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Leaving a review for a business has never been easier, thanks to the internet.

The majority of businesses are listed in online directories, which allow customers to leave reviews to let other potential customers know what to expect.

This is true across all industry sectors, from retail through to professional services.

While positive reviews will likely have a positive impact on your business, what if receive negative reviews?

It’s an unfortunate fact that, as a business grows and more clients are obtained, you run the risk of receiving both positive and negative reviews.

If this happens, it will feel horrible and your initial response may be to panic. But learning how to deal with this part of your business well can help you turn a negative into a positive.

Listen / read

If a negative review is left about your business, the first and most important thing to do is read it through fully and listen to what the customer is saying. You need to fully understand what is being said and why it is being said.


Break it down

Next, break it down into points. This will help ensure you understand what has happened to prompt the negative review and the customer’s point of view.


Address it

While it can be tempting to ignore negative reviews, as you don’t want to draw attention to them, this is the worst thing you can do. Whether you feel the review is justified or not, if left unchecked, other people who have seen the review will take it at face value. This is your chance to respond to what has been said and publicly try to remedy the situation as appropriate. This is extremely important for damage limitation.


Learn from it

Whether the reviewer leaving the negative review was right or wrong, it is important to learn from it and to understand how the situation arose in the first place. This should help with minimising any negative reviews in the future. If necessary, seek further clarification and talk it through with the team to establish preventative measures for the future.


Move on

It is extremely hard to not take negative reviews about your business to heart. This shows you care about your business and the service you provide. However, don’t let it consume you. We are all human and errors can and will happen. All we can do is address them, learn from them and improve for the future.
SOURCE: ResponseSource


When Henry Kissinger was National Security Adviser to the US President, he once received high-grade intelligence from a new analyst.


Kissinger, however, did not act upon it. When afterwards the intelligence proved to have been correct and an opportunity had been missed, Kissinger reputedly said:1


Well, you warned me but you did not convince me”


Does this sound familiar? It certainly does to me. After tedious work you discover and communicate a competitive threat to your company, but nothing happens. As per your forecast the threat unfolds. You warned but did not convince.

What enables me to cope with this happening is to remember the following equation:


Analysis impact   = quality   *   acceptance


Quality does not matter when you fail to get the analysis accepted by those that need to act upon it. There is much to say about how to gain acceptance. Sometimes, however, a picture says more than a thousand words. So let’s now go to the movies.


Twelve angry men

In the 1956 movie Twelve Angry Men, twelve white American men together make up a jury. They have to reach a verdict on whether an accused young man is guilty or not guilty of having killed his father.

The verdict has to be unanimous. Eleven of the twelve men agree: the evidence was compelling. One character, however, has his doubts. There is no instant unanimity, so the jury has to start deliberating.

In a magnificent way the doubter gradually convinces all other jury members that the evidence is less than compelling. For this he uses a wide array of persuasion techniques, using tailor-made logic and appeals for each fellow jury member. The movie is still relevant as it illustrates attributes of persuasion that may today still help also outside the jury’s room.


Subtlety is the hallmark attribute of persuasion

Persuasion is suave. It is hard to describe but, when you see it, you recognize it.2 In persuasion, non-verbal yet visible cues are at least as important as verbal cues and often are more subtle and insidious. It is much harder to insulate oneself against them; persuasion works in ways we may often not even consciously recognize.

Hence I note the relevance of visualization in presenting analysis. The human brain is wired to see things that move. For our ancestors this may have included predators that posed such a threat to survival that seeing them move required an immediate response. Capitalizing on the human propensity to act upon things that move, delivering analysis in moving pictures may work for you.

When I once wanted a management team to believe our customers were looking for change, we did not deliver a 30 slides presentation to prove the point. Rather, we prepared three 60-second interviews, with the customers expressing their needs to camera. The impact was remarkable.


Empathy and sincerity are critical to persuasion

Persuasion has been defined as the art of influencing people. The key equation of persuasion is:3


Persuasion    =     Empathy +     Sincerity


Great persuaders create the perception of empathy with the people they aim to influence. Counter intuitively, persuasion starts with listening and paraphrasing skills. Listening is the entry point to empathy.3 When you have completed your picture of the individual that you aim to persuade, it is easier to decide which strings to pull to start influencing the other towards accepting your point. This may sound manipulative, but what if the goal justifies the persuasion means?

