Where has the Trust Bank Gone?
Where has the Trust Bank Gone?

What’s happened to the Trust Bank?

As a former banker, this writer’s thinking was piqued by a recent article on ABC News that stated, “All three (major) lenders . . . reported serious downturns in earnings and each of the three major banks doled out unexpectedly large wads of cash to shareholders, either to distract from the performance or to diminish the pain and keep the share prices elevated”.

It posited the cause as, the rise of mortgage brokers in the home lending market.  Around 75% of new loans in Australia are now negotiated through mortgage brokers. Is that similar in NZ? Elsewhere?

How to manage a crisis
How to manage a crisis

Are you ready to handle your crisis?

In a crisis, you need speed, decisiveness, authority and often significant courage - good crisis management is essential.

After 168 years of publication, the British newspaper “News of the World” published its final edition on 10th July 2011.  At the time, the newspaper was profitable.  News Group Newspapers Ltd., the unit within News International responsible for the News of the World and The Sun, reported an operating profit of 18.2 million pounds in the year ended June 27, 2010.  Did they have good crisis management?

So what led to the demise of this historic newspaper?

making change compelling and heart touching
making change compelling and heart touching

Are you a viral manager? Making change compelling and heart touching

When introducing change, managers most overlook making the change a compelling and heart touching event or process. After all, it's not management-like to talk of feelings – the soft stuff. It's much easier to explain the change in terms of logic and reason, which we then find to our dismay, doesn't have the impact we intended.

The biggest thing in the video news in 2012 was, "Invisible Children", a 30 minute video made by the Invisible Children organisation aimed at garnering support against African warlords. By August 2023 it had 103 million views and 1.8 million engagements!

Why was this video so "big"?

It went viral. In less than five days it had more than 70 million views. This is a story about the abduction, mistreatment and ultimate radical indoctrination of children into a waring way of life. So why did it go viral? And why this video when other organisations (including Invisible Children) have produced similar topic videos without such social media success?

Does a video have to have a certain topic content to go viral? Do viral videos have to have anything in common to go viral?

The Fun Zone
The Fun Zone

Does your business have a ‘Fun Zone’?

Do you and your colleagues enjoy what you’re doing and the people you work with? If “Yes”, great! If “No” or “Could be better”, chances are your business needs a ‘Fun Zone’.

Imagine for a moment that you’ve just bought an old house. It’s been recently beautifully renovated, painted and looks great. You move in, do some decorating to make it “yours” and at first it seems OK, but then you start to get the feeling that it’s not quite right. Then you realise – it’s a bit too cold in winter and a bit too hot in summer – whilst it still looks great, it just doesn’t feel right. The answer to get the feeling just right? Air conditioning!

A Fun Zone is a bit like the air conditioning you installed – it enables you to feel bright and breezy, and to really love the house as you did when you first saw it and moved in.

So, just what is a Fun Zone?

The Urban Dictionary describes a Fun Zone as a “distinct place where individuals and groups of friends go on any given day or night to experience amusement or enjoyment”. Wow! And isn’t that what work should be like?

Now, I can just hear the naysayers, “Oh yeah, but we’re here to work – to achieve outputs, not to sit around having fun all day”. Well, I have some news for them. But first, a story to illustrate what a Fun Zone should look like.

what it takes to be a leader
what it takes to be a leader

How can you tell if you have what it takes to be a leader?

What it takes to be a leader. If you are concerned that it seems to be taking you forever to develop as a leader, keep in mind the experience of one of the greatest leaders of our time, Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in prison waiting to show how he could lead his country!

Finding out "How am I doing?" has always been a thorny issue for managers, particularly when the issue is about "How good a leader am I?"

It's relatively easy to get feedback on results (e.g. sales, budgets etc.) but it becomes more difficult to get feedback on how we lead and manage others. Often the only feedback we get is when our boss tells us "something has gone wrong". Or, when we do get feedback from colleagues it's often very general and likely to be more positive. Yet, research (first carried out as long ago as 1920!) clearly shows that:

  • Managers who seek and get regular feedback from others are among the better performing managers.

