Our Business Articles

Check out all of our latest Consulting and Business related articles below.

Our business related articles cover areas including business coaching, networking, communication, project management, efficiency and sales.

Outside Thinking: Why Asking The Experts is Not Always The Best Option

No, I don’t mean thinking outside, though that definitely has its merits too 😉 Although we could include thinking outside the box in this concept. Has anybody ever said that to you? That you need to try and “think outside the box”? What they’re asking for is a fresh perspective on something, probably to help solve a niggling, persistent problem. What they’re asking for is some outside thinking. Cynical With Expertise? Whilst it is natural when solving a problem to look for the biggest expert in that field, believe it or not the experts aren’t always right… … because they … Read The Full Article …

Personality Theory: Type A vs Type B

Ever wonder what people are on about when they describe people as Type A or Type B personality types? Type A and Type B personality theory simply classes people as having one of 2 types of personality: Type A: Highly strung, outgoing, adventurous, driven… Type B: Easy going, relaxed, patient, reserved… This theory was originally created in the 1950s as a way of categorising patients according to their risk of developing coronary heart disease. Cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Dr Ray Rosenman concluded after a 10 year study of healthy men (in the 1950s) that those with what they classed as … Read The Full Article …

Networking: Essential Tips for Business Success

“More business decisions occur over lunch and dinner than at any other time, yet no MBA courses are given on the subject.” – Peter Drucker Thanks to websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and about a million others, most people these days are familiar with the idea of networking. In a previous article we looked at How To Communicate Effectively, now let’s look at How To Network Effectively… Successful people in business have always known the importance of networking. If you are not completely familiar with this concept, observe dialogues between successful millionaires, billionaires or entrepreneurs (it’s not difficult to … Read The Full Article …

Filters: Every Story Is Incomplete… & What To Do About It

Strange title, I know. It’s inspired by some feedback I received. From two people in particular. Two particular misunderstandings. Inspired by people who’ve been inspired. People who’ve been inspired by me – or more particularly by my story. I’m flattered that both people were inspired in some way, but actually, they weren’t inspired by my story. They were inspired by part of my story. That part of my story that they saw, heard or read about. … and that’s the problem with all stories All of these things are subjected to heavy filtering. Worth bearing in mind when we make … Read The Full Article …

Get Better Results: Begin With The End In Mind

It’s always a good idea to begin with the end in mind. Once you have absolute clarity about where you are trying to get to, it’s much easier to determine exactly where you are and where you’re going. This applies no matter how long the timescale or how big the task. This is a simple concept which has been stated many different ways by many different people. I am going to keep it brief but make reference to as many key words and phrases as I can for two reasons: you’re probably already familiar with the concept coined one way … Read The Full Article …

Understanding Values: How to Use Values To Motivate Yourself and Others

“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” – Roy. E. Disney Values are things that motivate us, reflecting our sense of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and our preferences concerning appropriate courses of action or outcomes. Values, therefore tend to influence our attitudes and behavior. For example: if you value equality and you join an organization which clearly has different rules for men and women, then you may conclude that the organization is an unfair place to work and either you wouldn’t perform to the best of your ability (being demotivated) or you may end up leaving. Understanding … Read The Full Article …

The Growth Mindset: Can Talent Be Learned?

When faced with a difficult challenge, which of these would you be most likely to say: Would you be likely to say ‘I can’t do this’ or would you be more likely to say: ‘I’ll figure it out’? It may seem like a simple enough question but it points to a deeper issue about our mindset. i.e. is your belief system focused mainly around your innate ability (that you are generally capable or not capable of something and that this is relatively fixed) or around the idea that anything is possible and can be learned (that something you cannot do … Read The Full Article …

Better Sales: How To Increase Sales by Offering LESS Choice

Who would have thought that offering less choice could actually increase sales? Well it does and you don’t just have to take my word for it either, I’ve got a bit of research for you and a few examples to back it up. You might also have heard me using one of my favorite quotations around here. Wow, I just had a look and I’ve cited this expression 3 times already (The Only Two Trends That Matter, 12 Kick-Ass Marketing Lessons From Al’s Tea Shoppe, How To Avoid Procrastination) – well that’s what I’m talking about here too – at … Read The Full Article …

Semantic Association: Is ‘Networking’ a Dirty Word?

Are you one of those people for whom ‘Networking‘ feels like a dirty word? What images spring to mind when you hear the word ‘networking’? That it’s purely business related, that it’s something sleazy or something that other people do but you’re not very good at. Perhaps you think of those networking events that make you uncomfortable, of too many suits, tedious conversations with feigned interest and business cards. It’s true that networking is a word which for some people can mean these things – because words have associations and sometimes these can take over from the actual meaning of … Read The Full Article …

Conflict Resolution: How To Grab The Opportunities Of A Conflict

Do you shy away from conflict? Despite their costs, conflicts have a lot of opportunities to offer and you’ve got to learn to seize them. I’ve seen many conflicts, in my life and at my workplace. Unfortunately, many got out of hand with terrible results: split teams, missed targets, broken relationships. But conflict does not have to end that way. Now, I’m not saying you’ve got to pick up a fight at every opportunity! Read our article on Office Politics to see that conflict is certainly not always the best option. But, sometimes, it’s appropriate to get into a conflict … Read The Full Article …

