Conflict is a dreaded topic for most. Losing your cool in the heat of the moment can break down a relationship and destroy trust that took years to establish. Even if you apologize afterwards and that apology is accepted, the damage can never really be fully undone. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word conflict? The majority of people have an unpleasant incident associated with the word conflict and although conflict can indeed be a negative and damaging experience, in its simplest form it is merely a difference of opinion. The reality is that in the global economy of today, you are bound to somewhere somehow cross paths with someone who is different from you and not only does this make life interesting, but in business, cultivating the strength of our diversity is a key enabler of innovation and business sustainability. It is therefore critical for the businesses of the future to learn how to use conflict to their advantage and turn the heat into light.
An insufficient flow of communication between a manager and his individual team members will inhibit the overall team’s performance. We regularly encounter managers who are frustrated with their team members for rather communicating with other individuals and failing to make use of communication channels that they believe are in place and effective. When managers turn to us for assistance to address this behaviour, the first question we believe needs to be asked is why your team members could possibly be choosing not to communicate with you?
I am sure we can all recall that naughty boy in our primary school class who always had to sit in front, because his reputation preceded him even before the first day of the new school year commenced. Maybe that naughty boy was you? Like any other primary school, we also had a “marked” child forced to sit right in front under the teacher’s nose. For the purpose of this article, we will call him William.
Do any of these sound familiar? “I am always busy”, “I do not really have the time” and “There are not enough hours in the day”. If these phrases ring true for you, I would like to challenge you to start mapping your movement at work. You may just be very surprised at what you find. Your map does not have to be 100% to scale – lines drawn with free hand will show you what you need to see.
Many people think that as long as you have some kind of flat surface to place your computer on and a chair to sit on while you work, that your work environment is sufficiently conducive for you to effectively perform your work duties. Many studies have now proven that this is a gross over simplification and that the correct office design is not only a health and safety requirement, but can also contribute to excellent work performance.
We were recently contracted by a client to assist them with implementing a structured business process optimization action plan to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. All of the department heads that were working with us understood the need for this project, but very few of them knew where or how to get started.
This is a challenge we often encounter with our clients, especially when we work with team members that have been working within the organization for a long period of time. It is not easy to re-look at the same processes over and over, but with a fresh pair of eyes that can find new opportunities.
Probably every little girl, at some point in time, fantasises about being a princess. As the image of a wise and sympathetic queen conjures up in my adult mind, I almost instantaneously straighten my posture and feel a smile come to my face.
If you were to become queen, what kind of queen would you be? Would you behave differently from whom you are today, knowing that you carry the responsibility of the whole world looking up to you every second of the day?
Selecting the most appropriate communication medium is one of the critical steps in getting your communication right the first time. Although not always the most appropriate communication medium, email is surely rising in popularity. Below are a few email etiquette guidelines to help ensure your success.
Have you ever witnessed the process of removing a more than 20 year old palm tree? It is an impressive undertaking! This morning as I was driving to a client, I passed a garden where three guys were trying to chop up a recently removed palm tree’s trunk with a diameter of more than a meter, but with shovels. It was not surprising to me that on my way back, much later the same day, I found them still at it. My logic screamed that this was a job better suited for a chain saw, but here three people were struggling (inefficiently and ineffectively) with the tools they had available to them. We see this way too often in businesses! Sometimes it is not only the availability of the right tool that is the problem, but the fact that we have neglected to train the user properly in the effective application of their tools, equipment and / or software.
During a recent project where we were assisting the HR department of one of our clients to successfully address some of their challenges, one of the issues that they raised was their frustration with supervisors who were not completing forms correctly. They had developed an easy step-by-step “how to” guide for the supervisors and have given them training, but they were still receiving forms that had been completed incorrectly. When we enquired from the HR department what they did when they received an incorrectly completed form, they told us that they corrected it themselves, because they felt obligated.