Tag Archives: Management

Business Vision is the key to Business Success

Now that you have a personal vision on why, how and what you want to get out of your life it’s time to ensure your Business’ vision supports your personal vision.

Business Vision 01

WHY?

There is one commonality amongst successful business owners and that is a very clear vision on why, how and what they are committed to achieving personally and from their business.

A successful business owner starts with why they are in business because this enables them to overcome any road blocks that may be in their way along their business journey.  Should you not have a vision you leave yourself exposed to external forces which inhibit your ability to overcome road blocks.  It is the business vision that you are driven by that enables you to take control and be responsible for the decisions that you make.  By doing this you eliminate external forces from blocking your business success.  These are the reasons why your business vision is the most important tool for business success.

HOW?

There are many ways to critically think and brainstorm your business vision, the following are a few activities to get you visioning about your business over the next 5 years:

Where you are right now?

SWOT Analysis

o   External factors (Threats and Opportunities) – competitor focused.

o   Internal Factors (Weaknesses and Strengths) – your business focused.

o   What do you want to be famous for?

Points of difference

o   What are the Top 3 things THEY get wrong that YOU get right by comparison?

o   What do YOU get wrong that THEY get right by comparison?

o   How are you different from your competitors? Is it obviously different or quite similar?

o   Why would customers purchase your product/service over your competitors?

What business do you want to become?

Target market

o   Who are your customers that are raving fans?

o   Who should you have as customers that your opposition have?

o   Who shouldn’t you be working with?

Quality position

o   How do you tell the difference between a GOOD verses a BAD operator in your industry?

o   What Quality should you be known for?

Customer service

o   How would you want to be dealt with?

o   How should you treat your customers?

o   What standards should you set for this as a minimum?

Summarise your critical thinking and analysis and prepare a one page document, dated 5 years from now, in the 1st person, that illustrates WHY, HOW and WHAT you are operating your business.  Ensure it is in alignment with your personal vision.  Sign it off as a commitment, review it routinely and note where you have chosen to edit your path.

Business Vision 02

To amplify your business success ensure that the key members of your business understand and where possible have contributed to the business vision.  Over the years it has been a pleasure watching the smiles on the faces of long term employees of a business when they are introduced to the businesses vision.  They are involved in the business’ Why!  This is the same for your customers, suppliers and the public as it illustrates commitment to act your beliefs.

WHAT next?

If you need any further inspiration to WHY you are in business and what your business vision should look like then watch Simon Sinek’s TED talk.  I guarantee it will be the most valuable 18 minutes you have ever spent working on your business.

Book in for a 2 hour free no obligation discovery session with me to take your business to the next level!

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How to increase your income from your business

This is a guide to increase your income (profits) that you get out of your business.  As a business owner the more profit the business makes there is more potential for you to increase your personal income.

The Available Growth in profit in your business comes from the income that is available to you NOW, from money that is already circulating in your Business.  It just requires optimisation.

Profit Increase

The following are the eight key drivers where there is significant growth available in every Business:

  • Pricing – most businesses are under-priced, however are not sure how to increase them without losing customers.  The most common mistake is not covering all the costs associated with the delivery of goods and/or services.  Prices need to be set high enough to cover costs and make a profit.
  • Cost Reduction – actively managing your cost of goods and overheads requires discipline, creativity and a willingness to work hard with your suppliers to maximise performance.
  • Productivity – involves optimising the productivity levels of your staff.  Most businesses have more productive capacity than they need, therefore with setting output targets/KPIs staff will be motivated to achieve more and get closer to maximising their productivity to the business.
  • Staffing Levels – this involves determining whether the business has too many or too little staff for your businesses current demand.  Many businesses go through highs and lows of demand and during the highs usually employ more staff which are costing them during the lows.  There are many strategies to optimise matching staffing levels to demand.
  • Debtors – this is a delicate area for most businesses and needs to be actively managed, especially your trading terms.  Essentially businesses need to stick to their trading terms; have a debtor recovery procedure that they can call on; intimately know their Aged Debtor report; and most important of all is to maintain open lines of communication.
  • Stock Control – if your business has stock it needs to be turned over as fast as possible because if there is too much cash tied up in stock, finished goods or work in progress it will stifle your cashflow.
  • Sales and Marketing – every business needs to actively manage and encourage customers to buy from US not THEM.  This will start with establishing your point of difference that resonates with your customers and your value proposition.  This can be communicated in a variety of sales collateral and marketing activities.
  • Business Growth – every business can be scaled up and this scale will be determined by what you ultimately want out of your business.  A growth plan is the best place to start as it will identify the goal, the strategy to achieve the goal and the tasks required for implementation in the short and longer term.  It forms the basis of your long term strategy to beat your competitors.