In the last decade, research has confirmed these earlier studies and additionally found that:

  • Managers who are accurately aware of their strengths and weaknesses are better leaders.

How can we get some realistic feedback on our performance as managers, and more specifically our ability as leaders? The simplest way is to ask others. Some of us do that from time to time in an informal way, but the accuracy and extent of the feedback depends on many variables, not the least of which is people's ability to receive and give honest feedback.

Why do some people seem to have all the luck? Locus of Control
Locus of Control

Why do some people seem to have all the luck?

Are you positive or negative?  Does your behaviour impact those around you and can you change it? It all has to do with the positive or negative outlook we present which can dramatically impact those around us. Often we are not aware of the messages we are sending through our actions. Psychologists call this mode of behaving a ‘Locus of Control’.

Some years ago, I read a report by Spiro Zavos in the sports columns of my local paper, which described the behaviour of a rugby coach during a very tense finals game.  The antics of the losing coach gave a very good insight into why his team did not win and in fact loses many close games. 

In part, Zavos’ report read “He was at his over-emotional worst at Lancaster Park on Sunday.  The eyes rolled more wildly than ever, he stalked the sideline.  Not even the television cameras were safe from his flaying arms.  His antics sent a damaging message to his team: that the fates are conspiring against them and they are, somehow, destined to lose.  And for the second week in a row they lost a critical game.”  The winning coach on the other hand “ … sat impassively in the stands.  The sign he gave to his players with this emotionless posture was that if the players wanted to win, they had to do it themselves.  And they did.  Just.”

Both these coaches were very experienced and knowledgeable about the game.  Both had got their teams to the finals.  But why did one coach’s team always lose the close games and the other always win?

Good emails improve your customer service and relationships
Good emails improve your customer service and relationships

Can emails improve your customer service and relationships?

Good email service becomes more important when the economy takes a dip.  Many businesses lament the fact that people tighten their belts and buy less when the economy contracts.  Yes, that’s true.  But they still buy.  The real difference is that they probably buy less and from a more select group of suppliers.  In times like this, you need to set yourself apart from the pack – why not do it by way of more personal email service?  Customers will appreciate your point of difference.

How do most of your customers enter your business?  Through the front door?  By phone?  Via the web?  By email?  Chances are some of your business comes to you by email.  Or If it doesn’t initially, it’s a fair bet that you’ll have email contact with many of your customers during their relationship with you.

Is your email service as good as your face-to-face or phone service?  For example, do you have some standard policies and protocols that all employees must follow?  And are you taking the marketing opportunities provided by email contact?

Here are six tips that are guaranteed to improve your email service.

Whose got the monkey?
Whose got the monkey? (credit: http://massigner.com/blog/)

Who’s Got The Monkey Now? How to find out how well you manage your time

Are you a manager?  Would you like more available time?  “Yes”, then read on . . .

How come you’ve worked hard all day but haven’t started the one task that was most important to you?  As a manager, how come your daily work schedule often falls in a heap by mid-morning?

Who’s got the monkey?  The answer is, you have - probably several!

Management Time: Who’s got the Monkey”  by William Oncken and Donald Wass, has been one of the most popular management articles ever published by the Harvard Business. First published in 1974, it has been re-published several times and now many years later, the message Oncken and Wass sent us on management, still holds true.

They suggested that there are three types of management-imposed time pressure – Boss, System, and Self - read on to find out ow you spend your time.

Management v Leadership - Bob Selden
Management v Leadership - Bob Selden

Leadership or Management – Is there a difference?

It seems that some writers, keen to establish what makes a great manager 'great', have settled on the term 'leadership' as a distinguishing factor. Then they've tried to define it. Then we tried to measure it. Some of us even tried to teach it! And there our troubles began.

So, is it management or leadership? Does it matter? Let me put another spin on the topic . . .

