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Our extreme busyness oftentimes gets in the way of good thinking and optimum decision-making; this half-day Conference provides help in these areas for individuals and organisations.

This half-day Conference aims to help organisations put in place the Wellbeing Techniques that will enhance the individual and improve productivity through better quality thinking and focus. 

Conference Goals

• Focus on improving resilience and productivity within busy organisational lives

• Help businesses put in place wellbeing techniques that will enhance the individual through better quality thinking and focus

• Empower the individual to take control and not let a sense of overpowering busyness take over

Conference Outcomes

• Attendees will have a greater understanding of and specific skills in the techniques of Relaxation, Mindfulness and Inner Spirit

• Gain valuable insights into putting together a WellbeingStrategy for your organisation


The Speakers

Frank Scott-Lennon - HR Consultant. Frank has conducted many Wellbeing Workshops within organisations. Frank will develop participant’s skills in a tried and trusted Relaxation Process, based on the work of Dr.Herbert Benson; this as a bedrock from which to develop other techniques. He will also add further coping dimensions through focusing on one’s Inner Spirit. Finally, Frank at the back of the afternoon will also focus on developing a Wellbeing Strategy for your organisation.

Andrew McLaughlin - Organisation Consultant. Andrew has regularly worked in areas of Leadership and Mindfulness. Andrew will assist atendess in an initial journey into Mindfulness and in experiencing how helpful it can be in coping with the stresses of organisational life and in improving productivity.

Simon Hand - Vodafone Wellbeing Ambassador. Simon will describe Wellbeing initiatives at Vodafone, a comercially focused organisation, as well as the benefits to be derived from these initiiatives.

Stuart McGoldrick - Spectrum Health. Stuart will outline the variety of ways in which organisations can approach Wellbeing and Wellness and talk of the varied approaches in use today within Irish business


The conference takes place on April 29th at The Clyde Hotel (formerly Berkley Court), Lansdowne Road. Dublin 4. It runs from 12.45 to 5.15. For tickets and more information, please go to

Are you looking for inspiration and looking for ways to build your optimism and resilience in these tough times?

Start the New Year on a positive note!

Learn more about the critical skills for your success in 2013, and join Daire Coffey and Deirdre Murray at the Psychological Society of Ireland-Division of Work and Organisational Psychology (DWOP) on Tuesday 22nd January 2012 at 6.15 to 7.30pm in the PSI Headquarters Grantham House, Grantham St Dublin 2, to explore “The Impact of Emotional Intelligence in Coaching: The 10 ‘Smart’ Steps to Success!”

Our Trade & Innovation Mission to China is almost over but what a success it has been!

We’ve signed a landmark contract with two companies and this is only just the beginning of what we hope is to come.

Today we’ve been heavily featured in the media, having mentions in various newspapers as well as websites. Here are just two examples:

Business & Leadership

Enterprise Ireland

And, as they say, a picture paints a thousand words…

We are delighted to announce that we have successfully negotiated an exciting new publishing partnership with two Chinese companies as part of the Taoiseach led Enterprise Ireland Trade & Investment Mission to China. An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD was present during the formal signing of the contract.

Our Managing Director Frank Scott-Lennon signed the contract which marks a collaboration between Management Briefs and Chinese companies Enterprise Management Publishing House and Pilot Marketing Management Consulting Co Ltd in Beijing. The contract was signed on March 27th and will result in the co-publication of our book “Marketing Skills” which is written by Garry Hynes & Ronan Morris and should have a significant impact on sales. The book will be the first of the already internationally established Management Briefs series to be translated and distributed in the Chinese market.

Management Briefs to take part in Government led Trade and Investment Mission to China 25-28th March 2012

Frank Scott-Lennon, Creator of Management Briefs says:

I am delighted to confirm that Management Briefs has been officially invited to participate in this month’s Government led Trade and Investment Mission to China. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. is leading the official visit accompanied by Minister Richard Bruton T.D. and selected Irish businesses have the honour of participating also. The visit will incorporate a Trade and Investment Mission to Shanghai and Beijing, spanning from Sunday 25th - Wednesday 28th March.

We are excited about establishing connections with Chinese Industry Officials, and striking up potential partnerships with Chinese companies and authors.”

Preparing yourself for interview success means understanding the complex nature of the interaction between interviewer and interviewee. How do you improve your chances and stand out? By understanding the dynamics of modern interviews and overcoming the challenges of it.


Brian McIvor’s essential insight into interview dynamics is available simply by clicking HERE - as featured in Business & Finance

The importance of performance feedback cannot be exaggerated. FEEDBACK is an essential component of a good Performance Management System (PMS) and is very necessary within the leadership task of the ongoing ‘directioning’ of team members.

Frank Scott-Lennon & Fergus Barry have co-written this article for Business & Finance - read it HERE

In tough times it is amazing that many firms do not look at their structure or coordination as a core and free source of real competitive advantage. The lessons are there from sport. Management, like sport, is now a science.

Read Fergus Barry’s recent Business & Finance article by clicking HERE

Doing business as usual no longer works, skilled project management is needed. Successful project management must take full account of the project life-cycle that we treat in this article. Click HERE for Dermot Duff’s Business & Finance article.

One of the critical underlying competencies of Emotional intelligence is the ability to have a realistic sense of optimism to motivate and encourage employees and to remain steadfast and resilient in the face of adversity. EQ is increasingly becoming a critical success factor for today’s leader. 

Deirdre Murray and Daire Coffey co-wrote this article for Business & Finance. Click HERE to read it.

This article lets us in on a sales process that will help your team avoid time wasters. Imagine getting 20% more productivity from your sales teams. Managing sales force productivity is a real challenge across organisations.

