• Leadership Starts from Within

    School child with hand raised in the classroom in front of a blackboard with other children concept for teacher's pet, standing out from the crowdand, genius or excelling in education

    What makes a good leader?

    We have a certain stereotype of a leader: typically, this is someone who is in a positon of power, has authority, is charismatic enough to motivate others to do things, oh…. and is usually male.

    We often talk of leaders as though they were somehow different from us and that only a few will achieve this status.  Our mind set is that leaders exist in a hierarchical structure and are chosen or appointed to lead by others in the structure.

    I believe that these views on a real leader are holding us back – as individuals and in the work place.  This stereotype of a leader defines who we see as leaders around us and also whether we see ourselves as potential leaders or not.  In both cases the results are a lack of real leaders in an organisation and individuals operating as less than their personal potential.  Neither good for growing your business.

    So if this is our current distorted view of leadership, what in reality makes a good leader?  We all have our own ideas of what makes a good leader, however the key elements of what makes a good leader are they know the outcomes they want, can get things done and they can motivate others.

    The most effective leaders are those who, rather than leading from a position of power to assert authority over others, lead first by knowing themselves, have the ability to listen, consider the views of others and essentially lead authentically from the heart – arguably more female traits compared to those masculine traits of power and authority.

    To move to a world where we see and experience more effective leaders around us, we need to change our mind set about who we see as leaders, and really importantly shift how we see ourselves as leaders.

    To explain this in more detail there are essentially three levels of leadership:

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    When we think of leadership we tend to think of it as something that is bestowed upon someone, and our attention is focused on high profile leaders in the public, who lead groups of people from tens, to hundreds, thousands, even millions in the case of country leaders.

    But being a leader is something that has to start from within.  We cannot lead others effectively, not even on a private leadership level, (when we lead and motivate someone on a one to one basis), until have a strong level of personal leadership. Self awareness is at the heart of being a great leader.

    If you are a leader in a public position of power and authority, guiding and directing others – or even just one other, then you need to know yourself because when you lead others there is no place to hide, no room for doubt and no time for experimenting.

    Whilst public leadership involves envisioning, planning, executing and evaluating and private leadership involves appraising, building, training, coaching and delegating. Personal leadership on the other hand involves motivating oneself. It requires you having the right level of technical competence; the right attitude towards other people; the ability to connect with others, self-mastery and ultimately the choice to live a life led by purpose and personal values.

    Personal leadership is how you live your life consciously from within – choosing to be responsible (response-able) rather than reacting and responding automatically to external events and circumstances around you. True leaders can be found anywhere, in all walks of life – not just in positions of power.  It is that sense of alignment to self and purpose and the ability to be authentic with others, that demonstrates who will be a good leader.

    Nurturing effective leaders is critical for the future growth and success in your organisation.  It is time to change your mind set on what being a leader involves and ncourage all your staff to lead from within.  No matter what their role or level of responsibility support them to develop their personal leadership skills so that they can be the leaders of your company in the future.

    Do you lead your company from within? Have you encouraged your staff to develop and grow and be leaders at all levels?  If you would like to find out more about how to develop your staff to be effective leaders in your organisation, contact me for a chat about your needs and how to create the people foundations to successfully grow your company.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Set SMART Goals, Grow your Business

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    You probably already know that without setting goals, you will accomplish far less than you would with them. We all need a clear destination to move toward. We all need an objective, a concentrated point, a flag in the sand…in order to stay focused on what we wish to accomplish.

    It’s also important to remember that the setting of your goals is just as important as the steps made toward achieving them. Not just any old goal will do. Learning how to set SMART goals is going to be necessary for the success of your business growth strategy. In fact, poor goal setting leading to wishy washy outcomes is yet another reason that business strategies fail.

    What is a SMART goal, anyway? If you don’t know, you’re definitely not alone. Goal setting is not taught in school (although it is, in my opinion, a fundamental life skill as important as reading and writing). Learning how to set SMART goals will help stretch and challenge you to grow personally, encourage you to develop new skills, inspire you to be more productive in getting things done…and move what’s important to you from being just a dream to being tangible reality.

