Tag Archives: Business Change

The Business Face

Camouflage is one of nature’s basic techniques for ensuring the survival of species. Flatfish have the same colouring as the seabed where they dwell. Females of bird species which nest in vulnerable places tend to have less colourful plumage then their male counterparts, to conceal them from predators while they incubate their eggs. The pheasant is a good example of this. Stick insects resemble the foliage of the plants on which they live. There are hundreds, thousands of similar examples. Some animals and birds actually change colour depending on their surroundings. The Artic Fox is brown in summer and white in winter, to match the snow. The Ptarmigan, a type of grouse that inhabits the snowy arctic tundra, does the same. It is not only the famed Chameleon which changes colour to camouflage itself. To stand a chance of seeing a camouflaged creature, you have to look carefully, in the right places.

How is this reflected in the business world? Who uses camouflage techniques to conceal themselves? Many people at work put on their camouflaged ‘business face’. The face that nods agreement sometimes when they should really be shaking their head to disagree. The face that agrees with you when in the same room, but who spreads discontent, rumour and innuendo amongst friends and colleagues behind your back. The face that tells you what they think you want to hear.

This is especially true in times of change within the company. When processes are reviewed, waste of one form or another is almost always uncovered. This ‘waste’ will be all or part of some people’s daily roles within the company and they will become very uncomfortable if they think that their job is in jeopardy. When told of impending changes in their department they may smile and nod agreement with the proposals. Underneath, they may be very worried and can react in a number of ways:

  • They can decide that it is time they found a new job with a new company and so will start job hunting. The organisation may or may not wish to keep the employee and the follow up action will depend on this position. Ultimately, the employee’s actions will have a fairly ‘passive’ effect on the proposed changes.
  • The employee may seek clarification from their line manager –’how will the changes affect me?’; ‘if my job goes, will I find another position within the company?’; ‘How much redundancy pay can I expect to get if my job goes?’, etc. If there is a likely to be a positive outcome and the employee finds a new position, this too will have a ‘passive’ effect on the proposed changes.
  • Alternatively, the employee may be a ‘blocker’, someone who reacts negatively to any change. They may start off with a camouflaged face but quickly come out in to the open. They may still nod in agreement in public, but will spread negative (and usually exaggerated) rumours about the implications of the changes amongst the other members of staff. These people have very ‘active’ (and negative) effect on the proposed changes and they can change the overall opinion of the workforce unless they are managed correctly and speedily.

The important point is to recognise that many people wear a disguise when at work. Understand this and its implications. Key to this is Communication, the topic covered in the next instalment of ‘Natural Processes’.

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Rob Horlock specialises in part time project management and in helping the commercial side of businesses to review processes and implement new IT Applications. If you would like to find out more, see www.ef-ef.co.uk or email: info@ef-ef.co.uk If you’re looking for a new job – advice here: www.mynextrole.co.uk


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Change in the Workplace

Camouflage is one of nature’s basic techniques for ensuring the survival of species. Flatfish have the same colouring as the seabed where they dwell. Females of bird species which nest in vulnerable places tend to have less colourful plumage then their male counterparts, to conceal them from predators while they incubate their eggs. The pheasant is a good example of this. Stick insects resemble the foliage of the plants on which they live. There are hundreds, thousands of similar examples. Some animals and birds actually change colour depending on their surroundings. The Artic Fox is brown in summer and white in winter, to match the snow. The Ptarmigan, a type of grouse that inhabits the snowy arctic tundra, does the same. It is not only the famed Chameleon which changes colour to camouflage itself. To stand a chance of seeing a camouflaged creature, you have to look carefully, in the right places.

How is this reflected in the business world? Who uses camouflage techniques to conceal themselves? Many people at work put on their camouflaged ‘business face’. The face that nods agreement sometimes when they should really be shaking their head to disagree. The face that agrees with you when in the same room, but who spreads discontent, rumour and innuendo amongst friends and colleagues behind your back. The face that tells you what they think you want to hear.

