A Manager’s Manifesto from Bartleby

The ever reliable Bartleby in The Economist has come up with “A Manager’s Manifesto for 2020”.

If you can’t be bothered to read the whole thing or even the headings then dwell on the conclusion:

Will following these eight rules lead to instant business success? Of course not. None of this will work if the company lacks an attractive product or a decent business plan. But these rules might just make your firm a more efficient and pleasant place to work. And that is a reasonable goal for 2020.

Full article HERE, some highlights below.

  1. Give out some praise. People don’t come to work just for the money…
  2. Remember that you set the tone. If a manager is angry and swears a lot, that will be seen as acceptable behaviour…
  3. The buck also stops with you. If a team member makes a mistake, it needs to be fixed. And the manager is responsible for making that happen…
  4. Make your priorities for the next year clear, and communicate them well…
  5. To that end, cut out the jargon…
  6. Listen to your staff. They are the people who are dealing with customers…
  7. Keep meetings short. Ideally, a meeting should be the length of a sitcom episode not a film by Martin Scorsese. Bartleby’s law is that 80% of the time of 80% of the people at meetings is wasted…
  8. Drop the team-building exercises. Paintballing in the woods,…Why not build a team by introducing its members and explaining what you want each of them to do?


What to learn from aircraft??

Earl Weiner

Among them:

  • Every device creates its own opportunity for human error.
  • Exotic devices create exotic problems.
  • Digital devices tune out small errors while creating opportunities for large errors.
  • Invention is the mother of necessity.
  • Some problems have no solution.
  • It takes an airplane to bring out the worst in a pilot.
  • Whenever you solve a problem, you usually create one. You can only hope that the one you created is less critical than the one you eliminated.
  • You can never be too rich or too thin (according to the Duchess of Windsor) or too careful about what you put into a digital flight-guidance system (Wiener).

Wiener pointed out that the effect of automation is to reduce the cockpit workload when the workload is low and to increase it when the workload is high. Nadine Sarter, an industrial engineer at the University of Michigan, and one of the pre-eminent researchers in the field, made the same point to me in a different way: “Look, as automation level goes up, the help provided goes up, workload is lowered, and all the expected benefits are achieved. But then if the automation in some way fails, there is a significant price to pay. We need to think about whether there is a level where you get considerable benefits from the automation but if something goes wrong the pilot can still handle it.”

The Ten Rules of Anti-Social Media (according to Alan Stevens)

(#1 in a series of newsletters that I recommend)

I didn’t write this but I am happy to share it. The writer was Alan Stevens, The Media Coach, and it came from his excellent, free weekly newsletter available at www.mediacoach.co.uk


I didn’t coin the phrase “anti-social media”, but I did come up with these rules back in 2009. I’ve updated them, and suggest that they still apply if you want to be really anti-social online. They should ensure that you use anti-social media for no gain and scant profit:

1) Promote yourself relentlessly, at all times. Make sure that every message is a selling one, so that your friends and followers understand what you are really about.

2) Never offer help. Why give away something that people should pay you for?

3) Re-send messages from experts, to give the impression that you have the same thoughts. Occasionally “forget” to mention their name to reinforce this impression.

4) Hide your identity behind a silly name or jumble of letters. You don’t want to end up on a spammers list, do you?

5) Try to get as many people to follow you as possible, but ignore them completely. They are just your potential customers, so they have nothing to offer you.

6) Cut and paste articles and pretend that you wrote them (or at least hint at it by making it hard to spot the name of the original author).

7) Automate everything so that you never have to be at your computer, There are better things to do than listen to the dull conversations in social networks.

8) Constantly promote money-making schemes that you don’t use yourself (because they don’t work). You can make loads of money selling these as an affiliate.

9) Insult and abuse others, to damage their reputations and reduce their chance of getting work.

10) Never miss an opportunity to tell people that they are doing it wrong, and you are doing it right. They will get the message eventually, and give up, leaving you the winner.

The information in this ezine may be freely re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line – “This information was written by Alan Stevens, and originally appeared in “The MediaCoach”, his free weekly ezine, available at http://www.mediacoach.co.uk.”

Chris Baker on the Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing

Postman with envelope and e-mail sign. Isolated

A great article that first appeared in Dentistry.  Written by Chris Baker from Corona Dental Marketing.

As a practice, one of your most valuable resources is your existing patient database. The most cost-effective way to communicate with this base is via email – this is why you need to be doing it. Here are my top 10 tips on using email to the benefit of your practice, and a few things to avoid.

