Tag Archives: Business

Plant Grows

Small Business Grows Big

Growth is something we all want for our business, of course it is! But if we aren’t prepared for it, this dream scenario can quickly become a bit of a nightmare for you at the top of it all!

Relationships in business are founded on trust.

As the leader of a small business, you will have a team of people who (hopefully) you feel able to rely on.

So, as you expand and take on more staff it makes sense that you would look to these people to take on management roles, in order to pass on their expert knowledge.

After all, you can’t be everywhere, however much you may want to be!

So now you have multiple managers with multiple teams of their own…great!

Yet, if you aren’t careful, you may have more problems that you started with.

Here we shall look at some of those main problems:

The Message gets lost

Key to your business is its message, its ethos. This is what, not only your customers, but also your teams, have to buy in to for you to be successful.

As your business expands, however, this message can become a bit like a game of Chinese Whispers.

As it gets further from you the lines of communication can become stretched, they become less effective, and with it, your message can become muddied, or even lost.

Then, all that you have spent so much time trying to implement can start to breakdown.

The wrong kind of leader

As I touched on earlier, as your business develops, you will need leaders to step up and take on these expanding teams. Obviously, hiring from within seems like the clear decision.

But this is one of the pitfalls that can damage your growing business if you get it wrong.

Sadly, being an expert in a field doesn’t always make someone a great leader. Having all the appropriate knowledge doesn’t always mean they know how to pass it on.

It’s kind of the opposite of the old “those who can’t do, teach” adage, or if you’re more of a sports fan, “good players don’t always make good coaches”.

What Can Happen?

Obviously, no one case is the same, but there is a client I worked with recently that was in just this sort of position.

Their IT company was growing quite rapidly, and they needed leaders for the new teams they were having to employ.

They started to ask current trusted staff to step up.

First, they set one of their original team members, an expert in their previous role, up as a leader, but they weren’t too comfortable in the position.

They were nervous and lacked confidence in leading a team, and thus, the message broke down, the team was ineffective, and they struggled to maintain the business ethos and results.

The second leader they sourced from within had similar issues, except, they disliked the idea of managing so much that they left the company.   That meant that they lost a key member of staff as well as a potential leader.

Finally, they turned to external sources for a new manager, only one of their requirements for the position was that it had to be filled by someone with good IT skills and experience.

This sounds like it should make sense, but you must look at the role they are being brought in to perform. They are going to be a team leader, a manager, not an IT specialist, so do they really need that experience?  Maybe some, but not the only thing they needed.

What to do?

What is really important is to be able to provide your teams with the confidence and capability to step up into the kinds of management positions.

You can’t be afraid to bring in people from outside your business either.

Managers are there to do exactly that, manage! And experience goes a long way to obtaining that confidence that good leaders require.

But growing your leaders from within, if done properly and with care, is an excellent option.

Those people love your business, like working there and know all the little foibles. So, they are best placed to be bought into your ethos. 

So, if you want to grow those wonderful team members into leaders, you need to do something different.  You need to develop their skills – soft skills, confidence, communication and leadership mindset. 

They need to be able to Think, Be and Do as a leader does.

So, as long as you support their growth, then they are perfectly capable of learning those new skills.

And you will need to change the way you think and behave too!

You will need to be able to trust them, let them grow new wings and you will have to let go a bit so that they can feel the responsibility and start making bigger decisions, without relying on you.

If all that sounds lovely but a little scary or worrying, or you are asking yourself – yes, but how do I do that, then all you need is someone to support your business in that transition.

Maybe it’s time to book a call with me and we can have a chat about where you can take your business, and where we can help you grow you, grow your leadership team to grow your business.

Book your call here:

Or email julie@thinkbedoleadership.com

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.

Reply 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!

Julie Hutchison
Chief Impact Engineer at the Think Be Do Lab!
Call: 07947823842

Be a Leader

How do you show up in your business – and what difference does it make?

Everyone has a decision to make when they walk into the office (or join the team zoom call) in the morning.  

You have to decide, without getting too existential, who you are going to be today. How are you going to show up? 

Most people are pretty self-aware when it comes to what they wear to work, for example, but when it comes to how they’re going to lead their team, it seems to be more challenging. 

Yet neglecting your leadership style is like turning up to work in a Hawaiian shirt and flipflops if you are meant to be in a suit! 

At best its distracting, at worst its unprofessional and that will, ultimately, be damaging to your business. 

So, if we want to make sure that we can create a business environment that grows our team’s confidence and capability to create amazing things then we need to be aware of and design the impact we have on others. 

Let’s look at just 7 types of impact types that us leaders can have: 

1. Mood Hoover 

This is the person that sucks all the energy out of the room as soon as they walk in. I’m sure that, unfortunately, you’ve all encountered someone like this. Just their very presence is draining.  

There is nothing more disheartening than when going to work feels like a slog. Believe it or not, I’m of the belief that work should actually be fun! 

 And showing up and draining everyone of any enthusiasm they may otherwise have is a sure-fire way to demotivate a team. 

We may say to ourselves – “oh that’s not me” but have you ever asked?   

2. Micro Manager 

This is probably one of the most common and widely known of the typical types of leaders. They are the person that will try to pick at and control every little part of the business. They will be the type to over supervise and critique everything their team does.  

If you tend to fall into this trap, just pop yourself in their shoes for a moment and think how it would feel.  Work shouldn’t have to feel like Big Brother, with eyes on your every move, and when this happens it reduces confidence, makes us feel like we will just wait for the next instruction instead of sticking our head above the parapet.  

So micro-managing is a short-term win but a long term lose.  

3. Do-It-Yourselfer 

Could this one be anymore self-explanatory?  

