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Emma Birchall is Head of Research - Future of Work at the Hot Spots Movement. Here she has the opportunity to convert leading research into practical insights for clients who are looking to find new ways of using technology to drive human capital performance. She will be a keynote speaker at the IMI National Management Conference on 8 October 2015.   IMI: Based on your current work – if you only had 6 words of advice to give a business - what would they be?

EB: Bring back the trust. They’re human.

IMI: What does this mean? EB: 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? IMI: Where should we look for further information? EB: For further information, take a look at the Future of Work website or follow us on Twitter @HspotM: engagement Source: Emma Birchall is a keynote speaker at the IMI National Management Conference taking place on Thursday 8 October. This event has now reached maximum capacity however if you would like to be added to the waiting list, please email your contact details and company name to [post_title] => "Bring back the trust. They’re human" Six Word Wisdom from Emma Birchall [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bring-back-trust-theyre-human-six-word-wisdom-emma-birchall [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:45:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:45:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 6304 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2014-03-07 10:13:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-03-07 10:13:52 [post_content] =>

We began our Six Word Wisdom series in June of last year. Since then we have spoken to a variety of thinkers in the field of management and organisational development to ask them to condense for us their advice for business into just six words... It's building up to be quite a collection....we thought it was time for a recap. So what have our contributors said?

They have pointed out the importance of taking account of the individual when trying to build succesful organisations:

Build the Organisation of Your Dreams - Prof. Garreth Jones

Everybody counts - Develop the human now! - Doug Silsbee 

They have pointed out the need for all businesses - of all sizes - to take account of the power of big data and analytics:

Learn to compete with Data. Now. - Dr. Thomas C. Redman

And they have told us that we are not in Kansas anymore and that we have to stay agile and focus on the differentiated value of what we are offering:

Rewrite your playbook for transient advantage - Prof Rita McGrath

Develop a compelling customer value proposition - Prof. John Fahy All in all 30 words that say a lot. We'll be continuing to grow the series as we call on the expertise of those in our network.

[post_title] => 30 words your business needs to hear? Friday Blog Roundup [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 30-words-business-needs-hear-friday-blog-roundup [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 21:17:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 21:17:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => /?p=6304 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => 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 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] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 20899 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2017-11-22 07:48:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-22 07:48:10 [post_content] =>

In our 21st Century Age of Science and Technology, the volume of information available to us is enough to make our heads spin. Finding market information that is reliable and credible is a challenge that often defeats us, and for many organisations, the cost of commissioning primary research can be prohibitive. Market Research is the only sector where the ‘Secondary’ should be undertaken before the ‘Primary’. This saves time and money by finding crucial market information, from reputable third-party sources, to inform our decision-making process. On the face of it, this shouldn’t be too difficult.

market-researchMarket Research is a process; it’s what we do. The frequency with which we do it is determined by our business needs, the speed of change in our industry and the impact of external forces on our sector.

Market Intelligence is how we use our research to inform our decisions, on an ongoing basis, as part of our strategic planning process.

Working with my IMI colleague, Cariona Neary, we have discovered that linking market research to established market analysis models makes it easier for organisations to get real value from their research. Meaningful market intelligence is found when the data is used to identify opportunities, as opposed to data being found to support a strategic decision that has already been made.

Discovering how and where to start, differentiating between reliable and spurious data, understanding how to use your data and building a framework that allows you to track mission-critical information on a regular basis is the key to real market intelligence. Here are 5 quick-start tips from my toolkit:

  1. Start with the Economy

Check unemployment and consumer confidence levels – these trends indicate the economic health status of your target market, and this information is feely available from EU statistical websites and national government sites.

  1. Reliable Business Data & Reports

The IMI Library should be your first port of call as they have access to several useful online sources. Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre is an essential resource – if you are an EI client. Other business libraries that I frequently use, where clients are not EI clients, are the various business libraries in London that are free to use. Old-fashioned library work is cheaper than purchasing third-party reports that quickly become out-of-date.

