To Do List

Do Less, Get More Done!

Have you got too much on your ‘To Do’ list?  In fact, does your ‘To Do’ list have more on it at the end of the day than it had at the start? Well, that can happen of course.  But when it happens consistently it can be debilitating.  And more important – it is a clear indicator that the business is struggling to grow. 

And if the business is struggling to grow, then so are you and your team.

Now if you aren’t bothered about growing you, your team, or your business, you might just ignore this problem.  But ignoring it won’t fix it.  And eventually, your business will suffer, your health will probably suffer and your team and customers will suffer. 

Do you know the saying –

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”?

Max Planck

This was said by Max Planck, the Founder of Quantum Physics, who proved that when an individual looks at an object, that object changes at a quantum level.

What has Quantum Physics got to do with getting more done?

Well, let’s take another look at that “To Do” list.  Instead of seeing it as a thorn in your side, that just gets longer and longer, try to see it as a brilliant opportunity.

There’s a little exercise that you can do right now with your To Do list, if you like. 

Go through everything on your list one by one, and put a D, C, TW or F next to each one. 

F = Flow. 

These are tasks that are easy for you.  They are the things you excel at AND enjoy.  For one person this could be being creative, for another, it might be designing systems, having meetings with clients or staff, speaking in public, or bashing out the accounts and forecasts. 

Whatever it is for YOU, that makes time seem to stand still, that lights you up – THOSE are the tasks that SHOULD be on your To Do list (though they won’t be there for long, because you will zip through them!).

TW = Time Wasting. 

These are things that you can do – probably quite well – but they could equally well be done by someone else.  The reason they are not being done by someone else is that little voice in your head.  You know – the one that says…

“By the time I have taught Adam to do this, I could have done it myself”.


Now of course that is true…  Today, it might take you 30 minutes to teach Adam how to do this, and you could have it completed in 15.  So, you tell yourself you haven’t got time to teach him.  But if you look at it a different way, you haven’t got time NOT to teach him. 

Because if you have to do it again tomorrow and the day after, and the day after that, then in a very short time you have canceled out the time “saved” and now you are wasting time.  Lots of it.  YOUR time.  How much have you got left?  Have you got the time to waste doing stuff that someone else could do?

C = Chore

These are the real killers.  These are tasks that you kind of know how to do.  You don’t really retain all the information on how to complete these things, because you don’t like doing them, or they only need doing sometimes but not daily.  And because you are not really interested – you forget.  And so it ends up taking you 5 or 6 times longer than it would take someone who loved doing this task. 

Why do you still hang on to these?  Well, it could be that you don’t have the skills to do it yourself and so you don’t want to ‘teach’ someone else how to do it as you might teach them the wrong thing.  Or – you might be found out!  Your team might find out that you can’t do it.  Oh no!  What would they think of you then?

D = Drudgery

Oh boy, these are the things you really, really don’t like doing.  You might be really bad at these things.  Or you might be adequate at them but just hate doing them.  Either way, these are the tasks that drain your energy.  Things you dread doing, or just keep putting off until it causes a problem.  Perhaps you don’t delegate these things because you don’t understand them well enough to know who to delegate them to.  But for whatever reason, they stay on your list when they really should not.

What’s the Solution?

You know what I am going to say now, don’t you?  Everything that is a D, C, or TW needs to go off your list and onto someone else’s.  Believe it or not, there is someone on your team who would be better at these things than you.  And more than that – they would LOVE to do them.

When you delegate to your team, they will grow.  And I do mean delegate, not abdicate.  There is a difference between dumping a task on someone who may not have the skills, experience or gumption to do it – and actually delegating. 

The art of delegation is a subject for another day, but if your ambition is to have a Team on Fire, a team who is growing, so that your business can grow – and you can also grow – then it needs to be done. 

If you are working longer and longer hours to get your To Do list done – and not even getting close to achieving it, where is the time for YOU to grow?  When do you have time to look at your own development?

