When you believe your own PR

Narcissism is like salt in soup: a pinch or two improves matters but add too much and the whole thing is ruined. Unfortunately for leaders, recognising the point at which their self-confidence swells into hubris — the belief that rules designed for mere mortals no longer apply to them — is more difficult than following a recipe. And when it happens, it has huge destructive potential for them and their organisations.

“It means that managers focus completely on themselves, while most of the time they are facing problems that cannot be solved by one individual,” said Bernd Vogel, director of the Centre for Engaging Leadership at Henley Business School. “This creates real performance issues, short and long term.”

Read more in The Sunday Times

The Times SME Hub: handling growth

This month The Times SME Hub looks at how entrepreneurs handle rapid growth, which can present challenges as well as benefits.

In Maternity wear business finds room to bloom, Geoff van Sonsbeeck of Isabella Oliver talks about some of the challenges of starting a business at home.

Morph Costumes’ Gregor Lawson and his co-founders caught the public imagination and expanded rapidly, only to find that this drew the attention of competitors.

Codegent calculated the value of its culture when making it on to a magazine’s “one to watch list” meant an influx of work and some quickfire hiring, says the agency‘s co-founder, Mark McDermott.

Alibi Health Drink‘s founder, Oliver Burton, deliberately took a slow-and-steady approach to growth to avoid expanding too fast and damaging the brand.

Fast-track growth isn’t always foolproof, design agency co-founder Peter Ballard explains; his business doubled in size following an acquisition but the integration took longer than he expected.

Weighing, packing and posting “irregular, sticky, squidgy” snacks is a challenge, but one that Graze is taking on in the US as well as the UK, says CEO Anthony Fletcher.

Don’t judge recruits by their CVs

David Hutchinson is no longer surprised when background checks on senior job candidates find skeletons that should have emerged from the cupboard years before.

Far too many organisations simply assume that applicants were screened when they got their previous job, and therefore do not need to be checked again. This means that all it takes to “launder” a questionable CV is one job with a reputable company, Hutchinson said.

“If a candidate can get away with something once, the next employer will think, ‘Oh, he worked at such and such company, they will have checked. He looks good, we’ll take him’,” said Hutchinson, managing director of PeopleCheck, which conducts background reviews.

“We found a guy in a senior compliance position who had worked for three large banks, but when we ran the check we found that he had a conviction for fraud and had been to prison.”

Read more in The Sunday Times

Freelance journalist and writer