Straight Up Business Talk

Business strategy and advice from the team at Straight Talk Group… you’re in the right place to get things Straight.

Everyone wants to be a Star!

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Hiring and firing are tough decisions, and the picture is rarely black and white. This is a skill/will matrix to provide clarity around individual performance and suitability of an individual to their job role.  This is a great frame to use when you want to get a better understanding of how you and your exisiting, or potential, staff members can work together to achieve great results.

Quite simply…

If an employee  has low skill and low will, you probably need to question why they are in your employ.

If their skill level is low but the will to succeed in the role is high then congratulations you have identified a training opportunity.

If an employee has high skill but low will…  this matrix will provide you with the opportunity to have a coaching conversation around what are their individual drivers and motivators – what is going to get them to show up for work , switch on and be committed to the vision of the business.

Lastly, High Will – High Skill – give yourself a pat on the back for having the ‘perfect’ employee!

Image Tip:  While most use this frame as an internal function,I have seen it being used successfully within teams, with each team member identifying where they sit on the matrix and what is required of them, or their employer to get them a starring role in the right hand corner.

Everyone wants to be a star – this is a great tool for identifying how to get them there.


I’m Sorry, Do I know You?

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I was interested to read in the local paper The Advertiser, that the Premier, Mr Jay Weatherill, wants the Economic Development Board to “rebrand” the state of South Australia to remedy the embarrassing position he often finds himself in after being mistaken for the Premier of New South Wales.  Here is the link to the article ,

South Australia’s current brand, according to the SA Tourism is “A Brilliant Blend” and for those living in SA, this might well ring true.  World –class wineries, picturesque churches, internationally acclaimed festivals, the tour down under… and the world’s most delicious Chocolate brand, Haighs.  But to those who have no first-hand experience of our state, what does “A Brilliant Blend” mean?

I trust that someone who is a specialist in their field was paid a lot of money to do market research, carry out focus groups etc to create a slogan to come up with their Brilliant Blend campaign.  It makes me wonder if perhaps Mr Wetherill just had a knee jerk reaction to not being recognised and might consider delving a a little bit deeper into what caused this to happen rather than the symptom.

Branding is, in short, a promise you make to the marketplace, wrapped up in the sum of all that you do and all that you touch.  It’s not just a by-line or a logo.  Changing ‘A Brilliant Blend’ will not have Mr Weatherill being introduced as the SA Premier with instant recognition overnight.  The confusion is just a symptom of the problem, not the cause.  Consider that perhaps the logo is right, the by -line is right, but who, as a state, we are talking to (our channels) or how we are delivering the message could be the stumbling block.

In my line of work I see so many small business owners change their brand, and not because anything was wrong with the brand, but because they aren’t aware of marketing fundamentals like lag time, channels, their message, strategy and execution.  The key to marketing is to ensure you are constant and consistent – I cannot stress this enough!  Making the intangible is also a necessity.  While I am just one South Australian, with one opinion,  the biggest problem I see with the “A Brilliant Blend” campaign is that it is not tangible.  As an overseas tourist trying to pick a destination from a list of places you know little about, what would you look for? My guess is that you would be drawn to destinations with campaigns that made their attractions tangible, ie “the world’s most beautiful beach”, “the sophistication capital”, “a modern hub of nightlife”.. etc.   So SA has a Brilliant Blend….. of what?

Perhaps if there was a better understanding of what makes SA unique, our state (and therefore our premier) would make more of an impression on our foreign political connections.

Whether we pin the premiers lack of recognition on a branding blunder, a changing market which means what once worked no longer does, the state itself, or our the delievery of the message, as business owners can use this example to remind ourselves that the branding battle is never over.  A consistent and constant approach to build your brand as you would like it to be seen is a crucial and invaluable investment in your business.

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The Top 10 Time Wasters


I thought I’d just come straight out with them, because chances are if you’re reading this, you’re a little time-challenged.


1. Shifting Priorities

This is the product of a reactive work style, rather than a proactive one. If you are constantly thrown off task by distractions such as emails, employee requests and a constantly ringing telephone, you might benefit from finding a way to minimise these.  While it is  impossible to avoid altogether, accepting it, and setting aside chunks of time to devote solely to completing your high priority projects is a good step forward.  If you really can’t avoid the…..

 2. Interruptions

… You will need to develop a system of recognising the action that needs to happen and then allocating a set time to it rather than letting outside factors dictate your daily schedule. This might be putting the task in your calendar for an appropriate time, thereby giving your brain  “permission” to return to the task at hand.

3. No Clear Goals & a Lack of Focus

Well, it’s pretty hard to focus if you don’t have a clear goal. It is often more productive to focus on the result that you want/need than on the action you are performing. A great anecdote about this is here.

4. Messy Desk & Looking for Things

Not being able to find your pen under mountains of office detritus is an excellent excuse to not start yet.  If fact it is reported that 3 hours a week is wasted in looking for things in arms length – what would you do with that extra 3 hours?

5. Procrastination

Two points here.  Firstly procrastination is highly aligned with perfectionism.  I’m sorry but I have never seen a perfect business or person yet.  Let go of perfect.

Secondly, the thing with procrastination is that it just prolongs the inevitable, and all that time it’s still taking up brain power. When we delay something that we know we have to do our brains can’t completely let it go; the task is still there draining your energy, just like background programs on your computer deplete it’s power, memory and speed. Watch this video now for a twisted but accurate summary of why you need to stop procrastinating.   Click on this Frog! Stop procrastinating! Once you get started on your “frog” it will likely be much easier than expected; just look at how long this segment is.  Once you get started on your “frog” it will likely be much easier than expected; just look at how long this segment is!

6. Ineffective Delegation

Proof in the pudding is the catch cry of many business owners “If I want something done right, I’ll do it myself’  No! This is a red flag for either the wrong employees or the right employees in the wrong role – OR – ineffective delegation.  If the business is a reflection of you – all the good stuff, and yes, sorry, all the bad stuff too…Who’s fault is it that an employee is unable to perform a task?  The ability to delegate is a skill – learn it!

7. Inability to Say No

This is directly attached to poor planning, lack of vision or focus.  When you know where you are going and what needs to be done, saying no to those things that do not align to your goal is a lot easier.

8. Poor Planning

Planning will save you time. In fact, good planning can help all the other problems on this list too.  Good planning is realistic planning, as a general rule, in regards to time management set aside 1.5 to 2 times that amount of time you ‘think’ the project or task is going to take.  This will allow a safeguard for any pesky interruptions or shifting priorities  that may arise.   If you do manage to do it in a shorter amount of time; what to do? then see this

9. Poor Use of Systems

If you have systems in place, you have probably invested time in their creation.  Make that a wise investment! A system will not be effective unless it is utilised by everyone it was intended for.   Notice, its not poor systems, its poor USE of systems.  If staff are not adopting the system, work with them to create systems that can be consistently used. If this doesn’t work, you could work with a recruiter to find staffs that consistently work. Systems take the guess work out of everyday tasks, allowing focus to be honed on more challenging areas.

10. Meetings

Studies and staff consistently tell us that meetings that are too frequent or too long are counterproductive, but they still happen.  In fact 8 weeks a year are taken up with meetings.  Why? Well, it’s a combination of the previous 9 points on this list, plus an excuse to eat donuts.

Meeting definitely have value, but before you call one be clear about the purpose and agenda. Move through the topics which need to be covered in a concise manner, and help others to do the same.

So, there it is, the top 10 timewasters…. the things you can try stopping or minimising so you will now have more time to read informative blogs 😉