Hazelnuts of Wisdom for 2012

We at Macanta are inspired by an ancient Celtic Myth. The Salmon of Knowledge tells the story of how a boy became a wise man by being the first person to eat the Salmon of Knowledge. He would go on to lead a band of hunters and warriors and become one of the greatest heroes in Celtic Mythology.  According to the story, a druid had foretold that anyone who ate the salmon would gain its magical powers and have the knowledge of all things.  It was an ordinary salmon that ate the nine hazel nuts that fell into the Well of Wisdom from nine hazel trees that surrounded the fountain. In doing so, the salmon gained all the knowledge in the world.  Moreover, the first person to eat of its flesh would, in turn, gain this knowledge.

A poet spent seven years fishing for the salmon. When he finally caught it, he instructed the boy (his apprentice) to prepare it for him. The boy burned his thumb when spattered with some of the hot fat from the cooking salmon and immediately sucked on it to ease the pain. When he brought the cooked meal to the Poet, his master saw a fire in the boy’s eyes that had not been there before. When asked by the poet, he admitted he tasted the flesh of the salmon.

When we consult with our clients, we share our knowledge, and the clients get the wisdom.  This embodies our one of our core values, Empowerment, which is why this myth inspires us!

Here are our nine “Hazelnuts” of wisdom for 2012

January is a good time of the year to take stock.  Look at your Vision. Is it still relevant? Does your Mission still clearly articulate the purpose of your organisation? Now is a good time to review and change if necessary. Check to ensure that the Vision and the Mission are aligned.

Realise that to achieve your Vision, you need to set goals.  Again – January is a great time to look at your current goals and objectives – are they still relevant?  If not, it is a great time to sit down and come up with some achievable goals for 2012. This is a great team activity, so involve everyone!

Everything you do, every day, must take you one step closer to achieving your Vision.  Look back at 2011 and ask yourself “are we on track?”  If not, time to do some tacking, as all those wonderful sailors do in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.  Get yourself back on track so that by the end of 2012 you are closer to achieving your Vision.

Explore the Values you wish for the business or team. Consider building behaviours into performance measures for staff. If people are rewarded for the right behaviour, they will work with you in promoting and living the values you espouse.  P.S. Remember to lead by example!

How are your staff retention rates?  Good?  Congratulations!  Not so good?  This is a good time to take stock of reasons why you might be losing your talent.  January is always a great time for review. Perhaps you need to explore why. There may be external factors, or you may not be engaging your staff. A staff survey might give you the answers. Then, of course you need to take action based on the results.

How are your client retention rates?  Good? Again, congratulations!   Not so good?  Without client retention it is hard to grow your business. Take care of your clients. They are key to the success of your business.  Have a strategic key relationship plan for each client and ensure you have allocated a staff member to manage the relationship.

Do you and your staff have work life balance?  At this time of year for New Year’s resolutions, this would be a great resolution for you and your team/organisation.  Without this, your business is not sustainable, and people are at risk of burnout.  What you want are staff members who are happy, fulfilled, and fresh enough to be creative, innovative and excellent every day!

Do you and your team interact with stakeholders?  Can you highlight any negative experience from 2011? January is a great time to reflect on this as a team, and come up with a way in which the team’s interaction with stakeholders is always positive and proactive.

I cannot think of a better New Year’s resolution for the workplace than this last one.  HAVE SOME FUN!   Work does not have to be a drudge.  Employees who can laugh together can also face the hard times and pull together as a team.  While you are planning, be sure to include some fun outings or activities for the team in 2012.


We wish you all a peaceful, productive and prosperous 2012.

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