Business Strategy

Organisational Management Review Launch

Change is ongoing in all businesses today, on some level. As the world advances, organisations must do the same to keep ahead of the tide. For some companies this involves small adjustments, however many are faced with large scale organisational transition, and they simply aren’t equipped to handle it.

The consequences of failing to manage change effectively are severe and far reaching – and considering that the rate of failure for change initiatives is estimated to be around 50% this is of major concern to organisations across the world.

To successfully handle mergers, acquisitions or any large-scale change in your organisation, you need a solid strategy, and a firm grasp of everything that is going on within the organisation from the ground up. If you want to address company culture, you need to fully understand the current culture first. …

Influencing people at work

The power of persuasion: building influence in the workplace

Have you ever wondered how some people seem to be able to persuade others to do anything? It can be awe inspiring to see this particular skill at work, but there are simple techniques that you can apply that will help you to build influence quite easily. Certainly some seem to have innate ability in this area, but there are plenty of influencers out there who have had to work on their powers of persuasion.

Here are some quick tips on how to build influence in your workplace: …

Do You Have a Strategy for Managing Virtual Teams? Part 1

Part 1: Why is thinking about remote working important?

This first section of this two-part blog highlights reasons why it is useful for your business to think about your approach to remote working now.  Next week’s blog will ponder some considerations that might serve as a starting point for your management strategy for remote working.

Are you a small company and feel that the scenario of employees working remotely doesn’t really apply? Do discussions on finding suitable technology or strategies for this context never quite get to the top of your agenda? Do you have a strategy in place, but it is not quite working? The following statistics, trends and motivations behind remote working might help to focus your mind…

An analysis of the survey issued by the Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) reveals that the number of people working from home increased to more than four million employees. This equates to 13.7% of the entire workforce of the UK. Put more simply, the number of people working from home has increased to almost one in seven over the past decade. The survey also estimates that, given the opportunity, a further 1.8 million people would prefer to work from home.

These figures and trends are increasing steadily. They signify huge changes in the composition and attitudes of any workforce and are bound to ask probing questions of traditional management strategies.

Your workforce is your biggest asset and also likely to be your biggest expense. So, is your business ready? Do you have a strategy for managing remote teams?

Cisco conducted research amongst around 1400 professionals between the ages of 18 and 30 and 1500 professionals aged 31 to 50. The findings make interesting reading for employers.

Roughly two thirds of these professionals, believe that an organisation offering flexible working hours – as well as mobile and remote working practices – has a competitive advantage over a company that expects employees to work regular hours Monday to Friday. This is certainly something to bear in mind when you’re building your employer brand.

Where to start with devising a successful strategy to manage virtual teams? A good starting point is to try and understand the motivations and trends behind this rise in popularity of remote working.

So, how can this changing mindset among employees and companies be explained?

Here are a few thoughts:

The development and changing status of technology

A few facts: A third of the professionals in the Cisco study would give up electricity in their homes for a week before giving up their mobile phones. Half of the younger group of professionals look at their mobile phones immediately when waking up to catch up with social media and their emails. We do expect to be able to do our shopping online at any time of day, wherever we are. The largest proportion of the respondents believe that by 2020 the most important connected device for any worker will be their smartphone.

This need for – and expectation of – round-the-clock connectivity is becoming deeply engrained in our mindsets. It is therefore not surprising that this need also translates into how we approach our working lives. We have become technology savvy and dependent.

Technological change has taken huge leaps and is the greatest enabler for employees to work remotely. This has also vastly expanded the talent pool as geographical differences now have less bearing. Email is now a universally acceptable replacement for communication in person via phone or physical meetings.

In addition, the development of communication tools such as online meeting and presentation software make it possible to retain a personal touch without the need to meet in person. These tools are instant ways for you to communicate remotely with your clients, but also with your colleagues and team members.

Cloud-storage solutions that are both cost-effective and readily-available make it possible for information to be shared and accessed anywhere with anyone at any time. The need for office-based infrastructure or technical support is likely to decline proportionally.

Productivity and efficiency

Companies and employees working from home generally agree that productivity improves through remote working. Data from SurePayroll suggests that two-thirds of managers acknowledge that the overall productivity of employees increased once they started working from home.

This is put down to there being fewer distractions from chatting with colleagues, impromptu meetings and telephone calls. A work schedule with fewer interruptions can have a positive impact on efficiency. A considerable proportion of telecommuters say that they are able to accomplish more in less time.

Less stress and more engagement

The journey to work by car, train or bus can be a stressful and time-consuming affair. The freedom to devise your own work schedule can be liberating. A large proportion of remote workers report a drop in their stress levels. This has a direct and positive impact on staff turnover and thereby staff expenditure.

It might seem illogical, but a study by Harvard Business Review has shown that remote workers often feel more engaged with their colleagues and line managers; in spite of a lack of actual personal contact. This can largely be attributed to the vast number of technological tools at their disposal to stay connected.

