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handshake isolated on blue background

What Makes You Proud?  

This week I was very excited to receive notification that we have been accepted as an approved supplier for Bloom.  Bloom is a company that provides neutral vendor services for professional services firms that want to work with the public sector.  For many government organisations and councils, you have to be accredited by Bloom before you can bid for the project.  

So, we were super excited to achieve accreditation as there was a particular piece of work we wanted to do but had to be accredited before we could go ahead.   And whilst it can seem daunting to put in a tender document and jump through the perceived hoops to get public sector work, and this accreditation now makes that possible for us, that is not the main reason we were so excited to get the accreditation. 

No, the reason we were so excited was because a big part of getting the rubber stamp was what your clients say about you.  We are fortunate to have worked with some really great clients over the last couple of years and it was very humbling to contact them and ask if they would be happy to speak on our behalf to Bloom and to get such a positive response.  

And that made me reflect once again, on the importance of relationships in business and in life in general.  The way we see business and our relationships with our clients is as a long term, lifelong (hopefully) thing.  We keep in touch with clients, not just through our weekly emails but also through social media, networking, and by picking up the phone and speaking to them.  

I believe the quality of your relationships determines the quality of your life and the life of your business.  And it is not just external relationships with clients which are key but also internal relationships.  If your client understands the business value they get from you they, are likely to be happy, but if they also feel personally valued then you have a loyal fan for life that not even the best financial offer in the world could tempt away.  

Equally if your people get value from working for you, they will be happy, but if they also feel personally valued then they will stay longer, and will recommend you to their contacts as clients or as future members of staff.  

And if your relationship with your suppliers is good, if your suppliers feel valued by you, they are much more likely to go the extra mile in servicing your account.  It is not just about the money for them, they actually LIKE working with you.   

Great relationships are win wins for everyone, and yet it is easy to neglect your clients, your suppliers and even your staff, in the ongoing busy-ness of everyday business life.  Remember – it is much harder to replace a supplier, a member of staff or a client, then to keep them.  So make sure you are allocating time to build upon your existing relationships.   

Oh – and when you do great things, or have a good win, or achieve something special – remember it IS ok to shout about it.  People that you have a great relationship with will be only too happy to hear about your good times and your wins.  So I hope it’s OK with you if I just say “YAY to us!!”.

 

3D Leadership – dynamically enhancing the results of your business’™

At Transforming Performance, we believe that there are 6 crucial areas of Leadership: focus and direction, mindset, engagement, skills, impact and systems.

Transforming Performance can help with our Accelerate Your Business™ and Accelerate Solo™ programmes.

Julie Hutchison is co-Director with Jan Sargent of Transforming Performance, a consultancy which provides businesses with expert support in Leadership Coaching, Team Development and Performance Coaching, Executive Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Behavioural Profiling and help in getting the best from you and your people. If you’d like to have a chat and a coffee to discuss how we can help you, we’d love to talk. Call us on:

01722 484155 or 07947 823842

[email protected]

http://www.transformingperformance.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

about you

It’s All About You

I don’t know if you sometimes feel it is all about you?  Will the day ever come when you can feel like you can have a day off or go away for a holiday without everything falling apart?  You didn’t start your business, so you could work longer hours for less pay and a rubbish boss!

Well, let me explain something to you it is really hard to delegate well, but until you learnt how to do it, it WILL always be about you.

Take a client of ours.  This gentleman is a serial entrepreneur, he has created, run and sold several successful businesses so it really surprised me to hear that for the first 5 years he was in business he struggled to make any real money and was stuck in a business he created but no longer loved.

The problem was he had done a typical ‘I am a great salesperson, so I can run a sales business’ mental leap.  The problem is – as explained very well by Michael Gerber in his book series – The E-Myth – most people who start a business are not qualified to do so.

Many people start a business because they are good at what they do – perhaps better than average – but what they are NOT experts at is running a business.  So, they begin, and they get clients, because they are good at what they do.  And then they get more clients, because people recommend them.  And then they decide they can’t cope with working 7 days a week any longer so they hire someone to relieve the pressure.

Only it doesn’t relieve the pressure – because they haven’t got time to train them.  And so, things start to go wrong, and clients start to complain.  And then – their remedy is to hire someone else or sack the original person and do the work themselves – because at least that way they will know it is being done properly.  And so, it never ends.  The business never grows beyond what the owner can personally cope with and they end up having less of a life than when they were employed.

This had certainly happened to our client, until the day he hired himself a coach and the coach asked him a very direct question.  And it was “Why are you hiring a dog and barking yourself?”.

