Insights…


Latest Articles…

Practicing management over more than two decades has resulted in numerous insights.

In fact every day, we learn from our clients, our peers and the world around us.

We believing in sharing these insights and welcome your thoughts, ideas and feedback so together we can be better leaders and, most importantly, better people…


Looking beyond the crisis… by Nick Marvin - There have been numerous articles published recently about managing through the current crisis: how to work remotely, accessing government assistance, health tips and the like. But considering the present circumstances and even the recent past give us great insights into what lies ahead...and preparing for the future is just as critical. It is generally accepted that caring for our people must be the most urgent and understanding and managing cash flow comes a close second. People First The former requires managers to exert even greater energies on regular contact. At least 15-minutes each week with each direct report is imperative… Continue Reading »»»
I just called…the wonder of a phone call! by Nick Marvin - How sport can lead through Covid-19 (Some random thoughts that I shall update, time permitting) Throughout my time as a sports administrator, I've always treasured the power of a phone call...particularly from a player or coach to a fan. We've also had great success from other initiatives such as birthday cards, personalised video shout-outs and thank you notes etc., but that is a topic for another article. In these times of isolation, I can think of no better way for a franchise to engage with its fan base than with a phone call. In our experience the average is about… Continue Reading »»»
9 Questions for organisations to consider when responding to COVID-19… by Nick Marvin - The current environment has disrupted our lives and how we live it. Leaders must consider carefully and swiftly how they manage through these times. Whilst there are great risks, there are also opportunities. Most importantly, society requires us to rebound and re-purpose ourselves to respond effectively and efficiently. Following are some of my thoughts...I welcome your feedback. CALIBRATE PURPOSE…using first principles. Is the WHY that got us started and kept us going still relevant today? Sometimes in a crisis, it pays to stay the course (and stick to the knitting), at other times disruptions offer us an opportunity to review… Continue Reading »»»
The pursuit of goodness… by Nick Marvin - What is our defining purpose? Amidst this fast-paced world where we feel we are are either fighting for survival or competing for success we may sometimes lose sight of the end game. Are we paying enough attention to the “Why”? Our Purpose! In an earlier article we asked: How will we lead our lives? The sum total of our efforts. Everybody in their life will leave behind a body of work - It is important to reflect on what that would look like. The pursuit of goodness is a natural extension to that question. Continue Reading »»»
Failing our way to success… by Nick Marvin - Failing is an inevitable part of our lives. We experience it from a very young age. As we take our first steps, we fall...but we get up again and keep at it until we master the art of walking! And that pattern continues as we learn new skills - like playing a musical instrument or riding a bike. Why is it then, that as we grow older - in business and in our careers - failure is frowned upon. Should we give up? Stop trying? Of course, not! The lessons we learn from failure can be quite invaluable. Oftentimes, we… Continue Reading »»»
Four proven steps to manage conflict… by Nick Marvin - Wherever there are two or more moving parts, we are bound to experience friction - in our personal and professional lives. Learning to work with others requires the ability to manage different ideas, personalities, values and cultures. If there is one area of deep learning over my twenty plus years working in management in corporate, social and professional sporting environments it is in performing teams. It is both a science and a practice. It takes time and effort. It takes failing - a lot! As with most things there is no silver bullet. Performing teams is a result of various… Continue Reading »»»
Rethinking ‘Moneyball’ – the secret to performing teams… by Nick Marvin - How do we get our teams to perform? This is a question we get asked almost every day in our practice. It’s one of the highest priorities of every CEO, chairman leader, manager and even coach. Unsurprisingly, there is really no simple answer! In our management framework, we work through twelve principles that we have successfully used over the last twenty years to deliver outstanding performance both in business and in sport. It’s our unique version of ‘money ball’ - a sometimes over-used trendy term these days. One of these twelve, focuses on ‘Maximising Strengths’. The principle was first mooted… Continue Reading »»»
The three critical perspectives for any organisation… by Nick Marvin - A key function of leadership is to constantly maintain a comprehensive perspective of the organisation. This means regularly taking time out from doing to observe. Getting the balance right is vital. Too little doing or too little observing can lead to failure. Performance relies greatly on results, but the right results are achieved only if the organisation’s purpose is well aligned. In order to gain the right insight a leader must seek to understand the organisation, the environment in which it exists and, most importantly, how it engages with this environment. This three-lens approach forms a critical part of our… Continue Reading »»»
