Do Unto Others……

I read a good blog the other day which advised leaders to treat their employees as they would want to be treated.  This is sound advice in many situations, however I shall always remember my diversity training at Shell which challenged my basic belief of “Do unto others as you would be done by”.  The challenge was that I was applying my own standards and principles to other people.  Take for example the excellent belief about empowering people.  I remember a company with whom I was consulting, whilst at KPMG.  The Operations Director of this manufacturing company told me.  “Many of our people on the shop-floor just want to come to work, do a good job and go home”.  Their priorities are different and they don’t want to be innovative, empowered or work flexi-time etc!  So, rather it should be “Do unto others as they would be done by”.  This means understanding their motivation, their different styles (communication, personality, learning and so on).  First, understand your people and then check if your assumption that they would want to be treated in the same way as you do, applies.  For more on different styles, look at previous blogs:-

Future Forum Events

The next events will be in November and December

Highflyingdivas, 24th November, London , hosted by Penna

The Leadership Forum, Essex,
10th December, Essex

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Lighter Reflections

stick_figures_enjoying_coffee_400_wht_12809I have again had the pleasure of helping someone by sharing some of my expereinces.  In both instances, it was an owner/manager who had taken the plunge of starting their own business.  They were asking themselves the same questions I remember asking, such as “when should I expect my business to break-even?”,  “how many clients should I be expecting and when?”, “how do I find them or help them find me?” and many more.  My main messages are that it always takes longer than you think; try all marketing channels and evaluate which ones work; find out where your prospective clients gather and go there and so on.  Most of all though, “you have taken the toughest step already so be kind to yourself – you are probably doing better than you think”.  Sharing some time with others also helps me reflect on my business, and remember some of my tips that I might have forgotten over time!  So, who can you share your knowledge with this week?

RosemaryYingYang_Logo2

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What’s your exit number?

Some of my Growth-Accelerator clients talk about growing their businesses to enable them to retire some time in the future.  They often consider what is needed for the business to sustain itself but forget about their own requirements.  One of our Leadership Forum members focuses specifically on this aspect.  I am pleased to introduce their guest blog on the subject.

Andrew Hall – Managing Director Sound Financial Planning Group

Time and again we meet with clients who have lost sight of what’s really important in their lives as they become more and more engrossed in their businesses. Who can blame them, it’s their baby, their vision and energy that’s got the business to where it is today and they can still see the potential just over the horizon. Often its only when people stop and realise it’s impossible to reach the horizon that they start to let go. This change in perspective can take a while to appreciate.
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Often successful businesses develop much faster than we realise, partly because we over-estimate what we can achieve in 12 months, yet under-estimate what we can achieve in a lifetime. Take this test – look back over the past 5 years to see how things have changed, then do it again over say 20 years and I think you would be pleasantly surprised at the progress you’ve made both personally and professionally.

So what’s your exit strategy? Do you actually have one and has it been tested ? Our experience is that most people consider exit planning when they stop horizon chasing. Forward thinkers however have the end in mind from day one. If you are planning to sell a business who will buy it? What will they be looking for? How will all the pieces fit together? How much tax will you pay? Will you retain an ongoing interest or simply sail off into the sunset (some horizons are well worth chasing)?

The trick however is to know your “number”. How much money do you actually need to support your desired lifestyle for the rest of your life, while never running the risk of running out of money, even in a catastrophe such as serious ill-health.

So, like Andrew’s clients, do you know your “number”?  When I asked Andrew about their services, he gave the following response.   Sound Financial Planning Group are retirement planning specialists who help clients to develop their own personalised Financial Wealth Plan with detailed analysis of their long-term cash flow, investment and tax planning requirements. This simple process enables our clients to live their lives today, whilst planning for tomorrow with a greater degrees of certainty and peace of mind.

For more information give them a call on 01268 567567or visit their website at www.soundfp.co.uk .

