Leadership

Born Leader

Born Leadership

Some people seem to be born to be a Leader, don’t they? 

I’m thinking of John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Alex Ferguson. All great examples of a born leader.

For these people, leadership seems to come naturally, it seems like they were always destined for that role and when they get it, it just all fits together, they’re like a swan in the water, majestically floating around.

For others, the ‘born to be a leader’ thing just doesn’t fit.

Maybe you started a business which became successful, and you’ve had to take people on.

Perhaps you worked for someone else and were so good at your job you were promoted to be a leader in their company.

Maybe, for whatever reason, the role of the leader does not come easily to you. 

And that’s a big problem because if there is one thing that all great leaders have in common it is their ability to BE the leader.

What Does It Mean to Be a Leader?

Well, they do NOT spend their time, being the manager, the salesperson, the customer service rep, the accountant and the receptionist.

Do you?

Being a Leader means knowing what it is that other people do well and letting them get on and do it.

It means:

  • Knowing when people don’t have the right skills ad organising training or moving them to another role. 
  • Trusting people.
  • Knowing when and what to delegate.

But above all, it means spending your precious time BEING the leader (not just DOING things).

How well would it work if Richard Branson drove his own trains, or Alex Ferguson had a go in goals, or JFK made lunch for his important guests?

That doesn’t happen, right? 

And it’s because those people know their role is not any of those things.

Now I am not saying there aren’t ANY occasions where you wouldn’t do something that one of your team could do. 

Sometimes it is ‘all hands-on-deck’ and it can be motivating to see the leader joining in with the fun run, or speaking to a customer, or answering an email when everyone else has gone home for the night. 

However, your main job as the leader is to BE the leader – be the inspiration, the motivation, the direction of the company and leave the operational and tactical tasks to people better suited to doing them.

Your job is to translate that strategy, into tactics that they can turn into actions to fulfil the task.

And here’s the thing, they might actually be BETTER at that than you.

And even if they aren’t (yet) they might be good enough, and unless it is something that you LOVE to do and want to do – why would YOU do it, if someone else can? 

We worked with one client who’s challenging and – to some – argumentative style, was not helped by her micromanagement and general interference in unnecessary things. She was feared and disliked in equal proportion. 

Micromanagement brings fear, stress and a lack of risk taking or stepping up to a team.  They don’t want to be seen to do something wrong, so they do nothing, or wait for your call.   This means you will have to get involved when you really don’t want to. It’s a vicious cycle as they do less, and you have to do more. 

Here’s the 10 minute live I did on the subject of why you might end up in the micromanaging trap: https://www.linkedin.com/video/event/urn:li:ugcPost:6930483184308502528/

What we need to do is to create three things in our teams:

  • Engagement
  • Enablement
  • Excitement

We want them to be able to do something, to want to do it, and to know why they are doing it.  

When this happens, we trust them to perform, and they trust us to have their backs. 

This creates Confidence, Collaboration and Commitment and means that your team is going to deliver an excellent product, with certainty and clarity.  You can step back and get on with your strategy and they can help you fulfil it. 

And if you would like some help in developing that Confidence, Collaboration and Commitment in your team, then get in touch and we can show you how we can help. 

Julie. 

Julie “Chief Impact Engineer” Hutchison

Julie@thinkbedoleadership.com

Click here for last week’s blog: Tech leaders aren’t people, people, are they?

P.S. Whenever you are ready…here are 4 ways I can help you increase your impact as a leader:

1. Join The “Quiet Leaders Lab™ Facebook Group and connect with other leaders who want to grow

It’s our Facebook community where those that are The Quiet Leaders can learn and share how to increase their impact, influence and outcomes — Click here

2. Grab a free copy of my leadership impact report: The Team Performance Engine™

It’s the Road Map to your journey to increasing your impact as a leader –Click here

3. Join our Leaders Launchpad™ Mastermind Group Programme

This Mastermind is a selected group of like-minded leaders, in an online community, focused on growing your results.  With training, group coaching calls, guest speakers and more, supporting and challenging you to design and implement real team performance in your business.

Send me a message or email julie@thinkbedoleadership.com with “IMPLEMENT” in the subject line and we can discuss how you can join us

4. Work with me and my team privately

If you or your team just need a little more one to one attention to make change happen in your business… just message and put “PRIVATE” in the subject line… tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!

Get your audience sitting up and listening

The 4 elements to getting your audience sitting up and listening to what you have to say

All is not equal in the world of communication and influence.

Intelligent, capable people are not always making the best impression. And are not always listened to in the way that they should be. And we don’t know why.

And it is such a shame to see that frustration when you know the right answer. But no one is really listening. 

Recently, in a covid influenced stupor I watched Don’t Look Up – the film about the meteor coming to earth to kill us all (I know, I probably could have chosen better).