So – let’s tackle that To Do list today! 

If you would like my Simple Delegators Check List – to help you categorise your tasks in order to delegate – email me on  After all once you have this cracked – you can start to delegate – which means you can do less and get more done!

Team On Fire Lightbulb

Is Your Team On Fire?

Is your team on fire?

You better hope they are – because it is the only way you can succeed at growing your business.

But hey, maybe you don’t want to grow?  Maybe you do want to grow but you are struggling to make it happen. 

What I commonly hear is that the business owner wants to grow.  They have a plan.  They are able to create a bit of momentum, and things start to improve. But then after a certain period of time, it all falls down and things are back to square one.  Or worse!

Why does this happen?

Generally, it comes down to one thing.  Your team are not on fire.  And that means – you haven’t set them on fire. You haven’t trained them, prepared them, motivated them, and given them the tools, skills, and authority they need to truly be on fire. They just are not a “team on fire”.

There are two very common scenarios when it comes down to a failure to grow. 

2 Reasons Your Business Won’t Grow

In the first scenario, something great happens – perhaps an unexpectedly large order comes in, a slew of new customers are won, a product or service excites your market and suddenly things get a lot busier than they were before. 

In situations like this, there’s a tendency to hire the first person/people who look like they can do the job. What happens next is an abdication of responsibility to those people that they are actually not capable of handling.  Or you hire people to handle the new work and promote someone to manage those people. But you haven’t really thought through what training or support they might need to suddenly become a leader in your business.

It’s a very different set of skills that are required to manage a team, than to be a technical specialist. Not everyone can make that move successfully, and they certainly won’t if you don’t have support, training and coaching in place to help.

Or the above 2 scenarios happen – you DO have people with the skills and experience to step up into leadership roles. Fabulous. BUT you just can’t stop yourself from interfering in everything, trying to control the smallest part of the process and generally ‘being in charge’. 

So, you totally disempower them. So instead of being excited and motivated by this opportunity, they are too afraid to make a decision, too frightened of your criticism to put forward an idea. Often they are too demotivated to even show up.

And here’s the thing.  You probably don’t even know that you are doing it.  You may genuinely think you are giving them the responsibility they can handle without realising it’s too much – or too little.  If you find yourself fighting fires all the time, then it is probably the former.  And if you are way too busy in the technical business of your business – then it is definitely the latter. 

But you need to sort it out.  Because the truth is – your business will never grow until your team is on fire. 

What Does A Team On Fire Look Like?

What I describe as a team on fire – is one where they are stepping up, asking for and taking on more responsibility. And that is allowing you to step back from the coal face and be more strategic.  This team will not come to you with problems – only with solutions.  They will innovate and think of new ways of working that you would never have thought of.  And they talk to each other and support each other.  Not only that but they are each other’s biggest cheerleaders and ambassadors for the department/company.  And they think you are the best boss they ever worked for.  Why?

Because you have trained, trusted, and taken care of them.  You’ve played to their skills and supported their ideas.  You haven’t thrown them in the deep end – but rather shown them how to approach the deep end and allowed them to make their own way. There are set boundaries so they know where they can’t go but the boundaries are wide enough that creativity and pro-activity have space to flourish. 

Most of all you have allowed positive communication, feedback, and accountability to be the orders of the day.  And that culture that you have created is escalated down in the teams that your leadership team manage.  The ideas and energy flow in both directions, and your team lead with confidence and commitment.

The end result?  Your business grows – sustainably and steadily.  Now doesn’t that sound good? 

This is the basis of our program – Team on Fire. I have seen it in action many times over the years.  Like anything that works well, it is simple but not easy to turn a low-performing leadership team into a Team on Fire.  I’d love to know your experience of growing your business – positive or not! Email me for a virtual coffee anytime on

Frogs Taking Time Out to relax

How To Take More Time Off As A Business Owner 🥂

How To Take More Time Off As A Business Owner

Something I keep coming across with my new clients is the common theme of – never being able to take a holiday or even a day off.  They fear that if they are not there everything will fall apart.  And worryingly – sometimes it does.

