Stretch for Growth Homepage

Corporate sustainability starts with a company’s value system and a principles-based approach to doing business. This means operating in ways that, at a minimum, meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Responsible businesses enact the same values and principles wherever they have a presence, and know that good practices…

Many politicians do it and some managers do it – they mess with your mind. It’s a wicked game, sometimes called manipulation, coercion or exploitation. “Manipulation”, as a word used in physiotherapy treatment, speaks to kneading, flexing and massage. It has an absolutely positive intent in mind – removal of pain and ultimate healing as…

Most forward-thinking organisations are already measuring employee engagement levels within their respective organisations, so for these organisations, the first step in the employee engagement journey has commenced. The knowledge, skills and tools to address the gaps that are identified are often lacking, however, and these gaps need to be closed. This book identifies behaviours and actions that can be undertaken by leaders to engage meaningfully with employees and to create a sustainable environment that leads to passion being expressed, creativity being employed, and productivity being realised.

Whilst leadership teams are comprised of managers with different personalities and varying communication abilities, all members of this senior team are required to communicate the relevant company messages with clarity. These company messages include, but are not limited to, vision, mission, values, strategy, targets, expected behaviour, culture, focus areas, future plans and direction. The same…

“A prudent question is one half of wisdom” (Francis Bacon, Sr.) Many employees have become so used to receiving instructions – their respective bosses telling them what to do – that they have stopped thinking as a result. They perform the functions, but their hearts and minds are not part of their actions. They go…

“People who live in glass houses can’t pretend they are not at home” (Anon) Leadership “busyness” is frequently used as an excuse for a lack of effective employee engagement – managers attending a plethora of meetings, deadlines that have to be met, targets that have to be reached, issues in the production processes that need…

In consulting with organisations, I sometimes hear the following statements by employees of their respective managers: “One of my colleagues always underperforms, putting pressure on the whole team, but my boss never addresses the issue” “My boss always tells us that there is nothing he can do about a particular decision as it comes from…

“I look for three things in hiring people. The first is personal integrity, the second is intelligence and the third is a high energy level. But, if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you” (Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway) A person who behaves in a dishonest or deceptive way, either as…

“A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men” (Proverbs 18:16) On a number of occasions, I have heard the following words from employees as they explain the ‘pain’ of their respective work contexts to me: “Jonathan, I do what is required of me. I have done my duty to the…

So much has been written for leaders and managers, team leaders and organisational heads – and rightly so, as there is a huge leadership skills gap in the world. Very little, however, has been written for employees in terms of assisting them with developing the skills needed to enjoy relational effectiveness. So, this book is for you – the employee – to enable you to develop the critical skills you need to construct the crucial conversations necessary to getting results in your relationship with your boss.

“In vain you have acquired knowledge if you have not imparted to others” (Deuteronomy Rabbah) My friend and former colleague, Gerrit Cloete (owner of Productivity Pitstop), spent a week at the family’s seaside vacation home to catch up with family and friends. Upon his return, he related one of his experiences with me:  “I went…

“Wheel-spinning” literally refers to a situation where a vehicle has lost traction, e.g. on ice, in snow or mud. Here the wheels may spin without the vehicle going anywhere – continued pressure on the accelerator may result in the vehicle digging itself in deeper, thus exacerbating the problem. A new strategy needs to be found…

Some of them get it right – these select chief executive officers manage to exude a hopeful, caring and determined leadership that inspires the staff contingent to aspire to greatness (quality, speed, professionalism, superb customer service, reduction of waste, innovation, good results, etc.). Others “fail” dismally – these CEO’s somehow use authority and positional power…

Removing clutter is liberating – getting rid of the unnecessary and creating space to think and focus on the truly important. Yes, removing junk takes time, but it does eventually pay dividends with clean desks, open spaces and a more conducive living or working environment. Creeping clutter is more difficult to tackle – this type…

Motivation theories have suggested that successful performance hinges on both having the needed skill and also the will to use the skill to achieve, but even motivated and skilled employees may fail to perform if they don’t have a personal certainty or belief that they can cope with what needs to be done. It would…

I'd love to send you an inspiring Stretch for Growth thought each Monday to help you get your week started on the right foot. Sign up to my mailing list and you'll also receive my ebook A to E Stretch completely free!

I wish that I still had 20/20 vision, but many years have slipped by and the time is coming for reading glasses – although reasonably inexpensive, they have the profound ability of bringing text back into focus again and I no longer need to squint to see that which is before me. In geometrical optics,…

A company slogan caught my eye this past weekend and got me thinking. It simply, but maybe profoundly, read: “African Solutions, International Standards”. The statement speaks to the company’s ability to provide customised solutions for turnkey projects in alignment with the prescribed international standards. In other words, the business has the ability to deliver value…

Leaders, in whatever sphere of influence, need to be authentic in the way that they lead and care for their followers. There seem to be too many leaders who like the podium, the boardroom or leading the road-show, but who fail to demonstrate genuine care to those they lead. A leader only caring when in…

“If serving is beneath you, then leadership is beyond you” (Anon) The team members that know that their leader is there for them, cares for them, checks in to see how each one is coping and, furthermore, develops the skills they need to advance their careers are team members who will be loyal no matter…

This book has been written following thirty years of experience facilitating in one way or another. So many books exist for facilitators that illustrate practical classroom techniques, games that facilitators can play, flipchart and presentation methodology, etc. – “Stretch For Facilitators” doesn’t aim to duplicate any of these offerings, but rather focuses on the person of the facilitator in order to assist budding facilitators with establishing a credible foundation for their work. “Stretch For Facilitators” examines the roots of the facilitator role and links the same to company and delegate needs seamlessly.