Three traits that make a good manager by Nick Marvin - Recently in our practice we've witnessed an increasingly recurring question from our clients: What makes a good manager? It seems to be a common theme in the work place today. In fact, most people leave jobs not because of the organisation or their remuneration, but because of their managers and the workplace culture. Gallup studies have shown that there can be as much as a 70% variance in workplace performance based on the manager. We spend most of our waking hours working and a bad manager can only make our work-day unenjoyable. We also tend to take these emotions home… Continue Reading »»»
How will we lead our lives? by Nick Marvin - Life happens! Our environment shapes it and we adapt – until a defining moment when we must all pause and question: How will we live our life? It takes curiosity and courage to ask ourselves how will we be remembered and to live in accordance to those values. For it is not how long we live, but simply how? Continue Reading »»»
What I learned from spending an hour a week on the frontline… by Nick Marvin - “Why don’t you have anything for infants,” said the doting grandfather as he walked around the store. “What do you mean,” I responded, rather perplexed. “We’ve been life-long fans of the club and now that we have just had our first grandson and we’d like to get him something.” “Frankly, it never crossed my mind,” I apologised. “But I assure you, we will, very, very soon.” This conversation occurred more than a decade ago in a sporting franchise’s merchandise store. It was in the early years of my time in sports management, an industry I was then relatively new to.… Continue Reading »»»
How to have a difficult conversation… by Nick Marvin - Addressing concerns in the work place can be uncomfortable. Most of us naturally tend to avoid conflict and sometimes postpone the difficult conversation, or at worst, don’t have it at all. As a result, the concerns persist, and often times worsen. Left unaddressed matters reach a point of no return. It is not uncommon for people to be advised of their errors or even non-performance for the first time just prior to their termination. This unfair on both the organisation and the person involved. Especially, when early intervention could have resulted in changed behaviours and a positive outcome for all… Continue Reading »»»
Why I banned swearing at the Perth Wildcats and here’s what followed… by Nick Marvin - In early 2009 I was assigned the task of managing the Perth Wildcats, a professional basketball team in Western Australia. Given my lack of basketball or even sporting expertise, I had to rely entirely on my management experience to turn around what was a failing organisation. There are very few benefits of practicing as a consultant - particularly in turn-around management. Of note, however, is the fact that some, if not many, of the existing practices have not worked, or may have even contributed to the failings. In such circumstances the turn-around management consultant is often given some latitude to… Continue Reading »»»
The Next Play – How to navigate the future by Nick Marvin - How often do we find ourselves overthinking our last mistake or spending too much time re-living a recent success? Neither of these are healthy. What then is the best way to move forward? Team USA and Duke University’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski recently shared his views on this, in what he called ‘the next play’ - providing a great answer to this question. It’s one that he has practiced since the early ‘80s along the sidelines of the basketball court - calling out to his mantra to his players. He has since explained how by focusing on the ‘next… Continue Reading »»»
Trust Trust, the fundamental requirement of management by Nick Marvin - Good managers require certain characteristics for success. Contrary to popular belief, being charismatic is not one of them. There are many great managers who have led their organisations to unprecedented sustained success with personal charisma no greater than that of a dead fish. There are many other qualities that sit on the scale of what is required, but none more than TRUST. Trust must be the starting point for every relationship - inside and outside the organisation It is possible to work for someone who one does not like. It is possible to be managed by those whom we don’t… Continue Reading »»»
The six most powerful questions great leaders ask their people… by Nick Marvin - During my career in management and consulting I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work with numerous entrepreneurs and managers. Whilst there were many things that were different, there were some commonalities - especially amongst the successful ones. From my 20 years experience, here are the six most powerful questions great leaders asked of their people: 1. What’s our aspirational Plan A and our bullet-proof Plan B? One of the most successful entrepreneurs I know had a habit of asking two questions: All things being equal, what would be our most courageous and aspirational goal? It was always accompanied with:… Continue Reading »»»
