Earlier this month we won the AUT Business Excellence Award for Management Services. It was a fantastic night and the culmination of months of work as we provided client and business data to show the results our company and team were achieving as we actively make a difference.
As with any team it is important to pause, celebrate the win and regroup as we move forward. Our clients are fantastic and trust us to provide true trusted Advisory in the area of Strategic Execution and Executive Leadership Development.
The same week we changed our Company name and logo after 24 years as we continue to position ourselves as category leaders as we disrupt the Business Advisory Space.
A new partnership with Leadership Expert and Business Influencer John Spence which he outlines in the video below.
We are passionate about disrupting Business Advisory.
In fact our Company Mission is to totally disrupt Business Advisory by 2020 as we continue to evolve a premium Advisory Brand focussed on Disciplined Execution and High Performance Leadership.
Lets face it the current status quo really has to change to meet the demands of modern business leaders who seek support in solving complex problems. Problems created by the increasing pace of constant change and disruption.
Too often conservative middle aged men sit in judgement, dispensing advice backed by education and professional development that ended in the 1990’s and talking about solutions that have worked historically.
At its worst traditional Advisers expect to charge a premium for this advice and yet they have never walked in the shoes of those they seek to influence. They have never led a business, never risked all as an entrepreneur and they don’t have the scars, stories and lessons learnt from experiencing failure, success and from practical application. They are not people leaders and yet they seek to advise, develop & influence leaders who are.
Worse still they don’t typically ask their clients for any feedback nor ensure that what they are doing is effective & of value value. They struggle with practical application of theory & struggle to get clients to execute their advice. Often there is constant muttering & frustration as to why this happens.
I personally have worked with many professional services companies who openly state they are client centric and yet they seek no client feedback. Their fees are dropping so they finally forced to react and seek change.
In one case it had been 12 years since a company had completed any feedback survey of their clients. Think about the arrogance of that. They assume they know what it is their clients need but never go beyond individual opinions.
When surveys are finally deployed they discover to their horror that their current reality does not match their assumptions and that they have a huge training, R & D and leadership development gap to close. Too complacent and comfortable to really care about their clients needs.
Many times I have challenged an absurd desire to spend time refocussing on their client relationships prior to measuring client loyalty or engagement because they fear the results.
Business Advisors of the future must;
Be experienced leaders who lead by example with their own Business practices and actively see themselves as leaders and influencers. Advisors who make things happen, can influence people through real stories of practical application and who can coach, mentor and guide other clever people. They must have people skills (EQ) and empathy.
Own the voice of their customer. They must have an up to date (& data based) understanding of what their customers really want and need. In fact the top advisers are pro-active and bring solutions to their customers before they know they need them. They anticipate needs rather than react to immediate situations.
Have humility and respect always.
Be future focussed and have a passion for lifelong learning. If you are as good as you will ever be it’s just not going to cut it. Academic qualifications are table stakes and the start point not the end game. They must provide clarity and inspire confidence for those they serve by constantly up skilling and learning.
Bring researched frameworks & networks of like minded people. The day of the individual guru with all the answers is gone. Business today is simply too complex to know everything. The best Advisors will connect customers to other leaders, professional advisors and collaboratively bring unique solutions to complex problems.
Measure and manage & clearly demonstrate massive value. This will not always be financially driven either, rather it will vary from customer to customer.
So thats why we do what we do. These are but some of the reasons we are on a mission to disrupt Business Advisory. Business leaders expect and need more and this is not opinion….. we ask them regularly and have done for many years.
Any leader has to be able to inspire those in their team. We hear and read about this but what is the reality? People can and are not inspired by the past or present, they can only be inspired by the future. By definition this means that a large part of leadership is about defining the future or mapping the way ahead. How is this done and more importantly how can it be done with any confidence when business leadership today is so fast moving and dynamic?
Over the past five years or so I have worked with a lot of different business leaders from many different business sectors and the common issues are the same regardless. Here are five ways to help define the future;
1. Put a line in the sand. Sounds simple I know but sometimes it is just about being bold enough to start. Make a stand and spend time focusing on what could be. In fact what you specifically could achieve 10 years ahead. What would your company (or teams) results be? How would you measure them? How would you know if you were successful and how will you do it? This is a different way of thinking and pushing 10 years or more takes us outside several economic cycles and beyond current capabilities. Jim Collins in his research for the book “Good to Great” found that setting a Vision and a “Big Hairy audacious Goal” 10 years out helped define successful companies.
2. Include your People. Those who make the plan don’t fight the plan. It may not be possible to include a large number of your people but certainly the inclusion of your key leaders within the business will greatly add to the “buy in” or engagement with the plan and will help you to sell it to the wider team. Having the session facilitated by someone external will allow you to create it as one of the team and to challenge your thinking.
3. Document it. Get it down in writing and make it concise enough to fit on one page. Its a start point that can become a living document and one your regularly review. If you can put your Vision on one A4 piece of paper it truly is a useful tool. It can be used to help recruit and align those within your team and can be shared in your external marketing and communications. People love doing business with those who are decisive and clear on their direction and the world makes way for those who know where they are going.
4. Measure it. Take the time to work out how you might measure progress and how you can make that progress visible to those you lead. How do you bring it to live, discuss it often and review it regularly. It can be as simple as a number of a whiteboard or an electronic bill board (as I have seen here in Christchurch). The research tells us that those who can easily measure it can manage progress.
5. Talk about it often. I have read articles by CEO’s of big organisation who say that just when they feel everyone is sick to death of hearing about the vision and the direction of the organisation and feel they are sick of the sound of their own voices, the team is just starting to get it. Certainly that is in line with companies I have worked with. Sending an e-mail about it or discussing it at one team function simply does not cut it. Talk about it often, write about it, tell stories about it, get others doing the same and eventually you will get momentum.
Defining, creating and sharing a Vision is hard to do and yet it is of high value. Those leaders that live in this space of defining their future and the future of their organisations can truly inspire people to achieve great things. It gives certainty in ever changing times and presents a “bullseye” of success for which a team can aim. Most businesses don’t create the space to articulate their future so if you are one that does you already have a strategic advantage over your competitors.