10 Principles of personal leadership

My recent clients and friends know that I have gone all soft in my approach to leadership and management. While one should have strategies, plans, processes and systems in place, the starting point is people.

This morning, while walking my two schnauzers in a park, I listened to a very inspiring recorded discussion with Howard Behar, the former president of Starbucks, who wrote It’s Not About The Coffee – Leadership Lessons from a Life at Starbucks. Behar grew Starbucks from 28 stores to more than 400 stores by the time he was named president. Under his leadership, Starbucks opened its first location in Tokyo in 1996 and over the next three years he introduced the Starbucks brand across Asia and the United Kingdom. He retired in January 2003 and is now a much sought-after speaker on leadership.

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Taking control of your email

Are you swamped with emails and is your inbox becoming bigger and bigger?
A decade ago a South African consultant, Gerrit Cloete, taught me how to use MS Outlook to make my life easier and, well, to remove stress.

“How to take control of your email” was the topic of a recent post by an American consultant and author, Joel Comm.

Do you have a simple system that works? Many of my clients suffer from not having a simple system for controlling the content of their inboxes.

Perhaps you could do with three tips on how to cope? Continue reading

Mental traps into which leaders fall

Some new clients easily take to new strategy development and execution. They experience fewer difficulties that most in obtaining support from their team members when it comes to implementation.

Others struggle. Why?

Planning is the easy part. Execution is the difficult part – and when it comes to execution few leaders lead well, even if they are brilliant. Why do they experience difficulties?

Leaders fall into mental traps. What are they? Robert H Schaffer in an article Four Mistakes Leaders Make in the Harvard Business Review (September 2010) provides valuable insights on this topic.  Continue reading

How to network

My previous post covered what to do after a business networking event. A client suggested that I write a post about how to prepare for a networking event.  And also to cover what to do during a networking event.

Have you noticed that many small business owners seem to just go to networking events hoping that someone will notice that they exist and perhaps start a conversation that leads to a business arrangement or deal?

Do you go to networking events and find them to be quite useless as you never get any financial gain out of attending? This is not my experience. There is a lot you can do to ensure that you get business from such events. Continue reading

How do I follow-up?

How good are we at follow-up? This week I attended a well-organised business breakfast networking event as well as a similar after-work Chamber of Commerce get-together. I met great individuals of interesting companies and we enthusiastically exchanged cards.

As I got home a very aptly-timed newsletter More Clients by Robert Middleton, who teaches professional service companies how to market, opened on my screen. I like Robert’s stuff as he has ideas worth taking note of. Continue reading

What is management?

During a recent trip a client and I discussed seven principles developed by Peter Drucker, as encapsulated by him in a Harvard Business Review article in September-October 1988.

Drucker’s stature as a thinker about management and business in general, is virtually unrivaled. I have slightly shortened his writings in the paragraphs that follow. Continue reading

Creating workplace conditions – in difficult times

My clients know that managers are responsible for creating twelve supportive, positive office conditions which reflect what employees expect from their workplace. If these conditions are present they ensure that it is very likely that you have emotionally-engaged employees – and a well-functioning organisation.

It will still take many months of tough times before life gets better for many – although signs are that the South African economy has turned the corner of the recession for the better.

A certain type of leadership is vitally important in tough times.

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