The super-intelligent scientist (AKA Leonardo DiCaprio) and his even more intelligent side-kick (Jennifer Lawrence) were trying to get the President of the United States to listen and do something to save the earth. 

But she was not interested. ☹

They had 20 minutes to get their point across, but after 2, they had bored the teeth off them! And they were yawning and off in a new direction.  It was, admittedly, a comedic parody of the president who was less than interested in the world due to her massive interest in herself and her own career.

So, what did they do wrong?

Well, they forgot the most important part of any communication.

They won’t eat if they are not hungry!

We have got to get them interested in listening to you before you start giving them everything you got. 

But, often what happens is that we start opening the flood gates of ALL the information we have to give, which is making them even less likely to hear what you have to say.

You are effectively over-feeding them when they haven’t even seen the menu. They haven’t bought into what you have to offer and have no concept of how they are going to benefit from this platter of offerings. 

So what do you have to do?

Well there are just 4 things that need to be covered before you start and they can be done easily and quickly for every time you need to really get your point across.

Why this subject?

Why now?

Why me?

Why you?

Why this subject?

If you don’t cover this point, then you are launching into something that they can’t see what’s the point.  They may not even be interested in it and don’t know why it is important at all.  So, you haven’t caught their attention to see what the purpose of it is.  They can’t buy in to it because they are too down in the weeds of hearing your thoughts on the matter before they see the need for the matter at all. 

Why now?

Now that’s an interesting one.  Because we can know something is important but we are not going to do anything about it right now.  Priorities take over, and the next most important thing is higher than what you are talking about so we do nothing.  We don’t think it matters NOW.

It’s a bit like when you say you want to clear up the clutter in your house.  It’s the sort of thing that can get put off for years, with kids toys and papers and all sorts.  But then the mother-in-law or the who family are coming to visit and suddenly you know that this needs to be sorted now.  And everything goes.  You are on a mission to make things happen.  It’s because there was a reason to do it now.   And you need to confer this to your audience otherwise it just sounds like a nice to have instead of an urgent matter to deal with now. 

Why me?

Imagine you are going to get your well-person check and they tell you that you have polyps that need to be removed.  You know, from inside there……right inside…..

And you are offered the student for a discounted price or the world-renowned consultant with a ton of experience. 

So, what do we do?  

When something is important to us, then we are going to choose the right person for the job.  We are very likely to pay more to make sure we have things done correctly.  When we have belief in the person doing the job. 

So, when you are trying to convince someone to say yes to your project, your idea or you product, then you need to make sure that even if they believe in the product, they believe in you as the person to deliver it!

Why them?

So, this is one that is often missed, and it means that they don’t necessarily see WIIFM – what’s in it for me.

So, they agree with the cause, they understand why it’s important and why now. They think you are great, but they don’t think it applies to them.

If they are disconnected personally from the point then they are not going to do anything.  It’s like watching that homeless person in the street, or refugees trying to get to another country whilst fleeing a war.  Unless you are connected personally, it is all to easy to ignore, or to let things slide off into the distance because we can’t see why WE should care.  And that means they are not listening. 

So, we have to ensure that your audience understands the big link to themselves. 

OK, so once you have done those 4 things, and only then can you start to tell them what you have inside.

I did a short live training on this on Thursday which you can catch here.

And if you would like some help in implementing these techniques then message me for details of how you can work with me.

Give me a shout!

Julie. 

Julie “Chief Impact Engineer” Hutchison

Julie@thinkbedoleadership.com

Read last week’s blog here

P.S. Whenever you are ready…here are 4 ways I can help you increase your impact as a leader:

1. Join The “Quiet Leaders Lab™ Facebook Group and connect with other leaders who want to grow

It’s our Facebook community where those that are The Quiet Leaders can learn and share how to increase their impact, influence and outcomes — Click here

2. Grab a free copy of my leadership impact report: The Team Performance Engine™

It’s the Road Map to your journey to increasing your impact as a leader –Click here

3. Join our Leaders Launchpad™ Mastermind Group Programme

This Mastermind is a selected group of like-minded leaders, in an online community, focused on growing your results.  With training, group coaching calls, guest speakers and more, supporting and challenging you to design and implement real team performance in your business.

Send me a message or email julie@thinkbedoleadership.com with “IMPLEMENT” in the subject line and we can discuss how you can join us

4. Work with me and my team privately

If you or your team just need a little more one to one attention to make change happen in your business… just message and put “PRIVATE” in the subject line… tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!

wrong way road sign

The Massive Cost of Getting It Wrong

Getting things wrong is an inevitable part of life and business, and in many situations getting something wrong can be a positive and lead to a better outcome. 

For example, you try a new process on customer support, and the very first customer you try it on – the brown stuff hits the fan.  Well, that’s not great but as a result of that one bad experience, you change the process and now it works great. 