Why does this happen?

Generally, it is because the people involved are either not confident, or not motivated to execute decisions without the boss being there.  They don’t want to get it wrong, so they don’t make a decision.  Or they don’t really care.  Possibly – they have had a bad experience of being criticised or even penalised for getting something wrong, so they would rather not try.  The root of these problems is often the same thing.  The leader has not developed themselves to the point where they can develop their teams.

The Accidental Leader

No – I’m not referring to the accident-prone.  What I mean is that much of the time people who end up as leaders got there accidentally. They did not intend to ‘be a manager’, perhaps they never thought of themselves in that way or it wasn’t an ambition of theirs.

However, they were good at what they did, maybe one of the best, and so they got promoted.  Or they decided to open up a business for themselves doing the thing they were brilliant at.  Whichever way it went – they ended up managing other people.  And they had probably never been trained in how to do that.

You see, there are some (not many) people who are ‘natural leaders’, but even the natural leaders benefit from having some training and development. 

Natural Leaders

Here’s the thing!  Most people are not natural leaders, let’s be honest.  And so, what happens is – they suddenly find themselves managing people with no real clue how to do it.  And they are busy.  Busy learning their new job or learning how to run a company.  There is so much to do, they suddenly need to master a whole new set of skills and learn about things they never needed to know before when they were just ‘doing’ the job.

They need to know about the finance, the IT systems, the suppliers, the marketing, reporting at a different level.  They need to find out more about how business in general works, not just their previously tiny part of it. 

And the thing they don’t have time to do (or think they don’t have time to do) is to develop their team.  And they are quite right.  They need to focus on developing themselves first before they will learn how to manage themselves and train up their future leaders. 

The Enlightened Leader

The temptation, if the business owner is enlightened enough to have the foresight to understand that the team needs developing – is to put those people on a ‘management’ course.  But how is that supposed to work, if they themselves have never been on such a course? 

What happens is the newly educated team leaders come back into the business with some great ideas and the manager won’t let them implement anything – because they haven’t been on the course!

And this is why things go wrong and they work too hard and can’t have a day off. 

You see – they DO need to train their leaders / future leaders, but they ALSO need to train themselves.  On an airplane they tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first otherwise you won’t be able to help others.  Well, the same applies in business.  If you sort out your own development- then you will have the skills and knowledge to develop others.

If you are really clever though, you can do both at the same time.  This not only saves time on the learning curve, but it also means everyone is learning together, setting goals and plans in place together and working as a true team.

In response to this very common problem, I have developed a bespoke team performance course, which incorporates training and development for you AND your leaders or future leaders in the business.  If you would like more details email me on

And meanwhile – book yourself some time off – you deserve it!


How do Quiet Leaders and Introvert Business Owners Create High Performing Teams?

High Performing Teams are created by 9 key actions.

If there was ever a time you need your team to be performing at their best, it is now.  Coming out of the Pandemic (hopefully) many businesses need to be ‘hitting the ground running’ and ‘making up for lost time’ (among other idioms and metaphors).

That’s why I did a half an hour webinar on this subject today.  The subject of getting your team to perform at its best wand why it might not be.

If your team is not performing at it’s best, do you know why?  It will probably break down into one of the following 3 reasons:-

  1. They can’t do it.
  2. They can do it but they don’t do it.
  3. They could do it if they wanted to but they don’t want to so they won’t. 

These 3 issues have different causes and very different tactics needed in order to manage the people involved.

What To Do If They Can’t Do It

The simplest is probably the “Can’t Do It’s”.  These people literally can’t do it – and for 2 possible reasons.  Either they do not have the capability or they don’t have the confidence.  If they don’t have the capability that could be for a variety of reasons. 

