TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

How to say the unsayable: 10 ways to approach a sensitive, daunting conversation

It's easy to put off tender discussions, but successfully addressing the most emotional subjects always starts with listening.

There's a conversation you're avoiding. It feels important, the stakes are high, there are strong feelings involved and you are putting it off: "The time isn't right"; "I can't find the words"; "I don't want to get emotional".

But delaying doesn't solve anything and anticipation is often far more uncomfortable than the conversation itself. Getting started might involve some awkward moments, but, after that, the situation is open for discussion and exploration.

Tried and tested approaches can help to smooth the way. Here are 10 useful tips from my experience as a psychotherapist and doctor, developed while working in some of the highest-stakes discussions - the tender conversations taking place as people face the end of life. These principles apply whether you are chatting in person, over the phone or during a video call. You can even use them in text message conversations.

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Why Do We Undervalue Competent Management?

Neither great leadership nor brilliant strategy matters without operational excellence.

Business schools teach MBA students that you can't compete on the basis of management processes because they're easily copied. Operational effectiveness is table stakes in the competitive universe, according to the strategists. But data from a decade-long research project involving 12,000 firms challenges that thinking.

The study examined how well companies performed 18 core management practices. It found vast differences in how they execute basic tasks like setting targets, running operations, and grooming talent, and that those differences matter: Firms with strong managerial processes do significantly better on high-level metrics such as profitability, growth, and productivity. What's more, the differences in process quality persist over time, suggesting that competent management is not easy to imitate.

In this article the authors review the findings of the research and explore what prevents executives from investing in management capabilities, arguing that such investments are a powerful way to become more competitive.

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Why Some People Get Burned Out and Others Don't

Everyone faces stress at work, but some people are able to handle the onslaught of long hours, high pressure, and work crises in a way that wards off burnout. You can get better at handling stress by making several mental shifts:

- Don't be the source of your stress. Resist your perfectionist tendencies and your drive for constant high achievement. Recognize when you're being too hard on yourself, and let go.

- Recognize your limitations. Don't try to be a hero. If you don't have the ability or bandwidth to do something, be honest with yourself and ask for help.

- Reevaluate your perspective. Do you view a particular situation as a threat to something you value? Or do you view it as a problem to be solved? Change how you see the situation to bring your stress levels down.

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