Over-collaboration and 'The Meeting' as a last resort

Over-collaboration and 'The Meeting' as a last resort

Are you familiar with the daily bombardment of email, text, instant chat and social media while trying to get real work done? Don’t worry, Jason Fried, the CEO of base camp, has some tips for us all, especially those who work in small team environments and want to find better ways to concentrate. I picked up these lessons from the Harvard Business Review podcast, which I highly recommend for anyone interested in business or organisational psychology. 

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Why you need to know about Learned Helplessness

Why you need to know about Learned Helplessness

Hopefully, you don't struggle with this yourself, and you believe taking action towards your goals will yield good results. But not everyone feels like that. Recently, I met a young man (19) who was fully convinced that he would be poor, and a slave his whole life - that there was no alternative. This was a very sad thing to hear. Imagine if you thought that nothing you did would make any difference, that you would always be poor and that you'll always have to work 12 hour days for minimum wage. You might find it hard to keep hope.

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The motivation of kind words

The motivation of kind words

'Motivation' is a tricky topic, mostly because we are all motivated differently. For example, we know that money isn't the only way to improve employee engagement and that giving people extra money can actually harm morale. The reason for this is that by giving someone money in direct response for work done suggests that there is a clear monetary value to be placed on their efforts and that you have rewarded them accurately. Obviously, this leaves more than a little room for disagreement. 

On top of that, the next time you aim to financially reimburse someone for their hard work, they will ask themselves, 'how much do I get this time'? Or maybe even worse 'is this extra work really worth the money?'. 

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16 Tips on Negotiating Your Salary: Everything You Need to Know

16 Tips on Negotiating Your Salary: Everything You Need to Know
  • Know exactly what outcome you want from the meeting. Is it more money, share options, additional holidays, a better schedule, less workload, interesting projects and or benefits-in-kind?
  • Find out about them and what their needs/wants are in advance. What are their pain points and what are the key problems in the company? Can you help solve them?
  • Make them look good. How can you make them or organisation look as good as possible? Make them into an ally, not an adversary. 
  • Start out with a high anchor.
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On KPIs and giving actionable feedback

On KPIs and giving actionable feedback

I was working with an intern recently and was struck by how much her work improved over a week. The reason: I gave her useful feedback that was clear and implementable. Her performance and commitment weren't issues - my poor feedback was the issue. Like everything else, it's simple when you know how!

We can't give employees results to aim for if they're not clear on how to actually achieve those results. Saying 'you need to improve' or 'get more sales' doesn't help anyone because it's not actionable.

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Wait for the pushback

Wait for the pushback

Before I explain an interesting exercise, I have to say that it only makes sense if you actually do it as you're reading this. Otherwise, you know the outcome but not your outcome. Anyway, I'll leave it up to you...

Here's the exercise: Put your hands together in front of your body in a prayer position as seen below. Then start to push with your right hand for 3 seconds. What happens?

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Execution trumps strategy

Execution trumps strategy

Strategic visions, strategic plans and strategic goals all look and sound great, but what actually comes of them? According to research carried out by the authors of the book '4 Disciplines of Execution' only 15% of employees actually understood the strategic goals of the company. In other words, only 15% of employees knew the meaning of their work. Naturally, this begs the question: 'how could they expect to achieve the goal or feel good about it if they don't know what it is?'.

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The new currency: Concentration

The new currency: Concentration

If 'time is money', then it must at least be a certain type of time - e.g. time spent working to create value. But if it takes one person two hours to complete a valuable task, and another person only one hour, then the second person is obviously more valuable (all other things being equal). The reality is that these days all other things are often equal: we have access to the same technologies, resources and all the same information online.

'There might be a difference in skill sets' I hear your say

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Favourite quotes about money

Favourite quotes about money

Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like. – Will Rogers

Do not value money for any more nor any less than its worth; it is a good servant but a bad master. – Alexander Dumas

Money can’t buy happiness, but neither can poverty. – Leo Rosten

It's nonsense to say money doesn't buy happiness, but people exaggerate the extent to which more money can buy more happiness. - Daniel Kahneman

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8 Traits of good managers

8 Traits of good managers

Project Oxygen, a research study undertaken by the tech giant Google, collected over 10,000 pieces of data about managers — across more than 100 variables, from performance reviews to feedback surveys. They found that a good manager has 8 specific traits:

  1. A good coach
  2. Empowers and does not micromanage
  3. Expresses interest and concern in subordinates’ success and well-being
  4. Results oriented
  5. Listens and shares information
  6. Helps with career development
  7. Has a clear vision and strategy
  8. Has key technical skills
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Visualise one fine day in 10 years time

Visualise one fine day in 10 years time

Golfers, footballers and tennis players, amongst other professional sports stars have often talked about the benefits of visualisation. We’ve all heard the success stories, but how can visualisation really make a difference? Shouldn’t we just focus on learning, practising and working hard? These were some of the questions I had been pondering for years, until recently...

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