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My experience working with a wide range of young businesses, from complex financial software through to artisan food producers says, it is easy to get distracted by products and forget that the underlying success drivers are the same regardless of what you make or do.

girl at wall

A visit to The Climbing Wall in Sandyford, a 3 week old fledgling business already packed with happy customers on a freezing January night made me stop to think.  What gets customers in this case to a business with no marketing or advertising budget?  What separates success and disaster for a young business in the early scary days?

“The wall” is an indoor state of the art climbing wall in Sandyford industrial estate. So, your business is very different, but the same answers apply and will help you succeed early.
  • Passionate attention to  all customers, including the ones future customers. I dragged along a friend who doesn’t climb, and had no intention of doing so.  She instantly felt welcome, even though climbing up the wall until then was something she only does at business meetings. Your customers may come in many forms and will have different needs. See the world from their perspective – are they confused? Scared? Stressed? Finding it hard to park? At the Wall you feel safe and at ease. And yes, of course, she climbed. And is now hooked.
  • Create a happy place where staff are as engaged as you are in looking after customers with care. Your staff must feel like a really core part of your baby business.  Get them on board and make sure to find ways of harnessing all their bright ideas about how to make your project a success
  • Know your customers intimately before you start. Alan and Brian really understand their market, and are well networked. They already understood exactly what climbers want and immediately ran simple high impact events that have built up loyalty, traffic to The Wall and loads of Word of Mouth publicity, always the most powerful form of marketing. This also helps you create a sense of community and shared values among your customer base, so your customers stay longer and believe in what you do.  Happy customers come back.
  • Be clever about how to position and communicate what you offer: .The Wall makes canny use of social media and press coverage to get the story out in a more targeted and dynamic way than any ad ever will.  Network, but be savvy about how you use that precious network.
  • Know your competition equally intimately, know when to compete (and how) and when to collaborate. Sometimes collaboration is the right strategy – work together and instead of splitting a new small market you can grow it together, creating greater awareness by acting as a group and attracting more people to a new service or product.
  • Good team - make sure all the practical stuff is under control.  The top team here includes a marketing whizz and an employment law specialist.  They have team skills to make sure the business is set up on a sound financial footing, property and planning skills and expertise to make sure design and operations are top class.
  • Finally – do something you love. The chances are you will be very good at it!
  Moira Creedon is a facilitator and consultant in Strategic Finance and has worked with both corporate and public sector clients worldwide helping decision makers at strategic level to understand finance and improve their ability to formulate and implement strategy. She teaches on IMI’s Diploma in Management and a number of Short Programmes including the Senior Executive Programme. See our Spring 2015 schedules here: IMI Diplomas Spring 2015 and IMI Short Programmes Spring 2015 [post_title] => 'Off the Wall' tips for early business success [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => wall-tips-early-business-success [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:58:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:58:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=8958 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14099 [post_author] => 77 [post_date] => 2016-03-16 11:02:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-16 11:02:45 [post_content] =>

One of the most common struggles people have in life is speaking in public.

presenting 2

Source: www.webdesignerdepot.com

You may have always managed to avoid these scenarios like the plague. You may also be in a place where enough is enough and you just want to be equipped to be comfortable and confident to present without the all the drama attached. From a personal perspective, it can be sometimes easy to wiggle out of these stressful scenarios.  Sooner or later from a professional context, avoiding a presentation at work or leaving it until the last minute can start to impact your career or work life.

Where to start – start with yourself and your thoughts

Most people have the same fears, looking silly, what will people think, being forgetful, babbling or not getting to the point. It is really important to overcome these fears and understand where these unhelpful beliefs come from.  Once you challenge these beliefs you can make huge strides which will impact both your personal and professional life.

Understanding stress

Most people become stressed when it comes to public speaking. Surveys often quote that the number one fear amongst the population is public speaking. To put this in context fear of death is number two on the list. It is useful to remember the purpose of stress. Stress is a function of the human body designed to protect you, once you reframe how you see stress it will make public speaking such a different experience. To help with this reframe remember: FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. The more relaxed you are the easier it is to communicate, so find ways to relax before presenting.