Future Forum Events

The next events will be in September

The Leadership Forum, Essex, 17th September ,  hosted by LEPRA, topic – Secrets of Success

Highflyingdivas, 24th September, London

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Lighter Reflections

executive coachAs many regular readers of my post will know, I have a rogue of a dog.  When we first came back to England we needed to put a fence around our garden.  In the meantime, we put him on a long rope to stop him from escaping.  With fence in place, we released him from the rope to watch him lightly leap the fence or scramble through the hedge into the fields without a moment’s hesitation or backwards glance.  So, he’s back on the rope.  In repairing our wall the other day, James detached the rope.  The following day, he put Baron on the rope which wasn’t secured to anything.  Baron continued in his usual rope-range, without noticing the fact it wasn’t attached to anything.  This made me reflect. How many “ropes” or limits from our pasts may be hampering our progress, even though they may, in fact, no longer exist?YingYang_Logo2

Rosemary

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How to get more from your brand

I have been working with two clients recently on developing their brand.  Most people consider brand to be represented by an image that reflects what the company means to their customers.  Sometimes this image is supported by a tag line.  Some just have a word, for example with Colgate, its protection. With a few, such as Ritz Carlton Hotels and McDonalds, it is also a set of bullet points.  For example, the latter has–Fast Service –Consistent Food Taste and Quality–Consistent Pricing.  Yet a brand should also have a message for all stakeholders, not just customers.  What does it mean for employees, suppliers and partners?  Businesses that are also clear on the benefits and “reasons to believe” for these other stakeholder groups leverage their brand value dramatically.  They supply the “why” that creates loyalty, quality and productivity in everyone involved in the business, all along the value-chain, not just at the end of it.  So, here is a formula to help you develop what your brand means to all your stakeholders.

To    (insert stakeholder group)

(name of the business) gives you ……………………(the rational/emotional benefit/promise)

because ……. (enter reasons to believe)

It may well be that the message is similar to that for your customers, so my question is; do you also promote your brand with these other groups?

Let me know your thoughts and experiences.

Future Forum Events

The next events will be in September

The Leadership Forum, Essex, 17th September tbc

Highflyingdivas, 24th September, London tbc

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Lighter Reflections

imagesRegular readers will know of my ongoing war with our resident pigeons.  This pair of flying rodents have persistently taken delight in leaving their tracks and other forms of signature on my freshly cleaned car.  Just mine.  One of my great delights was the pleasure in thwarting them when our garage was completed.  I rubbed my hands in glee at their inability to leave footprint designs across my car’s bonnet.  I should have known that their retaliation would soon be coming.  I found this when bringing in the washing to see that they had pooped on, I YingYang_Logo2kid you not, just my washing.  The towels, sheets and James’ sweet-smelling clean clothes swayed gently in the summer breeze, whilst mine have had to go into a repeat wash! So what next?

       Rosemary

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How to be a positive leader

This week I have had two different management teams talking to me about what “their boss” hasn’t done.  They shared all the problems that their leader hasn’t yet responded to, or dealt with.  I have talked to their leaders about dealing with these problems.   More importantly, I coach them about the underlying need for them, as leaders, to create a positive environment in which employees recognise their role in overcoming problems.  To make a start, there are 3 questions leaders can use to focus everyone on solutions rather than challenges.  Why should they do this?  Looking for opportunities and always having a positive mindset sets the tone for people to take responsibility, find solutions and succeed.

1.  What would good look like? What would be a good outcome?  What could/needs to be done?  Or something similar.  Rather than focusing on the issue, people look at what a good result might be.  It stops the “I have a problem – its your job to solve it”.

2.  What could you do to move towards this good outcome?  Highlights their potential role in finding and implementing a solution or at least generates some co-ownership of the challenge.