Rarely it is a physical or mental limitation, but it could be.  Perhaps they need to go up ladders or carry heavy things, and they have recently been ill or had an accident and they just are not capable of doing that anymore – temporarily or permanently.

If that is the case, then you clearly need to look at their job description and what amendments can be made to it so that they can still achieve meaningful input for themselves and for the business. 

This would also apply to a mental impairment caused by an injury or illness.  But it might not necessarily be a lack of brain function.  It could be that they just aren’t wired to do that sort of work.  In which case – you may need to look at your recruitment practices!  

Is It Capability Or Confidence?

If it is not either of these things, then it is probably a lack of confidence.  They don’t think they are good at something – or they have tried once and got it wrong, and felt bad or were criticised for it.  And so, they don’t want to try again and believe they “can’t” do it. 

Or they are new – to the company or the team, and lack confidence because they are the ‘newbie’ and they are comparing themselves to other more established team members. 

In this case, you need to look at whether they need some help with understanding how to do their job – Capability.  They may need training on some aspects of their role. Or they need to learn how to step up to the responsibility – Autonomy.  In which case you need to coach them.  Or they need some Clarity – some targets and KPI’s, an understanding of the expectations and the step-by-steps, that they need to complete. 

When it gets to looking at the ‘Don’t Do’s and the ‘Won’t Do’s – things can get more challenging and would take longer than I have for this blog to share with you.  What I would like to do is share the webinar link with you – so that you can get an overview of this complex area, and some potential strategies you can use with YOUR team, right now.

Just reply to this email with ‘TEAM please’ in the subject line and I will make sure that a copy of the webinar comes over to you asap!

Diffeering Opinions - or 'conflict' -can be great for business

Why Conflict is Your Friend – or How To Stop Hating Your Team.

Why Conflict is Your Friend – or How To Stop Hating Your Team.

Do you ever find yourself incredibly annoyed or at least irritated by the characteristics of your colleagues? 

You know those things that start off as little things but because no-one talks about them, they grow in importance until someone somewhere starts shouting and blaming and losing the plot. 

You see – we are not very good at conflict. 

No-one teaches us how to handle this stuff.   Most people see, ‘I don’t agree’ or  ‘I think there is a different way of doing that’, as rude or aggressive or unkind.  And it feels very uncomfortable.  

Agreeing is much easier.  So that’s what most people do – even if they don’t agree.  And then they sort of expect the other person to know – by osmosis, or by their passive/aggressive response – that they are unhappy. 

And further to that they expect the other person to magically change their mind and not disagree with them anymore. 

Rather than understanding that people just ARE different and they, therefore, THINK differently about things, we would rather everyone agreed with us.  It’s so much easier.

Well, here’s the thing. It might be easier, but it is no-where near as productive.  Yes – you heard me right. 

Conflict is productive. 

Well, let me qualify that.  Conflict is productive when people are supported and encouraged and trained to handle conflict.  And with the right training and support, conflict can become an essential part of the team dynamic. 

There are so many benefits to “conflict”.

When you have to justify your thought process or decision because others see it differently, it makes you think through your own argument.  Which, in turn, helps you decide if it IS such a good idea after all. 

Conflict is the birthplace of most creativity.  When faced with conflict – people get very ingenious!  Think of the Trojan Horse!

Disagreements are an inevitable, normal, and healthy part of relating to other people. And when worked through – lead to better relationships and stronger teams.  When you argue with your mother you don’t stop loving her.  You argue because it is safe to do so. 

As a leader if you can switch this round – make the team safe and secure enough to bring up their ‘conflicts’ then the relationships will grow stronger.

Job satisfaction is higher when people don’t need to fear conflict.  When conflict leads to a win-win.  And it enables better diversity in the workplace.  When diversity is celebrated then people can work in their zone of genius, it benefits all – especially the leader who can also concentrate efforts into his or her own zone of genius.

