Category Archives: Thinking

How did that happen? A winning strategy from Mr Trump!

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So, on the day before the US election Donald Trump was given a “1%” chance of winning.

The rest, as the oft-used phrase goes, is history.

But how did he do it? How did he pull off one of the greatest surprises in US election history? What were the key parts of his strategy that turned the odds so unexpectedly (and seemingly so suddenly) in his favour?

Actually, as with so many unexpected successes, it revolved around something we should all do more of when it comes to developing a successful strategy: research!

In Mr Trump’s case, his team’s research clearly determined three key opportunities for success:

  • the profiles of those who were most likely to vote for him in the battlefield states
  • the profiles of those (in the same regions) who would vote for him if he appealed directly to them, and
  • the issues that these groups valued the most (and therefore would be most likely to vote in support of)

Now, whether you agree with Mr Trump or not, and thanks to the way the Electoral College system works, it proved a winning strategy.

Once this data was collected, his campaign focused on delivering clear, simple and easily understood messages over, and over, and over again. They poured their resources into the things they knew (or, at least, could be reasonably sure of) would deliver the outcomes they sought.

The result?

Well, we all now know what happened next.

But what does this tell us about building a successful business strategy?

Three key things:

  • keep it clear and simple (remember the equation: simple + clear = effective) so that everyone understands it (and so can easily ‘buy in’ to it)
  • focus on a clear and defined end result that you’re aiming for (of course, making sure it is realistic), and
  • every step between where you are now and where you want to get to will require clear decisions to be made, so make sure you make them whenever they are needed

And, above all, make sure you do relevant research beforehand!

To find out more about how to build a successful strategy for your business, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2016. All rights reserved.

Worried about ‘Brexit’? Read this first!

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So Thursday 23 June, 2016 will certainly be remembered for at least one thing – the day the UK voted to leave the EU.

Now, since then I have had many calls from businesses of all sizes, who have been tying themselves in knots over what happens next, and convincing themselves they have to rush into ‘doing something’ because of the Referendum outcome.

Well, first of all, let’s look at the facts of what has happened since the result was announced:

  • the sun is still coming up in the mornings, the world is still turning, the grass is still green, and Wimbledon is still being held in the wettest two weeks of the British summer – no change there whatsoever!
  • yes, the stock and currency markets have been up and down like the proverbial yo-yo, but there are already signs they are stabilising, even rising, so things are nowhere near as bad here as was widely predicted – remember the markets have a tendency to seek an opportunity for profit ahead of reflecting economic reality
  • interest rates have not changed, neither have tax rates, nor have most of the other key fiscal influences of our economy

So, broadly speaking, things are just the same now as they were a month, or six months, or even a year ago.

As for the next few months, here’s a simple plan of action:

  1. DO NOT PANIC! This will only introduce significant risks where previously there were none
  2. contact your business advisers, coaches and mentors (you do have a business coach or mentor, don’t you?), and begin assessing the ‘big picture’, how it specifically affects you and your business (if at all), and begin planning for the next steps
  3. reassure your team, your suppliers and your customers that it really is ‘business as usual’ until we have the actual hard facts to prove otherwise

There you go – simple!

Keep calm and carry on, as the infamous poster says.

Still not sure what to do next?

Then please feel free to give me a call on 01242-672440, click here to email me.

© Adrian Malpass 2016. All rights reserved.

The BHS tale: are YOU the best person to run your business?

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So…one of the high street’s best known brands, BHS, is no more. 11,000 people have lost their jobs, with many more effected in supporting businesses, and the mutual dislike between those responsible for owning and running the company has become rather distasteful, to say the least, and aired in public.

The previous owner, the most recent owner, and the accountants and lawyers involved in the administration process seem to be the few that have received anything from this sorry mess. But so many have suffered unnecessarily.

So, what can we learn from this sorry tale?

For me, the most obvious lesson is the reminder that owning a business does not automatically mean you are the best person to be leading and running it. Far from it.

