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Events
Monday
Nov252013

My boss, my perfect boss

What do mean, your boss is not perfect!

There are some. I have met some.

But the majority are flawed.

They are human.

In the past, I have responded in different ways.

I accepted their flaws. That seemed to limit my performance, because I did not get the best guidance, coaching and development.

I walked away to get another job. That had the effect of weakening my CV. The next job always took me a while to get up to performance. I sometimes behaved like a victim.

I pushed back sometimes. So I showed up as a rebel,  not compliant and was marked down on reviews.

There must be a better alternative.

My old approach when I discovered I was working for a flawed boss was to mentally list all their flaws then share them with other victims of the same boss. Sharing tends to amplify things, so the flaws gained power and became even more noticeable.

So I made their imperfections more powerful and have an even bigger effect on me. Good victim!

A better alternative.

List the flaws and then list the behaviour that the perfect boss would display.

Then call upon the part of you that can behave that way – you must be an expert, otherwise you would not be able to acknowledge its existence.

Then you take responsibility for infilling your bosses flaws.

You might find that your leadership skill evolves, you might become more forgiving of your flawed boss – poor human! And your own performance and enjoyment of your current work improves. So between you and your boss, you have created your perfect boss.

 

Take Stages test: burst through your brick walls

 

There are 14 key stages that each business needs to go through to get to advanced, sustainable growth - including two brick walls which many companies never break through.

Find out where you are in the lifecycle - and what to do next. Complete stages and download your 15-page action plan.

Take the Stages test

 

Thursday
Nov142013

Robert Peston says it's all over. Better get a move on!

Well it's official. This week it has been widely reported that Mark Carney has officially called the end of the historically worst recession for three generations. "Recovery has finally taken hold", he says, "the economy is growing robustly as lifting uncertainty and thawing credit conditions start to unlock pent-up demand." Robert Peston remarked: "It is quite difficult to remember when the Bank of England sounded so positive".

So the Bank and BBC have finally caught up? As entrepreneurs and business owners we, of course, knew this already. Regular readers will know that we have been highlighting signs of growth for over a year, not least our view that £750,000,000,000 of corporate current account(!) cash had to go somewhere. Those with long memories may recall Darren in 2009 predicting growth firmly established in Q1 and Q2 2013.

So, here's another sign of recovery. Our Annual Conference next week is restricted to 200 CEOs of ambitious fast-growth businesses (i.e. you). This year tickets sold out in three weeks. Why? I think because, in the entrepreneurial community, we know that growth is coming back and is coming back strong. And we know we need to move fast, be agil and fundamentally change stuff fast into this growing market. We know, in a time of real transition, those who don't will fail. That's why this conference is all about innovation (by which I don't mean 'thinking of new ideas' but IMPLEMENTING new ideas). It is about specifically which changes to implement to really win out in the next 18 months. That's why this conference has sold out.

So, if you can't be there next week what can you do? The answer exists in the word innovation. Rethink everything in your business (you can be sure your customers are) but only based on a clear understanding of your core IP or value proposition. If you're bemused by that then take a look at previous blogs or give us a call. Otherwise here is a list of topics to rigorously examine with your team under a context of innovation:

 

  • Your people (culture, talent, capability)
  • Your system (how you do business)
  • Your product (what people would really want to buy from you)
  • Your core proposition (rocket juice/IP) and how that can power product and channel extensions in this rapidly evolving market that you have not even thought of.

 

Look out for the materials and insights flooding out of the conference next week on this blog, on the website and on Twitter, using the hashtag #ShirCC13.

In the meantime, let's look at the first of those key areas of innovation... your people.

 

Take Stages test: burst through your brick walls

 

There are 14 key stages that each business needs to go through to get to advanced, sustainable growth - including two brick walls which many companies never break through.

Find out where you are in the lifecycle - and what to do next. Complete stages and download your 15-page action plan.

Take the Stages test

 

Monday
Nov112013

Small change in the economy, big impact on your people

So now we are back in recovery from the turbulent economic times we have been experiencing since 2007. Though the actual change in the economy so far is small, the promise of improvement is having a profound impact on your employees. How are they likely to react to the improving situation and what should you as a business owner or leader be considering right now?

Imagine you are an employee of your company. The topmost experience for you is that you still have a job in a company which has survived the recession. Secondly, you have seen many friends and relatives lose jobs as the companies they were in have cut back or stopped trading. You have probably not had much of a pay rise over the last five years, and it is most likely that your training and development has taken a back seat for a while. You have been working hard, putting your shoulder to the wheel along with managers and colleagues to do your bit for the company. At home the budget is certainly a little tighter, the bigger holiday is on hold, you maybe shop a little differently and your savings have probably taken a hit when you have got a bit tired and given yourself a little reward. All in all it is a very different picture than it was in 2007 at the start of the economic downturn. Employees are tired but are starting to feel a bit more optimistic about the future.