Putting Our People First by Nick Marvin - What is most valuable in an organisation has changed over time. Not long ago, it was capital - that scare resource that gave those with it an advantage over the competition. Early entrepreneurs employed capital in agriculture and industry for profit and growth. International corporate empires were built in ensuing years, often making their sheer size impossible to compete with. But even a fleeting glance at the global landscape today reveals a vastly different picture. Many of the largest entities did not exist a decade or two ago and they far surpass some of those old behemoths…and their numbers are… Continue Reading »»»
The Secret Power of Rituals by Nick Marvin - Most of us have a general idea of our aspirations and what we must do to achieve them. The difficulty, of course, is in the execution. We also have a very human weakness of over-reaching for our short term goals and under-reaching our long-term goals. This often results in us, say, planning to run five miles a day starting tomorrow!!! We may start well but within a week we find ourselves not running at all. Few of us have the iron-willed discipline to follow through on great achievements without failing. And even those that do, often started small. The answer… Continue Reading »»»
The five duties of a manager by Nick Marvin - Management at its most basic, is about clarifying an organisation’s purpose and empowering its people to achieve performance. But what are the key duties of a manager? Here are five, collated from available research and our own management consulting experience. 1. SERVANT LEADERSHIP Above all else, good managers have the mindset of a servant leader. Placing the needs of the organisation and its people above one’s self. Focusing on what needs to be done, not what one wants to do. Too often, organisations are misdirected by the ego, passion and affections of their leaders. Personalities and personal preferences rather then… Continue Reading »»»
Understanding Organisational Performance by Nick Marvin - Organisations (and individuals) must eventually consider their results. Not in a one-dimensional utilitarian mindset but in the context of their existence and contribution. This provides everyone - inside and outside the organisation - an understanding of how time and valuable resources are used and managed. In our management paradigm, people and the organisations they work in, must have an aligned purpose. They also need to be engaged in a far more meaningful way than ever before. We no longer follow orders! Organisations have to genuinely understand its people’s strengths and employ them optimally. People want to work in a safe,… Continue Reading »»»
Three steps to defining your organisation’s purpose by Nick Marvin - What should we do? This is one of the powerful questions we must repeatedly ask of ourselves and our organisation. In our fast-paced environment the answer changes all the time. It is why we may need to change the management mind-set from Strategy to Purpose. The latter is iterative, involving the entire organisation all the time. The former takes too long to develop and even longer to adopt and adapt. Defining and clarifying organisational Purpose should not only be the starting point, but continually challenged in light of its Environment, its ability to Create Value and its Comparative Competence. 1.… Continue Reading »»»
6 Areas that contribute to a meaningful life.. by Nick Marvin - In an earlier article, I shared my thoughts on purpose and “how we would like to be remembered and lead our lives.” Purpose provides context and meaning that helps us with our life’s direction, our aspirations and our goals. But what does it mean in real terms? What happens next? For starters, life and time is finite. It does not exist in endless supply and we do not know how much of it we have - the only certainty is the present and what we do with it. All available science suggests that paying attention to a few key areas… Continue Reading »»»
Is servant leadership worth the effort? by Nick Marvin - Many Christians, this weekend celebrate the solemn triduum of Easter commencing with the commemoration of Jesus washing the feet of his apostles. Regardless of one’s beliefs the growth of the Church is an amazing achievement for an organisation that began with just 13 men and at a time in history where there was little mass communication or technology - this is even more remarkable if one does not subscribe to the divinity of Jesus. The ‘washing of the feet’ symbolises a style of Servant Leadership that has recently gained recognition as one of the most important traits of successful managers.… Continue Reading »»»
Three key factors to organisational success by Nick Marvin - What are the key factors to look for when considering the environment an organisation operates in? This has been a recurring question arising from my recent conversations with CEOs and managers, and one worth exploring further. In our PURPOSE, PEOPLE & PERFORMANCE model - the very first step is to consider the Environment (the other two are Comparative Core Competence & Value Creation). Environment Analysis can take various forms - but from a commercial view point there are three key factors that I look for to help with decision making. It is worth noting that this is a very simplified… Continue Reading »»»