Top 10 email marketing tips

  1. Spend a little time working out what might appeal to your patients and what you would like to promote
  2. We have found that a mix of practice news, treatment education, promotions and dentistry in the news (for example the sugar tax) works best
  3. Don’t just sell, sell, sell. Consider these emails as an informative newsletter and write accordingly
  4. ‘Storyboard’ four to six emails in terms of treatments, practice news, promotions and so on – fail to plan, plan to fail!
  5. Consider your subject lines very carefully. Most campaigns will prosper or fail depending upon the quality of these. What would make you open it?
  6. Export all your data into an Excel spreadsheet, having first removed data on all patients aged under 18
  7. Use third-party email marketing software such as Mailchimp or Dotmailer. These will provide large amounts of useful statistics such as open rates, what was clicked upon and so on
  8. Keep the stories short and sweet. If they are longer, host them on your website and include a link to them in the email
  9. Ensure that you have plenty of clickable content in the emails – this means you can measure what those who opened the email wanted to read
  10. Review your reports regularly so that you can tailor future emails to what your audience has expressed a preference for.

Things to avoid

  • Don’t try and include everything in the first email
  • Don’t send emails on Mondays – most people are busy and open rates are generally lower
  • If you have nothing to say, don’t send it! Hold fire and send out an email next month when you do.

Piecrust Promises

“Piecrust Promises”

So called because as my grandmother used to say they were “Easily Made and Easily Broken”. At the time of writing we’re just a week into a brand new year.

Just one week ago so many were full of resolve with great resolutions for 2014.

This was the year that things were going to change, we were going to make a difference, we weren’t going to waste time, we were going to take control of our lives.

We were going to start tomorrow January 1st.

Except that New Years Eve was a bit of a late one and it’s a holiday so tomorrow will be fine.

January 2nd – it’s a Thursday, still feels very sleepy and not quite normal (still a holiday in Scotland) let’s hang fire.

So after that was January 3rd – but it’s a Friday no point in starting anything today.

Then the 4th & 5th, weekend – give me a break; I promise, new week, first proper new week of the New Year things will change.

So where are you now?

Only you know the answer.

There are countless books written on changing habits – believe me I feel as if I have read most of them. Websites and advice columns abound, here’s my top 10 thoughts.

  1. Don’t be afraid to fail. My favourite quote of all time from Samuel Beckett’s play Westward Ho “Ever tried, ever failed, try again, fail again, fail better.”
  2. Every journey has changes of direction, setbacks and upsets; you will never be immune from them. It’s how you deal with these things that matters. It doesn’t matter whether you fall over, what matters is getting up again – and learning.
  3. Incorporate the changes you want to make into your daily routine. So if you want to, say, write a journal ensure that you choose a time of day when you know you will have or will make time. “During my lunch break, after my sandwich, I will have a cup of coffee and sit for 10 minutes and write.” Don’t be afraid to write down your routine and see where the changes can come. You’ll be amazed at the amount of time that is unproductive.
  4. Everybody in this world has exactly one thing in common. They each share the fact that there are 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year. What they don’t share is how they use them. Day in day out “we are what we repeatedly do” as Aristotle said so “excellence is not an act but a habit.”. Have you spent the first week of 2014 living with clarity, purpose, energy, direction, excitement and passion? If not when will you start?
  5. Turn off the television unless you are choosing to watch something specific that you want to see. How many hours of your life has been spent staring at a screen only for you to say “I don’t know why I watch this rubbish”.
  6. Every minute of every day we make choices about our attitude, our actions and our thoughts. Take control of yours. Be conscious and aware 24/7.
  7. Don’t let yourself be controlled by the slowest ship in the convoy. It’s your life, it’s up to you how you live it and at your speed.
  8. Be clear about what you want to change and what your goals are, write them down, determine the steps you need to take, visualise the outcomes then go for it.
  9. Work with a coach, a friend, a trusted adviser to help you stick to your chosen path. Change isn’t easy – if it was we’d all be living the dream.
  10. Every day is a new day, so a new chance, why not start NOW and take inspiration from William James’ words: “To change one’s life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions.”

What’s stopping you?

Dr Alun Rees BDS runs Dental Business Partners to help dentists build their perfect practice. An experienced dental practice owner who changed career he now works as a consultant, coach, analyst, speaker and writer. He brings the wisdom gained from his and others successes to help his clients achieve the rewards their work and dedication deserve.

The Weekend Read – Top 10 Books from 2013

Not all these were published in 2013, it took me until 2013 to get around to reading them.

