Blog

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

25
May

  “The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men.”– Navy SEAL Creed   In the Navy SEAL teams, there are three things we must do perfectly to be effective operators: Move, Shoot and Communicate. Communication being of the utmost importance. As a leader, great communication is critical not just to provide details about the mission and vision of what you are trying to accomplish, but also to motivate, inspire and manage relationships to move people in a desired direction. When in a leadership position, we often don’t realize that the spotlight is always on us. Everything we say and do is being scrutinized, for better or for worse. By accepting both the honour and challenge of leading a team, it is important to remember that ...

24
May

Do you blame your boss for your inability to get more done at work? One of my core productivity principles is to stop checking email all throughout the day, and to turn off the vibrations, dings and other notifications we get with every new message. Shelby told me, “I can’t turn off my email notifications, because my boss will think I’m not working if I don’t respond to him within five minutes.” Poorly run meetings are huge time wasters, and simple steps like starting on time, having an agenda and using a count-down clock can work wonders. Arvin explained. “But my manager is the one running them so I can’t do anything about it.” And in response to “know your one thing” Hussain said, “I’d love to identify my ‘most important daily task’ but my ...

28
Apr

How to Handle Your Stress So You Can Be Successful If you feel that stress is affecting your work, health and well-being, you are not alone. Here are some tips on how to de-stress that actually work. Today most of us are expected to do more with less. We lead lives that are more demanding on every front-work, family, social, health-with little time left over to unwind. Stress affects our mental health, our well-being and our performance at work. But there are ways you can help yourself. Here are seven rituals successful people use to decrease stress and find relaxation. 1. Set up your boundaries. In today's frantic world it's easy to feel pressure to be available 24 hours a day, but no reasonable person can maintain that as a way to live. The answer is ...

27
Apr

Balancing career with family hurt like hell - Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, Chief Executive of PepsiCo, recently revealed the hardships of harmonising a career and a family life. Speaking on the panel at the 2016 Women in the World Summit in Manhattan, US, Nooyi explained how she was faced with some bitter-sweet memories whilst having her office renovated. The CEO claims she found an old note written by her eldest daughter when she was five years old. It read: “Dear mom, I love you. Please come home.” “I have to remind myself of what I lost,” Nooyi said to the audience, referring to running a Fortune 500 company whilst being a mother to two young girls. She went on to say that she doesn't regret her decisions, however she admits she has suffered “heartaches” because of them, and claimed she would counsel her younger self ...

26
Apr

Stop Working Overtime Today

Stop Working Overtime Today A Reformed Office Martyr's Guide to Achieving Work-Life Balance I used to be that person: I had my hand in everything at the office. I took on all the projects. I stayed late. I was always drowning in an endless to-do list, and everyone knew it. I considered myself the pillar holding up the roof and keeping the lights on. I ate at my desk and wore my high billables and exhaustion like badges of honour. That’s right. I was an office martyr. What I didn't understand then is that more isn't more. Staying late and constantly piling more work on myself didn't make me more admired, give me skills to be a better marketer, or win me any friends. It just made me constantly tired and on the edge of burnout. Don’t ...

19
Apr

Have you ever heard phrase - "one years’ experience repeated five times is not five years’ experience"? In your current role it can be hard to widen your experience and learn new skills if the opportunities are not obviously available. This can limit your promotion prospects both internally and externally. We have all experienced managers who won't delegate more specialist tasks, a lack of budget for training etc. This can be particularly frustrating if you want to become a manager, or a more senior in your profession but the roles keep going to people who have already gained some experience in that area. This can equally apply to people just starting out in their careers. So how do you break the cycle? Let's deal with the training issue first; there is a lot of free content out there. Join LinkedIn or ...