However, there are sometimes you really don’t want to get it wrong if you can possibly avoid it.  One big example of that is hiring and/or promoting.

You see, there is ONE crucial aspect of being successful as a new manager – whether that is from an external OR an internal hire.  And that is …..BUY IN.

And Buy In needs to be understood and gained in 3 crucial areas.  If any ONE of these is missing then it won’t work.  We will get to that in a minute – but lets just look at the results of getting it wrong.

What Does It Cost When Hiring Goes Wrong?

The real cost of hiring / promoting someone who fails to get buy in upfront and early, is immense.  Estimates range between 50%-150% of annual salary (PWC) and 300% of annual salary (The REC).  And not only that.  The but more importantly, the REC have stated that failure of a middle management or senior hire can be a major liability to the future success of the business.

What Support Should be in Place?

Having said all of the above – the question then is why so many companies leave it to chance that their new hire will be immediately successful in the role.  Why is that?  It may be that they assume, having had a senior role before, or having been through the mill at their current company – they are all perfectly equipped to get it right from day one. 

But here’s the thing.  That is often wrong.  And especially if you are hiring or promoting a technical person.  You know – the one who is so good at their technical job function that they seem the obvious choice for the next role?  Their loyalty and track record of going above and beyond is exceptional. And so why would you worry about how they will perform in the new role?

But if you really think about it – how is a technical person – however great their skills – supposed to know how to manage a team and the 3 essentials of buy-in!

What Are The Three Essentials of Buy In?

When you get these right then you will have a participative, focused, capable group of people working together, and with you, to move heaven and earth to make things happen for you and the things you stand for.


To avoid getting things wrong, they have to:


· Agree with your cause
· Want to work with you (on a personal level)
· Believe and be aligned with their own capabilities to make it happen

New senior execs who don’t get buy in often upset people with new ideas etc and frankly turn people off.  The solution is of course, to not assume that your new manager or Director, knows how to manage their new role and to put some support in place. 

If this makes sense to you, I’m running a virtual workshop next week called The New CTO Buy-In Accelerator which is all about how to get your team to buy in to your vision without having to micro-manage, force or beg!

It’s free for the first 20 people.  Email me on julie@thinkbedoleadership.com

If you liked this blog; check out last weeks’s edition on Why Telling People What To Do Doesn’t Work

Or if you’re more of a video person, you can watch my latest videos on my YouTube Channel

Thank You

Are You A Manager Or A Leader?

I came across this Steve Jobs quote today which I love which really clarifies if you are a manager or a leader.

“Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things, they never thought they could.”

Steve Jobs

So – how about it?  Are you a manager or a leader?

In order for your team performance to be sustainable over the long term, you need to develop leadership skills.  If managing the team is persuading people to do things, they do not want to do – that is pretty hard going over a long period of time.  So, you need to find a way of turning what they don’t want to do, into things that they DO want to do.

And how do you do that? 

There’s a lot to it, but the short answer is – by inspiring them.  Basically, by being a great leader.   One important element of leadership which is rarely talked about – is the importance of specific public praise – recognising what your team are doing well and letting them know about it.

Let’s look at a ‘real-life’ scenario.  Without giving away any identifying features!!  I had a client recently who was bemoaning their team.  The team never showed any initiative.  They didn’t come up with solutions only problems.  They weren’t willing to ever go the extra mile.

Meanwhile, this business owner was running themselves ragged.

When we looked at why there were some simple steps that he wasn’t taking, that would massively reduce his workload and stress levels. 

Say Thank You

The first thing I noticed when spending a couple of hours with him, was that he didn’t praise his staff.  He wasn’t aware of this – he thought he was saying thanks.  And he was – but literally just that – “Thanks”, mostly without any eye contact, and very brusquely.  When I questioned him about it his answer was – “That’s their job!”. 

Don’t make the mistake of not understanding that people need praise.  Specific praise.  In order to feel appreciated and therefore be motivated.  And also – so they know what good looks like.  Just because something is someone’s job, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them some positive feedback.

Have you ever driven your car down the road – stopped as there was an obstruction (parked car maybe) on your side of the road, and the person coming the other way flashed you to acknowledge and say thanks?  They didn’t need to – I mean – the obstruction was on YOUR side of the road, so you should be the one who stops.  But if they don’t say thanks, you feel a bit miffed.  Well, I do anyway.  Manners cost nothing and make other people feel good.

The same applies at work.

If you tell someone – thanks – that’s ok.  Compare that to…. “Do you know Poppy, I just wanted to say thank you so much for always having those reports done on time.  You might not realise it – but it is really vital to the admin tam to have that info on a Friday because…..”

