Author Archive

Are you dreading a company re-organisation?

Re-organisation within a company can often be associated with confusion, pointless reshuffling and ultimately employees may think it is just code for redundancies. However a re-organisation, if managed correctly and carried out for the right reasons, can result in a re-energised workforce and new focus.

Here are my top reasons to consider a re-organisation in your company

To re-invigorate top performers

Just because members of your team are doing well doesn’t mean you can forget about them. Even top performers need regular evaluation and adjustment to prevent stagnation. A new challenge that caters to their strengths can bring fresh perspective and even better results. Similarly a long-term top performer may become disengaged and a change can prevent monotony setting in.

To align the right people to the right problems

Business is always changing and evolving. As a leader you need to be aware of this and be ready to adapt. Knowing the challenges facing your business and the strengths and weaknesses of your teams means you will be able to quickly adjust, moving the right people or teams to address the problems best suited to them.

To stay competitive

The company that doesn’t change and grow will ultimately be overtaken by the competition. As a leader you have to be ready to re-organise in order to compete. I’m sure most of us will remember the video-rental chain ‘Blockbuster’.  They adapted from VHS to DVD just fine – it didn’t require much re-organisation, just change the product you sell. However when it came to the digital download age they weren’t ready or willing to change and ultimately failed.

To focus on a new strategic direction

Interestingly the ‘Blockbuster’ analogy can also apply to this situation. If Blockbuster had focused on the new direction of their industry they could still be with us today, but new strategic directions are not just an opportunity to stay competitive, but also an opportunity to grow your business in new areas. Sometimes this may involve recruitment, but you can often find the assets you need are already part of your workforce and a re-organisation is all that is required to leverage this new strategy.

As always my top advice to get the best from your re-organisation is COMMUNICATION. When that email goes out announcing the re-org, ALL your employees should already know about it, be familiar with the reasoning and comfortable with the process and its implications for them and their team.

It is vital to take a broad view of the talent across your organisation, so you can empower them to succeed where you need them most and where they will enjoy the new challenge.


December 11, 2017 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

Are staff rewards the key to retaining people?

A staff rewards program isn’t going to magically solve any issues your teams may have. Rewards (like pay rises, bonuses and treats) are a short term solution and quickly forgotten if your staff are not happy in their job. No matter how many free lunches you give them, if your team is not motivated and engaged you will not get the results you want and ultimately you may find your best people are moving on to pastures new.

So what is the answer? Well, as always, it’s complicated – you need to look at rewards from a much broader perspective.

Firstly, do you know what makes everyone in your team tick? If you do, then you can shape a ‘rewards program’ for each individual, that is tailored to their top motivators.

For example, the Star profile is motivated by recognition, they could be encouraged by a reward, but only if everyone knew about it! However the Friend profile is more motivated by working in collaboration with a group. Financial or other rewards will have very little effect on this type of person, but working with a good team with shared values and goals is likely to keep them happy.

When you extrapolate the above examples across 9 motivators, many of which have potential to interact with each other, it is easy to see how building a tailored reward program for each team member can be quite a daunting task. But with the right assessment in place, simple and straight forward action plans can be put in place to address these complexities.

Of course, some people ARE motivated by financial rewards (the Builder profile particularly), so it is worth considering a staff rewards program. In recent years these have developed with technology so that now you can subscribe and run your entire program via an online portal. They do offer some useful benefits :-

1. You can often select the type of benefits your team receives
This is great because any reward really does need to be tailored to the individual, some people might like a free gym membership and others would prefer donuts!

2. The automated systems ensure rewards are delivered in a timely fashion
One of the most difficult aspects of a staff reward program is ensuring that milestones are checked and rewards delivered, so that staff don’t feel like they are being forgotten, so the automated programs are great for making sure rewards are given on time

My clients commission me to carry out Team Motivation Reviews for a wide variety of reasons. Some clients want to improve sales or results, others want to know which team members they should be developing or ensure they retain their best team members. Whatever the reason for the initial enquiry, rewarding staff is often a question that comes up at some point. If you ignore the issue, or rely on financially based rewards systems, then you may find your team shrinking quickly!

September 8, 2017 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

How to deal with an ‘Oscars’ style mistake

Whether in our private or professional life, we’ve all made mistakes, but some are worse than others. Back in February of this year the Oscar’s featured a particularly embarrassing mistake where Warren Beaty and Faye Dunaway announced the wrong winner for the Best Film award. If you haven’t seen the footage, click here to see some excruciatingly embarrassing scenes, where the wrong winners actually come up on stage and start their speeches, before the mistake is revealed.

The mistake turned out to be the fault of Price Waterhouse Coopers, the firm of accountants who are responsible for counting the votes and making up the winners envelopes. The blame finally landed with PWC supervisors Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, who oversaw the counting procedures. The two went into hiding after their mistake was revealed and PwC gagged them to prevent any further negative publicity. Finally the two were removed from any future Oscars duties, but both retained their positions at the company and PwC will continue to operate as vote counters for the Oscars.

