How much rope is enough?

How much rope is enough

Give them rope


Reflecting back over my career and various positions in organisations, I can say that managers in various guises have played a major part in how well I performed and how well I progressed into a better person in the workplace and in the processes I adopted and now use. Transferable skills shall we say.


We all over time gather info and learn, it’s just built into our systems. That’s why you hear people say, “You learn something new every day.”, when they come across a fact they did not know.

So, in the workplace we are always learning, now I don’t mean gaining certifications here, even though that always helps. I mean we are constantly shaping and evaluating what we are doing and if it could be done better and changing it so that the next time we do that task or a similar one, we will do it differently. Experiential learning if you like.

Where does the rope come in?

Well the rope comes in as I reflect back on various line managers at the various posts I have had. Some managers obviously stand out for the way they behaved. Some for positive reasons and some for negative reasons. But the importance is they stand out.

A manager’s job is a complex one and staff see the manager in different ways: –

  • The manager is in between me and the top brass, so they take the heat.
  • The manager is there to bounce things off and I let them take the final decision that I run with.
  • The manager is there to help me do what I do and advise and give experience where needed
  • The manager is there to identify my strengths and weaknesses and help me grow.
  • The manager is there to hound me and be on my back all the time
  • The manager is there to micromanage everything I do
  • The manager is there to bully me into doing things a certain way
  • The manager is just an extension of the top brass and I don’t trust them
  • The manager is just looking after themselves all the time.

The above are just some responses I have heard and I am sure you have heard many more over the years. The top ones are positive and the bottom ones are more negative. The culture the manager creates is one of the most important things in an organisation. It is either a culture of trust and growth and innovation or one of distrust and tolerance of the management as a whole.

The rope comes in where the mangers are switched onto their staff and not just processes and statistics. You see the managers that have stuck out in my past are the ones that saw my potential for self-motivation and gave me the rope to run with it. When I stretched the rope and I did on more than one occasion, they would grab the end and pull me back in a bit, but always with encouragement and not demotivation..

I have worked in some great environments where the people were such a massive resource and if they had been managed correctly would have been so innovative that the potential clients would be climbing over each other to come and deal with us. Sadly, a culture of short ropes and bullying was relevant and it destroyed the people and the innovative juices within a short period. Very sad indeed to be part of and watch. I did escape and got out before the whole house of cards fell.

So how much rope is enough?

This is a great question, don’t get me wrong I believe in systems and know they have to be there for so many reasons. I EVEN TEACH THEM.

But, I also have such a heart for innovation and letting people be creative. I teach a creative thinking techniques seminar that gets people to tap into the juices that made them creative when they were children. Which they have now parked as they have picked up the managerial styles over the years.

They come out and can create ideas that are normally outside their thinking processes. It’s like a relearning. I do believe that most people can be self-motivated and if given a brief and some rope may well shock you with the solutions they come up with. Once you trust and give them the opportunity they will impress. If not we all learn anyway and nothing is lost; I guarantee that more will be gained. It’s is easier to get the best out of staff with motivation than bullying. That I also guarantee, having experienced both.

What are your thoughts on this whole area, would be good to hear from you.

Working Smarter in 2015

working smarter

Time for change

I finished a recent post with a short section about what can change in 2015. With the phrase Working Smarter.

Now Working Smarter can mean many things to different people. I come from a sales background and smarter was always a way of measuring statistics. Smart targets, now as much as I agree with these they tended to leave a bad taste in my mouth and memory if you like. No matter how I set targets and made them measurable and REALISTIC, my direct line managers had figures of their own and their statistics to back them up. So their targets and figures for me were always away above where I thought they should be and in my mind were unachievable straight from the starting block –  UNREALISTIC.

So when I use the phrase working smarter, don’t panic and start battening down the hatches awaiting the worst.

The Best way.

Having now been in training for some time and working with loads of companies, organisations and departments, all having a huge range of disciplines, I have looked at things from more angles than most people and have come to conclusions that help when encouraging things to change.

Oh! Who wants to Work Smarter: –

  • Individuals can work smarter
  • Teams can work smarter
  • Departments can work smarter
  • Companies can work smarter

From the management team to the individuals on the shop floor everyone can do at least one thing smarter in 2015. Doesn’t sound a lot does it, but when it all adds up, companies change.

I have seen training two people in a department and the company benefitting to a degree that probably couldn’t have been properly explained prior to the training. Time saving techniques freeing up time. Using tired applications to a more productive level. It is amazing and I really should video a session and show you the response from people becoming enthused by something they have maybe used for a long time.

You see working smarter, is sometimes doing the same work you do every day, but doing it in a different way that creates results and gets you enthused. Freeing up resources and getting more out of them.

Don’t let things stay the same, make changes.

Don’t keep doing things the way you always have been, make changes, and make 2015 the year of blowing the dust away and doing things differently. It isn’t really rocket science, but with some help and encouragement and consultancy it can make a change that could revolutionise the way you do things at all levels.

What are your thoughts and are you going to do anything dfferent in 2015? Let us know.

I won’t bother training, it’s a waste of money!

trainingOur parent company is a training organisation and they are always astonished at companies and peoples response to training or lack of training.

During times or recession one of the first things that companies cut alongside staff is training. “How can we train staff when we are paying people off?”

Well to be honest that’s exactly when you should be training your remaining staff to keep up moral and make them more effective at what they do.

Here are 10 reasons you should train your staff.

Ten Important reasons why training and investing in your staff is more important at this time than ever:-

  1. Training boosts morale. Staff will feel better and more motivated about working with your company if you show belief that they can improve.
  2. Training highlights priorities. In financially difficult times, the needs of the current staff can be directed toward specific training.
  3. Training is not expensive – compared to recruiting and hiring new staff. Whatever the challenges your company is facing, reducing your training budget isn’t going to improve things.
  4. Training is a stimulant, while cancelling training can enforce mediocrity.
  5. Training helps keep pace with a changing business. You need to keep up to date with new developments in order to remain competitive.
  6. Training encourages teamwork. If you’ve got fewer admin staff than you’ve had before then a refresher course on office apps or Project can help the existing team focus on the essentials and work together more effectively.
  7. Training encourages the good habits of your staff and produces your best work.
  8. Training creates revenue. Focused training can pay for itself over and over again by raising morale, encouraging efficiency and working at high standards.
  9. Training treats your staff like professionals. Staff who believe they are valued enough for you to invest in developing their skills might stay with your company a little while longer.
  10. Training helps maintain and improve quality and productivity.

What are your thoughts on training and sharpenning up your employess skill base? Remember as much as your organisation may produce a product or service. without the employees you produce nothing!

Let us know what you think.