Categories
Leadership

Management Advice For Improved Department & Company Success

Here are twelve dedicated and proven management pieces of advice to improve the success of you and your department, alongside improving communications, connections and department performance. 

  1. Insights Over Dashboards: Dashboards are typically numbers without insights and campaign commentary. Without you speaking to your team, a dashboard won’t report the human vitals 
  2. Win Weekly: Create a win of the week for the team that everyone celebrates together
  3. Unsung Hero: Create an unsung hero of the month, celebrate those who go over and above, who consider it their job to deliver 
  4. Failure Is Not A Fail: Create a managers personal fail of the month – this breaks down barriers and enables failure to be discussed and recognised 
  5. Create Your Own Phrases: Have a set of keywords and phrases that mean important themes within your department or team, this allows you to understand the importance or severity of the issue 
  6. Time Ownership: Block out three ten minutes slots throughout your day. Have 30 minutes to build and reflect. (1) at the start of your days, arrange your day. (2) Before lunch to review the morning and plan the afternoon and (3) at the end of your day write down what went well and what to pick up tomorrow. 
  7. Is your team not communicating enough or need to cut through the noise? Ask for weekly stand-ups and sit-downs in audio or video format, this will help to create a richer media format and enable personalities to come through over written text. Slack and Teams both offer support for voice or video. 
  8. Internally Market Talent & Team Numbers – Rotate who updates the company on the performance numbers, campaigns and ideas.
    Give everyone a platform, not just the same people. Have a smaller team? Create 
  9. Templates Work – Create templates that help remove starting afresh every time. More than just PowerPoint or Google Slides templates, think: meeting agenda’s, decision document, one problem two solution framework, get to know me template, professional SWOT template,    
  10. Borrow From Miltary with BAR & AAR
    Create:
    Before Action Reviews, review what you need to achieve, what you did well in previous campaigns and not so well and set yourselves up for success.
    And
    After Action Reviews – instantly after a campaign, project or workshop is over, review the successful parts, the unsuccessful parts and what you need to do to optimise, and what is essential for the next campaign.  
  11. Create Collective Habits:
    Create a breakfast lunch and learn programme. Invite inspiring stories to be told.
    Share internal stories.
    Have a podcast listening club.
    Watch powerful Ted talks
    Select conference talks to watch and break down collectively.
    Internal conferences are often the best things you can do and help to co-coach and co-learn away from individuals hoarding knowledge from their solo conference experience. 
  12. Roadmap & Documentation: Keep a roadmap of all the important projects you have on and update constantly. Link to mockups, tests, results and after-action reviews 
Categories
Podcast

Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Colin Newlyn

Colin Newlyn – Decrapifying Work

Colin and I were introduced by the previous guest Sharon Aneja, Colin is on a mission similar to my own, his mission is to de-crap-ify work. Yes, simple but effective, to it make it less crap.

Why Listen: Colin is on a mission to decrapify work, Colin has had a great career and has set out to improve work by breaking down the general issues of the work day and workforce and helping individuals by ensuring they put themselves first and understand if they do not proactively try and make the change, you can’t expect others to know how bad a time you are having.

What Colin and I discuss:

  • Decrapyifying work 
  • The top tips to decrapify work 
  • How leadership is about leading 
  • Why we should be more pirate 
  • Should we rethink the whole work week, should we even have a commute? 
  • Policing from managers 
  • Why politics and proximity still dictate success 
  • And how to rethink and realign our people, heart first leadership 
Categories
Company Culture

Ten Common Misunderstandings About Good Company Culture

It has been brilliant to see company culture become such an important part of business, the business world is on the way to finally align company culture with company strategy

With that being said, there are important and common misunderstandings and misalignments that are important to call out and for people across your business to understand and then collaborate on to ensure these are addressed within your company. 

Staff turnover is not always a bad thing

Happy performing people will look to progress, whether this is in your business or with another business. Like most successful people, they will not want to miss another opportunity.

Mass staff turnover and original staff leaving are core signs there are deeper issues.

Keep an eye across the floor, especially keep an eye out for internal influencers leaving.

Company culture is built every day and is typically behaviour based.

It’s not just leaders and managers who create culture. Employee behaviours and actions when not being watched are as important as the guidance shown from senior titles.

Company culture has a heartbeat and will often beat faster or slower, if it beats in a specific direction for over a fortnight it is time to review.  Nothing should be left for more than two weeks. 

Categories
Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 66 – The First & Last Ten Seconds

Dear Leaders,

In Mixed Martial Arts (like the UFC) the last ten seconds of the round can be the most important seconds in the five minute round or on occasions for the whole fight. 

The judges are often swayed by the final push, a lasting impression when scoring that round or that fight. 

