Bradford ‘Management Thinking’ Digest – the latest on business strategy, leadership, finance, innovation and sustainability

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This edition of Bradford University School of Management’s digest of the latest business thinking features

  • The Yorkshire Mafia
  • What stops a business being creative
  • Retail banking
  • It’s not change we fear but uncertainty

Please share your views here and on Twitter @BradManagement

STRATEGY

Sunday Telegraph: Think Tank – Yorkshire Mafia’s opportunities can’t be refused

The exclusive networking group started on LinkedIn by Yorkshire’s business “mafiosa” was featured in the Sunday Telegraph last week for its success in generating business for its members.

This success is undoubtedly down to its strategy to encourage “self help” rather than direct selling. Yorkshire Mafia’s Geoff Shepherd, says: “We all buy things from each other. Then no one needs to sell. It’s easier to operate in that environment.”

Relationship building and mutual favours which bring long term business benefit rather than traditional networking to generate direct, short term business leads is what social media is all about – could this model become the new growth strategy for many businesses?

INNOVATION

Video: What stops a business being creative?

Australian social entrepreneur and founder of Creativity Australia and Creative Universe Tania de Jong shares her views on what stifles creativity in business.

She sites lack of personal self belief, fear of failure and rejection of new ideas as being the things that make employees feel disengaged and start feeling that “no one listens to any new ideas round here” – which she says signals the death knell of creativity.

Giving people a voice, taking their ideas on board and looking into whether they are implementable rather than dismissing them immediately is what drives innovation but takes a change in culture from the top.

FINANCE & SUSTAINABILITY

Peston’s Picks – Retail banking must be ringfenced

The BBC’s Business Editor Robert Peston responds to what he calls “the most important response in the UK to date to the financial crisis of 2007-8” – the Independent Commission on Banking’s interim report.

The report’s recommendation is to put a protective firewall around the British retail banking operations of big universal banks, such as HSBC, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland – which he says will “anger and worry both the banks and the banks’ sternest critics.”

This would protect the retail operation of banks –  safeguarding savings, lending to businesses and movement of money – should the wholesale or investment arm of a universal bank were to get into trouble. Many are arguing that the report has been too timid for Vince Cable but Peston believes that the recommendations are framed with “more than half an eye on what each party said it wanted before the election.”

LEADERSHIP

Blog: It’s not change we fear but uncertainty

Our organisational change expert Dr David Spicer offers advice on businesses on minimising uncertainty brought about by change in turbulent times in his latest blog.

He argues that organisational change has shifted from being about development and growth to being about redundancy and cost cutting. This leaves all employees, whether secure in their jobs or not, feeling uncertain and means they won’t perform to the best of their ability, hampering change further still.

His top 5 tips for minimising uncertainty are:

1.      Accentuate Communication: Ensure open, honest communication. Completeness is key – ensure that the whole message is provided in a timely manner.

2.      Adapt Leadership: Recognise that different forms of leadership might be needed. In times of crisis, people look for new forms of leadership, favouring approaches that support them over charismatic leaders who they feel have failed to deliver the visions they were asking people to commit to.

3.      Avoid Contradictions: Watch out for contradictions between strategy and practice. If anything, decisions taken during periods of change should ensure a focus on core strengths to sustain the organisation through challenges.

4.      Behave Coherently: Don’t say one thing then behave in a way that suggests something fundamentally different is guiding what you do. It is important with uncertainty to ensure that what you say and do are as well aligned as possible.

5.      Act Ethically: Deal with people in a fair and just way and when handling difficult situations, allow people to act in an informed way.