A good cause may for example be to convince your friend to stop smoking. Persuading someone to stop smoking begins by showing empathy for the other person’s need to smoke – whatever that may be. The latter may only be possible by asking the right questions. Once the other is convinced of the sincerity of the intentions to help, the person may open up to consider what other options may be available to more healthily meet their current personal need that is now fulfilled through smoking.


Language still matters

Properly using language is another tool in persuasion. When communicating for impact in politics the following rules have been reported to apply.4 Your language should:

• Consist of short sentences (think: America first, Donald J. Trump)

• Consist of short words within these short sentences ( think: I have a dream, Martin Luther King or Yes we can, Barack H. Obama)

• Open up an aspirational future to the audience (think: Imagine, John Lennon)

• Offer novelty

• Be consistent in imagery in verbal and visual imagery, sound and texture (this applies especially when multiple messages are conveyed)


Driving acceptance for analysis through persuasiveness

When looking for more acceptance for your work, consider questions like:

• How aspirational to management is the language you use?

• How can your analysis contribute to your company’s brighter future?


Above we saw that empathy and aspiration is not enough. To be successful in persuasion one also needs to be credibly sincere. This is why your objectivity and neutrality are so relevant. When you are perceived to be a player in a politicized dossier will never be perceived to be sincere. Hence, politicization is always a risk when aiming for persuasiveness. In my corporate experience as a staff analyst, once you move yourself intentionally into a politicized position you are neither on the way up, nor on the way down, but usually on the way out.


About the author

Erik ElgersmaErik Elgersma is author of The Strategic Analysis Cycle Toolbook and The Strategic Analysis Cycle Handbook. He is the director of Strategic Analysis at FrieslandCampina, one of the world’s largest dairy companies. He speaks and lectures frequently at universities and on business seminars on the topics of strategic analysis, competitive strategy and related data analysis and management. He holds a PhD from Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, and is alumnus of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, Austria.








  1. George, R. Z. [2008], The art of strategy and intelligence, In: R.Z. George, J.B. Bruce (Editors), Analyzing Intelligence – origins, obstacles, and innovations, Georgetown University Press, Washington DC, p. 113.
  1. Gladwell, M. [2000], The tipping point, Back Bay books, Little, Brown and Company, New York, pp.74-79.
  1. Borg, J. [2013], Persuasion – the art of influencing people, Pearson Education Ltd, Harlow, UK, 5-11.
  1. Freedman, Sir L. [2013], Strategy – a history, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, p. 435.

The end of the working year isn’t just reserved for rest, relaxation and a lot of mince pies.


It’s also the ideal time to reassess your career progression.

Taking time off over Christmas provides the thinking space many professionals need to look back over the previous year and plan for the following one. If you feel it’s time to take control of your progression plan, read these practical tips from the experts at Robert Half and make 2018 your most productive yet.


Why make a career plan?

It’s no secret that working in a job you love can seriously improve your overall happiness. Our research into happiness at work has shown that having a sense of accomplishment was one of the three top drivers of happiness at work—something which comes primarily from reaching and exceeding your own career expectations.

A strong sense of empowerment is another factor that can affect how happy you are within your career. Workplace freedom typically leads to increased happiness at work, better critical skills and a greater sense of achievement. Planning the next steps on your career path is an excellent way to earn that sense of accomplishment and empowerment.


How to plan career goals for 2018

There are a few simple steps you can follow to properly assess your current position and plan your next career move:


  •  Assess how happy you are within your current role

The first place to start when planning career progression is to decide whether you’re happy in your current role. This will determine whether you should find a new job in 2018 or if it’s time to negotiate a promotion or pay rise in your current role.


If you aren’t sure, ask yourself some basic questions: whether you feel engaged on a day-to-day basis, if you’re getting the job benefits you’d like, whether you feel appreciated and if your efforts are being rewarded fairly.


  •  Investigate emerging skills within your industry

To continue progressing and growing as a professional, you’ll need to keep an eye on emerging skills within your industry. The speed of industry has pushed businesses towards digital evolution, which demands new hard and soft skills from employees.


