Posts Tagged ‘workplace’


Keys to high performing teams part 2 – Crystal clarity on roles and responsibilities

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

crystal clarityThis is the second in a series of posts exploring 10 keys to getting high performing teams. This one looks at the second key: getting crystal clarity on responsibilities and what is expected.

I’m a keen amateur photographer and I recently got a new camera which came with a 200 page manual. Did I read it before using the camera? No! Fortunately it came with a shorter “quick start” guide with enough information to get me going, and as I got more proficient I have referred to the manual when I needed answers to specific questions. I have also learned from video tutorials on the internet, as well as learning from other users of this camera via online forums. (more…)

Keys to high performing teams part 1 – have the right people in the right roles

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Am I the Right Person?This is the first of a promised series of posts exploring 10 keys to getting high performing teams.

This one looks at having the right people in the right jobs.

A key part of this comes at the recruiting stage. Don’t make the mistake that many businesses do and focus on skills and experience. Skills can be easily taught and experience can be gained. It is more important to look things like personality, strengths and values.

Get this right and you will find people who have an intrinsic motivation to work in that role. In other words they will enjoy what they do. That is a powerful drive, and will mean that they are not so dependent on extrinsic motivators – the carrots and sticks of traditional performance management.

I use the Talent Dynamics test to find out in what roles a person is most likely to find their flow. There are other personality profile type tests, such as Myers Briggs (MBTI) DISC and various derivatives of them with different names. Personally I find Talent Dynamics more suited than the others for reasons I go into here. What it will help you find is the person who is most likely to thrive in the role you want them to fill. It’s no use having someone who is a creative big-picture person trying to do repetitive detail-orientated work. Likewise it’s no use having someone who is systems and numbers focused in role where they routinely need to engage with people’s emotions and irrational behaviour. (more…)

Ian Berry’s Key Discoveries about people and talent enhancement – part 2

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Changing What's Normal logoGuest blog from Ian Berry, creator of the Enhancing Their Gifts system

This is the second of three articles about why I believe that helping your employees to feel valued, fulfilled, and loved is the biggest and best thing you can do to grow your business.

If you missed the first article, Helping your employees to feel loved, you can read it here.

Article two – Helping your employees to feel fulfilled

I love the word fulfilled because of what it means “satisfied or happy because of fully developing one’s abilities or character.”

There are some great synonyms for fulfilled as well like “realized, carry through, accomplish, execute, carry out.”

The number of employees you have who you could say the above about, I guarantee that your business results are a direct reflection. (more…)

Technology and the Art of Living

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Technology and the art of livingOne of the problems with the Western education system, which spills into many other areas of life, is the excessive compartmentalisation of knowledge into narrow specialisations.

Yet the most creative breakthroughs often come from cross-fertilisation of ideas from other disciplines. For example Mary Midgley describes “slipping out over the wall of the tiny arid garden cultivated at that time under the name of British Moral Philosophy” to wrestle with questions of human nature, culture and evil by learning from psychologists, anthropologists and biologists. As a result she has produced some of the most profound and exciting works of philosophy in recent years.

I’ve just finished reading another book that crosses boundaries – in this case also across different cultures. The Art of Living – aesthetics of the ordinary in world spiritual traditions by Crispin Sartwell is perhaps an unfortunate title for such a revelatory book. The heart of the book is a critique of how we came to separate art from technology in Western culture – a separation which is not there in other cultures and which was not present in European culture until the 18th Century. (more…)

From Best Practice to Best People

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

From Best Practice to Best PeopleThe Harvard Business Review blog has an interesting article Which Best Practice is Killing Your Business? which starts with the example of how the “quality” newspapers in Britain hung onto the impractical “broadsheet” format for years without realizing that it was hurting their sales. This “best practice” had first developed 300 years ago at a time when taxes were paid on the number of pages a newspaper printed, and as a result newspapers made their pages bigger and bigger.