29
Mar

A good public speaker takes their audience on a journey, leaving them feeling inspired and motivated. But structuring your speech to get your ideas across and keep your audience engaged all the way through is tricky. Try these eight storytelling techniques for a presentation that wows.  You’re doing a presentation, so you start with the facts you want to get across. Wrong! Humans are hard wired for stories. They love heroes, journeys, surprises, layers and happy endings. Deliver a presentation that captures the hearts and heads of your audience by stealing one of these classic storytelling techniques. Start with the story – the rest will be history. 1. Monomyth The monomyth (also called the hero’s journey), is a story structure that is found in many folk tales, myths and religious writings from around the world. In a monomyth, the hero is called to leave ...

29
Mar

Around age 11, Bill Gates started to become a problem for his parents.   Photo Credit: jurvetson via Compfight cc As his intellectual capacity grew, so did his argumentativeness. He refused to do the things his mom asked of him, like cleaning his room and showing up on time to dinner, according to The Wall Street Journal. It came to a head one night when Gates was about 12 years old. The "tempestuous" know-it-all got into a "nasty" shouting match with his mother, according to The Journal, and his father threw a glass of water in his face. Soon after, Gates told a counsellor: "I'm at war with my parents over who is in control." Gates' adolescent behaviour might seem like nothing remarkable — many ...

23
Mar

How Employee Engagement can Boost the Bottom Line With our upcoming executive seminar on employee engagement strategies, we were particularly interested in this article. As you will read, engagement is definitely not a soft subject! We still have a few places available for senior HR professionals at our event in Bristol - please see the link at the bottom of this page to learn more. If employees are an organisation’s most valuable assets, then there’s nothing more valuable than a highly engaged work force. That’s because research has proven that job satisfaction can lead to higher sales, increased productivity, lower health care and attrition costs, and can even increase share value. “When you prioritise happiness in the workplace, we've seen other [corporate] measures increase as well,” said Michelle Gielan, a partner at the San Antonio, Texas-based positive psychology consulting firm GoodThink, which ...

14
Mar

Article insight by Elysian's Chris Atkinson: Engagement is not a topic that will fade away as a short term industry fad. The research into the subject has established a long term pattern of correlation between engagement and almost every key organisational metric. This is not a subject that should only be the concern of Human Resources. If your organisation values profitability, market share, shareholder return, departmental efficiency, productivity or product/service innovation then this should be a critical board level priority subject. It is shocking that in the face of overwhelming research and statistical evidence that leaders and executive still regard this topic as ‘soft’ or ‘a nice to do’. Many of us have heard the commonplace advice to spend more time with people or adopt a coaching approach. This article gives you new ideas and perspectives to leadership practices that will drive ...

25
Feb

Why Critical Thinking Skills are Essential in Business  In 2013, Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations for Google, told The New York Times that the company would no longer consider candidates’ Grade Point Averages when hiring – because ‘they’re worthless’. A little later, he explained why: “The No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not IQ. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information.” For Google it was a bold move; the company was previously known for asking candidates for a transcript, GPAs and test scores. But Google is not alone: Bock’s comments reflect Barack Obama’s feelings on the importance of thinking skills in the future of the world economy. The US ...

23
Feb

Six Things You Don’t Owe Your Boss

The typical workday is long enough as it is, and technology is making it even longer. When you do finally get home from a full day at the office, your mobile phone rings off the hook, and emails drop into your inbox from people who expect immediate responses. While most people claim to disconnect as soon as they get home, recent research says otherwise. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that more than 50% of us check work email before and after work hours, throughout the weekend, and even when we’re sick. Even worse, 44% of us check work email while on vacation. A Northern Illinois University study that came out this summer shows just how bad this level of connection really is. The study found that the expectation that people need to respond to emails during off-work hours ...

22
Feb

We wonder if that moment will ever arrive when we finally know that all our hard work and sacrifice was worth it. This moment is something beyond merely making or losing a lot of money, gaining a title, or improving an SEO ranking. We’ve all heard the saying that there are two defining moments in life: When we are born and when we find out why. We believe there is a third moment and perhaps it is the most important. It is the moment you commit to actually do something about it for the long haul. It is the moment when there is no turning back. In this pivotal moment we discover who we are and what we stand for and what we are going to do about it. It isn't ...

