When employees are also your customers...
EVEN simple relationships are complex because virtually all of them involve some transactional element, however small. A mother's love for her child may be complete, but she hopes for a good, loving offspring. She may hope for more than that, too, but even this small expectation of one of the...
Going back to good old gut feel
AS A young account executive in an advertising agency in the early 1950s, I was faced with a client who was totally irrational, whimsical, maddening and mind-blowingly stupid. The fact that his father owned the equivalent of about a third of Chicago allowed him to be these things with impunity...
The changing nature of relationships
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on our views of ourselves, let alone our views of other people. Discovering the whole range of internet communications, including our ability to WhatsApp anyone we felt like talking to, was exciting even in the midst of a deadly disease. Further learning the...
Getting payment in a cash flow crunch
CASH flow may be the phrase of the moment, but those in the front line call it "collecting". There are good payers, slow payers and nightmares. Good payers pay on time, or even before the due date, so nothing more needs to be said about these fantastic customers. Slow payers are those who pay -...
Restarting work - learning the new norm
SOME of it will seem just like after a long break - shake off the dust, throw away the half-empty coffee cups, see if anyone has dealt with the tiresome issue you left behind. Much of it will not be like that at all. Social distancing will still be advised - though how we are all to do that and...
The new virtual office
IF you didn't actually clock in at the office you were certainly checked in by the boss or one of his lieutenants. Beady eyes observed your arrival time, your journeys to and from the drinks cooler, your time out in the restroom, any gossiping you did, your lunch break and finally your departure...
Marketing and pricing on leaving lockdown
THE rejoicing on getting out of near lockdown - whenever we do that - may be short-lived. Certainly, getting back to work will be a cause of cheer. The terms and conditions of doing so may be more contentious. You can ask a rational human to be kind but you can't ask him to be daft. If other...
Getting ready for the rebound
EVERYONE who is laying off workers knows that sooner or later they will be wanting to hire them - or some of them - again. The question is: "When and how many?" Will the coronavirus blow itself out, at least enough to allow normal daily life to resume?
Making the virtual as good as real
SUDDENLY we all have to work virtually. Where we used to have a meeting or a lunch, with time to weigh up the mood of whoever we were dealing with, now we must operate cold.
What to do when the deal goes bad
YOU are just about to seal a significant contract, when the customer gets cold feet. Your counterpart in a collaborative partnership that you have been negotiating for over a year suddenly pulls out. You've been trying to onboard a new supplier, when your main competitor snaps him up. We've all...
How to organise an event that is not a waste of time
EVERYONE has attended an event - from a cosy tête-a-tête to discuss a looming project, to large seminars where thousands gather to hear industry gurus speak. These are the places to make the right connections, receive latest updates, to see and be seen.
Mergers and acquisitions game not for the faint of heart
IN VIEW of today being Valentine's Day, this column will focus on mergers and acquisitions, as business acquisitions and romantic relationships have one important thing in common - both are to establish a partnership.
The idea of training has been turned on its head
OF ALL the times when you want attention, discipline and focus, during training must come near the top of the list. Disruption, surely, is the last thing you need when you are trying to teach?
Abolish time-wasting meetings
DO YOU know how many meetings are held by your reports? Do you know how much time they take up? Are you aware of the purposes of such meetings? Does anyone tell you what they feel about the meetings they have to attend? Have you done an audit of a sample of the meetings held in your organisation...
Encourage disobedience in your business
A NEW Year. You may call it the Year of Disruption, for that is what it is certain to be. So I welcome you to the series of articles under a new column, entitled Leading through Disruption. What a contrast to how we have been taught to lead before. What a risk to take with a stable business...
Handling meetings - as Chair and participant
MEETINGS get me down. I don't mind the informal ones where everyone says what they think and nobody is trying to get their own point of view endorsed. I like chatting with people on occasions which happen by chance and we maybe chew over a bite to eat. The best decisions I got made were at these...
Making the interview work for you
WHAT is the greatest genuine flattery you can be shown? I'm not talking about creepy praise from subordinates - or from superiors who want you to cover for them. I'm not talking about medals and honours, valuable as they may be.
Do you need to fire your customer?
CUSTOMERS can be a pain. I'm sure you know that already. They fall into several categories. At the top, the most desirable customer is the company (or individual) that has clear levels of command and authority, that thinks ahead and orders its needs in a timely way and that understands that you...
Building personal relationships in business
THE man who was my mentor in business for some 20 years liked me. I liked him, too. We had a similar sense of humour and although he was cleverer than me, I challenged him creatively.
In search of intelligence in the business world
ACADEMICS often regard business people as not particularly intelligent. Business people similarly sometimes regard academics as rather theoretical. Both seem somehow right when considered from their points of view. Both are wrong in a world where all our resources must be used with maximum...
How to promote and demote employees
THINK of how you reward your children. When they are young, you give them something to eat, maybe a visit to somewhere they like. You pat them on the back and tell them you are very proud of them.
There's no such thing as a 'bad employee'
HAVE you ever been told you are a bad employee? I don't mean about some specific issue, some small sin of commission or omission that was probably caused by forgetfulness.
Bribery: Does it have a role in today's business?
A SUBSTANTIAL part of a company's compliance today has to do with bribery. Bribery is the act of giving or receiving something of value in return for something else of value which the other party might not have offered.
Profit vs sustainability: How to manage the conflict
THIS year may well go down as the year the world really started to wake up to the implications of climate change. More than half the planet's population has directly felt the effects of rising temperatures.
The retail revolution
MOST people enjoy shopping. Saturday afternoon at the shops used to be something of an outing for the family. The exercise involved in walking through a town or mall was worth half an hour in the gym.