At first offended, our client soon realised his coach was right.  He had been hiring people to do some of the work and then not trusting them to do the work.

The problem is that when you first start delegating it is easy to abdicate instead.  You hire someone, they have skills, you explain what needs to be done and you walk away thinking “thank goodness that’s a weight off my mind” and then a week later you wonder why the job hasn’t been done or hasn’t been done properly.

Well – it is because delegating is a whole other skill set from sales, or hairdressing, or plumbing, or marketing, or whatever your key skill set is.

Delegating involves a whole host of other skills.  You need to have the ability to hire the right people in the first place, you need to be able to create a structure and a process for each task that needs doing, you need great communication skills, you need to be able to train people etc etc.  And you need to understand your people and what their aspirations are.  If you delegate book keeping to someone who hates figures that might not work too well.

There are some simple processes which we teach in our Team Performance Engine system.  If you would like a chat – no obligation – about how you can access a simple process to make delegating less of a chore or a guessing game and more of a reliable process, then email me at [email protected]

 

sid the sloth

Is Your Name Sid the Sloth?

Have you watched the kids film – Ice Age?  If so you will remember the character Sid the Sloth.  Sid is a sloth who attaches himself to his best chance off survival – a Mammoth and a Sabre Tooth Tiger.   In his efforts to ingratiate himself with them and therefore make it out alive from the impending Ice Age by tagging along as they migrate south.

The problem with Sid is…he is just TOO enthusiastic, meaning the others put up with him grudgingly at first (in fact the sabre tooth wouldn’t if it wasn’t for the leader – the Mammoth).  Eventually, the trio save a baby human whose mother has been killed by Sabre Tooth’s and Sid comes into his own as he is a natural with the baby.  The others start to respect him and see that he does add value to the team.

If you don’t know the story above, imagine Tigger – you must know Tigger.  The overly enthusiastic ‘Bouncy, Trouncy’ character from Winnie the Pooh who wears everyone out with his energy, but again wins over his friends with his tendancy to jump in without a thought for himself to save them, and his uncanny ability never to get lost.

So, what has all that got to do with business?   Well, I am sure you know a Sid or a Tigger – in fact you may even BE Sid.

You see, characters like Sid and Tigger are very un-self-aware.  They are enthusiastic and want to be part of the team, but can put people off by the over enthusiasm, they inability to stop talking even when inappropriate (Sid) and their over confidence in their own ability at times (Tigger).

Unfortunately, what that means for them is that they are often discounted as having any worth to the team until a situation arises (like with the baby in Ice Age) where their previously unknown qualities come to life.

Sometimes that means that a persons innate ability and special area of expertise could be unacknowledged and therefore not used – for YEARS.  All because of the perception other people have because of the way they come across.

For example, the other day I had a connection request on LinkedIN.  I checked out the person (I shall not give any clues as to who they are), and I connected with them.  As soon as I connected I got a message back saying we should meet sometime.  “That’s pretty impressive” I thought, and responded that yes that would be good.  “How about tomorrow” came the reply.  Now that was slightly too enthusiastic for me, a bit like kissing on the first date.

The messaging did continue and it actually put me off arranging to meet this person.  Now I may still arrange to do that, because it is possible that they have some great stuff hidden behind that over enthusiastic front.

And it made me think of Sid and how this person is probably completely unaware of how they are coming across, and therefore almost snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!  If he had come back and said – I’m over your way once a week, when would be convenient to meet?  And left it at that – I would have responded with an appointment time.

So, let me ask you – are you aware of the impact you are having on others, or do you have a Sid on your team?  Someone who has hidden qualities which you don’t see because you are too busy trying to avoid them and their over enthusiastic approach?

If you would like to find out more about some tools you could use to uncover the hidden gems in your team, drop me an email to [email protected] and let’s uncover your Sid!

 

 

 

 

contempt

Familiarity Breeds Contempt  

Have you heard that expression – familiarity breeds contempt?  Have you ever thought about what it really means?  Well the obvious interpretation is that what you are familiarity with becomes less important.

For example – if you are the new girl/boy in the office, the last thing you want to do is upset anyone, am I right?  And so you would go to great pains to understand who sits where in the office, whose coffee cup is whose, that kind of thing.  Because you don’t want to invoke the wrath of khan (oh no that’s a star trek movie), well the wrath of anyone – especially the boss – by nicking their coffee cup on day 1.

