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: Business Leadership

True Business Leaders take something of low productivity and turn it into something of high productivity

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The ‘Marketing Your Business One 0 One’ social experiment

I’ve recently taken the big and exciting leap of going it alone. Yep, you read that right. After fifteen plus years of working for companies and helping them grow and prosper, I am riding solo, lone ranger style into the world of entrepreneurship http://www.leadershipinmotion.co.uk

For those that know me, entrepreneurship (at least the desire to run my own business) is not something new. My past is littered with ‘startups’

  • 2002 a personal training business
  • 2003 a sports massage business
  • 2009 Coaching and training business #1

Businesses which on the whole did well (I made money, paid the bills) but for some reason, I never pushed through to the next level on … But that’s for another post ;0).

The reason I am writing today is about marketing of your business one 0 one. What is ‘Marketing Your Business One 0 One’ you may ask?

“The first group you market your business to when you get started is your family, friend and social network”

I can imagine you scratching your head as you read the above, thinking “not exactly rocket science is this”. and you would be right, it’s not! As far back as I can remember, any sales book or conference I’ve been on one of the fundamental messages that get shared is “Reach out to your family, friends and social network first”

marketing one 0 one.png

The reason I share this is two fold

  1. We don’t do it!

You would be amazed at how few people actually do this. I train sales teams and I share the same message time and again. If one percent of the delegates action this message I would be impressed.

Heck, in my previous ‘startups’ I didn’t even do it.

2. If we do it I don’t think we do it properly.

With the rise of social media and connectivity, reaching out and marketing our service has never been easier. Linkedin, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, … have all made it so easy to connect with and inform our close network of what we are up to. And this is the trap – “Marketing your business or services One O One” is not about posting a generic ‘post’or update and hoping that people respond. It involves reaching out to each individual. Letting them know, personally, what you are doing,  how it benefits people and how they can help.

Don’t misunderstand me – generic marketing posts are important, but If you don’t do the aforementioned one first all that happens is that your important message blurs into the background of the media blackhole and gets lost.

So here’s my experiment 😉

As I started off with, I haven’t tended to do this in the past. Reasons – try any one of the following on for size

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This, funnily enough, is where I see the difference between the past and now. Today I need this to work and getting my message out there and asking for support/business is a key part of this success, so instead of letting the above sway me, I now say the following when one of these thoughts crop up in my head

“If I don’t do the (fill in required action), then I am being irresponsible to myself, my family and the person to whom this message is going.”

You wouldn’t believe how the decision to consciously ‘be responsible’ gets me fired up and sending the message out.

So here’s my experiment 😉

Over the next few weeks, I will be directly contacting my entire ‘friendship’ circle on Facebook with information about what I’m doing, what the benefits are and how they can help. I will then be doing the same with my Linkedin connections

The experiment (for me especially is as follows)

  1. I tend to worry that I am ‘putting people out. If we are ‘friends’ or past colleagues I would hope that a friend reaching out for support would not be a putout and that we would want to help how and where we can. It also tells me very quickly about the ‘friendship’ concept lol
  2. I’m eager to see the ROI on such an activity. There will be further marketing activities but this already takes a level of time (individually messaging 500 + friends :0) takes work

So there it is Marketing Your Business One 0 One “first reach out to your family, friends and social network”

Whilst I am writing this, it would be rude not to ask you as a follower for help.

Businesses and families today are struggling, predominantly because their people (who are usually great people) don’t know how to lead. I set up Leadership in Motion because I understand that being a Leader who is a World Changer is the key to a flourishing life and business. My vision is to help develop 1000 Leaders Who are World Changers in the next 3 years.

In order to flourish in life and in business, it always helps to have somebody alongside who has a developers heart. Somebody who’s base is about helping people succeed. somebody who is equipped and skilled to help you identify the gaps. I am that person.