To remain competitive, research the 2018 hiring landscape using a report like the 2018 Salary Guide from Robert Half and find out which new skills you need to grow.


  •  Set obtainable goals


It’s no good planning out the trajectory for the next five or ten years of your career if you aren’t setting manageable career goals. Being too ambitious or failing to research sustainable ways to reach milestones can leave you feeling frustrated.

Instead, try sitting down with your manager and discussing your career plans in relation to the business’ long and short-term goals. You can mutually agree targets for each quarter and improve career satisfaction at the same time.


  •  Research realistic salary benchmarks

Following on from setting realistic career goals, having a strong understanding of what a good remuneration package and pay rise looks like within your region, industry and role will be fundamental in planning your next career move.


Hone your negotiation skills and use an industry-recognised report—like the Robert Half 2018 Salary Guide—to leverage a raise, promotion or better benefits package.


5 questions to help you refresh your career goals

The time has come to start setting career goals. It’s time to review your resolutions and a reassess your career aspirations.

When you start to put your career under the microscope, ask yourself some searching questions to prepare you for the months ahead.

Make sure your career resolutions are realistic with these handy questions to set you in the right path. Here ares five that can help you identify areas for possible improvement:


  1. Would I consider myself a leader or a follower?

Continue on the path to growth and don’t let your own personal inhibitions stand in the way of your achievements. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, try moving off the beaten track. For example, get creative with new methods and ways of managing the different personalities in your team, employing conflict management strategies or simply try a new tact when handling unfriendly colleagues. There are always improvements that can be made, so never stop striving to be better than you were yesterday.

If you’ve always been content with being the follower, perhaps it’s time that you reviewed your career goals and what it would take to actively pursue them. You could start by requesting more responsibilities at work, or look at areas where you can contribute more to the company. It’s also a good idea to assess your growth options in your current organisation. Speak with your manager about potential opportunities that may be available for you as they may not be aware of your interest to advance and develop in your career.


  1. Am I delivering at work?

There never seems to be enough time to do all the things we want to do, but being productive is about being time-efficient, rather than simply taking on anything and everything. As the saying goes, you only live once, so you might as well make use of your time while you have it. Learn to prune your working methods so that you eliminate bad habits that waste valuable time and energy, while putting your efforts into the things that count. Working smart can help you achieve so much more than just hard work alone.

Being productive also means being able to focus on the things that matter, both in your workplace and at home. Everyone deserves some time to relax and recharge themselves, and nobody should have their nose to the grindstone 24/7. If a certain activity brings you joy and enriches your life, it’s time well spent – so don’t hesitate to put that down as a career goal.

A new year is a time for spring cleaning – not just your home, but your mind as well. Worrying isn’t productive; aim to fix problems without stressing over them. When you’re calm and at peace, the path will be clear for you to forge ahead without getting caught up with minor setbacks in the pursuit of your career aspirations.


  1. Are the people around me helping me to move up in my career goals?

At the core, we’re social creatures. Aim to fill your life with people whom you can count on, who will encourage you on your journey up the career ladder. Appoint a mentor or coach who can identify areas where you’re lacking and help to put you on the track. And of course, it helps to have supportive family members with whom you can share your dreams. Once you have that, you’re all set for nailing those career goals.

Life’s too short for negativity. Toxic people and workplace culture will only set you back in your career aspirations. If your office atmosphere breeds unhappiness and discouragement instead of positivity, it’s time to either take a strong stance against it. If that fails, consider making a move to a place where your contributions are appreciated and where you’re motivated by more than just remuneration.


  1. Am I achieving a strong work-life balance?

There’s no point slaving away at work every day and night only to miss out on valuable time with your family. If you have zero work life balance, perhaps it’s time to adjust your career aspirations. You can start by identifying whether you can put your salary to good use on the things that you want.

Think of your bucket list – has your career helped you tick off items on the list? What more do you see yourself accomplishing on this trajectory? If you’ve always wanted to travel, make sure you plan your leave dates wisely. If you’d like to spend more time with your loved ones, then maybe explore flexible working arrangements with your manager as a career goal.

If there’s a key takeaway in this post, it is this: Smart professionals build their careers to empower them to be able to do the things they want to do, whether directly or indirectly.


