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Know your Competition

Know your Competition

Some Questions. Do you know who your competitors are, both direct and indirect? If so , are you tuned into their sales and marketing strategies? Do you have a process in place to monitor changes in the competitive landscape? Do you have a well informed strategy for countering competitive threats? There is a tendency to be complacent about the competition,…
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The Power of Process

The Power of Process

The word 'Process' has a lot of negative connotations - 'boring', 'time wasting', 'pointless box ticking', 'unnecessary', 'incomprehensible', 'bureaucratic' etc. Yet few can argue but that good processes are a hallmark of all successful enterprises. Smart process is about getting it right, in the most efficient way, first time, 100% of the time.  It is smart processes and checklists (a…
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Leadership and Authenticity

Leadership and Authenticity

Conventional wisdom suggests that openness, transparency and consistency are critical values of an authentic and effective leader, and are key to building and maintaining trust with 'followers'.  But this is tricky stuff ! Consider the following examples : A leader who is open about his weaknesses and insecurities in order to be authentic, risks giving the impression that he is…
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Find a mentor to develop your skills

Find a mentor to develop your skills

Traditional leadership development whether in house or  in business schools focuses on teaching potential leaders what to do in different situations and what behaviours to adopt, with learning through case studies. This 'once off' model of learning is inadequate in an increasingly complex business environment, where there is an ongoing breakdown in long established industry boundaries, and an ever increasing…
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Goal setting  Pros and Cons

Goal setting Pros and Cons

Overwhelming research demonstrates that goal setting has a powerful influence on individual performance and motivation. Goals are potentially energising and motivating. Challenging goals lead to higher levels of effort. Deadlines lead to more rapid rates of work and  making a 'public' commitment to a goal, recorded in writing, enhances personal commitment to its achievement. But there are real problems with…
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To Don’t Lists !

To Don’t Lists !

Time management is a key challenge for all owner managers. If you don’t have time to do the things that have the biggest impact, you have to create time by taking control of your choices. The idea behind a ‘To Don’t list’ is that you can choose NOT to do certain things, at least not today. Step1. Start by listing…
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Why have formal job descriptions?

Why have formal job descriptions?

As a business grows it becomes more challenging to maintain lines of communication and to ensure that all employees are aligned to the achievement of the same company vision. Having formal job descriptions can help this process of alignment. The development process for job descriptions can 'flush out' any misunderstandings about roles, ensure that there is no overlap between roles and…
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Test the quality of your plan for 2016

Test the quality of your plan for 2016

As we get closer to 2016 you will be (or should be!) working on your business plan for the year. As part of this process it can be useful to test the inputs to and outputs from your planning process, before the plan is signed off and specific objectives are assigned to individuals and teams.  The following are some questions…
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Events that change our lives

Events that change our lives

No matter how carefully we map out our lives we are subject to the impact of random events which potentially change our plans or even the course of our lives. I was reminded on this during a recent holiday in Spain, during which I had an accident which resulted in my hospitalisation for nearly two weeks and return to Ireland…
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Position the team as the unit of performance

Position the team as the unit of performance

Most job applicants will  list 'team player' as one of their strengths. But how true is this in reality? Benchmark yourself against the following:  Are you prepared to stretch time lines to achieve buy in from key stakeholders? Do you really listen and allow yourself to be influenced by the views of others? Do you appreciate the impact on motivation and…
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