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Blog Archives: Nigel Phillips

Meetings: Who needs them?

You’ve planned your work schedule for the day, arrived at the office to fulfil your functions as efficiently as possible and an email informs you of an unscheduled or forgotten meeting that has been called to tear an irreplaceable chunk out of your day. What’s the point? There are obviously good meetings and bad meetings. There are internal and external ones, formal and informal; from the boardroom to the gathering of like-minded souls smoking fags on the fire escape. The bad ones drone on for hours, as you listen to people marking their territory by pontificating at length, missing the point and leaving you wishing you had never attended and invariably with an increased workload. An effective meeting is one that energises and gives a sense of objectivity and achievement. These meetings are rare, but achieve their desired objectives, take a minimum amount of time and leave the participants feeling a sensible process has been followed. An industry has evolved around the proper management of…

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Madmen and Fish: How to have fun at work

The hugely successful television series, Mad Men, is a stylised drama about the advertising industry on New York’s Madison Avenue, set in the 1960s. It reminds us of how much office life has changed since then. Smoking is not now accepted in the workplace, but the concept of treating women as equals, most definitely is. The show also shows us that we have forgotten how to have fun at work. The ad-men at Sterling Cooper spend their days drinking and smoking furiously and their evenings in their secretaries’ arms. In a constant fug of hedonism and smoke, these men do not need to be taught how to have fun at work, they never want to leave the place. It is simply amazing they get any ads made, but it helps that their biggest account is Lucky Strike. Somewhere along the way, we forgot how to enjoy ourselves at work, but the concept is returning and today some companies seem obsessed with fun and ensuring their…

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Breaking News

Julianne Moore to play Sarah Palin. Julianne Moore will play former Alaska governor Sarah Palin in "Game Change," an HBO movie about John McCain's unsuccessful presidential campaign. Burton's Foods, which manufactures Cadbury's chocolate bar biscuits, as well as Cadbury Digestives and Fingers, has appointed Wrigley's marketer Toby Baker to the role of head of biscuits. It has also appointed General Mill's former marketing manager Emma Clacher as marketing manager for Cadbury Fingers. Antonio Horta-Osorio, the new chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, has announced a boardroom shakeup a week after taking the helm of the bailed out bank. Lloyds announced on Wednesday morning that Helen Weir, head of the retail division, is to leave along with Archie Kane, who runs the insurance arm. The changes come as Horta- Osorio changes the structure of the bank that risks being broken up by the independent commission on banking later this year. Since joining from Santander, Horta-Osório has begun a strategic review and has concluded the products sold under…

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Breaking News

"Harry Potter"  movie star Emma Watson has given up her schoolbooks and gone back to practising witchcraft. Watson, who portrays the boy wizard's sidekick Hermione Granger in the wildly popular movies, posted a message to fans on her website on Monday saying that she is taking some time out of Brown University to finish off the "Potter" films. The final chapter, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" will be released worldwide this upcoming July. The number of staff appointments grew in February, according to a survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (Rec). It reported the fastest rise in permanent staff placements in ten months. The group's report also showed the sharpest increase in temporary positions since May 2007. In its latest report, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said unemployment in the UK had increased by 44,000 to almost 2.5m in the three months to the end of December. There had been 40,000 more job vacancies than in the previous three months.…

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Financial Focus

LIBYA’S central bank governor, Farhat Omar Bengdara, emailed the FT last night to deny rumours that he had quit and to insist that he is in Istanbul where it is easier to conduct his business. Bengdara is thought to be one of few officials with the authority to shift funds when sanctions are restricting Gaddafi and his family. THE BRITISH Retail Consortium reported that retail prices rose by 2.7% in February, the highest reading since November 2008. Retailers have reacted to increases in VAT, commodities and oil prices, but despite the inflationary pressures, all 61 economists in Bloomberg’s survey expect the MPC to keep interest rates at a record-low 0.5% when it meets tomorrow. MARKETS: YESTERDAY, the FTSE 100 rallied to close flat after a volatile session. The falling oil price and strength in the auto sector led European markets up, although the banking sector came under pressure as they face more stringent stress-tests this Summer. US banking stocks improved through the session, offsetting the…

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Breaking News

Barbie leaves China. Mattel has closed its Barbie store in Shanghai after just two years of trading. The six floor flagship store, Mattel’s biggest, failed to perform as planned with sales falling short of expectations. Mattel said that despite the poor performance the store had succeeded in raising brand awareness in the country and it remained committed to the Barbie brand in China. Rupert Staines has been appointed as managing director of UK operations for online ad network RadiumOne. Formerly of Specific Media where he was senior vice president, Staines’ online advertising experience began at Valueclick. He will lead RadiumOne’s European expansion beginning with its London offices. Nomura Holdings Inc announced a series of top management appointments. Tarun Jotwani has been promoted to executive vice president and head of global markets. John Phizackerley, current joint CAO, will succeed Jotwani. ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT ASIA The asset management company appointed Christiaan van Beek as a senior property investment specialist based in Singapore. He joined in March from CBRE -…

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Google Zeitgeist 2010

In January, Google published its annual report showing which items are most searched for on a global and country-by-country basis. Or, rather, not quite. Globally and for the US, it shows those that are the fastest rising searches, year on year, minus any porn-related requests. The fastest rising queries are not absolute numbers, but reveal the search terms that spike the most from one year to the next; absolute numbers reveal the most popular search terms tend to be very similar by market, with Facebook, Youtube, eBay and Google proving to be the usual suspects. Their methodology provides a useful snapshot of our online interests. A spokesman for Google said: “Zeitgeist means the ‘spirit of the times’ and we try to capture this spirit by exploring the year’s new and exciting search terms. Searches for adult keywords are pretty constant and, although unquestionably popular, we don’t think they define the zeitgeist for any one year.” People are always looking for new things on Google; about…

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Profile: Sue Firth

  Sue Firth is a business psychologist, stress expert, behaviour analyst and author and helps CEOs and senior executives manage stress, from an individual and group perspective. She is an international speaker and holds a Bachelor of Science and a Masters degree. Sue is a member of The British Psychological Society, the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) and The Academy for Chief Executives (ACE). Sue regularly appears in the media and has been a guest/expert on programmes like This Morning and Panorama. Sue tries to change the way people think and teach them how to moderate their habits and attitudes in order to reduce any difficulties they have, whilst still maintaining their effectiveness. As a psychologist, Sue observes and analyses behavioural patterns and enables people to increase self-esteem and confidence by removing negative thoughts and changing long-held and damaging traits of self-belief. A down-to-earth motivator, Sue helps individuals and businesses become more productive and profitable.  She has practices in Surrey and central London. Sue, you…

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