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Business Development & Marketing General Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery Turnaround

Respect will get the best out of your staff

While a successful leader needs to avoid getting drawn into lengthy conversations at the start of the day, a little courtesy and respect goes a long way towards making staff feel valued.
A friendly greeting on arrival at the office is a good start. Remembering people’s names when you greet them may be a small thing but speaks volumes. It’s a matter of respect.
A greeting and a “how’s it going?” helps to gauge the mood, makes people feel valued as human beings and can motivate them to give their best.
If the response is less than enthusiastic it can signal that it is time to pay closer attention.
As part of your daily schedule you should build in some time to check in with key members of staff to ensure there are no problems brewing. Key people aren’t always the most senior members of staff.
There may be issues about a task that are making it harder for people to accomplish and it is worth remembering that they are more likely to know the details of a process than you can, or should, as their boss or manager and they may well have constructive solutions. Listen, it’s a matter of respect.
Equally if bigger problems are looming that could push the business into difficulties it is often those of your staff lower down the hierarchy who are aware of any problems first. Again, listen!
Being successful means not only prioritising time and focusing on the bigger issues and strategic picture but also showing that you care for others and value their input. It’s still all about respect.

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Business Development & Marketing General Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery Turnaround

Reclaim your brain. Learn to say "NO"

Something that makes successful people stand out is their ability to avoid distractions and learn to say “NO”.
It is not rude to avoid getting drawn into lengthy conversations at the start of the day when the first order of business is preparing the schedule and setting priorities as well has having some thinking time.
If a colleague or employee needs to speak to you about something significant it is perfectly acceptable to tell them that you will get back to them with a convenient time once you have checked your diary.
While courteous and amicable relations in the office are necessary, excessive time spent on social chat is not.
Similarly, feeling obliged to deal with all the new emails, texts or other notifications immediately is not helpful to success. There may be some communications that are urgent and should go on the high priority list for the day, but others can wait.  Again it is not rude to delay replies if the later response is courteous.
When a business is having problems it can be difficult to maintain the morning arrival rhythm that is characteristic of successful people, but even if there are urgent actions to be taken they cannot be done if the mind is overwhelmed with too much detail, not to mention the distractions from the outside world of social and news events that have occurred since the previous day.
Effective action whether it is dealing with a problem or putting in processes to move a business forward comes from learning to compartmentalise and to put aside distractions. You need to reclaim your brain and learn to say “NO”.

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Business Development & Marketing General Turnaround

Disaster management – when things go wrong in business

We talked in a recent blog about managing anxiety in business and channeling it positively.
But what can business leaders do when something major goes wrong as in the recent and ongoing saga that has hit VW over vehicle emissions?
Firstly, it is important to recognise that something going wrong at some point in a business is inevitable.
Secondly, a wise business will have disaster management plans in place so that there is a well-established process for dealing with a crisis.
But thirdly, and this is arguably where VW did not do so well, managing the situation is not only about fixing the problem.
It is also important to communicate quickly, constructively and sympathetically to customers affected.
Being over-cautious in the early stages because of anxiety about the possible consequences is not the most constructive approach.
It is better to be open and communicative, to say, for example, that “yes we acknowledge that there is a problem, and we are working urgently to find out what happened.” More communication rather than a minimal level is required to reassure stakeholders and this is likely to involve clear communication about the rectification process and who is responsible.
As such, it is important for the company CEO to take ownership of the situation, come forward and demonstrate concern for affected customers as soon as possible and tell everyone what he or she is doing about it.
There needs to be regular follow-up information given as the picture becomes clearer as to how the business will redress the situation.
It is important to avoid giving an impression of confusion and disarray as some have argued has been happening in the ongoing VW situation.

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Business Development & Marketing Finance General

Skills shortages? Companies should stop whingeing and do something about it

Yet again shortly after the recent budget employers were complaining about a shortage of skilled workers.
The Confederation of British Industry called it a skills emergency and reported that more than 50% of the firms they had recently surveyed feared they would not be able to find the skilled people they needed to grow.
Given that there is no careers advice or service now in most schools, students are expected to arrange their own work experience and in any case it will take time for the effects of any improvements in education to feed through into the workplace, it makes no sense for businesses to call for Government action and wait around for results.
We know of pupils who have found it near-impossible to persuade local companies to provide work experience places, even for a week or two. Equally, businesses regularly use the excuse of being too busy to engage with students by coming into school to give talks, help with relevant projects or allow taster visits to their sites.
Without exposure to the workplace, how are young people supposed to understand the conventions of the workplace and is it really fair for businesses to then complain about new recruits being clueless?
Equally, providing proper apprenticeships as well as training and development for new and existing staff could well prove a faster route to getting the skills businesses need as well as the reward of a more loyal workforce that has benefited from such initiatives.
Like the failure to invest in R&D, many companies have sought to improve their short term profitability at the expense of their future viability.
Owners and directors should stop whingeing, take responsibility and do something about the skills shortage.