Short Sharp & Shiny

clear decisions™ regularly releases "short, sharp & shiny" a free distribution containing hints, tips and tools for project management professionals and business improvement advocates. As the name suggests these distributions are short, to the point and easy to read. The aim of these publications is to deliver the quickest win for our readers in the shortest amount of time.

Please choose a category below to view related Short Sharp & Shiny articles from clear decisions:

Holiday Wishes

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Shops and houses are decorated, toy sales have started and Christmas Carols are playing in the stores. Something my family enjoys doing at this time of the year is to watch Christmas themed movies.
Watching these got me thinking. Not only are they enjoyable family movies, but there are also lessons to be learned from them – for life but also for business.

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Our Easter Eggs of Wisdom

Easter has really snuck up on us this year and I am going to join in and repeat what everyone is saying "I can't believe that Easter is here already". Maybe this has happened because Easter is in fact, earlier than we have been used to, or maybe it is because we are all so busy that it takes a public holiday to make us stop. In theory, you get a 4 day break, which will give you plenty of time to stop, clear your head and think.

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Happy Halloween

It is said that Halloween is the spookiest night of the year, where some people say that spirits wander the earth freely. It's the time of the year where kids, and the young at heart, dress up and go trick or treating. It's also the only time of the year that it is acceptable for your house to be covered in cob-webs.

Many people celebrate the holiday, and then hang up the costume and decorations and forget about it until the following year. But we believe that many of the magic of Halloween is relevant to our business on a daily basis.

Here are our top tips for incorporating a little Halloween into your business.

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"The devil is in the details"

I'm thinking of getting a tattoo!

I'm pretty sure mine is going to say something like: "the devil is in the details and he's laughing at you". (Btw - have you ever thought what phrase represents you?)

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Christmas Is Better With Clear Decisions

Christmas is a time of wonder, a special time of the year. I always find that there is something magical about Christmas. Everyone seems to have an extra spring in their step. Christmas gives us the opportunity to spend time with our loved ones and of course time to pause and reflect on the year that was.

Like many of you, I can't believe that Christmas is almost upon us. Just where has the year gone? 2014 has been an eventful year for the Clear Decisions team, and one where we have been very fortunate to be recognised for some major accomplishments.

A very exciting year!

It is at this time of the year that I start to think about what I want 2015 to look like for me. What do I want to be and do? To me the answer is simple. Firstly I want to be happy, secondly I want to continue doing what I love to do with people I enjoy working with, and finally I want to keep dreaming. You are never too old to dream, so my Christmas wish for you this year, is to dream....

So here are our top 5 tips to help you make 2015 a year to remember and to help you make those dreams a reality:

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"Going For Gold"

While watching the Commonwealth Games I started to think about what it is that makes a winning team. Can we apply these same principles to our teams at work? And the answer is yes!

At these Commonwealth Games, there are almost 5,000 competitors from 71 countries, all there with the desire to perform their best and win gold. This is why they have spent the past 4 years training. Obviously not all of them will receive the coveted gold medal, so what is it that separates these athletes from the rest of the field. Over the years, for me, the following have stood out.

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Step back, reflect, give back

Often times we can find ourselves in our lives defined by goals. Did you score that new contract? When are my holidays again? How can I get a raise? We live and thrive by aiming for these targets so much so that time rolls by at an incredible speed. These little carrots are why we jumped on the hamster wheel in the first place (do hamsters eat carrots?). I’m guilty of it, and those of you who know me will agree. Sometimes we need to slow things down…
So I challenge you to take stock and challenge your inner Zen!

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"What To Do If The Year Got Away From You"

Here we are at the middle of April! And we're left asking ourselves - "how did that happen?...what were my New Year's Resolutions for work this year?". We all start the year with great intentions. It has happened to all of us, we all have projects and changes that we're planning to do but we get busy and they don't quite make it back to the work table. With Easter coming up and the long weekend, it's a chance to relax, recharge and take stock of where we're at. Here are five steps to help you kick start your projects.

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"The Elephant In The Room"

It's that time of year again, we spend the lead up to the end of financial year, thinking, talking and planning for next financial year. How to increase sales, get new clients, grow and expand. But we don't talk about what isn't working. We don't talk about the elephant in the room. I was purchasing something online the other day and the process was cumbersome and complicated, so much so that I ended up contacting the company directly. A simple 5 minute purchase turned into a long drawn out transaction. When things like this occur, I'm always left asking myself why?!...
So my quest this year is to give business improvement a voice in your planning. Or as I like to call it owning your elephant.