In fact, in my experience, this is an error that too many business owners make – often they are not the best people to be running their businesses.

Yet, they diligently risk their and their employees’ livelihoods, or, at least, they restrict the performance and stability of the business by persisting with the view that they should have the ‘top’ job.

To use a sporting analogy, what they’re effectively saying is, “It’s my bat and my ball. Therefore, I automatically make the best captain.”

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Think about it. Most business owners first started their companies because they’re either good at something, or they had a really good business idea. They didn’t start a business because they’re good at running businesses. (By the way, the single biggest reason for business failure in the UK is because of poor leadership and management…just as it was with BHS).

Why do you think so many highly successful businesses of all sizes aren’t led and run by the people that own them? (Of course, there are exceptions). For the simple reason that successful business leadership and management requires a very particular set of skills and experience.

Allowing someone else to run your business will also have one vital benefit (at least): it will allow you to do what you do best, which provides most benefit to the company (and, therefore, you), and is what is most likely to contribute to its future success.

If this short article does one thing, let it be that it encourages you to ask, “Am I the very best person possible to lead and run this business?”

But please don’t try to answer it on your own – you’re biased!

Ask it of all those around you, especially your employees, but also your friends, family, accountant, business adviser (you do have a business adviser, don’t you!)…and insist they give you their honest opinion and reasons.

Don’t be offended if they say you’re not the best person – trust me, it will be for the best in the end.

But, either way, act now with the information you have gained. It’s gold dust!

Good luck!

To find out more about how I can help you improve how your business is led and managed, and ensure it is more resilient and more profitable, please get in touch:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2016. All rights reserved.

What ‘science’ knows, and what business does, are not the same thing!

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Now, this might all sound a bit illogical, but there is so much high quality and, importantly, highly relevant data freely available ‘out there’ to business people, that it seems strange, to say the least, that so much of it is completely ignored by them.

This is not a new, or recent trend, but is something that

Let me give you a few, very basic examples:

  • 80% of start-up SME owners have no experience of running a business.
  • 80% of SME business owners agree they “can run the business”.
  • 80% of business owners never, and I mean never undertake any business management or leadership skills development.
  • Yet 80% of SMEs close before they reach their 5th birthday (long-term average)*.

Spot the link?

(* = the average closure rate in the last ten years is slightly higher!)

(Sources: ONS, HMRC, The Economist)

 

On a similar theme:

  • 80% of start-up SMEs who work with a professional coach/mentor will successfully reach their fifth birthday.
  • 80% of those that don’t, won’t.

(Sources: ICF, EMCC, LSE, and others)

 

When it comes to communication:

  • At least two-thirds of business readers of SME websites just want to find the phone number.
  • If your contact number is a mobile or 08- number, two-thirds of website readers will go elsewhere before they contact you.
  • It is estimated that 30%-40% of website views will be on a mobile device by the end of 2016, and this is expected to peak at 80% by the end of 2019.
  • Approximately 40% of SME websites don’t even have their phone number on their homepage, and/or do not have it visible on ‘first view’ using a mobile device.
  • Over half of SMEs agree that their websites “don’t generate enough enquiries”.

(Sources: Google, ONS, LSE, DBIS, BT)

 

When it comes to how our decisions are influenced by the options we have:

In 2009, the eminent behavioural economist Dan Ariely conducted a study of 100 MIT students by asking them to choose one of the following newspaper subscription options:

Option 1: paper only subscription $59 (16% chose this option)

Option 2: web only subscription $125 (0%)

Option 3: print and web subscription $125 (84% chose this option)

Option 3 is most popular.

 

He then took away Option 2 and asked them to choose again. This time:

68% chose Option 1

32% chose Option 3

Note how the least popular option has become the most popular, and vice versa, simply because the list of options has changed.

How could this influence how you communicate with others?

 

He (and fellow MIT colleagues) also conducted a number of studies in the fields of motivation, including this one in 2003:

Three groups were given a selection of games that involved creativity, motor skills, and concentration.