Sales & Networking Tip: A Good Consultant’s Secret Weapon

Nothing at all to do with watches or overblown reports which make a loud ‘thud’ when dropped onto the desk… It’s coffee. … and I don’t even drink coffee. Well, not much, I far prefer tea, but it works just as well, you would just use the word coffee and replace it with tea when you get there. Let me explain. The consultant’s secret weapon is in fact, pretty much the word “coffee”. As in “Do you fancy a coffee?” or “Can I buy you a coffee?” (I prefer the first because it sounds the least formal and in my … Read The Full Article …

Cognitive Dissonance II: How To Influence Others

Do you need to influence others? Then you might want to add this simple and somewhat counter-intuitive method to your toolbox… There are times when you need to be able to influence others (at work, on important issues, your children,…) and not just their actions but their beliefs too. You could use reciprocity, social proof, authority,… There are many ways to influence others. This one is based on Cognitive Dissonance and I particularly like it because it can have positive long-lasting effects on people – if used positively! First, let’s review briefly what Cognitive Dissonance is. We previously talked about … Read The Full Article …

Cognitive Dissonance: The Lies We Tell Ourselves and How They Can Help Us Change

Have you ever heard of Cognitive Dissonance? Cognitive dissonance sounds like a mouthful but it’s a fascinating concept and one that, unknowingly, you’ve been practicing all your life. When you see something in a shop and you want it but it’s just too expensive and you can’t afford it, have you ever convinced yourself that: it wasn’t that great anyway it didn’t fit you that well you don’t need it anyway because you have one nearly like this at home It might all be true but, often, it’s just a lie. So why do we do this? To downgrade the … Read The Full Article …

The Pyramid Technique: Effective Communication, What It Is And How To Do It

“The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred.” ~ George Bernard Shaw Many people if you asked them would consider that they communicate well… …in answering that question, the majority of people are most likely considering how good their spoken and written skills are, how good their grammar and vocabulary are. All important points – but are they the most essential skills for effective communication? It is also important, if not, most important to consider the appropriateness of the message to a given audience, both in terms of timing, structure and content and also to understand not … Read The Full Article …

The Pomodoro Technique: How a TOMATO can Change Your Life & Super-Charge Your Efficiency

Being a bit of an efficiency junkie, I’m always up for trying new things. Something I’ve done in patches in the past (without knowing there was a name for it) and something I’ve recently learned more about is called the pomodoro technique. There is even a pomodoro technique .com website, though the technique (like all my favourite models and business concepts) is such a simple idea I have neither read the wikipedia page nor done more than glance at the .com website. I give you these links as references and feel free to look at either but I can tell … Read The Full Article …

Planning Maturity: The 3 Levels of Planning Maturity & How To Make Your Project Plans More Effective

Have you ever heard the expression “Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail…”? What if you don’t know where to start? What if you’re perfectly happy to plan (to try and avoid the failing bit) but you don’t really know how to go about it. Well, then hopefully this article is just the nugget of planning wisdom that you need. Note: This article comes from another reader question, this time from Irnya who asked for: “anything to do with how to divide big challenges into small ones to allow better planning.” As we’ve had a few questions now on planning, here … Read The Full Article …

Procrastination: Wait for it … How To Avoid Procrastination

I’m writing this article based upon a conversation I had with one of my readers this week, who told me that the thing they struggle with most is procrastination. Procrastination is indeed a terrible thing. It’s evil and ugly, sulky and heavy. It weighs down on you and it gets in the way of all of your plans. I can say with absolute confidence that the reader I just mentioned is far from being the only one with this problem. There are millions of people out there who to a greater or lesser degree have a problem with procrastination, because, … Read The Full Article …

Making Investments: 9 Important Questions to Ask When Making An Investment

Have you ever lost money through bad investments or bad choices? I have. A few war-wounds later and now that I have a few successful investments under my belt, I’d like to share with you in this article what experience has taught me are important considerations when making any investment. Particularly which questions to ask. Here are 9 questions I think it’s essential that you ask to validate your investment before pulling the trigger. NOTE: An investment is not necessarily something big, you can ask these questions for any investment from buying a jar of coffee (though the impact of … Read The Full Article …

Meeting Management: The 3 Key Ingredients to a Winning Agenda

Do you use an Agenda for all/most of your meetings? Having an agenda can be the difference between a wasted meeting and a great meeting. So what makes a great agenda? Just 3 things: Keep it simple Communicate it in a timely fashion Make sure it’s complete Let me explain just a little about my rationale for each in turn… 1. Keeping It Simple Keeping an agenda simple ticks a lot of boxes, you can draw it up quicker and on any device, you can get it out to your intended audience quicker and it can be read on any … Read The Full Article …

How Saying “I Don’t Know” Can Actually IMPROVE Your Reputation

“All I know is that I know nothing.” – Socrates Perception is a very funny thing. In business, perception can be everything. It can be the thing that shoots you to the top (in some cases way too quickly) and it could be the thing that puts your reputation on a downward spiral – often through no fault of your own or at least out of proportion with reality. In the modern world, where networking and communication happen quicker and on a wider scale than ever before, perception can spread quicker than ever before too. But this article is not … Read The Full Article …