Wilfull Blindness by Margaret Heffernan. I have been trying to get any and everyone in medecine & dentistry to read this. The book explores how wilful blindness develops and then goes on to outline some of the mechanisms, structures and strategies that institutions and individuals can use to combat it. Available from Amazon.

Leadership and Self Deception by The Arbinger Institute. A natural companion to Wilful Blindness this is a lovely short read on how to change and improve the way we get on with people. It claims to to show you how to escape from your box of ‘self-deception’ and change for the better in a lasting way. If you have to work with one or more other people then this is a worthwhile read. Available from Amazon.

The Numbers Game by Chris Anderson & David Sally. Why everything you know about football is wrong. Written by a former goalkeeper and an ex-baseball pitcher thiswill make you look at the game of football from a completely different point of view. If you enjoyed Freakonomics or Moneyball you’ll love The Numbers Game.    Available from Amazon.

Stop Drifting, Start Rowing by Roz Savage. Blog post is here.  Available from Amazon.

9 Things Successful People Do Differently by Heidi Grant Halvorsen. Whether it’s the time of year or the time of life but I am becoming increasingly tired of B***S**T, whether it comes from politicians, media people, sportsmen or the proliferation of dental “experts” feeding on the fear initiated by those from the acronym farms CQC, GDC, etc. Rest of my blog post here.   Available from Amazon.

Get Productive by Magdaleno Bak-Maier Rewire your brain and overcome the 20 key time drains that diminish productivity For anyone who′s felt valuable time frittered away in checking emails or answering wrong phone numbers, or listening to a coworker giving you a minute–by–minute account of their previous night′s date, help is finally here. Your time is, indeed, your own.  Available from Amazon.

The Little Black Book of Innovation by Scott D. Anthony. This title offers a fresh and accessible approach to demystifying innovation. Innovation may be the hottest discipline around today – in business circles and beyond. And for good reason. Innovation transforms companies and markets. It’s the key to solving vexing social problems. And it makes or breaks professional careers. For all the enthusiasm the topic inspires, however, the practice of innovation remains stubbornly impenetrable. No longer.   Available from Amazon.

Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield & Shawn Coyne. Steven Pressfield’s first non-fiction book was “The War of Art” and is essential reading for anyone with a tendency to procrastinate who needs help them get out of their own way. His most recent “Turning Pro” takes the battle against “Resistance”, as he calls it, to a higher plane.  Available from Amazon.

Duct Tape Management by John Jansch. Full of pragmatism, common sense and relevant ideas it is above all straightforward to read and act upon. This is a great book for all small business owners and managers. My advice is to buy it, read it, re-read it whilst taking notes and then take action.  Available from Amazon.

To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink. The full title – “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Persuading, Convincing, and Influencing Others” does what it says on the cover.  Quite early on in the book the author convincingly tells us that we are all in sales of some sort whether we be persuading our family, bosses or patients of the benefits of an action, an idea or a course of treatment.  Available from Amazon.

10 Actions To Take Your Leadership and Management Success To The Next Level by Duncan Brodie

Nice piece by Duncan Brodie.

10 Actions To Take Your Leadership and Management Success To The Next Level

Action 1: Do an honest self assessment

It might be tough to do but if you are serious about moving forward, you need to take a long hard look at where you are right now in terms of mindset, skill set, experience and personal attributes.

Action 2: Get some feedback

Feedback is hugely valuable to you.  Getting some insights from others helps you to understand where your strengths are and what you need to work on.

You can read more by Duncan and subscribe to his ezine, blog & twitter feed at his website

Action 3: Get clear on your priorities

The biggest concern I hear from professional people is that they are running at speed but still struggling to get things done.  We can all fill up our week or month with activities but you need to be focusing on the priorities.

Action 4: Set a few key goals

We are all (me included) inclined to be far too ambitious when it comes to setting goals for the year ahead.  When setting your goals focus on a few major goals that will have a significant impact on what you and your team deliver.  It might be process automation, updating a system, a new product launch, a new way of running meetings or a new way of reporting to name just a few.

Action 5:  Set aside time for leading and managing
A huge part of leading and managing is about making time for your staff.  Sadly many leaders and managers fill their calendar with lots of activities and forget about making time for staff.  You can be sure that there will be staffing issues during the year so plan with this in mind.

Action 6: Think about how you can add more value

Many organisations are currently facing or are likely to face real challenges in the coming year.  The people who step up to the plate and focus on adding value are likely to get noticed. Ask yourself how you could add value to the organisation.