However, fast forward to day 730.  Perhaps by then, understanding the lay of the land, you have worked out that the boss is a big softie and you can use his coffee mug for your guest without worrying about it.  Perhaps the boss isn’t very happy about it but he won’t say anything.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

However, there is another interpretation of that phrase, and it’s this.

Familiarity breeds contempt of the unfamiliar.

So, what does that mean?  Well, it means that it feels safer and therefore ‘better’ in the comfort zone of familiarity.  What is new feels uncomfortable and therefore ‘wrong’.  Just as someone coming in on day one with no concern for anyone else’s feelings, and using YOUR coffee cup, would feel wrong.  Sometimes anything ‘new’ is put in the same category.

And that’s when business’s often miss a trick.  The familiar might have been the best thing since sliced bread last year, but that doesn’t mean that this year, it still WILL be. And sometimes that something or somebody new will be the best thing that ever happened, if you can just take off your blinkers of familiarity.

Try not to see anything new as automatically ‘wrong’ and not ‘how we do things around here’.  Because, let’s face it, ‘how we used to do things around here’ included sticking a leech on you to drain your blood anytime you got ill, and we don’t still do that anymore!  Change is necessary, change is inevitable.  You can be ahead of the curve or behind the curve, but change will still happen anyway.

If you look on change with contempt, you will miss opportunities.  And just because someone is new, doesn’t mean their ideas aren’t valid or even the best idea.

Look at what happened to Yellow Pages when the internet came in.  I know someone who used to work there, and they tell me that voices within Yell at the time were pushing Yell to open up and be the new Google (before Google existed), but other voices thought that they could maintain the status quo but just online rather than in the real world.

Have you seen the size of a Yellow Pages directory now?  It’s like a leaflet.  And online?  Well, I don’t know their figures but they are not the new Google.  And they have had to change direction and become more about websites and SEO.

As a leader your job is to challenge the norm constantly and to listen to your people – new or established.  Not ALL change is perfect, but not changing, not adapting, not looking at things in a different way – well that is really the meaning of familiarity breeding contempt.

book

The Book with the Wiggly Lines

Yes, I know – books don’t have wiggly lines.  Books have straight lines don’t they.  So that we know how to read them.  And that’s kind of reassuring.  It’s normal and comforting – for US.  However, it also applies to other areas of life where it is not such a useful concept.  And to be fair – writing in a straight line from left to right is not the norm everywhere, is it?  Just in the western world.

In life in general though, I find that WE are also expected to go in straight lines, aren’t we?  We go to school and we are supposed to know – as a child – what we want to do and where we are going for the rest of our lives?  There is the straight line planned out for us at age 14.  No wonder kids feel such pressure nowadays.

That reminds me of a time, when I was a kid and we went on holiday to Cornwall.  Me, Mum, my sister and my Dad.  Now – I have observed that some men – and my Dad was definitely one of these – do not like to ask for directions.  In fact, I remember him ending up on the east coast one day when he was meant to be in Wigan!

Anyway, on this day, we were heading for somewhere near St. Tudy in Cornwall – and as we got nearer, a sign popped up – 1.2 a mile to St. Tudy!  Yay – we were nearly there!

Only we weren’t.

10 minutes later Mum said to Dad, ‘Honey – wasn’t that the tree we just drove past?’.  He swore it wasn’t but the rest of us knew it was, because 10 minutes later we went past the same tree.  And again, and then again.  All straight roads seemed somehow to lead back to the same tree and the same sign – St. Tudy ½ mile, and whichever road we took at that junction it didn’t go to where we wanted it to go.

Eventually we had to stop and ask, much to Dad’s chagrin, and it turned out there was an almost hidden turn – un-signposted, which took us down a very wiggly windy road, but took us to exactly where we needed to be.

I’m 47 and I still remember that day.  And how things that seem so straightforward and normal can be confusing and misleading.  And sometimes you just need to stop, take a step back and see what the real picture is.  Sometimes you need to ask for help – like it or not.

And as the leader of your business – sometimes there isn’t anyone within the business to ask.  Which is where we come in.  Sometimes what you need and cannot do yourself because you are too close to it – is to see the bigger picture.  You need to observe that the straight lines (the norm, the usual routine) is not working and you need to see the wiggly lines (the alternative or new direction).

If you need someone who can help you find your wiggly line – drop me an email to [email protected] or connect with me on LinkedIn and let’s talk!

3D Leadership – dynamically enhancing the results of your business’™

At Transforming Performance, we believe that there are 6 crucial areas of Leadership: focus and direction, mindset, engagement, skills, impact and systems.

