Archive for category Leadership

Do Your People Put In?

Do your people  go the ‘extra mile’ and add greater value to your organisation? Well why not? Here are some clues to work from.

People will do more, if certain things happen, often these ‘things’ are not too much to consider in the scheme of things. Let’s take a look.

People put in when…

  • They can see the business is well led – People respect good leadership, clear decision making and planning is taking place and they know about it.
  • The business is secure – They know they have a solid income base and can see the products and services they provide are of value to the consumers. They also sense the future is rosy because of good planning, use of innovation and the profits not being squandered somehow.
  • They are respected – People who sense they are respected often go the extra mile, “You respect me – I respect you”. This happens from the leaders in the organisation and is infectious across all in the team.
  • Communication is clear, open and honest – Keep people in the dark for too long they may not see the light at the end of the tunnel. Therefore keep them in the light, let them know what’s happening.
  • They know the business cares by… – They provide quality resources, tools, technology, good work environment, good systems, policies and procedures. This of course includes OHS as a given, not a ‘have to have’ add on.
  • Their work environment is stimulating – Comfortable, well maintained, safe, secure and interesting enough to keep them engaged in what they do.
  • The cultural values and beliefs provide a solid foundation – At the core of the business, the culture is driven by the values and beliefs, if your team know these have suitable guidelines to live by they will fit to and often exceed expectations, especially if these values and beliefs are spelled out and details provided of scenarios of the values and beliefs in action to serve as positive examples.
  • Sense they are part of the solution – Customers have wants and needs and if these can be met and the team feel as though they were a positive contributor to the solutions then the results can be the team feels they have a sense of purpose.

Now set to work and focus on each point as a matter of urgency so your people can be all they can be and set stunning examples for new team members. Your customers will love the people who go the extra mile and return with more cash more readily in the future. That can only spell one thing, more business success.

The Stuck State Business

Stuck state business, a business where they are “stuck in the same state” this allows for little if any growth and comes from the idea called Homeo Stasis – Where things are held as they are – “Don’t make waves things are okay as they are” The challenge with this is that other factors change while your business is standing still and before long challenges occur and your business can face various threats to it’s survival.

Based in biology terminology, this ‘stasis’ relates to organisms and the way the ‘whole’ can be maintained, the right amount of light, nutrients, etc to ensure the organism can survive. The organism dies when things get too far out of balance and things go astray. With limited ability to improvise – adapt – or overcome a simple organism has little chance of survival.

In business the ‘organism’ becomes more complex, there are more variables, in many cases it is a range of little ‘things’ which can make or break it’s ability to thrive let alone survive.

Lets look at a few variables

  • Staff – motivated – skilled – communicating well?
  • Systems – complex – simple – effective?
  • Strategies – Marketing – Management – Operations – in place or not?
  • Values – minimal – developing – fully developed – where are things at?
  • Resources – tools – materials – workspaces – finances – training – well utilised?

Now you can see your business as a complex organism and one where the balance of all the factors to make it successful, have to be juggled carefully to keep things in harmony. In this case harmony can equal a static situation which does not allow for growth.

For the sake of your business, figuring out what is keeping the status quo where it’s at could be important in the logical approach to evaluating the situation. OR you could take a ‘quantum leap’ and step over that, avoid the analysis and look at a range of things that can be done that might not already be done, to head things in a healthier direction. A bit like doing a range of exercises to build core strength in a body when you thought you could get away with just one or two exercises, often the result is better in the long run.

What you can do

  • Communication – Discuss – projects – people – resources – aim to connect – synergise – empower – inspire – what works – what doesn’t – distil lessons learnt & distribute – reduce barriers – reduce hassles
  • Create a learning cycle – Assess a project before it starts – assess it inn progress – evaluate the aftermath, what went well, what didn’t and what can you learn from it
  • Aim for excellence – “If it could be done better do it!” look at all aspects to what makes things tick- Systems – strategies – skills – structure – service – quality (to name a few)
  • Provide a sense of belonging – achievement – contribution
  • Goal set – share the info – share the wins – explore the challenges and shortcomings.
  • Love your people – they make the hard resources move – they do the ‘stuff’ that pays the bills and builds the profits if  you love them they will love the customers
  • Love  your customers – connect – discuss – focus – ask – explore them – know them – let them know you and your team

All of these things can keep your team nimble and exploring a wider range of actions and thinking processes than their usual comfort zone allows. All of this should allow your business to explore the idea of thriving, not just standing still in a warm spot where things are comfortable but pushing at least some of the boundaries to make things work better.

Did You ‘Value’ Your Business?

In the past set of nine articles I have outlined some ways to look at the values your business operates with. Now it’s up to you to take each and develop some guidelines around each for how you want your team to operate. May I suggest you hand the list to your top people, give them a head start, tell them to develop some ideas and options and email them to you (compile the details in a  group meeting). Then develop an organisation wide set of values, possible scenarios and situations around them.

Compile the guidelines into your master operating procedural documents, begin to live it, refer to it and explore all it has to offer.

Any future steps the organisation takes should be done in light of these core values, then over time these can be ‘tweaked’ to suit.

Now you are fired up to tackle this as a project (even you small business operator…) then here is a link you can email to your team to work with.










And another article on values to tie it all together


Now look at how you bring the various aspects of this together to create great results for your business by taking positive action.

Oh and while you are at it, get your team to explore any other values they think would be useful for your business, drop me a line to let me know via the comments for this post and I will take a look and consider adding them in.

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There are many things an organisation needs to be ahead in the profits race, Leadership and the positive values it instills is the first thing which should come to mind, with no lead, how will anyone else know what needs to be done, when and by whom? It’s a great value by which to build your business from.

Leadership: The courage to shape a better future by taking positive actions – The ability to motivate people to explore excellence – Lead by example “see something, do something”.

Take action to be all you can be as a leader, even if you don’t think you have what it takes, learn fast, get better at communication, making decisions, building rapport, service, motivating, influencing (Positively!)

How will you encourage others to lead, so that others can see things happening and take action to create a better outcome, (see something, do something). How will they respond when you ask them to ‘step up to the plate’ and take the lead?

Your ability to take action may mean you have to make a time commitment to learning something new (in a book, a class or online.) as well as having to sacrifice some things in the short term to get better business results. Your ability to be an ‘exceptional leader’ will make the difference between a group of people who work together and get results to a team of stunning individuals who come together and work on incredible projects everyone loves to be a part of. The difference between the two, HUGE, the catalyst, you… go ahead and lead, knowing that your goal is to create an awesome team right now.

Jangled Nerves and Your Team

Your people mean everything to your business, your customers and profitability, of course you look after them (you know better than to treat them badly) but sometimes things slip.

You have been plodding along nicely, watching things tick over and out of the blue you messed up, instead of chatting to an employee about an issue normally seen as small, you jump in and give them a written warning on a blue card. You figure you have chatted to them about other issues in the past and the person in question has been with the organisation for over 5 years so they should know better and you jumped in with the written warning. Perhaps you were feeling short tempered, lots of things providing pressure to your daily routine, perhaps other things were playing on your mind.

In hindsight you were busy and this seemed like an easy way to resolve the issue. For the employee however it hits hard, like a quick slap in the face.

The issue, normally resolved fast with a quick chat, where they soon admit they slipped up, now becomes something more. Perhaps the employee will say something like “Hey, how about a verbal warning first…?” But things turned out differently.

Perhaps the employee will say nothing and the issue will fade, or it might fester and become a thorn in their side, niggling at them. Trust once at a high level has now been downgraded, cynicism can kick in and things could start to slide. Let’s hope the issue fades fast.

A few issues here which need to be looked at. The procedure you would normally follow (a few verbal warnings before a written warning) has been ignored. Your usual stance of getting more information to fully evaluate the issue was also missed. You were under pressure to perform other tasks and to some degree have failed your own high standards.

It’s a pity this has happened, but interesting to note that a small issue can get out of hand fast.

For the Employee the situation can set off a small ripple of disgruntled communication to colleagues who can react in a variety of ways, hopefully it fades out (you hope) but if it multiplies the ongoing effect on productivity and morale can be devastating. The worst part is you may not even know about it until it’s too late.

Of course there is always the issue that you may have introduced a new procedure, policy etc and forgot to tell people “For major issues a written warning on a blue card is all about raising awareness of our Duty of Care… note it’s not for disciplinary action purposes, but simply serves as a reminder.” but you wouldn’t forget to tell the folks now would you. Of course you would also make sure that someone else reads the info first to see if it appears threatening, but no it has in BIG letters Written Warning across the top and it looks like a disciplinary action.

You can’t be perfect, but one way to resolve an issue like this is to get regular feedback on what’s being communicated, to you from them and from them to you. This way you can be on active alert for issues when they arise.

The ideal business

Sounds like a great title huh, you probably thought, oh is it one that makes great $$ (yeah) and does it have incredible profits (well YEAH!) and does it mean I have to hardly run it… and don’t have to have many skills???? umm probably not.

What I’m thinking of here is the structural side of the business idea, rather than the sort of business it might be. So no it’s not the far out super freaky pizza business that serves east west Tex-Mex surprises with a Thai influence.

