Building Team ‘Awesome’ – Where Are Your Strengths?

Focusing on building the right team to get the job done often makes us forget one thing … ‘change’ happens!

Focusing on building an ‘awesome’ team to deliver solutions to solve problems embraces the most important thing to remember … ‘change’ happens!

team

Introducing Team ‘Awesome’

  • Team ‘awesome’ is agile enough to be able to be responsive and proactive to change.
  • Team ‘awesome’ is able to recognise and resolve problems by making smart and informed decisions.
  • Team ‘awesome’ delivers relevant and real solutions for customers rather than delivering products and services to customers

How to Start to Build Team ‘Awesome’

Focusing on the behaviours you see, and the problems they present, instead of focusing on what strengths team members may have that are unseen, underutilized or untapped is where the secret to building and ‘awesome’ team lies.

Do you recognize any of these behaviours in your team?

The Procrastinator

Do you have team members who are indecisive and never seem to finish what they start?

  • Are these team members lacking confidence in the tasks they are expected to complete? If so, ask them why they feel this way and how you can help them to believe in themselves, particularly if the expectations in their role have changed.
  • Are these team members expected to complete tasks that they are under-skilled for?  Have you assessed your employee’s capacity and capability before having an expectation of them? If not, they may procrastinate to avoid being seen as incompetent.
  • Are these team members lost in the detail and cannot concentrate long enough to tick all the boxes to get the job done?  Find out if this person needs lots of information to commit or decide, and if so, how can you support this need?
  • Have you spent enough time explaining what you expect from these team members and the timeline you want them to complete tasks within?

The Antagonist

Do you have team members who create havoc and are sometimes a thorn in the side of other members of your team?

  • When this team member behaves this way are they aware of the impact on other team members?  Determine if this is a subconscious behaviour or one that is deliberate, and if so why?
  • Have these team members always behaved this way or has something changed that made their behaviour change, and if so why?
  • Are your antagonist team members bored and creating situations where they are the hero to challenge themselves?  How can you challenge them to refocus their attention?
  • What is the reward that these team members get by behaving this way?  How else can you reward them for other behaviours that are more appropriate, and in ways that will deliver higher productivity and is conducive to a healthy work culture?
  • Are other team members encouraging these behaviours by submitting or even enabling these team members?  Is being seen as having influence and authority the driver for these team members?

The People Pleaser

Nothing is too hard for these team members.  Give them any task and they will do their absolute best to see it through.

  • Are the team members that you identify as people pleasers capable of the tasks they attempt? How can you make these people feel that their contribution is valued while ensuring they are performing the tasks fit with their skill set and experience?
  • What are these team members looking for in your workplace?  Approval, a sense of belonging, popularity, or other drivers compel people pleasers to behave the way they do.  Identifying what the motivation is for the individual is key to ensuring that the potential of that employee is not lost in the effort and whether their behaviour may be more for personal gain than business productivity.
  • People pleasers often behave the way they do through fear and insecurity in the possibility of losing their role. By pleasing others they may feel that they will be liked and needed by the business, protecting them from their role being compromised.
  • If you channelled the energy that people pleasers spend on pleasing, into tasks that enable them to work to their strengths and give them a sense an opportunity to build a reputation on what they accomplish rather than what they do and say, what difference would that make to your business?

The ‘Accidental’ Leader

Have you got team members who have become accidental leaders? The role they are engaged in is not a leadership role but due to the team dynamics, they have had to stand up and take the lead, or maybe they were appointed into a leadership role but it is not their strength?

  • How can you identify who you natural leaders are, and when you do, how can you create an environment where they can lead, creating a more efficient and effective workplace?
  • Role misalignment can see accidental leaders thrust into an environment with an expectation that they are not engaged to perform.  How do you recognize natural leaders and appointed leaders who are misaligned?  When you do, how do you approach the dynamic of the workplace to take advantage of these leaders skills? Consider that working with these leaders strengths may alter or enhance culture with increased productivity and profitability.

The Quiet Achiever

The quiet achiever comes in, puts their head down and gets on with the task at hand.  Often this silent force pushes through workloads that others avoid, without complaint.

  • Is your visibility of the quiet achiever low?  Are you aware of what they have to offer, and if you are not what is your business missing out on?
  • Are your quiet achievers working to their capacity or just pushing through a workload?  Think about how you can start to introduce incentivization for these people to encourage them to challenge themselves and how you will do this.
  • Do your quiet achievers pick up the slack for other team members who may be taking advantage of their goodwill?  If you change how you measure the performance of your team and focus on their strengths to introduce key performance indicators, will this identify gaps in performance and open up opportunities?

The Whinger

Have you got team members who are never satisfied, never happy and always complaining no matter what you do for them?

  • People often whinge because whining about something is often easier than working to fix problems.  You need to discover why this behaviour keeps occurring to be able to establish a new purpose for these employees and to give them a reason why they would want to change their behaviour.
  • Is there a real reason for the whining that is being caused by the work environment that can be addressed rather than being dismissed?
  • Are their triggers that set off the whining, and if so what are that triggers, and what chain of reactions do these triggers put into motion?  Often taking the time to understand why people believe they need to behave a certain way is a great investment in discovering what motivates and what demotivates individuals and your team.