This is especially true in times of change within the company. When processes are reviewed, waste of one form or another is almost always uncovered. This ‘waste’ will be all or part of some people’s daily roles within the company and they will become very uncomfortable if they think that their job is in jeopardy. When told of impending changes in their department they may smile and nod agreement with the proposals. Underneath, they may be very worried and can react in a number of ways:

  • They can decide that it is time they found a new job with a new company and so will start job hunting. The organisation may or may not wish to keep the employee and the follow up action will depend on this position. Ultimately, the employee’s actions will have a fairly ‘passive’ effect on the proposed changes.
  • The employee may seek clarification from their line manager –‘how will the changes affect me?’; ‘if my job goes, will I find another position within the company?’; ‘How much redundancy pay can I expect to get if my job goes?’, etc. If there is a likely to be a positive outcome and the employee finds a new position, this too will have a ‘passive’ effect on the proposed changes.
  • Alternatively, the employee may be a ‘blocker’, someone who reacts negatively to any change. They may start off with a camouflaged face but quickly come out in to the open. They may still nod in agreement in public, but will spread negative (and usually exaggerated) rumours about the implications of the changes amongst the other members of staff. These people have very ‘active’ (and negative) effect on the proposed changes and they can change the overall opinion of the workforce unless they are managed correctly and speedily.

The important point is to recognise that some people wear a disguise when at work. Understand this and its implications. Key to this is Communication, the topic covered in the next instalment of ‘Natural Processes’.

=========================================================================================================

Rob Horlock specialises in helping the commercial side of businesses to manage projects ands improve individual and team working efficiencies. If you would like to find out more, see http://www.ef-ef.co.uk or email: info@ef-ef.co.uk

Reacting to Change

Camouflage is one of nature’s basic techniques for ensuring the survival of species. Flatfish have the same colouring as the seabed where they dwell. Females of bird species which nest in vulnerable places tend to have less colourful plumage then their male counterparts, to conceal them from predators while they incubate their eggs. The pheasant is a good example of this. Stick insects resemble the foliage of the plants on which they live. There are hundreds, thousands of similar examples. Some animals and birds actually change colour depending on their surroundings. The Artic Fox is brown in summer and white in winter, to match the snow. The Ptarmigan, a type of grouse that inhabits the snowy arctic tundra, does the same. It is not only the famed Chameleon which changes colour to camouflage itself. To stand a chance of seeing a camouflaged creature, you have to look carefully, in the right places.

How is this reflected in the business world? Who uses camouflage techniques to conceal themselves? Many people at work put on their camouflaged ‘business face’. The face that nods agreement sometimes when they should really be shaking their head to disagree. The face that agrees with you when in the same room, but who spreads discontent, rumour and innuendo amongst friends and colleagues behind your back. The face that tells you what they think you want to hear.

This is especially true in times of change within the company. When processes are reviewed, waste of one form or another is almost always uncovered. This ‘waste’ will be all or part of some people’s daily roles within the company and they will become very uncomfortable if they think that their job is in jeopardy. When told of impending changes in their department they may smile and nod agreement with the proposals. Underneath, they may be very worried and can react in a number of ways:

  • They can decide that it is time they found a new job with a new company and so will start job hunting. The organisation may or may not wish to keep the employee and the follow up action will depend on this position. Ultimately, the employee’s actions will have a fairly ‘passive’ effect on the proposed changes.
  • The employee may seek clarification from their line manager –’how will the changes affect me?’; ‘if my job goes, will I find another position within the company?’; ‘How much redundancy pay can I expect to get if my job goes?’, etc. If there is a likely to be a positive outcome and the employee finds a new position, this too will have a ‘passive’ effect on the proposed changes.
  • Alternatively, the employee may be a ‘blocker’, someone who reacts negatively to any change. They may start off with a camouflaged face but quickly come out in to the open. They may still nod in agreement in public, but will spread negative (and usually exaggerated) rumours about the implications of the changes amongst the other members of staff. These people have very ‘active’ (and negative) effect on the proposed changes and they can change the overall opinion of the workforce unless they are managed correctly and speedily.

The important point is to recognise that some people wear a disguise when at work. Understand this and its implications. Key to this is Communication, the topic covered in the next instalment of ‘Natural Processes’.

===========

Sometimes, when I look at my children, I say to myself, ‘Lillian, you should have remained a virgin.’ 

– Lillian Carter (mother of Jimmy Carter) 

I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: – ‘No good in a bed, but fine against a wall.’ 

