5 Steps To Better Relationships With Your Subordinates

download (19)How can you make your business team more productive? Today’s employees aren’t drones stuck in cubicles like a Dilbert cartoon. Your subordinates live in a social media world and expect personal engagement. Here are 5 ways to better relationships with your subordinates:

Know Yourself

The first step is to connect more deeply with your inner self and to use that self-realization as the basis for your leadership. Connecting to your callings, and learning to love and trust your intuition gives you confidence. When you act from fear and doubt, you won’t motivate anyone else to support organizational change; however, when you are sure of yourself, you inspire your subordinates to trust you.

Know Your Subordinates

Research shows that the most effective leaders have a high emotional intelligence, meaning they understand people and can read their thoughts and feelings. One way to become better at emotional intuition is to get to know your subordinates. Spend time with them and find out about their families, their interests outside of work, and their particular fears, strengths, and dreams. As you build personal relationships with subordinates they will develop trust

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Why Aren’t Our Networks Staying Up?

download (17)Does anyone besides me remember the phone system? You could be just about anywhere in the world at any time and you could pick up a phone, call someone, and your call would go right through. The Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) just worked. Now nothing is ever perfect and the POTS wasn’t perfect either, but it was 99.999% perfect which meant that it only didn’t work for about 5 minutes per year. Clearly, despite the importance of information technology, the networks that we’re designing and building today don’t work anywhere this reliably. Why not?

Network Outages Seem To Be A Part Of Life

Back in the day, when the phone network was “the network”, an outage was a big deal. It got stories written about it in papers and people talked about it on TV. The reason that it was such a big deal was because it didn’t happen very often. Things have certainly changed. In the first half of 2015 alone the NYSE halted trading because of a technical glitch and United Airlines had to ground all of their airlines because of problems

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I Gotta Know

download (16)I love to learn. I read voraciously, always have since I was a little girl. I pay attention to people, to things in the world, to what is happening. I was raised by parents who valued learning, and I adopted their philosophy. You might be thinking- that is great, so what? Here is the thing, the drive to know can also be limiting.

I am so driven to know that when I make a mistake, I get upset with myself. I am much better about it after years of practice but it is still an unconscious automatic reaction to my mistakes (I am OK with other’s mistakes, as long as they fess up and fix them!). I am limited because I don’t like open-ended questions, and I stop discovering as soon as I have ‘the’ answer.

I am really committed to empowering people and especially women. I have this notion that we, together, can end the gender gap both in pay and influence, in my lifetime. Everything seems aligned for this- it is a hot topic. And I am still committed to that.

However, when I

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Is An Innovation Contest What Your IT Team Needs Now?

download (15)How’s everything going for your team right now? I suspect that like most IT managers you’d say that everything is going “OK”. Yeah, yeah, things could be better, but they are not too bad. You and I both know that that’s an acceptable state to be in; however, you could be doing better. What you really want is for your team to be working together with a great deal of both energy and enthusiasm. What you need is a contest!

Why Contests Matter To Your Team

Contests are not easy. When you are able to use your IT manager skills to find a contest that you think that your team could compete in, you are going to have to have a discussion with your team. The heart of this discussion should be the difficulty level of the contest. Does the team think that they might have a shot at winning the contest? Expect the range of opinions on your team to vary from member to member.

One of the most powerful parts of participating in a contest is that they generally have very tight deadlines. Things

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How To Address Poor Workload Management

download (14)You have noticed that your employee motivation is low- particularly because of stress due to an unmanageable workload. What can you do?

The fastest conclusion to reach is that there is an issue with time management- employees do not understand how to manage their time well. Signing them up for a time management class seems simple enough and you may think it will yield effective results. However, what if time management is not the underlying issue?

The problem may be simple: too much work. An overburdened employee is one who does not slack off, is focused on work with minimal breaks but yet cannot manage to complete all the tasks at hand. If an employee is consistently overworked, s/he may slowly become disengaged or disheartened.

As a manager, it is you job to be aware of the symptoms of poor workload management, as discussed in a previous post.

Now that you have recognized the issue, analyze the situation.

  • Is this workload issue contained to one employee or is it seen throughout the entire department?
  • Does this problem occur periodically or all the time?

Sit down and take the time to

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Emerging Trends in Project Management

download (13)We have seen 2015 to be a year of rise of the Agile and Scrum. We saw increase in maturity of Project Management among the IT Companies. PMI started to focus on Benefits Realization and Leadership skills for Project Managers.

