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What You Searched For In 2014

2014 December 18
by Prosperos World

As we come to the end of 2014 we took a look back at what you’ve been searching for on Prospero’s World this year.

It seems people are really looking to get to grips with a global economy.  We’ve seen plenty of searches for MINTS, BRICS, PIGS and HIDeCs as well as the G7, G8, G19 and G20 – gotta catch ‘em all.

You’ve been looking at connecting with people, and notable amongst those searches has been How to engage with people who have different learning styles.

As ever, getting settled in a new role remains a high search area, The First 100 Days and 10 Things Every New Manager Needs To Know are always popular.

On silly street, Experiencing the power of a BookBook was this year’s viral favourite.


Christmas Reading List 2014

2014 December 15
by Prosperos World

If you’re about to take a nice long break from work then do feel free to relax and enjoy it.  We often find it’s a good time to catch up on some of the reading we just haven’t got around to since the summer.  There’s a pile of MAN Booker nominees to get through, as well as some business, economics, innovation and leadership books.  Here’s a few from that realm that we think you might enjoy.

The Shifts and the Shocks by Martin Wolf Shifts and Shocks

Regular readers of the Financial Times will recognise Martin Wolf’s clear and fact based style in reporting the financial crash that started in 2007.

This book isn’t a re-rash of what happened when and to whom, you can find that in plenty of other publications, Wolf instead focuses on what we can learn from the crisis, or crises if you believe there’s more than one.  It’s a fascinating read, but you may see it as a Christmas horror story as there are so many lessons that don’t seem to have been learned by anyone – maybe even not by you.


Business Adventures Business Adventures by John Brooks

This is not new news.  Business Adventures was first published as a book in 1969, but even then, it wasn’t new.  IIt was a collection of articles written by Brooks for the New Yorker.  It’s been re-published in time for Christmas 2014 because Bill Gates listed it as his favourite business book.

This is no dull account of business structures and accounting practices, it’s full of stories of real businesses and how they found their way to success.  Reading it 45 years on from first publication is a delight – you can see the changes coming, but the businesses in the book can’t – you may want to shout “invest in communications technology” but at the time, new ways of printing on paper may have looked like the safer bet.

Get reading, and thinking.  What will people think of your business decisions in 45 years?


Economics Economics – A User’s Guide by Ha-Joon Chang

It’s not always in the best interests of Economists to demystify their art.  Some even claim it’s a science.  Ha-Joon Chang takes a different approach.

Whilst he teaches Economics to bright students at Cambridge University here he explains all the key economic theories and principles in a relaxed and approachable style without every dumbing down.

If you’re enthused by the topic and want more he includes helpful reading guides at the end of each chapter so you can give yourself a Cambridge education at home.







The Happiest Season Of All?

2014 December 10

With Christmas fast approaching the songs on the radio and in the shops are reminding us that we should be of good cheer.  Retailers assure us that all we need is to buy more things and we’ll be happy, whilst other people  may try to explain that all you need to do is stop buying things and you’ll be happy.

So can shopping buy happiness?  Are rich people happier than poor ones?  What does being rich mean?   What does being happy mea?

The people at Happy Planet Index have been crunching the numbers, and they think they have it cracked.  They’ve worked out the happiest countries in the world, they’ve worked out the ones with the best quality of life, the lowest carbon footprint (a good indicator of low consumerism) and the best health outcomes.  Guess who’s happy?

Just click on the image to get to the data.

Happiness Index Around the World

For Our Friends In Retail

2014 December 5
by Prosperos World

At this time of year people can get a little crazy.  Planning for Christmas can be stressful, and shopping for presents isn’t always the joyful experience depicted in 1950’s American Christmas songs.  Working in retail at this time of year can be tough.  People can lose their sense of humour and shoppers can be downright rude and aggressive.

The workers who serve those shoppers need a sense of humour and a pretty thick skin, excellent communication skills and the sort of dispute resolution techniques that could usefully be deployed at the UN, all to keep the element of customer delight in Christmas shopping.

This “Black Friday” team talk from a Target Store Manager who clearly enjoyed “300” does capture that moment of anticipation just before the doors open.

If you’re out Christmas shopping this weekend, spare a thought for the people working in retail, it’s rough out there.

The Ghosts Of Christmas Toys Past

2014 November 27

To get you in the mood for a Christmas shopping frenzy, eBay have pulled together a neat little list of the toys that were top of the Christmas lists of children over the last century.  It’s rather US-centric (there’s no Raleigh Chopper in there, and not even a hint of a Womble), and very brand driven (no generic Cowboy or Doctor outfits) but depending on your age and how indulgent your parents were you’ll likely see a gift or two that you pined for or received way back when…


What toys would you have in there as icons of your youth?  What do you anticipate the most-wanted toys of the next century will be?