The Clock Watcher

The clock watcher’s timesheets are regimented and this is reflected in when they arrive at work and when they leave on time every day.  The clock watchers in your team may also be the ones who come in on time and then proceed to make their breakfast or socialize, procrastinating before they start work.

  • Why is your clock watcher disengaged? If they are bored and unhappy is it because their role does not challenge them, or are they only there to collect the weekly pay?
  • Clock watching is not only negative for the business but also impacts on the employee and the team collectively, with productivity suffering and everyone is affected. How can you help these employees to re-engage and take ownership of what they contribute?
  • Enriching the clock watchers job and time managing the activities may shine a light on their strengths and weaknesses, helping you support these employees and improve and enable their level of job satisfaction and value of the contribution they make to the business.

The ‘Big Picture’ Person

When it comes to getting things done it may be a challenge for the ‘big picture’ employee. They can see what needs to happen and inspire others to help them understand how this will happen but they may struggle to focus on making it happen.

  • The big picture person is important to encourage the team to work to achieve long-term goals and projects incrementally.  If you have a balance on your team with members who enjoy detail and process, these people will align well with the big picture person.  Who is on your team and is the mix right?
  • How can you embrace the vision of the big picture person to know where the business direction is going at an operational level? If you do this how will this make the employee feel, and what difference will that make to their level of engagement?
  • Often the big picture person is seen as a dreamer and not a doer. Finding the right vehicles for the big picture person to dream and deliver may help your business continue to gain momentum.  Is this important to help your business remain relevant and provide more insight for other employees?

The Manipulator

The manipulator is often the employee who feels that they have to position other team members by any means to make them look good.  This can be harmless or they can be very destructive.

  • If you have identified a manipulator the default is often to discipline them or spend time putting out fires they have started.  What if you looked at how they are manipulating to identify what they are trying to achieve by doing this?
  • If the manipulator is trying to make themselves look like a hero, how can you give them ownership of a task or project or offer them professional learning to teach them how to do this without creating collateral damage.
  • Often the manipulator’s behaviour is a cry for help.  They are feeling insecure or incompetent and this makes them fearful of their longevity and value to the business.  They often do not understand that they are being destructive or causing the behaviour that they do and may be horrified to think that this is what they are known for.  Showing the manipulator how to demonstrate value, how that is measured and rewarded is a learning process that can realign what once was a challenging employee into a champion employee.

The Follower

The follower just wants to be told what to do, how to do it and get on with doing it.

A follower can become stuck in a rut with little thought or attention to detail when they go through the motions to get the job done.  What if you changed some of the tasks or the ways they were to be done and supported this with training and guidance?

  • Often followers are motivated by basic safety needs and not by incentives and rewards.  Reframing their roles to expand what they do may challenge this. If you leverage the strengths and apply them to new job duties they may respond positively because they see themselves as team players. This will only work if they believe you are not trying to take them away from where they know they are capable. This process, if successful, reinforces their roles rather than changes them in their eyes.
  • How often do you see too many followers and inadequate leadership in teams?  When this happens you have a ‘pack mentality’ that is not conducive to productivity or profitability. If you identify the strengths of all your team members could this help you to change this dynamic?
  • Followers need guidelines or they operate by habit.  Is your business structured to facilitate this or do your team members just operate as they see best?

The Bully

These team members are your human resource nightmare.  This type of employee has the potential to create staff complaint or churn.

  • The typical reaction to a bully is negative and often this may just reinforce the bully to keep doing what they are doing. Likewise, calling them on that behaviour could also create a challenge.  Find out why this behaviour is happening in a non-confrontational way and you might find what pieces are missing that is causing this so you can remediate.
  • A bully often behaves this way because they feel inadequate and they are trying to compensate for what they are lacking.  Find out what is lacking and you may be on the way to defusing that behaviour,
  • Bullies often push to get their own way to validate how they think and how they behave.  Creating a collaborative work environment that is KPI’d on both individual and group efforts may help the bully to conform to achieve outcomes or be seen as the problem if they don’t.

The Innovator

Every team needs innovators to shift thinking from delivering services and products to delivering solutions.

  • Innovators are only an asset to a team when they are given the space and opportunity to discover and innovate.  How will you support this?
  • Innovators need to be measured to ensure that they focus on what the business needs to achieve.  How will you measure your innovators’ input and contribution to solutions and team performance?
  • Innovation can detract from the core business.  How can you structure your team aims and objectives to keep that focus while embracing innovation to remain relevant and competitive?

The Attention Seeker

Everyone likes attention but some employees seek it more than others.  These people can consume time and resource if left unchecked.

  • Why is your attention seekers attention seeking?  Are they looking for acknowledgement or recognition, and if so, why?
  • When you identify what the attention seeker’s motivation is you are able to understand what they need to perform effectively without feeling the need to find reassurance and reinforcement.
  • Rewarding autonomy and initiative may assist to reaffirm worth and value for the attention seeker.  This may work so long as that recognition is visible, and positions them as important in the team environment.

The Social Butterfly

Some employees see the workplace as a social environment.  Although it is good to create healthy relationships in the workplace balance is key.

