Short time. Great inspirations.


Organisation Development through Storytelling

“Information not passed through the heart is dangerous.” (Anita Roddick)

data_science_storytellingStories can help you communicate a message that truly inspires and motivates people in your company. Read on to find out how it works.

A story that changed something about me

A few years ago I read a short story that changed my attitude towards forming new habits. Read More


Mindfulness is worth it. All you have to do is practise.

A guest article written by Dr. Ádám Márky

mind-full-or-mindful-ccWhy is it that in today’s society, a society reliant on and shaped by modern technology, more and more people are showing an interest in a several-thousand-year-old tradition for which you need no gadgets at all?

Mindfulness – or more specifically ‘conscious presence’ and the greatest way to practise it, meditation – has been proven to be an effective as both a preventative measure and remedy to a wide range of illnesses; it also nowadays constitutes an organic part of the organizational culture of many of the largest global enterprises. Western science has presumably reached the level where it can prove what people in the East have known through experience for thousands of years: A daily 10-minute attention practice actually brings measurable and observable positive changes to our bodies. Read More


From manager to leader: 4 key steps you need to make

lack-of-empowerment“What does your job consist of exactly? What are your responsibilities as a leader?”

These are questions I have asked many managers at different levels – team leaders, heads of department, directors – at leadership training sessions over the last ten years.

Listening to their answers I find that there is still a huge focus on “budgeting”, “assigning tasks”, “organising”, “controlling”, and “evaluating” – in other words on the management of tasks. Usually the more senior a supervisor is, the more confidently he manages his tasks.

But when it comes to topics such as motivation, inspiration or empowerment this confidence usually evaporates. “I am the only one who comes with ideas. How can I make the others more proactive?” “How can I make them care more?” “How can I motivate them?” managers complain. Read More


The Power of Informal Networks behind the Orgchart – Part 2

Social network analysis – the management tool that helps you harness the power of social networks

Moreno_Sociogram_7th_GradeIn my previous post I wrote about the significance of managers understanding your own organisation’s informal network in order to make the right decisions.

But how can we draw the accurate map of the company’s social network?

Social network analysis is the method of collecting, visualising and analysing data about informal connections between employees of an organisation.

Managers can conduct a social network analysis by following these five steps. Read More


The Power of Informal Networks behind the Orgchart – Part 1

informal networksEverybody who has ever worked in an organisation knows that behind the formal orgchart and the official roles and responsibilities there is an informal network of personal connections.

Who chats with whom during coffee break? Who does someone shares their personal concerns with? Who do people turn to with their professional dilemmas?

These are questions you can’t answer by looking at the orgchart. And yet these informal social links strongly influence how a company operates, how information flows, and how quickly and flexibly an organisation reacts to any changes in the business environment.

Do managers really understand what is going on in the informal network? Read More


5 Useful Tips before you Launch your New Mentoring Programme

mentoringImagine an organisation…

…where best-practice sharing is part of everyday life.

…where senior professionals freely and openly share their knowledge with junior colleagues.

…where young talents are highly motivated because their skills develop quickly thanks to the guidance of their more experienced colleagues.

Okay, this might the idealistic picture of an organisation with a highly successful mentoring programme, but would it not be great for it to be the case in your own company? Read More


Seven Inspiring Quotes on Customer Service

customer focusGreat customer service starts with the right attitude. And from time to time somebody says something that perfectly encapsulates the mindset needed to deliver “excellent customer service”.

During the preparation for a large corporate bank’s “client-focus” training I collected some great quotes that, for me, hit the nail right on the head when it comes to finding the right attitude. These quotes inspired me a great deal. I hope they will have the same effect on you.

  1. “Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they do wrong.” – Donald Porter
  1. “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” – Walt Disney

Read More


4 key lessons to learn from recruiting Mary Poppins

Mary PoppinsAfter six consecutive nannies had tried and failed to cope with their wayward children, the Banks family finally found the right person for the job: Mary Poppins. What lessons can we learn from their rather unusual recruitment process?

1. Create an accurate profile

Do you know exactly what kind of character you are looking for? What skills are critical for success in the given position?

You should pinpoint those critical skills before you start your search.

In the case of the nanny for the Banks’ children those unique skills included “cheery disposition, rosy cheeks, no warts, play games of all sorts.” Read More


4 simple ideas to bring family and work closer together

worklife balanceWork-life balance.

It’s is a strange expression, isn’t it? It sounds as if your work and your life were two completely separate arenas. The moment you start working, you also stop living your life.

I know, I know… of course what we really mean by this expression is the balance between somebody’s work and private life, where balance traditionally means that you should be able to have enough time for your non-work-related things (such as your family, friends, hobbies, etc.).

Sure enough, more and more companies have embraced the notions of flexible working hours, job sharing and other “unorthodox” practices, so that their employees have enough time for their private life.

This approach, however, still fails to acknowledge the fact that all of us have got ONE LIFE that can’t be artificially split into two distinct areas: work and life. Read More


How to recruit top professionals – 6 top tips from HR managers

6 tips to recruit top professionalsLet’s face it, there is always fierce competition for the best talent on the job market. It is increasingly difficult to find senior professionals who are established experts in their field, professionals that don’t require several months if not years of training and on-the-job experience before they start creating value for your company. This scarcity of top talent is especially true for certain professions such as IT and engineering. But no matter which industry you are in, there are always positions which are difficult to fill because there may be anything from only a handful to, at best, a few hundred suitable candidates on the job market.

What approaches should you take for the successful recruitment of these top professionals?

In our Best of HR project we interviewed over fifty HR managers. Many of them have faced this challenge in the past – and continue to face this challenge today – and they were happy to share their experiences. Read More


Why you shouldn’t ever start an organisational development process without conducting a proper diagnosis


Brain surgery or aspirin? Treating a patient without a diagnosis

Medical scenario 1:

Diagnosis first, treatment second

Diagnosis first, treatment second

You have been suffering from severe headaches for the last two months. You are worried, so you go to see a doctor and tell him your symptoms.

The doctor listens carefully to your woes and then announces: “What you need is brain surgery.”

What do you think of this suggested course of treatment?

Apart from being rightfully shocked, you would probably be a bit sceptical. How can a doctor possibly know what the cure is without conducting a diagnosis first? How does he know what is causing the problem? What is the justification for this drastic action? Read More


When you should use hands-on management and when you should let go

Leadership - by novishari

Hands-on or hands-off? – by novishari

Every leader has their own unique leadership style

Some managers are very good at communicating clear expectations, specifying roles and responsibilities, and creating clarity in general.  Others’ strengths lie in the ability to motivate and energise their team by giving lots of feedback and encouragement.

Some leaders prefer a hands-on management approach. They are excellent at monitoring how tasks are being carried out and thus they can help out whenever a difficulty arises, giving their team the advice they need.  Others tend to let their staff solve problems on their own and try to get involved only when it is absolutely necessary, thus giving their team the freedom they need.

Which of these leadership styles is the best? Read More


The vicious circle of micromanagement

Micromanagement - by novishari

Micromanagement – by novishari

The manager buries his head in his hands. He complains: “I am exhausted. I have been working my backside off all year. My team has been hopeless recently. Whenever they write an internal report or a proposal for a client I have to spend another half a day working on it to get it done properly. My boss says that I should delegate more. But I haven’t got time to babysit my subordinates, to keep explaining why something is wrong and how to change it. By the time I’ve explained it all, I might as well have done it myself.”

Have you ever had a similar experience as a manager? Has it ever occurred to you that your team’s perceived incompetence might have something to do with your management style?

“Hands-on” managers who are deeply involved in the operative execution of tasks often complain about their team’s incompetence. They feel that their subordinates’ lack of skills and knowledge makes it necessary for them to get deeply involved in all operations.

On the other hand, when we talk to these very same subordinates they tell us that they feel micromanaged. They say they are capable of taking on more responsibilities. They complain that they are suffocating from the high level of control and a lack of freedom to make their own decisions.

Three reasons why a micromanager’s team gets more and more incompetent

If you are a manager who keeps a very tight reign by maintaining a high level of control, three things are likely to happen in your team: Read More


How to sell your HR concept to your stakeholders by first “getting your foot in the door”

Can’t sell your ideas to the management?

Foot in the door - by novishari

Foot in the door – by novishari

You have been with your company for quite a few years. You believe you can see the issues clearly. And you – being an experienced HR professional – have a pretty good idea how to overcome these issues. So you develop a concept, a great one at that. If the company were to implement your new system in the way you propose, it would have a huge positive impact on the company.

You present your proposal to the management. You tell them all your arguments and…

They just don’t get it. In spite of all the evidence in front of them, they still say no.

This is so frustrating. You do everything in your power to get things moving in this company, but the management is so unsupportive of any new HR initiatives.

Does this story strike a chord with you?

How to make people say yes – the story of the ugly billboard Read More


Working with those damned foreigners… How to improve your own cultural intelligence and that of your colleagues

Collection-national-flagsDo you work or have you ever worked in an international environment? Do you do business with people of different nationalities from yours? If you do, you might have suffered the embarrassment of cracking a joke and none of the “foreigners” even feigning a smile. Or a time when you have offended someone, in spite of your best intentions, only because you were unaware of the unwritten rules of another culture. In theory, we all know that cultural differences exist. But if we are not aware of the exact nature of those differences, we can drop ourselves in some awkward and sometimes humiliating situations. Read More


Boosting employee motivation on a small budget – “show them that you care”

apple pickingHow can I increase employee engagement when budgets are getting tighter? How can I maintain staff motivation with minimal resources? These are questions many leaders and HR professionals ask themselves.

One of the HR directors participating in the Best of HR Project shared with us what methods they use to keep employees spirits high in a period of budget cuts. This is what she said:

“Motivate with small but meaningful gestures”

We are a big multicultural company. We employ 80,000 people worldwide and 170 people in our Eastern European subsidiary. Ours is not a small organisation, but it is very important to us that employees feel “at home” in our company. We are always on the lookout for creative solutions to reinforce the family-like atmosphere, which is a key element of our organisational culture.

Read More


A company health program that marries business interest and employees’ interest

Employee health and well-beingShould employees’ general health be the concern of the company, or is it a private matter altogether? How can a big organisation help its employees look after their own health, and make them more conscious of their lifestyle?

One of the participants in the Best of HR project shared with us his story of introducing an All-Employee Health Program into his organisation. This is what the manager responsible for the program said:

“Well-being – one of the three major factors in job performance”

There are three main factors that determine an individual’s job performance:

  • their professional competences and skills
  • their motivation
  • the employee’s general health and well-being

Read More


What does the CEO really want from the HR function in his or her company?

amcham dreamday panel discussionThis question is one that concerns HR managers around the world (and if it doesn’t, then it should do!). So, it was no surprise that the CEO Panel Discussion was among the most popular events of last week’s American Chamber of Commerce’s HR Dream Day in Budapest.

Five country CEOs from five multinational companies took part in the discussion. Even though panel discussions are often a hit-or-miss affair – it is sometimes very difficult to facilitate a meaningful conversation between five people on a stage in just 40 minutes – this discussion did bring up some thought-provoking issues, especially about what CEOs find important and what they expect of HR.

Below are some of the key messages addressed to HR practitioners by the five CEOs, and added to them are some of my own thoughts.

Read More


How NOT to start a change process if you are new manager

hulk__the_angry_manThe New Manager’s Big Change Initiative is failing

Go-ahead manager Bob Newcomer begins his position in the well-established company, Slo-Gro products. He is full of ambition and eager to prove himself as the new head of the team.

After a few weeks, Bob can already clearly see that the processes, methods and traditions in the company are totally dysfunctional and in desperate need of change.

Therefore, after less than two months in office, Bob announces his Big Change Initiative. He introduces several radical transformations. He changes the organisational structure; he starts re-engineering processes; he demands new attitudes and new behaviours from his subordinates

Not surprisingly, Bob Newcomer faces huge resistance. Things are just not happening the way he planned. His orders are not being carried out. People don’t follow his new procedures.

He replaces several of his managers, but improvement is still not forthcoming.

He doesn’t understand what is wrong. Read More


Your colleagues silently disagree with you. How can you make them speak up? (Part 2)

speak up_mouse with microphoneTips and tricks for leaders to reduce conformity in their team.

The old saying goes: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” True enough: on one level, conformity – people’s natural tendency to do as the others do – is a great thing. It helps us to be in harmony with our environment. It helps us to form cooperative groups by harmonising our behaviour with others.

On the other hand – as we saw in last week’s article – a high level of conformity can be a great burden in a workplace. It can cause team membersto stay quiet at meetings even when they disagree which can result in catastrophic decisions.

Conformity can also be the killer of innovation. People’s desire to stick to the mainstream opinion instead of challenging it will prevent innovative ideas from surfacing and being implemented.

Therefore leadership techniques that reduce conformity and make people speak up are worthy of any manager’s attention. Read More