MDE 24: Peter Bregman - Four Seconds to change your life

Those goals you’ve written for yourself? Screw them up and don’t bother, says Peter Bregman. Well, not quite, but he does think that goal setting can harm your performance. The author of Four Seconds, which is published this month, says that when we feel overwhelmed and stressed by our growing to-do list, our knee-jerk reaction is to work longer hours and pack more into the hours we are already working. He says in the book, “We multitask, dash from meeting to meeting, sneak emails under...


More examples of competency based questions

Here are some more examples of competency based questions for you to practice. Don't forget the STAR structure (Situation, Task, Action, Result) as a framework for your answer. Flexibility/handling ambiguity Describe a situation where you have felt under pressure. How did you handle that pressure? What type of situations outside work lead you to feeling out of control? What are your coping strategies? How have you helped to lead a team through uncertainty or ambiguity to achieve an appropriate...


New Years Resolutions? How not to fail by the end of January

Take Action It’s that time of year again where many of us will review the past year and sit down to plan what we want to achieve in the coming year. Goal setting has had a bit of negative press recently and from my experience the way you set goals can dramatically improve your chance of attaining them.  While I agree with Derek Sivers, founder of CD baby (which he sold for $22 million), that you need to focus more on the process and less on the outcome, I also draw from Professor Richard...


Focus - what distinguishes experts from amateurs and stars from average performers

I admit I find it hard to focus.  I know I am not alone in this struggle and in the last couple of years smart phones have made staying focused even harder. So when I was sent this YouTube video from a friend who works at IMD, it served as a timely reminder as my thoughts start to turn to what I want to achieve next year on how I need to redouble my efforts to focus. Daniel Goleman is an expert in emotional intelligence and his recent book Focus, the hidden driver of excellence combines...


If not now, when?

My colleague and I were laughing recently about how in our recruitment days we would smirk over cheesy headlines in job ads such as ‘New Year, New Job?’ or ‘New Year, Time for a Change? Jokes aside both summer holidays and the more obvious New Year often makes us reflect on how things are and what changes we need to make both in our personal lives and in our work. There are other life events that make us take stock too, significant birthdays and the death of someone close.  As a career...


Career Farm feature in the Financial Times

This week I was really pleased to be asked by the Financial Times to comment on the unfair demands placed on our free time by our employers and organisations. Where do I begin?  First, you need to be on solid ground. “If you’re doing an outstanding job, you’ll be able to say ‘I’m going home on time because I’m hitting all my targets,’” says Fergus O’Connell, author of The Power of Doing Less. Jane Barrett, founder of the Career Farm coaching consultancy, adds: “Do a bit...


How to present Like a TED Lecturer

Ever since I watched my first TED lecture I harbored a secret (now not so secret!) desire to be able to give a talk like a TED lecturer – if only! How do you even attempt it? As a former member of Toastmasters I could see from the business people I watched speak, that being an engaging speaker was a career skill that both me and my clients could benefit from. Over the summer I generally catch up with my reading and I often ask my colleagues what they recommend (a good way of sorting the wheat...