Action 7: Think about your contribution to the wider organisational agenda

We all to a greater or lesser extent can get stuck in a silo mentality where we only think about our own function or department.
Those that aspire to be a leader know that they need to be able to contribute to the overall success of the organisation, not just within their functional area.

Action 8: Take on a new challenge

I don’t know about you but I often found that I delivered better performance when I took on a new challenge.  We all can to some extent become complacent and go with the flow if we don’t have a new stimulus.  Taking on a new challenge not only stretches you but builds your skills, experience and provides renewed motivation.

Action 9: Make more use of your team

As a leader or manager you have responsibility for a team.  If you want to get the best from that team you need to help each and every team member grow and develop.  This might mean delegating and empowering individuals more or even setting up a small action learning set to resolve a particular problem or challenge.

Action 10: Make a commitment to developing yourself

None of us know everything and we all need to continually work on our professional development.  Make a plan, set aside the time and take the action to develop yourself in 2010.

Bottom Line – Achieving more success and getting the personal rewards that this brings relies on you taking a number of actions rather than looking for one magic solution. So what action will you take to make the breakthrough in 2010?

You can read more about Duncan, suabsribe to ezine, blog or twitter feed at his website www.goalsandachievements.co.uk

The Monday Morning Quote #68

“Nine requisites for contented living:

  • Health enough to make work a pleasure.
  • Wealth enough to support your needs.
  • Strength to battle with difficulties and overcome them.
  • Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them.
  • Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished.
  • Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor.
  • Love enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others.
  • Faith enough to make real the things of God.
  • Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future.”

Johann von Goethe

The Foundations For Great Achievement – Philip Humbert

From the consistently excellent Philip Humbert who’s weekly newsletter is a constant inspiration. If there is only one newsletter you receive make sure that it’s Philip’s, subscribe at www.philiphumbert.com

The Foundations For Great Achievement

I’ve been studying human achievement for almost 50 years (professionally for over 30 years), and the longer I do this work, the more I see that the “recipe” for achievement is simpler and in many ways, much easier than most people believe. In fact, Socrates described the basics almost 3000 years ago with the simple phrase, “Know thyself.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about ways to create a workshop around this simple recipe, and I want to share some preliminary observations with you.

First:  Know your strengths

High achievement comes from knowing what you do well, what you love and where your passion lies. Mid-level performance comes from people who can “get by” or are doing something “acceptable” but they are not using their talents to the maximum. When human beings do something they love and have some talent for, they are unstoppable!

Think about a teenager learning to drive, play sports or music, or asking someone special for a first date. Or how about your own determination to be a great parent, good lover or successful investor. When we are doing something that “makes sense,” something that draws and excites us, we find ways to get good at it. “First, know yourself” and always go with your strengths, passions and talents!

Second:  Know your weaknesses

We all have blind spots and weaknesses. We have things we don’t enjoy, or don’t want to do, and yet too often we create lives or careers that require us to do precisely that! How dumb is that?

If you don’t like detail work, hire a bookkeeper! If you are shy or introverted, don’t go into sales or politics! If you’re a natural born entrepreneur, I wouldn’t recommend a career in the military. Like, duh!

Unfortunately, most of the time our weaknesses are not so dramatic and we find ways to hide or work around them. Then we end up in situations where we can get along, but we “forget” to do the accounting or calculate the budget. We get “bored” with meetings or annoyed with “those dreamers” in the R&D department. It’s important to know what you’re good at, but it’s absolutely vital to know what does not suit you. Acknowledge your weaknesses! Don’t spend your life “trying” to do things that don’t fit! Life’s too short for that! Build on your strengths rather than compensating for your weaknesses.

Third:  Know what you want

We all have dreams and desires. We know what brings us joy, what excites us, what fires us up. Sometimes, we get confused or lose track of our dreams, but they are still “in there.” The trick is to identify and express them!

The winners in life know what they want and they find healthy, productive ways to go after it. They ask, they poke and prod until they “find a way.” Recently, a client expressed amazement that since he identified a particular skill he wants to develop, suddenly he sees people doing it all the time! We’ve all had that experience. My comment was that “when you know what you want, you’re much more likely to get it.”

Fourth:  Know how to express yourself

The final piece is “finding your voice,” your unique way to let the world know you exist. Some do this naturally and become entertainers, politicians or whatever. Others struggle to express themselves, but winners eventually find a way. They speak up. They reach out. They “go for it” and “make waves.” They voice their suggestions, work for their causes, and make a difference in the world.

High achievement starts by knowing who you are, what you want, and going after it. That’s not always easy or simple, but winners keep trying “until” they find a way. “Know thyself and to thine own self be true.” There is no stopping a human being who knows who they are, what they want, and is determined to get it.