  • What does the social butterfly want from the workplace?  Are they lonely, have low self-esteem or see their workmates as their friends first and foremost?  Workplaces can satisfy the need to belong, but it is important to nurture a culture where an employee feels they belong and are accepted, but are focussed on delivering what the business needs.  How will you elevate the social butterfly from someone who is perceived as someone who spends too much time around the water cooler, to one who is recognized as a productive and valued team member?
  • Harness the social butterflies talents!  Maybe they can run the social club or coordinate events?
  • Tightening the parameters around time management with performance measurement is another option, shining the light on what is really getting done.

The Reclusive

When an employee feels confronted or intimidated they may become reclusive and go within themselves.

Finding out why your team member is reclusive is the first step to understanding how to change that circumstance.

Being reclusive does not have to mean being unproductive, however, you need to be able to have transparency as to what these team members are actually doing.  If this assessment shows a strong work ethic it may not indicate any overarching challenges that exist but may indicate a person who prefers to work this way.

Respecting the reclusive team member is important, regardless of why they are reclusive, as this suggests that this is their natural default behaviour or by circumstance, they behave this way.  Tread carefully to encourage these team members to have a voice and you may learn a lot from what they have to say.

The Imposter

These team members often get promoted or secure a role without really having the qualifications or experience to perform in that role.

  • Imposters spend their time trying not to get found out.  Symptoms of this are poor performance, delegation and micromanagement.  Treating those symptoms may mean professional learning and mentoring or realignment of their roles. Be careful not to treat only the symptoms.  Focus on true change management.
  • The longer an imposter goes unchecked the more they are likely to impact the productivity of the team performance.  Regular team health checks are important.
  • An imposter will have more impact the higher their level of responsibility.  When you look at your team do you see an imposter impeding decision making and actions?  If so, how will you address this?

Team ‘awesome’ is a work in progress!

Profiling your people and making them feel supported as you go through this process will build trust and confidence and allay fears.

This is not about changing the job description but rather changing the job design. Emphasise and measure the strength and offset the impact of weaknesses by enabling other team members who demonstrate that those weaknesses are their strengths to align the team dynamic to compliment.

 

Advisory Boards: 10 Key Business Benefits

The definition of an Advisory Board sits within its name. The purpose is to strategically advise management of a business, organisation or corporation with the objective being to deliver key business benefits.

benefits

Where an Advisory Board differs from a Board of Directors is the level of authority, responsibility and accountability in the business decision processes.  An Advisory Board is well positioned for businesses to tap into the knowledge and experience they need to make informed decisions. They are a great problem-solving resource.

Advisory Boards: 10 Key Business Benefits

Opportunity – Advisory Boards do not work ‘in’ the business and are therefore impartial in their advice. Their mandate is to work in the best interest of the business. Advisory Boards help evaluate strategies and analyse trends and can also bring rigour into the business.

De-Risking – The ‘helicopter’ view of the business operation enables Advisory Boards to determine where risk is high and how it could be minimalised.

An Advisory Board is a low-risk investment for a business. The Advisory Board is not a decision-making board with the associated legal and fiduciary responsibilities that sit with a Board of Directors.

This means that the control of the business operations remains with management, however, decisions are more informed if an Advisory Board is in place. The business’ access to an Advisory Board’s valuable expertise and experience brings insights that otherwise would not be readily available or accessible.

Focus – An Advisory Board may be appointed to focus, without distraction, on one part of the business giving parameters and guidelines around the desired outcome in planning and execution. This can pay dividends by allowing the business to concentrate on running the core business.

Clarity – Advisory Boards can help businesses to understand how to optimise their business roadmap. To be successful a business must have clarity in the strategic piece it is operating from.  This is important, not only to be proactive in the market but also to understand what the business wants to achieve in the short, medium and long term.

Innovation – The identification of gaps and opportunities is important to give the business every advantage possible.  Advisory Boards are in a unique position to advise on where innovation can be a game changer for a business.  The ‘noise’ that every business has in the day to day operation of the business often stops innovation from being considered as a priority.

Agility – Businesses are faced with many challenges. Businesses put processes, platforms and programs in place to make this easier, but often this creates legacy systems that can stifle or stall productivity which impacts morale and motivation.

Value – An Advisory Board provides intellectual, social and creative capital when leveraged, delivers measurable value for the business.

Change – Advisory Boards are often put in place as a catalyst for change and progress.  They offer an opportunity to accelerate the growth and scaling of the business. This brings an injection of educated insight and innovation to help the business to stay ahead of its competitors. This enables the business to be competitive and work towards future-proofing operations, delivering benefits to the business in the now and into the future.

Impact –  An Advisory Board can positively impact the business’ vision, profitability and stakeholder engagement. The business story then becomes one that when communicated creates momentum and visibility.

Networking – An Advisory Board will broaden a business’ perspective and connects business to a broader knowledge base. This nurtures collaboration and communication, increasing the business reach.

Advisory Boards are often sourced by the business based on perceived needs. This often occurs in the absence of independent accredited advisory board centres.

In Canada, a study was run on the benefits of Advisory Boards for SME’s with extraordinary outcomes that demonstrate the advantages of engaging with an Advisory Board.

Some of the highlights were as follows:

Statistical analysis of businesses’ financial variables based on fiscal data from Statistics Canada shows that:

Sales growth was stronger after instituting an advisory board. In the first three years after an advisory board was set up, sales grew 66.8% compared with a growth of 22.9% in the three previous years.

