Why friendship is important in the workplace

Organisations often talk about culture, but rarely consider the role that having friendships at work plays in creating a healthy, dynamic and productive work environment. There’s no doubt that workplaces are complex environments – bringing together a melting pot of people with varying ideas, assumptions, experiences, expectations and ambitions. They can also be highly destructive. The damage that unhealthy […]

Worried about asking for what you need? Six tips to make it easier

Have you ever walked out of a meeting or away from a conversation and felt like kicking yourself because you didn’t get what you needed? Chances are the reason you didn’t get what you needed is because you didn’t actually ask for it. There are numerous reasons why we hold back from asking for what […]

Do you own your mistakes?

Everybody makes mistakes.  We are all human and making mistakes and occasionally ‘stuffing up’ is part of the human condition. There’s no doubt a lot of learning can be derived from understanding why an error has occurred.  Consequently, there’s accepted wisdom that making mistakes is good for us. However, this notion can create a false […]

Is short-termism destroying your stakeholder relationships?

People often assume that good relationships should be easy. In reality all great relationships require effort. Establishing and maintaining great relationships with stakeholders requires consistent energy and focus. But are you driving the right amount of energy and deploying the right type of focus? It’s hard to know the answer to that question if you don’t […]

Influence – it’s not a solo pursuit

The respected former CEO of Intel, Andy Grove, once said: “Just as you would not permit a fellow employee to steal a piece of office equipment, you shouldn’t let anyone walk away with the time of his fellow managers.” In organisations this happens every day, and it’s made worse for a leader if their team […]

Do you know what you stand for?

It was the brilliant Oscar Wilde who said: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” And yet in many quarters of society we see people who lose their voice and authenticity in an attempt to be liked by everyone or to appease both sides of an ideological divide. The same thing happens to people working […]

It’s time to go off script

Comedians will tell you that some of their best comedic moments happen when they go off script. Robin Williams, for example, was well known for being able to improvise – adding enormous value to the movie’s production. And yet in our work and personal lives we are often told to follow script. The question is, […]

Feel the fear…and do it anyway

  More than 25 years ago a book with this title was written by Susan Jeffers.  It became a best seller and the phrase entered the everyday vernacular. It’s a powerful phrase, and the need for these words of encouragement hasn’t changed. In fact, they are more relevant than ever as we enter an era […]

Want to be heard? Hear others first

Ever wondered how many words the average person speaks a day?  Turns out it’s around 16000 for women, and 15500 for men. Curiously, there’s no research on how much of what we say is listened to or heard by the person or people it’s intended for. Research on this topic would be interesting because as […]

5 reasons why curiosity is good for you

Curiosity – it’s a simple concept in many respects. And yet it is something we find harder to do as we get older. It’s almost as though it is abandoned for the comfort and safety of wanting to have all the answers. We stop questioning. We base decisions on assumptions, hunches and past experience. We stop seeing exploration […]

Progress isn’t a one-way street

The word ‘progress’ commonly means to ‘move forward’ or ‘advance’. Its definition implies that progress is always a forward action. But progress isn’t that simple. It comes in many shapes and sizes. And it’s certainly not a one-way street. Why? Because strangely enough when you feel like you are going backwards you may well be making […]

Having influence: machiavellian or competitive advantage?

Technological disruption is driving a wave of change so great that the World Economic Forum has termed it the fourth industrial revolution. It is predicted that this change will blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres, and fundamentally change the way we live and work. It’s not surprising that companies, both big […]

Why not knowing the answer is a sign of leadership

People often think that being a leader means needing to know more than others and having all the answers. When you cast your mind back through history, great leaders were distinguished by the fact that they usually made wise decisions.   This doesn’t mean all their decisions were wise, but on balance their decisions had good […]

What’s stopping you?

It was the American author, Harold Blake Walker who said: “The only true failure lies in failure to start.” I like the sentiment that underpins that statement.  But it needs to go further. There’s no doubt that it’s important to start things.  To try new things.  To have a go. However, if all you ever […]

Harness the competitive spirit for good, not evil

Competition is an evocative word.  Some people love it.  Others hate it. For some competition is seen as an unnecessary evil, and an impediment to good teamwork. For others it’s the competition that drives them forward and inspires them to work harder. The case for and against is not black and white.  Competition can be healthy […]

Uncertainty – friend or foe?

Our brain loves certainty.  It makes us feel good.  It’s comforting to feel that we have all the answers and know precisely what to do. The challenge is that as the world gets more, not less complex we need to become more comfortable with uncertainty. This can be hard.  As leaders you feel as though […]

Change Leaders: cancel the solo performance – it’s time to empower your production team

One of the biggest killers of progress in organisations is a lack of role clarity. While there are various ingredients that determine whether people are motivated at work, two of the primary ones are: accountability and flexibility.  People want to know what they are accountable for, and they want some flexibility in how they go […]

Stop wasting your time being ‘busy’

January is almost over.  You can feel the energy rising.  The traffic is starting to get busier.  The kids are back at school and most people are ‘back on deck’ at work. With the increased pace comes the inevitable feeling of ‘busy-ness’. Being busy can be a trap.  It was the famous classical Greek philosopher, […]

Want more influence? Start from the inside – out

Being able to influence is a critical skill to have if you want to take on more senior roles in your career. Is it a skill your born with or can you learn it?  I’d suggest it is a skill that you can acquire. Of course, there are people who appear naturally influentially and easily […]

Do you know the right time to stop talking?

In life, timing is often crucial.   Things can happen spontaneously or be planned, and so if something goes well for you is it just luck or is it something else? I’ve often found in life that the harder I work and the more I plan, the luckier I become. And so it is with communication.   […]