How To vs What If

arm 735823 640Is your major concern with managing your people ensuring productivity?

Almost every manager in the country has the same concern.

Here are five ways to ensure that your team stays productive:

1. Review Performance often and openly

Performance management conversations can be stressful for both managers and employees, even when everything is going well. Nonetheless, reviewing performance more often and openly can go a long way towards taking the heat out of giving feedback. Employees can be concerned that their good work isn't being noticed, while managers can sometimes discover concerns and issues that would otherwise remain unnoticed.

Work is always most productive when performance is discussed more often. The golden rule for performance management is "no surprises", which can easily be achieved when you give open feedback often.

success purple coastDo you see flexible work arrangements as an inconvenience?

You're not alone. And yet businesses in Australia and abroad are turning to telework because of its capacity to increase staff commitment and productivity and deliver fantastic business outcomes.

Australia's most successful flexible working companies are big businesses.

However many small businesses are using remote working technologies to build a happier team.

teamwork navyWhen you're building a great team culture there is no time to waste. Every negative team moment becomes a corporate memory that you need to counteract, while every mountaintop experience builds solidarity.

So how can you have more of those mountaintop experiences? Form a strong team dynamic, rather than an eroded team culture?

If you want one quick tip, it is to build trust – in an ongoing, continual kind of way.

high performing teamIt seems that there is a view out there that high performing teams can be created in a matter of minutes.

Kristi Hedges of Forbes wrote a 'how-to' piece on building a high-performing team in just 30 minutes.

However managers tend to know that a group of people does not magically transform into a high performing team without a more significant investment of time on their part.

Perhaps it is possible to build a great team in a short space of time —even one that lacks a lot of the 'normal dysfunction' that many of us have come to expect in the workplace— but what does it take to build a team that is truly high performing on an ongoing basis?

coffee break3Research tells us up to 80% of upper-management's time is spent on small issues that make up less than 20% of their company's strategic, long-term goals.

These companies are guilty of navel-gazing: excessively and obsessively focusing on a single area of their responsibility at the expense of the entire company.

It is far too common to find business leaders and executives focusing solely on the here and now, while neglecting that their company may not have any future.

There are many sides to running an effective, profitable business; operations is just one factor.

By focusing on the operational side too much, businesses neglect to think strategically about future challenges.

startup meeting 640Sometimes it is what you don't do that gets you in trouble.

In today's volatile global economy, failing to act can be more risky than doing the wrong thing. Businesses that don't prepare for the effects of technological change are at the greatest risk, particularly in industries at imminent risk of digital disruption.

A quick definition of relevant terms is in order. Machines are replacing all levels of employees across large portions of the global corporate landscape.

This type of shift is understood as a disruption, which, according to Harvard's disruption guru, Clayton Christensen, can be defined as that which displaces "an existing market, industry, or technology and produces something new and more efficient and worthwhile."

global coworking

Co-working, activity-based working, distributed workforce... These emerging terms remind us that the world of work is changing fast.

But how prepared are our organisations to make mobile work succeed?

Could telework or remote work be successful in your workplace?

Sourcing good advice about how to approach telework and mobile work as an organisation has, until recently, been quite difficult. The focus of freely available information tends to be on individual flexible work arrangements, rather than on providing strategic advice for organisations.

creativity oil pastelsIn today's competitive environment businesses have come to rely on creative thinking to stay ahead of their competitors. 

This means that creative thinking is a highly valued skill in most organisations and today's creative problem solver frequently becomes tomorrow's executive.

The only problem with creativity is that it's rather mysterious and hard to explain.

Ask any artist, poet, scientist or inventor how they come up with great ideas and they'll find it really hard to describe their creative process.

FreeAdviceWhether you're a lawyer, accountant, naturopath or financial planner, there are five types of clients to be wary of.

Anna Pino, who trained as a psychologist and is CEO of Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre, a virtual accelerator working with entrepreneurs, inventors and researchers says that for advisor type businesses not all clients are created equal.

"Some people are just not ready or suited to advisor-client relationships," said Ms Pino.

ChangeFew startups reach maturity without having to pivot or change direction at some point during their journey. In fact, most of them will have to change a couple of times to adapt to changing market conditions or new opportunities. 

There are some useful tools available on the market to help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business idea. One such tool is BizLab; an online business diagnostic tool that looks at market viability, risk and your business model.

Tools like BizLab provide an early warning of problems with your business idea and can provide a good indication that a pivot is required.

FailWhen you're a start-up you're often everything in the business – technician, salesperson, accounts department and office manager.

Not all of these roles come naturally and there are very often specific functions that you like less than others. This normally translates into a gap between tasks you know you 'should' do, but for a range of reasons don't always land up on the 'done' list.

Anna Pino, CEO of Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre, a virtual accelerator working with entrepreneurs, inventors and researchers says that business diagnostic tools like BizLab, highlight these strengths and weaknesses in a graphic form and provide a bit of a wake-up call for areas that need attention.