Read Ronan McNamara’s July 2011 article featured in Business & Finance by clicking HERE

Getting your message across effectively is an art that can be learned. Regardless of your profession, strong communication skills and the ability to deliver impactful presentations is vital in business.

You’ll find the full Business & Finance article, as written by Yvonne Farrell, by clicking HERE


More than anything else, good time management is about developing a series of powerful habits that help you to make the most of your day. The first step is becoming aware of what you are doing at the moment.

Find Julia Rowan’s entire article from the September 2011 issue of Business & Finance by clicking HERE 

Join Daire Coffey & Deirdre Murray, authors of ‘Emotional Intelligence EQ - A Leadership Imperative’, on THE STILETTO PROGRAMME as hosts of radio presenter, motivational speaker and author of “Shoeisms” - Veronica Canning, on Monday 13th February 2012 at 1.30pm, where they will be discussing Emotional Intelligence for Women: a vital tool for getting ahead! Listen in and discover 10 winning ways to enhance your success in 2012!

For more details contact 103.2 Dublin City fm or


“Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is widely accepted today as an essential prerequisite of effective leadership. During these turbulent times, the dynamic environment in which we operate has tested our ability to cut costs, increase sales, drive business forward whilst sustaining key relationships with all our stakeholders. Never before has EQ been such an integral part of our personal and business lives. This lively discussion is centered around Daire and Deirdre’s new book ‘Emotional Intelligence EQ - A Leadership Imperative’, and its relevance for women today. They demystify the concept of ‘emotional intelligence’, and will equip you with proven tips, techniques and steps to enhance your own EQ in 2012!

Join Daire Coffey & Deirdre Murray at the bi-annual conference of Life & Business Coaching Association of Ireland (LBCAI) on Friday November 11th where they will be speaking on Emotional Intelligence (EQ) - A Leadership Imperative! and find out 10 winning ways to enhance your success!
“Positivity in Coaching” is full of interesting speakers. Full day conference in the Sheldon Park Hotel Dublin 12. For more details contact


“Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is widely accepted today as an essential prerequisite of effective leadership. During these turbulent times, the dynamic environment in which we operate has tested our ability to cut costs, increase sales, drive business forward whilst sustaining key relationships with stakeholders. Never before has EQ been such an integral part of our personal and business lives. This highly practical workshop, which is structured around Daire and Deirdre’s new book ‘EQ - A Leadership Imperative’, will demystify the concept of ‘emotional intelligence’, bring you through some self assessment exercises and equip you with proven tips, techniques and steps to enhance your EQ.

By the end of this session, you will:

  • Have a better understanding about the concept of EQ
  • Get an opportunity to self assess your own EQ levels
  • Gain more clarity about your personal value system and sense of purpose
  • Learn about the 10 practical steps for achieving personal and professional success

This workshop is eligible for CPD (continuing professional development) and certificates will be available at the event.

One of our authors, Brian McIvor, has been putting together a series of video pieces around the area of career management, redundancy and interviewing techniques.

Click here to watch one of the latest videos in the series.

Fad and fashions are terrible tyrants!

For the last two years I have been bombarded by so-called internet gurus and marketeers urging a complete immersion in the Facebook and Twitter thing. My experience with most social media to date has been, frankly, disappointing. 

  • Firstly, in my experience, the type of people who are interested in serious personal and professional development are too busy to Facebook and Twitter being involved in serious jobs, careers and commitments.
  • Secondly,  my own analysis of my client base reveals that people find us through personal recommendations from previous clients. 
  • Thirdly, Facebook and Twitter seem better to suited to issues about  lifestyle, image, fashion, trends and quick comment.  Useful if you want to know what’s going on but less useful if you are struggling with who you really are and where you are going.

A real philosophical concern I have with social media is that on-line you can pretend to be who you want and project a false image of yourself. Making real connections with people is about trust and sharing the human experience. I have yet to hear somebody claim that social networking on the Net shows people at their best - yet my day to day-to-day contact with clients, families and friends shows me the richness and diversity of the human condition.

Another worry I have about social media is the people they exclude - those who don’t have access, computer skills or those with special needs. By the way has anybody tried to relate the amount of time sifting through all this trivial content to the actual tangible results? This thought was triggered by a course participant who said to me recently that he didn’t know where all the time went when he went on-line but wasn’t sure what he had achieved by doing so.

Where social media help is in Linked-In which is useful in finding and getting in contact with key professionals.

What is needed is a dose of really critical thinking on this one.  I have been accused of being a dinosaur: that’s no problem for me - dinosaurs ruled the earth for a very long time! Another point made to me recently is that the You Tube generation have to get the message in two minutes or they are not interested. I am not sure that someone whose attention span is that short is going to be that successful in their careers and their lives. Some  of the problems we have to deal with can take a lifetime to grapple with and understand.

A better alternative to the Tweet or the Facebook thing is to call in person or phone - whether you are connecting, networking or looking for a job. Offer your heart and your humanity. You’ll be amazed at the richness of the experience.

One of our authors, Yvonne Farrell, is the Lead Training Consultant at CA Training which was featured in the Sunday Business Post at the weekend.

CA Training offers bite-sized training programmes for recession hit firms who find it difficult to release key staff for 1 and 2 day training programmes.

Read the full article here

Authors Daire Coffey and Deirdre Murray will be conducting a radio interview on dublincityfm on Tues 3rd May at 1.30pm on mediascope with Ellen Gunning and available on podcast 12.00 midnight May 3rd.

We are delighted that Fiona Ashe has included our book, ‘Emotional Intelligence - A Leadership Imperative’, in her recent list ‘The Top 5 Books that every Entrepreneur should read’.

