Performance Improvement

How To Be A Bad Boss Effectively

by Mark J Galea

In my (wait a minute. Pause. Stop. I’m 41….so shall I describe my life as long, longish, or short, or relatively short?) professional life, I came across a number of books, articles and papers advising people how to be good or become better managers.

Every single piece of literature under this category aims at converting The Evil Witch/Queen into a whiter-than-white Snow White. I guess, that this creates a gap in the market. So how about addressing those people who want to play the villains at work? Someone needs to acknowledge and address these poor souls, right?

For this reason, I decided to come up with the Bad Boss’s Manual. Political correctness dictates that ignored minorities (or are bad bosses in the majority?) be accepted and embraced. By writing this manual, I feel that not only will they feel embraced, but they will also enjoy a reference guide….a sort of a satanic bible 🙂

Out of respect for generations X, Y and Z who lack enough patience to read articles but have enough time to “invest” in social media, I hereby present you with some brief points to help you become an even worse boss. These are my tips:

1) Empathy is for wusses: You are employed to get a job done. You were given a team to help you achieve YOUR goals….and bonus at the end of the year. Tough luck if they don’t like your style. The door is always open for them to leave and for their substitutes to come through. “Shape up or ship out”: THAT should be your mantra.

2) Terrorise your subordinates: The more your underlings fear you, the more productive they are. This also comes with the added benefit that no one will dare badmouth you. Ever. Not in private. Not in public. Actually, they will praise you with others (both inside and outside the company), and make sure that you get to know they did so. What could possibly give you better gratification than your underlings’ praise? On the flipside, look at how the “kind bosses” get criticised and denigrated in public (both openly and behind their back). Idiots!

3) Divide and conquer: Make sure that you have – at the very least – two factions in your team. Play to their weaknesses and make sure that you can effectively manipulate the weak and insecure team members. In such a scenario, your people will be elbowing each other to curry favour with you. To be in your good books. And while you’re at it, do encourage your underlings to spy on each other and report back to you (1984 style). Reward these loyal servants accordingly. Who can deny that this is a scenario that any manager dreams of?

4) Do your best to lose their trust: If your team fears you already, mistrust is a great bonus! You will become unpredictable in their eyes and THAT’S the one thing they clearly want to avoid. The last thing you want is for your underlings to feel safe. Remember that safe = complacent.

5) Make it clear that you play the political game, and that you have your own agendas: Nothing will make your people feel more insecure and terrorised than the fear of being left out of your grand plan. Actually, they will fight each other out for the leading role of your scheme. They will happily volunteer to do the dirty work for you. They will fight each other to the death like gladiators to climb the beanstalk and steal the magic harp from the giant. Make them play the political game like a video game: kill the ogres to score points. The more they kill, the higher the score…….Which gives me an idea. How about actually creating a leaderboard? No one would want to be at the bottom of the table, right? Muwahhhaaaahaaaaahaa.

6) Badmouth your underlings with other team members AND other managers: If you want to make sure that your underlings will treat you like a deity, you must prevent them from trusting you. Gossip as much as you can….and while you’re at it, make sure to add some of your spice. Go on. Spill the beans. Let them suffer and beg for your kindness.

7) Make sure they don’t trust you: Remember that trust also leads to complacency. If you earn the reputation of bad mouthing people, no one would want to fall victim of your rants. And what’s the best way for them to prevent this? By working hard to be in your good books….and to stay there.

8) Be angry all the time: No one likes to deal with angry people, and this would keep your underlings off your back. Would they dare bothering you with their personal problems? Of course not! Would they come up with some lame excuse for failing in their tasks? Unthinkable. Better still, no one likes to cross an angry manager. Who would be stupid enough to volunteer to fall victim of your wrath? No one should be that stupid, right? And if someone is that stupid, then they shouldn’t be on your team. This is an extremely effective way of getting things done, and achieve your goals.

9) Bark orders at your underlings: Nicities are for softies. Ditch any flowery language and make good use of your voice to show your people that you’re the boss. When ordering them around, make sure to bark your orders thus ensuring that your team is badgered into submission.

10) Be as unfair as possible: Make it clear that you have your own pets. That some animals are more equal than the others. Fairness is for the weak. You must also make sure to be unfair when rewarding your loyal servants. Kick logic and common sense out of the window. Make them crave and work hard for your favours. Convince them to turn their bitter disappointments (when you decide not to give them their rewards) into an even bigger strife for your favours.

11) Avoid consistency at all costs: Consistency makes you predictable; and you don’t want that, do you? Make sure that your underlings are constantly guessing what you’re scheming and that they can never be in a position to predict how you’re going to act. Spice this up by doing things in a diametrically opposed way to what you preach. Avoid acting like this all the time though, otherwise, you’d become consistent. After all, the element of surprise will keep your team motivated to follow your orders to the letter. You also need to master the art of dishonouring promises. Do it tactfully, and you’ll be laughing.

12) Clarity is a weakness: If you want to keep your team under control, make sure that your orders, instructions, and communication are as vague and convoluted as possible. This will inevitably make your underlings come to you asking for direction thus strengthening your power and forging their dependence on you.

