Radical Transparency

Radical Transparency

What if you knew exactly how you were doing at work? What if your goals, bonuses, performance reviews, successes and failures were all available not only to you but to everyone in your company? How would you feel? Nervous right? Scared or anxious?

This is what happens at the worlds top hedge fund - Brightwater, run by Ray Dalio, and he attributes his success to the system.

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Robots are coming for your job

Robots are coming for your job

It’s better you hear it now than in ten years, or realistically speaking - five years. Many people have already been forced out of a job because they’re too expensive to employ and slower than a machine. It’s happening now more than ever but this isn’t a new phenomenon. Since the 70’s robots have been widespread, with the earliest known standardised industrial robot created in 1937. Nowadays robots are becoming household items, helping with everything from cleaning, lighting and heating to monitoring the garage door and making coffee. The changes are gradual and sometimes unnoticeable, but very real. 

“The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.” Warren G. Bennis, University of Southern California, Professor of Business Administration

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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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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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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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15 Tips to Improve Communication in the Workplace

15 Tips to Improve Communication in the Workplace

Effective communication in the workplace is one of the most searched terms in Google in terms of job-related stress. We all have different ways of interacting with others, different perceptions of what is good communication and varying opinions of what is or is not appropriate in the office. With all those factors and more, there’s bound to be constant challenges. Often there are imperfect solutions or outcomes to interpersonal problems, however, that doesn’t mean we can’t seek to improve as much as possible. Here is a list of tips which will hopefully help with these issues: 

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Tone of voice matters and here's the proof

Tone of voice matters and here's the proof

'It’s the way you said it!' We’ve all heard that, right? We understood it to mean that the content of what we said doesn’t matter, the problem was our tone. I read about this exact issue from two different sources and thought it would be interesting to put them side by side...

In his book ‘Blink’, Malcolm Gladwell tells a story about

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Overcoming office politics

Overcoming office politics

People engage in office politics because they think it will lead to better career prospects for them in the future. They align themselves to influencers, which by default means they will also be distancing themselves from others in the organisation. But who is actually influential? Sometimes we know, but sometimes we don’t. Lots of companies will have hidden influencers that employees aren’t aware of. This could be the receptionist or the security staff,  the canteen manager or the IT administrator. 

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Am I being managed out?

Am I being managed out?

'Managing out' refers to when management makes an employee's working life so unpleasant, the employee decides to hand in their notice. Some employees aren't aware that this is a management tactic, even though they may be the victim of it. 

It's quite difficult to legally sack a worker if the management of a company is unhappy with them; that's why they have to use covert strategies to make life unpleasant for the individual. This process could include: criticising an employee's work repeatedly and never giving them credit; not supporting them in learning or developing; keeping them out of communication loops; ignoring their requests or making their life at the company difficult in general. 

Now, let's think about what it's like for both parties involved.

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Avoiding Peter’s principle

Avoiding Peter’s principle

In his book published in 1969, Laurence Peter proposes the Peter Principle: "In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”

Many promotion decisions are beyond logic, such as promoting an engineer to a manager because they are an excellent engineer. The decision is made based on the employee’s performance in an engineering role, but engineering and management are completely different sets of skills and should be treated as such.

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This is your Career

Personally, I’ve spent more than 10 years searching for a career that I really felt passionately about and have done a lot of different jobs along the way. Now, I’m excited to have finally found a career that I love. So I wanted to share this with you in the hope that it will inspire, excite and motivate you to follow your passion. If you know someone who isn’t sure what to do in their career, feel free to share it with them. 

Linchpin and Becoming Indispensable

I’ve come across Seth Godin’s book ‘Linchpin’ recently and I strongly recommend it for anyone interested in a strong career. It’s a game changer as far as I am concerned. It’s about being something, that we all, inherently are: artists. Nope - this doesn’t mean artist simply in terms of someone who paints. This is anyone who is creative, who can generate new ideas and solve interesting problems. This is everyone. If you feel you aren’t creative now, that’s  because either:

1) you don’t recognise it in yourself or 2) you’ve lost it at some stage over time. But it’s there...

Here are a couple of big ideas from the book:

Solve interesting and complex problems

This means that we should continuously look for new ways of creating value in the organisations where we work and is the key to the future economy. We can’t always attempt to outwork the competition because often the competition will be working in parts of the world where the currency holds much less value. Therefore, they can do the same work for less. Trying to outwork them would be fruitless.

Solve more problems than anyone else

Become the individual in the company who provides more value. and solves more problems than anyone else. This way it becomes very difficult to replace you regardless of the economic environment. Find out what the company needs on a regular basis and endeavor to be the person to help solve those challenges.

Give people gifts and don’t require reciprocation

I really like this idea because of the reaction you get when you do it. In a society where everything has a price, it can be refreshing to receive some small gift from someone and to know that nothing is expected in return. It makes people feel good and everyone likes to feel good.

Share your expertise - show the wealth of your knowledge

Of course, some people will always be afraid that if they share to much knowledge that their clients won’t need them anymore. In my opinion, considering we live in an age of instant information available at the touch of a button, I believe people are looking for much more than information. And in general, I find that the more you share, the more people want from you. Acquiring expert knowledge will certainty take time, however I believe it is one of the most important career decisions you can make. 

Ship on time

This is the idea that projects will not always be perfect (like this blog!) but they need an to be done and delivered on time. Ideas aren’t the hard part - It’s shipping that’s difficult. Get it done and get it done on time!

Hope you enjoyed this and thanks for reading! 

Alarming news for Ireland’s recovering economy

Alarming news for Ireland’s recovering economy

Did you know that a mere 16% of employees in Ireland are actively engaged in their work? Gallup, a performance management company who published the report on the State of the Global Workplace found that 64% of employees in Ireland are not engaged in their work and the remaining 20% are actively disengaged.

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