16
Feb

The challenge for people leaders who have responsibility for delivering results through a team of diverse talents is keeping them all fully engaged and productive. Most organisations endeavour to develop the highest levels of leadership capability from their managers. They recognise that leadership affects their firm’s performance (Freed & Ulrich (1).They need leaders who are capable of getting the best out of their people and the best way to way to enthuse workers is to give them what they want (Sirota (2). This requires the team leader to understand the unique motives of each person by demonstrating a high level of empathy. Motivational theory (McClelland (3) can help our team leader to identify the dominant motivators of people on the team and then use this information to influence how to set goals and provide feedback, and how to motivate and reward ...

28
Jan

So You Think You Know What A Coaching Culture Is? Coaching cultures is a subject in growth. More and more leader, HR and development practitioners are asking for a coaching culture within their organisations. The reason for this is a matter for debate, but growing evidence, including from to the ICF, demonstrates that coaching improves individual performance and increases employee engagement. The concept of getting more from your people and avoiding recruitment costs is very compelling, and by extending that to a whole culture the results could be extraordinary. So what is a coaching culture? Defining a coaching culture is the starting point for any organisation, in fact there are three questions that organisations need to ask prior to starting on a coaching culture process. What is a coaching culture for our organisation? What will success look like? Where ...

28
Jan

7 Ways Most People Ruin Their Own Success

7 Ways Most People Ruin Their Own Success Thousands of people read my recent column on productivity in hopes of being more successful. Some of them will make it. Many of them won't. Lots of people say they want to be successful. They work to be more productive. And yet they manage to sabotage their path at every turn. Perhaps it's because they don't know any better. Or maybe they have blind spots concerning their own behavior. Many are simply not committed enough to go out of their comfort zone and make success happen. I see the patterns all the time in entrepreneurs and managers alike. They can simply be their own worst enemies. Here are the typical ways perfectly smart and capable people keep themselves from reaching their full potential. 1. Taking shortcuts. The best ...

28
Jan

How To Cut 17 Minutes From Your Next Team Meeting Here’s a simple way to cut 17 minutes from most meetings: Have a Statement of Achievement. Recently, I did a survey of people coming out of meetings, and one of the survey questions was: Did the meeting you were just in accomplish its original objective? Survey participants were given three response choices: “Yes,” “No” and “I Have No Idea.” Sadly, “Yes” wasn't the most common response given. “No” wasn't either. That’s right, the most frequently given response was “I have no idea.” The startling fact is that 90%+ of meetings fail to produce an identifiable achievement. The reason why so many folks are sitting in meetings with no idea why they’re there is because they lack a clear objective. That’s what a Statement of Achievement ...

27
Jan

74% of HR Leaders Label Succession Planning as Biggest Concern  Almost three quarters of HR professionals have identified leadership succession and speed of development as the primary internal challenges they currently face, according to a new survey. The report, commissioned by Lumesse, interviewed over 840 senior HR leaders, and found that the majority of them claimed that succession planning was the biggest threat to their business in the coming 12 months. Research teams at Loudhouse explained that it was the speed at which businesses were developing and engaging future leaders that was the most worrying, with many respondents noting that they were quickly running out of time. Speaking to HR Grapevine, Steve Hewitt, HR Director at Lumesse, urges HR departments to take action. He said: “HR must be pro-active in addressing any skills gaps in its ...

27
Jan

Let’s face it. Life can be full of frustrations—an argument with your teenager over breakfast, a missed train, or even just a spilled coffee can make you wish you could crawl back into bed. How can you change your mood when you’ve started your day off on the wrong foot? How do you stop annoyances from dragging you down and killing your productivity? What the experts say The good news is you can turn a bad day into a good one. “Happiness is a choice,” says Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage. Even when something objectively negative happens—your star employee gives notice or you’re late to an important meeting with the CEO—it’s important to focus on the positive things that are also happening. “Studies show that when you’re positive, you’re 31% more productive, ...