  1. Do I love what I do?

You don’t have to be enthusiastic or love your job every moment of every day, but it should at least be a positive experience most of the time. If you’re finding it harder and harder to take pride in what you do, perhaps it’s time to ask why.

Is it the work you do that you’re not content with, or are there other factors affecting you? Whatever the reason, if your job isn’t one that’s fulfilling, doing some soul searching as to why may help. For some people, this could simply be a change in mindset, for others it could mean finding a new role.


About the author:

Phil Sheridan is Senior Managing Director at Robert Half UK. Robert Half is a specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. Founded in 1948, the company has over 325 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, creative and administrative professionals. and

Modern day Brits are lacking in good manners, new research has revealed.

It seems our busy day-to-day lives leave little time for courtesy, with 60% of Brits admitting they frequently forget to greet someone with a hello.

A further three in ten admit they rarely say thank you when they should, while 24% never say please. Even the term ‘goodbye’ seems a difficult one for people to master, with one in five saying they often finish a phone call without any pleasantries.

Three in ten Brits admitted they wished they had better manners, and 86% of Brits admit they felt hurt and disrespected by frequent failures of courtesy.


Easily distracted

A spokesperson for Mentos, who commissioned the research, said: “When we’re busy, or engrossed in our phones, we can often let our good manners slip – but we should all make the effort to be polite and say hello.”

With 19% of the nation forgetting to thank strangers for holding a door open, seven in ten will respond with a sarcastic “You’re welcome” for this lack of gratitude.

Despite being a nation of bad-mannered Brits, we still receive a number of passing pleasantries from others. Supermarket cashiers greet Brits with the most “hellos”, followed by coffee shop staff and receptionists.

We may not always be the ones to initiate the hello, but 69% say they will respond to polite small talk. And people typically exchange 59 good-natured remarks every day, including ten pleases, 11 thank yous and ten hellos.

Signs of good manners include listening well, offering guests a first choice and elbows off the table.

Over half the nation agrees good manners include offering a tea round when making one for yourself and not reaching over others at the dinner table.

Seven in ten agree people are less polite now than they were ten years ago. More than half put this down to being shy and 22% blame others for coming across as “rude”.

SOURCE: ResponseSource


When we were kids, there was always time for naps, cloud-watching, or simply to lie around and just ‘be’.


But as business owners it can feel as though there simply isn’t the time to kickback, explore, play, and dare we say, go on an adventure.  There is always more work to do on the business!

It doesn’t have to be this way though. Relaxation is a state of mind; you just need to tap-into that mind-set of the eternal summer, of the lazy Sunday, and ultimately, recapture some of that youthful magic:


1. Put on your walking shoes and go for a hike

Too much technology is not good for us – and hikes are great escape from that, and not just because it’s hard to get 4G in the hills.

A quality walk is the perfect way to rejuvenate the body and soul. Hiking gets your blood flowing, lungs moving and heart-pumping, leading to happier moods, better sleep and even improved creativity and productivity.

The smell of a forest, the sound of a river and the sight of hills can really help you put things into perspective.

And if you really have to, you can Instagram the whole thing.


2. Grab the tent and go camping

Staying at home can often end up in you doing chores, surfing the web, or watching TV. Camping is an excellent remedy. Recruit your friends or family for a night of two – or head off in solitude for the ultimate thinking space. Without the distractions of home and technology, time goes out the window, making it so much easier to reconnect with your loved ones, nature, and yourself.

Sure, you’ll have a few minor challenges like pitching your tent or hammock, building a fire and cooking-up some campfire grub, but that’s part of the charm.

Take a Frisbee, a book, or whatever fun activity you’ve been neglecting for too long.

Or if you prefer, go glamping and meet yourself half-way.


3. Jump in the car and go on a road trip

Ok, so you might like the idea of the outdoors, but not the practical reality. Perhaps then it’s about time for a good-old road trip. You know, just like in the movies.

Hitting the open road and putting miles behind you is great way to unwind. You’re removed from a lot of the stresses of modern life, but still surrounded by the safe, midge-shield that is a car, with a radio, comfy seats, and aircon/heating.

