David Klaasen's Blog (100)

Are you creating great satisfaction or great dissatisfaction?

To be a great artist you need to study The Old Masters. To be a great chef you need to know how to prepare, cook and understand the great classical dishes because only then can you begin to create new and innovative approaches that have popular appeal.  Without classic foundations like an understanding of how to capture flavours and refine textures with the application of heat, you could end up with a sorry mess.

To be a great leader or manager it’s useful to explore the great…


Added by David Klaasen on June 4, 2014 at 19:30 — No Comments

Are you tolerating unwanted behaviour?

Are you aware of what is really driving your behaviour, or the behaviour of your people?  I’ve recently had a number of discussions about how to address the unwanted behaviour of staff as it can be awkward if you don’t have solid foundations to stand on.

Giving feedback on under-performance can be tricky at the best of times, but giving feedback on unwanted behaviour can be very awkward because it is often difficult to put into words. This means that many managers tolerate it and…


Added by David Klaasen on May 2, 2014 at 3:30 — 2 Comments

Are your Assumptions killing performance?

All too often Senior Managers and Directors want to believe that their managers are competent and will ‘just get on with it’.  This is understandable when there is plenty of evidence that the manager is competent in many, often job-specific and technical, areas.  But being able to do the job and managing others to do the job are very different things.

A few years ago I developed a task-oriented ‘Proficiency Scale’ with a colleague to help managers explore and diagnose the capability…


Added by David Klaasen on April 3, 2014 at 19:00 — No Comments

How skilled are you at thinking about your thinking?

Leadership is all about awareness and focus, and the latest research into neuroscience is showing us that the key to success is the skill of thinking about our thinking.  Most of the time we are just doing the thinking rather than taking a step back and observing it for what it is: a myriad of electrical impulses making connections between a vast number of mental maps.

Sometimes these connections are flashes of insight that give us an excellent answer to a difficult question or…


Added by David Klaasen on March 6, 2014 at 19:30 — No Comments

Understanding the 7 reasons why people don’t do things

As the economy begins to show signs of recovery in a number of areas everyone is under increasing pressure to perform even though resources are stretched to the limit.  Customers and clients are becoming even more demanding and ‘good’ is no longer good enough.  Your products and services need to be ‘excellent’ just to survive. 

This means constant evolution and improvement but some people just don’t do what you ask. 

There is a list of 7 reasons why people don’t do things and…


Added by David Klaasen on February 19, 2014 at 18:00 — No Comments

How to engage your people with Compassionate Power

As we begin to see the green shoots of recovery and a drop in unemployment, the labour market will once again become more active.  What are you doing to engage and keep your best people while continuing to be firm and fair with any underperformance? 

The deepest recession in living memory led to a shift in management style from easy-going to a far more authoritarian style.  This may have been necessary in order to make some drastic changes to business models and tighten business…


Added by David Klaasen on February 6, 2014 at 18:30 — No Comments

Do you have the discipline to succeed in 2014?

There is something that all successful people, from masterful artists to sports champions and from prosperous entrepreneurs to highly effective managers, have in common.  They are not only willing to put in the relentless practice to develop their skills; they prioritise the time to do it.  They have discipline. 

There is a popular myth that we should have New Year resolutions, but as you well know most of them are forgotten within weeks if not days.  Rather than making up a few…


Added by David Klaasen on January 9, 2014 at 20:30 — No Comments

How do you value your people?

The relentless pressure on finances is putting a serious strain on all aspects of business.  The slow, painful and uncertain crawl out of the longest downturn in living memory means there is less money available to invest in improvements and yet, there is an ongoing demand from staff to increase salaries as they feel the pinch in their personal lives.  But what are your staff and Managers really worth?  How do you go about estimating their value; their contribution to your…


Added by David Klaasen on December 19, 2013 at 21:00 — No Comments

A Lethal Combination

There is still a lot of talk in HR circles about how the bonus culture that got the banks into a financial crisis is still alive and well.  But there is another aspect to motivation that no one has mentioned.  It lies beneath the surface and could even be damaging your organisation, business or team.  

Understanding motivation

Most people think of motivation as something that will get us to take action; to get “in motion” but this is not always the case.  Motivation is…


Added by David Klaasen on December 12, 2013 at 21:00 — No Comments

Are you sacrificing your relationships?

The quality of your results is determined by the quality of your relationships. From customers and clients to staff and suppliers, if you don’t maintain good relationships your results will suffer.  In fact, good relationships are no longer enough.  As pressure and competition rise we need excellent relationships.  This will become even more important if we want to take advantage of the tender green shoots of recovery.  

