February 27, 2013

900 and Counting

This site began in April 2008. Since then, there have been clients and challenges and colleagues and new friends and projects and pets passing and car purchases and successes and business trips and all the other elements of life in five years.

All the while, the promise of keeping this site alive with some opinions each week has been kept. In fact, in just under 1800 days, there has now been 900 posts and visitors have dropped by from more than 165 countries. Amazing. Thank-you!

The Human Network

The social web has opened lines of business revenue, a business partnership, and connected me with countless wonderful people I would not have otherwise met in ten lifetimes. If you ever have inkling to share your ideas online in a consistent matter, do it, be true to it, don’t apologize for it, and remember you are your first reader. If some disagree with you, they can go elsewhere. Your freedom of expression is alive and well.

A mentor once reminded me to always keep learning, reading, and writing which is what I will do for as long as those who decide such things let me do it. Once in while I will tell you about what may be going on with my business and we'll continue discussing how to help build inspirational cultures through strong leadership.

You’re always welcome to contact me via email and we can chat. Or we can connect via LinkedIn, Facebook, and/or Twitter.

Thanks for visiting. Let’s keep the conversation going!

Kneale Mann


February 25, 2013

Attributes of a Great Leader

He remains consistent. She makes people her top priority. He asks for help.
She manages up. He encourages differing points of view.

She ensures a collaborative culture.

She clearly articulates vision. He understands internal customer service is directly related to external customer service. She owns setbacks and shares victories.

He doesn't need to always be right. She knows it's not a straight road.

He knows culture will build revenue. She doesn't need to have the final say.
He eliminates favoritism. She sets realistic boundaries. He explains the tough decisions.

She remains fair. He doesn't manage, he leads. She holds herself accountable.
He holds the team accountable. She can apologize.

She leads by example. He possesses vision for now and the future.
She believes clear communication is critical.

He gives at least a quarter of his time to helping his people. She challenges comfort zone especially her own. He accepts full responsibility. She remains humble but confident. He gives great internal customer service.

She stays focused on goals not emotions. He shares the victories and the challenges.

He asks for the same efforts he gives them. She never stops learning.

Kneale Mann


February 20, 2013

Culture vs Revenue

Like change, good culture sounds great in theory but is not easy to execute. Culture is defined as the manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. It has also been described as the conditions suitable for growth. This goes well beyond dress code and office accouterments.

The number one reason people leave a company is because of how they are treated by their immediate direct report. Strategy is key to any successful business but so is healthy culture. Which do you think wins in a street fight? Which seeps into every crevice of a company? Which is the more critical to the bottom line?

Your Internal Supply Chain

In a recent Harvard Business Review article entitled Are You Creating Disgruntled Employees?, Joseph Folkman outlines six key elements which will help you improve the culture in your company. Those are; encourage me, trust me, take an interest in me, keep me in the loop, be honest with me, and connect with me.

Poor culture kills companies but hides in full view as leadership point to other issues as culprits. If you want more revenue and market share, why not try encouragement, trust, interest, openness, honesty or connection?

Yeah, that'd be great.

Kneale Mann

office space

February 16, 2013

Doing Nothing

We live busy lives often being busy doing busy things with others getting busy on busy tasks. But how often do we take time for think time or better yet, do nothing?

Andy Puddicombe is the co-founder of Headspace, a project that aims to demystify meditation and make it applicable to everyday life. He is a Clinical Meditation Consultant and former Buddhist monk.

For more than a decade Andy’s meditation training took him all over the world. He became a fully ordained monk at a Tibetan Monastery in the Indian Himalayas.

I work with leaders who are are taxed with delivering results, refining ideas, helping their teams, and ensuring they provide a collaborative culture. In his TEDTalk, Puddicombe explains the importance of making time to do nothing.

Kneale Mann

TED | Andy Puddicombe

February 13, 2013

The Dreaded C-Word

The responses are interesting when I ask about company culture. Often it's a visceral response. Sometimes it induces a look of bewilderment. Occasionally a dismissive laugh. Who has time for culture? What does culture have to do with work? We need revenue not all that touchy feely stuff.

Culture is a tricky topic. Many have trouble defining, creating, and maintaining it in the work space where deadlines are endless and revenue stress is constant.

