Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 24th 2014 Contents BG16 COMMENTARY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JULY 2014 • WEEK FOUR
Show that you care about
people at every level
The higher up you are in an organisation,
the harder it is to keep up with what s hap-
pening on the ground. Get a real sense of
what s going on in your company by asking
your front-line workers:
How can I help you? Ask your employees,
suppliers and customers; and make sure your
middle managers do the same. Senior leaders
need to show they care about the people at
Why are we doing it this way? Ask to learn,
not to criticise. People enjoy being heard, and
you ll benefit from real feedback. Enlist your
employees in the process of figuring out what
needs to change and of measuring progress.
Are we supporting you? Ask if people have
everything they need to do their jobs well.
Take action based on what you hear. By staying
in touch, you can build trust, motivate and
instill a common vision.
(Source: "3 Questions Executives Should Ask
Front-Line Workers" by Douglas A Wilson.)
Work with a slacker
Everyone has worked with someone who
doesn t pull his weight. You often don t know
whether to confront the person, speak to your
boss or mind your own business. If someone s
slacking is not affecting your work, don t inter-
vene. But if your job is suffering, here s what
Put yourself in his shoes. Do you know the
root causes of his behaviour? Slacking doesn t
always mean laziness - it could mean difficulty
at home or a struggle to understand a new
Converse instead of confront. Speak up, but
don t be accusatory. Approach the conversation
with a genuine willingness to solve the prob-
Stick to the facts. Raise specific examples
of the behaviour and explain its impact on
you and others. Keep the conversation for-
Be flexible. You might think you know the
best way to fix the problem, but you can t
fixate on preset solutions. It s more effective
to guide the person in exploring different
(Source: "How to Deal with a Slacker Cowork-
er" by Carolyn O Hara)
Weigh your commitments
When negotiating, be very careful about
the commitments you make. Never agree to
something just to avoid walking away empty-
handed. But if you do have some good options
on the table, assess each one thoroughly. Are
these options operational and sufficient? The
timeline, terms and conditions need to be
realistic and detailed enough that the agree-
ment can actually be implemented.
Do you have the authority to commit to
these options? Think through whether you
can sign on the dotted line; or if you need
someone else s approval.
Finally, ask if you ll be able to sell these
options internally to key stakeholders. You
should test the solutions with the right people
---your boss, upper management, your team
---before making any promises. Leave com-
mitting to anything until the very end.
(Source: "HBR Guide to Negotiating" by Jeff
Strategic thinking often boils down to choosing
what not to do. Yet three myths continue to
Myth 1: Productivity is the goal. Productivity
is about getting things done. Strategic thinking
is about getting the right things done well. And
that means leaving some things undone.
Myth 2: Strategy is about what s "important."
Every project is important to someone, and every
organisation has more important projects than
it can complete. Strategic thinkers must decide
where to focus their efforts.
Myth 3: It s only about thinking. Strategic
thought has to yield actionable decisions. Leaders
must step up and make the call about what the
team will and will not do - and then stick to it.
(Source: "3 Myths That Kill Strategic Planning"
by Nick Tasler)
Is change best for
We keep hearing how organisations need
to adapt to stay relevant and profitable in a
rapidly changing world. But is constant adap-
tation always the best idea? Before taking your
company through a big change initiative, ask:
If customers really want you to change. The
continued successes of some companies show
that people often value consistency.
If the rewards outweigh the risks. Remaking
or radically changing your offerings has costs.
If you do decide to overhaul your portfolio,
be prepared for the consequences.
If change will make you vulnerable. Shifting
strategies or altering your offerings can open
the door to competitors. Don t get so caught
up in something new that you leave your core
(Source: "Your Business Doesn t Always Need
to Change" by Andrea Coville and Paul B Brown)
TIPS & TALKING POINTS
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