How To Encourage Conflict

If you are a conflict-averse person – here are some steps to help you encourage conflict in your team.

  • Let go of the need to be liked by everybody.  Being liked is nice, but being respected and respecting others is more important.  Respect other points of view openly, and equally, show that you expect them to respect yours.
  • Take the focus off you and onto the business.  How will this conflict, this discussion, this disagreement help the business?  And what is the best outcome for the business?  This depersonalises the conflict and makes it easier for everyone. 
  • You don’t have to be a jerk or unkind when you disagree with someone.  Teach your team how to empathise, and acknowledge the other argument/s, whilst putting forward (with evidence) why they hold the point of view they do.  This is not about name-calling, it is about finding the best solution for all.
  • Fake it till you make it.  Conflict feels difficult for most people.  Find someone it doesn’t phase and copy them until their confidence and ease with conflict becomes your own.  Pretend you are cool with conflict and you soon will be. 

If you need some help with conflict situations at work, or with training our team how to deal with conflict please reach out for a no-obligation chat, anytime

Happy kids

How to Win The Three Legged Race in Business

How to Win The Three Legged Race in Business

The Three-Legged race – it’s that time of year isn’t it?  Have you been at a school sports day recently?  Or do you remember your own sports days? Well, I was at my kids sports day today, and it was good to see all the ‘old’ stuff still exists.  There is still the ‘Egg and Spoon’ race, Tug of War and of course, the good old Three-Legged race.  It’s hilarious for those watching, and sometimes for those playing. 

Yes, it’s all good fun …until….someone gets upset. 

Why would they get upset?  Well, because the other person “isn’t doing it right” or “they’re going too fast”, or too slow. Sometimes they aren’t paying attention because they suddenly see their Mum cheering them on in the crowd and they get out of step.  Sometimes one person stops and the other one doesn’t.  And the only way to get the rhythm back is by completely stopping and restarting. 

You see the three-legged race depends on co-operation and communication.  It also involves agreeing a strategy.  And watching the participants today, it is clear that those who collaborate well, go faster. 

And it made me think.  It’s a bit like business really, isn’t it?  And teamwork in particular. 

Teams who collaborate well, generally ‘go faster’.  Everything seems to be so easy and just flows.  It’s the difference between a great experience in a restaurant and a poor one, for example.  9 times out of 10, when people aren’t happy in a restaurant, it isn’t about the food (the product) it is about the service – the EXPERIENCE.

And that applies to the team themselves.  9 times out of 10 when someone leaves a team or a business, it isn’t because there is anything wrong with the product the business produces or the ‘company’ itself, it is about the lack of teamwork and leadership.  Because the leader is, of course, an integral part of the team.

If the leader explains the vision (to get to the finish line without falling over), and the rules (how to move with ‘3’ legs), and why we are doing it (to have fun), then the outcome is more likely to happen. 

If the team then collaborates (one person ties the knot), communicates (if we get out of step we stop and start again) and co-operates (I wanted to tie the knot but I am happy for you to do it, if I can go on the right hand side), then it is much more likely that the goal will be achieved.

If, on the other hand, the team are not clear on what they are supposed to do (one little boy running on his own to the line) then it becomes more difficult to achieve a result.  And if the team start to blame each other for ‘failures’ (knots that come undone, falling over etc), then that really prevents focus on the solution. 

And we all know where that is going to end.  With one party stomping off crying and the other calling names.  And I wasn’t referring to the kids!! 

Teams can be a tricky dynamic, or they can be the biggest asset the business has.  Teams are so crucial to business success (and to winning three-legged races), and that’s why I created the Team Performance Engine ™.  Teams that laugh and collaborate, under focused leadership, make a massive difference to your business.  If you’d like to know more about the Team Performance Engine and how it can impact on your bottom line get in touch on


Familiarity Breeds Contempt  

Have you heard that expression – familiarity breeds contempt?  Have you ever thought about what it really means?  Well the obvious interpretation is that what you are familiarity with becomes less important.

