The key management issues

February 2, 2011

The business landscape is constantly evolving and changing and it is important to keep on top of these changes. Management Today has analysed the top 10 issues facing managers in 2011, and provided a quick tip to overcome each of these. Here are the first five:

1. Two-speed economy

Australia weathered the financial storm better than most, but there are still areas of risk and reward, known as the two-speed economy.

Tip: Concentrate on staff retention and diversification to reduce risk in an uncertain climate.

2. Global economic health

The biggest issue for Australian companies in terms of global economic health is business confidence.

Tip: For a full economic recovery a change in thought processes is required: from ‘glass is half empty’ to ‘glass is half full’.

3. Development and training

As managers look to increase levels of innovation and agility within their organisations, the need for staff development and training becomes greater.

Tip: Formalise the implementation of mentoring, coaching and training procedures in order to increase agility and improve staff retention.

4. Export opportunities

There are amazing opportunities on offer to Australian exporters in the near term.

Tip: Whether you’re currently exporting or looking to begin, look to the markets in our own region of the world for great growth opportunities.

5. Sustainability issues

Despite the shelving of the Emissions Trading Scheme organisations have plenty to be concerned about in terms of sustainability.

Tip: Make sustainability a serious issue in your business – as important as the bottom line – because it is to many stakeholders.

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BluePrint tip: Tough decisions made simpler

January 27, 2011

All of us have to make decisions every day. Some of these are relatively straight forward and simple, whereas others are more difficult requiring a logical and systematic decision making process to help us address the critical elements that result in a good decision.

To make an effective decision you need to: create a constructive environment, generate good alternatives, explore these alternatives, choose the best alternative, check your decisions, communicate this and take action.

How to keep your employees happy in 2011

January 25, 2011

A recent survey of more than 3,000 leaders conducted by Leadership Management Australia and reported on by the HR Daily found that the number-one characteristic today’s employees value in a manager is trustworthiness.

Trustworthiness has moved from seventh position in 2009 to number one replacing clear communication of direction. This shows that employee expectations have changed significantly in the past year calling for all managers to review their leadership style.

The survey found the top ten characteristics of a good manager to be:

  1. Being trustworthy and open in approach
  2. Clearly communicating where the company is going
  3. Giving employees the “space” to do their work, but supporting them
  4. Listening to and respecting employees’ input into decisions
  5. Giving employees regular and honest feedback on how they are going
  6. Being fair and even-handed/making reasonable demands
  7. Providing the resources employees need to do their job
  8. Recognising employees for extra efforts/results;
  9. Coaching and developing employees
  10. Trusting employees with challenging work.

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BluePrint tip: Foster a team spirit in the workplace

January 13, 2011

A basic human need is to feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves, and for many people that need is met by being part of a supportive team environment.

As a manager it is important to create unity among employees, to make people feel valued and that they belong.

By creating this team environment employees will see themselves as a group of people all working for a common goal rather than a bunch of individuals competing against each other.

The importance of workplace training in 2011

January 11, 2011

The New Year is suddenly here and with that comes a long list of New Year’s resolutions. But this list shouldn’t revolve entirely around losing the silly season fuelled kilos or quitting smoking, instead why not think about improving the skills of your employees or those of your own to help keep your company competitive and help create a skilled workforce that can easily adapt to change.

By training workers in areas such as change management, leadership skills, management skills, mentoring skills, presentation skills and team building skills you will equip employees with a modern skill set.

Inside Indiana Business have provided a list outlining the importance of workplace training and what employers will gain from this including:

• Operational effectiveness and efficiency

• Increased job satisfaction

• More attractive workplace

• Transfer of organisational knowledge

• Better managers

• Reduced compliance risk

Find out about BluePrint training programs


BluePrint tip: Make feedback regular

December 16, 2010

Feedback is an important part of every workplace and if not done effectively is one of the main causes of employee dissatisfaction.

Feedback needs to be given on a daily basis, if this becomes more of a yearly occurrence people tend to be surprised rather than aligned with the feedback they are given.

If you have suggestions that will help an employer do their job better, it is more productive to communicate that sooner rather than later.

Five easy tips to influence and persuade others in the workplace

December 14, 2010

Persuasion and influence are important factors that have a direct impact on your personal success, whether at the workplace in your personal lives. No matter who you are or what you do, you will never learn a more valuable or important set of skills than that of how to influence others.

Once you tap into the power of influence, you can reach out and help others work smarter, grow faster, live, look and feel better. Here are some tips to help you improve your influencing skills:

1. Be clear about what you are trying to achieve and the outcomes that you want.

2. Get in the shoes of those you want to persuade and think about it from their perspective.

3. Plan as much as you can before the situation to minimise the amount of thinking on your feet you will have to do.

4. Be flexible and be willing to change your style to accommodate different situations and personalities.

5. Make time to reflect and learn from both successful and unsuccessful influencing situations.

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BluePrint tip: Negotiating is all about credibility

December 9, 2010

The most important ingredient for negotiating within an organisation is credibility. Leaders who are believable to their people and to upper management have more success at negotiating needs in both directions effectively.

To do this you need to be consistent in your values and show respect for opinions contrary to your own. Other opinions are as valid as yours and by taking these into consideration you will be able to find a common middle ground resulting in a win-win situation.

Are crucial conversations keeping you stuck?

December 8, 2010

Whenever you’re not getting the results you’re looking for, it’s likely that a crucial conversation is keeping you stuck.

Whether it’s a problem with poor quality, slow time-to-market, declining customer satisfaction, or a strained relationship, if you can’t talk honestly with nearly anybody about almost anything, you can expect poor results. Make crucial conversations skills your best practices and everything gets better.

Here are some tips to help you get started with your crucial conversation:

1. Choose the most appropriate objectives that you want from the conversation and set your expectations towards them.

2. Pay attention to your style of communication and avoid any negative words or body language. True communication doesn’t involve demeaning or laying blame.

3. Don’t intimidate, use harsh words or raise your voice. Use constructive, positive words.

4. Do not over dominate the conversation and claim superiority. If someone is made to feel inferior at the beginning of a conversation they are more likely to take offense.

5.  Ask the other person’s opinion, actively listen and take the time to understand.

6. Take action. Decide what the outcome of the conversation will be, who will be responsible for each component of the solution and start working towards the result.

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BluePrint tip: Designing presentations backwards

December 2, 2010

In our careers we are often asked to make presentations, however many of us struggle knowing how to start preparing. Rather than designing your presentation from the beginning to the end – reverse it.

Start with the destination and work back to the opening. Write your closing line that summarises your message clearly and then write the points that support your ending.

Your speech will be clearer and take you less time if your start with the end in mind.