Confidence

Helpful beliefs about your self is a great start to increasing your confidence. Always play to your strengths. What people tend to do is compare themselves to others and then they never match up. Comparing yourself to others can be limiting and damaging. Everyone has their own personality and style. Play to your strengths be your authentic self. Sometimes you just got to imagine that confident state and fake it until you make it can be a good strategy until it comes second nature to you.

Structure

Always start with the audience in mind. What is the purpose of your presentation? What would interest them? It is really important to capture the audience’s attention and maintain their attention. Here preparation is key. Have structure, a beginning, middle and end. Ensure you know what key messages you would like them to remember and find ways to make those messages memorable. Remember: what would you like the audience to think, feel or take action on.

Engage the audience

Many people would love to have the confidence to engage the audience but just don`t know how. This is about understanding your audience and meeting their needs. Build rapport, be brave and curious when it comes to audience interaction. Being able to read people`s body language and influence people will increase your ability to engage the audience. Remember, always put yourself in the audience’s shoes.

Practice makes perfect

If you ever learned to drive a car, you will know you didn't just drive automatically to your destination without guidance. Treating presentations the same will help you improve. Seek feedback from others on how you could improve and look specifically at what others do. Remember, look back, reflect on what you did well and find ways to improve. Focus on presentations as a learning experience to becoming an expert to presenting with impact confidently.
Corless William IMI
William Corless is an ICF accredited ACC Coach. He brings over fifteen years’ experience in general management, supply chain, team development and strategy. William is an IMI associate faculty and teaches on Presenting With Impact.  _____________________________________ [post_title] => “I have just been asked to do a presentation”... Relax and take your finger off the panic button [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => just-asked-presentation-relax-take-finger-panic-button [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:14:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:14:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=14099 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19182 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2017-03-30 13:48:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-30 13:48:18 [post_content] => [post_title] => 5 Tips for Motivating Employees [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 5-tips-motivating-employees [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-18 07:59:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-18 07:59:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=19182 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8268 [post_author] => 39 [post_date] => 2014-09-29 11:53:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-09-29 11:53:40 [post_content] => Described as ‘The Jane Bond of Innovation’, Nilofer Merchant has grown businesses — from Fortune 500s and silicon valley web start-ups — for 20 years.  She will be a keynote speaker at the IMI National Management Conference on 9 October 2014.  As an innovative thinker and practitioner, Nilofer will share her thoughts and experience on how we best align our organisations to succeed against our business challenges today and into the future. nmweb150 IMI: Based on your current work – if you only had 6 words of advice to give a business - what would they be? NM: Not everyone will, but anyone can. IMI: What does this mean? NM: Most organizations think of work in boxes. As in engineering does this and marketing does that. Or, even more personally as Tom is responsible for delivering X and Susan is responsible for Y. This is to put work into neat little boxes to create some type of measurability. It’s a relic of the industrial era when the way to profitability and market performance was on efficiency and productivity. But if you look around your workplace, you’ll notice the most obvious truth. Most things are not failing because so and so didn’t do such and such. It’s because of a gap. A gap between organizational silos. A gap between understanding. A gap between the organizational boxes. In order to close the box, you need to organize not around boxes but around purpose. Organize not by “who should be here” but who wants to be here. And while not everybody will rise up to solve the situation, create new products, etc … what you’ll discover is an amazing reserve of talent that exists. Things you didn’t know were possible will happen. Because anybody can. IMI: Where should we look for further information? NM: Visit my website nilofermerchant.com Nilofer Merchant is a keynote speaker at the IMI National Management Conference taking place on Thursday 9 October. If you are interested in attending click here to register. [post_title] => "Not everyone will, but anyone can" Six Word Wisdom from Nilofer Merchant [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => everyone-will-anyone-can-six-word-wisdom-nilofer-merchant [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 21:02:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 21:02:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=8268 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7017 [post_author] => 32 [post_date] => 2014-05-08 15:28:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-05-08 15:28:31 [post_content] => [post_title] => 3 slick selling techniques you should take from the Time-share Salesperson [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => can-learn-selling-street-vendors [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 21:12:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 21:12:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=7017 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 13870 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2016-02-10 08:31:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-02-10 08:31:14 [post_content] =>

The American economist Robert Shiller is a Nobel laureate for several reasons.