The latter gives someone a real understanding of their importance in the greater scheme of things.  They understand that they are important.  They know that you notice, recognise and appreciate what they are doing – and therefore they will want to do it.  This job has now changed for “Poppy” from one she didn’t particularly want to do, into one that she is very keen and motivated to do.

That’s Leadership.

If you want a Team on Fire – then maybe we need a chat about how to enhance your leadership skills – and also theirs.  If you are growing a business you need to grow some leaders, it can’t all be about you!

P.S. Whenever you are ready…here are 4 ways I can help you increase your impact as a leader: 

 
1. Join The “Quiet Leaders With Impact™ Facebook Group and connect with other leaders who want to grow 
 
It’s our new Facebook community where those that are The Quiet Leaders can learn and share how to increase their impact, influence and outcomes –  Click here 

2. Grab a free copy of my leadership impact report: The Team Performance Engine™ 
It’s the Road Map to your journey to increasing your impact as a leader –Click here 

 
3. Join our Quiet Leaders Launchpad™ Mastermind Group Programme 
 
This Mastermind is a selected group of like-minded leaders, in an online community, focused on growing your results.  With training, group coaching calls, guest speakers and more, supporting and challenging you to design and implement real team performance in your business. 
 
Email me with “IMPLEMENT” in the subject line and we can discuss how you can join us 
 
4. Work with me and my team privately 
 
If you or your team just need a little more one to one attention to make change happen in your business… just reply to this message and put “PRIVATE” in the subject line… tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details! 

Grow Your Business

The Easy Way to Grow Your Business from £1 Million to …..

Working (as we do) with businesses around the £1 million mark who are wanting to grow their businesses, has proved to me time and time again that there is an easy way to grow your business and a hard way.

Many businesses get to £1 million t/o a bit by accident – more luck than judgment in some cases.  They open a business in the right area, the right industry at the right time.  They are good at what they do and they get some lucky breaks, the right customers who tell other customers, or the product or service they offer is trending, they hit the wave at just the right time.

For others it has taken years of hard work and dedication, perhaps in a family-run business, to build up a client base and a reputation which has steadily and slowly taken them to between £500k and £1 million. 

In either case, the hard way to grow the business to the next level is to carry on doing what you are doing.  I would go so far as to say, this is the impossible way to grow the business. 

You have heard the quote about the definition of madness?  Well, that certainly applies to growing your business.  What got you to a million-pound turnover, will not get you to 5 or 10 million.  You are going to need to do most things differently.

Under 500k – 1 Million

At this level of business – start-up or in the early months/years the business owner is the main man – or woman.  You are the star of the show.  People do business with you because they know like and trust you.  And you are great at what you do.  And that is fantastic.  If all you ever want is a lifestyle business, then carry on doing whatever you do, because it is working!

However, as the business grows towards the larger 6 figure mark, my experience tells me, that life as the business owner becomes busier and less enjoyable.  UNLESS you put some thought, time, and a bit of investment into the easy way to grow a business.

If you do not – then here is what happens. 

  1. You are good at what you do so you get more customers
  2. You are busy doing the work and so you can’t deal with more customers
  3. Your business turnover looks like rolling hills, up and down.
  4. So you hire some staff
  5. You don’t have time to train them properly though and so
  6. They do a little work and you do more work
  7. You end up having a nervous breakdown, losing sleep, losing relationships, losing customers, losing your mind – because you are just TOO busy, ALL the time.
  8. Your business stalls, maybe even closes or goes bust. At best it just frustrates you by never getting beyond a certain size.

The Easy Way to Grow Past £1 Million Pounds

This is the stuff all successful growing businesses do.  They understand that in order to grow they have to FIRST have the right team in place.  In your business right now, if you don’t have the right team it will be for one of two reasons.  Either you have the right people but they don’t have the skills to step up (your fault by the way for not developing them).  Or you don’t have anyone with the potential to be in your leadership team (your fault by the way, for not hiring for potential). 

Either way – what needs to happen is the right people need to be developed (SPOILER – that most likely includes you), so that they have the skills, the confidence, and the right plan – to step up and become a Team On Fire.

And what is a Team On Fire?

It’s a leadership team that understands the vision and its part in that vision.  They have the skills, the confidence, the knowledge, and the motivation to bring their A-game every day.  More importantly, they drive the business, they manage the people, the processes, and the delivery. 

Leaving you free as the business owner, to be able to stick your head above the parapet, see what is going on, and set/reset the strategy and direction.

Doesn’t that sound good? 

It is the only way you can grow. 

So if you are serious about growing your business, of course, you will need a financial plan, a marketing plan, an ops plan, a sales plan, and a recruitment plan.  But before you can implement any of that, you need a Team on Fire.

If you know it is time you got serious about growing your business, and you don’t want to have the same conversation with yourself in a year’s time or watch your competitors grow while you don’t – maybe it’s time to book a call with me.  No obligation, just straight-talking about what needs to happen in your business to create the future you want. 

