• 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.

     

     

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 10 Tips for Success with your New Year Resolutions

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    broken-resolutionsNew YearIf you are one of 40-45% of people who have made a New Year’s Resolution this year how are you doing so far?

    Did you know by the second week of January 25% of you will have already given up on your resolution and that less than 10% of you will actually achieve your resolution.

    How can you become one of the 10% of people who do succeed in achieving their New Year resolutions?
    We make New Year resolutions because we want to change something. Of course it is possible to change the results in your life but to do so you need to have a different strategy.

    Albert Einstein “Insanity is doing same things over and over again expecting a different result.”

    So if you want to do something different and succeed with your New Year resolutions in 2016, here are 10 tips to help you to avoid the common mistakes when setting resolutions:

    1) Know your why
    The most important thing in making any change is being clear about your reasons for wanting to do this. Making any change involves a real cost to us (e.g. losing weight: cost not able to eat chocolate biscuits/junk food; getting fit: not being able to slouch on the sofa after work: getting more clients: cost: investment in marketing, training etc.).
    If you don’t have a clear, strong reason why you want to make the change you are likely to fail along the way, especially in the middle when the going gets tough.

    2) Change your mind set
    Undoubtedly it is the thoughts in your head that have stopped you in the past from achieving the success you wanted. To achieve your New Year resolutions, or any goal you set, you need to change your mind set.
    Identify the limiting thoughts that are holding you back e.g. I am never going to: be thin/fit/smart: earn enough money etc. and replace them with new positive thoughts that support your desired result.

    3) Set SMART goals
    The issue for most people is their New Year resolutions are too vague e.g. I want to: lose weight/get fit/earn more money etc. To have a much better chance of success in achieving your resolutions turn them into SMART goals:
    S – Specific e.g. I want to lose 5kg, run 10km in under an hour, and earn £100k this year
    M – Measurable – find a way to measure your goal so that you have a target to aim for
    A – Attainable – they should be a stretch to motivate you but not delusional
    R – Relevant – they should be relevant for your life
    T – Time bound – set a deadline to create urgency. Without this we will put things off.

    4) Make your goals compelling
    People give up on resolutions because they aren’t compelling enough. To maintain the discipline and commitment to achieve your goals make sure they are also Inspiring and Empowering for you, (SMARTIE goals) e.g. physically or mentally challenging, intellectually stimulating, emotionally energizing etc.

    5) Write Your Goals Down.
    Too often our resolutions stay as dreams stay in our head. Did you know that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals simply by writing them down? This works because writing down your goals is the first step to translating your intentions into actions.

    6) Track your progress
    You can’t improve what you don’t measure so you must track on a weekly basis how you are doing. Have the courage to face how you are doing. Celebrate the successes and acknowledge the disappointments and move on from them.

    7) Identify the next step
    Sometimes big goals can seem overwhelming and we don’t know where to start. Break down goals into bite sized pieces and focus on the next step.

    8) Take Action
    The biggest obstacle we face is procrastination. If you want to achieve big things, you’ve got to start.

    Zig Ziglar “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” 

    Excessive planning can be detrimental and whilst you might seem busy you aren’t actually taking the actions you need to get results you want. High achievers are action takers.

    9) Keep Your Goals visible
    You know that old saying “Out of sight, out of mind”. One of the biggest mistakes is not keeping your goals visible. Print them out and look at them every morning before you start the day. This will help them to stay conscious in your mind and support your to take the actions you need to achieve them.

    10) Get support
    All successful people have a coach or someone to help them reach their potential. If you really want this year to be different and achieve the goals you strongly desire, then find yourself a friend, coach or someone to support you and hold you accountable.

    Make this year your Best Year Yet!

     

  • Joy – What Is It And Why Do I Want It?

