Below you'll find extracts from my first podcast series, The Performance Podcast, offering easily digestible insights, tools and techniques you can put into action immediately.
For my current podcast, Start With What Works with Andy Bass, featuring interviews with business leaders and thinkers, click here.
For my appearances as a guest on other podcasts, click here.
How To Kill Engagement By Building A Burning Platform
Andy shares three reasons why your efforts to create a burning platform are going to go up in smoke.
Be more competitive by shifting from push to pull
Experts in every sector have the tendency to push the ‘best’ solution onto clients. As a consequence, they often end up working hard to nearly-but-not-quite satisfy them. They also tend to converge on the same technical solutions, so failing to differentiate themselves. Better to let the customer or client pull the solution they really need from you. Andy discusses a number of examples, from professional services, manufacturing and even local government, and invites you to consider how you can use this idea to stand out against the competition.
Maximise Results With Minimal Energy
Andrew discusses nine keys to getting great results with less effort.
How to Raise Fees in Professional Services
Providing greater value, and therefore getting more, and more profitable sales, depends crucially on how well you understand and fit your offerings to client/customer needs. Andrew uses an example from professional services to show how you can use some well-targeted questions to build your understanding and tailor more valuable solutions, for which you can then charge a premium.
Practical Keys To Innovation – Part 1 of 2
Andrew shares some keys to practical innovation: 1. Don’t think that innovation is just about technology 2. Have a systematic way of turning ideas into reality 3. Treat ideas well, even if they are not yet fully-formed
The Two Types of Managers
Although not wildly enthusiastic about systems for grouping people into types, Andrew finally realised that there really are only two types of manager! Here he describes them, explains their characteristics, and suggests you make your hiring and promotion decisions accordingly.
How To Accelerate Cross Functional Projects
Improving cross-functional collaboration has multiple benefits for organizational performance. Andrew shares a range of tactics to help expedite projects across departments.
How To Get Your Own Feedback
‘Feedback’ is much misunderstood, yet it is crucial for learning and performance, for both individuals and organizations as a whole. Andrew explains why obtaining feedback is so important, and how to go about getting it. He covers: 1. Why feedback only makes sense in the context of a goal you are committed to 2. The essence of feedback: you must be able to recognize the results of your actions in the information you receive 3. The need to ensure feedback follows quickly after your actions 4. The 3Q formula for high-quality debriefing. 5. Striking the right balance between learning and achievement objectives
Avoiding Communication Traps that Snarl Up Decision-making
Andrew explains that a sensitivity to the different ways your team members prefer to collect information, balance risk and opportunity, and make decisions, can smooth collaboration and make best use of the talent in the room.
Does Your Strategy Depend On Clairvoyance?
Andrew shares some amusing examples of how extremely intelligent professionals can make wildly inaccurate predictions. Given that clairvoyance is clearly a rare skill, what are the lessons for leaders attempting to plot their course into an uncertain future?
How To Boost Your Influence Over Culture and Change
One of the most elegant ways to create change is to influence the influencers. Andrew discusses the process and raises three questions: * Do you know who the key influencers in your organization are (some are not obvious)? * Do you really understand their concerns and personal interests? * How good are you at building your influence with them?
Biggest Mistakes In Strategy Implementation
Andrew discusses five key issues that often undermine strategy implementation: * Underestimating the human element * Assuming that people will understand what you really mean when you present your strategy to them * Retaining incentives which reinforce the old, rather than the new, direction * Allowing metrics to become detached from objectives * Failing to build in adequate monitoring
Mistakes Organizations Make
Andrew shares his experience of mistakes he has seen organizations make, and offers suggestions about what can be done to avoid them. The mistakes include things such as confusing their own opinions for those of customers; trying to do too many things; trying to compete on price when they’re not set up for cost leadership; putting up with bad behaviour from a divisive member of staff for too long; and failing to keep in touch with front line employees.