Imagine a business, where you have made things tick over nicely the staff are stable (and happy), your customers like what you provide and the way forward looks good. Income and profitability tick over nicely and you wonder about the bigger picture now you have more time to, you replaced yourself multiple times with great people and can sit back and “enjoy the view”. Now it’s time to look that bit further, or perhaps differently to cause your business to do more of what you want it to.

You know when to put on new staff, knowing when the rest of the team are pushing the limits, and you can handle the ‘lag time’ until they are ‘up to speed’ in the role. You have great measurement tools in place to know what’s working and what’s not. You know what the profit margin is and where it goes to.

What next? Is this it, is this the holy grail of your business goal/s? Are  your challenges at an end? Do you simply sell it off and retire (early?) or do you go for the thrill of the chase… the adrenaline injecting process of doing more, and creating anew to push yourself that bit further.

Let’s go for the latter… Lets explore how you can replicate the process to explore success in business and do more, be more have more. After all we live in a world of abundance and by the sound of things if you have read this far you have probably said to yourself yes I do all these things and I am in that lovely lofty position to be able to do more.

You have created an ‘organism’ which grows, it’s more than just sustainable and you can stand back and enjoy the benefits of it’s growth. Now take out a pen and pad and jot down the mechanics of the business, what makes it tick, what makes it profitable? What sets it apart from your competition to the point where you don’t have to even be there anymore to enjoy it.

Take that list and ask, Can I develop a formula from our current successes to be able to reproduce that in other businesses… short answer will probably be yes.

I suggest at this stage  you take a look at the list in a way which deals with the essence of the success and not just trying to think about other businesses you might like to try out or test. Look at the structure, how information flows, the team and culture, the values and beliefs, all the things which can cause the internal structures to remain steadfast and provide the right sort of support for growth.

Now you know what makes your current business tick and the building blocks for ANY new business, it’s up to you to act on the information.

If you create a new business or five, hold this thought in your mind… “in war success has never come to those who fought on more than three fronts” (go on prove me wrong…) it’s said this was Hitlers downfall in the end. So how will you as a business owner develop more businesses without this happening.

Firstly you will be mindful of it, secondly you will probably recognise that each business will not be run by you, you simply provide the ‘right structure and resources’ then step back and advise on ways to tweak the enterprise to generate greater success.

Go on, give it a go, if things go well through great planning you will end up with a site of businesses making good profits you will be able to share around with others, therefore creating more positive abundance in the world.



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Your Brilliant Business

Your brilliant business is caused by people doing more of the right things – Thinking – Adding value – Loving what they do – Taking initiative – Exploring options and providing great service to name a few.

Well that’s my view.

Image courtesy of Stock Images

Image courtesy of Stock Images

We could spend ages debating the issue, what a brilliant business is, how it’s measured and the results it provides. But I want to focus on the ethereal things which caused it to be a brilliant business. The initial points I put up are a big part of that.

Let’s go back to the start, your business started with an idea, you could see what you wanted, probably saw yourself running it, and could proabaly see how things would turn out. In your minds eye you saw a plan of action coming to reality and all the key pointers I started this article with are what bought the dream to reality.

It was you in the beginning who put in the effort, you did the thinking, the planning, took initiative, explored options and provided great service to ensure prospects and customers would come back for more.

The next step in your business was a big one, you took on staff, partners and or associates who could see what you saw, felt what you felt and heard the positive accolades for the products and service you provided for customers. You managed to  encourage your ‘team’, they got motivated, excited and became driven to follow in your footsteps.

The results spoke for themselves, happy customers, great products and services and the bottom line reflects the top level positive work everyone puts in.

There it is, your brilliant business, brilliantly utilising your ‘soft resources’ to ensure the ‘hard resources’, products and services, are in the right place at the right time for your ideal prospects and customers.

Sadly all of this is not a common occurrence, in fact it’s a rare situation, in a world where hope, excitement and the ‘thrill of the chase’ has been eclipsed by businesses which start up and fade, some fast, some slow.

All of the main points mentioned and so much more information is available to those who want to ensure their ‘business idea’ is given the best chance of survival in the ‘formative part of the business process’ and thriving in the maturing part of the process, yet too many fail fast.

All that was required was the right sort of research, a solid plan of action and the ability to cause people to follow your brilliant lead. Alas too many businesses do not have that and what could be a great start soon becomes millstone.

Let’s ask then, what sort of business do you want to have? One with brilliant prospects and outcomes or one doomed to failing fast? Now ask what will you do to make sure it’s not the latter!


Steve Gray

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