Within each of the eight key drivers there are many strategies you can implement to improve the performance of your business and achieve success.

Pieces of the puzzle to Success

What key driver is the most significant in your business that you would like to optimise for your business success?


Cross Cultural Leadership

Over the last six months I have been heavily involved in the formal establishment of a subsidiary in the Philippines.  This involved the initial legal structure right through to daily operations.  During this period I have reflected on the business theory related to cross cultural leadership and management.

We know that modern day leaders work in a global world, even when they are based domestically and this exposes many leaders to different cultures frequently.  This exposure is intensified when you venture internationally.

“…the single greatest barrier to business success is the one erected by culture.”

Hall & Hall (1987)

In my experience working in many Asian countries cultural differences can impact business activities such as effective leadership, meetings, entertainment, negotiation, expectation, decision-making, conflict resolution and communication style.  To succeed, leaders must be aware of the relevance of ‘culture’ and ‘multicultural’ environments.

There are two types of culture that influence an employee and need to be considered by the leader:

Culture image  

National Culture

“…those customary beliefs and values that ethnic, religious, and social groups transmit fairly unchanged from generation to generation.”

Guiso, Sapienza, & Zingales (2006)

 To understand and effectively negate cultural barriers to business, leaders must appreciate the employee’s emotional attachment to ethnic traditions; places; events; stories; and memories.  I have found this especially true in relation to traditions (that may be carried out during working hours) and events (that occur throughout the year during work days that have relevance to an employee’s way of life).

 

Organisational culture

There are many definitions of organisational culture however Schein (1985) explains it succinctly, in that an organisational culture can be explained on three levels:

  1. Basic (underlying) assumptions – Belief in the correct way of doing things – deepest level of culture and hardest to change.
  2. Group Values – A sense of what ought to be.  As the group changes overtime so do the values, this is more evident in the smaller groups within an organisation.
  3. Group Artefacts – Established procedures, technology and communication methods.  This has certainly been the hardest to manage on a day to day basis especially in a start-up organisation.  Founding employees bring the group artefacts from their previous employer, if they are negative and/or unproductive they need to be negated quickly.

 

Parting comment

In order to deploy effective leadership, leaders need to take the time to explore, investigate and understand these manifestations of culture in the workplace before adapting their leadership style.


A conflict competent leader

I recently attended a professional development session by Noel Posus on “becoming a conflict competent leader” which was an interactive two hours that allowed for experiential learning and development.  Following this session I have had some time to reflect, compare with the Emotional Intelligence framework and draw parallels with real situations.

“Conflict is any situation in which people have apparently incompatible goals, interests, principles or feelings”

When the word conflict is mentioned usually there are immediate negative connotations, however there are benefits to conflict, such as:

  • Stimulating creativity and problem solving
  • Encourages listening
  • Promotes reflective thinking

When a conflict situation is a “task focused” there is a higher chance of resolution and benefit than a “person focused” conflict which results in escalation due to negative emotions.

Task focused ~ focus on task and problem solving

Person focused ~ focus on personal with negative emotions

How wonderful it would be if we could keep all conflicts task focused, however emotions can get the better of us and conflict can become person focused quickly.  The competent leader according to Noel needs to build relationships (dynamic listening and communication) before the future conflict occurs to ensure when it does occur that it is constructive.  Other keys to success involve managing your emotions (have a clear head); actively resolve the conflict (co-operate and take action); and accept conflict (adapt).

“Be the better person no matter what others do in the conflict”

Reflecting on a conflict situation where the technical treatment of a payroll transaction was the focus, the intention of both parties was to seek a resolution and some negotiation was required to achieve a mutually satisfactory solution.  It was clear that problem solving was the key to achieve this outcome.  According to Boyatzis (1982) through his competency framework the ‘diagnostic use of concepts’ is a critical component to the development of a resolution strategy.  We did just that by diagnosing the issue as part of negotiation and a resolution strategy.  Similarly, Goleman (2004) highlights the competency of ‘conflict management’ from his emotional intelligence framework which highlights that it is critical to understanding the differing perspectives of the parties to achieve a win-win outcome.  Overall, the result was that we diagnosed the implications of the task focused conflict; had an awareness to encourage debate and open discussion which to lead to a more innovative or creative solution.

“Effective managers understand that conflict is not always about resolution; it can also be about orchestrating win-win situations” ~ Goleman (2004)

 

What sort of conflicts have you been involved with that have resulted in the complete opposite?


Multipliers: How the best leaders make everyone smarter

I recently attended Business Forum 2012 in Melbourne and witnessed Liz Wiseman keynote presentation on the concepts from her book Multipliers: How the best leaders make everyone smarter.  She discussed the experiences we have all had over the years with the very different leadership types and illustrated the benefits for every organisation to employ Multipliers.

