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Entrepreneurs Panel

Richard O'Sullivan
Debbie Pierce
Brian Hay
Julie Meyer
Michael Oliver
Tony Caldeira
Laura Tenison
David Pollock
Jeremy Roberts
Jennie Johnson
Charlie Mullins
Steve Purdham

Workplace Chat?

David Pollock

Set up Chess in 1993 to take advantage of the deregulation of the utilities market by re selling water, gas and electricity. In 1996 the business began to specialise in telecoms – reselling telecoms services to businesses throughout the UK - and since his first acquisition in 2004 has completed at least 24 more (many of which involved purchases of client bases and assets rather than entire businesses). Highly-focused on his staff, Pollock places the Chess “culture” at the heart of his ambitious expansion plans.

Question: 

My workplace requires a degree of concentration but has in recent months become so chatty as, I fear, to impact upon productivity. I don’t want to impose a Trappist regime, and indeed my staff need to discuss their work regularly, but I think things have gone too far. I don’t want my staff to think I’m an ogre, and I have no problem with the occasional water cooler chat, but how can I make them realise that sometimes silence is golden?

Answer: 

What’s wrong with Trappist monks? Seriously though, in reality it doesn’t matter if people are chatting. The question should be, “Are they performing?" You need to monitor what people are doing on a monthly, weekly, daily, even hourly basis. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

By measuring your people’s performance you’ll be able to identify whether chatting is really having a negative impact on productivity or whether it’s a natural by-product of the high energy of a successful business environment.

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