• Employee Engagement: What is it?

    love-my-job

    We’ve been hearing a lot about employee engagement. It sounds like a good thing, but what is it, really? How do you know when you have it (and don’t have it), and how can you get it? I’m so glad you’ve asked.

    Employee engagement is a condition in which team members feel valued and involved enough with a company to willingly and positively contribute all of their ability for the betterment of the business.

    Sounds great, right? How does an employee come to feel valued and make the decision to invest all of him or herself in their employer’s business? It starts during the job interview, and continues through retirement…and it’s always the responsibility of the employer.

    There is a deficit of employee engagement, and the epidemic is global.

    Only 13% of employees, worldwide, report feeling engaged at work[1].

    This is bad news for employees in general; however, it’s great news for you, an employer. This is a prime opportunity to be the employer who engages, and to therefore attract the best and most dedicated talent to your business.

    As a growing and thriving business, you want your employees to wake up excited to go to work. You want them to arrive ready to go and always be thinking of new ways to improve the customer experience, operational efficiency, your product line and your bottom line.

    Highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to have above-average productivity2.

    This is what engagement looks like. And here’s how you can get it:

    • Your business has a set of core values that it abides by and demonstrates through all media (or at least it should). Whenever a person is being considered for employment with your company, you must determine if he or she shares those same values as part of their personal and professional credos. When values align, engagement comes much more easily. When they don’t, there will be a struggle…every day.
    • Create a feeling of ownership for every employee, no matter their job description. Whether the team member is head of a department or a new-hire, make it clear how what they do contributes to the overall success of the business. Show them the results of jobs well-done and give them credit whenever they’re responsible or accountable. When everyone feels like a significant part of the effort, they will not only do a better job, they will do it as if they were doing it for themselves.
    • Keeping everyone informed is another great way to nurture engagement. With every piece of relevant information shared (profits, KPIs, etc.), you will increase feelings of value and ownership.
    • Give employees the freedom to come to you with problems, as well as the freedom to make decisions pertinent to their roles and the freedom to be creative with their jobs—without the fear of reprimand. This is the type of environment in which company advocates and forward-thinking innovators are born. Provide this, and you’ll have every employee striving to improve your business.
    • Utilise an open-feedback policy, in which all team members feel the liberty to speak honestly about all matters, whether positive or negative, without fear of repercussion. This not only feels like ownership and feeds engagement, it works toward building a strong brand, overall.

    We have only scratched the surface of employee engagement here. If you’re hoping for more advice on engaging your employees so that you can grow your business more effectively, we should talk. We can accomplish a lot in 30 minutes, and I invite you contact me to schedule that consultation. Your employees will thank you—with higher-level involvement, positive workplace attitudes and a bottom line that proves you’re doing it right.

    [1] Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace

    2Workplace Research Foundation

     

  • Your Business’s Greatest Assets

    I-Love-My-Business-500x383

    What is your business’s greatest asset? Is it your product? Your building? Your bank account? Your investors?

    It doesn’t matter in what industry you work, what type of service you offer…your team members (i.e. your people) are always your most valuable endowment. But if the mix and the engagement isn’t right, they can feel like your greatest obstacles.

    How can you create a culture of accountability and results? So your people can shine and be your greatest brand advocates? How can you achieve the highest performing unit possible? How can you begin to see your people as your most valuable assets?

    It starts with finding the right people—but it doesn’t end there.

    Put Your Living Assets to Work for You

    Why are your people your most valuable assets? Because when they’re feeling fulfilled, they will act as big, happy bullhorns for your business. They will tell people about your company, even in their spare time. Customer service will be no sweat—happy employees want to “share the love.” Profits will multiply, because every member of the team wants to see the business succeed.

    According to Fortune magazine, those businesses included in their current “100 Best Companies to Work for” list notice a 14% increase in stock prices, whilst the rest of the market only realises an increase of 6%.

    Notice that the list wasn’t built around companies that had the greatest product, or the best marketing campaign, or the most famous spokesperson; it was built around those businesses’ most valuable assets.

