As we enter the New Year, talk about New Year Resolutions is all around us. “What are you giving up this year”, people ask? High amongst the regulars are giving up smoking, losing weight, going to the gym more regularly, and starting a diet or detox regime to get rid of the Christmas excesses. These resolutions are all good and great, and I wish you all the best as you set out to achieve them. Indeed, where these assist in facilitating positive change, they are to be encouraged.
But what about those resolutions that help drive real change and reform character? Those that promote the human spirit; that facilitate the opportunity for each individual to achieve their best in the workplace and society; that create an environment characterised by fairness, inclusivity and transparency leading to a new paradigm for positive human co-existence? What about these resolutions?
Here are 3 simple tips alongside the others aforementioned above that will assist in the creation of lasting change this year, and importantly, beyond: Continue reading
Over the last couple of weeks, I have found myself thinking about issues relating to ‘customer service’ and the direct impact ‘the customer’ has in driving profitability and competitiveness, particularly in the retail sector, more so as Christmas approaches. Indeed, whilst at a client meeting, when I inquired what the present key business challenge was, the answer was pretty direct: “…to increase sales, promote quality and drive down costs…” These challenges are similar across a multitude of industries and sectors, more so now than ever before, and are constantly reported in the media. Indeed, as I sit here typing away, I can hear the BBC News from my TV announcing in the background “…the British Retail Consortium announces that like-for-like sales in the UK fell 1.6% compared to this time last year…the weakest sales figures for 6 months…”.
I think it is correct to suggest that at the heart of the ‘drive’ to increase sales and drive down costs are the economic conditions being faced globally – particularly in Europe and America. The arguments for these are widely debated so we won’t tinker with them, but the pervading question remains: How do we begin to map a path toward a viable solution?? How do we practically go about increasing business sales and driving down costs? I think a good place to start may be by returning back to the very basics by asking ourselves the question: “Who is Jo(e) Bloggs”?? Continue reading
“Culture to an organisation is what personality is to an individual”
Organisational culture can appear to be one of those ‘fluffy’ terms we hear spoken about in the workplace, but which tends not be given as much ‘air time’ as ‘Business Development’, ‘Sales’, and ‘Financial Planning’, etc. I often hear business professionals say, ” I really need to focus on the ‘bread and butter’ at the moment, all that other ‘culture stuff’ frankly can wait”
A bit like a dog, dizzied by running around in circles chasing its tail, we can at times tend to ignore that which really matters and which has long term consequences, in favour of chasing the immediate and short-lived. Organisational culture is like the rails upon which a train runs. Though ensuring the comfort of passengers is of immediate importance, of even greater importance is the regular maintenance of the rails to ensure the safe and continuous running of the train. Indeed, where there exists a slight relaxing in the focus on the safety of the rails themselves, the consequences can be catastrophic for passengers – as we already know from unfortunate experiences.
These are economically challenging times: Europe is in a deep financial crisis – and the impact on organisations in the UK particularly, in terms of redundancies and reduced staff investment, is widely acknowledged. It is of course a natural human reaction of leadership to consistently focus, sometimes unknowingly, on the ‘hard’ bottom-line organisational functions which directly influence how the Profit and Loss Corporate balance sheet ‘looks and feels‘. But “what about the people”, I ask?? It is equally important to remember during these times that just like the train that needs a safe track to run on, so too do organisations totally depend on their people to ensure they emerge from through these challenging times – unscathed. Continue reading
In the papers this week, it has been reported that the US Federal Housing Finance Agency has put the process in place to sue 17 banks over the subprime mortgage crisis – a key element which arguably lead to the global recession, a term we are all now very acquainted with. It made me think about the topic above linked to our recent themed discussions on the connection between diversity and business strategy. We all have our opinions and theories on what actually lead to the global economic crisis, but I think there is something more endemic that ought to be pointed out…
Let’s re-look at the Toyota case discussed in our last posting: On the 11th of February, 2010, the Economist in an article entitled: ‘Toyota – Accelerating into trouble’, reported the woes of Toyota showing the failure of the Japanese Board to spot a mechanical fault with the new Toyota Prius’ run-away acceleration and braking system. The fault lead to customer complaints and law suits that is reported to total approximately $5 billion, with Toyota having to recall approximately 8 million vehicles world wide. The overall market value loss totalled approximately $30 billion according to recent figures. In its overall evaluation of what might have gone wrong with Toyota, the Economist highlighted a cultural issue where leadership was based on “a rigid system of seniority and hierarchy” which prevented “new ideas” to questioning “the way things worked”.
The lessons learnt from the Toyota experience, I think, can be applied to assist understand what ‘suggestively’ facilitated the global economic crisis, the aim being to discover what ‘thought leadership’ actually means within this context. Indeed, what is core to both terms, ‘thought’ and ‘leadership’, and why is it important that to get leadership right?
Looked from an organisational viewpoint, thought is about thinking – creatively, leadership – a people-centred specific skill, is about the ability to provide inspiration, vision and direction – to all staff. The two terms are inextricably linked, one necessarily leading to the other, both facilitating innovation within the workplace resulting in a competitive and profitable business. Continue reading