The list is published on the Bank Of ireland ‘All About Business’ website - click here to view

We’ve received some great feedback on our book ‘Emotional Intelligence - A Leadership Imperative’ which was published in late 2010. Daire and myself have conducted a number of seminars on the same topic in recent weeks. Here is a selection of the feedback we have received.

Speaking Testimonials for Deirdre and Daire’s book and seminar:

” Brilliant best event so far”      ” very well presented .. all useful.. great value “ 

” very informative”        “re-ignited my self-awareness” 

“ great interactive session”    ” absolutely great to avail of this workshop “ 

“excellent value and timing”    “excellent .. informative and inspirational” 

“Fantastic introduction to EQ”    “Should be a whole day” 

“EQ made very accessible… well done”    “references to books and research great” “engaging speakers.” 

Niamh Shiells Chair - Association for Coaching Ireland, on behalf of Seminar  Delegates, Belfast Feb 2011


“Thank you so much for your time yesterday evening at ESB HQ.  I really enjoyed the talk and found it very informative and was fully engaged throughout the session.”

Maria (Ria) Kennedy IPFMA Ireland General Services Manager
Citi Shared Services


 “I have been reading your book and I am very impressed.  It is a very informative and yet concise guide to EQ.  I will recommend that each participant receive a copy of your book.  It is very competitively priced too!

Well done to both you and Daire.  Another benefit for me is the reference section at the back- some new resources that I haven’t yet checked out, so I will be adding to my library!”

Karen Wiseman Career & Executive Coach Goal Focused Solutions


“Thank you again for a very informative and enjoyable workshop last night and I am really looking forward to reading the book.”

Mari O’Leary Managing Director - O’Leary PR


“Daire and Deirdre’s presentation was excellent! Thanks again for a really interesting and engaging seminar yesterday.”

Angela Wilson CMD Consulting 


“Thank you again for a wonderful seminar and your good wishes.  It was 
very evident how passionate you both are about the area and its 
potential not only in the business area but in helping individuals 
develop themselves.”

Marie Lord Director Lord Associates


“Hope your book is generating the interest it deserves…..really accessible, good tools, and great to read…..something to dip in and out of.”

Grattan Donnelly Director at Develop Potential


“May I say how much I enjoyed your recent workshop in ESB on Emotional Intelligence.  I found it was one of the most enlightening one hour sessions that I have encountered recently. I work mainly with Management in terms of their development and training and your book has already proved invaluable to me in terms of extra tips and techniques.”

Catherine Tyrell Instructor LearningZone Accenture


“I certainly did enjoy your talk last night – and well done for being such an inspiration to all of us!”

Donla Twomey Executive Coach STEP Performance Group Ireland


“Congratulations on a great workshop this evening. I really enjoyed it. EQ is of huge interest to me. I am half way through the book already and am finding it a very practical guide to EQ. Well done and thank you!

Eadine Hickey of Eadine Hickey Coaching - Executive Coach to Executive and Full-time MBA’s at Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business UCD


“Thank you for last night. It was inspiring and very motivating.”

Bill Mullally Executive Coach


“I believe that Deirdre and Daire are a powerful combination as speakers and teachers!”

John Shields Executive Coach ABACO


 “I really enjoyed your presentation and have finished the book – I found it very informative and enjoyable. Wishing you both every success in the future.”

Wendy Mc Culla Owner at Aspire Learning & Development


“I really enjoyed the AC session on Emotional Intelligence this morning. Thank you for your input and enthusiasm- and for the book which I look forward to reading.”

Paula Wilson Wilson Sloan Consulting

Leading in Tough Times. Is there a place for the Emotionally-Intelligent Leader?


“Emotional capitalists represent leaders with the advanced capacity of being able to guide people to action from within by engaging the prime movers of behaviour – emotions.”

 Dr. Martyn Newman

Today’s leader is faced with constant change and the increasing challenge of having to continuously do more with less. Following the recent ‘bailout,’ Ireland has not only to manage its own budget deficit of €15 billion but as a direct result of the banking crisis, it is also obliged to draw down €90 billion in funding from the IMF and Central European Bank to further capitalise the banks.

Leaders have an onerous task in front of them: cutting operation costs, managing daily cash flows with a microscope, trimming margins and severing headcount, as well as seeking to retain loyal customers and winning new business in innovative and creative ways. Very often, this type of scenario calls for leaders who can ‘step to the plate’ to get us through tough times.

This task-focused activity, while absolutely critical, can often override the human factors involved. People’s lives have been decimated: one or two-parent families may be jobless; mortgages remain unpaid with homeowners in negative equity; crèche fees are now a luxury and people are left with a sense of uncertainty and despair about their won and their children’s future.

People want strong leaders that they can trust to give people a sense of hope and inspiration for the future despite the current pressures around them. Outstanding leaders are not only highly competent at what they do but how they do it. They are emotionally-intelligent leaders. Emotional Intelligence, (EQ), is the “difference that makes the difference” and is even more critical to steer us through these tough times.

We outline 5 winning ways to help you lead with emotional intelligence in facing the tough challenges ahead: 

1.    Be authentic

Emotionally-intelligent leaders are able to remain optimistic and resilient even in the face of setbacks. They are authentic and take responsibility especially when times are tough. However, that does not mean trying to emulate someone else’s style that is not your own. Amgen CEO and President Kevin Sharer, Jack Welch’s assistant in the 1980s, saw the downside of people wanting to model GE’s strong charismatic leader. “Everyone wanted to be like Jack,” he explains. “Leadership has many voices. You need to be who you are, not try to emulate somebody else  


Emotionally-intelligent leaders act authentically in everything they do. They are highly aware of their own personal leadership style and the impact their behaviour has on others. At the same time, they are able to adapt their behaviour depending on the context of the situation they are faced with and in their relationships with others. They are “authentic chameleons” and can readily adapt to deal with the context and situation they are faced with (Goffee and Jones, 2006).  