13) Denigrate and ridicule your team in public: Make sure that you ridicule different individuals at least once a day. Quash their dreams. Make them understand that they are not worthy…..and keep on reminding them that there IS a reason (or more than one) why YOU are THE manager, and THEY are your servants. THEY are a means to an end. YOUR end. You’ll be amazed by the results you will achieve.

14) Take and keep complete control: Team members are like characters in a video game. You are the player holding the controller. Make sure that you dictate every single step. Every single move. There should be no room for individualism and personal ideas. YOU are the manager and YOU know best. Their role is to do what you say. To follow your instructions. You have no other option but to micromanage your underlings. You’re the only one who knows how every single task has to be carried out  😉

15) You know best: How dare they come up with ideas? How dare they suggest something that’s different to your way of doing things? How dare they question your you?There’s no room for suggestions or any form of discussion. This is yet another reason why micromanagement is the name of the game. Surely IF they were THAT good, THEY’d be managers, right?

16) Make them work hard for you: You will not tolerate anyone who dares to turn up late. It is also unacceptable for you that anyone dares to leave on time. Any “reasons” which – let’s face it – in reality, are excuses should be rubbished straight away. Make it clear that you expect your team to be at work early and leave as late as possible. You shouldn’t be happy to meet deadlines. Impress your bosses by finishing tasks before agreed deadlines. Needless to say, it’s OK for you to leave before any of your underlings.

17) Take all the credit for your underlings’ performance: This is precisely the reason why you need to hold the game controller. How can you claim success if you don’t have complete control? Make sure that your own bosses, your peers and your underlings know that your team’s excellent performance is SOLELY down to your input. If the company ever gets to lose you, there will be no tomorrow! They might as well shut down when you walk out the door.

18) Fire an employee every month: This will definitely keep them on their toes! Fire someone for the stupidest (and most illogical) of reasons, and you will see the team’s productivity soar. Keep this going every month, and you will be unstoppable. And remember: unstoppable = untouchable 😉

19) Hire underachievers: The more unemployable (for others) job candidates are, the more attractive they are for you. You will be the only one who gave them a job after weeks, months or years of searching. They will be forever grateful and will never, ever think of disobeying your orders. Furthermore, not a single one of these underlings will ever even think of dethroning you to take your job.

20) Surround yourself with yesmen: You already have to deal fellow managers and your bosses. Unfortunately, they don’t always do as you say. So why should you allow your underlings to add to the grief and frustration? You are the boss and their sole function is to march to your orders. Make sure that they clearly understand their place in your kingdom. Oops! I mean….department.

I will now leave you with this parting shot: always keep in mind that your decisions are irrevocable and final because, without a shadow of any doubt, you are always unquestionably right!

What Are You Waiting For?

by Mark J Galea

Many employers are outsourcing their payroll service to third parties, and here are some of the reasons why:

Free up time – Payroll computation is a time-consuming process. Outsourcing payroll can free up staff time to pursue more important value-added and revenue-generating activities, thus boosting productivity.

Reduce costs and boost productivity – In addition to the Payroll Administrator’s salary, as an employer you need to pay NI contributions; statutory bonuses and other entitlements; leave and sick leave (over 1 month of unproductive hours paid to an employee). The direct costs of processing payroll can be greatly reduced by outsourcing this function. In addition to enjoying great savings on the cost of employment, you will save the opportunity cost (not to mention once again the lack of productivity) spent on time dedicated to hiring any possible replacements for long absences and backfills. When, you also factor in other expenses related to the investment and maintenance of hardware and software (yearly updates, license renewals, maintenance agreements etc), you will realise that the saving you make by outsourcing payroll is actually much bigger.

Ensure confidentiality – By outsourcing this function, you are reducing the number of people within your company who are privy to information related to pay packages, pay rises, and other information that can easily be leaked to other parties within the company.

Ensure continuity – If your Payroll Administrator falls ill, or needs to take leave around the end of the month, the timely issuance of employee’s pays and salaries will disrupt other operations (it’s usually Finance that takes the hit). Pays and salaries need to go out on time in order not to demoralise your employees. When outsourcing your payroll function, you are protecting your business from these risks.

Alleviate the pain – In-house payroll is a headache at best and a nightmare at worst. By outsourcing this function, you will eliminate a tiresome source of regular pain.

Avoid technology headaches – A constant question is whether they have the latest version of their payroll software and the most recent tax and NI bands installed on their computer. Using the wrong tax computations will result in penalties and big employee dissatisfaction.

Leverage outside payroll expertise – Most business professionals tend to be so focussed on meeting targets set by ambitious budgets, that they tend to overlook constantly changing regulations (both statutory and those issued by the EU), yearly changes in NI categories, and frequent changes in tax bands.

Losing the Payroll Administrator – If your Payroll Administrator gets a new job, you will have to spend considerable time and money looking for a resource that is getting scarcer due to a number of different reasons. Consequently, salaries for Payroll Administrators are shooting up. Using an outside service eliminates that business risk.