The difference between that last push or that last punch can mean the difference a hard-fought victory or heartbreak for the fighters. Months of fight camp, of planning and training gone in seconds.  

In business this is often the case too, the first ten seconds of a speech and the last ten seconds will be the difference between a rallying call, a cry for help or losing your people. 

The first ten words and the last ten words on a company-wide email are often the difference between action, reaction or many times status quo.  

There is nothing worse than being called into a companywide meeting, attending an all-hands and it is flat and having another email sent to the business and it flops, or worse still you receive more questions than provide answers or direction.  

I wanted to share three tips for you to have the best impressions possible in the hybrid way of work the majority of us are working.  

Tip 1: Learn To Storytell 

The 3 step narrative storytellers use is the difference between being fully immersed and engaged or drifting off. 

The 3 rules in a TLDR format 

  1. The Set Up – Strong attention-grabbing opening – set up hero journey 
  2. Goals – Conflict or confrontation – Longest part, build anticipation and the turning point 
  3. Resolution – Shortest phase – twists short and clear, build tension until the wrap-up – give your audience that moment

Tip 2: Use The Right Message Medium 

In the hybrid work world, choosing the right medium to deliver your message is essential. 

When it is trickier to write a long message, a quick video message will have more impact, it can be delivered by slack, teams or via email. The first few seconds will get more buy-in than a longer intro. 

Tools such as loom (or Canva) will help you present a quick deck if you’re like me and prefer to talk through things vs just freestyling or reading a script.
Tools like teleprompter, however, will help you read a script or deliver a speech as the big CEO’s do.

Tip 3: BLUF Emails 

I have referenced the military method of BLUF – bottom line up front as a great way to communicate. Grabbing attention and asking upfront helps to get quick buy-in.
Placing the most important information front and centre and explaining the context underneath. 

I’ll leave you with a particularly accurate TikTok for how all hands are really seen: 

@naijanomad

It’s truly a blessing to hear from leadership #tech #startups

♬ original sound – NaijaNomad

Have a great week and concentrate on the first and last impression you make. 

Thanks,

Danny Denhard

Recent Leaders Letter That Will Help You

Categories
Anonymous Career Advice

How To Win At Hybrid Office Politics?

Today’s anonymous career advice is around the upcoming issue many are going to encounter, hybrid office politics, concern over conversations that happen in person or was had in person while you are working remotely or from home and impact you, your department or the direction of an important project.  

Dear Focus,
I’m struggling with the ongoing leadership politics and the political shifts while working hybird, how do I keep up and stay on top? 

This is going to be an important lesson for many professionals to understand and decide how they tackle the new political battle. 

Something to remember, being political is always an option, there are many executives who can operate without being consumed and they concentrate on their teams delivery. 

With that said, unfortunately, (PQ) Political intelligence is usually a vital skill many do not develop and keep on top of the political pulse within their business. 

Some businesses are built on politics, it’s how it operates and likely was bred into the management subculture. 

A thought process to go through, can you reduce the demand for you to get involved? 

Categories
Podcast

Fixing The Broken World Of Work Podcast With Peter Hopwood

Peter Hopwood – Speaker & TEDX Coach

Peter and I connected on Linkedin and was fascinated by what Peter was doing and how he was helping leaders from around the world improve their communications and step up their leadership style.

The Podcast:

Prefer To Listen On

Categories
Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 65 – The Unspoken Costs Of Being A Business Leader 

Dear leaders, 

This week I wanted to offer up a personal story that has been reinforced a number of times whilst speaking to different leaders over the last three years. 

There are many unspoken costs of being a business leader. 

  • The sleepless nights 
  • The restless weekends 
  • The fight that no one sees, the fight inside the board room to protect your team and the team members who have worked their tales off 
  • The constant exhaustion you feel 
  • The continued burden of another politically fuelled discussion taking more time away from completing your actual work 
  • The fight to find five minutes to yourself to get your thoughts together 
  • The way you may struggle with relationships outside of the work 
  • The fear and paranoia you feel around the business and your role 
  • The feeling of being alone in your role and not having someone to really have your back 
  • The number of days you eat badly because you are in a rush and then the days you rely on caffeine-based drinks to get you through 
  • And lastly: The three days it takes to relax while you are on holiday/vacation and then the day of dread worrying about what has happened, even if you check emails and slacks.  
Categories
Anonymous Career Advice

Designing The Ideal Management Team

This week’s anonymous career advice is connected to organisational design and scaling businesses in the right way. I break down five essential roles to be successful with.

Dear focus
We are struggling to build our leadership team, we are growing and it’s time to mature, what does the ideal management team look like? 

Management teams and leadership teams are unique to every business.

Every business requires something a little different, from the way you are created, the people you included and then those you invite regularly to the team you rely upon to make the most important decisions in the growth and in some cases the survival of your company. 

