Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 12th 2017 Contents BG12 | BIZ TIPS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt JANUARY 12 • 2017
Stop giving your team
If your team is buckling under deadlines and stress, assess
whether you're giving them unnecessary tasks and then figure
out how to ease the burden. Start by regularly auditing your
team's work. Ask team members to estimate how much time
they spend on each task, how central the task is to their roles
and how much value each task yields. For those tasks that
are needless or low in value, solicit your team's suggestions
for how to reduce or eliminate them, and work together to
Often, improving communication and granting greater au-
tonomy can help to get rid of any inefficient processes. Keep
in mind that you may not be the one assigning the unnec-
essary work. Advocate for your team by insisting on better
information when your team receives unclear or conflicting
directives from above.
(Adapted from "How to Know Whether You're Giving Your
Team Needless Work," by Monique Valor.)
Assess whether your direct
report is ready to be a
You have an ambitious team member who is working toward
a promotion. She's great at her job, but is she cut out to lead
others? Measure her potential by gauging her interest in man-
aging. Ask her what she believes management entails and what
her approach would be. Inquire about any experience she's had
outside of work that could provide useful preparation. Has she
been in charge of an athletic team or a squad of volunteers?
Give her opportunities to practice her management skills. Ask
her to lead an upcoming project or spearhead a new initiative
so you can observe her in action.
(Adapted from "Is Your Employee Ready to Be a Manager?"
by Rebecca Knight.)
Play upbeat music
New studies show that people tend to be more cooperative
(and less self-interested) in a group setting when they're lis-
tening to happy music. Note that the type of music matters.
Happy music --- songs with rhythm and warmth --- encourage
cooperation much more than "unhappy" music with arrhyth-
mic song structures and screamed lyrics. Next time you need a
group to work closely together --- during a meeting or a brain-
storming session --- consider playing music. Not only will it
break up the usual, often dreary, background silence in your
office, but it could also improve your team's performance.
(Adapted from "Upbeat Music Can Make Employees More
Cooperative," by Kevin Kniffin.)
Draw a picture of your
Growing companies face a predictable problem: Over time,
the business becomes too complex for its own good. To un-
tangle this complexity, draw a picture of your business model.
What does it look like at its most basic level? Make clear in
your drawing what really matters to the business. Focus on the
key outcomes, whether they're in-store sales or revenue from
secondary products. Then think through and write down what
causes those things to happen. With this picture in front of
your team, dive into the implications for what the organization
should be focusing on --- and, more important, what it could
stop doing. If a unit can't clearly show a link between what
it does every day and the outcomes it hopes to drive, resolve
to eliminate it.
(Adapted from "To Reduce Complexity in Your Company,
Start With Pen and Paper," by Rita McGrath.)
Make your meeting more
effective by following up
It's easy to think that your work is done when you walk out
of a meeting. But the decisions made in the room will only be
effective if you carefully follow up. Start by writing a succinct
summary note, describing what was discussed and clear action
steps. Draft this in a way that allows others to forward your
message to anyone who missed the meeting or who cares about
what occurred. Record any task due dates in your calendar
so you can make sure they're completed. If there's someone
who has a particular stake in the meeting outcome, such as
your boss, follow up in person to make sure he's aware of the
decisions made and next steps.
(Adapted from the "HBR Guide to Making Every Meeting
Better results for female doctors
4%: According to new research published in the Journal of
the American Medical Association, Medicare patients treated
by women internists had a 4 per cent lower risk of dying and a
5 per cent lower risk of being readmitted to a hospital within
a month than patients treated by male physicians.
How much it takes to be happy
$75,000: How much money do we need to make us happy?
According to a 2010 paper by psychologist Daniel Kahneman
and economist Angus Deaton, the answer is $75,000. The re-
search suggests that happiness begins to plateau after that peak.
Quantity vs quality
58%: According to research from Zenger Folkman, a man-
agement consultant firm, companies are increasingly focused
on speed and agility over steadiness and stability. In a survey
of more than 5,000 global leaders, 58 per cent of respondents
who said that they prefer a fast pace prefer quantity over quality
when it comes to work.
Growth in 'gig work'
56%: According to research from Pew, 8 per cent of adults in
the United States earned money from online platforms (such
as Uber) in the last year, and 56 per cent of those workers were
financially reliant on such "gig work."
Big spending on wellness
US$8 billion: According to a study conducted in 2013 by the
RAND Corp, American corporations spent about US$6 billion
on wellness programmes for employees that year, and spend-
ing today might be approaching US$8 billion. However, most
of these programmes underperform, according to research.
A shifting tech hub
60%: In the 1990s, California's Silicon Valley replaced New
England as America's centre for technology investment. How-
ever, since then New England has become a hub for biotechnol-
ogy and medical devices. Today, almost 60 per cent of venture
capital investments in the region go to these industries.
15%: According to research conducted in 2012 by Georgia
Tech, almost 15 per cent of emails sent at work can be con-
sidered gossip. Researchers found that the average corporate
worker sends about 112 emails per day, and about 1 in 7 of those
messages is gossip, or in other words, contains information
about someone who is not the recipient.
@2017 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by
the New York Times Syndicate
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