Positive Mental Attitude is a staple of the self-help movement. But don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not about false faith or miracle cures.
Instead, it’s about exercising the most fundamental freedom you have: to choose how to respond to your situation. Positive Mental Attitude is a choice that opens up more options for you.
And that’s why it works for so many people. Because, with more options, you have more chances of getting what you want.
Continue reading Positive Mental Attitude: You Choose
Your brain is wired to think fast. So, to do this, it needs to take shortcuts, that psychologists call heuristics. But these shortcuts don’t always give the right answer. They give rise to cognitive bias.
Cognitive bias is the result of the shortcuts. If every car door you’ve ever encountered opens outwards, it’s a good bet that the next one you encounter will too. That’s a bias in your assumptions. Usually, it serves you well. One day, it may let you down.
But the cognitive biases that we need to worry about are those that are baked into our mental operating system. We make the mistakes without realising it. They lead to bad decisions – sometimes to catastrophe.
Continue reading Cognitive Bias – Getting it Wrong
What if you want to improve the performance of your business or public service? You could study it carefully and hope to find inefficiencies and novel approaches. But maybe you could compare your practices to those of another organisation. That’s the essence of Benchmarking.
The idea of benchmarking is to compare yourself with others, to get new ideas from them, and to learn from what works for them. It’s a powerful idea that allowed Japanese manufacturing to catch up with and overtake the US. And then it helped the US regain lost ground, by codifying what the Japanese had learned, and the improvements they had made.
But it’s not universally loved. There are problems. That said, benchmarking is a big idea that every manager should be aware of.
Continue reading Benchmarking – Keeping up with the neighbours
Nobody likes a fraud… yet we tolerate them. Nobody wants to be a phoney… but we all let ourselves down on occasion. But regardless of our actions, we all value authenticity.
The challenge of course is not just to recognise it, and distinguish the authentic from the ersatz.
It’s to form a clear idea of what you mean by authenticity. Because in modern business and professional parlance, it’s become a bit of a chameleon.
Continue reading Authenticity – Congruence for the 21st Century
Branding started out as deliberate mutilation of cattle, to assert ownership. Now it’s about leaving more than a physical mark: it’s about creating an emotional connection.
Brand has arguably become as important as function and quality in the world of products and services. The craft and skills of branding experts are tuned to a high pitch. But that’s not to say there have been no missteps. And there’s been a backlash too.
So, let’s have a look at the big idea that is branding.
Continue reading Branding: Creating a Relationship with your Customer
There is no bigger idea than science. So, in this UN International Year of the Periodic Table, I want to celebrate what makes science so powerful: the almost equally big idea of the Scientific Method.
For managers, I’d sum up its utility with a quote from an old friend, Tony Quigley:
The alternative to evidence-based policy-making is policy-based evidence-making’
If you want your organisational decisions to carry heft and deliver results, you can do no better than to apply the scientific method to your management practices.
Continue reading Scientific Method
How can you be sure that your management team is balancing its attention across all the things that matter – rather than focusing solely on one thing: the money? The answer is that what gets measured gets managed. So you need to score yourself on a balanced scorecard.
That’s the insight that Robert Kaplan and David Norton gave us in a stand-out Harvard Business Review article, ‘Putting the Balanced Scorecard to Work‘. The article may date back to 1993, but it’s still one of HBR’s most-read must-read articles.
Continue reading Balanced Scorecard – It’s not just the Money
The secret to selling is creating an environment where people want to buy. And that’s the insight at the heart of Neil Rackham’s scientific approach to sales. He called it SPIN Selling, from the acronym that will guide you through the process.
SPIN Selling is one of the most widely known sales methodologies. It’s a best-selling book, and is promoted worldwide to companies of all sizes, by Rackham’s company, Huthwaite International.
But we’re not here to help with that promotion, but to assess what managers can learn from Rackham’s big idea.
Continue reading SPIN Selling – Neil Rackham’s Scientific Sales
Like many of our big ideas, mind mapping was not new. It introduced itself to a huge new audience, with whom it made the breakthrough from a niche idea to big idea.
In our case, mind maps were a gift from British educator, author and personality, Tony Buzan. And what a gift they were.
A mind map is a simple tool that helps with four vital tasks for any professional (or student):
- making notes
- sorting ideas
- creative thinking
- memory retention
Continue reading Mind Mapping – Getting Ideas onto a Page
First, the millennials entered the workplace and now they are taking leadership roles.
And now their successors are coming too: the Post-millennials.
But who are the millennials and post-millennials. And what do they want?
The generational certainties that organisations have understood so well are becoming more complex as the early millennials are starting to make decisions, and the first post-millennials are entering into the workplace. But if you want to look to sociologists for answers, you’ll find they are most clear.
Continue reading Millennials and Post Millennials – or Generations Y and Z