Bite Size Business Tips / 68 posts found

The unimportance of nearly everything

by Iyas A
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It can be sadder than it is aspirational. I see many families, including mine at times, and especially those with kids, stressing over everything. And joy disappears as everything else becomes the priority. Many companies do the same. Everything’s important. Everything’s a priority. I recall sitting in board meetings where we’d discuss our 11 priorities. Times like those, we’d do well to remember John Maxwell’s quote: “You cannot underestimate the unimportance of…

Being too nice to terminate someone’s employment creates bigger problems

by Iyas A
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I remember the first time I had to deal with a team member who wasn’t meeting the needs of his role. We’d gone through the support, the training, trying to find another role. But ultimately none of that worked. So I took the next step. Which was to sit on it for a few months. I was terrified – we were such a “nice company”, a “people company”, and had built up a reputation of treating our team well. Firing someone would shatter that in one fell swoop. It…

The Power and Need for Indistractable

by Iyas A
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I’ve been privileged the last couple of days to go with some of my clients to 2 talks about recently launched books. First, Nir Eyal’s “Indistractable”, which lays the case and an approach to move from from distraction to traction. Essentially, this is how to spend our time and attention with more intentionality on the things we want to focus on. A few of us then went to a talk by Naomi Klein on her latest book, “On Fire”. her perspective on the urgency of the…

Profit or purpose first

by Iyas A
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You’ve seen a lot about how purpose is good for profit. It can be. Sometimes it’s not. But regardless, pursuing purpose on that basis is a dangerous road to go down. The more we talk about companies needing to lead with purpose and values because this is more profitable (which I hear A LOT) – in other words, the more we justify purpose on the basis of its impact on profitability – the deeper we make the doctrine that maximising profitability remains business’s primary…

Is your team telling you what they think or what they think you want to hear?

by Iyas A
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I had a tough decision to make, and I sought the advice of a senior member of my team. He told me what he thought. As he was more knowledgeable in that space than I was (or ever will be TBH), I went with his advice. It didn’t work out. As we reviewed what happened, he said the sentence that kicked me in the guts. “I told you that because that’s what I thought you wanted me to say.” I was devastated. He’d gone against his (superior) instinct, to tell me what he thought…

Structure is not your goal

by Iyas A
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In our drive for structure, we should always remember that structure is there to support an outcome, and is not an end goal in its own right. Leaders and consultants alike are guilty of creating frameworks and matrices. McKinsey’s famous MECE (mutually exclusive, completely exhaustive) is a wonderful triumph of the intellect over the real world. Organisations are messy. People are messy. Paths are not linear. The structure is useful as a model, but the best leaders know when breaking them…

Don’t Kid Yourself with an Out-of-Office Reply

by Iyas A
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“Out of office” is an interesting game that too many of us play. We set up the autoresponse religiously when we go on holiday, then still surreptitiously check our inbox while we’re away. Before we know it, we get sucked into the inbox and suddenly we’ve lost hours. For some, a reply gets sent out as a part of the “real business people don’t do holidays” game, or its close cousin, the “see how hard I work even when I’m on holiday” game.…

Great leaders aren’t overly vulnerable or authentic

by Iyas A
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“Good leaders don’t hide their emotions. Be vulnerable. Be authentic.” Simplistic tosh that continues to do the rounds in the industry that is training the next generation of leaders, and undermining their ability to lead effectively. The challenge is that there is a lot of nuance to this that is lost beneath the headlines, and most people, sadly, only read the headline and then regurgitate it. The phrase I probably use most commonly with the leaders I work with is that “Leaders…

Don’t be a people business. Be a business of individuals.

by Iyas A
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Treat your team as individuals, rather than your company as a “people business”. I’ve been rereading two books by Oliver Sacks, “Awakenings” and “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat”. Both are wonderful books, as enjoyable in the second reading as they were when I read them first over 2 decades ago. I’m struck by what Sacks, following the lead of one of his mentors in neuropsychology, Alexander Luria, terms “romantic science”. Not romance…

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…