Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 16th 2017 Contents BG12 | BIZ TIPS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt MARCH 16 • 2017
Make time for strategic
thinking every day
If you believe that only senior executives need to
think strategically, think again. No matter what level
you're at, strategic thinking is a critical skill; one that
can always be improved. Start by making sure you
have a solid understanding of the industry context
and business drivers.
Make it a routine to explore the internal trends in
your day-to-day work. Pay attention to the issues
that get raised repeatedly, and synthesize the common
obstacles your colleagues face. Be proactive about
connecting with peers in your organization and in
your industry to understand their observations of the
marketplace. Take the time to understand the unique
information and perspective that your job function
contributes to the company.
(Adapted from "4 Ways to Improve Your Strategic
Thinking Skills," by Nina Bowman.)
Have clear goals for
your weekly meeting
Just because you have a recurring meeting on your
calendar doesn't mean you have to hold it. Only con-
vene the group if everyone is clear on what the objec-
tives are. Here are a few sample objectives to consider:
• Share updates and review progress to date, in-
cluding major milestones or upcoming activities.
• Identify questions and concerns related to pro-
• Prioritise and resolve issues and address addi-
• Agree on next steps (for example, what to do if a
situation escalates, and what each individual's role is).
(Adapted from the "HBR Guide to Making Every
ask these questions
It can be hard to know what to do if you're having
problems working with a colleague. Ask yourself these
questions to decide the best way forward:
• Does your short- or long-term success rely on
addressing this problem?
• Is this person a direct report or a boss?
• Will you be working for them in the short term?
Is it an ongoing relationship?
• How important is it to you and the organization
to improve the situation?
• Is the issue affecting your ability to concentrate
or how you feel about going to work every day?
If the answers to these questions reveal that the
problem is a one-time occurrence, or you don't in-
teract frequently with the person, try not addressing
the issue; wait and see how the situation plays out.
(Adapted from "Difficult Conversations"
from the 20-Minute Manager Series.)
Different work situations call for different
leadership styles, and most managers use
one of two approaches: dominance or pres-
tige. When you lead through dominance,
you influence others by being assertive and
leveraging your authority. This approach
works best when your job is to get everyone
aligned. When there is a clear strategy for a
new product launch, for example, and the
challenge is in getting your team to enact
that vision, dominance is an effective way
to create a unified front.
Prestige, in contrast, means influencing
others by displaying signs of expertise and
being a role model. This approach works
best when you're trying to empower the
people who report to you. If a marketing
team is charged with creating an innovative
advertising campaign, for example, a pres-
tigious leader can release the constraints
on team members and encourage them to
think outside the box.
(Adapted from "Good Bosses Switch Be-
tween Two Leadership Styles," by Jon Maner.)
Don't let criticism
When you get feedback from your boss or
your colleague, it's tempting to focus on the
criticism. But dwelling on the negative can
be debilitating. Hear the positive:
• Write down the praise. When receiving
feedback, don't take notes only on the crit-
icism. Jot down the positive feedback, too,
so you know what to keep doing.
• Dig in to better understand the praise.
Ask questions and gather concrete examples
of how you're effective. For example, you
might say: "I'm so glad my workshop was
helpful to you. What about it was helpful?”
• Believe it. Self-doubt can make us mis-
trust compliments. Internalise the praise
and act as if it is true, even if you don't
believe it at first.
(Adapted from "Silence the Critical Voices
in Your Head," by Sabina Nawaz.)
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