The taxes had long-since been abolished, but the practice held on. The Times, Guardian, FT, Telegraph and Independent all assumed that they needed the broadsheet form factor to distinguish themselves from the Tabloids. But they were wrong! (more…)

Six reasons why we need a new concept of workplace diversity

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Diversity is one of those topics which is just ripe for a paradigm shift. Here’s why:

1. The current paradigm of diversity (in the Western world at least) is the result of the wars of religion in Europe which saw two centuries of bloodshed between Catholics and Protestants. The resulting agreement can be expressed in Voltaire’s dictum: ‘I do not agree with what you say but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.’ Diversity was tolerated, but meaningful dialogue was discouraged because it could be intrusive and lead to conflict.

2. In the US, the discourse around workplace diversity got tangled up in the Civil Rights movement. As a result, much of the management literature focused on thinks like rights, racism, compliance with anti-discrimination legislation, and quotas. Understandably this provoked resistance and accusations of tokenism. Some thought leaders in this space, like Dr Roosevelt Thomas, are trying to take the diversity debate into a more positive space. (more…)

What village do you come from?

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Who are you?

Trust is increased when we know who we are dealing with. Telling stories of defining moments can be an effective part of a performance leadership strategy.

I was told by someone recently (in person) that she didn’t like to accept friend requests on social media from people she hadn’t met face to face.

I can understand that. It is a matter of trust. How can you trust someone you don’t know?

But how well do we know someone even when we’ve met them? On my first visit to Solomon Islands I met a tall blond American who had lived there for many years. He recounted going to a village where they had never seen white people before. The chief approached him, looked up at this exotic creature and asked “what village do you come from?”. “New York” came the reply. The chief looked thoughtful. “I’ve heard of that village” he said. (more…)

A tale of two airlines – lessons for corporate ethics

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

airplaneWe all make mistakes – even the best of us. What sets us apart is how we respond to those mistakes. For companies and organisations, these are the situations when corporate ethics are put to the reality test.

A few weeks ago, United Airlines copped a lot of unwanted publicity for losing a ten-year old girl who was travelling, unaccompanied, from San Francisco to attend a summer camp near Traverse City with a change in Chicago. Her parents had paid a $99 “unaccompanied minor” surcharge and the girl had been told that she would be accompanied at all times at by someone wearing a United Airlines badge. However, in Chicago nobody showed up to accompany the girl, and as a result she missed her connection. Worse, her parents were not informed and only found out when the summer camp called them to say that she was not on the flight. (more…)

Understanding the Causes of Conflict in the workplace – ebook

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

I would like to offer you a free PDF ebook on Understanding the Causes of Conflict in the Workplace. This is one of the chapters of my forthcoming book Discover the Other – 4 keys for better relationships in the workplace

Often, people involved in a conflict are not aware of the root causes. And the incident which triggers the conflict is often not the real reason for it.

The ebook explains the four root causes of workplace conflict and what you can do to resolve the issues. It also includes a questionaire tool at the end which you can use to analyse any conflict.

This analysis is important, because the different causes of workplace conflict each require a slightly different response.

If you would like to download a copy, just fill in the form below.

Mike Lowe
Helping individuals and teams get into flow






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Understanding the Causes of Conflict in the Workplace

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Tonglen meditation as a tool for workplace conflict resolution

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Do you have some people you work with whom you dislike? Do you feel irritated, angry, anxious, nervous or bored around them? Do you find that their presence in your life is a source of conflict – either with you or with others?

If that is the case, then here’s a great tool for dealing with people  you find challenging – whether it is people you see daily or the occasional frustrating encounter with an aggressive motorist. It is called the tonglen meditation and it comes from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

If you are familiar with meditation, you might find some of this counterintuitive.  Like other Eastern practices, it involves becoming aware of your breathing, and taking slow deep breaths. You might find it easier to do the following with your eyes closed. (more…)