Productivity growth also strengthened after the advisory board was introduced. In the three years after the advisory board was set up, productivity rose an average of 5.9% compared with 3.2% in the previous three-year period.

Read the report here

Originally posted 2017-07-23 18:54:42.

10+ Leadership Language Styles: What Are You Communicating As A Leader?

The leadership language styles you choose to adopt set the tone and expectation for your employees to follow.

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How are you communicating and what impact is your leadership language style having on the employees you lead?

Where do you sit on the Leadership Performance Spectrum, and how can you improve the language you use as a leader to communicate?

10+ Leadership Language Styles to Explore

Verbal

‘Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.’

Not always true…

As a leader, you are often judged by what you say and if your words are misunderstood or misinterpreted they may become ‘mud’ that inevitably has a way of sticking.

How you choose to articulate your leadership has the ability to define or destroy you as a leader.

Think before you speak, and speak only after careful deliberation, and with a full understanding of the meaning and impact of your words.

Visual

The visual language you communicate, as a leader, sets a precedent for not only what your employees believe now, but also what they will continue to expect from you as a leader.

What your employees see, establishes a strong association with what they believe.

Virtual

The language you communicate virtually, through various channels, and on different platforms, tells the story of your leadership approach and gives insight into your emotional intelligence.

Your virtual footprint as a leader, gives you a voice to narrate and  accentuate how you want to be seen as a leader

How you choose to position yourself will leave an impression and will impact how you are perceived as a leader, whether that be real or imagined.

Written

The way you craft your words can have different meanings for different employees.

Investing your time to understand how to harness the power of the written word as a leadership language tool can only enhance the power and potential of your leadership and its reach.

Recognizing and realizing what you write as a successful leadership language tool may create an opportunity to establish influence and authority, by demonstrating knowledge and experience.

Contextual

The way you speak, your tone, words and the messages you are delivering, should be contextual with your goals, objectives, and actions.

The employees you lead and the market you operate in, will become confused and disillusioned if the way you behave and the actions you take do not align with what you say you are going to do.

Collaborative

Adopting collaboration as a native leadership language enables you, as a leader, to align yourself with others who have strengths that you do not possess.

This allows you to focus on what you do best.

Collaboration gives you an opportunity to showcase your strengths as a leader, rather than your weaknesses.

Body

Your body talks louder than your subconscious self is aware. The story your body language tells others is often more revealing than any words you say.

Becoming aware of your body language as a leader is an important tool to present yourself as an open and transparent leader who listens, and encourages engagement and interaction.

Your body language can mean the difference between you, as a leader, being seen as approachable or unapproachable.

Tactile

In today’s world, it may seem strange to suggest being tactile as a leadership language tool.  The interpretation of the term may appear to be politically incorrect, however, in the context of the task that the employee undertakes, rather than the employee themselves, being tactile takes on a completely different meaning and context.

A leader who engages in a task that an employee is expected to do demonstrates that he, or she, is prepared to be a hands-on, involved leader who wants to understand and relate to what they expect from their employee.

Behavioural

Consistency and calmness communicate strength and decisiveness as a leader.

Your behavioural leadership language style has the power to communicate in a way that is conducive to creating trust and sincerity.

This positions you, as a leader, to gain consensus to accelerate progress, momentum, and productivity.

Knowledge

Demonstrating that you, as a leader, have deep knowledge and what you are asking for, or expecting from your employees is understood, establishes a belief system in your employees.

As a leader, if you want your employees to follow you it helps the employee if they can see you understand, can influence, and have authority when you communicate.

Experience

Innovation and ideation can often be seen as interruption if your employees believe you do not have the experience to make things happen.

Experience echoes in your language and the way you choose to communicate can amplify this in what you communicate.

If that message fails to convince, confirm or convey your experience the consequences can negatively impact what you are trying to achieve.

 

Your leadership language style of choice can easily become your leadership DNA by default.

What is your leadership language style, what story are you telling, and is that a true reflection of you, as a leader?

 

 

If It Ain’t Broke … Innovate It ~ 15 Reasons Why You Should

The old saying ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ was a famous catch cry of yesteryear. Unfortunately many still live by it.  What if they were to replace ‘don’t fix it’ with ‘innovate it’?

Innovate

Change is often seen as difficult, confronting and easier to avoid, rather than embrace

15 Reasons Why You Should Innovate

Competitiveness

The world as we know it is becoming increasingly more competitive. The way people are now looking at solving problems and the way they are delivering solutions is becoming more attractive for customers to try different options.

If your business is not in a position to compete, you may not lead, win, place or even be in the running for your customer’s loyalty or dollar.

Training your people and business to be competitive is like training an athlete for a marathon.  You must plan how you will run the course, develop a strategy to overcome obstacles, and understand your competitors to know how to position yourself to take advantage, and gain market share as you run the race.

Relevancy

Do you remember when you used to buy something that you now refer to as a ‘so yesterday’ way of doing something?  At the time you probably thought you would never do without it, and it was the only way to solve your problem.  That was until someone came up with a smarter way of solving your problem and now you would never do it the old way again.

Can your business afford to be seen as irrelevant in the way you solve one or more problems? How can you think differently to solve other problems, or solve the current problem you are already solving differently, for existing and new consumers?

Opportunity

If you open your eyes and assess the market you play in, and consider other markets that have adopted innovative approaches that may bring opportunity for your market, what do you see?