Transforming Performance can help with our Accelerate Your Business™ and Accelerate Solo™ programmes.

Julie Hutchison is co-Director with Jan Sargent of Transforming Performance, a consultancy which provides businesses with expert support in Leadership Coaching, Team Development and Performance Coaching, Executive Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Behavioural Profiling and help in getting the best from you and your people. If you’d like to have a chat and a coffee to discuss how we can help you, we’d love to talk. Call us on:

01722 484155 or 07947 823842

[email protected]

http://www.transformingperformance.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

complicated

6 Steps To Make Your Business Less Complex In 2018

Well it’s the start of a new year. So, I’ll start with a confession to you all.

I’m a learning junkie. I’m a bit of a geek. Well, a lot of a geek…! I’m always reading books, articles, blogs, listening to audio books, podcasts and watching webinars, TedTalks etc…. I just love to learn and think about new ideas and, where I think they are useful; incorporate them into my thinking, way of doing things, training and coaching.

One of my (I won’t call them resolutions because resolutions are always broken by 14th February aren’t they…), things I’d like to achieve this year is to watch/listen at least one TedTalk a day. I find them inspirational and they certainly open my mind to new ideas, concepts and subjects. Best time for me to listen is as I’m getting ready in a morning. So, over the course of the Christmas and New Year break I have listened to a number of these and true enough, they have been amazing and set my mind to being ‘creative’.

One that I watched was a talk given by Yves Morieux (an expert in organisational transformation and who has pioneered new ways of organisational thinking) called ‘As work gets more complex, 6 rules to simplify’. Not the snappiest of titles but nevertheless Yves was very passionate about his subject. He made the case for what can only be described as crazy complexity that a business builds when people aren’t as ‘trusting’ of each other and not as connected with what each other does. What happens when people have ‘no skin in the game’ of others in an organisation.

He proposed these 6 steps to simplify a complex business and I thought I’d share them with you.

Step 1:

‘Understand what others do. What is their real work?’

I am often surprised when I work with clients how people within functions don’t really know what other people do in their ‘teams/functions’ or indeed what an individual does within any given ‘team/function’. If we don’t understand what people do how do we know how we can best help them and they us? This lack of knowledge and understanding frequently leads to the creation of silos where people start to look only inwards to their own role and, at best, that of their team/function rather than the needs of those who really rely upon them doing their work and the needs of the business as a whole.

So, start talking to people. Start asking them what they do and how you might best help them.

Step 2:

‘Reinforce ‘integrators’ (leaders and managers) who have the power to get people to co-operate. Remove layers so that the leaders and managers are closer to the action.

By doing this you give people visibility of what is going on. By people being closely aware of what is happening you give them the opportunity for creativity and innovation. You give them more opportunity to problem solve as a team and with other teams.

Step 3:

‘Increase the quantity of power – empower more people to make decisions. Remove too many rules and KPI’s.’

This is what David Marquet calls ‘leader-leader’ type of leadership in his book ‘Turn Your Ship around’. He turned around the worst performing nuclear sub in the US Navy to being close to the best in the fleet within 2 years. Some feat! And he did that largely by giving people the power to make decisions. To not cause bottlenecks for decisions that could easily be made by others but which had been passed up the chain of command ‘in the process or procedure’ whereby a very senior officer on the sub had to make decisions on holiday requests, for example.

Much research has been done which shows that people like autonomy; it reduces work-related stress, increases trust and hugely engages people when they are able to have as much autonomy as possible within their roles. It helps to reduce boredom and it also helps to remove overload for those more senior who get trapped into having to become involved in more mundane and trivial matters that could easily be deal with by others more appropriately. It also gives people a taste for dealing with more important decisions and tasks too.

Step 4:

‘Extend the shadow of the future. Create feedback loops that expose people to the consequences of their actions.’

So often, people do not know what the causes of their action (impact) has upon others. They are removed from what the end result is elsewhere. Dan Ariely speaks of how we are more able to do things which aren’t so good when we are more removed from our actions. Much of our work is with people helping them to become aware of how they impact upon others as a person and within their roles. You can, of course, extend this to teams/functions too. And we work with those too helping them to see the ‘eco-system’ that is the business and how all rely on others to make the whole thing work well.

By being unaware of their impact, people can blithely go around causing difficulties for others without really knowing it. It’s very much our belief that most people really do want to do their best at work and want to help. They just need to understand their part in the whole.

So back to Step 1 – Understand what others do. See what I did there? A feedback loop 😊.

Step 5:

‘Increase reciprocity. Remove the buffers that increase self-sufficiency which gets people to co-operate’.

