Archive for the 'Leading Well' Category

What your employees expect of you

Monday, October 15th, 2007

LEADING WELL – Helping your leadership grow from Kerrie Mullins-Gunst

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In this issue: What your employees expect of you…

And, it’s coming soon! The Leadership Coaching Club will soon be open to the public and you can be the first to know. Register your interest at now and receive a free short course on How You Can Become an Ideal Leader. Watch for further details soon!

Kind regards, Kerrie



In their book “Values Shift” authors John Izzo and Pam Withers describe a whole new set of expectations people now have of their workplaces.

As unemployment in Australia hits a 33 year low and even exceptional employers struggle to fill vacancies and retain the best people, you can’t afford to ignore these expectations. As a leader and manager you need to be constantly aware of how you measure against these expectations and how you can meet and even exceed them in day to day practice.

Izzo and Withers identified six emerging expectations you need to focus on.

1. Better work-life balance and synergy.

This is one of the strongest and most consistent expectations, rejecting the all-consuming nature of work as it was for many of the baby boomer generation. This extends earlier concepts of balancing the spread of time between ‘at work’ and ‘out of work’ life, to include a better variety and balance of roles and activities within work hours, as well as ample time out of work for a full and varied lifestyle.

2. A sense of community and connection at work.

With trends such as greater mobility and dual income families, we see less traditional neighborhood connection or sense of community for many people. This has created an expectation that the workplace will help overcome isolation and offer its own sense of community and connection.

3. Opportunities for personal (as well as professional) development.

This becomes particularly important in flat workplaces where there is little opportunity for employees to work their way up a set career ladder. People still yearn to be challenged and stimulated and to grow and develop and expect that you will facilitate that through the workplace.

4. The opportunity to contribute to a more noble cause.

Employees expect corporate objectives to be broadened beyond making money to incorporate triple bottom line and a commitment to the betterment of society. They are looking for meaning and purpose in what they do and expect to find it in their work.

5. A more democratic partnership role.

Information is now ubiquitous and there has been a shift in the balance of power. The ‘decline in deference’ means that employees expect to be able to question authority, share opinions and say what they think – and they expect to be listened to and involved in decisions, as would any partner.

6. A relationship based on trust.

Past breaches of trust have generated suspicion and distrust. Organizations need to consistently demonstrate they are trustworthy and leaders will be held accountable for any breach of trust. Employees expect to trust, respect and even like the companies and leaders they work for – or they’ll move on.

While you may not have total control over any one of these areas in your organization, as a leader and manager you do have significant influence within your own team over aspects of every one of them.

By deliberately doing what you can within your sphere of influence to meet these six expectations you will not only be better placed to retain and attract good employees and team members, you will begin to enjoy your own role as a team leader more too.


The Leadership Coaching Club will soon be opened to the public. To make sure you are the first to know when it is launched, register now at and you will receive advance notice, special offers and a free short course on How to Become an Ideal Leader. Don’t miss out. If you lead or manage people you need to register today.



“He who has a why can endure any how.”

Friedrich Nietzsche


The Step by Step Business Plan Guide

If you’ve been spinning your wheels trying to succeed in getting funding for your business and even just getting your business plan on paper, this ebook is going to change the way you have been doing things.

Leading Well – Planting the seeds of success

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Recently I caught up with a group of friends from my university days. It was great fun to hear all about what people were up to after so many years.

One of my friends was describing how her new weekend farming life had captured the interest of her team at her city legal office. So much so that, not long ago, her whole team had volunteered to help out with planting the latest vegetable crop.

“We had a great weekend” she told us. “Some teams might go away to the country for ‘Planning days’ but my team went away for a ‘Planting day’.”

Afterwards, the more I thought about the concept, the more I liked the analogy.

As a leadership specialist, I am often asked to facilitate Strategic and Team Planning events and I can’t think of a better way to describe their purpose than planting seeds for the future.

Planning days aren’t magic wands that fix all your problems. But they do plant the seeds that can be nurtured into your ideal outcomes over time.

If you are fortunate (and your planning event is well facilitated) you may secure agreement on the day from all team members about some of the fundamentals: your team vision and values, how your team roles relate to your organizational mission or purpose, and the essential actions and strategies that will ensure you deliver results.

But any team gathering also offers an opportunity to foster understanding and develop a strong team culture – which takes much longer than a day to achieve. Yet you can plant the seeds for a team that works well together even in difficult times, that supports and respects other team members, that shows initiative and embraces change. And over time these outcomes may be even more powerful than the traditional outcomes of Strategic or Team Planning events.

As with any seeds, planting them is not enough. They have to be nurtured, fed and watered over time before they grow to their full potential. And that is your primary role back in the office as leader of the team.

The nurturing of those powerful seeds of success over time needs to be attended to daily and weekly – in fact every time you interact or meet with your team.

This consistent follow-up to any annual Strategic or Team Planning event can be even more critical than the event itself. In it lies one of the secrets of all successful leaders.

Kind regards, Kerrie

PS. If you are wondering HOW to nurture the seeds of your team’s success, watch out for details about my Leadership Coaching Club, coming soon. If you want to be among the first to know all the details, register at and be confident of catching our special launch discount or bonuses.



“Our great business in life is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)



Don’t forget to have a look at ‘Powerful Ways to Sharpen Your Memory – A Guide for Leaders and Managers’ – Now available for instant download. It includes both basic and advanced tools you can use to overcome forgetfulness, remember names, faces, numbers, places, events and more!

I wish I had know some of the things that are in this ebook years ago! So many things would have been so much easier…

Have a look now. There’s a free bonus – just for looking! You can register for the Memory Boost MiniCourse for free and try out just a few of the ideas you’ll discover when you pick up your own copy of Powerful Ways to Sharpen Your Memory.

See for details.

Powerful Ways to Sharpen Your Memory

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

Well, here it is! One of the top three products requested by the hundreds of people who did my recent quick survey:

“Powerful Ways to Sharpen Your Memory – A Guide for Leaders and Managers”

I have to say this is an area that I personally struggle with, so I was quite pleased that your survey encouraged me to investigate this important leadership skill. And I’m sure you’ll be delighted with the results.

If you are at all like me, life just seems to get busier and busier. There are so many things to be done and even more that need to be remembered.

It’s so easy to forget the little things you meant to do, the name of that new customer you met last week, all those appointments and phone numbers, who agreed to do what after last month’s meeting and all the other things that help us to manage effortlessly.