Now you can stop wherever you like. Park-up for a brief bit of nature, a cultural landmark, or just a classic pub lunch. The length of the trip is up to you – stay at an Airbnb in the next county, or just loop back to your own abode. You’ll return home feeling refreshed and well-travelled.

Whether you live in an urban or rural area, try taking the path less travelled, i.e. a route you haven’t yet explored.

You might even find some hidden gems like a humble woodland or reasonably-priced pub.


4. Stay home and create a Home Haven

If you really can’t leave your home for too long, it’s important to find a time and space for me time on your own patch. Whatever the season or the space you’ve got, you’ve got to make it special.

Your garden might be your place of relaxation, with plants, a book and a nice beverage. Go a step further and mystify the atmosphere with tiki torches, outdoor fairly lights, or even a fire pit.

You might find your haven in the form of a room within your home, or even just a chair. Make that your own bubble, and set-aside more time to ponder, read, relax and recharge.

If candles, incense, music and yes, your favourite tipple help you to get in that zen zone, then don’t hold back. It’s your space after all.

Every cat has their favourite spot to curl up in – don’t you think you should too?

Whether it’s kids or cats, you need only observe them for an hour to see that they know something about life that we don’t – or rather, we’ve simply forgotten.

It’s easier to remember than you think, though. Whichever route to relaxation appeals to you, the first crucial step is to allow yourself some well-deserved me time.

So, when you’re taking life a bit too seriously, it’s probably about time for an adventure.


About the authors

Chantelle Flynn and Michael Merrit are the founders of TiiPii Bed. TiiPii Beds are luxury floating hammock beds that create a unique relaxing space to be enjoyed indoors or outdoors. Totally versatile, a TiiPii Bed can be enjoyed from any capable branch or beam or partnered with a collapsible stand.

Employers must promote a culture of flexibility across every level of their business if they are to reap the true benefits of an agile workforce.


The recommendation from Alexander Mann Solutions was given in response to data from Timewise that shows only 10% of advertised roles with a salary of over £20,000 are available on a flexible basis.

For jobs with a salary of over £100,000, the figure falls to just 2%. This is despite the fact that 87% of all full-time workers in the UK either already work flexibly or would choose to if given the option.

“By not promoting flexible working options at the earliest stages of the recruitment process, businesses risk failing to engage with a significant chunk of available talent,” said Laurie Padua, Director of Consulting at Alexander Mann Solutions.

“And while agile working has, historically, been seen as more viable at executive level, it is often the most highly-skilled, experienced and innovative professionals who choose to work atypical hours once they are established in their career.”

“The reality is that many businesses are, in theory, happy to consider role flexibility at any level if it means that they are able to access the skills they need. But, likely unbeknownst to the powers that be, this is not reflected in the rigid, antiquated recruitment processes that are often being used by these same companies.”

“In the future, searching for a job will be like building a holiday on Expedia. A candidate will be offered options based on past behaviours and other data, yet they will ultimately be offered the freedom to ‘build’ their own role based on their skills and availability.”

“Fostering a culture of flexibility at senior level also has the added benefit of authentically demonstrating that flexible working is at the heart of wider business strategy, with leaders acting as role models rather than just paying lip service.”


About Alexander Mann Solutions

We are Alexander Mann Solutions and we’re passionate about helping companies and individuals fulfil their potential through talent acquisition and management. Today, over 3,000 of our talent acquisition and management experts are partnering with our blue-chip clients across multiple sectors and in more than 80 countries. Delivering a distinctive blend of outsourcing and consulting services, our unrivalled experience, capability and thought leadership helps our clients attract, engage and retain the talent they need for business success.


Effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction: it’s what Leesman is all about.


It’s what we test, probe and evaluate. And the majority of the research I now undertake across one of the largest global datasets of its kind almost always hangs on one or more of these strands.

There is an ISO standard (9241) on the subject with the catchy title Ergonomics of Human System Interaction. It defines usability as “the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specified users achieve specified goals in particular environments”. So, while “effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction” are the outcomes, you have three variables that can either make or break it: the user, the specified goals, and the environment. Usability is the very reason why one solution doesn’t fit all, and why in the context of a workplace, one setting can’t possibly be expected to support all activities. It is also why you need to know your employees to create a high performing workplace. Let me explain.