So often we can become our own little islands and just get on with our own stuff because we can and because we are good at it. Of course, we WANT people to be good at what they do but we also want people to work with others and to create that co-operation which is so necessary for the excellent functioning of the business. So that people work together to achieve the common aims of the business which must always be about providing what the client or customer or end user wants in the best way possible. That way, everyone gets what they need and want and the business is successful with happy and engaged people.

Anyone not want that….?!

Step 6:

‘Make people aware that there is NO BLAME for asking for people to help them or for helping others when things go wrong, as it surely will at some point. Blame is only there when people fail to ask for help or to give help to others’.

Blame is a horrible thing and no-one wants to have a blaming or shaming culture. It is important that people realise that there is no blame or shame in asking for help. And absolutely none for offering to help others. Helping others and being helped is part of the reciprocity and co-operation we seek from everyone so that everyone is successful in what they do.

Being open and honest when we need help or we aren’t sure what to do next or when we need the creativity and thoughtfulness of others to get things to work and improve is great. To be open and honest there needs to be no blame or shame to create the trust needed for people to feel confident enough to ask for and offer help.

So, ask yourselves. Do we blame people? Do we make them feel ashamed when things go wrong? Are they likely to keep going wrong because people don’t want to ask for help because of the result? Just asking. For a friend.

3D Leadership – dynamically enhancing the results of your business’™

At Transforming Performance, we believe that there are 6 crucial areas of Leadership: focus and direction, mindset, engagement, skills, impact and systems.

Transforming Performance can help with our Accelerate Your Business™ and Accelerate Solo™ programmes.

Jan Sargent is co-Director with Julie Hutchison of Transforming Performance, a consultancy which provides businesses with expert support in Leadership Coaching, Team Development and Performance Coaching, Executive Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Behavioural Profiling and help in getting the best from you and your people. If you’d like to have a chat and a coffee to discuss how we can help you, we’d love to talk. Call us on:

07947 823842 or 01722 484155

[email protected]

http://www.transformingperformance.co.uk

Black Art

The Black Art of Leadership. And how to avoid it…..

I was dismayed and horrified this week when yet another scandal hit the news headlines. A film director alleged that an actress had been blacklisted by Harvey Weinsteins’ company and that malice had been spread to other parts of the film industry.

It’s not that business scandals have never hit the world before but this year seems to have been particularly bad for them. And the appalling behaviour of leaders, on not just the financial aspects of business, have come out of the woodwork. Kobe Steel, Uber, Volkswagen, Kevin Spacey and possibly Hewlett Packard (a keylogger that was apparently included in many devices as some kind of software work around. Ummmm, really..?) amongst others. I too have been hit by 2 of these, having an Audi and an HP Laptop both of which have had to have remedial activity (luckily, no dealings with the delightful Harvey…). And what has happened? I’ve lost trust in these famous brands and so have many, many tens of thousands globally.

Dan Pink in his Ted Talk about employee engagement, speaks about how, when the purpose of the business is untethered from its activities, dark things happen. And he is right. People seem to lose their way.  Professor Dan Ariely in his book ‘The (honest) truth about dishonesty’ says that 1% of people will always do right; another 1% will always do wrong and 98% of us will try to do right but can be tempted under the right circumstances.  We all think we are honest and decent and yet the statistics and tests say something different. Food for thought.

If leaders lead their people into the ‘darker’ side of things then dark things happen. As an example; Uber has been a hotbed of horrendous behaviour because it’s previous leader, Travis Kalanick, went so badly off track. Alleged lying, cheating, spying, sexual harassment, rape etc.. It will take them a long time to get over the taint that all this has had on their business.

So what causes so many scandals?

Well, from where I sit, it appears to be greed in one form or another. Greed.

How can we protect ourselves from the darker sides of ourselves? Well, I believe that as leaders we can create a meaningful set of values that are important to us and the companies we are leaders within. To constantly remind ourselves of these and use them as guides for the behaviours of ourselves and those we lead. To use them as our touchstone when asking ourselves how we should behave. Dan Ariely shows evidence that, when we remind ourselves before we act of the values we uphold, it produces measurably better behaviours.

So. Create that set of company values. Embed them within your business. Live those values. Walk and talk those values. Integrity comes from this and creates trust within and outside the business. When you are going to take some kind of actions ask yourself whether this is within the spirit of those values. Get others to do the same. Show no tolerance for anyone who does not live by those values in your business because they will surely be that little worm that creates rottenness at the core of the apple.