Leaders must create an environment where people can see leadership by example. As Bill George tells us, “If there are sacrifices to be made – and there will be – then the leaders should step up and make the greatest sacrifices themselves. Crises are the real test of a leader’s True North” (George, 2007). When Carlos Ghosn was faced with a difficult turnaround situation in Nissan in 2000, he was the first one to accept full responsibility by announcing that he would resign if the change programme was not effective. Through his direct involvement and open engagement with staff on the ground, he was able to minimise resistance to change and get the company back on track


2. Articulate a Compelling Vision:

Emotionally-intelligent leaders not only require the competence and strategic foresight to handle these complex problems but must also have the ability to clearly articulate and engage people with a compelling vision and values to help them succeed, especially in tough times.

Many leaders are promoted on the basis of their technical competence but if they are unable to engage and communicate in an open and transparent way with their teams, they are doomed to fail. Ronald Heifetz, in his book, ‘Leadership with No Easy Answers,’ argues that the real heroism of leadership involves having the courage to face reality and mobilising others to tackle tough challenges (Heifetz, 2004).  

When President Barack Obama stepped up on the podium in Chicago’s Grant Park, on a crisp, November evening in 2008 to address the vast audience before him, he spent only the first 7 minutes talking about his campaign. In the remainder of his address, he was able to tap into the emotional needs of the American people and urge them to support change, “Yes, we can!” Obama clearly demonstrated the ability to provide clarity and hope in times of adversity. EQ is about inspiring and tapping into people’s values so that they want to move towards the new vision with you.


3.  Create an Environment in which People can Succeed:

In times of crisis, people are unsure and uncertain about their future and this may result in a dip in their performance levels. Successful leaders clarify objectives and expectations and provide an environment which enables people to work to their full potential, by encouraging and supporting them to be at their best. Leaders must enable their teams to work at their best and empower them with the responsibility and authority to make decisions about things that directly affect them.


Goffee and Jones, (2006), pointedly ask, “Why should anyone be led by you?” and wait for knees to shake! They firmly believe that leaders cannot operate without the commitment and loyalty of their followers. In their studies, they identified 4 key elements that followers want from leaders:


  •  Authenticity: there’s no point trying to emulate     someone else - lead authentically and be yourself
  •  Significance: provide meaning and significance in the     work people do
  •  Excitement: inspire passion and enthusiasm to     follow a shared vision
  •  Community: create an atmosphere of camaraderie     and trust


4.  Connect on an Emotional Level with your Employees:

As many staff at this time watch their friends and colleagues pack their cardboard boxes and take their beloved yucca plants out of the office, they can feel like ‘survivors’ rather than employees. The leader must recognise their pain, understand and empathise with what they are going through and be able to motivate and inspire them to rebuild the company for the future. As Daniel Pink tells us, there is now a clear shift from ‘left brain’, logical and analytical abilities, to an increasing focus on ‘right brain’ skills such as inventiveness, empathy and instilling meaning and purpose among employees (Daniel Pink, author of ‘A Whole New Mind’).

Martyn Newman calls this new style of leadership, ‘Emotional Capitalism.’ He argues that emotionally-intelligent leaders “create value and influence through their capacity to identify with the emotional experience and aspirations of their people, and build shared identities with them” (Newman, 2007).


5.   Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

In many crises, heads go down and concentrate on the task in hand. However, the first thing to diminish is the level of open communication with staff. Emotionally-intelligent leaders are excellent communicators and can relate well to people at every level. Their employees are fully committed to working with the leader rather than for him/her.

Former BP boss, Tony Hayward, was severely criticised in his handling over the BP Deepwater Horizon rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst offshore oil spill in U.S history, which killed 11 workers and destroyed the lives of local citizens.

Despite his best efforts at communicating with the wider public and with congress, his demeanour lacked passion and empathy with the grieving families who had suffered and the lives of those whose livelihoods had been threatened. When asked for a comment on the crisis, having recently attended a glitzy yacht race around England’s Isle of Wight, he told Louisiana residents that no one wanted to resolve the crisis as much as he did because “I’d like my life back.” The rest is history!  



While the traditional cognitive, analytical and technical skills are still vitally important, they are no longer enough in today’s challenging environment. EQ is increasingly becoming a critical success factor for today’s leader. Balance is the key! With a combination of both IQ and EQ skills, you can become a much more ‘rounded’ and emotionally-intelligent leader.



How Leadership and Optimism shone in the Chilean Mines


“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

                                                                                                                              Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

Imagine being buried alive, 2,000 feet below ground, isolated from friends and family, in a sea of perpetual blackness, melting in 90 degree humidity, covered in red slimy mud from weeping cave walls, and to top it off – you’ve a screaming toothache!

Much will be written on and commented upon about the happy outcome of “Los 33” – the brave Chilean miners who united both the Chilean people and the rest of the world in unyielding hope for their survival. It is hard to believe that 1 in 5 people witnessed this ‘real life’ and authentic ‘reality show’ on live TV, as opposed to the contrived and mind-numbing versions we witness on many channels.

They were rescued after 69 days. However, their ‘real’ rescue occurred from the moment their foreman Luis Urzua, or Don Lucho as he is familiarly known, descended as part of his normal shift cycle. As one of the most experienced miners in the group, he said he did to not all the miners very well, yet he was able to inspire hope and motivation amongst this group under the most extreme circumstances.

He clicked immediately into gear once the dust had settled after the collapse and set up a ‘mini-society, identifying the key strengths id each individual and assigning them specific roles and responsibilities. He broke the unwieldy group of 33 into 3 teams of 11 and implemented immediate survival techniques to ensure than when help did reach them - that they would be alive to tell the tale. At the time of rescue on August 17th, they were down to one spoonful of tuna every two days!