    I went out today on a bike ride, cycling through the hilly lanes in the lovely Devon countryside. I have been tired of late dealing with the stresses of building – or in our case not building our house, and whilst a sneaky nap seemed like a nice idea my feet ended up on the pedals and off I went.  Now anyone who knows me knows that I love biking, but due to work commitments, life and all manner of other things that have got in the way, I haven’t been biking outdoors for a long, long while.  Whilst I normally bike in the mountains around Chamonix, today was a more leisurely jaunt, taking in the hills of East Devon and pondering life while I went.

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    Off I set with no goal in mind.  I had posted a thought on twitter earlier in the day about the fact that the measure of our success is not about how much money we have but how much joy we experience in life.  Being alone on my bike with just my thoughts for company I was able to contemplate this concept at leisure and explore what came up.

    I started to reflect on what joy really was and how it differs from happiness. I remembered an interesting conversation with a company earlier this week, who wanted as one of their goals for all their staff to be happy.  At first glance this seems like an admirable goal, however, a) since happiness is an emotion, other people’s happiness is not something anyone of us can control, and b) happiness generally comes from external things and is different for each person.  Thus creating a “happy” workforce could be quite a challenge.

    Whilst it is true that joy is also an emotion, joy is more often derived from a sense of inner peace and calm, feeling grateful and appreciative, and caring for others.   Unlike happiness which can be fleeting in duration, joy tends to last longer and brings more contentment and satisfaction.  Perhaps rather than striving for a having a happy workforce a better goal would be to have a staff who felt joy in what they do.  Creating a culture of appreciation and holistic leadership, where teams look more strategically at how they can work for the good of the organisation rather than in “silos”, would go a long way to creating a contented and fulfilled workforce.

    Whilst thinking about this I started to think about the way I felt when I was feeling the opposite of either joy or happiness.  When I am not happy I am generally feeling unhappy and feel miserable. However, when I am not experiencing joy I am usually in a state of worry or fear.  So if fear, anxiety, or stress is lurking in your organisation then it is unlikely that a sense of joy can prevail.

    This brought home to me a startling realisation – almost causing me to ride into the hedge – that personally when I am in fear about things:  doubts, failure, not being good enough, upsetting someone etc then this would be a good time to search out some joy  in my life.

    But where can I find joy?   Since joy is largely derived internally rather than externally this made me think that I can find joy in any moment I choose to.  Riding my bike I decided to just be in the moment, stop all the head chatter and appreciate what was around me.  Doing this it was if my senses were suddenly turned on and I could see detail in everything: the intense colours of the flowers; the dappled sunlight through the leaves; the expanse of the cloud strewn sky and the endless landscape of gently rolling fields.  I felt my body alive with sensations: the touch of the wind on my skin, the smells of the countryside in my nose and the sound of the nature in my ears.  Really it was quite an incredible experience and all that I did was turn my joy radar on.

    It made me realise that I live mostly in a one dimensional way.  I live in a world with so much sensory input and data being thrust at me all the time that I tend to limit my experience and tune out what I think is unimportant and extraneous. This means for me tuning out the wonderful things around me that I don’t see anymore.   I realised that if I want to experience more joy in my life I need to pay attention to the detail and the small stuff around me.  It is the measure of our capacity to see the detail in life that determines our ability to experience joy.

    So I have set a new challenge for myself.  I have decided that every day I will look for the joy in the day.  No matter how rubbish the external world is behaving I will spend time experiencing the joy that comes from appreciating the simple things in life.  It’s all about the small stuff.

    I invite you to keep an eye on your joy gauge.  When you are feeling fearful, doubtful or stressed take a moment to stop.  Turn off your head and feel with your body.  What do you hear, feel, see and smell?  Turn on your joy radar and look with curiosity at the things around you.  Taking a moment of stillness to appreciate the things around you will be uplifting and will help you to get through the rest of the external stuff that needs to be dealt with.

    I would love to hear and see the small stuff in your lie that fills you with joy.  If you would like to share with me what brings you joy you can post your comments and pictures below.

    If you would like to find out how to create more joy in your life then click on the link below to get access to my free e-book:

    The Secrets to Producing the Results that You Want in Your Life