Jonathan Mills

stretching people, stretching organisations, stretching nations



Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire

I had to do some grocery shopping today and couldn’t help noticing the following words on the till receipt: “Do it with passion or not at all!” I fortunately love my job and put passion into what I do, but… Continue Reading →

Establishing recognisable themes in the workplace

One of my most loved music genre’s is ‘classical’ – not only compositions from the so-called ‘greats’ (Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, etc.), but also the lesser-known composers that have influenced music style in the 20th Century. This morning, it was… Continue Reading →

Coaching to improve the skillsets of employees

Acclaimed athletes and international sports teams have many of them – coaches for different aspects of the game or discipline. This group of professional advisors often includes physiotherapists and masseurs, sports psychologists, nutritionists, fitness specialists and even doctors, quite apart… Continue Reading →

Closing the performance gap with effective performance conversations

Behind the problems that routinely plague teams and organisations are individuals who either can’t or won’t deal with failed promises – some have just not performed well, missed deadlines or behaved badly; others have broken rules or have been involved… Continue Reading →

Eliminating distractions to focus your mind

It has become a disease for many – the practise of multi-tasking! With the onset of the digital era, our lives are plagued with ring-tones, “pings”, interruptions, LED’s, the need for texting whilst we are talking on the phone (or… Continue Reading →

Pointing out the way as a leader

I was told by my parents never to point my finger, particularly not at people. Pointing out a passing ship or a whale frolicking offshore was fine, but finger-pointing for me was limited to natural wonders and animals. As I… Continue Reading →

Climbing to new heights and maintaining your altitude

According to an old legend, vizier Sissa Ben Dahir presented an Indian King Sharim with a beautiful, hand-made chessboard. The king asked what he would like in return for his gift and the courtier surprised the king by asking for… Continue Reading →

Shake a leg!

It is easy to blame circumstances for a lack of success or at least give really plausible reasons for things not working out as planned. It is true sometimes that we feel like pawns, without any power, being manoeuvred strategically… Continue Reading →

Saying “no” appropriately to achieve success

The human being has all but lost the capability to manage the preponderance of choice – this has been called “decision fatigue” by some. There are just so many options, be it in grocery shopping varieties to choose from, career… Continue Reading →

Balancing cost leadership with differentiation through focus

You remember some companies for the special attention or additional value that you received upon making your purchase – a free bottle of champagne and chocolates in your hotel room, free pillows with the purchase of a bed set or… Continue Reading →

Finding the “sweet spot” in production environments

One of the major pressures today in production and process environments is to cut down on operational costs and aim towards achieving operational excellence. Production planning and control, manufacturing execution and operational effectiveness of the people, processes and equipment all… Continue Reading →

Overcoming procrastination with vision clarity

Even the most proactive of people fall into the procrastination trap at some stage or the other. Important activities are sometimes substituted by pressing activities, the same of which don’t necessarily contribute to achieving one’s goals. Some people get really… Continue Reading →

Executing the one goal that is going to make all the difference

One of the benefits of extensive travel, particularly to other cities in the world, is the opportunity to experience client service first hand in a variety of hotels, with some of them being well-known brands.  I don’t always get the… Continue Reading →

Firing on all cylinders

Organisational health – the status of operating efficiently and effectively with a “happy team” of positive and focused employees – not only provides a seedbed for new ideas, innovation and creativity, but also establishes the necessary foundation for the development… Continue Reading →

Managers, be mindful in your communication

I sometimes get mildly irritated, no, maybe seriously aggravated, by the following: mobile phone conversations held at full volume on public transport; 20km/h speed limits outside junior schools still applying at midnight, sometimes with a speed camera to enforce it;… Continue Reading →

Stimulating energy for productivity

In small and large manufacturing and production-type enterprises, apart from technical issues that may occur from time to time, one of the most pertinent issues faced by leadership is getting the various teams focused and applying their energy appropriately. Modern… Continue Reading →

Pursuing excellence in your chosen profession

I love coffee – Arabica coffee beans, which comprise about 75% of the total world production, are the most famous, sometimes called “super-coffee” and grown in Central and South America. The coffee is grown at high altitudes in volcanic soil… Continue Reading →

Focus is essential for strategy implementation

Focus on and persistence with the implementation of a strategy is often lost amongst other pressing issues – handling crises, problem-solving when things break down, protecting oneself in a sometimes politicised environment and dealing with the digital deluge. Frazzled managers… Continue Reading →

Your daily tasks may stand in the way of building a career

Having consulted with a number of firms, I have noticed, almost without exception, the frantic activity of senior and middle management as they scurry from meeting to meeting, prepare presentations, work on budgets, hoping to get the best deal for… Continue Reading →

Disciplined implementation is essential for strategic delivery

I am frequently involved in strategic planning sessions with my clients. Based on a desirable future reality for the firm, company executives get together to plan the way ahead – develop a strategy to achieve their joint vision. Usually, enormous… Continue Reading →

Arresting the “one step forward, two steps backward” routine

Sir William Edward Parry (1790 – 1855) was an English naval officer and record-setting explorer of the Arctic. He made one of the initial attempts to conquer the perilous trip to the North Pole and, in so doing, travelled further… Continue Reading →

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