They were each offered one of three levels of performance based rewards (low, medium, high).

The result?

When the task involved just mechanical skills, the rewards worked as expected.

However, when the task involved even rudimentary cognitive skill, a larger reward led to poorer performance. Yes, really!

However, when this same exercise was repeated in a remote village in India, people offered the medium level of reward did no better than those offered the lowest level of reward.

But, and this is a big ‘but’, those that were offered the highest level of reward….did worst of all!

In 8 of the 9 tasks in these experiments, higher incentives led to worse performance!

 

So, what science knows, and what business does are not the same thing.

The point I’m making is the same as that old adage: if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got.

  • If people want to contact you quickly and easily, make it easy for them to pick up the phone to you (remember using email takes twice as long as using the phone (source: Harvard Business Review)).
  • If one of your USPs is that you’re a local business, then make sure your phone number is identifiable as a local (not an 0845) number.
  • If you give people too many choices, one of the options may get zero responses, but it might also serve to help the reader to make a decision that is better for them and for you.
  • Take care how you incentivise your teams – higher performance doesn’t necessarily come from higher rewards.

 

To find out more about how science can help your business, and how I can help you build a better, more resilient and more profitable business, please get in touch:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2016. All rights reserved.

FACT: great leadership = business success. So, why is it so bad, so often?

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Over the last month, I have been looking, as I often do, into the relationship between leadership and success, reviewing recent research from the likes of The Economist, LSE, McKinsey, Harvard Business School, and others.

The outcome is that not only is leadership the single biggest contributor to business success (something I have been championing for years), but that far too many people in leadership positions either have no leadership skills, or no leadership experience, and rarely engage the expert assistance of a leadership coach or mentor, or all three!

In the UK, the single biggest reason for business failure, or a limitation to business success, is because those businesses are not led and run well enough.

Leadership skills and experience are rarely properly developed, and most businesses are created by people who either have a good idea, or are good at something – not by people who are good at running a business.

The result?

More than 7 out of 10 new businesses in the UK don’t survive until their fifth birthday (ONS figures). What is worse is that this statistic over the long term doesn’t seem to be improving, clearly showing that no matter how good you are at something, no matter how good a business idea you have, it’s the essential skills of leadership and management that are fundamentally the reasons for business success.

A opportunity for our education system, perhaps?

Yes, some business founders will develop these essential skills as their business grows. But, these are very much in the minority, meaning the majority struggle on with the risks that brings.

My experience tells me that most people would say they can run a business. Right up to the point where they realise they can’t! Of course, by then it’s often too late.

Also, it rarely makes sense for those with important sales- and profit-generating skills to be spending their time struggling with leadership and management issues.

I readily accept that there are many times when this is necessary. But beware! This can all too easily lull you into a false sense of security, and end up being the start of a very slippery slope.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, first of all, try to remember these three ‘golden rules’:

  • Stick to what you’re best at, and how you can benefit the business most (financially, operationally, etc). Owning the business does not mean you’re necessarily the best person to be running it!
  • Never hesitate to ask for help – a delay could be costly! There is a great deal of very high quality, great value help out there (coaches, mentors, consultants, advisers, etc). The benefits of finding one that’s a good match for you will easily outweigh the cost. Click here to check out my blog post about how to choose the best business coach for you.
  • Do or delegate! We all have a tendency to delay doing something just because it take us out of our comfort zone. So, whatever is in front of you, whatever arrives on your desk, either deal with it there and then, or delegate it to someone who will. Do not ignore it, or add it to the ‘do later’ pile!

Also, if leading and managing is not where your expertise lies, and for the time being it really is down to you, keep it simple. Simple works!

To help, here are a few key elements for you to work on, that will enhance your leadership effectiveness (and so your business success), no matter how experienced you are:

  • Always make clear decisions and let your team/colleagues know what they are, what you expect the benefits to be, who will be involved in implementing them, and the timescales
  • Keep your ‘door’ open to all, especially when there’s a problem. Part of your responsibility as a leader is to solve problems
  • Engage with everyone. Encourage them to let you know their views and concerns. You’ll become a better leader as a result
  • Make sure you don’t create obstacles, or over-complicate things. You’re there to do exactly the opposite!

