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Why SMART Objectives Aren’t SMART At All

I’m sure we have all had to make SMART objectives in the past. Either at school or at work, or even for our personal lives. We are taught from a young age that objectives must be SMART. The reasons for this sort of make sense, but all they do is encourage us to be average. Mediocre, even. We are scared to fail, so we make up targets that we are likely to reach. Attainable. So if we work hard and reach them in less time it takes than we thought, what’s the incentive to carry on with that momentum? What’s the point of putting more effort in now when we can wait until next month or quarter or year when it will count towards the next target? I once worked with a guy who was set Attainable targets. He was a trader, and he was tasked with making X…

Revealing what the body language means around the Board Table

One of the most effective ways to make sure your meeting is productive is to know how everyone in the room feels about being there. With that information, you can learn who to directly engage with, or even think about wrapping up the meeting early. If they are all listening and engaged, great. But if not, you might as well not have the meeting at all. How many times have meetings been progressing where half the people in the room are staring at their phones? Staring at phones is a relatively obvious way of recognising that people aren’t engaged. But what else can you look out for? Body language is a more subtle way of working out how they are feeling. For example, if you are standing having a chat to someone look at where their feet are pointing. If they are pointing towards the door, then it means they…

CEOs: How Do You KNOW Your Employees Are Happy?

You’ve done staff surveys, you have regular meetings with employees to discuss their goals and objectives. You even give them free beer on a Friday. Well done, CEO, give yourself a pat on the back. But what do you know about the frustrations that your employees experience on a day-to-day basis? Do you know that your employees will come to you when they have an issue, confident that you will listen? The chances are this is not the case. They might be trying to resolve the issues by themselves but not getting anywhere. They get more and more frustrated and before you know it they just throw in the towel and resign. I’ve been the frustrated employee. I’ve let little things wind me up so much that I’ve ended up crying on my way home, feeling like a total failure. I was trying to do the right thing. I was trying to…

Traits of a Great Manager

Anyone can be a manager. I’ve seen people given managerial responsibilities by their superiors so that they can tick a box on a promotion form. But it takes a certain type of person to be a Great Manager. I think about all the people I have worked for over the years and think about what made them a good or bad person to work for and with. I use that experience to try and be the best manager that I can be. 1. They Absorb Not just listen to you. They absorb what you have to say. They learn about how you feel about what you are doing, and they understand that your opinion is very relevant. They understand how your role affects them, and also how their own role and the decisions they make affect you. 2. They Could Do Your Job Not replace you, because what would be the…

Top 5 Tips for a Successful Office Move

I’ve co-ordinated three office moves in one year. No, that’s not because the office I found was so terrible!! I had to move my team into a temporary office and then move us into something permanent. I also had to move our sister company out of their office and into something shiny and new because they were growing so quickly. I’m not going to lie, that year was one of the most stressful of my life. Not least because I moved house twice in that same year as well. One of the office moves was in the same week as one of my house moves. So I had to keep my cool otherwise it would have all ended up in disaster. I obviously learned rather a lot in all of those moves. So here are my 5 tips for a successful office move 1. Really Understand Timings I mean really understand them.…

A Beginners Guide to Social Media

Being someone who blogs and runs various social media accounts for my own businesses, I recently stuck my nose into our marketing team and offered my help with social media. Working for a start up makes being nosey really easy, and everyone loves it when someone from a completely different area of the business turns up with a new way of doing things (not!! Haha) A great person will listen when that someone has something of value to offer, and I like to think that I’m one of those people. I have extensive social media coverage across multiple platforms, and I rarely spend any money on paid campaigns. I devised a very rough social media plan for our marketing team, and have offered my time to help implement it. It should hopefully result in spending less money on a marketing agency to do it for us. Here it is – you…

Does Experience Count for Nothing These Days?

You’re over qualified. The position is too junior for you. I’m sure pretty much all of us have heard one of these pitiful rejection phrases from an interviewer at least once in our lives. But what do they REALLY mean? Are we ever over qualified for anything that we actually want to do? I once went for an interview at a well known insurance company in the City. At the time I was working for a well known investment bank in Canary Wharf and was pretty desperate to get out. My lack of work/life balance was making me ill and I wanted something a little lower profile. I’d explained this to the recruitment agency and they happily put me forward for this team assistant role. The hiring manager had looked at my CV, and asked to see me, so off I went after work to my interview. It was clear…

Other Ad-Hoc Tasks

“Other Ad-Hoc Tasks” is present on virtually every single job description for PAs, Team Assistants and pretty much every administration role. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Do they want me to fetch the COO’s pizza from Pizza Express every friday lunch time and then write a formal complaint when they change the menu? Will I be expected to chaperone Barry* from IT to the tube after the work christmas party because he drank too many Blue Lagoons? (*He wasnt really called Barry but I don’t want to embarass him) Do they want me to trapse through old Management Accounts to find out where we have been over charged for inter-departmental services? Or perhaps I’ll get the honour of tracking a senior manager’s phone as it travels around London in the back of a taxi where it was left, and then having to go to Greenwich to meet a very nice lady…

Look after your future self

Look After My Future Self has been my motto in life for as long as I can remember. From when I used to fold up a spare fiver and stash it in the back of my purse so I’d “find” it a few weeks later (often just before payday – hurrah!), I’ve always tried to think of my Future Self as another person, and tried to help them out as much as I can. This afternoon I found a chocolate orange in the bottom of my drawer that I’d left there last week in the hope of surprising myself at some point in the future (thankfully the surprise wasn’t that it had gone mouldy!) I know what you’re thinking. Perhaps I just have a terrible memory. Not really the case. I have a strange ability to push something out of my memory when I know it’s been taken care of. Thus magnifying…

How productive is your commute?

Sitting on the train, I see people doing all kinds of things. Watching movies (some trains I get home travel all the way down to the south coast of England), reading books, listening to music, etc. Looking at all these people, it made me think. How productive is my commute? A few years ago I attempted to learn French on the train. I downloaded Learn French in Your Car  and put it all onto my iPod. It was working pretty well until I moved house and my commute was much shorter (and busier!). Even so, I wish I’d carried on with it – my last visit to Paris was proof that some of it had actually sunk in. Nowadays I work on my own businesses on my commute. I’m on the train sourcing products, writing blogs, updating my social media. The internet connection isn’t brilliant so sometimes I’m writing blog posts (like…