But building relationships takes time and time is a resource few…


Added by David Klaasen on December 5, 2013 at 21:00 — No Comments

Prioritising Practice and Practicing Priorities

It is easy to assume that people who have achieved great expertise and success must have ‘natural talent’.  But while it is not always mentioned, when you look into it, they have all put in their hours of practice.  Many many hours of practice.  How much practice time are you giving your people?  How much…


Added by David Klaasen on November 28, 2013 at 20:10 — 2 Comments

Are you making your people feel disgusted?

Actions speak louder than words.  Many businesses have a set of values but they are often seen as irrelevant and even a source of disgust by staff.  This is because they don’t see the connection between the stated Values and behaviour of senior management.  For example; I know of one business where ‘Professionalism’ and ‘Respect’ were Values that the MD wanted people to live up to and yet he would sometimes demand that certain staff were to be ‘got rid of’ because he didn’t like them or felt…


Added by David Klaasen on November 21, 2013 at 18:30 — No Comments

Are your relationships ‘On Purpose’?

Every relationship has a purpose but all too often it is unspoken, undefined and ambiguous.  When things are going well we naturally assume that our purpose is aligned and there is a good mutual understanding.  However, this allows many interpretations and both parties may have completely differing views and expectations of the relationship.  

When a shift of personal priorities or external pressure begins to affect the relationship things can become fraught, especially if there is a…


Added by David Klaasen on November 14, 2013 at 21:00 — No Comments

Three Shifts that will transform your productivity

I often hear the complaint ‘Everything is a priority!’, but if everything is a priority then nothing is a priority.  The word ‘prioritise’ means to rank, select or place in order, so if everything is equally important then nothing is ‘more’ important and nothing is a priority.  However, I also understand the immense pressure everyone is under these days.  We are all expected to do and achieve more, yet there are only 24 hours in a day.  So the only solution is working smarter not…


Added by David Klaasen on November 7, 2013 at 21:00 — No Comments

The Structure of Disappointment (or even misery)

Is there a part of your work (or your life) where you are overplaying your strengths?  It is useful to consider that what can be a strength in one context can lead to frustration and upset in another.  

For example, there is a time and a place for following procedures to the letter; to ensure standards are met or to ensure we avoid falling foul of regulations.  Some people who have this as a strength are also very methodical and specific about planning and scheduling, but the trouble…


Added by David Klaasen on October 24, 2013 at 21:22 — No Comments

Are your emotions helping or hindering performance?

Your emotions are setting the standards in your business because the performance of your team is like a mirror of your inner state of consciousness.  If you want to change their performance you need to change the way you are thinking about it. 

The way you feel is being scrutinised on a day to day, if not on an hour by hour, basis by your people because their brains are hyper-sensitive to it.  It is not personal; it’s just the way human brains are wired.  

It was only as…


Added by David Klaasen on October 17, 2013 at 21:00 — No Comments

Are You In A Rabbit Warren Or A Helicopter?

It takes all types to make up a successful business.  I have a number of clients where one of the top team is the ideas person and there are others who make things happen.  I’ve always been intrigued by what makes these relationships successful - or fraught with difficulty. 

A while ago I was chatting with my wife, Pam, about her work.  She is a University Lecturer and Consultant in Quantitative Statistical Methodology which is a very academic field.  Put simply it’s about getting…


Added by David Klaasen on October 10, 2013 at 21:30 — No Comments

Training is a waste of Time and Money

Most training is a waste of time and money because senior management have not given it enough thought.  They often look at it in isolation as a way to ‘fix’ other people and neglect the most important aspects including their own role in the process.  

Back in the mid 1990’s when I started as Learning and Development Manager at the Waldorf Hotel in London, Senior Managers would often say that their Middle Managers were underperforming so I should train them.  However, after the…


Added by David Klaasen on October 3, 2013 at 16:30 — No Comments

The Problem with Positive Thinking

In a classic business context it is usual to have things like Key Performance Indicators, Targets or Critical Success Factors and it is always recommended that these should be SMART.  But there is a lot more to achieving a goal than simply applying the SMART acronym.  I have been a student of applied psychology for over 20 years now and I am always curious about finding the difference that makes the difference.  

There is so much hype around these days about the ‘Power of Positive…


Added by David Klaasen on September 26, 2013 at 17:30 — No Comments

Are you a Player or a Pawn?

It’s your choice

We all make our own reality.  Whether you believe this or not, you are always right.  You simply select specific evidence in your experiences of others or of a situation as proof for your beliefs.  It is usually done way below your conscious awareness and can help or hinder your ability to respond effectively, because no matter what your situation, you see…


Added by David Klaasen on September 19, 2013 at 17:30 — No Comments

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