We have also seen that there are no pure Agile projects in a organization and neither do we see organizations following agile in total. People have mixed projects in the organization and need for governance did not go away and more and more organizations following agile is also feeling the need for project management.

Based on my understanding and experience the following are the trends in Project Management that I foresee:

More use of Agile Delivery with governance through traditional project management:
We need to deliver faster using Agile Delivery capability. At the same time we need to have proper governance in Portfolio, Program and Project Management. Agile delivery will be for Project, Program and Portfolio Management. This gives the best of both worlds and can handle the practical need of speedy delivery and strong governance.

Use of multiple tools as best suited for the situation:

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Aligning KPIs With the Program Logic Model

download (12)Some governments and other organisations not driven by profit use versions of program logic or outcomes models. But just because they use a logic or outcome model, does not mean they automatically get great KPIs.

Program logic models visually map the cause-effect relationships that exist between the inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes produced by their programs or projects, for specific stakeholders.

Program Logic models also provide a framework for assessing the impact achieved by the organisation’s application of resources to its programs. These models are intended for organisations whose impact is social change, such as reducing health problems from smoking, reducing water consumption in times of drought, increasing use of sunscreen to minimise the incidence of skin cancer, or reducing homelessness.

The input-activity-output-outcome thinking that program logic frameworks encourage is very helpful in keeping performance measures focused on what matters, and I would suggest this thinking is useful beyond just social change organisations.

But most of the program logic literature focuses on how to build a Program Logic model, not on the nitty-gritty steps to find and implement appropriate performance measures to evidence the progress and impact

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3 Steps to Create Employee Accountability

download (11)Wouldn’t it be great if all of your employees do what they are supposed to do, and more? Employees have different levels of ‘accountability’ skills and in managing employees; you need to help them maximize this strength. Some people have it and with minimum direction seem to execute all that is required of them. Others get distracted, and at the end of the day, they were busy, but not necessarily productive.

Accountability is about taking responsibility and following through to completion on your commitments. In order to effectively manage employees, you need to know how to keep them accountable.

As a manager, you are responsible for keeping employees accountable and the employees are responsible for getting the work done.

How can you help build your employee’s “accountability muscles?”

Clear Around Priorities

I’ve heard from many employees how management keeps changing directions. They complain that there are too many projects going on at the same time. Where are you with department or company objectives? Are you clear on the company goals and have you communicated those goals to your employees?

In managing employees, this is your first priority? You will

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Leadership – An Introduction

imagesThe objective of this article is to look at leadership in more general terms. Another article looks at leadership as it relates to innovation in more depth.

What is Leadership?

I believe that this is a difficult question to answer, as there are probably as many different opinions as there are economists! A summarised view is:

· Leadership is setting strategies;

· Leadership is thinking;

· Leadership is being visionary;

· Leadership is getting things done;

· Leadership is being trustworthy and inspirational.

All of us probably think that we are great leaders when we review this list and compare it to how we conduct business and ourselves. If that is the case, then we would not have any bad leaders, and this is clearly not the case.

The question, therefore, has to be this. What makes a leader a good leader?

My simple answer is this. To be a great leader, it is necessary to demonstrate your commitment and understanding of the above points.


Leaders need to spend time setting strategies. In order to set strategies, they need to spend time thinking. They need to think of where the

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A Shift in Focus

download (10)Did you wake up happy today? Did you jump out of bed excited to get to work because your work makes you feel valued, listened to and moving forward in your career and your life? Do you feel unwavering loyalty for your employer? Is your work ethic rock solid? Is this not the type of employees that businesses dream of; employees that are happy, loyal, and have great work ethics? The question is,

“How do employees and employers get to this ideal working environment?” Maybe, a shift in focus is needed.

Have you ever heard of appreciative inquiry? No? Then, today is your lucky day!

Here is the definition of what appreciative inquiry means, taken from the book-Appreciative Inquiry-A Positive Revolution in Change by David L. Cooperrider & Diana Whitney. (1)

“Appreciative Inquiry is the cooperative, coevolutionary, search for the best in people, their organization, and the world around them. It involves systematic discovery of what gives life to an organization or a community when it is most effective and most capable in economic, ecological, and human terms.” (1)

Imagine taking the focus off of what is wrong

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The Importance Of Correctly Managing Working Capital And Cash Flow

download (9)As your business grows, the more necessary your working capital becomes. Working capital is the money your business requires to function. If you don’t have enough, then your business is bound to fail. It’s a fact that many businesses that seem to be thriving are forced to shut down because they don’t have the ability to pay off their short term debts when they are due.