Outsource payroll

Payroll nightmare?

If you know at least one person who takes care of payroll, then you’re probably familiar with all the annoying stories of disgruntled people they have to deal with every day.

Going out for a Friday drink with a friend of mine, who’s a Finance professional, means one thing – listening to her frustrations over payroll, accounts and the constant backlog she has to deal with.

As much as I can imagine payroll being a routine job, to say the least, I still cannot understand why is it such a headache for most companies! At the end of the day, if you’re running a business, you also have to pay your employees and somebody has to deal with this crucial process. If you get the employees’ pay wrong, you’re most definitely asking for trouble.

Working at Quad Consultancy gave me an excellent opportunity to do a bit of research to see why they claim that by outsourcing payroll, people’s life can be made easier.

As it turned out, it’s not payroll itself that is a nightmare but rather the way the companies decide to go about it. If like my friend, you work for a small or medium-sized company, then most likely you don’t have a separate payroll department. It’s either HR or  Finance who ends up doing it, and…guess what? Because of deadlines and other urgent matters, payroll sometimes ends up being seen as a “side job”…and additional task…a nuisance!

They both seem to be thinking that accountants are there for numbers and HR to… well, deal with people. Unfortunately, payroll needs a bit of both and hiring a payroll administrator equals additional cost to your business.

I can imagine how the time to run the payroll function is a cost, but when you add the initial investment in the software, and the yearly costs of software updates, and maintenance agreements, plus the employee’s leave, sick leave, bonuses, NI and other costs, then the natural question is: “is it REALLY worth it?”

And let’s not talk about the headaches of payroll administrators needing to take sick leave at the end of the month. What about replacing them when they leave? Now THAT is a nightmare!

But it CAN get worse! Have you considered the issue of confidentiality? How many times have companies experienced leaks of information about salaries and – horror of horrors – those EVIL performance bonuses?

So, it seems like I got a pretty straightforward answer to my question about payroll being a company’s nightmare.

What’s the solution to your payroll problem?

OUTSOURCE!

I’m neither a business owner nor a frustrated employee dealing with payroll. However, I cannot understand why anyone would want to go through so much hassle and expense. It’s just easier to leave it to professionals who will take a headache away at a CHEAPER cost!

Why would you waste time and money on payroll when you can free up the time and boost the productivity by investing in skills they will actually want to learn and use at work? Outsourcing will definitely work out cheaper than hiring a payroll administrator, training them and then watching them leave because they got bored of doing the same thing month in month out…or because they were offered more by someone else. REMEMBER, a good, reliable Payroll Administrator comes at a cost. A huge one indeed!

Now I’m off to meet my friend, and guess what I’m going to be talking to her about! Yes, you’re right. I’m going to talk to her about payroll outsourcing… Maybe in a few weeks, we’ll be able to talk about boys, clothes, hangovers, gossip and other interesting stuff…

Should You Make Yourself Indispensable?

by Ian Sammut Dacoutros

Keeping your cards close to your chest guarantees your survival as an individual, right? This idea may have been popular a long time ago but in this age of knowledge and information, it is a big no no.

If you as an individual, a Manager, or an entrepreneur choose to keep your knowledge to yourself, you are essentially slowing down – or even hampering your own and your organisation’s growth and development. If you have employees keeping knowledge from you then it’s even worse.

What happens if these employees want to leave the organisation or if they have an issue with the organisation? Can they effectively hold the organisation at ransom with their knowledge?

Knowledge management is a very wide term and several people define it differently. The main differences come from an exact answer to the question: What exactly is knowledge? Even without this though management in organisations are focusing and investing more and more in it.

Essentially knowledge management is a process that organisations undertake to generate value from the knowledge in and around their organisation. They look both at the knowledge held in their people and the knowledge held outside through their customers.

The ultimate aim is to get this knowledge together and use it throughout the organisation so that the whole organisation will have access to all its knowledge, all the time. Imagine a company where the sales team know all the complaints the company has received and how they were resolved, the sales team could be helped so that the complaints would reduce.

Unfortunately in the age where there is an app for everything many organisations are being fooled into thinking that by simply buying a system all their knowledge problems will be solved, then after spending a hefty amount the project fails because the solution is not the system. A worker can have all the best tools but if they do not have the skill to use them or the training then tools are useless.

In the next article we will discuss what exactly knowledge is and the different types of knowledge.

Jobs in Financial Services – The Reality

by Cyril Chanson

Advertising many positions on the web, I realised the significance of financial job offers. Wanting to further my knowledges I researched it and you could find my research below. I hope it would be useful.

 

What are “Financial Services”?

First of all, before digging into the topic, I thought that it is relevant to explain what financial services means. In fact, this term gathers all services offered to consumers and companies from a broad range of organizations such as insurance companies, banks, investment companies. The proposed services include corporate services, financial planning opportunities and money management, as well as providing information.

The financial services has several functions such as enabling exchange of goods and services in the economy, mobilizing savings and transforming risk, just to mention a few purposes.

Malta, thanks to its location in the Mediterranean, is an interesting place for doing business. It became more fruitful since the country became an EU member and has enjoyed the benefits from this market.