    SMART stands for:

    Specific

    Measurable

    Attainable

    Relevant

    Time-Bound

    • Specific: Every goal should contain precise details about what is to be accomplished. There should be no grey area; no wondering if progress is actually being made or if the goal has been achieved. “Increase sales” is not a specific goal. “Increase sales by 10%” is a specific goal.
    • Measureable: An agreed-upon measurement of success needs to be decided, in order to know when the goal has been achieved.  A system must be in place to measure progress—so that everyone involved knows, for certain, how far the team is from reaching the goal. Be prepared to show, in real numbers, that your sales goal (for example) has been realised.
    • Attainable: Every goal should be reachable—but never within your comfort zone. Always sets goals that are outside that comfort zone, so that you will need to stretch and develop yourself whilst working toward achieving it. Your goals should not read as a to-do list. Every one of them should motivate, excite and scare
    • Relevant: All goals should align with your corporate [and personal] values. Any goal that conflicts with your value system will be difficult to achieve (And why would you want it anyway?). Your goals should complement the holistic view of your life. Never sacrifice the reaching of one [SMART] goal for another. Never strive for a goal that will not make a positive difference in your work or your life. To sum it up, ensure that all goals you set fit well into, and advance, what you’ve already achieved and what you’re passionate about.
    • Time-Bound: Every SMART goal needs a target date for realisation. This helps to create focus and urgency to getting it done.  It’s not a deadline (that sounds so terminal), but rather a lifeline—a time when you will feel more alive because you’ve achieved something that will improve your life. Set a time limit that is not impossible, but that will challenge you. Avoiding this step means that you may never achieve your goal, because you will always have the freedom of mind to put it off until tomorrow, next week or next year.

    And to take it two steps further, every goal should be a SMARTIE goal, meaning that every SMART goal should also:

    • Inspire: Your goals should be the blue print for how you want your life or business to be in the future.  If your goals don’t inspire you each day to want to achieve them, then get some new SMART goals!
    • Empower: Reaching your SMART goal should leave you feeling great and with a sense that your life or business is better in some way for having achieved it.

    Start by writing down your SMART goals. Confirm that they are SMARTIE goals, too. This will set a clear intention in your mind and will put your subconscious to work achieving them. Everything is always created twice—first in your head and then in reality. As you clarify your thoughts with writing, your hand is creating the words, your eyes are seeing those words and each goal becomes more real.

    Always remember that your goals must be compelling. Each one should be a stretch and take you out of your comfort zone; therefore if a goal is not inspiring, motivational, mentally challenging or emotionally energizing, you are likely to give up before you achieve it.

    If you have set New Year’s Resolutions in the past, but have rarely realised them, then this can be one of the reasons (i.e. they are “shoulds” and “ought-tos,” rather than SMART goals that inspire and empower you).

    Are you ready to set your own SMARTIE goals? Are you excited about what you can achieve when those goals are broken down to the objectives and actions that will lead you to positive change and success?

    If you already have goals, are they SMART and are you clear on how to take the next step for creating a plan to achieve them?  Contact me for a free 30-minute consultation, so we can figure out, together, where you are, where you’re going and how SMART goals can help to get you there.

     

     

  • 7 Reasons Why Business Coaching Won’t Work For You

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    There is much evidence to prove that having a good business coach can have a significant positive impact on your business.

    An industry study in the UK found that CEOs who consent to business coaching are able to improve their working relations by 77 percent, leading to a 53 percent boost in productivity and increased profits of 22 percent. The International Coach Federation in another study note that PricewaterhouseCooper have established the average return on investment from coaching to be 787%.  Whilst the evidence is strong, business coaching is not appropriate for every business.

    If you are reading this, you might be wondering if you are right or ready to hire a business coach help you to grow and develop your business. However, before you invest in finding a good business coach check out 7 reasons below why having a business coach won’t work for you:

    • You are happy with where your business is today. If you satisfied with your current level of organisation growth and performance, there is no need to look at ways to grow the business further or faster.
    • You are reluctant to change. Whilst you may want to grow your business or feel frustrated at certain areas within your business, if you are not willing to accept that changes are required, and that most importantly you may have to change your thinking and behaviours, then there is no point engaging a coach in your business.
    • You would prefer to stay in your comfort zone. It is quite natural to feel uncertainty and doubts at times, however these fears can keep us stuck doing the same things. To get different results it is necessary to do different things and this can sometimes feel challenging and stretch us out of our comfort zone.
    • You don’t feel the desire to learn new things. If you run your own company, you may feel that the last thing you have right now is the capacity for learning new ideas and ways of doing things.
    • You are not particularly interested in feedback on your performance. If you are confident that you are doing a reasonable job, then you may not feel the need or desire to get feedback on how you are doing from either a coach or your employees.
    • You don’t feel you can afford to make the investment. As you are running your business and you will have many demands on your money and time. Hiring a coach will cost money and require you to make the time for meetings. Maybe you don’t feel that you can commit the time or money required to make a lasting difference to your business.
    • You aren’t committed to taking the actions required to move forward. There is a world of difference between knowing that you need to do verses actually applying this in real life. Implementation is the key and without the commitment to take the right actions on a regular basis nothing will change.