Well, just in case it isn’t, this is the type of leader who “just can’t” delegate, so they may believe. 

The type of leader who will take everything on themselves and leave their team twiddling their thumbs with very little to do. 

This is stressful for all involved; the leader takes way too much on, and the team feel like they aren’t trusted or valued in their job. 

But often they are fooling themselves and we need to switch a few beliefs around to help us to let go and believe that it will be better for us in the long term.  

4. Stressed Out Stickler 

This is the type who has no trust in their team. The one who goes strictly by the rules and not the relationships they have within their business.  

This approach is forceful and may appear authoritative but ultimately, it will have very little influence on anyone involved. 

If you are making your team feel constantly on edge about stepping even slightly out of line, they’re not going to be doing their best work, or enjoying their time there. 

Remember, most people come to work to do a good job so if we can find the strengths in our people and begin to trust them to step up, then we can step back and focus on the bigger picture.  

5. Dynamic Driver 

This could almost be described as an amped up version of the Stickler. This type of leader will have you quaking in your boots is they are heading up your team. 

They can even be overbearing and pushy to the extreme. 

They may have a big influence on their team, but this will be more out of fear than anything else.  

They will be driving (as the name suggests) the team forward but it won’t be a fun experience for any of those involved.  

The problem with this is that it creates a parent-child relationship rather than adult-adult and then we are quite likely to hear our team say “If you are going to treat me like a child, I will behave like one”. 

So, as soon as the boss goes away, we all breathe a sigh of relief and in can lead to the team pushing back and getting actively unhelpful when they aren’t being pushed along.  

We have to remember that human beings (adult ones) need to be treated as such and we need to buy-in to the cause, not just be pushed over the edge of the cliff.  

6. Undercover Slogger 

As you may expect given the name, this is when no one knows that you’re the leader.  

And without wishing to state the obvious here, if no one knows who the leader is then they’re very unlikely to have any real influence.  

It doesn’t matter how much knowledge and ability a leader has if they are unable to impart that or direct others in a productive way.  

Maybe this leader is so worried about offending or upsetting someone that they just feel they can’t ask someone to do a task or challenge that bad behaviour.  

But this leads to a confused and often conflicted state because there is no one leading the pack.   

And this means that it is very hard to get things done, make changes or get people taking responsibility.  

As a leader we will still be slogging away, mopping up messes, doing too much and feeling bad about it.  

7. Quiet Catalyst 

In many ways the ideal or aspirational goal of leadership, being able to inspire others without having to shout. A low force approach with a high influence. 

If someone can get their point across without ranting or raving, then teams are immediately more likely to open up to what they are asking of them. 

Being a catalyst for your team means you can inspire them, give them the confidence to step up and try stuff, make decisions, test things out and put themselves forward.   

You give them confidence to not have to keep knocking on your door asking “What’s next boss” and therefore they grow and learn, you get to focus on the next big thing and they feel fab because they are developing in your business whilst creating amazing results.

What Comes Next? 

Once you can identify these different types, you have the chance to see where you naturally find yourself. 

And say you don’t like where you end up, guess what? 

None of these are final! 

You are free to make the changes you feel fit to get the best out of yourself and your team. 

Just as you pick what you wear to work every morning, it is completely up to you what attitude you choose to show up with. 

But if you feel you need some help in making the changes you need as a leader, give me a shout and we can find the one thing that you can focus on to grow your impact and influence in you business.  

Email julie@thinkbedoleadership.com and let’s we can see what we can achieve! 

The Challenges of Family Run Businesses

Are you a family owned and run business? There are many family owned businesses in the UK and as a sector, family run businesses are growing and are successful – look at Laing O’Rourke. However it is not always plain sailing.

Family run business can have issues with non family staff turnover, with succession planning and with blurring of the lines between home and business. These challenges are present across all sectors but it could be argued that they are even more apparent in the manufacturing sector – which has traditionally seen a high percentage of family run businesses, in what is traditionally a male dominated environment.

The problems created in family run businesses can stop the growth of the company – so how can you prevent these things from becoming big issues?

1. Have clear and agreed roles and responsibilities, so everyone knows who is in charge of what and where joint decisions are required. As with any board, it is a good idea to have a level at which consensus is required (often defined by spend). Having this clarity not only means the family members can work together more harmoniously for the good of the business but also means there is no confusion in the staff or with customers – lowering staff turnover and increasing customer retention.

2. Keep business and family separate. Do not discuss the workings of the next board meeting over the kitchen table. Work is work and home is home – should be strictly adhered to in family businesses to keep things objective.

3. Create opportunities for non family members – nepotism will not help your business growth.

4. Consider hiring a non exec Director to keep things real and challenge the board. It is sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees when it is your business, and whilst every family member will no doubt believe they have the best interests if the company at heart, it is almost impossible to completely keep emotions out of decisions in a family business. An NED can help that process.

5. Put in place management training. Management training is not just for corporates, and is probably even more important in a family environment. If you have a structure at home, that is invariably not the best structure for work. At home the Dad might be the head of the family – or the eldest sibling – but that does not mean that they should automatically be in charge at work. You still need to identify the best person for each role. Using a model like the Team Performance Engine™, can help you to assess the strengths and weaknesses in each family member from a business perspective and therefore create the best model for the growth of the business.

Lastly – you should have a succession plan that is fair and is known by everyone. In any other business you would have an ‘exit’ strategy, the same applies to family run businesses. Maybe the next generation are not the right people to take the business forward, maybe they don’t want to. Either way – plan it and then there are no nasty surprises later!

If you want more information about how the Team Performance Engine™ can benefit family run manufacturing businesses you can access some free information here