A dark message for this time of year and yet it’s actually a good one because Christmas is all about the birth of the new. Of new hope and loving, warm, open and honest family values. So let’s think on how we can make things better for ourselves, our families, those we lead and our businesses. How we can hold our heads high and know we did the right thing by others.

Have a Merry Christmas and may your New Year be full of love, warmth, hope, happiness, joy and success.

3D Leadership – dynamically enhancing the results of your business’™

At Transforming Performance, we believe that there are 6 crucial areas of Leadership: focus and direction, mindset, engagement, skills, impact and systems.

Transforming Performance can help with our Accelerate Your Business™ and Accelerate Solo™ programmes.

Jan Sargent is co-Director with Julie Hutchison of Transforming Performance, a consultancy which provides businesses with expert support in Leadership Coaching, Team Development and Performance Coaching, Executive Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Behavioural Profiling and help in getting the best from you and your people. If you’d like to have a chat and a coffee to discuss how we can help you, we’d love to talk. Call us on:

07947 823842 or 01722 484155

[email protected]

http://www.transformingperformance.co.uk

https://www.winetherapy.co.uk/about-us/

leadership

Leadership Not Loudership!

I was talking to Jan this week, and the subject of holidays came up.  We both love France but I was saying to her how sometimes it can be a bit embarrassing being in France (or Spain or anywhere else) and watching how tourists speak to the locals.

I don’t know if you have experienced this – but sometimes tourists shout.  They shout at the locals and speak really slowly – as if that will help the locals to understand their English.  Well, speaking slowly might help if the locals have a little bit of English, but I fail to see how shouting helps anything.

It’s not that they are deaf, it’s that they don’t understand you.

And I suddenly thought – ‘oh my – that’s what people sometimes do in leadership.”

It can be frustrating can’t it?  If people don’t understand you when it is perfectly clear and obvious to YOU what you are trying to say.  And I wonder if you, like me, have seen bosses literally react to that by shouting the same instructions, in a kind of “are you stupid?” kind of way.  For example.….

Staff member, “How do I print this information on my screen?”

Boss (sigh) “hit alt and F12”

Staff member, “sorry, what?”

Boss (shouting)  “HIT ALT AND F12”

That really isn’t going to help now, is it?  If the staff member doesn’t know what or where the ALT tab or the F12 button are then shouting it isn’t going to mean they suddenly DO know.

But, here’s the thing, it isn’t just about shouting.  It can be metaphorical shouting.  The point is if you keep on doing what you have always done, assuming that if you just repeat it often enough then people will have a magical moment of realisation, then you are probably living in a dream world.  So, what do you do instead?

Well, for a start, you need to ask more questions.  Until you understand your team members in THEIR own language then you can’t possibly answer or instruct them in a way that will make sense to you and get the desired outcome.

Let me give you an example.  A client of ours runs a business with remote teams.  He was getting a little frustrated by slowness on certain tasks, until he sat down with his senior team manager leader and also did some research to better understand what was going on.

What he learned was 2 things.  Firstly – when he said on a Monday – “this needs doing fairly quickly” – the team felt that was OK if it was finished by Friday  – so HE needed to be more specific about time frames and specify exactly when he wanted it back for.  Secondly, the make up of the team was that they needed to feel more appreciated and really went out of their way when they felt individually noticed and appreciated for their hard work.

Everyone needs this by the way, but some people need it more than others.

The best approach here was the feedback sandwich. In brief:-  Here is what you did well.  Here is what you could do better.  I really appreciate you and how is everything with you anyway?

Implementing these 2 things meant my client could stop shouting (or in his case – repeating himself loudly with a hint of annoyance) and start communicating in a way that got him and his team better results.

So – if you want to stop shouting and get more done instead, try asking more questions before flipping off a quick reply using the same old same old !   If something doesn’t work, stop, ask questions, and try something else.

And if you need any help with that – drop me an email to [email protected]

3D Leadership – dynamically enhancing the results of your business’™

At Transforming Performance, we believe that there are 6 crucial areas of Leadership: focus and direction, mindset, engagement, skills, impact and systems.

Transforming Performance can help with our Accelerate Your Business™ and Accelerate Solo™ programmes.

Julie Hutchison is co-Director with Jan Sargent of Transforming Performance, a consultancy which provides businesses with expert support in Leadership Coaching, Team Development and Performance Coaching, Executive Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Behavioural Profiling and help in getting the best from you and your people. If you’d like to have a chat and a coffee to discuss how we can help you, we’d love to talk. Call us on:

01722 484155 or 07947 823842

[email protected]

http://www.transformingperformance.co.uk

punt

Let’s Give It A Punt..

