Tag Archive: Management

  1. 5 tips for overcoming procrastination

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    Lorna_Jane_featured1

    I came up with this post while I was busy procrastinating over writing a feature for Latte (the Business Chicks magazine.) In each issue of Latte I interview a female entrepreneur who’s doing cool things. I’ve had the fortune of interviewing Camilla Franks (the kaftan queen); Louise Olsen, founder of Dinosaur Designs; Kristina Karlsson from kikki.k; Natalie Bloom of Bloom Cosmetics and heaps more amazing women.

    For the next issue (which is coming out next week) I interviewed Lorna Jane Clarkson who’s famous for her exercise gear. I loved meeting Lorna Jane – she’s gorgeous inside and out – and that’s where the trouble begins. You see these women are so extraordinary that I always want to tell their stories in the best way possible so that our members can be inspired and learn from them. And in my efforts to tell the story in the best way I can, I get stuck. And I avoid it. I find anything else to do other than write that piece. I’m positive I drive my editor mad.

    So here’s what I came up with for how to overcome procrastination:

    1) Chunk the task down: So with my Latte piece I have to submit about 2000 words. That’s overwhelming for me, so instead I tell myself: “Em, just write 300 words.” And when I’m done with those 300 words, I tell myself to do it again. Breaking up the task and taking small steps always makes it easier.

    2) Get someone else involved. When I feel myself procrastinating, I ask someone to give me a good talking to. In the case of finalising my recent article, it was my husband. I told him to be really strict with me and not to let me get up from my desk until I’d written 300 words. Turns out he’s really good at being bossy! He kept coming over and saying “get out of your emails and just write!” It worked.

    3) Connect with the end result: It’s great if you can visualise yourself completing a task and trying to attach to that feeling of how good it will be when it’s over. I know whenever I hit send on my article I let out an audible sigh of relief and give myself a little pat on the back.

    4) Give yourself a reward. It needn’t be anything big, but should be something that you can look forward to. In my case, I promised myself a glass of wine after I’d reached 300 words. My writing got a whole heap better after that anyway.

    5) Just do it. That’s right. When all else fails, just get on with it and do it. Don’t ask your feelings, just do it now.

  2. Two cool questions to ask when hiring

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    I love hiring new people. It’s a joy to be able to give someone a great new opportunity that they’ll love, and a joy to think of the value they’ll bring to the business.

    Having come from a background of reading hundreds of CVs a day and conducting countless interviews, the shine of the recruitment process has somewhat worn off, but the outcome has not. I still get that feeling of excitement (akin to just before you open Christmas presents) when I get to offer someone a position on my team.

    Two cool questions have helped me improve my hiring.

    The first is this: “Will this person lift the average of the team, or will they bring it down?” My goal is to consistently send the average upwards. I’m never scared of hiring people who are brighter, more organised, more astute, lovelier or more capable than me and the rest of the business. When this new person walks in, I want my existing team to sit up that little bit straighter and I want them to enjoy their role more because the new person is enriching their working life.

    Here’s the other question I ask: “Is this person an A grade team player, or am I settling for second best?” My experience is that your gut never fails on this one. You know when you’re trying to convince yourself that they tick all the calibre and suitability boxes, when really you’re cutting corners to just get someone in to the role. Yes it’s painful when you need to fill a vacant position but it hurts more when you make a wrong hire.

    These two questions (while certainly not exhaustive) have served me well when building my A team.

    What other questions have you found useful when hiring?

  3. Gaining the respect of your team

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    I’m just back from the latest Business Chicks ‘Lunch and Learn’ event with guest speaker Mia Freedman. The ex-editor of Cosmopolitan mag was asked how she earned the respect of her team and her answer included “I baked for them”.

    It got me thinking because this is in direct opposition to what Dr Lois Frankel, author of ‘Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office’, advocates.

    Frankel will tell you straight out that you shouldn’t mother your colleagues (translation – even if you’re told your Anzac cookies are the best out, save them for your kitchen).

    Nowadays I have no time for baking but I’ll admit I have been partial to making a cake or two back in the day. In fact I conscientiously baked for every new team member that joined my first business. Our logo incorporated a smiley face so that was easy. Find a round tin, whip up a basic vanilla cake and ice it in the corporate colours. Voila – instant staff engagement (and morning tea).

    I don’t want to be a fence sitter here

    But I can see where both women are coming from. Mia was trying to build rapport and trust through nurturing her staff, and it probably worked. Dr Frankel on the other hand also has a good point – if you treat your team members like your kids they’ll probably start acting like them; and your colleagues may not take you seriously either.

    I think the main difference here is who makes up your workplace. Freedman’s team were all female so perhaps the extra nurturing was exactly what they needed. The sorts of workplaces that Frankel has in mind are co-gender, and if you’re after a career trajectory northwards and the plan involves earning the kudos of male peers, then maybe you should reconsider the cupcakes.

    So, to bake or not to bake?

    What practical things have you done to earn the respect of your team members? What about your manager – what have they done? Keen to hear your thoughts!