When designing your organisation, team design is difficult, department design has more complexities, the management team is typically seen as the easiest part as you invite the most senior around the table. I believe this is where many companies get this wrong, your management team should be those who excel at their jobs and take the extra responsibilities on and “play their role” and something that is constantly overlooked destressing the business. 

Here are the roles I believe you should have on your leadership team: 

Categories
Anonymous Career Advice

Should Every Team Have A Roadmap?

This week’s anonymous career advice is a good question asking should every team have their own roadmap?

This is an important question around being transparent, collaborating and being a collective in changing and adapting how you work for the success of the company.

Q: Dear focus, should every team actually have a roadmap?
And should we connect to the company roadmap?
 

This is a great question! 

I talk about this topic a lot and the process of creating a roadmap for most teams is something I am a fan of.
Anything that actually moves teams away from a finger in the air Gantt Charts is a step in the right direction and takes a list of work and turns it into more deliberate work. 

In the recent strategy articles, I suggested in WTF is strategy and why strategy is often misunderstood for tactics, strategy is the overarching plan of action for the whole company to get behind and work inside of.
Strategy is the important guide for your company, adding in the successful boundary lines. Roadmaps are the same.

Like strategy, a roadmap has to be clearly defined and understood, there should be no misunderstanding of what a roadmap is and is not, what it includes and why these important items are included.

Like strategy, the activity of planning and reviewing is about what you are not going to do and why these handful of items made the cut onto the roadmap. 

Typical product roadmaps need improving but helping to guide new teams will be essential to helping your business to succeed
Categories
Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 64 – Leveraging Your Edge

Dear Leaders, 

In the recent weeks we have read numerous stories about returning to the office, how some have thrived working remotely, how others have really struggled working from home and I have banged my own drum about the future of work is hybrid and then most recently answering an anonymous career advice question on how Google got it wrong with their it’s ok to manifesto

We have heard from managers struggling, teams screaming loudly they are close to burnout and it has even been suggested it is the hardest phase for leaders of businesses in decades. 

Today I think it’s only fair to make it about you specifically. 

We all have that one thing, our edge, in many cases, it is the competitive edge that makes us stand out over our colleagues, other candidates at job interviews or hopefully as leaders.
For the record: I’d recommend it should be a good edge, not a nasty characteristic you may have. Ruthlessness is a two-edged sword.

In my coaching sessions, one of the most important questions I ask is “what is your edge?” 

Many answer this question too quickly and rarely do I think they have it right the first time around.
Why? Many answer the question with what they tell themselves not with the true answer. 

I will ban ‘Hard Work’ and working the hardest as hustle doesn’t scale when you need to bring others up around you.

After being told this on a handful of occasions and in a mentoring session, my own personal edge:
An ability to explain things simply and act as the translator in the management team and with leadership teams

A good friend’s competitive edge is being the best internal communicator I know, particularly in writing, they understand how to write something compelling, challenging or complex in such a way it is an art form and just gets cut through. 

Today it’s time to ask yourself and find out what your edge is and how you can leverage this again (and again)? 

The questions to ask yourself:

  • What is your edge? 
  • What would others say your edge is? 
  • Where do you get your edge from? (Hint therapists always point to your childhood)
  • How would you choose to turn it up when required? 
  • Is this an edge you want to teach those around you? 

In the week to come, I’d love for you to answer these and consider how you might help teach your edge to one or two people around you. If you have a team this can be an exercise you try out and ask for input from the team around them.

If you feel comfortable, you can always reply and tell me your edge, I’d love to connect more. 

Have a great week, 

Thanks,

Danny Denhard

PS Thanks for making 40 tips to improve work as the most read Leaders Letter to date, consider copying and pasting this into slack or teams to help leaders letters grow.

Need More Inspiration?

Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Peter Hopwood Fixing The Broken World Of Work Podcast

This episode of fixing the broken world of work is with Peter Hopwood, Peter is an executive coach, TEDx Coach & Global Public Speaker What Peter and I discuss: How to step up as a leader Why leadership is often the smaller unspoken steps we take, such as mental nods, gestures and the tone we use when speaking Why storytelling is more than a buzzword and will take leaders up many steps Bias – how we can overcome bias in our team's minds How to rebuild trust when may have lost trust from your team How to tackle remote and hybrid work leadership differently Connect With Peter on LinkedIn or watch his TED X talk  Connect with me (host) Danny Denhard on the fixing the broken world of work site, LinkedIn, or twitter  
  1. Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Peter Hopwood
  2. Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Andy Reid
  3. Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Jo Twiselton
  4. Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Sharon Aneja
  5. Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Luke Kyte

Other Important Leadership Reads

What is strategy

The difference between mission, vision, strategy and tactics

Why Google got it wrong with their manifesto