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Thursday
Sep182014

Do we have the capability to implement our plans?

By Fergus King, Shirlaws UK Business Coach

In my previous life in corporate finance, we were dealing with business plans being pitched all the time. In time, we were able to recognise that all business plans are the same – over time all the income/profit projections go up!

Yet what an investor recognises is that it is not the plan that really matters, it is the capability of the business to implement the plan that matters. The plan is usually written as a set of projected outcomes. All very nice, but what is the source of those outcomes? The capability to implement.

As a business coach I encourage all my clients to review regularly their capability in three “business asset classes”: Strategic, Revenue Generation and Productivity/Infrastructure. Reviewed in a structured way, it is amazing what comes out of the analysis and how actions can be focused in the areas that will maximise commercial and cultural uplift/ROI.

Trying looking at your business in its constituent parts and then consider: do we have the capability to implement our plans?

 

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
Sep182014

Am I delegating the right thing?

By Fergus King, Shirlaws UK Business Coach

Business owners often ask me “How can I give my people more of my tasks and free up more of my time?”.

The answer is you can’t.

You can only create a framework in which people want to take more responsibility from you. There’s a key distinction there in my view.

Getting the right resource mix in your business is key if you want to secure growth. This requires business owners to delegate more of the day to day operations and free up more time for the strategic.

No magic new idea there, yet what are many business owners doing? I observe that they are trying to delegate tasks. How does that feel to a staff member? One of my clients said “Well, it probably feels like I am brushing all the rubbish off my desk and onto theirs.” And how many staff have an up energy about that?

They key I observe is not delegating task but delegating responsibility. People generally hate being given more stuff to do, but respond quite differently when there is an opportunity for greater responsibility. Delegating responsibility has to be managed properly and requires a conversation about what responsibility really means and the fears people have both about letting go and stepping up.

But it can be done and it creates a significant and sustainable shift. Delegating task just gives business owners a temporary breathing space – as while the task may have gone the responsibility still vests with them – and guess what will happen?

The starting point is to consider: Am I delegating the right thing?

 

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
Aug282014

Climbing out of the drama triangle - the trip from Victim to Creator

By Ed Percival, Shirlaws UK Business Coach

You’ll be familiar with the game that is sometimes called the Drama Triangle, where the players adopt the roles of Victim, Persecutor or Rescuer.

Fuelled by fear, the game enables each player to eventually become the Victim.

Fear makes it easy for each player to give responsibility for their own behaviour to another of the players.

Playing in the game tends to be very draining for the players.

The roles become comfortable by their familiarity.

Role players get adept at arguing for the validity and continued existence of their role.

To enable a player to climb up out of their role, it seems their journey has to begin with awareness.

Holding a mirror to their behaviour their current role needs to survive is likely to be uncomfortable for the player and for you if you’re facilitating the evolution.

Until they can become aware of the damage their current behaviour is having and take responsibility for it, nothing is likely to change.

Once you encourage them past denial and they are finally persuaded to accept responsibility for their creations, their trip has begun.

As they continue to accept responsibility for creating something worthwhile, build their ability to acknowledge themselves.

This seems to build the bridge between the roles of Victim and Creator.

Creator accepts responsibility for creating the whole of their reality.

Responsibility has shifted from “them” to “me”.

Once you have succeeded with Victims, deploy the same strategy with

Perpetrators to Challengers and Rescuers to Coaches.

After all, as Ray Bell said “ It’s all the same stuff”

 

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
Aug222014

The secret of getting businesses to help themselves

By Ron Tanner, Shirlaws UK Business Coach

I often find myself taken aback by a client’s commitment to the quality of the work they do for their customers. At the same time there is this niggling question in the background - ‘how do we grow this business and keep delivering the same levels of service?’ 

Often they go looking for help and wind up sitting in front of me. My first step is to find out whether they actually need a business coach and if so, am I the right match for them. When I meet a prospective client for the first time they often want me to fix a specific problem in their business. It could be “How do I get more sales?” or, “How do I get my staff more engaged?” but in some cases, they don’t really have a problem. Some clients just want to know what levers they need to pull to get the business to the next stage. They are frustrated at the plateau they have reached and can’t agree how to move forward.

Consultants and business coaches are two different things. Business coaching is a relatively new industry and many business owners don’t fully understand what we do. Consultants fix ‘problems’ in businesses. Coaching is different; it’s about the client acquiring the skills themselves to deal with the issues that arise day-to-day in their businesses.

How does coaching help? I use a golfing analogy (even though many of my clients look like they’ve been too busy to go anywhere near a golf course for a long time). On the course the business is playing off about a 13 handicap. The simple questions I ask are “what handicap do you want to go down to?” and “how long do you want to take to get there?”

That’s when the silence happens… After an unusually long pause one client asked another question: “Can you help us with that?” Yes, is the simple answer.

It’s my job as the business coach to provide the framework for them to see their business issues and for them to have the clarity and confidence to act accordingly. At times, because of my 30 years business experience and drawing from the hundreds of businesses that I have taken to the next level of success, I’ll also provide some direct consulting advice. I call it the “magic mix”.

 

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
Aug112014

Seeing the right 'break'

By Ron Tanner, Shirlaws UK Business Coach

A couple of months ago I coached the directors of an independent financial advisory company on starting a “functionality” project. The concept behind this project was to drive the right people in the business into doing the right functions in the business. From a historical perspective the directors had taken care of everything and thus created a limit to the growth of the business and placing unnecessary reliance on them. By introducing functionality the staff had become empowered in the business and taken responsibility for a number of key areas.

As a coach, my job is to make the directors’ job seem easier. In Shirlaws we do this by creating frameworks so the ‘content’ of the issue can be easily categorised and thus easily understood by all. This stops the process of the directors walking around with a list of things they have to fix in the business and helps them focus on only one or two key things, for example the ‘context’ of what they need to do. 

What’s ‘context’? To understand this concept in an organisation I facilitate a discussion around questions like: What’s causing you problems in your business? How do you task decisions in difficult areas of your business? Where is there currently frustration or stress? The answers to these questions usually fall into the ‘putting out the fires’ or ‘crisis management’ categories. I find most decisions in business are taken as a response to those who scream the loudest and get the most attention.

In this company the compliance issue wasn’t a bushfire but it sucked a lot of the management time and energy. The answer was not to throw more resources behind it but to ask why is was occurring? Context is about discovering what’s behind the issue and getting clarity of the end game.

Compliance, like accounting and admin, is one of the things you have to do when you run an IFA practice. There’s no getting away from it. However there’s no need for it to become an anchor trailing off the back of your ship. When the directors looked behind the compliance proves they were running, they realised it wasn't aligned with the vision they had set out for the business. They wanted a company where individuals took responsibility and were proud of their jobs. By holding this as a ‘context’, compliance took on a new meaning and they began to have a strategic conversation about how and who could manage it better. The conversation moved away from the ‘how’ to the ‘why.

The result of this has been to free up more energy in the business. Energy to go and create more revenue; energy to take time to align the business vision and energy to take time to communicate to staff. Stay tuned…

 

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