To find out more about developing your business leadership and management, and the benefits of dedicated professional coaching and mentoring, please get in touch – I’m here to help.

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2016. All rights reserved.

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

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In the first part of this article (click here), I looked at these key elements that help to assess your Ei:

Measuring the Attitudes elements

Measuring the Feelings elements

Measuring the Personal Management elements

 

In this final part, I shall look at:

Measuring the Relationship Management elements

Developing your Ei

 

The Relationship Management part of Ei assessment is built up from 5 key elements:

Trust – how inclined you are to trust others

Balanced Outlook – how you balance optimism with realism

Emotional Expression and Control – how well you balance expressing and controlling your emotions

Conflict Handling – how well you handle conflict

Interdependence – how well you manage taking yourself and taking others into account

 

In all of these Relationship Management ‘scales’ there are three core components:

The ‘target/ideal’ component where a high level of attainment is desirable

The ‘under/too little’ component where a low ‘score’ is preferable, and

The ‘over/too much’ component where a low ‘score’ is also preferable

So the ‘ideal’ outcome is to have the under/too little and the over/too much measurements with a low ‘score’, and the target/ideal measurement with a high ‘score’.

However, whilst this ‘ideal’ position is readily achievable, especially through developing your Ei, the majority of responses, at least initially, do not demonstrate this ‘ideal’ combination, but notably higher scores in either the ‘under’ and ‘over’ are more common.

Here are the different ‘scales’ measured within each of the 5 Relationship Management elements:

Trust

Under / too little: mistrusting

Target / ideal: carefully trusting

Over / too much: overtrusting

Balanced Outlook

Under / too little: pessimistic

Target / ideal: realistically optimistic

Over / too much: overly optimistic

Emotional Expression and Control

Under / too little: under controlled

Target / ideal: free and in charge

Over / too much: over controlled

Conflict Handling

Under / too little: passive

Target / ideal: assertive

Over / too much: aggressive

Interdependence

Under / too little: dependent

Target / ideal: interdependent

Over / too much: over independent

Remember, all of these elements and their component scales are associated with how you manage your relationships with others, and can be developed and changed to enhance your Ei.

Finally, a brief look at developing your Ei.

You may well have heard of ‘reflective learning’? It’s a process that is proven to help develop many of the ‘soft’ skills and qualities, particularly those that are people-to-people based, including your Ei.

To develop specifically your Ei, try these (N.B.: a professionally qualified coach will be able to help you with all of these):

  • Build a clearer picture of your strengths and development areas.
  • Actively seek feedback from those around you (including your boss and colleagues), and ask people for their views.
  • Walk the talk! Take time to develop your strengths and close important development gaps.
  • Establish clear development goals and identify what achieving success at the next level up looks like. Remember to regularly assess your progress against these goals.
  • Regularly record reflections on your week, both positives and negatives, your emotional responses to these differing situations, and what you choose to take from these experiences. Ensure you build these reflections into useable information to guide your future behaviour.

 

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

To find out more about Ei, Ei profiling, or developing any aspect of Ei and its uses in coaching and mentoring, please get in touch – I’m here to help.

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

 

© Adrian Malpass 2016. All rights reserved.

 

So, just what is Emotional Intelligence? (part 1)

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Whilst there is a great deal of interest in Ei, there is also a great deal of confusion about exactly what it is and what its component parts are.

In much of my work, especially in the fields of coaching and mentoring, I employ the many facets and benefits of Emotional Intelligence (‘Ei’), including utilising powerful Ei profiling tools for individuals and teams in developing leadership and business performance, and in recruiting key personnel.

The good news is that after almost 100 years of research and study, Ei is now well understood to the extent that we know how to measure it (through all of the scales mentioned in this article), change it, and develop it. Ei is continuously developable – you can never have too much of it!