For example – if you are the new girl/boy in the office, the last thing you want to do is upset anyone, am I right?  And so you would go to great pains to understand who sits where in the office, whose coffee cup is whose, that kind of thing.  Because you don’t want to invoke the wrath of khan (oh no that’s a star trek movie), well the wrath of anyone – especially the boss – by nicking their coffee cup on day 1.

However, fast forward to day 730.  Perhaps by then, understanding the lay of the land, you have worked out that the boss is a big softie and you can use his coffee mug for your guest without worrying about it.  Perhaps the boss isn’t very happy about it but he won’t say anything.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

However, there is another interpretation of that phrase, and it’s this.

Familiarity breeds contempt of the unfamiliar.

So, what does that mean?  Well, it means that it feels safer and therefore ‘better’ in the comfort zone of familiarity.  What is new feels uncomfortable and therefore ‘wrong’.  Just as someone coming in on day one with no concern for anyone else’s feelings, and using YOUR coffee cup, would feel wrong.  Sometimes anything ‘new’ is put in the same category.

And that’s when business’s often miss a trick.  The familiar might have been the best thing since sliced bread last year, but that doesn’t mean that this year, it still WILL be. And sometimes that something or somebody new will be the best thing that ever happened, if you can just take off your blinkers of familiarity.

Try not to see anything new as automatically ‘wrong’ and not ‘how we do things around here’.  Because, let’s face it, ‘how we used to do things around here’ included sticking a leech on you to drain your blood anytime you got ill, and we don’t still do that anymore!  Change is necessary, change is inevitable.  You can be ahead of the curve or behind the curve, but change will still happen anyway.

If you look on change with contempt, you will miss opportunities.  And just because someone is new, doesn’t mean their ideas aren’t valid or even the best idea.

Look at what happened to Yellow Pages when the internet came in.  I know someone who used to work there, and they tell me that voices within Yell at the time were pushing Yell to open up and be the new Google (before Google existed), but other voices thought that they could maintain the status quo but just online rather than in the real world.

Have you seen the size of a Yellow Pages directory now?  It’s like a leaflet.  And online?  Well, I don’t know their figures but they are not the new Google.  And they have had to change direction and become more about websites and SEO.

As a leader your job is to challenge the norm constantly and to listen to your people – new or established.  Not ALL change is perfect, but not changing, not adapting, not looking at things in a different way – well that is really the meaning of familiarity breeding contempt.

Human Calculator

They Call Me The Human Calculator

Actually that’s not true.  No-one calls ME the Human Calculator.  That is what some of the kids at school call my son.   It is because he is so flippin’ good at mental arithmetic.  Which is great.  And that’s only one of his many talents.  (I would say that because I am his Mum – but it is true).  And actually – we all have talents which to us seem easy but to other people might be a struggle.

For example my Mum – she is an expert at grammar and she is a fantastic proof reader whereas I… not!  I have a friend who is brilliant at just throwing together a delicious meal out of a carrot, a babybel and some herbs – well not exactly – but you know what I mean?  She can take any sparse “day before the Tesco delivery” fridge, and make a delicious meal from it.

I have another friend who is a techie Wizz kid, she can solve any IT problem you might have – problem-solving is her joy in life.   I will have been scratching my head for an hour and will eventually solve the problem (usually) but I know if I ring her it will be sorted in 48 seconds!

You – as a manager or an entrepreneur probably have a good old raft of things you are pretty good at, but there will be some you are absolutely genius at.  These are the things which come so easily to you that perhaps you undervalue them, or think everyone can do that.   Or perhaps it is the opposite, perhaps you think no-one else can do the stuff you can do and so you fail to utilise the skills on your team.