26
Jan

Your Strategy Should Be As Unique As Your Business The marketplace can be a difficult ecosystem in which to thrive. Fortunately, your business has its strengths that differentiate it from the competition. What are those unique strengths, and how does your strategy capitalize on them? You can look at any company’s uniqueness and gain a basic understanding about its viable strategic options. Building your strategy on the foundation of your uniqueness emphasizes your competitive advantage and makes it harder for the competition to catch up with you. This article highlights four of companies I have come across that have successfully injected what makes them different into their strategies. Which of them offers insights into a strategic direction that you could take advantage of for your company? 1. Simplicity as a strategy. So what if your ...

26
Nov

8 Steps to Developing Good Habits

Photo Credit: stereoit via Compfight cc I just started a positive new habit, meditation. Three of my executive leadership clients meditate daily and I've always been intrigued and drawn to the daily practice. Each of those three clients stated that meditation impacted their daily energy and overall sustainability, which is one of my primary messages for a life of accomplishment and fulfillment. I found that technology has made it difficult to find time to unplug and recharge, to tap into my inner creativity and wisdom. Researchers from Harvard and the University of Virginia did an experiment in which they gave people a choice to be alone in a room for one hour without anything – devices books phones – or to get an electric shock. 67% of men chose ...

24
Nov

I had been holed up for six hours in a dark conference room with 12 managers. It was a group-coaching day and each executive had 30 minutes to describe in detail a cross-cultural challenge she was experiencing at work and to get feedback and suggestions from the others at the table. It was Willem’s turn, one of the Dutch participants, who recounted an uncomfortable snafu when working with Asian clients. “How can I fix this relationship?” Willem asked his group of international peers. Maarten, the other Dutch participant who knew Willem well, jumped in with his perspective. “You are inflexible and can be socially ill-at-ease. That makes it difficult for you to communicate with your team,” he asserted. As Willem listened, I could see his ears turning red (with embarrassment or anger? I wasn’t sure) but that didn’t seem to bother Maarten, ...

23
Nov

Are You Managing Talent Or Herding Squirrels?

The owner of a business with several hundred employees once told me, “If it wasn’t for all these people, my business would be easy!” Heck, if we could just sit in a nice office and watch products and resources get moved around by computer-controlled forklifts while getting paid - and not deal with all these pesky people (who want to be paid and take time off) - managing a business would be a snap, right? But in order to operate any business, we need people. And then, we must make some difficult decisions. After 25+ years of observing businesses, I think there are two basic models of ‘people management’: ‘Herding Squirrels’ - attempting to do business in what you believe to be unpredictable and unplanned circumstances, sometimes referred to as Managing Chaos Managing Talent – ...

13
Nov

September saw the 23rd annual World of Learning Conference and Exhibition in Birmingham, UK. Elysian's own Chris Atkinson spoke here with passion, delivering a talk on his favourite topic, motivating people - beyond money. In case you didn't have to opportunity to make it to World of Learning, we filmed the talk for you to watch. See the talk highlights: Transformational Leadership - Moving Beyond Money Despite a huge body of research to the contrary most organisations remain fixated on incentive and punishment as the key methodologies for employee engagement. Many leaders find it hard to imagine an organisational context where money isn’t the driving force behind the motivation of their people. Whilst money will remain the primary reason why most of us work it isn’t an effective motivator nor is it actually very effective ...

12
Nov

Elysian's Chris Atkinson reflects on this article, 7 Most Required Leadership Skills for 2015: As the rate of change in industry continues to increase it is not just your technology that needs to keep pace! Despite the fact that everyone recognises large scale technological and social change, most organisations refuse to acknowledge that there therefore needs to be a change in leadership and management style. Look at your leaders and managers, have they changed their approach? Have you challenged your way of operating? It seems that most organisations embrace the need for investment in structural, technological or procedural change but struggle to create any meaningful change to their relationship with their people. In a world of rapid change it seems crazy to see so many organisations failing to deal with this issue. To us it ...