    So whilst you may want to improve and grow your business if you can recognise or identify with one of the reasons in the list above then this is a pretty good indicator that business coaching won’t work for you right now.  There may be other approaches that will work better for you to achieve your aims but it would be better not to waste your time or money investing on business coaching.

    For business coaching to work well the desire for change in your current business must be strong enough, or the frustrations you are facing intolerable enough.

    Business coaching is based on the principle that what got you here is unlikely to get you where you want to get to.  A good business coach will challenge your thinking, encourage you step out of your comfort zone and create a tracking structure that to hold you accountable for your actions.

    To have a successful coaching relationship you will need to be open, willing to listen to and learn new ideas, concepts and principles and be able to hear feedback on your performance – the good, the bad and the ugly.  It is facing this honest truth that you will help you to grow in self-awareness, develop your leadership skills and give you the confidence to lead your company to its full potential.

    “I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their full potential.”  Bob Nardelli, CEO Home Depot

    If you think that your company is right and ready for business coaching, then please contact me to find out more about how business coaching could help your company to reach new levels of growth and success.

     

     

  • Sat Nav for Business Growth Strategy

    Isabel Knich coaching

    Your business growth strategy is what you want and need to do to achieve the growth you desire.  Is it devised after thorough and extensive industry and market research to identify what is required to increase your access to more customers, more talent and more capital—the three things that most companies need to grow their business.

    As we have discussed in earlier blogs, in order for your business growth strategy to succeed you need to have some key elements in place:

    • You need to know WHY you’re in business…your desire.
    • You need to establish a clear VISION for where you’re going…your destination.
    • You need to identify your core VALUES that will show HOW you are going to deliver your vision…your drivers.

    After you have put these elements in place, it’s time to create your PLAN:  WHAT you’re going to do to move toward realising your vision.

    Your plan is the map showing the route you need to take to get you to your desired destination.  It sounds obvious to have a map or to use a sat nav to get to a place you have never been to before, but it is astounding the number of businesses who don’t have any sort of plan for getting to their desired destination. But then, many businesses also don’t know where they are heading. Remember that a having a vision in place is crucial.

    In many cases, stopping to take the time to create a plan isn’t a priority for management.  However, as you may have experienced in your car, finding your way when you are lost without a map is really very hard. You need that map; you need that sat nav—you need it to make the plan that will get you there.

    So what sort of plan do you need to create?  There are many different types of plans that you could use. The best ones, however, are those that are clear, short and easy to follow.  They should plainly state your destination, which can vary depending on the time frame, but the goals or outcomes that you want to achieve should be clearly stated as objectives.

    The specific strategic goals in your plan are then the places you know you need to get to on route to reach your final destination. They are your pit stops; the necessary stopovers that will contribute to the success of the arrival at your final destination (your vision).  For each goal, it is important that the objective is clearly stated with a timeframe (for more information about setting SMART goals, click here).  After all…

    A goal without a plan is just a dream.

    Do you want to turn your business’s dreams into reality? If so, then read on to learn how you can achieve your business growth goals with the help of a strategic plan…your Sat Nav for your business.

    Sat Nav for your Business

    As any good sat nav should, your plan will represent the fastest route by which you can get to your desired destination. It will help you to stay on track and, most importantly, get you back on track if you lose the right road along the way.

    To keep you focused on the right path, your plan should include the statement of your why, your vision and values. These help to keep the focus on the bigger picture and create a greater context for the actions that you and your team need to take to achieve your vision through your plan.

    Here are a few points to flesh out what I’m talking about:

    • Every strategic goal should have a champion—that is, someone who is committed publically to making it happen. The goal champion is accountable for the achievement of the goal (albeit not necessarily for all of the actions to ensure its delivery).
    • Every strategic objective or goal should be accompanied by specific milestones to achieve it over the months ahead. This helps create focus points along the way.
    • The entire business plan should be reviewed regularly with the team, (monthly at a minimum) to ascertain whether the work toward each objective is advancing and what obstacles need to be overcome to keep moving forward.
    • Progress on actions taken for each goal should be measured every month to continue progress in each area.
    • All employees, not just ‘the team,’ should be made aware of the business growth plan. If people know where they are heading and that there is a plan to follow to get there, everyone is much more likely to want to engage and support the champions for each goal so that the objectives are delivered.