No matter how good a leader or manager you are, when you forget the face of that client you’ve been calling for weeks or the place you were meant to be meeting your key supplier, it’s not just embarrassing, it could be career limiting!

Yet some people seem to be able to remember such things easily.

Was there a secret? I decided to find out. Because if there was, I wanted to know it!

Well the answer is Yes!

You can improve your memory and it isn’t that hard.

Imagine if you could easily remember all those key details that currently slip your mind. What if you were known for never forgetting a face? or a birthday? or a place?

There are even a few simple tools and techniques that you can learn in minutes and start applying immediately that will improve your memory.

Click this link for all the details of “Powerful Ways to Sharpen Your Memory”:

To thank you and everyone who took the time to reply to my quick survey I have a special reduced price available, but only for a limited time. The price will be increasing sometime in the next couple of days. If you get in early you will not only get the lowest price, but you will be able to collect some special extra bonuses.

Whether you want to buy or not, please have a look at the details of this ebook – you may even know someone else who would be interested in it – but for everyone who looks at this page now
I have also left you a free gift: The Memory Boost MiniCourse.

FREE Memory Boost MiniCourse
In it you will learn:
* how to remember lists
* an interesting way to remember people’s faces
* how to overcome forgetfulness
* the impact of overlearning
* how your memory works, and more…

It’s yours FREE just for having a look at “Powerful Ways to Sharpen Your Memory”. I hope you enjoy it.

Kind regards, Kerrie

PS. Don’t forget that link again:

Are you becoming a leader?

Monday, July 16th, 2007

First, a big thank you to everyone who has already taken our very quick survey, to help me decide which of all the projects I have in various stages of completion would be most helpful to you.

( It’s not too late if you haven’t done it yet! Here’s the link: And it really is just one question! )

To everyone who emailed me saying you wanted them all … I promise we will work on several of them, not just the top one!

In fact we have already been hard at work. So watch out for an email very soon when I expect to be able to announce that one of the top three – as voted by you – is available. I’ll try to organize a special offer to celebrate (but only for the quick movers… so don’t miss out.)

I hope you enjoy today’s article.

Kind regards, Kerrie




Recently I came across the phrase that ‘Leadership is a process of becoming’.

The author was making the point that, although certain people seem to be born with innate leadership qualities, without the right environment, education and exposure, they may fail to develop their full potential.

It seemed an important point, and totally consistent with what I have observed as I have trained and coached literally hundreds of good leaders over the years.

The very best leaders I have worked with are always in the process of becoming:
* of becoming the best they can be
* of becoming worthy of their role
* of becoming more insightful
* of becoming better listeners
* of becoming better skilled…

In other words, the very best leaders are constantly striving and becoming even better leaders – regardless of their existing level of skill or experience.

So, you can always be learning and becoming a better leader by honing your leadership abilities.

There are two primary ways you can become better at leadership.

First, you can gain knowledge of leadership theories and skills formally by attending leadership seminars, workshops, and conferences, or by working one-on-one with a coach or mentor. (As you know, we help lots of you with this way of becoming a leader.)

Second, your daily interactions with people provide an opportunity to observe other leaders informally and to practice your leadership with others – becoming a leader in the way you work.

Together, formal and informal learning will help you gain leadership attitudes, and leadership insights, and thus further your cycle of learning. Both will help you in the life-long process of becoming a leader.

You do not become a leader one day and just stop. An unending commitment to life-long learning lies at the core of becoming a true leader.



“Whatever you are, be a good one.” Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)


FEATURED PRODUCTThe Art of Influence

The Art of Influence – How to get what you want from people easily and every time.

Kerrie Mullins-Gunst interviews Paddy Spruce, Australia’s influencing skills expert. Download it now and listen immediately on your iPod or mp3 player – see

PS. Don’t forget to watch your email for an announcement about the first product to be released after your votes – coming soon – and with a special offer, just for those who act quickly!

And if you haven’t voted yet here’s the link again:

Failure and Leadership

Friday, May 18th, 2007


Helping your leadership grow
from Kerrie Mullins-Gunst

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In this issue of Leading Well I would like to share with you an article by one of my favorite leadership authors, John C. Maxwell, about failure and how it impacts on our leadership.

Interested? Read on…

But before you do, have you had a look at how you can celebrate with me as I move into my new office? See here for details.

Kind regards, Kerrie

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Failing Forward

What are you afraid of as a leader? On the top of many people’s list is failure. Is it on your list too?

J.M. Barrie said, “We are all failures–at least, all the best of us are.”

In my 30-plus years of leadership experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the most valuable but underestimated abilities that leaders can posses is the ability to do what I call “failing forward.” It’s more than having a good attitude about your mistakes, and it’s a step beyond simply taking risks. Failing forward is the ability to get back up after you’ve been knocked down, learn from your mistake, and move forward in a better direction.

You see, everybody makes mistakes. But the real difference between average people and achieving people is their PERCEPTION OF and RESPONSE TO failure. Nothing else has the same kind of impact on people’s ability to accomplish their dreams.

What do you dream of accomplishing? Unfortunately, no matter how gifted or knowledgeable you are, you will make mistakes along the way to your dream. Failure is the price you must pay on the road to success. That’s just how it works. But the good news is that the better you are at failing forward, the sooner you can accomplish your dreams.

Before you put away your list of resolutions for this year, look at the following misconceptions about failure. Take an honest inventory to determine if your perception of failure is what it should be. If you share any of these misconceptions, add to your list the resolution to change the way you think about failure.


You’ve probably heard the saying, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” That was written by Alexander Pope more than 250 years ago. And he was only paraphrasing a saying that was common 2,000 years ago, during the time of the Romans. Things today are the same as they were then: People make mistakes.

Don’t buy into the notion that mistakes can somehow be avoided. They can’t be. Accept that you will err because you’re human, but don’t let that keep you from pursuing your dreams.

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Speaking of dreams – thank you to everyone who has sent us all those good wishes for our move into the new office and house. We value your kind words. If you haven’t already joined in the celebrations with us see for details of how you can join the party too. But move quickly, there isn’t much time left!

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Think about your school days. If you or someone you knew received an F on a test, the tendency was to think that you failed at that moment. However, that’s not the case. The F shows that the test taker neglected the process leading up to the test and the result was a poor score. The truth is that you don’t receive F’s for failing a test, but for failing to prepare for a test.