– Eleanor Roosevelt   

The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible. 

– George Burns 

Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year. 

– Victor Borge 

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. 

– Mark Twain 

By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher. 

– Socrates 

I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury. 

– Groucho Marx 

My wife has a slight impediment in her speech. Every now and then she stops to breathe. 

– Jimmy Durante 

I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back. 

– Zsa Zsa Gabor 

Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat. 

– Alex Levine 

My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying. 

– Rodney Dangerfield 

Money can’t buy you happiness .. But it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery. 

– Spike Milligan 

=========================================================================================================

Rob Horlock specialises in helping the commercial side of businesses to manage projects ands improve individual and team working efficiencies. If you would like to find out more, see http://www.ef-ef.co.uk or email: info@ef-ef.co.uk

 

What Seth Godin says about the importance of process

Processes in business

Processes in business

 

If you read Seth Godin’s blog you may have seen what he wrote about ‘Process’ on 31-1-09. In case you missed it, I have reproduced it below. (And in case you haven’t come across Seth before, he is a renowned author whose books have been bestsellers around the world and who has changed the way people think about marketing, change and work. He is a guru!)

Seth Godin’s blog 31-1-09:

What are you good at?

As you consider marketing yourself for your next gig, consider the difference between process and content.

Content is domain knowledge. People you know or skills you’ve developed. Playing the piano or writing copy about furniture sales. A rolodex of movers in a given industry, or your ability to compute stress ratios in your head.

Domain knowledge is important, but it’s (often) easily learnable.

Process, on the other hand, refers to the emotional intelligence skills you have about managing projects, visualizing success, persuading other people of your point of view, dealing with multiple priorities, etc. This stuff is insanely valuable and hard to learn. Unfortunately, it’s usually overlooked by headhunters and HR folks, partly because it’s hard to accredit or check off in a database.

Venture capitalists like hiring second or third time entrepreneurs because they understand process, not because they can do a spreadsheet.

As the world changes ever faster, as industries shrink and others grow, process ability is priceless. Figure out which sort of process you’re world-class at and get even better at it. Then, learn the domain… that’s what the internet is for.

One of the reasons that super-talented people become entrepreneurs is that they can put their process expertise to work in a world that often undervalues it.

Seth is writing about the importance of ‘process’ to entrepreneurs and the self-employed. The points still apply, though, in medium and large businesses. Having the ‘process knowledge’ underpinned by ‘defined processes’ is an additional step which larger organisations should consider. Think how powerful your team would be if they all understood the importance of ‘process’ and how to manage their processes effectively and efficiently.

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Rob Horlock specialises in helping the commercial side of businesses to review and map processes, manage projects ands improve individual and team working efficiencies. This also includes improving the effectiveness of your emarketing, particularly in the area of turning prospects into customers. If you would like to find out more, see http://www.ef-ef.co.uk or email: rob@ef-ef.co.uk

Communication – the right message at the right time

We assume, rightly or wrongly, that homo sapiens have the best developed communication skills in the natural world because we have an expressive verbal language which is understood by those with whom we are communicating. Other species use different methods to communicate with each other. Most animals and birds (and humans) use body language in one form or another to show feelings and emotions. Birds use song to attract a mate, which is why the level of bird song rises in the Spring. Marine animals use sounds to attract mates, defend territories, maintain coordination in groups, and pass on information. Whales and dolphins are well known for their sounds, but many species of fish and marine invertebrates also use sound. Spiny Lobsters, for example, use sound to ward off predators.

Animals change the rate of sound production and the structure of the sounds to send different messages. Some sounds are used to startle or scare off predators – monkeys are famous for this. Many animal species have a very keen sense of smell, much more specialised than humans and scent marking is a common form of communication in these species. They use scent to mark their territories and ward off interlopers.

 

In the business world, communication is one of the most important considerations when managing change to the enterprise, such as introducing a new process or implementing a programme of projects. It is also one of the more difficult skills to master and one that often goes horribly wrong!
It sounds simple – Tell the workforce what we’re doing and why and they’ll all understand.
Wrong!
There are a number of considerations before we get to the actual message:

  • Who are we communicating with?
  • What is their interest in the project/process?
  • In what format should we communicate?
  • Should we send the same message to everyone involved?
  • How often should we update the communication?
  • Who should be sending out the message?
  • What is/is not confidential?