    So how can you not only make your team members feel valuable, but create the types of results that prove them to be indispensable? Here are some guidelines:

    • Hire people who share your business’s values. It can be difficult to work toward a collective goal when the goal isn’t important to everyone involved. Before you hire anyone based on qualifications alone, ensure that they genuinely believe in what your company stands for and what you wish to accomplish. There should be no “differences in opinion” to work out—there should only be another interview with a different candidate.
    • Engage your employees. You’ve probably heard that you need to engage your customers, but don’t overlook this very important provision for your team members, too. Everyone should come to work knowing that they will feel challenged and fulfilled. Know your employees well enough to put them in roles that will interest them and that they will feel compelled to take ownership of. Assign tasks to individuals with the intent of pushing them just past when they’ve already proven they can accomplish. Talk to them. Keep the conversation flowing. Listen and always remain open to change.
    • Empower your people. In order for growth and independence to bloom, a person must feel the freedom to be innovative and make mistakes. When an employee feels boxed in by rules that are too stringent, or if they feel that any new idea will be shot down, there is no growth. There is no freedom of expression. There is no empowerment to make the entire organisation better.
    • Always be clear with expectations. Every function within your company should be assigned to one accountable person. Know the difference between being accounatable and being responsible and never leave team members wondering about their roles and responsibilities. Always welcome questions and never end a conversation without feeling confident that everyone knows what is expected of them. Managers sometimes feel that this cages people—that they should be permitted to figure this out amongst themselves. To the contrary, when people know precisely what is expected of them, they feel more confident in moving forward and in turn feel more freedom to create and innovate.
    • Assign authority. As people begin to flourish in their roles, you will start to see the blossoming of gifts and talents. You will also see the expression of preferences. Use what you learn to put people in the roles where they will shine. In the end, they will feel more fulfilled, employee retention will increase, you will feel less burdened and your business will thrive.
    • Create a feedback system. An employee should never feel disempowered by having nowhere to go with their problems. Have a system in-place that provides a safe, confidential, judgement-free environment so they can speak their minds…for the betterment of your organisation.

    Your team members are your most valuable assets because when they are engaged and empowered, they will not only show up to work, they will show up ready to do everything they can to build your business. It’s been said that word-of-mouth advertising is the business investment with the highest ROI. I’d like to challenge that notion by saying that happy employees are the highest-ROI investments—because they not only create the best word-of-mouth marketing campaigns, they live them.

    Are you wondering how you can create a team that’s more engaged and empowered? Have you already begun to see the value of happy employees? Then let’s talk for 30 minutes about how your business can create an atmosphere that will attract (and retain) the best-of-the-best. Simply contact me here to schedule.

  • Measure your Business: 5 Tips for Making Figures your Friends

    If you want your business to thrive and grow, it must be cared for, tracked, measured, monitored…and nurtured. (1)

    How’s your business doing?

    How do you know? Have you measured your progress? Tracked your conversions, returns and referrals? Compared all numbers to previous periods?  Made adjustments and monitored their effects?

    If you’re like most business owners, you’re canned answer is “Good.” However, you probably have little evidence to back it up, and there’s usually one reason why:

    Tracking your business’s progress is boring and tedious. Plus, it makes you nervous; it’s much easier to coast along, assuming you’re improving every month. There is a fear that measurement will reveal areas that need improvement…or worse.

    All of this is understandable and natural. It’s comfortable to ignore what could be bad news and instead choose to live in the blissfulness of ignorance. However, if you want your business to be successful, to grow…you must measure what matters and use what you find to make adjustments. This is the most direct (and speedy) path to business growth.

    More than half of UK businesses don’t survive past five years,[1] and one contributing factor is the unwillingness of business owners to track their own progress (a.k.a. step on that virtual scale). Improvement is practically impossible without knowing what areas need improvement—and in what order and to what degree.