What limits us from success…and how to overcome it. by Nick Marvin - Last week, I spent a day with Lewis Trigger organised by the Institute of Management Consultants here in Perth on the theory of Constraints (TOC). Trigger is a global expert on Constraint Innovation having dedicated the last few decades to it, studying first under Eliyahu M. Goldratt who originated the theory of constraints (TOC) and more recently teaching it at university after practicing it in the airforce as well as various industries across the world. Here's what I learned... Put simply, the theory proposes that any system's performance is limited by one or more constraints. In other words you're only… Continue Reading »»»
The importance of being innovative… by Nick Marvin - innovation creates value from new capabilities, often of existing resources. And creating value is the everyday mandate of any organisation - it ensures finding and keeping a customer. Continue Reading »»»
How do we spend our time… by Nick Marvin - “Time,” as Peter Drucker said, “is our scarcest and most precious resource. You can obtain greater quantities of every other resource except time.” PRIORITIES Purpose! It is not just about getting things done, but about getting the right things done. For there is nothing worse than performing with excellence those things that need not be done at all. Just as critical is the need to eliminate wasting the time of those who we work with. For only by purposeful abandonment can we focus on our priorities and managing the time we spend on them. To understand how we spend our… Continue Reading »»»
Winning isn’t everything by Nick Marvin - Winning isn’t everything - It’s just as important to follow the compass as it is to check the clock when pursuing our personal best. Continue Reading »»»
Is it time to abandon annual performance reviews? by Nick Marvin - (This is part#2 of a series on PEOPLE - see part#1 here) Managers and leaders have to re-wire their organisations to evolve in order to satisfy these needs and still perform in a competitive and challenging environment. They need to constantly calibrate their purpose in an ever-changing global marketplace. What is irrefutable, is that the current management practices are failing...and miserably. A case in point is the annual performance management review - still in vogue today. Whilst even its usefulness as a compliance model for compensation, promotion or termination is questionable, there is little evidence to support its effectiveness in… Continue Reading »»»
How organisations can truly engage with their people… by Nick Marvin - People are the core of any organisation. Attracting the right people, engaging them with a meaningful purpose and empowering them to perform is critical for success. Continue Reading »»»
Rethinking Management by Nick Marvin - It’s time to rethink management - not just for the current environment but for what lies ahead. Many of the most valuable and successful organisations in the world today, did not exist a decade ago - evidence that a flexible, nimble and proactive approach is required. Management must move beyond the traditional model of Strategy, Structure and Systems to a far more dynamic model of Purpose People and Performance. The old Strategy framework is top-down, prescriptive and formulaic having evolved when corporations sought to minimise deviations, systemise people and processes to make them more manageable. Unfortunately, this has made companies… Continue Reading »»»
The urgency delusion of work by Nick Marvin - The immediacy of our work environments have had numerous positive and negative implications on how we perform. One phenomenon, is the sense of urgency that has permeated everything we do in the work place. The addiction to ubiquitous screens endlessly screaming for our attention has only worsened our consciousness. It has led to a delusion of self-importance – a false sense that the organisation simply will not function in our absence. Our response to this has been to stay constantly connected and always on-call at work...to the detriment of our family life. Conversely, the urgency of our role at home… Continue Reading »»»
Primacy of the human Person Focusing on the person – the primacy of the individual by Nick Marvin - There are no teams! There are no departments. There are no business units. There are no customers and there are no suppliers. There are, however, individuals who comprise all of the above! The human person. It is the human in management that must take primacy at all times. Teams don’t under perform – individuals in teams underperform and when such mediocrity is tolerated, over time, it becomes the norm and that’s how teams fail. For, in every grouping of individuals, there are those that perform and those that don’t. Individuals need to have a sense of purpose. Who have to… Continue Reading »»»
Eliminating the weakest link by Nick Marvin - The management practice of maximising an individual’s strengths and making their weaknesses irrelevant is rightfully becoming widespread these days. However, this will only be successful if weaknesses are above a certain acceptable level. A person with a speaking difficulty or hearing impediment will not make a good telephone receptionist. Similarly, as discussed earlier, one’s strength must be useful, a competitive advantage and add value to the organisation. Attention to the organisation’s areas of weakness is just as important. Weaknesses in organisations, unlike in individuals, cannot be ignored. They can undermine the entire operation, its products, services or customer experience. There… Continue Reading »»»
