7 Ways to use Mind Maps in your Business Reports

Elizabeth Harrin posted on 28 June 2017

They say a picture tells a story better than words, and that definitely true at work too. Using mindmaps is a professional (and easy) way of introducing a visual element into your work.

There are lots of different types of reports that we are expected to do at work, and they all have the same aim of trying to make it easy to communicate something.

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Categories: Mind Mapping | View count: (637)

Help! Why Can’t I Get My Manager To Make A Decision?

Elizabeth Harrin posted on 19 May 2017

Have you ever been working on something and needed your manager to make a decision? You ask them. And then chase them. And chase again.

Without an answer, you can’t move forward because you don’t know what course of action is best – or what they would want you to do. So the task stalls, and in the worst cases, doesn’t pick up again.

This is a real problem for lots of people at work, and there are four main reasons why it takes so long to get a decision. When you understand these, you can work around them and help your manager get what they need so that you can get your answer and everyone can get back to work.

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Categories: Decision Making | View count: (390)

5 Ways to Define Project Objectives

Elizabeth Harrin posted on 24 March 2017

Does your project have clear objectives? I hope so: these should be written into the business case and Project Charter. Having objectives is crucial to knowing what it is you are trying to achieve and whether you are on track to get there or not.

You don’t have to have the job title of ‘Project Manager’ to find yourself working on a project these days. Lots of people have responsibility for initiatives, big and small, that are essentially projects. You have to clarify your objectives for...

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Categories: Project Management | View count: (1170)

3 Gantt Chart Alternatives

Elizabeth Harrin posted on 13 February 2017

Ask a project manager what’s going on with their project and they will probably pull up a Gantt chart to show you.

A Gantt chart (named after Henry Gantt who introduced the idea) is made up of horizontal bars visually representing task durations. The longer the task, the longer the bar. The dates are at the top so you can quickly see when work is due to happen.

There is nothing inherently wrong with Gantt charts. They are well-used and loved by many, they show the big picture for a project and they are visual so they work well for people at all levels.

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Categories: Project Management | View count: (1728)

5 Task List Fails to Avoid

Elizabeth Harrin posted on 28 December 2016

Whether you’re managing a multi-million dollar project or planning out what needs to be done for a visit during the holidays, the chances are you work with task lists. Whether you call them To Do lists, activity lists or something else, you’re probably familiar with using them at work and in your personal life.

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5 tips for keeping your virtual team on track

Elizabeth Harrin posted on 25 November 2016

Flexible working, off-shore resources and virtual teams mean that today’s managers spend more time not sitting with their team members than with them.

There’s a degree of trust involved when you can’t see what your virtual colleagues are doing. Are they prioritizing the right tasks? Are they going to get the work completed on time?

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7 Steps to Fantastic Strategic Alignment

Elizabeth Harrin posted on 21 October 2016

I’m sure you’re aware of ‘strategic alignment’ as one of the top management topics at the moment. We are hearing about it everywhere. All it means is making sure you are doing the right work – business as usual and projects – to help you deliver your strategy. In other words, focus your efforts on the right activities.

It’s not very complicated on paper, but in practice it’s a lot harder to get right. In this article I’ll give you a 7-step approach, inspired by the work of Steve Butler, to help you and your team go from a strategy on paper to a work environment that actually delivers what you want.

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Categories: Business Strategy | View count: (1644)

A prompt list for understanding the context of strategy

Elizabeth Harrin posted on 29 September 2016

A prompt list is a shortcut to remembering certain items and today I’ve got a prompt list for you to help you understand the external context of your business strategy.

Whether your business is big or small, knowing where you are going is key to success, and your strategy is a big part of that.

This prompt list is helpful for mindmapping the factors that might influence the success or failure of your strategic initiatives. 

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5 Steps In Planning A Negotiation

Elizabeth Harrin posted on 19 August 2016

Are you about to go into a negotiation? Whether it’s discussing an employment package with a new employer or closing a deal with an existing supplier you’ll want to read these 5 steps to planning the best negotiation for you.

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Categories: Business Strategy | View count: (2034)

Convincing presentations In 4 easy steps

Elizabeth Harrin posted on 27 July 2016

Worried about having to present your ideas to a group of people? Whether it’s a huge conference with 1000 delegates or 3 senior managers from another team, it can be daunting to have to put together presentation material and then deliver it.

It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can give a convincing presentation and be confident about it if you follow these 4 steps.

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Make faster decisions with delegated authority

Elizabeth Harrin posted on 20 May 2016

Regardless of your level in the organization, you make decisions daily at work. You make decisions for your own tasks within your own sphere of responsibility. You make decisions based on recommendations from your team, where it’s your job to have the final say. You put together briefings and recommendations, and influence those higher up the organization for decisions that you know you can’t make alone.

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Categories: Decision Making | View count: (1723)

Creating a Culture of Innovation in Small Companies

Elizabeth Harrin posted on 10 December 2015

It’s not only huge multi-national companies that can afford to have a culture of innovation. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that no company, whatever the size, can afford not to put innovation first.

Innovation is the way that you come up with ground-breaking ideas that bounce your business to the head of the queue. iPhone? Definitely innovation. Dyson vacuum cleaner? Definitely innovation.

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How to Simplify Decision Making With Flowcharts

Elizabeth Harrin posted on 22 October 2015

Think of all the processes you run in your business every day. There are processes for handling customer queries, for initiating projects, for paying invoices and a lot more. In fact, every time you make a key decision about something to do with your organization you go through a decision making process.

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How to Build Employee Engagement Through Strategy

Elizabeth Harrin posted on 9 September 2015

Research shows that employee engagement is relatively steady at about 30%. While the Gallup figures are interesting, what’s more interesting is how that has an impact on your workforce. In this article I want to talk about what engagement is, why it matters and how a clear strategy can help you build engagement within your teams.

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The One Option All Your Decisions Should Consider

Elizabeth Harrin posted on 13 August 2015

The one option all decisions should considerGetting to a decision normally includes coming up with loads of ideas in a creative session and choosing a number of options before agreeing on a final way forward. If the decision is important and relates to strategy then this activity could take some time. It’s important to get right. So what is the one option that should be in all your discussions that many managers overlook every time?

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Categories: Decision Making | View count: (1912)

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