How to Lead in Ambiguous Situations
A key responsibility of leaders – especially in uncertain times – is to reduce ambiguity for their followers. Andrew shares ways to do it:
- Increase tolerance of ambiguity
- Help people to understand the difference between perfect and good enough
- Be prepared to tolerate some kinds of mistakes
- Either find a purpose or make one
- Cultivate a bias for finding answers out in the world.
Small Change, Big Results
Andrew explains how finding key maneuvers to nudge things in the right direction can be more beneficial than pursuing grand all-at-once change efforts.
Remarkable Customer Experience
What can a High St optician, an old Disney cartoon and the Duke of Edinburgh teach us about creating the kind of remarkable customer experience that leads to stand-out results?
Why Use Consultants?
Thinking about using consultants? Is it a good idea? Can’t you just do it yourself? Here’s my take, including reasons why sometimes there is no substitute for going outside, what to watch out for if you do so, as well as perspectives on how to get the benefits a good consultant will bring.
Communicating Strategy: The Three Stories
However well you formulate your strategy, its success or failure is going to depend on how well you translate it for the needs of those who must support it. Andrew discusses some thought experiments to help convey the concept of The Three Stories You Need To Tell About Your Strategy, from his book The Performance Papers.
Practical Keys To Innovation – Part 2 of 2
Andrew continues his discussion of keys to foster innovation: 1. Allot and protect time and space away from your routine 2. Improvise the before and after of using your product or service 3. Pay attention to packaging and ease of use 4. Run time-limited experiments 5. Emphasize improvement over mere problem solving
Will Your People Pass The Ball?
Andrew offers three questions to ask in order to determine whether your organization fosters true teamwork: 1. Are people willing to share resources for the good of the group? 2. Do they perceive that doing so will go against their personal interests – and how accurate are their perceptions? 3. Do they act as custodians of the group’s resources, neither hoarding them or passing them (or responsibility for them) on too quickly?
Coaching and Mentoring As Leadership Styles
Andrew discusses similarities and differences between coaching and mentoring and shares five ideas to use the next time you have the opportunity to develop an employee’s skills: 1. Consider the trade-off between asking and telling 2. Question people’s premises, rather than pointing out their errors 3. Consider the trade-off between suggesting alternatives and offering perspectives 4. Encourage a strategic outlook 5. Create or suggest challenges
How To Delegate
How effective are your people in getting results through others? Andrew shares the REWARDS formula that can dramatically improve results when delegating tasks to others. * Specify the Results that you want * Specify what Evidence will prove that the desired results have been achieved * Make it clear Why the result is important * Make it clear that you are proposing an Agreement – a contract which comes along with responsibility. * Allow the Responsible party to negotiate changes * Document the agreement * Monitor and Support but do not solve problems for them * Acknowledge accomplishments and give REWARDS if appropriate
Baffled By People’s Behaviour?
Why won’t people just do what they are told?! Even more baffling, why do they agree to things and then not follow through? Andrew addresses the problem of behaviour not changing when your strategies, goals or policies change. He explains that by looking at changes from their perspective, and understanding what the risks and consequences are as they understand them, leaders can better understand what their people need in order to feel motivated and be comfortable with the new requirements.
Organizational Change: Don't Create Unnecessary Resistance
Andrew explains that leaders’ efforts to drive change often end up creating unnecessary resistance. Instead, he suggests that listeners who are meeting resistance stop, take some time to observe and make small tests, and then once they find a way that works, let a snowball effect shape the decisions on what to do next. By doing this, organizations can see results more quickly and with less resistance.
Strategy Formulation Basics
Andrew shares the back-to-basics questions that any business-unit leader should clarify about their strategy: * What are we going to sell, what are we not going to sell (that we could), and Why? * Who are we going to sell to, who are we not going to sell to (that we could) and Why? * Why are they going to send us the money as opposed sending it to a competitor or keeping it themselves?