Category Archives: Development

19 (yes 19!) reasons to work with an Executive Coach

As a professional Executive Coach and Mentor, probably the one question I am asked most often is, “What would executive coaching do for me and my business?”.

Well, to help answer that question, here’s a simple list of just some of the ways executive coaching can make a difference to you, your career, and your business:

  1. Completely bespoke solutions: a professional Executive Coach will work with you to develop solutions that are as unique as you are, ensuring they completely ‘connect’ with you and so deliver the results you seek
  2. Clarity: an Executive Coach will help you find far greater clarity in the areas you work on together
  3. Focus: your Executive Coach is fully equipped with the tools and experience to improve your focus in the areas you choose, significantly improving your performance
  4. Ownership and responsibility: working with you to develop a thoroughly defined ‘picture’ of the scope of your ownership and responsibilities, and how you interact with them
  5. Direction: by bringing together many of the elements listed here, your Coach will help you develop a clearer direction that ‘fits’ with you in the best way possible
  6. Self-awareness and awareness of others: your coaching sessions will significantly enhance your self-awareness, and your awareness of others, improving your understanding of how you, and especially your emotional states, influence your behaviour, and how you observe, interpret, and respond to those same states in others
  7. Confidence: your Coach works with you to improve your confidence by bringing together all the elements listed here
  8. Purpose: your Coach will help you understand what your purpose is – what you are here to do (or be)
  9. Improving your leadership: your leadership is a constantly moving, developing skill set which your Coach will help you understand and build on in the best way for you
  10. Improving your decision-making: every great leader is a great decision-maker too, and utilising coaching to establish and understand the decisions you make, will deliver decisions of much greater quality
  11. Empowering your beliefs: our beliefs can drive us forward, but also hold us back too. You Executive Coach will help you understand your beliefs, how they influence your life and work, and what you can do to work ‘with’ them rather than being held back by them
  12. Results: your Executive Coach will facilitate you achieving genuine, worthwhile results!
  13. Reflection and learning: your coaching sessions will allow you a dedicated, completely confidential space to reflect and learn
  14. Motivation and action: when you have greater confidence in your direction and understanding, you feel more motivated to take the actions required to move you forward. Coaching clearly facilitates this
  15. Values: eliciting your core values (the fundamental, life-long ‘building blocks’ that make you the person you are) could well be one of the most valuable exercises you undertake with an Executive Coach
  16. Vision: one of the key elements a professional Executive Coach can do for you, is to help you develop and fine-tune your vision
  17. Emotional support, and truth/honesty: your Coach will help you take a long, ‘hard’ look at yourself, but in a place where such ‘deep’ exploration can be undertaking in a thoroughly supportive ‘space’
  18. A confidential ‘sounding board’: the very best leaders and executives all need someone who they can confidentially share anything with, collaborate on sharing their knowledge and experience, and who is outside of their family and social circles
  19. Confidential and dedicated support: for improving your knowledge, skills, experience, abilities, and understanding

Remember, a professionally qualified and experienced Executive Coach possesses an extensive range of tools, experiences, and abilities that are all specifically focused on working closely with you in delivering the unique solutions that move you forward with clarity, focus, direction and motivation.

N.B.: one recommendation I would always make is for you to always, always, always choose an Executive Coach who is genuinely professionally qualified. Take a look at my blog article ‘Choosing the best business coach for you’, which contains tips for choosing a great coach.

To find out more about how I work with business executives, leaders and owners to maximise their potential and success, and the benefits of professional executive coaching and mentoring, particularly in developing leadership, strategy and growing a business, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.

General Election 2017: the key leadership lessons

“Well, how did that happen?”, appears to be the most common response to the outcome of our recent General Election.

Compared to the widespread expectations when the Election was called of what the result would be, what leadership lessons can be learned from the campaign?

Rather than analyse what worked and what didn’t in the tiniest detail, let’s look at just three essential (and significant) learning points:

1) Everything that glitters etc, etc…

Firstly, if someone is telling you that everything looks certain, that you’ll ‘win’ easily, that you’re set for huge gains, never, ever believe them – and I really do mean never!

Straightaway consult others, especially those of opposing views to yours, and build a thoroughly complete ‘picture’ of the environment in which you are competing – something every world class leader I have ever met does habitually. Then trust your knowledge, experience, and, perhaps most importantly, your intuition in making your strategic decisions.

Remember, as soon as you enter into any formal competitive environment, including elections and business (e.g.: bidding processes), the gaps between the competitors will narrow, and, usually, continue to do so over the entire ‘competition’.

So, make it your decision, not someone else’s.

 

2) The E-word rules, OK?

The whole point of being in a leadership position if that you are there to lead others! (I know that sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how many ‘leaders’ don’t realise, or forget this!)

This means, perhaps most fundamentally in leadership, is that you engage those you are leading, integrating them into your plans.

In the Election, just look at which party leader proved to be the most engaging with the electorate, and what happened to their share of the vote as a result (not least, as they were almost written off when the Elections campaign began).

Exactly the same applies to any leadership position in any other sector, and especially in business: as a leader, you must be able to thoroughly engage everyone you are working with (team members, peers, superiors, etc).

 

3) Simplicity trumps complexity. Every time!

As a leader, you need to always be able to communicate quickly, easily, and effectively with everyone.

Remember this simple ‘communication equation’:

Simple + clear = effective

Keep it simple (use simple words), and keep it clear (use easy to understand language), and it will be effective.

During the Election campaign, which part leader did this best?

The results speak for themselves!

So, if you ever have to ‘win’ in a challenge with a competitor, and as a leader you will from time to time, remember these three simple leadership lessons:

  1. Everything that glitters is…usually too good to be true!
  2. The E-word (‘engagement’) rules, OK?
  3. Simplicity trumps complexity. Every time!

To find out more about how I work with business executives, leaders and owners to maximise their potential and success, and the benefits of professional executive coaching and mentoring, particularly in developing leadership, strategy and growing a business, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.

Decision-making (part 2): when design influences our decisions

How much does the design of the world around us influence our decisions?

What would you say?

After all, everything that isn’t natural is designed, so we are surrounded by (for want of a better word) ‘unnatural’ influences, whether we like it or not.

Here’s an example to help explain what I am talking about:

Our Driving Licences include a photo of the holder, and have to be renewed every 10 years. At the time of renewal, we are also given the option to enrol on to the Organ Donation Register.

Take a look at the graph below. It shows the rate of organ donation enrolment at Driving Licence renewal, for a number of European countries:

As you can see, there are two distinct groups: a group with a relatively low enrolment rate (on the left), and a group with a relatively high enrolment rate (on the right).

You will have spotted that the differences between the groups are significant. So what is the cause?

Could it be, for example, to do with an individual’s beliefs, or could it be for cultural reasons?

After all, by the time we donate our organs, we are no longer ‘here’ to be concerned by it.

Even countries that you might argue are culturally similar have very different enrolment rates:

Denmark (4.25%) vs Sweden (85.9%)

Germany (12%) vs Austria (99.98%)

Netherlands (27.5%) vs Belgium (98%)

and, depending on your view of cultural similarities across Europe:

UK (17.17%) vs France (99.91%)

But, what has caused these differences?

Well, it turns out that it was almost entirely caused by the design of the renewal form.

The group on the left, with the low level of organ donation enrolment, had a form which included a box similar to this:

As we have all done when filling in a form, they didn’t check the box, so didn’t join the Register.

The group on the right, however, the group with much higher enrolment, had a slightly different box on their form. Something like this:

Just as the lower enrolment group did, the people completing this form still didn’t check the box, but, in this case, they joined the Register!

It really was as simple as that!

But, why didn’t they check the box in the first place?