You could help in any of three ways

a) If you are somebody or you know somebody who is a leader could do with the above (hopefully preventative rather than fixing) please give me a shout.

b) Like and share this blog and my details to your community

c) Let me know how I can improve and add more value

http://www.leadershipinmotion.co.uk

 

 

Houston, we’ve had a problem

The rather sombre words uttered by Jack Swiggart, Command Module Pilot, Apollo 13, at 21:08 April 13. 1970 shortly after Oxygen tank No. 2 blew up, causing No.1 tank to fail. A catastrophe which left the shuttle and its crew stranded: No electricity, lights, or water; 200,000 miles away from earth, with no way to power the engine to “begin an immediate return to earth”

Thankfully, due to the expertise, courage and sheer blooded determination of the shuttle and ground crews this story ended – as James A. Lovell writes in his book Apollo Expeditions to the Moon, CHAPTER 13.1, Houston, we’ve had a problem, – not as a tragedy but “a successful failure”

How many businesses can say the same thing? You’ve launched successfully and are powering along, nose to the grindstone moving towards your chosen destination. Your dashboard says you are on track – profit is growing, you’ve moved into bigger offices, are hiring new staff. Okay, like Apollo 13 you’ve had a few minor surprises – your top performer quit to join a competitor, you’ve had a few performance issues, all minor trembles but you’re growing and your dashboard says profit is up so you keep going. And then

Bang blog

You find yourself in a space with no resources: you lose your most experienced people through performance and churn issues, leaving you with ‘newbies’ who are going to take at least 6 months to start contributing. The problem as you investigate further is that the newbies are actually not performing, or being as productive as you thought nor are they anywhere near where they should be in terms of abilities.

You desperately need to do something and do it quickly or you and the shuttle might not make it out of orbit.

Luckily in most cases, much like Apollo 13, business owners have the courage, determination and sheer bloody-mindedness to push harder – get training for the ‘newbies’ put in a better performance management system, change the recruitment process and hire more people and slowly the shuttle rights itself and carries on towards its intended destination with nothing more than a stress headache.

Only, it’s slower with a lot of clunking that you hadn’t noticed before and pretty soon you have another…Bang

For those of you out there who have experienced this, I am sorry and hope that you don’t go through this again. If you haven’t been through this yet, lucky you :0)

In either case: How do you (as mush as possible) prevent this from happening and if it does, then ensure that instead of a catastrophe you turn it into a “successful failure”

  1. Identify the warning signs – There are always signs of impending problems, the earlier you recognise and acknowledge them the easier it is to minimise the chance of them occurring
  2. Take appropriate action to correct the warning signs – As with the Apollo mission there were many things that should have been challenged and changed. Unfortunately, time and cost pressures often put a stop to these happening Two very important words around action:a) Take – Action needs to be taken, which because of change can be harder to dob) Appropriate – The right action needs to be taken, it’s no use putting a bandage on a headache.
  3. Recognise that you need help in taking the appropriate action: (Think symptoms vs cause) Most often actions take place which rectifies the symptoms. the problem here is that it looks good at the time but only wears down further later on. True change/ transformation is a complex business with many facets. As a leader/owner, you are a critical part of the change,  however, because of your position and vested interest in the success of the business help should be sought in moving this forward.

Identify the warning signs

Sometimes its hard to see the ‘cracks’ – warning signs that although nothing is obviously wrong, if action isn’t taken quickly and efficiently you should expect a bang. I’ve created a short questionnaire which you can complete. The questionnaire is a short, informal, non-scientific tool I designed from years doing this work.

Want to identify if your business is a “Houston, we’…. candidate” complete this short questionnaire Click on this link

I understand the challenges leaders go through, I’ve been in the business of organisational performance a long time. Leadership in Motion was formed to help organisations flourish by developing their people into strong, confident leaders: Leaders who recognise their purpose and authority; and who have the tools and means to equip, enable and empower others to realise their full potential. Find out more

Delegation: The art of leveraging time and performance

One of the biggest grumblings I hear from anybody in a leadership position is  “I just don’t have the time” and I get it!