Copyright (c) 2009, all rights reserved. U.S. Library of Congress ISSN: 1529-059X
You may copy, forward or distribute TIP’s if this copyright notice and full information for contacting Dr Philip E. Humbert are included. Contact him at: www.philiphumbert.com or email to coach@philiphumbert.com

Seven habits of highly organised entrepreneurs

Succinct reminder of good habits from businesszone

Economic recovery is now in sight but the pressure is still on to create equity and drive profit, and every minute counts in the life of an entrepreneur. Can being better organised really hold the key to being more profitable? Sue Reeve, founder of lifestyle management company Consider it Done, thinks so and highlights the key things to focus on.

Being organised is about keeping processes and cash flow healthy, while at the same time allowing business owners the freedom to focus on their customers and new business generation. Operating efficiently also helps reduce stress levels, letting entrepreneurs perform even more effectively.

1. Invest time in tomorrow
Successful entrepreneurs plan and commit to the most important things to get done each day. Give everyday a schedule, even if it’s rough. Without a plan it’s easy to let unproductive activity lead you into avenues where you serve the loudest voice, rather than dealing with the biggest priority for your business. Schedule time for housekeeping; emails, files or de-cluttering paperwork. Importantly, schedule time for business or financial planning, and ideas generation. Put up a whiteboard on the wall, keep a dedicated notebook for the purpose, or use the notepad tool in your iPod or PDA. Whatever you need to give you somewhere to record your thoughts as they come to you. Use waiting or travelling time to think and scribble.

2. Manage distractions
Don’t let them manage you. Turn off the continuous email notification if it stops you from constantly checking your inbox, and make a point of learning more of the functions of your mobile phone to help you manage calls by filtering or diverting them for a period of time. Allocate time for responding to messages, and prioritise call backs. Commit to handling each email or piece of paper only once. Become aware of where time leaks from your day – dealing with junk email, or looking for things – and take steps to improve your operation to reduce it.

3. Schedule regular cost saving reviews
The investment made in shopping around properly for stationery, software or marketing materials could shave your cost base. It’s simple to set up an account with providers and see how their prices compare to your current sources. Check the best fuel prices at nearby petrol stations before a long business trip at http://www.petrolprices.com. Utility and telecoms suppliers change tariffs constantly, so plan to review them every quarter. If time pressure is in the way, find an independent consultant who will audit the business, and handle all the switchovers to the best possible rates. They can build their fees into your savings, so the review costs your business nothing.

4. Make your diary work harder
Computerised calendars such as the one in Outlook, are everywhere, and it takes seconds to set up a reminder. Use them for absolutely everything where time is a factor, and you’ll stay on the front foot. Contract renewal dates; meeting preparation; report generation; customer reminders; or, break up big projects (the ones you keep putting off) into component parts and diarise them to make them more likely to happen. Use the meeting function to invite others into your task management or reminder system.

5. Don’t wing it with IT
IT issues can stop a business running in its tracks. IT support doesn’t have to cost a fortune and some technology companies can work on low monthly retainer fees tailored to a business’ needs. Work with them to build in plans for equipment replacement, to avoid being forced into big outlays during an IT crisis. It’s good practice to have an online back-up system, so that if your office equipment was stolen or damaged, your business data isn’t lost.

6. Be available for your clients
Missing a call from a client or prospect could leave you missing earning opportunities. A cost effective way to getting this right is by contracting a dedicated call answering service, so that there will always be someone answering the phone professionally. You’ll be able to respond to the important calls, and filter the time wasters. Factor in a cost of between £30 and £90 a month based on the volume of calls you need answering. Gain one more piece of business as a result of a call you didn’t miss, and the payback could easily show returns in multiples.

7. Delegation = freedom

Stay asset-light, and by-pass the responsibilities of being an employer by finding a quality organising service that can provide the resource you need, when you need it. Small businesses in particular may only need adhoc or occasional part time help, which would make all the difference, but doesn’t warrant an extra head on the team. While you are out of the office securing a new contract, you can stay focused, knowing that someone is managing the office, chasing outstanding invoices, dealing with IT problems, researching, dealing with correspondence or tracking budgets and expenses.

It takes unrelenting tenacity and energy to make a business successful, but by adopting smart working principles, and finding quality support, it’s possible to reach your goals faster. You have it within your power to bring the midas touch of good organisation to what you do.

Sue Reeve is the founder and managing director of Consider it Done, a lifestyle management company offering organisation and PA support to businesses and individuals.

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