Saturday, 30 April 2022

Build Your Tams - but what do we measure?

Teamwork is essential in any organisation. Each team must have clear goals and targets and must be capable of working collaboratively to achieve them.

Until a couple of years ago,. team building and team development followed well-established patterns based on a thorough understanding  of team building and associated problems.

Then pandemic and the move to working from home changed much of this established thinking.  It is not clear how remote, technology-based teams develop, and whether their development needs are the same as physically co-located teams.

We need more research and a better understanding before we can be sure of how best to change our team development practises.

In the meantime, don’t simply assume that current practises will work.  They might. … but they might not.

Certainly the need for clear goals and targets is likely to remain.    The measurement of performance and contribution to those goals and targets may change but if this helps us develop measures that are more suitable for outputs and achievements rather than inputs, so much the better.

Saturday, 23 April 2022


We hear quite a lot these days about work-life balance.  But how do you know your own balance is wrong?

Well, burnout is man obvious sign. If you are exhausted, physically or mentally, you need to re-evaluate your priorities.

But it is not always so obvious.

Another possible sign is that your health is OK  but you’re just generally running slower than you used to.  This might be a symptom of age but it might also mean you need to build more rest into your schedule to make sure that when you are at work, you are fully engaged at high power.

This also, of course, applies to your employees. If performance is inexplicably falling off, it might be the work has changed, motivation has changed for some reason, or they are just tired.  Talk to them. Find out - and do something about it (or help them do something about it).

Saturday, 16 April 2022

What Should I do on Monday Morning?

For some time I was a member of the governing Council of a UK professional body.  We had regular meetings about the forward direction and strategy for the organisation, which at its peak had abut 25,000 members.  We Council members talked, pontificated, debated important issues.  As ever, on such bodies, everybody thought they should make some contribution to the debate or discussion, whether they had something relevant and important to say or not.  The discussions went on for quite a while until the chairman remembered his role and brought discussion to an end.

The executive officer, who was the paid professional who would be responsible for implementing whatever was decided by the Council, then often had to utter the words, “So what do I do on Monday morning?” reminding Council members that grand strategy has to be translated into tactical steps and detailed action plans.

It is a sentence I have never forgotten.  Try asking it after your next management meeting. Do you have a new target, a new responsibility, a new project?  If, as a result of the meeting, there is nothing different for you to do on Monday morning, what was the point of the meeting?

Similarly, if you have a meeting with your staff, make sure they know what they have to do on  Monday morning as a result of the meeting.

Saturday, 9 April 2022

Share Progress to Ensure Shared Progress

Some managers think they need to keep an eye on their staff, fearing that, if they don’t, those staff will nor give their maximum contribution. One of the problems with ‘keeping an eye on’ them is that the staff will know they are being watched and will lose motivation immediately, fearing they are not trusted to work to the best of their ability.

Of course, managers need to be in control but they need to be more careful about why and how they do It.

It  is the work that has to be controlled, not the workers.

This is best done by comparing achievement and work completed to the planned schedule of work.  This is why we measure work and establish targets.  If those targets are set with the cooperation of the workforce and subsequent progress and achievement is also shared. the workforce will naturally seek to meet the agreed targets.

Transparency of planning and visibility of progress is much more effective than direct oversight.

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Give Them A Chance

 I talked last week about giving people decent work to do if you want them to be self-motivated.

I stand by that but, of course, it’s not the complete solution.

Many businesses overload key members of the workforce so that they burn out and either leave or go off sick.

Thankfully, in the last few years we’ve have started to hear about concerns for employee wellbeing.

Workers need to have a workload that is within their skill set and their capacity.  Of course they might have tight deadlines and challenging tasks to complete but these should not be relentless and all-consuming.

Overloading employees leads to stress, burnout, and poor productivity.

So, wellbeing is not a ‘nice to have’.  It is an essential factor in underpinning high productivity. You have to focus on engagement and wellbeing.

So, give your employees decent work and then make sure they are fit and well enough to give of their best.