In addition, we can all relate to a busy workday in the office when planned sessions to check-in with colleagues and supervisors are postponed because there just never seems to be the time. Working from home, the contact with your team and managers is simply essential – a lifeline. Scheduled catch-up session are therefore more likely to happen and are often more focused.

Lower overheads and carbon footprint

It is easy to see that the cost of overheads is likely to decrease with an increase in remote working. The bill for operating costs such as the rent for office space should reduce considerably.

A further incentive to facilitate remote working is the positive impact on the carbon footprint. Social responsibility is an important consideration for many companies. A reduction of the annual fuel consumption and the need for travel helps companies to become greener.

The list goes on, but hopefully, this section provided you with useful insights into the developing trends, motivation and statistic behind remote working.

These trends and considerations make a positive case for remote working – at least for disciplined workers. There are undoubtedly challenges that come with allowing employees to work remotely, even part-time, or outsourcing work to remote workers. It creates a new virtual work environment that requires a new approach to team management. This can be a scary prospect!

Next week’s sequel will offer some ideas and considerations for finding effective ways to manage virtual teams.

Talent Pipeline

Does Your Talent Pipeline Have a Leak that Needs Fixing?

Like an increasing number of managers or HR professionals, you might be discovering the growing importance of developing a truly watertight talent pipeline, and how this can positively impact on the long-term future of your company and your workforce.

Developing a talent pipeline involves a company creating a flow (usually involving a database and extremely good relationship-building skills) of interesting, relevant and qualified candidates who could be of benefit to the future hiring needs of a firm.

It also means creating a process for attracting, identifying and developing employees and teams, as well as having an effective leadership succession plan in place.

By having a database of potential employees, you

Finding positives amidst redundancies

Can you find any positives when managing after layoffs & redundancies?

As some sectors of the global economy are recovering from the financial crises that erupted in 2007, others continue to struggle. Recently the British steel industry issued a hard-hitting reminder and announced that more than one in six workers will lose their jobs. Companies of all sizes continue to be faced with tough decisions, often resulting in cutting jobs to reduce overheads. However, redundancies often bring a new set of difficulties for senior managers and CEOs.

In this situation, your main task is to keep your remaining employees motivated and ensure that they receive the necessary support to do their jobs well.

While often seen as a negative, reducing staff also offers organisations opportunity for change. If managed effectively, redundancies can result in more efficient processes, stronger leadership and happier employees.

Managing Redundancies

Too often redundancies result in nothing more than reducing the workforce and saving the related costs. If the existing workload continues without restructuring, this will result in your remaining employees being over-worked and stressed.

Your corporate strategy and goals will need to be adapted to manage and truly take advantage of the reduction in your workforce. The reorganisation can only be successful, if you have a strategy in place before the process is started. This involves evaluating the essential processes, workload and manpower before laying people off.

The strategy cannot be reactive, it must be visionary.

Women in Leadership: Anita Roddick

AnitaRoddickMuch has been written about the late, great Dame Anita Roddick, visionary founder of the Body Shop, ethical British business leader and socially-poised entrepreneur extraordinaire.

This could be partly due to the fact that she founded and grew one of the most iconic and successful British brands of the 21st century, starting out of a tiny shop in Brighton.

It may also be partly down to her inspirational style of leadership and the impact that her altruistic approach to capitalism and entrepreneurship left on her customers, employees and our society as a whole.

Whichever way you look at it, Anita Roddick remains one of the most innovative and influential British business leaders of all time, and rightly deserves the first slot in our new Human Insights blog series, “Women in Leadership”.

Here are even more persuasive figures: there are over 2000 Body Shop retail outlets in 52 markets serving over 75 million customers.
There are few other British brands that have enjoyed such a huge international success.

But what was Anita Roddick’s secret leadership sauce?

What was it about her leadership style that set her and her business apart from the rest?

What was it that drove her to build a business which enjoys such sustainable and long-term success, nearly 40 years later?

Above all, which leadership lessons can we learn from Anita Roddick and her Body Shop brand that can help us on our journey to business and personal success?

Let’s see.

She was an amazing inspiration to those around her… She was so ahead of the time when it came to issues of how business could be done in different ways… She was a true pioneer. – John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace


Anita Roddick was undoubtedly a business and social visionary of our time. She not only combined the powerful elements of entrepreneurship, strategic thinking and ethical leadership, she also truly believed that “businesses have the power to do good” and really lived her vision, without exception.

“That’s why the Body Shop’s mission statement opens with the overriding commitment, ‘to dedicate our business to the pursuit of social and environmental change'”, she is famously quoted as saying.

Before founding the Body Shop, Roddick worked as an English and History teacher and travelled extensively throughout the world, picking up experiences and first-hand impressions of cultures and traditions, which were a world away from her British roots.

She was also employed in the Women’s Rights Department of the International Labor Organization in Geneva before she set up shop and started her own business making products out of natural ingredients.

In fact, the Body Shop was founded