    A business growth action plan is a well-defined and specific step-by-step set of actions for implementation. Whilst you may go off-course some of the time, your plan will help you to stay focussed on where you want to get to and help you get back on track and determine the next action. With the right plan, this creates the structure and discipline for efficiency (doing things well) and effectiveness (doing the right things) to achieve your goals and vision. Your plan—like a sat nav—will always be there to guide you and take you to where you have decided you need to go.

    Are you ready to design your plan for WHAT you need to do to realise your business growth strategy? Or are you ready to improve a plan that perhaps hasn’t been working so well for you? You may be wondering where to start, what road to take first, and how to strategise your route for the fastest and most effective way to get to your destination…your goals and vision. Please contact me via email or phone for a free 30-minute consultation. We’ll talk about how you can get clear on the plan for growing your business, with a sat-nav-type guidance system that will guide your business in the direction of unprecedented success.

     

     

  • Values: Vital for a Driven Business

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    When we talk about being driven in a business sense, we think of moving forward with intense desire, toward a destination, and acquiring valuable things along the way…things like experience, connections, notoriety, revenue and more.

    When you know Why you’re in business, then you can move onto creating the How—which is predominantly determined by your core “drivers” (i.e. Values). When the values of your business are clearly defined and so deeply embedded within your professional operations that every interaction demonstrates those values, then the question of How? is more easily answered, because all things will be executed in alignment with those corporate values.

    Consistency is HUGE when it comes to the success of any business, and when values take a central role in decision making (for all parties involved), then there will be common threads that run through all operations. Your ideal customers will take note of this, and will come to trust your business as the go-to in the industry because they know what to expect and can respect your way of doing business because they share the values your brand demonstrates. Those same clients will then spread the word to others who share those values, working to bring more ideal customers on-board to grow your business and drive it forward. When values are at the core of every manoeuvre and professional relationship, the snowball effect is practically undeniable.

    When Values are Core to your Standards of Doing Business, then you have a Values-Based Organisation in which…

    Loyalty begets Loyalty.

    Growth begets Growth.

    A values-based organisation sounds great, right? Everyone should have one, right? Well, there are reasons that some companies that say they are values-based simply aren’t able to make it work. Here are a few of those reasons:

    • A Lack of Honesty: If you’re operating under the guise of values you’ve chosen just because you think that’s what your audience wants to hear, or because those values seems to be ‘trendy’ at the moment, you will be found out. Trust will disintegrate, as will your brand. Instead of putting values down on paper that you pull from exterior sources, pull values from your heart. Choose values that you hold dear, and that you naturally demonstrate every day without prompt. These are the values that will motivate you to drive They are also the values that will foster authentic professional relationships that will be enjoyable as well as profitable.
    • Hiring without Attention to Values: If you want your entire team to drive forward with a common goal and with true allegiance to your business’s purpose, they must share your corporate values. Without this, how can they genuinely support and build your brand? How can they stand behind your brand, make decisions that will grow your brand, seek out opportunities that will benefit your brand…champion your brand? Skipping this step is like marrying someone with the intention of ‘changing them.’ It rarely works, and the business is usually the biggest casualty.
    • A Lack of Focus: Let’s face it: there’s a lot of noise out there. The competition is doing this, the market is doing that, the industry is moving in this direction, the community is moving in that All of these external influences, and many more, can detract focus from How you have committed to accomplish your Why They can cause you to lose sight of your values, and to make decisions that harm the consistency and trustworthiness of your company. Stay focussed by making your values visible to all involved, so that they are top-of-mind at all times. Meet regularly to discuss the team’s adhesion to values. Monitor, measure and refocus when necessary.
    • An Emphasis only on the External: There’s a tendency amongst businesses to hyper-focus on what the public sees, with little attention paid to values that are demonstrated internally. In truth, the unwillingness of any team member to adhere to corporate values will eventually manifest externally. Alignment is crucial, inside and out.

    Your business growth strategy cannot exist [for very long] without a How, and that How is facilitated by an honest, working list of values. Your corporate values may be integrity, excitement, fun, adventure and friendship. Or they might be accuracy, reliability, helpfulness, teamwork and knowledge. No two lists are alike, and yours will be no exception.

