Though they differ in many other ways, fashion magazines and management education share a surprising tendency: an endless cavalcade of seductive models. In the world of business, of course, the models tend to be a little older: our tastes are perhaps more conservative. If Twiggy was a management model, she might still be a star.
According to a news story at HR Magazine, 82% of HR staff fail to measure the return on investment of their practices. This is almost as shocking as the fact that this is hardly news at all – back in 2006, a benchmarking survey in the USA conducted by Bersin Associates showed that “Only 5% of respondents routinely measure ROI, and only 8% regularly measure actual business impact”. This despite their finding that 82% of companies surveyed thought they should be spending more or much more on measurement.
Humour? At work? Or important social functions? Are we having a laugh? Well, yes, we are. Along with Ricky Gervais, Leonard Rossiter, Richard Curtis, and the guy that draws Dilbert. Although we’re puzzled as to why some people are reluctant to join us, if only occasionally.
There are any number of weighty tombs on Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace – I typed that phrase (with Lots of Capital Letters, of course) without thinking, but it gets 13,400 hits on Google. But there are very few management books on one aspect of our emotional life: human beings like to laugh.
When buying patterns change, any business has to respond. When market forces are blowing a gale, sometimes you have to change tack altogether. But is retail ahead of the rest of the economy in responding to a sharp recession, and is discounting the only option?
Ironically for a post on a blog called ‘Don’t Compromise’, this article is about negotiation – the accommodations we make, our relationships to those around us, and the ways we move forward while avoiding unnecessary conflicts and collisions. It’s also about rules, regulations … and traffic lights in provincial Holland. And just possibly about getting through the working day with fewer ‘prangs’.
Have you noticed any of the following symptoms, either in yourself or someone you’re working with – a narcissistic propensity to see one’s world primarily as an arena in which to exercise power and seek glory; excessive confidence in own judgment and contempt for advice; a disproportionate concern with image and presentation; God forbid (no pun or sacrilege intended), a messianic manner?
If one famous figure who’s held a number of high offices is right, these may be the warning signs of not just inappropriate and disruptive behaviour, but a medical condition. If he’s right, how can we protect those who lead us from falling victim?
Any leader or aspiring leader must be an effective communicator, and must broadcast their message with authenticity and passion. While our own powers of oratory may pale in comparison to Martin Luther King, he himself famously pointed out an equally important part of the equation: he had a dream.
Is ‘The War for Talent’ an anachronism? Organisations that weathered the last recession know how important it is to invest now for the upturn.
At ASK, we are interested in helping organisations to increase the success of their management and leadership interventions – and in enabling our clients to make the business case for continuing with leadership development even in this difficult economic climate.
I think leaders should encourage the next generation not just to follow, but to overtake.”
At face value, this is a strong soundbite from a woman who was always eminently quotable, but it is also a valuable point. If current leaders are to play a part in developing their successors – and if they abdicate this responsibility, they surely hinder the process – those successors should contribute to new developments, thinking and ways of operating and behaving. Preparing for the status quo is not moving forward. But how far do leaders – and their L&D colleagues – contribute to this process?
Good leaders make the workplace heroic. They are storytellers, celebrators and legend-makers supreme.”
Storytelling is part of the fabric of human life, and one of the oldest threads in the tapestry. Before books – and literacy – were widespread, before newspapers, radio, tv, film and the Internet, human beings told each other stories – and they still do. The shaman at the tribal fire, West African griots and Celtic bards alike passed on knowledge, beliefs, values and social history. Fascinating, but what does it have to do with leadership? Everyone knows that tales get told in the workplace, but can we gain from it?