When the party’s over, what then?

I was having a discussion with a friend last night about the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics and how business is going to cope with the distruption to travel in London and the time off taken by staff. However soon the discussion moved to what happens when it’s all over

However, I wonder what happens after the party’s over?
Once the Jubilee and the Olympics are over will there be a sense of anti-climax.
Will people feel less enthusiastic at work as winter comes and economic troubles hit us again?
Or will one of the legacies be that a “Feel good factor” will last though the winter?

The challenge for business leaders
The challenge could be to assess the possible legacy on our team and how to keep the team motivated once the fun has ended.
It’s a challenge that managers should start to think about now.

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How Important is humor in business?

in this current financial climate there’s a danger that we can lose our sense of humor (spelt Humour in UK). We have all becoming increasingly entertained by the incompetence of the Government when they all suddenly pretend that their favorite food is Cornish pasties. But how important is humor in business?

Business Humor?
I’m not talking about playing jokes or being silly at work. I mean the humor that attracts people to it and relieves pressure and stress of day to day work. That management encourages humor and is even prepared to initiate it rather than take itself too seriously. 

Let me give you some examples:
Given the choice of two networking meetings which would look most attractive to join?
A group talking seriously with each other or another group that’s obviously having a good laugh and being entertained as in the picture above.

At work do you mix with the individual who’s always smiling or the person with a depressive nature who when he smells flowers looks around for a funeral.

Humor and success

In my experience I often note that the person with appropriate business humour skills, as well as qualifications and experience, is the individual that’s more easily promoted.
The problem with so many people at work is that they have great senses of humour, but manage to hide it well.

What are your experiences of humor and success and your favorite stories?

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Things team leaders say…and shouldn’t

We’ve all heard team leaders and managers say to things their teams during meetings and company briefings and accept them, no matter how trite because, they’ve become part of the tapestry of noise that makes up business speak.

The problem is that some of the things that team leaders say…they really shouldn’t.
Often the reason that they are said is to motivate and make staff feel good about themselves to increase productivity or take on more work or start a new project.

Let’s take the phrase “Staff are our greatest asset”.
It’s not a lie and is often the truth but like any valuable asset, when needs must, people can be dispensed with to increase money in the bank (Redundancy). They are only an asset when they are doing what’s expected…when not they become a liability.

Many of us will have seen a staff member or a team move from “Hero to Zero” within days of making a mistake and “the greatest asset” a few weeks before becomes a liability.

“Do this for me”
Another phrase I’ve often heard is team leaders who ask the team to “do it for me” or “Do it for the company”.
Let’s get it in context. If the staff member or the team weren’t being paid a salary they wouldn’t be doing it at all…

Email me with things you think team leaders say and shouldn’t
I’ve become so interested in the noise that some companies make that I’m developing a new talk on the topic and if you have “things that team leaders say…and shouldn’t” please feel free to email me at: stephen@assimilatinmg-talent.com.

Don’t do it for me. The best email that I receive I’ll be sending a gift to!

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Tips to Retaining Talent

It seems that “losing top talent to competitors” is keeping some senior Directors awake at night. In the past few days I’ve been approached by three different companies asking for help to reduce the risk that their top talent might leave the team.

Here are just three of the tips I advise my clients when advising on retaining talent.

1) Ask yourself the reasons why the talent joined your team in the first place. (Was it challenge of the work, learning opportunities, career path, the business looked great on their CV, resume?). Are these reasons still relevant and are they still being delivered?
If not then the talent is at risk of leaving.

2) Ask yourself the value of your “Poach Rate”. The “Poach Rate” is the additional percentage in salary that a competitor would need to offer to steal your talent. The higher the percentage increase in salary the more your talent values working for your team. If the competitor only has to offer an additional 2-5% salary increase then the reason for leaving is more likely to be poor management, poor culture, few learning opportunities etc.

3) Meet and observe your top talent. Not just at appraisal times but regularly.
Listen and look at the way they walk, talk, dress, engage with customers and colleagues at meetings. (I often go into a business and find that I can identify a talent that’s “on the way out” by just looking at how engaged they are. But then I do this as a matter of norm and often I’m not wrong!)
Ignoring talent because you believe it’s happy, or you’re too busy to observe it, tends to increase the risk that it will leave.