“People won’t figure it out without me”

The Diminisher drains your intelligence and capability by supressing your talent and ambitions for their need to be the smartest person in the room.  They are known as The Empire Builder, The Tyrant, The Know-it-all, The Decision Maker and The Micromanager.

“People are smart and will figure it out”

The Multiplier amplifies the intelligence and capability of their people by engaging and encouraging thoughts that ultimately lead to results beyond initial expectations.  They are known as The Talent Magnet, The Liberator, The Challenger, The Debate Maker and The Investor.

Liz then took us through a self-reflection as part of illustrating the detrimental impact Diminishers have on organisations compared to Multipliers.  She asked the following questions:

  1. What did your Diminisher do to you?
  2. How much intelligence did they get out of you? (0-100%)
  3. What did your Multiplier do to you?
  4. How much intelligence did they get out of you? (0-100%)

There was consensus around the actions of Diminishers (they prohibit growth, supress motivation) compared to Multipliers (trigger ideas, stretch and challenge) as well as the average scores from the room at the forum (mine included) were identical to the results from Liz researching 150 leaders from 35 companies (pre and post the financial crisis) in the United States.  On average Diminishers accessed 48% of their people’s intelligence compared to Multipliers at 95%.  Therefore, it was concluded that Multipliers achieve 2 times more capability, energy and intelligence from their people than Diminishers.  The gap between the two types of leaders is quite outstanding and costly for any organisation.

http://multipliersbook.com/

Are you a Diminisher or a Multiplier?


Self-awareness to become a better business leader

Recently I participated in an executive leadership workshop at Readify.  This reminded me of work I had previously been doing around how to become a better business leader and whether a deeper self-awareness made for a more effective leader.

Self-awareness involves reviewing and analysing feedback about oneself to improve personal effectiveness as a leader.  Self-awareness is influenced by a leader’s personality and gaining an understanding of their personality typology through self-profile and self-audit. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of many personality typology frameworks that aid in identifying a leaders preferences, ways of thinking and how they interact with others.  It allows for a deeper understanding when a leader reviews feedback as part of one’s self-awareness.

Myers Briggs:

I established that a self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses assists the business leader to be better when confronted with varied situations.  After undertaking a variety of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) I confirmed myself as ISTJ and the description rang true mostly.  It identified to me the traits and characteristics that I have a preference towards, which are not always the most effective for the situation.

This activity has enlightened me as a business leader especially on the limitations of my characteristics and in that same vein it has crystallised my strengths that I was reasonably aware of, however I now have a new perspective that will enhancement my effectiveness as a leader.

DISC:

I was introduced to the DISC framework at the executive leadership workshop.  The framework allows for a self-awareness of communication style.  There are four quadrants that focus on style and preference of communication.  We were asked to allocate 10 points across the quadrants to establish our style preference.  There were interesting results when comparing with others’ perspective of your preference of style.  Having an awareness of not only yours, but others style assists with more effective outcomes of negotiations.

A general criticism of personality typologies is that they have the potential to justify poor leadership and/or behaviour based on the leader or followers personality type.  However a leader’s type may suggest how they think or predict that they will act a certain way in a situation there is no excuse for removing the potential for personal growth through self-awareness.

Am I now self-aware? Yes, I am now more aware.  Time and reflection will aid in a deeper self-awareness and being a more effective business leader.


Social Lubricant

It’s the festive season and I think the title says it all for the employee, however what are the implications for the employer and/or manager?  Lots, in this day and age where you can be sued for looking at a person the wrong way where does the liability of an employer cease on the day of the work Xmas party or break up?
Certainly there is a duty of care to ensure all staff are safe (standard OH&S policies) however does that cease at the end of the party? Simple answer is NO.  Employers and managers have a duty of care to ensure that their staff make it home to their family safe.  I think this is straight forward logic, however it gets tricky when you consider alcohol and safety.
Do you only have a duty of care to get staff home safely after a party where alcohol is served or also after normal work days?  I haven’t seen much about this, however I am sure there is some form of negligence law to cover the normal work day.  How does an employer/manager carry out their duty of care after the work Xmas party?  Is a simple cab charge to get home sufficient?  It’s a start but is it enough?  With my employee hat on, I think yes.  I am willing to take responsibilty for my own safety if I have been provided with a cab charge even if I am under the influence of social lubricant.
As a manager of staff over a number of years, I have been concerned when staff go all out to consume as much alcohol as possible and clearly would have trouble getting into a taxi and then getting out at the other end.   Should the company be liable what happens to that employee once you have seen them off into the taxi?  Not really sure, I think not, but then I think we the employer/manager have provided that alcohol for that employee to be drunk, so maybe its a yes.
When will liability end?  Being naieve to the issue will only end up a costly mistake for the company and the employee.

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