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"The Art Of Communicating Is The Language of Success"

Talk, talk, talk.... but to what end? Being an effective communicator is critical to success in work and life. I consider myself in the the business of communicating (asking the right questions, understanding the answers, clarifying the points. making the complex simple) in order to get outcomes for my clients.

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"Star Wars Has Taught Me Well"

Like the characters from Star Wars we spend our professional and personal lives being presented with problems that need to be solved and decisions that need to be made. Do we buy a house here? Do we go after that client? Should we fly into that asteroid field to escape that star destroyer? This can be daunting not to mention time consuming. My question today is what is the best approach to problem solving? We’ve all been in those situations or projects where things change and panic ensues: “What has happened?” “What are we going to do?” “Who needs to know?” “How much is this going to cost?”

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"The Ballet Of Life And Work"

Everyone has been there. In a room full of peers, watching some god awful speaker give a boring speech, where you would rather count the tiles on the wall than listen to one more word of some "expert" telling us why he or she thinks they are great. Then there are those moments, when some person grabs hold of you and inspires you to be something more. This was the case at the recent Australian Institute of Project Management National Conference, where Li Cunxin, aka Mao's Last Dancer, gave a speech on his journey and the valuable lessons that we can learn from his challenges.

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"Skeletons In The Closet"

By now you are getting back into the swing of things after the glorious break. Your tan is fading, the turkey slumber has worn off and you are slowly getting back to work. You have great plans for this year but don't know where to start. You have done the three steps to goal setting, write them down, talk about them to others, recheck them etc.

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"On The First Day Of Christmas"

The clear decisions™ team is more excited than a bunch of kids in a lolly shop about Christmas this year. That's not to say we don't take the end of the year seriously, we know it is a great time to reflect. But we couldn't help it, we had to get silly with the 12 days of Christmas to capture our reflections on 2013 and some tips and ideas to start you thinking during your down time this Christmas break... So in the spirit of Christmas - try humming at the same time!

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"May The Fourth Be With You (lessons from George)"

I'm sure all you Star Wars fanatics are getting ready to play with your light sabers as May fourth approaches. Last year in this newsletter we looked at all the good things we learnt from Star Wars. But before you practice your Chewbacca yell (everybody does it) or try to shove your pet dog into a Yoda costume let's take time to reflect on the man who started it all. Our man, George Lucas. Visionary yes, genius sure, always right? Not even close. Like everybody he has made some mistakes in his business. Let's look at where the visionary lost his way and what can we learn from his mistakes.

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"In The Silly Season Remember..."

This time of year we are all very busy getting ready for the Christmas break. What we tend to forget is the important stuff, and as we know communication is key to survival. Your ability to develop and maintain relationships (both personal and professional) is dependent on your ability to communicate effectively. The key to effective communication is not only mastering your own communication style but also in understanding the styles of others, but the good news is that communication skills can be learned. The difficulty is to remember this when you are busy!

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"Easter Bunny - My Hero"

The Easter Bunny has got it made. He works one day a year, and gets to hide chocolate eggs for billions of children and is adored by everybody. What a great job. But I would like to ask the fluffy tailed bunny - What is the best part of your profession? Did you plan to be in the business you are in? What are your yearly goals? What are your values?

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"Does Your Right Hand Know What Your Left Hand Is Doing?"

As an executive assistant, and predominantly working in the administration area of a business I have encountered first-hand the importance of documenting procedures for all roles/tasks within a company. When processes are documented correctly I can always assist staff when they are busy or on leave, as well as know when I return from leave there won't be a mountain of work waiting for me.

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"Are You Brave Enough?"

Customer feedback forms, professional development, 360 degree reviews - these are words that can make many people sweat. For many of us knowing that we are about to receive feedback can be rather daunting. But we need to reconsider what we think of feedback, as the cliche goes - feedback is a gift.

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"Clients - If You Treat Them Mean They Won't Be That Keen"

Clients are the lifeblood of your business so if I ask you this question: do you know what your customers are saying ABOUT you?... Do you know the answer?... Is it good, bad or just plain ugly?... And how do you make sure it is always good?

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