     

    Tips for Making Figures your Friends

    Tracking the progression (or regression) of your business can be a tricky habit to form. Not only can the undertaking be fear-inducing, it takes time. Here are some pieces of advice for getting starting and staying on-track with tracking:

    • Establish a starting point. Your second measurement will only give you as much information as your first measurement allows. So get going! Launch the analytics. Open a spreadsheet. Start recording this month’s net profits, new customers, returning customers, website visitors, new social media likes/follows/shares/Retweets, referrals, customer complaints, merchandise returns, lead time for order fulfilment, employee turnover, shipping costs…and whatever else will serve as an indicator of your business’s progress.
    • Define your focal points. Determine what three areas of your business are most integral to the fulfilment of its mission, then focus most intensely on those areas. Determine what number(s) will most accurately measure the performance of those areas. Put these at the top of your tracking list.
    • Set improvement goals. After you’ve gotten into the swing of recording your metrics of business performance, set goals for improvement. A 2% net profit increase or a 5% increase in employee retention over the next two years are examples of performance goals.
    • Stay committed. As your business grows, you will try new things and explore new markets. The only sure-fire way to know if any of this is working is to measure the results. AND the only sure-fire way to assign specific results to specific actions is to measure regularly (monthly). Skip your tracking exercises for even one month, and results will be skewed.
    • Utilise a syndicated service. As your tracking becomes more sophisticated, you are likely to benefit from the use of a syndicated tracking and measurement service. Google Analytics is just one example.

    It’s so easy to make excuses—to take a guess at how your business is doing. The unfortunate truth about this behaviour is that your business is likely to join the majority of start-ups laid to rest in the business graveyard.

    If you want your business to thrive and grow, it must be cared for, tracked, measured, monitored…and nurtured. Close attention to the numbers that matter will not only tell you if you’re on track, they will highlight areas in need of improvement so that your business can be the best it can be.

    Need more information on how you can track your business’s progress and use what you learn to grow it? Then let’s schedule a 30-minute consultation, in which we’ll discuss your unique business, your goals and the best way to achieve them. Contact me here.

    [1] RSA (a British commercial insurer)

  • 5 Tips on How to Be More Effective

    Manage yourself and be disciplined in the choices you make about what you do with your time.

    There’s a lot of talk swirling around about time management – but what is it, really? Time cannot be managed. It marches on, whether or not you complete the tasks necessary for executing your business strategy.

    What you can do though is manage yourself and be disciplined in the choices you make about what you do with your time.

    In order to become more effective in our actions, we need to learn to focus on outcomes, with ends not only in mind, but with intense concentration on those ends. This means eliminating distractions.

    We all live in the new age: the “dimension of distraction”.  With the relentless use of email, constant 24/7 bombardment of media from all different channels, and a sense that we need to be connected socially at all times, focusing has become more difficult than ever. In fact,

    The average manager is interrupted every 8 minutes[1] and the average employee spends 28% of their time wrapped up in unnecessary interruptions (plus recovery time)[2].

    These distractions can take up a huge portion of the workday and significantly reduce your level of productivity…if you let them.

    How can you, an entrepreneur focussed on success, eliminate the time you and your employees waste in distracted behaviour? How can you increase productivity? How can you elicit high-level activity for the realisation of goals in alignment with your business strategy? How can you enhance “time management?”

    Here are some tips for achieving all of the above:

    • Dissect every long-term goal into smaller, manageable short-term goals. And then, focus on each one without interruptions. Log out of email. Shut down social media. Silence your phone. Focus specifically, and solely, on the task (goal) at hand, and watch how quickly these things get done without distractions.
    • Designate “open door” times. An open-door policy dictates that you will be available for questions, comments and conversation during a predetermined times (e.g. 3-5 pm). At all other times, your door is closed while you work on executing your business strategy. Remember that every distraction requires five minutes’ worth of recovery. Multiplied over a week’s time, that’s hours of productivity lost.
    • Keep a journal to discover your most productive activities and times of day. Ever notice how some days are more productive than others? And how you seem to be most industrious in some environments (more than others)? Write down where you are, what times you’re there and what you’ve accomplished every day. Look for positive production patterns and repeat them.
    • Follow the 80/20 rule. Remember that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your work and time investment. Find out what’s most important to your business strategy, couple that with your most productive times, places, and tasks…and come up with your very own unique plan for getting the most done in the least amount of time.
    • Replace to-do lists with an appointment book. Appointment books aren’t just for meetings anymore. Use one to schedule tasks necessary to the implementation of your business strategy, and watch your commitment to, and results of, getting those tasks done improve. Block out times to work exclusively on specific tasks, in order of importance. Eliminate distractions during those blocked times. Assign a desired outcome to every time block / task, so you’re continually striving toward a short-term goal.

