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Expert Exchange

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Tackling the workplace presenteeism problem

by Marty Jaynes on 29 Jan 2018

Workplace presenteeism - employees turning up to work when suffering from illness or health problems - is not a new phenomenon. 

We’ve all been there. Whether because of a looming deadline, large workloads or because we fear how calling in sick would be perceived by management, we’ve all had days where we are at work, but are actually not really there at all.

But despite their best intentions, employees coming into work when unwell are contributing to the rise of presenteeism in the UK. And though absenteeism, which refers to the practice of staying away from work for no good reason, can be costly for businesses, presenteeism is believed to be an even bigger problem.

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Keeping your senior leadership team aligned

by Robert Leeming on 24 Oct 2017

Alignment in the senior leadership team is only of value if a chief executive is open to debate and discussion. Anything less and an ‘aligned top team’ will merely serve as shorthand for a group of executives who either meekly obey a CEO’s every whim and command, or who nod politely and then pursue their own agendas.

It’s not a sustainable way to operate a business. Phillippa Crookes, Senior Relationship Manager at Criticaleye, comments: “The worst situation for a CEO is to think their leadership team is presenting a unified front, when in reality they are sowing seeds of dissent in the organisation.”

This inevitably has a negative effect on performance, as it results in a disconnect between strategy and execution.

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Should we welcome the decline in quarterly reporting?

by John O'Connor on 18 Oct 2017

Recent analysis shows that the majority of FTSE 250 organisations no longer submit quarterly reports. Is this a sign of increasing focus on long-term planning or simply the avoidance of an ultimately pointless exercise and administrative burden?

There have been numerous articles, reports and commentaries on this topic, often focusing mainly on the external market perception or reaction. I believe however that we need to look deeper and focus much more on how these requirements, in force between 2007 and 2015, affected not just results, but culture.

They are familiar headlines to all of us – ‘Company X sees record quarterly growth’ or ‘Company Y sees quarterly profits plunge’, swiftly followed by numerous opinion pieces outlining why things are going right or wrong. Is the decline in reporting every three months a wise move though? The FCA certainly thinks so, moving to drop the requirement in 2015, albeit somewhat quietly, after a consultation period.

The response to whether the requirement should be dropped was broadly positive, but will it really relieve pressure on businesses and ultimately help to solve the UK’s productivity conundrum? Many are doubtful to say the least.

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5 key steps to negotiating your next senior executive contract

by John O'Connor on 08 Sep 2017

Any new senior management role, whether lateral in nature or on the more traditional "straight and narrow" route, brings with it a new opportunity to negotiate your salary and compensation. If you're already at senior management or C-Suite level then you've clearly demonstrated your superior negotiation skills. And yet for even the most experienced managers, the prospect of negotiating can still feel surprisingly uncomfortable, unnerving or even overwhelming.

So what's best practice if you are planning to handle negotiation of your executive contract yourself? In this blog post I highlight five key strategies to ensure you secure the best possible outcome.

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Executive recruitment: the benefits of a lateral career path

by John O'Connor on 31 Aug 2017

Within the world of interim management, the sideways or lateral career move is often inherent in the nature of the job, as interims transfer skills across a potentially wide range of industries and within typically shorter-term roles.

But what about lateral career movement for those management executives at CEO, CFO or HR director level? Is the most successful and effective route to the top still the traditionally vertical one? Or can a lateral move offer a viable, or perhaps even a preferable, alternative?

In this blog post I explore the key differences between a lateral vs vertical career path and I identify the core professional attributes that will prove invaluable for any senior management professional considering a lateral career move.

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Are all the top executive appointments only in London?

by John O'Connor on 09 Aug 2017

An age-old question in UK executive search and interim management circles is whether the best jobs, and therefore the best executive talent, exist solely in London. Most of us would find that statement questionable in 2017, but the perception remains.

So if you're a talented CFO do you have to remain in London to have a vibrant, challenging career? And, if you're a great company outside of London, how do you access and attract the best people to your leadership team?

In this blog I talk with Simon Reilly, the Commercial Director and Deputy CFO at Scotia Gas Networks (SGN), about his new role at their headquarters in Horley.

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Organisational Change Starts with Self – Are You Up for That?

by Emma-Claire Kavanagh on 12 Jul 2017

We’ve all heard that change is the new norm, but are we now skilled at enabling it? Large-scale transformational change requires catalytic leadership skills and vision. This can be hard to do when juggling the day job with its typically short term, urgent timeframes.

Rose Padfield from The Padfield Partnership is an Organisational Design Consultant, Coach and Coach Supervisor with 20 years’ experience in organisation, team and individual development within a UK, European and global context.

Outlined below is a case study on how Rose helped a major UK organisation address a large transformation project. We hope it gives you some insights and food for thought. In subsequent articles, she will delve into some of the key principles involved in leading organisational change.

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Cyber security essentials for boards and senior management

by Kersty Bletso on 09 Jun 2017

Cyber attacks are becoming more commonplace, and companies can no longer bury their heads in the sand, hoping no one breaches their internal IT security in today’s digital global workplace. Therefore, I’ve asked Simon Jobson, a technology leader with 25 years’ experience managing digital transformations in complex, international listed and private companies, to discuss cyber security essentials for boards and senior management.

I have had many conversations with board members and senior executives on the subject of information security (or cyber security). One of the more common sentiments I have come across is the view that “if someone wants to get in they will” or “they are probably already in anyway”. It’s understandable that high-profile attacks can make us feel helpless. However, the reality is that regulators, investors and customers will pass judgement, and if senior management and boards are lax then the company will suffer.

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Career progression: Why you shouldn’t change your job

by Kersty Bletso on 26 May 2017

This statement might seem a little counterintuitive considering the role I perform but do bear with me.

As a recruiter I want to know that by the time you reach out to me that the reason you want to leave is a) genuine, and b) not a knee jerk reaction to something that has upset you. Are you looking for career development? Progression? The opportunity to test yourself in a new environment or sector? Or have you finished a period of transformation?

What is important to consider is that when you are unhappy in your role it is a lot easier to start looking for another job than to try and resolve the issues you may have. It is human nature to avoid confrontation and avoid possible rejection. However, regardless of your level within your business, where possible you should try to resolve the issues you have first.

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What rugby has taught me about team ethos and leadership

by Kersty Bletso on 14 Mar 2017


Saturday was one of those rugby games that had so much potential. The prospect of Scotland breaking a 34-year-old Twickenham curse was painfully tangible and the opportunity was one that was lost within the first five minutes of the game. It set the stage for the next 75. A team of individuals focused on personal performance vs. a splendid display of teamwork and selfless play.

I am lucky to have spent the last 12 years living with, and now married to, a (former) professional rugby player. He has taught me a huge amount about team ethos and leadership that I haven't necessarily come across in the books and articles that I've read.

Maybe it is just the way he tells me the stories and anecdotes, or perhaps it's that elusive sense of team that we so often strive for in business, but rarely achieve, that draws me to his tales like a moth to a flame.

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