3.  What do you need from me to get this good outcome?  Demonstrates the leaders’ commitment to finding a solution.

If leaders take this approach, they are sending a clear signal that the business focuses on opportunities rather than problems.  Very quickly everyone starts to think about solutions before presenting problems.   They also start to realise that there is a shared responsibility in managing the business and the value in take a more proactive partnership-type role within it.

Future Forum Events

The next events will be in September

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Lighter Reflections

PICT0044During half-term I asked James if he could fly Guy and I down to Brighton to have lunch.  Unfortunately the weather conspired against us and there wasn’t a single day when we could do this.  So, we decided to go for a local flight instead.  Guy told me that he needed to sit in the front seat as he might want to learn how to fly some time in the future.   I wedged in behind them.  Most young lads would be fascinated by flying in this way and I looked at the back of Guy’s head thinking fondly of the fun he must be having.  That is until I saw his head roll back and to the side and realised that he had fallen asleep!

YingYang_Logo2  Regards, Rosemary

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CRM Recommendations

As your business grows, there comes a time when you need to consider keeping all those contacts in one single place.  Why?  Creating a centralised database allows you to segment them into marketing, strong leads, proposals, clients, past clients, channel partners and so on.  This allows you to put all of your related material against their details and manage them in a regular and professional way.  It becomes more critical as you take on associates and employees.  Many of my clients first think of the large branded CRM (customer relationship management) software providers, however, there are some recommended lower-cost options.  Setting up and using one of these allows you to develop and “play” with a system, developing a better understanding of what you really need before investing.

Research for my clients has come up with the following, that you might like to consider:

1.  MyBusiness offers a single solution that can be customized to business needs and is fully supported.  It stars at $249 per annum for 5 users

2.  Zoho   Zoho has won numerous awards including  “2008 Small Business CRM: Leader”, “2008 CRM Market Awards: Influential Leaders”. There is no long-term commitment required and you pay as you go.They are recognised for have a fast and easy setup, easy customization, and being easy to use and train employees.

3.  Workbooks.com121  Workbooks offer online applications that include Workbooks Business with real-time KPI visibility.  They state that they are competitively priced and exact subscription costs would need to be requested.  they are based in the UK and being we-based also means that neither hardware nor software is required.

What do you use?

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Lighter Reflections

leadership coachWell I cycled in my first race, completing 20 miles.  I never realised that we had so many hills in Essex.  The race was in support of the Essex Air Ambulance and was held a couple of weeks ago.  I misread the instructions and missed the main group starting the race.  After that, it was a case of turn up and go – following a detailed map.  Given my inability to remotely consider prising my clenched fingers from around my handlebars for even a nano second, the chances of navigating around the course on my own were very slim.  I was either going to be late due to constant errors or by stopping every 30 yards to read my map.  Plan B – I looked around and spied a group of one woman and 2 men who seemed to be the only people not lycra-clad or perched on expensive-looking featherweight pieces of gossamer steel.  They kindly allowed me to join them and I am happy to say I now have some new cyclingYingYang_Logo2 buddies for future races.  Indeed we now have another one planned for us all this Sunday.  Wish me luck!

  Regards, Rosemary

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4 steps to better time management

At our last Leadership Forum, we focused on the topic of time management, which is also a frequent challenge for the CEOs and MDs with whom I work. The following exercise helps to focus on the balance of time spent on leadership activities, i.e. good time management, and everything else.  I used this approach again recently, with a very busy and successful client. The approach is listed in 4. steps.

1.  I asked my client to draw up two lists of the activities he had spent time on during the past week.  On the first, he was to list everything that “only he could do” and on the second – everything else that he had also done.

2.  We then took a look at the lists and highlighted the activities that, as a leader, he should be doing.  These include i)strategy, ii)hiring, iii)enabling (i.e. removing obstacles and arranging opportunities) and iv)communication.  The last  includes key messages to audiences such as employees and customers, as well as individual conversations.  Some of these four activities didn’t appear as he simply did not have the time for them.