The Greyhound Effect

When leaders are more focused on the bottom line than their people, collaborative culture is often replaced by a competition where the prize can never been caught like in a greyhound race. It’s telling how many executives I speak with earmark the importance of people yet often remain the catalysts for a carrots and sticks management style.

My passion is to help leaders and organizations put culture and collaboration at the forefront of their efforts. I'm currently collaborating on a process with a colleague which will help business owners, executives, teams, or companies of any size. It merges culture with measured results. More on that soon.

Berber Carpet and Exposed Brick

A relaxed dress code and premium coffee in the lunch room doesn't create good culture. Open collaboration, fair leadership, and clear direction are a good start.

Make your business an inviting place to work and people will like working there. Open lines of true communication and you will tap into your most valuable resource. If we curate a collaborative atmosphere with people as our focus, business will thrive.

If we focus solely on money, talent retention will remain 
a mystery and revenue will suffer.

Kneale Mann


February 10, 2013

Your Leadership Review

There's an annual event that everyone seems to think is crucial yet few look forward to enduring and that is the annual performance review. This delightful 45-minute meeting consists of a discussion of how one of the people in the room has performed for the past twelve months. There's precious other time during the year to focus on people so keep it to a chit chat once a year then get back to work.

Some companies engage in a form that is to be filled out by the employee prior to the meeting and then reviewed with their manager. The time spent on strengths is often paled by those items that require more attention or the weaknesses. If you ask most people, they would agree they should work on getting better at what they don't do well. But how often do we do what we can to find more time to do what we do well?

They Won't Wait

Your customers and your team don't wait for an annual appraisal form on your work. They make judgements all the time. But they often don't tell you if they're are unhappy. In some cases they just leave. Or worse, tell everyone about the experience.

So review your leadership strengths and decide whether you are waiting for the feedback or being proactive to ensure superior internal customer service, discussion of performance and strengths, while providing greater external customer service.

Your leadership review is a daily event.

Kneale Mann


February 6, 2013

What Makes You Itch?

British writer and philosopher Alan Watts lived a short but interesting life. After earning a master’s degree in theology, he moved to the San Francisco area to join the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies and gained a strong following through is work at KPFA, the listener sponsored radio station at the University of California at Berkeley. In more than 25 books, essays, and articles, Watts wrote about the Zen culture, Buddhism, and various aspects of human consciousness.

Watts once proclaimed it’s better to have a short life that’s full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way. Sadly, he only lived 58 years but left a legacy since his death four decades ago. He posed a question that still resonates today.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if we approached our leadership beliefs and business practices with this simple concept.

What if money didn't matter?

Kneale Mann

Alan Watts | Girish S

February 4, 2013

Tale of Two Boats

The news reports are telling residents to leave town. The authorities are feverishly going around the city to gather up those who don’t have the means to do it themselves and all the while Bill has decided he is going to stay in his home and wait out the storm.

Below the Waterline

A few hours later the rain is coming down in sheets. Bill is forced out of his home and onto his roof where the water is now five feet deep on his street. Two police officers in a motorboat come by to rescue Bill and bring him to safety. Bill declines their offer and proclaims; “God will send me a sign!”

Several hours later, the water is now at Bill’s waist as he struggles to survive on his now submerged roof. Another police boat comes to rescue him and take him to safety. He again says “No thank-you, God will send me a sign”. A half hour later, Bill drowns.

Searching for Answers

Bill is shocked and says; “Why didn’t you send me a sign?”
God replies; “I sent you two boats!”

How often do we ignore what may not appear on the surface to be the help we need in our quest for the clear path? How do we miss those signs that are there to guide us when we’re looking for guidance? How often are we quick to help others but not as swift to accept help from them in return?

Let's get in the boat

Kneale Mann


February 1, 2013

Are You Open for Business?

We live in a time where there may be four generations in your company. There are plenty of data to suggest older stakeholders are not quick with new technology and open collaboration while the younger members want it now. But leadership is an action not a position, so these generalizations blur across demographics.

I work with many senior leaders who are open to new ideas and younger managers already stuck in their ways. But one undeniable element is our ability to connect void of geographical and technological boundaries. The openness of business and human interaction is here whether we embrace it or not.

Don Tapscott is a Canadian business executive, author, consultant and speaker who has written or co-written fourteen books on the application of technology in business.
In his fascinating TEDTalk, he shares his four principles for the open world.

Wait for the starlings and you’ll understand.

Kneale Mann

TED | Don Tapscott
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