 

How has the financial industry in Malta changed since joining the EU?

Since Malta became an EU member in 2004, Malta has accelerated its growth in all sectors of its financial services industry. Malta’s legal and regulatory framework met EU standards in 2004 which encouraged financial advisors to invest in a strong economy and framework. A few years later Malta adopted the Euro in 2008 and this step has made the financial services sector grow much faster.

The introduction of passporting rights has provided companies the chance to establish branches on the island, and thus many opportunities have opened up between Malta and the EU. In these days, the financial industry benefits from the EU international market of over 500 Million people and 28 countries.

Malta has set an objective to become the European financial centre and has achieved a lot towards that goal.

 

What has helped the financial market to flourish?

I was wondering how Malta could be so attractive to foreigners’ investors. After some research and questions I was able to highlight several assets. Malta owns a stable macroeconomic environment in which every streetlight are in the green. The current legal situation remains to be focused on attracting investors by the government and the status-quo is maintained. Malta is viewed as a safe country and stable one, which make the country interesting when a CEO is looking to it. The politic system is predictable and extremist parties do not have a place in it. For a financial perspective, the investors like nothing more than predictability continuity, which can be fully offered by Malta.

In January 2015 the minimum wage set up at 720 euro per month which corresponds to 50% of original EU 12 states.

The booming of Malta’s financial centre has happened due to its pro-business attitude, excellent regulation and competitive cost of doing business. The successive Maltese governments have gone about concluding double taxation treaties with 70 countries. This policy encourages trade not only with important trading partners but also with emerging countries.

The location of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea helps the island benefit from the Islamic finance as it has stronger links with North African countries such as Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. Financial companies from these countries who locate their subsidiary in Malta benefit from the EU market and an attractive and efficient tax structures.

Indeed Malta’s labour costs are comparative to the newer EU member states and lower than other established members of EU. Malta labour costs offer greater value for money than two thirds of those in the Western European countries.

 

What are the consequences on the labour market?

At a glance, the financial service market contributes to GDP up to 13% with more than 10,000 employees. In Malta, the GDP has being increasing at over 3% per annum compared to the EU average of 1.3%.

This growth is not predicted to decrease due to positive actions by the government to encourage the sector to prosper. For instance, the annual expansion of Malta’s financial sector stands at 25% meaning many new positions are appearing into the work market.

Furthermore, ranked the third lowest unemployment rate of the EU with 5.1% -behind Germany and the Czech Republic- Maltese workplace is highly active. For a decade, focus has been made by the government on the academic front. More than 60% of Maltese students are going to further education, although it is an English speaking nation, people are also trained to different professional such as Italian, Arabic, Spanish or French.

With a low unemployment rate, companies and especially HR firms are faced with the shortage of candidates; they have to find highly qualified people to fit their positions. In fact, integrating the EU has facilitated the mobility of EU workers; employers now have access to a much larger pool of workers than before. Actually, to attract further foreign talent Government offers 15% off on flat tax rate to highly qualified persons into key positions within those industries.

 

Why are professional HR firms better placed at handling this growth?

I interviewed Simon Casolini Operations and Recruitment Manager for Quad Consultancy’s Malta branch  in order to further my knowledge about the move appearing in the Financial Service field.

In fact the work market is currently changing, the global rapid growth from the EU’s companies in the Financial Sector in Malta has created a lot of new positions but the pool of candidates isn’t big enough.

 

Outcomes from my interview

First of all, the sector has seen much more movements than previously, many new positions have emerged and wages have been incressing steadily for the last 3 years. Indeed, applicants are in a stronger position nowadays than they were in the past.

At the same time, the requirements, including experiences and qualifications has been going down due to the scarcity of talent. For example, where companies previously sought candidates with a specific degree and 5 years’ experience, they are now seeking people with a related degree and 3 years’ experience. Companies are reducing their requirements due to a lack of employees.

By reducing requirements, moves have been observed in terms of certifications related to the financial service. In this field, background in banking, accountancy as well as financial compliance is needed by companies without degree; certifications in those fields would be of advantage for candidates.

A good candidate with a moderate experience has now several advantages that applicants had not before. The wages have been going up and applicants have more opportunities within several companies.

Nowadays, employees are exposed to more duties and areas of competence compared to the past when they spent much more time focused on functions in one or two areas. Therefore, they are increasing their employability skills and general responsibilites.

This new trend is interrelated with the growing of Head-hunting. Moving people has become an issue especially because the market is small and people physically know each other and companies provided services.

It is at this stage that the professional Consultant comes into the process. By “professional Consultant”, I mean HR professionals who are able to fit position on behalf of companies. The professional Consultant has various assets such as a great database of candidates which can serve the demand effectively and professionals who are very well connected. Using a reputable HR firms allows companies to save time and money, such as advertising expenses and CV screening.

As the professional Consultant, having a very strong network of valid candidates, knowledge of their background and professional expectations is a great benefit. HR firms are able to offer an efficient and effective way of helping the client to find perfect fit, and providing their manpower needs.