Specified users are the persons using the environment. It also relates to the fact that we’re all different; we have different characteristics, skills, experiences, expectations and preferences, all of which affect how we experience our workplaces. 

Specified goals are the things we do. It’s the activities we perform and the outcomes we’re aiming to achieve.

Particular environment is the workplace and the different settings we use. Borrowing from usability theories in user interface design, key elements include functionality, navigation, learnability, memorability and flexibility. But these attributes mean little if they’re not viewed from the perspective of the user.


Splitting focus

To understand and achieve high usability, you need to take all three dimensions into consideration, at the same time. But, often, the focus is placed on functionality – which is really only about the characteristics of the workplace and the functions it provides. Looking only at the workplace in isolation, we might find that it has all the functionalities in the world, but unless they’re paired with the right activities and specific user, it might not be fit for purpose, making it a complete waste of space.

Even when a workplace is designed with a certain activity in mind, it still might not lead to high usability. Across our database, 93% of respondents consider ‘individual focused work, desk based’ to be important. When designing a space for this activity, you might intuitively think it should be something calm and quiet. But we don’t all focus well in quiet environments – I certainly don’t as silence distracts me. Different users doing the exact same activity might have very different experiences of the same environment. You might discover that while one person finds a certain setting suitable for a particular activity, their colleague might not – because they’re different people.

Another common challenge in many workplaces is the lack of variety. Across our database, only 30% are satisfied with the variety of workspaces that are on offer. Variety is important because the same setting cannot support us in all the activities we do. Remembering the three elements in the usability definition – user, goals, environment – you can see that even when the user and environment are constant, the outcome will be different when the goals change. No matter how well a particular setting supports you in your individual work, it might be completely wrong for you when you’re collaborating or taking a phone call.


Individual versus organisational

Now let’s take that to an organisational level and consider the user in the usability definition as an entire organisation. The same thinking applies: while one workplace solution might work very well for, say, a particular bank, it might not work at all for their competitor, even though the context and goals initially appear the same. The user – here meaning the entire organisation – is different. The two banks might have opposing cultures and structures and use a unique mix of products or tactics to compete for identical segments, which will lead to different requirements.

So why is this important and what does it mean from a workplace development perspective? Essentially it means you cannot achieve high levels of usability without understanding all three components and ensuring they are aligned. Usability is easiest to notice in its absence. But through thorough investigation and assessment of all three dimensions – user, context and workplace – it is more likely to be achieved.

Understand your employees – and understand the differences in your workforce. These might be personalities, skills or even previous experiences. A person working in a private office will have a completely different understanding of transitioning to Activity Based Working (ABW) for instance, compared to someone who is working in an open environment. Understand too the context and the goals that your organisation and employees are aiming to achieve. What is it that they do for you? Does the environment and infrastructure proactively support them to achieve their specified goals? Then assess whether your workplace is aligned. How do your users perceive the environment, considering the work they do and the way they do it?

If they are not aligned, if you’re experiencing low levels of effectiveness, ask yourself why it’s not working. It’s easy to assume the problems are in the workplace design, but sometimes the root cause is not the space itself, it’s how it is being used. Small un-bookable rooms designed for ad hoc meetings won’t work if individual employees occupy them all day, treating them as their own private office. And phone booths won’t support conversations if they’re used as storage.  Sometimes you’ll find the solution to the problems elsewhere. You could actually have created the perfect mix – a variety of settings that support a wide range of different goals – but to increase usability, you need to work on user mindsets or how the workplace is being used. This is particularly true in ABW environments, as was shown in the study we published earlier this year.


Every little helps

Looking at our entire database, we can conclude that there are still too many spaces where users, goals and workplace are not aligned – both on the individual and organisational level. In a third of UK workplaces we’ve measured, less than 50% of respondents can agree that the design of their workplace enables them to work productively. The usability of these environments is falling well short of user needs.

And in some of these cases, small adjustments are all that’s needed. If the workplace has been developed based on the right assumptions and the right things are already being done, but perhaps just not done in the right way, user feedback data will reveal stress-points and indicate small changes in either workplace or behaviour that can improve the outcome. Single-loop learning is all that is required. But in other cases, you will need to do more than that to really make a difference and enable the organisation to use the workplace as an asset. User feedback will need to be used for double-loop learning, where the basic assumptions are challenged ahead of a bigger workplace transformation.


