Monthly Archives: February 2010

//February

Who are ‘they’?

Last week I heard three different people say “great idea but they would never allow it”, “they would not accept it”, “they simply would never agree”. In fact, because I hear the ‘they’ phrase used so often these days, I am beginning to wonder who ‘they’ are and why they are so damned negative?

The truth of the matter is on one level, the phrase can mean ‘please don't bother me with a solution; I am just in a self indulgent mood and want to bring you down to my level’. And yet on another level, more often than not, people simply use it as a very weak excuse for inaction. They do not want to hear your solution or advice because they have no intention of trying to bring about the change it implies.

When you think about it, abandoning a creative idea by blaming figurative groups of people for something you have not even bothered to consult them on, is quite is simply ridiculous.

From now on, whenever you hear the ‘they’ phrase, challenge it. Ask “Who are they? What are their functions in the company and why do you think ‘they’ would block you?” Remind the person that uses it, that if their idea is sound; if it has been well thought through and has received a degree of verification, then it is simply is their duty to at least try to get support for it.

It seems that once we have left full time education, the pressures and responsibilities of daily life entrench us with an inner fear of failure. The enterprising spirit that won us our job in the first place seems to diminish with each passing year. And yet we know that nothing worth achieving was ever achieved by anyone without strong opposition. Opposition is, after all, what we humans are frighteningly good at. We enjoy putting each other down, we even put ourselves down, making ourselves feel small and insignificant, until eventually we decide that it is easier to give up before we even begin. After all who wants to make a fool of themselves by being turned down, especially in public?

Having an idea rejected in business, is not as emotionally draining as being rejected by a teenage sweetheart, and yet many of us act as if it is and do everything to avoid it.

Have a good week,

Harley

2016-11-17T08:25:22+00:000 Comments

Applying for a new position

“In no more than 300 words, describe a time where you faced a challenging situation, how did you try and resolve it and what would you do differently next time?” This question was posed to someone I know who was applying for a job on line. They wanted the job badly and came to me for advice on how best to tackle it. After advising them to keep it ‘personal and true’ I thought about many suitable instances in their short career but found it hard to find a single one in my own. After much thought, I came up with this…

2016-11-17T08:25:22+00:000 Comments

About Harley

Harley Lovegrove was born in South East London in 1957.  His father was an architect and his mother an artist.  Harley grew up in a mixed environment of culture and enterprise.  He formed his first company at the age of 21 while working as a junior marketing assistant for an industrial company in London.

2016-11-17T08:25:23+00:000 Comments

Applying for a new position

“In no more than 300 words, describe a time where you faced a challenging situation, how did you try and resolve it and what would you do differently next time?” This question was posed to someone I know who was applying for a job on line. They wanted the job badly and came to me for advice on how best to tackle it. After advising them to keep it ‘personal and true’ I thought about many suitable instances in their short career but found it hard to find a single one in my own. After much thought, I came up with this…

12 years ago I was the COO of a small software company. It was growing fast and, as is typical in this situation, the employees were growing with it. My PA had taken on a more senior role and I needed someone to fill the open position. Because I was away a great deal I was looking for a personal assistant that could ‘hold the fort’ when I was gone.

The person I recruited was very intelligent and dynamic. She had a friendly smile and a reassuring ‘I can handle it’ attitude. But it turned out to be a disaster. While I was in the office, her work was perfect. Even when away, she would give an extremely precise picture of what was, and what was not, happening.

However, behind the scene my new PA was not so well received. Mistrust had set in. Jealousies and rivalries were threatening the fabric of the team the CEO and I had meticulously built. After a couple of months the situation came to a head when my former PA told me ‘it is either her or me?’ I had to make a quick decision. Although her replacement had done nothing wrong, I fired her and set about restoring confidence.

From that day onwards, I discussed all open positions with two key colleagues. I explained the need for additional people and what I was expecting from them. Time was given to come back with suggestions. Only then would the recruitment process begin. Times of interviews were scheduled to coincide with lunch, so that selected staff in the dining area could give informal feedback.

The team we had built was too precious to lose and was too small for dynamic changes in one jump.

What would you have answered?

Have a good week

2016-11-17T08:25:23+00:001 Comment