Richard Maun – books and blog

better business blog

Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation


Always Play Nice

15 September 2019

Did you have the same instructions as me at school, during English lessons?

Never use nice, or got, or just. They are evil, lazy words and should never be used, when are 1,000s of better words to choose from.

That’s not my view, I’m just paraphrasing the words I got from my English teacher. He wasn’t very nice, in my opinion.

Actually, he was about 8-feet tall and terrifying, when you’re a tiny 12 year old in a blazer that you will doubtless grow in to.

Teachers need to be careful with the word ‘should.’ It’s very parental in tone and can be very judgemental. We can choose to use, or replace, certain words, but who are they to say what we should do?

There’s a whole manufacturing ethos called Just In Time (we used to wittily relabel it as ‘Just Too Late’) and the words make complete sense to me. According to my teacher we should replace ‘just’ with something else, or remove it entirely. Just call it In Time maybe? Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

I’ve got to go!

Well I don’t, as it happens, but that’s a phrase we use. Naughty us! We should swap it for, hmm… ‘I’ve decided that I really must depart at this precise time!’ Does that sound any better?

As for nice. Well it’s an interesting word. Said with scorn it can denote something that’s a wafer below adequacy. Said with a beaming smile it can bring joy to other people. It’s a word capable of carrying nuance and as such, is jolly helpful. Nice is a nice word. It can feel warm and friendly.

Let’s hear it for nice!

Business works better when we are nice to people. As they say in entertainment circles: Be nice to people on the way up, as you’ll meet them again on the way down!

Would your colleagues say you were nice? Are you fair minded? Even handed? Consistent?

I hope so. If not, see me after class for some business coaching.

I’ve met some awful mangers on my professional journey. My first book is called My Boss is a B@$T@*D …check it out on Amazon… and is full of acid comments about inadequate leaders I’ve had the misfortune to work with. The book is there to champion the under-dog and enable us to plot a course to a happier life.

Stress affects everyone and a boss with a bad temper, who may be stressed out, simply adds to the woes of those around him. Or her.

I often say to clients; if this organisation was a school, would you want to send your children here?

That’s a good litmus test of whether people play nice.

So then, nice is a nice word and we are free to use it! And if we always play nice then the business world be a better place.

Playing nice doesn’t mean we have to give in to unreasonable demands, or sell our services below a rate acceptable to us. It just means we’ve got to be open to the fact that our behaviour has an impact on others.

Do you always play nice?

Next week: The Topless Boating Story

How To Create Opportunity

9 September 2019

The art of good busines is to spot an opportunity when it swims by, reach out and grab it and then to deliver on it with panache.

It’s often not about having the best idea in the world, but instead having a good idea and making sure it’s executed to a high standard.

If we think about Facebook for a moment, it seems like a clever idea. However, it was at first designed as a college picture board, called, rather miserably, Rate a Hottie.

This generated traffic and interest and was developed from there. And in essence it’s a build on Friends Reunited.

Friends Reunited was the big noise in websites many years ago and it made its inventors rich people. It then made the company that purchased it poor people, because the site was eclipsed by the juggernaut driven by Mark Zuckerberg.

Opportunity is often about doing it bigger and bolder and better. Tapping into a need and then mining out all profit possibilities with speed.

We can create opportunities for ourselves by being ready and by being humble.

Being humble means to know that we are not the smartest person, or the most creative. This allows us to see the world around us with more clarity and in doing so we are likely to see other ideas and wonder if we can build on them ourselves. Tweak them, shape them, add what’s missing and deliver a package to amaze our customers and startle our competitors.

Being ready means to have some new angle in our pocket. A new angle can be a new piece of machinery, a draft product, a new skill, or a new team.

I’m about to start year 3 of psychotherapy training. It’s great fun, I love to learn and my colleagues are a great bunch. I’m still an organisational coach, I love that work immensely. However, the new training has broadened my skills and now means I can offer people counselling services and also tap into the growing well-being market.

Initially I set out to learn something new as an interesting project, but I’ve now had a number of interesting client conversations that have lead to more business. I know that the discipline of clinical work has fed back into my coaching work and has given me greater market place differentiation from a lot of my competitors.

Coaching on the surface can be great and yet I’ve always worked with harder cases and people who value deeper insights into organisational behaviour.

In doing this training I’m ready for new opportunities and am creating them as I journey through my varied and interesting business life.

It’s tempting to wait for a client to ask for something before we develop new ways of working. Steve Jobs tended to take the view that customers didn’t know what they wanted until they saw it. Hence the success of the first iPhone, which sadly rendered my beloved Blackberry a museum piece.

Sometimes we have to do things and trust that they will bring rewards. We have to create the opportunities for ourselves.

So, this week, where can you be humble in your work and pay attention to someone else? What new things do you have to initiate?

If you don’t, then it’s a fair bet that someone else will. Friends Reunited vs Facebook …which side do you wish you had bought shares in?

Next week: Always Play Nice


Click cover to view details on Amazon


Riding the Rocket

How to manage your Modern Career

Published 2013 Marshall Cavendish



Bouncing Back

How to get going again after a career setback

Published 2012 Marshall Cavendish



How to Keep Your Job

Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in

Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish



Job Hunting 3.0

Secrets and skills to sell yourself effectively in the Modern Age

Published 2010 Marshall Cavendish



Leave the Bastards Behind

An insider's guide to working for yourself

Published 2007 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish



My Boss is a Bastard

Surviving turmoil at work

Published 2006 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish


© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact