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Are you delegating efficiently?

Jun 14th

“Climbing the corporate ladder requires you to hand over day-to-day tasks to others. But many people find this very difficult to do – or do it in a way that leaves everyone feeling unhappy and demotivated.”

I was asked recently by The Financial Times to comment on the knotty task of delegating efficiently. We discussed the most common problems in delegating, how to overcome a fear of letting go, how to delegate well, what tasks to delegate, and who actually gets the credit when you’ve delegated a task?

I think it’s important to create a sense of ownership and empowerment. The

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This article is filed under: delegating efficiently

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3 simple questions to improve collaboration

Jun 01st

How many businesses do you know with the word ‘collaboration’ in their set of values? In my experience, there are dozens.

And yet, it’s one of those organisational goals that sometimes seems to run counter to human instincts. As we often say, ‘easy to understand – hard to do’. While everyone signs up to collaboration in principle, it’s certainly not easy to achieve in practice. There are always a thousand reasons why it comes more naturally to work with the people in your immediate team than the team on the next floor, or on another site.

At the most basic level, managers

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This article is filed under: collaboration, communication, partnership

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You can spend less and benefit local place

May 19th

George Osborne announced this week that he intends to immediately tackle the £163bn economic deficit with a proposed £6bn worth of cost cutting in public services. Although ministers promise not to damage front line services, this news is bound to strike a note of fear.

Now, I don’t know whether this level of cost cutting is possible – but somehow it has to be because this is just the tip of the iceberg – what I do know is, it is possible to spend less whilst benefitting local places. If all those accountable for public outcomes at a local level could establish

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This article is filed under: cost cutting, localism, partnership

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Partnership working and a coalition government

May 07th

We’re suddenly faced with the prospect of a coalition government.    That seems a rather scary and unbritish thing.  It doesn’t exactly smack of strong government (remember back to Margaret Thatcher ticking off one of her wet colleagues, Francis Pym, for venturing to suggest that a rather smaller conservative majority might make for better government and stronger Parliament).

But need we be so scared?

Look at the corporate world.  It is full of examples of alliances and partnerships.  Few companies exist completely as their own island.  They depend on suppliers, retailers and the myriad of others who make up their value chain.  They

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This article is filed under: leadership, partnership

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If a disaster has your name on it, your brand pays

May 05th

Big process industry companies pay dearly if safety goes badly wrong, even if the front line operators involved in a disastrous accident are subcontractors or suppliers.

On 22 April 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, operated by BP and owned by US contractor Transocean sank two days after a massive explosion killed 11 workers. Since the explosion, at least 210,000 gallons of crude oil a day have been spewed into the Gulf of Mexico.

In the words of Group Chief Executive Tony Hayward, “We are fully committed to taking all possible steps to contain the spread of the oil spill. We are

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This article is filed under: corporate responsibility

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Direct engagement over religious marriages

Apr 28th

Recently I was honoured to be asked to take the role of independent chair and skilled facilitator for an exciting new initiative from the Ministry of Justice.

In response to the issue of religious marriages not being legally recognised, the Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw, supported face-to-face meetings to discuss these issues directly with Imams, given their influence in the community and role in officiating over religious marriages.

Having a religious marriage that is not recognised under civil law, often means people can encounter difficulties with division of assets should the marriage break down, and with inheritance and pension issues

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This article is filed under: communication,

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‘More for less’ versus ‘waste’

Apr 06th

Since last year the biggest challenge for the UK public sector has been to find ways of doing “more for less”.  Now, however, we are starting to hear a lot more about “waste” – especially after the recent TV Chancellors’ Debate.  Is this just a change of words, or is the distinction important?

Our big challenge is to reduce the public sector deficit as quickly as possible without putting the fragile recovery at risk.

In this context, perhaps a focus on waste is useful. It certainly makes people think about how much taxpayers’ money is spent on activity of little or no

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This article is filed under: more for less, waste

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Getting to basics on culture change

Mar 25th

If the term ‘culture change’ has you reaching for the metaphorical remote control to change the channel, you may have heard one too many pious exhortation to change the culture.  I’ve heard two apparently contradictory views on culture recently that reminded me of what is at the root of organisational culture.

John Seddon of Vanguard Consulting can be relied upon for trenchant and provocative views and he recently took the head of HM Customs and Revenue to task for talking about and investing in culture change.  The point he makes is that if you can get the flow and organisation of

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This article is filed under: culture change, organisational culture, values