3. We looked at the first list and I asked him “Why can only you do all of these tasks?”.  Which of them could be delegated if someone was shown how to do them?  Which of them could/should be outsourced?  Which of them have become a habit that you should break – i.e. they are not delivering value any more?”  Once we had highlighted and addressed why he thought only he could do some of the items on the list, it was a simple task to select one key action that he could take to reduce the list.

4.  We looked at the “Everything Else” list and again went through the process of delete or delegate.  An action was agreed to remove an item from this list too.

The goal was to reduce at least one item from each list every week.  In summary, poor time management is a mix of not just having too much to do, but also doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons.

Future Forum Events

Highflyingdivas, 11th June London, – tbc

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Lighter Reflections

executive coachIt was James’ special birthday this week and I was therefore keen that Guy sent his father a card.  So, I bought the card on his behalf and managed to slip it to him when we went to watch him in his Drama exam.  Inside the card, I also wrote our address and included a stamp.  Two days later, I emailed Guy to ask if he had posted the card.  “I can’t” he replied, “I’m in boarding school”.  I told him I was sure the school would be able to arrange to post it, or he should ask one of the day children to post it for him.  James birthday came and went, no card.  We collected Guy and he handed his dad the card.  Just as well, he didn’t post it, because unlike Father Christmas, I believe there is more than one Dad and a card with only a stamp and “Dad” might not have made it to James.

  Regards, RosemaryYingYang_Logo2

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The 2 keys to personal development

There are a myriad of different tools, techniques, models and frameworks available to support leadership development in the business world.  I use many of them with my clients.  In my opinion, whatever they are called, they generally relate to two personal drivers.  These are internal (what we posses) and external (how we are shaped by our external environment).  Our performance and more particularly what we do and the “way that we do things” come from both sources.  Understanding the drivers of your behaviour provides the key to how you can flex, adapt and change to develop competencies, improve performance and achieve success.  These drivers are the keys to personal development and leadership performance.

1.  Internal.  These are the attributes and characteristics that you possess.  They are your personal DNA.    They include your innate strengths, levels of intelligence and stamina and  other attributes such as levels of curiosity and courage.  They also include your personal motivators such as your need for achievement and/or relationships.  If  you are aware of them and are able to accurately analyse then, you can develop and manage them, thereby unlocking your full potential.

2. External.  These are the elements that shape how and why you behave in the way you do.  They comprise your values, attitudes, beliefs and assumptions.  We generally learn these from our experiences and those who influence us, such as parents, managers, friends and so on.  The key to realising your potential is again to be aware of your external influencers and then to look at what and how you can change the habits you have fallen into over the years.

Personal development can lead to realising your potential but it will take awareness and a commitment to changing behaviours, which are driven by your internal and external drivers.  Using these keys will help you to understand, manage and develop yourself to reach your personal goals.   To motivate and develop your people, a similar understanding of their internal and external drivers will give you the keys to support their leadership development.

Future Forum Events

Highflyingdivas, 11th June London, – tbc

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The Leadership Forum, 14th May, Colchester, hosted by LEPRA Health in Action.  This will focus on Time Management.

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Lighter Reflections

IMGA0430Imagine my delight when James asked me if I would like to be flown to Shoreham for lunch!  James is now finishing his Commercial Pilot’s Licence prior to becoming a private flying instructor.  As part of his quest, he now has a share in a 4-seater Piper aeroplane.  Well the sun was shining, and I felt I could take some time off working on my accounts, to join him on a flight down the coast, past Eastbourne and Brighton, to lunch in the 1920s restaurant at the airfield.  It was lovely.  We even had a pianist tinkling away on the ivories in the background.  How long did this little escapade take?  5 hours!  No, it’s not a typo.  From leaving the house, preparing the plane, flying (our 90 min lunch) and return – it was 5 hours.  Note to self – flying off to lunch = day’s leave in future.

  Regards, RosemaryYingYang_Logo2

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