Blog

Welcome to the Elysian Blog. Find a selection of insights to enhance your learning and support your business strategy from top industry experts

17
Feb

Presenting With Impact

Presenting With Impact Presenting is an art form that’s all about connecting with audiences. Time to pack away that tired 50-slide PowerPoint? In business, technical expertise is simply not enough to secure a successful career. The need to speak in a clear and compelling way remains at the heart of being truly influential and successful. Sadly, all too often corporate communications are focused on delivering slides and discussing technical performance rather than how effectively we connect with the people we are talking to. The result is that much of the effort we put into communication is wasted because the critical messages are lost, unclear or perhaps forgotten.There is a clear need in business to create a narrative in presentations that sells the commercial context to the audience without the ‘weight’ of typical management presentations. Unfortunately, ...

23
Jan

Learning from Failure: The Mojo of Great Companies

Learning from Failure: The Mojo of Great Companies What is it that successful and growing companies know that your company might not be doing? These companies embrace work failures by treating them as strategic opportunities to learn. After all, failure is an inherent outcome of any risk-taking. And in today’s business world, being risk averse is a dead-end. Reframing failure can also help boost your employer brand. Rewarding calculated risks creates an inherently more exciting workplace culture than the status quo; that type of culture will also help you attract quality people - people who know how to fail and bounce back quickly. To be clear, the mistakes we’re talking about don’t involve sending out proposals riddled with errors. We’re talking about attempting something – a marketing idea or a product innovation – having the effort ...

09
Jan

The Neuroscience of Strategic Leadership

The Neuroscience of Strategic Leadership Have you ever had a difficult executive decision to make? This is the kind of decision where the best options aren’t obvious, the ethics aren’t clear, and the consequences could affect hundreds of people or more. How do you figure out the right thing to do? More importantly, how do you develop the habit of making better decisions, time and time again, even in difficult and uncertain circumstances? Neuroscientists and psychologists are beginning to learn what happens at moments of choice inside the human mind (the locus of mental activity) and the brain (the physical organ associated with that activity). If you understand these dynamics and how they affect you and those around you, you can set a course toward more effective patterns of thinking and action. You can ...

04
Jan

5 Communication Habits All Leaders Need to Motivate a Team Good communication is certainly a strong leadership trait. But what exactly does that look like? A global leadership study revealed that 85 percent of companies report an urgent need to develop employees with leadership potential. Let me echo that massive study: We are in an era with an alarming leadership shortage. As more Boomers retire and Millennials continue to increase in numbers as the largest working generation, today's companies just aren't prepared to develop tomorrow's leaders. Don't hit the panic button just yet, but I did want to raise your left eyebrow. If you're serious about leveraging leadership strength to grow your business (and you should be), then, plain and simple, develop your employees with high potential and the right people skills to move into leadership ...

28
Nov

Common myths about performance reviews debunked

Performance appraisals are one of the most ubiquitous, and also one of the most unpopular, protocols in workplace. In fact, several companies have recently made headlines in their attempts to go about them differently. But amid these changes, how many organizations have ever taken a close look at how performance reviews actually operate in their own workplace, over the long term? My colleague Martin Conyon and I recently had the opportunity to take a deep dive to do just this, analyzing the performance appraisal data from a large U.S. corporation between 2001 and 2007. We looked at all of the scores and associated employment outcomes over these years, and what we found punctures many of the myths about performance reviews that have developed over time. Myth 1: Assessment scores don’t vary much — most ...

21
Nov

5 Certain ways to engage employees during uncertain times When was there ever a time that wasn't uncertain? Whether we want to admit it or not, we are experiencing times of tremendous change as markets rapidly evolve and global influence becomes more prominent. It’s a time requiring us to think differently about how we lead others for the betterment of a healthier whole. As such, it demands that we revisit ways to strengthen our corporate culture, engage more authentically with our employees and neutralize the impact of uncertainty with our clients, vendors and partners. An air of change and uncertainty has been present my entire career. Every company I have worked for and venture I’ve founded and lead has been infused by constant change. I’ve always been involved in highly ...

