BGT Still Providing Management Lessons

One of my very early posts featured Paul Potts on Britains got Talent.

Well BGT proves itself to be the reality show of choice for the progressive managers looking to learn.

Forget The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den.  For lessons in authenticity, body language, hidden talent, and managing expectations.

Watch the video on youtube here.

25 Years of Management Wisdom

Jim Sinegal founded Costco 25 years ago.  This is a great post capturing some of what Jim learned about management along the way.  Full of wisdom!

Show show if you set up a small business in the right way – it can become massive.

Goals, Priorities and Resources; where does it all go wrong?

Spending time developing and clarifying goals is rarely time wasted. Although some of us spend time clarifying our work goals few of us spend time developing goals for other important aspects of our lives – family, community and self. This is one of the reasons why we find work-life balance so hard to achieve. Goals that have been set in our professional lives are not balanced by goals in other areas. The goals that we have set start to demand creativity and resources and before we know it…

Sometimes we set goals that do not provide clear priorities. Or they provide us with so many priorities that we may as well have no priorities at all. Priorities are immediate next steps that will move us closer to our goals. Good priorities are ones that we cannot fail to address. They are so simple and appealing that they cry out for us to get on with them.

But often we forget to allocate time and other resources to our priorities. Without resources to go with them our priorities are worthless. Without doubt time is the most precious resource that we can commit to a priority. I often find myself working with senior managers to clarify goals and priorities (no more than three or four at a time) and then schedule time in busy diaries to spend on them.

By scheduling two 90 minute blocks of time every week to work on priorities many managers ‘magically’ start to make tangible progress towards goals that had previously frustrated them.

Building the Social System for High Performance

Whenever you see an organisation doing something consistently well, you can be sure that there is an effective social system behind it. The social system is made up of both a hard and a soft landscape. The hard landscape is that of meetings, information flows and decision making processes. The soft landscape is to do with behaviours, attitudes, values, respect and commitment.

Effective managers recognise their role in developing both the hard and soft landscapes of the social system – but recognise that it is the soft landscape – the way people and teams work together that really drives culture and performance.

When trying to initiate change, less effective managers work on the hard landscape. They change the organisational structure, replace key people or alter what is measured and rewarded. While such changes maybe necessary, they are NEVER sufficient.

It is the interactions between people that need to be changed, the information flows and the decision making processes. If people are not having the right discussions or behaving in ways that drive values and performance then the managers’ job is to influence them to adopt different ‘value creating’ behaviours.

In most cases this can be done using feedback. In other cases it may require more concerted efforts at coaching for the desired behaviours.

Recognising and shaping the behaviours that drive values and performance is the hallmark of an outstanding manager.

The social system changes and enables the organisation to perform consistently well because managers use mechanisms that ensure that the right conversations happen consistently and frequently. These conversations improve the quality of decision making and encourage behaviours in people’s every day work to accomplish the elusive goal of culture change.

Money and Stress

As the legendary Bruce Springsteen said back in the 1970s when he just started to win recording contracts – ‘When they pay you $400 a day you get to have $400 dollar a day problems’.

I found a great blog yesterday that quoted some research on the relationship between wealth and stress.

The following five types of deal were offered:

  1. The Bum Deal: Being stressed out, overworked, and making less than $100,000 per year.
  2. The Really Bum Deal: Being stressed, overworked, and making less than $25,000 per year.
  3. The Submission Deal: Making around $20,000 per year, but accepting your dirt-poor status. Your dire situation, in turn, leads to a sense of resignation that allows you to relax and enjoy your free time.
  4. The You’re-An-Idiot Deal: Being ultra-rich (making more than, say, $3 million per year off interest income), having nothing to do, and stressing out over golf games, financial managers, and all the poor people trying to bilk you out of your fortune.
  5. The Sweet Deal: Making more than $3 million per year off interest income and relishing your liesure time with hedonistic pleasure. At the same time, you’re conscious enough to avoid misogyny and gambling addictions.

Now I think that sometimes the deals people settle for are a reflection of their self worth, as much as of their potential or achievement.

  • What deal have you got?
  • And why?

You can read the original post here.

Sue Wiley on Why and How PMN Works for Her

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Sue Wylie is the office manager at re’new in Leeds.

She has attended four PMN workshops and has used much of what we have covered in her work.  In this podcast she talks about PMN and how it works for her.

Sue explains why;

  • she thought she would never have enough time for 121s – but now would not be without them, and
  • how 121s actually save her time and avoid interruptions in her working day
  • how the principles and practices have driven progress in her team
  • the impact that 121s with her manager have had in her

You can listen to the podcast here.


Many thanks Sue!

If you have attended PMN training and benefitted from it, and would like to make a podcast with me – just let me know!  You could become an iTunes star!

The War for Talent – and the option for pacifists!

The War For Talent

Another copy of People Management drops onto the doormat and once again I am reminded about the potential for Human Resource Management to help negotiate the credit crunch.  My favourite piece of advice –  ‘Look for ways of saving money without laying people off’! – Just wrong in so many ways.  How do ‘membership magazines’ get away with such dross?

And then there are the usual mantras about talent management, talent recruitment and talent retention.  There is even a glossy supplement on Recruitment Marketing that shows just what lengths some organisations go to in order to recruit the best.  Pictures of gyms, yoga classes and the Bourneville Sports Ground all provided to help retract and retain talent.  Articles headlined ‘The Talent Crunch’ – and then over 30 pages of very expensively crafted and placed adverts many of them from organisations that consistently under-invest time and money in people development.  (They obviously take the CIPD advice seriously and see training as a place where you can ‘save money with having to lay people off‘.  Indeed it even saves you the expense of redundancy as you can watch your talented people walk out the door on their own volition!  Double bubble!  Indeed many of the recruitment ads are from the NHS where the recent Healthcare Commission report showed that the chances of you getting even an annual appraisal that you feel is helpful are less than 1 in 4!

Most wars are stupidly expensive and damaging – and the war for talent is no different.

This is because people have an innate and practically limitless potential to learn and develop.  Some people have switched on to this potential and been developing it successfully for a while (this is what we mean by talented).  Others have not yet learned to believe in and develop their potential.

So if you really want to develop a great team of talented people don’t join the talent recruitment wars.  Instead fight for more engagement with people, more feedback, more coaching and more work based opportunities for development.  Fight for the right of every person to be supported effectively, frequently and professionally to develop their own potential.  Practice the rhetoric of investing in people instead of flying the flag for it.

Don’t head hunt other peoples talent.


Not only will you find remarkable talents in some quite unexpected places – but you will also get a reputation as a place where talent can flourish, people can express themselves and explore and develop their potential – and that is more appealing to talented people than the sexiest job advert or well appointed gym.