They make sure the candidate understands what the company is looking for, going deeper than just the job description, giving them the background required about the company and ensuring that they have the right cultural fit. Therefore candidates are better prepared, and both of candidates and clients are reducing the risk.

Malta and my first impressions / Malte et mes premières impressions

by Cyril Chanson

I have chosen in this article to focus on several aspects of Malta, I will then share my first impressions from when I arrived on the island.

The population of Malta is approximately 430 000 people. This can increase to one and a half million due to tourism. The island is located in the centre of the Mediterranean, at the crossroad between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Malta gained independent from the UK in 1964, while keeping English as one of their national languages together with Maltese.

Let us talk about Malta’s weather … To be candid; Malta looks like a splendid island! If you are unlucky you might see rain, but it is quite scarce. The island benefits from a subtropical-Mediterranean climate: this means a hot and humid summer and a relatively mild winter – you may like to know that in the middle of November it is around 23 degrees during the day.

Regarding to the cost of living in Malta, it is quite good. On one hand the island is a member of the Eurozone, so this avoids the exchange costs. On the other hand, the cost of living is approximately 20% lower than in France. It is not so hard to eat lunch with less than 5e in cafes – Pastizzerias are mostly found at every corner. You also have the possibility to go out for lunch, and enjoy a good pizza for less than 10e, while overlooking the sea like at Piccolo Padre in St Julian’s.

What can I say about the Malta public transport?

Obviously, it is horrendous! Even if it has been updated a few years ago to reach customer expectations, there are a number of buses which do not pass… The only one advice I can give you is to be patient!

I arrived in my host family with a Ferrari’s driver, I’m kidding, and just a taxi who thought that he was professional driver! Remember that they drive on the left side of the road, it had surprised me a bit and I wasn’t reassured, hopefully they know their roads.

At midnight on September 13th, speaking to my host mother allowed me to discover that she is a teacher! So I was pleased to learn that I could buff up on my English, even at home. It was with a soothing mind that I went to sleep, raring to meet the other students the next day!

The one thing which surprised me was the price of water! All I had to do back home is turning on the tap and drink, but not here – it is to wonder if alcohol is cheaper than water.

The next morning on September 14th, I met my housemates, with who I was going to go to EF school, coming from overseas; Japan, China and Italy. EF is one of the biggest language schools in Malta and has its own Beach club. As soon as we entered, I was pleasantly surprised about the diversity of the students. The first discussions which we had between ourselves were relatively hilarious! Most of us were not very skilled in English which is exactly why we came here. After school all students went to party for an amazing night in Paceville.

Paceville for people who don’t know yet is the most well-known place to party in Malta through several bars, which offer cheap alcohol such as a pitcher at 5e, 60 shots for 22e and better still 2 drinks for less than 3e. One of the greatest things here is that you can find different ambiance according to your wishes; from Fuego’s with its free salsa lessons to nightclubs such as Hugo’s. Indeed Paceville allows people to meet each other for a good time.

Malte et mes premières impressions

J’ai choisi de développer dans cet article les raisons de choisir Malte comme destination et ainsi que d’évoquer mes premières impressions en arrivant cette île.

Malta est une île de 450 000 habitants allant jusqu’à plusieurs millions dans les périodes touristiques, se situant à la croisée des chemins entre l’Occident et le Maghreb et l’Orient. Malte est devenu indépendant de l’Angleterre en 1964, tout en gardant l’anglais comme langue nationale avec le maltais.

Parlons un peu du climat à Malte… Pour ne rien vous cacher on se croirait sur une ile paradisiaque ! Très peu de pluie, sous un climat méditerranéen- subtropical: un été chaud et un hiver relativement doux (actuellement 23 degrés au milieu du mois de novembre).

Le coût de la vie à Malte est relativement intéressant, d’une part l’ile appartient à la zone euro et évite ainsi les frais de change. D’autre part, le cout de la vie est environ 20% moins élevé qu’en France, il n’est pas rare de déjeuner pour moins de 5€ grâce aux pastizzerias que l’on peut trouver à chaque coin de rue.

Seule surprise : le prix de l’eau ! Car ici – contrairement à la France- l’eau n’est pas potable à proprement parler. Il faut donc acheter ses propres bouteilles d’eau et cela revient presque plus cher que l’alcool !

Que pouvons-nous dire sur la qualité des transports en commun ; honnêtement pas terrible ! Bien que le réseau de transport ait été modifié il y a deux ans de cela afin de répondre aux attentes, on ne compte plus le nombre de bus qui ne passent pas à l’heure prévue… le mieux est de s’armer de patience !

Arrivé à malte mi-septembre, ma première surprise a été avec le conducteur de taxi. En effet, ce dernier, s’est cru au volant une Ferrari, je vous rappelle qu’ils roulent à le cote gauche, je vous laisse imaginer les petites frayeurs que j’ai pu avoir !