For this reason, it’s really important to employ effective working capital management strategies. It’s common for businesses to have the need to loan the money used to finance their growth. Based on the credit worthiness of your business, financial institutions will decide whether to grant you a loan or not. Credit worthiness is determined by two main factors: the existence and extent of your collateral and the liquidity of your business. These are reflected on your balance sheet. You can determine this by getting the difference between your assets and your liabilities.

This difference and your working capital ratios give creditors an idea of just how capable you are of paying your bills. Technically, it is your investment in

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How to Become a Project Manager – Selecting Your First Project

download (8)Having completed your project management studies you may feel well equipped to take on anything, no matter how challenging. However, as I am sure you have observed, some projects are more difficult than others. It would not be a good idea to take on something that will have you quickly stressed and wondering if you’re ever going to be successful.

Project complexity is always important to understand and it is something to pay special attention to when you are starting out. When I look at complexity, I look at two major aspects of a project i.e. technical complexity and stakeholder complexity.

Technical complexity refers to the difficulty associated with delivering what you are intended to deliver. Clearly building a garden shed is a lot less complex than designing and developing a rocket. What is important for you, is to ensure that you take on something that you are confident you can progress from the technical standpoint. In this regard it would be good for you to project manage something that you personally know how to deliver. If you have been a developer of sales and

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Why Would Anyone Buy 36,000 KPIs?

download (7)There is an ever-increasing supply of KPI libraries and lists available for sale. And they are HUGE. The collections are in the tens of thousands in general and in the hundreds and thousands for specific industries. They are meeting a trending demand in the market, but no one seems to realise the incorrect assumptions this trend is operating on.

Assumption 1: It’s quicker to bolt on KPIs than to design them.

That’s the delicious promise of spending a few bucks and instantly downloading a bunch of KPIs to pick from. Just search for your industry, your function, your activity and choose from the KPIs that are filtered out for you. But before long, you’ll discover that much more work is needed in getting the buy-in from people who the success of that KPI will depend on: the users, the data owners, and the process owners.

Assumption 2: It’s easy to choose the few KPIs that matter, from the many.

Even when you can shortlist the off-the-shelf KPIs with industry and function keywords, you still have to decide which of the dozens or hundreds that are filtered for

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Legendary Leadership Secrets – Success Eats Charisma for Lunch

download (6)For many decades the phrase “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” has been floating around leadership development circles. It’s often attributed to Peter Drucker, the father of management, although that claim has yet to be substantiated. Nevertheless, I believe the phrase makes for some validate points. Strategy is generally a plan which is aimed at achieving success. However, every plan must be executed precisely to achieve the expected success. That takes people. Therein is where culture enters the picture. As I always say, “If you like logistics, you better love sociologistics because the complex planning, organization, and coordination of work is always superseded by human behavior and the ability to empower people to facilitate it. Without a positive workplace environment, and engaged as well as motivated employees, the greatest strategy in the world is destined to fail. Hence the quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” That doesn’t mean you should push strategy to the side and go all in on culture. What’s being implied is that you need both but culture must precede strategy.

When it comes to leadership development, I’m going to make a

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A Few Important Details About The Job Of A Management Consultant

download (5)In case you are concerned about how a business operates- its structure, strategy, operation and management, then a career in management consultancy will be the best option for you. The management consultants are really important for improving the growth and performance of the businesses by solving existing issues and finding better and new ways of doing things. It is not only meant for the private sector, but often these consultants’ work with the public organizations to develop the services and make savings while reducing the costs.

Management consultancy firms are well-known for offering services across different areas of business – starting from marketing and HR to finance and IT. The broad area of consulting makes management consulting a lucrative career option, while offering the consultants different types of challenges, opportunities and projects for personal development. This might include working all around the globe with the multinational clients, even if they don’t join any of the big organizations. The biggest consultancies mostly come with several thousand or at least hundreds of employees, but still a growing number of successful niche players between 10 and 100

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Must Haves in an Industry Analysis

download (4)As I have stated elsewhere in other blogs and articles, I believe that research is a critical component of good business and decision-making. Indeed, a business plan is worthless without solid research to back up statements and commentary on markets and the industry in which you operate. Furthermore, it is difficult to imagine strategy formulation without an understanding of your industry. Here’s a further thought: What industry are you in? I leave this question with you at this time!