Something for the weekend …

2014 November 21
by Prosperos World

Dealing With Negative Reactions To Change

2014 November 21
by Prosperos World

Types Of Negativity

What To Do About Them


Misunderstanding of details of plan, belief that change is unnecessary, disbelief in planned change’s effectiveness, expectation of negative consequences

  • Explain plan with greater clarity and detail
  • Project what would happen if the change were not introduced
  • Involve everyone in quality improvement teams to demonstrate the effectiveness of managed change
  • Institute a bottom up programme for reorganising systems and processes

Fear of job loss, anxiety about the future, resentment at implied criticism of performance, fear of interference from above

  • Stress much improved job prospects for the future (if true)
  • Accept management responsibility for past failures
  • Present a scenario showing the anticipated benefits of the main change

Active and/or passive resistance to change in general, lack of involvement, apathy towards initiatives, shock, mistrust of motives behind change

  • Show, with examples, why the old ways no longer work
  • Stage a series of meetings to communicate the change agenda
  • Demonstrate that the new way is not just a flavour of the month
  • Explain the reasons for the change and promise involvement
  • Be completely honest and answer all questions


We hope you’ve enjoyed our little series on Change Management.  What other topics would you like a series on?

Related articles

Reactions To Change

2014 November 20
by Prosperos World

Effective Ineffective
  • Allowing yourself to think about the change and its implications
  • Anticipating, visualising a positive future
  • Looking for the benefits
  • Taking a balanced view
  • Thinking about what you can influence/control
  • Looking at things from different angles
  • Accepting ambiguity and uncertainty
  • Ignoring the change, thinking it will go away – the latest fad
  • Concentrating on the downsides
  • Telling yourself there’s nothing you can do about it
  • Thinking other people are in charge of your life
  • Concentrating on extremes, black and white, or just one perspective
  • Quick to judge, rigid thinking
  • Accepting your feelings
  • Talking about feelings
  • Asking for help, seeking support
  • Feeling excited, relieved
  • Accepting that you are feeling vulnerable, but not letting that rule your actions
  • Recognising other peoples feelings
  • Owning your own feelings instead of absorbing other peoples
  • Denying your feelings
  • Keeping feelings bottled up or letting them all explode at the wrong time
  • Feeling depressed, helpless, useless
  • Feeling sorry for yourself for a long period of time
  • Talking about the change, listening
  • Asking questions
  • Being curious
  • Taking action – being courageous
  • Taking one step at a time
  • Looking for ways to make things happen – looking for win/win solutions
  • Trying new things
  • Planning new strategies – taking control
  • Maintaining positive attitude
  • Holding onto the past
  • Switching off, withdrawing
  • Always finding a reason why something can’t happen
  • Being angry, aggressive, moody, rude
  • Blaming others/yourself inappropriately
  • Being passive
  • Refusing support


Managing Change

To plan and manage change effectively, you need to make a realistic estimate of its complexity and whom it will affect directly and indirectly.

The following pointers will help you think through the change management process.

Focus: Have a clear goal so that you, and everybody else, know the destination.  Have a clear plan that details where you need to be along the road, by when, and what actions you need to take.  You must be very clear on what the change is trying to achieve, what the priority areas are, how progress is being measured and the final end results desired.

Involve People: Those affected by the change will vary in their attitudes and needs.  Effective change managers are flexible enough to match this variety.  Whenever possible involve people fully in developing long term objectives and planning for change, as well as in implementing plans.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate:  What the change is, why it’s necessary, Keep people updated, let them know of any changes to plan, timescale etc.

Timescale:  Change projects can last a long time – it is said that it can take 10 years to make dedication to customer service irreversible. But short term fixes with quick results can be essential to gain momentum and sustain enthusiasm. A change strategy should include instant actions with quick recognisable impact.

Action Planning:  On the basis of information available create a detailed action plan. Keep it clear and concise. Make use of visual methods of planning and scheduling. Take into account the opinion of people affected, and review your plan regularly.

Anticipating Effects:  The greater the change the less likely it is to fit within existing parameters. Never take people’s support of action plans for granted. Do not expect people to be altruistic. Each person will judge change according to what it promises or threatens for them personally. People rightly expect to benefit as individuals in return for the upheaval of making changes, so plan how to sell the benefits.

Implementing:  By its nature change calls for leadership, but it also requires inspired, dedicated and inspiring followers. Whether leaders or followers, “change agents” play an indispensable role in the change process.

Build On Change

Change requires great effort. That effort is wasted if changes are abandoned or reversed, or do not form the basis for further advance. Build positive change into all aspects of the systems and culture of an organisation.

However good you are you can always improve. Be sure to highlight your successes and enjoy them, but develop a habit of self-criticism as well. As an antidote to complacency adopt a formal system of self appraisal.




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