C’est à minuit, après ce rallye que j’arrivai dans ma nouvelle famille, en discutant avec la mère de ma famille d’accueil je découvris qu’elle est professeur d’anglais, quoi de mieux pour apprendre l’anglais chez un professeur de langues ! C’est l’esprit apaisé que je pars me coucher en songeant avec impatience à la journée du lendemain : découvrir l’école et ses étudiants.

Au réveil je fis connaissance de mes colocataires venant des quatre coins du monde : un Italien, un Chinois et un Japonais. Et, C’est parti pour une nouvelle aventure !

L’école EF possède son propre Beach Club dans lequel on y a été conviés pour la journée d’information ; c’est à cette occasion que l’on a pu observer la diversité des étudiants. Les premières discussions étaient relativement désopilantes ! Et oui parler anglais n’était pas naturel pour nous. La journée se passa plus rapidement qu’il n’en faut pour le dire et se finit dans les bars a l’occasion d’une soirée d’intégration mémorable.

Ha j’oubliais ! Les sorties à Paceville ne sont pas chères ; il n’est pas rare de trouver des pichets à 5€, 60shots à 22€ ou encore 2 verres à moins de 3€. Chaque bar possède sa propre ambiance, du bar latino avec des cours de Salsa au Fuego’s jusqu’à la boite de nuit du Havana, tout en passant par les bars-club du Hugo’s ou Soho.

What’s In A Name? Almost Everything

by Alexander Bonello

The name of your business, project, shop, outlet, website, trading name or venture is not only extremely important, but if you want to isolate any one single feature, then it may probably be considered as the most important of all.

It is what defines you, what you are known as, how people remember you and what creates the mental image projected into people’s mind.

Let us look at some fictitious examples. Compare restaurants called :
Joe’s Diner, Linda’s Eatery, Mamma’s Meals
as opposed to :
Le Grand Canard, Heat & Eat, Aqua

I just made all these names up, but the difference is immediately apparent. While the first set evokes very informal, casual if not clumsy dining, the second immediately summons up much grandeur visions.

Let us try the same with imaginary accommodation properties :
In ‘n Out, The Friendly Lodge, Cathy’s Cottage
as opposed to :
The Cunningham, Grand Golf Hotel, Clifton Lord’s Palace

Again these are all bogus names simply created to highlight how significant a name can be. And the same applies to absolutely any type of business. I purposely chose restaurants and hotels as these should be easily understandable to everyone.

Your choice of name will make an enormous difference in the overall success of your business. If you don’t accord total attention and thought towards it, then you are really starting off in the wrong direction.

So what are the basics about selecting the right choice of names? There are many pointers which can effectively lead you in the right direction. Like most other things, it may sound like a fairly complex process, but then again most things in life tend to be that way. Following these methods will however put you on the right track.

The name is your very first and most powerful marketing tool, so use it fully to your favour. Start off by asking yourself what your customers will search for and what they want to hear.

To continue using the above examples for simplicity’s sake, is it cheap and cheerful and homely and informal that you are offering, or is it chic and classy and stately? Do you want to project yourself as a quick bite when you’re hungry and don’t feel like cooking at home, or your special night out on that most special of occasions in the best of venues? Are you the local inn offering the most inexpensive accommodation for budget travellers, or aspiring to be the best hotel in town for visiting dignitaries and for the jet set?

This reasoning may be replicated to any form of business and without going to such obvious extremes, no matter the line of business and the positioning, your name should strongly represent the image you are trying to portray.

Clients are strongly influenced by a name and much of their choice of provider will be based on this one factor. Let us not forget that in today’s information age we are all swamped with options and what is the very first, and often the only, thing that comes up? The name!

When searching online and elsewhere, we always start off by a list of names, some of which inspire us to look into and others which we are happy to skip and overlook. So the very first rule is to be true to your image and audience. Try to find the best name which evokes what you are really all about and which will instantly attract your desired audience.

The name should be catchy and appealing, it should be memorable and strongly tied to who and what you are. So reflect well on each word in the name, which should all clearly lead the viewer to exactly who you want to be.

Names which are too complicated or ‘clever’, those which are ambiguous and also introspective, referring to matters which few besides yourself can understand, are simply not a good idea. So catchy and interesting yes, but complex and obscure definitely not.

If you are appealing to an international audience then this must definitely also be taken into consideration. Be extremely careful to check the meaning of similar and similar sounding words in the languages of your target audiences. Choose words which are easily understandable and more so easily pronounced in their languages. If you are aiming at a wide international audience then ensure that you name is as cosmopolitan as possible and not showing a marked penchant towards any nationality. Try to use global, easy sounding words, of which many exist.

Many theories abound about the advantages of long or short names, about abbreviations, about personal names within a business’s name. In my opinion all of this depends entirely on each specific case and to generalise would therefore be risky.

What I believe should also be kept in mind is that originality can be very useful if you want to be labelled as different and avant-garde, while conventional sounding names are better if you want to portray tradition and conformity. If you want to strongly distinguish yourself from existing competitors, then go for a strikingly different type of name to theirs. If on the other hand you want to ride their wave then find a name which can be easily confused with theirs, or at least directly associated.