14
Nov

The Best way to build company culture

The Best way to build company culture In the $12.2 billion merger between Marriott International and Starwood Hotels, Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson sent a letter to all 180,000 Starwood associates that centered not on the business benefits of the merger, but on the cultural implications. “A big part of our people-first culture is treating people with respect and transparency,” wrote Sorenson, whose company has been on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list 18 times. “You’ll experience both as we work through this process.” When the Internet emerged in the mid-1990s, many saw it as a fad, promoted by young techies who had no idea how to run a business. Now we know that businesses that didn’t embrace the Internet early on had to catch up later. When it comes to company culture, we ...

07
Nov

How to know if someone is ready to be a manager

How to know if someone is ready to be a manager When you’re hiring a new manager, the stakes are high. You need someone who can effectively lead people, manage a budget, liaise with upper management — and, usually, do it all from day one. But what if a potential hire doesn’t yet have a track record in doing all of the above? Would you hire or promote a star player into a management role if they’ve never managed anyone? To gain some perspective on how to handle this kind of challenge, I reached out to some management experts for their point of view on the skills and personalities to look for. An important thing to look for in this situation is an awareness of the nature of management. Moving into a management role ...

26
Oct

Fly on the wall – A more strategic approach to HR

Inside the October HR Strategic Positioning Event October saw our 6th Elysian Executive HR Strategic Positioning Event being held in Bristol with HR and OD leaders from financial industries, public services, national rail, retail, global manufacturing and charitable trusts all signing up for a seat at the table. If you have missed out on the chance to join one of these exclusive sessions or you’re wondering what all the excitement is about then wonder no more, as this ‘fly on the wall insight’ offers a glimpse at the key discussions, signposts thinking and shares light bulb moments from the latest event. Expertly guided by Elysian’s Paul Tuck, delegates considered themselves against the role description of a Strategic HR Business Partner. Through the discussions all delegates reached the conclusion that, in order to ...

17
Oct

Shooting for the moon is a worthwhile goal if you're NASA. But as Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy explains in a recent Big Think video, the average person will probably find more success (and happiness) if they shoot for just down the block — at least at first. The biggest mistake a lot of people make in setting goals for themselves, Cuddy says, is that they focus only on the outcome, not the process. Cuddy is an expert on human behaviour and the author of "Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges." She's conducted loads of research into tiny triggers that cause us to either take pride in our accomplishments or look back on our failings with regret and disappointment. She's found that ...

10
Oct

3 Reasons why attitude is more important to your company than aptitude... Ideally we want to hire people with both the right attitude and the right aptitude. However, if I can only choose one of those two I will choose the person with the right attitude every time. This approach is backed up by studies which have shown that our 80 percent of our success is based on our EQ, compared to 20 percent for our IQ. This means that aptitude only accounts for a paltry 20 percent of our success. Here are three reasons why it's better to recruit for attitude, than just aptitude. 1. It's easier to train aptitude than attitude When people have the right attitude they are both motivated and adaptable which makes them more open to learning new skills. With the ...

26
Sep

Here is something to think, when sat in the office today...  Changing just one seated meeting per week at work into a walking meeting, increased the work-related physical activity levels of white-collar workers by 10 minutes, according to a new study published by public health researchers with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The study, published in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's journal, Preventing Chronic Disease, suggests a possible new health promotion approach to improving the health of millions of white-collar workers who spend most of their workdays sitting in chairs.   Titled "Opportunities for Increased Physical Activity in the Workplace: the Walking Meeting," the study also supports the American Heart Association's recommendations of 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity for adults, or about 30 minutes each weekday. "There are ...

19
Sep

This great article shares top snippets of career advice from people such as Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, J.K Rowling, Steve Jobs, Maya Angelou and many more. If clichés like "Follow your passion," "Give 110%," and "Be true to yourself" just aren't cutting it for you, then we've got some fresh takes on how to get a head start on your career. From "Don't work too hard" to "Relax," here's some of the best — and often unconventional — advice for you from some really successful people: Richard Branson: Never look back in regret — move on to the next thing Richard Branson's mother taught him that. "The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures, rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me," ...