    Have you clearly defined your corporate values? Do those values align with your vision? Do your team members, affiliates and clients share those values? For help with these questions and more, contact me via email or phone to have a free 30-minute consultation. This is a brilliant way to become clearer on the core values that will drive you and your team toward delivering a highly effective business growth strategy.

     

     

     

     

  • Are You Brave Enough to Develop your Leadership Skills?

    Facing the challengeAs a business leader you will have spent time learning some hard skills to be effective at managing your business. For instance: technical skills to deliver your product or service, managing the supply chain, basic accounting skills, budgeting, ensuring compliance in your industry, marketing and sales skills and many similar functions.

    What you may not have done whilst running and growing your business is spend time mastering soft skills that support your ability to communicate effectively, prioritise tasks and create aligned high performance teams. Unfortunately, the perception is often that “soft skills” are, well…soft and fluffy, however they are just as crucial to business success as the more recognized “hard skills”.

    Make no mistake learning and developing these so called soft skills is anything but soft. Learning these leadership skills is extremely challenging as it requires you to step out of your comfort zone and change your thinking, beliefs and behaviours to get the results that you want.

    So I always ask leaders before they embark upon a leadership skills programme with me:“How brave are you?”

    • Are you brave to take the right decisions as a leader, even if they are not the easiest?

    • Are you brave enough to let go of the levers of power to allow your staff to take on greater responsibility?

    • Are you brave enough to listen, consider and accept someone else’s opinion?

    • Are you brave enough to be responsible and put your hand up when things don’t go as planned?

    • Are you brave enough to be accountable and do whatever it takes to get the task done – no excuses?

    • Are you brave enough to have a meaningful conversation and ask your employees what they really think?

    If you want to be a great leader these are just some of the questions that you will need to ask yourself every day to lead you people and business to success.

    “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Churchill

    So what are the key soft leadership skills that you will need to master to become a great leader?

    1) Promote change – Want to, be willing to and believe that change is possible. Change starts from within changing your mind set and then changing the mind set within the organisation. Be the change you want to see.

    2) Inspire and motivate otherscreate a vision that is compelling so that employees have a purpose and know that what they do has an impact on customers and communities.

    3) Be authentic – tell the truth to your staff and always walk your talk.

    4) Manage yourselfself-awareness brings its own rewards and the more that you can manage yourself and the better you will be able to manage and lead others.

    5) Drive for results and be accountable – always do what you say that you are going to do and be accountable to your staff and customers. Focus on getting results not giving or accepting reasons. Make things happen!

    6) Be responsible – be willing to own up to mistakes if you make them. Take responsibility for your actions.

    7) Communicate powerfully and prolifically – whatever the method: 1:1 conversation, team meetings, email messages, phone or Skype calls, or anything else, just communicate regularly with your staff.

    8) Build relationships – we live in the era of connectivity and collaboration. The stronger your relationships with the members of your team, your customers and suppliers, others in your industry, and your community the better a leader you will be.

    9) Empower others – listen, support and encourage your team to step out of their comfort zone. Look for talented employees and give them the chance to learn and develop new skills. You are training them to become your company’s next generation of great leaders.

    10) Be focused and committed – learn to prioritise the important but not urgent tasks and commit to getting them done.

    11) Innovate – continually look for how you can improve and do things better, in your company, in your community, in the world.

    12) Look for solutions – don’t accept problems or moaners in your company– always focus on supporting your staff to find the solutions.

    So how brave are you? Are you willing to step up and work on developing your soft leadership skills and being the best leader you can be?

    Contact me via email or phone to have a free 30-minute consultation to find out how you can develop your leadership skills to help you accelerate the growth of your business.

  • Vision, Critical for your Business Strategy

    Vision Strategy Innovation Signpost Shows Business Leadership And Ideas

    If you’ve ever planned a business trip, you will understand that knowing your destination is essential to making it a productive endeavour. Without knowing where you are heading, you might end up wandering the globe indefinitely searching for the right conference room.

    On the other hand, maybe you have set out on a road trip without a particular destination in mind. These days can be fun if you have no specific goal in mind and the intention is to just wander around seeing where you end up and enjoying the ride as you go along.

    Now whilst meandering along on a road trip can have its benefits, let’s be serious: your business growth strategy is not intended to be an adventure in wandering, it is intended to help you arrive at a predetermined place of your choosing.

    Once you’ve determined WHY and are inspired to move forward, the next step is to establish specifically WHERE you are going—in the form of a clear and ambitious destination. Your business strategy will span the gap between WHY, which is a belief, and WHERE, which is the vision of where you wish to arrive.

