Archive for category Leadership

You need these five things for business success

Business people need these five points to ensure they can be on top of their game, especially in highly competitive markets. Do you have or can you develop these five things?

1. I know it’s good, but will others like it?5 business

What you offer to the world that they will pay you for, is probably the ‘best thing since sliced bread’… You might know or believe that, but how will you find out if others believe it too?

Find ways to connect to your prospects

People are the target market, robots don’t buy, yet… and specific people from within the billions of people on the planet, are who you are after. If what you have to offer is only available to people in a small area, then you need to get in front of more of those people to ask them if they like it.

This could be in social media groups, where you are a member and can post a poll, it could be in a shopping centre where you survey people, it could be via a phone call to specific businesses where  you survey them, perhaps you take what you have to them to discuss it.

Doing this kind of research is vital to ensure you are able to get valid feedback from the target audience, otherwise you could spend a lot of time and money creating something no one wants.

2. My development is vital

And so is yours… Your personal and professional development may mean reading a few books on business, attending seminars, short courses, doing whatever it takes to learn more and sharpen your mind.

One idea can really set your business apart

But where can you get the idea? Learning more about things can give you vital mental connections to a whole range of options and possibilities, you might explore five ideas and then settle on one that provides you with the solution to your challenge. Make time to learn more, so you can do more, be more and have more.

3. There’s only one me…

You can’t do everything, as much as you might like to. You can however work smarter and not harder. Outsource some of the work you currently do that you don’t want or need to do, to ensure you have the time and energy to do what you need to do properly.

Teams can do more than an individual

The internet has given us Virtual Assistants, and a range of ways to utilise the services of others by contracting various services out and of course you could always hire a staff member to do the things your business needs to do.

4. What do I do with all the ideas I have?

You have got your brain into action and the ideas are flowing thick and fast. Know that you will only be able to make a few of the ideas become reality

Start a journal

I have a Journal to keep track of a range of insights and key information I have learnt along the way, the same can be done for ideas. It could be a simple word file on the computer that you add to and review from time to time, or it could be a wish list on a whiteboard in your office. Whatever it is, start recording the ideas, prioritise them and then work to take action on the key ones.

5. Me time, business time and them time, how will I juggle all this?

There is only one you right, this can create a range of pressures on your time, business, family and yourself. Finding time for each is very useful to keep a balance and keep you happy. So schedule time for everyone, including yourself in your diary.

Time is in short supply use it wisely

While this is easy enough to say, it’s not necessarily easy to do. Outsource tasks to free yourself up, delegate tasks to your staff, even if you feel you might have to check it later on and tweak some details. Of all the things business people say is important, it’s having a balance in their lives, now you need to make sure it happens.

Regards

Steve Gray

A Sense of Belonging

Which would you rather have, a team that turns up because they have to or because they want to? The latter right… Why? Because they don’t have to be there, their mindset is different, they might shy away from a challenge if they think their mortgage is on the line, but they will put in for the greater good of the team simply for one reason, a strong sense of belonging. 

Image courtesy of Stuart miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Not just any sense of belonging, no no, as I eluded to in the opening paragraph, there are more reasons to want to do something, than if you have to do something.

Sounds easy, if I was talking about a club or group people belong to, people would soon get that stronger connection. However I am talking about a business, an organisation that people mainly get paid to work for, an organisation where the numbers often seem to be king, no profit no go…

So how do you as the business owner/manager cause this sense of belonging to go beyond the basics of need and get to a top class “one in, all in” situation where you know the people want to be there?

Connect, find ways to cause people to be part of a greater cause, ways to be aligned with the heart and soul of the business. Ways to communicate that they will benefit, just as deeply as you do by doing more, being more they will in return get more.

Perhaps the more they ‘get’ will be satisfaction, a warm sense of “I am part of something worthwhile”, the concept that the money is there but there is more to the equation.

Sounds far fetched perhaps, but in reality there are organisations where people willingly put in, willingly go the extra mile and hang in there to do it all again. Why? A sense of belonging, belonging in such a way they realise that the sum of the parts is greater than the value of the individual parts. As a team they can do more, as a connected and active team with a shared sense of belonging they can evolve to do MUCH more.

How then do we connect these ‘disparate parts’ to become cohesive, to join as one and be a truly mighty force?  Language… It’s what sets humans apart from other animals, it’s what ensures we can, discuss, plan, explore, find answers and ensure a higher sense of belonging can take place.

