Author Archives: fwadecarib

Holding on to Long-Distance Relationships

By Francis

As a person who has lived and worked overseas, it’s hard for me not to compare: there is a big difference between the way local and foreign professionals maintain business relationships. My conclusion? To keep up with modern demands we Jamaicans must change our practices. Here’s how.

A colleague from overseas once led a few courses in Kingston. She received a few complaints—it appeared as if she were in a rush, trying to push people to …read more

Source:: Holding on to Long-Distance Relationships

Why managerial restraint is so important in protecting employee productivity

By Francis

Why managerial restraint is so important in protecting employee productivity

When should managers restrain themselves from taking advantage of employee fears? Since the days of slavery, those in power have faced the temptation to use workers’ anxiety as a way to get work done. These recessionary times are no exception, but today this behaviour comes at a cost: a possible drop in employee productivity.

While our economy is showing some welcome signs of life, few believe that …read more

Source:: Why managerial restraint is so important in protecting employee productivity

Why developing personal habits is more important than intelligence or force

By Francis

Why developing personal habits is more important than intelligence or force

Why is there such a gap between average and high performing employees? While there’s no simple solution, recent research suggests that your company may be looking in some of the wrong places for answers.

The difference between the best and worst companies is huge, according to The Economist: the top 25% of companies are a full 40% more productive than their counterparts. It’s not luck – …read more

Source:: Why developing personal habits is more important than intelligence or force

Why Managers Now Need to Communicate Until It Hurts

By Francis

Why do managers fail to get people moving in the right direction? More often than not they blame their staff, even as they lack the drive to push themselves to communicate outside their chosen comfort zone. The answer to being a better motivator? Know your limits and exceed them.

If you supervise the work of others, consider my observation: most managers chronically under-communicate.

While I can’t prove the above assertion with research data, my anecdotal evidence suggests …read more

Source:: Why Managers Now Need to Communicate Until It Hurts

Got a Backlog of Anything? Use Process, Not Psychological Solutions

By Francis

What can local companies do when faced with backlogs of any kind? From lists of overdue phone calls to folders of email messages, this nagging issue is difficult to solve. In this article I argue that we are better off staying away from pop-psychological diagnoses in favor of process-oriented solutions.

Case in point: Our justice system shows evidence of several, alarming backlogs. As citizens we agree that they partially cause our increasing crime rate. When suspects …read more

Source:: Got a Backlog of Anything? Use Process, Not Psychological Solutions

How to Close Communication Gaps For a New Corporate Strategy

By Francis

As an executive in a large Jamaican company, how do you ensure that good strategic ideas spark the right conversations between important stakeholders? Too often, these dialogues get trapped at the top or bottom of organisations so that fruitful meetings between leaders and those being led never take place. Sadly, poor corporate results ensue leaving everyone mutually mystified, annoyed and disenchanted.

By contrast, small companies have it easy. In a start-up in which I’m involved, a …read more

Source:: How to Close Communication Gaps For a New Corporate Strategy

Controlling Email Flow Can Transform Your Company

By Francis

In most companies, “email” means more than having a messaging app on your computer. Its ubiquitous nature, plus its tendency to be addictive has turned it into a productivity killer most people abhor. Gaining control has become more than a personal choice for individual benefit – it’s a matter of boosting corporate capacity.

Readers of this column may know that controlling one’s environment is a skill that’s essential to high productivity in the digital age. Visual …read more

Source:: Controlling Email Flow Can Transform Your Company

How to Avoid Costly Responses to RFP’s

By Francis

A juicy Request for Proposal (RFP) could be a dream or nightmare. As a business-owner, how can you tip the scales in your favour so that you end up winning a higher percentage of better opportunities?

It comes as a pleasant surprise. A casual scan of the Gleaner reveals an RFP that fits your company’s work. From all appearances, it’s an easy shortcut: a lead which has fallen into your lap without any marketing effort.

Unfortunately, “easy” …read more

Source:: How to Avoid Costly Responses to RFP’s

Why HR Needs to Champion Listening Skills

Businesswoman working on a computer in an office with coworker

Businesswoman working on a computer in an office with coworker

In an upcoming column just drafted for the Gleaner, I argue that executives lose employees’ followership because they lack advanced listening skills. What I didn’t mention is the role that Human Resource professionals should play in developing these rare skills.

Many executives believe that listening skills are picked up early in one’s career – a necessary stepping stone to the rungs of top leadership. For them, they consist of a few simple lessons and their successful rise to the top means that they have already been there, done that and checked off that particular box on their list of development goals.

However, Human Resource professionals know differently. For them, listening skills exist on a continuum from low to high. Furthermore, as an executive rises up the ladder, the need becomes acute. The stakes are higher and the demand for more sophisticated skills becomes evident. Few executives realize these facts and most HR professionals don’t tell them, resulting in a continuous, increasing flow of complaints. Here are some of the messages HR needs to share to prevent disaster.

Message #1. Why Followership is Lost

Executives are often at a loss when it becomes evident that people are no longer willing to follow their leadership. They have no idea what happened and start out blaming staff, or externals such as the recession or Jamaican culture. HR needs to provide concrete answers, which often have to do with a lack of listening.

In other words, executives sometimes stop paying attention to what people were saying… perhaps because they don’t notice what’s happening. HR professionals know that hard-earned trust is rarely lost in a single, dramatic incident, such as the shock news of Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Instead, they should teach executives that the loss comes from small unproductive practices repeated over time. By the time an executive sees the result, their poor listening practices have produced the tangible, cumulative effect they now see.

Message #2. How It Can Be Regained

Even if there is a dramatic event, there is no way trust can be rebuilt without employees having an authentic experience of being heard. In Jamaican companies, this experience can’t be handled by sending people to HR to air their grouses. It must take place at the very top, directly with leaders.

A few years ago, I witnessed a CEO write and subsequently read a letter to every member of staff apologizing for abandoning his leadership role. He did so in four training events, several months after an anonymous employee went to the newspapers with an inside, false story accusing him of corruption.

You may think that the victory was secured in his writing and reading but you would be wrong. His trust was rebuilt in the minutes after he read the letter and asked his employees for open feedback. It was gut-wrenching and uncomfortable but at the end, their courage matched his. The company was eventually acquired by a much larger concern based on their strength of the turnaround that ensued.

Turnarounds like this just don’t happen by “buck-up.” HR must demand that the transformative power of advanced listening skills be employed to reach each member of staff.