Failure is just like success – it’s a day-to-day process, not someplace you arrive one day. Failure is not a one time event, it’s how you deal with life along the way. Yes, you will make mistakes, but you can’t conclude that you’re a failure until you breathe your last breath. Until then, you’re still in the process, and there is still time to turn things around for the better.


When you forget a meeting, miss a deadline, damage a relationship, or make a poor choice concerning your children, what determines whether that action was a failure? Is it the size of the problem it creates, the amount of money your company loses, or how much criticism you have to endure? No. The truth is that only you are the only person who can label what you do a failure. Failure is subjective. Your perception of and response to your mistakes determine whether they are failures.

According to Tulane University business professor Lisa Amos, entrepreneurs fail in an average of 3.8 business ventures before they finally make it. They aren’t deterred by mistakes or adversity because they don’t see setbacks as failures. They recognize that three steps forward and two steps back still equals one step forward. Determine to see your mistakes as merely temporary lapses, and start using them as stepping stones to success.


Most people try to avoid failure like the plague. They’re afraid of it. But it takes adversity to create success. NBA coach Rick Pitino says, “Failure is good. It’s fertilizer. Everything I’ve learned about coaching I’ve learned from making mistakes.”

If you desire to be a high achiever you can’t see mistakes as the enemy. Musicologist Eloise Ristad emphasizes that, “when we give ourselves permission to fail, we at the same time give ourselves permission to excel.” She’s right. Begin to perceive mistakes as opportunities rather than opponents.


There’s an old saying in Texas that goes: “It doesn’t matter how much milk you spill as long as you don’t lose your cow.” In other words, mistakes are not irreversible. The problems come when you see only the “spilled milk” and not the bigger picture.

Tom Peters wisely acknowledged, “If silly things were not done, intelligent things would never happen.” When you make a mistake, keep things in perspective. Understand that on the heels of every mistake is a valuable lesson and another opportunity to improve.

Washington Irving once noted, “Great minds have purposes; others have wishes. Little minds are subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them.” If you tend to focus on the extremes of mistakes and fixate on particular events in your life, make a resolution to gain a new perspective on failure. See errors and negative experiences as a regular part of life and determine to learn and grow from them. If you can do that well, you may find that your dreams are much closer than you think.

This article by John C. Maxwell was provided by — The Online Network for Christians in Business. Your source for news, articles, and commentary from a biblical perspective.



“We seem to gain wisdom more readily through our failures than through our successes. We always think of failure as the antithesis of success, but it isn’t. Success often lies just the other side of failure.”

Leo F. Buscaglia (1924-1998)



You may like to look at these Books Worth Reading by John C Maxwell -

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership -

Leadership 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know -

Developing the Leader Within You -

Exciting news

Friday, May 11th, 2007

This is just a quick note to share some exciting news that explains why you haven’t heard from me for a bit.

Finally, after 2 years and 3 months of demolishing and rebuilding, we are in the midst of moving, unpacking and settling into our brand new house and office…

As soon as I get a chance I will share a very special way you can celebrate with us, so check back here or watch your email over the next couple of days.

Kind regards, Kerrie

PS. Don’t forget to watch out for your next message from me soon, so you can join in the celebrations.

Great expectations

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

A long time ago in another life, when I was studying to be a teacher, one of the first things we learnt was that our students would reflect back to us what we expected of them.

If we expected little of them, they would achieve little. If we expected dedication and hard work our students would be dedicated and work hard for us. And most importantly, if we held great expectations for them they would ultimately achieve greatness and fulfill their potential.

Eventually I came to believe this was one of the most important lessons I ever learnt as a teacher. And experience has shown it is a lesson that carries over well into the world of management and leadership.

When we have great expectations for our staff, we can be confident our team will achieve greatness in return.

If you’re not getting everything you want from your people, check whether you might be getting what you expect. If you are getting the worst, is it because you have developed a habit of expecting the worst?
- – -

If you need help in changing the results you are getting from your people contact us to talk about how we can help you change things for the better.

More on how to expect great things in the Quick Tips below:



This was a great audioseminar and many of you have been asking to be notified when the recording would be available. Well it’s finally here! See details of how you can listen in and learn How to Make it Happen Now at:

You won’t want to miss Brad’s discussion on how you can actually achieve more by doing less! Once you “get” this idea your whole approach to leading and managing people can become easier and more effective overnight! -And that was just one of many powerful ideas Brad shared with us. That link again


“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Mark Twain (1835-1910)



* If you lack confidence in one or more of your staff, reflect on why that might be the case. Consider whether training, coaching or mentoring might help them build their skills, approach or confidence in their role or tasks.
* Sometimes what needs to change is the whole organizational culture. If that is your situation, talk to us about change management or team building strategies that you can implement.

The Leading Well Bottom Line:

Your attitude and expectations as a leader set the platform for the results your people will achieve. You hold the power to amplify their results, but you don’t have to do it all on your own. Find a mentor or coach that you can explore possibilities with in confidence. We would be happy to talk to you about how to approach turning your situation around.

Kind regards, Kerrie

PS. That Link again for Brad’s audioseminar on How to Make it Happen Now! – Have a look at it.

Building on Strong Foundations

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

What a busy and exciting year 2007 is shaping up to be. It’s only just begun and already we have some great events and special bonuses lined up to help you to develop all the skills you need to mentor, manage and lead.I’m sure you will be pleased to hear that the Leading Well Teleseminars are back for 2007, and once again, as a subscriber to Leading Well, you will be invited to attend free of charge. And we have some fantastic presenters all set and ready to share their insight and wisdom with you over the coming months.

Look for registration details of our next free teleseminar in your email inbox very soon… If you know anyone else who would like to receive invitations to our free live teleseminars please encourage them to register for Leading Well.

Kind regards, Kerrie



Two years ago now, my husband and I decided to demolish our old house and build a new one, complete with new improved global headquarters for KMG Consulting. We had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for, or how long it would all take. If you have ever done any building, I can hear you laughing now. And no, it’s not quite finished yet – but it’s very close, and we’ve learnt a lot in the process!

Anyway the reason why I mention this is because I can see a number of parallels between building a house and building your leadership. Both must be built on strong foundations and built to a clear, detailed plan.

Over the past two years we have pored over our house plans, checking details, picturing how we will use the rooms and visualizing what each will look and feel like. As a leader, every detail of what you are trying to achieve needs to be just as clear to you – and your team – as our house is to us.

It goes without saying that we wouldn’t expect to build much of a house if we didn’t share every detail of our plans with the people working to build our house for us. And similarly you can’t expect to realize your organizational vision if you don’t share it clearly and in detail with everyone on your team.