The benefits of developing your Ei are likely to deliver positive impacts in almost every area of your professional and personal lives. Literally!

So, just what is Emotional Intelligence?

In the first part of this article (final part next month) I shall look at the ‘core’ elements of Ei, and their key components, and those of our self management (which is a part of our ‘personal’ or ‘intra-personal’ intelligence).

Here goes…

Firstly, a simple definition of Ei:

“The awareness of how our attitudes and feelings influence our behaviour.”

The first of these, and the most fundamental ‘building block’ of Ei is our attitudes: how we balance our self regard (how well we accept and value ourselves ‘warts and all’), with our regard for others (how well we accept and value others (as distinct from approving of them)), aiming to achieve and develop high levels in both.

Self regard ‘feeds’ into how well you can develop your regard for others.

The attitudes part of Ei supports and helps us develop the ‘feelings’ part of Ei.

This ‘feelings’ part of Ei is about how aware we are of the physical influence our feelings and intuitions have on us, in balance with how aware we are of the feelings of others and, as with the regard ‘scales’, the higher our levels of both the better.

One important thing to remember is that whilst the regard scales provide the ‘building blocks’ of Ei, these awareness scales are where the ‘core’ or ‘root’ of Ei lies. i.e.: your Ei is developed from here.

The third and final element I will cover here is that of ‘self management’: a combination of ‘scales’ that collectively influence ‘how you are’ or, to put it another way, the relationship wyou have with yourself.

This self management part of Ei is made up of six elements (‘scales’):

Emotional Resilience: how effectively you ‘bounce back’ when things don’t go well for you

Personal Power: to what extent you feel you are in charge and have sole responsibility for what happens in your life

Goal Directedness: the degree to which you align your behaviour to your long-term goals

Flexibility: the degree with which you adapt what you think and how you behave to life’s changing circumstances

Connecting with Others: how well you create and develop meaningful relationships with others

Authenticity: the degree to which you invite others to trust you, through being reliable principled, consistent and ‘known’ (N.B.: this does not mean you have to tell everyone your ‘life story’)

In part 2: the relationship management scale of the Ei model

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

To find out more about Ei, Ei profiling, or developing any aspect of Ei and its uses in coaching and mentoring, please get in touch – I’m here to help.

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2016. All rights reserved.

Choosing the best business coach for you

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Let’s face it. Choosing a good coach to work with you and your business is a potential nightmare!

After all, what makes a good coach?

How can you be sure you’re getting a genuine professional?

How can you minimise the risks in choosing one and what should you expect from them?

Whilst none of these have straightforward answers, there are a few things you can do to minimise any potential risks, and dramatically improve how you find and select not only a good coach, but a great one.

To start with,  remember this ‘golden rule’: always, always, always do your research before you choose your coach.

In doing that research here are a few simple steps to focus on:

1) Ask the ‘coach’, “What is “coaching”?”

Can they clearly and simply explain the key differences between coaching, mentoring, counselling, training, teaching and telling?

TIP: make sure you know what “coaching” actually is. If you’re not sure, click here to ask me for a definition.

If the ‘coach’ cannot give a detailed and correct answer to this simple question, move on to your next candidate straightaway.

N.B.: most so-called ‘coaches’ cannot answer this question correctly!

 

2) Are they genuinely professionally qualified in coaching?

It is estimated that over 85% of so-called ‘coaches’ are not professionally qualified in coaching.

Alarming, isn’t it?

So, beware! An unqualified ‘coach’ could do untold damage to your development and the success of your business. It also means they probably do not have professional indemnity insurance for delivering coaching services (I am yet to come across an insurance provider who wouldn’t require a professional coaching qualification).

Sadly, there are a vast number of flaky (to be diplomatic) ‘coaching courses’ out there, almost all of which are well below acceptable professional standards, let alone being robust enough to be genuine qualifications.

