Tag: working life

Top Tips to Transform Team Working…#1

Teams No Comments

Our first sign of an effective team? A desire to improve. To seize challenges and difficulties and try to sort them. There is momentum and determination in the desire to continuously improve. Toyota has a mantra: “problems are good”. Acknowledged problems + a degree of curiosity is a great first step for any team. A firm foundation to build on.


Top Tips to Transform Team Working…prelude

Front foot No Comments

Over the last few weeks I have given a number of presentations sharing our 10 signs of an effective team. I have presented these in a form of a checklist to guide professional practice. Surgeon, Atul Gawande, makes a powerful case for the impact of checklists to inform the reliable work of pilots, engineers and operating theatre staff. Checklists, he says, are useful in situations where there is low ignorance (ie people tend to know what they SHOULD do), but a high propensity for ineptitude (ie failing to apply what is known).

The next three idenk digests will list the first 3 items in our 10 point checklist for great team working. Before that, take time to think

1) What checklists do you, your team, your professional tribe or your organisation already use?

2) Where might checklists to codify and standardise be useful?

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Time managment tips

Personal productivity No Comments

A bit more on personal productivity: through the words and tips of a well-known range of people in The Guardian.

And a previous, popular, blog of ours too.

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Will you miss your email?

Personal productivity No Comments

Email gets a bad press. Are you excited about a few days off from that tyrant this weekend? Or will you stay wired with your blackberry or iphone, despite the groans of others? Are you looking forward, with suspense and anticipation (or dread), to the full inbox when you are back from a few days off?

Regular readers will note our attention to the downside of trying to manage our inboxes on mobile devices with hard to handle keyboard functions. We think the downside of the continual skimming that these bits of kit enable and encourage, is little energy left at the end of the day for actually dealing with the messages.

We like horizon scanning for the next emerging technology that will help companies move beyond their suffocating email cultures – cultures informed by the old rules of syntax for formal letter writing coupled with the overwhelming speed of the information revolution.

This article defending email as an internal communication tool, is a useful contribution to the thinking on the role and use of email in personal and organisational productivity.


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Free lunch….?

Personal productivity No Comments

Who said there is no such thing as free lunch (well webinar)?

Please do sign on, or pass on, for the free personal productivity online seminar at 2pm GMT on 10th January? See the second section here

And you can register quickly by completing this with your email address or contact phil.hadridge@idenk.com instead.

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Has xmas come early…??

Personal productivity No Comments

The second section of our Festive Briefing offers something you might want….

Please sign up for the complimentary personal productivity webinar at 2pm GMT on the 10th January – or pass it on.

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working not Work

Reflect No Comments

Further to our recent post,  how far to keep busy for a fulfilled life,  how much do you like working (hobbies, home improvement, keeping up with people) but not Work ( – capital W…ie paid activity to cover your costs)? 

How far could you align the two – doing the sort of projects you love, for a living? 

What would be your most beautiful career, if you could create it?

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In charge of the inbox?

Personal productivity, Uncategorized No Comments

Managing emails comes up time and time again with our clients along with managing diaries and meetings.   

Being in charge of your emails is an important skill in our connected world.

We have written about personal productivity (see the second half of this Business Briefing) and this on email management from The Guardian makes similar points – and argue the ‘war’ on emails may never be won.

One thing that rarely comes up is how hard it can be to do the skim reading and quick replies needed on the small screens and handsets of  iPhones and Blackberries.

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Get onto the front foot: four things to try out with your team (#4 – Balance)

Do No Comments

Striking the right balance is the fourth thing to work on in getting and staying on the front foot.

The balance between:

– time working and time not working (no-one can stay on the front foot with an unrealistic workload)

– reviewing and thinking as well as planning and doing (it’s critical to break out of ‘firefighting’ mode).

The After Action Review process asks four useful questions for assessing progress against your 5-30-90 day plans:

– what was supposed to happen?
– what has actually happened?
– why was it different?
– what can we learn from this?

From this you can also think through what else it will take to keep on the front foot in getting your ideas into action.

So, there you go – four simple methods to bring our Front Foot framework to life.

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Letting the hedges grow

Do No Comments

Hedges are a quintessential part of our countryside. They distinctively define many rural landscapes, from Arden’s high hollies to Exmoor’s beech banks. As well as delineating ownership, sub-dividing land into manageable units, sheltering livestock and controlling soil erosion, hedges also offer perfect and varied wildlife habitats. They are alive with insects, birds, mammals. At these ‘safe junctions’, so much essential business of life gets carried out.

The Enclosure Acts of the 18th Century led to 200,000 miles of new hedges. Open fields and common lands were divided into smaller spaces. But over half of this has disappeared since 1950; replaced by much larger, open and uniform spaces. The adverse effect on the well-being of a huge range of plants and animals is extensively documented.

Is there a parallel with the places we work in? The large ‘open plan’ office is now the most common approach to the modern working environment. They’re cheaper than lots of smaller rooms and you can change the layout more easily if circumstances dictate.

But where are the safe junctions? The passing places for unplanned social contact and easy conversation? The cosy spots to be apart? The little available research on the impact of open plan offices seems to point to a pretty hefty list of drawbacks for staff.

Getting the best working environment needs careful thought. Helpfully, there are plenty of ideas on how to balance the competing needs of cost, flexibility, productivity and well-being. Companies like Herman Miller point to design principles such as:

– creating information and resource-rich spaces that get people thinking and help them follow up on ideas and conversations

– making sure sufficient quiet and private places are available

– allowing people more control of their environment, to adapt it to the work they’re doing as that changes over time.

Maybe you should let the different sorts of hedges grow a bit more where you work?

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Email: phil.hadridge@idenk.com