As a person moves up the proverbial ladder of empowerment they become saddled with more responsibilities, attend more meetings, deal with more issues and generally end each day with a to do list which is longer than when started the day. This becomes a repetitive spin cycle sucking you into a black hole of no hope

Fear not for this need not be the case and this need not be your life. All that is required is that you take a leap of faith and start delegating

Here are the fundamentals

  • What is delegation?

The Oxford dictionary defines delegation as: The art of entrusting (a task or responsibility) to another person, typically one who is less senior than oneself

  • Why is delegation important and how is it beneficial?

Motivation and morale – The average person not only accepts, but also seeks out responsibility. By delegating individuals then feel a greater sense of satisfaction and, subsequently, more commitment to the organization.

Growth and expansion = Motivation plus speedier learning curve

Increased autonomy – The more responsibility is delegated the less people rely on you to make decisions and the more confidence they have in themselves to make decision

Agility of business – The more responsible, confident and capable the organisation, the more agile it becomes

Now you may be reading this and thinking to yourself “That’s all good and well. But I’ve given this delegation lark a try and all it did was put me in hot water and give me more to do because I had to pick up the pieces!”

Unfortunately my friends that is more than likely down to you having made one or more of the following mistakes when you ‘tried’ to delegate.

  1. Delegating a task or responsibility to someone who does not have the ability to achieve the desired outcomes. A common mistake that will most definitely land you in hot water.
  2. Delegating a task or responsibility to someone who does not want responsibility for the task.  Another common mistake, we have all the desire to develop and empower people, some people just don’t want it themselves.
  3. Not setting clear expectations and outcomes from both parties. Things can only go wrong when expectations (from both sides) have not been clarified
  4. Over managing or under managing the person once delegation has occurred. Critical error, the first part is often due to lack of confidence in the individual being delegated to (see point 1, 2, 3) as major contributors to this, The latter being hugely attributed to point 5 below
  5. Abdicating accountability. This is an interesting one because we often talk about delegating responsibility so what is the difference between responsibility and accountability?

Although most definitions do show these as being similar it is important to differentiate the two. and can be explained in the following way – Accountability is overall ownership for the result. Example – As a manager you are accountable to your stakeholders for the achievement of team target. What this means is that although you can delegate responsibility of tasks to individuals in your team you cannot put the blame on the individuals if your target is not hit. I.e. the buck stops with you

Abdicating accountability is the sin of giving the buck to someone else

Now that we know why and how not to, lets take a look at how to leverage time and performance through delegation

  •  Stage 1: Preparation

If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail

Two key things to do at this stage

1. Identify and priorities your tasks. A great tool for this is the Urgent/Important Matrix  which I understand originates from the Eisenhower Decision Principle by General Dwight D. Eisenhower leadership lessons that can be gleaned from the life of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”

Ask yourself: Who can do this instead of me? Who can do this better than me? Who can do this at a lower cost than me? Does this really need to be done i.e. can it be eliminated?

2. Identify and understand your team Their goals, capabilities and interests

Armed with this valuable insight you are now ready to move  onto

  • Stage 2: 6 steps to effective delegation
  • Match the person to the task
  • Agree on what needs to be done (SMART objectives)
  • Agree on how the job is going to be done (this ensures clarity that you are on the same wave length. For experienced people coach, less experienced tell
  • Agree deadlines and touch points
  • Agree support
  • Manage by exception: This is a term I picked up from BrianTracey

If the job is on track, and on schedule, the person does not have to report back to you. If you don’t hear from them, you can assume that everything is going well. The individual only reports back to you when an exception occurs and there is a problem with getting the job done on time, to the agreed upon level of quality.

And presto follow the guidelines – they are well tested and remember

If something is not going the way you expected, start with the question

“What did I do, not do which caused this?”