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Archive for the ‘Sean’s Musings’ Category

Managers Show Optimism For 2013

The CMI’s Future Forecast is an annual report that aims to measure business confidence for the year ahead. In 2012, for the first time since the coalition came to power, positivity among managers about their organisation’s prospects has tipped over the 50% mark to hit 53%. Business managers have decided that there light at the end of the tunnel after all – and it’s not an oncoming train! So, what are the grounds for managers to show optimism for 2013?

On the job security front, 68% of managers feel confident of their position in 2013, that’s up 6% on 2011. Fewer managers are expecting to make redundancies in 2013 too. Although, in the unlikely event that their jobs are made redundant, 47% of managers reckon they’d get a new job within three months, compared to 37% in 2011.

However, economic optimism has remained low this year. The report set the figures hovering at the 25% mark, which is still an improvement on the cynical 17% of 2011. The restructuring of the UK’s public finances was cited as the factor likely to have the most damaging impact on organisations in 2013, with energy prices and technological change claiming the number two and three spots respectively.

Still, managers aren’t letting a few things like recession, sky-high bills, and defunct technology ruin their optimism. They are still convinced that staff morale will be high in 2013. Almost half of managers (46%) are expecting a ‘go get ‘em’ attitude in the office come 2013, compared to 31% who are banking on a more subdued atmosphere.

Ann Francke, CMI chief executive, says of the results: ‘We could be seeing a pivotal moment, where UK employers start to look ahead with renewed optimism. While 2013 is expected to be another tough year, it looks like many managers are confident about their organisations’ prospects.’

It’s great to see that UK managers are still feeling jolly after such a tough year. Let’s just hope that these managers don’t think that blind optimism will be enough to see them through. This positivity should be channelled into sustained endeavour, or we will be facing the same problems as 2012 and not having learned from our mistakes. If managers show optimism for 2013, no doubt there will be reasons to be cheerful in the new year.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training


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Take Responsibility and Be Proactive

Anne Frank once said,

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment to improve the world.”

Our moods often dictate how we appear to people. Others only see our behaviour, which is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to who we really are. Lurking beneath the tip are all our prejudices, judgments, ideas, attitudes, motivations, rules, standards and a multitude of other concepts that make up who we call ‘us’.

We judge others by their behaviour, we judge ourselves by our intentions. When we act in a certain way, we have reasons why we did that, and can always find something or someone else to blame for our inadequacies. It’s never our fault, is it?

And yet, when we accept that we actually can control things by saying, in effect, ‘I am responsible’, it unleashes a new-found energy and strength inside of us. No longer do we have to find excuses; no longer do we have to go down the route of explaining away inadequacies.

We can start to drive ourselves forward proactively. We can accept things that would have crippled others’ self-esteem and deliver results that make us feel we have more power.

You can start right now. You don’t have to wait a single moment longer. Yes, it may take time to bed in. Yes, you will still have thoughts about how others’ opinions affect you. After a while, though, the journey will become easier as you firstly start and then maintain an attitude of proactive nurturing.

I find blaming other things for my results debilitating. It saps my energy because I am effectively giving them control of my mental faculties. I no longer control my feelings and emotions…others do. And no-one else has my interests at heart more than I do.

So, think about how you can make the world a better place by starting with your own neck of the woods. Don’t give anyone reason to question your motives or drive. Be proactive in what you do today. Accept that you take personal responsibility for all your own actions, not someone else.

If you’re late because of bad traffic, don’t blame the traffic. Accept it as ‘just one of those things’, resolve that it’s not going to affect your mood (you can’t do anything about it anyway) and move on. Blaming something outside your control only makes you more of the victim. And the victim mode doesn’t bring sympathy from others…it only brings the subconscious desire for you to take responsibility for a change.

As Gandhi said, ‘be the change you want to see in the world’. If you take personal responsibility starting today, you’ll see how you can have an impact on your part of the world, starting today.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

(Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


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Creating The Future Of Your Department And Company

It will be here before you know it. Inevitably, the consequences of what you do today will affect it. You won’t be able to avoid it.

What is “it”?

Yes, it’s the future, or that time ahead which will soon be the present.

My interest is in the future, because that’s where the rest of my life is going to be spent. So today, I thought we’d just raise a few questions that will help us face the future with confidence. These will focus your mind on what you should be doing today so that tomorrow isn’t going to shock you.

1. What are the new challenges that you and your company will be facing soon?

2. What are the changes that will stretch you current managerial procedures beyond breaking point?

3. What is the biggest future problem for your company or yourself that you need to start thinking about today?

4. What are the biggest gaps between the things your company says and the things you actually do?

5) What values are the hardest to live up to but will produce the biggest future pay-offs?

6) What are you most frustrated about now that, if you dealt with it, would produce the best results in the future?

Alternatives to the status quo will be hard to work on, because companies are slow to change. The myopic view is that change is risky and people tend to get stuck in their current ways, because the unknown is dark and dangerous. Better the path we can see and is safe.

