Personal Development

YourefiredYou’re Fired! It’s never easy, but it is an important part of the Executive Role

Thankfully, it doesn’t happen too often. But every now and again, if you’re doing your job, you will conclude that it’s no longer worth the time and energy trying to help an employee improve. Assuming you’ve done everything in your power to communicate the problem and the consequences of not improving (and it’s still not working), then it’s time to pull the trigger. You are a manager; not a psychiatrist! But, before you organise the execution, make sure that you test your thinking.

starwarsIt’s a Miracle! Older People also have Breakthrough Ideas

When you have a guitar, even people who don’t like you will ask you to parties; it’s like a Willie Wonka Golden Ticket. On that exact basis, I was recently asked to a ‘do’ in Raheny.  I didn’t know many of the people there, but a lorry load of alcohol soon sorted that out (“Let the minutes of this meeting show that the EU red wine lake has been depleted”).

Rat TrapQ: What is the absolute worst thing that you ever have to do?

A: In my case, two issues are struggling for supremacy. The first is catching a rat, which lives under our deck. The second is reading the instruction manual that comes with a new car.


Everybody, especially me, suffers from procrastination.  It is something we have to fight against.  Unlike Homer Simpson who said, ‘why do today what you can put off till tomorrow’, we in the business world have to be more efficient.  So, here are some quick tips.

I keep my home office tidy.

When my home office is clean and uncluttered, so too is my brain.  I think clearer, my tasks get done and I’m more motivated.

I write down my daily ‘To Do’ list of tasks.

A list keeps me organised and on track, and ticking things off gives a huge sense of achievement. This, in turn, further feeds my productivity.

I write down an overall goal every morning

At the start of the day, or it is also recommended that you do the last thing at night, write down a goal for the day.

When I write down my goal it makes an enormous difference to my focus and productivity. For example, if my goal is: I will finish the database today, then everything I do for that day (consciously and subconsciously) moves me towards that goal.

I finish what I start

I have a problem getting distracted.  This is a biggie for me. On the days when I’m most productive I actually finish every task that I start before moving on to the next one. By having this ‘completion mindset’ I’m programmed to just get in and get things done.

I work in my zone.

Everyone has a zone when they are most productive.  Where possible, I think it’s important for people to work in their most productive 'zone’. I’m not a morning person.  For me, this is usually later in the morning, even into the evening. I work outside these hours too, but I’m usually less productive.

I try to stay mentally alert.

If my mind gets fuzzy, so too does my cranial output. To stay mentally alert, I have heard of the Pomodoro technique.  This is a time-management tool that also boosts productivity.  Check out this short video.

I reduce distractions

When I really need to focus I will usually shut down my email programs and the internet, put my phone on silent and close my door. Distractions are disastrous for productivity.

I’m accountable to someone

If I have a lot of tasks that I really need or want to get done, I’ll be accountable to someone.  If you are not accountable to someone, then things may not get done at all, on time or properly.  As an entrepreneur, it is unlikely that you have someone to report to, therefore you have in inbuilt inhibitor mechanism and that is not good.

You have to find someone to report to.  That person need not be your boss, but just a reporting mechanism.  That is critical. 

Here in The Synergy Group, we provide that reporting mechanism through our mentoring system.  Just call us on 01-8215189. Ask for Bob.

What are your productivity tips?



Are you a misfit in the wrong job

From time to time I meet an executive who’s ended up in the wrong job. Sometimes, it’s a temporary blip and they just need to sit tight. The chessboard pieces move quickly; if they inhabit a disliked role for 12 or 18 months, it’s no big deal over a lifetime career. But, in some cases, the ‘misfit’ issue runs deeper and punching in more time is not the solution.

goal settingPerhaps the most popular advocates of the goal setting theory are philosophers E.A. Locke and G. Latham. Their theory suggests that goal setting is innate among human beings and that identifying and mapping out methods to reach them are some of the most natural factors of human behaviour.

asleepGraduation Ceremonies: Make them Inspiring

I recently attended a Leaving Certificate graduation ceremony for my son, Cillian. It’s a Catholic school so they decided to have a mass, which, I suppose, is understandable. And some music.  About 12 separate pieces actually. Then some speeches.  The Headmaster. The Year Head. The Head Boy. The Head of the Past Pupils Association. At that stage I was ‘losing the head’ along with the will to live. About 2.5 hours into the ceremony, in a supreme effort to stay awake, I seriously contemplated removing my Gall Bladder sans anesthetic or even a hint of medical training. Unfortunately, I couldn’t locate the sharp nail scissors in my inside pocket as it had been forcibly removed at Dublin Airport.  3 hours later, we fell out of the place asking the killer question:  “When exactly did celebration morph into torture?” On a more positive note, it did answer a lifelong question: So, that’s why they call it a ‘passing out’ parade in the army! It brought me back to an earlier experience…

austerityThe Anti-Austerity Voice is Powerful

You will be familiar with the saying: 

"Never put off till tomorrow, what you can do today”.

Perhaps it needs a tiny re-write to ‘Irishise’ it as follows.  

Never put off until tomorrow, what you can put off until the day after tomorrow”.

Let me explain…

Barack_Obama_Speaking_at_College_GreenPublic speaking is a great way to build awareness for your brand, generate leads and increase your expert profile.

Public speaking is not a natural thing to do. Standing in front of groups of strangers is enough for some people to lose their cookies. I suggest this channel a lot when I am in conversation with business people. I get a lot of cringes and excuses. But the truth in the matter is public speaking can be easy to do. My experience is typical – I too was nervous the first time I spoke. I had a script, I lost my place a few times and that just completely un-nerved me. Of course we think the audience sees our embarrassment. The truth is they don’t mind a hiccup or two.


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