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Where you are affects what you do

I met up with someone yesterday who had been in the same circles as me for many years, but we had never really talked before.  So I Play_podremedied that and met him for lunch and was rewarded with a very interesting meeting of minds.  He made a comment that resonated with me and which I had always considered important and then today I came across an article that discussed the same issue; the importance of environment on outcomes.  The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care at the Royal United Hospital in Bath has been designed with this idea at its heart, that patients will heal faster in an environment that is conducive to healing.

This is interesting but it is easy to neglect or forget the impact the day-to-day environment has on your team.  If you want them to perform or behave differently, changing the environment is a good way to remind people of this and support the new way of working.  If I am running a strategic meeting, I want people thinking and focusing differently, so I always try to make sure we meet somewhere off-site, wearing different clothes too.  If you are trying to encourage your team to be more efficient, don’t expect this to work, if they are in a cluttered, messy environment; if they don’t have access to the tools they need to do the job.  A friend and very busy office manager was working 10 hours a day trying to stay on top of things and expected to work with a computer that was laggy and unreliable.  If I want to have an important conversation, I usually prefer to do so when walking or driving as I find that moving physically helps us move through the issues.

google-officeI know companies like Google have some crazy ideas about environment, but they didn’t get to rule the cyber world by just being wacky.  Boxy conventional places are more likely to support ‘in the box’ thinking.  I realise that office refurbs are expensive but that doesn’t stop you using off-site facilities for specific purposes, or creating a particular room that helps people focus more.

Resources:
  1. Gizmodo
Richard has over 20 years experience helping both businesses and business people deal with the challenges & many stresses of Change and an expert facilitator.  www.i-change.biz
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Lower oil prices – higher risk…

Oil prices continue to slide, driven by falling demand from China and the far east as their economies slow down, and rising supply from the middle east whose reserves remain strong and costs of production low.

Fracking in the UK and USA and exploration all become uneconomic at these prices. That could be part of the calculations in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere too, of course. That lower demand for specialist skills in exploration and technical production will lead to a loss of skills and experience for the industry and in most cases when it goes, it’s gone for good.

Low oil prices tend to lead to lower inflation because of the reduced costs of production and transport. Taking that into account the pressure on Economies like Britain’s to raise interest rates to control inflation will fall, and lower inflation may mean that the average voter will start to see living standards improve for the first time in a decade. We may well see that whoever wins the next election will take credit for keeping interest rates down and improving living standards yet it’ll have virtually nothing to do with what they do.

Governments should be balancing pricing by raising taxes on fuel now to keep consumption at or below current levels and saving the proceeds to balance the price when it rises again. If they don’t do that, then at some point there will be an inflationary shock to economies and a need for rapid jumps in Interest rates that will have much wider and damaging impacts.

In Europe further reducing inflation probably leads to deflation, and falling resource prices lead consumers to defer restocking. One or more countries will return to needing bailouts and the strong economies no longer have the appetite for that. The eurozone could shrink in 2015.

Stock markets have struggled in the last few weeks, and governments are not acting with long term viewpoints. America and the UK both face upcoming elections. Europe remains relatively weak and is worried about getting through the next few weeks and months. Russia and China are both watching developments, and we can expect them to have a part to play in the way things develop.

Stock markets tend to be leading indicators, and these falls suggest the risks are powerful and the next 6 to 9 months are key to how the world economy develops. Watch carefully, in times of stress opportunities can be both short lived and large.
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You gotta sit…

pottyBefore I begin to share, I’d like to apologise in advance to anyone who considers this a little crude or lavatorial.  Reader discretion is advised!

My wife was a wise lady.  I remember her once saying to me that the best piece of advice a friend and therapist had given her was (spoken in a Brooklyn accent) “If wanna shit, ….. you gotta sit..”  Having a somewhat childish sense of humour, I never forgot this little pearl of wisdom.  However, whilst it has come to mind from time-to-time, I never really explored it beyond the obvious connotations. It appears that today was the day that its full richness came to me.

Beyond the superficial meaning, that if you want to do something you have to prepare and be in the right place I think there is something deeper.  It is oh-so-easy to apparently comply with both elements of this couplet and think you are done and go about your day.  However, if you give yourself a little more time and commit to the process you often find you have so much more to give.  This is real meaning of this metaphor.  How often have you heard someone say on receiving a bit of good advice “Oh, I tried that already..”  and you know they haven’t really.  They may think they did but they never committed to it.  The thing is as often as we have observed this in others, we have done it ourselves!  We want a change, we need a different result but but we aren’t willing to stop doing the same old thing.

If you want something to work properly, you have to commit to it and make the time for it to happen.  Anything else, and whilst iy may, perhaps, gain some superficial success, will never really work.

Richard has over 20 years experience helping both businesses and business people deal with the challenges & many stresses of Change and an expert facilitator.  www.i-change.biz
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