Could it be because they considered the decision to enrol as, for example, trivial, or too easy, that it was simple, or could it be that they didn’t really care that much about it?

In fact, it was the opposite of these things.

They found the decision to be extremely important, very difficult indeed, highly complicated, and they actually cared so much about it that they couldn’t actually decide on which decision they wanted to make.

As a result, they just left it to the ‘default’ decision that was being made for them…and how many of us have done exactly the same?

So, there you are. Design can, and frequently does influence our decisions!

Along with a number of other influences (which I shall keep for future blog posts), our intuition, which we rely on heavily when we make decisions, is being led astray in a consistent, predictable, and repeatable way by the world around us, so much so that we do not always clearly understand the decisions we want to make.

A thank you: I’d just like to give a special mention to Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Economics at Duke University, whose work and research has been of great inspiration in writing these articles.

To find out more about how to develop your decision-making, and the the benefits of professional executive coaching and mentoring, particularly in developing leadership, strategy and growing a business, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.

Decision-making (part 1): the ‘zero’ option isn’t useless

How often do you look at the choices in front of you, and think, “What’s the point of that (option)?”

We come across ‘zero’ options – the ones that obviously nobody would choose – surprisingly often.

But, what is the point of them? If they really are ‘useless’, what are they doing to our decision-making?

Well, take a look at this subscription offer run by The Economist in 2009:

In a controlled test, 100 MIT students were asked to express a preference – see the results shown above.

So, if the print only option is a ‘zero’ option (i.e.: nobody chooses it), what is the point of including it in the list?

Or, to put it another way, what would happen if it wasn’t there?

So, the print only option was removed from the list and another 100 MIT students were asked to choose from the revised list, with the following results:

As you can see, when there were only two choices, what was originally the most popular has become the least popular, and vice versa, meaning the ‘zero’ option was actually having an influence on the choices the students were making.

In fact, it wasn’t actually a ‘zero’ option at all. Just because nobody chose it, doesn’t mean it had no influence.

What was happening was the only ‘zero’ element of that option was that nobody chose it.  When it was present, it’s influence on the choices that were made – predominantly cognitive decisions – was important.

What it was actually doing was encouraging the readers to choose the ‘best nearest’ option that was closest to the (obviously) ‘zero’ option. In other words, it helped the readers to make their minds up!

So, next time you see a ‘zero’ option, or if you decide to include one in your own proposals, remember that they’re far from useless after all! They actually help the reader make a decision.

A thank you: I’d just like to give a special mention to Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Economics at Duke University, whose work and research has been of great inspiration in writing these articles.

To find out more about how to develop your decision-making, and the the benefits of professional executive coaching and mentoring, particularly in developing leadership, strategy and growing a business, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.

Business networking: is it building your business, or holding it back?

A successful network is a many faceted thing! 

Hands up all those who undertake some ‘networking’ from time to time?

OK, OK, silly question!

In reality, almost all of us do it, in some form or another, almost all of the time, don’t we?

But is your ‘networking’ giving your business the best chance of growing, or is actually holding it back?

As always with these things, it’s very much a case of working out which network development opportunities are best for you and your business.

First of all, your network needs to work for you, and be worked by you. As such, it needs to contain:

  • Great value suppliers
  • Profitable, reliable, regular customers
  • Highly respected, well-connected referrers

In other words, everyone you meet could potentially be a great contact for you. 

The key is to be remembered, and for you to be remembered there are some important yet simple things you can do:

  • Let people get to know the ‘real’ you – this doesn’t meant you have to give them your life story, but let them undertsand that you’re actually a real human being, just like them, and not a robot that just presents a professional ‘mask’ all of the time that prevents any ‘connection’
  • Make sure you can recognise a potential customer when you meet one (see below)
  • Tell people what you do (have an impact!) not your job title!
  • Let them know about your AFTERs – what they will be left with after they have worked with you!
  • Differentiate yourself from your competitors, and finally….
  • Say less, not more, and don’t waffle!

