Archive for October, 2010

“Quick wins” in a new job don’t always deliver results

I have watched with some amusement the mess that the UK’s coalition Government have found themselves in over their announcements to “Housing benefit” changes. We’ve been told that this will be capped at £400 per week. It reminds me of the situation that many business leaders and executives in a new job find themselves when introducing a “Quick win”. The reason is that to often “Quick wins” fail to deliver the expected results.

Let’s consider the UK’s proposal to cap housing benefit to reflect average earnings. On the surface it would seem sensible and would certainly reduce costs. But the (hopefully exaggerated) image of hundreds of thousands of families and children, particularly in London, being made homeless and trudging up the the road with their belongings as they are forced out of their homes to find cheaper accommodation has generated claims of “Social cleansing” from Mayor Boris Johnson and concern from many MPs.

Too often  a new team leader or senior executive in a business will introduce a “quick win” because they understand that they have little time to prove themselves and want to demonstrate that they are “hitting the ground running”. It’s also seen as a useful tool to create a positive reputation for being a forward thinker or innovator.

The change that’s generally selected has often worked for the individual in the past. However, what the new leader fails to consider is the new team, new culture and new management style. In communicating the “quick win” great emphasis will be placed on instant results (saving money) without analysis of the long-term consequences in other departments of areas of the business.

This often causes a storm of protest, the executive is wrong footed and either has to revise their plans with the consequence of “loss of face” and reputation or stick to their guns and be accused of being unfeeling, autocratic or worse. The problem is that a “Reputation” has been made and it’s a negative one and that reputation is often difficult to change.

I judge that we can expect some “Good news” from the coalition Government within the next few days

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How to avoid team failure

In this current economic situation a huge number of teams are being restructured. This either means that the team will take on additional work, team membership will be changed or there may even be new leadership.

Each of these brings with it a risk of failure and after speaking to so many senior executives this last month I thought I would share some of the advice that I’ve been giving them.

How to avoid team failure

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Budget cuts will affect teams

The UK Government announces it’s long awaited budget cuts next week. The result is that over the next few years thousands of civil service teams will be restructured. This will inevitably be felt by private sector companies that supply the Civil Service and companies that supply them. The domino effect of the budget cuts is likely to mean that most business teams in the UK will need restructuring over the next two years.

The problem is that every time a team is restructures three scarce business resources are put at risk. There are time, money and opportunities. Put at risk because statistics show that 40% of restructured teams fail to deliver what is expected.

Risks of Team Restrucure

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Equality Act (UK) Interview Questions

Over the past few days I’ve had lots of people ask me about the Equality Act (UK) and specifically the type of questions that can and can’t be asked at an interview.

This video clip may help to identify some of the questions you shouldn’t be asking at an interview. The Act rightly identifies the reason that it’s the candidate’s qualifications, experiences and ability to be able to perform a job satisfactorily is what’s relevant and not aspects of home life, age, gender, sexual preference and so on.

Equality Act (UK) interview questions you must NOT ask

The Act covers many areas of discrimination at work, not covered in this video clip, and there is a huge amount of information on the web. We always always advise that you ask your professional advisor for help if needed and in preparing to hire talent.

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