I’ve almost reached the point where I don't want to read the newspapers or watch the television news anymore. I was in Vietnam recently for a few weeks and without access to any mass media channels. I discovered that being free of a daily diet of economic doom and gloom stories and the relentless coverage of violence and mayhem was bliss. In coming back into that daily diet, I've been reminded of the negativity that surrounds us on a daily basis and how it can easily influence people's mood,

 » Read more about: Positive thinking and intentional actions critical, says management coach  »

Just recently I was part of a small new group that had come together for a specific, time limited purpose. It was interesting to meet the people at the initial group meeting and get a sense of who they were and what they would be like to work with over the following weeks. As it happened, some but not all of my initial first impressions were accurate, which made me think about how conscious we may or not be,

 » Read more about: First impressions – accurate or not?  »

I read in a card recently that "Life is change, Growth is optional. Choose wisely". I've been reflecting on it for weeks and identifying the opportunities I've had over the years and the choices I've made to either grow or stagnate accordingly.

*What have your choices been, when faced with change?

*What areas have you allowed yourself to grow and develop in?

*What areas might you be stagnating in?

 » Read more about: Growth or stagnation is a choice  »

Have you ever been in a situation where you "felt" something wasn't quite right for you but you ignored the feeling, proceeded on and then discovered later that it wasn't right for you for good reason and you wished you had listened to your inner voice? If you have done this, you are in very good company. Many of us function fully at a head level using our rational minds and dismiss or ignore what the rest of our bodies tell us ­

 » Read more about: Listen to your inner voice for guidance  »

The lead up to the Christmas holiday season gets many people into hyper drive as they try to finish things up at work so they can come back to a clear desk after the holidays. That, plus making holiday plans, gift shopping and attending end of year functions etc means a great deal of additional stress can be created on top of the normal everyday activities. Instead of getting into hyper drive, an alternative is to deliberately slow down and plan for what needs to be done;

 » Read more about: Slow down pre-­holiday season, personal management trainer suggests  »

Have you ever noticed how often people say things like "I'll need to get my head around that" or "it's going round and round in my head" as a way of saying they're trying to understand something or make a decision about something? I love these phrases because they signal where the beginning point is for change, albeit to our thinking, our actions or what we may say about ourselves and others ­ our minds.

 » Read more about: Head first a great way to fly, management coach believes  »

What are the differences between mentoring and coaching? It's a common question and one I’m frequently asked and the conclusion I have reached is that there is little difference between them. "Mentoring is a process that supports and encourages learning to happen" (Parsloe & Wray, undated); "Mentoring is a structured, non­reporting learning relationship to enhance professional practice, personal knowledge and organisational development"(Hawken & Brown, The NZ Mentoring Centre, undated). "Coaching is a relationship in which a coach supports,

 » Read more about: Mentoring and coaching are linked and lively  »

According to research done by Deidre Graham and Amy Milner, Kissing Frogs Consulting Ltd,, only about 30% of our workforce are fully engaged in the workplace, leaving about two thirds of the workforce disengaged or actively disengaged. They say the disengaged are those who turn up, do their job but no more, and generally lack passion and interest in what they do. The actively disengaged are those who tend to complain endlessly,

 » Read more about: Engaged versus disengaged workforce – would you know what to do about it?  »

Have you ever reflected back on the best and worst experiences you've gone through and been able to see, sometimes after the events, how you have changed and grown and developed in some way, as a result? M. Scott Peck, in The Road Less Travelled, said "The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments propelled by our discomfort,

 » Read more about: Personal growth often uncomfortable, management trainer says  »

Recently, numbers of coaches and interested stakeholders from around the world met to discuss advancing coaching as a profession, at a Global convention on coaching in Dublin, Ireland. The outcome of the convention was "The Dublin Declaration" which reflected the passion and commitment of the group to work together as individuals and organizations to advance coaching as a profession. The International Coaching Federation has taken a leadership role in this, as they continue to work to advance the art,

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In the midst of managing the day to day operations of our department or business, we can often miss the subtle clues that tell us if everything is running as it should be. If we want to be proactive in terms of business health, we can conduct a mini review or audit of key areas on a regular basis to ensure our operating infrastructure is sound, any potential issues that could cause damage or distress are dealt to,

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A handy little feedback model to have in your management toolkit is the BEID approach. B=Behaviour, E=Evidence, I=Impact, D=Do. If, for example, we have a staff member who wasn’t performing as well as expected, the BEID model requires us to monitor behaviours, obtain evidence as to the performance levels, consider the impact the behaviours have on the individual concerned and the workplace, then do something about the performance gaps.

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In an article in a local magazine this week (St. Albans News, Christchurch, New Zealand, October 2008:7), lifestyle coach Peter Evans mentioned philosopher and scientist Alfred Korzybski who had said "The Map is not the Territory" and described how someone's interpretation of an event or object is simply that, an interpretation and not necessarily an accurate description of what actually is. Evans said everyone has their own beliefs or maps about who they are and where they’re going and noted that if the map is limited in terms of reference experiences and beliefs than people's thoughts and actions will be similarly limited.

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