Discover Articles Written by Darren A. Smith for The Grocer Magazine

MBM Featured in The Grocer

Regular readers of the MBM blog will know that we are passionate about self-development. Sometimes, however, it is nice to share our insight with others. Our founder, Darren A. Smith is a regular guest author in The Grocer. He shares his unique blend of humour, industry experience and a dogged passion for self-improvement to help their readers maximise their potential and become the very best version of themselves.

About The Grocer

The Grocer leads the market as the UK’s only paid-for online service and weekly magazine with coverage of the whole FMCG sector. Customers range from directors of the large multiples to independent retailers, wholesalers and suppliers, as well as growers, food processors, manufacturers, key opinion formers and the national media.

You can explore each article below:

Different Ways of Thinking During Presentations

We think he looks like Captain Birdseye. The old one, not the new trendy one. Ned Herrmann (Mr Old Birdseye) created a psychometric test in the 1960s. A little like the Myers-Briggs test, but easier to remember. He realised different people thought differently and spent the next 40 years creating a way of understanding which thinking preference we have. The HBDI – Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument. Should you care? Only if you present.

This article was published by The Grocer on the 27th of November 2020. You can access the full article here. Alternatively, you can view it on our blog.

A group of business people clapping a woman giving a presentation
The Grocer, Zoom Doom

How to Deal With the ‘Zoom Doom’

We’ve done a few of them before. But now, because of COVID-19 online calls and online meetings have become the norm. Some people call it ‘Zoom Doom’. It’s that feeling of just feeling dog tired, yet not knowing why. All you’ve done is sit at your computer and meet people all day. Yet, you normally have meetings throughout the day, so what’s so different?

This article was published by The Grocer on the 7th of August 2020. You can access the full article here. Alternatively, you can view it on our blog.

Escape the Eternal Nightmare of Bad Meetings

The reason people don’t want productive meetings is that they would inevitably ‘lead to them having to do more work’. They secretly like how it is. My old boss gave this sage-like advice. Was he right? Probably. He usually was. The ‘but’ is that if we accept this as the norm, we face doom forever. Having to accept that meeting, after meeting, after meeting, is the way it is. Are we, therefore, doomed to live in this eternal nightmare?

This article was published by The Grocer on the 30th of October 2020. You can access the full article here. Alternatively, you can view it on our blog.

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The Grocer, TRUST Formula

Where Do You/Your Colleagues Fall Down?

Trust has four parts, credibility, reliability, intimacy, and self-orientation. In the equation, the first three traits are added together and then divided against the latter. Each part has its piece to play in helping us to understand those we do and do not trust, and why.

This article was published by The Grocer on the 4th of September 2020. You can access the full article here. Alternatively, you can view it on our blog.

How to Deal With the Email Monster

We send 320 billion emails every day. If you created a Boston matrix with two-axis; what I do most at work and what stresses me most. You’d probably put meetings and emails in the top left box. The box called, ‘Things we do a lot, but they don’t half cause me a lot of stress’. Discover how to starve the email monster, reduce stress, and make your life easier with these tips.

This article was published by The Grocer on the 2nd of October 2020. You can access the full article here. Alternatively, you can view it on our blog.

Emails list on a laptop screen, office background
Old fashioned mint green beetle

Top Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

When you think of good negotiators, you probably think of a gruff old boy banging his fist on the table. In my experience, the better negotiators are the more curious ones. There are six stages to negotiation and most people skip the first two – prepare and explore – and go straight to proposal, and then end up in a deadlock on price.

This article was published by The Grocer on the 8th of January 2021. You can access the full article here. Alternatively, you can view it on our blog.

‘Thinking Strategically’- How Necessary Is It?

‘Smith. You need to think more strategically.’ This was my boss, Jim. I was 19 and working at Sainsbury’s head office in Stamford Street. I had no idea what he was on about. However, I know now what I didn’t then. Firstly, those that talk about strategic thinking often cannot explain what it is. Secondly, there are many other also useful approaches to take. And thirdly, everyone can do strategic thinking. It’s not hard. ‘You need to think strategically’ has become the equivalent of telling someone who is angry to calm down: pointless.

This article was published by The Grocer on the 5th of February 2021. You can access the full article here. Alternatively, you can view it on our blog.

Man with chessboard looking into the distance
Graffiti of James Bond character on a wall

People Management: Hear the Music To Support Your Team

If you’ve ever watched a Bond film you’ll have seen this classic scene…Bond has just slipped into a room in the dead of night, dressed in black. He’s searching the office for documents, or the bedroom for a safe. It’s tense as Bond is where he shouldn’t be. Now imagine the scene without the music. Rubbish. The music tells us that things are about to change. Great people managers look ahead at the problems. Being a great people manager is hearing the music that tells you the villain is in hiding.