    Having a Vision is essential to creating and delivering a business growth strategy that will work; however, not just any vision will do. Consider these points before moving forward:

    Your vision must be compelling to your staff. When any team works hard (and works together) to win, you can presume that they share the same vision. Sharing the same vision as a team means travelling in one common direction, toward a common goal. And there’s a way to encourage every team member to do so: Provide them with a compelling vision. It must be something they want to achieve. If the vision is exciting and your team members share common values with your business, you are more likely to accomplish your goal because everyone will get behind the effort.

    Your vision must be big and inspiring. You’ve heard about short-term goals and how important they are to progress. This is different. This is about your main vision for what your brand will accomplish, big-picture and long-term. When a vision is too small (i.e. too “safe”), people tend to get stuck on small obstacles because the vision isn’t desirable or grandiose enough to inspire them to push through or work around those obstacles. When NASA communicated its vision to land a man on the moon, they did it. They probably wouldn’t have accomplished that had they simply endeavoured to create a vehicle that could fly into space.

    Remember: Shoot for the moon and even if you miss you will land among the stars.

    Small Vision = Small Result. Big Vision = Big Achievement.

    Your vision must be clear. It can be tempting to name a vision that’s vague, because if the destination isn’t clear, we tend to feel like “getting close” equals success. To the contrary, having a clear vision with well-defined anticipated results will provide you with clearer answers to choices, a clearer path to the next step, and a business strategy more clearly understood, because it’s more specific in what it intends to accomplish.

    Your vision must come before your strategy. This was mentioned earlier, but it’s worth repeating. You will have difficulty arriving at a destination that has not been identified. For this reason, establish your vision first, and then build your business strategy around achieving it. Reverse this process, and your focus will naturally fall on the strategy and how difficult the obstacles seem. There will be no motivation (vision) for navigating around them.

    As you develop a vision statement for your company, think about how you want others to see your business in the future. Some of the most compelling business vision statements are about how to improve or inspire customers’ lives, or about offering best-quality products and services. Below are some great examples of well-known company vision statements:

    Amazon: “To be the world’s most customer-centric company.”
    Ben and Jerry’s: “Making the best possible ice cream, in the nicest possible way”
    Disney: “To make people happy.”
    LinkedIn: “To connect the world’s professionals and make them more productive and successful.”
    Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”

    Are you clear about your business vision? Do you feel that you have the tools necessary for discovering it? Often, a bit of outside help can be just what you need to move you toward uncovering your destination. Contact me via email or phone to have a free 30-minute consultation to become clearer on the vision that will fuel your business growth strategy.

  • Mind-Set Change: for Business Growth

    Change mindsetThere are many different reasons why business growth strategies fail. A common one is having an organisational or team mind-set that doesn’t match the strategy you wish to pursue.

    An organisational mind-set or paradigm is made up of the collective conscious and unconscious thinking and beliefs of the people who work there: about themselves, their colleagues and the company itself.

    If business growth slows or stalls, it’s often an indicator that the current mind-set is not aligned with of the organisation vision and goals. This can pose quite a challenge, since our mind-set is often buried in the subconscious, and like a computer operating system with a virus, if there is a poor mind-set this can sabotage your efforts.

    When this happens, it’s time to face the reality:

    What got you here isn’t going to get you there.

    When you first established your business you had certain beliefs, thoughts and a mind-set that enabled you to grow your business to where it is today. The thing is this: to get to the next level of business growth, your thinking and beliefs need to evolve and change because your current mind-set is not going to help you reach the next level of success.

    Two things must happen in order for business growth to continue:
    1. The thinking/mindset of all involved must shift. Old beliefs in the organisation need to be uncovered and replaced with a new empowering mind-set that matches the business vision and goals of the company. Creating a new mind-set requires that everyone involved changes their way of thinking—and this must start with changing the thinking of the senior management team. When thinking changes at the top, change and growth can occur throughout the organisation.

    2. Everyone involved needs to believe that those shifts will cause positive changes. Many times, when a vision is big, people first adopt the belief that they can do it…but then very quickly they start doubting themselves and others, fearing failure and entertaining uncertainty at every turn. These limiting beliefs lead to a focus on negative outcomes and turn into realities. To get positive results, those limiting beliefs need to be identified and then changed.

    In life and in business, when we aren’t getting desired results, we try to do something different. Often, that “something different” doesn’t work either. Then what? If new actions aren’t delivering the results you want, you must dig deeper to uncover what you and your team really think about the situation. Are fears, doubts and uncertainties holding you back or delivering the negative scenarios you are focussing on?

