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

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