One of them is the cyclically adjusted price earnings (Cape) ratio. Shiller’s device overcomes a serious defect in the more conventionally used price to earnings (PE) ratio which is often used to measure quickly whether a share is relatively expensive or cheap.The problem with the conventional PE ratio is that if earnings or profits are cyclically inflated, then even an inflated share price can be made to look reasonable.  Shiller’s elegant answer to this problem was to discard annual earnings as the “E” or earnings figure and to replace it with a measure of cyclically adjusted earnings. In order to generate a measure of corporate earnings that reflected the whole cycle, rather than risk being deceived by using cyclical peak earnings, Shiller opted to use average earnings from the previous decade instead. By comparing today’s share price to average earnings over the previous decade — rather than just the earnings of the past 12 months — the risk that one may be misled by a temporarily elevated level of earnings is significantly reduced. The advantage of using Cape as a measure of value is that it provides a useful predictor of future equity returns, at least when one uses it to measure value across an entire national stock market. The best returns from investing in the US stock market were made in the past after its Cape had sunk to levels of 10 or lower. This happened, for example, in the 15 years after 1932, when the Cape hit 6, and 1982, when it hit 8. Conversely, the worst returns have been made after the Cape has peaked above 25. That happened after 1929, when the Cape reached 30, and 2000, when it hit 44. Today the US Cape is 25.5 and falling. That’s a medium-term equity market warning. So is Ireland’s elevated Cape of 27.4. Those looking for long-term equity bargains might look at the markets in Brazil (Cape of 7.4), Poland (9.1) or the Czech Republic (9.4). And, if you want a bargain and have a stomach for risk, you can try Russia, where the Cape is a measly 4.6.
IMI . Picture Conor McCabe Photography.
Cormac Lucey is the Programme Director of the IMI Diploma in Business Finance. Cormac is a Financial Services Consultant and Contractor who has previously worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Rabobank Frankfurt and the Department of Justice. 
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Yves-Morieux-Hi-Res-150x1501.jpg
Yves Morieux is a Senior Partner and Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group, a BCG fellow and director of the BCG Institute for Organisation.Yves' Six Simple Rules of Smart Simplicity, has helped CEOs with their most critical challenges, for instance, moving their companies from quasi bankruptcy to industry leadership. He will be a keynote speaker at the IMI National Management Conference on 8 October 2015

1. What is the chief thing that managers/leaders get wrong about what effective leadership means today, in your experience?

Managers often don't understand what their teams really do. They understand the structures, the processes, the systems. But this is not what people do – it is what people are supposed to do.  A company's performance or a department's performance is what it is because people do what they do, because of their actions, decisions and interactions – their "behaviours".  Because we don't understand what people do, we create solutions – new structures, processes, systems, scorecards, incentives, training, and communication – that don't address the root causes. We don't solve the problem, we simply add more internal complicatedness. And the more complicatedness we create, the less we understand what is really happening, the thicker the smoke screen, and then the more rules we add. This is the vicious circle of modern management. This is why the first rule of what I call Smart Simplicity is "understand what people really do at work."

2. Do leadership principles work best when understood as a top-down process, or is this understanding of leadership out of touch with the modern workplace?

From collaboration to performance to employee engagement, everything we know about work is changing – but our businesses are seemingly slow to respond. People are more attuned to sharing posts, writing blogs, and providing instant feedback through ‘likes’ and ‘favourites’ than they are to completing surveys, so why does our approach to employee engagement still centre on a set of fixed statements and a rating scale? In their personal lives people collaborate naturally with those around them and have an amazing propensity to share even when there is no immediate benefit to them, hence the success of crowdsourcing sites like Wikipedia. So, why do we spend so much time and energy in organisations on encouraging people to practice these seemingly natural behaviours at work? The challenge for businesses is to disrupt every process and practice in the organisation by asking: Why does it exist? What are we trying to achieve? If we were to start the organisation from scratch, would we choose to create this? And perhaps most tellingly of all, would this practice exist if we trusted our employees? iqmatrix

3. A core feature of your approach to leadership and better workplace productivity is the concept of ‘Smart Simplicity’. How does this play out in a world where the data available to companies now – be it through consumer feedback, predictive modelling, data analytics etc – has surged? Does the effective use of all of this data necessitate more complexity, rather than simplicity?

