At least make meetings useful….

I’ve made no secret of my disdain for regular meetings in the past.

I hate the ‘I need to say something clever’ brigade and the waste of valuable energy and time spent dealing with these comments.

I hate the meetings that simply exist to ‘tick a box’ and report on information that really should already be transparent to the business.

I hate the ‘non-committers'; wracked by a seemingly unshakable belief in not rocking the boat, if you have nothing to add don’t attend.

Most of all, I hate the product of group-think, a weakened and often bloated version of any original concept. Are all meetings useless? Not at all, but they should be by exception, if you’re having regular reporting or status meetings you have your communication all wrong. [Read more…]

My take on the Pomodoro technique

I’ve recently been trying out ways to increase my productivity at work, at home and especially whilst doing those loathsome jobs which are just too easy to ignore. You know the ones I’m talking about, the kind of job that sits on your to-do list smirking at you. The kind of jobs that just don’t excite or interest, yeah I’m looking at you Mr.endless documentation and definitely you Mr.my next potential DIY disaster.

I’ve looked at quite a few ‘productivity boosters’ in the past but the one I’m currently giving a whirl isn’t new it’s called the Pomodoro Technique.

This technique has been around for ages; in fact it was originally developed by a guy called Francesco Cirillo in the 80’s. What attracted me to the system? Well it’s simple, doesn’t require expensive software or a lot of effort and you get started with it immediately.

The basic premise is this; you get some kind of timer; the original author used a tomato shaped kitchen timer, hence the name pomodoro (Italian for tomato) you write down a number of tasks, set the timer to 25 minutes and work solidly on that task until the timer runs out. Take a 5 minute break and repeat. After every 4 work sprints; you take an extended break, say 15 mins. Sounds great, but does it work? [Read more…]

Can Business learn from the modern military?

Some of the systems the modern military employ are interesting. Especially when applied to the challenges and traumas of the workplace. not to over play it, the workplace is certainly no battlefield, but maybe some of the hard learned lessons can be applied to make the workplace a little less jarring.

Teamwork

Probably the biggest single lesson the military teaches is that teamwork is king. the unit,platoon or whatever organisational unit is engaged rely wholeheartedly on teamwork to succeed. It is interesting to note that the teams needs always take precedent over the needs of the individual.

Now I must admit this does sound a little holistic, zen and over the top; but indulge the theory here. The idea is to engender a collective unity, that no matter how hard the going gets, the cohesion and motivation of the team will ensure success.

One man Jack

Closely related to teamwork is ‘one man Jack’ . Now this will take a little explaining, so bear with me. One of the tennets of a successful team is the feeling that you will never be abandoned or left on your own to complete a task which requires more resource. that you can rely on your pals to get you through. [Read more…]