Finally it’s worth considering that the day a talented member of your team tells you they are leaving your team is probably six months after they made the decision to do so!

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Just adjust the angle of the golf club

In the past few days I’ve heard of a sales team that’s finding things difficult after a restructure. The restructure slimmed the team, redistributed clients and rationalised the workload but they seem to be failing.

Actually, that’s not unusual because my research and other statistics show that 42% of all restructured teams fail to deliver the anticipated results. The problem for the company is the cost in lost opportunities. Brad Smart in his book Topgrading estimated that failed teams cost between 8 and 24 times the salary.

Change needed for success can be very small
The change required to move from failure to success is, in my opinion, very small and a slight adjustment in in team actions could well change things around. But then that’s so often the case. As most of the team play golf they will understand that a slight adjustment in club face can be the difference to a great round and playing like a crab! Perhaps this clip of Tony Robbins explaining why he plays golf, badly, might help!

Tony Robbins – Tiny Changes Mean Huge Results

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Why is “Out of sight defintely out of mind”?

Ten days ago I was talking to Carl, a good friend of mine, who’s “Ticked off” with the co-operation he’s getting from superiors and colleagues. Now those very people may have to work that bit harder! 

A trail-blazing project
Carl, together with his management team and staff of two hundred, have spent the past year leading a trailblazing project that saves huge amounts of money and delivers enhanced service to the local community. People have said to him “What would we do without you?” and “What you’ve achieved is brilliant”. To achieve these plaudits he’s had to work long hours, hiring a large team and creating process, systems and culture and often without a “model” to follow.

As is usual there has been criticism from other areas of the business that feels overshadowed and exposed. As a result Carl’s team have felt pressured and unappreciated by the very people they are helping to do a better job.

A well earned holiday
A few weeks ago he went on holiday with various senior people and colleagues promising to deliver work whilst he was away ringing in his ears
…was it done when he got back?…daft question…because out of sight was definitely out of mind!

The result is that he’s even more tired than he was before his holiday. Now he’s updated his CV (Resume), bought a new interview suit and is looking for a job and has some interviews even before he’s formally applied for a position. I wonder how the people who’ve said “What would we do without you” will cope when he’s gone!

Cost of replacement and restructure…could be huge!

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Find a job using Social Media

A number of my friends and clients are excited at the work I’ve done on “finding a dream job using Social media”. The work is almost done now and will be available very soon on my personal website and well as Assimilating-Talent.

My team also wants to share it with everyone on it’s own specific site, which sounds awesome!
So watch out for news

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Maria finally leaves to another employer

Maria has left and after the story it’s probably a good time to look at her journey before a full post-mortem is held.

a) On arrival she alienated her team
b) She developed relationships at work that were not prepared to support her when times got difficult at work
c) She restructured her team for effect as opposed to focussing on long-term results
d) She introduced Quick wins that did not include her boss’s sought after results
e) She introduced employees that she had worked with in the past

That is not to say that everything she did was bad, it wasn’t. During her time she had some success with the introductions on a new process for hiring employees, she helped the Sales Director restructure his area and she increased productivity.

The problem was that the positive aspects of her work were not sufficiently large enough to outweigh the negatives and as a result the “perception” of her work was seen to be negative. It’s worth considering that negative aspects often have a greater impact than positives where considerations of capability at work are concerned.

So Maria’s job lasted around six months before she decided that her career would be better served by finding another position to move to. The question that we might all have is “Has she learnt from her mistakes or will they be repeated again?

Further info on job transitions can be found at:

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Maria battles with snow and issues an edict

Maria has battled into work for the first time this week as a result of the inclement weather and has immediately sent an email to all staff stating that any time taken off as a result of the snow must be made up within a four week period.

As she had a difficult journey into work Maria has just left work to return home and has pointedly stated to those in her team that all this last week she has been “working from home”.

Her team have concluded that she meant that her email will not apply to her.

I am detecting that Maria’s reputation amongst her team and some other key influence centres (people) within the company is not entirely positive. Indeed Maria is considered by some to be somewhat opportunistic and self-serving. (One person has suggested that being self-serving in most departments is acceptable it’s unfortunate for someone in HR. An interesting observation!)

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