Archive for ◊ March, 2013 ◊

• Thursday, March 28th, 2013

easter bunnyIt’s been a hectic start to the year for most people, and with the Easter Break upon us, many people are breathing a sigh of relief and looking forward to recharging their batteries.

Whether you are taking the standard four days off for the extra-long weekend, or logging some annual leave for an even longer break, here are five things you need to do to make the most of your downtime, and come back to the office recharged and ready to dominate the next quarter.

1)   Free Your Mind

In these short breaks, many people get away from the office, but their brains are still filled with the things they have to do. The best way to fight this is to make a plan. Write down the five or six key things that need to get done and book a specific time to do them when you get back – actually write it in your calendar. Our brains treat things that we’ve scheduled to do, as if they are already done.

2)   Make sure your team’s on track

If you manage a team and you are going to be away for a bit longer, have a meeting today and go through the key things that need to get done while you’re away. Book in a time when you get back for the team to report on their progress and be specific about what you want them to report.

3)   Slow down

It’s easy to try to cram everything humanly possible into a short break. Rushing around getting things done (even if you like doing them) can actually still be a form of stress. Combat this by finding 20-30 minutes a day when you just slow down. You might read a book, listen to music, or take a slow walk on the beach. These are the things that greatly neutralize that stress that’s been building up over the last few months.

4)   Reduce e-Clutter

If you can, de-activate that work email account on your smartphone and just keep your personal email account active (if this is a way your friends stay in touch). If you find this impossible, then allocate specific times that will be ‘technology free’. Maybe leave that phone and email at home for the first half of the day, but allow yourself to check-in after lunch.

5)   Quality Time

Finally, make sure you actually plan your time to do the quality things that you don’t get a chance to do during the work week. Don’t just do the normal things, but take some time and plan quality activities – whether it’s with friends, family, or by yourself.

• Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Time Zones – Wake Up Call 


To adjust to a new time zone, your morning routine is absolutely paramount. Sunlight is our body’s key indicator that it’s time to wakeup. Leave your hotel room curtains open so that the sun comes in in the morning – this will help your body clock adjust.

The other key indicator is breakfast. Food and coffee wake us up by kick-starting our metabolism, and if you eat breakfast at 7am at home, try to eat at 7am at your destination.

So, ideally, find a place in the sun and enjoy your usual breakfast, at your usual time.

• Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Nutrition – Don’t Double Up!

It’s really quite easy to overeat when you are travelling. Especially when you are flying and/ or travelling across time zones.


How many times have you had breakfast at home, only to have a second breakfast on that early morning flight? Clearly you don’t need one of those meals, so make a choice

You will also find a similar trap when you cross time zones.

Maybe it was lunchtime when you left your origin, and when you land at your destination, it’s lunchtime all over again. For your travel day across time zones, stick to your regular eating times. When you are settled on day two, fall into the routine at your destination.

Little details like these keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day and stop the energy ‘highs and lows’ that cause us to crash and burn by 3-4pm.


• Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

To reinforce the behaviours you want to see, you need to be consistent. And this might sometimes mean recognising people when you don’t really want to.


Managing behaviours is simple in theory: to create patterns of behaviour, we need to reward the behaviours that we want to see, and ignore (or sometimes provide consequences for) the behaviours that we don’t want to see.

In practice, this becomes difficult, because we tend to let our expectations and egos get in the way of making this happen effectively.

We have the expectation that people know what the right behaviours are and that rewarding simple behaviours sends the wrong message. We want to reward those people who go above and beyond, but we hate to reward people for merely ‘doing their job’.

This is a big mistake. Especially if you are trying to establish the right culture within your team.

What do you want to see?

Think about the behaviours that you want to see and write them down in a list.


There will generally be two categories of behaviour that will make your team successful.  Firstly there will be ‘Strategic Behaviours’. These are the things that simply help achieve  your operational goals and execute your strategy. They might be things like:

  • Follow up all phone enquiries within 24 hours,
  • Try to upsell every order, or
  • Make three appointments a day with new prospects.

The second category will be ‘Cultural Behaviours’. And these are the things that will help to reinforce your culture or your team brand. They will reflect the way that you engage each other as a team, or the way you deal with clients. They are things such as:

  • Open
    and honest communication
  • Engage in team meetings
  • Go the extra mile, or
  • Always show a positive, can-do attitude.

Reinforcing the Right Behaviours

Here’s where things get tricky. We assume that people should know all of these things. We assume that this is ‘business as usual’, that it’s common sense and our staff should just be doing these things as a matter of course.

But we couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, sure, people should be doing them. But the reality is that every culture is unique and is represented by a unique set of behaviours – both strategic and cultural. To create your unique culture, you need to reinforce that unique set of behaviours. Constantly.

If you want to build a culture where those behaviours are automatic, where the culture is completely ingrained, then you need to reward all of those behaviours consistently and often. That’s really the only way to make sure that those behaviours form into habits and your culture becomes truly embedded in your every day routines.

So stop waiting for those miraculous moments, and get over your assumptions that you shouldn’t recognise people for merely ‘doing their job’. And start rewarding the behaviours that you want to see. All of them, all the time.