Mike Beckett is caring for business and taking no liberties…

Pragmatic, productive and proactive

Archive for September 2011

Is Labels.io the next LinkedIn 2.0?

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Tech professional Octavian

Founder of Labels.io Octavian Popescu

Labels.io reviewed

I saw Labels.io briefly reviewed on the latest episode of BBC click online at first glance it appears to be a virtual talent acquisition platform. Intrigued I thought I would have a go and see how it works for me first as a punter.  Having registered I then spent a few minutes adding in key words, previous employers, linking some social networks and writing a brief personal statement. I identified a problem that putting in your user name for Flickr and LinkedIn didn’t appear to let people check them, so I had to re-enter them with the full address starting from http and then you can click through on the icons on your profile page. Once completed the result looks like this: http://labels.io/mikebeckett it then rates me, giving me a rating of 41?, although I am not sure what to make of the rating as there are no other indicators of what this actually means? If you can shed some light on the spectrum of scores  and what this may actually mean, please do let me know!

I tried Labels.io again as an employer to see how it works but annoyingly I couldn’t be both available to opportunities (a punter or contractor) and harnessing others human capital (as a recruiter). To progress I had to register another account. When I populated something on what I was looking for keywords, again this only took a couple of minutes. I was pleasantly surprised by my interest in the results. I was presented with a slider to see who was a high to low fit of what I wanted, this is interesting and does seem to work. I suppose this is cheaper than a recruitment consultant, headhunting on your behalf and does seem more search orientated for Employers than LinkedIn is.

Usability is high and it is easy to use quickly. Drawbacks are, I am not sure how large the pool of people are on the site so results may be limited? However on the plus side I suppose early adopters are more likely to be motivated type A personalities that employers will want. So will Labels.io be the next LinkedIn, well time will tell it certainly is fun to play with the slider and to tweak the key words as recruiter to see who might suddenly appear. Having used Label.io I just might use it if I need more staff, certainly its a quick way to see if some talent might be available to meet the requirements of your human resources strategy and what key words to use. Perhaps its most dynamic use will be interim solutions and immediate appointments, especially to cover crisis or unexpected business disruptions. I can see this be added into Business Continuity strategy’s to bolster organisations capacity when requirement is a rush job.

Overall I would recommend this to my colleagues and fellow members of the Institute of Directors, this is a useful site. I think there is a niche that Label.io can fill to increase transitional efficiency of talent management. Certainly I recommend having a look at Label.io to see if this can work for you.

This article’s based on a quick Googleplus update after trying out Label.io and reflecting on its performance since.

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Mission critical: Events, risk assessments and business fluidity

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Coping with reality means dealing with things which were unexpected at the time or when we are distracted by what seems important at the time. This is true of all staff team members from customer service, sales, technicians and those in the Boardroom. Identifying what is truly important and Mission critical, without it you can’t do what you set out to do, it is so vital.

Change is inevitable although how we handle it is within our control. Generally people approach this with a mixture of principles and rules, although most people have a preference for one or other as their base approach. Rules turn into tick box methodology and often have a by rote response by regular and  staff which means they are only looking for what they normally look for, which generally leads to tightly process managed activity and efficiency when everything functions as it should. The principles approach is somewhat looser it encourages more initiative and innovation. As it is values driven this helps staff to make the ‘right’ decision in a responsive manner rather than wait for someone else to notice and sort it out.

Vigilance is important  and to deal with issues such as customers theft or missing “borrowed stock”. Often this is not staffs first consideration especially if they do not have a specific responsibility for it or through restructure business process no longer provide adequate checks and business processes are not robustly monitored. Sometimes staff can take advantage of the systems for example in banking Mr Nick Leeson or more recently Mr Kweku Adoboli unauthorised trading led to a $2bn (£1.3bn) loss for UBS. These events not only affect operation profitability but share prices, in the second example UBS shares closed 11% lower on Thursday 15th September 2011 after they announced the rogue trades were being investigated.

Ongoing evaluation of organisational risk
The risk management cycle

Solutions after the event are less helpful than prevention, but how do we prevent this from happening?