The environment is more complex – the problems to resolve in order to attract and retain customers, in order to create value and build competitive advantage – are more demanding than in the past. This is a fact of life. Based on our analysis, complexity has been multiplied by 6 over the last 60 years. The real problem is not business complexity. The real problem is internal complicatedness – the solutions companies typically use to try to respond to this complexity: a proliferation of cumbersome structures, interfaces, coordination bodies and committees, procedures, rules, metrics, key performance indicators and scorecards. Based on our analysis this complicatedness has been multiplied by 35! This complicatedness creates obstacles to productivity and innovation. People spend their time writing reports, in meetings. There is more and more work on work, and less and less work! A lot of data, a lot of information is always good. The difficulty – and the value-added – is sense-making, to derive meaning and knowledge from the data, so that companies can interpret and act on the data. But complicatedness makes it increasingly difficult for companies to make sense of the data. There is at the same time a data indigestion and a knowledge deprivation.

4. When it comes to Irish businesses, how do their workplace dynamics compare with other countries and what would be your principal advice to them on what to change?

Irish businesses face the same problems as other mature economies. They need to manage the new business complexity without getting complicated. Smart Simplicity is not about becoming simplistic, we cannot ignore the new complexity of business. This is why I refer to "Smart" simplicity. The six rules of Smart Simplicity concern Irish businesses because Irish businesses are also confronted to a greater complexity.

5. Should business leaders focus more on improving employee productivity per se, or should this be balanced with also ensuring that staff are happy at what they do and not afraid to be creative? How does one strike an effective balance?

We must not strike a balance here! We must break the compromise between productivity and happiness or creativity. We must not improve one at the expense of the other. In fact organizational complicatedness hinders productivity while demotivating people and making them suffer at work. They lose direction, purpose and meaning in the labyrinth. They have to work longer and longer, harder and harder, but on less and less value-adding activities. This is why Smart Simplicity and removing complicatedness simultaneously increases performance and satisfaction at work: because you remove the root-cause common obstacles that hinder both.

6. What do you think are the key organisational challenges that face a country like Ireland over the next few years, for both business managers/leaders and their staff?

Organizations are going through a deep revolution in their ways of working. We are going through a new economic revolution, and every economic revolution entails and organizational revolution. The organizational solutions on which we have built profitable growth over the last 30 years are obsolete.  Irish managers and employees will have to invent new ways of working. Smart Simplicity provides guidelines for this, but what mainly matters is boldness and courage in breaking with conventional wisdom. Irish people are certainly well placed in this respect! NMC 2015 A4 HEADER Yves Morieux is a keynote speaker at the IMI National Management Conference taking place on Thursday 8 October. Apologies but this event has now reached maximum capacity.  [post_title] => "Understand what people do at work" Six Word Wisdom from Yves Morieux [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => understand-people-work-six-word-wisdom-yves-morieux [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:38:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:38:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=12166 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
Hetty Einzig

Hetty Einzig

14th Jan 2019

Hetty Einzing is one of the Programme Directors for Taking the Lead – Women in Leadership short programme.

Related Articles

'Off the Wall' tips for early business success
“I have just been asked to do a presentation”... Relax and take your finger off the panic button
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"Not everyone will, but anyone can" Six Word Wisdom from Nilofer Merchant
3 slick selling techniques you should take from the Time-share Salesperson
A medium-term equity market warning
"Understand what people do at work" Six Word Wisdom from Yves Morieux

Don’t play by the rules: how to reignite women’s fire in the workplace

Women leaders lack self-confidence, right? Well, yes and no. Certainly it seems every woman wants more of it. It is universally the main desired outcome from the women in leadership programmes we run. And I’d be rich if I had a pound for every time a woman says sorry.

