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Do you treat people equally, or fairly?
March 24th 2014
Deborah Mills-Scofield, writing for Switch and Shift, points out that there’s a difference between the two. Treating people fairly requires taking the high road; treating people equally is little more than a way to avoid conflict and difficult decisions. Mills-Scofield, a strategy consultant, says leaders should be more giving and think less about themselves: “A true leader is a servant who leads.”

Make the switch to leading KPIs
March 20th 2014
Rather than concentrating on reviewing costs and trends, which don’t necessarily provide clues about risk factors, controllers should gain a strategic understanding of their company’s leading drivers and the most relevant performance measures. This process can provide staff with a clear indication of the organisation’s purpose and direction. Bob Paladino, CPA, writing in the Corporate Finance Insider, describes how health-care provider AWARE Inc. put the idea into practice, and outlines how firms in any sector can benefit from the approach.

How to get a job at Google
March 19th 2014
Landing a job at Google is not all about grades or a degree from a brand-name institution. In fact, Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations, sees test scores as worthless criteria for hiring. Instead, the internet giant seeks candidates who demonstrate curiosity and the ability to learn, together with the soft skills vital to effective collaboration, writes The New York Times.

How to deal with stress
March 18th 2014
How does someone who faces life and death on a daily basis relax? Six people in roles where danger, public scrutiny or intense pressure come with the territory reveal their coping strategies in The Guardian. Not taking work home, being organised, taking up a hobby where you are in complete control, and even watching Breaking Bad are some suggestions.

Don’t say this in a meeting
March 17th 2014
John Brandon of Inc. has some helpful reminders for the phrases that can derail a meeting, including, “I already sent you an email.” He says that no one likes meetings, so we should eliminate eight phrases that can lead to longer meetings – or more of them.

Five work investments that paid off
March 13th 2014
Five successful people, five stories of lessons learned. Fast Company contributor Laura Vanderkam writes about five people she admires and the smart moves they’ve made, whether career- or strategy-related. Here’s one: Hire an expert who can see what you can’t. It’s better than trying “to puzzle through everything” yourself.

Are you a learner or a judger?
March 12th 2014
Research shows that the leaders of the world’s most innovative companies are inquisitive learners who are not afraid to ask questions to which they themselves don’t have answers. Giving employees the space to ask questions without fear of judgement about their lack of knowledge boosts creativity and leads to better decision-making, according to the INSEAD Business School blog.

What do CFOs tweet about?
March 11th 2014
If your CFO is constantly plugged in to his or her smartphone, he or she may well be reading the latest satirical musings from The Onion or catching up on sports scores, according to a study of Twitter activity in the fourth quarter of 2013. Alongside journals such as Harvard Business Review, the accounts most frequently retweeted by senior finance professionals in the US include sports network ESPN, the Boston Red Sox baseball team and even the popular TV programme The Voice. also reveals the most commonly used hashtags.

Don’t be afraid to fail
March 10th 2014
The prospect of failure fills most of us with dread, but that fear can stop us from grasping new and exciting opportunities. In fact, our mistakes can help us identify gaps in our skills and make us more resilient. Take the risk, and if things don’t go to plan, be sure to learn from your experience, advises the BBC.

How to survive the conference call
March 6th 2014
Conference calls are an increasingly common part of work, but stories of participants vacuuming, making dinner, or accepting deliveries mid-call are equally abundant. Agreeing on an agenda in advance, as well as a protocol for everyone to adhere to is essential, Sue Shellenbarger writes for The Wall Street Journal. Nominating a moderator to stay on topic and on schedule, and to provide opportunities for remote colleagues to contribute and engage with others, can help make the best use of everyone’s time.

Why the annual performance review is flawed
March 5th 2014
A poor review can have an adverse effect on an employee’s future career, but the individual managers charged with conducting reviews often lack the requisite training and skills, or the time to meaningfully track staff progress. In any case, a once-a-year snapshot cannot be representative, says Eric Mosley, in a book excerpt published by The Globe and Mail. Mosley sets out the alternatives, including social recognition, whereby employees acknowledge exceptional performance in their peers.

Cash rewards: Manager beware?
March 4th 2014
Experiments from Dutch and American researchers indicate that the promise of a financial incentive for a job well done might limit workers’ productivity and focus. A blog item by the Association for Psychological Science reports that some participants offered cash for task completion got distracted. Those with naturally high levels of dopamine, a chemical that plays a role in some cognitive functions, could overload their brains’ reward centres, the researchers said.

Three rules for networking
March 3rd 2014
Want to connect with the luminaries in your field? Asking a busy person for an hour of their time is unlikely to get you very far, strategy consultant Dorie Clarks writes for Harvard Business Review. To improve the chances of a positive response, don’t misunderstand the power dynamics, be mindful of the competing demands on your target’s time, and clearly explain what benefit you can offer them.

Time to rethink quirky interview questions?
February 27th 2014
Despite some popularity in recent years, offbeat interview questions don’t lead to better hiring outcomes, a blog in The Washington Post says. For example, asking candidates what they would do faced with the prospect of a “zombie apocalypse” tends to resonate more with men; consequently, women are more likely to be screened out of the recruitment process, as is becoming apparent in Silicon Valley. It’s time for a rethink, the blog suggests.

Seven smart management tips
February 26th 2014
Want to create a happy, productive team? Leading entrepreneurs suggest doing away with micro-management and focusing on achievement rather than hours at the desk and fostering a culture of trust and communication. In short, treat staff as you would like them to treat your best customers, advises The Guardian.

Don’t neglect future leaders
February 25th 2014
It may be easy to overlook the pivotal people in your organisation if they are not yet in managerial positions. But providing opportunities for crucial individuals to develop their leadership acumen will not only help them expand their influence with colleagues and clients, but it can also identify future managers. An added benefit: They will feel valued and be more likely to stay with the firm in the long run, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman write for Harvard Business Review.

Perfect the nine-minute presentation
February 24th 2014
Ever left a presentation with this impression: “It had some good information, but it was just too long.” Apparently, Kevin Karschnik has. Writing for SmartBlog, Karschnik says an excellent presentation can and should be culled to nine minutes. That time, times two, works at TED conferences, so perhaps a similar restriction should be in place at your next meeting, Karschnik writes.

A talk show host’s guide to the graceful exit
February 20th 2014
Professionals approaching retirement age can learn a lot from the way former US talk show host Jay Leno handled his departure from a storied career in late-night TV, career coach Nancy Collamer says in Forbes. As Leno has shown, the keys to leaving a cherished role with dignity involve keeping negative comments about your employer to yourself and paving the way for your successor. Being financially prepared and planning your retirement can also help you maintain perspective.

How to avoid being high maintenance
February 19th 2014
Want to make sure that you are not the nightmare colleague everyone moans about? Maintaining your cool, keeping your comments constructive and to the point, and delivering projects on time will all help keep office relations smooth, John Brandon writes in Inc.

Ask your boss these eight questions
February 18th 2014
When you’re looking to climb the career ladder, structured feedback from your boss is crucial. Let’s Grow Leaders offers ideas for getting the conversation started. Letting your manager know that you are looking to improve your effectiveness and asking what you can do to make the manager’s job easier is bound to elicit a positive response. The site also provides a list of questions you should be ready to answer.

Interview before the employee’s exit
February 17th 2014
Exit interviews can be helpful when employees leave, but they won’t help you keep that particular employee. Instead of waiting for talent to exit, conduct “stay” interviews with top workers, career strategist Jennifer V. Miller suggests in a post for SmartBlog. That conversation alone lets valued employees know how you feel about them and can help to fend off problems that could lead to an employee’s departure.

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