12
Sep

Four bad habits of super-smart leaders

Some leaders are too clever for their own good While we often consider the blessings that accompany a high IQ, we seldom think of the challenges that come with extreme intelligence. Yet there are many. In my role as an executive coach, I have had the opportunity to work with more than 150 major chief executives. As a group, they would score well above the norm on any standard definition of intellectual intelligence (I am not referring to ‘emotional intelligence’, ‘artistic intelligence’ or other forms of intelligence). Although, like any group, chief executives may do stupid things, they are seldom stupid people. 1. Proving how smart we are For ten years, I had the privilege of being on the board of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation. This gave me the opportunity to spend more than ...

30
Aug

One-to-one meetings with direct reports often feel more hurried and disorganised than they need to be. It’s important to check in regularly with each of your employees, but how can you make the best use of the time? How can you make the meetings more productive and collaborative? What do you need to change as the manager and what do you need to ask your direct report to do differently as well? What the Experts Say In the digital age, we tend to communicate with direct reports via email, IM, phone, and text. But nothing quite beats a face-to-face, one-on-one meeting, says Elizabeth Grace Saunders, the author of How to Invest Your Time Like Money, and the founder of Real Life E Time Coaching & Training. “One-on-ones are one of the most important productivity ...

22
Aug

The main attributes that people look for in their leaders have not changed much in the past five years. This is the conclusion of the latest Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor (KCLM), which has tracked global views on leadership for five years. The survey, conducted annually by public relations and marketing agency Ketchum, highlights the qualities people expect their leaders to have, overall levels of confidence in leaders and also offers some lessons for leaders seeking to improve. Which qualities do people look for in leaders?   The attribute people are looking for most is leading by example. It has taken the top spot for the past three years, and featured in the top three in 2012 and 2013. Open communication is also seen as a vital skill for leaders. It topped the list in 2012 and 2013, and ...

08
Aug

How To Rewire Your Brain To Better Handle Stress

In most scenarios, stress is just another aspect of the human experience. It comes and goes, and while it’s relatively unpleasant to deal with, its long-term effects are negligible. However, when stress becomes pervasive and continuous, the physical and mental health impacts can be severe. Entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible to the negative effects of pervasive stress. Running a business or team requires leaders to manage multiple complex and diverse functions at once. Throughout my years at BodeTree, I've found that this large universe of responsibility is the central source of stress in my life. Each part of the team, from sales to development, has unique and occasionally conflicting perspectives and desires. Managing all of these different views and needs can be exhausting. For the longest time, I found myself working to treat the symptoms of stress. I’d take the occasional vacation and ...

18
Jul

Brexit: How to Support Worried Employees

Brexit: How to Support Worried Employees Keep a close eye on your staff so that post-referendum anxiety doesn't spiral out of control Employers will be facing many questions about how business is going to proceed following the referendum vote to leave the EU. Larger organisations will have already planned for the outcome and for some, in the short term Brexit may mean cuts in research and development, training, benefits and even jobs. Smaller businesses may be hard-pressed too – and face a situation made more challenging by their relative lack of resources. One thing is certain. Employees will be concerned for their jobs – in the near future and beyond – and if you are a European working in Britain you may be feeling alienated. Whatever the future brings, uncertainty is neither good for business nor ...

12
Jul

Having a first class degree makes people arrogant, an attorney has claimed as she revealed she gives priority to graduates with a 2:1 Sarah Perkins, a patent attorney and partner at Stevens Hewlett and Perkins, said high achieving students often lack “soft skills” including the ability to communicate with clients and process information quickly. She added that academia encourages some students “to think they can do anything because they are clever” and leads them to assume they are suited for any job. It comes as tens of thousands of university students received their degree classifications last month, with many graduates starting new jobs in September. Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Ms Perkins, who achieved a 2:1 in physics at the University of Edinburgh, said: “In all my years I have been recruiting, I have singularly failed ...

