Help my company grow

I recently met with the C.E.O of a growing global organisation to discuss how I could  help them move to the next stage of business growth through taking their People Development offering to the next level.

As a consultant it is critical to be able to listen and make sense of: the questions the client asks; the information they share, and be able to tune into their fundamental need

In this case the need being “How do we grow from 150 to 300 staff across multiple sites; nationally and internationally, whilst growing from £17 mil to £30 mil whilst maintaining the ‘thing’ that has made us successful to date?” i.e. “Have you done this…successfully?”

One thing I have learned through my life journey is that in order to grow it is often beneficial to say “yes I can!” and then figure out how as you go. However, there are times such as this: where the task is too big; where the learning and application curve would be too steep; where damage to reputation would be too great, which make it wise to say no and in this case that was what I had to do.

However, every opportunity is a learning one and as always I left that meeting determined to have the necessary knowledge so that the next time an opportunity came my way I could say “yes”

Lesson one – Growth is change!

Everything that was will be needs to re-molded to accommodate this growth and if you don’t start with this awareness as your framework you are in for a world of pain.

Lesson two – Growth is complicated

As an organisation grows the following complications occur

a. The founders of the business lose touch with the people on the front line – What this means is that the heart and soul of the company (the vision) has less and less impact on the people that matter and the people start to lose contact with what mattered at the start

b. Standards start to blur as more layers of ‘leadership’ are implemented – Unless you have a very strong development and standards maintenance process in place these begin to become diluted as more management layers are put in to ‘manage’ the growth. Even the best processes do not ensure 100% take up of the original message, which means that if the original message is diluted by a mere 10% for every new layer, by the time you get to an office location on a different continent to the head office your original standards and development process will be severely (but necessarily obviously) compromised

With the above in mind, lets look at

How to grow your business from 1£17 mil to £30 mil, 150 to 300 employees all whilst maintaining the thing that has kept you successful to date

  1. Accountability – Create a culture of accountability

If you want to grow significantly every individual in the organisation needs to be accountable. This does not mean that they get the blame if something goes wrong although this is a piece that needs attention as well) What accountability means is that everybody is very clear about their part in what success for the business means; they understand the impact their action/non action has on the success and take ownership for their part.

How this looks in practice? When something goes wrong they stand up and acknowledge their part in this and come along with solutions to get their part back on track

2. Listening – Create a culture of listening 

Have Nancy Kline to thank for this one! If we don’t know how to listen to each other, we won’t listen to each other. If we aren’t listening to one another; we stop communicating; we stop communicating and we die

3. Learning – Create a culture of learning

Most dictionaries define learning as ‘the acquisition of knowledge through …” I believe learning is greater than this. Learning is change and growth! An organisation which has a culture of learning is an organisation where each and every single individual is committed to being a master of their role and are committed to sharing the development of learning

What are your experiences on the above?


Words of Wisdom: Better Leadership

You lead better by asking questions than by giving directions


Words of Wisdom: Empower your People

It is not discipline, willpower, nor pressure from others that facilitates adherence to a challenging course of action. Rather it is the freedom to choose among alternatives, the personal commitment to the mission, and the willingness to take responsibility for the consequences of their decisions that steels the will and emboldens the spirit


Words of Wisdom: Take charge

Great Leaders know things will get better because they know they will make things better


The debilitating effect of “That’s not my job”

The gym my gorgeous wife and I train at is amazing! State of the art, all the toys necessary for any type of training including virtual classes in their spin and functional studio’s. Suffice to say we love it and love training there (did I mention it is literally 400 meters from the house :0))

There is nothing better than to start our day off with a spin to get the blood pumping, adrenaline flowing and mind ready for the day and because the class is virtual we are not constrained by set times, instructor not being available etc and the virtual class quality (instructors and video production) is out of this world (Les Mills feel free to send across marketing royalties lol)

This morning unfortunately was not the gyms finest moment. The instructor led classes and the sound system allows for the instructor to switch from the video sound to an external source. It also looks like the policy at the gym is that the sound cabinet is kept locked at all time (good policy). Unfortunately it appears that last nights instructor forgot (for their benefit) to switch the sound back to the video source. locked the cabinet and went home with the result that when we arrived this morning we found upon getting our session started that we were without sound

For those of you who spin (especially a class led by a virtual instructor) you’ll know that doing a class (no matter how much you love spinning) without sound is annoyingly painful!

So off I trot to find the very helpful and friendly gym personnel to sort this out and it turns out they cannot find the key to unlock the cabinet to switch the sound etc which we can live with: these things happen and lessons can be learned and policies can be put in place to  ensure this does not re-occur and we continue with our class (thank God for the tons of music on mobile etc)

Which brings me to the point of this short post – As we left the gym, my gorgeous wife took a moment to stop and chat with the individual that had attended to us earlier and shared very sweetly feedback on the impact of not having access to the keys to the sound equipment and some ideas on how to change this, to which the individual responded

“That’s not my job…”

And here’s the problem – There is nothing more infuriating to hear as a customer than those four/five words – wink if you agree :0) The problem with those words for me are that

  1. The person doesn’t really care about my needs as a customer
  2. The person is not solutions focussed
  3. The person is not accountable

All indications of a big problem I come across in all the organisations I work with helping them and their people flourish through equipping, empowering and enabling them to achieve their potential

The Big Problem – The business is run in such a way, the leadership operate in such a way; and people are set up in such a way that A) they don’t understand what their job really is and B) they don’t have accountability!

Take a moment to answer the following question regarding your work life, and then go and ask a number of others who work with you the same question

“What is your job?”

If the majority of answers are “My job is to …(fill in job title or responsibilities of job) your business is in serious trouble. The problem with this thinking and mindset is the key cause to I would venture 90% of all businesses who have gone bang

If people think their job is their job title the reality is that they are not working for the organisation, they are not working for a bigger purpose and as a result they are working for themselves.

If what I have shared today struck a cord and you recognise this pattern of thinking in your business and want to avoid the energy sapping, profit killing, people stealing avalanche that this brings give a shout.



Words of Wisdom: Accelerate Success

When you involve the organisation every day in defining the required actions, You increase the capability to manage and accelerate success in the chosen area