    In order to create new results, you need to start by thinking differently. When you change your thinking, you behave differently and take different actions. We all know this because we have experienced it at some point in our lives.

    The same is true in a company. To deliver your business growth strategy, you need to think differently, as a collective unit. Every successful business has undergone changes as it grew—it altered from what it once had been. And of all the people involved in growing the business had to think in new ways because…

    Changes in Beliefs  =  New Actions  =  New Results

    Before you decide to take any different action, look into the following:
    1. your mindset (your beliefs)
    2. the team mindset (collective set of beliefs)

    Do those beliefs support your business vision and strategy? Will they lead to success for your current-day business goals…or were they only effective for the goals your business once had?

    The beliefs that are holding back your business strategy and its growth are made up of a number of things, including thoughts that have gone unspoken, paradigms that are considered unchangeable and subconscious philosophies that have been long-held. Excuses are symptoms of these limiting beliefs, so where an excuse exists, a belief needs to be changed.

    Awareness brings its own rewards. If you start to recognise your own and your organisation’s limiting beliefs, this means they can be changed. You’ll find that when you shift your mindset to support your business goals, you’ll have an easier time thinking positive thoughts and believing in yourself and your team’s potential.

    Of course it can be difficult to see the ways in which you’re holding yourself back from the inside. If you would like to find out how you can shift your limiting beliefs to deliver your business growth strategy, contact me via email or phone to have a free 30-minute consultation that will impact your results.

  • Every Business Growth Strategy needs a Why

    What is your why?

    Does your organisation have a business growth strategy? Is it the guide for all your business activities and supported by clear intentions and purpose? Or is it the product of obligation?

    There are two types of business growth plans. Allow me to explain:

    1. The business growth strategy that is drafted to answer questions asked by lenders and investors and to tick the box “Yes we have a business plan”: This strategy is created solely for the purpose of satisfying the demands of people outside your organisation. It is usually very detailed, pages long and extremely dull. Once created, your 25-50 page business growth plan then languishes on a bookshelf forgotten and gathering dust.

    2. The alternative business growth strategy is one created for and by those within the organisation, to focus them on fulfilling strategic aims, as well as the purpose of the organisation: This business strategy is usually short (1-5 pages), and often visually centred and definitively designed to inspire. This business strategy is not sat lost on shelves or hard drives, but is ever-present, referred to regularly and used to guide and motivate staff to implement and deliver the strategic goals of the business.

    Is your Business Growth Strategy Destined for Failure?
    Sadly, most business strategies fall under category #1 – the business plan drafted simply to satisfy an obligation. This type of growth plan is generally a list of what you are going to do and how you plan to achieve certain targets. More often than not this type of business plan is lacking a clear purpose or a clear reason why your company is doing what it’s doing. Without a clear why this type of business growth strategy is likely to fail.

    Your why is the passion in your business. For a business to grow it not only needs structure (e.g. a typical business plan), it also needs passion to motivate staff to want to accomplish that growth.

    Your business growth strategy must be derived from your why. Without a clear purpose for coming to work, people are just turning up. With a strong sense of why, your staff members have a clear reason or purpose for coming to work and evidence proves that people who enjoy coming to work are more productive and creative.

    Once you have a clear why, your business growth strategy is then simply a description of the route (the how and what) your company intends to follow in order to create that future.

    Your Business Why:

    Why are you in business? Why do you believe what you’re doing is important? Why do you believe you are changing people’s lives?

    Why are you investing a large portion of your life in this business? And why is the thing you believe in driving it?

    The answers to these questions will help to form your why. Your why is shaped by the thing you love to do (your passion) and the thing that you wish to change. Making money is never a viable why. Search deeper for what having the money means to you.

    The why does not come from looking ahead at what you want to achieve and figuring out an appropriate strategy to get there. It is not born out of any market research and it does not come from extensive customer interviews. Your why comes from deep within yourself.

    “Great leaders are those who trust their gut. They are those who understand
    they must win hearts before minds. They are the ones who start with WHY.”
    Simon Sinek

    Why is the starting point for creating your business growth strategy. Once you are clear on your why, you will be able to identify what you will do to realise it and how you will do it.

    The outcomes (or what you will do) can be mapped out easily because when you know why you’re doing it, you’ll be clearer on how to achieve your vision and on how to differentiate your business from the competition. Your how will be based on your mission, your company values and the people in your organisation.