“Los 33,” have been praised for their exacting discipline, courage, patience and good humour. They had to wait 17 days in this unyielding darkness not knowing if they would ever be rescued. Whilst they had their conflicts, as you would expect, Don Lucho encouraged them every morning to trust in fate, “if they find us, that’s great but if they don’t, that’s that.” He gave each team routine tasks to perform and each person had a dedicated role of medic, presenter, comic, pastor and poet.

In these difficult times, we ask is there a role for emotional intelligence in business, when pressures around us make us keep our head down and we focus more on the tasks ahead rather than the great team of people around us. As former head of HR in RBS states, “People are pivotal in the recovery - we need to get them to do a lot more and to do different things in different ways.”

We can often succumb to negative thoughts of ‘doom and gloom’ but this only exacerbates a negative climate. Like Don Lucho, we have to trust that things will work out and despite the difficulties we will get through this recession – we’ve done it before! 

Research by the Emotional Intelligence Consortium among business executives found that optimistic Insurance sales agents with high EQ, sold over twice the amount of policies than their weaker counterparts.

Optimism and resilience are critical for leaders in these challenging times as studies show that it is those who continue to adopt a positive mindset even in the face of setbacks, will rebound quickest in this recession. One leading entrepreneur, President of Alltech Biotechnology, Dr. Pearse Lyons, described himself recently as “a recession heretic!” This is so admirable in tough times as it requires a tenacity and steadfastedness to grab hold of your vision and dream and stick with it, despite the obstacles.

Here are 6 key steps to developing your sense of optimism and resilience in these challenging times:

1. See The Glass as ‘Half Full’ not ‘Half Empty:

Are you a person who sees the glass half full or half empty? How do you experience setbacks – do you see them as problems or challenges? Are you generally motivated to continue, even when the going gets really tough? As Martin Seligman, leading expert on emotional intelligence and author of ‘Learned Optimism,’ tells us, “optimists tend to live longer, have fewer illnesses, have lower blood pressure and are ultimately more successful in their lives.”

Do you see the glass as half full or half empty?       

Leaders with high optimism and resilience have a ‘can do’ attitude and always see the ‘glass half full’ and maintain a positive attitude even in tough times. They recognise when they are in a difficult situation but adopt a ‘can do’ approach in dealing with it.  They tend to be more resilient and look at setbacks as learning opportunities for personal growth.

As the football manager of Crystal Palace FC Iain Dowie described his team, “they have that quality of ‘bouncebackability,’ and maintain a strong sense of realism.

2. Be Determined To Succeed Even In The Face Of Adversity:

Aung San Suu Kyi, a political hero in Burma, is due to be released from six years house arrest once formal elections, from which she was banned from participating in, have taken place. She has remained an international symbol of heroic and peaceful resistance in the constant face of oppression.  Despite being isolated from her family and friends and under forced ‘house arrest,’ she remains resolute in her fight for democracy for the Burmese people. The inspiration and determination she has shown deservedly earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

3. Don’t Take Things Personally:

Too often, we get defensive when things don’t go our way or become demoralised by setbacks. Studies have shown that pessimists tend to take setbacks personally, while optimists don’t!

A pessimist might moan and say, “I’ll never get the job I want!” whereas the optimist will put it in context and say, “this job wasn’t really suited to me.  I’ll be more specific as to what I can offer next time!” 

 “Accept the things you cannot change, have the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  

R. Neibuhr           

It is important to reframe setbacks or problems as ‘challenges’. Every situation can be viewed from different perspectives.  The word ‘problem’ may cause you to feel immobilised, while the word ‘solution’ will make you feel energised and empowered. It is just like two sides of the same coin!

4. Ask yourself, “What Can I Learn From This?”

Sometimes, we don’t need anyone else to criticise us as we can make a great job if it ourselves! We need to monitor our ‘self-talk’ and be conscious when we are lambasting ourselves for doing something wrong.

There is no such thing as failure, only feedback! Failure is an essential ingredient for high achievement.  In the words of golfer Padraig Harrington:

“If you are looking for average, then try not to make mistakes, but if you are looking to be great, you’ve got to make loads of mistakes.”

5. Use Positive Language

Thoughts, whether positive or negative, tend to attract more of the same. So by dwelling on happy, optimistic and hopeful thoughts and expectations, you’ll increase your tendency to develop and nurture a positive attitude.   As Jack Canfield of ‘The Success Principles’ reminds us, “Pay attention to what you focus on, as it may happen!”

6. Develop an attitude of gratitude!

Often we let the most important things in life slip by and take them for granted: our health, our wonderful families, our supportive colleagues, your committed workforce. Be grateful for what you have already. By developing an ‘attitude of gratitude’ you will begin to appreciate what you have and immediately put things into a more positive perspective. What are you grateful for today?


One of the critical underlying competencies of Emotional intelligence is the ability to have a realistic sense of optimism to motivate and encourage employees and to remain steadfast and resilient in the face of adversity. EQ is increasingly becoming a critical success factor for today’s leader. With continued positive inspiration shown by leaders in the business community, Ireland Inc. needs to dig deep and reinvent itself to prosper in the longer term.


Managers and staff in the health services face a very difficult operating environment.  Unlike the private sector, they are not in a position to close the door when demand exceeds the capacity of the service provided. The result is that performance on key indicators such as waiting lists and HCAIs, can be unsatisfactory. 

