Frictionless business.

1 month ago 0 0 110

Friction is a force that acts against forward movement. It creates noise, it creates heat, it transforms the kinetic energy of forward motion into something else. Friction is something that takes energy and effort to overcome, and when an object is at rest, can add to the inertia to make it harder to get things moving. It seems like this is just physics, but it is also the underlying problem of so many businesses. Without even realising it they are adding friction to their business processes and slowing down performance. Friction that is converting positive energy into unwanted byproducts, and requiring massive amounts of additional effort to be put in by customers and staff to overcome the inertia that this friction generates. Simply put, a customer experiences ‘friction’ every time the process of doing business with you is slowed or impeded by your rules, habits or inefficiencies. Or a staff

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Bad incentives create bad behaviour

3 months ago 0 0 170

We use incentives all the time to shape behaviour.  From our kids at home, to employees, to people we have just met, it is almost human nature to offer incentives to encourage specific behaviours.  However, like most things we do without really thinking them through, there is a dark side to incentives that often gets people stuck. Consider what an incentive might be – it might be the supply of some positive reward such as financial, social or relational.  It might also be the removal of punishment.  Often if people know that some punishment comes unless they demonstrate the behaviour, this acts as an incentive for this behaviour to be displayed. We often simply deploy incentives without thinking – in fact, the culture of the group that we are in often dictates what will be incentivised and how.  For example, if the culture can be defined as all the behaviours

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The stories that can ruin your business (part 1)

2 years ago 0 0 738

I was presenting on culture and leadership at a recent conference (#100millionimpacts, for B1G1), and whilst facilitating a panel discussion, a common theme that emerged was the importance of the stories in business. In response to many questions after the session, here are a few thoughts on stories in business to extend that discussion further: Stories are powerful means of communication. Often, people believe that storytelling ends when the kids grow up. However, there are stories being told within your business – and about your business – that can either take it to new heights of success or lead it to ruin. What stories are being told about your business? People communicate through stories. As people communicate, they engage each other through analogy (this is like that), metaphor (the army of sales reps) and stories. Humans are always using these processes to engage their listeners, develop shared meaning and convey

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snap out of it! – your workplace trance is stifling your performance

3 years ago 0 0 633

We can’t help it – we all get hypnotised by our circumstances. The quality of your performance and culture is often a direct result of the workplace ‘trance’ that you and your teams are in. So many people seem to get stuck in low quality ‘trances’, where poor performance is the only practical outcome. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. We can consciously choose a higher quality trance and then achieve so much more. Hypnosis works by placing people into trance. Whilst there are lots of scary ideas about hypnosis and trance, world experts in the field define trance quite pragmatically: Trance is a simply a state of focused attention. Consider when you are absorbed in a great book or TV show. People can walk in and out of the room, and you may not even notice them. You can be absorbed in the story, and instead of

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How the status quo is quietly killing your change efforts

3 years ago 0 0 816

Working on many change projects, you often see highly motivated people, with brilliant change plans and clear benefits to all. And yet these best laid plans simply fail. The time, investment and effort put in counts for nothing, and somehow the organisation manages to veer back to its old habits and its established status quo. There are several key factors that ensure that your change process will succeed. The most overlooked one is hidden within the culture and fabric of your business – the human systems that have developed over time. Your business is actually full of these human ‘systems’, which actively work to derail any change efforts you seek to make. A business full of human systems A system is any group of interactions between individuals or groups. Most businesses have many overlapping ‘systems’, which each develop their own rules, structures and processes, becoming more and more closed to

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you get what you deserve

Your culture – you get what you deserve

3 years ago 0 0 1141

It is interesting when working with organisations that are struggling with culture issues, poor performance and less-than-desirable behaviours, how often the leaders believe they are ‘victims’ of some sort of cultural ’virus’ to which they can just seek a cure. The truth can be a little more confronting. The culture of the organisation is the culture that the leadership deserves. Either the leadership allows the culture to form by chance, and be controlled by others (making them the ‘victims’), or they create a culture consciously, developing the elements of the culture with clear direction and intent. The effort to do so will provide the organisation with the culture it deserves – one of high performance behaviours. As a leader, how do you contribute consciously to developing and maintaining your culture? Culture can be defined as the social pressure that shapes an individual’s behaviour in the context of a group. It

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Do they trust you? (part 1)

3 years ago 0 0 782

A number of recent experiences remind me how important trust is in business – and how little it is really understood. In this two part series, we will take a look at what trust really means, what value and costs it has, how to build it, how it is lost – and what we can learn from these elements to better utilise trust in business. Consider some recent conversations I have had helping individuals, teams and organisations enhance their performance: • A sales team struggle to connect into a market where ‘companies like theirs’ have broken trust in the past. • A marketing manager is frustrated because he works for a CEO he just doesn’t ‘trust’. • A company wants to be seen as the ‘trusted partner’ in their industry, and believe this offers a competitive advantage. • A team faces performance issues and the trust established over a year

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The social psychology of booing Adam Goodes

3 years ago 0 0 1428

Instead of looking at behaviourism and its application in the workforce, this week I would like to focus on a broader social issue – the booing of Adam Goodes and its impacts. [For international readers, Adam Goodes is an indigenous Australian who is a highly decorated player in the Australian Football League and has previously been named ‘Australian of the Year’] Over the past month or so, Adam Goodes has been the subject to ever-increasing ‘booing’, each time he gets involved in the AFL match that his team, the Sydney Swans, are playing. My first real exposure to it came on Friday night, when Hawthorn were playing Sydney in a televised match and the response of the crowd whenever Adam Goodes was near the ball became louder and louder throughout the match. Since then it has significantly escalated. It has been often discussed in the media, with all sorts of

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Are you making the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ mistake?

3 years ago 0 0 778

Focusing on both successful outcomes and successful behaviours is the key to building sustainable high performance in business. Caveat emptor – buyer beware. It really is true that you get what you pay for. This is absolutely true when you consider the things we focus on – and incentivise – in the workplace. Consider the following examples: • Jordan Belfort – the ‘Wolf of Wall street’ only focused on outcomes (making money), which encouraged behaviours which ended with him in prison. • Companies set their salesforce a goal, and once they achieve it, they start ‘banking’ sales for the next quarter. • The business puts out a behavioural edict to ‘manage costs’ – and misses business opportunities because it becomes more important to ‘watch the penny’ that capitalise on opportunities to deliver business results. In these examples, if we focus only upon ‘outcomes’ we may get exactly what we pay

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You must use IQ before EQ

3 years ago 0 0 690

A coaching client stated that a key hire they were chasing had to have ‘EQ’. So I asked a couple of refining questions, and it opened up a really interesting discussion. It turns out that the term ‘EQ’ had been thrown around so much in the executive board and no-one was really clear what anyone meant by this term. Reflecting on this conversation, I wondered about all the times EQ is used in conversations about leadership. Has it become a buzz word, or do people really understand and use the term appropriately? EQ as the big thing – or do we mean EI? EQ (Emotional quotient) is reflective of a quotient or score, that is related to the score that someone achieves on a specific test instrument measuring aspects of Emotional Intelligence (EI). Emotional Intelligence, on the other hand, is more reflective of the expression of ’emotionally intelligent’ behaviours. When

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