Back in the old days when it was all about directories and listings, it was always strongly recommended to have an alphabetically advantageous name, ideally starting with an ‘a” or even a number, for very obvious reasons. Entire studies were conducted to prove that enquirers would simply scroll through the first few names and send out requests, or even purchase directly from these, without ever bothering to look any further down the list. This reasoning is exactly in line with being on the first page of Google upon a given search. This reasoning may have understandably waned over the years, however I am still a keen supporter of the concept that if you had to choose between two shortlisted favourites, then definitely go for the first one alphabetically.

Give your name a lot of importance and a lot of thought. For it is also something you will hardly ever be able to chance.

 

abAbout The Author

After having created and directed a wide ranging number of businesses in various service industries, Alexander now dedicates much of his time advising others on how to succeed in their business.

He also spends as much time as possible doing what he enjoys best – writing.

The Right People At The Table

by Mark Fritz

There is old saying that always stays current: People Trump Strategy. In fact, people often trump processes, procedures, and methodologies. It is not that these other things are not important, it is that their effectiveness or ineffectiveness is driven by the people executing the processes, procedures, and methodologies. You don’t really say: “That process let me down!”…you say; “That person let me down!.

CHANGE is really 80% PEOPLE and 20% the rest…if we use the traditional 80/20 rule.

To drive successful CHANGE, it is often about getting The Right People at the Table; and there are two outcomes that successful leaders invest more focused time to create than others.

  1. Quality of the Output from the Meeting

(Driven by the quality of the discussion and that is from the quality of the people)

  1. Quality of the Influence after the Meeting

(Driven by the attendees’ ability to influence others to take action on the output)

These two outcomes determine who needs to be there, and if the right people are not there; the perceived quality of the output of the meeting is always suspect.

Consider this situation:

You have a meeting on the change, and another department only provides you someone that is available; and not their best person (knowledgeable and with influence both inside and outside his/her department). Now the key questions…

  • When others see this person attending the meeting, do they feel this meeting is important? Probably not.
  • What will others feel about the decisions/solutions coming out of the meeting? They would probably have low expectations given the person who is attending.
  • When this person goes back to his/her department, do you feel anyone will be listening to him or her? Again, probably not, because they do not have the respect from their peers. They were just available!

As you can see, the people you get to your tables (the meetings) have an impact on the quality of the meeting before a word is even said, and then any influence on the results after the meeting too.

There are three key habits I have seen in leaders who get The Right People at the Right Tables, and if you practice these two habits; you will have more success getting the right people to your tables.

  1. Frame Meetings to Achieve, not to Discuss

How many times have you been invited to a meeting with this phrase: We need a meeting to discuss… Probably all the time, and now here is a great question: Is discussion an activity or an outcome? Right, it’s an activity, and this is why these meetings you are attending are wasting your time.

When you frame the meeting as a discussion, what do you get more of? Discussion! Also, you often get people talking not because they have something useful to say, but because they just like the sound of their own voice!

If you want to run more successful meetings, you need to frame the meeting as an OUTCOME, not as an activity. You need a meeting to ACHIEVE.

From a leadership perspective, the majority of your meetings only have three outcomes…because you need:

1. ACTION You want progress, and people owning their Action.

2. DECISION You need a Decision that enables more action.

3. ALIGNMENT You want Alignment that drives teamwork and more effective action.

Next time, don’t frame your meetings as an activity (to discuss), but as an outcome (to ACHIEVE)…and more of the right people will want to come to your table.

  1. Build the Key Relationships Before You Need Them

If you remember the story about Noah from the bible, did Noah start building the ark before it started raining or after it started raining? Before, right? You need to build your key relationships before you need them. In getting the right people around the right tables, it often comes down to the quality of your relationships with other key stakeholders. When you have built strong relationships, you then have more influence in getting the right people from their organizations to come to your meetings.

To gain that key influence with others, you start by wanting others to listen and engage with you, and that means starting with them (not your) and using:

their Door: You enter the door of what they are most interested in (their self interests), and then wrap what you want within what they want. This has them wanting to listen. How many times do you instantly switch off at the start of a conversation when others begin by talking about only what they want!

and then on their floor: You focus the conversation on the level of details that they are most interested in discussing. This has them wanting to engage with you because you are having the conversation at their level of interest. If you are a leader, you have probably experienced this…your people come to you and want to tell you all the details before getting to the point! They say that a leader’s maximum patience is about 90 seconds in this situation. If you want more influence with others…enter their Door (so they listen) and discuss on their Floor (so they engage). Also, teach your people this and they will package their conversations with you in more concise ways.

  1. Choose People Who Can Both Contribute and Influence

There are many leaders who look at the organization chart in determining who they need to be at their meeting representing that department or area of the company. However, the most successful leaders never think in terms of represent. They think in terms of contribution and influence.

The Right People you need at all the tables are the people who can contribute the most towards gaining the best decisions and solutions, and who can then go away and influence others within their own areas and organizations across the company. It is might be difficult to gain both of these in the same individual and therefore you will then need to invite two people to gain the impact your need both in the meeting and after the meeting. Far too many managers think of the meeting only, and not about the impact after the meeting (when the action is needed and has to be reinforced with others).