To recognise your customers, try answering these 3 questions – collectively, they’ll create a ‘picture’ of your ‘ideal’ customers:

  1. Think of the customer that has paid you the most money over the last year. What did they do?
  2. Think of the customer who was the most enjoyable to work with over the last year (even if you didn’t charge them anything). What did they do?
  3. Think of the customer who created the greatest success for you over the last year (e.g.: raising your profile, great PR, etc). What did they do?

Obviously, developing that successful network will take a lot more too, but hopefully these tips will get you going.

If you’d like to know more, please get in touch.

To find out more about improving your network and networking, as well as the benefits of professional coaching and mentoring, particularly in developing leadership, strategy and growing a business, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.

Business is business, but cash is King!

‘Money’, as the old saying goes, ‘is a dirty word!’ 

There’s an old saying in business which, in my time at a very large German corporate I used to visit some or our joint ventures and hear Lord X (to keep him anonymous) bellow often (and usually whilst banging the boardroom table), “Business is business, but cash is King!”.

It’s one of the most valuable pieces of ‘advice’ I have ever had the good fortune to receive.

One of the most valuable ways you can focus your efforts to build your business success is to ensure you have healthy cashflow.

In other words, make sure you get paid the right amount on time, by the right people, at the right price, and that you do the same.

Very often I find myself working with companies, of all sizes, to strengthen their cashflow. In many cases the bulk of it is easy to put right: just get your customers to pay up on time.

However, a great many cashflow issues are created because we have a habit of being a bit ‘too British’. What I mean is that many business owners and leaders tend to avoid talking about money….and end up paying the consequences.

If someone owes you money on a certain date, then they should be paying you on that date. Fact!

Obviously, the intricacies of building a strong cashflow go far beyond just getting people to pay on time, but this probably has the single biggest impact.

So, here are some tips for developing and strengthening your cashflow – easy to do, and great for your business:

  1. Know your customer! Obvious isn’t it? Be clear who you’re trading with, what type of organisation they are, what assets they have, and, for peace of mind, take out a credit check too (#BizTip: if you have business banking services at your bank, these checks can often be obtained free or at nominal cost). More detail and knowledge is better than less.
  2. Minimise your risk. Seek up front part-payment if necessary, ensure your terms and conditions make it clear you own the goods, or may withdraw/turn off the services in the event of late or non payment. If necessary, seek a written guarantee from the directors/owners.
  3. Make sure you have fit-for-purpose terms and conditions, covering payment, at what point full ownership is transferred, guarantees and liability. If you need to update your terms, many local law firms can do this at a sensible cost, or speak business support groups for guidance.
  4. Keep up to date! Even before payment is due, make it clear to your customer when payment is due and that you know it’s due. If you are being paid late, you are effectively funding their business (which is what banks are for). You’re running a business, not a bank, so remind and chase that payment. It’s your money, after all!
  5. If you do need to enforce your terms, or take legal action, be decisive and clear about your aims and objectives in doing this. Consider reasonable offers if necessary. Remember you’re running a business so paying legal fees, and using up valuable time and effort in chasing late payment is taking you away from the customers who you know and trust.

Sir Clive Woodward, World Cup winning England rugby coach, used the acronym T-CUP: Think Clearly Under Pressure.

When the pressure on you, and your cashflow issues grow because of late payment, think clearly about how you will resolve it, and take action.

 

To find out more about improving your focus, your cashflow, as well as the benefits of professional coaching and mentoring, particularly in developing leadership, strategy and growing a business, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.

There’s always a reason not to, isn’t there? Really? I mean, REALLY?

Over the last 17 years, I have delivered a wide range of professional coaching, mentoring and consultancy services to the leadership and management of over 250 different businesses across the UK and Europe. From long-established multi-national corporates, to brand new single person start-ups, and many variations in between.

