Many idioms referring to human behaviour are based on analogies to parts of the body, especially arms, hands and fingers (e.g.: to keep one’s fingers crossed, all hands on deck, elbow room, to be on hand, keep her at arm’s length, he is all thumbs, he would not lift a finger, give someone a free…

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…

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…

“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…