Your vision – the full picture of what you are trying to achieve – is critical for your success, but it isn’t sufficient. You also need to build on strong foundations.
If your vision represents what your organization is trying to build, your foundation is your purpose – why it is worth doing.

Share both the “what” and the “why” with your team. Then tap their expertise during an action planning process to determine the “how”. Check in with them regularly to ensure they have all the training, tools and resources they need and then let them get on with the job.

Focussing on the “what” and “why” will place your leadership on strong foundations as you realize your vision, just as surely as our new house is rising from the demolition site.

More on how to do this in the Quick Tips below:



“The superior leader gets things done with very little motion. He imparts instruction not through many words, but through a few deeds. He keeps informed about everything, but hardly interferes at all. He is a catalyst, and though things would not get done as well if he weren’t there, when they succeed he takes no credit. And because he takes no credit, credit never leaves him.”

Lao-Tzu (c604 – c531 BC)



* Ensure that your team not only know what your purpose is, but that they understand it. As their leader you may need to translate your mission or purpose statements into more meaningful language for your team so they are quite clear on the “why” that is your foundation.

* Where possible involve your team in the process of developing and modifying statements of purpose to apply at their level in the organization. This values their contribution and builds their ownership of the outcomes.

* Ensure the objectives and actions that flow from the “what” and “why” are realistic and achievable so your team experiences success as they move along each step of the way in your desired direction.

The Leading Well Bottom Line:

You don’t have to do it all on your own. Watch for details of our exciting new Leadership Coaching Club, coming soon. Visit Leadership Coaching Club” target=”_blank” href=””> to join the Priority Notification list.

Read past issues of Leading Well:

* You will find past issues of Leading Well and other useful information in the Leadership Skill Center Blog.


We will notify you when the date for our next teleseminar is finalized but you can keep an eye on what’s available (including details of how to access recordings of past teleseminars) here.


Services directory:

FREE MARKETING PLAN WORKBOOK – Have a look at this: One of the best resources on the web for marketing your services is Action Plan Marketing. Check out the website and download your free Marketing Plan Workbook and the first chapter of the InfoGuru Marketing Manual.

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Greetings and Gifts for You

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

It’s a busy time of year, and it’s hard not to wonder where the year went! But I know some of you are keen to know how the Leadership Coaching Club is going. PLUS Santa has some Special Gifts for you later in this Christmas issue of Leading Well (because we know you’ve been good this year!)Santa

First, thank you for allowing me to work with you this year. Whether I’ve coached you personally or your whole business team, whether I’ve spoken at your leadership conference or facilitated your planning event, or just visited each month via Leading Well, it’s been a privilege to work with you. We have some really exciting things planned for 2007, so keep an eye out early in the new year for details.

One of the biggest events in 2007 will be the start of the Leadership Coaching Club. You have told us exactly what you want and I’m pleased to say it’s coming really soon. If you want to be the FIRST to know, make sure you sign up now for Leadership Coaching Club Priority” target=”_blank” href=””>priority notification. That way you won’t miss out on all the special offers and bonuses for getting in early as soon as it is available. It’s going to be a great value program that anyone who is serious about leading and managing people will want to be a part of, so you won’t want to miss it.

We also have a whole range of other products and programs that will help you on your path to easy, effective and effortless leadership, that I can’t wait to share with you next year.

But for now it’s time to take a break to focus on family, fun and festivity for a little while. We hope, like us, you can look back at lots of good things achieved in 2006, as well as being excited by everything to come in 2007.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at KMG Consulting and the Leadership Skill Center.

Gifts from santa…HO…HO…HO… And I haven’t forgotten … Here are some special Christmas gifts just for you.
Kind regards, Kerrie

PS. It’s Christmas! Of course you can share that link with anyone who would like a gift for Christmas.

The actual link is:

How effective is your feedback?

Monday, November 13th, 2006

One of the secrets to getting great results from your people is to learn the skill of giving powerful, effective feedback.There are three types of feedback I observe when I work with my clients: “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly”!

And there are three main problems that I notice with feedback. They are that Good feedback is often not given, Bad feedback can often be hard to give and Ugly feedback is often given at the wrong time or for inappropriate reasons.

To be effective, feedback (whether it is positive or negative) needs to be timely and it should always relate to an action or behavior rather than the person. Feedback about behaviors or actions is powerful and effective because it reinforces desired behaviors so they can be repeated in future, while other actions or behaviors can be modified in future.

Powerful feedback places the action or behavior in the context of a specific situation or task and links it to a result. If the feedback is corrective, it specifies an alternative action or behavior that would produce a different preferred result.

A simple example of good positive feedback could be:

“Jan – Yesterday when you were walking through the foyer I saw you clear away some rubbish that had been left there by someone else. Thank you. A clean entrance makes a far better impression on our visitors and clients than a messy one.”

An example of effective corrective feedback might be:

“Chris – Yesterday after you finished your lunch you were distracted by a phone call and you left your lunch wrappers in the foyer, which creates a poor impression for our visitors or clients when they arrive. Please take care to put your rubbish in the bin in future. That will keep the entry clean so we make a good impression for our visitors and clients.”

Feedback like this needs to be given to Chris promptly. If it is delayed for so long the situation or incident has been forgotten, it will be less effective. The feedback would be inappropriate if it was expressed as a criticism of Chris personally, for example, “You are a messy person” rather than as a criticism of an action or behavior.

Inappropriate (Ugly) feedback such as “you are messy” is dis-empowering and frustrating, because we can’t change who we are. It destroys morale and erodes results as well as being ineffective.

Feedback about our actions or behaviors is effective, empowering and helpful, because we can change our actions if necessary, or repeat them if appropriate.

Positive (Good) feedback should be shared generously. It is a powerful motivation, reinforcing the types of behavior you are keen to see repeated.

Corrective (Bad) feedback should be given promptly and sensitively. Ensure you give it in private and in a supportive, direct and open manner. Focus on the action or behavior that that needs modifying or correcting and describe exactly what actions and results you expect in the future.

Given appropriately and regularly, corrective feedback is a valuable learning tool and without it none of us can get better at what we do.

A good leader taps the power of effective feedback to motivate and coach people to great results. If you are generous with positive feedback while you are clear and consistent with corrective feedback you will be delighted with the value effective feedback delivers.

More on how to improve your feedback in the Quick Tips below:



“Anything you are good at contributes to happiness.”