I have lost count of how many times some clients, and prospective clients alike, have said they’re “too busy”, or that they “need to sort a few things out first”, or “I’ll get back to you”, “School holidays/Christmas/etc is coming up”, etc, etc, as reasons for not doing important tasks.

You have come across something similar, I expect? Perhaps it even rings a few bells with you too?

But what is the main cause of this? What makes so many people feel they’re “too busy”, and so on?

The irony is that this is exactly one of the areas I work on with clients to improve their leadership, and grow their businesses.

So, how come there’s always a reason not to?

Easy!

It’s because their focus is not where it provides the most benefit, either for the individual or their business or, most often, both!

Now, focus is often a tricky thing to get right – there are so many things to do, so many changing priorities, and, dare I say, too many easy reasons to put more important tasks off!

So, how can focus be improved?

I’m a keen believer in trying to develop and deliver simple solutions to issues like this, simply because simple ‘works’. Complicated (usually) doesn’t!

So, when it comes to improving your focus, try these simple steps:

  1. Do or Delegate: whatever you come across, either do something with it yourself, or delegate it to someone else. Do not put it off until later!
  2. If it isn’t indispensable, it’s useless: this is one of the best time management tips I have ever been given. If you really can’t do without it, keep it. If you can do without it (no matter in how small a way), you don’t need it. Be firm in making your decision.
  3. Prioritise. Prioritise. Prioritise. Make a weekly and daily list of what you need to to do, prioritise it (click here for a simple way to prioritise any list), and do it in order of highest priority first!

To find out more about improving your focus, and other benefits of professional coaching and mentoring, particularly in developing leadership, strategy and growing a business, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.

The EASY way to prioritise ANY list

In my experience, one of the things people in the business world find most challenging is how to prioritise.

Theoretically, it should be easy. In reality, it often ends up in confusion, unnecessary complication, and, worst of all, delays in getting things done.

So how can you prioritise you ‘to-do’ list easily?

Here’s a simple method:

  1. make a list of your ‘to-dos’
  2. number the list, in numerical order, top to bottom
  3. decide on one prioritising question. e.g.: which needs doing first?
  4. compare all of the items on the list with all of the others, see below
  5. best of all, it takes justa  couple of minutes!

How to compare every item on the list with each other

Let’s say there are 5 items on the list.

Start with item 1, and compare it with item 2, asking (e.g.) ‘which needs doing first, 1 or 2?’. Put a tick against whichever item ‘wins’.

Do the same again, comparing 1 with 3. Then 1 with 4. Then 1 with 5. Each time, put one tick against which item ‘wins’.

You have now compared item 1 with each of the others.

Now move to item 2, and compare it with item 3 (you do not not need to compare it with item 1 as you have already done so above), and add the relevant tick. then compare 2 with 4, then with 5.

Now move to item 3, and compare it with item 4 (you do not not need to compare it with items 1 or 2  as you have already done so above), and add the relevant tick. then compare 3 with 5.

Then compare 4 with 5.

List Prioritised!

You now have a list of 5 items, and the number of ticks against each quickly and easily shows you the priority – the more ticks, the higher the priority.

It’s then easy to rearrange the list in order of priority.

TIP: you may end up with one or more items on your list with no ticks at all. So, these are obviously of a lower priority when compared with the other items on your list. However, it may also be a sign that they might not have any priority for you at all (double-chek by adding them to a list of different items, or by using a different prioritising question).

To find out more about how professional coaching, mentoring and consulting can improve your productivity, thinking, and decision-making, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.

The essential 21st century leadership tool: emotional intelligence (part 1)

This is the first article (of 3) looking at the contribution emotional intelligence (‘Ei’) makes to leadership.

No doubt, you will have heard the term ’emotional intelligence’?

What do you think it means? Here are some common responses:

  • does what it says on the tin?
  • trendy psycho-babble that will disappear as soon as the next trend comes along?
  • new neuroscience that is yet to be proven?
  • or something else?