The answer is preparation by robust risk assessments looking at what may go wrong and what the likely impact of such an event are. To do this effectively you need good corporate governance and operational management able to review process, procedure and to review what is done by who, to ensure business continuity planning. Implementation to build in safeguards to enable operations to flow through at a competitive rate even if certain key personal are missing or problems occur as trading should continue if at all possible and too limit the possible damage and eliminate or minimise the opportunities for rogue people to play your systems. Vigorous risk assessments is time consuming but the consequents of not doing it are horrific, so a regular review of your monitoring regime must be incorporated into the risk management cycle, fresh sets of eyes might see what others have missed so balance continuity, with different people’s expertise applied.

As with being on a plane or a ship when choosing to spend time paying attention to putting on a Life jacket and what to do in an emergency. This is an investment of time one hopes is wasted… but this preparation will save lives and when Caring for Business through risk assessments  could save your businesses from all sorts of troubles and minimise industrial accidents and perhaps thinking about what you do will enable new ways of working to be imagined as well how to mitigate potential risks. It is mission critical that the ship of your business does not assume a RMS Titanic invulnerability, as acting as if ‘it will never happen to us’ is not good business sense!

From my perspective as a cross sector UK Business leader it is of the utmost importance that in caring for business the people at the heart of an organisation must regularly perform due diligence preparations to mitigate against unforeseen circumstances, as business must go on.

Institute of Directors, Director of the Year awards

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Mike in Leeds

Mike Beckett on his way to the Director of the Year awards

Yesterday was a great day, attending the Institute of Directors, Director of the Year awards at the beautiful Aspire venue in Leeds on Thursday 8th of  September 2011.

It was back in 2010 that I joined the Institute of Directors, having decided to embark on their Continuing Professional Development by studying at Leeds Business School, which is part of Leeds Metropolitan University. In July 2011 the Institute of Directors notification arrived, which said that Mike Beckett was to be awarded a Certificate in Company Direction, with Distinction.

So it was a real honour for me when yesterday Barbara Colledge, the Dean of the Faculty of Business & Law presented me with the certificate. The Yorkshire and Humber Regional Director of the IoD, Kenton Robbins, introduced me to receive the award with some very kind words, saying “Cllr Michael Beckett from Caring for Business Ltd is a promising young entrepreneur of whom we are expecting great things”. On a personal note the best part for me was that my wife and parents were able to be present to witness this.

Mike and Cal at Aspire York with certificate of Company Direction just recieved

Mike Beckett's delight at receiving the Institute of Directors Certificate in Company Direction, with Distinction.

Nick Beech, the Principle Lecturer, from Leeds Business School at the Lunch told me that over the last 10 years of running the course, they have had just 7 students achieve a Distinction on this course. This reminded me of the economic principle that rarity enhances value! The IoD programme has a strategic focus on the development of high performance boards. As a cross sector leader I have found the course beneficial in improving  standards and practise in achieving KPI outcomes  and this has demonstrated to me its value as an investment of time and money.
 

The awards winners were Hayley Erner of High Flyers Business Coaching Ltd was awarded the Business Advisor of the year (sponsored by ABDN), for impressive achievements in increasing the size of client businesses.  Gareth Barker from Sheffield Forgemasters was awarded the Young Director of the Year (sponsored by Totally Exec) for leading an efficiency drive in making the business profitable. James Lambert from R&R Ice Cream received a Lifetime Achievement award  (sponsored by Grant Thornton). Kenton had earlier said that as an austerity measure there was no desert today, so James raised smiles from everyone by agreeing to provide ice cream for next years event. Peter Roberts of Pure Gym, providing no-nonsense budget gyms, received the Judges Special Award (sponsored by The Insurance Partnership). Christopher Hopkins of Ploughcroft was awarded Small & Medium Size Enterprise Director of the Year award (sponsored by The Alternative Board) for growing his business and for innovation in solar roofing technology. Christopher has also receiving support from an encounter with the Dragons Theo and Deborah from Dragon’s Den.

The finale was the award to Lawrence Tomlinson of the LNT Group which is ranked 28th in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 Companies. He was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year and followed this us with the award for overall Director of the Year 2011 (awards sponsored by Leeds Business School and Welcome to Yorkshire). Congratulations Lawrence, well done. I hope he goes on to have a Yorkshire win for us all in the National Director of the Year competition, happening later this year in London!