I’m all for taking a risk every now and then. In fact, taking good and calculated risks is part of being a leader. We sometimes have to take decisions without being in full possession of the facts. Indeed, that’s a fairly frequent situation. So, what’s the problem?  

Well. Sometimes a calculated risk isn’t really calculated. In fact, a decision can be pretty reckless where there is not enough information to make a sound decision or where evidence shows the decision is highly likely to cause significant and potentially serious damage to the business in some way. 

Entrepreneurs are by nature risk takers.  In order to start a business there are many risks you must be prepared to take.  

Leaving a stable secure salary behind  

The first risk most entrepreneurs have to take is backing themselves.  You have to believe that you can make it and do more than just survive, or you would never step away from that regular income, those pension contributions and the 4 or 5 weeks holiday a year.  You have to risk that losing all of that (and any other benefits) will be worth it in the long term.  Because it sure as heck won’t be in the short term.  Most new business owners work longer hours than they ever worked for someone else, for less pay and no holidays or benefits.  If you are not a risk taker you just will not do this.  

Sacrificing your personal life and your health  

As a leader (whether that is the business owner or a senior manager) you risk your personal life and your health.  Working 60-hour weeks is going to affect whatever home life you have and your health will suffer unless you really look after yourself.  The risk you take is that it might not be worth it.  Perhaps it is too high a price to pay.    

Putting your security on the line 

Many business leaders have had to put their security on the line, by which I mean, they have had to put their life savings, their pensions or their mortgage on the line to fund the business.  This is not a risk most people are willing to take and does separate the leaders from the followers.   

Trusting key employees 

As a small business, and even after it grows, you cannot – as a leader – do everything yourself.  Your hanging onto control in your business will prevent its growth.  True leaders are able to take the risk of trusting their employees.  And that is a risk isn’t it?  Look at what happened to Barings Bank. Although to be fair, that was also to do with a lack of internal process.  No matter how much you trust someone – the occasional check doesn’t do any harm. However, if you do not trust your employees then you will become the bottleneck in your business and you will stagnate.   

So, risk kind of comes with the job as a Leader within a business or an Entrepreneur, but the problem is as a natural risk taker, sometimes the leader’s optimism is not matched by the facts available, or the worst-case scenario.

Let me give you an example.   

A business owner I know wanted to expand his business.  He had 10 years + in his industry as a senior manager and then as a business owner.  For the first 5 years of his business the turnover and profit grew each year.  At the point the team were busting out of the 7-person office (there were 9 of them), he took the decision to expand in a big way.  The accountant put together a plan that required a 200k loan to effect, and the projections all seemed solid based on the previous 5 years’ experience.  

Sadly, the bank didn’t agree and only agreed to a 100k loan.   

At this point, the plans for the new office, the refurb and the acquisition of new staff should have been revised.  However, with the eternal optimism of the entrepreneur, he decided to go ahead anyway.  His thinking was they had built some fat in, in case of emergency, and they could just work a bit harder and smarter and make the plan happen sooner.  He was totally confident they could do it.  

And it all started well.  The first 3 months in the new offices, and hiring 4 new staff, all revised targets were being met and it seemed his gamble had paid off.   

Then a double whammy.   

His Father died.  And both he and his co-director – who was also his brother – were effectively out of the business for a few weeks, the brother not returning for months with depression.  And even when the MD returned he was not on form.  Meanwhile, the only other Manager in the business was out of the business for 6 weeks because…. His Father also died.  

Now what happened was that 3 headless chickens were running the business.  The standards of the team started to skip, one sales person was making up figures and cashflow was getting out of control and no-one noticed.  For 3 months.  In fact – they thought things were still on the up and having hit a big target they had set in January, the MD took the team to Barcelona to celebrate in July.   

In November they went out of business.  By the time the management team realised things were not as they should be, cashflow was so far out of control and predicted incomes so wide of the mark, their accountant advised they were technically out of business and they had to go into voluntary liquidation.   

Rather than revising their plans, they had jumped off a precipice and hoped they would grow wings on the way down.   

Now, no-one can predict the unexpected.  If all the management team had not had to deal with bereavement all at the same time maybe things would have been ok.  But maybe not – the plan was still based on an investment of double that which was received.  That’s not really a calculated risk, that’s flying by the seat of your pants.  And something entrepreneurs have a tendency to do. Sometimes it works.  This time it didn’t  

So what could that MD have done to mitigate the risk.  Well, the obvious answer is – revise the plan.  The thing is, he was never going to do that because of his mindset.  However, if he had retained a coach at that time (which he now does), then the coach could have acted as a mirror to reflect back to him the implications and the alternatives.   