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)



* Catch people doing something right as often as you can so you can deliver positive feedback “on the spot” in just a few words.

* While positive feedback might be delivered in public, negative or correctional feedback should always be delivered in private in a calm and sensitive manner.

* Think of feedback as fine-tuning. Try to establish a habit of giving your people more frequent feedback about smaller tasks, actions or behaviors, rather than waiting for a problem to grow into something huge.

* When you do need to deliver corrective feedback be direct and firm. Don’t apologize, make excuses or “beat around the bush” before you get to your point. Explain the situation or context, describe the unacceptable behavior and its results and say what will be acceptable in the future with the results you expect that will follow.

* Don’t invite discussion or drag out your comments when you deliver corrective feedback. If the action or behavior is not acceptable, that’s all there is to it. Check that you were understood and move on.

* Bear in mind that in some circumstances you may need to offer your people training, coaching or support to change their actions or behavior, just as you may need practice in giving more effective feedback before you always get it right.


*** Do you have any questions about effective feedback?

The Leading Well Bottom Line:

You don’t have to do it all on your own. Coming soon – the new Leadership Coaching Club” href=””>Leadership Coaching Club. Visit to make sure you are the first to know all the details.


Services directory:

PLANNING FOR 2007 ALREADY? – We are already taking bookings for 2007 Leadership Teambuilding Programs or Strategic Planning Evaluation and Review Programs. Contact us now to lock in your preferred dates before it is too late. Call 03-9859 3924 or email

DO YOU HAVE A WEBSITE? – Special discount on fantastic website tools for the next couple of days only. Don’t delay. Only valid until November 16th – see details

FREE MARKETING PLAN WORKBOOK – Have a look at this: One of the best resources on the web for marketing your services is Action Plan Marketing. Check out the website and download your free Marketing Plan Workbook and the first chapter of the InfoGuru Marketing Manual.

ADD AUDIO TO YOUR WEBSITE FREE – Sonic Memo Lite is free. The catch? You have to agree to join a mailing list (but you can always unsubscribe) and you will be offered a one-time opportunity to upgrade to the Pro version (but you don’t have to accept the offer). My suggestion is, if you do your own website, grab it while you can. You may even decide to buy the full version, which is what I use. Unlike other web audio systems that you have to pay for every month, this is great value at full price as it’s a pay once and use for ever deal anyway. If you want it for free click here.


Effective Feedback: A Guide for Caring Professionals by Irwin M. Rubin and Thomas J. Campbell
Fast Feedback, Second Edition
by Bruce Tulgan
Giving and Receiving Performance Feedback
by Peter R. Garber

Motivating your team

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006


Imagine this scenario: You have just bungled your latest project…

You have so much work you need to do. You are becoming a workaholic, you have tensions at home, these new kids at work are getting smarter by the day and your next presentation deadline is looming large. Any normal person can make a mistake, but you know you should have known better.

You are sitting at your computer wondering if this major disaster will cost you your job, when your boss just happens to walk by. You are scared stiff, fearing the worst. But what does he do? He gives you an encouraging smile and says “I understand. Don’t worry. I know you will do better next time. You will get another chance”.

VOILA! Your whole world opens up for you. You feel the tension oozing out. You get the drive, the enthusiasm to give the project all your attention again and vow never to repeat your mistakes.
This is what good leaders do. They understand us and give us support when we need it. They understand the human psychology of motivation.

Imagine another scenario…

You boss comes up to you while you are with your colleagues and friends and gives you a tongue lashing in front of everyone, detailing everything you did wrong and trying to shame you into performing better the next time.

How angry, upset and embarrassed does that make you feel? Maybe you even feel like leaving your job then and there, just to show that you have some self-respect?

This is what bad leaders can do to us. They belittle and embarrass us, and criticize us in public. When people are treated this way it is de-motivating. Rather than being inspired to work harder and better, they are more likely to start looking for a new job.

To get good results as a leader, you need a motivated team.

As a leader, it is your responsibility to motivate your team. If your subordinates are not giving 100% then you need to look at how well you are motivating your people each time you interact with them. Are you lifting them up to new heights, building their enthusiasm and boosting their resolve to do better next time? Or are you dragging them down by diminishing their self-confidence and self-esteem?

We get more of the behavior we recognize and reward. If the only feedback you are giving your team is about the things they have done wrong, you may be unintentionally de-motivating your people. Look for learning opportunities, rather than problems to be corrected.

Your own outlook and attitude as a leader must be confident and positive, if you radiate a positive energy and create an exciting environment by your enthusiasm, you will not only get your own work done, but your team will be more motivated to help you get all the results you need.

There are many ways you can motivate people to do what you want them to do. One of the simplest is to just pass on all the praise you get for their work.

Everyone likes to be recognized and appreciated. This motivates us all to do better. When you motivate everyone on your team you will find it easier to get great results as a leader.

More on how to do this in the Quick Tips below:



“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than knowledge that is idle”

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

Don’t just think about becoming a better leader. Take action. Join us for the Leadership Coaching Club” href=””>Leadership Coaching Club today.



Do you want to:
* motivate, influence and inspire others to produce better results
* get your message across every time
* make a good impression whenever you meet someone new
* get that job you want
* overcome resistance to change
* maximize sales while you minimize complaints?

Join me next week as I interview Australia’s expert in the Art of Influence, Paddy Spruce, for a free live teleseminar next week. You’ll discover:

* How to make a positive first impression so you connect with people and open up the way to a positive outcome right from the start.
* What the five different Styles of Influence are and when you would use each one.
* The four Stages of any Negotiation and how to apply them, even in a corridor conversation.
* The top mistakes 99% of people make and how you can avoid them.

Register now

There are a limited number of phone lines available for the teleseminar so don’t delay your registration.



* People are motivated by the needs they have and the values they hold. If someone’s values are not aligned with the values your organization actually demonstrates, they will never be motivated to support you. If you are struggling to motivate people on your team have a close look at whether your organization demonstrates the same values you talk about.

* People are motivated when they see the opportunity to fulfill their own goals. Look for those times when a team member’s personal goals can be enhanced or expanded to align better with your goals for the whole team or organization.

* The things that motivate you will not always be the same things that motivate your staff. The better you get to know the people on your team, the easier it will be to ensure you are motivating them in a way that is best for them.

The Leading Well Bottom Line:

You don’t have to do it all on your own. Join us in September for the next Leadership Coaching Club” href=””>Leadership Coaching Club and leverage off all the wisdom, insight and experience of other participants plus your mentor Kerrie Mullins-Gunst.

