The National Learning Institute

Monthly Archives: January 2013


Bob’s Blog: How Can You Improve Workplace Productivity?

January 30, 2013 No Comments

How productive is your organisation? A useful way to explore how workplace productivity can be improved in an organisation is to ask managers to examine four primary areas.

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How to improve workplace productivity

How Can You Improve Workplace Productivity?

January 30, 2013 1 Comment

How productive is your organisation?  A useful way to explore how productivity can be improved in an organisation is to ask managers to examine four primary areas. These are:

  • Clarity of the task – Make sure you are spending time clarifying expectations of priorities and task delivery.
  • Determine helpful tools – Select useful tools to help productivity.
  • Motivation – Explore whether there is sufficient autonomy, accountability and fairness for people to enable people to do their work
  • Rethink the system – Constantly challenge the merits and performance of systems including aspects pertaining to innovations, steps of change, disruption and improvement.

I’m grateful to Alastair Rylatt of Smarter Better Business for these tips from the following source: ‘Leadership – Cornerstone of Productivity’ by Tim Orton, Public Administration Today, Edition 33, January-March 2013, pages 35-37.


9 Tips for Shorter, Better Meetings

January 29, 2013 No Comments

Avoid the unfocused meetings that murder your team’s productivity.  Too many business meetings are utter wastes of time. People drone on and on and little is accomplished, other than the avoidance of actual, productive work.  Here are a set of simple rules to keep your meetings brief and to the point …

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Time Wasting Bosses

4 Types of Time-Wasting Bosses

January 24, 2013 No Comments

McKinsey outlines popular ways managers misuse their time. Do you recognize yourself in any of these four types? Are you perhaps a time wasting boss?

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Digg Fiunder: Kevin Rose

Digg Founder: Trust Your Gut. Always

January 24, 2013 No Comments

Fear almost prevented Kevin Rose from starting Digg. Now, as a partner at Google Ventures, Rose advises other entrepreneurs on conquering the fear of failure.

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How to get re-motivated

How to get re-motivated

January 21, 2013 No Comments

It’s important to allow yourself to be de-motivated from time-to-time. Really!  We need the highs and lows to keep us focussed on today and tomorrow, just so long as there are not too many lows and when they happen, they’re short.

So, when you’re in one of these lows and it seems to be going on too long, how do you get out?

Try a little exercise I call

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Armstrong Livestrong Future Cycling

Did Lance Lie?

January 18, 2013 No Comments

With all the publicity this week about the Oprah – Lance Armstrong interview, the subject of “lying” has been centre stage. Did he or didn’t he?

And what’s the truth anyway?

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3 Ways to Manage Your Impatience

January 15, 2013 No Comments

Are you frustrated with your own impatience and the pace of others? Here are three ways to cope and make time your friend.

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Best books of 2012

Best books of 2012

January 14, 2013 No Comments

Job Interview Success: Be your own Coach by Jenny Rogers. McGraw-Hill
As someone who has also been in the recruitment field, I was impressed with this book not only because it covered the obvious topics (such as dress code, handling nerves etc.) but because Rogers often puts a different spin on them (such as acting as a facilitator if you happen to be asked to participate in a team assessment centre).

This is not only a “must read” for anyone about to apply for a new position (either within or external), but I’d strongly suggest it become a “must do”. Highly recommended.

Crucial Conversations
I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to match the intent of one’s communication more closely to its impact. For example, Chapter 5 “Make it Safe” and Chapter 6 “Master My Stories” are great starting points.

Conversation Transformation
Whilst the book can be read and used as a stand-alone guide for improving one’s conversations and overall communication skills, it would probably be more effective to undertake as many of the learning experiences offered as possible. “Conversation Transformation” will not only transform your conversations, it will transform your relationships.

Writing: A User Manual
Having reviewed over 100 books, I normally précis and critique the book. For once, I digressed from my normal format – Why? Well, for any budding (or for that matter experienced) author, I’d be depriving the reader of the discovery of some great examples of how to successfully write a novel if I said too much. Suffice to say there’s a surfeit of ideas and advice ranging from how to get started through keeping the project alive to delivering the finished manuscript, that you must read.

Likeable Business
Likeable Business is in fact a series of stories – stories of how businesses and business leaders have developed their businesses to be the best in their field. Unlike so many books of a similar ilk, the vast majority of author Dave Kerpen’s stories are about positive events – how people have succeeded, not where they failed. So, it’s a very invigorating and uplifting book to read and from which to learn.

Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives that Captivate, Convince and Inspire
I think this book should be essential reading for every manager. Apart from the impact the book will have on the way managers communicate, as Smith points out in the introduction “Some (stories) will make you laugh, some might make you cry (I did!), most will make you think. More important, I hope this book makes you do something”. Me too, go for it!

What not to say at work

What you should never say at work

January 11, 2013 1 Comment

The standard things you should not talk about are; being critical of your boss (a certain career derailment strategy), bitching about colleagues, drugs you took etc. And then there’s the really difficult topic – you!

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