    Are you struggling with too many distractions on a daily basis and looking for the most efficient way to manage your attention to tasks…and therefore “manage your time?” Then might I suggest that we schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation, in which you and I will discuss your unique business strategy and how to best execute it? Contact me here to schedule an appointment.

    [1] Priority Management

    [2] Basex

  • 7 Benefits of Delegating

    When you learn to delegate, you learn to help your business succeed.

    In the previous blog, you learned the difference between accountability and responsibility, and now it’s time to learn how you can remain accountable while delegating responsibilities to others.

    Many of you will admit that delegating is difficult. For some, it’s perfectionism or a lack of trust that keeps them from handing over tasks. Others feel that it’s just easier to do it themselves, they don’t want to impose, they enjoy the tasks they’re completing or they just don’t feel they have the time to monitor and follow up on delegated tasks.

    Letting go and trusting that others will complete tasks is a big problem for many business owners. They think that micromanaging is a better, more comfortable solution…but they end up disempowering their staff and generally driving down their businesses.

    The practice of business owners doing the highest value jobs, whilst passing other lower-level tasks to employees (or to managers, who then delegate to employees), is a good business practice that will ultimately result in the following benefits:

    1. You can devote the majority of your time to those tasks most important to building your business, its relationships and its reach.
    2. Employees get opportunities to grow and to feel empowered with responsibility.
    3. Employees feel challenged and proud of what they’ve accomplished, meaning they will be champions for your business—at work and on their own time.
    4. You are not highly skilled in every task. Chances are that someone else within your organisation is better at a lower-level task than you are.
    5. There’s no better or more efficient way to get things done than to delegate tasks to those people who are best equipped to complete them.
    6. Something that feels tedious to you will feed someone else’s passion.
    7. Developing your delegation skills (and overcoming your fear of it) is a valuable skill that will help you to advance your career.

    Even with all of these benefits in mind, it can still be difficult to get started in learning to delegate. Many leaders choose to bypass the acquisition of this valuable skill—and unfortunately, their businesses suffer.

    A survey has found that 46% of companies have a high level of concern for their employees’ delegation skills. However, only 28% of them offer training to develop those skills[1].

    It rarely works well for the same person to be both accountable and responsible for any task or project. For this reason, delegation of duties is crucial to success. But as you can see in the above stat, there isn’t a lot of support for developing those skills.

    So, what can you do to get started? The first step is recognising that everybody in an organisation should be doing tasks that are their highest value.  What tasks/roles do you have that add the highest value? Focus on freeing up your time to do more of these higher value tasks and hand down everything else.  Specifically delegate those tasks that are:

    • repetitive
    • a complete task, rather than part of a bigger task
    • of interest to an employee
    • within an employee’s specific skillset
    • important for building an employee’s skillset
    • outside your own skillset
    • of low importance
    • not urgent (yet!)

    After you have identified tasks that would work well for delegation, follow these guidelines when communicating the tasks to your employee(s):

    • Give a clear explanation of what the job entails.
    • Stipulate what you expect the employee to learn by completing the task.
    • Ensure that the employee knows where to go for help or support.
    • Clearly communicate what you expect as an end result, but leave the method up to the employee.
    • Ensure that the employee knows who is accountable for the task (i.e. who should be reported to).
    • Invite questions and opinions.
    • Agree on a plan of action for moving forward (due date, etc.).
    • Articulate your confidence in this person.
    • Monitor their progress, particularly the first few times they complete this type of task.
    • Give feedback and recognise the employee for a job well-done.
    • Remember to reward the completion of tasks, over time, with benefits, raises in pay, promotions, etc.

