Most business leaders will know and have used tools such as PEST, PESTLE and SWOT as a useful framework to develop their business strategy. Some of these tools are equally effective when applied to your own personal effectiveness. Take the SWOT analysis as an example.
- Strengths: What unique strengths do you have that you can apply to your business and, in particular, your marketing? What are you good at and can leverage in your business?
- Weaknesses: What do you need to be better at to achieve more sales, increase profits, manage your team and your business more effectively? Who is good in these areas and what do they do?
- Opportunities: Can you leverage the support of those who are good in areas you need to develop? What can you learn from the high achievers? How can you acquire these skills?
- Threats: What are your competitors offering that you do not? How do you acquire the ability to compete and surpass their offerings? How did they get “ahead of the game” (if they are) and what “signals” could you put in the market place to ensure you stay ahead in future?
Take some time out to reflect on these questions and you may find that it helps you focus and prioritise in a way that might not have been apparent if you had only applied the analysis to your business.
The Week. Last week I was delighted that I appeared to have won a contract for some consulting work. I had an interview, scoped out the delivery and only had a planning telephone conversation to get started. I was called at 5.00 p.m. on Friday and asked if I was ready to start on Monday morning. I explained, that as I hadn’t received a confirmation, I hadn’t cleared my diary and had a booking for Tuesday. Therefore, I could only start on Wednesday. I received an email on Monday morning saying that as I wasn’t able to join on the Monday……they hoped they would have another project for me in the future. Has the recession resulted in the perception that suppliers are a commodity and professionalism no longer matters? Obviously, this was a project that I am probably better off not winning. I will continue to have confidence that integrity and fairness are the norm. On Tuesday I ran a leadership workshop on how to lead change. Wonderful inspiring group of senior executives with the foresight to recognise their need for a refresher ahead of some major challenges. The next meeting of the Highflyingdivas Forum was announced on Wednesday. To be held in Chelmsford this time on the 23rd November. I am delighted that I have again managed to find a Charity offering meeting rooms which means that the attendees’ contributions go to a worthwhile cause. See http://hfd1.eventbrite.com if you would like to come along or know of a highflyingdiva who would be interested. An early morning breakfast meeting with the Business Champions initiative for Thursday. A group of business people are going into selected schools in Essex to mentor and coach 14-19 yr olds on the world of employment. Volunteers always wanted. Contact me for more details. ~Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Friday a catch up day with admin, accounts and My Blog!
Recommended Reading. Several people have mentioned and reminded me of that excellent book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. Need I say more?
Lighter Reflections. I realised this week that all sentient beings respond to similar tried and tested approaches and are all individuals with unique characteristics and idiosyncrasies. The cat, for example. She will spend hours in the garden, interspersed only by a trip back indoors, up the stairs to visit her dirtbox. She then troops back outside leaving me with the delightful daily task of ensuring she has an easy, clean utensil for her needs. Similarly, she seems oblivious to her duties in relation to wildlife and insists on catching and bringing whatever endangered species she can find out in the garden, indoors, to play games and stay for dinner (their being the main course). We have tried explaining that she is supposed to find and take the mice from indoors to outdoors but no, any passing shrew, baby rabbit, mouse or wren is fair game for little miss Lucretia Borgia. She even brings them in and drops them in front of the dog to admire. Presumably we, the adults, are second-class compared to the dog and are not worth the display of her trophies. The last time she did this, the dog looked bemused and as he didn’t spring to catch the mouse, it shot off behind the piano. Husband, dog, cat and child raced after it. On moving the piano, the mouse scooted into the kitchen behind the fridge. Actually, I am not against this keep-fit exercise for the family as it then moves all the heavy furniture so that I can dust and sweep. I will now get to the similarities in coaching approaches. I am sure that watching the cat inspired the dog to commit his crime. Out on a run this week, he suddenly shot past me into the open field, chased down and killed a partridge. He brought it back to me (reminiscent of cat with mouse), smiling eyes and wagging tail. I, horrified, screamed at him to drop it at once. He merely looked puzzled, sat down, opened his jaws and fastened them more securely around the bird. No doubt realising that this was going to be war. I hissed at him, meanwhile furtively looking around to see if anyone was watching and more particularly if I could discern the indignant approach of a furious farmer. I looked the dog in the eye, tugged on his lead and spent 5 minutes demanding that he drop the bird. I grabbed hold of its still-warm body and tried to prise it from the dog’s teeth. No luck. Then, I took a deep breath, put on my higher-pitched baby-talk voice and told him “what a good clever dog you are,……how lovely……, give it to mummy”. Whereupon he promptly dropped it into my hands. So much can be achieved if we put aside our own reactions and emotions and use the right approach to influence and achieve what we want! Yes stakeholder management works on all creatures! Now, any advice on how to influence a cat???