Share Your Tips With Us:

* What are you doing to motivate your team to better results? Please let us know by adding your comments to this posting


AND DON’T FORGET THE COMPETITION just for Leading Well Subscribers:

Enter now and you could win FREE registration in the Leadership Coaching Club Ten Week Intensive. All you have to do is sign up for Leading Well then email us and tell us in 100 words or less:
1. What is the best thing about our Leadership Coaching Club Ten Week Intensive?
2. Why YOU deserve to win?
*** Please don’t enter unless you will be able to participate in the ten week program, starting September 13. See the full Teleseminar Schedule for details.


Services directory:

FREE MARKETING PLAN WORKBOOK – Have a look at this: One of the best resources on the web for marketing your services is Action Plan Marketing. Check out the website and download your free Marketing Plan Workbook and the first chapter of the InfoGuru Marketing Manual.

ADD AUDIO TO YOUR WEBSITE FREE – At the moment Sonic Memo Lite is free. The catch? You have to agree to join a mailing list (but you can always unsubscribe) and you will be offered a one-time opportunity to upgrade to the Pro version (but you don’t have to accept the offer). My suggestion is, if you do your own website, grab it while you can. You may even decide to buy the full version, which is what I use. Unlike other web audio systems that you have to pay for every month, this is great value at full price as it’s a pay once and use for ever deal anyway. If you want it for free get it here.

Your Five Key Areas of Leadership Focus

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

Sometimes leading and managing people can seem quite overwhelming with all the different things you need to do and problems you need to solve. At times even experienced leaders and manager can feel driven to distraction by all the details, decisions and dilemmas. Yet you needn’t be.There are proven ways to rise above the confusion and complexity and some leaders succeed, even making it all look easy.

In my many years of coaching, mentoring and working with some of the best and most dynamic leaders and managers – plus some who struggled daily – I have made a deliberate and detailed study of what works and why.

I was curious about what it was that made leadership easy and effortless for some, while others – frequently even with similar qualifications or experience – struggled constantly to overcome all the challenges.

I’ve distilled all my research and survey results, all the observations I’ve made of the many leaders I’ve worked with over the years and all the feedback from participants in the seminars and programs I’ve been running across the country and around the world since 1993, and found there are five key areas that all the best leaders constantly focus on.

That’s right – just five! With some of the most outstanding leaders managing thousands of people, hundreds of projects and a myriad of details, there are still just five key areas they focus their attention on to achieve exceptional results.

These five key areas of leadership focus offer you the power to simplify and prioritize your efforts as a leader. When you focus your actions and attention on just these five key areas you will discover how easy, effective and effortless leadership can be.

These five key areas of leadership focus are the foundation on which I have built our exciting new Leadership Coaching Club” href=””>Leadership Coaching Club 10 Week Intensive because, when you focus on them, they really do become your fast-track to easy, effective and effortless leadership success. You can begin to focus on these areas today. So what are they?

Your Five Key Areas of Leadership Focusâ„¢ are:

1. Gathering support
2. Setting direction
3. Getting your message across
4. Getting things done, and
5. Getting results.

When you focus your actions and attention on just these five areas, you will be amazed at how much easier and more effective leading and managing people can be. And I know you probably already devote some time to each of these areas.

But the key to their power lies in HOW you focus on them and exactly what actions you take step by step as you lead and manage your people. That’s what we concentrate on in the Leadership Coaching Club 10 Week Intensive. So I really do hope you will join us in September to discover how easy, effective and effortless leadership can be.

But whether you join us for the Leadership Coaching Club 10 Week Intensive or not, please focus your actions and attention on these five key areas and I know you will reap the rewards.

If you would like to print out a small poster to remind you of what your Five Key Areas of Leadership Focus should be, I have left one for you to download free here.

Please feel free to pass on a copy to everyone you know who would benefit.

More on your Five Key Areas of Leadership Focus in the Quick Tips below:



“I am not interested in the past. I am interested in the future, for that is where I expect to spend the rest of my life”

Charles Franklin Kettering (1876-1958)

When you invest in your own future you can avoid the failures and disappointments of the past. If you are a leader or manager the best investment you can make will be to join us in September for the Leadership Coaching Club 10 Week Intensive.

What results can you expect to see if you do join us in September?

When you work with us you can expect to see rapid, positive and sustainable changes in your capacity to mentor, manage and lead, even difficult team members.

You will quickly become aware of just how powerful the tools we teach you are. You will more easily influence and motivate not only those who report to you, but also those to whom you report. Your enhanced leadership skills will result in your team’s improved performance and productivity.

Your confidence grows as you see consistent results when you apply what you learn.
You not only become more effective at what you do, but your productivity grows when you focus on the fundamentals that make all the difference to your success as a leader.

Your new insight into how to handle the problems and challenges that come the way of every leader begins to pay dividends. You learn how to encourage your team members to embrace change, contribute willingly and participate more actively. Conflict is reduced and real results come with a lot less struggle and effort.

It’s not that all the problems and challenges which are a part of leading and managing people magically disappear. They don’t. But you now know the best way to tackle them. Instead of feeling drained and exhausted at the end of your day’s work you are energized and satisfied knowing how much you have accomplished. Your enthusiasm is refreshed and everyone around you is revitalized and stimulated by your energy and motivation.

Leading people CAN be easy when you know how! Join a dynamic network of like-minded leaders, build your skills and learn how to maximize your results as a leader and manager easily and effectively through the Five Key Areas of Leadership Focusâ„¢.

You can move from ‘just managing’ to effortless and effective leadership and management in only 10 weeks with the Leadership Coaching Club’s new 10 Week Intensive.

But you have to know how and you have to be decisive.


Look I’m so keen to have you join us in September that I will make this amazing special offer – just for the next 24 hours.

If you register in the next 24 hours you can bring a friend or colleague for free! AND you will still only pay the super-special introductory rate!

But you will need to be decisive. I mean it when I say this special offer is only for the next 24 hours. I really shouldn’t be making it at all because it is already at a heavily discounted introductory rate, but I feel like celebrating the launch of the Leadership Coaching Club. So think of this amazing offer as being a celebratory launch party and you are invited! Good leaders are decisive. Are you?

If I receive your registration in 25 hours you will still get the super-special introductory rate, but you will not be able to split the low rate in half by sharing with someone else. Don’t delay or you will miss out! This really is an amazing invitation.