    When you learn to delegate, you learn to help your business succeed. You may not realise it, but many of your employees are just waiting to be given more responsibility—because that is an indicator of your trust in them. Learn to trust your staff and to delegate and you will be surprised at the level of talent already in your business waiting to be discovered. By learning to delegate you are developing your staff by helping them to grow and increase the highest value tasks that they can do in an organisation.  If everyone spends most of their time doing their highest value tasks your business will grow rapidly.

    Need some guidance as you break through your fear of delegation? Or are you wondering if your current delegation plan is the most effective and efficient it can be? Let’s schedule a 30-minute consultation. We’ll discuss how you can use delegation to fuel your business’s success. Contact me here.

    [1] Institute for Corporate Productivity

  • Movie magic in the meeting room – get the popcorn out!

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    Business meetings have gotten a bad rep. Not all of them are pointless, but when you consider just how many are, it can be difficult to give the good ones any credit.

    In the U.S. alone, 11 million business meetings are conducted each day, and it is estimated that $37 billion is squandered every year on unnecessary meetings[1].

    So why all the senseless meetings? Why all the waste of time and money? My guess is habit and protocol. For millions of years, people have been coming together to solve problems—and at one time, when the ‘coming together’ was necessary to life and limb, they worked. There was a noted reason for the meeting. A problem had to be solved, or people would perish. As centuries and centuries have passed, the meeting has become less about solving problems and more about coming together just to say ‘we talked about the problem.’

    Action is no longer at the core of business meetings. The meeting has become the core of the meeting.

    How can you make your business meetings more productive?

    Think of it this way: We all love a good movie. We seem to learn more from a movie than we do from most business meetings, and yet the meeting is obligatory and the movie is for entertainment purposes. That just doesn’t seem right, does it?

    What if you could make your business meetings more like an engaging and entertaining movie? Do you think more people would actively participate and remain focused? Do you think more people would learn and go away inspired to make changes and achieve goals?

    So why not fashion your business meetings after movies? Here are a few things you can do to make this happen:

    • Schedule only necessary meetings. No one goes to see the same movie 52 times. So why would you hold the same, useless meeting every week of the year? Start by decreasing the frequency or the duration of these regularly scheduled meetings. Then, move onto scheduling meetings only when necessary.
    • Create a hook for each meeting. When every business meeting is announced, stir up anticipation by hinting that there’s something important to discuss, or that there’s something exciting to announce. You can be vague or specific—the choice is yours. The suspense will get people’s attention, even before the meeting starts.
    • Know your ending. At the beginning of every meeting, state the purpose of the meeting, along with what you intend to accomplish. This will keep attendees focused and motivated to achieve stated goals, and you will remain driven in a particular direction, with one specific goal in mind.
    • Stick to the plot. Make every attempt to stay true to the plot you’ve created for your meeting, and avoid going down rabbit trails. In order to accomplish this, manage the discussion to ensure that it always relates to the meeting’s goal. Getting sidetracked not only meddles with your meeting’s purpose, it eats up valuable time that you could be using to accomplish great things.
    • Choose a narrow cast of characters. Choose attendees in accordance with the purpose of the meeting. Not everyone needs to be involved in every meeting, and when you limit attendance to a need-to-know basis, individuals will feel more responsible for the outcome of what is discussed.
    • Encourage conflict. Every good movie has conflict and resolution…and learning by all involved is a predictable result. When a disagreement or difference in opinion arises, do not discourage it. Instead, ask attendees to weigh in on both sides so the full spectrum is represented. This is how change and forward movement happen.
    • Create a sense of urgency. Like an action flick, every meeting should generate a level of excitement that motivates people to move forward and enact the change that’s been talked about. Positive outcomes should be discussed, so everyone has a clear idea of what completing their tasks will do for themselves and for the organization. Make it clear that the sooner these tasks are completed, the sooner good things will happen.
    • By the end of the meeting, have a sequel in the works. People should not leave the meeting without a clear set of tasks to accomplish before the next meeting. Its purpose is to facilitate action, and therefore change. This can only happen if everyone understands his or her role and the importance of completing their assignments by a set deadline.