If you look really closely you will find that there are hidden skills in the people you have on your team.  One of my clients the other day was talking to their team about an issue around social media and during the course of the conversation she found out that person was an absolute genius at Instagram.  The team member had her own little business that she ran in the evenings and the weekends which used Instagram as one of her main sources of leads.  And so – a potentially thorny problem was solved, just by talking.

So – how do you find out what genius lies within your team?  Sometimes you need to uncover it, sometimes you already know it but aren’t really leveraging that to the fullest extent.

A good way is to just talk to your people – maybe go back to their CV’s if they are recent hires, and have a look over what they said there.  There could be things you had forgotten about that they could bring to the table in their current role.  Or perhaps you could put out a message at a team meeting or by email or in a one2one, outlining a project and asking who would be interested in getting involved, or who might already have skills that would be useful to the project.

You never know what might come up.  And remember – hidden talent is of no use to anyone, and as a Leader, it is your job to uncover those hidden talents in your team and allow them to develop them.

And if you are having trouble either with identifying the skills in your team or devising ways to use them fully and free up a bit of your time – then drop me an email to and let’s have a coffee and talk about it!




If You’re A Leader, Don’t Do This!

Most of my blogs share what you should do to be a great leader, how to be a better leader for your team, how to motivate your team.  But there are things that you as a leader – whether of a team or an organisation, or even a family – should also be aware.  There are things that you should NOT be doing as someone that other people look up to. As a busy executive, it’s easy to make these mistakes and not even be aware of the impact on the performance and development of the people that we manage.

So here are the top 3 things NOT to do.

Do not insult or blame your people. Ever. 

With all the pressures and stress that you carry on a daily basis, you may be unconsciously insulting your people by blaming them for the business’ shortcomings or poor performance. But remember – your people’s performance reflects yours. If your team isn’t doing their job well, you are to blame and not them.

As a leader, you should be working with your team, finding out about their challenges and giving them constructive feedback, help or training, that would help them improve what they are doing. If a mistake has been made due to negligence, it’s okay to point it out and give a warning that such mistakes will not be tolerated going forward especially if it has had a serious effect on the business. However, always deal with the behaviour as unacceptable, and not the person.  The thing that was done might have been incorrect, or unacceptable, but never insult the person.  Calling someone “sloppy” or “stupid” should never happen.

Instead, find out what went wrong.  It might be that there was a lack of understanding about what outcome was required or what method should be used (your fault).  It might be that they have never been trained to do that (your fault).  It might be that they were trying to solve a problem that was not theirs to solve (your fault for not setting the boundaries clearly enough). It might be a personal issue impinging on their performance at work (this one is not your fault but you need to be aware of it so you can support the individual, or potentially redistribute workload).

And remember – when you point the finger at others – at least 3 fingers are pointing back at you (If you don’t know what I mean – point now and see where your index, fourth and little finger are pointing).

Do not fail to set clear goals. 

If you, as a leader, are not aware of what you want and need to achieve, how do you expect your team to meet their goals too? Goal setting is one of the important tasks of a leader because it is your basis for coming up with strategies to drive your team’s performance Remember to assign S.M.A.R.T. goals to your team which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound.

Check back that people have a clear understanding of the goal.  Sometimes what seems obvious to us, has a different meaning for someone else.  And remember to get agreement and commitment from your team.  It is also a good idea to set in place some check in’s on larger goals.  Don’t wait until the day the task is due and then realise there is a problem.  This is especially important on new projects / new goals.

Do not lead to impress people or to make friends. 

You are a leader and it is not your job to make people like you. Most leaders feel that they are an effective leader when people like them—which is not the case. You need to know when to be lenient and when to be a little firm.  Too much of either is not good.

Your decisions as a Leader must be made for the greater good.  The good of the organisation comes first, not your own personal gain, though if you do the first right the second is almost guaranteed to happen.  But never the other way around.  If you approach leadership as a way for you to benefit, to impress others and to make friends – you will be sorely disappointed.  If you lead for the good of your company, your people and your clients – well then you cannot fail to benefit, impress and make friends!