It is natural to look outside the organisation to see if there are better ways of operating.  Leading-edge, world class and best practice are the catch phrases attached to organisations which seem to be operating well above average in any particular sector. Management gurus, international consultancies and prominent academics convert the excellent practices of these organisations into commercial capital by proposing them as the next big idea. Many of these ideas are well such as MBO, Six Sigma and TQM.  However, how can we know whether the next big idea is capable of making a significant contribution or is simply a management fad?  

Fads become fashionable because they appeal to our hope that there is an easier way to be successful. Search Google for “Spotting Management Fads” and you will find a Harvard Business School article by Danny Miller and Jon Hartwick outlining research which they completed.  They researched 1,700 articles over a seventeen year period to identify business ideas that rose to sudden prominence only to fall rapidly into obscurity. Does anyone remember quality circles? 

What then is the secret of fads fleeting success? Miller and Hartwick identify eight characteristics that make fads appealing.  They include the fact that a fad operates to a simple, prescriptive formula which is in tune with the spirit of the times.  The one-size-fits-all nature of fads promises results in ways that are novel but not radical.   

Fads are easy to sign up for. They use nice, acceptable language and can usually be overlaid on the existing organisation, making it look good. They also have the effect of allowing organisations claim that they are made a bold move forward. However,fundamental change programmes such as diversification, introduction of shared services and Six Sigma working require more radical and invasive interventions.  That is not to say that fads are of no use.  They can be beneficial in unfreezing an organisation, implementing positive values and providing a sense that things will never be the same again.

How to spot a fad is an interesting question. It is tempting to rely on the research on which the new big idea is based. However, research may mislead as is amply illustrated in a review of the Jim Collins’ management classic “Good to Great.” This book was developed as a result of exhaustive research aimed at identifying what causes some organisations to achieve greatness.  The review is included in a research paper by Philip Rosenzweig which is easily found in another Google search. It completely debunks the impressive reputation that Collins’ book (and many other comparable texts) have built up.  He refers to the ‘halo effect’ that surrounds successful organisations and the false inferences that ensue, resulting in a circular argument and a distortion of causal relationships. 

The lesson arising from these studies is clear.  Firstly, until an organisation has given its existing system every chance of success, it should not go looking for a panacea for all its ills.  Build on existing strengths such as systems, expertise and commitment.  Eliminate problem areas such as absenteeism, poor quality, duplication of activities and needless waste.  There is no reason to believe that an organisation that is unable to manage its existing systems and structures effectively will be able to implement the fundamental change required to transform organisation performance in the future.    


Is there any point in thinking about your career in a recession?

Brian has written an article for the June edition of Business and Finance on why it is important to focus on your career during a recession.  The reasons for this are explained and he talks us through what to expect from a career during a recession and indeed how to go about finding a career and landing it if you are unemployed.  It is not easy and one must adapt both their career ambitions and their personal ambitions also.

See more on this matter and read the article here

Our web designers, Web Together, were recently nominated for a Web Designer Excellence award.  The nomination was based on three website designs submitted, one of which was the Management Briefs website.

The Net Visionary Awards are run by the Irish Internet Association and they attract a high volume of entries from internet businesses throughout Ireland across over twenty award categories.

One of our authors, Brian Mc Ivor has recently had an article published in the Spring 2010 issue of Training and Development magazine.

The article description is as follows:


A career could be defined as a plan or blueprint of your working life. under pressure to keep work and money coming in many are ignoring the bigger picture. This advice will help  you get back on track. 

Download here

The latest edition of Business and Finance includes a ‘Management Clinic’ than focuses on Social Media and how it can be used by business.

The article sets out the key considerations for business owners and business leaders before getting involved in Social Media.  It also aims to helps businesses understand different levels of engagement with a view to finding the one most appropriate.

The article is written by Ronan Morris who is an author here at Management Briefs and whose book, co-written with Garry Hynes, is due for publication later this month.

The article appears on pages 58 and 59. You can download the article here.

‘Does my ego look big in this?’ by Julia Rowan appears in the Spring edition of Training and Development, the Journal of the Irish Institute of Training and Development.

It takes a light-hearted look at the fact that trainers are often great at giving advice – but not following it!

View the article here.

London Book fair logo

Management Briefs will be at the London Book Fair this month at Earls Court from 19th April to 21st April.

It is set to be another exciting and successful book fair for us.  Feel free to contact us if you are interested in our books or would like to meet with us.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Ronan Morris who is the author of our upcoming Marketing Skills book appeared recently on the very popular podcast “This Week in Ireland” which is hosted by David O’Connell.

He was talking about the general economic climate and how this was affecting the website business he co-founded, ‘Web Together’.  

Listen to the interview here

Ronan’s piece follows an interview with Joan Burton TD at about 57 minutes into the broadcast.

Brian McIvor will be appearing on TV3’s Morning Show every two weeks during April and Early May. The first piece goes out on April 6. Other spots will follow on 19 April, 4 May  and finally, on 18 May. Items covered will include how to re-evaluate your career and find a job during the recession, how to approach employers, how to construct and place CVs and manage interviews successfully.

Yu can watch these helpful workshops on the the Morning Shows website

The items will be available to view for a few weeks afterwards.  Brian will be alternating on the show with a psychiatrist who will deal with ways of managing stress and self-confidence during redundancy.

One of our non-executive Directors, Eoin Goulding recently appeared in an article on Silicon Republic which is Ireland’s Technology News service.

The article talks about the significant revenue growth at his IT security firm, Integrity Solutions.

The full text of the article is available here:

Author Brian McIvor will feature regularly on TV3’s 11am Morning Show over the next months as a contributor on Career Change and Job Search techniques.