Short and Long Term Goals Managing for the short and long term by Nick Marvin - In the not too distant past, when time and weather permitted, I used to find myself on a stand-up paddle board on Perth’s beautiful Swan river. Over the hour-long paddle the often calm waters could turn into quite a swell depending on the wind and passing boats. Negotiating these unsteady times involved keeping one eye on the board and the shaky waters at hand and another on the horizon to ensure you stay above board, travel at a good pace and in the right direction. So too in business, managers must have a dual focus of the microscope and the… Continue Reading »»»
Beware the first straw Beware of the first straw on the camel’s back by Nick Marvin - There is an old saying about the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Whilst this is a valid statement, in management, one must pay more attention to the first straw. Whether it’s people, processes, the economy, markets, even disruptive technologies the first significant sign of change is important. Ignoring it, just like ignoring a 60-year-old’s first heart attack, can be fatal. This does not necessarily mean managers must jump at shadows, but they must pay close attention and assess the impact of anything that suggests a shift is at hand. Often it is wise to look for patterns -… Continue Reading »»»
Management is performance The true test for Management is Performance by Nick Marvin - In a recent conversation with an ex-colleague, I was asked the question: “What must I do to go to the next level in my career?”. Answering it took some thought and consideration. There are two types of people in an organisation: managers and non-managers - and the answer to that question differs considerably for both groups. When non-managers ask, “what must I do to be a success in my role?”, I encourage them to focus on their core competence – be the very best at what you do: Maximise your strengths; Minimise your weaknesses; Commit to continual improvement…and hopefully your… Continue Reading »»»
Developing Business Strategy The four steps to developing your business strategy by Nick Marvin - This week, I had the privilege of spending some time with post-graduate business students from the local university. The topic for discussion was creating a business plan. The conversation gave me an opportunity to reflect on the matter and put some of my thoughts in writing. Following are the four ‘C’s to consider when developing your business strategy. CORE COMPETENCE First, clarify the core competence of the organisation. In simple terms, this means establishing your key strength. What does your organisation do well? It may be customer service, product development, low-cost manufacturing, communication, innovation etc. But identifying what you are… Continue Reading »»»
Address concerns in the work place How to address concerns in the workplace by Nick Marvin - During my time in the work-place, I’ve witnessed the ‘spray’ at all levels: staff meetings, management get-togethers, and locker rooms.  This is where the boss addresses the entire group with a generalised outburst on what’s wrong and how it needs to be fixed. As a young manager, I have been guilty of this on many occasions. It was because it was easier…not as personal and far less confronting. More recently I’ve noticed this this occurring via email – where the entire corporate email group is the recipient. However, this practice is almost always counter productive. Let’s say there is a… Continue Reading »»»
Key functions of a manager The 2 key functions of the modern manager by Nick Marvin - For too long management has been mistaken for authoritative control of people. Where a manager is a powerful figure…almost dictatorial...ruling over his workers in the pursuit of efficiencies. The decline in the number of manual workers and the ubiquity of the knowledge worker has required a re-think. Knowledge workers today are often experts in their field. They are likely to be better qualified at their craft than even the people that manage them. Take the example of the operation theatre for an organ transplant in a hospital. Here the managing doctor is by no means the most knowledgable person in… Continue Reading »»»
Full Engagement 7 Steps to full engagement with your people… by Nick Marvin - You don't hire just a hand, the whole person comes to work! Managers today must understand that they employ the entire person - regardless of the role. This requires full engagement with the individual, which can be achieved by focusing on the following seven areas: 1. Understanding context Getting to know the person, their family and their background. This will give context to their actions, behaviours and proclivities. 2. How do they perform? Do they work better autonomously or prefer to work in a team environment. What type of teams do they work in best? Are they goal-oriented or process-oriented?… Continue Reading »»»
Grow Organisational Revenue 3 ways to grow your organisation’s revenue by Nick Marvin -  Growing revenues and profits in any organisation must be an ongoing focus. With the ever changing environment, disruptive technologies and new opportunities and challenges, a culture of growth must be encouraged and embedded into the routine. A structured model to do this on a regular basis may sometimes be helpful. The diagram above proposes a simple matrix that has worked for me in the past and is still quite effective today. (The word market and customers may be interchangeable in this model.) Whilst we often operate within the bottom left quadrant - where we saturate our current market with our… Continue Reading »»»
