THE CULTURE OF any organisation is essentially a combination of two key components - management and leadership. The style and principles adopted in these distinct areas shape how employees think and act. That affects how they prioritise and execute day-to-day responsibilities and how they behave in their dealings with internal and external contacts.
MANY SENIOR EXECUTIVES will assure you that to seal the deal, you must have a strong personal relationship with the person you are doing business with. They emphasise the importance of the handshake, face-to-face communication, and knowing what makes the other person tick. For people in sales, business development or in deal-making roles, this can mean spending much time away from the home base, chasing up new contracts or maintaining old ones.
ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGY have had a phenomenal impact on the business world. Ubiquitous high-speed internet and mobile devices have given constant access to vast quantities of information and completely transformed the way companies operate. These changes are usually heralded as promoting speed and efficiency. They are designed to make life easier for the average employee. But all too often, it turns out that the net effect is just the opposite. For many people, the working day now stretches far beyond the mythical "nine to five", and it rarely finishes when they leave the office.
A LEADING COMPANY held its annual conference to review performance and map out future strategy. During a breakout session on the second day, groups drawn from different departments were given time to brainstorm about an assigned topic, after which they were to give a short presentation summarising their ideas and conclusions. Each group consisted of people of varying levels of seniority in the hope of sparking creativity and stimulating the participants to come up with new perspectives and not just recycle the same old thinking.
SOMETIMES A BOSS has to deliver bad news. It is not part of the job description, but it is part of the job, and the way it is done says a great deal about the leadership style and overall competency of the person in charge. Depending on the organisation and context, what constitutes bad news can be one of many things. It might be about an impending corporate restructuring with anticipated company-wide layoffs, a move to less convenient office premises, or the non-payment of discretionary bonuses. Whatever the case, one thing can make all the difference in gaining acceptance and maintaining staff morale - the way the message is delivered.
SOMETHING IS STIRRING in the corporate world as companies finally start to recognise the paradox they have created. On the one hand, they have invested millions in computer-operated voice response systems, reducing customers and business processes to a series of acronyms and numerical codes. On the other, they wonder why clients complain so loudly about impersonal service and the inability to "just talk to someone".
ALLOWING FOR A FEW changes of detail, many executives will no doubt recall a formative experience like this. Late one Friday afternoon an email arrives from someone high up in the organisation. The tone is uncompromising, and the content comes as a complete surprise. The message states that, by Monday morning, a financial analysis and marketing plan is needed for the possible launch of a new product, which another division has been working on.
THE FAMOUS AMERICAN banker J.P. Morgan once said that people make decisions for two reasons: the good reason and the real reason. The truth of this observation is immediately obvious if you ask any business executive in New York, London, or Hong Kong to explain why they chose one course of action over another.
WHEN TRYING TO identify what makes someone a great leader, one can look into everything from their upbringing and education to their work experience and contacts. In most cases, what really makes the difference gets overlooked. There is no mention of it in standard resumes and it's usually skirted over in personal profiles. However, closer investigation often reveals that what sets certain individuals apart is their emotional intelligence, or EI.
Stress makes your body weaker, but did you know the reverse is also true? Here are 4 useful tips to strengthen your mind by strengthening your body.