  1. Online Sources

Reputable online sources include trade bodies, websites, blogs and magazines. I keep an eye on industry conferences where keynote speakers can often provide an insight that was previously unknown.

  1. Comparing Like with Like

This is where basic maths comes into the equation! Inevitably, you will need to do some basic calculations to marry the information and data from the different sources that you have found. Online maths calculators and Excel spreadsheets are hard to beat, though there are many software applications with varying benefits available online.

  1. Ongoing Tracking & Evaluation

Once you have identified the key market indicators that you need to track, the different intervals for updates and the KPI’s for measuring progress and success, you can create your market intelligence dashboard. Using a single-page dashboard means that key market factors can be reviewed efficiently as part of your monthly/quarterly management meetings.

Developing in-house market research capability to deliver meaningful market intelligence is a sure-fire route to competitive advantage, and, at the end of the day that should be the whole point of the exercise.

g_-024-1Gráinne Kennedy is an IMI associate  is an award-winning market research expert, with a background in international advertising who delivers data-driven communications solutions and advertising campaigns to client companies building international brands and businesses. Gráinne is a guest lecturer at the IMI.
[post_title] => 5 Tips For Turning ‘Market Research’ into ‘Market Intelligence’ [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => draft [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 5-tips-turning-market-research-market-intelligence [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-11-28 00:04:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-11-28 00:04:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 4779 [post_author] => 15 [post_date] => 2013-09-06 09:39:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-09-06 09:39:08 [post_content] => With the surge of new computing capabilities afforded to us through cloud computing and data analytics there has been a significant increase in the ability to source, integrate, manage, and deliver data within organisations. The emergence of a new breed of technologies means that traditional restrictions on data processing have been overcome and the resulting boost to information capacity means that all organisations can become more agile, flexible, lean and efficient The term Intelligent Enterprise is being used to describe those that seizing the opportunities presented. This has led to a demand for people that can make this “Intelligent Enterprise” a reality. The bottom line is that without the right skills and capabilities, new technological innovations will not only be of no benefit to firms but may actually become a disadvantage to those that are unprepared to implement them. Indeed, staffing and skills have been singled out by firms as the top barrier to Agile Data Analytics, with 61% of respondents citing them as a challenge in our recent report for the Cutter Consortium. So what can organisations do to become Intelligent Enterprises and get the most from big data? We believe they need to develop three main skill bases: 1. Technology support 2. A deep analytical capability 3. A savvy understanding of what big data can deliver Organisations will increasingly be employing not only Data Miners, Data Scientists, Data Architects, Database Administrators Business Developers and Business Analysts but those individuals that combine skills from those roles such as Project Managers, Data Visulalisers and Programmers Developers. [caption id="" style="float:center" width="300"]Intelligent Enterprise Skills & Roles Mapping The Intelligent Enterprise - mapping skills and roles[/caption] At the centre of the skills bases are the Chief Information Officers (CIO) and Chief Data Offers (CDO) that will drive the transformation. With a skill set that covers all three categories, individuals are ideally placed to successfully lead their organisation into an era of extracting tangible value which is currently hidden in organisational data. It is from this perspective that we have designed the IMI Diploma in Data Business, which provides knowledge and insight into each to three areas. To find out more about how you can develop these skills come to our Information Evening for our Diploma in Data Business and Diploma Cloud Strategy in the Marker Hotel, Dublin 2, at 6pm on Tuesday 10th September register here. Tadhg Nagle is joint Programme Director of the UCC IMI Diploma in Data Business and a lecturer and researcher in Information Systems at University College Cork. With a background in financial services his expertise is in strategic innovation and emerging and disruptive technologies. [post_title] => 3 critical skills to develop if you want to work for the Intelligent Enterprise [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 3criticalskills-6 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 21:34:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 21:34:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => 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] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10454 [post_author] => 52 [post_date] => 2015-06-24 13:57:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-06-24 13:57:05 [post_content] =>  



Now that the economy is improving, businesses are feeling under a lot of pressure to perform with less resources.