Firstly, let’s look at a very common misunderstanding about Ei: that is it ‘new’.

Of course, humans have always had ’emotional intelligence’, but did you know that the roots of our current understanding of it and when it  was specifically identified date back to the work of Thorndike circa 1920?

That’s right! Our knowledge of emotional intelligence is almost 100 years old! Certainly not new!

The term ’emotional intelligence’ was certainly being regularly used in American academia in the 1960s, and it reached the world of popular science in the early 1980s. Since then, research and our understanding has continued apace, not least as shown by the plethora of books on the subject (not all of them good, I hasten to add!).

So, it’s probably been around longer than you thought, and our understanding of Ei has now reached the point where we can accurately measure it, we understand how to change it, and we know how to develop it in making those changes.

The really ‘good’ news is that Ei is something you can continuously develop.

But what is Ei?

Whilst it has many measurable component parts, here’s a summarised description:

“Emotional intelligence is the awareness and understanding of the relationship between our attitudes (thoughts), or feelings, and our behaviour, how they influence each other, and the impact they have on our relationships with ourselves and with others.”

To think of Ei in graphical form, see the image at the top of this post – trying to keep the three elements (thoughts, feelings, behaviour) balanced is where we should aim to be.

But, how does Ei apply to leadership in simple terms?

As this is the first article in this series, I’m going to briefly look at the ‘cornerstone’ of Ei: attitudes. Attitudes are the core ‘building blocks’ from which our Ei is ‘built’, supported and developed.

For a leader to be successful, from an emotionally intelligent standpoint, they need to have their attitudes in balance.

By this, I mean how well they understand and develop the regard they have for themselves (how they truly and accurately accept themselves ‘warts and all’), and how they keep it in balance with how ell they understand and develop the regard they have for others (how they truly and accurately accept others ‘warts and all’ without judging them or ‘colouring’ they opinions of them).

As you can see, this is an essential part of leadership as any leader needs to be able to understand themselves and in doing so develop an understanding of the other people they work with and are being asked to lead.

For more information, please try this further reading – my earlier blog  articles:

“So, just what is emotional intelligence? (part 1)”

“So, just what is emotional intelligence? (part 2)”

“Emotional intelligence Trump style: how much Ei does The Donald have?”

(based on the Ei Model developed by JCA Global Limited, and the book “Emotional Intelligence @Work” by Jolyon Maddocks)

To find out more about measuring and profiling Emotional Intelligence, particularly in developing leaders and managers, and in assessing your teams and recruitment needs, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.

 

Do or delegate: making better decisions

If you commit to just one thing in 2017: make better decisions!

Making decisions, any decisions, is a habit.

Like all habits, the more we do it, the ‘better’ (theoretically, at least) we get at it.

Equally, when we get out of the habit, the quality of our decisions goes down.

But the worst thing we can do, especially in a leadership or management scenario, is not to make any decision at all. Indecision represents one of the greatest risks to any organisation.

But, what if it’s a bad decision? Surely, that’s worse than making no decision at all?

Nope! Definitely not!

A bad decision can be corrected. No decision results in emptiness, vagueness, and a complete lack of direction.

Because, that’s the main outcome from making decisions: direction.

Whether it be a new direction, a change of direction, continuing the existing direction, or bringing the current direction to a halt, it is fundamentally dependent on decisions.

Now, the vast majority of leaders and managers (and business owners) will experience regular challenges in their ability and willingness to make decisions.

So, here is a simple tip to help you keep your decision-making on track:

  • every time something arrives on your desk, adopt the simple motto “do, or delegate”.

Either deal with it yourself (the “do”), or give it to someone else (the “delegate”) with clear expectations of when you need it done by and what outcomes you expect. Do not just let it sit there, or put it aside!

So, remember, the best ‘first step’ to making better decisions is to make a decision!

Do, or delegate!

To find out more about how I work with my clients to improve their decision-making, and help them build better, stronger and more profitable businesses, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.