Business English for Management Lessons

Skills 360 – ESG: Environmental, Social and Governance

Skills 360 LESSON - ESG: Environmental, Social and Governance

Welcome back to the Business English Skills 360 podcast for today’s lesson on “ESG,” or the environmental, social, and governance commitments companies make.

Along with DEI, which we’ll talk about next time, ESG is one of those acronyms that seems to be everywhere these days. Some companies have made huge strides in ESG, and many of them are reaping the rewards. Others have just started down the path. And then there are some that are resisting, for better or worse. Whatever the situation in your company is, it’s important for you to know what ESG is all about.

On a very simple level, ESG is about paying attention to the non-financial impacts, risks, and opportunities in business. The “E” in ESG stands for “environmental.” This refers to a company’s impacts on the environment, its greenhouse gas emissions, its care for natural resources, and its resilience in the face of climate change.

The “S” in ESG stands for “social.” This pillar is all about the company’s relationship with it stakeholders, both internal and external. That includes employee engagement, as well as relationships with the surrounding community and its people. Finally, the “G” in ESG stands for “governance.” This is all about ethical and accountable leadership, board oversight, equity, and transparency.

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Skills 360 – Managing Up 2: How to Manage Up

Skills 360 - Management English: Managing Up (2)

Welcome back to the Business English Skills 360 podcast for today’s lesson on English management skills and how to manage up.

Many of us silently yearn for an easy relationship with our boss, one in which he can understand us intuitively. But managers are human. They can’t read minds any better than you can. And even the best ones make mistakes. That’s why today I want to talk about how to “manage up.” I’m talking about using strategies for enhanced collaboration between you and your boss. I want to show you how you can initiate these strategies, rather than waiting for your boss to become a better manager.

The right attitude is critical if you want to learn to manage up. Start by de-escalating any resentment you have toward your boss. Open yourself up to the idea of collaborating with your boss. And cultivate a spirit of learning. Even if you don’t see your boss as a mentor, there’s lots you can learn from him.

With the right attitude, you can then go about trying to understand your boss better. Reflect on what you know about the person. Ask yourself: what is this person’s experience and background? Then, how does this experience and background inform his core values?

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Skills 360 – Managing Up 1: Working with your Boss

Skills 360 - Management English: Managing Up (1)

Welcome back to the Business English Skills 360 podcast for today’s lesson on English management skills and managing up.

There’s an old saying that people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses. And according to a recent study, 65% of people would choose a new boss over a pay raise. Without a doubt, our job satisfaction is heavily influenced by the quality of our boss.

But if your boss doesn’t understand you, or doesn’t know how to manage you, or is outright incompetent, you don’t have to suffer in silence. In fact, even people who have great bosses can benefit from what we call “managing up.”

So, what do I mean by managing up? Well, on a basic level, managing up is all about teaching your boss how to be a good manager to you. It’s about improving communication, understanding, and collaboration so that you both benefit from the working relationship.

A lot of us are stuck in a particular way of thinking about power, in other words: your boss has it, and you don’t. But you need to think about your relationship with your boss as one in which you have choice and agency. You can influence outcomes and behavior and improve your work life by improving understanding.

When we manage up, we acknowledge that different people have different ways of communicating, behaving, and working. And we work to understand our boss’s particular style and approach. Think deeply about her expectations, her needs, her preferred communication style, and her goals. Once you have this understanding, then you can adapt.

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BEP 396 – Strategic Decision-Making (2)

BEP 396 LESSON - Strategic Decision-Making 2

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on making strategic decisions. This is the second of a pair of lessons on business strategy.

According to the old saying, good ideas are a dime a dozen. There’s no shortage of possibilities in business. But not all those ideas and possibilities are equal. You have to be able to sort out which ones are the right fit for your business. Given limited time, resources, and capacity, you can’t chase after every shiny new thing that comes along.

This is where strategy comes in. Strategy helps you separate the excellent business opportunities from all the merely good ideas. Strategy allows you to say yes to the right ones, and no to the rest. Without a strategic perspective, companies are doomed to go the way of Blockbuster.

Strategic decision-making involves asking whether your company is the right company to pursue the idea. That means assessing whether it plays to your strengths and fits with your brand. It also means discussing the opportunity costs, or the things you’ll be giving up to pursue the new idea. And any new opportunity has to have long-term potential. It can’t just be a flash in the pan.

In today’s dialog, we’ll rejoin Paolo, Adrian, and Michelle, who work for a solar panel company. The company has traditionally focused on commercial projects. Now they’re discussing whether it’s a good idea – strategically speaking – to get into the residential market.

Listening Questions

1. Why is Adrian concerned about the opinions of residential customers?
2. What does Adrian say is the focus of their company’s brand?
3. What is Michelle’s concern about the idea of providing energy audit services?

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BEP 395 – Strategic Decision-Making (1)

BEP 395 LESSON - Making Strategic Decisions 1

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on strategic decision-making. This is the first of a pair of lessons on business strategy.

Every day, business leaders face tough decisions that involve difficult trade-offs. Should we put our time and money into a new opportunity or build capacity in our current operations? Should we partner with company X or company Y? Should we expand east or west?

These decisions are often informed by an overall corporate strategic plan. But that plan can’t account for all possible futures. Big picture plans don’t make the decisions but rather support decision-making. And when the world seems more uncertain, complex, and volatile than ever, the stakes are high for every decision.

There’s lots to consider when making a strategic decision. For starters, we need to think about how the decision aligns with our main goals. For new opportunities, we need to think about growth potential, costs, and profit margins. And we need to be sure we have the right competitive advantage to pursue the opportunity.

In today’s dialog, we’ll listen to a conversation between Paolo, Adrian, and Michelle. They work for a solar panel company that has focused on commercial projects and corporate clients. Now they’re debating the strategic merits of a possible move into the residential market.

Listening Questions

1. After talking about overall goals, what does Paolo get very excited about?
2. What topic does Adrian have many questions about?
3. At the end of the conversation, why does Paolo believe they will be successful in the residential market?

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