This article was published by The Grocer on the 5th of March 2021. You can access the full article here. Alternatively, you can view it on our blog.

Don’t be ‘ignored’: How to overcome the perils of procrastination

It was a cold, wet, October Monday morning, and Mark, one of my team, was procrastinating. He wasn’t busy, so it meant he needed to start designing a leadership programme that was due to be delivered soon. A demanding task that required concentration, and lots of it. The balloon? He was referring to a team brainstorm we’d had weeks previously. During the meeting, I remember him being distracted by something else. Now he had to do this big task, he was engaged!

This article was published by The Grocer on the 1st of April 2021. You can access the full article here. Alternatively, you can view it on our blog.

Do it now spelt out in scrabble tiles
Close up of toilet and toilet roll

Carry on emailing… but make sure you avoid these mistakes

Carry on at Your Convenience was one of the brilliant Carry On films. They don’t make them like that any more and that’s probably right because they wouldn’t get away with half of the innuendos. This film was about a factory – WC Boggs & Son – that made toilets. The brand? Crapper, of course.

There is a scene where the son, Lewis Boggs, does a time and motion study. He concludes to the workforce that if they drank less tea, they’d go to the toilet less. Fewer toilet visits would mean more time working. Productivity sorted. A mass walkout ensues. I wonder what Lewis would make of our present-day working set-up.

This article was published by The Grocer on the 30th of April 2021. You can access the full article here. Alternatively, you can view it on our blog.

Why are Frogs, Badgers, and Woolly Mammoths Important to Achieving Great Productivity?

I watched a video on YouTube recently. It was a woman who made a living building tools that don’t work. They were comedy tools, like an alarm clock that hit her with a rubber hammer. Another was the carrot chopper. Three knives hacked at some carrots, making an appalling job of it. I can’t believe she makes money with her channel, but each to their own!

The carrot chopper would work if you left it long enough. How often have you thought, in the office, ‘when they all go home, I’ll get this done’?

This article was published by The Grocer on the 28th of May 2021. You can access the full article here. Alternatively, you can view it on our blog.

Four origami animal models
Close-up of an Opened Dictionary showing the Word WORD

All Words Are Not Equal: Know What Someone is Truly Saying

‘Don’t Run’, Shouts my Dad, Seeing That His Son is About to Break Into a Stride. I am 6 years old. Me, Mum, and Dad, have just come back from the weekly Saturday food shop. We’re unloading the boot and like any young boy, I’d like to help. Standing at the boot Dad picks up a glass jar of orange juice (Cartons hadn’t been invented yet!). To ensure that he has my full attention he crouches down, looks me in the eye whilst still keeping his hands on the jar, next to mine, and repeats, ‘Don’t run’.

This article was published by The Grocer on the 25th of June 2021. You can access the full article here. Alternatively, you can view it on our blog.

The Frightening Leader Gives Way to Everyone is a Leader

My Dad was a Retail Director at Sainsbury’s. He started at 15 selling rabbits outside a Sainsbury’s store for 1d (Someone much older may need to check that price!). He rose through the ranks for 40 years until he retired. ‘An Eastend boy done good’, as my Mum says. He was the type of leader that was typical in the 90’s. Feared, respected, and what he said went. Leaders and the word leadership has changed a lot in the last 30 years. We have moved away from the feared leader to us talking about people being leaders whatever level they are. But how do we comprehend the feared leader that we knew as an example of a leader, and then us? Does it mean that we do that?

This article was published by The Grocer on the 23rd of July 2021. You can access the full article here. Alternatively, you can view it on our blog.

Wooden cubes with outlines of people
Man with hands creating a triangle

Karpman’s Drama Triangle: How We Walk Into it & How to Avoid it

This was a familiar scenario in our home when my kids were small. It was 2008, New Year’s Day. Mum and Dad were worst for wear (Uh-hum) and so to placate the kids we all went out and bought a Wii. ‘You two kids play this whilst Mum and Dad ‘rest’. An hour later I walked into the living room to find a blanket covering the TV. ‘Why has the TV got a blanket over it?’. Gabby was 8, ‘The telly was cold’. Even through my struggling state, I sensed that might not be true.

Lifting up the blanket, the wonderful colours that appeared on the screen were a sight to behold. Though not quite as much as the Wii remote that was buried in the screen. Jack, ‘Do you $££$$$$$ remember I said to put the strap thing around your wrist when you played bowling?!’, I shouted at the kids. My wife heard and came to defend them ‘as they are only little’.

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