People Management

high-performing teams at talent-optimized companies

Why Talent Optimization is a differentiator

Talent Optimization is the discipline of optimally aligning your business strategy to your people strategy to achieve the best possible business results. So, what really is the business value of being talent-optimized?

Are you prepared for a strategy change?

Your positive business results speak for themselves, and your employees seem engaged and motivated. That’s great, but what if the economic landscape and business pressures change? Are you ready to respond quickly and effectively? …

Elephant in the room - senior workers

The one with the peculiar shuffle

Look, the time has come, and we can’t ignore it any longer. Let’s talk about the last taboo, the elephant in the room. The grey, slightly cynical fifty-eight year old elephant to be precise. The one who is two years away from retirement, who has clocked up nearly forty years of commendable service, and whose best friend has set up a commune in Torquay. The elephant who is now beginning to view motivation like securing the belt on his trousers. …

Recruitment - hiring - without guesswork

Take the guesswork out of hiring

As the COVID-19 crisis slightly loosens its grip on the economy, our clients tell us that recruitment challenges are very much front of mind. As restrictions are eased, many companies can finally open up, look to the future, and think about expanding their workforce.

According to a recent study in the UK and Ireland, 38% of those surveyed plan to leave their jobs in the next six months to a year. The pandemic has caused a definite shift in employees’ priorities and expectations. This scenario will both open up further new vacancies and also increase the available talent on the job market. …

Don’t judge a penguin by its waddle

I was recently introduced to a wonderful You Tube video (in German) called ‘Das Penguin Prinzip’ (The Penguin Principle). It provides a charming but very poignant reminder that we really shouldn’t judge the character or worth of someone at first sight.

Dr. Eckart von Hirschhausen is a German television host, doctor, magician, comedian, cabaret artist, and author. In this extract, he recounts an anecdote from his time as an entertainer on a cruise ship, and a visit to a Norwegian zoo.

In one of the zoo enclosures, he saw a little penguin sitting on a rock. He looked at the creature and thought: “Look at this poor thing. A flightless bird. Stocky and totally out of proportion. Definitely one of nature’s misconstructions!”

The Penguin Principle

Then the penguin jumped into the water and, through the glass, Hirschhausen watched him swim in the water, nimbly twisting and turning. The onlooker’s jaw dropped, and he was forced to rethink his original assessment of the little creature’s suitability and talents.

Lack of people focus

Talk to the hand – or chat with a smile?

Task versus people focus – what does your company need?

Mei you!”* (No!)

The voice, surprisingly shrill for someone who appears to be asleep, carries across the cavernous room. A blue-clad arm with white elbow protectors waves me away. The shop assistant’s head is not moving from its resting position on the counter.

“But… I haven’t said what I wanted to buy yet?” I say in English, somewhat baffled.

MEI YOU!”

“Er… so probably not, then. Bye!”

This was my first encounter with customer service in China. I had just arrived in Beijing in 1988 and needed something from the optimistically named Friendship Store – a place where you could buy foreign-made goods and pay with US dollars.

teeth on edge; pull your teeth back; dislike

How to pull your teeth back from the edge

“She sets my teeth on edge.”

“He makes my skin crawl.”

“People like that make me sick.”

Have you ever said that, or, being polite, thought that, about someone?

I know I have.

Why do we like or dislike people?

When we take an instant dislike to someone, we often describe our feelings in these physical terms. If challenged to explain our negative reaction, we tend to mumble something about what they have said or done, or that “they just rub me up the wrong way, that’s all”.

Remote working

Confessions of a Remote Worker

You’re trapped and rooted to your kitchen chair with a new worry line adorning your brow, courtesy of your new line manager. But where did the day go so horribly wrong?

It’s Monday morning. The dog has hidden your mobile phone again, so you’ve missed your alarm. Thank goodness for remote working!

Your rush downstairs. After wearily turning on your laptop in the kitchen at twenty-five past eight, you find a notification waiting for you. Over the weekend, your new line manager has quietly slipped in an eight-thirty team strategy meeting.

I can't do wright for doing wrong

Can I give you some feedback?

Is there really anyone out there who hears those word and thinks “oh goody, yes please”?

If there is, you’re a much better person than me!

Take this example, it was a long time ago – but I still remember it like it was yesterday.

I’d given a sales presentation to a prospective client with Helen, a new Associate who I was mentoring. Despite not being a traditionally qualified ‘sales professional’, I was actually quite good at what I did. I believed passionately in the product that I was selling, and I had my own sales ‘muscle’ that I used to be effective.

Helen, on the other hand, was very much a qualified sales person. She had worked in sales for one market-leading multinational company for the fifteen years since her graduation. She had been on every sales course suggested – and undoubtedly knew her stuff.

Of squinting cats and great leadership

It’s that tired old question: Can a chubby moggy with a befuddling squint and an inflated ego actually become a great leader?

Working from home during lockdown has provided the perfect opportunity to really observe the behaviours of my three crazy cats – two sisters and their brother. They look and behave so differently. Pablo, the largest of the three, is the one with the squint.

On the surface, their day looks very much like a business operation where targets are set, and tasks need to be accomplished. Team cooperation has to be negotiated carefully.

Are you a risk-taker?

Risk: your public speech is my 2000 metre drop

We all perceive risk differently. When you hear the words ‘bungee jumping’, what’s your immediate reaction? Do your fingertips and the soles of your feet start tingling with fear, or do you shout “hold my beer” and rush to the nearest 2000 metre drop?