Book a slot here

Woman listening

Leadership is Listening

Leadership is Listening

When you think of leadership – do you think of some confident (arrogant) person swaggering around barking orders at everyone?  Perhaps you think of someone highly intelligent who has all the answers? Or a ‘Do what I say not what I do’ type authoritarian leader? Or maybe a great orator – like Martin Luther King?

None of those leadership styles are relevant in today’s world with the exception of Martin Luther King – we could always do with more of those!

Leadership Is All About Listening

The Most Important People to Listen to Are Your Team

When things go wrong, as they invariably do in business, it’s easy to react.  Something goes wrong and it needs fixing.  As the leader, you may go into problem solving mode, in order to sort things out before they get any worse.  And that’s completely natural and is often what needs to be done. 

Sometimes, however, it just makes things worse.  If you fly into problem-solving mode – or worse – shouting and blaming mode – before listening to what happened, then often you don’t solve the actual problem and just create a bigger mess.  At the very least you lose an opportunity to get your team involved in solving the problem.

Decision making needs to be based on listening. 

Julie Hutchison

And sometimes that’s hard because people may not want to tell you the truth for fear of reprisals.  Sometimes they think they are telling the truth – and they are – but it is only their version of the truth. 

There is a lot of listening involved in being a great leader.  And also, the ability to ask the right questions and then hear between the lines! 

Of course, you need to listen to your clients

I was talking to a client the other day, who was what I call a proper creative.  He had come up with some new products he was certain his clients would love.  They sounded interesting – though I am not his target audience.  But he was astonished that almost no one was buying. 

I asked him how many of his customers he had consulted before he went ahead and developed the products.  I think you might be able to guess that the answer was none.  If you don’t listen to your clients, what can you expect?

Critically, you also need to listen to yourself

When I say that – I don’t have an image of you walking around talking to yourself and then stopping and listening!!  What I mean is – listen to your gut instincts.  Listen to how you feel about something not what your head is telling you. 

When you ignore those instincts things can go very wrong.  Gut instinct is not some magical WooWoo thing – that some people have and some don’t.  Gut instinct is the sum of all your life and business experiences.  If you really analysed where your gut instinct about someone or something came from, you could find the answer. 

But your instincts will bring back an answer for you so quickly that you don’t understand where it came from.  It’s not always right – you might not like someone because they look like the school bully for example, and you could be missing out in that case.  But mostly, entrepreneurs and leaders have pretty good gut instincts. 

Listen to them and then decide.

If you are a react first, think later person – we have some strategies in the Leaders LaunchPad that can help. 

Happy to have a virtual coffee anytime!

juggling skateboarder

Are you Getting In Your Own Way?

Being a Manager is hard! You are always getting in your own way. You see, being a business owner who wants to grow means being not only a manager but also a leader (as well as many other hats).  And that is like juggling jelly, whilst on a skateboard rolling downhill, and hosting a talk show at the same time.  Trust me – I know. 

But unlike the jelly juggling skateboarder – it IS actually possible. Unless you are getting in your own way, of course.

Let’s look at how you might be getting in your own way

Leadership is about setting the vision. It’s about you – or the vision – or both, being so inspiring that people believe they can achieve whatever goals are set and come out as winners.  They mirror your behaviour.  Here’s where you can clearly see the first hurdle.

If, as a Leader, you say one thing but do another – then people will follow what you do not what you say.  And here’s the irony.  Because – as the Leader, you might work late into the evening which nobody sees – because they have all gone home, or they are working from home.  But if you are 5 minutes “late” in the morning, that sets the wrong tone.  Especially if you are also ‘the manager’.

The Manager is the one that sets the standards, monitors the activity, and passes down the goals and practical steps that are needed to achieve the vision.  They may or may not be inspiring, but they are there to make sure that things get done.

It is hard to be both a manager and a leader. 

The skill sets required of those two roles are quite disparate, and you may find yourself more naturally in one role than another.  Which role are you not as strong in? That will be where you are getting in your own way.

The Good Leader

If you are a good leader but a poor manager then you will find that your team loves being around you, they find you motivating and empathic.  You have time for them, and you make them feel invincible. 

But if you are not managing them correctly you will find them going down the wrong path. They don’t have the skills they need, or they don’t understand the ‘rules’ or where their authority starts or stops.  They don’t meet deadlines but they are full of great ideas.

The Good Manager

If you are a good manager, then things will be done as you direct.  You are in charge of the ship.  But if you are not a good leader, you will find yourself working harder and harder, having to think of all the ideas yourself, having no one that steps up to take some of the load.

If you are a good leader and notice that your team is not doing as well as they should, you will probably feel guilty – you have asked them to do stuff but haven’t trained them or shown them how to.  Maybe they are capable you think, and you shouldn’t have asked them.  So you start taking things back from them and doing more yourself.