There’s a fear of taking on too many people in case things dis-improve again.  And those we do take on have some learning to do.  We’re afraid to turn away work in case more doesn’t come along so we decide we’ll manage it anyway even though our resources are stretched to their limit. This can put a lot of strain on you as manager. Not only do you have to plan the strategy, cope with the budgets, connect with the customers, you also have to manage and lead limited resources.

So, how are you managing?

Obviously knowing how to do all of these things is going to be critical but you also need to make sure you’re not spending all your time in the office. Taking time for yourself during this phase will be essential.  Time to have fun, get fit, keep healthy.  There is a lot of evidence to show that we operate better when we sleep soundly, exercise enough, eat healthily. Think back to previous managers you’ve had.  If you’ve ever had a manager who is snappy, too busy to listen to you, and dismissive of problems you bring to him or her, you’ll know how it feels. When you fly, the safety demonstration always tells you that if there’s a sudden drop in cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will drop down in front of you – you’re advised to put your own mask on first before you help anyone else.  This applies equally when you’re managing others.

oxygen mask


Managers who score high on emotional intelligence are good at three core things:  1. Interpersonal skills 2. Personal management skills 3. Emotional skills. They understand their feelings and emotions, know how they feel at any given time and why.  They are also super aware of the effect those feelings have on the way they operate. They are cognisant of the way their feelings affect others, and understand how their teams and their colleagues feel in different circumstances which helps relationships.  They are also good at managing themselves – their time, health, well-being and their energy.

So how about you?

When did you last stop running on that treadmill long enough to realise you’re in constant fire-fighting mode? Do you take stock regularly to see where your energy levels are at? One useful strategy is to put a regular weekly calendar entry for a meeting with yourself.  Even a half hour per week to see how you’re doing, check to see if you’re doing the planning work that will benefit you and the company long-term and not just doing the day-to-day fire-fighting.  Did you manage to get out of the office at least twice this week by 6.00?  Are you sleeping soundly and exercising at least twice during the week? Are you stepping for lunch every day – even for 20 minutes and getting away from your desk?  If you are answering “no” to these questions – its time to make some changes.

Start managing yourself before you try to manage anything else.

  Lynda Byron is is an accomplished Leadership Development Specialist. Most of her time is spent helping organisations to identify and develop their key talent through innovative and challenging development programmes, as well as individual coaching. Lynda is the Programme Director for the IMI Diploma in Management. [post_title] => Are YOU managing you? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => managing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:49:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:49:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
Hugh Torpey

Hugh Torpey

7th Jan 2019

Related Articles

"Bring back the trust. They’re human" Six Word Wisdom from Emma Birchall
30 words your business needs to hear? Friday Blog Roundup
"Not everyone will, but anyone can" Six Word Wisdom from Nilofer Merchant
5 Tips For Turning ‘Market Research’ into ‘Market Intelligence’
3 critical skills to develop if you want to work for the Intelligent Enterprise
5 Tips for Motivating Employees
Are YOU managing you?

Leadership on the Front Lines with IMI and GOAL

Looming deadlines, troubles with suppliers, staff engagement issues – these are the typical challenges a leader faces each and every day.

Bombs dropping from the air is not, for most, a reality they must deal with alongside the routine paperwork. But for Nebras Haj Hamden, a Field Coordinator for GOAL in Syria, the sound of planes overhead is the way his day often begins.

GOAL faces typical leadership challenges every day

‘My day starts with the roar of the air force over my town’ said Nebras, talking over Skype. ‘After any airstrike, one or more people from my neighbourhood will be dead or wounded. My cousin, his wife and their two children were killed under the rubble. It is death, flying.’