The leader’s job is not to be everyone’s friend, though that doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly.  Your job is to lead, to inspire, to set the direction and adjust the course when things go off track.  It is not to be everyone’s mate.  Think Alan Sugar!

Do you need down to earth strategies and toolkits for developing confident effective leaders of high performing teams which will transform your business? Shoot us an email or

You can also follow us on Twitter @julie_hutchison @jan_sargenthr.

old Junk

Are You Carrying Around A Load of Old Junk?

Exciting times here at Transforming Performance Towers (OK I made it up… there is no such place) – but seriously – the Hutchison family moved house this week.  And apart from being fun and stressful, tiring and exciting, all at the same time, what has also been interesting, is to realise how much stuff we have that we really don’t need and never did. We were carrying around a load of old junk!

Being a bit busy work-wise at the moment, the packing started well, and then at the last minute with boxes still to pack – everything got thrown in.  And when I was unpacking one of those last minute boxes today I found a plethora of “interesting” items.   For example – there was an old sling, kept from when my son had an injury to his arm (I’m trying to think why I kept it?  Sentimental reasons?).  There was an empty bottle of sun lotion.  Oh My!!   And – fantastic find – a pair of rubber gloves……with a hole in them!!

All of this stuff – along with a load of other useless stuff – went in the bin.  And it made me wonder what I carried it from one house to the next for.  The answer is, of course, that I didn’t (for whatever reason) deal with it all at the time.  Which brings me to my question for you, which is….

What are you carrying around that you just need to deal with?

Because the thing is – as a Leader – you need to deal with stuff.  If you don’t deal with it, and you just put your old junk away in your metaphorical attic, to deal with another day, then it just festers and rots and becomes so much nastier to deal with.

This relates to both physical stuff, psychological stuff and other people’s stuff. So here is what to do about all those 3.

1.Physical Stuff.  Deal with things once.  This mostly relates to paperwork / letters and emails.  When a new email / a new request or a new bit of paperwork comes your way, deal with it (or get someone else to deal with it).  If you are going to keep something for ‘future reference’ then reference it.  File it somewhere you WILL be able to find it again and get it off your desk.  The go through that filing cabinet once every 6 months or a year and bin everything you haven’t used or referred to that you kept ‘just in case’.

2.Your own ‘stuff’. There are times when we all have things that prey on our minds.  But as my mentor always says to me – either you can do something about it or you can’t.  If you can do something – then stop thinking and DO IT.  And if you can’t do something about what is worrying you then STOP worrying and move on.  Don’t clutter your own head space up with stuff that you can do nothing about.

3.Other people’s stuff. My honest opinion on this one is – give it back to them.  However, I accept that sometimes your job as a leader is to deal with OPS (Other People’s Stuff).  In which case – you need to get on with it a deal with it.  Leaving problems is rarely a good option.  The exception might be where you have a colleague dumping on you – what I mean by that is – you KNOW they are capable of dealing with it but, for whatever reason, they don’t want to.  In this case, you might say something like – “well – I’d like to help but I may not have time to get around to this”.  And then make sure you don’t ‘get around to it’.  You may find that the person will go away and do it themselves or it suddenly becomes less important to them and it doesn’t get done.  In either case, you haven’t had to do it.

If it is a member of staff with a problem then you will have to deal with it or help them deal with it.  Because leaving stuff that is a real problem does not make it go away, and it just gets bigger and takes up more of your time and mental and physical energy.

So, my message this week is – deal with your old junk.  Deal with it straight away.  Stop dragging it around with you.  If you need any help with this – then register for my complimentary webinar on  March 23rd, at midday,  entitled “Putting Your Own Oxygen Mask on First” which covers a few areas essential for all leaders, including dealing with your stuff.  IN fact, the less stuff you have hanging around – the less you need an oxygen mask anyway!    Click here to book your place on this complimentary webinar.