The plan could then have been readjusted and might still have gone to pot given what happened, but would have had a better chance of working – THAT would have been a calculated risk.   

If you are considering growing your business, and want to make sure you have the best chance of making it a huge success, if you want to make sure you are making calculated risks and not jumping off a precipice, talk to us about our executive coaching programmes.   

3D Leadership – dynamically enhancing the results of your business’™

At Transforming Performance, we believe that there are 6 crucial areas of Leadership: focus and direction, mindset, engagement, skills, impact and systems.

Transforming Performance can help with our Accelerate Your Business™ and Accelerate Solo™ programmes.

Jan Sargent is co-Director with Julie Hutchison of Transforming Performance, a consultancy which provides businesses with expert support in Leadership Coaching, Team Development and Performance Coaching, Executive Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Behavioural Profiling and help in getting the best from you and your people. If you’d like to have a chat and a coffee to discuss how we can help you, we’d love to talk. Call us on:

07947 823842 or 01722 484155

[email protected]

http://www.transformingperformance.co.uk

https://www.winetherapy.co.uk/about-us/

Man with knife

Is that a knife in my back or are you just pleased to see me?

Have you ever been in a situation where you were worried about saying the wrong thing?  I have a friend who worked in an environment where everyone was afraid of doing anything at all ‘outside the rules’.  The reason for this was that she had a boss that purported to want new ideas, and to want people to make their own decisions and come up with new ideas.

The problem was – it soon became clear that he only wanted ideas that HE would have come up with and any other idea was shot down in flames in double time.  Now this guy, no doubt, thought he was a great leader.  He certainly returned reliable results in his department, but boy did he burn the midnight oil.  He was the first one there in the morning and the last one there at night, and he probably came in at the weekends too.

It didn’t matter how many leadership courses he went on (and he went on quite a few as the company encouraged that sort of thing),  or how great technically he was – because he created a command and control type of environment as a leader.  He was certainly well respected (maybe even slightly feared) but he didn’t trust his team.  And therefore the team around him quickly learned that they should keep their mouths shut when it came to suggestions or ideas.

You see if this is how you lead then your team are never going to be confident to do what needs to be done and you will be left with a disjointed, disgruntled and disillusioned group of people who blame each other, bicker, fight, but probably pretend to be best of pals.  All waiting to stick the knife in someone else’s back to take the attention off of themselves.

I have seen many a team fear making decisions, which means that important stuff gets deferred and the boss gets frustrated over why someone doesn’t just step up and get it done.  It is probably because they know they will get the knife in the back if they say “the wrong thing” whilst all the smiling assassins stalk round like hyenas on the plain.

Command and control structures are great in an emergency – in my previous life as a police inspector, there were certainly times when you need the leader to make the decision and the team to get on and do exactly what needs to be done – with no deviations.  However, even in the police, leadership shouldn’t always be that way.

If it is then people don’t develop confidence, capability and a culture of taking responsibility as a team because it doesn’t give people the opportunity to feel safe to make mistakes, take a risk and do the right thing.  Does that make sense?

It is great in a fire, or where the bomb has gone off but in normal day to day situations it stifles people, stifles creativity and decision making in the long run and leads to a stab in the back culture where no-one feels safe and stress levels are high.

So, do you foster a culture of knives and blame or do you create a trusted team environment of growing leaders for the future..  I won’t make you tell me now, but let’s hope the former is not you!

If you think it might be – but everyone is too scared to tell you, drop me a mail to [email protected] and let’s have a talk about how we can find out, develop your people to their full potential and make your life easier in the process.  Unless you like working weekends…….

3D Leadership – dynamically enhancing the results of your business’™

At Transforming Performance, we believe that there are 6 crucial areas of Leadership: focus and direction, mindset, engagement, skills, impact and systems.

Transforming Performance can help with our Accelerate Your Business™ and Accelerate Solo™ programmes.

Julie Hutchison is co-Director with Jan Sargent of Transforming Performance, a consultancy which provides businesses with expert support in Leadership Coaching, Team Development and Performance Coaching, Executive Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Behavioural Profiling and help in getting the best from you and your people. If you’d like to have a chat and a coffee to discuss how we can help you, we’d love to talk. Call us on:

01722 484155 or 07947 823842

[email protected]

http://www.transformingperformance.co.uk