    It is crucial that you do some business soul-searching to identify your why before creating your business growth strategy. However, once you have done this, you may be surprised at how simple it is to draft that strategy (and to carry it out), because you have a clear path of intention.

    Do you have a business growth strategy? Are you concerned that it isn’t fit for purpose? There are steps you can take to inject the right elements into your existing business strategy, or you can rewrite it so that it better supports what you really want to achieve in your business.

    If you would like help with your business growth strategy or business plan, you can contact me by email or through our Contact Us page. I would be happy to spend 45 minutes with you on the phone discussing your business growth strategy—to see how it can be improved to help you grow your business to the next level.

    Failing to plan is planning to fail.

     

  • Social Enterprise and the Benefits for your Business

    Unsure how best to grow businessHave you ever felt conflicted between the need to grow your business and the desire to make a positive impact in the community you serve? If so, I have two pieces of good news for you:

    1. You are the perfect candidate to find out more about Social Enterprise, a new and rapidly developing business model—one that will help you differentiate and grow your enterprise.

    2. You can have it all—sustainable business growth, as well as a positive impact on your people, your community, and the environment.

    Contrary to popular belief, Social Enterprise is not about being a charity or a not-for-profit organisation. Though the definition has been up for some debate in recent years, I see the most comprehensive definition being the following:

    Social Enterprise: A profit making business with a social objective or purpose, where a significant part of the profit is reinvested into the business or local community to create further social impact. As the business profits grow so the benefits to society grow.

    Another way of clarifying the meaning of Social Enterprise would be to look at the principle of Tripe P Bottom Line Investment. This business theory places equal amounts of emphasis on People, Planet, and Profit…with the idea that all will benefit with a focus on each.

    • People: the business take steps to ensure that benefit is felt by all people involved…from employees to community members.

    • Planet: the business avoids making a negative impact on the environment, and goes as far as reducing energy consumption, waste, or emissions, for example.

    • Profit: the business focusses on earning (and increasing) profits in its trading activities and by being socially aware. These profits will benefit not just the shareholders but stakeholders and the wider community.

    The Advantages of Becoming a Social Enterprise
    Let’s face it: corporations are increasingly being held responsible for their actions (or inaction!), as well as for the actions of their sponsors, suppliers, the communities that accommodate them, and the people who patronise them.

    What does this mean for you, the small/medium sized business owner?
    1) Do nothing now and wait until society deems that your activities are identified as being Socially Unaware,
    2) Take the initiative now to alter your business model to become a “social enterprise” and bound ahead of the competition in terms of profitability and social impact.

    There is a broad spectrum on what and how social enterprise is classified, and different examples to model across all sectors and company sizes. There are many benefits to becoming a Social Enterprise. Here are some of the advantages you can expect:

    • Innovation: With new connections come new viewpoints; and with new viewpoints come fresh, new ways of doing things. This is how the seeds of innovation are planted.

    • Investment: When your business showcases itself as a Social Enterprise, investors’ attention is piqued. The astute ones know about the social enterprise movement, and are quick to align themselves with businesses who are embracing this new business model.

    • Engagement: The social impact you choose to make, through your Social Enterprise, says a lot about your corporate values. People who share those values will pick up on this and choose to associate and make conversation with your company. These are the people who hold the most potential for becoming loyal clients.

    • Problem-Solving: As a business your role is to serve your customers by identifying a problem and then solving that problem for them. A Social Enterprise solves customer problems and looks to solve social problem at the same time. Social enterprises are therefore seen to be more innovative and dynamic and are more likely to gain the attention of potential employees, customers and investors.

    • Publicity: The conventional profit-centred business model is under attack; however, there’s a counterculture going on, too. The Social Enterprise model is being promoted and highlighted in the many news and social media outlets. By raising your level of social awareness and incorporating social responsibility into your business model you will find many opportunities to raise your social profile – again making it easier to gain new customers, employees and investors.

    The advantages of operating as a Social Enterprise certainly do not end there…and neither does the good news. If you’re interested in exploring the possibility of running your very own Social Enterprise, you can learn how to accomplish that in my upcoming FREE event, Access to IMPACT. In this evening event, to be held at the British Library on 4th February, you will learn how…

    Business + Social Impact = Enterprise Growth.

    This event is for business leaders from all sectors and all size companies (start-ups, SMEs, and corporations), entrepreneurs, public institutions, and universities. Join me and two other Social Enterprise experts as we show you how to make the most of this new business model—for the good of your community, your environment, and of course, your business. Click here for your ticket.

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