Being aware and open to change and the opportunity it can bring seems to be common sense, however, many still choose complacency and fear that opening the door to opportunity may create more problems than it solves.

What are you doing in your business to discover opportunity, and when you do discover it, what are you doing with that knowledge, how are you applying it, and where can it lead your business?

Viability

At first glance the word viability might seem odd when referring to an established business, however, it is a crucial word to consider.  Your business’ viability is only as robust as your business mindset.  If you encourage or allow complacency or cost-cutting as your primary option to remain viable, you are setting your business up for performance to decline.

Is your business mindset one that focusses on growth and expansion rather than cost-cutting and contraction to solve challenges caused by the changing market you operate in?  Balance is important, but it is how you think about this question that determines the direction of your business.

Diversification

Do you have only one revenue stream that powers your business? One speed revenue models can limit business potential and will create vulnerability in operational capability, capacity and stability.

If that revenue stream diminishes or dries up how will your business survive?  How can you diversify what you offer to solve your existing, and new customer problems?

If you tap into how you can innovate your products and services to diversify what you offer your customers, how will this create an opportunity for your business?

Collaboration

You know you can’t do everything yourself, but despite this, more often than not, we continue to try to deliver solutions that are better done by someone else.

  • How does your business collaborate with other businesses, individuals and organisations?
  • What have you learnt, and continue to learn, from these relationships?
  • What value does your network offer, and how does this benefit your business and those you work with?
  • How do you collaborate to accentuate the strengths of both parties to innovate and create?

Redundancy

The fear factor of the possibility of redundancy of a business in a marketplace is often hidden under a blanket of ignorance.  Ignorance to the fact that unless the business chooses to evolve and innovate, it will rapidly lose worth in the eyes of the customer, and risk becoming redundant.

What do you do in your business to ensure that you will not become an ‘industry dinosaur’?

Scalability

To be able to scale, your business needs a strategy to guide you.  That strategy must be agile and intuitive to change and embrace innovation to enable success.

Understanding your customer, who they are, what they want, how they want to be communicated with, and where they want to engage and interact, must underpin your business strategy.

Are you building a customer-centric business strategy that demonstrates your plan to scale? If so, what framework and benchmarks are in place to measure that journey and accelerate that growth in a timely manner?

Responsiveness

Customers like to be seen, heard and feel important.  We should now consider replacing the old saying ‘Content is King’ with a new saying, ‘Customer is King’.

The reality is that without your customers you do not have a business

If your customers do not feel like you are hearing them, or they feel like they are invisible to your business, they will react by not engaging with your business.

How do you talk to your customers and where do you engage and interact with them?  Is this by your design or theirs?

When you deliver your products or services to your customer they will judge you on how responsive you are to them, and how you make them feel.  Investing in finding out how your customer thinks, and responding accordingly, tells your customer you are putting them first.

Intuitivity

When your business plans how you deliver your products or services do you do you think like your customers think?

This question is an important one to ask if you haven’t done so already.  Creating an intuitive customer journey for each of your customer types communicates to your customers that you have recognized, acknowledged and are delivering what they want.  When done well this creates ‘customer utopia’.

Investment

Do you have an exit strategy and why is this important?  An exit or/and an acquisition strategy helps communicate growth and innovation for investment.  Cash injection through investment is a necessary tool to innovate and scale, to establish an attractive investment opportunity to make acquisitions, to diversify or expand or to innovate, nurture and grow to scale and exit.

How attractive is your business to investors?  What does the evolution of your business look like and how are you planning to make this happen?

Capability

What are your capability gaps?  Like your regular doctor check-ups, analysing your business capabilities gives your business a health check and insight into where your business needs attention and where your offering is not being optimized for your customers.

This process also identifies where you can identify trends and innovate to increase not only capability but also capacity, to solve problems that you may not have realised needed solving.

When did your business last make an appointment for a business check-up to discover how healthy your business really is?

Culture

Culture can make or break a business’ ability to reach its potential.  The challenge is always to bring your people along on the journey with you.

Traditionally we create top-down hierarchies which may only serve to create divisions and disconnect.  Consider flatter hierarchies based on operational competencies and strengths that are measurable. This can enable you to innovate with agility.

Do you structure your work environment to create open communication, transparency, collaboration, engagement and ownership of tasks and processes?  What yardsticks do you use to measure performance based on responsibility and accountability?

By structuring your teams to become empowered, and not just to engage, you are able to create an environment that is collaborative and conducive to setting goals and achieving outcomes.

Appeal

We live in a world of lots of bright and shiny things that capture people’s attention and imagination.

How do you inspire, excite, shock and delight your customers?

If you are creating an experience that your customers will enjoy, remember and share, then you are building brand engagement and evangelism.

To continue to enjoy this relationship with your customers you must innovate.  Immediacy demands innovation, to not only get the attention of existing and new customers but to convert that attention into a relationship that is reciprocal, and satisfies the needs of both your customer and your business.

Sustainability

Business is facing becoming more transient than it ever has before.  To remain in the game your business needs to determine how to sustain existing customer patronage and understand how to entice new customers to come on board to grow your business.

To do this you need to have a business strategy that has sustainability at its core.  This simply means that you need to build a foundation that is true and pivot off this proactively to innovate and behave in an agile manner, to take advantage of change, trends and opportunity.

