Listening is the new talking

I was recently asked to put together a session to coach a group of senior executives to improve their communication skills. They are responsible for cascading important messages throughout their organisation and, it was felt, they could do with some support as often messages landed badly due to the way they were presented.  The coaching session I suggested would cover all the main areas from body ...

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Change the way you lead change

When it comes to approaching change there are, it seems, two types: people like us who are forward thinkers, ready to embrace the opportunities of technology, and new ways of working and thinking; and them, who are happy with the way things are and perpetually stuck in old-fashioned ways. Joking aside, it is a topsy-turvy world where Conservative politicians boast of their radical agenda whilst tra...

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Travails of my Aunt (part 2)

For those of us brought up in an era of three TV channels and the test card, the iPlayer is a marvellous innovation.  It provides high quality content for use on multiple platforms so that the consumer can choose where, when and how they watch and listen.  It is a service of which the BBC can be justly proud.  It is, however, as likely to sink the corporation as it is to be its saviour.  This i...

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Useful work v useless toil

Three recent news stories have raised questions about the nature of work.  Firstly, there is the transatlantic spat between the US tyre company CEO who is declining to take over a Goodyear factory in Northern France because the “so-called workers” only worked three hours a day, spending the rest of the time eating and talking. Then there were reports of a survey which found that one in three p...

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Shooting the messenger

It is extraordinary how so many things in life seem to be either black or white.  Despite the complexity of modern society many seemingly want to view every social, environmental, moral, and economic issue as either being from one political standpoint or another. Parties of the centre, and those who proudly nail their colours firmly to the fence, are cursed with being neither one thing nor the oth...

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Too big to fail

Size, as they say, isn’t everything.  Almost 50 years after the publication of Schumacher’s seminal work Small is Beautiful the debate about appropriate size is beginning to take root. Actually, as with many debates about size, that statement is itself a bit of an exaggeration. In reality, the current debate is more about whether capitalism has erred in allowing banks, and other insti...

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Left, right, left, right

I often think it comical How nature often does contrive That every boy and every gal That’s born into this world alive Is either a little Liberal or else a little Conservative.  I thought it best to leave out the fal-lal-la’s from WSGilbert’s lyrics, but it’s just that party conference season always has me singing Private...

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Working from home

With the Olympics just around the corner, many London-based organisations are encouraging their staff to work from home rather than increasing the pressure on the already over-stretched transport infrastructure.  For many people this will be their first chance to work from home and will give them the opportunity to define their existence as something other than the binary alternatives of “I’m ...

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Dedicated followers of fashion

The other day I was talking to someone going through the process of moving into an open plan office.  He worked for a very traditional organisation (he is a lawyer) and the transition for him and his team was clearly proving difficult.  It made me wonder whether open-plan offices, like outsourcing, was a business idea that will soon start to become unfashionable. Outsourcing is a classic case of...

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I’d like to thank…

It is extraordinary the effect that having to make an acceptance speech has on the world’s most polished performers.  For people who make a living from promoting an image it is interesting how so many seem to miss the mark.  From Morgan Freeman’s 32 second speech to Halle Berry’s 4 minute 30second epic, Oscar acceptance speeches run the whole gamut from the good and the bad to the ugly. To ...

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