If you have ever noticed that people who use casual language, slang and the like to get through their daily routines, you will have probably noted their position in life is not one which often inspires. These people often seem to lead lives of deep desperation, working on minimum wages and struggling at every turn. While others with more developed language find ways to forge forward, to explore better options in life, to find depth and more profitable outcomes, and I don’t just mean financially.

Language

  • It helps us express the values we want our teams to align to
  • It gives us the chance to influence people to do great things
  • It assists us to lead
  • It provides opportunities to learn more, explore and pursue our dreams

How are you using language to better your teams, lead, influence and explore better ways to live and be a positive part of this world? Hopefully you will start with the positive values your organisation stands for and ensure your people are with you every step of your value motivated life. Without language we have little to commend us.

Regards

Steve Gray

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Two Keys to Leadership Excellence

In a quick search on the internet you will readily find lists of key traits of Leaders, many of them interlink and while there is solid value in many of these, I believe the following two could well form a strong starting point and create a ‘go back to’ starting point for a range of communication. Here they are…

1. Proficiency. You expect your people to have the right set of skills to do the job they are hired to do, if they are competent and do the task correctly over and over they attain proficiency

2. Clarity. Instructions, plans and strategies, are they clear for all the right people to understand? If there are any issues will your proficient people point it out to you as  the Leader?

If you are in a Leadership role the idea that your team is proficient should be a solid starting point to assume (especially if you have selected your team).

Your aim therefore is to ensure that the second point ‘kicks in’ so you provide clarity of communication and expect the same in the form of any feedback required from the team.

Now you have the two key points in hand, take a look at the way communication happens, how respect is built, how fear is removed so the team can get on with the right tasks at the right time to create all the right outcomes for the project or task at hand.

Learning The Hard Way

Planning

Image courtesy of Kromkrathog FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you learned well from a mistake you made, you will find a better way to do that task for the ‘next time’ when the same sort of challenge arises.

If you have been given information on a task by a person in charge, chances are you will learn but it might take a bit longer. You will probably follow the commands given, go and try out what was mentioned and learn some more by actually doing it.

If you read instructions or do a course on how to do a task you will probably pick up a few things, but it not the same way as the other two methods.

There is something about the way that doing a task involves the senses and get’s your brain immersed in the process. This is why a good trainer will suggest ‘you try it this time’ and get you involved. A good boss or supervisor will recognise you may only be ‘half’ listening when they give you a task to do, knowing you will pick up the finer details when you do it and if you have any questions about it you will come back and ask.

A good leader knows their team can benefit from all three methods, and will work to provide their team with an open approach to learning so they can get results to happen faster, because at least one of the ways or at perhaps a slight combination of them will fit to that person’s learning style.

Understanding a little of how people learn is vital to understanding how to get better results in your business. How will you use this information to make a positive difference with your team? Let’s hope you learn to know the difference and can implement the learning well with your people, perhaps you will share this with them and have a team based discussion about the differences, similarities and how you can use these to advantage. After all you want your people and the outcomes they create for your organisation to be excellent don’t you?

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More Cultural Fitness

My last article delved into ‘culturally fitting’ things to your business operations, but it goes a bit further than what I eluded to last time.

Employees for instance, how well did you select them for cultural fit to your business? In some cases there is a chance you wanted to stretch the boundaries and go for someone a little ‘left of centre’ but in the main you would go for people who ‘fit in’.

Imagine you have a business where you like to ‘rule the roost’, you have power and control over everything that happens. However one day you hire an employee who has ideas for all sorts of aspects of your business. While the rest of the team seem content to sit there and be managed/led/manipulated to do what you prescribe, this new person wants to have input.

You might just find there is a level of unrest which develops amongst the team when they start to say to the new team member… “Don’t make waves, it’s too hard to change the bosses mind…”

You start to take time to listen to the new guys approach and take some of the ideas on board. The new guy starts to see changes and offers more info, options and ideas. Some get utilised some not.

A new project pops up, it presents a bigger chance to have input, the team gets shown plans and a few simple thoughts get put into the mix. The new guy offers some bigger ideas… the boss says “mmm go on” but the rest of the team don’t know what’s going on. The new guy might start to feel isolated and pulled between opposing forces. The team on one side saying “Don’t make waves and the boss saying, “Mmm maybe there’s some value in this”.

My take on this story is that there has not been enough work done on the company values and beliefs. The boss has not explored the broader business context and asked, ”What if there is more to business than meets the eye?” followed by “What if the business could be so much more?” And “What if I could develop and utilise the collective intelligence of the team to benefit all of us?”