You can check out their website:

The website also has placed an article of mine to help interviewees who might be nervous at the prospect of a critical job interview. See for yourself:

I have been asked by the Marketing Institute of Ireland to provide some content on their website for members of the Institute who need to change careers. The material will appear on their website over the next year or so and will feature various aspects of career and job search relevant to their members. You can check out the first of these on

Some ideas seem so simple and obvious that it’s hard to think that they weren’t always there. In his 1954 book, The Practice of Management, Peter Drucker introduced the world to the concept of management by objectives – the idea that organisations should set long-term goals to be realised by managers in more immediate stages. This concept has gained a steady foothold and most organisations now have some kind of performance management system. Concepts like key result areas, performance indicators and balanced scorecard now form part of every businessperson’s lexicon.

SMART goals, too, have come into the lingo. The received wisdom being that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. (Heck, you can even make your goals SMARTER simply by appending Exciting and Recorded). The theory behind SMART goals is admirable. They help turn important, big-picture, vague aspirations (like ‘improve quality’) into clear goals (like ‘achieve a quality certification’). The goal can then be broken down into tasks (like ‘review existing procedures’, ‘write a report’ etc.). As the goals have cascaded from on high – the whole organisation now pushes in the same direction. Right?

Well, possibly. The old ‘what gets measured, gets done’ axiom now comes into play and each individual employee will actually be pushing in the direction of achieving their own SMART goals. The question is - will the SMART goal help achieve the big-picture aspiration?

An example might help here. Peter manages the customer service department of a technical company. Seven people report to him. They work intense, 12-hour days – fire-fighting, fixing, patching and trying to head off disaster. In my book, the fundamental purpose of a customer service department is to keep (or make) customers happy. Happy customers mean repeat business and recommendations. Peter and his team fixed problem after problem for customers. But there was no going back to source, no root and branch analysis of why problems were occurring, no attempt made to prevent problems rather than fix them.

It turned out that the team’s goal was to ensure a 70% customer satisfaction rating from every customer that they interacted with. They were just scraping this target. The goal was certainly SMART. But it was not clever – it didn’t drive the right behaviour. In fact, it was prolonging the problem . In my work, I am often confronted by examples of SMART goals driving crazy behaviour.

Take, for example, John, a salesman. His company wanted to grow market share. One of John’s SMART goals was to increase the average number of orders taken per week from 15 to 18. Fairly predictably, he jumped on any opportunity to split customer orders.

Or Jackie, a banker, who spent as much time and effort issuing a 3-month bridging loan as she did issuing a 15-year commercial mortgage. Why? Because her ‘SMART’ goal was based on the amount of money that she lent – not the return to the bank.

Perhaps the answer is to slice and dice the SMART goal ever more finely, making them still more detailed and measurable. Or maybe the answer is to look at performance management more broadly – ensuring that employees are engaged and motivated to do their best, with or without written goals?

I’m actually a fan of SMART goals, for lots of reasons:

  • They motivate people. Research shows us that people with clear (preferably written down) goals will typically achieve more than those who are (merely!) asked to do their best
  • They create a developmental focus – goals are normally set around things that we are trying to do better
  • They provide clarity about what is strategically important and stop us being busy fools
  • They are cascaded down the line so that every employee has a clear line of sight to the organisation’s strategy. Cascaded vertically (down through the levels) and horizontally (across the whole organisation – with people in different areas working interdependently), goals ensure that all employees (and, yes, Directors) are pushing in the same direction.
  • They create a performance culture, effectively saying, ‘how you perform is what matters here’ (not how long you’ve been here or who you know)
  • In some organisations, they provide a basis for rewarding people (but that’s the subject of another article, if not a book)

But there is a downside. Apart from being difficult to write, SMART goals can lead to a string of dysfunctional behaviours. In addition to those mentioned above, they can foster problems such as inappropriate competition, lack of co-operation and focussing solely the recorded goals to the detriment of other important projects, tasks and relationships.

So, what’s a manager to do?

  • Get in close to employees. You want employees who want the organisation to thrive – whether or not they have written goals. Conversations about performance – including goal-setting, delegation, giving feedback, coaching – should be happening all the time. Quality conversations ensure that performance management is a meaningful process – not just a once-a-year tick-box exercise.
  • If you write SMART goals, make sure that your employees understand the spirit of the goal; what you are strategically trying to do. The SMART goal (which is the letter of the goal) is achieved when it contributes to achieving the bigger picture.
  • Think about the behaviour that the SMART goal is likely to drive – is that what you intended?
  • Make sure that the performance management document is a living, breathing document and that goals are updated in line with market/environmental/internal changes
  • Make sure that everybody knows what the strategy is. Sending people an emailed copy of a presentation is not sharing the strategy. I often find that the top management team tell me that everybody in the organisation is aware of the strategy. Employees down the line will tell a very different story.

‘If you’re so SMART, why ain’t you rich?’ was an old put down. Perhaps they were SMART but not clever.

The Irish Institute for Training and Development represents members involved with HR, training and development in Ireland.  Their publication, Training and Development is published four times a year.

As a training consultant, I am constantly surprised and inspired by the participants that I meet.  This article “Looking for inspiration?  Listen…” is (hopefully) a light-hearted attempt to make the serious point that trainers teach the talk - participants have got to walk it.

You can download the article by clicking here

Business & FinanceManagement Briefs are pleased to announce our association with Business & Finance and we are very hopeful that this association will benefit both brands in the years ahead. Business & Finance is Ireland’s premier business magazine and their experience of writing for managers, business owners and professionals will be a boon to Management Briefs, whose Authors will in turn write for various issues of Business & Finance.

Both Management Briefs and Business & Finance are committed to bringing up-to-date news and best practice knowledge and skill to their respective readerships and it is envisaged over time that extensive cross over between these readerships will be achieved.

Blog ManagementIf you have recently had a blog installed on your business website, you may find this helpful. The purpose of this article is to help you ensure that your Blog:

  • Delivers a return on your (mostly time) investment
  • Improves the image and credibility of your business
  • Drives extra traffic to your website

Why have a Blog?