I was talking with the facilitator of a PD workshop in Lausanne a little while back. He was apologizing that his company's name had 'management' rather than 'leadership' in their title. He mentioned that the firm had been going for 25 years (which speaks volumes for their success) and that the world had now moved on. But because of their success, they could not change their name to include 'leadership'.

It seems that no longer do we talk about 'management', rather 'leadership' is considered the fashionable thing to discuss and to teach. Read on to find out ...

Using all five senses
Using all five senses

Are we losing our senses?

As managers, are we losing more and more brain cells?  Or, are we becoming more productive and smarter?  Most importantly, are we helping to develop organizational cultures that will support the development of healthy, productive employees and managers?

During our pandemic lockdown, I heard a lovely story about a local business owner.  The business was a home design one with five project managers, each working on a separate client project.  Every Friday at 4PM, the owner had a rule in the office to, “Down tools, relax, chat, eat and drink - and no work talk!”.  When the lockdown occurred the project managers started working from home (WFH) – the project nature of their work was ideally suited – but they missed out on their Friday ‘social get-together’ (and their regular Monday Zoom work meetings were not sufficing).

Being a very clever manager, the business owner made a point of every Friday during lockdown, having delivered to her five project manager’s homes, cake/scones/tart (whatever she had cooked) and asked that everyone Zoom in at 4PM with their favourite beverage to join the social get-together.

This manager obviously realised the importance of social interaction at work – to build engagement, inclusiveness and ultimately, relationships. But how and why were her Friday office social get-togethers working so well? Did her creative lockdown sessions replicate the office ones?

recognition, respect, trust
Recognition - a culture of recognition is powerful

Respect, trust, confidence and Facebook – is there a connection?

If you’re looking to ensure that your name or the firm’s name does not appear unfavorably on someone’s Facebook wall, then perhaps it’s time to think more strategically about how to build a culture of recognition within your company.

Over the last few years, there’s been a spate of cases where employees have been fired over a Facebook comment.   Most often such comments have been derogatory towards the employee’s boss, colleagues or the firm.

In ensuing legal and industrial disputes, there has been a mixture of results.  Some decisions have favoured the employee (e.g. reinstatement or settlements), others have favoured the employer and the dismissal has been upheld.

One case involved Dawnmarie Soouza a paramedic from Connecticut, who likened her supervisor to a psychiatric patient on Facebook.  As a result, she found herself terminated.

Soouza sued her employee.  The case was settled.  The key point according to a law professor interviewed on CBS News, is that this "really has expanded the free speech rights of American workers . . . If they are communicating about the workplace, and they're talking about their supervisors, then it's a protected activity."

Apparently, there’s even a term coined to describe such postings.  It’s called “Facestabbing - the art of applying a slam, inflicting an insult or gossiping on Facebook. The comment is done in such a way that the reader may not even know they, or someone they know, is being Facestabbed” (The Urban Dictionary).

To counter such issues from arising, it’s been suggested that prudent employers will want to introduce workplace policies in relation to posting online, either at work or otherwise any:

Working from anywhere using five senses
Working from anywhere

Can you really work from anywhere - Does it make sense?

Post-Covid, there’s been huge debate and much controversy around the issues of working from home and in particular, returning to work in the office.  Is there an ingredient (or perhaps five!) that we’ve not considered yet?

Google's former Chief Financial Officer, Patrick Pichette, ruffled a few feather when he told the Sydney Morning Herald that he believed working from home is not the best way to generate ideas and innovation.

Pichette was visiting Google's Australian office and a local start up business community, when he made some unexpected comments on the topic of working from home (WFH).

"The surprising question we get is: 'How many people telecommute at Google?" Pichette said. "And our answer is: 'As few as possible'."

"It's somewhat counterintuitive. People think, 'Well, because you're at Google you can work from anywhere.' Yes, you can work from anywhere, but many just commute to offices . . . Working from the office is really important."

Pichette makes an important point that is often overlooked in the debate on how productive WFH (or telecommuting) can be – the need for social interaction in certain jobs, and I would add organisation cultures - and with certain personality types.


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