You probably know the Important vs Urgent matrix. In fact, you may be so familiar that you could draw it from memory. If you don’t know what it is, let me say that the name kind of gives it away, and a quick web search will reveal hundreds of examples. Here’s mine to add to the canon:

I highly recommend investing in a set of felt-tip pens.

I think this can be a powerful thinking tool for increasing productivity, but the lesson it’s trying to teach us is both disarmingly simple and over-familiar. That’s a terrible combination for learning — we know what familiarity breeds, and simple lessons are notoriously…


I’m not going to sugar-coat it, I’m just going to say it right out. The most useful lesson I have learned about pay is: there is no right way to do it. And I don’t mean “there is no one right way to do it”. I mean “every approach to pay is wrong in some important sense”. That might sound like an unduly negative way to look at things. It’s tempting to dismiss it as hyperbole — but I hope I can persuade you both that it is true and that there is something positive here.

GrantTree in 2017. £50M was not our total payroll, but the amount of funding we’d raised for clients.

I want to start…


If all your team can fit around a regular, non-comedy-sized dining table, then you can usually stay in good enough contact with everyone’s work and priorities through a mixture of informal interaction and passive data gathering (AKA chit-chat and eavesdropping). But, once your team starts to grow (or if they can’t all be in the same room), the informal approach starts to get somewhat strained. Yes, people might still be motivated and effective, but are they working on the right things? How do they know what’s important? How do they avoid falling down rabbit holes? Your growing team needs direction…


If you have a leadership role within an organisation then at some point in the last twelve months you’ve probably found yourself doing a web search for “top tips remote working” or “team management 2020 best practice”. The rapid shift to remote working brought about by the pandemic came as a shock to many organisations, and managers and HR folks were left playing catchup. Painful though it may have been in the short term, I think this sudden shift will be prove to be worthwhile in the long term, for people (as many people have written) but also for organisations.

There are many benefits to developing greater flexibility.


Traffic jams are frustrating — but it’s not only on the road that we have to worry about delays.

If you’ve read anything about lean management, you will probably have noticed a preoccupation — I might almost say, an obsession — with the concept of ‘delays’. Sometimes delays are caused by work sitting in ‘queues’, and the longest queues form in front of ‘bottlenecks’, and delays can be reduced by eliminating ‘waste’ and improving ‘flow’, so if you’ve seen those terms too, there have been delays lurking in the background. (If you haven’t noticed this by the way, then you may not have been reading reliable sources, and I cannot recommend This is Lean highly enough).

But why are…


Recruitment is one of the most important areas in any business.

I’m afraid there’s no way round it: you are biased, and there’s nothing you can do about it. What’s more, knowing that you’re biased does nothing to stop your biases operating — if anything, it can actually make their effects stronger, because you become overconfident and stop looking out for them.

Calling them ‘biases’ is a bit misleading, because they’re really part of the way our mind works so we can survive in the world. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky started identifying them in the 1970s, when researching the way we make decisions. They’re the mental tools that we use…

Andrew Ormerod

“Operations” is my thing. I work with solo entrepreneurs and SMEs to improve the way their businesses run. You can find me online at andrewormerod.com

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