  • It allows your business comment in an authoritative way about issues affecting your clients and your industry.
  • It enhances the credibility of the business and of individual staff members within the business.
  • It can help drive additional traffic to your website.
  • The articles written can also be re-used to set up a monthly newsletter.

Why your Blog needs to be actively managed

  • The simple reason is that, in our experience, it its not managed it won’t be regularly updated.  Not only do you stop getting the benefits from your Blog, you in fact can begin to damage your reputation as potential customers see that you have lost interest in keeping it up-to-date.  They might assume that your interest in them as customers may be similarly short lived.
  • To illustrate this, if at any point the Blog becomes too time consuming to keep up-to-date we normally recommend removing it from your site.

Benefiting from your Blog – Simple Tips

  • It is likely that you will be asking several staff members to make regular contributions to the Blog.  If you don’t clearly explain the short and long term benefits for them and the business they will see this as an additional burden they can do without.

ACTION: Allow 15 minutes at your next team meeting to explain why a Blog is important and why it is on your website.

  • As the business owner, you need to make the Blog as ‘self-managing’ as possible.  Otherwise it will prove to be a burden for you.  The Blog should feature as an agenda item at regular management/team meetings. You also need to delegate the writing of articles to appropriate members of staff.

ACTION: Include ‘Blog Articles’ as an agenda item at all management meetings

ACTION: Decide who will write articles and brief them accordingly

ACTION: Agree number of articles required per month and then define a schedule that everyone can sign up to.  (Ideally the Blog should have 1 new article per week but certainly no less than 2 per month).

  • Try to build up a small bank of articles so that you are never short of an article.  This really reduces the stress on everyone.

ACTION: Ask for 2 articles per person to get things started.  Then hold the extra one back and release as required.  Obviously bearing in mind that some articles need to be more current than others.

  • Like all parts of business, you will need to apply a quality control measure.  You should ask to review all articles before they go live on the site.

ACTION: Ask contributors to email their article to you before it goes live and to also give you a certain number of days to review it.

  • Why not use the articles you have written to make a monthly email newsletter?  And if you do, invest in a newsletter design and system that fits your overall online look and feel.

ACTION: Assess whether an email newsletter would be suitable for your business.

NearFMFrank had the great pleasure of being interviewed by Michael Sharp on NEAR FM’s “Cover-to-Cover” book programme on the evening of March 4 2010. The interview focus was the upcoming Dublin Book Festival and the centerpiece of the programme was an interview with Alan Hayes, Artistic Director of the Dublin Book Fair. Frank and Alan had met at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2009 and it was then that Alan asked Frank if he would contribute to a workshop on Redundancy at the Dublin Book Fair. Frank’s comments during the interview highlighted the need for those made redundant to ensure that they took full account of their need to use their support network to get over the initial shock and to analyse their position well before “moving on”. Michael Sharp was particularly interested in pursuing how individuals in redundancy situations could be helped to review their future job opportunities and Frank clarified that one of the central themes in the book tries to get individuals to focus first on their skill sets just in case they may wish to shift career. Frank went on to show how one could focus on one’s Roles and Achievements in an effort to broaden out the skills that one wishes to emphasise in any search for a new career and/or job. The interview concluded with some helpful tips on the interview process, more of which can be found in the book “Redundancy - A Development Opportunity for You!”

Dublin Book FestivalFrank partook in a Panel discussion at a Redundancy workshop at the Dublin Book Festival on March 8 2010. The other panelists were Lisa O’Callaghan and Andrew MaCann and the discussion was chaired by Zoe Faulder of Blackhall. Frank was particularly interested in Lisa’s thoughts about her book “Surviving the Axe” in which she describes her own experience of being made redundant. It was fascinating to hear her deeply personal account of this trauma and particularly to hear the tips that she was providing for others who might find themselves in a similar situation.

Slot Machines, Lucky Number 7Crazy as it may seem, website content is often not given the attention that it deserves when a website is being launched.  There can be so much thought that goes into the design, the layouts and the functionality that the text is thrown together at the last minute.  Often the first or second draft of the text is what ends up on the site.

In order to have high quality text content on your site, it needs particular focus and it needs multiple iterations to get it right.  Here are 7 Tips that might help you if you are planning a new website or if you are reviewing your existing website:

  • Prioritise quality over quantity. Your content should be readable, relevant and reviewed regularly. Don’t spend time writing content that no one will ever end up reading.
  • Plan the layout of the content.  The more content you have on your website, the more important it is to plan the layout.
  • The hierarchy needs to be intuitive to a visitor and content needs to be easy to find. If they need to spend time figuring out your site, this will mean they will either leave or at best will spend less time reading what you want them to read.
  • Stay focused on your online goals.  Write content that supports these goals.
  • Do not use the full width of the screen.  Wider screen sizes are now being used in more browsers.
  • Don’t be tempted to use the space for text.  It is just too wide for the human eye to comfortably cope with, so visitors will not read the full text.
  • Avoid using excessive links.  Particularly, in the body text. They can distract from the flow of your text.

Keep an eye on keywords. Our advice is not to write text specifically aimed at search terms.  It will appear unnatural.  It’s better to write good quality content and then review it to see if some words can be added or changed to improve the optimisation for search engines.

HR and Recruitment Ireland was launched in 2007 and is now available online.

This article “You’ve Got Me - But Who’s Got You’ - Developing Resilience in HR Professionals” grew out of a workshop on building resilience that myself and colleague Jonathan Logue have presented in many companies. The workshop really gets people thinking about how they cope with difficulties. The article attempts to do the same thing.

You can view the article by clicking here.