Bryan Whitefield's Blog (95)

Invite a chicken to lunch

I have always been fascinated by the old question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” According to…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on May 24, 2017 at 2:57am — No Comments

Support functions and insurance companies: A lot in common?

Last blog I said it was good to be common and pointed you to my latest paper on…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on May 10, 2017 at 1:16am — No Comments

It's good to be common


Why do I say it’s good to be common? You aren’t common and you know it. Everyone of us is special.

I am a member…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on April 21, 2017 at 3:30am — No Comments

Experts Need Advocates

No one doubts your expertise. Staff know when they need to come to you. They know they won’t get their budget approved without engaging with finance, recruit without HR, get the final approval without compliance and on the list goes. The problem is their perception of what you do. Here is a list I would love to add to if you have a good one and time to reply:…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on April 7, 2017 at 6:26am — No Comments

Your sphere of influence should be more pear-shaped

I have been working with an organisation recently helping them to build a tribe amongst a tribe. It has been a joy watching staff self-organise to fulfil a common goal whilst having some fun along the way.

What they are doing, however, isn’t easy. They are trying to influence a much larger tribe as a very small…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on March 15, 2017 at 11:32pm — No Comments

Check your motivation – you might be blocking something out

I was listening to a couple of people on the radio this week in the US talking about their support for the Red or the Blue side of politics. It is a concern how some people want their side to win so badly, they simply don’t care what the other side says and will excuse their side for many misgivings. That reminded me…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on March 1, 2017 at 12:26am — No Comments

Press down on the accelerator, don’t design a new car

This year has started similarly to last with plenty on the airwaves about disruption and the need for innovation and THE strategy before someone else creates a category killer.

The truth is, for every new strategy success story, there is a mountain of non-success stories. Not failures, just failures to come up with THE killer strategy so you become one of those organisations everyone uses as an example of innovation and disruption.

Also, most organisations are not…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on February 1, 2017 at 5:43am — No Comments

Why do they dislike us so?

Recently I was speaking to someone who works as a back-office advisor in one of the big global banks. We were talking about the challenge the back-office often has in getting their point across to the “producers” in organisations. He said the nickname for his team members is BPOs which is an acronym for Business Prevention Officer. Oh, why do they dislike us so?

He then went on to say that the bank was fined last year for doing deals remarkably similar to the deals they were…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on January 19, 2017 at 3:18am — No Comments

How are your Christmas acts of RECIPROCITY going for you?

A little while back I blogged about using pull strategies over push strategies when looking to influence and ultimately persuade decision makers in your business (Stop Pushing and Start Pulling – It’s more satisfying). The easiest of the three pull strategies (Desirability, Likeability and Reciprocity) is RECIPROCITY. The act of giving a gift which creates a…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on December 21, 2016 at 12:20am — No Comments

Your team needs another team

In my last blog I spoke of your organisation as a market place where you and your team compete for resources. Those resources include money, people and the most valuable resource, people’s time. What you need is another team competing on your behalf. A team of advocates located in the key business units you want to engage with to ensure the valuable resources you need, you get.

In Seth Godin’s book Tribe he describes how he did just that in 1984 at the age of 24 after he…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on November 30, 2016 at 5:36am — No Comments

Your organisation is a market place.

I have had a few discussions lately about the importance of being crystal clear on why we do what we do. Our purpose. The reason this is so important is beautifully described by Simon Sinek in his book Start with Why: “…people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.

The same applies within your organisation. An organisation is in effect a market place. People are trading resources such as budget, people, assets and their time based on their perceptions of the value it…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on November 10, 2016 at 2:14am — No Comments

Go on. Fix it until it is really broken.

I am reminded time and again, in organisation after organisation, of the tendency to take a basic product or service and over complicate it until it’s “broken”. And if you want examples, look no further than support functions in organisations. Whether they be finance, procurement, risk or records management. Unless you have pro-actively resisted the temptation, every end user will tell you, “the system is over complicated”.

If your system is over complicated, your challenge to…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on October 21, 2016 at 12:31am — No Comments

What you want to say Vs. What you need to say

Yesterday I was talking to “Phil”, who I mentor, about how well he was standing in the shoes of others when working with them.  Understanding them helps you to advise them.

Phil was telling me about a meeting he had with someone from audit that came asking for his help.  He soon realised that they were not…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on October 6, 2016 at 3:00am — No Comments

Stop Pushing and Start Pulling – It’s more satisfying

I remember my days running chemical plants for what was then ICI. I was a shift supervisor on the PA Plant at Rhodes. It is now a major shopping and residential apartment area. The world progresses and so have I. I hope you have too and you have become more a puller than a pusher.

When you run a continuous process chemical plant, the money is in keeping it online 24/7 and running as close to maximum production as you can. However, just like we need a holiday, the plant needs downtime.…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on September 13, 2016 at 9:20am — No Comments

Play your Trump Card

Whether you love him or hate him, it must be said that Donald Trump has been a master in getting some people to listen to him, to agree with him, even like what he has to say.  He cuts through all the clutter and paints a picture that many people want to see.

No matter who you are advising, your children, your…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on August 10, 2016 at 9:32am — No Comments

Don’t just be a colour-ineror

When I was a wee kid working on a group project, we would always ask “Who is going to be the colour-ineror?  Well just last week a friend of mine reminded me of the term when I was listing support functions that sometimes struggle to make a difference to the business. 

I was listing finance, HR, IT, risk, compliance, audit and then said, “Even people in sexier functions like in marketing.” …  BANG, she pounced.  “You mean the colouring-in department!”  In her experience working on…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on July 28, 2016 at 3:40am — No Comments

Don’t blame them – they are not the problem

I recently had one of the most cathartic conversations of my career. It was with a senior internal advisor who is now in audit but has held all kinds of roles in the organisation so he gets what support functions do, why they do it and, much to his chagrin, how they do it.

The organisation in question is doing something that many organisations do, changing from A to B after they changed from B to A say five years ago after changing five years before from A to B, you get the picture.…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on July 13, 2016 at 1:50am — 7 Comments

From Problem Phase to “Compellation” Phase

This blog was inspired by a blog by sales specialist Anthony Iannarino called “Win More by Serving Your Buyers Where They Are”.  In my experience, not enough of us consider the need to “sell” our advice when we are influencing or advising inside our organisation.

The person or group you are influencing or advising will generally be in one of three phases.

Problem Compelled –…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on June 29, 2016 at 2:01am — No Comments

What type of boundaries have you established in your organisation?

Whether you are the boss or a strategic advisor to the boss you establish boundaries to guide the decisions and hence behaviour of staff. What kind of boundaries have you set? I see three basic types:

• Hard – Thou shalt not cross.

• Flexible – Permission to bend the boundaries, up to a point, is implicit.

• Cushioned – Firm boundaries that allow staff to push up against them without getting “hurt”.

Hard boundaries are needed when…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on June 7, 2016 at 1:30am — No Comments

Your role is to guide not control

Stop saying “It depends”!

Whether you are the CEO, or in a strategic advising role such as CFO or the Head of HR, your job is to guide, not control.  I hope you agree.  If you don’t, check my previous Blog “The 21st century is a terrible time to be a control freak”.

Once this challenge is accepted you need to ask…


Added by Bryan Whitefield on May 11, 2016 at 1:37am — No Comments

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