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Thoughts from the Ivory Basement

The Seven Coaching Questions

Everyone Now Knows That Managers and Leaders Need to Coach Their People In my last post I spoke about why annual performance reviews don’t work and what can be done instead. I suggested that this process be replaced instead by a coaching relationship. While coaching...

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How To Create A Pitch Deck

A pitch deck - when do you need to create one? I have spoken a lot about creating a business plan but is this always the best option? The short answer - yes. You should always have a plan for your business. However, this can take a number of forms. The most common...

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How To Create a Business Plan

Creating a business plan. This is a topic of much controversy. Traditional business theory enforces the importance of a business plan. In contrast, the world of agile startup business says don't waste your time. Make it up as you go along because you can pivot when...

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Living In The Cloud – Part Two

So it's been a few months since the purchase of my Google Chromebook and I wanted to share a few thoughts on how its been going. Starting with the unboxing, the experience is obviously not as slick as most Apple products, but what is immediately noticeable is the...

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Living In The Cloud

Do you know anyone with a Chromebook? It has been a while since I’ve purchased a new laptop, the last was in 2009 which was a MacBook Pro. You won’t be surprised that it is still running. It’s a little slower, the battery life isn’t that great anymore, and it can’t...

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How To Quit Your Job

It feels great thinking you're an entrepreneur. Let's be honest though - how close are your side-hustle earnings to those of your full-time corporate career? Does this mean you're a wantrepreneur? (Voluntarily) leaving a well-paid corporate career is difficult, yet it...

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Bootstrap Tools For Your Business

With these bootstrap tools, starting a business has never been easier. Many tools that are required to run a business used to be prohibitively expensive, making the barrier to entry very high. Whether it was office space, ERP software, or IT infrastructure - these...

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Recommended Reading – My Top 3 Books for 2016

Heading into the holidays and the coming new year is always a good time to reflect on the past year and our plans for 2017. It's also a good time to put our feet up with a few good books. So I thought I'd share my top 3 reads from 2016. It's a bit of a mixed bag and...

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Live on Udemy! How to Build a Business Plan.

How to Build a Business Plan I'm very pleased to announce that after months of planning and hard work, my first video based training course on building a business plan is available on Udemy! The training course is aimed at entrepreneurs and business owners. The...

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Creating a Business Plan in 12 Steps

Coming Soon on Udemy - Building a Business Plan. Hello! I'll be launching my first video based training course soon. The course is Building Your Business Plan in 12 Steps. It is made up of 19 lectures and provides almost 3 hours of video tuition. I'll be giving away...

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Are Large Corporates Beyond Help?

Corporate Mis-governance It’s impossible to scan the news today without coming across some corporate failure, transgression, or scandal. We’ve had large banks being bailed out by government at the taxpayers’ expense. These banks would have ordinarily gone out of...

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Wearable Tech Meets Kaplan and Norton

There are many greats that have shaped our business thinking today. Mintzberg, Drucker, Porter, Prahalad, and of course the great Kaplan and Norton. The classic management theorists you might call them. So what does this have to do with wearable tech? Being a business...

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Overcoming Your Fears and Managing Risk

As we grow older we become more risk averse. This is usually noticeable when we look at our kids. We watch them leap out of trees, jump off high diving boards. Or take to their skateboards; things we used to do without a second thought when we were their age. In my...

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Old School Strategy is Cool. Or is it?

Do traditional strategy planning tools have a place in today's business world? Let's take a look at one of the more widely used in more detail. Michael Porter has been prominent in both the business and academic worlds for the last 30 years. A number of his theories,...

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Setting Objectives

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat. "I don’t much care where--" said Alice. "Then it doesn’t matter which way you go," said the...

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Bureaucracy Killed the Video Star

I've been a consultant ever since I started my career and have asked myself a number of times why clients hire consultants rather than do the work themselves. I continue to ask this question and the most frequent answers that come up are Consultants bring knowledge...

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So Who Won the Music Wars?