Managing nearly 400 people, as Nebras does, within a war zone is an exercise in resilience, agility and leadership strength, and this year he was able to develop his own leadership abilities with IMI through a partnership between GOAL.

In 2018, 47 leaders in GOAL were brought to IMI to participate in a range of programmes that would impact on front lines around the world. From developing frontline management skills to strategic programmes for senior leaders, the IMI partnership provided Goal the opportunity to energise its leaders in head office and on the ground.

On another continent to Nebras, GOAL’s Vincent Mujune is battling poverty and political upheaval in his role in Uganda. As an accountability director for a major health programme, the uncertainty and volatility in his environment can almost be as difficult to overcome as the challenges seen in Syria.

‘There are many issues here. We have a population that is growing very fast – from 41 million now to around 60 million by 2030 – and poverty and disease are still major problems in the country’ said Vincent. ‘The reason I joined GOAL is the way it approaches how they work with vulnerable people. We give an opportunity to build the strengths of such people to come up with their own solutions.’


An Agile Mission

‘Our leaders must have the broader view of what GOAL’s mission is, not just be focussed on their particular project. We need them to strategically ask themselves the question ‘what is my role?’ and the programmes within IMI are critical in achieving that mindset’ said Siobhan Walsh, CEO of GOAL. ‘The passion and perspective that the IMI’s partnership has given teams on the ground is tangible. We have absolutely seen that change of mindset – you can almost put your hand on it.’

Emergencies, by their very nature, require quick responses. As a charity with decades of experience in doing just that, GOAL is a model at scaling quickly. Developing the leaders which must execute this scaling is a cornerstone for retaining and improving this organisational ability, which in turn made it a cornerstone of the work done with IMI.

Even the simple act of taking time-out to develop as a leader had a strategic benefit.

‘Because we are dealing with critical needs every day, it keeps you running most of the time. You find yourself finishing one year, and then another year, and find you never have headspace to think about what will make you better’ said Vincent. ‘IMI helped me a lot with this – to give me the time to reflect and find ways to help my team improve and work more efficiently.’


Frontline Impacts


‘My understanding of management and leadership was changed’ said Nebras of the impact of his experience in IMI. ‘It’s not about planning, organising, monitoring… it is about people. You achieve results with and through people.’

After returning from Ireland, Nebras implemented a 100-day programme to reimagine how he would build his team’s capacity, keep them engaged and happy through difficult circumstances, build trust with his area managers, and improve general performance across the board.

‘All of the decisions have become stronger, and all members now support the decisions being made’ said Nebras.

In Uganda, the impacts for Vincent from his Coaching for Business Results programme has also come through the people around him.

‘For someone like me who looks after around 8 managers and 24 field officers, I needed to build trust and engagement with the team’ said Vincent. ‘From simply taking the time to listen better, to knowing how to ask really strategic questions to get people thinking, it was about me developing my ability to get the best out of other people.’


Staying Put to Move Forward

When the bombs began falling in 2011, Nebras had to postpone his master’s degree studies in Finance and Business Administration. Soon after he, amongst many others, lost his job at the bank. After his family received a food package from Goal, Nebras began volunteering with GOAL before applying for a full-time position.

He had been working for GOAL for five years before going to IMI. And how did that programme affect his work?

‘I need a long time to talk about my experiences in IMI!’ said Nebras. ‘I came back to Syria from IMI with a new approach to how I work – what we are doing and how we are doing it. I’ve not just avoided making the mistakes I made in the past but also learned how to prioritise my focus in a more effective way.’

As for future plans, many other young men crossed the boarder into Turkey and then beyond, would Nebras do the same?

‘I heard from so many people here in Idlib (a town in North Syria) that without GOAL many people would have died of starvation’ said Nebras. ‘I intend to work with GOAL until the last second.’


IMI partnered with GOAL in 2018 to support developing leaders within the organisation through participating in IMI programmes. The above article is based on interviews featured on IMI’s Talking Leadership podcast.