Establishing the credibility of any ‘coach’s’ professional qualification can be tricky, but a few simple checks can make a big difference and bring much greater peace of mind to the selection process.

In my view, the best professional coaching qualifications in the UK are obtained from UK universities and management schools. Clarify whether the qualification was classroom-based (good) or distance learning (not so good).

There are also a small number of professional bodies and dedicated coaching qualification providers who deliver good quality qualifications. e.g.: the CIPD (predominantly HR focused, for delivering coaching within an organisational development programme), the International Coaching Federation (a dedicated coaching skills qualification provider who has improved the quality of their programmes considerably in recent years), Eurocoach (again another dedicated coaching skills qualification provider who is gaining in reputation for the quality of coaches they produce), to name but a few.

Note: many ‘coaches’ have completed in-house coaching skills programmes from when they were working within large organisations. Be careful! These are rarely genuine qualifications or aimed at developing coaching skills to a professional standard (of course, there are a few exceptions). These programmes are usually designed for the ‘coach’ to be working within the organisation, rather than being independent. If your preferred ‘coach’ has been trained in this way, establish how they have adapted to being a professional independent coach before going further.

(TIP: if you’re thinking about qualifying as a coach, remember the simple ‘rule’ of coaching qualifications – on the whole, you get what you pay for!).

 

3) Check-out their specific post-qualification coaching experience.

It may sound like a contradiction, but the professional qualification does not ‘make’ the coach in the fully rounded, competent professional sense.

It is their post-qualification experience that really defines a coach’s credibility and expertise as a genuine coach.

When I qualified as a coach back in 2004, I completed around 150 hours of post-qualification coaching with a very wide range of business clients before I felt I had reached a level of professional competency and ‘rounded’ coaching ability required in a professional, independent coach.

All professional coaches will understand the need to continuously and pro-actively review and develop their skills and abilities throughout their careers, learning from every coaching session they deliver. As such, an experienced coach tends to work in specific areas of delivery that reflects their skills and experience (as this will provide greater empathy with the subject matter). In my case, for example, I concentrate on working with business clients around their leadership, business strategy and growth management requirements.

So, look for a genuinely qualified professional coach with a delivery focus in the areas you are seeking to change or develop.

Remember, it is not unusual to enlist the expertise of more than one coach in order to make sure their collective expertise is aligned with all of your requirements.

 

So, that’s it!

Three, hopefully, simple steps to help you find the best coach for you.

Just remember to do your research first.

If you’re unsure about anything here, or if you have any questions about coaching, please get in touch – I’m here to help.

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 2015-17. All rights reserved.

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Business growth: how to overcome slowing growth

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Whether you like it or not, a growing business will, at some point, experience a time when growth slows down significantly, or even stalls completely.

Most business owners – the vast majority in my experience – fail to see this coming (mainly through ineffective planning and analysis) and so, potentially critically, don’t know what to do about it when it does arrive (note I say “when” not “if”).

The result?

Business owners tend to take one of two actions. They either:

Do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Bury their head in the ‘sand’. Assume (usually sub-consciously) that the ‘crisis’ (for that’s what it will quickly become if not dealt with effectively) does not ‘apply’ to them, and that it will soon go away, or rectify itself, and growth will return….as if by magic!

Or

They panic. Rush around like the proverbial headless chickens. Turn everything upside down. Create chaos and unsettle everyone in the business, and end up right back where they started – with growth going nowhere!

Unsurprisingly, the lack of planning and strategic thinking to deal with the situation is potentially disastrous for the business.

So, what do you do when growth slows/stalls?

First, and this is important, do not panic!

Second, as you work through this challenging time, always remember to think strategically – how everything you do ‘fits’ into the ‘big picture’ for your business.

Then, you need a clear plan and process for working through this business risk to truly understand and deal with it. For example…

Step 1: get everyone, especially those with the relevant skills and experience, involved who needs to be involved.

Having a team who can ‘access all areas’ is essential to success, and is vital in getting a complete insight into the causes, effects and solutions for their issue.

