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What are people judging you on?

02 Jun
June 2, 2016

Susy Roberts, 2nd June 2016


It’s always good when a Harvard psychologist publishes research proving something you’ve intuitively known to be true for years.

According to associate professor Amy Cuddy, people not only judge you within seconds when they first meet you, but they don’t really pay any attention to what you can offer until deciding whether or not they can trust you.

Even though this affects every aspect of our life, from our ability to attract friends and opportunities, to our career progression, most of us give little or no thought to our personal brand outside of our physical appearance.

Of course how we look is important, we wouldn’t have a youth-obsessed culture and multi-trillion beauty industry if it wasn’t, but your personal brand is so much more than this. It’s the essence of you, the unique traits that make you special.

So how can you go about uncovering your brand essence and using that to create the life you want? Not least when you’ve only got seconds before someone else forms an opinion of you and it typically takes another 19 interactions to change someone’s first impression of you!

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Why Philip Green failed as a leader

06 May
May 6, 2016

Susy Roberts, 6th May 2016


As taxpayers find themselves liable for BHS’s £571 million pension fund deficit, questions are being asked about Philip Green’s leadership of the company.

Not only did he pay himself and his wife £358 million in dividends, while the pension fund swung from a health surplus to a deficit, but the Financial Times has discovered that by charging the store costly administrative fees and rent for properties sold to his wife, the cash extracted actually amounts to £1.2bn.

Unfortunately, as Green takes possession of his latest £100 million pound yacht and the public calls for him to be stripped of his knighthood, he’s become just one more individual on a very long list of people who’ve put personal gain ahead of the fortunes of the company and people they were entrusted to lead.  There appears to be no evidence of values based leadership.

So what can we do? If we don’t want to have any more pension deficits, cheating on car emissions, telephone hacking by journalists, bribes being accepted by sports officials, not to mention unethical behaviour by bankers, there’s one clear thing we could and should be doing differently…

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Is the Chancellor right to give up on UK productivity?

17 Mar
March 17, 2016

Susy Roberts, 17th March 2016


In this week’s Budget, the Chancellor George Osborne paved the way for further austerity measures when he gave up believing Britain’s poor productivity could be turned around and officially downgraded the UK’s productivity growth predictions.

Giving up on productivity so soon is a disaster. Not least because UK workers have already become so unproductive that we already produce 30% less per hour than workers in France, Germany and the US.

Workers in those nations could take every Friday off and they’d still achieve more in the working week than we do in the UK. So what’s the solution?

Although there are fundamental issues around investment in new technologies and education, economists estimate that poor management accounts for as much as a quarter of the gap in productivity between us and our main rivals 1.

Given that we already have high employment and work the longest hours in Europe, some organisations are simply not getting the best out of employees or directing their efforts in the right way. But while the government’s given up trying to find a solution, if this is an issue for you, there are three proven tactics you can adopt right now to boost productivity within your organisation.

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Are you putting processes before customers?

15 Feb
February 15, 2016

Susy Roberts, 15th February 2016


After winning Money Mail’s Wooden Spoon Award for rotten customer service, BT has vowed to bring thousands of call centre jobs back to the UK. Plus end customer frustration at having to wait in all day for engineers, by introducing two-hour appointment slots.

You could argue that it shouldn’t have taken winning a worst customer service award to come to the realisation that customers value their time and you should be working around their needs, not yours. But a worrying number of organisations are still so pre-occupied with adhering to their own systems and processes that the human touch has all but gone.

Processes and systems in customer service are meant to mean a more efficient and consistent experience for customers – but if they’re delivered without any emotions, customers can just end up feeling ‘processed’. Conversely, if employees are able to deal with customers in a way that gets this ‘people element’ right, you can actually give your organisation a competitive advantage. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can use processes to make customers feel good.

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Want to create a high-performance culture this year?

25 Jan
January 25, 2016

Susy Roberts, 25th January 2016


Happy New Year. We hope your 2016 got off to a good start. If you’re anything like us, the goals you’ve set yourself are even more challenging than last year. The upshot of which is that it’s no longer enough to view your Performance Management as a HR process, but rather the business critical function that it actually is…

Of course the HR team has an important role to play when it comes to coaching and supporting managers to oversee the performance of others, but if the business leaders haven’t already made sure that everyone understands how their actions impact of the overall success of the business, performance management can all too easily become a pointless tick-box activity.

So if you want to create a high performance culture this year, the single most effective thing you can do is to set your people up to succeed by ensuring goals are properly cascaded throughout the organisation to give each and every employee a direct line of sight between their actions and the overall success of the business.

To find out how, read on for some quick tips or download our best practice guide to improving business performance management here. It features an interesting case study from global chemicals company Chemtura, about how they successfully went about cascading leadership goals to shift the focus from ‘just doing things’ to doing the right things to deliver results.

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