About the author

Peggie Rothe

Dr. Peggie Rothe is Leesman’s resident academic. Before joining the team in September 2014, she worked as a researcher at Aalto University (Finland) with a focus on corporate real estate, workplace management and short-distance office relocations, publishing her findings in several peer-reviewed academic journals.

Source: Leesman Index




The career tactics necessary to become a top company CEO have been revealed by business school research:

Specialise in one industry, get promoted regularly and resist the urge to change jobs frequently.

Bernard Forgues from emlyon business school worked with colleagues to identify the career trajectories of the top 100 CEO’s according to the Fortune 100 listing of companies. The research team charted each CEO’s career from the very beginning to when they became a CEO.

In doing so, they looked at three main variables – the status of the individual at every step of their career, the function they fulfilled and the regularity with which they changed jobs.

The main finding was that if you want to be a CEO, it is best to have a traditional, linear job progression; 37% of the list had been with the same company since the beginning of their careers.

And even though it took on average almost 28 years to reach the most senior position, CEO’s averaged only 2.7 employers during that period. Changing industry is also relatively rare with 62 CEO’s in the list only ever having worked in one sector – with an average of only 1.6 industries per CEO across the whole sample of 100 leaders.

Being promoted at regular intervals was also a key feature, with CEO’s having changed jobs on average 9.3 times on their route to the top. The average job duration between promotions was three years.


Traditional approach

“The message from this analysis is very clear”, says Forgues. “The typical career has changed a lot in the last 20 years. People have more jobs in a lifetime and are generally far more willing to move around different industries and job roles. But – if you want to become a top CEO, it pays to be more conservative in your career choices.

“CEO’s tend to have traditional careers and they tend not to move around very much. There is a belief amongst some that trying different things and having diverse experiences will make them more employable and/or promotable. But, when it comes to the top positions, companies look for linear, logical career paths and steady progression.”

SOURCE: ResponseSource

The average Brit will shell out £22,270 in their lifetime for Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), according to a new study.

Researchers took an in depth look into the nation’s spending habits and revealed almost half (42%) of the nation admit they struggle with feelings of missing out – in terms of their social lives, the places they have not yet visited and the material things they do not have.

In fact, according to the survey by, a desperate need to not miss out leads to the average Brit spending £353 a year on things they did not actually want to spend money on.

Women are the biggest culprits, with 45% claiming they get regular FOMO, compared to 37% of men.

Overall,37% of Brits feel jealous if their friends are having a night out without them, while 30% feel envious if a friend has landed a good deal on something in a sale.

The study shows we spend £3,276 in an adult lifetime on nights out that we do not really want to go on, and a further £3,087 on clothes we only bought because someone else was wearing them.

We will also splash out £2,772 on stag and hen dos we actually dread – but are too scared of missing out to turn down the invite.

The overall amount we will spend going to new bars and restaurants we’ve seen friends enjoying on social media is £3,087. While £2,709 will be spent ‘must have’ tech items which everyone else seems to have.

Three in ten Brits even feel FOMO if they miss out on a bargain that their friends have taken advantage of, while over half (58%) wished social media wasn’t around so they didn’t feel the pressure to lead the ‘perfect’ life.


Taking back control

“When deciding what you can afford to do, get used to saying no,” urged Vix Leyton, consumer expert at

“Weigh up the toll – physically and financially – of attending drinks and parties and events out of duty, rather than genuine will to be there, and that will give you more cash to do things and buy things that you actually want. And more time back, which is ultimately the most valuable commodity.

“When it comes to nights out and weekends away, if you’re too short to play, speak out. For all you know, your friends might be doing exactly the same thing as you. The more you say no, the easier it gets.”

The research shows the average Brit has spent £267 since January on things that have been a mistake with 36% saying they rushed into a purchase without thinking it through.

“It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of a big sales event like Black Friday, especially with the onslaught of advertising and publicity around it. However, particularly in the run up to Christmas, it’s important to exercise restraint and keep your spending to what you really need,” added Vix.