Perhaps it’s just a British thing but apologising for speaking seems to have become a national female tic. Over the years of coaching women leaders I was first astonished then tired of hearing the same refrain: “I wish I was more self-confident.” Then I stopped believing it. I came to see it as an acceptable veil for a host of other issues – disappointment, frustration, fear and fury. I’ve come to realise we are asking the wrong questions and chasing the wrong goals.

The question we should be asking is not why aren’t women more confident or brave but what is it about our workplaces that dampen women’s fire? The answers certainly don’t lie in some female genetic confidence deficit.
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Our working culture does not serve women well

It’s a mixture of nature and nurture but also of culture: the now-pervasive Anglo-American working culture that rewards extroversion, decisive action and competitiveness does not serve women well. If women continue to aspire to our outdated model of the action-hero leader then they will continue to operate with one hand tied behind their back, damaged in a race they can’t win.

Research into group intelligence shows that teams perform best if they contain a high number of women. They tend to make links, encourage the quiet ones to contribute, search for synergies – they maximise the whole group’s resources.

And there are now enough women in leadership positions to observe similar tendencies: they empower others, distribute leadership, pay attention to emerging creative shoots rather than opt for the bold, innovative gesture. Importantly, they are really good at building relationships.

A study by MRG2 of 13,100 leaders from more than 15 countries found that women leaders received higher ratings than men on most competencies, including credibility, plus on the two overarching leadership competencies, overall effectiveness and future potential.

Women leaders are valued by both men and women. But why don’t women feel this at work? The trouble is that as women move from education to the world of work, they swap support from passionate teachers for pressure from anxious managers. They swap friendly chats and sharing ideas in seminars for calculated career advancing networking and they swap the pleasure of studying something they love for targets and goals based on corporate definitions of success. It’s no wonder that women lose their footing.

Women must understand you don’t have to ape male behaviour to be powerful and assertive. (Picture Source)

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Survive, thrive, change the rules

In our women’s leadership programmes we focus on three areas that counter these difficulties:

Firstly, what do you need to survive in this particular jungle? To stay in the game you need to learn the ropes, but hanging on by one’s fingernails is not fun.

Secondly, what is needed to thrive? How can you flourish in the environment, as it is, enjoy yourself and do well?

Thirdly, the big question: can women change the rules of the game? Yes. The rules are not set in stone – and they are ripe for challenging.

We all know that current business models are unraveling, that smart entrepreneurs everywhere are piloting new approaches and that Generation Y (soon to dominate the global workplace) are happier in a cafe than at a desk, and are questioning the old norms of earning a living. Three key areas seem to reignite women’s fire at work:

1) To survive women need to understand power

Women need to understand power, how it differs from authority and how it is played to suppress and manipulate. When challenged, men tend to play harder or get aggressive, while women often withdraw and generally blame themselves.

I worked with some young women political leaders recently in north Africa who had learnt to counter force with force. They shouted louder and talked longer and faster than the men. The result? They were demeaned, attacked or ignored.

The breakthrough came when they learnt what it meant instead to be assertive. Based on knowing one’s purpose and believing in one’s rights, they learnt to be powerful without being a bully. It’s about taking space and is expressed in
our voice and our bodies, firmly, often quietly, sometimes through stillness and without fireworks.

2) To thrive we must listen to our bodies

To truly thrive we must come back to ourselves, our bodies. They aren’t some afterthought, to carry our heads around. Learning to hear and trust what our gut and heart tell us, learning to feel our ground, occupy space and bring this out in our voice are quick routes through to a deep inner strength. A key part of our work focuses on embodiment: simple yet immediately effective skills to ground ourselves in the moment.

3) To change the rules we need to believe in something

Purpose is the final key. To believe in something beyond the day-job provides vital steam power for changing the rules of the game. Shaping purpose focuses on four key questions: what do you love, what are you good at, who are your role models and what does your world need now. Defining purpose in this way is practical, promotes a sense of meaning and direction of travel it fires enthusiasm to lead change. Oh, and by the way, the outcome of all this is an exponential leap in women’s self-confidence.

 

 

 


Hetty Einzing is one of the Programme Directors for Taking the Lead – Women in Leadership short programme. The programme is designed for developing women leaders seeking to accelerate their career and personal development.

This article originally appeared in the Guardian.