Be decisive. Register for the Leadership Coaching Club 10 Week Intensive within the next 24 hours and you can bring a friend for free.
Register now.


QUICK TIPS for focussing on your Five Key Areas of Leadership Focus:

* One of the keys to effective focus is to make sure our actions align with our intentions. Each time you are about to undertake a task, ask yourself which of the five key areas it is critical to. If it isn’t critical for one of the five key areas it may be something you should set aside or delegate to one of your team.

* You will find it difficult to focus effectively on these five key areas unless you have the core knowledge and skills that you require. Invest your time and effort in acquiring and honing your skills and understanding. Ensure you have identified and developed just the central ideas that deliver real value in each of these five areas for maximum results.

* When you are learning new skills it is important to practice in a safe environment. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying out a new skill in a critical situation. Work things through with a mentor, coach or a trusted colleague before you apply a new skill in a critical situation.

The Leading Well Bottom Line:

You don’t have to do it all on your own. Join us in September for the next Leadership Coaching Club” href=””>Leadership Coaching Club and leverage off all the wisdom, insight and experience of other participants plus your mentor Kerrie Mullins-Gunst.
Share your own tips with us:

* What are you doing to focus on these five key areas? Please let us know by adding your comments on the Leadership Skill Center Blog below.



We will notify you when the date for our next teleseminar is finalized but you can keep an eye on what’s available (including details of how to access recordings of past teleseminars) click here.

Services directory:

FREE MARKETING PLAN WORKBOOK – Have a look at this: One of the best resources on the web for marketing your services is Action Plan Marketing. Check out the website and download your free Marketing Plan Workbook and the first chapter of the InfoGuru Marketing Manual.

ADD AUDIO TO YOUR WEBSITE FREE – At the moment Sonic Memo Lite is free. The catch? You have to agree to join a mailing list (but you can always unsubscribe) and you will be offered a one-time opportunity to upgrade to the Pro version (but you don’t have to accept the offer). My suggestion is, if you do your own website, grab it while you can. You may even decide to buy the full version, which is what I use. Unlike other web audio systems that you have to pay for every month, this is great value at full price as it’s a pay once and use for ever deal anyway. Grab it while it’s still free.

The four things all leaders know

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

After a long life spent observing and studying leaders and managers, Peter Drucker decided there was no one leadership style, personality or character that marked an exceptional leader.

He observed that amongst the most effective and successful leaders he worked with or knew, some were shy and others were gregarious, some were excruciatingly vain and others were self-effacing to a fault, some were warm and friendly while others were aloof and stern disciplinarians, some rarely ventured out of their office and others were ultra-gregarious, some were quick and impulsive and others took forever to reach a decision, some were ostentatious and others were austere, some he knew were good listeners while others listened only to their own inner voice.

If there is no one personality, style or character required to be an exceptional leader, what is it that marks someone as a good leader? Peter Drucker believed that all the effective leaders he had ever observed or worked with all KNEW four things. As he said in the forward to the book, The Leader of the Future

1. The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers. Some people are thinkers. Some are prophets. Both roles are important and badly needed. But without followers there can be no leaders.
2. An effective leader is not someone who is loved or admired. He or she is someone whose followers do the right things. Popularity is not leadership. Results are.
3. Leaders are highly visible. They therefore set examples.
4. Leadership is not rank, privileges, titles or money. It is responsibility.

So how do you measure up? Do you accept the responsibility of your position as a leader? Are you setting the right example? Are your people generating maximum results? Do your people resist or follow your lead?

How well do you know, and do, these four key things? Please let us know what works for you.

More on what leaders know in the Quick Tips below:


‘Knowledge is the action of the soul.’
Ben Jonson (1573-1637)


* Drucker was also a believer in action. He hoped to inspire every leader to ask ‘What in my organization could I do that would truly make a difference?’ and ‘How can I truly set an example?’ And then he hope you would do it! I hope you do too.
* Peter Drucker also firmly believed that while there are some ‘born leaders’, they are too few to rely upon, and for most of us, leadership not only CAN be learned, it MUST be learned!
* If you want to learn more about how to fulfill your leadership potential, have a look at our brand new online Leadership Coaching Club” href=”” target=”_blank”>Leadership Coaching Club starting in mid September. It is the outcome of months of work translating our highly regarded live leadership programs such as Mentor Magic’ into a format that is available to leaders around the globe, thanks to support from the Victorian Government’s Telematics Foundation. Sign up now and reserve your place at a special discounted rate. We guarantee you will be glad if you do.



The Manager’s Mission: How to take all the complexity out of management and replace it with simple success

Join me as I interview the author of Success with Simplicity, David Brewster, for a free live teleseminar next week. You’ll discover:
* Why management doesn’t have to be so complex and how to make managing people look (and feel) easy, even when it isn’t
* The secret to dramatically improving your performance as a leader and manager and feeling better about what you do by understanding the role of reality and the control continuum
* How to apply the three critical dimensions of the Manager’s Mission so you can relax and start managing ‘in the zone’ from tomorrow
* The top 3 mistakes 99% of people make and how you can avoid them.
You can get more details, and register here right now

There are only a limited number of phone lines available for the teleseminar so don’t delay your registration.

If you are not sure what a teleseminar is, it is simply a seminar by phone. All you have to do is dial in to a special phone number that you receive when you register. And you can join us from where-ever you are located, whether you are in Bourke Street or the bush, on Fifth Avenue or an island in Fiji, all you need is a phone. For more details about teleseminars read our Frequently Asked Questions.



FREE MARKETING PLAN WORKBOOK – Have a look at this: One of the best resources on the web for marketing your services is Action Plan Marketing. Check out the website and download your free Marketing Plan Workbook and the first chapter of the InfoGuru Marketing Manual.
ADD AUDIO TO YOUR WEBSITE FREE – At the moment Sonic Memo Lite is free. The catch? You have to agree to join a mailing list (but you can always unsubscribe) and you will be offered a one-time opportunity to upgrade to the Pro version (but you don’t have to accept the offer). My suggestion is, if you do your own website, grab it while you can. You may even decide to buy the full version, which is what I use. Unlike other web audio systems that you have to pay for every month, this is good value at full price as it’s a pay once and use for ever deal anyway. If you want it for free visit.

Making changes stick

Friday, May 5th, 2006

One of the hardest tests of your leadership can be how successful you are in managing change. Recently there has been some discussion at the Leadership Forum about how to create the sense of urgency that helps to embed change in your organizational culture.