If you are a good manager,  but not a great leader, you might find yourself wanting to control everything (after all that is a manager’s job) but taking it too far.  You may feel let down by the team’s lack of initiative and therefore take on more and more of the hands-on job yourself.

In both these scenarios, the end is the same.  You are working too hard.  You are doing stuff you shouldn’t be doing as the manager and/or leader of your business.  And you are NOT doing your job.  You are not being strategic, thinking about the future, the solutions that you need to find because you are too blooming busy doing the do.

Your business can’t grow until you grow.

As a result, the business can’t move forward.  It can’t grow, and not only that, you cant even take a day off because everything would fall apart if you weren’t there.  Well, maybe you CAN take a single day off, but a holiday?  Without constantly being on your phone or laptop?  Not a chance. 

Henry Ford, amongst others, has been attributed as saying

“If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done, You’ll Always Get What You’ve Always Got.”

Henry Ford and others

And what does that actually mean?

Well, it means – if you want things to be different you have to change them.  And that means changing you first.  You can’t just dictate that your team must do things differently from now on if you manage or lead in exactly the same way.  If you do, then in a week, or a month or 6 months time, nothing will have changed. 

Don’t be like a 1960’s parent saying

“Don’t’ do what I do, do what I tell you”. 

Your Grandparents, possibly…

It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now. 

If you’d like to know how to (metaphorically) juggle jelly whilst skateboarding downhill hosting a talk show – drop me an email at julie@thinkbedoleadership.com.  It’s a great subject for a virtual coffee! 

_____________________________________________________________________

Team Hands

Why Your Business Can’t Grow!

I work with a lot of businesses turning over £1 – £5 million pounds who are trying to grow and finding it a struggle.  Maybe you might also be experiencing the same – your business can’t grow! The reasons why are all too often the same one!  It isn’t their product or service.  If they have got to 1 million + turnover then clearly the core offering is fine. 

Often it isn’t their marketing.  They have grown to this size through whatever sales and marketing strategy they have been using, and that has worked so far. 

And it isn’t the staffing levels – most of these companies have adequate or slightly surplus staffing, and their recruitment processes work.

No – the reason most of these businesses just can’t move above this ‘glass ceiling’ is that their teams aren’t ready.

You might be wondering what on earth I mean by this.  Maybe you haven’t considered the link between the company growth and the readiness of the team, but I assure you, it’s very real.

What are the Signs That The Team Isn’t Ready?

There are a number of signs you might have noticed in your business.  Perhaps you are doing too much or getting dragged into the technical work of the business, with no time to think strategically or put in place new operating practices.

Maybe you know your team needs to be doing more.  You wish they would step up and make more decisions instead of referring everything back to you.  They need to step up as leaders and make things happen.  They need to be able to influence, create performance and set direction. 

Moreover – YOU need help with getting them there because what you have been doing up till now hasn’t worked.  Of course, your development is critical because everything comes from the top, but as a business reaches a certain size, every single detail, every decision, and every interaction cannot originate from you. 

Your Business Won’t Grow Until Your Team Grows.

As a solopreneur, you can get your business to a certain size.  But it will never grow as big or as fast as if you have a top-performing management team in place. 

That’s a tough one to crack but it can be done.  And once your management team is performing as it should the business can easily grow to 10 x the turnover (and profits) it currently has. 

So, how do you do that?

Well, it is what I help businesses to do every day of the week, for many years.  Often it takes an outsider to be able to look objectively into what is currently happening, spot the gaps and have the arsenal of training and coaching skills to be able to make the difference, that makes the difference!

Email me on julie@thinkbedoleadership.com to organise a free no-obligation virtual coffee, to see if working with us could make a 10x growth impact on your business. 

Woman looking bored at work

Boring, Uninteresting & Demotivating?

Have you ever sat there, at a family Christmas, birthday, or some other gathering, where everyone’s chatting, getting along, and then that one uncle commandeers the floor?  

We all know what happens next – some questionable monologue with the apparent pretense of being comedic or something that just turns into an outdated (often mildly offensive), irrelevant or just downright dull diatribe, to a backing track of familiar familial groans.  

As he ignores these and continues on with his disasterclass of audience retention, you drift off and suddenly it’s ten minutes later and you have no idea what just happened.  

I mean, you can’t fault his confidence but that is the limit of the props you can give him. That feeling of dread as soon as he stood up to speak is testament to the effect that lack of connection or relevance can have when addressing people. 

And here’s the thing… 

It isn’t just with your family that this happens.   

It happens at work too! 

But, how do you avoid the dreaded uncle status when working with your team? 