Lastly, there are two feelings that fuel people to support the decisions in meetings and to take the necessary actions after the meetings. They are:

It’s Worth It and I Can Do It.

These two feelings are what drive people to sustain the right mindset and keep taking action.

It’s Worth It (They ask themselves…What’s in it for me?)

People need to feel that it is personally worth it to them? Far too often you share why it is worth it to the company, but real change happens at a personal level. A company change is simply the collection of enough personal changes. That’s why people who are great at driving change are also great at adapting their communications…because that’s the way to make it personal to others.

I Can Do It (They ask themselves…Can I handle the conflict?)

This is a confidence and character issue. Decisions often require doing something different and differences drive conflict. Most people don’t change because they feel they are not able to effectively deal with the conflicts they will have with others. They say that people rise in organizations to the level they can deal with the conflict that comes with the role.

Therefore, next time you need to get The Right People at the Table, consider these:

Two OUTCOMES

Quality of the Output from the Meeting

Quality of the Influence after the Meeting

Three KEY HABITS

Frame Meetings to Achieve, not to Discuss

Build the Key Relationships Before You Need Them

Choose People Who Can Both Contribute and Influence

Two FEELINGS

It’s Worth It

I Can Do It.

When you focus on these two outcomes, three key habits and two feelings, you will get more of The Right People at the Table….and GAIN you more influence and more achievement.

 

MFAbout The Author

Mark Fritz is an “International”, having lived and worked across the world (Singapore, Egypt, Netherlands, Italy, Japan, UK and the USA), and lives in London with his Japanese wife and their cat Smokey.   His international career included leading enterprise systems implementations, leading international operations, and also coordinating business model development and changes.  Mark understands how to lead CHANGE and to get your people to OWN IT!

 

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L’Inglese Di Barby

by Barbara Mazzarelli

Eccomi tornata con un nuovo post dell’angolo di Barby.

Come avevo anticipato, in questo blog darò qualche consiglio su come migliorare il livello di inglese.

In questi anni ho sperimentato un po’ tutti i modi per accrescere il mio inglese, rendendomi conto che, purtroppo, studiarlo in un contesto italiano non è sufficiente, poiché si migliora molto lentamente. È necessario quindi uscire dai confini italiani, viaggiare, fare nuove conoscenze ed esperienze.

Se si è ancora studenti, si può pensare a uno stage all’estero, considerando che in molte università è un percorso obbligatorio, quindi tanto vale sfruttarlo appieno. Ci sono molte aziende disponibili ad accogliere tirocinanti, in questo modo si può fare un’utile esperienza di lavoro in un ambiente internazionale. Ho fatto questa scelta io stessa l’anno scorso, lavorando tre mesi in Irlanda.

Un’altra possibilità è frequentare un corso di lingua disponibili. Sono organizzati dalle classi elementari, per chi è alle prime armi, fino agli avanzati, per chi desidera una conoscenza professionale. È una scelta abbastanza costosa, ma può essere considerata come un investimento. Anche una breve esperienza può aiutare molto: nel mio caso è stato così.

Due anni fa ho frequentato una scuola di inglese a Edimburgo, in Scozia. Era la mia esperienza all’estero, svolta completamente da sola, ed è stata un’ottima decisione: ho conosciuto persone di diverse nazionalità, evitando di stare solo con italiani. Sono stata ospitata da una host family locale, entrando in contatto con il loro modo di vivere. Anche se durata poche settimane, è stata un’utile esperienza che mi è servita soprattutto per superare l’imbarazzo iniziale, interagendo con ragazzi di diverse nazionalità, dai kazakistani ai brasiliani, condividendo esperienze e raccontando usanze del proprio paese. Con alcuni conservo ancora un rapporto d’amicizia grazie ai social, anche se siamo sparsi nel mondo!

Un’altra alternativa è cercare un lavoro stagionale estivo. È una scelta presa da tanti ragazzi per migliorare la lingua. A Malta ci sono moltissimi locali, bar, ristoranti, pizzerie che cercano costantemente nuovo personale, anche senza esperienza, per un lavoro serale. Solitamente, non è richiesta un’approfondita conoscenza dell’inglese per iniziare. L’ideale è lavorare in un contesto dove l’inglese è la lingua veicolare: stando in un ambiente interamente italiano e creando amicizie con compatrioti, si migliora veramente poco.

Altri consigli utili sono quelli di vedere film o programmi in lingua, per abituarsi al suono e al linguaggio: se inizialmente non ci si sente abbastanza confidenti, si possono usare i sottotitoli.

Inoltre, per implementare la conoscenza dei vocaboli, aiuta molto leggere. Se si reputa troppo complesso un libro intero, si può iniziare con dei testi un po’ più semplici: posso consigliare la serie Black Cat, che riassume i grandi classici della letteratura in modo più facile e breve, per sciogliere il ghiaccio con la prima lettura. A scuola avevo iniziato così, per poi gradualmente passare a libri più complessi.

Al prossimo appuntamento con l’angolo di Barby