Already we are noticing that recruitment companies and conveyancing solicitors are very busy. Your people will start to look elsewhere, not because they are unhappy with you, the job or the business merely because they associate the current job with the recession.

The question for you as a leader or manager is, ‘what is likely to happen next?’

The simple answer is: people may well leave and you will have the task of finding new talent. And this means hours sifting CVs, paying recruitment fees and taking risks on who you select just to get new team members through the door. Then there is the small task of ramping up their performance.

So a great focus for the next 3 months is the question: what can I do to ensure that the people I want to keep for the future of my business stay with me?

There are many sources of advice for keeping star performers. We think there are two critical areas (notice money doesn’t feature).

  1. Nurture their energy and remind them of their value
  2. Develop their skills
  3. Remind them of why you as a business exist

In his great book "Drive" (read it) Dan Pink calls these three key themes to creating passionate employee engagement autonomy (treat employees as self-responsible grown-ups and be amazed at what they deliver); mastery (allow them to learn new skills and grow as people every day and they will reward you with growth of your business); and, overriding all of these, purpose. People want to work for an organisation that has a reason to exist and that deserves to exist.

NOW is the time to remind your team - and remind yourself if necessary - what the purpose is. It is the key to unlock your talent and all the innovation potential that sits within it, for this crucial phase of growth and renewal.

By Richard Gigg, Shirlaws Business Coach

 

Take Stages test: burst through your brick walls

 

There are 14 key stages that each business needs to go through to get to advanced, sustainable growth - including two brick walls which many companies never break through.

Find out where you are in the lifecycle - and what to do next. Complete stages and download your 15-page action plan.

Take the Stages test

 

Friday
Nov082013

After winning the world cup

By Ed Percival, Shirlaws Business Coach

I remember watching Jonny Wilkinson kicking a drop goal to win the Rugby World Cup for England in 2003.

I also enjoyed reading Clive Woodward’s book Winning which described the preparation.

What happened to England Rugby next?

It seemed to decline for years.

What seemed to be missing following the victory was a structure that enabled succession. If that had been in place, then the good work that had won the Cup could have been continued and built upon.

Succession is one of the five key skills that Shirlaws identifies to enable organisations to enter the stage of advanced growth after performance peaks.

Advanced growth is one of 14 Stages that organisations naturally experience in the business cycle.

You can discover and explore where your organisation is now by taking the free Stages test http://goo.gl/0IjDRA

 

Take Stages test: burst through your brick walls

 

There are 14 key stages that each business needs to go through to get to advanced, sustainable growth - including two brick walls which many companies never break through.

Find out where you are in the lifecycle - and what to do next. Complete stages and download your 15-page action plan.

Take the Stages test

 

Tuesday
Nov052013

Would you like sustainable development, reduced dependency and even greater success?

By Fergus King, Shirlaws Business Coach

A business owner asked me yesterday: “Why should I consider engaging a coach and how is it different from consultancy advice?” There are many answers to the question, here are just three.

One is the Sustainable Development: I am reminded of the following quotation: “Tell your people and they’ll forget, train them and they’ll remember, but coach them and they’ll learn.” If your people learn then you have transferred capability. Capability = the ability to replicate something = sustainable development.

Two is Reduced Dependency: One of my clients said that consultancy felt to her like “Someone doing it for me, but coaching feels like being helped to do it better for myself”. There is a hungry man beside the sea, how do you best help him? Many would give him a fish (do it for him). He eats it and isn’t hungry anymore. Perfect, but what does he do tomorrow? He comes back to you again for help. Would it not have been better to help him learn how to fish for himself so he can release his dependency on you always giving him the fish? Yes, helping him to fish is an investment and takes a bit longer, but will it not pay off in the longer term?

Three is Even Greater Success: if you went up to Andy Murray and tried to tell him how to play tennis, how long would that conversation last? Yeah not long, and you’d probably go away wearing one of his tennis rackets! So to support Andy to become even more successful than he currently is, do you reckon Ivan Lendl tells him how to play tennis (consultancy) or encourages/challenges him to achieve even greater success by asking the right questions (coaching)?

I observe that most successful entrepreneurs don’t usually warm to someone trying to tell them what to do. What they do usually warm to, however, is the prospect of their business being even more successful than it currently is. That requires someone to encourage/challenge them by asking the right questions. Churchill once said “The most powerful thing you can do is to ask someone a question". Who is asking you the right questions? Who is your coach?

Would you like sustainable development, reduced dependency and even greater success?

 

Take Stages test: burst through your brick walls

 

There are 14 key stages that each business needs to go through to get to advanced, sustainable growth - including two brick walls which many companies never break through.

Find out where you are in the lifecycle - and what to do next. Complete stages and download your 15-page action plan.

Take the Stages test

 

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