We all bandy around the term ‘industry analysis’, but what is it, and what should a good industry analysis report contain?

Industry Analysis

Questions answered by an industry analysis include:

– What are the industry dominant economic traits?

– What competitive forces are at work in the industry and how strong are they?

– What are the forces of change in the industry and what impact will they have?

– Which companies are in the strongest/weakest competitive position?

– What key factors will determine success or failure?

– How attractive is the industry in terms of its prospects for above average profitability?

Industry Analysis Outline

Having identified the questions which should be answered by an

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Brief Insight on Benefits of Inventory Planning & Factory Planning Over Spreadsheets

download (3)What are the disadvantages of using spreadsheet?

Spreadsheets have many disadvantages. Firstly, it cannot work or produce results when the products are mixed. Spreadsheets always assume a lead-time that is fixed which isn’t the case in real-time. Apart from this, there are many restrictions like product attributes, tool availability and setting up of times. All these features are not available in spreadsheets. Spreadsheets also allow users to change and manipulate the data very easily.

This is not good with respect to the aspect of security of data. The answer to this is specialized planning software. Even though some investment might be required in purchasing the software, yet they remove most of the problems and discrepancies present in spreadsheet.

What is meant by inventory planning and why is it important?

According to a few researches, Inventory Planning & Inventory Management is very important. Increasing the inventory efficiency and optimizing it can help to increase the share values as well as the share-holders of the company. This is because levels of the customer service will increase very quickly and the levels of inventory will be lowered throughout the chain

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Just How Important Is Gratitude To Your Team?

download (2)As an IT manager, it is your job to motivate your team to accomplish great things! The big question that you have to answer is how to use your IT manager skills to get your team to work together. You have a lot of tools at your command: raises, promotions, bonuses, etc. However, what all of our IT manager training has been designed to teach us is what works best. What’s the answer to this question?

The Power Of Gratitude

It turns out that it’s not always easy for IT managers to express gratitude to those members of their team who work for them. It’s not necessarily that we don’t want to express gratitude, but it’s just that it’s so easy for us to forget to do it. About 80% of us understand the power of expressing gratitude to members of our team. However, only about 10% of us do it!

In surveys, workers have revealed that if the work that we are doing gets us both excited and interested in what we are doing, then we’ll give our best effort. This is especially true if

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Management Consultants – How These Professionals Can Help

download (1)The term management consulting mainly indicates the practice of assisting companies to primarily improve their performances through in-depth analyzation of the existing issues in the businesses and therefore by offering the company people development plans for improvement. A management consultant is the person, who mostly does things, which are not complementary to what the client’s leadership is doing; in fact it actually makes up for the deficiencies.

The management consultants propose important ways to improve the efficiency of the companies. They also recommend the managers about the ways to make the companies more profitable through increased revenues and decreased costs.

Therefore, the companies that employ these consultants admit that their executive team members were unable to meet with the challenge before and after hiring the consultants, they have gained from the inflow more than what they have lost from the outflow of the details.

The management consultancies offer the services like development of coaching skills, organizational change management assistance, strategy development, technology implementation, operational improvement services and many more. Generally, the management consultants bring their own frameworks or proprietary methodologies to find the problems in a

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“Undercover Boss” for Your CUSTOMERS – What’s Your REAL EXPERIENCE – A Challenge for Leadership

download (18)I’m pretty sure you have either seen an episode of Undercover Boss or at least have heard about it in some conversation. The concept was simple and brilliant… have the CEO of the company pretend to be an average worker to see how their employees did their job, what struggles they had, how they treated their customers, and what the CULTURE was of the company. It’s akin to the “secret shopper” idea only much more powerful because the feedback is going straight to the top person in the company.

If you like the idea and are up for a CHALLENGE, I have another version of this for you, the CEO or Business Owner or top Leader in your company.

Where I came up with this idea is from listening to countless Business Owners and top executives tell me over and over and over again how important their customers are to them and how well they treat them… really? I constantly challenge this because overall, the statistics tell me otherwise. I don’t believe they are trying to lie to me, I just think their “view

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