If it ain’t broke… break it and put it back together differently.

Chances are what you will find is that doing business in different ways may bring better and more measurable results than the way you have always done business before.

Is your electrical equipment safe? Act now!

Often we believe that if electrical equipment is working it is safe to use.  This is not necessarily correct and can lead to dire consequences.  To ensure that your employees are safe you should have your equipment tested regularly to be a responsible employer and to avoid potential workplace dangers that could impact your people, productivity, and profitability.

electrical worker

5 Step Electrical Equipment Checklist

Are there any signs of ‘wear and tear’ on the cord of any of your electrical equipment?

Age and overuse inevitably result in wear and tear on your equipment.  Don’t be tempted to fix it up with stopgap measures to extend the life of your equipment.  Get professional testing done now to ensure the safety of your equipment and your employees at all times

How long have you owned your electrical equipment and when was the last time you had it safety tested?

Do you have a regular replacement of the equipment you use all the time or do you just buy new equipment when your existing equipment stops working?  This can be misleading!  Just because your equipment starts does not necessarily mean it is safe to use.

How do you store your electrical equipment?  

Is it exposed to the elements in the course of doing your business or when stored?  You need to be aware of what you are expecting from your equipment and how you expose it as this impacts on the longevity and the safety of the equipment for you and your employee’s day-to-day use.

How well does your electrical equipment perform?  Is it reliable?

When your equipment struggles more than once it is an indicator that something is not right.  Do not ignore the symptoms and make sure that the equipment you are using is safe and not a potential health hazard.

Do you share your electrical equipment with other employees or businesses?

Do you share your electrical equipment with other employees or businesses to help them out or on a regular basis when you work together.  Do you know if they are experiencing any problems with the equipment or how they are treating the equipment?  Know your electrical equipment and be aware of what is happening with it as part of your business approach to safeguarding your business.

Make sure you are putting safety first! Get your equipment tested today!

 

Originally posted 2017-06-06 10:55:59.

Digital Disruption: Is It Your Friend Or Foe?

Digital disruption has become an obsession for businesses and industries alike. It is an obsession that has the potential to overwhelm and dilute the underlying opportunities that a disruption itself presents.  Your business must choose if disruption is its friend or foe!

digital disruption
Digital Disruption: Friend or Foe?

A focus on being disrupted will overshadow the opportunity to disrupt.

10 indicators that your business may be REACTIVE

  1. High investment but declining revenue. This may suggest that you are chasing what you think will change the market without understanding what the market is actually looking for.
  2. High supply, lower demand. This may suggest that you are not aligned with what your customer wants even though you are competing with what is in the market.
  3. More service offerings but complaints from customers are on the rise.
  4. Higher staff churn than normal sees newer staff leaving your business while longer term staff are less likely to leave.
  5. Your industry is experiencing growth but your business is suffering a downturn.
  6. The technology platforms your business has adopted are disconnected from each other. This may indicate you are integrating new technology without recognizing how and where it will work with legacy systems.
  7. Your business is suffering from a progressive loss of market share.
  8. You notice a lack of cohesion in your product or service offerings.  They provide solutions but these are singular in application.
  9. Your business is generating lots of data but has no ability to qualify or contextualize it.
  10. Collaboration and partnering that exists is more of a ‘power play’ than an ‘innovation play’.

10 Indicators that your business is PROACTIVE

  1. Your business is experiencing exponential revenue growth and also enjoying increasing patronage despite more competition entering the market.
  2. Other businesses are seeking your business out to discuss collaboration and partnership opportunities.
  3. Your business is able to confidently make budget projections based on performance indicators measured against milestones.
  4. Agility enables your business to respond to change without impacting your core business strategy.
  5. You see failures as necessary and you are not afraid of them. They are seen as learning experiences your business can build on.
  6. Industry best practices, global trends and benchmarking are used by your business to give you insights to plan and strategize.
  7. Your employees are engaged, have taken ownership and actively participate in the business’ transformation journey.
  8. Your business communicates visibility and transparently without fear or favour.
  9. Digital is at the core of all your business decisions.  You always ask the question ‘How can digital make this more efficient or effective?’
  10. Your strategy is customer led. Your strategy is a living, breathing document that is a ‘work in progress’. It is responsive to change without compromising its core ethos.

Successful change will not happen when you apply band-aid solutions.  A band-aid solution is one dimensional and it only heals what ails the business in that area and at that time.

Transformational change is evolutionary.  When your business chooses to be proactive rather than reactive in its approach the word ‘disruption’ takes on a very different meaning.  To survive and also experience success you must choose to become the disruptor and not the disruptee.

 

Originally posted 2016-10-18 18:02:41.

Smart Cities: Will they be smart enough?

Smart Cities need to be sustainable and scalable to be smart enough to become integrated, sharing economies.  They also need to be capable of supporting robust and resilient community ecosystems.

SMART CITIES

 

The Australian Government  Smart Cities Plan has 3 pillars

Smart Investment

Smart Investment means:

1. Prioritising projects that meet broader economic objectives

2. Treating infrastructure funding as an investment wherever possible

3. Getting involved early to ensure rigorous planning and business cases

4. Increasing investment

Smart Policy

Smart Policy requires:

1. Delivering ‘City Deals’

2. Leading regulatory reform

3. Measuring success

Smart Technology

Smart Technology means:

1. Thinking of technology solutions first

2. Leveraging open and real time data

3. Driving use of energy efficient technologies

The 3 pillar excerpts above are explained in depth in a download available from the Australian Government’s Smart Cities website where they welcome comment.