It is unlikely that most professional mistakes will garner the kind of publicity that PwC received, but they can still be very serious and damaging for your business. If a member of your team makes a big mistake, it can be hard to know what to do. So here’s my advice:

Stay Calm
If one of your team comes to you with a mistake they have made the most important thing is to stay calm. Now is not the time to get angry or panic. It is a good sign that your team feel confident that they can come to you rather than try and cover things up.

Figure out the worst case scenario

Together with your team, figure out what the results of the mistake are likely to be. This will enable you to form a plan to minimise or rectify the issue.

Take action (quickly) to resolve the problem
Immediate action is essential. One of the factors which exacerbated the problem at the Oscars was that although the PwC team must have realised the mistake as soon as it was read out, they let the situation continue. Quick action can often prevent the effects of a mistake, or at the very least minimise them.

Create an action plan to prevent future occurrences

If one of your team made this mistake it is likely that others could too. Put into place an action plan which could prevent future errors. Ensure that the process is rolled out to all team members who could be affected by such a problem.

Consider Disciplinary Action

Depending on the nature of the mistake it may be that you need to take some kind of disciplinary action. However in most circumstances mistakes made at work do not require any formal action and as long as they are dealt with quickly and efficiently you are your team should be able to move on.

It’s important to remember that as team leader your response to mistakes will definite whether it is ok for your team to push boundaries and take risks, or whether they should toe the line, follow the procedure and potentially miss out on new or exciting opportunities. After all working creatively does have risk and can lead to errors, however it can also lead to growth and development.

The important things are to embrace the mistake, take action to fix it and learn as much as you can before moving forward.

May 15, 2017 at 10:41 am Leave a comment

How to stop strong leaders ruining your merger

Mergers and acquisitions are still a key strategy for growth for many businesses.

Mergers are often the result of one organisation’s leaders recognising strong leaders in another organisation and wanting to benefit from their skills and experience. However two or more strong leaders coming together to run a corporation can often result in potentially conflicting views about how the new business should be run.

So how can you make the most of strong leaders in a merger situation?

My first piece of advice is to have a clear vision for the new organisation and to communicate that vision to your leadership teams. For leaders to be effective they need to know what their goals are. Then they can plan for these goals and lead their teams toward them.

Secondly, ensure that there are clear incentives in place for your leaders. It is an unfortunate fact that mergers often result in employees leaving a company. One way to ensure the best people stay is to incentivise them. It is also important that the incentives are clear, in line with the vision of the organisation and tailored to the individual leader. However it is essential to align all leader’s incentives so they drive collaboration between leaders.

Thirdly, ensure that you emphasise that the vision for the company is a ‘win for all’ situation. All the organisations involved in the merger and all the leaders will benefit from the merger, not just one company. To be successful the merger has to be a real combining of the organisations. You will need your leaders to pull together in order to achieve the optimum result.

Finally it is important to have effective retention and succession planning. Ultimately it is likely that some staff will leave and it is essential that you have a plan to replace those that do with others who can achieve the same levels of success. The good news is that retention rates can be significantly increased with the right strategies for each individual.

As always if any of the issues I have discussed here strike a cord in your organisation, or with your future plans, please get in touch to see how we can help.

March 7, 2017 at 9:16 am Leave a comment

Leading your teams through significant change


In 2015 global merger and acquisition activity reached an all time high, exceeding the previous high set in 2007. Factors such as cheap debt financing and pressure to improve efficiencies in a slow economy have meant that 2016 is shaping up to be another record year in M&A.

With more companies consolidating you may find that significant change is coming to your organisation. Any change can affect the performance of teams, but significant change, such as a merger or buy out, can be an even more difficult period to lead your team through effectively. So what can you do to help your team achieve in a period of change?

Understand your team members as individuals

How well do you really know your team? It is essential in a period of change that you understand the subtleties of each individual. What are their skills? What motivates them? Do not assume just because people have the same or similar roles that they are the same.

For example, some people embrace change and will be seeing the opportunities to influence it. However others prefer stability, so are likely to be worrying and asking questions about what the changes mean. Your job as a leader is (still) to get the best out of everyone, including establishing how the different types can work together effectively.

Help your team members to understand each other

Once you’ve taken the time to understand what drives and motivates your team it is important that all the team members understand each other. If the team’s top motivators are well aligned you can manage that motivation (and hence performance) at team level. If the motivators are more diverse, you will need to work more at an individual level, which is likely to take more effort and energy.

By engaging the team in this process everyone can help by understanding how to get the best from each other. This will add an extra dimension to your team working, accelerating the success of change management.

Identify individuals who may be ready for a role change

You may find that some of your team members are ready for a change. This may be a change of role within the team, or it may be a move to another team or role. It is important to get these role changes right and ensure that people are happy with the role changes suggested and do not feel that they are being moved as a result of the change in the organisation.

Put the emphasis on communication

Be clear about what you expect from the team and each individual. Help them to define what success looks like, alongside clear objectives and measures. This will not only help your team communicate with each other and work better together, but will also improve their ability to work with other teams, especially those from an organisation you merge with or are acquired by.

If you are not sure how to get started understanding the individuals in your team, get in touch and I’ll talk you through how we can help.