    Ideally, every meeting should be unique in that it won’t need to accomplish exactly the same thing as the meeting before it. If you’re hosting reruns, then something needs to change. One meeting should be titillating enough to spark action.

    Are you tired of serial business meetings that are simply perfunctory, with no real purpose? Are you wondering how you can make them more interesting, more productive…something that people look forward to and that feels like a wise investment of time? I encourage you to put the above tips to work, and then schedule a 30-minute consultation with me to take your business meetings to the next level. I think you’ll be thrilled at what a few changes can do to advance your business strategy.

    [1] http://meetingking.com/37-billion-per-year-unnecessary-meetings-share/

  • Are We Facing a Crisis in Leadership?

    inspiration_article

    A survey by the World Economic Forum of 1,767 world leaders and experts in 2015 found that 86% of the respondents agreed that the world faced a “leadership crisis” and that a lack of leadership was the third most pressing global issue  behind deepening income inequality and persistent jobless growth, and ahead of such challenges as the weakening of democracy, rising pollution, and intensifying nationalism.

    Are we really facing a leadership crisis though?  There are plenty of people in the world who are leading others – in business and in other organisations. Training and leadership development has been a huge growth industry and in 2014 companies worldwide spent USD 45 Billion on developing leaders.

    So what is at the heart of this sense of a leadership crisis and what do we need to do to correct it?

    I believe that the way that we think of leaders needs to change.  Old stereotypes of leadership: positions of authority, asserting power over others, usually male – don’t fit so well in a world where the skills required to lead well are more suited to collaboration, connecting, communicating, planning for the long term, keeping the common interest in mind and empowering others.

    One area in which to examine the impact of the so-called crisis in leadership is in the global workforce. A January 2016 Gallup report stated that in a Worldwide study, only 13% of employees working for an organisation are engaged.  In the UK and the USA the figure is higher at around one third but that is still two thirds of employees who are disengaged at work.   Employees are disengaged at work for many reasons but one of the key factors is that people are not being led effectively.

    So whilst billions of dollars are being spent annually on leadership training across the world this is not having the desired effect in the workplace or community.  It would seem that training in the class room is not focused on embedding the right skills required in reality.  Leadership training is focused on developing leadership skills and styles but misses the focus on what leaders are called to pursue, why, and who benefits. Leaders are not leading with passion, purpose and persuasion – three keys to leadership.

    If you think about who you consider as great global leaders now and in the past, they all lead with passion.   You cannot lead effectively unless you love what you do and are charged up about the key aspects of your role.  If you are leading with passion you are motivated to succeed and this enthusiasm and drive for success rubs off on others.

    Passion alone though this not enough.  Creating a clear vision and direction in the form of a plan, are essential components of being a good leader. Creating a sense of purpose for employees and understanding why you are doing this and who will benefit, will help to engage their hearts and encourage them to go above and beyond at work. Work becomes less about meeting basic needs (income) and more about higher needs, such as: feeling fulfilled, collaborating, making connections and making a difference to others.

    By feeling a greater sense of purpose and personal growth in our work we become more engaged, perform better and earn higher incomes. In return, as we earn more this then allows us to worry less about our basic needs as these are being met and gives us more energy to focus even more on personal growth and meaningful contributions.

    If passion and purpose inspire and engage, it is the ability of good leaders to persuade that encourages people to take action.   Being a good leader is less about having great leadership skills and more about being able to persuade others to take action towards achieving a common purpose or aim. To effectively persuade others to take the right actions you need to engage and find out what motivates them as individuals or as a group. As a good leader you can then set goals with individuals or a team, give them authority to take actions, measure how they are doing and celebrate their success.

    It is by encouraging people to take the right actions towards a common purpose that more leaders will be moulded across all different levels, global issues will be resolved and great companies will be created.

    Are you leading with passion, purpose and persuasion?  Could your staff be more engaged in your company?  Is it time to change the paradigm in your company about what defines good leadership?

    Become part of the solution to the crisis in leadership and lead from the heart.  To find out more about how to impact your ability to lead or that of your senior management team contact me to discuss your company leadership requirements.

  • 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.

     

     

  • 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.