Well, you can start by focusing on just three key points… 

Relevant and Interesting, Confident & Connected, & Positively Impactful 

Relevant 

Unlike the 3 minutes that you just sat through on the 1690 Battle of the Boyne, that he somehow thought bore some connection to the conversation about what A Levels your cousin is going to take, relevance is a key part of your success as a leader of your team. 

If your team isn’t focused on the tasks and projects you are currently undertaking, there is little chance you are going to have any real success and that direction comes form you as the leader. 

It’s easy to go off on tangents in conversation and, whilst having personality and connection with those you’re talking to is important (as we will come onto later), you can’t let it override the main objectives you have as a business. 

It is fine to add in your own stories and experiences, but the buzzwords for this are WHERE RELEVANT. If you are talking about a project you’ve run, by all means talk about a particular client experience where certain issues cropped up, but don’t then go on to talk about where you met them, what coffee you had, how you got to the meeting – that’s uncle territory right there.  

Ask yourself – Do I keep it to the point, to make my point. 

Interesting 

Hand in hand with relevance is interest. 

Just as the 1690 Battle of the Boyne interlude was off topic, it sent grandma to sleep, and you into some sort of dream state. If it isn’t interesting, people won’t listen.  

Simple as that really! 

You have to engage the people in your team, pique their interest and retain it.  

For example, if you are bringing back the coffees for the team, your customer experience in Starbucks (or your fave coffee shop), might be interesting to you, BUT you choosing whether to get a latte with Soy, Almond or Oat milk, however, does not leave anyone wanting to know more (even if the decision weighed heavy on you at the time!). 

However, if you were addressing the same thing to a room full of vegans, you would probably have grabbed their interest and ended up with a huge debate on what’s best for what.  

So, my point is that you need to think about who is in the room and what they are motivated and interested in.  Understanding who is in the room and knowing what will get their attention will be invaluable in them engaging.  

So, don’t feel the need to go on big, long stories with no ties to their topic as then you will see people start to drift off.  Find out what floats their boat and bring it in to grip their interest and have them begging for more. 

Connected and Confident 

Man and woman hi-five at work

Connected 

As I touched on before, it is important to build up a good connection with your team. Beyond motivating them, they should feel comfortable enough to come to you with issues and ideas. 

This is a benefit not only to them, but to you, and can move your business forward leaps and bounds.  

When you stand up to talk, you don’t want to be greeted with that same groan that met the uncle’s impromptu lecture. You want to be able to open up a conversation and invite your team to be part of what you are trying to achieve.  

You don’t want them to feel like you are talking at them, or you may as well be talking about how important some historical conflict was in “ensuring the continued Protestant ascendancy in Ireland.”  

Even writing that I can feel myself switching off! Just imagine how your team would feel if they had that sort of lack of connection every single week.  

You wouldn’t want to hang out with people you don’t feel like you can talk to, and who do you hang out with more than you colleagues? 

Confident 

This may be the only redeemable feature of the that speech you had to sit through last Christmas.  

Say what you want about it, there’s nothing quite like an uncle’s confidence in such situations, and if there is one thing of value, they offer it is this; confidence is key.  

The more confident you are in what you’re saying, the more likely people are to take note of it. Confidence conveys understanding, it shows you have something worth sharing and it helps with the previous point – it creates connection.  

Interestingly, it is not the “inner confidence” that you need to be “confident”, but when you have a belief in what you are saying, a desire to spread the truth, then you can be confident if you focus on this and not you! 

It is often said that confidence breeds success, and whilst this cliché may have been somewhat overused, that does not make the general sentiment any less true.  

Confidence is infectious, so if you stand up in front of your team and show confidence in your direction and leadership, there is little they won’t do. 

Just believe in what you say, and others will believe in you. Don’t be like your uncle, be more Think Be Do. 

Positively Impactful 

OK, so we have all been there – the mood hoover in the room that has sucked the energy away with the negativity of their soul. 

Not you, of course? 

But here’s the problem… 

So often we are not aware of our impact.  We don’t think about it whilst we are going about our business.  We don’t stop and ask ourselves often enough.   

We’re oblivious to the carnage we may have left behind us when we say or do things around others.  

But as they say in forensics – “Every contact leaves a trace”.  And it works for this too.  Every contact you have with anyone, will leave either a positive or negative trace.  And the more aware you are of it, the more you will be able to make sure that the trace you leave is one you really want.  

So, it pays (both literally and metaphorically) to be Relevant and Interesting, Connected and Confident, and Positively Impactful, and whilst the concepts may seem simple, many people still struggle to use them effectively.  

If you want to find out HOW to implement these features in your business – message me on julie@thinkbedoleadership.com or message me at www.linkedin.com/in/leadership-expert-executive-coach-training  

Black and white instruments held up

You can’t harmonise with yourself!

More or less, everyone has a favourite band, a group of people who just come together and make music that instantly makes you happy.

