Bite Size Business Tips / 59 posts found

Help your teams be impactful, not busy

by Iyas A
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I’ve sat in leadership meetings where “the boss” feels a need to ensure that everyone has actions. Strategy sessions where they’ve visibly mentally scratched around to create something to do. Because that’s what a boss does, right? Always has something for their team to do. And so we create high volumes of pointless busyness. People being told to get busy doing something that has no real impact, no real meaning, but just in order to be busy. And in order for the leader…

Look after your values, and culture will follow

by Iyas A
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I’m always astonished by companies that say that culture is important, but do no work on their values. Look after your values, and your culture will follow. A strong set of organisational values, lived by the leadership and reflected in how your company does business will end up creating the foundations of your culture. As people join and bring their own wonderful diversity, your culture will adapt for sure. Welcome this, but keep your values constant. Then the changes will only make your…

Dismissal is hard enough – don’t make it inhuman

by Iyas A
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The hardest thing I’ve had to do professionally was to make people redundant. It can be easy to forget how much harder it is for the person going. If it’s unavoidable (and I’ve resigned over being asked to do it when I believed it was entirely avoidable), then make sure you stay human as you do it. You’ll find (and get) a stack of “good practice” and compliance requirements from your HR department or advisors on what you need to do and say when you let someone…

Motivation by KPI

by Iyas A
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One of the dangers of our increasingly digital and data-driven world is when managers are encouraged to overuse data. This is especially pernicious for new and upcoming managers, as data becomes a crutch for them to lean on. It robs them of the hard work and opportunity to manage through judgement, through critical thought, through active listening and conversation. Some of the very factors that take you from managing to leading. Numbers are essential, but you can’t lead with them. I’ve yet…

Swearing isn’t unprofessional. Or is it?

by Iyas A
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Do you swear at work? Often if leaders do, they set a tone. Which is *really* unprofessional. Because people don’t go to work in order to feel like extras in a Tarantino film. But I don’t think people go to work to feel like extras in a Mary Poppins film either. They go to work to work. In some companies, profanity is part of the culture. In others not. A profession is simply about being paid to create value. We can create value while swearing, or in silence. Or somewhere in between. This…

Authenticity is transient

by Iyas A
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You had one chance at leading authentically. That was when you were born. If you didn’t do it then, you’ve blown it! Because the only person who can be completely authentic is the one who has learned nothing and not grown since the day they were born. Authenticity is continually redefined. Learning, growing, interacting with people and the environment – all of these things continually shape and reshape us. Yet every motivator out there wants you to “lead authentically”. Let’s…
The only way to lead

Context is Everything

by Iyas A
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Context is Everything. I once directly managed a team of 60 people. Every HR consultant will tell you that’s wrong, and that you won’t do right by your team. A management catastrophe. So what was the outcome? The outcome was that the team doubled in size (while I still directly managed it), and the employee churn rate went from 40% when I took it on to 6%. We became a destination employer. We no longer needed recruitment agencies. We ranked in the top four agencies in Europe. We had a heck…

Don’t be cynical about leaders with purpose

by Iyas A
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There are 2 ways leaders come to lead their business with purpose. Some start their business with a view to serving a greater goal. Others create their purpose as they discover more about the business that they are leading. Both approaches are valid. However, those leaders who grow purpose rather than starting with it can often face cynicism. Not unsurprisingly. Those who have been with them either as team members, customers or observers may recall a time when the purpose was rarely if ever mentioned,…

All you need is a new strategy

by Iyas A
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Your strategy didn’t work out this year? Never mind. You can create a new strategy, and get a real buzz doing it. Then watch it slowly dissipate as the year goes by. Too pessimistic? Sadly, I’ve seen this cycle play out over and over. As much as our addiction to the new can make us miss opportunities with clients and team members, as I’ve discussed in previous posts, where it can get most systematically pernicious is when it extends to strategy. I’ve seen (and to be fair, been guilty of)…

Don’t Command and Control – Direct and Adapt

by Iyas A
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The cultural brainwash that leadership is all about command and control runs deep. It remains the default behaviour in many companies, including small ones and ones built on intellectual output. Command and Control IS a valid model. There are scenarios where it may be the best answer. And not the obvious ones – for example, some of the best performing military units don’t adopt it. I help companies execute on their strategies. I find that leaders (and systems) who direct and adapt are far…