The 5 negatives of interruptions during work by Nick Marvin - Getting interrupted whilst working or managing a project can be annoying. However, recent research suggests the negative effects can be a lot worse. In 2013, Erik Altmann and Zach Hambrick of Michigan State University and Gregory Trafton of the US Naval Research Laboratory found that brief interruptions, even as low as 2.8 seconds resulted in doubling the error rate of work performed. More recently, Gloria Mark from the University of California together with Daniela Gudith and Ulrich Klocke from Humboldt University, Berlin concluded that interruptions had other more far reaching consequences. These included increased effort and time pressure to perform… Continue Reading »»»
Budget for growth to ensure organisational success by Nick Marvin - As we enter a new financial year, most companies have been through the process of financial forecasting or budgeting. Notwithstanding, as argued before, that a 12-month cycle may be too long a time-frame for such a process it is a requirement for various reasons. It also does provide the basis for medium-term planning. The annual ritual of budgeting takes various forms depending on the size of the organisation. Commonly this entails reviewing past performance and estimating as accurately as possible what lies ahead. In good times, incomes and correlating expenses are increased. In tough times, as we may be presently… Continue Reading »»»
Why management must actively pursue strategic abandonment by Nick Marvin - Every three months, I spend half-a-day going through all my personal possessions and split them up in three groups: the first - items that I still use and need to keep: the second - things that I no longer use and need to trash; and third - stuff that I'm unsure of - which I put in storage...if I don't use it over the ensuing three months, I dispose of those items as well. I also have an ongoing principle that if purchase something new, it must accompany the disposal of something redundant. This habit has served me well in… Continue Reading »»»
Schedule your priorities not prioritise your schedule by Nick Marvin - For a long time now, time management experts have extolled the virtues of tasks or schedules and then to prioritise them. Whilst this in itself is a good endeavour, a more effective method to achieve one’s outcomes is to set key priorities and to schedule them. Too often our days and weeks are dictated by email, social media and other sometimes meaningless distractions. We are reactionary in our behaviours. The urgency of the immediate takes precedence over the important. On reflection, I have noticed how often my calendar is filled with meetings – often requested by others. It is difficult… Continue Reading »»»
Focus on the outside by Nick Marvin - As managers, it is often easy to get caught up in the everyday. The constant demands of the email in-box, the regular board and management meetings, the routine of operations or the unending unforeseen issues that require your attention can be quite consuming. However, a key function of the manager is to interpret the outside environment and ensure the organisation responds adequately to it. Innovation and entrepreneurship places an even higher responsibility of staying ahead of the rapidly changing world and setting a pro-active agenda rather than simply reacting to it. In order to do this, one must focus on… Continue Reading »»»
Core competence – Individuals in the organisation by Nick Marvin - We've discussed the strengths/weaknesses theory previously, but how does it work best in an organisation? One's management of one's strengths and weaknesses is critical in managing one's self and career. Most people don't quite know what their weaknesses are, let alone their strengths. Identifying them through self-analysis and feedback-analysis is an important starting point. Doing this early in one's life is also advantageous. The second step is to find the key performance in the core competence. In other words, how do we best exploit our key strengths. For example, I personally have a strength in computer programming. It is something… Continue Reading »»»
Here’s why you should not rely too heavily on three and five year plans… by Nick Marvin - A critical role of management is strategy - interpreting the outside world for the organisation and ensuring it responds appropriately to it. In the past, this has meant having a long-term outlook. Three, five and even ten year plans. Unfortunately, the world is changing at too rapid a pace for such time-frames. Take the taxi industry as an example. Relying on a five-year plan, in light of such disruptive entrants like Uber, would leave it redundant, even obsolete. Good management, today requires strategic planning cycles of months, not years. Whilst organisations must still have long-term goals, planning must be short-term. … Continue Reading »»»
Pursue your strengths and give back until it hurts by Nick Marvin - Following are my notes from a recent talk at the Perth Young Professional meeting on 23 April 2015. The world is changing at an accelerated pace. Five-year and three-year plans are no longer reliable. They are almost redundant. The taxi industry, for example, would never have predicted the transformation of its business model three to five years ago. Today, businesses need to look at daily and weekly changes in their environment, interpret them, and adapt accordingly. Innovation is as much about planned abandonment, as it is about creative strategy. Jobs, professions and even careers are no longer the singular lifetime… Continue Reading »»»