In addition to communication out to interested parties, we also need communication from many of these individuals:

  • Identify who has what experience in this area
  • What views do they hold of the existing v the proposed future model?
  • What input can they make to the process?
  • What influence do they have over others who will be affected by the changes?

 

Construct a matrix which shows different groups of people on one axis and their involvement/information needs on the other. Construct a communication plan which will ensure that everyone has the information that they need in the correct format. Whilst verbal/written communication will be the main format used, don’t forget the other forms. Body language is important, so make personal presentations and meetings when possible. Unless you are involved in food/beverage production, for example, or introducing a new process to get perfume to market more efficiently, the use of smell is probably not recommended. Leave that to the animals!

 

=========================================================================================================

Rob Horlock specialises in part time project management and in helping the commercial side of businesses to manage projects ands improve individual and team working efficiencies. If you would like to find out more, see http://www.ef-ef.co.uk or email: 

Beware the cover up

Camouflaged Bird

Camouflaged Bird

 

Camouflage is one of nature’s basic techniques for ensuring the survival of species. Flatfish have the same colouring as the seabed where they dwell. Females of bird species which nest in vulnerable places tend to have less colourful plumage then their male counterparts, to conceal them from predators while they incubate their eggs. The pheasant is a good example of this. Stick insects resemble the foliage of the plants on which they live. There are hundreds, thousands of similar examples. Some animals and birds actually change colour depending on their surroundings. The Artic Fox is brown in summer and white in winter, to match the snow. The Ptarmigan, a type of grouse that inhabits the snowy arctic tundra, does the same. It is not only the famed Chameleon which changes colour to camouflage itself. To stand a chance of seeing a camouflaged creature, you have to look carefully, in the right places.

How is this reflected in the business world? Who uses camouflage techniques to conceal themselves? Many people at work put on their camouflaged ‘business face’. The face that nods agreement sometimes when they should really be shaking their head to disagree. The face that agrees with you when in the same room, but who spreads discontent, rumour and innuendo amongst friends and colleagues behind your back. The face that tells you what they think you want to hear.

This is especially true in times of change within the company. When processes are reviewed, waste of one form or another is almost always uncovered. This ‘waste’ will be all or part of some people’s daily roles within the company and they will become very uncomfortable if they think that their job is in jeopardy. When told of impending changes in their department they may smile and nod agreement with the proposals. Underneath, they may be very worried and can react in a number of ways:

  • They can decide that it is time they found a new job with a new company and so will start job hunting. The organisation may or may not wish to keep the employee and the follow up action will depend on this position. Ultimately, the employee’s actions will have a fairly ‘passive’ effect on the proposed changes.
  • The employee may seek clarification from their line manager –’how will the changes affect me?’; ‘if my job goes, will I find another position within the company?’; ‘How much redundancy pay can I expect to get if my job goes?’ etc. If there is a likely to be a positive outcome and the employee finds a new position, this too will have a ‘passive’ effect on the proposed changes.
  • Alternatively, the employee may be a ‘blocker’, someone who reacts negatively to any change. They may start off with a camouflaged face but quickly come out in to the open. They may still nod in agreement in public, but will spread negative (and usually exaggerated) rumours about the implications of the changes amongst the other members of staff. These people have very ‘active’ (and negative) effect on the proposed changes and they can change the overall opinion of the workforce unless they are managed correctly and speedily.

The important point is to recognise that some people wear a disguise when at work. Understand this and its implications. Key to this is Communication, the topic covered in the next instalment of ‘Natural Processes’.

===========

A man walks into a bar one day and asks, “Does anyone here own that rottweiler outside?”
“Yeah, I do!” a biker says, standing up. “What about it?”
“Well, I think my Chihuahua just killed him…”
“What are you talkin’ about?!” the biker says, disbelievingly. “How could your little runt kill my rottweiler?”
“Well, it seems he got stuck in your dog’s throat!”


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Rob Horlock specialises in helping the commercial side of businesses to review and map processes, manage projects and improve individual and team working efficiencies. If you would like to find out more, see http://www.ef-ef.co.uk or email: info@ef-ef.co.uk