But if we don’t actively create a better future for ourselves and our company, we will be driven by others in a direction that won’t be of our own choosing. As the saying goes, “In five years’ time, you will arrive. The question is, Where?”

Taking proactive action now is the only way you can create the future that you want and need. So, here’s the challenge:

> Accelerate the pace of strategic renewal within your department, starting now

> Make creative thinking and enhanced partnership everyone’s job

> Produce an environment that inspires people to bring their best potential to work with them every day

It all starts with you. If you don’t believe that you can create your future and that of your company your company, then it will drift like a boat with no sails. Be the change that you want to see in the world, as Ghandi  said, and the momentum will be unstoppable.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

(Image by Stuart Miles)


Click on the image below for a free 5 part email management course

Category: Sean's Musings | Tags: , ,

Lessons From Steve Jobs

This week’s sad news about Steve Jobs has made me realise what a massive impact his genius has had on my life. His inventions are littered around my desk and home. His legacy will last long into a future he personally has shaped.

Think back on what accomplished. In the three years up to 2005, he assembled and owned all the components he’d need to take advantage of the new broadband market: WebObjects, Safari, iTunes, QuickTime and the MacOS itself. He also threw a vast proportion of the company’s cash at a retail strategy that experts said was extravagant and out of date. When market analysts derided him – as they did, relentlessly, every single quarter – because the company was losing market share, he ignored them. And when broadband took off, so did Apple.

I got to thinking what I could take from Jobs’ legacy and what it means to all of us. As a leader, he taught us to:

Identify external events that will change customer behaviour: Your customers will be affected by what happens from outside influences, like economic forces. Your proactive drive towards creating the future will determine the behaviour your customers and prospects will choose.

Align product development to take advantage of that event before it occurs: Jobs knew that he and his engineers had the thought capacity to develop strategies and products that would create new markets. Thinking through where we want the market to go is a great sign of forward development.

Build distinctive brand positioning: Whether you love or hate Apple, there is no doubting the positioning that Jobs drove the company towards. The brand is the essence and feeling that the product evokes, and Jobs knew what he wanted to accomplish before he even started working on a product. Your product is just one component of your offering. Like Jobs, you can build a brand through constant attention to advancement and complete determination to improve quality.

Deal with pressure: Under pressure many times from even within his own company, Jobs never bowed to the concerns expressed. He knew in his own mind what would work and how to do it. And most times he was proved exactly right. As leaders, we need to build the solidity that deals with the eternal pressure that can make weaker persons buckle.

So, Steve Jobs has been an inspiration to many millions, me included. If we can learn from his legacy, we can look forward to many advancements in business and the consequential results we will harvest.

Thanks again



Sean McPheat
Managing Director


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Category: Sean's Musings | Tags: , ,

News or No News? Rather, It’s How You Want Your News

The death of the British Newspaper, the News of the World, this week, opens not only a debate on ethics, but also a deeper one regarding the whole social media of news and news gathering.

Fewer people today than ever actually read a newspaper. Most people I associate with get their news via Sky, the Internet, or iPad. Yet, for many the actual feel of a newspaper is still the one that gives them that kinaesthetic buzz. You can see that whenever you are in an airport lounge or on a train.

Yet, for a long time now, newspapers have not been serving their two key customers very well either: Firstly, advertisers; What have they done in the past 30 years to improve the advertiser’s ability to reach its target market and track the results of that interaction? For a long time, advertisers have been paying more than their fair share for unclear results.

Secondly, the actual readers themselves. For 30 years, the process for creating content hasn’t changed (assigning journalists to write specific stories, and allowing limited space for letters to the editor from readers). But readers today want to choose which journalists to follow, comment on articles they read, add their own bits to articles and receive content most relevant to them.

The first on-line paper that allows instant reaction to news by their readers and shares those comments with other readers instantaneously is going to reap up-time rewards.

Newspapers have some of the greatest journalists and social commentators on their payroll. In the main, they have strong brand awareness and loyal customers. And yet, bit by bit, they seem to be destroying these assets, by not changing with the times.

This pool of knowledge is being undermined and slowly strangling the way that news is disseminated. Even internet-based news channels are failing to take advantage of this growth in consumer power, not understanding the real needs of us readers, who can find out information at the touch of a button, seconds after it becomes reality, leaving conventional newspapers anything up to 24 hours behind.

Peter Druker once said that the biggest challenge for executives is that they focus on today’s problems instead of tomorrow’s opportunities. If the newspaper world doesn’t wake up to this fact, they will quickly wither and die.

As managers, we need to assess what we’re doing with our teams and identify if we are keeping up with the times and the opportunities that exist. If not, we will be left behind as surely as the world of the newspaper is going to be.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat
Managing Director


Click on the image below for a free 5 part email management course

Category: Sean's Musings | Tags: , ,





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