As kids we often idolise that group, but more often we love that lead singer (or is that just me? 😉).

Many of us look to the lead vocalist as the leader, but the reality is, that they would be nothing or a lot less, without the rest of the band.

A lead vocalist, a front man or frontwoman, without the band is just a person singing on their own.

For the band to work you need the bassists, the guitarists, the drummers, and the backing vocalists.  All these people need to come together to create the songs, the music, that you know and love.

And in business, your team is just like a band.

Unless everyone comes together, works together, then you will always struggle to produce anything of value. The talent of one individual cannot be brought forward to its full effect without the support of those around them.

You cannot harmonise with yourself!

Conflict

Without wishing to state the obvious, teams that do not work well together will not stay together. Sure, they may achieve some success, but in the end it is unsustainable.

Just take Oasis.

Disputes between brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher were regularly documented in the press throughout their time together, Noel even quitting temporarily as early as 1994.

Working together in such close quarters for many years had soured their relationship and they now have little to no contact with each other even twelve years after the bands break up.

Now, drawing parallels between rockstars and business teams may seem a stretch too far, but again, the basic principles are the same.

Not everyone is always going to be best friends but that does not mean they cannot be successful provided they learn how to work with each other.  We just need to understand how to walk in each other’s shoes, appreciate the genius and accept the differences.

Teamwork

Everyone in a band has a particular skill or talent, be it for keys or strings, vocals or percussion, each member has different strengths.

So, we can look at our team in the same way, you may be the lead guitarist, someone else may be on keyboard, and so on. We need to celebrate those differences as well as wanting to get along.

Good bands have also identifiable sounds, or could we say “culture”, and these may evolve over time as members develop their talents.

The Cure went from eccentric, post punk sounds to more gothic stylings. Fleetwood Mac started as a blues band before moving more and more into pop-rock. Radiohead started with a distinctive guitar rock sound and diversified into more experimental music.

Good bands will make good music, no matter the sound or the members, there will be no reliance on one individual to pull it all together.

A good team will work effectively towards whatever that big goal is, and when each member is playing their instrument, the leader can be replaced, if they are just wailing into the mic randomly.

Often the leader can think that they are irreplaceable and feel that they are more important than the rest. They can forget that they are there to enable the whole team to achieve their best.  But that is dangerous, and mistaken.

For example: Genesis went from strength to strength with Phil Collins at the vocal helm, but before him the band was fronted by Peter Gabriel. Gabriel left amid an accumulation of tension within the band.  They didn’t need him to succeed.

No one person is bigger than the group and when someone is raised to this position, tension is inevitable. Keyboardist Tony Banks surmised it by saying:

“Pete was also getting too big for the group. He was being portrayed as if he was ‘the man’ and it really wasn’t like that. It was a very difficult thing to accommodate. So, it was actually a bit of a relief.”

This new form Genesis continued to perform until 2000, 25 years after Gabriel’s departure.

If a leader is not working but the team is still functioning, then just take a leaf out of Iron Maiden’s book. Over their duration they have has a number of front men and still remained highly successful.

At the band’s conception, Paul Day took the position of lead vocalist but was shortly dismissed as he did not have the desired charisma and, most importantly, enthusiasm for the project.

He was replaced by Dennis Wilcock who looked to put his stamp on the group, he convinced them to hire and fire members and the conflicts in the band grew, until he left to form his own group.

Then came Paul Di’Anno, and whilst they initially worked well together, addiction troubles made his position unsustainable.

In came Bruce Dickinson for his turn at the head of the band, and even he was in and out of this role due to wanting to go solo.

The job of these men was to help their group and when they were no longer were doing so, moving on was the best thing for both parties.

Dynamics

So, how then was the band “Iron Maiden” able to stay together through the countless member changes over the years?

That comes down to the true dynamics of the group. Bassist Steve Harris was the one who formed the band and, ultimately it was his group. The lead singer is not always the leader. Just because someone is the most vocal, does not mean they are in charge. Leadership is about a strong voice with something to say, not just whoever can shout over the rest.

A successful team is about good dynamics and doing what is best for the project, not just one person’s interests. It is about bringing together all those voices to create harmonies that is the recipe for an efficient project.

Everyone must be singing from the same song sheet and a successful leader will be the one handing out those sheets.

So, if you are the leader of your “band”, ask yourself the question….

  • What do I bring to the party?
  • How to I enable the team to perform?
  • Do I help or hinder the success of the team as a whole?
  • Do they need me?

And if the answer is not what you were expecting, then let’s talk…

Book in for Your Impact Accelerator Session to brainstorm how we can help you be the best front person in your business band.  https://calendly.com/thinkbedoleadership/quiet-leaders-impact-accelerator-session

Email julie@thinkbedoleadership.com