05
Jul

When and How to Stop Doing Low Value Work

This helpful HBR article on how to give up low value work reminded me of the TED talk by Seema Bansal: How to fix a broken education system ... without any more money. Seema Bansal forged a path to public education reform for 15,000 schools in India, by setting an ambitious goal: by 2020, 80 percent of children should have grade-level knowledge. She's looking to meet this goal by seeking reforms that will work in every school without additional resources. When Bansal investigated what was going on in these under performing schools, she found a key issue was that teachers were doing low value work. https://www.ted.com/talks/seema_bansal_how_to_fix_a_broken_education_system_without_any_more_money Here is a guide to help YOU give up low value work: In the past, time management experts would recommend that you divide up your work into A tasks, B tasks, and C tasks. The concept was to do the A tasks ...

29
Jun

Recent Video Shows Bank Employees Being Spanked for ‘Poor Performance’ on a Training Course Bank employees deemed to have performed poorly in their jobs have been filmed being spanked and having their heads shaved. The footage shows eight employees of Changzhi Zhangze Rural Commercial Bank, in China’s northern Shanxi province, being smacked on the backside with what appears to be a thick wooden slab. Motivational trainer Jiang Yang wrote on his blog: “Spanking was a training model I have been exploring for many years.” Footage of the ‘punishment’ has been circulating on social media (Guardian website). The bank hired Jiang to run a “performance breakthrough” course for its staff of more than 200. After a day of training Jiang demanded explanations from the eight employees with the weakest scores. One replied, “I'm not hard on myself.” Another shouted, “I didn't make ...

27
Jun

As the director of People Analytics at Google for the last decade, Brian Welle’s world revolves around data. He has found that those hard, cold numbers can, when used properly, uncover the key attributes that make people better managers and team members. Once identified, the attributes can then be cultivated and instilled to boost performance. Welle spoke recently with Cade Massey, Wharton practice professor of operations, information and decisions and co-director of the Wharton People Analytics Initiative, about applying data analytics in the office. Welle identified eight attributes that define a top-performing manager: a good coach; empowers the team and does not micromanage; expresses interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being; productive and results-oriented; good communicator — listens and shares information; helps ...

17
Jun

How to know if someone is ready to be a manager Perhaps it’s an art rather than a science but the ability to spot when someone is ready to manage people seems to be something that many organisations struggle with. Firstly there is the expectation that if someone is in the organisation long enough we must promote them, as they become more senior very often they gain people management responsibilities. Sadly, however a person’s ability to do their job is a very poor indicator of their ability to lead and manage people. With little flexibility on the corporate ladder, we end up forced into promoting people into management roles, not because we feel they would make a great leader but rather because that is the next step in their ‘career path’. The costs of poor managers to an organisation are huge ...

10
Jun

Engagement Under The Spotlight

HR professionals spent a few hours immersed in an insightful discussion on engagement strategies, hosted by Elysian and facilitated by top engagement expert Chris Atkinson. There was much common ground to be found amongst the HR professionals as discussions explored the impact on employee engagement caused by merger and corporate acquisitions. They felt a key challenge centred around  maintaining a consistent corporate identity and value set in the face of all of the change.     In addition to the feel good aspects, there is also a significant commercial benefit in engagement and Chris led an active discussion that explored stats and findings from the largest global research studies into employee engagement. Perks and benefits are not key levers. They are likely to lead to dissatisfaction especially if they have to be removed due to budget decreases ...

25
May

The ROI Of Improving Employee Engagement

Many leaders have spent countless hours hoping for business to return to pre-recession vitality levels. They've waited for something to rescue them from the seemingly endless challenges they’re facing on a daily basis, and wondered where the next big breakthrough is that will finally snap the economy out of the doldrums and set their organisations back onto the path of prosperity. But some leaders knew the breakthrough would come from someone, not something. These leaders tapped the resources of their employees and encouraged them to help navigate the challenges and economic uncertainty. And their organisations have weathered the bumps better than most as they positioned themselves advantageously for better days ahead. They knew the solution to more innovation, cost savings, increased profitability, organisational growth and more satisfied and loyal customers was right under their noses all along.