Step 2: ensure there is plenty of energy in the team and the process at all times.

Any solution needs to be achieved in a timely manner, no matter how challenging it is.

Step 3: the solutions is reality….not magic!

Take a practical, subjective, ‘here and now’ approach to getting growth going again.

Step 4: give finding a solution your complete focus.

Finding the causes of slowing/stalling growth, and a solution for it has to be your absolute priority.

If it isn’t, by the time you fully understand the causes and have worked out how to move forward, it may well be too late!

Step 5: search, search, and search again.

The only way you will design and implement a genuinely good solution is from fully understanding the causes of this slowing/stalling growth.

So do everything you can to find every cause, no matter how small, no matter how large.

Only then can you be sure of building an effective solution for the whole business.

Remember to search systematically – leave no stone unturned. It is essential you root out and analyse every cause.

Step 6: take responsibility.

Unless you have conclusive proof to the contrary, take full responsibility for the causes of the slowing/stalling growth.

Step 7: remember to have a back-up too.

Just in case the steps above don’t provide the solution(s) you need, remember there is always the ‘plan B’ option – what else can you do for the good of the business that delivers a step forward?

 

Remember, the best leaders take immediate ownership and full responsibility for every challenge, and tackle them all head-on. No excuses.

Make sure you do too.

As always, if you would like to discuss building a successful plan, or how to improve your personal development in the fields of business growth, please get in touch.

To find out how my clients also achieve a 35% year-on-year increase in profits, please get in touch:

T: 01242-672440

E: click here

Business growth: making sure you get from here to there

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What does it take to grow a business and, especially, keep it growing?

What causes so many to stumble just when it seems they’re on the right track?

What makes business growth so difficult, when it doesn’t have to be?

It might surprise you, but the answers to all three questions are the same:

  • Planning
  • Reflective learning
  • Regularly reviewing both

So, let’s take these in order.

Planning

The main observation I have about planning is that business owners, executives and managers all too often fail to get their planning right.

Typically, they usually don’t have enough detail in their plans and, importantly, they frequently don’t plan far enough ahead:

It’s always easier to take something out later on than it is to add something new in

Your plan needs to look at least 3 years, and preferably 5 years ahead

Your plan needs to include everything that happens in your business, and I really do mean everything: including market analysis and trends, business structure, analysis of your competitors, product analysis and development, cashflow, profit and loss, and full financial analysis and forecasting, as well as conventional S.W.O.T. analysis and what you are learning.

Business planning is also like  planning a journey using a map – you need to know exactly where you are now and exactly where you want to get to. The route you take is up to you!

Remember: ONS figures show that over 80% of businesses who plan properly will successfully make it through the next 5 years. Over 80% of those who don’t, won’t!

 

Reflective learning

In psychological terms, reflective learning is recognised as one of the most successful, flexible, yet simplest to implement, forms of personal development in whichever parts of your life you choose to apply it.

It is particularly recognised as the key in developing one’s emotional intelligence, for example.

In fact, it is something that many of us already do without necessarily realising it.

Here’s how it works:

  • Spend a little time each day making notes of that day’s experiences. Some people choose to do this in a journal, or a pocket book, or in a mind map, or record it, or just write a list of key words – basically, do it in a way that makes it memorable, and enjoyable for you
  • Reflect on the key events, however small, making note of what impact they had on you, what went well, what you could/should have done differently, and so on
  • If you can, try to take the emotional attachment (which we all have) out of your reflections and just note down the ‘hard facts’
  • Then regularly, for example once per week, review your notes adding anything else that comes to mind.
  • So, over a period of time you will build a ‘library’ of your own unique learning experiences which you can refer to at any time.

There’s even probably an app for that! J

 

Finally, review and update you plan every month or two, perhaps applying what you have learned  too?

 

As always, if you would like to discuss building a successful plan, or how to improve your personal development in the fields of business growth, please get in touch.

To find out how my clients also achieve a 35% year-on-year increase in profits, please get in touch:

T: 01242-672440

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