If some of these questions had been asked earlier, then the whole scenario could have changed, people might have more interest in the business, feel a greater sense of control about their destiny, want to contribute ideas, and perhaps the profitability of the business might improve as a consequence.

The answer, provide a respectful environment where people are treated like people, they think, they feel, they want to achieve. Then and only then can you have a business which truly explores it’s potential.

Cause your business to become culturally fitter than what you currently have and see what happens, you could be pleasantly surprised.

What are you Addicted to?

Why should addiction matter in business? It helps to appreciate what people are ‘excited’ by so you can understand and therefore work with them more effectively.

Let’s take a look,

Mostly addiction is about chemicals – Illicit drugs are the obvious ones, but the brain is ‘excited’ by all sorts of chemicals, Serotonin, Dopamine, Caffeine, Alcohol and Adrenaline to name a few. Some seem to last just a short time, while others may be longer lasting.

The power of these chemicals is often VERY strong (some more than others) and while in most instances these lead to positive outcomes, the opposite may also true. The upshot of the chemical addiction is the physical acts which come as part of that process.

Years back I worked with unemployed people on Job Search programs, occasionally I could get them ‘excited’ and in a ‘buzz’ about jobs and life in general and see their eyes light up. I would then joke about me giving them ‘free drugs’ (Serotonin, Dopamine etc.) just from having a chat, that generally gave them a chuckle. Some came in the next day with stories of telling their partner and or families that I had given them free drugs, we got a good laugh at the shocked responses they got. After that, all I had to do was say “more free drugs!”

With workers (and yourself) it would pay to know about the administration of these drugs to enable your team to be the best they can be.

So how do you cause these ‘chemicals’ to be released, the right ones at the right time to get the right result? Read more free business tips that’s how. Then implement a bunch of initiatives to get the ball rolling. Before long you could become the drug dealer of choice! If it worked really well, customers will arrive in droves and you will have more resumes from willing workers than you can ‘shake a stick at.’

Fixing People Problems

Ever noticed that things seem to go from good to bad, and then wondered if there is anything you could have done about it? Probably not something you can stop every time but perhaps limit its impact.

Let’s look at this in terms of staffing issues and how you might minimise ‘bad things’ happening.

So what sorts of ‘things’ am I talking about here?

Negative changes to:

  • Attitudes
  • Interest in the work
  • Interest in work mates
  • Interest in solving challenges (policies, procedures, politics, creative thinking to solve challenges).
  • Interest in themselves (self-esteem)
  • Enthusiasm to work
  • Quality of work
  • Interest in the company
  • Interest in the industry
  • Interest in customer services
  • Interest in their work space, facilities, equipment etc.

With this many things on this list (and probably a HEAP more) you can appreciate there are many variables which people can be affected by, some of these can be long term things The big question some of you will now be asking is what causes some of these things to happen, followed by what do I do about it?

Some Possible Causes:

  • Communication issues – Interpersonal – Intra-personal – Clarity of and or interpretation of the information
  • Leadership – Too much, too little, wrong sort (power and control)
  • Management – Too much, too little, wrong sort (micro managing – power and control)
  • Management fads – Things changing again, policies, procedures, values, beliefs… oh look we reinvented the wheel, lets go back to how things ere it was better… frustrating!
  • Too many chiefs – Who would you follow?
  • Wants to fly like an Eagle, but is hanging out with Turkeys
  • Frustrated by lack of – Progress – Systems – Planning – Politics – Idiots – Resources – Facilities
  • Work changes – Things got more techo but little or poor training was put in place – more things added to the list of things you are meant to be doing
  • You (the supervisor/leader) became a freak, time freak, detail freak, communication freak etc… all this simply FREAKS people out, stop doing that
  • Self-image – team image – High – low
  • Changes to personal tastes (e.g. once liked the industry and now not so much – liked the work environment and is now tired of it.)
  • Bullying etc…
  • No releif from constant work pressures
  • Made suggestions but nothing happens… or little if any recognition for suggestions or just being good at what they do
  • Politics in the business, got bad and never really recovered!
  • Departmental rivalry (more politics)
  • Travel too far to get to work
  • Personal situation has altered (break ups, divorces, family hassles) yours or theirs, yours can impact on them, their own is probably more direct
  • Drug issues (not enough – too much) you, them, others
  • Health issues

Clearly there are personal issues you as a boss or supervisor may not have much influence over, but the work issues should be able to be dealt with. Make a list of the items and check out to see if any of them can be tweaked to make things better. Over time you might find the range of things which would normally go from good to bad will reduce, a little prevention is better than a lot of fix ups.

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