Outsourcing Life by Nick Marvin - BPO or Business Process Outsourcing is the buzz word of this decade, pioneered by the Indians who through their insatiable desire for education and knowledge have raised a generation of English-speaking graduates in their millions waiting to serve the world. But whilst the Indians may have specialised in outsourcing business processes, we in the western world seem to be outsourcing our personal lives. I’ve spent the last ten years researching work-life balance and have come to the conclusion that the fundamental paradigm is flawed. To truly live fulfilled lives we must seek to outsource work and not life. I am… Continue Reading »»»
The Integrity Myth by Nick Marvin - In almost any poll of managers, employees, CEO’s or leaders, integrity is always rated in the top three values they aspire to, see themselves as having, or require in the organisation’s they work for. It has almost become a buzz word. Some have argued that it should surpass core values in organisations and become a fundamental tenant on which the others values are built on. So why then do we read every day in the general news and in the financial press of organisations that fail in this most critical requirement for existence? Is it because integrity is a subjective… Continue Reading »»»
Strengths and Weaknesses by Nick Marvin - Something I’ve learnt in management over the years is how to deal with a person’s strengths and weaknesses. There is a tendency amongst many managers to focus on weaknesses of employees and constantly work to improve them. I believe addressing weaknesses is an individual pursuit and should not be a major focus of management. Of course, this must be taken in context and on what the weaknesses are. I have a term called baseline weakness. In other words if the person who spends a lot of time on the phone has a weakness with basic language skills this falls below… Continue Reading »»»
5 Steps to being more effective by Nick Marvin - Distractions have a major impact on anything we do at work and at home. Unfortunately, technology has only increased and magnified these distractions. In the past we’ve had to deal with just the phone and the walk-ins that break down our ability to stay focused and get things done. Now it is emails, social media, and a whole range of interrupters that we have to overcome. Most people have no agenda to work with each day, rather we check our emails and work on whatever arrives in our in-box giving it our immediate attention. This results in unproductive days, dissatisfaction… Continue Reading »»»
Good manners please by Nick Marvin - Good manners are the grease that keeps the moving parts in all organisations working together smoothly and efficiently. This applies to as much to management as it does in society. I’ve always insisted on this in every organisation I’ve managed – starting with swearing. There is no room for it in the workplace. It’s a sign of weakness – an inability to express oneself well, emotional frailty. Irrespective of the situation and how challenging it may be, managers must be able to articulate well without resorting to name-calling and foul language. Good manners in an organisation allows for better communication… Continue Reading »»»
Milk war lacks innovation by Nick Marvin - So Coles and Woolworths drop milk to $1 a litre here in WA. They claim it is to attract customers. The 101 of price slashing is that it's a slippery slide to the bottom. The price of milk is not a draw card for my family as to which supermarket we choose to do our weekly shopping. In the basket of shopping goods it comprises a very small proportion. What's more, most people don't buy milk just once a week. You want it fresh and so you grab a couple of bottles as you need them. There's definitely more at… Continue Reading »»»
Abandonment by Nick Marvin - Whilst management is often focussed on doing new things…commencing new strategies it also useful to consider the process of strategic abandonment. In business and in life I practice strategic abandonment. What is it that we are doing at present that we must stop doing? What systems, processes, activities, people and even values should we abandon? Only if we stop doing certain things and free up our resources can we effectively commence new ones. This also applies to people. In all organisations there are those that evolve with it and then are those that simply can’t or won’t. It is important… Continue Reading »»»
Simple clear communication by Nick Marvin - Attentiveness is critical for not just good managers and leaders but all men and women of good character. Lack of attentiveness is fast becoming commonplace. We seem to be living in constant state of distraction. No one person or task gets our full attention these days: reading emails while on the phone; putting people on hold or winding up an important conversation to take another incoming call; taking a phone call or answering emails on your Blackberry whilst in a meeting; texting on your phone whilst with your family…the list is endless. Lately, I have noticed a trend amongst staff… Continue Reading »»»

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