December 5, 2016 at 9:36 am Leave a comment

Team building sessions – do they work?

Group of business people assembling jigsaw puzzle, team support and help concept

I once met with the team leader for a new client who told me he wasn’t too keen on doing the Team Motivation Review his HR Director had contracted me to carry out. When I asked why, he told me that he had spent ‘a small fortune’ on a team building session in the last 6 months and not only were most of the team not very keen, but it made ‘absolutely no difference whatsoever’.

So the question is…..Team Building Sessions, do they work?

Well the short answer is yes, they can, but you must consider a few essential points:

What are the objectives of the Team Building Session?

Obviously the main objective will be bringing the team together, but to what end? Are you hoping to achieve more sales? Perhaps you would like the team to work more effectively together? Are there issues between team members? It is very important to take time to recognise the objectives, before you start planning.

What kind of activity should you pick?

Many activities can be used to create more cohesive teams, but it is essential to pick the right activity for your team and to meet your objectives. If your team like dining out and visiting the theatre in their spare time, then they are unlikely to enjoy orienteering in the Welsh mountains.  It may be a good idea to ask your team what activities they would enjoy, although bear in mind that you can’t please all the people all the time. Also keep in mind that some activities are not conducive to building teams; quad biking for example might be fun, but it is a solo activity and not likely to give any team benefits.

In terms of objectives, if you want to increase sales, find an activity that is sales related, and preferably competitive (but not TOO competitive!).  If you have team cohesion issues, pick an activity that has a defined outcome, where the success of that outcome depends on the team working together.

Hold a pre-meeting

Rather than surprising your team with an announcement of a Team Building Activity, consider holding a pre-meeting with the team. You can use this to outline the idea of Team Building and the aims of the activity, as well as canvassing opinions on what they would like to do and what they would like to get out of it.

This will create a focus for the activity, and you can start to gain the team’s commitment to it before it even starts.

The Team Building Activity is the start, not the end

Ensure that you get the best from your Team Building Session by scheduling a follow-up session on your return. Involve the whole team to get feedback on what they enjoyed, what they feel they got out of the experience and what issues were resolved. You can also pin point any opportunities that may have been missed, or anything that did not go so well.

The most important thing is to capture any actions that you and/or the team need to take to move them forward, and who is going to take ownership of each action (ideally the team would own most of the actions).

So remember to do your preparation and review the activity on your return to ensure you get the best from your Team Building investment.

“But did the team leader commit to the Team Motivation Review?” I hear you ask!  When I explained how we can help him to understand what makes each person tick, if they are enjoying their jobs (and if not, why not, and what can be done about it), and even if they are thinking of leaving, yes he did.  You can see the results in the case studies area of our website.

September 15, 2016 at 10:52 am Leave a comment

The death of the annual appraisal…

The death of the annual appraisal...

The death of the annual appraisal…

A bold statement, but with the news this week that management consultancy firm Accenture have said farewell to the age-old system of annual performance evaluations, perhaps not so uncommon.

Many large corporations including Microsoft and Adobe have also dropped the annual appraisal finding that it saved them money in man hours regained – Adobe’s annual appraisals took up 80,000 hours.  However this is not the only reason organisations are considering removing appraisals completely.  With businesses becoming more dynamic and business processes constantly changing, waiting 12 months to evaluate employee performance makes the appraisal system irrelevant and unfair.  For some, the annual appraisal has become little more than a form filling process followed by an uncomfortable conversation about salaries and bonuses.

But appraisals don’t have to be like this.  I have long been a proponent of regular reviews of employee performance, with the performance aspects of the annual appraisal being a ‘summary’ of ongoing assessment.  This way, the appraisal can be one of the simplest and most enjoyable aspects of a manager’s job, while employees get the opportunity to step away from their day job to discuss what’s on their mind, such as personal and career development.

Here are some top tips for assessing your team’s performance :-

  • Meet regularly to discuss your team member’s performance, the frequency of reviews depends on the role, but I would recommend monthly meetings
  • Regularly gather information for the review by observing the team member, as well as talking to customers, staff and other managers
  • Make sure you both understand how things are going :- 
- is the individual on track?
- what’s going well?
- what needs to change?
- are there any potential issues or obstacles you can help with?
- agree who takes any actions
  • Compare your views of their current ‘rating’.  Then you have time before the appraisal to resolve any differences.
  • Most importantly there should be NO SURPRISES, in any aspect of their performance.  If performance issues occur in the workplaces they should be addressed immediately, not left until the monthly review.  If something comes up the day before, or that morning then postpone the review rather than discussing it during the appraisal.

By implementing this regular review system you can initiate discussions between managers and employees, which produce happier, successful and more productive teams.  This proactive system means change can be effected immediately and your whole organisation will benefit from this dynamic approach.

Oh, and the appraisal will no longer be an onerous, pointless overhead!

June 9, 2016 at 9:22 am Leave a comment

Older Posts

Alan Adair

Contact Details

Alan Adair

Extra Dimension
Helping you and your teams to be more engaged, motivated and effective.

21 Pelican House
Stone Close
BH15 4GE

Tel 01202 830047



RSS Extra Dimension

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Alan’s tweets