Another day and another retailer closes down on the high-street. It wasn't too long ago that many organisations thought a website was a nice to have, or even a necessary evil - sort of like a fax machine. Now some of these organisations are being shut down by their...

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My YouTube Debut

Earlier this year, I was invited to join a discussion Panel to cover the topic of Big Data and what organisations were doing about Big Data. It was broadcast as a live Webinar but is now available on YouTube. It was a very interesting discussion and apart from the...

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It’s a Tough Choice

As consumers, we are faced with a daily barrage of advertising, product endorsements, and special offers. Sometimes making a choice is really tough, but fortunately, there are a number of ‘tools’ at your disposal that can help you make decisions. Things like a price...

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Smashing the Rules of Project Management – Part 1

Quite a while ago someone mailed me a document titled ’50 Rules of Project Management’. The ‘rules’ are all tongue-in-cheek and consist mainly of analogies and sarcasm. As the years go by, I gladly share these rules with both aspiring and experienced project managers....

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Not In My Backyard!

We are all pretty quick to complain about poor customer service to our friends, family, and acquaintances, but how many of us actually give organisations a chance to make things better? How often do you say ‘no’ when asked to complete a customer satisfaction survey?...

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The Case for Nationalisation – Or Not

Like many people, I need to travel into London on a daily basis – a train trip of around 45 minutes. And while I have a choice of substitute products (I could drive, catch a taxi, car pool) I catch the train because it is (usually) the quickest and most practical....

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Are You Feeling Bloated?

There is a scientific theory called Boyle’s Law, which states that a gas will expand to fill the size of the container that it’s in. For many years I have felt that staff in organisations - performing their day-to-day operational activities - behave in much the same...

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Where do Consultants go to die?

It’s been seen many times before. Salaried people – especially in specialist areas –make the transition to the Consulting profession. This is sometimes a planned career move or sometimes the result of an unplanned event, like a redundancy. Unplanned, by the employee,...

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The Curse of the Traveller

By no means am I a hardened traveller or jet setter, but I have been doing a weekly trip up north for the last few months, and this unfortunately necessitates me being exposed to fellow travellers. Not all of them are bad of course, but there are certain behaviours...

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Do Budget Airlines Mean Budget Service?

Traveling on EasyJet recently, it struck me how poor the customer service was. With the exception of the check-in counter representative, all of the staff I interacted with would certainly have benefited from a reading of Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence...

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Projects as Usual

If - like many of us - you are a consultant, you'll be used to working on projects. In fact, you’ll be accustomed to working on projects all the time. You will also have seen that when working on customer projects, the client will at the same time be undertaking many...

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Who’s the Pirate?

Who’s the Pirate? Traditional ways of doing business have been under threat for a while now. I suspect that certain professions - such as healthcare, Doctors specifically – are immune in the short-term, but other industries, such as publishing, really do have some...

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How Much Does It Cost?

As consumers, we make for an interesting study in many areas. One of the most fascinating areas however, is that of price and how we react to it. Often we will spend hours or days deliberating over a purchase of a few Pounds, but at other times, almost instantly make...

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Obfuscation?

I recently watched a lecture by Barry Schwartz, called ‘The Paradox of Choice’ (available at http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice.html). He spoke about the complexity that is introduced to us as consumers by providing too many...

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Fit or Not?

There is a fairly well known anecdote that describes how people tend to get promoted until they reach their level of incompetence. This appears particularly true in the public sector or government. One needs only consider the likes of Gordon Brown or George Bush (pick...

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Hitchcock in the Workplace

There have been a few people that I have worked with during my career that I have not been able to 'place' - by this I mean, understand what drives and motivates them, what their goals are, their lack of conscience, and more importantly, how they manage to remain so...

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The View from the Ivory Basement

No doubt you've come across them, termed a 'shared service' or 'support function'. They are meant to be there as an enabler to support core and other business activities. Generally termed 'Information Technology' or IT, they are often a world unto their own. As of...

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