Learn more about the Australian Government Plan

The Australian Government wants to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of urban service delivery, infrastructure and planning.  The aim is to improve the liveability of our cities and suburbs.

The question is .. Will this make our Smart Cities smart enough to become sustainable and scalable sharing community ecosystems?

Enabling technology through policy and investment will establish a solid foundation for the Smart Cities plan.  This then presents an opportunity to build on this foundation to establish self-sustaining economically empowered community ecosystems.

Before technology  – B.T. 

Local economies created their own community ecosystems that were heavily reliant on government to support and subsidize. Local media, business leaders and community co-existed and supported each other.

How did they do this?

Local business would leverage local print media to promote their business, brand and influence and leading businesses would in turn subsidize local community, charity and sports.  This simple, yet effective ecosystem reinforced local parochialism and gave communities identity, a sense of belonging and ownership.

This is a very simplistic snapshot of the B.T. ecosystem but it does illustrate that although the local ecosystem had an intra-community support network that offset government dependency it did not create self-sufficiency.  The local economy was still vulnerable and lacking. Technology itself was the disruptor that exposed this.

Post technology  – P.T. 

The local ecosystem has become somewhat disparate as we  have entered into a world where  ‘technology as a solution’ has accelerated and is fast becoming the norm.  This has meant that we now live in an environment of continual change. The consequence of change is a disconnect in the local ecosystem.

The channels that used to be the default to support the local ecosystem now no longer work effectively.  This means the reliance on government funding and grants has become even more of a dependency than it was B.T.  This environment is now, more than ever before, counterproductive to self-sufficiency.

The investment and changes in government policy to embrace technology to realize the opportunity data sharing and delivery presents through the Smart Cities plan is the enabler.

To achieve sustainability as a solution, we must be able to quantify, qualify, and then, contexualise and commercialize shared data.

The ‘missing link’ or ‘fourth pillar’ is a ‘Smart Community’.

When this fourth pillar is integrated into the Smart Cities blueprint you are then able to commercialize validated and contextual data to create self-sufficiency.

The ‘how’ can only happen when the administration of a four pillar Smart City design is altruistic.  The administration body is a facilitator that is independent and impartial for the betterment of the communities it serves holistically.

A ‘Smart Community’ supports and sustains local business, community groups, sporting clubs, charities and nurtures startups.

The notion of  ‘support local first’ in regional towns and cities is not new. The reinvention of what local parochialism looks like and how communities can embrace this in the P.T. world is failing.

The wave of technology and the change it has bought to consumer’s behaviour has eroded our local economy’s resilience.  The sad reality is that a dysfunctional local economy is not cohesive or productive, let alone self-sustaining.

‘Smart Communities”  as a ‘plug-n-play’ into the Smart Cities Plan delivers a:

  • self-sufficient ecosystem
  • sense of belonging
  • shared vision
  • scalable platform
  • viable commercial solution for all stakeholders

How can we make it happen?   If you want to discuss this further please leave a comment below or contact me

 

Originally posted 2016-10-17 11:03:25.

People Are The Fuel That Makes Success Happen

As a business owner you spend a lot of time working under the bonnet of your business. Time and resource is allocated to plan, strategize and to put processes in place that will help you to make smart choices that deliver smart outcomes. However, it is the fuel that you put into the business to drive it, the people you employ, align yourself with and the customers you serve that determines if your business breaks down or runs smoothly.

fuel

5 Smart People Choices To Fuel Your Business

  • Employing or surrounding yourself with people that are not like you.  This will help give you different perspective and encourage you to look at things differently.
  • Employing or surrounding yourself with people that will challenge you to evolve. It is very easy to do things the way you do because you always have.  What if there is a better way?
  • Employing or surrounding yourself with people who have different strengths to you.  This is what truly brings about strong teams when the balance of skill sets is complimentary.
  • Employing or surrounding yourself with people that are smarter than you.  If you choose not to see this as threatening the benefits are enormous. First and foremost smart people make you look good if you lead them well.
  • Employing or surrounding yourself with people that can problem solve and innovate. This is when you truly start to discover opportunity.

5 Not-So- Smart People Choices That May Stall Your Business

  • Employing and surrounding yourself with people just because they went to the right school or have the right qualifications.
  • Employing and surrounding yourself with people who are recommended to you or as a favour for a friend without first making sure that they are the right fit.
  • Employing and surrounding yourself with people who make decisions on your behalf without conferring with you.
  • Employing and surrounding yourself with people who are change-phobic.
  • Employing and surrounding yourself with people who are there for the money and the perks but don’t have the passion.

3 Questions you need to ask yourself when making decisions about people

  1. Are the right people in the right roles in your business?
  2. Are you identifying who your customers really are and if so how are you doing that?
  3. Are you aligning your business with the right partners and affiliates to advantage both parties?

 

Originally posted 2017-01-12 16:21:11.

The Start-Up Cemetery – Tombstones of Lost Dreams

 

cemetery

So many Start-Ups move quickly from idea and conceptualization to developing their minimal viable product ‘MVP’.  They do this to establish a ‘proof of concept’ to gain funding. This can be a death sentence for Start-Ups.