I think some of the most practical suggestions for how to do this come from John Kotter. In his book Leading Change, he says that establishing a sense of urgency is the first step in his eight stage change process, and it’s a critical step.

To push up the urgency level, he says that the first task is to remove all sources of complacency, or to minimize their impact. He gives examples such as:

* eliminating signs or symbols of corporate success, excess or largesse (eg. sell the executive jet, move to more humble premises, cut back on lavish events for staff and clients and start counting the paper clips)
* set higher standards both formally in the planning process and informally in day-to-day activities
* review and tighten internal measurement systems
* vastly increase the amount of external performance feedback people receive (eg. ask for real feedback from customers and listen to their complaints)
* reward and encourage honest talk in meetings and genuine problem solving (this usually requires an external facilitator or consultant as it can be very confronting)
* cut out ‘happy’ talk from the top and replace it with ‘this situation is serious’ talk.

To really create a sense of urgency demands bold actions, many of which are risky and even unpleasant. Kotter would say if you are serious you should be doing all these things, and more, to ensure your message that things are serious just can’t be ignored. Many of these actions need to come from high up in the organization.

In general, people like to feel complacent and comfortable and will always resist your attempts to make changing more urgent. As the situation becomes more urgent, conflict will arise and people will become anxious and uncomfortable. You need to be prepared for this when you try to implement changes.

Many organizations find that it is difficult for the old leadership team (which has presumably had a role in creating the current situation) to shake people out of their complacency and create a new sense of urgency.

This is one of the key reasons why you might need to bring in an external consultant to help with a change program. And remember, we’ve helped dozens of leaders implement effective change programs. If you need to make sure the changes you are introducing to your organization are successfully embedded in your culture, call us on 03-985 3924 or email me for details. You can download a brochure about one of our change management programs here.

More on how to successfully implement change in your organization in the Quick Tips below:



‘If you want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.’
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (Italian Writer, 1896-1957)



You are personally invited to join me for the following seminars at the Office 2006 Exhibition at the Melbourne Exhibition Center:
* The MAGIC of Leadership – How to lead so people will want to follow you on Sunday 21st May
* Everyone Needs a Mentor on Monday 22nd May
* Seven Things You Can Start Doing Right Now to be a Better Leader on Tuesday 23rd May

When you register yourself as a visitor to Office 2006 you will receive a free ticket to these seminars, which would normally cost at least $35 each to attend. Take advantage of the free registration on the website now and save. I hope to see you there.



* To overcome complacency, make sure you are not giving out any mixed messages about how serious the situation you are addressing is. Actions, signs and symbols, processes and procedures all communicate as much as words do, and sometimes even more.
* Watch out for individuals who grasp the urgency of your situation quickly and understand what has to be done. Enlist them as allies in spreading the word to others who may still be resisting your changes.
* If your changes are critical, don’t try to do it all on your own. Bring in experts to guide you and help you avoid the mistakes that could cost you dearly if you make them.

The Leading Well Bottom Line: Don’t assume your change program will just stick automatically. You need to be deliberate and determined in what you are trying to achieve.


* How do YOU make changes stick?

* What are you doing to overcome complacency, create a sense of urgency and make change stick in your organization?

Please share your ideas with us by adding a comment. Just click the comments link at the end of this article.

My door is always open…

Friday, February 24th, 2006

There’s no doubt it’s important for a good manager to be available. When you delegate a project or assign a task you probably go to great pains to ensure you receive regular reports and updates. I’m sure you make it quite clear that you are available if help or advice is needed.

Maybe you’ve even used the words:
‘My door is always open …’

Perhaps it’s part of the culture or just company policy. In some organizations an open door is more than encouraged – it’s mandatory! Sometimes it’s even institutionalized and structural: all the doors are eliminated and everyone works in an open plan area.

But does having your door always open, work? One of the most common complaints I hear from managers and executives is that they are so busy, yet they never seem to get anything done.

The problem? Constant interruptions.

If people are constantly bringing you their issues, reports and concerns all day every day, how do you ever get any of your own work done?

Some managers cope by coming in early or staying back late to get the uninterrupted time they need to do their own work. That’s clearly unfair. And typically, it’s not very long before someone starts arriving early or staying late to catch you.

Others might work with their doors open, but everyone know about the invisible barrier. That’s the one with ‘Keep out!’ splashed across it in invisible ink. Cross it at your peril! The door might be open, but they’re not really accessible.

The fact is that if your door is ALWAYS open, it’s never really open.

If your door is always open, your people don’t have any way of knowing if now is a good time for you to talk to them – without interrupting you. And once you have been interrupted, you have lost your focus and might as well handle the problem. Then it can take you ten or even twenty minutes to get back into the swing of that critical problem you almost had sorted out … In fact sometimes, we never quite manage to capture the flow again and an opportunity is lost forever.

Lots of the tasks we do are routine and an interruption doesn’t matter too much. But if you are in a senior role, some of them are not. Some of your work really deserves your focus and full concentration.

If you explain to your people that you need some quiet time when you have work to focus on and deadlines to meet, therefore you plan to close your door occasionally, they will understand.

More than that, they will appreciate that, when your door is open, you truly are available and they really are welcome to talk to you about something that’s troubling them.

More on how to close your door in the Quick Tips below:



‘When you become quiet, it just dawns on you.’

Thomas Edison (1847-1931)


  • The key to successfully closing your door occasionally is to ensure that the people who report to you, and those you report to, all know what you are doing and why it is so important you not be interrupted. Talk to them about it.
  • Try setting and sticking to a regular time when you close your door to focus on your own work. If your people expect that from 11-12 each day your door is closed, they will get into the habit of speaking you before or after that time. And you will be amazed at how much you can achieve in an uninterrupted hour.
  • Don’t forget to divert your telephone and turn off your email while your door is closed.
  • If you work in an open plan office and don’t have a door to close, agree on some other signal for your ‘no interruptions’ time. I know of one office where people display a green or red flag over their desk depending on whether they are available or not. Even a hand written sign would do, if you explain what it means and ask your people to respect it.
  • Be prepared to clarify what constitutes an emergency exception to your new ‘no interruptions if my door is closed’ policy. You may need to be firm about this a couple of times before you are happy that people share your view of what can and can’t wait an hour for your door to be ‘open’ again.
  • Talk to your people about whether they might benefit from introducing the same system. (And make sure you respect their ‘no interruptions’ time, if you want them to respect yours.)