“Just 8% of Brits use this time to review their contracts and services, despite there being some fantastic offers available that will continue to pay dividends all year, long after the buzz of a pair of new shoes – that don’t even fit – fades. There is never a bad time to shop around for things like your broadband and your mobile, as seeing the whole of the market gives you the option to make a more informed choice.”

Bristol is the UK’s FOMO capital with just over half (51%) saying they regularly suffer from it. Whereas the people of Norwich (21%) are the most content.

SOURCE: ResponseSource



Humans have an irresistible urge to play.


My inspiration for writing this blog, however, was not some football game: the Dutch won’t compete in the 2018 World Cup, so we don’t talk about soccer too much lately. The trigger was the fact that in February 2016 the USA announced it would quadruple its budget for defending the northeastern boundaries of the NATO territory.


The oddly named war games

Whatever you may think and feel about the military, it is hard to deny that military challenges have resulted in innovations that also had great civilian applications. Think of RADAR: would you cross the sea on your sailing boat without it? Another example is the computer. In the Second World War, the decryption of the Axis powers’ radio communication was a priority for the Allied forces. The Allies commissioned the best and the brightest minds – personalities like Alan M. Turing – with the task. The result was Colossus, quintessentially the first computer. Military endeavors also resulted in intangible innovations. One of those actually preceded RADAR: war-gaming is where the military intersects with gaming.

War games are oddly named. War games neither concern real war nor are they frivolous games. The US decision mentioned above can hardly be seen as inconsequential. Yet it was possibly partly based on the outcome of a war game. Apparently, war games are instruments to inform pretty serious decision making. The value of war-gaming has also been recognized outside the military, including in the world of business.


How to run a business war

In a nutshell, a common business war game I am used to running it in the company I serve consists of four steps:1

Step one is the market intelligence brief. A company’s market intelligence staff summarizes all relevant facts known about the adversary the business focuses its game on.

Step two appoints parallel teams to the task of playing the adversary’s decision-making hand now that they know their adversary’s cards through the intelligence brief.

An intermediate step evaluates the adversary’s most likely and most dangerous course of action.

Step three, in which we assume that the adversary’s course of action will become reality in the near future, requires that we stress-test our own company’s planned strategies and tactics. We then evaluate the key changes to our strategies that may seem needed in the light of our enriched competitive strategic insights.

Step four allows for the integration of any modified choices (budgets, resource allocations, de-prioritizations…) in our existing business strategic planning cycle.


When to play a war game?

As with any strategic decision support tool, it is the decision to be substantiated that determines the tool to be applied, not vice versa. Having designed and played over three dozen war games on four continents, I have seen business war games most successfully being applied at two particular occasions:

• Launch of a competitor initiative (new product launch, M&A transaction, market entry…), i.e. to stress-test and improve our current strategies

• Launch of a strategic initiative by our company, assessing likely competitive responses and in doing so upgrading our plans


Handle with care

War-gaming, however, is a delicate instrument. A war game is usually played in a high pressure setting. Prior beliefs of the players rarely change, regardless of contradictory evidence that may come up during the game. Views that do emerge in a war game easily become (perceived) facts. In the course of the game, many big ego personalities commit to choices on the spot. Decisions taken in a war game will not easily be revisited as the participants have all vividly experienced their making, in their minds giving them a disproportional weight compared to other choices or facts. So far so good, provided the war game outcome is correct. When it is not, the consequences are disproportional and usually nasty. This means that when playing a war game, it should be designed to avoid the traps discussed above.

Fortunately, several professional and experienced service companies offer war gaming facilitation. As with many things military, handle war games with care to get the best results. But do not try to use or apply this stuff thoughtlessly at home!


About the author

Erik ElgersmaErik Elgersma is author of The Strategic Analysis Cycle Toolbook and The Strategic Analysis Cycle Handbook. He is the director of Strategic Analysis at FrieslandCampina, one of the world’s largest dairy companies. He speaks and lectures frequently at universities and on business seminars on the topics of strategic analysis, competitive strategy and related data analysis and management. He holds a PhD from Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, and is alumnus of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, Austria.




The author acknowledges war gaming thought-leader Dr. Peter Perla for his stimulating inputs that contributed to this essay.

1.      Elgersma, E. (2017), The Strategic Analysis Cycle, Toolbook, LID Publishing, London, pp. 90-127.