This reasoning does make sense on face value…

  • Your idea is unique.
  • No-one has done it this way before.
  • Your idea is a new technology that is ground-breaking.
  • Your approach is to disrupt and when you do it will be a game changer.
  • The unique value proposition that your idea brings will set you apart from competitors.

An idea that fast tracks to an MVP makes a quantum leap of faith

Will your Start-Up have a short life expectancy and end up in the Start-Up cemetery?

The question every Start-Up needs to ask is …

Does my Start-Up have strategic clarity?

If the answer is yes then the next question is…

What is my Start-Up’s strategic clarity?

Let’s look at some examples of what strategic clarity looks like…

  • You know where the growth is that your Start-Up will tap into and how to get traction there?
  • You know which problems you are solving and which customers you are solving them for.
  • You know how your customers’ will behave, how to drive their buying decisions and have positioned your product/service to ensure that you have and can maintain a competitive edge.
  • You know where your priorities need to lie in the short, medium and long terms and have articulated that in a business strategy
  • Your internal customers have taken ownership and responsibility of their roles, are engaged and aligned with and understand the business’ priorities. This enables them to plan and achieve key performance indicators benchmarked to the business strategy.
  • The decision-making process that is adopted by the business is consistent with the strategic priorities of the business and the business knows what it needs to achieve to be successful and in what timeframe.
  • You are confident in your business model that it is intelligent and uses this intelligence to make informed decisions from data that are qualified and quantified and aligned to your business strategy. This justifies any and all investment of resource and focus.

When do I need strategic clarity?

A Start-Up needs strategic clarity in the formation phase and before the validation phase. You can’t effectively validate an idea without insight that data brings to qualify and quantify it.

How do I get strategic clarity?

An Advisory Board of specialists that includes the founders themselves, is the best option to not only find strategic clarity but also determine a pathway to funding that is derisked by the insight the process delivers for investors.

The life expectation of your Start-Up will come down to the insight you gain and the strategic clarity you achieve. An Advisory Board can give you a real investor and competitor advantage

 

 

Originally posted 2017-03-15 19:30:16.

5 ways you ‘talk the talk’ that determines how you ‘walk the walk’

How we talk to ourselves and others defines who we are, how we are seen and what we will become.  When you think about it you are creating your own a self fulfilling prophecy.  What does yours look like? Ask yourself the following questions.

  • What are you projecting?
  • Who are you attracting?
  • How are you influencing?

talk the talk

5 ways that your talk could be limiting your success

 1. Authority

Authority, where we position conversations both with ourselves and others to set ourselves apart from being accountable, is an approach that we are all guilty of at times. This is where we make statements that exonerate us from responsibility and relinquish us from risk. We do this with an air of positive assertion and authority that suggests we have experience and knowledge as to why this would be a negative thing to do.  In reality we may be sidestepping something that we are not brave enough to try to overcome ourselves and would prefer others to make the mistakes for us.

Have you heard yourself say things like…

  • I will never do that because….
  • That is a stupid thing to do because…
  • If you do that you will regret it because…

2. Judging yourself and others

Passing judgement is intrinsic to the human condition and we, as humans, indulge in the pastime by engaging in gossip and taking the stance that we are offering advice. More often than not we are actually positioning ourselves to take the higher ground or make someone else the scapegoat to draw attention away from our own shortcomings.  We all know the old saying about throwing stones and glass houses.

Have you heard yourself say things like…

  • I would have done it that way because …
  • That is not the right choice because….
  • That was never going to work because…

3. Excuses

Excuses are the best aren’t they?  They allow us to not do what we might find to be uncomfortable or not want to do. We may also make excuses to cover our tracks or where we might be shown up to not being as good at something we have been telling everyone we were an expert in.  The question is when not will you get found out but when will you get found out?

Have you heard yourself say things like…

  • I can’t possibly do that because…
  • I am too busy to do that because…
  • I think it would be good for you to do it because…

4. Playing it safe

Sometimes we set the bar at a height that is very achievable for a reason.  If we reach that mark we have achieved and we can pat ourselves on the back and feel good about what we have done.  There is nothing wrong with that is there?  What if you are setting the bar at a level that is never going to push you out of your comfort zone and you are telling yourself that it is better to work in the safe zone?  Are you self-limiting what is possible?

Have you heard yourself say things like…

  • I can’t do any more because…
  • I do a great job. No-one can ever say I don’t because…
  • I can only achieve this outcome because…

5. Pretending

When we are not happy with ourselves it is not unusual to create a way of thinking and talking to ourselves and others to paint a picture that makes us sound a lot better than where we are now and draws a picture that is misleading. This creates limitations because from the inside you believe that if everybody else thinks you have made it you don’t have to do much except keep up the pretense.   Fake it till you make it. Sound familiar?

Have you heard yourself say things like…

  • I only achieved what I did because….
  • I am the best at what I do because….
  • I don’t need any help doing that because…

Of course sometimes the 5 ways you talk to yourself and others listed above are appropriate in some circumstances. The real question you have to ask  yourself is that if you are honest with yourself  how often do you default to talking to yourself and others with a because that puts limitations on what is possible.

What is your because?

Originally posted 2016-12-12 13:14:51.